When the winter rolls in, we all want to reach for foods that help fuel our bodies now more than ever. In contrast, winter tends to bring about less activity than summer. The drop in temperatures actually increases our metabolic needs. Unfortunately, one of the obvious downsides to the winter season is that the variety of foods we are used to during the warmer months is nowhere to be found. We are in unless you live in areas that force plants to grow regardless of the season. For the record, just like in all aspects of life, there is a reason for every season, and it is important to eat seasonally.
The Reason For The Season
Did you know that each season brings with it a different selection of fruits and vegetables? Each of these foods actually helps us reap each season’s benefits. For example, during the winter months foods are higher in complex carbs and fiber. This is due to the fact that food was harder to find during winter months and, as such, had to keep you feeling full longer. When we choose to eat seasonally, it allows our bodies to go through similar changes that our environment experiences during each season. These foods are actually high concentrations of the vitamins and minerals we need to get through each season with an added advantage. For example, winter foods are high in vitamin C and zinc to keep your immune system up. In comparison, each of the winter months has its own star players. The following are my favorite top five fruits available in January.
Oranges are popular due to their natural sweetness, the many different types available, and their diverse uses. For example, a person can consume them in juices and marmalades, eat them whole, or use zested peel to add a tangy flavor to cakes and desserts. This popular citrus fruit is particularly known for its vitamin C content. However, oranges contain many other plant compounds and antioxidants that may reduce inflammation and work against disease. As an excellent source of the antioxidant vitamin C, oranges may help combat the formation of free radicals that cause cancer. Although an adequate vitamin C intake is necessary and very beneficial, the amount a person would need for the desired therapeutic effect on cancer is more than they could realistically consume.
Oranges contain no sodium, which helps keep a person below their daily limit. On the other hand, a cup of orange juice can boost daily potassium intake by 14%. Maintaining a low sodium intake is essential to lowering blood pressure. However, increasing potassium intake may be just as important for reducing a person’s risk of high blood pressure as it can help support the relaxation and opening of blood vessels.
Dates are a good source of energy, fiber, sugar, and various vitamins and minerals. Essential minerals such as calcium, iron, phosphorus, sodium, potassium, magnesium, sulfur, and zinc can be found in them. Apart from the above-mentioned nutrients, they may also contain important vitamins such as thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin B6, folate, vitamin A, and vitamin K. The insoluble fiber found in dates promotes healthy digestion by bulking up the stool and may also aid in relieving the symptoms of constipation.
Dates can be a good source of many nutrients, including iron. A deficiency of iron can contribute to anemia, a condition characterized by fatigue, dizziness, brittle nails, and shortness of breath. In 2006, an animal study revealed the effects of date palm pollen and its oil on sexual functioning, reporting that the high levels of estradiol and flavonoid components in dates are helping increase sperm count and motility. Therefore, if you are looking for an easy way to boost your libido and sexual function, you may consider consuming organic dates, thanks to their aphrodisiac-like properties.
The health benefits of lemon might be attributed to its vitamin C content. It can help improve skin health, promote weight loss, and may act as a breath freshener. Lemons may also help with dental problems, throat infections, and high blood pressure. These citrus fruits can also be used in skin and hair care. Lemon may also help to strengthen your immune system. Lemon juice might help you manage your blood pressure with long-term use. Drinking warm water with lemon and honey in the morning is said to aid your weight loss efforts. While that might or might not work for you, a research study on mice confirmed that polyphenols could suppress body weight gain and fat accumulation.
Lemon can be used in cleaning teeth. While most remedies will advocate using lemon and baking soda, try and avoid it as it may lead to dental erosion. The safest way is to choose a toothpaste containing this fruit as one of the ingredients. If you are keen to use lemon or its juice for oral care, it is best to consult with a medical expert before trying out anything new. Lemon juice, being a natural antiseptic medicine, may also be able to cure problems related to the skin. The juice contains vitamin C; therefore, it can be applied to reduce the pain of sunburns and bee stings. It is also good for acne and eczema. Lemon juice may assist in relieving respiratory problems and breathing problems, such as its ability to soothe a person suffering from asthma.
