Tips to Relieve us of Winter Discomfort and Pain
Flatulence and a feeling of discomfort and heaviness after the consumption of certain foods is a common occurrence in winter. The drop in temperature makes it difficult to digest certain foods, specially dhal and pulses - channa, rajma, moong and other beans. Also certain vegetables like cauliflower, cabbage, potato, cucumber, etc., may produce more gas and distension in the abdomen during this season. Oily nonveg food and deep fried food which takes a long period, 4-8 hours, to digest may also create a problem at this time.
Please note this is a highly individualized condition. One dhal may cause no such effect in one person while another person may have such a severe problem that may even drive him/her to a hospital for help. You need to identify what is not suiting you and avoid that food for the next 4 months, November to February.
Eating a few grains of roasted somph (big jeera) after a meal helps in digestion. Elderly people may resort to drinking warm water through out the day as even room temperature water gets quite cold. Also when water comes to boil adding a teaspoon of jeera to it and boiling for a couple of minutes and consuming the jeera water for these 4 months may aid the digestion.
Dhals and pulses are a very important part of the diet as they provide protein and also many important vitamins and minerals. Therefore we would not recommend that they be completely stopped but try to find out which ones exactly, donít suit you and use the others instead. Try to avoid raw pulses or sprouts if they are troubling you. Cook dhals and pulses with plenty of turmeric, jeera, garlic and asafetida (hing) which are all helpful for better digestion.
Dhals may be occasionally substituted with egg whites 2-3 numbers instead of Ĺ -1 Cup dhal. Cook whites by boiling or making an egg white omlette or burgi. Also you may reduce the quantity of dhal to Ĺ cup and have a cup of skimmed milk or curd along with the meal to meet the protein requirement. Paneer made at home from milk that has had all its cream (malai) removed thoroughly may also substitute the dhal occasionally.
Another big problem of winter is all the aches and pains of the joints. Heels are most affected, knees and even back or hips may hurt. It can happen to the fittest of us. Unless medically advised to stop, the secret is to keep up a regular walking routine. Even if you slow the pace and reduce the duration to 20 minutes, you must keep up the habit of a regular walk as this improves circulation and will relieve the pain. If you stop walking your weight will immediately increase and the pain will increase. Also walking improves your digestion and therefore it will relieve discomfort in the stomach and abdomen too.
Winter is also a time when we are not exposed to sufficient sunlight. This could lead to a vitamin D deficiency. This deficiency in turn will lead to a reduced absorption of calcium from our food. Then our joint pains, bone pain and muscle pains will increase. First and foremost we should be very careful to consume at least 500ml skimmed milk daily. This could be as milk or curd and in one or two cups of coffee or tea. Those who have been asked to take a calcium supplement must do so regularly. If the pain and discomfort continue it would be advisable to get a blood test done to check your blood calcium level as well as the vitamin D level. If these are deficient then your doctor would prescribe a supplement which will relieve you of your pain and make you feel much better.