As winter approaches, there are steps you can take to preserve your health and well-being. Here's a list of things I find useful:
-Eat in season. Root vegetables like beets, turnips, rutabagas and potatoes are in season and make a satisfying dish. Try baked beets with raw garlic, sage and butter. Winter squash are tasty, nutritious and colorful. They make excellent soups and mashes, and can be baked or steamed. My favorite varieties are butternut, kabochas, delicata and gold nugget. They pair well with sage or nutmeg. In some places, hardy greens such as kale and collards are available in winter. Many fruits such as apples, pears and citrus are in season during the winter (or stored from fall).
-Prepare soup stocks. There's nothing like a long-simmered bone broth to drive away the winter chill. They are also rich in minerals and gelatin, which aids digestion and soothes the digestive tract.
-Make sauerkraut or other fermented vegetables. Fermentation was once used as a means to preserve flavor and nutrition for the winter. Fermented vegetables are a powerful digestive aid. After the first frost, cabbage is at its sweetest. Sweet cabbage makes the best kraut.
-Keep your vitamin D level high. This may protect against the typical winter ills, including flu and seasonal depression. Unless you live in a warm climate and spend time outside in the winter regularly, it's wise to seek out vitamin D. High-vitamin cod liver oil, pasture-raised animal fats, shellfish and fatty fish are good sources. Some people may wish to supplement with vitamin D3.