These help keep free radicals from bouncing around your body, which has been linked to cell damage and diseases such as cancer. But while most fruits have some sort of antioxidants such as vitamin C, pomegranates have the benefit of especially potent ones called polyphenols that also give the fruits their color. These polyphenols are the same compounds that give green tea its healthy edge. According to Medical News Today, they also contain almost half of the recommended intake of vitamin C and have three times more antioxidants than tea or red wine.
Pomegranates can aid your digestive tract in more ways than one, which is especially helpful during the holiday season when the meals get a little bigger. Juice from pomegranates has been found to reduce inflammation in the gut that’s related to Crohn’s disease and colitis, allowing food to pass more freely. Meanwhile, according to Healthline, pomegranates also contain a pretty healthy dose of dietary fiber – about 7 grams per cup of arils (seed coverings). Not only can the fruit juice help stop the hardening of the arteries (known in the medical world as atherosclerosis), but it may also be able to reverse the damage and clear clogged passages, according to WebMD.
Apples are not only great at getting you up, and on your way, they are perfect for aiding in weight loss and management. Apples are high in fiber which aids in digestion and helps keep you feeling full longer. The apple fiber also helps lower the risk of heart disease and aids in maintaining healthy blood sugar levels. Apples are also low in calories and high in water content which helps the body naturally detox and, thus, removes excess weight that can be stored toxins. When our bodies come into contact with something they either do not recognize or consider an enemy, they encase it in fat as a form of protection. During detox, our bodies force out these fat-encased toxins, resulting in a lower number on the scale.
Apples are great for your brain activity. They contain high levels of boron, stimulating the brain’s electrical activity and increasing mental alertness. Apples also help to produce Dopamine in the body, which helps to improve: memory, mood (feelings of joy or bliss), motivation, and focus. Apples may not be rich in calcium, but their high levels of boron make them a great food to prevent osteoporosis and strengthen bones. A 2006 study published in the journal Experimental Biology and Medicine found that quercetin (one of the antioxidants found abundantly in apples) was one of two compounds that helped reduce cellular death caused by oxidation and inflammation of neurons. Once again, this highlights what makes apples so desirable in daily nutrition.
Cranberry Orange Margaritas
Gluten-Free, Vegan, Serves 6
- 1 cup Stevia Monk Fruit
- 2 cups fresh cranberries
- 1 cup xylitol sugar
- 2 cups cranberry juice
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 2-4 Tbsp Stevia Monk Fruit
- 3/4 cup fresh lime juice
- 16 ounces coconut bia water
*Adult version 12 ounces silver tequila and 4 ounces orange liquor
Bring 1/2 cup of water and 1/2 cup of sugar to a boil. Remove from heat and let cool for 1-2 minutes. Stir cranberries into the simple syrup and let sit for 1-2 hours or overnight. Strain berries and toss in the rest of the sugar. Allow cranberries to dry for at least 1 hour.
Combine all the ingredients for the margaritas into a pitcher and stir to combine. Place orange slices into the pitcher and serve over ice. Garnish with berries and a lime wedge (you can also do a sugar rim if you like).
Fig and Apricot Cake
Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Serves 18-20
- 1 1/4 cup packed dried cherries
- 2 1/2 cup packed dried figs trimmed
- 1 1/4 cup packed dried apricots
- 5 cups packed mixed dried fruit
- 1 1/4 cup packed pitted dates
- 1 orange zested and juiced
- 1/2 cup golden rum
- 2 3/4 cup vegan butter softened
- 3 Tbsp pomegranate molasses
- 2 3/4 cup coconut sugar
- 4 large eggs beaten
- 1 cup pistachio kernels
- 2 cups coconut flour
- 1 1/2 cup almond flour
- 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
- 3/4 cup ground almonds
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 3/4 tsp ground cloves
Dice all the fruit, and try to keep them all around the same size. Place them into a large bowl pouring the rum over the top. Stir the fruit so that the liquid coats as much of the fruit as possible. Cover the bowl with clingfilm and leave to sit for 2-3 hours or overnight. Stir occasionally until the fruit is plump and the liquid is absorbed.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Pretreat a 9×5 inch cake pan with the non-stick option of choice and line it with parchment paper. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the molasses, and gradually add the eggs, beating well after each egg is added. Stir the pistachios into the soaked fruit. In another bowl, combine the flour, spices, and ground almonds. Then add the fruit mix alternatively with the flour mixture into the creamed butter and sugar mixture. Stir until well combined prior to adding more ingredients.
