Winter Survival Skills: Movement and Soup

Post by Olivia Martino, Co-Owner and Registered Dietitian 

As I look outside the window, I see a scene that is similar to that of yesterday’s.  And the day before. And the day before that.  It’s winter in Portland and it’s grey.  The rain is intermittent, but that feeling of being cold down to the bone persists.  It’s a different kind of cold than most people are used to.  The Pacific Northwest cold is a wet kind that a fuzzy sweater and two pairs of socks doesn’t seem to warm.  Around this time of year, I think most residents of Portland start to ask themselves, “why do I live here????”



A trip to the coast this weekend, reminded me of the answer to that question.

Devil's Punchbowl on the Oregon Coast



Digging deeper, I thought of a bike and hike I did last weekend.

Pittock Mansion Hike in Forest Park


And the fact that I will be going snowboarding at Mt. Hood next week.


My best friend, Ashley and I, snowboarding


We live here because although it is often wet, we can do all of these things most of the year.  We have mountains, oceans, forests and bike lanes at our finger tips.  Not to mention delicious food, craft beer and strong coffee.  There are so many reasons we live here and love the Northwest, but it can be really hard to remember those things when we are in the depths of the rainy season.  So, how do we get through it???

First and foremost, it is important to continue to do outdoor activities.  Invest in some waterproof rain gear and get outside!  Trying to avoid the rain all winter (and spring… and part of summer) will only make you stir-crazy and moody.

But for those days that you simply can’t motivate yourself to step outside in the rain, make sure to find ways to stay active inside.  Shameless plug: We have some great classes here at Nourish Northwest. But most importantly, we want you to keep moving.  Exercise videos are a great way to make sure you get your workout done in the comfort of your own home.  My personal stash includes Jillian Michaels videos for interval training and Baron Baptiste for power vinyasa yoga.

My other winter survival skill is to get into the kitchen and make soup!  There are few things more comforting than the delicious aromas of onions and veggies stewing, indulging in a hearty bowl of soup and being able to eat from the same pot for several days.  A soup was the first thing I learned how to cook and it continues to be may favorite to prepare.

There are basically 3 basic types of soup:


A brothy soup

Miso soup with baby bok choy and soba noodles


A pureed soup

Celery Root Soup with Cashew Cream

A chunky, stew-like soup

African Bean Stew


The basis for any type of soup is a good stock.  Homemade stocks provide a superior flavor and fuller body than the boxed or canned versions.  To make a homemade stock, you simply bring some veggies (celery, carrot, onion etc.) to boil in water.  Reduce heat and simmer for 3 hours, then strain cover and refrigerate for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.  For additional flavor, add a variety of fresh herbs bundled together and secured in a cheesecloth.  You can also add the bones and meat from beef, chicken or fish. A bone broth is  great source of minerals, such as calcium, glucosamines to heal joint pain, and gelatin to help restore gut health.

For pureed soups, I highly recommend an immersion blender.  If you have taken a cooking class at Nourish Northwest, you know that we are not big on fancy cooking equipment.  There are very few pieces of equipment that we find necessary but the immersion blender is such a versatile tool, that it is well worth the $30 investment.  You can use it to blend soups, make smoothies, sauces and even mash potatoes.  It saves you the hassle and mess of having to transfer the soup back and forth from pot to blender.

Chunky soups can be made in dutch ovens, pressure cookers or crockpots.  These soups are great to make on weekends, when you are around the house and can enjoy the aromas as the flavors develop.  Alternately, these also make great weeknight meals, when prepared in a crockpot.  Chunky soups often consist of starchy vegetables, such as potatoes or squash, and a protein source, such as beans or meat.

There are many great recipes for soups out there.  Below are just a few of my favorites:

Pork, White Bean and Kale Soup

Rosemary Red Soup

Vegan Moroccan Stew


We also have a Soups and Stews cooking class coming up in January and our Yoga and Soup series will be running again soon on Sunday evenings – exact dates and times, coming soon.

So cozy up, get your  workout on and your ladle out! I promise, it will warm your body and soul!


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