There is a reason for each season. When it comes to the foods that are produced in these seasons each one is designed with your seasonal health needs in mind. Take the winter months for example. During the winter season, we see foods that are high in starches and complex carbohydrates. Not to mention they tend to be nutrient-dense with lots of fiber. This is because during the winter we often have access to fewer food options and need the foods we do have to come stocked full of nutrients. These nutrient-dense foods help us stay full longer which allows us to eat less often while still feeling full all day. But we all know that during the winter during the holidays we tend to overindulge. Don’t worry, mother nature has our back there too.
Most of the foods that are readily available during the winter and spring are foods that help our bodies naturally detox. While our bodies are capable of detoxing regularly on their own, there is a limit to what they can filter out unaided. When toxins build up in the body things start to fall apart and we tend to pay the price. That is why it is imperative to invest in a seasonal natural detox. This means swapping out foods for 2-3 weeks each season full of fiber and anti-inflammatory properties. In doing so, you help naturally relieve the excess pressure on your body.
Top 5 Winter Vegetables
When it comes to winter foods there are five vegetables that take center stage for me that I often refer my clients to stock up on. While each of these foods comes with its own health benefits the overall goals are the same: anti-inflammatory properties, high in fiber, and great for detoxing after the holidays without breaking the bank.
Crazy About Kale
Kale contains fiber, antioxidants, calcium, vitamins C and K, iron, and a wide range of other nutrients that can help prevent various health problems. Antioxidants help the body remove unwanted toxins that result from natural processes and environmental pressures. These toxins, known as free radicals, are unstable molecules. If too many build up in the body, they can lead to cell damage. This may result in health problems such as inflammation and diseases. Experts believe that free radicals may play a role in the development of cancer, for example. Kale is a rich source of vitamin K, which contributes to blood clotting. This could interfere with the activity of blood thinners, such as warfarin (Coumadin).
Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable, alongside kale, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, cabbage, collard greens, rutabaga, and turnips. Broccoli is a rich source of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Antioxidants can help prevent the development of various conditions. The body produces molecules called free radicals during natural processes such as metabolism, and environmental stresses add to these. Free radicals, or reactive oxygen species, are toxic in large amounts. They can cause cell damage that can lead to cancer and other conditions. The body can eliminate many of them, but dietary antioxidants can help. Broccoli is a good source of vitamin K, but this may interfere with some people’s use of blood-thinning drugs such as warfarin (Coumadin). People who use these drugs should not suddenly increase their intake of vitamin K-rich foods such as broccoli.
Sweet potatoes are a natural and abundant source of beta-carotene and Vitamin A. Vitamin A is essential in helping the body fight off infections, and remain resistant to any further infections. Sweet potatoes contain essential fibers and magnesium that are critical in the prevention and management of diabetes. The vegetables also have a moderately low glycemic index that also aids in the regulation of blood glucose levels. Sweet potatoes are an important source of magnesium, whose deficiency has been reported to be linked with a higher risk of depression, stress, and anxiety. Thus, sweet potatoes can replenish the body’s magnesium levels and help alleviate the symptoms of depression and anxiety-related behaviors in individuals.
You Can’t Beat Beets
Beets get their jewel-like hue from betalains, a type of natural plant pigment that provides a health boost. Are high in antioxidants compounds that protect your cells from damage, and may lower the risk of heart disease, cancer, or other diseases. Betalains are also high in anti-inflammatory properties. Beets are high in fiber. Fiber can help you control blood sugar levels, maintain a healthy weight, lower cholesterol and stay regular. Beets contain nitrates, which the body converts into nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is a vasodilator that relaxes and widens blood vessels, which can lower blood pressure. Not to mention reduce sore muscles and increase endurance levels. They are a good source of folate, a B-vitamin that’s especially important during pregnancy. Also a good source of potassium, magnesium, and vitamin C.
Why You Need More Cabbage
Cabbage is a leafy vegetable of the Brassica family, which also includes broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts, and it’s one of the oldest known vegetables. Its fiber and water content can help to prevent constipation and maintain a healthy digestive tract. With a mere 33 calories per cup, cabbage is high in fiber and contains zero fat. Cabbage is frequently recommended to people who want to lose weight since it is packed with so many nutrients and its high fiber content makes it quite filling. Cabbage can also be used to help lower your cholesterol. Its fiber and nutrients bind with bile acids in the intestine and pass out in the stool, rather than being absorbed into the blood. Eating it steamed gives it more cholesterol-lowering power. Cabbage is an excellent source of the ever-so-important vitamin C, crucial for maintaining a strong immune system. The sulfur-containing compound, sulforaphane, which gives these vegetables their bitter taste, is also what specifically gives them their cancer-fighting power. Sulforaphane has been shown to inhibit the progression of cancer cells. Anthocyanins, the powerful antioxidants that give red cabbage its vibrant color, have been shown to slow the formation and even kill already-formed cancer cells.
