At the time of writing, winter is upon us, introducing the end of all seasons, and the cold and darkness drive us to seek inner warmth. It is a time of rest and hibernation, where one emphasizes the principles of receptiveness, introspection, and the storage of physical energy. In Chinese medicine, these inner processes are referred to as the yin principles and the winter season, associated with the kidney organ.

Either dining out or cooking for ourselves, paying attention to our food choices will help us reap the full benefits of our winter nourishment. Warm hearty soups, whole grains, and roasted nuts sound good on cold days. Dried foods, small dark beans, seaweeds, and steamed wintergreens fortify the kidneys in the winter. Cooking foods longer, at lower temperatures and with less water will optimize storage capabilities.

Salty and bitter foods are appropriate for winter, since they promote a sinking, centering quality, which heightens the capacity for storage. Most people are familiar with this pattern as it occurs in nature: plants send their sap deeper within and downward in cold weather. Salty and bitter foods also cool the exterior of the body and bring body heat deeper and lower; with a cooler surface, one notices the cold less.

Most common bitter foods are not wholly bitter, but combinations of bitter and other flavors. These foods include lettuce, watercress, endive, escarole, turnip, celery, asparagus, alfalfa, carrot top, rye, oats, quinoa, and amaranth. Salty foods include miso, soy sauce, seaweeds, salt, millet, barley, plus any food made salty by the addition of salt.

Salt is overused in the typical diet, while the bitter flavor is under-represented. Small, regular amounts of bitter in the winter nurture deep inner experiences and preserve joy in the heart!

2 Responses to “Seasonal Wellness – Storing for the Winter”

  1. Mercy Divlio says:

    Good Job, Your will be the Leadin the world!!

  2. Bea Borries says:

    Nice. Thanks for posting this. It is always great to see someone give back to the interet.

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