The Winter Solstice is rapidly approaching. Until recently we’ve had some uncharacteristically warm weather, but the days are finally cooling, it does now appear. This often times leaves us feeling sluggish and unmotivated. However, there are foods and exercises that can help keep us balanced through this restful, slow moving time of year.
During the winter months, we are driven to seek inner warmth whether it is sipping on hot tea, throwing on a warm sweater, or gravitating towards foods that energetically keep our inner flame hot. Core warming foods, along with salty and bitter flavours, dominate the food choices throughout the cold winter months. These flavours promote a sinking, centering quality and core warming foods stimulate the digestive fire which creates heat.
Refined white sugars however, can tax the immune system, so keep sweets to a minimum when nursing a cold or flu and give your body a fighting chance. That goes for refined white flour as well, so avoid cakes, cookies, pies and bread. If you need to cave in to that carb craving or satiate that sweet tooth, try items made with sprouted grains and sugar alternatives, which may be easier on the immune system. Coconut sugar, honey, stevia and agave nectar are all good sweeteners that could fill the bill.
Also, sip on warm ginger or cinnamon teas. The warmth of both spices comforts the body and the hot liquid can help loosen up congestion. Ginger has been shown to support digestion, allowing the body to better absorb some key nutrients. Cinnamon is known to help with blood sugar. Wholefood Harvest carries several excellent tea flavours, such as Echinacea, Ginseng, along with fresh and dried herbs to support immune health such as turmeric, ginger, garlic and lemon.
You can also try a pinch of cayenne pepper in some warm water with a splash of lemon juice. Cayenne is another warming spice and is rich in beta-carotene, a known immunity booster, and is also said to be supportive for relieving congestion.
Although the winter months are a time of centering and resting, it is still important to stay active enough to keep the body flexible and the mind clear. Yoga and stretching is a great way to exercise through the winter months. Yoga can help relieve tension, create core heat, and keep the joints flexible. Mountain Pose, Chair Pose, and Tree Pose are examples of poses that require stillness and strength, as well as stability and quietness. They will help warm you up, activate your core, and keep you in balance during the winter.
Exercise along with a little fine tuning in the diet allows the body to get ready for the cold months ahead, and keeps the body and mind in balance while waiting for the subtle warmth coming in the spring months.
The gorgeous Larissa Halls from Everyday Inspiration Yoga, Meditation + Life Coaching, based in Greenbank, Qld has some excellent quick tips to offer when it comes to thriving through winter.
Check her out here: