During the winter of 1777, the Continental Army camped at Valley Forge and hunkered down in the fiercest of winter conditions. Soldiers were weak from hunger, and they resorted to eating their shoe leather to keep from starving. Needless to say, brutal winters can make for creative diets.
If you live in the Arctic, or in the wilds of Alaska, you understand this concept all too well. Vegetation is scarce at best, and most animals have gone into hibernation. What’s an omnivore to eat? An even bigger question might be, “How does one stay healthy in such rough conditions?” Here are a few tips.
Hopefully, you are reading this article while the long shadows of summer are still reaching across the fields, and you still have time to put up some healthy foods for winter. Canning is one of the best ways to preserve foods. Vegetables and meats can be stocked on your pantry shelf to be used in recipes all winter. You can even make soups and stews ahead of time and can them for quick and easy winter meals. Nothing warms you to the toes better than a bowl of hot chili on a cold, dark night. Canning ahead is akin to planning ahead. Don’t let winter take you by surprise.
If your pantry is a little bare and winter has already set in, you can always start an indoor garden. Find the sunniest windowsills in the house and place some pots or planters there for growing bean sprouts and other fast-growing crops. This will require a bit more creativity when it comes to whipping up meals, but it’s better than not having any vegetables. Try having a fresh salad with soup, or stir in some spinach leaves to beef stew. This will add color and nutrition to your diet, and the gardening will help keep your spirits up on gray, cloudy days.
Shopping Fresh May Still Be an Option
Unless you are living in an extremely remote area, you can probably find a local Farmer’s market to attend. Believe it or not, these do exist in winter. Lots of other folks are seeking healthy food choices too. What better place to bring all these people together than at a Farmer’s market? Vegetables are not the only fresh foods available in this venue. Eggs from local chickens are a farm-fresh favorite, and they are packed with nutrition. You may even be lucky enough to find a local dairy farmer selling raw milk.
Finally, be willing to live off the foods that are native to your own region. Alaskans eat a tremendous amount of meat and fish and very few vegetables, and yet they are typically healthy people. The reason for this relates to the theory that ties environmental acclimation to physical health. People living in cold climates should eat cold water fish, red meats and only vegetation that is indigenous to the region. Eating foods that have been shipped from across the globe are thought to be a shock to the body. Not everyone agrees with this idea, but there does seem to be some credence to it.
With some forethought, creativity, and compromise, you’ll be whipping up healthy meals in no time. One thing is certain. Shoe leather should not be on anyone’s menu, regardless of where they live.
About the Guest Author
Gillian Johnson is a healthcare educator from Fargo, North Dakota. She frequently provides articles to resources related to healthcare, and another sample of her findings can be found at The Best Online Degree Programs in Medical Informatics.