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It’s beginning to feel a lot like Winter! And in Chinese Medicine Winter represents the most Yin time in Chinese Medicine opposite to Summer the most Yang time. Yin is the dark, while Yang is the light. Yin is cold, while Yang is warm. And Yin is slow and inward, while Yang is quick and expansive. As with all of the other seasons it is important to adapt your diet and activities as the seasons change, to help prevent illness.
The organ that represents Winter is the Kidneys. And in Traditional Chinese Medicine the Kidneys are what gives us our essence as we are born and holds onto our most basic energy through our lives. And since the Kidneys are the organ of Winter and it holds such an important energy that supports us on the deepest level, Winter is the best time to focus on strengthening the Kidneys. And you may ask how do I do that? Well, rest is one of the best ways to support the Kidneys, and that is why Winter forces us to slow down and relax!
The Winter is a great time to look inward; meditation, writing, reading, Tai Chi and Qi Gong are some ways that we can slow our bodies and minds, calm our emotions and raise our spirits while we support the energy of the Kidney! Another great way to do this, which is also one of my favorites (because I LOVE my bed!) is getting more sleep! Winter is the time to go to bed earlier and sleep a little later, any excuse to do that sounds good to me!
During the Winter season eating foods that are naturally grown during this season is very important: squash, potatoes, root veggies, winter greens, carrots, mushrooms, apples, and pears are all good examples of this!
But since Winter is the season of the most Yin and thus cold, warming foods should also be apart of your diet, such as soups and bone broths. You can also add in foods that specifically nourish the Kidneys such as black beans, kidney beans, bone broths, lamb, chicken, walnuts, dark leafy greens, chestnuts, and black sesame seeds. Salt is the taste of the Kidneys so adding unrefined sea salt is also a good idea, but remember moderation is key!
Now that you have an idea of the foods you can start adding for Winter, it is also important to keep in mid the cooking process. You should be cooking your food for longer periods on a lower heat, so bake, roast, strew, or slow cook. This will infuse the food with warmth that can help keep the body warm during these cold months! I use my crockpot and cast-iron pots a ton during this season!
Other tips for this season:
1.Wash Hand regularly- this is cold and flu season but this is especially important before touching your face, which can bring those bugs right inside your body
2.Get plenty of sleep- we already talked about this one but its a good reminder:)
3.Reduce stress- this is important year round, but especially important during Winter- stress depletes your energy which you need to conserve during winter, it can also deplete your immune system
Easy Asian Chicken Soup
▪ 220g thin dried egg noodles
▪ 7 cups chicken stock
▪ 3 spring onions
▪ 8 slices (15g) fresh ginger
▪ 2 teaspoons soy sauce
▪ 3 chicken breast fillets, trimmed & thinly sliced (chicken can be replaced by fish, pork or tofu)
▪ 1 long red chili, seeded & finely chopped (leave out or put in less to make child friendly)
▪ 1 bunch of broccolini or any other vegetables of your choice (cabbage, bok choy, snow peas, baby corn, asparagus, kale, and carrots work really well in this recipe)
▪ 1 clove of crushed garlic (optional)
Cook Noodles. Place stock, spring onions, ginger, soy sauce (and garlic) in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to boil, add chicken & chili and simmer for 5 minutes. Add noodles and veggies and cook for 1 minute before serving.
Slow Cooker Beef Bone Broth
• 3-4 pounds mixed beef bones marrow bones, oxtail, knuckles, short rib, etc. (grass fed high quality bones are the best to use- I have also used chicken bones which work well too and are a little bit cheaper to use!)
• 2 medium onions
• 2 medium carrots
• 3 celery stalks
• 1 bay leaf
• 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 Heat oven to 400°F.
2 Spread the mixed bones on a baking tray in a single layer and place it into the oven. Roast the bones for 30 minutes. Flip bones and roast another 30 minutes.
3 While the bones are roasting, chop the carrots, onions and celery. (You are discarding these later so a rough chop works great!)
4 Place roasted bones, chopped vegetables, bay leaf and apple cider vinegar into a 6-quart crockpot. Cover completely with cold filtered water. (All the ingredients should be submerged by about 1 inch of water.)
5 Cook on low for 24 hours. Add water as needed to keep all the ingredients covered in water, and periodically skim the foam off the top of the pot.
6 After 24 hours, the broth should be a dark brown color. Strain the broth through a fine mesh strainer and discard the bones, vegetables and bay leaf.
7 Before storing, pour into separate containers and cool to room temperature. Once cooled, chill in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours. Skim off the accumulated fat at the top of the container, if there’s any. Store in the fridge for up to a week or in the freezer for up to 3 months
* If you can't find bones from your local store, (just ask your butcher they usually have some back there) I have used bones from the meat that I have cooked. Just save the bones for later!
Bone broth can be used to cook with or can be drank on it’s own. It has nutrients from the gelatin, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals that are in it. It can help your digestive system and immune system.
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