If you want to achieve the highest level of health happiness and longevity in your life, then it’s, important to adapt your lifestyle and habits to the change of the season. We’re approaching winter now, so I wanted to do this post about the best foods to be eating to help you stay healthy and body heart, and mind, and this is from the wisdom of traditional Chinese medicine, which has been around for 5000 years, and the benefits that people receive from this wisdom is why It has endured for so long as a complete holistic health system.
Most people are pretty familiar with acupuncture, it being the most popular branch of this medicine, but there are actually five branches, so acupuncture is one and there is Dietetics, which I’m, going to be talking about today.
The other branches are herbology, Qi Gong, which is the energetics and movement of traditional Chinese medicine, and then there is Tuina, which is a massage technique.
What I’m sharing with you today is how I eat how I align with the seasons to keep my family happy and healthy. I want you to experience that too, so let’s get into the details about the best foods that you should be eating to stay healthy in winter.
So in traditional Chinese medicine or TCM for short, we consider that humans are microcosms of nature, so this means that we think about what’s happening in the exterior in our environment, as we are trying to bring more balance to our bodies and our inner landscape, not just physical but mental, emotional, spiritual aspects of the self as well, and what we’re trying to balance are blood and Qi. This is what we focus on in Chinese medicine, that if Qi and blood are flowing smoothly, we’re at optimum health.
If it’s stagnant at any point, then we start to experience discomfort and even disease. To understand this a little better it is important to talk about yin and yang. Briefly, here we are trying to balance yin and yang energy in the body.
Yin is more solid or substantial, so this refers to the movement of blood. Jung is more light, vibrant energy, this refers more to Qi, so it’s light and airy and doesn’t have as much substance.
When we’re talking about aligning our diet with the seasons it’s easiest to think about the Yang energy of the Sun that it’s really bright and vibrant, but it’s actually at its lowest power in the wintertime. So it’s, the least Yang and the most Yin we’re experiencing more darkness, colder.
We’re just wanting to stay home and bundle up and when you think about our bodies that way to that, we want to be eating generally: more warming, foods, more Yang-producing food, so more heat-producing foods.
In order to balance this energy – and this will keep us from becoming too Yin or too lethargic and unmotivated – it’s, going to keep our blood and energy flowing. So we’re healthy and it’s also going to make us more vibrant.
We want to be eating more warm-temperature foods to help us digest our meals properly. Our digestive fire is not as strong this time of year, similar to the energy of the Sun, so it’s, important that we’re cooking, especially our vegetables and even the fruits we eat.
You’re more likely to digest it better if you’re cooking them first, and this is not the time of year to indulge in ice cream to have ice water, and even dairy products are usually too cold for the body.
You’ll want to have some nice warm stews, stir-fries, and warm yummy teas instead. Most people also benefit from eating foods that have a warmer character to them, for example, garlic is very warming for the body, whereas peppermint is more cooling. So the character of the food can help to warm you up from inside.
In TCM, winter is also associated with the water element and the kidney and urinary bladder organs and channels that run through the body that carries our blood and chi, and these are the two organs and channels that tend to become out of balance during this year.
You may experience things like low back or knee pain, urinary tract infections and other things that are related to these organs and channels. The foods that tonify the blood and Qi in the kidneys and bladder tend to be darker in color and salty.
Now I want to list a few particular foods that you may want to include in your diet this winter, but before we get into that, let me know in the comments: if you’re already, making changes such as these in the winter, do you feel more inclined to eat warmer foods?, or are you feeling like you may still be eating cold foods that can be slowing down your digestion and impeding your health?
These are the warming foods that you should be emphasizing in your winter meals: soups and stews, especially made with meat or bones root. Vegetables such as carrots, rutabaga beets, winter squashes, like pumpkin and butternut, squash cruciferous vegetables, that are in season now so broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage Brussel sprouts winter greens, mushrooms, are very healthy for winter.
You can be adding in apples, persimmons, pears, and citrus fruits. Eating beans is really nutritious, especially adzuki and black beans for the kidneys remember, dark foods are really nourishing for the kidneys, and then adding in miso and all types of seaweed again that dark, green color is nourishing for the body.
Spirulina and chlorella are also really nourishing, and then you can add in seasonings, like ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, and clove, to make your meals warmer and to improve your digestion. Now, these are general dietary guidelines for winter.
But of course, we’re all different, and some of us have more heat more Yang in the body, so you may need to adjust as necessary. For example, like myself, I have a little more heat in the body, so I’m still having a lot of soups and stews that are very nourishing, but I’m, just not putting as much garlic and warming spices into them, and I have been fine. So you want to pay attention to how your body is responding to these foods.
If you are experiencing gas, bloating changes in bowel habits, more mucus in the body. These are signs that you’re not digesting.
Well, if you’re eating too many hot foods and you have a warmer constitution, you might also notice a change in your emotions, heat rises, so does anger frustration, so these emotions are coming up, maybe tone down the warming foods and see if that helps.
So, of course, speaking with the Chinese medicine practitioner is going to help you the most, If you’re interested in learning more about Chinese medicine, we recommend looking at the free video events of the banners here and if you want to learn more about Chinese Dietetics, I recommend this book The Tao of Nutrition, which is Really helpful and has some wonderful recipes in it.
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