Welcome to the dreary depths of winter. Dark and cold are the themes. Bright and warm are the solutions. Here are some tips for keeping yourself out of the winter doldrums:
First, keep your body moving. Resist the urge to become a couch potato. Get outside for a walk or a hike, get sunshine into your eyeballs, and get to the gym. Get your pulse rate up with ‘interval training’, which is short-duration but high-intensity exercise. To achieve this, work really hard for just 30-90 seconds, to get your pulse rate up to 200 minus your age (so 145 bpm for me at age 55), then stop and stretch until it comes back down to about 100-110 beats per minute. Then go again. Do 3-5 cycles and you’ll be warmer for the rest of the day.
Next, keep your blood sugar stable. Now that the holidays are past, get off the sugar! Eat foods that will not put you back onto that darn blood-sugar roller coaster ride of thrills and crashes. This means avoiding sugary and starchy foods while eating more fat, protein, and fiber. The best choices for the winter include more greens and cruciferous veggies, such as kale, collards, chard, cabbage, Brussel sprouts, and cauliflower. Also eat more root veggies, such as carrots, daikon radishes, turnips, and carrots. Beans and legumes are also good bets, such as navy beans and lentils.
What is a warming food? Obviously, the food itself can hold thermal heat well, such as soups, stews, and heavier or mashed foods. But spiciness can warm us from the inside-out too. Thick spicy chili is a classic example. Below I’m going to review a recipe that qualifies as warming comfort food, but won’t burn your palate or gas up our intestines: Creamy Curried Cauliflower Soup. To follow the recipe I’ve used click here.
Curry is a combination spice commonly used in India and elsewhere. The main ingredient is Curcumin or Tumeric, which gives curry that rich orange color. Curcumin is a natural anti-inflammatory, credited with reducing joint pains and dementia risk. It’s also a mild but effective way to raise your metabolism, hence the warming aspect.
Cauliflower is a cruciferous veggie like broccoli, so it’s full of cancer-fighting chemicals. When cooked and then mashed, it can make a passable substitute for mashed potatoes, but it’s much better at keeping your blood sugar stable.
The cream in this recipe is non-dairy, provided by almond milk. I suggest avoiding dairy as possible during cold and flu season, as it makes our nasal secretions thicker, increasing the risk of secondary sinus infections. Sticking to non-dairy creaminess can keep us healthier thru the winter.
What is a comfort food? Of course, we all know the comfort foods are those rich, solid, satisfying foods that comfort us in times of stress. Think mashed potatoes, or ice cream. The challenge with most comfort foods is that they are high in sugars or simple carbs, causing us to ‘blood sugar’ terribly. This dish gets around that drawback by using the healthier cauliflower, with more fiber and truly complex carbs.
Therefore, enjoy this Creamy Curried Cauliflower Soup as your warming winter comfort food this winter, and make it thru until Spring arrives!