Winter is a great time to explore natural and environmentally-friendly ways to stay warm and save on our heating bills. In addition, maintaining a healthy body temperature enables us to function more optimally and ward off potential colds, infections, and other illnesses.
First of All—Stay Healthy!
A healthy human body is one big energy producing machine, especially when we give it the right fuel. When you look at a picture of the human body with infrared technology, all you see is radiating heat—At its normal resting state, it generates enough heat to boil a gallon of water each day. The body’s heat cycles vary daily, but certainly by insuring that your body is in a good state of metabolic health, you can do a lot to maintain a healthy body temperature even during cold winter months.
Cover Your Windows and Seal Your Doors
If you haven’t yet insulated (double-paned) your windows and sealed your doors, you can take short-term measures to save heat and money. Cover your windows with a sheet or blanket, making sure that the window is all the way closed first and that your covering is not near a heating system. Weather stripping around doors and even taping around the edges of doors that aren’t used may also help keep out those cold drafts.
Hot Water Bottles, Hot Tubs, Saunas
One of water’s many miraculous qualities is that it has a high heat capacity. A bottle of warm water will hold its heat for a while even in a cold house, acting as a very cheap mini-furnace. The rubber bottles made for this purpose may be better insulated and more comfortable to hug, but any bottle will do. Also, taking hot baths (showers not as good for building body heat) or hot tubs if you are lucky enough to have access to one is a good way to heat up the body, as are dry saunas.
Nutrition and Herbs
Food is our body’s fuel and feeds the furnace. We burn calories and that produces heat. During the colder months, we need more cooked foods and more complex carbs, proteins and fats to fuel our furnace. Baked squashes are good, hot soups, nuts and seeds as snacks, and roasted veggies are all good choices. Warming herbs, either sprinkled on foods or cooked in them, include garlic and onions, ginger and mustard, cayenne pepper, and chilies.
Get to the Root
A great and healthful source of winter warming is to eat cooked root vegetables like carrots, onions, turnips, parsnips, yams, and sweet potatoes (also, the hard squashes have a great warming effect on the body).
A true no-brainer, cups of tea or other hot healthful beverage are an integral part of any winter survival plan. Ginger root tea, simmered with slices of about half to one teaspoon per cup of water for 5-10 minutes, can be drunk with some lemon and honey for throat soothing and got enhancing body heat.
Move It or Lose It
Working out, exercising, and moving during the winter may not seem like the most enjoyable activity, but it works! As well as giving you a rush of endorphins, which boosts your mood, exercise will get the blood pumping around your body and vitally heat up your skin. Blood and body fluids from the warmer parts of your body are more efficiently transmitted to the cooler parts of your body.
Keep Your Extremities Protected
Who hasn’t been out in the winter freeze and felt their ears burning, or their fingers and toes tingling from the frigid temperature. Your extremities are farthest away from your body’s heat center, and their circulation is more readily restricted that other parts of the body when we are trying to save energy.
Probably the most enjoyable ways to stay warm during the winter months is to hang out with friends and family. Besides creating activity (and heat) and distracting you from the cold, more people produce more heat.