The temps are dipping lower, joints are getting tighter, and people are getting achier. We’ve been talking a lot lately about how to keep your body warm as the temperatures make the drastic change. I’ve had a ton of people complaining of painful thumbs, aching backs, and stiff joints. The common theme they all walk out of the office with is some good home self care.
We’ve talked soups and stews along with herbal teas; to warm our inside organs. Yes, the organs feel the weather change too! The older eastern medicine theory is that if you keep your kidneys warmer, you will conserve your own energy, be healthier, and have a more freely moving spine. I’ve had some add ‘kidney wraps’ into their regimen, when they can’t get the chill out of their body. (Take a dark/preferably black organic cotton sheet or towel, or in my case I have a large scarf type shawl, and wrap snuggly around your upper midsection to cover the kidneys and keep you cozy-great to even sleep in or daytime wear). Wearing more layers like silk would also be another option to keeping your core temperature warmer. A sauna in the morning or evening would also be a fantastic addition to the cold weather regimen. Or my personal favorite, a steaming hot bath with lots of epsom salt and essential oils to end the day. Follow that up with some cozy wool socks and a good book and tuck me in for the night!
The nutritional aspect I get into more this season with patients is how to keep their digestive juices flowing. As the weather cools we move from fresh raw foods, and will need to be eating some warmer and sometimes heavier foods. To keep the food digesting well in times of cool and damp weather, we need to heat the stomach up. I love the Master Tonic (recipe below) to have on hand to work its magic. If the tonic isn’t up your alley, even eating candied or raw ginger is a great addition to your day. In a pinch, I’ve just put chunks of fresh ginger in my blender, add a little water and a splash of honey to make a paste, and put in a jar in the fridge to scoop out a tablespoon once in a while. All time favorite of mine! (in case you were wondering what I’d like for Christmas instead of cookies! ☺ )
If the Tonic and spices aren’t enough to keep your food breaking down in a timely manner, additional digestive bitters or digestive enzymes are very beneficial to add to at least your lunch and supper meals. Stomach acid and enzyme production tends to be the highest in the morning so it is best to put your proteins and larger meals towards the earlier part of the day. I tend to suggest leaving soups and light meals for the end of the day when digestion is generally weaker. And if you are over the age of 50, these tips are vital to keep your digestion at its strongest, as it generally weakens as we age. Remember, it’s not necessarily when you eat your first meal of the day, it’s whatyou eat: Protein and nuts/ seeds! Set yourself up to succeed each day with a balanced break-fast and a splash of Master Tonic of maybe some Fire Cider if you prefer.
Master Tonic Recipe
1 part fresh chopped garlic
1 part fresh chopped onion
1 part fresh grated ginger
1 part fresh grated horseradish
1 part fresh chopped cayenne pepper (or any other hot pepper)
Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
Dosage: 1-2 ounces, 2 or more times per day
Swish in your mouth and swallow- don’t dilute with water
Safe even for kids and pregnant women
1. Fill a mason jar 3/4 way full with equal parts by volume of the above chopped and grated herbs.** (Caution with chopping the peppers and touching your eyes!! DON’T!)
2. Fill the jar to the top with raw Apple Cider Vinegar
3. Close the jar tightly and shake
4. Shake at least once per day for 2 weeks
5. Filter the tonic mixture through a clean piece of cheesecloth, store in glass bottle and label
6. Store in the fridge
7. Consume according to directions above, taking more when illness approaches/ is happening
**NOTE: Fresh herbs are the best and organic is even better. In a pinch, you could used dried herbs (i.e. Mountain Rose Herb company, Frontier, etc)
And just a little reminder to to keep up on your probiotics and vitamin supplements to keep your immune system strong.
Wishing you all good health,