Seasonally Appropriate Eating: How to Nourish and Warm the Body While Reducing Cravings

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As we move into the holiday season you may be concerned about how to avoid all the sweet temptations that will be showing up at holiday gatherings.

One great way to beat the cravings is to appropriately nourish yourself with the types of foods that will provide balance during this time of year. If you eat the foods your body is craving (but the healthiest possible versions of them) you will notice that cravings for holiday cakes, cookies and sweets will diminish.

Don’t plan to eat only carrots, celery and salads right now, to somehow make up for the treats you might be enjoying. Instead, nourish your body with what it needs, and notice how much easier it is to control yourself at that office party!

Below are a few ideas of the types of foods that will provide balance to your body during these colder months, and help to eliminate or reduce cravings:

Protein: The winter months are the most appropriate time to eat red meat if that is something you enjoy or feel your body needs. Also, chicken, turkey and seafood, including shellfish and lobster, are appropriate. Stock up now on these protein-rich and heavier, oilier foods. Your body needs to store the fats, protein and minerals abundant in these foods for the spring months that lie ahead, when you’ll be shifting into a much lighter diet. Beans are actually not the best source of protein during this time of year, as they absorb a lot of water in the body. Winter is a drying time of year so you need to replace fats, oils, and water in the body right now, not take them from the body. If you do cook beans, make sure to soak them overnight, and cook with more water than you would use normally. Nuts provide a great source of healthy protein during the cold winter months.

Fruits and Vegetables: Root vegetables such as beets, carrots, onions and sweet potatoes are great during the winter months. Winter squash is another wonderfully nourishing winter vegetable. Most of the vegetables you eat this time of year should be cooked, and use organic butter or ghee (clarified butter) to season your veggies, as these oils will help you to absorb the minerals and vitamins in the vegetables. All of these veggies are naturally very sweet and taste even sweeter when cooked, and thus will do wonders to satisfy your sweet cravings. Citrus is a great source of extra Vitamin C to help build immunity this time of year. Also, apples and pears, especially as fall turns into winter, are some of the best fruits to be eating to both nourish and cleanse the body.

Fats/Oils: All oils will help to nourish the body during this dryer time of year. Focus especially on the omega 3 oils, which will nourish both internally and externally and help to keep your skin from drying out and cracking while providing such benefits as cardiovascular protection. Use flax seed oil, olive oil, free-range organic butter and ghee. Try a fish oil supplement for some additional omega 3’s as another way to increase this wonderful nutrient in the body during these winter months.

Dairy: Use only in small amounts at this time of the year as dairy can cause congestion and exacerbate the common illnesses present during the winter months.

Sweeteners: Use these in moderation, and focus on natural sweeteners such as raw honey, maple syrup, and minimally-processed cane sugars. Try using some of the seasonally appropriate fruits like apples and pears (instead of sugar) for extra sweetness in baked dishes.

Grains: Some grains, such as amaranth and quinoa, are very high in protein, so these types of grains are most appropriate this time of year. Grains, when eaten in their whole form, provide good amounts of beneficial fats, oils, fiber, vitamins and minerals. While grains are high in carbohydrates, whole grains are complex carbohydrates, and thus do more to nourish the body, and less to negatively impact the blood-sugar response and set off cravings. A simple winter-appropriate way I love starting my day this time of year is a hot whole-grain cereal with a variety of different added ingredients such as stewed peaches, sliced fresh apples, dried blueberries, slivered almonds or chopped walnuts.

I hope these suggestions keep you warm, nourished and free of cravings during these winter months!

For additional reading on seasonally appropriate eating I’d recommend John Douillard’s, “The Three Season Diet”, from which some of the above dietary recommendations have been sourced.

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December 2022