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Eating for the Seasons: Winter

Dr Susan Blum, Functional MedicineWith the dry, cold air, winter is the time to eat foods that produce mucus in the body and provide a slow sustainable energy source. It is a time when the earth provides food from the fall harvest that is naturally heavier and full of protein and healthy fats. This does not mean that carbs need to be avoided in the winter, simply that the proportions are different, with a focus on soups, grains, nuts, and yes, meats, too. Remember, not all grains are the same and I always recommend eating the less inflammatory gluten-free grains, just as I recommend eating grass-fed organic beef and free-range organic poultry whenever possible.

Vegetables continue to be important in the winter and are especially warming when eaten in soups and stews with added legumes and fat to make it even heartier. In the winter, I love to have bean soup for lunch most days. I heat it on the stove top at home, and bring it to work hot in a thermos. This is the quickest and easiest lunch and is perfect for those of you who sometimes skip or forget to eat ‘on time’ while at work.

Salads and cold-pressed, low-sugar juices are still really nourishing for you in the winter and will give you the intense levels of vitamins your body needs and might be missing because of your focus on cooked foods. Your body will really like these foods, especially after exercise when you are heated. The most important thing to remember is that, in addition to making sure there is a protein source in your salad, you should make sure to add plenty of fat, too. Don’t skimp on the dressing, and be generous with sprinkling nuts and/or seeds. This is a good time of year to add that cheese, whether dairy (if you can eat dairy) or a nut cheese like almond cheese.

If you choose to do a juice cleanse during the winter, make sure the daily program has lots of fat and protein, too. I designed the cleanse program at Organic Pharmer to be nutritionally sound in this way, and work for all the seasons. Choose the cleanse with the highest daily fat and protein. I recommend Power Play, Reboot, and Liver Love.