As the weather changes to cool, winter temperatures, we are all more likely to get run down and find ourselves sick with colds, flus, and viruses. It is one of the unpleasant things about winter. I, for one, want to be healthy so I can carry on with outdoor activities, work and enjoying life. Being sick is a bit boring so here are a few tips to help support your immune system and keep you strong this season:
- wash hands when you come in from being outside and get your kids to do the same.
- frequently change dishcloths and keep food prep areas clean
- exercise even if you don’t feel like it. Find something you love or try something new like a Zumba, yoga or pilates class. Just keep moving at least 3 times per week.
- get lots of sleep by going to bed a bit earlier than usual, read in bed till you feel sleepy. Try to avoid using your computer or watching TV right before bed.
- eat a variety of fresh food and don’t miss breakfast. Try warming foods like oatmeal, boiled egg, miso soup, or kitchari (recipe follows).
- reduce stress by listening to music, breathing deeply, meditate, get a massage, stretch, drink tea instead of coffee
- drink lots of water especially if you drink coffee or alcohol.
- Most of all, listen to your body. Winter is a natural time to hibernate so relax on your time off and rejuvenate with exercise and good food.
I have found these tips to help stay strong all winter. But if you do get sick, take some time off work, go to bed and take care of yourself. This is the quickest way to get back on your feet again.
Kitchari is a warming Indian comfort food that incorporates well cooked Basmati rice, split mung beans (dal), warming spices, and veggies. The dish is easily digestible and will leave you feeling balanced and light on your toes. If you are feeling run down or that you may be getting sick give this recipe a try!
|1/2 cup||Basmati Rice, rinsed|
|1 cup||Split Yellow Mung Beans (Dal), rinsed and picked over|
|6 cups (approx.)||Water|
|1/2 to 1 inch||Ginger Root, chopped or grated|
|a bit of||Mineral Salt (1/4 tsp. or so)|
|2 tsp.||Ghee (or Coconut Oil)|
|1/2 tsp.||Coriander Powder|
|1/2 tsp.||Cumin Powder|
|1/2 tsp.||Whole Cumin Seeds (can also use powder)|
|1/2 tsp.||Mustard Seeds|
|1/2 tsp.||Turmeric Powder|
|1 pinch||Asafoetida/Hing (optional)|
|Handful||Fresh Cilantro Leaves|
|1 and 1/2 cups||Assorted Vegetables (such as zucchini,
asparagus, sweet potato, celery, carrot, broccol
- In a large pot, melt ghee or coconut oil and add spices. Saute until the seeds pop. Then add the rice, mung beans, ginger root, and water.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer until everything is soft, about 20mins.
- Add veggies to the pot and cook for an additional 10mins.
- Spoon into bowls and top with mineral salt and fresh cilantro. Enjoy!
Recipe adapted from the Ayurvedic Institute.