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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

What's in YOUR (winter) rainbow?

It's snowing yet again as I write this and the past several days have been the kind of frigid that makes the hairs in your nose freeze the minute you take a breath.   This is also the kind of weather that makes me want to stay inside, curled up on the couch with a good book, or hunkered over a stove, stirring up something warm and wonderful.  Because we're mammals, there are biological reasons so many of us can pack on extra pounds this time of year, or in general become sluggish or sleepy.  It can be easy as the temperatures drop to retreat into our nests of sweaters and down coats and reach for the chips or the chocolate.

But winter - as well as our modern lifestyles - can also demand intense - if infrequent - levels of physical fitness.  Snowy sidewalks need shoveling, ice makes keeping one's balance a matter of survival. Slowing down all together, allowing too many extra pounds to creep on, or hiding under the covers until spring is neither healthy nor feasible - for most of us.

Winter is a time to retreat, to go within, to take time to nurture and nourish yourself.  Spend time to consider what it is you choose to nurture, spend time considering what it is you need.  Good food, fresh water and exercise are all things your body needs no matter what the season or time of year. 
The Angels urge all of us to consider how we might nurture our winter needs in the most loving way possible for ourselves.  Someone with a strong urge to hibernate might create a cocoon of flannel or fleece.  Those who find themselves drawn to comfort foods might explore how to create those foods themselves, using the healthiest ingredients. 

The Angels urge us to pay attention to our "winter" rainbows.  They say that we may confuse cravings for brown, sweet or fat  foods for  cravings for red, orange and yellow foods - foods that we may find less readily available or more expensive during the winter.  They urge us to spend some time thinking about what we're really craving, and then to embrace our need for sweetness or cushioning or grounding in ALL its forms - and not limit our sensory experiences of these sensations to taste.  They also urge us to consider that our bodyminds thrive not just on food and water - they also thrive on air. 

Air, or oxygen, is a critical element for our optimum functioning.  Aerobic exercise, even gentle walking, helps bathe our cells in oxygen.  Joining a gym or a yoga studio is one solution, but a program done at home - even for ten or fifteen minutes a day - can make a difference in how well we navigate treacherous winter walkways or how sore we are after shoveling. 

Gingerbread, split pea soup and chicken pot pie are some of my favorite cold-weather comfort foods.   Please share, if you would like...what are some of yours?


Kathy said...

I seem to want the winter squashes and sweet potatoes. And potatoes and carrots and onions. I don't have as much ice and snow, but I love soups and chili and stew this time of year.

Walk in the Woods said...

I find orange to be a remarkably abundant winter food in my region - and often honor it for its meshing of red and yellow, which are not quite as abundant, yet still very present. Blue is my winter challenge.

My winter rainbow … hmm …

~ Red - cranberries, Kidney beans, red cabbage, occasional hot hibiscus tea, red apples, cinnamon
~ Orange - Kabocha (and so many other winter squashes), carrots, sweet potatoes
~ Yellow - Garbonzo beans, garlic, onions, golden delicious apples, dried apples, golden raisins
~ Green - Granny Smith apples, cabbage, dried greens and herbs too, green teas, nettles infusion
~ blue - blue cheese, gorgonzola cheese, dried bluberries
~ Purple - Black beans, raisins, red onions, cured olives

Annie Kelleher said...

thanks for sharing, kathy and rose!! also, rose...i used your poultry seasoning last night on the turkey breast...made the house smell wonderful and the turkey taste delicious!! thank you again!!