The weather can get everyone down. There are even conditions exacerbated by weather such as SAD (seasonal affective disorder), depression associated with the seasons. As winter rolls in, the days get shorter, the sun stops shining, socks are always necessary and your neck needs wrapping before heading outdoors. At least that's what you think. Winter isn't the end of the world. We can very easily get stuck in the notion that winter means less exercise, more eating, more sleeping (although I probably wouldn't deny that one!) but majority of this is just a mindset. As we get older, we tend to get stuck in our own habits (I'm the first to admit that), but your way isn't the only way. You can maintain your 'happy-go-lucky, summer-loving' self throughout the whole year, you just have to decide to. You are your own biggest obstacle.
Exercising in the cooler months is actually incredibly refreshing. Working with the crisp freshness that is an Autumn or Winter morning can be therapeutic on more levels than just the exercise. Pop on a puffer vest, make sure you wear full length tops and bottoms and get out there. A brisk walk or run gets your body temperature rising and the cold won't feel so cold anymore. You get to breath in the clean air and have a little bit of time to yourself either in the first light of the morning or the last light of the day. If you are one to claim your metabolism slows down in Winter, getting up first thing and denying the cold weather the chance of slowing you down will assist in keeping your body temperature high and your metabolism churning. If the outdoors is not your thing then your local gym or studio has your back. As the days get shorter, I suggest you get out there earlier in the day when you're motivation hasn't been tarnished by the grey and rain and time constraints aren't established yet.
It's no doubt that when the weather gets cooler, we need more sustenance to keep going. Sustenance foods are not foods that make us feel frumpy and sluggish although we tend to associate those feelings with winter as we all put on our 'winter skin'. If you're resorting to meal fillers like pasta, bread and rice and not enjoying it then look for alternatives. Sweet potato can provide a good base for your bolognese sauce, quinoa can be substituted into your next curry meal. Seek out unprocessed, unrefined foods first and prevent yourself from feeling the frump. A few of my other personal favourites include adding beans to soups and skipping the bread or providing a side of roasted vegetables to fill in the gaps.
Supporting yourself through the cooler months is integral to staying on top of things. If you get hit by the lurgy early it can really throw you off for the coming months. Getting sick one to two times per year with quick recovery is okay but when it's recurrent and never fully resolves, you need to start assessing where you are going wrong and why it keeps happening. Maybe you're not getting enough sleep? Are you eating foods that are impeding on your immune system rather than supporting it? Did you actually allow yourself to rest? Read this article and see how you can help yourself with nutrition as your guide.
This recipe for turmeric spiced vegetables was first found in Jamie Oliver's book, Comfort Food. The vegetables make up the inside of the dosa and are completely delicious. The vegetables alone make the perfect side dish as well as something you can cook up early in the week and have on hand for lunches and dinners throughout. Using some of autumn and winter's finest vegetables, the dish is rich in beta-carotene (plant-based vitamin A) and vitamin C. Two integral nutrients for your immune system. Better yet, the warming nature of mustard seed and turmeric nourishes your digestion and keeps your body's metabolism turning over.
1. Heat your oven to 200 degrees and prepare a baking tray for your vegetables
2. Toss your vegetables in a some 2 tbsp coconut oil and season well with salt and pepper. Place on the baking tray and bake for around 1 hour until the potatoes are soft and the carrots are golden.
3. Remove the vegetables from the oven and scoop out the insides of the sweet potato and potatoes. Tear up the skins to be used in the vegetable mix.
4. Heat the remaining to 2 tbsp of coconut oil in a large fry pan. Add the chillies, ginger, mustard seeds and turmeric and gently cook them until your kitchen smells fragrant and the mustard seeds start to pop and dance.
5. Place the carrots and both types of potatoes into the frypan and toss until the mixture is completely coated. Continue cooking for around 5 minutes and your potato skins are starting to get crispy.
6. Taste the mix and season as required. Remove from the heat, add the fresh coriander and spring onion, mix gently and place into a serving dish to be enjoyed.
4 tbsp melted coconut oil
2 baking potatoes, washed but not peeled
2 similar sized sweet potatoes, washed but not peeled or 1 big sweet potato cut in half
1 bunch dutch carrots, washed and trimmed
1 dried red chilli, finely diced
1 fresh red chilli, finely diced
1 cm fresh ginger, peeled and finely diced
1.5 tspn mustard seeds
1 tspn turmeric
1 bunch coriander, washed and roughly chopped
2 spring onions (stalk only), finely sliced
salt and pepper
- you can serve these vegetables with some delicious mango chutney or minted yoghurt. Check out Jamie Oliver's dosa recipe to go the whole hulk.
- these vegetables will store in the fridge for up to 5 days.
- this mix was tried on toast, sprinkled with feta and it worked amazingly well. A very sustaining breakfast indeed.
- mix some prepared quinoa through or add a can of beans to make a complete meal out of this dish