Staying healthy in the wintertime

Jessie Doyle presenting a workshop on how to eat healthy during the winter at the Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market.
Jessie Doyle presenting a workshop on how to eat healthy during the winter at the Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market. (Photo: Paul O’Brien)


Halifax’s winter weather may be ghastly, but your diet doesn’t have to be.

During the cold winter months, Jessie Doyle says both good health and happiness are achievable, but only with the correct diet.

Doyle is a registered holistic nutritional consultant and a co-founder of Fruition, a raw food bar located at the Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market on Marginal Road.

Last Sunday at the market, another Doyle and Fruition co-founder Seth Graham held a workshop involving tips and recipes on how to stay healthy during the winter season.

When choosing a diet, Doyle says it’s important to choose one that leads to a lifestyle change, emotional well-being and long-term success.

First, one should strive to “design a lifestyle you’re happy with and not commit to a crazy scheme that’s not sustainable for you,” she says.

Doyle says cleanses, such as 10 days without drinking juices, are unsustainable in the long-term. In most cases, once a cleanse is completed, old eating habits quickly return.

She recommends a diet based on whole foods, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes and whole grains that haven’t been processed and are free from additives.

“Sometimes, when we talk about eating whole foods, it means cooking from scratch, which can be overwhelming,” says Doyle.

For university students, however, Kraft Dinner isn’t the only option. By searching simple and easy recipes on websites, such as, she says, eating healthy can be “achievable for almost anyone.”

Doyle encourages people to shop locally from small-scale farms because they provide fresher and higher nutrient-filled foods. If purchased from a local source, they also have lesser chances of being processed and containing chemical sprays.

Wendy McCallum, a registered holistic nutrition consultant, food coach and educator from Halifax, says to not be afraid to use frozen produce, especially if it’s local.

“It’s often more nutrient-dense than produce that has been sitting in the produce section of the grocery store for a long time.”

To stay healthy during the winter, she says vegetables, such as garlic and onions, are especially supportive of the immune system.

On a regular basis, Doyle recommends drinking a nutrient-filled smoothie in the morning, which can be prepared in five minutes the night beforehand.

As simple as it sounds, Doyle also says that drinking water is the number one recommendation.

“You want to drink eight cups of water a day.”

As soon as you wake up, drinking water with a touch of lemon will give you Vitamin C, boosts your immune system and metabolism, wake your digestive system and decreases your risk to illnesses and diseases, amongst other benefits.

To solve digestive problems, such as irregular bowel movements, gas and heartburn, Doyle encourages people to try food combining.

This process involves eating meals containing the same food groups, such as fruits only with other fruits, nuts with seeds and dry fruit, vegetables with anything except fruit, and grains with starchy vegetables.

“Different types of foods, specifically carbohydrates, fat and proteins, should be kept separately in our bellies because they all need a different balance of chemicals in our system to digest,” Doyle explains.

Overall, to maintain a healthy immune system and healthy lifestyle, Doyle says it’s important to sleep well, avoid cigarettes and drinking too much alcohol, and to stay active and happy to reduce levels of stress.

“These thing all really do increase our overall health, decrease our chance of getting sick in the future and decrease our chance of getting a cold today.”