by Maia Bedson
Winter 2018, Living Well Magazine
“The fire is winter’s fruit.” This Arabian proverb evocatively captures the suggestion that, in winter, sensual nourishment (meaning: relating to the senses rather than the intellect) can be found beyond the more customary forms.
For those of us living in locations where winter’s cold beckons us to hibernate at times, seeking opportunities to warm our bodies and spirits is essential.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) aka ‘the winter blues’ is a recognised medical condition with symptoms of depression, irritability and fatigue and is directly related to low levels of exposure to natural light. It is most common the further away from the equator one resides, however, there are ways in which we can alleviate the impact of SAD.
- Going for a walk, especially in the middle of the day;
- Allowing any daily sunshine that may be present to reach our eyes (removing sunglasses);
- Minimising or avoiding screen time at night;
- Expressing your feelings with someone who can listen;
- Increasing your intake of nutritious plant foods.
Plants go through photosynthesis, which is the process of using the energy from the light of the sun, to grow and develop. By including more plant foods in our diet, we take the sun’s energy into the cells of our body to create biological energy in the form of ATP (adenosine-5 triphosphate), which is the main energy source for our trillions of cells.
Here at the Foundation, we encourage a wholefoods, plant diet and this is increasingly validated by nutritional research – although mainstream medicine remains mostly unfamiliar with this knowledge.
Soups in winter are an ideal way of warming us on the inside, can comprise a myriad of vegetable combinations and they feel good for the soul.
Moliere, the highly regarded French poet, wrote, “I live on good soup, not on fine words”. A practical sentiment, indeed.
For this winter edition of Living Well, I am sharing a simple, good soup recipe, which seemed to create itself in my kitchen recently.
Cruciferous vegetables (such as cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts and kale) are among the top anti-cancer foods with their documented detoxification and DNA protection abilities.
Portobello mushrooms are anti-inflammatory and contain antioxidants and are also a good source of conjugated linoleic acid, which has anti-cancer properties including encouraging abnormal cell death.
Onions have anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-vital abilities generally and red onions are high in quercetin, a powerful bioflavonoid that neutralises free radical cellular damage.
Oregano has one of the highest antioxidant ratings of any food, is a powerful anti-microbial and is rich is many vitamins and minerals. The ancient Greeks and Romans used it as the symbol of happiness and the origin of the word ‘oregano’ comes from ‘mountain joy’. What lovely qualities to increase in our lives, especially during winter!
Dill is another good source of antioxidants as well as containing iron and calcium. It was popular in ancient Egyptian, Roman and Greek cultures as a healing herb and considered a sign of wealth. Sometimes it is referred to as dill weed.
It may take more effort to maintain our health and wellbeing during the cold months of winter, however, we will reap the benefits in our mind, body and spirit.
“Winter is on my head, but eternal spring is in my heart.”
Cauliflower & Mushroom Soup
- I head of cauliflower
- 4 Portobello mushrooms
- 2 small or 1 large red onion
- 2 tsp. oregano
- 2 tsp. dried dill
Wash and cut the cauliflower into small pieces (including the stem), wipe the tops of the mushrooms with a damp cloth and chop roughly, peel and chop the onions.
2. Place the vegetables in a stockpot or large saucepan, and fill with just enough water to cover the top of the vegetables. Add the oregano and dill.
3. Bring temperature up to a simmer, and continue cooking until the cauliflower is soft but not mushy.
4. Process the soup with a hand/stick blender to a smooth consistency.
Serve with crusty wholegrain bread drizzled with flaxseed oil, or for some added cruciferous vegetable benefit, with a side of steamed broccoli.
The Gawler Cancer Foundation & Yarra Valley Living Centre
DipHol Couns, Grad DipCounsHS, Grad DipClinNut
Maia is a counsellor, meditation instructor, a practitioner of various forms of natural therapies who has worked in the area of energetic healing for over 20 years, and has worked at The Gawler Cancer Foundation since 2000. She has a Graduate Diploma in Clinical Nutrition as well as formal qualifications in plant-based nutrition, counselling and psychotherapy. Maia uses her various skills and the experience gained from her own healing to inspire and support others on their path to wholeness and has a particular interest in helping people to access their own inner wisdom.