I don’t think there is any coincidence that the jolly fellow from the North Pole resplendent in fur with a cascading white beard who brings joy to the good children on Christmas morning is a man of great size.
As the barometer heads south in winter, we tend to alter our eating habits seeking ‘comfort foods’ to warm our bellies. For many, such foods stray into the not so healthy category. Hot chips with gravy anyone?
Hand in hand with our insatiable desire for a plate full of butter chicken is a distinct lack of motivation to get outside and exercise. What, with that warm doona to hide under at 6am it’s hardly surprising.
Likewise the way we socialise in colder months can inadvertently lead to weight gain. Rather than a power walk with a friend we choose a café and a warm muffin. Instead of a summer barbeque at the beach and a spirited game of frisbee we opt for a cosy pub meal and a pint or two of beer.
These are all natural choices which unfortunately combine to undermine our health goals, meaning we’ve got one heck of a job come spring time to whip ourselves into shape for summer.
Don’t pull the doona over your head, winter is actually the perfect time to detox!
THE WINTER DETOX
Here are 5 ways to embrace the cold season in all its glory.
Winter heralds an abundance of delicious root vegetables that are the perfect base for filling soups and stews, and believe it or not, go hand in hand with a winter detox. It’s not all raw juices and cold foods people, so get cooking!
If you’re after some winter menu inspiration, here are some of the delicious winter foods in season and therefore cheap and cheerful at your local green grocer:
Avocado, Beetroot, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celeriac, Celery, Chicory, Endive, Escarole, Fennel, Grapefruit, Horseradish, Jerusalem Artichoke, Kale, Kiwi, Kumquats, Leeks, Lemons, Mandarin Oranges, Onions, Oranges, Parsnips, Pears, Persimmons, Potatoes, Radicchio, Shallots, Sweet Potatoes, Tangerines, Turnips, Pumpkin.
Accompany these foods with an array of warming spices and seasonings including garlic, ginger and peppercorns and turn up the heat with some spicy curries to put a rose in those cheeks and a pep in your step.
When detoxing in winter remember to keep drinking water. Sometimes you may not feel thirsty due to the cold weather, but stay hydrated. Water is one of the best ways to speed up digestion and if you suffer from cold weather constipation then H2O is your best friend.
Don’t forget to get your daily dose of vitamin D. The days are at their shortest in winter. Researchers at Aberdeen University found that obese people had 10% less vitamin D than people of average weight. The study also found that excess body fat absorbed vitamin D so the body couldn’t use it. Scientists now believe that there is a direct correlation between obesity and low levels of vitamin D. You can’t argue with science, so get out there and get your dose of sunshine or take a Vitamin D supplement.
When you’re eating well you feel great. This is a powerful motivator to get out of bed and exercising in the cold weather. Some activities, such as running, can be easier in winter as you are less likely to overheat and become dehydrated.
If you’re a snow bunny then I’m preaching to the converted, but hitting the slopes is one of the best ways to exercise, and one of the most fun.
Even swimmers can continue their routines with heated pool temperatures staying the same all year round. Really, there are no excuses!
Winter is the cold season that’s for sure. But it’s also the best time to try new foods, exercise in different ways and focus on your health.
While Santa may have overindulged in the eggnog stakes, it doesn’t mean you should. Not many people can carry off a red and white ensemble over a jolly largesse quite like he can!