Winter Seasonal Guide:
Prepare for the Winter Season
Winter provides an opportunity for introspection and energy replenishment, encouraging a deep connection with one’s inner world. This season is viewed as a time to safeguard internal resources, ensuring a vibrant emergence in spring. Guided by ancient Chinese medical principles, winter is described as a period of “shutting and storing,” emphasizing the importance of warmth, early rest, and protection against the cold to preserve harmonious Yang energy and prevent harm to vital organs like the Kidney.
Traditional medicine suggests focusing on supporting warming Yang energy, nurturing internal resources, and strengthening the body’s immune system during winter to prevent energy depletion and cold-related issues. This newsletter offers gentle guidance on maximizing the season’s energy for overall well-being.
As we are past the Winter Solstice, the days are getting longer – but it still gets dark early, and the sunrise is not as quick as it will be. It is important to get plenty of sleep by going to bed early and sleeping in as much as possible.
One problem — those pesky computer/phone/TV screens and their blue backlight that stimulate the brain to be awake and shut down the production of melatonin, a key neurotransmitter our body naturally secretes to help us fall asleep at the appropriate time.
Solution — altering the backlight of the screens to match the natural sleep cycle is VERY easy. For one, there’s a quick and easy application that you can download onto your computer – it alters the screen in accordance with your local clock so that at 10 pm you’re looking at the gentle orange glow of a campfire as you prepare to go to sleep, instead of staring into the blazing midday sun:
You can also wear very cool (I’m not hip, but I think Orange is STILL the new Black?) orange shades after sundown to help keep your brain’s programming natural. Choose more “warming” foods to counter the tendency to get chilled. As the weather cools and the body needs to generate more warmth, incorporate more cooked foods and warming spices in your meals. To cultivate the most energy, dishes are made with whole grains, squashes, beans, peas, and root vegetables. Lamb and chicken are very “warming” meats.
Ginger is a natural antihistamine and decongestant. It also nourishes the spleen and stomach – in Chinese medicine, that’s where the Lung meridian starts, so it indirectly nourishes the lungs and helps respiration too!
Apples are in season! With the skin, they contain the flavonoid quercetin, which can reduce allergic reactions by acting as an antihistamine, as well as decreasing inflammation.
Carrots, Sweet Potatoes, Pumpkin:
Hello, beta-carotene! These foods are rich in carotenoids, which are thought to reduce inflammation in the airways. Root vegetables overall are very important for a strong and healthy body and are in season all autumn and winter long.
Known as Feng Mi in Oriental Medicine, honey is warming and moisturizing and has many health benefits. It contains antioxidants and fights the effects of aging, is antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-fungal. Honey is used to soothe the skin and encourage the growth of healthy tissue. Enjoy in your tea, on foods, or as a facial mask!
Garlic boosts immunity, increasing the ability to fight off infection. It also helps regulate blood sugar levels. As it is a warming food, it is excellent to use in winter cooking to bring warmth to the body. One or two cloves a day is recommended for optimum health!
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