According to Chinese medicine, the nature of winter is cold and yin. It is related to the water element and the Kidneys. During the winter, the energy of the body and the earth naturally goes inward. By aligning our diets and lifestyle choices with this movement, we can replenish our energy, improve our health, and move into spring revitalized.
To harmonize ourselves with the winter we should pay attention to our yin aspect, and the qualities of nourishment, reception, introspection, rest, and storage, and strengthen our Kidneys, especially our Kidney essence. Traditionally Acupuncture was used to help align you with these changes as well as reduce stress, boost your immune system, and assist with colds and flu during the winter months. A qualified Chinese medicine practitioner can recommend herbs or exercises to help to build the Kidneys as well as balance your body for the season.
Diet: It is no coincidence that foods that are naturally available during the winter benefit the Kidneys. Consider nourishing yourself with seasonal winter foods such as hearty soups, whole grains, roasted nuts, root vegetables, seaweeds, dried beans, and steamed winter greens. In general, you will want to cook foods longer and at lower temperatures using less water. You want to store warmth internally through your foods and daily life.
Click here to see a delicious Winter Warming Sesame Candy (RECIPE)
Exercise: Winter is a time for quiet, meditative or spiritual practices rather than the more yang activities of summer. There are specific practices aimed at replenishing the Kidneys, such as restorative yoga or various qi gong practices.