The last picking of fall’s garden filled the bushel baskets in Grandma’s cellar with bold colors of gold, orange, and green. That “fresh-picked” fragrance from the bushel baskets would just briefly cover the musty smell of the cellar. Our barn boasted hefty hay bales that were ready for the cattle’s winter feedings. My new school wardrobe hung in my closet, ready for the cold season ahead. I felt safe, prepared, and ready because my family had gathered in and stored up for the uncertainty of the coming months.
Winter typically isn’t the season we think would build or support our health. Sadly, many women (or their families) spend numerous days trying to “cure” a winter cold, the flu, or other seasonal ailments. But even in this harsher season, there are several wonderful natural remedies and resources – given to us by our Heavenly Father – to build, strengthen, and beautify our inner temples.
Let’s look at three areas in which we can build a strong foundation of preparedness for super health during the winter – diet, exercise, and rest.
Seasonal changes prompt us to adjust our diet. Simplicity best describes the ancient winter diet which, unfortunately, our modern tastes and lifestyles have all but forgotten. A healthy winter diet should include heat-producing, mineral-rich foods which are higher in protein and fat. These substantial foods also help to counteract the drying effects of the colder season.
Since winter is the season the body stores fats, proteins, and minerals, this is also the season to eat heavier meat. Chicken, turkey, seafood, and red meat in reasonable portions provide you with just what your body needs.
Although this should be a quieter, calmer time of the year, the calendar says otherwise. With several holidays occurring in the winter season, it is important to balance our activity and relaxation levels to prevent reaching the “burn-out” point.
Recent sports medicine studies show a connection between moderate consistent exercise and a strong immune system. Researchers believe the physiological changes in the immune system during a routine exercise program may provide long-lasting health benefits. Did you notice the researchers said moderate exercise? We don’t have to engage in lengthy, intense, “no pain, no gain” workouts to reap the rewards of improved health, stamina, and weight maintenance.
Indoor exercise (or “work-ins,” as I call them) can be relaxing while giving our muscles a workout. Yoga, Pilates, ballet, and the exercise ball are just a few of the many stretching/strengthening exercises that can improve our immune system to stay strong, toned, and well during the colder season.
Before beginning any exercise program, whether at home or in an exercise facility, please be sure that your health care provider approves. Staying well-hydrated before and after the fitness routine is just as important in this season as it is in warmer seasons.
Rest completes the third part of the inner-preparedness foundation. If we follow the wisdom of nature’s changing cycles, this part proves to be vitally important to our over-all long-term health and wellness.
My thesaurus gives several words that more clearly and completely define the word “rest:” quiet, relaxation, state of inactivity, stillness, and pause are only a few of the many descriptions. Does your daily routine allow time for quiet, relaxation, or stillness?
We must establish a firm wellness foundation in this season of winter. When we use the winter season as God designed, our body, mind, and spirit are restored and ready for the abundant life and activity that come with spring and summer.
Dear daughter of the King, my prayer for you is that God will embrace you with His nurturing warmth, quiet strength, and indescribable peace during the winter season. Stay well!
Mineral-Rich Foods for Your Winter Menu:
- Winter squash (acorn, autumn cup, banana squash, butternut, carnival, or pumpkin)
- Root vegetables (beets, yams, sweet potatoes, parsnips, onions, turnips, carrots, or rutabagas)
- Whole grains (especially amaranth and quinoa which are exceptionally high in protein)
- Beans (soak them overnight before cooking)
- Heavy fruits (avocados, bananas, oranges, grapefruit, and cooked apples)
Winter Diet Tips:
- Healthy oils (olive, walnut, sesame, and almond) also reduce winter dryness and warm the body.
- Spice up your winter diet with flavor and warmth using herbs and spices. Used sparingly, ginger root, garlic, cayenne pepper, cardamom, cumin, cinnamon, clove, mustard seed, and sea-salt add the finishing touch to that winter soup or stew!
- Herbal teas make wonderful cold-weather refreshment and tonics while providing inner warmth and nourishment.