Eating healthy during the winter months

Many of my clients share that in the past they have struggled to maintain a healthy diet because they got bored with the same meals and don’t want to be restricted to salads, especially in the colder months. Instead at this time of the year they want warm meals which not only taste good but fill them up.

Stews or Soups are perfect at this time of the year, as they are easy to prepare and by using different vegetables, herbs and spices we can keep them interesting.

Stews are cooked by slowly simmering the ingredients, which makes them easier to digest. You need about 20 minutes for the preparation but once it’s cooking in the pot, you don’t need to do much. What’s best is that they can be kept for a few days so you cook once and eat twice or thrice, saving you time.

The recipe below is of a flavorful winter bean stew, made with herbs and spices to boost immunity and keep you healthy through the winter months. Turmeric’s active ingredient curcumin, has been shown to have anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal activity[1]. Ginger is well known for it’s anti-inflammatory properties. Onions and garlic have sulfur containing compounds that reduce cancer risk[2]. Cinnamon has anti-viral activity against various influenza viruses[3]

Also beans are a good source of both fiber and protein, which slows down the digestion and keeps you full for longer. If you don’t have time to cook the beans you can use BPA free canned beans. Use any beans that you enjoy eating and feel free to add in some chili flakes if you want to spice it up.

Vegetable Bean Ste

2 tbsp olive oil

1 medium onion, diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 small piece, about 1 inch ginger

1 small piece, about ½ inch fresh turmeric or ½ tsp turmeric powder

4 tomatoes, diced finely

2 medium carrots, finely chopped

1 celery stick, finely chopped

1 leek, sliced thinly

3 cups vegetable stock

2 x 400 grams canned beans (or 3 cups boiled beans)

Sea salt and black pepper to taste

2 cinnamon sticks

Parsley leaves to garnish

In a large pot heat the oil and sauté the chopped onion, garlic, leek, ginger and turmeric for 2-3 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon. Add the carrots and tomatoes and cover pot with lid, and let it cook for 4-5 minutes. Then add in the vegetable stock and beans, bring to a boil, then lower the heat and let it simmer, covered for 30 to 40 minutes. Season with sea salt and black pepper to taste. If it begins to dry out add in some more water, about ½ cup at a time.

Once cooked remove the cinnamon sticks from the pot. Spoon the stew into deep bowls, garnish with parsley and enjoy.

[1] A Review on Antibacterial, Antiviral, and Antifungal Activity of Curcumin

Soheil Zorofchian Moghadamtousi, 1 Habsah Abdul Kadir, 1 Pouya Hassandarvish, 2 Hassan Tajik, 3 Sazaly Abubakar, 2 and Keivan Zandi Biomed Res Int. 2014; 2014: 186864.

[2] Garlic and onions: Their cancer prevention properties

Holly L. Nicastro,1 Sharon A. Ross,2 and John A. Milner3

Cancer Prev Res (Phila). 2015 Mar; 8(3): 181–189.

[3] http://www.greenmedinfo.com/article/cinnamon-has-antiviral-activity-against-various-influenza-viruses

This article was written for Triyoga