We are in the middle of winter as I write this. I am loving the frosty mornings. I love to hear what other people are doing to help their bodies feel comfortable and supported throughout the changing seasons of the year. So, here are some of the things I do and some of the foods I prepare that help my body adjust.
According to the Five Transformations theory, winter is represented by the water element. It has the energetic quality of stillness on top of a deep current. Just think of ice frozen on top of a lake. Life is still going on under the surface, we just can’t always see it. Winter is a time for slowing our pace and moving into a time of self-reflection, looking at the past year, planting seeds and planning for the year ahead.
Organs that are most active at this time of year are the kidneys, bladder and reproductive system. Some foods that support these systems are beans, miso, sea vegetables and appropriate amounts of good quality sea salt. Lean more toward longer cooked vegetable and grain dishes and less raw salads. Foods that tend to harm these systems are cold food, poor quality salt or too much salt, carbonated drinks and baked flour. I eat less fruit in general and in particular stay away from tropical fruit which tends to be very high in sugar and cooling to the body.
Here are some recipes that can be useful for this time of year, particularly in a cold climate:
Brown Rice with Aduki Beans and Caramelized Onions
Black Soybeans with Dried Shiitake Mushrooms
Pressure Cooked Brown Rice with Chestnuts
Aduki Beans with Squash and Kombu (can be made with a variety of different root vegetables)
Arame with Daikon, Carrot and Onion
Another great dish is nabe. Here is a recipe from Melanie Waxman. Her recipe is a little different from mine because she uses a dipping sauce, but it’s a lovely, relaxing meal to try.
Allow yourself to slow down. Write in a journal. Practice deep reflection. Do more restorative poses. Sleep longer and sleep in. Take hot baths. Cuddle up in bed with a book. This is a great time of year to really focus inward and deeply nourish yourself. The seeds you plant and nourish now will sprout and grow into strong, vibrant, healthy plants in the coming months.