What to Eat When it's 20 Below

It's so cold out, we can island hop!

It's so cold out, we can island hop!

Our bodies naturally gravitate towards warmer, heartier foods in the winter.  No wonder – it’s cold out and we’ve gotta stay warm!  Most of the principles of what makes a warm food “warming” and a cold food “cooling” make sense.  Even the thought of a raw salad in the heart of wintertime doesn’t make us feel all that toasty.  In Chinese Medicine, various flavours and dynamics of food dictate where a food lies on the warming-cooling spectrum.  Here are a few theories to help differentiate where a food lies:

·      Plants that take longer to grow are more warming than those that grow quickly.  Examples of foods that apply to this rule are pumpkin, carrots, rutabaga and parsnips – the foods that we associate as being “winter” foods.

·      Raw food is more cooling than cooked food.  This is a no-brainer.  A nice warm bowl of soup or a steaming how stew sound way more appetizing in the winter months than a cold, raw salad.

·      Foods with blue, green or purple colours are usually more cooling than foods that are red, orange or yellow.  Think foods like raspberries, cherries and red and yellow bell peppers.

If you’re trying to plan a warming meal for yourself, choose foods that are more likely to adhere to these rules.  You can also choose to add various warming spices to your meals, such a cinnamon, black pepper, basil and ginger.

Hope this helps you cook up ideas to stay warm these next few months!


Adapted from:

Kuoch, D. J. (2011). Acupuncture Desk Reference, 2nd Ed. San Francisco, CA: Acumedwest Inc.

Pitchford, P. (2002). Healing with Whole Foods, 3rd Ed. Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books.