• Element: Water
• Nature: Yin
• Organs: Kidney, Urinary Bladder, Adrenal Glands, Ears, and Hair
• Taste: Salty
• Emotion: Fear and Depression
According to TCM philosophies, if we eat seasonal foods that are similar in nature to the external environment, we remain in harmony with the environment, adjust better to changes in season, and stay healthy. In the winter we eat more nutrient-dense foods from the ground like sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips, and rutabagas.
What does eating well mean to me?
To me, eating well means completely enjoying my meals that are delicious and satisfying but also nourishing to my body. I’m a firm believer in eating mostly plant food and as little processed food as possible. Fruits and vegetables contain thousands of phytonutrients, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that you cannot find anywhere else. These are the foods that not only are delicious but prevent disease and keep inflammation levels down. I also eat a lot of healthy fats like avocado, coconut oil, ghee, nuts, and seeds like hemp. These are important for brain and nervous system function. Lastly, I try and eat as little sugar as possible. Sugar, as good as it tastes, is just not good for you. I steer away from sugar but satisfy my sweet craving using stevia, xylitol, or a tiny bit of coconut nectar/sugar.
Foods for Winter
Brothy soups and stews
Yams and sweet potatoes
Miso and seaweed
Sesame, flax, and pumpkin seeds
Neka’s Winter Solstice Goji Berry and Mint Tea
A warming blend perfect for the cold and flu season.
This infusion is great for treating red, irritated eyes due to colds and cases of flu. The mint is cooling, and in traditional Chinese medicine, it is used to brighten the eyes and clear wind heat which helps with colds. Goji berries – or gou qi zi – contribute to eye health and nourish the yin. Fresh ginger is warming and great to get a sweat going if you feel like you are starting to fight off a cold.
2 cups (16 fl oz/500 ml) filtered or spring water
1/4 cup (1 oz/30 g) dried goji berries
Leaves from 1/2 bunch of fresh peppermint or spearmint
Liquid stevia or honey, for sweetening
1 slice of fresh ginger
In a small saucepan, bring the water to a boil over high heat. Immediately remove from the heat. Add the goji berries, ginger, and mint, and let steep for 10 minutes. Pour into a large mug, sweeten with stevia to taste, and enjoy.
Makes 1 serving