It drives me a little bananas when people go on about the weather, and it never fails to confound me when, at first snowfall, people act like it's snowing for the very first time ever.
"Oh my god!" they say. "It's snowing!"
What did you expect? Frogs?
That said, even I get a little sick of that creeping cold that invades the body and settles in right at the core until spring comes.
Here are a few tips for warming ourselves from the inside out.
My pick's mulled, spiced wine.
What the experts say
"Eat less raw fruits and vegetables. Use steamed vegetables in salads. Eat soups and stews. Cooking things makes them easier to digest, so your body can conserve energy. Don't drink cold or carbonated beverages with meals. Some things are warmer or cooler by nature. Spices like ginger, cinnamon, cardamom and fennel are warming. Put black pepper on salad - it warms it up. Have a drink of alcohol, a little something in the evening. Meat is warming. Green tea is cooling. Drinks with protein, frozen berries and tropical fruit are cooling. Avoid these."
KALEB MONTGOMERY, practitioner of Chinese medicine, Toronto
"The warm colours are red, orange and yellow. Red is associated with vitamin B, the astrological sign Aries and excitement. In overdose it can increase rage and anger, but it's also love and joy. Complementing essential oils are black pepper, cedar wood, jasmine and sage. Put those in a diffuser in a room. Orange is vitamin C and the astrological sign Gemini. It rules the sun, builds confidence and peace and has a kind and warm effect. Essential oils are anise, caraway, ginger, marigold, nutmeg, cinnamon and bergamot. Yellow is vitamin A and Leo. It's optimism, joy, playfulness and knowledge. Essential oils are cumin, lemongrass, basil, fennel, angelica and tea tree."
JULIANNE BIEN, developer, Lumalight Colour Therapy System, Toronto
"Take a mini-retreat - two to 20 minutes to recharge, relax and enjoy some of the treats of the cold season, such as lighting a candle, taking a warm bath, listening to music, curling up with a novel. Write a gratitude journal. When it's cold and the days are short, you might feel a little low. Focus on things you are grateful for and write them down. A phone call is all it takes to warm up a relationship that's been dormant or neglected. Connect with those near and dear. Be present with your loved ones. It is easy to get distracted. Recognize those distractions and come back to the present. Share the joys of a home-cooked meal. In conversations, focus on listening more than talking."
JULIA JAMES, life coach, Vancouver
"The 3-Season Diet, by John Douillard, summarizes the Eastern and Western winter diets. Eat more protein and fat, hearty soups, grains and nuts and organic meat. Eat foods that are sweet, sour and salty - in moderation. Make a tea with slices of ginger and loose green tea leaves. It's healing, helps with nausea, supports digestion and can increase sweating during a cold or flu."
ZORANA ROSE, naturopathic doctor, Toronto
"Teas with mild ginseng might be okay, but ginseng is not good for everybody. Don't use Korean ginseng - it's way too warming for most. You need vitamins C and D. A lot of shipped-in fruits and vegetables lose nutritional value, so take a greens supplement. Protein is great for maintaining your blood sugar level and for warmth. Use hydrotherapy for achy joints, alternating hot and cold applications and steam inhalations for colds or congestion. A humidifier with essential oils such as tea tree or eucalyptus is great for dry throats and warding off infection. Exercise."
VANESSA LEE, naturopathic doctor, Toronto