We would like to wish you a happy New Year and hope that you had a happy Holiday season.
In response to feedback from patients like you, we would like to make 2013 the Year of Food. Throughout this new year, we will focus our newsletter on diet and the ways in which foods relate to the practices and theories of Traditional Chinese Medicine. The information we share will help to deepen your knowledge of TCM, show how the seasons influence your body and how to respond to the changes of the seasons. The foods you eat are an essential part of optimizing your mind and body's potential, helping you to attain a higher level of health and well being. We are going to help you make the most of your food choices, and in turn, to make the most of what each season has to offer.
The Season of the Kidney
During winter, the kidneys become the organ of focus. The kidneys are the root of the body's energy, they govern the Yin and Yang qualities that are vital to all other bodily systems. Kidney Yang provides us with energy and warmth, whereas the Yin provides us with grounding and endurance. Both Kidney Yin and Yang are necessary to make it through the cold, dark, and lean months of winter.
The kidneys become more susceptible during winter and need extra support to nourish them to their full potential. Influences such as the cold penetrating weather, too much alcohol and caffeine and chemicals in foods take their toll on the kidneys. Stimulants in general tax the kidneys. That extra boost has to come from somewhere and the key to most stimulants - herbal or synthetic- is that they tap your kidneys to give you that jolt. Extra sleep (especially in winter) and a nutrient dense diet are a far better way to provide your system with the energy it needs. By wrapping up warm and reducing the amount of toxins in your diet you greatly benefit your kidneys during these months.
Eating Right For Your Kidneys
The foods we consume play a key role in supporting the kidneys and providing them with the nourishment they need to achieve their full advantage. This is the time to eat warm, cooked foods, with less broth and more sustenance. Try to buy organic foods where possible to limit the amount of harmful chemicals taken in. Below are foods that directly benefit the kidneys.
Whole Grains - such as bulgur, barley, spelt and quinoa. When cooked these grains tonify the kidney, aid in digestion and help center one's energy.
Root Vegetables - such as pumpkin, sweet potato, carrots and parsnips. These sweet vegetables benefit the spleen and stomach, aiding in digestion via the Earth element, which in turn tonifys the kidneys.
Winter Greens and Bulbs - onions, garlic, scallions open the Lungs to strengthen the defensive energy. The bitter flavor of kale and chard stimulate the heart and keep the Heart Fire and Kidney Water in balance.
Roasted nuts - walnuts and chestnuts are particularly good for tonifying Kidney Yang to support the kidneys and adrenals, as well as the brain.
Warming Spices - such as ginger, cinnamon, cardamom and cloves keep us warm and, like the root vegetables above, tonify the digestion which then supports the Kidney.
Foods from the Sea - fish, shellfish and seaweed. Winter is linked to the element of water, and foods from the water are of great benefit to the kidneys. Choose darker, oily fish such as tuna and mackerel and be aware of where your seafood comes from and how it is produced. Click here for a handy fish buying guide.
These seasonal newsletters give you insight on the effects of energy movement throughout the year and throughout your body.