Staying Well in the Winter

As the nights grow longer and the temperature dips, I would like to take a moment and send some warm holiday cheer your way and share some helpful health tips and recipes for the winter season

Following the natural rhythm of the seasons, winter is a time of reflection, conserving energy and going inward.  According to Chinese medicine, winter is the time of year where winteryin energy is strongest and yang energy the weakest.  Yin energy refers to such characteristics as slow, soft, conservation, cold, quiet, water and darkness.  Whereas yang energy is the opposite and has characteristics like fast, expansive, active, focused, fire, heat and excitement.  Due to our yang energies being at their lowest, we need to naturally conserve that energy and be more yin in our approach to life during the winter months.

 

You may ask just how does one be more yin and conserve our yang energy?  We can start by doing what feels natural to us at this time of year…slowing down.  Here are some other daily lifestyle guidelines to help you achieve that goal.

Daily Lifestyle Tips

    • Going to bed and rising with the sun.   Go to bed earlier and sleep later which allows your body and mind to get adequate rest.  7-9 hours each night is optimal.
    • Exercise without exhausting too much energy.  Doing gentle moving exercises, walkingsuch as walking, hiking or yoga, and not overly exerting yourself and sweating a lot will help to conserve yang energy.  This is a time where it is okay to move slower…
    • Eat warming foods and avoid eating a lot of raw, cold foods.  Eat soups, stews, meats and eat what is available seasonally.  See recipe section below for a yummy lamb curry.  Lamb is one of the warmest meats and curry powder contains turmeric or curcumin, which has powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds as well.
    • Drink hot ginger tea from fresh ginger root after breakfast.  This will help to charge and build up your yang qi for the day.  See recipes section below.
    • Drink water warm or at room temperature.  Drinking ice water can be very cold to our stomachs and may harm digestion.
    • Support your kidneys.  Our kidneys in Chinese medicine are the root of our yin and yang energies and winter is also kidney time.  By supporting our kidneys we also support our basic life force and energy.  My qigong teacher, Master Liu He, from the Ling Gui International Healing Qigong School talks about supporting your kidneys by tapping your teeth while urinating or soaking your feet before bed in hot water or hot salt water for 15 minutes.  There are over 60 acupoints on the feet alone and this soak will tonify the kidneys as well as activate the abdominal area.

 

Recipes

Hot Ginger TeaGinger Tea

  • 2 inch piece of fresh ginger root
  • 4 cups of water

 

Grate, thinly slice, or chop the fresh ginger root

Bring the water to a boil, add the sliced ginger root and reduce to a simmer for 15-20 minutes.  You can add honey or lemon slices if desired.

 

Lamb Curry

This recipe was developed by my sweetie, Morgan.  He is a great cook and I am lucky to reap the benefits.

  • One pound of ground lamb
  • Two cans of full fat coconut milk (do not be afraid of the fat content – coconut milk is high in saturated fatty acids and medium-chain triglycerides (MCT), which are both easily burned as fuel by the body)
  • Half to one small onion – adjust to liking
  • 2 – 3 large garlic gloves – adjust to liking
  • ¼ of a large purple cabbage
  • 2 – 3 large carrots
  • 2 – 3 small potatoes
  • Any other vegetable you want to add.  We have also added zucchini squash, peeled broccoli stems or kale.
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • About 1 T of curry powder
  • About 1 T of cumin
  • About 1 T of fresh ginger, chopped
  • About 1 T of cider vinegar
  • Coconut oil for sautéing

 

Heat the coconut oil in a large pot and sauté the onion with the carrots and fresh ginger.   Add the spices, cider vinegar and salt and pepper.  Once onions are translucent, and carrots slightly tender add the ground lamb and cook through.  Then add the coconut milk and potatoes and bring to boil and then turn down to a simmer.  Cook the potatoes until almost done.  Add the cabbage, zucchini, broccoli stems or kale at this time.  We add the garlic at this time as well to allow for a fuller flavor and to retain more of its health properties.  You can also sauté the garlic with the onion, ginger and carrot if desired.  Taste the curry and adjust seasonings, we often add another splash of cider vinegar if needed.

 

Happy cooking and here’s to staying warm and healthy this winter season!

 


 

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About Green Lotus

Green Lotus Acupuncture is an Acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine clinic located in the Foster/Powell area of SE Portland near 52nd Avenue.

We serve all of Portland, Clackamas, Milwaukie, Gresham, Troutdale, West Linn, Oregon City, and the surrounding areas.