Ever notice that everyone looks pale in the winter?
Cravings for red colored foods are your body's attempt to put some color back in your cheeks. These foods are also an important way to detox from too much celebrating. Red and purple color in food is rare and indicates an abundance of anticancer and antioxidant flavonoids. These phytonutrients increase the activity of the liver's detox enzymes, prevent tumor growth, soothe inflammation and scavenge free radicals.
The December tastes to favor are sweet, salty, pungent and a hint of mild bitterness.
Sweet and salty tastes support you in keeping juicy while the air is still cold and dry.
Pungency warms you up and invigorates your blood helping to keep your cheeks rosy and your mind alert.
A little bitter helps in decongesting and detoxifying the body; ensuring clear sinuses and strong immunity.
Enjoy pot roasts & baked hams. Indulge in plums, pomegranates, cranberries and cherries.
Medicinal amounts of mulled wine support healthy digestion and warm you up - an ounce or two is plenty.
Dark gravies, beets, seaweeds and red cabbage feed your blood.
Cabbage has been featured in many weight loss diets as a negative calorie food. It inhibits the conversion of sugar and carbs into fat and speeds up metabolism. This property of cabbage helps to balance the extravagance of holiday eating. Vinegar's sour flavor is a cholagogue, meaning it purges toxic bile from the liver, and helps with fat digestion and metabolism.
Try roasted pears with cloves instead of applesauce with cinnamon in December. Pears are a hardier fruit common to northern climates, and thus associated with winter. Read on to discover the benefits of cloves this time of year. Orange zest is a perfect December garnish that will stimulate your digestion.
You are naturally more sedentary this time of year because of the cold and lack of daylight, so while you need to stay grounded, you won't need veggies that are as heavy as you did earlier in fall. Lighter root veggies such as jerusalem artichokes, rutabaga, turnips and parsnips fill you up without weighing you down. Jerusalem artichokes have the added benefit of being inulin rich. Inulin feeds the good bacteria in your gut, empowering them to help you digest your Christmas cookies. Ginger and garlic stave off illness while supporting digestion.
Continue to cook up soups and stews. Well cooked greens like collards and kale offer mild bitterness. Adding them to your slow cooked stews and soups makes them easier to digest - especially for Vata types.
Kapha individuals should begin weaning off dairy based desserts. Dairy's cold, moist and heavy qualities easily make you feel sluggish and provoke excessive mucus buildup.
December is the peak harvest month for oysters. They provide a great source of the salty taste as well as blood building vitamins. Season them with lemon juice to bring in the sour taste.
There's a reason the endless marathon of Christmas songs keeps bringing up chestnuts roasting on an open fire. They're a perfect snack for December. Their fiber rich content keeps your blood from getting congested and they deliver a substantial amount of antioxidant vitamin C - just what your immune system wants for Christmas!