How to Avoid the Dreaded Fall and Winter Weight Gain!
When fall comes around, which is the current space we are in, it’s natural to want heavier or more “comforting” foods. All those light delicious raw foods—including fruit, fresh veggies and big green salads you loved during the summer may not be enough when the weather gets cooler.
One of the things that I’ve always advocated is adjusting what you eat according to the seasons. If you crave warm foods during this time, you can get plenty of them.
Grounding, hot and savory food doesn’t mean you have to pack on the pounds! The Beauty Detox plan works and can be adapted to every season, and won’t make you freeze or hate your food until spring.
What the Research Says
While it’s not Thanksgiving yet, I want you be prepared, even though the research that most people gain a lot of weight during the holidays has been largely exaggerated. While the media often conveys this idea that people typically gain 7-10 pounds during the holidays, that was found to be not true.
So that’s the good news. The bad news is that the one pound people often gain during the fall and winter? Well, that pound is never lost—according to that same study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
So while you don’t have to worry about getting obese during the Fall and Winter seasons, you should still be mindful of the many pitfalls and challenges that arise, and exactly how to keep your health and beauty at its peak.
Of course, it’s understandable that we’d reach for sweets and rich foods at this time. As the weather turns colder, we begin to shift to a more to a phase of hibernation. So, for literally thousands of years, this craving for richer or more calorie dense foods kept us alive through harsh winters where food became more scarce.
There’s nothing wrong with this. In fact, in a moment, I’m going to show you how to honor your cravings for warm, savory foods—without starting to store extra fat like a bear preparing for hibernation! It all starts with avoiding the foods that will do real harm.
5 Types of “Food” to Be Avoided
You should still avoid the usual clogging weight-gain culprits that tiptoe their way in to fall and winter diets:
This past month, we were in the middle of Halloween festivities, which means candy was everywhere! Kids bring it home, the office is filled with it, and there’s hardly a place you go that won’t have chocolate or sweets. To make matters worse, it’s usually not healthy dark chocolate, but rather sugary milk chocolate—which can be congestive and create weight gain! Keep some dark chocolate around for in case you get tempted by all the sweets to have something sweet.
Rich sauces and gravy
Though they can turn a light dish into a hearty, comforting one, these sauces often contain a lot of animal products and fat, which can clog your body and make you gain weight over the winter. Even if you’re not a vegan or vegetarian, there are better ways to enjoy animal products.
This is tempting for some because it’s a warm, gooey topping that you can put on top of your vegetables and casseroles. Cheese is a comfort food for a lot of people and sometimes one of the hardest things to kick, but dairy is difficult to digest, acid-forming and it’s best to be avoided rather than eaten in moderation.
I’ve never said everyone must be vegan or vegetarian, and if meat is part of what you feel your body needs, then by all means listen to your body (and keep listening over time to see if that shifts or changes in any way). I only advise that you do so in moderation.
Hearty stews with tender meat may be a part of your fall or winter fare, but you should be careful to only eat it—or any meat—no more than a few evenings per week. From a beauty perspective, meat is harder for your body to digest than other options that are just as filling and delicious, and all that hard work spent digesting concentrated foods that don’t break down easily steals your beauty energy.
Refined sugar, white flour, and wheat
These often go hand-in-hand with holiday baking (cookies, anyone?). Also, milky, sweet, frothy lattes and cappuccinos to make you feel comforted and warm. Try some warm almond milk and tea instead.
And if you can, try to take a dessert free of any of these things to parties and gatherings where you know you’ll be tempted to have something sweet after your meal. Share with the other guests and you may turn them on to a healthier lifestyle. Try my Raw Pecan Pie recipe.
Don’t forget to eat Light to Heavy! Even when you’re putting more warm foods into your diet, you should still follow this guideline to prevent bloating, discomfort, and weight gain. If you’re feeling sluggish, slowing down your digestion is not the way to go!
Balance Cooked and Raw Veggies for Maximum Benefit
While you may not crave as much raw foods, it’s good to still incorporate some raw/living nutrition into your diet, no matter how cold it is outside. This includes the Glowing Green Smoothie®, which I still recommend every day, even in the fall and winter!
Start with your hot water with lemon in the morning to get something warm into your body first. Then have the GGS more at room temperature, rather than icy cold. Also, still have your salad and raw veggies before you dig into your piping hot meal.
When you do eat cooked meals, and especially when heavier ones, be sure to take digestive enzymes.
Of course, you should know by now that Beauty Detox isn’t a raw food plan. Still, as I mentioned a moment ago, I do recommend getting in raw, fiber-filled veggies and salads through all seasons. If you have compromised digestion or find yourself getting really bloated after eating, steamed veggies lightly may be a better option for you in the transition period to rebuilding your system.
