Happy end-of-January, everyone! I hope you all had a great New Years filled with friends and families and good food. Now that we are almost half way through winter quarter, are you finding it difficult to stay awake during the day because of late night study sessions (or maybe it’s all the ramens you already consumed)? Or, better yet, do you find your jeans still too tight because of the holiday? Well, have no fear; I am here to provide some easy ideas that will give you an easy detox, boost your energy levels, and help you lose those inches.
A variety of reasons make the beginning-of-the-year cleanse sound like a good idea. Now, I’m not talking about a juice cleanse where the only thing you can consume in a day is lemon juice and nothing else. That is both not nutritious and will cause a good deal of pain (and sounds like a terrible ordeal). No, I am promoting healthy food and eating habits that will help you recover from some of the results of overeating and/or irregular food consumption during the holidays. For the past few weeks, you have probably consumed an excessive amount of unnecessary sugar and highly processed carbohydrates from all the Frozen-themed sugar cookies, bottles after bottles of sparkling apple cider, different varieties of chocolate caramel apples, all kinds of cakes, and the classic hot chocolate. The list goes on and and on. But wait, there’s even more: You probably also indulged in overeating (which we all love to do and is a totally acceptable behavior during the best time of the year). Maybe it has begun to cause you pain from the constant urge to stuff your stomach to its fullest capacity. Are you tired of the post-holiday binge-eating syndrome, knowing that you really need to stop eating but just can’t?
Well, one of the solutions to your binge-eating syndrome is stuffing your stomach with another kind of food, a kind that will satisfy your hunger but will not burden you with tons of unwanted calories or cause guilty feelings: vegetables. To give you some specific ideas of the vegetables that are especially prevalent in winter (even though we’re lucky enough to have access to a gigantic variety of vegetables at all times of the year), here is a list of great veggies to start you off on a yummy and less burdensome diet:
1. Winter squash
Super-filling and tasty, full of nutrients and goodness. In the New York Times article “Recipes for Health: Winter Squash”, the author states that winter
squash are full of a form of vitamin A called beta carotene, a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrient. Plus, they are amazing in soups.
Widely popular in winter, the winter artichoke is said to be frost-kissed and is sold for a very limited time. According to Ocean Mist Farms, which claims to be the largest grower of fresh artichokes in the US, artichokes are “frost-kissed” when the temperature drops below 32 degrees, and they look browner than the usual artichoke but taste ultra-wonderful because the cold weather concentrates the natural artichoke flavors into a more intense, nutty flavor.² Fresh artichokes are also good sources of folic acid, a type of vitamin B that helps with getting rid of waste in the body and reducing the risk of kidney disease³.
3. Citrus fruits
Citrus fruits like lemons, limes, oranges, and grapefruits are sweetest and juiciest in winter. A great source of vitamin C to help you the fight the dreaded flu season (or even just the common cold), they are also rich in fiber and flavonoids (image shown in the left), a family of substances that give these fruits their bright colors and are best known for their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory health benefits as well as their support of the cardiovascular and nervous systems.
Hopefully, you will get a chance to indulge in all three of these wonderful vegetables some time this winter. Finally, here is a Blood Orange and Roasted Butternut Squash Kale Salad recipe that uses two of the three ingredients we talked about. I want to share it with you to help you kick off this new year with a full energy tank!
1/2 cup blood orange juice
3 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 blood oranges, peeled, seeded and cut into 12 pinwheels
1 bunch kale (about 3/4 pound) stemmed and finely chopped