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Three of my favourite spices for winter warming

Some excellent advice from Sarah on the benefit of warming spices during winter and how to get them into your diet. Yum!

Sarah George Acupuncture and Natural Health

spices webI don’t like being cold and I’ll admit it, I spend most of winter looking forward to spring. Yes, even in the Brisbane winter. There are many ways we can keep warm in winter – and choosing the right foods is one of them. Here are three of my favourite flavours to spice up my life in winter. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) we describe each substance by its temperature, flavour and action in the body – some foods have a warming or hot action on the body.

Enjoy this tantalising yet brief introduction to my top three favourite warming spices and how you can use them in your diet:

  • Cardamom: warming, pungent and slightly bitter. Cardamom is an excellent digestive stimulant. It is sometimes termed the “Queen of the Spices” and is probably best known for its use in curries but can also be added to cakes and biscuits…

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Nourishing dry wintry skin

Even while I’m away, I’ve got a guest post or two up my sleeve.

Click through to read my top tips for nourishing winter skin.


We’re in Berlin at the moment and even though this is summertime, it’s currently cold enough to warrant the use of these measures!

Stay away, Sicko.

It’s that time of year: snot-ridden, cough-laden cold and flu season.

As a result, do you know what I’m seeing a lot of? Sick people. In the clinic, yes, that’s to be expected. But everywhere else too… at the shops, on public transport, in offices and schools, at the movies… they’re everywhere! Everywhere, that is, except where they should be, which is at home convalescing.

My friends, when you are sick, STAY AT HOME*. You will not get better – or it will take you much longer to do so – if you do not allow yourself the time to heal. Seriously, no heroics necessary. You are not a hero if you come to work when you’re ill and infectious. You are annoying and inconsiderate. When it comes to contagion, sharing is most certainly not caring.

Ideally, you are practicing preventative health – eat well, drink fluids, get sunshine, move regularly, sleep enough, etc. Even better if you can take things to boost your immune function when you know you’re ‘at risk’ of picking something up. For example, I work in a busy medical clinic where I am constantly exposed to people with all sorts of infectious (and non-infectious) conditions, particularly at this time of year. Apart from eating well and upping my intake of immune boosting foods, I also take a regular dose of zinc, vitamin C and vitamin D (my levels tend to low) plus a herbal immune tonic. Sometimes, however, I catch a bug. It happens to all of us. And when I do? I choose not to inflict it on my co-commuters, colleagues and – importantly for me – patients. I rest, I recover quickly and I return to work. From my observation of of the population, however, it seems that this is not usual practice.

I was in Melbourne for a course recently and there was a TV at the foot of the bed in my hotel room (don’t even get me started on the sleep hygiene issues with that). We don’t have a TV at home, so I’m mostly immune to television advertising… and I was amazed at the number of advertisements selling quick-fixes for colds and flus. Pop a pill to mask symptoms of illness and, to borrow a catch phrase, soldier on. Well, I call bullsh*t! Why soldier on? To prove you’re tough, that you’re really committed to your job? So you can deliver a sub-par quality of work because your head is clogged and energy in your boots? Or is it so you can spread the germs around? Give me a break.

Listen, if you are starting to get a tickle in your throat and your head is heavy or nose blocked… talk to someone like me about how to intervene before you’re properly ill. And if you are properly ill, by all means come and see me in my place of work, but please stay away from your own.

*steps off soap box*


* A visit to your naturopath / GP / preferred practitioner is the exception – this is an outing to nurture you health that should also, hopefully, be brief so you can get straight back to bed.

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