Because winter is cold, your diet will need to produce more warmth and heat.
Warm hearty soups, casseroles, and stews (all water rich foods) will take center stage during 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 bigger 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 warming 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:
Salty foods include:
and other salted foods
Foods that regenerate and strengthen kidney energy include:
beans and dark foods with salty flavors
black sesame seeds
Because winter corresponds 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 amounts 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 absorb 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 unless 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 might 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 tonics and nourish yourself with hearty stews, soups and casseroles.
Enjoy the quiet of the winter season.