Fighting Off Cold Weather Naturally

Frigid outdoor temperatures, indoor heating, crackling fires in the hearth -these hallmarks of winter can take a toll on skin and lead to dry, cracked hands, flaky, itchy bodies and rough red faces.  Enough! You too, can beat winter dryness with a few changes to your daily routine and proper nutrition. Alison Birks is my nutritionist and sometimes I twist her arm to give me health tips. I was whining the other day about my dry hands and feet and here’s what I gotThanks Alison!

How to keep your skin smooth and soft this time of year:

  1. Eat more fats.  Healthy choices include: Grass-fed butter or ghee, nuts, nut butters, olives, olive oil, avocado, fatty fish, fish oils, hemp, flaxseed and coconut oil.
  2. Use plant-based oils on your skin. Some go-to products include: Shea butter, cocoa butter, mango butter and almond, jojoba and avocado oils.  Plain olive oil can be used on the skin.  Apply oil or solid fat while your skin is still damp after a bath or shower.
  3. Limit the length of your shower (no, Alison!)) and use warm water to wash.  If you can, it’s best not to shower every day during the winter months. If that’s too difficult then at least don’t wash your hair every day. During the cold weather, wash on alternating days. On your “no shampoo” days, use conditioner only. This is especially helpful if you have very dry, damaged or chemically processed hair.
  4. Moisturize your lips and the insides of your nostrils with a shea butter lip balm.  If your nostrils are moist, there’s less of a chance that cold and flu viruses can enter the nasal cavity and proliferate.
  5. Wear a scarf!  Cashmere or other natural fiber scarves wrapped around your neck will keep you warm and prevent chills.
  6. Your feet are just as important as your neck. Keep your feet warm! Wear warm socks during winter—cashmere or wool. Wear socks to bed at night and use slippers around the house.
  7. Foot soaks made with heating herbs like ginger help you induce a sweat if you’re feeling run down. This remedy works great at the very start of an illness when you’re feeling chilled.

Ginger foot soak recipe: Chop 1 large fresh ginger rhizome into small pieces. Place the ginger into a saucepan of water, bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer covered for 30 minutes. Strain out the liquid and pour into a footbath. Add more water until the temperature is hot but not scalding. Bundle yourself up in a robe, blankets and layers of warmth, submerge your feet in the bath and sip on some hot herbal tea (try elderberry or ginger tea) Relax, warm up and begin to perspire. Now go to bed and sleep it off!

This song’s for Alison…”Missing You,” written by English musician John Waite peaked at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. It’s sung here with American bluegrass artist Alison Krauss-they recorded it together in 2007. Don’t you love a good duet? If you haven’t listened to Alison Krauss before, she’s well worth a listen-and, she happens to be the most awarded female artist in Grammy history.

I’m crazy about the green chair I used in this photo. I chose the chair because it’s leather- you know- the skin theme…So much enjoyment in life comes from putting beautiful things together. You can see some more fab furniture here:

Keep warm and enjoy the rest of these winter months! Don’t forget to subscribe here and we’ll get through it together:

If you’re looking for help eating well or getting well naturally, call Alison. Alison Birks, MS, AHG, CNS is a nutritionist, holistic health counselor and clinical herbalist. She’s simply the best.

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