It seemed like a good time to re-run this post which was originally published last year.

Spring is full of raw salads and greens. Summer brings unending tomato salads. Fall is full of lettuce and squash once again. And then there is winter.

If you eat seasonally (and live in a northern climate) then you’ve probably struggled with balancing the heavy foods that our bodies truly need in the cold with our body’s need for enzymes, good bacteria, and fat-soluble vitamins. After all, it’s easy to make a pot of soup, but to balance that with something crisp and light and good for your digestion is difficult when nothing is growing outside.

So when I started planning for our no groceries project and writing Simple Food {for winter} I sat down and made some lists. These lists contain the foods I try to feed my family daily and weekly to keep their digestion easy, their immune systems strong, and their body’s full of vitamins A, D, & K.

But really, it’s more common sense than scientific. When there are no raw vegetables available you eat the vegetables that grew in September and were preserved via fermentation. When you need more enzymes why would you pasteurize your dairy? When you want to keep your vitamin D levels up why not eat eggs, liver, and cod liver oil?

This is how our ancestors ate. It’s common sense, it’s not a fad, and it is the basis for the recipes I share in Simple Food {for winter}. These are the foods that invariably make us feel better. Liver may not be my favorite food, but when turned into a delicious wine and mushroom-studded gravy I’ll eat it. Especially since it contains more available nutrients than a bottle of synthetic vitamins. Oh, and it’s just another part of the animal so if I’m going to eat a steak or a thigh then I should probably be willing to eat the liver too.

Daily

  • Cultured & Raw Dairy.We are loving kefir right now for smoothies (pumpkin since we’re out of berries).
  • Pastured Eggs. Fried, scrambled, in a frittata, or raw yolks in smoothies – we usually eat at least two per day.
  • Lacto-Fermented Vegetables. We eat these every night at dinner and a most of the time with lunch. Sauerkraut, salsa, kimchi, and cortido are like my version of convenience food.
  • Lacto-Fermented Beverages. We drink a couple of glasses of either kombucha or water kefir a day. It is so delicious, refreshing, and just makes you feel light and energetic.
  • Cod Liver Oil. It’s funny that I’ve talked to several people from my parents or grandparents generation who say "oh yeah, we always took cod liver oil." It’s nothing fancy, just the oil from the liver of a cod – high in vitamins A & D.
  • Raw Vegetables & Fruits (if available).Right now we have two apples. The last carrot was eaten yesterday with sprouted hummus. Sometimes I think "what I wouldn’t give for a big salad," but I know spring will come eventually.
  • Butter, Coconut Oil, Lard, and Tallow. I am sad for the people who are afraid of fat. Sad because I was one of them and sad because not eating fat makes people sad. Say it with me "fat is necessary for health and happiness." By happiness I mean that saturated fats and cholesterol actually do things in your brain like make vitamin D prevent seasonal affective disorder and create serotonin that gives you the ability to feel anything but, well, sad.

Weekly

  • Organ Meat. We still don’t eat this as often as I think we should, but I’m putting pate on the menu this week and I’ll be doing something with kidneys next week.
  • Wild Seafood. Once a week I try to be sure we are eating wild salmon or wild cod (what I have on hand). This means that we actually eat 2 servings of wild seafood per week because of leftovers for lunch.
  • Stock. Some weeks we actually eat this daily, but usually 4-5 times per week minimum. It’s easy when you are eating lots of soup and stew.

So, that is my list of foods that I aim to feed my family during winter. Of course the bulk of the actual food on our plate is squashes, potatoes, turnips, pastured meats, and lots and lots of soup. The recipes in Simple Food {for winter} were developed to incorporate these foods into our daily diets.

What do you eat in winter to keep you feeling well?

By the way, I am not a medical expert and don’t pretend to know what they know nor do I prevent or cure illnesses. I just like to share what works for us in the hopes that it may work for you too.