Winter’s hit us big-time here in DC. We’ve had the coldest days of the year this past week and snow is on the way! Can’t seem to get warm? You’re not alone! Below are two easy ways to warm up even on the coldest winter day.
It doesn’t make sense to eat cucumbers and ice cream if you’re already cold, right? Instead, focus on eating foods that are hot during the winter such as soups and stews, and adding in lots of spices that naturally create heat such as peppers, curries and ginger. This vegetarian soup is easy to make, will make you feel toasty and warm thanks to spices such as cinnamon, curry and ginger, and the lentils and mushrooms make it extremely hearty and satisfying.
Warming Lentil Soup
1 cup dry lentils
2 medium sweet potatoes, washed and diced with skin on
2-3 carrots, cut into small pieces
5 cups filtered water or vegetable stock
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 cup fresh or frozen spinach
1 medium onion, diced
2-4 cloves garlic, diced
1 inch fresh ginger, minced
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp cumin
1 tbsp yellow curry
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cardamom
salt and pepper to taste
Greek yogurt (optional)
Directions: In large stockpot, heat oil and add onions, ginger, and all spices. Brown for 1 minute and then add garlic. Continue to cook over medium heat until onions are soft about 5 minutes. Add lentils, spinach, sweet potatoes, carrots and mushrooms and stir briefly. Turn up heat to medium high and add water, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to simmer and cook covered for 30 minutes or more depending on texture. 10 minutes before it is finished add spinach. Season with more salt and pepper if needed and serve with a dollop of Greek yogurt if desired.
Also, you may not know that the way you breathe can actually warm you up. That’s right, breathing can actually create heat! This is a great yoga breathing technique to learn when days get cold as it heats up the body, increases circulation and can be done in less than 1 minute.
Excerpted from YogaJournal.com
Kapalabhati consists of alternating short, explosive exhales and slightly longer, passive inhales. Exhales are generated by powerful contractions of the lower belly (between the pubis and navel), which push air out of the lungs. Inhales are responses to the release of this contraction, which sucks air back into the lungs. Focus on your lower belly. Many beginners aren’t able to isolate and contract this area. Quickly contract (or pump your fisted hands against) your lower belly, pushing a burst of air out of your lungs. Then quickly release the contraction (or your hands), so the belly “rebounds” to suck air into your lungs. Pace yourself slowly at first. Repeat eight to 10 times at about one exhale-inhale cycle every second or two. As you become more adept at contracting/releasing your lower belly, you can increase your pace to about two exhale-inhale cycles every second.
Do 25 to 30 cycles at first. You can gradually increase the number of cycles you do each practice to 100 or more.
So bundle up, stay warm and eat and breathe well!
If you are interested in learning about how to create a happy, healthy life, visit http://www.soulfullwellness.com or email Cameron directly at [email protected]