Winter & The Kidneys: A Chinese Medicine Prospective

“He who has health, has hope; and he who has hope has everything” Arabian proverb


The ancients understood that winter is a time of contraction and introspection, a time to evaluate your actions from the previous year and meditate on changes that you would like to institute for the future. We still embrace this concept with new years resolutions. Traditional Chinese dietary therapy is a great way to incorporate the enormous effects of the season into our personal lives and, like our lives, always keep evolving.

In Chinese Medicine, the winter is associated with the KIDNEYS, the OCEAN, SALTY foods, REPRODUCTION and the emotion of FEAR. When the KIDNEYS become out of balance people suffer from: Joint problems, Knee pain, Teeth problems, Back pain, Pre-mature graying, Reproductive imbalances, Pre-mature aging, Excessive fear or worry.

The following list of foods (from Paul Pitchford’s book, Healing with Whole Foods) help address any KIDNEY weakness and should be eaten by everyone in the winter.

Foods should be cooked longer with less water and less heat. The theory is that concentrated foods will provide longer lasting energy on those cold and dark days.
•    Soups (avoid raw foods)
•    Molasses (source of iron, calcium, potassium and magnesium)
•    Black Beans
•    Seaweeds: kelp, wakame, hijiki
•    Tuna, Sardines, Crab
•    Root vegetables: turnips, sweet potato, parsnips, beets
•    Ox Tail soup, Chicken soup-anything with marrow for the bones
•    Wheat germ
•    Spirulina
•    Pork
•    Miso
•    Soy sauce
•    Black sesame seeds
•    Millet, Buckwheat, Kasha, Barley
•    Walnuts
•    Asparagus
•    Kidney beans

Autumn & Letting Go

Autumn & Letting Go

diamonds“All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on.”
Havelock Ellis

Autumn is upon us and what a fabulous time to DETOXIFY your body and mind. Just as the universe is casting out its bright colors in the last moments of autumn, people too can choose to hold onto experiences from the past year or let them go.

Are you ready to let go? Ann Landers said that “hanging onto resentment is like letting someone live rent free in your head.” From a Chinese medicine point of view, resentment, food stagnation and toxins cause inevitable sickness and unhappiness. Stop the cycle now.

Autumn & The METAL Element

The METAL element in Traditional Chinese medicine is synonymous with refined taste, the spark of creativity, the brilliance of diamonds, the shine of polished silver and the sentiment of respect. Metal can be manifested in one’s feeling of self-worth and their inherent value.

The METAL element is manifested in the outside world in the season autumn. The fall is the turning point when all of nature’s bounty reaches its apex and turn towards decline. Decaying plants, leaves and foods left over from spring and summer pour nutrients back into the earth ensuring future growth in the spring.

Autumn is also the season characterized by the Lungs and the Large Intestines. The lungs are in charge of pulling in fresh energy from the cosmos and literally providing INSPIRATION….whilst the large intestine lets go of the body’s impurities. Some texts state that individuals who suffer from chronic diarrhea suffer from an inability to hold onto what is beneficial for them while those suffering from constipation are unable to let go of what is toxic for them. Do any of these concepts resonate with you?