Slow Down and Settle In- Savoring Moments of Comfort, Creativity and Cooking
Have you noticed it? We are mere days away from the shortest, darkest day of the year. The skies have been overcast. Rain, snow, and ice have quickly become the foreseeable landscape here in the northern hemisphere, and yet, at this time of year when the world around us is settling into its hibernation period, we are hustling and bustling about.
Here at RESTART®, we’re taking cues from Nature and encourage you to, as well. When it’s dark out, what does the body intrinsically want to do? Sleep, of course!
Some people are eager for there to be snow on the ground so they can get out and ski! Others prefer to settle in with a good book. Honor what you like to do – and what you don’t like to do.
This time of year is a wonderful time to make nourishing foods like stews, soups and chilis. Hearty meals that are easy to make and abundant enough that you will have plenty to share or store for later enjoyment. It is also a great time to dust off those crockpots, cookbooks, and try some real-food recipes.
When we switch from processed food to real foods, it can feel very intimidating at first. Processed foods are, by design, convenient, tasty, and cheap. With real food, you have to plan ahead and yes, even cook.
Start with what you know. Start with what you love. What is your favorite fruit? What is your favorite vegetable (I know you have at least one!)? Sure, at this time of year, most fruits and veggies are harder to come by – with the exception of the old standards like apples, bananas, some citrus fruits, winter squashes, and root vegetables. Here’s a question for you: When was the last time you just sat down with an apple and enjoyed it? Maybe it was in the last few days – and if so, hooray for you! Maybe it’s been a while. What a delightful change for your tastebuds to enjoy a simple apple. And, to really enjoy it, just let it be you and the apple, sitting at the table. No distractions. Can you imagine five uninterrupted minutes spent solely and purposefully used to eat an apple?
What is a favorite recipe of yours? Maybe it is a childhood favorite or something you ate at a restaurant that you just loved. The internet is loaded with recipes, from the very basic to the most gourmet. As a fun experiment, find a recipe of a food that you love and see how many of those ingredients you have in your kitchen. You may be surprised! Or maybe it’s time to head to your local farmer’s market to see what is being offered right now.
Make it fun. Do you like to cook alone, or could this be a great opportunity to create some fun memories with a partner, child or friend, as well as a delicious dish? Put on some great, upbeat music and dance your way through making your meal.
If you make a mistake (or two), laugh and learn from it. Often, the most memorable lessons are the ones where we messed up.
During this darkest time of year, let the food you eat truly nourish and nurture you. Choose real food (remember to shop on the outskirts of a supermarket where the fresh produce, meats, eggs, and dairy are.) Stay hydrated with good quality water, keep moving, and allow your body to rest. These simple steps apply to good health no matter what the weather!