Eating right in Winter

In my opinion, the most important take-away message of the key classical text of Chinese medicine, the Huangdi Neijing Suwen, is the importance of living in harmony with nature and the rhythm of the seasons. According to this text, laid out plainly in Chapter 1, it was the sages of antiquity who did this and were able to live long and full lives.

Winter is upon us. The natural movement of the season is Inward. The theme is Storage. The weather is cold. We look inward to find a point of stillness. It is only from stillness that the rebirth and growth of Spring and Summer can come.

One of the ways that we can support these actions is by eating right for the season. Here is an interesting article about the subject. We eat foods classified as Yang, or warming, foods. We should also eat root vegetables, pumpkins and squash, and seeds and nuts. All of these foods resonate with the essence of the season of Winter. Yang foods are garlic, chives, dark meat chicken, ginger, turmeric, lamb/mutton, beef, mustard greens, oatmeal, buckwheat and quinoa.

In addition to eating warming, Yang foods, it is important to avoid cold, Yin foods. Yin foods are anything literally cold or raw, dairy, melons, cucumbers, spinach, mung beans, seaweed, watercress, and sprouts.

These dietary recommendations are not absolute. It is OK to eat some cold foods in Winter and warm foods in Summer. The trick to this is moderation. Working with a licensed practitioner is the best way to come up with a balanced diet in harmony with your own constitution and also with the natural world and seasons.

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