Spoon into the prepared pan; the batter will come just above the top of the pan (don’t work. The cake is dense and will not rise over). As a safety precaution, place a cooking sheet underneath the pan to prevent any possible spillover. Wrap a folded piece of tin foil around the pan, and tie it securely with a string. Bake for 4 -5 hours, until dark golden and firm to the touch. If the cake is brown, quickly remove the foil after 3 hours. Let the cake cool in the pan until the pan is cold to the touch. Remove the cake and wrap it in a double layer of fresh baking paper, then a double layer of foil. Store in an airtight container in a cool dark place. Spoon 1 Tbsp rum over the top of the cake and 1 Tbsp on the bottom every 3-4 weeks.
Lemon Ginger Tart
Gluten-Free, Vegan, Serves 8-10
- 3 cups Gluten-Free Ginger Snap Cookies Crushed
- 1/2 cup vegan butter melted
- 4 cups Vegan Vanilla Coconut Milk Ice Cream
- 8 Tbsp Lemon Curd
- 3 Tbsp Lemon Zest
- 2 inches Fresh Ginger minced
- 3 cups Coconut Whipped Cream
Into a food processor, blend the cookies until they are a fine crumble. Transfer the cookies to a bowl and add the melted butter. Stir until it starts to combine; it should be relatively crumbly. Press the crust into a pie dish. Let set up in the freezer for 15 minutes. In the meantime, put the ice cream into a large bowl (it helps if you let it sit out for 5-10 minutes). Stir in 5 Tbsp of the curd, 2 Tbsp of the zest, and ginger. Once you have folded in the flavors, transfer the filling into the crust. Smooth out the surface and swirl in the remaining curd on the top. Don’t over-mix it if you want to see lemon veins throughout the tart, and top it with the remaining zest. Place into the freezer for 4 hours or overnight. Top with whipped cream and serve chilled. I like to add crushed honeycomb on top for added crunch.
Apple Fritter Bread
Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Serves 8
- 1/3 cup date sugar
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 large apples cubed
- 1/2 cup vegan butter softened
- 2/3 cup coconut sugar
- 2 eggs room temperature
- 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla
- 1/2 cup almond flour
- 1 cup coconut flour
- 1/2 cup coconut milk full fat
- 1 3/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 cup powdered coconut sugar
- 1-3 Tbsp coconut cream
Preheat the oven to 350 Degrees F. Pretreat a 9×5-inch loaf pan with the non-stick option of choice. Mix the cinnamon and sugar together and toss the apples (I like to toss my apples in a little lemon juice prior. It helps them retain their color and the sugar to stick) and set aside. In a bowl, whisk together the flour and baking powder. Cream the coconut sugar and butter together in another bowl until smooth and creamy. Add the eggs to the creamed mixture one at a time. Once the eggs are incorporated, mix in the vanilla. Slowly add in the flour mixture until just combined. Don’t over-mix; it will make the bread hard to chew! Add the milk to the batter and stir just to combine.
Pour half of the batter into the pan. Add half of the apple mixture and top with the remaining batter. Make sure the batter covers the apples and top with the remaining apple mixture. Take a knife and swirl it through the loaf a few times. Bake for about 1 hour or until a toothpick comes out clean. While waiting, prepare the glaze. Start with 1 Tbsp of the cream and add to thin out the glaze to the desired thickness. Let the loaf cool in the pan for 15 minutes before removing it to cool completely on a wire rack. Drizzle the glaze over the top and enjoy!
Get Started Today
Keeping your body free of toxins and free radicals is necessary to maintain a healthy life and a healthy mind. You can add tons of foods to your regular diet to help your body with its critical detoxifying processes. If you are looking for a safe and all-natural way to detox your body at home, be sure to check out my Balancing Abundance Program. Because detoxing is so important and realistically, everyone should be doing it on at least a seasonal basis, I have put together a program to help you do just that. Here’s the thing, I know working with me one-on-one can seem difficult to get into (due to limited space), and I wanted to be able to give everyone an additional solution that has no limits. You deserve to be happy, healthy, and successful at everything you do, so here are some recipes to help set you up for success!
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