November 20, 2019 7:10 am Leave your thoughts
It’s a long time till summer – are you tempted to save energy by simply putting yourself into standby mode? Sofa socks on, blanket wrapped around you, remote control and a plate of hobnobs to hand?
In France, these kinds of gloomy wintry days are known as ‘temps de Toussaint’ – the weather of All Saints. All Saints Day is celebrated on November 1st in France, when dank, depressing weather is all but guaranteed. Giving it a name helps, making it clear that everyone else is suffering too.
But there are four or five months of it still to go! What to do?
All sorts of mammals deal with winter by stuffing themselves away in attics, dens and holes. What about us – are humans programmed to hibernate too? The experts talk us through it.
“Hibernation is an extended period of energy-saving torpor. The body slows down and breathing, temperature and metabolic and heart rate all decrease.
It makes intuitive sense to do this in winter. Conditions are harsh and there is little food to be had, as fewer plants are growing. So many animals fatten themselves up during summer, then live off body-fat reserves until it is time to wake up.”
It works well for these animals: they avoid predators, make the most of scarce resources and allow their bodies to repair cells and generally maintain themselves. But, darn it, humans can’t do that, the experts say. It’s all to do with our evolutionary heritage: we evolved in the tropics of Africa and lack the vital bodily mechanisms that would allow us to hibernate successfully.
Nevertheless, some of us have a little more dormouse in us than others, it seems. And for those in that category, winter feels like one long-wished-for duvet day.
We may not be able to lie on the sofa all day every day for the next four or five months. But the odd day – the odd snatched hour – might be possible. So this week, if only for one wintry Sunday afternoon, we’ve decided to embrace our inner tortoise. We’re celebrating the art of human hibernation – and the food stocked by Naturally Good Food that fits the occasion!
I’m hibernating: what to eat?
Porridge: start your day with porridge – it’s a duvet day in a bowl. We’ve got three options here for the Most Comforting Porridge in the World: a satisfying traditional Scots porridge, a sunny polenta porridge and a Mexican chocolate porridge. You’ll need to use our soft, creamy organic oats for two of those – and while you’ve got the packet out, throw some into a bowl to make the famous NGF, thick, chewy, thoroughly satisfying flapjack. The standard recipe is here, but under the circumstances, we’d suggest you go one step further and supercharge it by adding some sunflower and pumpkin seeds, along with chopped Brazil nuts, dates and apricots, before baking.
Wholefoods: oats are wholefoods, and so are virtually all the other hibernation-friendly ingredients. There’s nothing hair-shirt about wholefoods – they’re the red-flannel-fleece-lined leggings of the food world. Wholefoods are the food that will satisfy, comfort and sustain you through the winter (and ultimately, the food that will power you up again). There’s no time for flimsy rubbish when you’re hibernating: you need food that will keep your inner furnace fired up. Check out our brown rice, our pulses, our grains, nuts, seeds, oils and dried fruit here.
A pudding that’s worth the calories: there’s a time and a place for sorbet and a bowl of strawberries – winter in the UK is not it. We’ve got recipes for a great big steaming syrup pudding here; a Paddington-inspired marmalade sponge pudding here; a flu-curing Brown Betty here; and an emergency mincemeat and apple Eve’s pudding here. Devour until your ribs literally stick together.
Spiced anything at all: cloves, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, turmeric and all the rest – our warming, organic winter spices will make your throttle roar. Throw them in curries, sprinkle them on hot drinks, add them to bakes and cakes and everything else. They’ll comfort and revive and have you purring like a cat in front of a wood-burner. See our blog here for more information.
Powering up again?
It’s far too soon to think about that right now. But when the calendar ticks over, when the earth turns, when the sun finally makes it into your bedroom before the alarm goes off once more, you’ll need to throw off that duvet and think about emerging into the world again. If you’ve sustained yourself with proper wholefoods through the dark winter months, your body should have all the energy and muscle-power it needs to propel you off that sofa – and back out into the world.
Tags: apricots, brown rice, cayenne pepper, chopped Brazil nuts, cinnamon, cloves, dates, dried fruit, flapjack recipe, grains, hibernate, hibernation, Nuts, oils, organic oats, organic spices, porridge, pudding recipes, Pulses, pumpkin seeds, Seeds, standby mode, sunflower seeds, turmeric, Wholefoods
This post was written by Yzanne