Maintaining that summer glow
There’s no denying it now. Fall is here over on the West Coast of BC. I find it so interesting that this has such an impact on people and they either readily embrace or rail against it. All over social media people are trumpetting the arrival of sweaters and boots and pumpkin spice everything, like it’s time to pack summer away. But I say why can’t we bring the best parts of summer with us into the fall and winter months?
For many of my patients, the reason summer is such a positive time of year is that things feel lighter and fresher. We’re outside getting more vitamin D from the sun, we actively drink more water, we unconsciously eat more fruits and vegetables because they’re in season, local and super fresh. This results in that healthy glow that we associate with summer. And although we can’t force the sun to set later in the winter, we can make changes to our wellness routines that can help keep that summer glow going.
Keep it light
The first place to start is obviously with your nutrition. Don’t fall into the comfort food that comes at you when the colder weather kicks in. Keep it light, just like you would in the summer, with lean proteins like chicken, turkey, fish, or eggs and lots of vegetables.
This is where my clients often get stuck, since it’s hard to find comfort in a cold salad when it’s raining outside. But maintaining a steady stream of veggies and greens through the fall months is truly one of the more effective changes you can make to keep that summer feeling going.
And my biggest tip on how to do this is to bring on the chopped and warm salads that take your salad experience beyond just lettuce. Because let’s be honest; nothing is more boring than some plain lettuce topped with store-bought salad dressing filled with heavy oils.
I’m sharing one of my favorite chopped salads below and what I love about this particular recipe is it can really be whatever you’ve got in your fridge. The other day for me it was a boiled egg, beets, arugula, asparagus, leftover new potatoes, and a handful of walnuts tossed with my favorite homemade vinaigrette. There wasn’t any iceberg lettuce in sight. And it was filling and nutritious and made my body feel great for the rest of the afternoon.
The easy way to make salads more comforting is to warm them up. I love roasting veggies like beets, yams, and brussel sprouts in the winter, they’re great as a side dish but they are even better as part of a warm salad. People often abandon salads in the fall and winter months because they don’t think of them as warming, but by adding something roasted on a bed of greens you’ve upped your nutrient quota for the day substantially. And I promise your body will feel warm and content! Add on a homemade salad dressing or a glory bowl sauce and your skin will glow from the inside out.
That’s what’s so amazing about eating well. It makes your guts happy, which in turn makes your skin happy, and this makes your mind happy because you look great (and you feel good too). What you eat really does impact the condition of your skin.
Focus on digestion
But let’s go back to your guts or digestion system, which is another area of your body that can feel sluggish when the colder weather begins. Starting your morning with a glass of warm water and half of a squeezed lemon is the perfect way to kick start that glow and get your system moving. I like to think it sets the tone for the day because it gets your gallbladder going, helps purge bile, and sometimes even helps you poop. Yup, it all comes back to poop.
But sometimes this isn’t enough. If you’re eating a diet high in sugar or processed foods then it’s quite possible the non-beneficial microbes within your gut are having a party. I often give the analogy that if the “bad” microbes in your body are overwhelmed from the wrong types of food (and drink), the gas and bloating you are feeling is like the bugs exhaling into you.
That’s essentially what gas is – lovely thought right? It’s the byproduct of the microbes metabolizing the food you have eaten, and with the gas comes crud that your digestion system is struggling to process. When this happens, your digestion isn’t healthy or balanced anymore. And if your digestion is off then you’re probably not feeling that glow.
The best thing you can do to see improvement is take care of yourself from the inside out. Helping my patients make these changes is one of the things I love about the work I do. I really do want you to feel good through all the seasons and by bringing the focus back to what’s going into your body, I think we can keep that summer glow going for months to come.
Whitewater Cooks: Chickpea, quinoa and roasted yam salad
3 tbsp white balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp dijon
1 tsp honey
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 c. quinoa
1 1/2 cups yam, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 tbs olive oil
1/2 tsp pepper, cracked
1/2 tsp salt
two 14 oz cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 carrot, peeled and grated
1 red pepper diced
1/2 c.sunflower seeds, toasted
1 c. spinach, chopped coarsely
1/2 c. parsley, chopped
1/2 c. feta cheese, crumbled
Whisk together vinegar, dijon, honey, garlic, pepper and olive oil in small bowl and set said.
Place quinoa and 3/4 cup of cold water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce to low heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until tender. Turn heat off, leaving lid on, and let stand five minutes. Let it cool.
Roast yam in 350 degree oven until just tender, about 20 minutes.
Place chickpeas, grated carrots, red pepper, sunflower seeds, spinach, parsley, feta, cooked quinoa and yams in a large bowl.
Pour dressing over all ingredients in bowl and toss gently until mixed well.