Thursday, November 7, 2019


Each year, in autumn, as the weather turns cool, my hands and lips and hair become dryer earlier and earlier in the season. As anyone’s natural ability to moisturize is inversely proportional to their age, I’m likely tapping some deep reserves in my body that prevent my skin from busting into one large peel. But before reaching for some very expensive (read: $17) remedies, I generally try to hit some natural solutions first before giving into ease and buying a bunch of shiz. And so, as we’re right on the cusp of winter weather in the mid-Atlantic, I’ve found some “starting-line” motivation to eat in a way which might help moisturize my skin from the inside out. 

In Summer Lovin’ I wrote about foods that help cool us in the summer months. Indeed, Mother Nature, like any mother, cares for her kiddies and provides them with foods that can help them adjust to the climes of their general regions. And so in winter, in the continental U.S., foods that grow underground to stay warm can help our bodies do the same in the cooler months meaning that the sugars they store can give our bodies a hit of energy when needed. And while the best of foods (broccoli, cabbage and leafy greens) tend to stay in season year round, there are some foods that change which can help our bodies do the same.

While I don’t eat completely seasonally (I’m not a huge douche), there are some dishes I prefer in summer and those I prefer in winter. While the process of making a beef stew brings a sense of comfort and joy in the winter months, the thought of it gives me a shudder in summer. And this is natural as such a dish exemplifies the epitome of winter cooking with its starchy vegetables and heavy protein to help us work through drops in temperature. And so, with one eye on the natural, below are some foods and practices to help get us through the winter months. Enjoy!

Live the Process: There once was a brand named “Live the Process” which made great work out clothes and then seemed to disappear. And while I was always curious about their name, it seems to work well here. In a world where we can generally get any food at any time of year, I find that in my own life, something can be lost when I’m juicing a pineapple in the dead of winter (but more on that later). Attuning ourselves with the season is something great and very primal and as we do so, we may find that our appetites go up in the cooler months, providing us with an extra layer we might otherwise buy from J. Crew.  And so while I may perpetually be surprised to find my appetite go from zero to sixty in October, I generally live the process and let my body prepare for the cooler months. 

Carrots: My grandmother once told me a funny story about my grandfather planting carrots upside-down in the garden. And while I grow more skeptical with age, for someone who spent their childhood in the Bronx, it’s probably not a far off possibility. Carrots, grown underground (if planted correctly) contain a bit more sugar than their cruciferous cousins which may be why Self Magazine tells you to shun them. But I happen to think the following recipes work well in winter.

Honey-Glazed Carrots: While carrots might not contain the nutrients found in leafy greens, they definitely serve as a good side dish... a "genre" which is in high demand around the holiday season. Ergo, as we let ourselves "go" around this time, it's not a bad idea to double-down on the sweetness. ;)

Carrot Hummus: If Self Magazine suggests celery over carrots, the compromise could be making a carrot hummus and using celery as the delivery vehicle. Self magazine can literally eat it.

Carrot Soup: This is one of my favorite dishes to make in winter. I love soups. I love broccoli soup. I love cauliflower soup and I really love carrot soup in the winter. For the record, I hate tomato soup. 

Potatoes: While we're somewhat on the topic of the holiday season, potatoes often make the "naughty list" in terms of vegetables. High in starch, potatoes get a bad rap from people on extreme diets but are generally high in nutrients and can keep our bodies warm in the winter months. As a go-to recipe, I enjoy the following:

Sweet Potatoes with Tahini Butter: As stated before, vegetables are great until you start looking for some protein which is something I'm semi-conscious of as a functioning adult. Within this recipe, however, the tahini adds a small bump in the right direction or you could just serve them with chicken like an actual adult. 

Potatoes and Carrots

Beef Stew: The ultimate winter dish containing both carrots and potatoes, beef stew simply warms the body by thinking of it and using the slow cooker to create it is an extra hassle-free way to achieve it without much thought. So, for me, when the temperature drops and my appetite goes up, this is the ultimate remedy for my winter woes. 

So there you have it: some ways to use elements from the ground to satisfy needs in the colder months. In general, aligning ourselves with the seasons is key not only for our own health but for the health of the planet as foods grown locally help support our surrounding economies and take less travel/carbon, etc. to reach our doorstep. As the saying goes, act naturally. ;)