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May 2017

Warming Winter Foods By Lindy Cook Naturopath & Nutritionist

By | Seasons, Nutrition | No Comments

With the colder months upon us, now is the time to nourish and warm your body from within with the foods you eat, working in harmony with nature and the winter season.

One way of achieving this goal is to flavour your foods with pungent herbs such as ginger, garlic, cayenne, turmeric and small amounts of chilli. These foods gently heat the body and stimulate the circulation while garlic has the added benefit of fighting both bacterial and viral infections and breaking down mucous.

Garlic is a great natural remedy for colds and flu, add it to your cooking or mix it with lemon, warm water and honey for a really powerful immune system kick.

Another way of protecting your body from the winter chill is to ensure your foods are ‘warm’ or heated rather than served cold. Winter is not the time for salads or too many cold fruits. Always add ginger to any fresh juices and stew fruits (served warm) to harmonise the cold element.

Cook up hearty, nutritious soups and stews filled with as many vegetables you can manage. A big pot of organic chicken and vegetable soup (with added garlic and ginger of course) is a nourishing winter feast and another great way to aid recovery from illness.

Seasonally, winter is a time to eat root vegetables. Higher in energy-giving carbohydrates, our bodies need this fuel to keep the inner winter fires burning. Choose from sweet potato, carrots, pumpkin and beetroot.

The orange vegetables are naturally high in betacarotene, an antioxidant that helps protect all the mucous membranes of the body, including the lungs. Smokers can help reduce the risk of lung cancer by consuming higher levels of betacarotene.

Beetroot gently enhances liver function thereby aiding digestion and helping to relieve constipation. It is considered a natural ‘blood tonic’, and can help boost iron levels.

These delicious foods can be roasted, blended into dips, stewed, added to soups or steamed.

Fruits tend to be better suited to the warmer weather.

However, the deliciously sweet, Australian navel orange is in season. High in vitamin C and alkalising to the body, oranges make a great winter fruit. Start the day with a fresh orange, carrot and ginger juice. This will keep your immune system primed and fight off any potential colds and flu. Include some of the pith from oranges in your juice as this helps ensure vitamin C is well absorbed and gives extra anti-viral action.

Remember to choose organic or biodynamic foods whenever possible. Not only are you ensuring your food has maximum nutritional value, your body does not have to break down the cocktail of pesticides, chemicals and additives found in conventional foods that are linked to so many chronic disease states.

Organic foods contain on average 50% more vitamins, minerals and other micronutrients! Plus, knowing you are doing your bit to support our environment is a great feeling.

Winter Abundance Bowl


Garlic-Ginger Pumpkin Seed Sauce

Serves 2-3

 2/3 cup brown rice

1/3 cup green lentils

¼ – ½ tsp. sea salt

1 head broccoli

1 medium sweet potato (leave the skin on if it’s organic!)

2 cups shredded red cabbage

juice of ½ lemon or lime

drizzle of cold-pressed olive oil


  1. Combine rice and lentils in a medium bowl, cover with water and wash well, rubbing grains and legumes together. Drain and repeat until water is clear. Cover with water again and soak overnight / for up to 8 hours, if possible. Drain and rinse.
  2. In a medium saucepan place the rice and lentils, plus 1½ cups water (if soaked – add 2 cups water if un-soaked), and sea salt. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and cook covered until water has been absorbed and rice and lentils are cooked through (about 30-45 minutes depending on if you soaked the grain or not).
  3. While the rice and lentils are cooking, chop the broccoli into florets and the sweet potato into bite-sized cubes. About ten minutes before the grains have cooked (check the water level before adding veggies – if it’s dry, add a little more liquid), add the sweet potato. After five minutes, add the broccoli on top of the sweet potato.
  4. While the rice and lentils are cooking you can also blend together the sauce (see below) and prepare the cabbage: Shred cabbage using a mandoline or sharp knife. Toss with a squeeze of lemon or lime juice, a drizzle of olive oil and some salt. Toss to combine.
  5. To assemble the bowl, simply spoon in the cooked rice and lentils with the steamed veggies, add the cabbage on the side and pour sauce over. Give thanks for the abundance and enjoy.

Garlic-Ginger Pumpkin Seed Sauce

Makes 2 cups


1 cup/150g pumpkin seeds

3 cloves garlic

knob of fresh ginger

1 Tbsp. maple syrup

3 Tbsp. olive oil

1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar

3 Tbsp. lemon juice

¾ -1 cup /175- 250 ml water

¾ tsp. fine grain sea salt

¼ tsp. cracked black pepper

cayenne pepper to taste


1. In a dry skillet over medium heat, toast pumpkin seeds, stirring every so often, until they begin to pop. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

2. In a food processor, pulse to mince garlic and ginger. Add cooled pumpkin seeds and blend on high until sand-textured. Add remaining ingredients (start with ¾ cup water) and blend, scraping down the sides periodically. Add remaining water as needed to suit your desired consistency. Season to taste. Store in an airtight glass container in the refrigerator for up to five days.

NOTE: This recipe makes quite a lot of sauce, but as it keeps for five days it’s a wonderful thing to have on hand to dress salads, roast veggies and cooked whole grains. You can easily make half the amount if you know you won’t eat it all in before it spoils.

RAW VERSION: You can also make a raw version of this sauce. To do so, soak the pumpkin seeds for 8 hours, or overnight. Drain and rinse well. Skip step 1 in the instructions and carry on with the others.


*Recipe from the always inspiring My New Roots