Swiss Chard Mushroom Pizza
Gluten-Free, Vegan, Serves 4
- 1 Gluten-Free Pizza Crust of Choice (I used Cauliflower)
- 3 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 Cup Vegan Ricotta Cheese
- 4 oz Mushrooms Sliced
- 1 Garlic Clove Minced
- 2 tsp Lemon zest
- 1 bunch large Swiss chard cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1/2 tsp lemon juice
- 1 cup fresh herbs of choice (I used cilantro and parsley)
- Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Season the ricotta with salt and pepper and set aside. In a small bowl combine garlic, oil, and lemon juice. Once combined, brush over the pizza crust and bake for 5 minutes. Pull out crust and assemble as follows. Spread ricotta over crust and top with chard, herbs, mushrooms, zest, salt, and pepper in that order. For an added kick, you can marinade your mushrooms for 1-2 hours prior. Bake until everything is golden and delicious.
Buffalo Brussels Sprouts
Gluten-free, Vegan, Serves 6
- 1 Cup Coconut Milk
- 3/4 Cup Coconut Flour
- 1 tsp Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1/2 Cup Corn Starch
- 1 tsp Sea Salt
- 2 tsp Primal Kitchen Buffalo Sauce
- 16 oz Brussels Sprouts
- 3 Cups Gluten-Free Bread Crumbs
- 1 Cup Primal Kitchen Buffalo Sauce
- 1/2 Cup Vegan Butter
- 1 Tbsp Agave Syrup
- 8 Garlic cloves minced
- 1 tsp Coconut Amino
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Clean and trim the Brussels sprouts. Prepare the batter with milk and apple cider vinegar into a bowl. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, corn starch, and salt. Add 2 tsp buffalo sauce into the milk mixture and mix. Pour milk mixture into dry ingredients and combine. Place bread crumbs into a shallow dish. Dip each of the sprouts into the batter followed by the bread crumbs coating completely.
Once battered, place the sprouts onto a baking sheet treated with a non-stick option of choice and bake at 425 for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown flipping halfway through. In a pan combine melt butter and cook garlic until fragrant. Add remaining ingredients and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and toss sprouts into the sauce making sure to evenly coat sprouts. Serve with vegan ranch or vegan blue cheese.
Mushroom and Leek Carbonara
Gluten-Free, Vegan, Serves 2
- 2 Tbsp Vegan Butter
- 1 Garlic clove minced
- 3 Cups Mushrooms Sliced
- 2 Large Leeks finely sliced
- 1 Tbsp Tarragon
- 8 oz Gluten-free Pasta
- 1/2 Cup Cashew Yogurt Plain Unsweetened
- 1 Cup Vegan Parmesan
In a large pan melt the butter. Add in leeks with salt and pepper to taste cover and cook for 5 minutes at medium heat. Remove lid and add garlic, mushrooms, and tarragon. Cook for an additional 5 minutes or until mushrooms is cooked. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to directions on the box. In a bowl combine yogurt and cheese. Once pasta is done take 3 Tbsp of pasta water and slowly combine with yogurt mixture. Remove mushrooms from heat and add in the pasta and yogurt mixture. Toss the pasta making sure to coat everything in the sauce. Divide into portions and serve.
No Time Like The Present
Keeping your body free of toxins and free radicals is necessary to maintain a healthy life and a healthy mind. Add any of these 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 taken the time to 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!
Need A Hand?
A happy and healthy life is closer than you may think. We all have to deal with our health daily, and when we don’t feel our best, it shows. If you are tired of just making it through your day, you NEED to start investing in your health today! You are not alone on this journey. If you ever need any help, I am always here to do just that. Even if it is something as small as acting as a sounding board, do you have any questions or concerns I can help you with? Feel free to contact me directly at [email protected], or you can even book a one-on-one call with me. Be sure to subscribe to gain access to tons of free goodies and check back daily for more great recipes and information!