What to Seek Out
Cold weather and giving into overly heavy, less than ideal foods can lead some people to feel depressed, lethargic, congested, and just kind of blah all around.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are some great foods to incorporate this fall and into winter:
Soups loaded with vegetables and made with vegetable broth are warm and filling. To make thicker soups and stews, you can puree part of it and mix it back in with chunkier vegetables. For example, a base of carrots and potatoes can be pureed once they’re tender, then simmered with bitter greens and other vegetables of your choice (even more chunks of carrots and potatoes, if you’d like). If you’re making bean soup, take a cup or two out, puree it, then add it back in to play with the texture.
Curried brown rice and vegetable dishes warm you up with spices. Curry powder, ginger, turmeric, and garlic are all great for warming the body and fighting off inflammation. No super thick, creamy sauces necessary, but if you do want to thicken it up a bit, you can always make a sauce with your spices and some coconut milk to pour over your rice and vegetables.
Hearty cooked vegetable sides like kale, winter squash, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts round out your meal. Enjoy some bitter greens (like collards) for a nutrient-rich option that’s also super alkalizing. You can even toss them in with a healthy grain (quinoa, millet, amaranth) and some cooked onion to make a full meal.
Add warm veggies (or lentils) on top of cold salads. This can include roasted beets with garlic, steamed broccoli or kale, and more—in order to get some heat in there without sacrificing the goodness of those enzymes and the hydrating effects a salad has on your body (don’t forget, you can get dehydrated in the winter, too!). Sometimes, I put a dollop of lentil soup on top of my salad! YUM! ;)
- My Shepherd’s Pie recipe is a huge hit—even the guys love it!
- If mashed potatoes are the comfort food you’re craving, make a raw cauliflower substitute! There’s no butter, and not a lot of salt, but they’re so incredibly good!
- My Cauliflower Energy Soup can be served warm. Just heat it up on the stove until it’s the temperature your body needs.
Bump up the Spices
This is the perfect time to increase the spices that make you sweat! They’re effective at helping you detox, plus they warm you up from the inside. When you want to flavor your food the Beauty Detox way, add:
- Curry powder
- Red pepper flakes
You can add these to your breakfast, your lunches, and in some cases, even your smoothies or juices.
There are tremendous health benefits that come from some of these spices as well. Ginger, for example, has been shown to work better than drugs for some forms of pain. Turmeric, the primary spice in curry, has powerful anti-inflammatory effects that rival many medicines. And cinnamon can help keep even the most serious diabetic from experiencing blood sugar crashes, making it amazing for anyone who wants to keep their weight consistent throughout the holidays—especially with all the sweets around!
Warm (and Warming) Drinks
There’s no other time I hear that people are more susceptible to giving back in to the coffee or sugar-laden drinks from coffee shops than in the winter. The spicy warmth (or just the warmth!), calls to you when it’s cold, and it could feel nearly impossible to resist unless you have a few healthy recipe alternatives tucked away in your mind.
I’m a BIG fan of hot tea and other hot beverages during the fall and winter months. The only caveat is that you shouldn’t prepare them so hot that you risk burning your mouth. Research shows that scalding hot liquid can raise your risk for esophageal canceR, so please be mindful of that.
Here are some great options:
Vegan Hot Chocolate:
I have a recipe for Vegan, Almost-raw Hot Chocolate. It’s just made up of almond milk, cacao powder, and stevia. If you don’t want to follow a recipe, just warm the almond milk on the stove, then add a teaspoon (up to a heaping tablespoon of cacao powder), and stevia, to taste.
That’s it! Super simple and incredibly satisfying, especially on a cold night.
Spiced Apple Cider:
While I wouldn’t usually cook fruit juice or fruit, this is a nice treat occasionally, if you are really feeling like it. Juice three or four pounds of apples. You can also slice them and toss them in the blender, then strain the mixture if you don’t have a juicer.
Heat the juice on the stove at a low-medium temperature and add spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, clove, vanilla extract, etc), to taste.
Once warm, pour the spiced cider into a giant mug and add just a little raw honey (about ½ tsp), to sweeten it up. If you’re feeling brave, you can add in a tablespoon or two of raw apple cider vinegar to give it a kick and reap the immune system and metabolism benefits it offers.
Hot Water with Lemon:
This is a staple within the Beauty Detox program, anyway, but it’s a good alternative to coffee first thing in the morning. It helps you detox, it’s warm, and the citrus helps perk you up. You can drink it this way or add a few more steps for my Immunity Tea.
Add Ginger to your Glowing Green Smoothie:
Because of its warming properties, try adding some peeled, grated ginger into your GGS and see if you like the taste. Start with about 1/4-1/2 a tsp. and adjust accordingly.
Warm Your Body and Avoid the “Fall Fat”
As we’ve learned, while your body may crave warmer and more calorie-dense foods, that doesn’t mean you have to start holding on to more weight!
Beauty Detox is all about listening and adapting to your body’s many needs, including changes in the seasons. All you have to do is “trust and adjust”! Just as you ate lighter and more raw over the summer, you can shift to more cooked and savory items now that we’re in the fall and will soon be approach winter.
As long as you keep it simple, clean, largely fiber-filled (i.e. plant-based), and avoid the less than idea items we outlined—you’ll be doing great! You may even emerge from the fall and winter months more fit than when they began.
In love and health,