Winter is a wonderful time of year.
With its shorter days, winter is a time of hibernation, a time to rest, slow down & conserve energy. It is a time to build strength as well as a good time boost our natural constitution. It is also a good time to improve symptoms of chronic illness. It is an important time to gently celebrate & connect with friends & family. This is best done with nutritious warming foods.
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine eating warm weather cooling foods in the winter months can lead to sickness. This is especially true for children. Feeding them lots of raw cold food including lots of fruit such as watermelon, apricots & fruit juices can tax their immune systems. There little bodies are having to work overtime to warm themselves instead of using the energy to ward off sickness. As a result we often see an increase in frequent colds, coughs & runny noses.
During winter our bodies crave food that is heartier because they warm the body & strengthen the immune system. Focus on eating more protein, cooked foods & adding mild warming spices to their meals. Opt for warming soups & animal foods especially beef & lamb as well as wild game. Ditch the cooling fruits & smoothies. Raw foods take more heat, so consider if your little ones have energy to spare!
Limit fruit to what is available. The importance of eating seasonal food can not be underestimated. For me that was mainly pears & oranges. It is amazing what beautiful different recipes you can create.
The lack of available fruit in a particular area is natures way of tell you that it is not the best thing to be eating in abundant quantities at this time.
To access a comprehensive list of seasonal food in your area visit www.seasonalfoodguide.com.au
During winter it is also important to Increase good fats in children’s diets. Fat is the primary food for growing children.
Good fats are found in:
- organic butter and ghee,
- duck fat for cooking,
- coconut oil
- olive oil,
- flax oil and other good quality nut oils,
- whole grains, seeds, nuts,
- legumes &
- sea vegetables.
The brain and nervous system are built on fat (especially cholesterol) and continue to require large amounts to develop. Fat also helps the absorption of many crucial vitamins and minerals, for example vitamins A, D, E, K and calcium.
Saturated fats fight infection and enhance immunity as they contain special milk fats called glycosphingolipids that help protect against gastrointestinal infections. Chicken fat (aka chicken broth!) also contains palmitoleic acid – an anti microbial monounsaturated fat involved in fighting infection.
A wonderful immune boosting soup can be made with any of the listed vegetables below using homemade bone broth as the stock.
On the menu this winter is:
apples, cumquats, grapefruit, lemons, limes, mandarins, nashi, oranges, passionfruit, pears, persimmons, rhubarb, tamarillos, tangelos.
- Fruit: Apricot, avocado, gooseberry, raspberry, strawberry, watermelon
- Vegetables: Asparagus, aubergine (eggplant), beetroot, beans, Chinese cabbage, courgette (zucchini), cucumber, globe artichoke, new potatoes, peas, radish, silverbeet, spinach, spring greens, sorrel, tomato
- Herbs: Basil, chives, dill, garlic chives, mustard greens, sage, thyme, watercress