Winter is here UrbanMeisters and it’s time to get the winter food right with our season special. It’s that time of the year when all you crave is hot chocolate and cozy bonfires. But it’s also that time of the year when all us urbans struggle with sore throats and persistent cold. And what’s more we pass the infections and afflictions to all around us especially huddled together in public transport, or at work! A popular misconception about winter is that pollution is lower in this season- a completely wrong belief with no scientific basis. You should always check air pollution levels everyday in all seasons with trusted apps like our partners Plumelabs that gauge air pollution levels per hour before you plan outdoor activities. Another winter food problem is the lack of fresh fruits and vegetables in most of the world like Europe for instance, during this season. So winter is challenging to say the least for greenies like us.
But making winters worth our while is a highly accomplished, charming and smart greenie from Paris- Ines Leonarduzzi who will share some great winter food and health tips with all of us. Straight from Paris with love!

Ines, bienvenue chez UrbanMeisters!

Ines Leonarduzzi is a Fashion Consultant & Founder of the French women’s online magazine-
image1 (2)
She is also the founder of BRUNCH BY INES – a secret ‘green’ brunch organised at her Parisian loft in the hip 11th district. A passionate foodie and a dedicated green lifestyle proponent, Ines prepares all the sumptuous food herself “fait maison” in a big open kitchen. She uses -just as we Greenies love it- only the freshest and organic ingredients from the Parisian region- local produce. So every Sunday, Parisians can come and have a healthy brunch. Ines takes time with everybody to explain where the ingredients come from and how she has prepared the different dishes.
She inherited the love and passion for a green lifestyle, good food and regular exercise from her family. Her dad being a gastronome of course influenced her relation ship with good food and a well balanced nutrition. Her love for plants and their power for the health and well-being comes from her mother. And where the rest of her knowledge comes from? As every typical Parisian girl she keeps this as a secret 😉

« Tête-à-tête » with Ines

Welcome to our Winter Food Special. Tell us what are the key issues that you deal with in winter?

During winter time, our body has to guarantee the same level of heat by asking more from our constitution. Which means we loose our strength stock (vitamins, minerals, good sebum for our skin and hair etc) and finally overall energy too….
This is why in winter we are particularly weakened and get sick, we are tired and sometimes feel even a bit depressed.
The basic things I watch out for next to a well-balanced nutrition, is the indoor air quality in my appartment. Because of the cold, you don’t ventilate your indoors as much and this cumulates microbes and indoor air pollution in you home.
[UrbanMeisters: Indoor air quality can be 2-5 times higher than outdoors. Read easy yet efficacious tips for best indoor air quality here.]
Also your body uses more water as well as heat, and we tend to drink less in winter, which is a trap! So I make sure to drink at least 2-3 liters of water and tea also during winter.

What food is recommended for winter?

Here are my best tips on winter food:
1- First, charge yourself with Vitamin C. I alternatively consume kiwi, orange and grapefruit everyday. Plus, it is seasonal. Always make sure to wash them well with water before preparing or eating.
You can check on local websites which fruits and vegetables are in season so that you minimise the ecological impact of your food. I consult the French website:
2- Fibres are essentials too. In the morning, I mix fruits in a bowl with nuts (pecans, almonds, hazelnuts and cashews), milk and cinnamon. Every morning! This is a great way to start the day full of fibres. Nuts and almonds have around 20 vitamins and minerals (A, B, E, magnesium, potassium, zinc) and antioxidants. Very good for the beauty of your skin too! For me morning is the best moment to eat them, it gives me energy for the whole day ! Sometimes, I add organic honey. A very powerful antiseptic! My favourite is honey of onion flower by L’abeille d’Aigremont, made in the Versailles fields.
Cinnamon is one of my favourite ingredients. I put it every time and everywhere. In yogurts, muesli, cakes, soups, chocolate, tea… It is one of the most powerful antiseptics with honey and a great antioxidant. Cinnamon also helps your metabolism.
3- I love eating fish and seafood in winter! It is full of omega 3. Salmon is ideal. Oysters are a great source of vitamin B12, good for stress. My new thing is « sardines millésimées »! It is a full vintage sardine that kept all its properties (omega 3, manganese, zinc) and it tastes delicious. So it’s great winter food.
Fish is also full of Vitamin D. The main source of it is the sun. In winter, since days are shorter, we all have a lack of vitamin D. This is the miracle vitamin. It helps to protect naturally against microbes, virus and strengthens immunity.
4- And I drink tea! All day long. I suggest rooibos tea, a red tea, free of caffeine or theine, which means you can drink it from morning to evening. More than ever, I think drinking organic tea is essential. Regular tea is not something I trust too much as I always have the impression of drink cup after cup of pesticides.

