by Laura Cini
Have you heard of the Danish concept of hygge? I came across it recently and it means a quality of comfort and coziness that gives you a feeling of contentment and well-being.
Ohhhh, I thought to myself; where can I get me some of that? Given that I’m writing this at home with no heating (long, frustrating story), it’s especially pertinent for me at the moment.
Apparently, hygge applies to all parts of your lifestyle and of course, to food. As a nutritionist and naturopath, this aligns beautifully with the concept we follow of eating according to the seasons. In Winter, this means eating to nourish the body, warm the soul and combat the cold.
So, at the moment in Hobart this means yes to warm drinks like ginger tea, chai and hot chocolate. To make your own supreme hot chocolate use quality cacao powder which is full of polyphenols (for happy gut bugs) and minerals like magnesium and add cinnamon and ginger if you like for an extra kick of warmth and spice.
It means yes to soups so thick that your soup spoon almost stands up in them like pumpkin, leek and potato, cauliflower and sweet potato soups. This is a great lunch option taken to work in a thermos.
Miso soup is another winner and as a fermented food, it’s great for gut health. I make a basic version by just adding a teaspoonful to a cup of hot water and adding a sprinkle of dried seaweed. The real deal proper miso soup also contains Japanese stock (dashi), and other ingredients like tofu and chopped spring onion. You can buy quality miso paste from a grocer or health food store (it should be stored in the fridge).
This means a nod to warm and cooked dishes like curries and casseroles rather than salads and raw foods.
If you eat meat, then a special mention about grass-fed red meat which is full of zinc needed for your immune system to fight germs. For vegetarians, some zinc is also found in seeds like pumpkin and sunflower. Affirmative to garlic for everyone, which studies show to be effective against a wide variety of bacteria and viruses.
Plus, a yes and a pat on the back for eating enough and not regularly skipping meals. Many of us don’t eat enough during the day leaving you cold and cranky by the time you get home which often results in eating too much in the evening. Your body is doing its best to support you throughout the day, so try not to deprive it of fuel and expect it to run well on empty.
Now I must away to put on another layer of thermals and beg/ cajole/bribe our tradies to come and fix our heater.
Laura Cini is an expert nutritionist, herbalist and naturopath with over 20 years’ experience. She sees clients, is a regular guest on radio, does podcasts and blogs. Visit lauraciniwellness.com or connect @lauraciniwellness.