Are you prepared for Winter? This time of the year is often characterised by being cold and having colds. However the key to good health in all seasons, is to eat right for the season type!
Our body is always looking for balance, and just as we tend to eat cooling foods in summer, we gravitate towards the warming foods in winter.
Research has shown that seasonal foods tend to have qualities that offer the best defence against our seasonal ills. Local foods have also had less distance to travel and have grown abundant in the climate that you live in. Winter examples of these include butternut squash, pumpkin, beetroot and carrots; vegetables that are rich in colour containing immune-supporting bioflavonoids, beta carotene, and Vitamin C that improve the body's ability to fight infection.
Citrus Fruits are also high in Vit C and contribute their levels of folate to play a important role in the creation of serotonin, our brain's happy chemical!
A great Winter green is Kale, a strengthening food, rich in calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron and Vit C. Mmm...healthful and delicious!
Onions increase circulation and have been used throughout the world for almost every respiratory ailment (including bronchitis and whooping cough), due to their mucus-expelling properties. As a rich source of fructi-oligosaccharides, onions also promote healthy colon flora growth to allow better digestion and optimum assimilation of the nutrients in our food.
Warming our body from the inside out can be effectively achieved by adding spices to our cooking. Popular warming spices include ginger, cinnamon, cumin, fennel,cayenne pepper, black pepper and nutmeg.
Ginger causes the body to warm, improving circulation, and if sick ginger helps the body to perspire and move through cold symptoms. A ginger inhalation bath is brilliant for clearing congestion, soothing the nasal passages and warming the body before bed. To do this boil a teaspoonful of ginger powder with a litre of water, place your face above the water and cover over with a towel. Don't get too loose with the ginger powder as it is concentrated stuff!
Garlic has potent anti-viral/bacterial properties, is loaded with Vit C and can be used in any savoury dish. A clever way to help combat a cold is to crush 4-5 cloves of garlic, mix with some almond oil, rub the mixture on your feet and cover over with a pair of socks. Do this before you go to bed.
Chillies are a fruit that can contain up to three times the amount of Vitamin C than citrus fruits. They warm the body, increase circulation and stimulate the metabolism. A delicious way to add chilli to your diet is to add a pinch of ground chilli to a cup of hot chocolate. Drink like the Mayans!
Tea is rich in antioxidants which are essential for a good immune system.
Green tea contains more antioxidants per part than fruits and vegetables!
Rosehip tea offers increased energy and motivation, boosts your immunity and promotes general wellbeing. It is also one of the very most concentrated natural sources of Vit C.
And considering this is the season of clothes-layering, a chemical-free laundry powder is best for your skin. Throughout July all of our B.E.E products are 10% off!!
Recipes for Winter Ills, Chills and Thrills!
Onion Cough Syrup
2 sliced onions
1 C water
1/2 C honey
Put onions and water into a glass pan. Bake at 250 degrees C in the oven for 30 minutes. Pour the juice from the pan, add honey to the juice and mix well.
Take by the tablespoon up to five tablespoons a day for cold symptoms. Shelf life: a few days.
Garlic Tonic Soup
Though it contains an entire head of garlic, this simple garlic soup is soothing, mellow and mild. Enjoy it regularly to support healthy immune function, or try it at the first signs of illness, to harness garlic's antiviral and antimicrobial properties. Makes 1-2 servings.
2 C vegetable broth
1 head of garlic, cloves separated+smashed
Pepper and Sea salt to taste
Place the broth and garlic cloves in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, partially covered, until garlic softens, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat. Using a blender, puree the soup. Season to taste with pepper and sea salt.
Camilla's Orange and Carrot Soup
6 large carrots, chopped into cm cubes
4 C vege stock
1 onion, chopped finely
1 C fresh orange juice
Cook carrots in a saucepan on a low heat with the butter. Add the stock. When heated add the onion and the OJ. Simmer until onion and carrots are really soft, then puree in a blending machine. Add the salt, pepper, nutmeg and thyme to taste.
Chocolate Beetroot Cake
(A personal favourite)
175g cooked beetroot, roughly chopped
200g white flour
100g cocoa powder
1 T baking powder
250g cane sugar
3 free range eggs
2 t vanilla extract
200ml sunflower oil
100g dark chocolate
Heat oven to 190C. Tip the beetroot into a food processor and blitz until chopped. Add a pinch of salt and the rest of the ingredients, except the oil and chocolate. When completely mixed (you may need to scrape the sides down once or twice), add the oil in a steady stream.When all the oil has been added, stir in the chocolate, then tip the mix into a lined 900g loaf tin. Cook for 1 hr until an inserted skewer comes out practically clean. Leave the loaf to cool on a rack.
Chai (Indian-style Spiced Tea)
2-3 T black tea
1 T fennel or anise seed
6 green cardamom pods
1 cinnamon stick
¼ T ginger powder
1/4 t black pepper corns
2 bay leaves
7 C water
2 C milk (cow's/soy/rice)
Bring the water and spices to the boil, add the tea leaves/bags, according to your strength of choice. Add the milk, simmer for a few minutes and enjoy!