As in all seasons of the year, air pollution can be high. How do you detox your body from the effects of air pollution?

I run and I drink a lot hot herbal infusion, like sage, which is a great detox for the body and fresh pressed lemon with water is very good as well. And again I add a little bit of cinnamon.

Any particular herbs to strengthen immunity / keep us warm etc?

As I already talked about my infusions tips, I would say that a real hot chocolate is amazing too. But please, take dark chocolate, full of magnesium. No better winter food than a steaming cup of hot chocolate while walking in a park or in front of a nice movie! :))

Any organic remedies for minor winter ailments like sore throat / cold?

My mother used to give me ginger with hot water when I was sick. Her secret was drink drink drink! I keep doing it and it still works! Drinking is one the best natural detox and hydrates your organism. So Fluid therapy really does work.

Winter:  juices vs soup?

Both!!! Never chose when it to food!!! First it is important to eat hot and cold. Vegetable soups are excellent for example. When I have time I prepare my own soup with carrots, honey and ginger. I love it!
Juices are great as they keep a maximum of vitamins and minerals. Watch out however that the juice once mixed loses fast its positive attributes. Best is to drink it within 2 days.

Where do you do your green grocery shopping in Paris in the winter?

I think like every greenie in Paris, I prefer Biocoop but also Les Nouveaux Robinson. I also love going to Organic Batignolles Market.

What is your favorite spot for a cozy green breakfast / lunch / diner during winter time?

One of my favourite winter activities is serving brunch at my loft. I cook healthy and organic homemade meals. I love to share with my guests and friends all my tips and I get inspired by their tips and tricks. It is a beautiful exchange.
Otherwise I like lunching at Le Bichat, or at Lula, in the 10th district.
At dinner, I like having dinner at Terra Madre, in the 20th, which is bistrot where you can drink organic wines from the south and amazing Italian food. I also like the confidential atmosphere and quality of organic food at La Petite Table in Le Marais.

Can you share an easy healthy winter recipe?

My « Parmentier de Patate douce ». It is a typical French recipe and it is warm. Plus, sweet potato is full of beta-carotene, vitamin A and C. I always do that when I have friends at home in winter. You need few ingredients and less than an hour to prepare.
For 4 persons:

  • 4 beautiful and organic sweet potatoes (if it not organic, wash them with a brush and water before cooking)
  • 450g of turkey
  • 150g of girolle mushroom
  • Parmesan

1- Split the sweet potatoes in two.
Put sea salt (grey salt) and pepper according your style. Put in oven at 170c for 35/40 min. (I prefer this than cooking in hot water as it is tastier and keeps the vitamins intact).
2- Slice the turkey into cubes. Put salt and pepper and then cook it in a pan with a little bit of olive oil.
3- In a different pan, cook the girolle mushrooms with olive oil, salt and pepper.
4- Once the sweet potatoes are done, scoop the ‘meat’ with a spoon and make a mash of it in a bowl.
5- Place the turkey on a big plate, then the girolle mushrooms and finally the sweet potatoes. Put the parmesan on top of it and put it in the oven at 200C° for 15/20 minutes so that the cheese melts.
Serve hot! Bon Appétit!
That is surely mouth watering! Thank you very much Ines for sharing your winter health and green secrets with us.  
Readers, we encourage you to share your tips and tricks on how to better cope with urban life and leave a more sustainable and balanced footprint. Write to us here.

Recent Posts

Start typing and press Enter to search