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7 Tips To Nourish Your Health During Winter

  December is the time when the shopping rush takes over our minds and most of our free time. We think about how and where we will spend the holidays, who will be invited to our homes, what delicacies will go on our table, and what gifts we will give to everyone we know. Overwhelming enough?!! And that’s when we forget about the most important thing – loving and nourishing ourselves! We forget to look outside and realize that it is getting colder, the days are shorter, the nights are longer now. We forget that we also want to stay bright, look and feel good to embrace the holiday season and get the most joy out of it! Most of us do not even realize that it is the time to make some adjustments in the lifestyle and diet. To be more accurate, the adjustments for cold should start early in the fall.

In the ancient Asian theory of five transformations,  December is the water element or frozen, dissolving, floating energy. Outside there, often there is a lot of water in the form of rain, snow, or ice. Water element is also characterized by salty taste and requires some extra nourishing of our kidneys, bladder and reproductive organs. On the emotional level, healthy conditions of these organs are connected with confidence, courage, and inspiration, while their unhealthy conditions produce fear, lack of self-esteem, and hopelessness. Kidney energy Chi (Ki) is the life force of our body and governs the health of our bones, teeth, hair, nails, and the skin. This the time when most back pains and  bladder issues come out to the surface.  So, what do we do to preserve that essential  Chi energy of our body? Here are 7 most important key factors:

·         Keep your kidneys warm. Remember, they are very sensitive to cold. Dress warm around your waste and remember that the intake of ice-cold drinks and foods send your kidneys into shock, contract  them, and accelerate the hardening and calcification of fat that leads to the formation of kidney and bladder stones. It is important to serve warm, strong foods with longer cooking and stronger seasoning with more miso, sea salt, tamari and more oil. If we continue to eat a lot of cold, frozen foods, or raw salads and fruits,  soon we will grow out of balance with nature.


·         Use foods that strengthen the kidneys and bladder.  Emphasize  such dishes as strong hardy miso soup and deep fried foods, tempura; a variety of grain, bean, seitan, and vegetable stews with a touch of ginger in it  and very warming fried rice and noodles; moche and sweet rice can be used more often for the warming effect.   Include more root, round vegetables and pickles (remember that salty taste that nourishes our kidneys).  Beans are especially good and nourishing now. Choose from a variety of azuki beans, black soybeans, chickpeas, lentils as well as all other beans. The mild  use of seaweed dishes – the gifts of the water – is very suitable now.


·         Do not overwater your kidneys and bladder. Drinking too much also taxes and stresses these organs. As the result, we may feel fatigued, tired, and develop eye bags and other signs of expansion in the face. By eating naturally balanced diet and drinking to the thirst, we will get in enough liquid to “flush” and remove the waste products from our bodies.


·         Know that high protein diets or high protein intake harms the kidneys. Toxic uric acid is produced by extra protein intake. To process it, kidneys require more minerals. Surprisingly, it is then taken out of our bones, teeth, and nails.  There is protein in everything. So getting it from beans, tofu, tempeh, even hemp seeds and broccoli  as well as any other foods, except for, maybe, fruit,  will keep us in much better shape than  relying on dairy and animal food as your protein sources. 


·         Pay a very close attention to how much simple sugar you consume now, especially during  holiday season. Your kidneys are very sensitive to it. Sugar is very cooling and, when present  in excess,  turns into fat and liquid in the kidneys and excretes minerals from our bones and teeth. You may ask how it is possible now to stay away from pies and cakes, chocolate and candies? The advise is to make smarter choices. For your baked goods use brown rice syrup and barley malt. They serve in every sweet instance, from desserts to sauces and balancing savory dishes. Substitute whole grain flour for white flour that once in the body, also turns into simple sugar  and creates sticky condition in the intestines. Use rice and soy milk instead of cow milk in the baking recipe ingredients.


·         Kidneys dislike when we overeat or eat late (even at the holiday feast). Overeating overworks the kidneys, liver, and intestines. Excess food turns into liquid and stresses the kidneys. That is why often, when we  wake up in the morning and look in the mirror, we see puffy bags under the eyes.


·         There is a direct relationship between kidneys and sleep. Being the water transformation and the floating energy, kidneys settle down and get charged when we take a horizontal position, in other words, when we sleep at night. We fall into the deepest sleep between 1-3 am, the time when the celestial activity gives us the strongest charge. To get to that state, it takes our bodies good 2 hours. So, even with the holiday rush, we will be in much better shape, if we can manage getting to bed by 11 pm.


Do you want to know some useful tips on the self diagnosis of the health of your kidney and bladder? Then watch for the following signs:

Calasys on the ball of the bottom of your feet shows calcification and build up around your kidneys. -When press on it, and it doesn’t spring back or feels tender,  that is an indication of low kidney vitality.  Wet hands and feet as well as groining voice in the morning are an indication of the liquid imbalance in the kidneys. If little toenail is cracked and not formed well, the bone metabolism is not that great.  A red and swollen little toe indicates inflammation in the bladder.

On the emotional level, not feeling safe and being fearful  affects our kidneys even more. So, these holiday season, while nourishing your loved ones,  please, pay some extra attention to loving yourself with a little more effort. And remember, your kidneys, the seed of the life, take longer to deplete, and much longer to come back to health. Stay healthy, happy, and energetic!

Victoria Barayev