A time to rest and restore
This season is a time of inward and sensitivity. The time when nature rests. A time when living things are intuitively looking for replenishment by resting, reflecting, and being very aware of the senses. Due to the cold weather, it is imperative to seek inner warmth and spend more time with loved ones. December 21st is the date of the winter solstice. The first date of winter and the day of the longest night.
Water is in the air, on and within the earth, and constitutes a mayor part of all living matter. It is the essential medium in our bodies, the fluid of life. Water can be warm and loving but also cold and frightening. Winter’s power is deep in yin. During this period, it is imperative to conserve energy and resources of our outward (yang) energy. The climate is cold, and the direction is North. The flavor is salty. The specific emotion is fear. This fearful feeling will affect the kidneys and the bladder. The ears are the sense organ thus the sense is hearing. The bone and bone marrow are governed by this element. Thus, during winter it is good to have more intense body therapy, which will increase awareness in meaningful and emotional levels.
Organs: Bladder and Kidneys
This is the strongest yin time of the year. These two organs associate with this season as they process the most yin element, water. In Chinese believes, the bladder is the seat of the emotions. The kidneys filter the blood keeping the body clean and in balance. The kidneys store the energy of life force itself, and are related to the cycle of transformation, i.e. birth- life- death. They are the seat of the “will”, willpower coming from the kidneys, generating ambition. Lack of these shows an obvious water imbalance. Skin rashes and high blood pressure are related to kidney trouble, as the effect of these in the body show excessive toxicity and heavy meat diets, which increases fluid volume, thus creating too much waste for the kidneys to handle.
Since the weather gets colder, it is only necessary to adapt to a diet that produces heat. The days are shorter, thus making us feel less active, thereby burning few calories.
- A diet mainly of carbohydrates and proteins will produce the heat needed. Sautéed foods fit more with this diet than in other seasons, although too much oil can be harmful. Using coconut oil or ghee (clarified butter) is a much healthier option when frying. To make Ghee click here
- Warm soups are very nurturing and easy to digest. Making soups with nature’s plants, which are in deeper parts, root vegetables such as carrots, potatoes, turnips, and onions are especially right for this season. Garlic, ginger, cayenne pepper will warm you up.
- Cooked whole grans, are also an excellent staple for this season. When cooked and eaten with grains, you will have a complete protein. Nuts are a good winter snack.
- For meat eaters, fish is primarily better as it comes from water, particularly deep-sea fish, which have low fat and high amounts of protein and omega 3, like halibut and swordfish. It is best to avoid red meat as it over stimulates the kidneys.
- It is also important to look into Ocean Foods. Seaweeds are a super food, with great source of nutrition, particularly high in vitamin A and E, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, iron, and iodine. These can be eaten raw, in soups, or tossed in salads. Some types of seaweeds are: kelp, dulse, nori, and hijiki.
- A good source high in protein for vegetarians is soy, a versatile bean from which a variety of products are made, this includes soybeans, tofu, soy milk, and miso. It has beneficial hormonal qualities for both men and women. However, too much can create imbalance. Make sure to always consume organic products, as there are many GMO* soy products in the market.
- As winter is the season for storage and preparation, it is a season of less physical activity. However, keeping exercises is still important. The best exercises to do are those that are not too excessive in movement. Good deep breathing and blood circulation is the best. This is possible with more subtle forms of practices such as pilates, and especially yoga [restorative]. If you practice yoga, it is imperative that the sequence is one that is slow, holding the poses for longer periods of time, as you focus on the breath, rather than physical movement. Stretching and less resistance from the joints will allow tension releasing. Tai Chi is another good practice for this season.
- Boiling up herbs, from the root of the plant is essential to support our own roots, and cleanse the blood. Comfrey root helps the legs and mucous linings, with a tonic effect in the intestinal wall, this will guarantee better assimilation of nutrients during this season. Marshmallow root can be used internally and externally for inflammation of the mucous membranes. Herbs that are body heaters are also necessary, such as Cayenne Pepper to increase the strength of the fire element. Ginger root will aid digestion, relieving gas, and abdominal pain. Also a herbal remedy for diarrhea. Note that hard roots must be simmered 20-30 minutes.
With the many benefits of Turmeric, this is a great anti-inflamatory beverage, perfect for any stiff joints during this time when we are not too active. The ingredients in this tea supports body therapy.
- 8 oz of coconut milk or almond milk. It is best to avoid dairy during this time as this makes your body over produce mucous.
- 1/2 tsp Turmeric
- Dash Cayenne Pepper
- 1/8 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp honey (do not heat honey)
Bring the milk to boil and add all ingredients except for honey. Stir well, then take the tea off the heat, let sit for 5 minutes, check that it is not too hot, and add milk.
Recipe taken from www.realfarmacy.com
*A genetically modified organism, or GMO, is an organism that has had its DNA altered or modified in some way through genetic engineering
“Staying Healthy with the Seasons” by Dr. Elson M. Haas. M.D. 21st Century Edition.