Written by Shannon of Nourishing Days
So I wrote a big ol’ article about every nutrient you should eat during the winter to maintain optimum health. First I mentioned foods to cut out (like I did in the spring) and then I went on and on about enzymes and cod liver oil and fat-soluble vitamins.
Then I deleted the whole thing.
Our children are poised to be the sickest generation to date and yet we speak “nutritionism” like never before. I think what we need at the table is a little less science and a little more common sense.
Photo by sweetonveg
The Wisdom of Our Foremothers
Our ancestors lived without electricity, gas, or major grocery stores and yet they still managed to keep their families nourished through the winter. They ate meat from their animals, cooked with lard from their pig, and ate vegetables from their cellar.
They ate what they grew.
Two years ago, in the spirit of sustainable eating, I endeavored to put up enough food to feed my family for two months without having to enter a grocery store. After six weeks I caved because I failed to recognize and prepare for our body’s need for enzymes, friendly bacteria, and fat-soluble vitamins.
But our ancestors didn’t worry about micronutrients.
They made sauerkraut because their mother taught them to and they ate liver because if you were going to kill an animal you darn well better eat the whole thing.
And they were healthier for it.
Somewhere along the way we lost the traditional wisdom of the kitchen. I am endeavoring to unearth this wisdom as I feed a family of my own.
Simple Food for Winter: a cookbook
I have learned that it is possible to eat locally and still maintain good health during winter. I have learned that foods like meat and eggs, fermented vegetables, and winter squash are crucial during the colder months. I have learned to eat seasonally, even when winter makes it hard. I want you to do the same.
So I wrote a book about how our family does it and I call it Simple Food for Winter. The pages are filled with information, encouragement, and 30 grain-free recipes to help you nourish your family while eating homegrown or locally-sourced foods.
The fact is, real food – the kind you can grow, raise, and cook yourself – is health food. It sustained our ancestors who were more likely to die from an animal attack than a heart attack and it kept them strong through all seasons, including winter.
Sometimes it’s better to just look past the men with the big words and take your grandmother’s advice – make some soup.
Winter Vegetable Soup with Rosemary
This soup is great when you feel you’ve eaten too many heavy foods. I would have never put all of these ingredients together if it weren’t for the day when they were all right in front of me, straight from the garden.
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 leeks, halved and sliced (both white and green parts or equivalent amount of onions)
- 1 quart (28-oz can) diced tomatoes
- 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 5 cups winter squash, cut into ½” dice (1 large or 2 small kabocha, butternut, or buttercup variety)
- 1 bunch of kale, stems removed and leaves chopped into 1″ pieces
- 1 teaspoon roughly chopped dry rosemary
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- ½ teaspoon red wine vinegar
- Sea salt to taste
- Parmesan cheese for garnish (optional)
- Heat a dutch oven over medium-low heat. Add olive oil and leeks and sauté until translucent, about five minutes. While the leeks cook, peel and chop the squash and kale.
- Add tomatoes, squash, rosemary, kale, and red pepper flakes. Season with sea salt.
- Cover, bring to a simmer, and turn heat down to low. Simmer 20 minutes or until squash is easily pierced with a knife.
- Taste for seasoning and add sea salt or additional red pepper flakes as desired. Serve bowls with grated Parmesan cheese.
Is anyone else feeling the need for a bit more common sense at the table?