We sat down with our nutritionist, Courtney Dodge to discuss ingredients that are going to help us stay healthy all winter. Make sure to check out her site at www.greenelephanthealth.com for recipes with these great items!
There are some must haves for the winter pantry:
▪ Coconut Oil
▪ Apple Cider Vinegar w/ “The Mother”
▪ Local Honey
▪ Black Strap Molasses
▪ Herbal teas
▪ Ground Dried Turmeric
▪ Pink Himalayan Salt
Coconut oil and Ghee, which is grass fed clarified butter, are great fats to cook with in the wintertime. They are super insulating and have lots of healthy benefits and anti-bacterial and anti-viral capabilities. They help to keep the gut lubricated and helps heals and holes in our intestinal walls. This is great for a time of year that is very dry with a diet that is very acidic. Coconut oil and ghee also help combat yeast and bad bacteria in the gut by feeding the good bacteria. Coconut is a great source of energy because it has medium chain fatty acids, which is ready to use. Coconut oil is also a great beauty product to moisturize and remove make up. It is also perfectly fine to add a ½ to a whole tsp to pets food for a healthy shiny coat plus all the benefits listed above.
Apple Cider Vinegar is by far one of my favorite products! Make sure you get the kind with “the mother” or with a live culture. Add it to teas, make salad dressings with it, make facial toners, clean grime, the possibilities are endless with and apple cider vinegar. It is also said to increase satiety with meals by lowering blood glucose and insulin levels.
Local honey helps out with allergies and is considered the nectar of the Gods in Ayurvedic wisdom and has long since been considered a cure all in the Vedic culture. Honey has benefits for your heart, lungs, and stomach.
Black strap molasses is another great sweetener for the winter because it has a vitamins and minerals from the can plant. It also combats anxiety, PMS, and because it is the low in sugar it actually helps stabilize blood sugar. This recommended for people with diabetes over raw sugar.
Stock up on your herbal teas for the winter to keep warm and support immunity. Here are some good teas for the Fall and Winter:
▪ Orange peel
Turmeric is great at purifying the blood and decreasing inflammation making this root very powerful at keeping away the nasty sniffles during the flu and cold season. It also is responsible fore healthy cell replication, increased brain function, dopamine levels, and bile flow. Increased bile flow is important in digesting fats as well as eliminating toxins. Adding black pepper can increase the absorption of turmeric by 2000%! Add with other spices and cook with turmeric to increase it’s absorbency .
Since we are creating such a great environment in our guts for good bacteria to grow, adding some more wouldn’t hurt. This is a great time of year to replenish our good bacteria with multi-strain bacteria. There are many kinds out there. More variety is better. If you can find colonizing bacteria cultures try them! Colonizing cultures of bacteria actually stick to the gut and replicate and create bacterial diversity after you stop taking them. Strains like Bifidobacterium lactis HN019 have been found to colonize in the gut. The only one I have come across is on LifeSpa.com the Flora Restore Probiotics. I have an affiliate program with them but they just merge it with there life Spa Coach program so I am waiting to here back on where to find my link for that. But a lot of me resources come from Dr. John Douillard and Life Spa. I have read his books and he is also a speaker at my Nutrition School, The Institute for Integrative Nutrition
Don’t forget about fiber! Fiber is needed for probiotics to colonize properly. Eat more veggies or consider a fiber supplement.
Good Salt is important to have on hand. For the winter salt from the earth will have better grounding properties for this cold windy season. Pink Himalayan salt has trace mineral deposits making the salt crystals pink! Salt creates heat in the body, restores electrolytes, and calms the nervous system.
Organic Produce list:
▪ Bag of Apples, Onions, Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, and carrots
▪ Dried Beans
▪ Walnuts, Pecans, Pumpkin Seeds
▪ Peanut butter
▪ Brussel sprouts
▪ Dried Fruit
▪ Citrus of all kinds
You can count on buying a lot of these items this fall and early winter to stay healthy.
Apples are great in the early fall and into the winter. They do keep well and also cool off and replenish our insides from the long, hot, dry summer. Apples will keep you healthy during their harvest season for the winter. I like red fuji apples others might enjoy sour granny smiths. Try to buy local organic apples if possible.
Your root veggies like onions, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and carrots will keep your grounded and satisfied all winter long. Sweet potato and carrots will bring sweeter flavors in with your savory dishes in the winter. These veggies also soak up a lot of oils and salt which is good in the colder weather as explained above.
Beets and pomegranates are great for decongesting the lymph, which purifies the blood and decreases inflammation. That deep red color also packs a lot of antioxidant power too!
Nuts, nutbutters, and seeds are a great way to ward off hunger when you can’t make it till lunch on those busy days. Your digestion is naturally going to be higher in the winter. Nature made you this way so you could digest food better to store a little extra fat for the winter to keep yourself healthy all season. Nuts have fat and protein, which keeps us satisfied until we can sit down and have a nice big meal at lunch. We also want to focus more on fats and proteins during the winter. Why do you see so many squirrels on the run right now stashing their acorns? Winter is a dry season this will help keep our digestive tract hydrated. The fats found in nuts are also healthy for you and carry anti-inflammatory benefits. Pick nuts and seeds High in omega 3’s like walnuts and pumpkin seeds.
Oatmeal, Brussel Sprouts, Bananas, and Cabbage are all great for the digestive system because they have a lot of soluble fiber, which is great for lubricating the gut. Fiber is important for the binding of bile to our stool, which eliminates toxins from our bodies and lower cholesterol. It also keeps the muscles of our digestive tract toned and in proper shape. They all also have specific health benefits for the winter. Oatmeal is high in soluble fiber so it heals the gut and slows the digestion of foods down. Thus it helps stabilize blood sugar in a season where it starts to spike and so does our hunger! Brussel Sprouts are super high in Vitamin A and K. They also lower cholesterol and improve circulation. For a fruit bananas, have a considerably low glycemic index. The fiber in the banana helps slow the absorption of sugar keeping huger away longer. They also have a lot of potassium as you might know already. This increases circulation. Cabbage has got way cool in my book. Certain varieties of cabbage have a lot of sinigrin, which is a strong anti-cancer agent.
Dried fruit is a great way to store excess fruits from the summer and early fall through out the winter when there is no fruit to harvest. Be careful the glycemic index on dried fruit is higher with out all the water! But they are a great addition to oatmeal in small quantities. Pair with nuts to get more fiber and a longer lasting fill from the fats in the nuts. Having a good fruit and nut mix on hand is great!
Citrus is great for the winter. It is packed with vitamin C and helps keep the lymph moving. Both help boost immunity! Grab oranges, satsumas, grapefruits, pomegranates, limes, and lemons. Go for a glass of lemon water in the morning to rehydrate, detox, boost immunity, and digestion.
Many of these foods have a long shelf life. Buy organic, non GMO ingredients when possible to decrease the amount of toxins coming into your body. Go for sustainable fair trade products as well!
▪ Fennel Seeds
▪ Caraway Seeds
All of these spices are warming and increase digestibility of food as well as decrease inflammation. Stock up on these spices one at a time. Building your spice cabinet is expensive. So wait for high quality spices and organic sources to go on sale. Stores like TJ Maxx and Home Goods are a great place to find high quality spices for cheap. I would start with Cumin, Clove, and Cinnamon. Fennel seeds bring a hint of licorice flavor, highly enhances digestibility, and sweetens dish. Curry has a lot of different spices and turmeric in the blend making it a great all around spice for soups and stews.