How to enjoy fruit in winter

I’m in the midst of a 14-day whole foods cleanse. The first 10 days are fruits and vegetables only. As much as we want, in whatever combinations we like. And it’s amazing how full, satisfied and energized I feel.

This is not by any means a long-term approach to eating, but it definitely works to detox the body and give a kick-start for a short period of time if done mindfully.

It may seem odd to be eating just fruits and veggies in the winter, especially in our northern cold climate. It’s typically a time to eat heavier, warming foods as we hibernate and bulk up to prepare for the coming growth spurt of spring.

But fruits and vegetables can bring a welcomed break and add some variety to lift you out of your winter food funk.

I’ve been especially enjoying the fruit. The tangy, sweet and sour tastes from fruit enliven the tastebuds and bring a sense of warmth and exoticness from the tropics.

Since I’m not eating any refined sugars, I think my body is craving the sugar from fruit. Which is something to be aware of. Fruit does contain a lot of sugar, even though it’s all natural it still spikes our insulin levels so too much by itself can be problematic.

Another downside, is that we don’t have a lot of fruit happening locally here in the winter. And while I recommend eating local most of the year, in the dead of February in Nova Scotia we have to branch out.

Fruits are beneficial on so many levels. They are loaded with vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants and phytonutrients. They are low in calories and fat. And they provide plenty of soluble dietary fiber which helps balance cholesterol and is essential for strong digestion and elimination.

If you are looking for a healthy, natural way to bring some sweet and sour taste sensations, and an injection of vitamins and minerals, here are a few tips for enjoying the benefits of fruit in winter:

A touch of the tropics

Even though tropical fruits are not local at this time of year in Nova Scotia, from an Ayurvedic perspective many tropical fruits are considered seasonal in winter. Pineapples, mangos, papayas and bananas make a great fruit salad. A mango pineapple salsa is perfect condiment for salmon cakes. Adding bananas to your morning smoothie makes it sweet and creamy.

Add in citrus fruits

Our taste buds naturally crave sweet, sour and salty in the winter months and that’s why citrus fruit are abundant and seasonal right now. Mother nature knows what we most need right now and provides for us. Pick up some grapefruits, oranges, lemons and limes and enjoy them for breakfast, as snacks and for seasoning fish dishes, salads, and soups.

Eat them cooked

If you have tummy troubles digesting fruit try them cooked. Especially fruits such as apples and pears at this time of year. You can make a lovely apple pear sauce to enjoy for breakfast or as a great accompaniment to a serving of roasted root veggies. Baked pears or apples with some raisins and a sprinkle of cinnamon is a lovely dessert.

Don’t eat too much

We must be mindful of the amount of sugar in fruit so a couple servings each day is great, but don’t go overboard. I also recommend eating fruit whole so you get the fibre and adding in some fat along with it – avocado, a nut butter, or a handful of seeds are great options. And don’t forget to make sure you are getting lots of dark leafy greens in everyday to bring some alkalinity to all the acid of fruits.

* This post was originally published in the Herald Community on February 12, 2014

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