Warming up winter

During the cold winter months, when the days are short, I find that we are often looking forward to being warm and dry, especially if we have been out skiing, skating or partaking in all the different activities Ottawa has to offer. However, what we often tend to forget, is to drink enough during the winter months and even if some of us may be less active in the winter, we forget that we still loose fluids through breathing, sweating even though it is very cold. To compound this, we also heat our homes and cars which dries out the air we breathe in, with our skin maybe becoming drier and without realizing it we can become a little dehydrated, without necessarily being aware of it.

When we hear stories of people having survived in the wild, the most important factor that has allowed them to survive, is hydration. Without fluids we would survive about 3-4 days depending on your general health. Without food, we can last much longer. The value of hydration is as important in the winter, as it is during the hot summer months.

Our body is made of about 75 per cent  fluids, which is quite a lot of liquid when you think about it. It is important that we are properly hydrated, otherwise normal bodily functions can be slowed down or even impeded. Our bodies need to be well hydrated to help rid our system of toxins, which accumulate through what we eat, the air we breathe and the products we put on our skin. The digestive system is also heavily reliant on hydration – too little fluid intake and some people can experience constipation, others may feel dizzy or have low energy levels, as every cell in our body requires fluids to function. All this can create a sense of lethargy in the body – but do not worry, all this can easily be corrected.

The idea of drinking a glass of water full of ice cubes during the winter sends shivers down my spine. In this cold weather, my go to are the trio of warm beverages (tea, warm smoothies and spiced warm milk). Although, I personally enjoy herbal teas. Smoothies can be made the night before, then heated up in the morning and put in a thermos for a morning pick me up. For all three drinks, you can add spices such as, cardamom, nutmeg, ginger, vanilla essence or whatever you like, to give it a little zest! Not only do our bodies require more energy to keep us warm but it also needs the fluids for the above-mentioned reasons and warm smoothies will do just that. For the post work out drink you can add some protein powder to give you that extra boost. For those looking to stabilize their blood sugar levels, adding oats is a great option. Another idea for those who prefer a readymade solution is coconut water, as it contains electrolytes and has a slightly sweet flavour, making it another great drink.

All these options are simple, healthy and require less than 5 minutes to prepare, they will leave you feeling not only happily satisfied but well hydrated, ready for the day ahead. 

Click the link for one of my family’s favourite warm smoothie

Send your nutrition questions to susan@susanalsembach.com