Do you resist the cooler months, or do you embrace them fully – seeing them as a chance to slow down, hibernate and cosy on up?

This is an important season to really look after your Kidneys, Bladder and Adrenals. I am not just referring only to food but also prioritizing rest, getting lots of sleep, not making yourself over-busy or stressed and taking time for quietude during the colder months.

If you are called to hibernate and do less, do it! It is part of the cycle of the seasons and our body’s call to nourish and restore!

Speaking of nourishment, there are so many delicious dark colored foods that are nourishing for us in wintertime and the water element in 5 Element Theory. Keep scrolling to see my Winter Food Recommendations!

(I know this is not ideal timing for our northern hemisphere friends/readers who are heading into Spring and Summer. I hope you save this to refer back to it in 6 months’ time, so you can embrace the advice when the time is right. There will be a spring/summer feature for you though in an upcoming newsletter, so keep your eyes peeled!)

Winter Foods!

A few functional foods that I recommend for this season if you are in the Southern hemisphere include:

  • Black fungus/Wood ear mushrooms– such a wonderful ingredient for the Water element and kidneys, blood, Qi and Yin nourishing. I love to include it sliced into fried noodles, always if I have some in noodle soup, both which are easy ways to cook with it.

  • Black beans– similar purpose as the fungus, perfect for warming, building kidney Qi and strengthening us this season. You can enjoy them as black bean tea (Korean/Japanese stores have this pre-packed in sachets), cooked in bean stews, as a side dish, mashed and made into burger patties, soups, or on a salad. Mexican style cooking lends itself well to black beans, get creative and let me know how you can incorporate black beans into your life.

  • Azuki beans– these red beans are probably the most common one in Asian cuisine. I love them cooked really soft and mashed with some natural sweetener to use in my pancakes/crepes, but you can cook them and combine with vegetables for a stew too.

  • Black sesame seeds– enjoy them toasted and sprinkled on your rice or wholegrain dishes, in baked goods, as black tahini on porridge or in smoothies. These are little powerhouses of nutrition in the shape of a small seed! Sesame seeds have long been used as a functional food in many food cultures, and they also have loads of calcium and minerals.

  • Hijiki– the ultimate winter sea vegetable, used commonly in Japanese and Macrobiotic cooking. Hijiki is wonderful in soups, stews, noodle soups and side dishes. You just need to soak or rehydrate a teaspoon of Hijiki in water and then add to your pot. This adds minerals and the winter element to any dish and meal, and no-one I know eats enough seaweeds, so please try some.

  • Red dates/Jujube dates– I eat them plain as a snack, but also love them in brewed tea with burdock, or chopped & blended up date paste which I then use for desserts and baked goods. They are wonderful for nourishing the blood.

Head over to your local Asian grocery or supermarket to try some of these unique ingredients!

I love eating with the seasons and am excited to share with you two of my favorite winter recipes. These are definitely crowd-pleasers at retreats and workshops I run, so I hope you enjoy them just as much and learn how to better slow down and embrace the cooler months.

  • Hijiki & carrots recipe

  • Black sesame bliss ball recipe

Give them a try and tell me what you think!

Guest article posting thanks to Kimberly @ Qi Food Therapy & be sure to try her new recipes

JW & Simona