As a sun-seeking California girl with a sensitive constitution, I can attest first hand to the importance of adjusting one’s diet to keep in step with the changing seasons. As the weather gets colder and damper, be sure to imbibe plenty of hot, nourishing foods and liquids. This is definitely the advent of soup season. You can have fun in the kitchen with a myriad of vegetarian soups. Like making salad, start with a few quality ingredients you enjoy, a stock or broth, and get to playing! This is also a good time to garnish foods and teas with seasonal herbs and spices, such as ginger, cinnamon, and cloves. Not only do such herbs and spices give a cozy feel, they are also rich with medicinal benefits.
Let’s start with ginger:
“Taken at the onset of a general cold, particularly if chills accompany the episode, is a popular and effective way of countering wintertime distresses” (Herbal Medicine, Charles W. Kane). According the Anne McIntyre (Top 100 Herbal Remedies) both ginger and cinnamon are good for promoting circulation. Sipping on fresh ginger tea is a great way to stay toasty. Just boil fresh grated ginger in water, and add honey and lemon if desired.
Clove always brings about a yuletide feel for me, and furthermore it is a stimulant with anesthetic and antiseptic properties. “Internally use clove for nausea and indigestion with gas pain originating from the stomach or the intestines” (Herbal Medicine, Charles W. Kane).
I am also a big fan of cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg, which can be used to make delicious spicy teas. Cinnamon also does well in savory vegetable or lentil dishes. And, whole clove is pleasant to keep in small bowls around the house, just for the aromatic effects.
Here is a simple recipe for a seasonal soup: Creamy Vegan Pumpkin-Coconut Soup
Start with water, miso, coconut milk, and pumpkin puree. Bring ingredients to a gentle boil. Add chopped veggies of choice (I used green cabbage, kale, and shitake mushrooms). Add fresh sliced ginger. Boil on low until veggies soften. Add sea salt or Bragg’s and garam masala. For an extra kick, throw in some black pepper and paprika too!