Tips to stay Warm this Winter


It seems strange to write a blog about how to stay warm when living in Florida, but the truth is that we are just not used to cold weather and it can be harder to adapt to something like cold when you are not used to it.  Luckily, much of China had cold weather so there are lots of natural, traditional methods to keep warm and healthy during the Winter.  These tips are also good all year long for people who work in buildings with AC set to be very cold.

1. Use warming herbs daily – some of the best Chinese warming herbs are are easy to find in most grocery stores.  These include Garlic, Ginger, Cinnamon, and Cloves.  Here are a few suggestions for their use:

Warming Tea.  My favorite blend uses cinnamon, ginger and cardamom pods.  This combination has been used for centuries in India and China for general health.  Simmer these herbs with water on the stove for 5-10 min.  If you like it sweet add some honey.  You can keep this on low heat for several hours and drink throughout the day to keep warm.

  • 2-4 cups of filtered water
  • 1 stick of cinnamon
  • 3 slices of ginger (each slice about the size of a quarter)
  • 3-6 cardamom pods
  • 3-6 cloves

Fresh Soup.  I often like to make a fresh soup broth from any meat bones that we may have from the week (often organic chicken from Costco).  Be sure to add plenty of these warming herbs to the soup before serving.  My favorites here are the garlic and ginger.  Add them early in the cooking for a mellow flavor, or just before serving for a stronger taste.  I recommend to grate the ginger, and smash and chop the garlic to get the most benefit from them.

Add to Steamed or Stir-Fried dishes.  Whether you are cooking veggies or meats, fresh aromatic herbs like garlic and ginger are a great addition in the winter.  I like to add them like recommended above for soups.  Another option is to use Chinese 5 spice powder; it has cloves and cinnamon already in it and is easy to use.

2. Keep Active!  Regular exercise promotes blood circulation and is the body’s best defense against cold weather.  The Chinese consider cold to be one of the 6 pathogenic factors that can enter the body and cause illness.  Exercise promotes the circulation of the warm protective energy of the body, the immune system or “Wei Qi”.  That is why it is great for preventing cold from injuring the body.  However, it is important to remember not to overdo it.  If you exercise to the point of exhaustion it will temporarily weaken or diminish your immune system and then you will be more vulnerable to cold.

3. Keep a lid on it.  One of the most obvious, but sometimes overlooked ways to protect ourselves from the cold is to cover our head and necks.  The head and neck are the most vulnerable parts of the body  to heat loss.  This is because the brain is too important to allow the vasoconstriction that occurs in the arms and legs to conserve heat.  It is important to thermally insulate (cover) all of the body to keep warm, but  don’t forget to cover your neck and head with hats, hoodies, scarves, turtlenecks, etc.

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