Nutrition for Winter Rhythms

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Winter is cold so your diet will need to produce more warmth and heat than in warmer seasons. Hearty soups, casseroles, and stews (all water rich foods) are appropriate for the winter months to fortify and strengthen your kidney / adrenal pathway. Winter foods are cooked longer and at lower temperatures than foods during other seasons.

Fruits are out of season and therefore are a smaller part of the winter diet. In contrast, root vegetables such as yams, turnips, onions, garlic, and potatoes make up a larger portion of a winter diet. Cooked whole grains such as millet, barley, brown rice, wheat, oats, and buckwheat are good body heaters. Cooked with legumes such as black beans, lentils and kidney beans, these make a warm and nutritious meal.

Salty and bitter foods promote a deepening and centering energy that Promotes the capacity of your body for storage. These foods tend to bring heat deeper into the body. However, excessive salt intake can lead to constriction of the Water element and may be related to problems with blood pressure.

Bitter foods include:

rye

oats

lettuce

carrot tops

quinoa

lettuce

celery

asparagus

alfalfa

amaranth

escarole

watercress

endive

chicory

citrus peel

Salty foods include:

Miso

Millet

Seaweeds

Barley

soy sauce

and other salted foods

Foods that regenerate and strengthen kidney energy include:

beans and dark foods with salty flavors

millet

buckwheat

black sesame seeds

black soybeans

chestnuts

mulberries

raspberries

strawberries

walnuts

Because winter correspondents to the Water element, ocean foods such as fish and seaweed are also good winter foods. While eating more fish is encouraged there are some guidelines needed. Nearly all fish contain trace volumes of methyl mercury. In most cases, this is of little concern because the level is so low. The fish most likely to have the lowest level of methyl mercury are salmon (usually undetectable levels), cod, mackerel, cold-water tuna, and herring.

But certain seafood – particularly swordfish, shark and some other large predatory fish – may contain high levels of methyl mercury. Fish absorb methyl mercury from water and aquatic plants. Larger predatory fish also absorbs mercury from their prey. Methyl mercury binds tightly to the proteins in fish tissue, including muscle: cooking does not reduce the mercury content significantly. As a general rule, fresh water fish should be assumed to be mercury laden without specifically proven otherwise. Limit your intake of fish to about 2 pounds a week – about 4 eight-ounce servings. Limit your intake of swordfish, shark and warm water tuna to very occasional consumption. Freshwater fish should be limited to no more than once a week (women of childbearing age who may be pregnant and children should avoid all freshwater fish completely). Reduce the consumption of farm-raised fish. Eat most of your fish baked or steamed and avoid fried, grilled or barbecued fish.

This winter take the time to cuddle up in a warm and cozy place. Spend time meditating and listening to yourself. Dream, reflect and store up energy and vitality. Sip strengthening herbal herbs and nourish yourself with hearty stews, soups and casseroles.

Enjoy the quiet of the winter season.

Copyright (c) 2008 Mary Ann Copson

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