Do you find that once the snow flies you drift into snacking and wanting to eat more? I do. Perhaps winter’s chilly temperatures trigger biological changes that stimulate hunger and increase cravings for more energy-dense foods. Call it an evolutionary drive to fatten us up to survive harsher conditions.
Another theory points to the fewer daylight hours. Sunlight is a cue for the brain to release serotonin, a mood-boosting neurotransmitter. So perhaps the relative lack of sunlight in winter prompts cravings for carbohydrates, which also stimulate the release of serotonin. People tend to be most vulnerable to snacking in the early evening, as darkness falls. And in winter, the window of time between dusk and dinner gets larger. If you snack mindlessly during this time, you just might get larger too. 😉
So this month I’m dishing it up on snacking. I’ll touch on the science of snacking, what to snack on when a snack makes sense and the type of “snacks” that are always A-OK!
This month in Dishing It Up on Snacking …
- The Science of Snacking
- Snacks that Satisfy
- Beware of health claims on foods (especially snack foods)
- Try an ‘Activity Snack’
- The 7 best short workouts for heart health, strength and mood
Read on for a bite-sized summary and links for each story …
To D or not to D – that is the question. I’m referring, of course, to vitamin D and whether it’s a good idea to take a vitamin D supplement. Here are some multiple choice answers for you to ponder:
- a) always
- b) by no means
- c) capsule form only
- d) definitely in the dark days of winter!
So, to D or not to D. That is the question. And the answer is …
d) definitely in the dark days of winter.
Read on for more about why it’s important to supplement vitamin D.
My last blog post, Go With the Slow, discussed how it is natural to crave not only more food but more calorically dense food as the outside temperature drops. This is because your body requires more energy just to keep its core temperature where it should be. And it wants to prepare itself for winter by adding a little protective, insulating fat. The traditional winter diet for those of us living in Northern climates is rich with starchy root vegetables, proteins and fats for these reasons but also because things like leafy greens simply were not available at this time of year.
I favour local, seasonal eating as much as possible. The food is fresher. After all, it hasn’t had to travel crazy distances to get to our table. I like to support our local farmers and food businesses. I advocate home-cooked food too.
These concepts are all embraced within the Slow Food movement, first created in Italy in 1986 to promote alternatives to fast food. So I designed my Slowvember Slow Food Menu to encourage you to Go With the Slow and embrace these Slow Food concepts.
I’ve been feeling rather slow these days. It seems to happen every year around this time. I generally dismiss it as a mild case of the “winter blues”, as I’m more of a summer person. But I’ve noticed my energy level is not as high as usual and I’ve been feeling hungrier than I normally do.
Rather than trying to fight it and plod on, however, I’ve decided to “go with the slow”. Because that is exactly what we are intended to do as we transition through fall and winter. And it has to do with our circadian and seasonal rhythms.
Winter “frostrates” me. I have to work at not letting it get me down. I was thinking recently that this coming winter might be even more challenging with the pandemic and all basically putting a chill, so to speak, on my usual ways to keep my spirits up. My Finnish grandmother, who embodied sisu, came to mind and I said to myself “C’mon Laurie, tap into some of that sisu that Grammy Saimi passed on to you!” Then, lo and behold, I was perusing Overdrive and The Finnish Way: Finding Courage, Wellness and Happiness Through the Power of Sisu (by Katja Pantzar) popped up as a recommendation. Seems Google really is listening. So here is what I learned about sisu and the Scandinavian wisdom of hygge and lagom in my exploration of Nordic winter ways. This winter I’m determined to chillax!