I sit here as the rain is lashing outside, I am rugged up and have a pair of sky socks on(!), the heating is cranking and I am eating a bowl of quinoa and chia porridge, I feel cosy. Intuitively in the colder seasons we gravitate to warming practices and foods, and as our cold months are short in Sydney, I feel that we can actually celebrate the fact we can stay in a bit more, go to ground and eat more warming foods such as soups, slow cooks, porridges and the likes. However, I do find that in clinic when reviewing people’s diet diaries they still contain a lot of cold food such as smoothies, raw summer salads and fruits. So, I have got together with Alison and Hayley to provide you with some winter warming inspiration – with our top tips and favourite recipes.
By Karen Latter naturopath, herbalist, nutritionist
By Alison Maunder, naturopath, herbalist, nutritionist
Winter has been a little late arriving this year. Despite this, with the sun lower in the sky, our vitamin D levels can fall by up to a massive 30% in winter. When our vitamin D levels drop, so can our general health and well-being. Vitamin D plays a crucial role in the immune system protecting us from infections and ensuring resilience against autoimmune diseases and some cancers.
It seems that as soon as the weather cools, the cold and flu season hits. Already this winter has seen an influx of colds, sore throats, ear infections, sinus infections and coughs. While researchers are yet to understand why we are more prone to ‘colds’ when the weather is cooler, we cannot deny winter brings with it more infections. Kids will average six to eight colds a year and adults between two and three. While it is normal for kids to get a few colds a year, these should only last a couple of days at a time with complete recovery within a week. A snotty nose or cough lingering for weeks at time can mean your child’s immune system needs some support.
I love the onset of cooler weather, cold, crisp, clear mornings are a welcome respite from the long Aussie summer. But as temperatures plummet and we dig out the slippers, blankets and woolly jumpers, we also need to brace ourselves for cold and flu season. There’s a lot we can do to help protect ourselves from the viral onslaught.
The donning of my scarf and warm jacket and sight of swimmers with wetsuits is to me a heralding in of the winter months and with them, an awareness that cold and flu season is upon us. Some of my favourite remedies to ward off such ills come in the form of hot brews of herbal infusions. These medicinal herbal teas can not only provide much relief for many cold and flu symptoms but some herbs are actually powerful immune system boosters, helping to destroy the dreaded lurgy even faster.
With the temperature dropping, the cold and flu season has well and truly set in. I have had many poor patients turning up in the last few weeks already suffering with the dreaded common cold. And while a cold or two a year is very normal, please remember that a healthy immune system means you should not be suffering for more than a few days. Cold symptoms lingering for weeks on end is not normal! However, this doesn’t have to be part of your winter.
One of the pleasures of winter is enjoying warming food and on the top of my list is homemade soup – it is easy to make, relatively quick and can double as a hearty dinner and leftovers make a good lunch. All cultures have some type of soup within their cuisine – the variations are numerous and the possibility for creation limitless. Macrobiotic cooking sees soups as strengthening the body’s fluids as well as balancing for meat-centered diets. This is because the water of the soup helps to dilute and predigest proteins and fats in meat.