Sunday, December 20, 2009

Winter dull-drum?

With winter moving briskly in, I am starting to feel the need to hibernate and stay cozy. This time of year it is hard for me to avoid the "bad" foods that seem to give me the instant satisfaction that I need to pick myself up after trudging through the snow. My aunt Vickie sent me a very good article from the Maharishi Ayurveda website about the good ways to treat our selves, so that instead of dreading winter, we can look at it as a time to gather and treat ourselves to the things that are truly good for us.

Why not...

  • Go to bed earlier. It is natural for your body to need more sleep at this time of the year.
  • Stretch more and longer
  • Eat more wholesome foods (i.e. whole foods - not processed, veggies, fruit, whole grain, rolled oats, organics, potatoes)
  • Look for natural sugars and spices that are very good for your body (cane sugar, )
  • Read more books (my goal this christmas break is three)
  • Learn more about your hobbies.... knitting or sewing anyone??
  • Plan out next years garden!- its something to look forward to and you can purchase the seed packs ahead of time and store them in a dry shaded spot.
  • Play more cards and board games with friends and family
  • Watch some movies... old, new, classics, TV series, documentary, etc...

Does anyone have any other favorites or goals for winter hibernation??

Immunity-boosting Foods and Lifestyle Tips for Winter

In general, immunity-boosting foods include those that are fresh, organic, easy to digest, pure and wholesome. These include fresh, organic milk and yogurt, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and ghee (clarified butter).

Foods that are hard to digest should be avoided if you want to increase your immunity. Commercially processed foods, as well as canned, frozen, and packaged foods are old and difficult to digest, so they weaken immunity. Leftovers, foods grown with chemicals, and foods laced with preservatives tax the digestive system and clog the channels of circulation, creating a sluggish, compromised immune system.

Foods that nourish and balance the body in the cold, dry, winter season are the sweet, sour and salty tastes. It's best to eat less of the astringent, bitter, and pungent tastes in winter, although all six tastes should be included in your diet. Warm, home-cooked, unctuous foods are ideal, as long as they are not deep-fried and are cooked with easy-to-digest oils such as ghee or olive oil. Avoid cold or ice-cold foods, as cold foods and drinks douse the digestive fire and decreases immunity.

Lifestyle also impacts immunity. Staying up late, working at night, eating at irregular times, exposing the body to stress and fatigue, and sleeping during the day can all affect the digestion and body rhythms--and thus compromise the immune system. That's why it's important to follow the ayurvedic daily routine, to keep the digestive system and other bodily rhythms working smoothly, and thus keeping the immunity high.

In winter, when the days are shorter and the nights are longer, it's natural for the body to crave more rest. Try going to bed a little earlier, and you will wake up with more vitality and freshness. Winter is a more inward season, when nature is at rest, so you can take advantage of this natural tendency by giving the mind and body extra nourishment in winter.

Doing a daily self-massage (abhyanga) will also help enhance immunity. Self-massage stimulates all of the organs of the body, flushes out impurities, and builds resistance to stress and disease.

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