Written by John Immel,
IntroductionBy the time January rolls around, it starts to feel like the cold will never end. The incessant chill and dark evenings dampen your spirits and leave you longing the warmth of the spring sun. As the weather drives you to stay indoors, you can feel cooped up, dreary, and dull.
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These recipes will help you beat the January blues, and shake off that sluggish, deep winter stagnation. If you're struggling to get moving in the morning, or feel slow and weighed down during the day, it's usually time to start introducing some lighter foods. This is particularly important as spring cleansing season is on the horizon.
In the coldest month of the year, your body is likely crying out for some warmth. These deep winter recipes are the right dishes to stimulate digestion, improve circulation, and leave you feeling toasty and warm from your tummy to your toes.
So Long, Sluggishness!With the hectic social season behind you, January is quiet and more settled. Evenings curled up in front of the fire are more appealing than ever. However, night after night on the couch, along with a slower heart rate in cold weather, can lead to poor circulation and blood stagnation. As a result, you can end up feeling sluggish and sleepy throughout the day.
When winter stagnation hits, it's time to start considering how the rich, winter foods are making you feel. Adding in some lighter meals with bitter and pungent tastes like Beet Soup with Lemon Juice & Parsley, lighten the load and help support regular elimination.
Pre-Spring CleansingWarming and sour, fermented foods wake up a cold stomach and get blood moving on a chilly day. Sour taste also dilates blood vessels, bringing life back into your skin. The sour and pungent taste of ferments prepare you for the upcoming season change by flushing congested bile from the liver, aiding in digestion of fats, and boosting metabolism.
Traditionally, fresh produce was in short supply in January, and it's likely your ancestors relied on fermented food more in January than other months. Red Cabbage & Vinegar, Pickled Garlic, and Pickled Beets are all simple ferments you make make yourself at home.
Revive Your MorningsHave you been snoozing your alarm clock a little too much on these dull, January mornings? Is it a battle to pull yourself out of bed each day? This Lemon Spice Weight Loss Tea will help you help you "get-up-and-go" first thing. It also gives you a metabolic boost, stimulates circulation, and helps scrape away the store of excess winter fat.
If your mornings feel rushed, you might want a to prepare these grab-and-go Buckwheat Bran Muffins with Applesauce & Walnut ahead of time. This is a reliable option if your schedule doesn't always allow for a sit down breakfast. These aren't just your average morning muffins though, they sit lightly in the stomach, are naturally sweetened, and slightly spiced to warm up digestion.
Bitter and sour, grapefruit is an ideal breakfast if you're feeling sluggish in the mornings. This Broiled Grapefruit with Cinnamon recipe is light, warming, and easy to digest, helping put a spring back in your step. Its sour taste stimulates digestion, making it a juicy and refreshing option for dessert too.
Stay Strong & StableWhile adding some lighter foods is important to maintain strong digestion and circulation in January, that doesn't mean you have to say goodbye to your comforting winter menu just yet. You might even find, particularly if you are feeling weak or deficient, these meals can help you through this harshest of winter months.
For something a little more hearty, Cinnamon Oatmeal with Almonds & Milk is the perfect winter warmer to keep your belly cozy and satisfied all the way until lunch. Cinnamon and cardamom help you digest this meal with ease and clear any morning mucus from the nose and throat.
Beef with Peas & Potatoes is particularly grounding and strengthening if you are feeling depleted or fragile right now. Coconut & Sweet Potato Soup with Nettles has just the right balance between comforting and cleansing. Its heavy ingredients calm the nerves and keep you feeling strong and stable, while the bitter bite of nettle ensures it is easy to digest. A quick meal of Swiss Chard & Onion Taco will keep the whole family happy and satisfied, while also starting to add some bitter and cleansing greens to the diet.
A Little Something SweetJanuary offers the exciting potential of a new year, and is a wonderful opportunity to slow down and reflect on your goals. What better way to lift your spirits as you look to the year ahead than a little something sweet. Just a small sweet treat can really help ease the harshness of a bitter, cold, January.
If you are still craving some Christmas cookies, soft, chewy, and gooey No Bake Almond, Date & Ginger Cookie will melt in your mouth and satisfy your sweet tooth. Warming Almond Sesame & Anise Sweet Treat will stimulate digestion so you don't feel bogged down after eating. Short on time? Whip up some of Almond Butter Stuffed Dates (Nature's Fudge) in just a few minutes for something sweet on the run.
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About the AuthorJohn Immel, the founder of Joyful Belly, teaches people how to have a healthy diet and lifestyle with Ayurveda. His approach to Ayurveda exudes a certain ease, which many find enjoyable and insightful. His online course Balance Your Ayurvedic Diet in a Week provides tools for gracefully healing with Ayurveda to thousands. John also directs Joyful Belly's School of Ayurveda , which specializes in digestive tract pathology & Ayurvedic nutrition. John and his wife Natalie recently published Explore Your Hunger: A Guide to Hunger, Appetite & Food.
John's interest in Ayurveda and digestive tract pathology was inspired by a complex digestive disorder acquired from years of international travel, including his public service work in South Asia. John's commitment to the detailed study of digestive disorders reflects his zeal to get down to the roots of the problem. His hope and belief in the capacity of each & every client to improve their quality of life is nothing short of a personal passion. John's creativity in the kitchen and delight in cooking for others comes from his family oriented upbringing. In addition to his certification in Ayurveda, John holds a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Harvard University.
John enjoys sharing Ayurveda within the context of his Catholic roots, and finds Ayurveda gives him an opportunity to participate in the healing mission of the Church. Jesus expressed God's love by feeding and healing the sick. That kindness is the fundamental ministry of Ayurveda as well.
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