Sindy Says: Grounding Foods and Warming Spices for Winter
Care of Sindy Ng, nutritionist in Toronto
The weather is getting cooler as the months go by, and I’m sure many of us shift our eating habits along with the seasons. Long, cold winters can pose challenges for some who want to maintain a vegan lifestyle, but there’s lots of foods we can still enjoy.
Bananas are widely available year-round and are a staple for me. Enjoy them as a snack on their own, in your smoothies, muffins, pancakes, and so much more! Sweet potatoes, potatoes, and winter squash are also easy to find in the winter. I love incorporating these vegetables into
soups or baked goods, and who doesn’t love a warming soup in the winter?
Potatoes, sweet potatoes and winter squash contain high amounts of the antioxidant beta-carotene, which is responsible for the bright red and orange colour of many fruits and vegetables. Beta-carotene is converted into vitamin A in the body. This nutrient has been shown to protect
cells against oxidative damage, as well as help to prevent certain cancers, cataracts, heart disease, and age-related macular degeneration.
Potatoes are a good source of vitamin A and C. Potatoes are by far the most-consumed food in Canada. However, the average spud has lost all of its vitamin A due to conventional farming methods, 57% of its vitamin C and iron, and 28% of its calcium. Buying organic produce can lessen our exposure to pesticides and herbicides. Typically, organic produce contains more nutrients compared to their average conventional counterparts.
Increasing your fat intake is another way to stay warm. Nuts make a great snack or add-on to salads, granola, or trail mix. Walnuts, flax seeds, and avocado are great sources of omega-3, an essential fatty acid necessary for healthy brain and heart function.
If you can tolerate spicy dishes, add a bit of pepper to your curries, chillis, or soups. It will cause your whole body to feel warmer!
This is an eight-in- one combination of warming spices. Chai tea includes a blend of cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, ginger, nutmeg, coriander, pepper, and cumin. These spices are each great on their own, or enjoy a cup of chai tea with warm almond or soy milk! I like to sprinkle extra
cinnamon on top of my chai lattes.
Being my Holy Grail spice, I add turmeric to multiple foods and drinks! Turmeric has a satisfying warming flavour in soups and dals. I love adding turmeric powder to any coconut milk-based soup. The combination along with curry powder, cumin, and black pepper is very aromatic.
Turmeric also helps with digestion and is high in anti-inflammatory compounds.
Sindy’s Golden Milk Recipe
Ingredients (serves 1):
1 ½ cups coconut milk
¾ tsp ground turmeric
⅛ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp coconut oil
1 tsp maple syrup or coconut sugar (optional)
pinch of black pepper
In a small saucepan or pot, add coconut milk, ground turmeric, ground cinnamon,
coconut oil, black pepper, and sweetener of choice.
Warm over medium heat, whisking frequently. Do not let it boil.
Once the mixture is smooth, turn off the heat and taste to adjust flavour. Add more
sweetener or turmeric if desired.