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Su B winter bounty

It’s beginning to be the time for warming, comforting, substantial food: casseroles and stews, hearty soups and roasts. Although we don’t hibernate, we still respond to shortening days and colder weather, feeling the need to store some fat to tide us over the leaner months to come.

The trouble is, they never do come, not in these days of endless abundance. Once upon a time, having enough body fat might have made the difference between life and death at the end of a long, hard winter, but those days are long gone.

Yet even with central heating and an indoor life to cushion us, it still doesn’t feel right to live on salads in wintertime

But there are plenty of ways in which we can make our winter fare more ‘healthy’, while still looking after the craving for warmth. And of course, herbs and spices are part of the answer. As well as adding to the taste, they help you digest fats, and can make foods like beans and brassicas – the cabbage family, once a winter staple before large-scale importing of food – more accessible too.

But you need more than just a pinch of thyme or oregano, a bay leaf or a grating of horseradish. Think about Asian cuisine; a sophisticated approach to food that sees the spices, and the particular mix for each dish, as central to the whole thing rather than just an add-on.

Be generous with your herbs when you cook, and they will reward you generously in return. 

Meet The Author...
Su Bristow
Who Am I?
I studied at the School of Herbal Medicine for four years, and qualified in 1989, becoming a member of the National Institute of Medical Herbalists ( The road to herbal medicine led from my early interest in organic gardening and healthy eating, through the study of social and physical anthropology at Cambridge, where I specialised in medical anthropology. What fascinated me was how people deal with their health problems when they have only the natural resources around them, and their own ingenuity. I went on to learn massage and reflexology, and worked at a residential naturopathic clinic, where I learned about the use of diet and other natural ways of healing. After qualifying as a herbalist, I set up practice in mid-Devon. Since then I have continued to expand my expertise, with counselling skills, first aid, and knowledge of the Chinese and Ayurvedic systems of herbal medicine. Besides one-to-one consultation, I have also taught evening classes, students of the Westcountry Massage Association, and various private courses.
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