A plan for all seasons | You’re best off hibernating!

Here’s a plan for December, January and February, and it’s a simple one. Make a big pot of rich and thick hot chocolate. Not that powdered rubbish. Make it with a good quality chocolate and eat a piece while you’re at it. Tuck yourself into a big fluffy wool blanket. Place yourself comfortably on the couch and stay there for three months.

For non-bovines …

But, in case you’re not a bear and able to hide away for 90 odd days, you need to have a back-up plan. And even if you have the option to stay tucked up on your couch, I highly question how healthy it would be for you. Regardless of the circumstances, let’s look at alternative ways to make it through the winter.

Winter veggies

Since your health and well-being influences your body and mind, let’s make this a column about how to take care of that, starting with how to nourish your body with a vitamin, mineral and fibre-packed diet.
All three months offer kale, carrots, Jerusalem artichokes, chicory, celeriac, onions, potatoes, parsnips, Hamburg parsley, Brussels sprouts, leeks, beetroots and apples.
Furthermore, December is good for pumpkins, scorzonera, kohlrabi, garlic and, of course, red cabbage, which we use in our traditional Danish Christmas meals − mostly served pickled. In February, you’ll get the first taste of spring courtesy of the Lamb’s lettuce.

Go raw

Instead of always eating your red cabbage pickled, try to make a salad with raw red cabbage instead. It’s fresher and crisper. At BioMio we’re serving our Crispy red cabbage with hazelnuts and pieces of oranges tossed in tahini/raspberry vinaigrette. The thought of this salad is even enough to cheer me up over the arrival of winter. Any readers who have been following these columns will know that takes a lot.
Go raw with your Brussels sprouts as well, particularly with apples or oranges and almonds. Now I don’t know how you feel about these little bastards, but my feelings towards them have always been a bit strained. I remember how they were always served boiled – and have often wondered since if the smell of mushy boiled Brussels sprouts are solely responsible for traumatising an entire generation into never trying them (and other green vegetables) again. It wasn’t until I saw a recipe a few years ago, where they used them raw, that I softened up and started eating them.

Pamper yourself

The cold Danish winter almost screams for nourishing, rich and filling winter soups. And even though the selection of those three months is small, you can make some gorgeous soups, pies, raw salads and juices (kale, carrots, beetroot and apples are all very suitable for the juicer − and remember to use the pulp either for a pie, salad or fruit stew). Or just bake some root veggies in the oven.
My favourite winter day is when it’s really cold, not much wind, some snow on the ground and the sun is shining brightly. It’s SO wonderful. It’s a true winter treat for your body and mind. I really encourage you to get outside on these days. By encouraging you guys to do so, I commit myself to do the same. It really makes a difference.

Stick to the golden rule

Now I’m very well aware of the fact that the winter is not always snowy, windless and sunny. After all, I do have 31 years of experience. And the days when it’s rainy, grey, stormy, on the edge of being depressive, THAT’S when you curl up on your couch with the fluffy blanket and the hot chocolate, favourite tea or coffee, or perhaps a glass of the classic Christmas gløgg.
Stick to the golden 80/20 rule.  Eighty percent of the time, go for the nourishing seasonal veggies, go out when the sun is shining and remember to exercise. And 20 percent of the time, make like the bears and hibernate.

A self-confessed “food passionist and organic geek since forever”, Dittemaria Søndergaard is the assistant manager at BioMio, Copenhagen’s best known and biggest organic eatery. Founded in 2009 , and located on the always interesting Halmtorvet just outside the vibrant Kødbyen, its finger is on the pulse of what Copenhageners want on their plates: seasonal fare straight from the source with nothing in between.

For four weeks at a time, four times a year, our aim is to give you all the seasonal lifestyle advice you need to thrive in the areas of gardening, health, food and sport. When should you plant your petunias, when does the birch pollen season normally start, which week do the home-grown strawberries take over the supermarket, and which outdoor sports can you play in the snow? All the answers are here in ‘A plan for all seasons’.

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