I love Ayurveda and how it honors your body and different times of year. During the winter months it is important to focus on warming up your body and doing what you can to fight off illness and high stress. These wonderful tips are courtesy of Food for Change.
1. Drink 6 to 10 cups of warming liquids such as hot water and herbal teas to prevent dehydration.
2. Eat freshly prepared warm food to enhance circulation and increase warmth in your body.
3. Keep warm by wearing warm, natural fiber clothes.
4. Increase your fiber intake to keep bowels clean.
5. Add these strengthening warming vegetables to your meals: avocados, beets, brussels sprouts, carrots, pumpkins, winter squash, sweet potatoes, cabbage, onions and mung beans.
6. Get enough sleep. We need 7-8 hours of sleep per night. When we are not getting enough sleep, our bodies become vulnerable to illness. Sleep is fuel!
7. Eat bitter greens like radicchio, arugula, endive, and cabbage for balancing in this season.
8. Avoid tomatoes, cucumbers and leafy lettuce (these are cooling summer foods).
9. Give yourself a daily sesame oil massage to moisten the skin in this dry season and to calm the nervous system. It is rich in fatty acids to help repair dry skin making it soft and smooth.
10. Every day go for a 20 to 60 minute walk out in the fresh air. Even when it’s cold, this helps connect you with the earth and air.
11. Drink warming herbal teas with spices like ginger, cinnamon and cardamom tea.
12. Avoid refined sugar which weakens the immune system.
13. Use healthy sweeteners (in limited quantities) like Manuka Honey which will strengthen the immune system, Molasses full of iron and other minerals and coconut sugar with its low glycemic index.
14. Read books, listen to music, meditate or whatever is restful for you. Good rest is vital to balance.
15. Eat nuts and seeds (in limited quantities) like Almonds, Cashews, Brazil nuts, Walnuts, Hazelnuts, Flax seeds and Sesame seeds. These will provide necessary vitamins and natural oils and provide required nutrients to keep the body warm.
16. Use spices like Fennel, Cumin, Coriander, Ginger, Anise, Cinnamon, Black pepper, Turmeric, Mustard seeds and Cardamom to help the digestion and help eliminate gas.
17. Avoid cold foods and iced drinks; that means no ice cream too.
18. Get some direct sunlight as much as possible. There is less sun in winter but your body craves it.
19. Cut out mucous forming foods like dairy, eggs and wheat especially if you are prone to colds and flues.
20. Eat gluten free grains like quinoa, barley, buckwheat, and millet; they are full of nutrients and not clogging to a sensitive winter digestive system.
21. Eliminate refined oils and include healthy fats that are cold pressed (Almond oil, Coconut oil, Olive oil, Sesame oil, and Ghee).
22. Eat fruits rich in vitamin C like oranges, lemons and tangerines which will help flush out toxins from the body.
23. Have a warm bath or foot bath with Epsom salts daily (not too hot or too long as this can deplete energy).