When the temperatures drop it can be exciting at first, will we/won’t we get snow? But a few days in after heavy snow, freezing temperatures, burst pipes, scares of no hot water and suddenly we really start to feel the cold set in. I don’t know about you but when it’s cold I get really hungry! It is important to eat foods that slowly release energy, as this creates heat which keeps us warm!
Fortunately there are lots of warming food ingredients in your kitchen cupboards, ones that you might not even release will keep you warm and others that you might already be using!
Pepper– black pepper or white will keep you warm, also it has lots of antioxidants that keep colds at bay. I have a bit of a running joke as I slipped with white pepper once and well nearly ruined a huge vat of soup! To rectify too much white pepper I used nutmeg and fresh parsley. I generally on the whole like to use black pepper for the added bonus that when you use it on your food it helps to absorb more nutrients from food, turmeric is a classic as if it is not paired with a fat like coconut oil it will be paired with black pepper instead.
Turmeric – whether you have this ground or fresh it will warm you from the inside, that golden glow is a key for not only the amazing benefits turmeric offers but also for glowing from within. Adding turmeric to milk as a warm drink, coconut milk (full fat) in a room temperature smoothie or making a juice or soup with a pinch of black pepper will give you the added benefits of curcumin its potent antioxidant.
Ginger- used to spark digestive juices and speed metabolism up. If you’re feeling brave the best way to get the benefits out of ginger is to use fresh ginger and to eat it raw! I think this depends on how desperate you are to feel warm! On the other hand grating fresh ginger into warm water is good, or how about a fiery salad dressing, fresh ginger, crushed garlic, olive oil and ACV? Still not you’re bag? Fresh ginger in soups is lovely take a classic like carrot & coriander and add some ginger into the mix. Delicious.
Cinnamon- another spice to speed your metabolism up, use this to sweeten porridge along with slightly less sugar for it is sweet enough. I recently saw a baked porridge and thought what a brilliant idea, soaking the oats in milk (dairy free optional) overnight in an oven baked dish, add in any berries or fruit like apple (another food that keeps you warm due to its insoluble fibre) then bake in the oven for 15-20minutes, until slightly golden on top. Remove & enjoy! Alternatively not got time to bake? Then make this the night before and warm a portion up in a pan the next morning for a decedent porridge. If you cannot manage oats then use rice or black rice instead with a little cardamom this is really delicious too).
Nutmeg- Keeping doses low of nutmeg, it has amazing benefits, from calming the mind for help with anxiety to soothing digestive discomforts too. Adding it to milk for a drink before bed will help you keep warm and sleep through the night.
Cayenne Pepper- another metabolism booster due to containing the natural chemical capsaicin. Sometimes though I find cayenne pepper a little strong for my tastebuds I rarely use 1 tsp. so when I use it I like to start with a little even 1/4 tsp. in 1 litre can help to create a little warmth but it does not overpower the taste.
Hot chocolate– ohhh yes! I pretty much don’t need reminding now when I feel a little shivery I pop the kettle on and make myself one of these. Using my mix of cacao powder I sometimes add in some ginger, nutmeg & cardamom. Yummy! As chocolate contains a small amount of caffeine this also helps with keeping you warm without causing your body to become to reliant on caffeine.
Complex grains– like oats, brown rice, black (purple) rice, quinoa, buckwheat, millet etc. These all provide a steady slow release of energy keeping the metabolism working and keeping you warm.
Sweet potato– again they glow much like turmeric, sweet potatoes contain the beneficial nutrient beta-carotene highly beneficial for keeping immune systems strong and assisting the body right down to cellular level. Pairs really well with ginger, cayenne pepper, nutmeg, turmeric and rosemary.
Black Beans– if you don’t happen to have these in stock most other beans will be just as good, ones that have a higher protein to carbohydrate ratio like pinto beans or black-eyed beans. How about a black bean soup? A hearty black bean soup
In Chinese Medicine there warming foods and cooling foods. Foods that raise the yang are known as warming foods and these also help to improve circulation and dispel the cold.
To a name a few these are: onions, leeks, spring onions, chestnuts, pine nuts, pistachios, pumpkin, coconut milk, cherry, walnut, cumin, clove, fennel seed, jasmine tea, rosemary, ginger, cinnamon, chilli, black pepper, basil. etc.
Hopefully all this information will help with any ideas you might have for soups, curries, porridges or teas to keep you warm. If you are in a rush remember adding fresh ginger to salad dressings can help give a warm hit without needing to speed too long preparing lunch. Juicing, if you can bare it! With lots of fresh ginger & lemon will keep you snug on the inside too.