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Winter nutrition – eat for the season

Although you might be feeling a little heavier from holiday indulgences and chasing that New Year’s resolution, winter is the worst time of the year to diet. Winter is a time when the body can easily become depleted of many nutrients, especially vitamin D. If you listen to your environment and slow down your activity level, your body won’t require as much food. The best way to take care of your body and maintain a healthy weight is to nourish it with hearty soups and stews, whole grains, root vegetables, beans and roasted nuts to help warm the body’s core. Both lamb and beef are also warming meats to be added in moderation. Miso, seaweed, garlic, ginger and onions should be enjoyed regularly.  Avoid raw foods during the winter as much as possible, as these tend to cool the body.

kale salad with roasted sweet potatoes, walnuts and pomegranate seeds.

Seasonal foods for a winter diet:

Beans: adzuki/red beans, black beans

Fruits: oranges, grapefruit, kiwi, pomegranate, apple

Nuts: almonds, walnuts, cashews, pecans

Vegetables: bok choy, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, chard, spinach, cauliflower, onion, leek, turnip, yams, squash, potatoes

Grains: Barley, buckwheat, corn, quinoa, millet, amaranth.

A few other interesting food trends that 8 Branches supports are: bee pollen (rich in antioxidants), chia seeds (chock-full of omega-3 fatty acids and fiber), coconut water (nature’s sports drink filled with electrolytes and potassium) and probiotics (healthy bacteria found in cultured foods).  Think about incorporating them in your diet.  Find out more about these foods in a great article from Real Simple and decide whether or not they may be something you want to try.

Don’t avoid fats and oils in the winter – just be sure you are using the right kind for the right purpose.  The Nourished Kitchen has some great tips on eating more traditionally, which includes the use of minimally refined fats and oils.

SAY NO to sugar. Sugar is addictive and you should try to avoid it, no matter the season.  Watch this interview with some of the leading researchers in the fields of heart disease, cancer and diabetes. They all agree that sugar can be toxic. If you need more convincing, a 2013 study from Yale University shows that consuming high amounts of sugar can lead to overeating.

Here’s a recipe we love to share, a Winter Warming Soup  A tasty recipe designed to warm and nourish the Spleen and Kidney energy. Please use the comment feature on the articles to share your favorite winter recipes!