What are the best Foods for Winter?

Creating balance in your body with food during the Winter months

Chinese medicine teaches to live in harmony with the seasons, and according to TCM theory there are five seasons – winter, spring, summer, late summer, and fall.  Each season has many associations which help us to change our habits as the seasons change so that we may create more balance between our bodies and the external environment.
Even though it seems like winter started 3 weeks ago in Calgary, December 21st is the official first day of winter, also known as the winter solstice.  As the dry cold moves in we need to modify our diets to accommodate the changes. Boiling, steaming, or poaching your food will help nourish you from the inside out. 

In Chinese medicine, winter belongs to the Kidneys.  All salty foods and dark foods, foods that are purple, black or blue will benefit this organ.  A list of foods to incorporate into your diet during the winter include:

– Fresh fish and salted fish

– Salted meat

– Caviar, any other fish eggs

– Shellfish of all kinds

– Pork

– Eggs

– Beans of all kinds

– Seaweed and sea vegetables

Asparagus, alfalfa, celery
– Chicory root and Burdock root

– Soy sauce and Tamari

– Hearty soups, bone broths

– Miso

– Figs

– Blueberries and blackberries

– Eggplant

– Kale

– Micro-algae (chlorella, spirulina, wild blue-green)

– Wild rice

– Walnuts

– Sesame seeds (specifically black sesame seeds), sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds

All of these foods have a softening effect and promote moisture and calming of the body.  They most benefit thin, dry and nervous people. As with all things in life, balance is key. So start incorporating some of these foods into an already well balanced diet to achieve optimal health and wellness.

Dr. Lani Pickering DTCM RAc RMT


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