When the winter rolls in we all want to reach for foods that help fuel our bodies now more than ever. While winter months tend to bring about less activity than say that of our summer months. The drop in temperatures actually increases our metabolic needs. Unfortunately, one of the obvious downsides to the winter seasons is that the variety of foods we are used to during the warmer months are nowhere to be found. Unless you live in areas that force plants to grow regardless of the season we are in. 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 to reap the benefits of each season. 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. While each of the winter months has its own star players. The following are my favorite top five fruits available in January.
Pears are also relatively low in calories and have no added sugar. Boasting 6 grams of fiber, pears have more fiber than a 1-cup serving of kale! From helping you maintain a healthy weight to reducing your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, eating enough fiber is integral to a well-balanced diet. Not to mention, we’re very thankful for the digestive benefits a high-fiber diet provides (fiber makes your poop softer and bulkier, making it easier to go), and we love that we can get over 20 percent of our daily recommended value from a pear. Even though pears have some natural sugar, their high fiber content ensures your blood sugar won’t go soaring after eating one (which makes them a perfect on-the-go snack for people with diabetes) Plus, their low-glycemic-index means you won’t be hungry minutes after snacking on one.
Apples are not only great at getting you up and on your way they are perfect to aid in weight loss and management. They are high in fiber which aids in digestion and helps keep you feeling full longer. The fiber in apples also helps lower the risk for 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 detoxing our bodies force out these fat-encased toxins which result in a lower number on the scale.
Apples are great for your brain activity. They contain high levels of boron, which stimulates electrical activity of the brain and increases 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. While apples may not be rich in calcium, 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 to reduce cellular death that is caused by oxidation and inflammation of neurons. Once again, highlights what makes apples so desirable in daily nutrition.
All About Apples
Apple contains numerous enzymes that nourish the skin and help to keep it hydrated. It’s also great at firming the skin and reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. The skin of an apple is packed full of anti-aging antioxidants, making apples a must for any beauty routine. Some studies show that plant chemicals and the fiber in an apple peel protect against blood vessel and heart damage. They also can help lower your cholesterol, and they might protect your cells’ DNA from something called oxidative damage, which is one of the things that can lead to cancer. Research shows that antioxidants in apples can slow the growth of cancer cells. And they can protect the cells in your pancreas, which can lower your chances of type 2 diabetes.
Persimmons are rich in betulinic acid which has anti-tumor compounds. This acid has the power to cause tumor cell apoptosis. Essentially the tumor cells die before they have a chance to develop. If you have a tumor already, the betlulinic acid helps prevent the tumor from growing larger or metastasizing. Because persimmons are so rich in antioxidants, they have the power to neutralize disease-causing free radicals. Persimmons are rich in nutrients like potassium that has been shown to reduce blood pressure. Once the blood pressure is reduced, there is significantly less strain on the cardiovascular system. High blood pressure is associated with an increased risk for heart disease. Known to help regulate blood sugar levels, persimmons are a portion of food that people who have diabetes should consider adding to their diet. Persimmons are rich in fiber, so they can leave you feeling fuller for a longer period.
Oranges are popular due to their natural sweetness, the many different types available, and the diversity of 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 a range of 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.
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. They also contain almost half of the daily recommended intake of vitamin C, and have three times more antioxidants than tea or red wine, according to Medical News Today.
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, pomegranates also contain a pretty healthy dose of dietary fiber – about 7-grams per cup of arils (seed coverings) according to Healthline. Not only can the fruit juice help stop the hardening of the arteries (known in the medical world as atherosclerosis), but also it may even be able to reverse the damage and clear clogged passages, according to WebMD.
Pear And Endive Salad
Gluten-Free, Vegan, Serves 6
- 2 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1 Tbsp White Wine Vinegar
- 1/2 tsp Dijon Mustard
- 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 1/4 tsp Stevia Monk Fruit Sugar
- 1 Small Shallot minced
- 1/8 tsp Sea Salt
- Fresh ground black pepper to taste
- 2 Tbsp Vegan butter
- 1 Cup Walnuts chopped
- 1/2 tsp Stevia Monk Fruit Sugar
- 2 large Belgian Endive
- 3 medium Pears
- 1/2 cup Vegan Blue Cheese
- 2 Tbsp chopped tarragon
- Salt and pepper to taste
In a small bowl combine all ingredients for the dressing and mix until completely combined. Next, in a small saucepan melt butter over medium-high heat. Add in the walnuts and sugar, stirring until golden brown. Once done transfer to a small bowl to cool. To prepare salad cut endives into thin half-rings. Cube pears (great with apples too) and assemble salad as follows endives, pears, nuts, blue cheese, tarragon, and dressing. Give the salad a light toss and serve.
Kung Pao Cauliflower
Gluten-Free, Vegan, Serves 6
- 2 Medium heads Cauliflower cut into florets
- 1 Tbsp Arrowroot powder
- 2 Tbsp Dry Red Wine
- 1/3 Cup Coconut Amino
- 2 Tbsp Agave Syrup
- 1 Tbsp Hoisin Sauce
- 2 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
- 1/2-2 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
- 4 Tbsp Avocado Oil
- 2 Red Bell peppers thinly sliced
- 1-2 red Fresno peppers, seeded thinly sliced
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 inch Ginger minced
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 1/2 Cup Roasted Cashews
- 4 green onions thinly sliced
In a bowl toss cauliflower, 1 Tbsp arrowroot, 1 Tbsp red wine, 1 Tbsp coconut amino. To make the sauce combine 1/2 cup water, 1/3 cup coconut amino, 1 Tbsp red wine, syrup, hoisin, balsamic, pepper flakes, and 1 Tbsp arrowroot. Heat 2 Tbsp of oil over medium heat. Once the oil begins to heat up add another 1-2 Tbsp oil, the cauliflower, and toss. Add in bell peppers, Fresno peppers, garlic, and ginger cooking for 2-3 minutes. Pour sauce in and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook until the sauce thickens and coats the cauliflower. Stir in the sesame oil, nuts, and green onions cooking for another 2 minutes. Serve over rice and top with green onions and sesame seeds.
Butternut Squash Pizza
Gluten-Free, Vegan, Serves 4
- 1 Gluten-Free Pizza Crust
- 1/3 Cup Olive oil
- 4 Cups Butternut Squash cubbed
- 1 Tbsp Agave Syrup
- 1/4 tsp Cinnamon
- 1 tsp Chili powder
- 1/2 tsp Cumin
- 1 Cup Apple Cider
- Large Chipotle chile minced
- Red onion minced
- 1 Tbsp Vegan butter
- Small Apple thinly sliced
- 6 oz Vegan Sharp Cheddar Cheese shredded
- 2-4 oz Vegan Blue Cheese crumbled
- 1 Large bunch Fresh Sage
- Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. In a small bowl whisk together 2 Tbsp oil, 1/2 tsp chili powder, cinnamon, syrup, salt, and pepper. Spread veggies out in a single layer over one-two baking sheets. Drizzle oil mixture over veggies and toss. Roast until tender about 20-25 minutes stirring halfway. Remove and set aside. While veggies roast sautes onions in a skillet with 1 Tbsp oil and butter. Once the onions soften slowly add in the cider stirring frequently until the cider has evaporated. Combine in a small bowl chile peppers, oil, chili powder, cumin, salt, and pepper. Onto pizza crust spread pepper oil mixture evenly over top. Add onions and half of the butternut squash. Add cheddar then apple slices, remaining butternut, and blue cheese. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until melty and gooey. Remove from the oven and top with sliced fresh sage and pumpkin seeds.
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!