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Survive and thrive holistically this winter

By Mercedes Kay Gold, CNP, CPT

Escaping to the great outdoors every cold and snowy day is essential. With shorter days, bright sunny days are a gift from nature. Our body can only produce vitamin D, this fat-soluble vitamin, by the direction action of sunlight on the skin. Living north of the equator equals an essential need for vitamin D, better known as the sunshine vitamin. Vitamin D helps increase calcium absorption, regulates calcification and mineralization of bones, as well as phosphorus metabolism. Vitamin D may offer protection against MS, Type-1 diabetes and cancer. Day to day life stressors, and immunity boosting essential for optimal health, vitamin D is more important than ever. Fatty cold-water fish such as mackerel, rainbow trout, sardines, anchovies and salmon, as well as beef liver and egg yolks all contain loads of the sunshine vitamin. Look for fortified favorites orange juice, dairy alternatives and a wide array of cereals in lieu of animal-based products. Mushrooms are a menu must for plant-based options. Choose vitamin D with K2, as it helps move calcium to where the body needs it. Boost vitamin K2 with loads of leafy greens. For warm winter sides, steam and squeeze citrus to help boost vitamin C.

A winter walk is a great go-to for feeling fabulous, and a great way to ward off feelings of depression. Exercise is in style 365 days a year. Despite social distancing, nature is nearby. Grab a friend and get moving. Dress properly. Layering is perfect and wool socks are super snugly. There are wads of winter-friendly running, walking and hiking shoes on the market. Gor-Tex keeps your feet dry and spiked add-ons powerup heavier soles, offering extra protection against slipping. Bundled brisk walking increases your need for hydration. Warm up the body by slow walking and increase speed. Look for urban hills or choose routes with inclined sidewalks to power up intensity.  Frosty days makes it easy to ignore a loss of electrolytes. Magnesium, salt and potassium need replacing whether it’s plus or minus 30 degrees. Coconut water is perfect in a post-workout smoothie. Fresh produce pumps up potassium. Exercising hardcore outdoors is no different than indoors.  Magnesium supplements and Epsom salt hot baths help restore and relax tired muscles.

Winter without a doubt is not loved by all. Comfort food is a real thing, as the body yearns to be warmed up. Bone broth is a staple of the keto-diet and a great winter swap for those who enjoy liquid diets with body boosting benefits. Bone broth has skin supporting collagen, glycine-goodness to help address leaky gut and mega amounts of minerals and vitamins. Choose organic bones, roasting before slow minimum heat cooking for 24 hours. Garlic, onions, rosemary and turmeric increase the anti-inflammatory immune boosting benefits.

Warm up winter workouts with grounding carbohydrates. Parsnips, sweet potatoes, beets, carrots and squash are superstar starches providing an array of antioxidants due to their rainbow bright eye-catching colors. Love legumes; the perfect alternative to meat chilis on chilly days.

Just like a bear, hibernation is human happiness. Warm tea, yoga and a good read help relax, restore and replenish the mind, body and spirit. Balance is key to longevity. Crawling under the covers and maintaining a solid sleep schedule leads to morning exercise energy!

Mercedes Kay Gold is a Certified Holistic Practitioner and Certified Mobile Personal Trainer living and working in Toronto. Her writing has been featured in various publications and has appeared on Daytime with Jacqueline Betterton. She spends her spare time blogging about all things healthy and enjoying time with her sons. She can be reached at mercedeskaygoldfitness@gmail.com or visit www.mercedeskaygold.com

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