In the Northern Hemisphere, January is cold as it gets. 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.
Vigorous movement can help take off the chill. Outdoor activities such as snowshoeing and cross-country skiing will have you peeling off layers. If you live in Utah, these activities have the added advantage of exposing you to blue skies and clean air, well above the temperature inversion layer.
Certain yoga poses are inherently heating. Poses such as Warriors I and II; core strengtheners such as Navasana; and back bends warm you internally. Warrior I and II are great for warming up your quadricep muscles for back bends, especially since Warrior I is itself a back bend.
Eat the Heat
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. I’m a fan of hot tea, especially hearty flavors like roasted maté and chai with its warming spices.
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:
- Brussels sprouts
- Celery root
- Daikon radish
- Burdock root
- Winter Squash
- Sweet Potatoes
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:
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- 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 chopped veggies 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. Fresh rosemary is a nice complement as well. Add a little salt and fresh-ground pepper.
- Pour into a large, shallow baking pan or rimmed cookie sheet. It’s best to roast veggies in a single layer to keep them from getting soggy. Bake for about 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.