According to the 5 elements of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Winter represents the Water element and is associated with the Kidney-Bladder organ system. This is also a time to hardness the Yin energy of these darker days and colder nights. In ancient times, this would mean sleeping longer because there is less sunlight outside. In our modern ways of life, we can still learn to nourish the body with nourishing foods and dense medicinal herbal tonics and soups to prepare for the next Spring and upcoming changes ahead.
Eat Dark foods: foods that nourish the Kidney are always black in color. Try to incorporate grounded these foods into your daily routine:
- Black sesame into your morning oatmeal
- Beluga black lentil salad for lunch
- Black-bean chicken soup for yin nourishment
- Snack on fresh mulberries (or dried), blackberries, or olives
Stay warm. Try to keep the body warm especially during these dark winter months. Cover the soles of your feet with cozy thick socks to protect KI 1 (Kidney 1 – Yong Quan) point. This is especially important right before the time of the month, so we don’t send shooting icy cold pain up to our ovaries. Warmth is an essential source and condition for growth, not only in nature but in the human body. To keep things afloat, stay warm and drink plenty of warming fluids!
Try: ORA’s Calm and Carry on tea for extra anti-inflammatory support.
Don’t skip the salt. Salty foods and flavor helps move things along, which is especially helpful for the Kidney. Salt has the ability to soften lumps, reduce inflammation which tends to flare up during times of uncertainty and change. Salted foods include cured black olives, tamari, miso, seaweed.
Water in Winter. In TCM, Winter is the water element. This means this season provides ample fluidity and flexibility. Finding ways to embrace this Yin energy means finding a way to flow with where water takes us. Remember that this fluidity is surrounding us. This is a time to rest our bodies and find stillness within. Start and end your day with a 5 minute breathing exercise, bringing your senses from the top of your head, slowly down to the bottoms of your feet. Try ORA by CAMPO Deep Relax blend to celebrate this personal ritual.
Try this TCM recipe at home: Black ear fungus mushroom (or wood ear mushroom) has a wonderful crunchy and gelatinous texture, commonly used in TCM kitchens to detoxify blood, cleanse our digestive tract, and help remove toxins.
- How to: Place 1tbsp of dried mushroom into a large bowl of warm water. After 30 minutes, the mushroom will rehydrate and become 10x in size. Trim the stem of the mushroom, and rinse with water. Gentle sauté with 2 tbsp toasted sesame oil and 1 tbsp tamari sauce. Add salt, juice of ½ lime, and chili flakes. Serve with toasted sesame seeds and fresh red chilli slices.