As we discussed in our previous blog, listening to the natural energies of winter, allows us to create the best balance between our bodies and the external environment, that we can. Being colder seems to naturally fit with being more internally focused, making winter the best time to recharge our batteries.
Like Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), we at Blossoming Me, are very much focused on preventative measures, to naturally protect ourselves against bacterial infections, flu and other viruses. The more balanced our system is, the stronger our defences against whatever we may be exposed to. For a strong immune system and the best health throughout winter, rest more and engage in gentle exercise to keep your energy flowing and use good nutrition to ensure that adequate vitamins and minerals are available and easy for the body to absorb.
Gentle exercise is the go in the colder weather. So, when you are freezing and hiding under a blanket, you can come out and warm up, with just 20 minutes of moderate exercise.
Boost your circulation, warming even your fingers and toes, raise your core body temperature, support your lymphatic and immune systems and aid digestion, as well as giving you a natural buzz from the feel-good endorphins, hormones that your body releases naturally when exercising.
Our bones are the part of the body TCM associates with winter and the kidney and bladder energies. So strength training like resistance and weight training can be good, providing you don’t over do it to the point of exhaustion. Professional guidance from a trusted trainer, is also recommended.
At this time of year, the best way to nourish our bodies is with warm, wholesome foods. Rich foods like meats and stews warm, strengthen, and support the body’s energy and digestive system. Bone broths and soups are another nutritious, warming and easily digested meal.
Winter is the time to indulge in them, especially lamb, chicken, salmon and trout. Be mindful not to over do it though, as over indulging can unnecessarily strain your body.
Meats cooked longer, at lower temperatures, with only small amounts of fluids, are best. Crockpots and slow cookers can be great for this, and root vegetables taste great when cooked this way!
Making life easier when you come home at the end of a long day, to a fabulous, nutritious meal, already cooked, just add some lightly steamed vegetables, especially greens!
Great root veggies to use are: sweet potato, pumpkin, turnip, parsnip, potato, carrot and beetroot.
For extra boosting and nourishing of the kidney energy, add flavour with: cloves, fenugreek seeds, fennel, star anise, black peppercorn, garlic, ginger, cinnamon, walnuts, black beans, onions, chives, scallions or leeks. (Not all at once!)
Warmed wholegrains can also be a great way to warm the body in this cooler weather. Try porridge with whole oats or millet or even rice (congee) for breakfast; quinoa with dinner or a brown rice and cinnamon pudding for a warm supper treat!
You can even add bone broth to these grains, including hidden in the dessert; to increase protein, sooth and heal the digestive system and support kidney energy.
The good news is that winter can be enjoyed by everyone if we nurture and nourish ourselves according to the natural elements of the season and listen to our body, noticing how it responds. Notice, nurture and nourish your body and enjoy every season! Even winter!