Why You Should Look to Your Fridge During the Winter

During the winter months it’s not only colder, it’s also darker. As a result, we tend to stay inside more often. We get less sunshine (and vitamin d), we’re in closer proximity to others who are sick (sharing bad pathogens), and we are likely to get less exercise (which helps our circulation flush out toxins). Sure, there are indoor options for exercising but these come with a tendency to push ourselves for an hour then hibernate until next time we decide to push for another hour. However, the truth is that if we don’t move as often, get enough sunshine, sleep enough or eat enough nutrients, we become better hosts for bacteria, viruses and other pathogens. Winter is their playground and your getting sick susceptibility season. Luckily, winter is also filled with wonderful holiday foods, which are delicious but can also both prevent winter ailments. It’s a time for ‘feeling’ like certain foods over others, like a warming casserole over a crisp salad for dinner, as much as it’s a time for rampant food cravings. Eating for the winter season is as much about eating or a need to be warmer as it is for our body to meet its nutritional needs. If you’re looking for a quick home remedy, don’t head to the medicine cabinet this winter — look no further than your pantry and fridge.

 

Use Your Fridge as a Medicine Cabinet

Use Healing Bone Broth as Medicine

Have you ever noticed that when you’re sick you reach for the chicken soup? More than 70% of your immune system is housed in your gut so it’s no wonder your body loves this stuff especially when you’re under the weather. Its pretty much liquid protein rebuilding blocks, especially needed when your body is trying to fight off the flu. It’s also jam packed full of collagen for building new bone structures, which is your body’s mineral storehouse, and minerals are your body’s spark plugs. It’s when we’re sick that we need that little boost of energy! Bone broth is a must during the winter. Buy or make your bone broth, but make sure it’s on the list during the winter. 

 

Eating the Rainbow Has Healing Properties

Fridge as a medicine cabinet winter

Turns out your mom’s advice was right. Thinking about what you’ve learned about bone broth and it’s collagen making bone structures for mineral storing, this can be considered your mineral variety insurance policy in one. Adding color to your plate helps ensure you are getting a variety of nutrients. If you’re thinking this is harder in the winter you’re wrong. Winter veggies include carrots, loads of colorful squash, beets, rainbow collards, purple carrots, fennel, onions, garlic and more! Use these this rainbow variety as your “go to” foods when it’s chilly out. 

 

Slow Cooking Preserves the Nutrients

Not only does slow cooking save you time and fill your home with a great aroma, but it also preserves your food from high heat. Nutrients are pretty fragile. Slow cooking helps preserve them while overheating can destroy them. Think of the perfect steak, lightly colored but still tender and tasty. Now consider the opposite. The overcooked burnt and inedible piece that’s not only harder to chew and gets caught in between your teeth but in your body’s digestion system too. Get your slow cooking delivered or make your own.

Eating Raw Can Improve Your Health

With all your winter comfort foods, chances are you’re probably not eating as much raw food. No ones ever curled up with a nice cold salad on a chilly night. These foods are cold to serve but as most winter foods involve a lot of cooking these raw/cold foods should still be used to bring balance to our plates. This winter try sauerkraut, kimchi or beets kvass.

Natural Antibiotics to Help Your Immune System During the Winter Months

Your first line of defense against any illness is your own immune system. Certain foods can super boost your body’s ability to fight bugs. Try these foods before you get sick as immune system boosters! 

  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Horseradish Root
  • Onion
  • Habanero Peppers
  • Oregano oil
  • Turmeric
  • Echinacea
  • Raw Honey
  • Colloidal silver 

Herbs and Spices 

Winter warmth also comes in the form of herbs and spices. Choose from a variety to add to your cooking to help flavor the final product, savory and sweet. 

Salt

Salt can work as a potent antibacterial and an ideal way to keep colds at bay or even lessen allergies. It’s easy to cleanse your sinuses with salt water and a quick fix to avoid sinus infection and colds. Placing a pinch of good quality sea salt on your tongue can even help unblock a blocked nose.

Coconut Oil

As the temperature begins to drop, you have probably noticed the negative effects on your skin as it becomes dry, flaky and itchy. Your skin is essentially cells on the outside of your body, so chances are if you’re itchy and dry on the outside the same is true about the inside. Coconut oil is rich in medium-chain fatty acids, which allows it to retain its moisture content, and while moisture loss in summer in the form of sweating is far more obvious, even just breathing in cold air and will have an impact on our hydration. Surprisingly, this means winter can be just as much if not more dehydrating than the summer months. 

In addition, with all the colds, flus and sniffles that go around once the weather gets cooler you’ll be glad to have the extra protection offered by the Lauric Acid content of coconut oil. The body converts Lauric Acid to Monolaurin, which has powerful anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-protozoal and anti-fungal properties giving it a reputation for attacking such viruses as herpes, influenza, hepatitis C, even HIV. One of the most abundant natural sources of Lauric Acid, coconut oil contains up to 50% of this immune booster. Yes, I am going on and on about coconut oil, but it really is that good. 

Cinnamon

When the weather turns cold, sometimes your sweet tooth can become overactive! There are compelling studies out there on cinnamon and its ability to control blood sugar. But cinnamon isn’t just for blood sugar control, apparently it works wonders on your brain and can improve your mood.

Cinnamon is easy to add to your meals! 

  • Add a pinch to your morning coffee or oats. 
  • Add 1/4 teaspoon to your steak rub or make a spicy chicken dish with cinnamon, freshly ground black pepper and a pinch of cayenne. 
  • Bake an apple with 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon or make a creamy butternut squash soup and garnish is with cinnamon. 
  • Add it to your winter root veggies to smooth out blood sugar spikes. 
  • It’s an effective antiviral and antibiotic. Mix 1 tablespoon with 1 teaspoon of honey and stir to make a spicy and very effective tea that helps relieve cough and congestion and even lower fever.

Turmeric

According to traditional Western and Eastern medicine, turmeric is a panacea of healing. To sooth your insides from inflammation, prepare this turmeric coconut drink. Since the active ingredient is more active in a fat source, use coconut milk. 

Healing Turmeric Coconut Drink

Serves 1

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup canned coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground
  • turmericDirections: Place the water, coconut milk, honey, and turmeric in a small saucepan and whisk well. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook 1 minute until warm. Serve immediately.

Oregano

Some sore throats seem to linger, always check in with your doctor or healthcare provider. But in the meantime, try a drop of oregano oil to sanitize and soothe your throat! Oregano oil can be potent so chase it with a glass of room temperature water and keep it away from your teeth enamel.  Herbs like oregano and rosemary are known for their potent antibacterial properties and are even used in the meat industry to preserve ground meats. Use chopped fresh herbs in your meals throughout the year for added flavor and healthy benefits. 

Lastly, headaches can be more rampant in winter and that’s not a sign you have an Advil deficiency! In fact, chances are that you’re probably thirsty. Don’t forget to drink enough water this winter. You should try to drink half your body weight in ounces and more if you drink coffee or tea. It’s probably the highest nutrient deficiency in our winter medicine cabinet. 

Keep your fridge well stocked this winter and be kind to yourselves. With a bit of luck you can keep the refrigerator door open and the medicine cabinet closed all winter long.