Winter is a time of stillness. Literally speaking this means that there are hardly any leaves left where the wind can rustle through. The birds aren’t singing anymore, some have already left before the frost, others are silent. The people spend less time outside. If snow falls, the last sounds are muffled under the insulating blanket. Even the smells of nature seem frozen in the winter. There are odours, such as those of pine, but there is hardly any heat to transport those odours. Only when you fetch the pine branches inwards, into the warmth of your home, comes the smell of winter.
Figuratively speaking it’s also a time of silence. The winter is the Sunday of the seasons. Therefore this is a resting period, in which nature can collect his forces under the ground. The frost seems to reinforce that silence. For many plants the life processes are shut down. The juices aren’t flowing anymore, they cease their activities and the rotting bacterium comes to a standstill. Meanwhile the frost acts on structures. The best way to see this is when you look at water condensing to ice, or your own breath turning into flowers on the windows. Less well known is that frost is also a good force on the structure of the ground. Frozen clay soil for example, cracks open. The grove and big chunks are changed into much finer and crumblier clay. Frost makes some cabbages (like kale) more digestible and some of them can taste even sweeter. The germination of the seeds is more powerful after the frost. The seeds of many wild primula and gentian plants may not even germinate of they haven’t been frozen. Although the frost makes the nature paralyse, in the mean time it activates the hidden life processes in the seeds.
Something lurks in the hidden life processes of the secret of the winter.
Many seeds are germinated in the ground back in December. Spring showers are often associated with growth; it let the seeds sprouting and growing.
But in fact it is the autumn rains in November, in combination with the cold December days that is necessary to germinate.
When there are a couple of days of soft weather, after the cold ones, the seed of lots of trees and pioneers plants will start sprouting.
Then they will stay in that state for spring, before it will continue to grow.
However, when we don’t have the cold days first after the rain in November, then the chances are these seeds will start rotting away instead of germinating. Such a hesitant start is a phenomenon that you also encounter in the animal world. It has been discovered that animals that are fertilized in the autumn, for example a deer, create a very small beginning. This stays than in a resting state until Christmas and then it continues to grow, so the calf is born in the spring.
The fact that it hangs around until Christmas and then starts growing probably has to do with the fact that the days then again begins to lengthen. From more and more scientific studies shows how the vitality of all living organisms depend on sunlight. Around the day that we celebrate New Year’s Eve, the saps in the trees begin to stream again. In the cycle of trees, the first of January truly is the beginning of the New Year.
Nutrition provides the fuel for your body to function properly. Heat comes from the combustion of these nutrients and energy. In addition, it delivers the construction materials for the growth and maintenance of your body, such as carbohydrates, proteins, fats and vitamins. But before it can do something for your body, it must first become a part of your body. Your body takes the nutrients, breaks it completely off, then transforms this and rebuilds it, in its very own peculiar way to substances that supports and feeds your body. This digestive process proves in itself to be important. Artificial feeding through an infusion for example, is only to be accepted by the body for a short period, despite how carefully the loose nutrients are selected. It’s like with a piece of music. That is vividly by the way the loose nuts are forged together. But if you listen to the nuts from the written music separately it has little to do with music. In artificial feeding, nutrients are loosened from the natural whole and therefore there’s nothing to digest. If you skip the process of digesting and processing too long, you’ll eventually get sick. Your body must move significantly to properly digest. With every food your body must find a new way to handle this. Brussels sprouts are processed in different way than a strawberry. It is partly to this agility that you stay vital and healthy. The more vigorous the food is that you eat, the bigger the challenge to digest and so the more it promotes your own vitality. The vitality of the food depends on the way it is grown. Fruits and vegetables that gets the time to mature is therefore richer in vitamins and is more vigorous than the species who are filled up with water and chemical fertilizer in order to grow quickly. Also the operation affects the vitality. For example, there is more to digest from whole grain products than there is from white flour products.
Whole grain cereals are very warming in winter. Wheat, oats, barley and rye let your gut work hard, so heat is released. Moreover, a large proportion of cereal products exist for carbohydrates. Your body converts this into sugars and that gives energy and warmth. It is important that they are well cooked cereals, and simmer preferably for some weeks (for example, in a hay box). The grain will then be able to open more, allowing for a better way for the valuable nutrients (in the metabolism) to be included. In white flour the vitamins, minerals and fibers, which especially in the bud, but also in the outer layers of the grain sitting there, are sift thru. To whole wheat flour the fibers are in any case added back, and organic whole wheat flour is made from the entire grain and therefore the valuable germ is still in there (it is because of the fats from the germ that they have a less long shelf life). Oats is the most warming of all grains, because he also is rich in fat. A bowl of porridge eaten before a hefty bike tour through the cold is not so crazy after all. This is also something to remember for the winter sports.
Fats for heat and energy
Fats get in the winter a shinier role. If you ever have a graving for crème soup, creamy sauces, or homemade pudding with whipped cream, or bavarois, then it will be in the winter. Roasted nuts do well as a crispy and warming detail in all sorts of dishes. And what is also eaten more in the winter are meat and bacon. That is not so crazy. Just like carbohydrates, the fats are a nutrient that gives the body so much energy and heat supply. A small amount of fat may already give a great amount of energy. Digesting fats also lasts longer than the digestion of carbohydrates or proteins and fats also slows down the stomach operation. Therefore it takes longer after a fatty meal to get hungry again. A limited fat reserve is helpful. A fat layer under the skin works in the cold time of the year as a protective layer for the underlying organs. But almost nobody needs to be afraid that he receives too little fats. Most of us eat too much fat. But don’t avoid them entirely, because many healthy vitamins such as A, D, E and K, are dissolved in fats. There are books note about healthy and less healthy fats. Generally you can say that your body can cope better with vegetable fats and non refined fats, which are easier to digest than animal or refined fats.