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Archive for June 2016

Eating for The Five Seasons In Chinese Medicine Winter


By Sonya Rosenbrock BHSc Acu

In ancient times when Traditional Chinese Medicine was being developed people had to live in complete harmony with nature and the seasons. They rose with the sun, ate what was seasonally available and were acutely aware of their natural environment and how it affected every aspect of their lives. When to get up, how to dress and what type of activities were done were all dependant on the environment and thus the season. These simple steps they took helped to ensure they were able to stay healthy throughout the year and they were able to keep their immune systems and body in top shape so they could ward off disease. In Chinese Medicine there are five seasons spring, summer, late summer, autumn and winter elements. Each season has many associations which help us to change our habits as the seasons change so that we can create better balance between the external environment and our bodies.

It is currently winter here in Australia so this article will start with winter.

Winter is the season of the water element, it is associated with Storage, its flavour is salty and the colour is Black, its climate is cold and its organs are the kidney and bladder. Cold and darkness of winter drive one to seek inner warmth, it’s a time to reflect inwards and conserve our energy by resting, meditating deeply to refine the spiritual essence and store physical energy.

Eating foods that are naturally grown in winter are a great way to start, so look at eating root vegetables, carrots, turnips, Swedes, potatoes, dark leafy winter greens like kale and swiss chard, cabbage, mushrooms, apples, pears, and if you’re in the subtropics foods like bananas, strawberries and oranges are also in season. In winter the diet needs to be tonify the kidneys and warm the yang. Cook foods longer, at lower temperatures with less water. Foods that are warming are recommended so consider having soups that are slow cooked with heart veggies and bony cuts of meat. Perhaps now is the time to pull out your slow cookers.

Foods that specifically nourish the kidneys are:

Bone broths
black beans
black sesame seeds
dark green leafy veggies,
unrefined sea salt or Himalayan salt,
wheat germ,
mung bean and its sprouts.