Jumping into Winter! (Winter hikes anyone?)

Posted on February 1, 2010


I’m looking for adventurous people to do some crazy winter hikes with on Mount Royal! (2-4 hours, off trail, no snowshoes) I am not much for winter sports, but I love to just get out in the snow and get lost on the mountain. It’s amazing how far away the city can feel – without leaving town! Contact me if you are interested.

I am not a winter person by nature. It took me years to learn to deal with the intensity of Montreal winters. I now rarely get sick and generally deal well with the cold, something I could not say throughout my 20’s when we are supposedly at the height of vigor and healthy resistance.

Why do some people seem to deal so well with winter while others do not?

Understanding my innate constitution and how to deal with it has transformed my enjoyment of winter by allowing me to respond to my body’s needs with the right food, actions, and herbs including a seasonal diet.

One of the most common issues my clients raise with me is winter malaise. Feeling cold often, weakness, fatigue, lethargy, depression, frequent colds and flus, craving of alcohol, sweets, and carbohydrates, skin conditions, and other complaints can be part of this. It is disturbing to me that people often find themselves on prescribed medications as a result, anything from antidepressants to antibiotics, just to deal with seasonal issues. All traditional health systems emphasize adapting to the seasons, rather than resisting the seasons as we tend to do in modern society.

Part of this adaptation for essentially healthy people is simply feeling and experiencing the season and simultaneously putting into place the right foods, herbs, cooking techniques, and exercises so the body can deal effectively with the cold. These changes typically include more cooked foods, more spices, more meats, and herbs that boost warmth and immunity in the body. This must be done without increasing junk carbohydrates, caffeine, refined sugars, alcohol, and dairy products which tend to eventually congest and deplete organ systems, typically resulting in that ever-so-common end-of-winter crash. Avoid excessive home and workplace heating in the winter so your body’s inner thermostat can be triggered. This will also avoid excessively dry air indoors, making your skin and breathing passages less vulnerable. The right herbs and some very specific foods can have perhaps the most dramatic effect. These should be chosen with the help of a professional based on your innate constitution and specific problems or predispositions.

Whatever you do, get out there and deal with the season, rather than hiding from it! Hope to see you on the Mountain!

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photos by Yolaine

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