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Winter and Your Kidneys

Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire; it is time for home.

— Edith Sitwell

Winter in Traditional Medicine is a time to focus on our kidneys. Kidneys are Yin organs, which means they represent a more inward and slower energy than Yang (or summer) organs do. Which is brilliant because our kidneys respond well to warm, slow-cooking methods for our food. Soups, stews and other slow-cooked meals all make our kidneys happy.

Because, in Traditional Medicine, kidneys hold our most fundamental energy, it is important to make sure we understand our body’s needs in winter. Get plenty of rest and stay warm whenever possible. By respecting each season and acting accordingly we can help ensure year-round health and wellbeing.

Winter is a time to think about our internal needs. Spend time meditating or doing yoga. Read a good book, write in a journal or sit down and binge watch the latest series you’ve been meaning to watch. Spend time with family in front of the fire. Invite good friends over for dinner and drinks.

Try to stick to foods that are in season like squash, potatoes, carrots, apples and pears. By eating what’s in season, we are helping our body find natural balance with winter weather. Some of the best kidney specific foods are black and kidney beans, chicken, walnuts and dark, leafy greens. Longer, slower cooking times are ideal as is using less water in our cooking. Concentrate on bone broths as the bases for soups and stews.

Remember, Traditional Medicine has been around a long time. Back in the day we had to live in harmony with the seasons – we couldn’t run down to the market and buy food that had been shipped in from summer locales in the middle of winter. We had no choice but to eat local, fresh and in-season. By returning to this respect for the seasons we are returning to a natural cycle which in turn helps our body to heal itself and find balance.

After all - life and good health, both physical and mental - is all about balance.

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