Back to the Roots: Warming Veggies to Take the Chill Off

This entry was posted on Jan 21, 2014 by Charlotte Bell.
warming veggies

Hearty Roots

Warming Veggies to Take the Chill Off

Much of the U.S. population has been inundated with snow or shivering in subzero temperatures for more than a month. If you are like me, you may not have felt truly warm for a very long time. Despite the layers I wear inside my drafty, old house, there’s always a chilly edge that just doesn’t abate—until I remember how to heat myself from the inside.

Of course exercise, including certain yoga poses, can be really helpful. Standing poses such as Warriors I and II; core strengtheners such as Navasana; and back bends help. Winter is a great time to step up the activity in your practice. Outdoor activities such as snowshoeing and cross-country skiing will have you peeling off layers.

But exercise isn’t the only path to raising your internal heat. What you eat can influence your body heat. As you might expect, warm comfort foods help warm up your core—soups, stews, homey casseroles from the oven. Eating seasonally can also raise your internal temp.

According to whfoods.com, “In winter, the vegetables that help your body stay warm are the root vegetables and hearty winter greens. Any vegetable that takes time to grow and whose edible part grows beneath the surface of the ground, or any vegetable that likes the cold weather, is usually warming and a good vegetable to eat in winter.”

Here’s a list of veggies that can help warm you to your bones:

  • Carrots
  • Cabbage
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Collards
  • Kale
  • Celery root
  • Daikon radish
  • Burdock root
  • Parsnips
  • Rutabagas
  • Beets
  • Winter Squash
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Turnips
  • Kohlrabi
  • Potatoes
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Yams

In addition to using these veggies as a base for soups and stews, try roasting them. You can play with the combinations of veggies to suit your taste. Roasting brings out the depth of their flavors and makes a satisfying meal or side dish. And roasting veggies in your oven is guaranteed to cozy up your kitchen. Try this:

Chop up a combination of four to six of the above-listed veggies into pieces from 1/2 to 1 inch. I always include a red onion and a few cloves of sliced garlic for flavor. Place them in a mixing bowl and add a tablespoon or two of olive oil. Toss until all the veggies are coated with oil, adding a little more oil if necessary. You can toss in a little dried oregano or marjoram if you like. Add a little salt and fresh-ground pepper. Pour into a large, shallow baking pan and cook on 400 for at least 45 minutes, checking the longer-cooking veggies (yams and potatoes) for doneness. Adjust salt and pepper.

Make a big batch. You can reheat the leftovers in the oven for a quick meal the next day.

About Charlotte Bell
Charlotte Bell discovered yoga in 1982 and began teaching in 1986. Charlotte is the author of Mindful Yoga, Mindful Life: A Guide for Everyday Practice and Yoga for Meditators, both published by Rodmell Press. Her third book is titled Hip-Healthy Asana: The Yoga Practitioner’s Guide to Protecting the Hips and Avoiding SI Joint Pain (Shambhala Publications). She writes a monthly column for CATALYST Magazine and serves as editor for Yoga U Online. Charlotte is a founding board member for GreenTREE Yoga, a non-profit that brings yoga to underserved populations. A lifelong musician, Charlotte plays oboe and English horn in the Salt Lake Symphony and folk sextet Red Rock Rondo, whose DVD won two Emmy awards in 2010.