Eating with the seasons: Turn up the heat in winter

by | {Body}, Food | 0 comments

As humans, we are tied to the cycles of nature. We derive benefit and regulate our lives based on the ocean, the sun, the moon – and of course, the seasons.

One of the major benefits of being in tune with the change of weather, is recognizing and consuming seasonal foods. Allah, in His Mercy and Wisdom, created specific foods that flourish in cold temperatures and that can be used by us to stay warm and nourished during the long winter.


Macrobiotics – a popular Asian food theory, as well as many other holistic and cultural eating practices all extol the many benefits of eating fresh, seasonal foods. In each season, there are specific needs that our body has, and eating for the season can help to improve energy, regulate body temperature, improve digestion, reduce illness and improve cognitive ability.


So, what should you be eating in the winter?

If you look at the foods that are plentiful in the fall and winter, you’ll see things like root vegetables, gourd vegetables, and abundance of dried spices and beans. In the winter, our internal survival mechanism is programmed to keep our core temperature stable, store energy in case of limited resources (ancient primal instinct), and maintain the energy required for winter work and tasks – which historically, can often be harder than other times of the year. The fall harvest provides us with abundant foods to meet these needs, Alhamdulillah.


If you’ve been trying to figure out how to eat to stay warm and nourished this winter, I’ve got you covered. Below are a few of my winter favorites (by category that are really beneficial this time of year. Enjoy!


Warming Spices: Normally spices are an afterthought, and definitely are rarely found at the top of a food list. However, in winter they are the thing I think about most. Using warming spices, you can turn a wide variety of dishes into savory delights that not only turn up your internal temperature, but have the added benefit of cleansing your blood, reducing inflammation, and increasing bowel function.


Below are My favorite Warming Spices:

–>  Ginger
–>  Cinnamon
–>  Cayenne Pepper
–> Turmeric
–> Cardamom
–> Cloves (excellent in chai tea!)
–> Black Pepper
–> Garlic
–> Curry


Soups: Who doesn’t love soup? Winter is the perfect time for this warming comfort food, and with so many varieties, you could truly never tire of eating it. Bulking up your winter soups with veggies, grass –fed meat, and even legumes provides extra nutrients, fiber and satisfaction.


Soup is also a great meal for summer, as it helps keep you moving when digestion tends to be more sluggish (as opposed to summer), and can also help you to avoid the winter excess weight that often appears in winter.

–> Butternut squash or pumpkin soup
–> Grass-fed beef or lamb stew
–> Lentil Stew (add red onions, cauliflour, carrots, etc)
–> Black bean soup with smoked turkey and homemade salsa
–> Mushroom, potatoe and garlic soup
–> Classic vegetable soup (your choice of vegetables)


Root Vegetables: With the majority of their body buried under the earth soaking up nutrients and minerals, root vegetables are a powerhouse of energy and nutrition that can be harnessed in winter. Many contain large amounts of beta carotene and anti-oxidants, which help to reduce the signs of aging and work to preserve your body through the harsh winter.

There is a huge variety of root vegetables (something for every taste), which can be sauteed, roasted, or added to soups and stews. Learning to use new root veggies can provide an amazing variety to your meals.


Root Veggies Include:
–> Sweet potatoes
–> Carrots
–> Turnips
–> Parsnips
–> Radish
–> Yuca
–> Beet
–> Rutabaga


Are any of your favorites listed above? What new warming food can you try out this winter? I love experimenting in the kitchen and winter provides the perfect opportunity to indulge in great {and healthy} comfort foods, without the guilt. Expand your horizons and try one of the above in a new dish this winter, inshaAllah.


Bon Apetite’!



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