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How Western New York vegetarians keep warm

It can get pretty cold in Buffalo, NY - lake effect snow brings several inches to several feet of snow that sticks around through March.  While your Mother was probably just looking out for your own well-being, sending you that goose down-filled comforter, chicken noodle soups, and fur-lined boots may not jive with your lifestyle.  If you are a more "flexible" vegetarian and these items cause you no worry - this article may not be for you.  Here are my suggestions for cruelty-free ways to stay warm, well and happy this winter.

First off, keep your body healthy and you'll cruise through winter cold-free.  While people are congregating more indoors to stay warm, traveling more because of the holidays, as well as letting their diets slip with sugar-laden foods and alcohol from all of the parties and gatherings, it can become an easy breeding ground for illnesses like the flu. Apart from the obvious hand washing, getting plenty of rest, etc., there are a few tricks for helping to keep the immune system nice and healthy. 

Drink plenty of fluids (warm tea, veggie broths, water), eat plenty of greens (greens help alkalize the body and they’re loaded with superior nutrition), and maintain a healthy level of exercise.  Use extra “warming” spices in your foods such as cayenne, curry, ginger and horseradish which will get your circulation going and clear any troublesome sinuses.    

When it comes to staying warm at night here are many places that sell synthetic down-filled comforters that will keep you comparably toasty as any feather-filled one.  Poking around any Marshall's or TJ Maxx may procure one that was previously expensive for a decent discount but also Target, IKEA (Burlington, Ontario) or Bed, Bath and Beyond probably stocks them.  Ask an associate if you're having trouble finding one.  Also keep fleece throws around the house to curl up under while on the couch.

When not tucked happily into bed, dress in layers!  Quilted polyester-based peacoats, synthetic down-filled puffer coats and a standard ski-type jacket will keep you warm.  Paired with a knitted scarf, hat and lined gloves and you’ll be the envy of all your friends.  Lightweight long underwear can be worn discreetly under pants and tops but add a great deal of warmth for little bulk.  Wearing a pair of faux fur boots such as those offered by Earth are both stylish and practical when it comes to harsh Buffalo temperatures.  

Once a week make a big pot of soup, stew or chili.  Portion it out into Tupperware to each for lunch or dinner throughout the week.  Kale and white bean, corn chowder, spicy black bean, hearty lentil, squash apple bisque, minestrone, and split pea are amongst my staple, warming soups that rotate throughout the winter. Coupled with a whole grain or corn bread and this guarantees a happy, warm vegetarian this winter.