Time to Nourish
Winter is the time to add plenty of nourishment, self care, sunlight and exercise – the focus is adding things to build up our immune system and energy levels….
With so much talk about detox and cutting out/cutting back, January & February can be a challenging time to stick to our goals/ new years resolutions and new healthy habits. Perhaps your intentions for the start of the year have already been put in the bin!
The Winter season can make us feel that we are lacking in energy, run down, battling an influx of winter colds and just be in the mood for hibenating! All of this tends to equate to broken promises to ourselves or that it’s just not possible or realistic to make the healthy changes we had planned.
I feel that if you do want to detox then a great time to start is Spring/Summer when there is more sunlight, lighter evenings, more energy, increased motivation. We are less likely to be ill with winter viruses and more likely to feel good. With that in mind I suggest Winter is the time to nourish, nurture, care and protect here are some suggestions which may help us to:
- Increase energy levels
- Support immune system
- Improve skin
- Sleep better
Add warming & grounding foods into your diet:
Nourish your body with hearty stews and soups – think about adding lentils (puy & red lentils are the quickest to cook), beans (kidney, butter beans, pinto beans), brown rice, quinoa, pearl barley and root vegetables. These foods are easily to digest when slow cooked in a stew or blended in a soup. All are slow release in energy so will keep you fuller for longer and will keep your blood sugars balanced. Reccomend having this at lunch time rather than sandwich.
Oats, nuts and seeds are also fantastic nourishing and grounding foods – try porridge for breakfast or over night oats – add toppings of almond butter, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, blueberries or any nuts you like. Almond butter or almond milk (mylk) also very nourishing.
For improved energy levels increase healthy fats & proteins in the diet – think fuel for the body – found in avocados, coconut oil, coconut milk, almond milk, olive oil, flax seeds, nuts, lentils, beans, eggs, fish, turkey and chia seeds.
Add body brushing & sesame oil massage
Both are excellent for the circulation, stimulating the lymph system, helping us to feel awake and energised and may help to improve immune system. Skin will feel fanatstic, moistursied and nourished. I have been body brushing for a while but recently added the sesame oil massage a few times a week and its great. Read more about sesame oil benefits here.
Simply put the sesame oil in a small glass jar and warm the oil in hot water – I use the sink in the bathroom. Apply to skin, in circular motions, starting at the neck and working down, massage the body for 5 – 10 minutes. If possible leave for 10 minutes before showering…then rinse off in the shower with warm water. Skin feels really soft and looked after. Some of the blog posts about this reccomend massaging the scalp too but my hair is on the greasy side so I find it best to massage my scalp first without any oil. Other options include coconut oil – which I use as a daily moisturser for my body.
Add fun movement & exercise!
Getting as much fresh air and winter sun as you can to boost energy levels, spend time with friends taking winter walks/bike rides on weekends. Add a new fun activity, I am a member of Move GB which includes a range of activities to choose from such as:
- Dance classes
- Rock climbing
- Hula hooping
– all of which are fun and get you moving without feeling like exercise! If you would like to try a free 10 day pass on MOVE GB you can get your pass here. Other options are a lunchtime walk and stretch, yoga/pilates and meditation are all restorative and nourishing to the body. Create space and movement for your body to release tension, aches and pains from sitting at a desk all day.
If you are a Move GB member you can benefit from members discount and see me for a Nutrition consultation details here
Really important for energy levels and immune system as well as balancing blood sugars, take a bottle to work with you so you can measure what you are having, other options….
Add herbal teas – Pukka tea and Yogi tea are a favourite of mine, green smoothies (home made is best – recipe below), make your own flavoured water with slices of orange, lime & mint – other options include lemon, ginger, apple or berries.
Green smoothie recipe:
Handful of frozen kale (freezing the kale takes away some of the bitter flavour)
Handful of frozen peas (trust me!)
Few slices of frozen mango
1 teaspoon of ground turmeric
Juice of 1/2 lime
1 tablespoons sunflower seeds
1/2 tablespoon of chia seeds
3 tablespoons of grated creamed coconut block or 100mls of coconut milk
Enough water to blend
Add all the ingredients to the blender and take to work with you!
Add lots of colourful vegetables, new recipes and warming spices & fresh herbs:
Think about adding lots of variety and colour when shopping for fruit and veg – the more variety you can get the better. Giving your body a range of nutrients, anti-oxidants, fibre, minerals and helping you to function at your best. Everyone has cookbooks at home that sit on the shelf without being used properly so challenge yourself to cook one new recipe a week, again this adds variety and gets you excited about cooking again. As we are spending more time indoors during Winter then its the perfect opportunity to get creative in the kitchen. Batch cook and freeze portions for the nights you have less energy to cook, slow cookers are also really helpful if you do not have alot of time.
Add warming spices: Cinnamon, Turmeric, Ginger, Chilli, Cayenne pepper to recipes as well as fresh herbs – Basil, Corriander, Mint, Rosemary, Sage which all have nutritious properties and can be medicinal for joints, immune system, anti-inflammatory and also taste delicious.
If you struggle to unwind and sleep at night try this warm turmeric milk recipe to help relax and soothe you into peaceful sleep….
Turmeric Milk recipe:
250ml of almond milk (or other milk)
1/2 tsp of turmeric
1 tsp of honey (or coconut sugar)
1/2 tsp of cinnamon
1 tiny pinch of salt
(recipe from Madeleine Shaw – here)