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How to pick yourself up from the winter funk

Michelle MacLean Spring DetoxWhile I feel like our winter weather here in NS hasn’t been all that bad, I am hearing a lot of people companying. I think it’s mostly just the February blues and that we still have a way to go.

I’ll admit, it’s hard to be healthy in the winter. And this year with no snow to speak of, it’s hard to get out and enjoy winter activities. So we end up feeling physically and mentally sick and tired. Too much Netflix, storm chips and alcoholic beverages and not enough exercise or fresh air has taken a toll.

I for one am feeling the effects. Sluggish digestion, low energy and moodiness are daily occurrences. My immunity feels low and I seem to pick up every bug going around.

I’m hearing similar complaints from friends, colleagues and clients who have been struggling both physically and mentally this winter. So many people are sick with colds and flus. And those impacted by seasonal affective disorder or prone to depression are really feeling it.

Bottom line: We’re feeling the winter hangover and spring is taking way to long to get here.

My three day veggie picker upper

To get out of this funk, I highly recommend you take a few days to reset and reboot. I do this every once in awhile when I’ve been feeling crappy and need a little tune up. I think of it as giving my system a bit of a break, filling up with nutrient dense foods and starting fresh. It’s amazing the difference even a couple days can make.

What I do is eat only veggies for two to three days. Simple. You can even start with just one day if that feels more doable.

Veggies are nutritional powerhouses. I don’t think there’s any nutritional approach, philosophy or diet in existence that disagrees with the notion that vegetables should make up the majority of what we eat.

Vegetables provide many health benefits and can lower your risk for some chronic diseases.

Here’s why you should eat more veggies:

  • They are important sources of potassium, dietary fibre, folate (folic acid), vitamins A and C.
  • They may reduce risk for heart disease.
  • They may protect against certain types of cancers.
  • All that fibre may reduce risk of heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. Is important for proper bowel function, and helps you to feel full without a lot of calories.
  • Potassium may lower blood pressure, prevent kidney stones and decrease bone loss.
  • Folate (folic acid) helps form red blood cells which important for fetal development in pregnant women.
  • Vitamin A is great for skin and eye health and protect against infections.
  • Vitamin C helps heal cuts and wounds, keeps teeth and gums healthy and also helps us absorb iron.
  • Veggies are lower in calories than many other foods.

During my veggie picker upper, I eat veggies raw, steamed, baked, roasted, in smoothies, broths and soup. And I eat a wide range of them.

Veggies come in so many different varieties, textures, colours, and tastes – you will never get bored with the combinations and interesting meal ideas.

If a veggie picker upper sounds like something you could use right about now to bring a little ray of sunshine to an otherwise dull and dreary constitution, here’s what I suggest:

  1. Pick two or three days when you can really commit to this.
  2. Find some veggie recipes that look appealing.
  3. Develop a meal plan for the three days.
  4. Try a smoothie for breakfast, soup or salad for lunch and some steamed, baked or roasted veggies for dinner.
  5. Be sure to include avocado for a healthy fat that will keep you feeling full.
  6. Write up your shopping list.
  7. Clean out any trigger or tempting foods from your pantry.
  8. Hit the farmers market to stock up.
  9. Purchase organic when you can to you’ll lessen the amount of toxins and chemicals entering your body.
  10. Start cooking, eating and feeling great!

Over to you: What are your favourite veggies and veggie dishes and how do you make sure you get them in during the winter when we don’t have a lot of local produce? Tell me in the comments. 

{ 3 comments… add one }
  • Lee May 8, 2015, 4:01 pm

    Hi Michelle,
    Really like your take on ‘getting more greens’. Inspiring, thank you!

  • Linda May 26, 2015, 11:42 pm

    Great suggestions! Check out the recipes on Pulse Canada website for ideas.

  • Kay Belangia February 8, 2018, 6:14 pm

    You gave a very useful and doable way to think of cholesterol. Your tips for eating vegetables are right on. I cannot help believe that the soaring obesity rates are because food advertising does not emphasize vegetables. Growing up in the 50’s and 60’s vegetables were fresh and plentiful. Fast food was just coming to towns near us, but the portions were smaller!

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