Right about now, you may be feeling a tad overwhelmed by the plethora of dietary advice exclaiming the virtues of detoxing, dieting and cleansing.
As everyone knows, we humans are not that far removed from our friends in the animal kingdom. Nature dictates that January and February, when we are in the depths of winter, are really a time when we should be hibernating and’ storing our nuts’. Keeping warm inside and out!
A daily diet of cold, raw foods or deprivation diets will not fuel our internal central heating systems, nor our
vitality!So then what can do to cope with the harshness of winter, whilst at the same time addressing the Christmas overindulgence in a way that is compassionate to ourselves, no guilt
CHINESE MEDICAL ADVICE
During winter, the movement of qi (often described as life-force energy) is inward and still. Blood and qi are directed internally to ensure the warmth of our vital organs. If we do too much vigorous exercise, or experience too many high emotions then the blood will be directed outwards or upwards and will not have the chance to warm and nourish the deepest aspects of our being.
Winter is a great time to look deeply and to quietly and peacefully consider the things we hold most dear. As it is the most silent and still time of year, any sound will be heard more loudly, giving us the opportunity to listen very closely to what our bodies are telling us.
Any of the following activities can help us move in rhythm with the energies of Winter.
Keep warm; wear a hat, scarf, gloves, kidney warmer, thick socks. Have
a hot foot bath before bed.
Eat more warm cooked foods and have a cup of hot herbal tea rather than cold water.
Observe the stillness and depths of water, the element associated with this time of year – go for a walk near a lake or a river.
Gentle exercise, such as walking, qi gong, yoga keeps the qi and body fluids circulating but without sweating which would lose some of our vital Yang energy that we need to conserve.
Go to bed early and get up later. Rest is the main method to really nourish the Kidney.
Any meditative practice that helps us get in touch with the deepest aspects of ourselves.
Eat the rainbow as nature intended. Include green leafy vegetables, root vegetables, and fungi. Lightly steam, stir-fry or slow cook to preserve nutrient content and enable sluggish digestive systems to assimilate nutrients.
Add plenty of warming herbs and spices to your food
Garlic has powerful anti-bacterial and anti-viral actions to help to ward off colds and flu’s.
Chilli has anti-inflammatory and immune boosting effects and increases body temperature. It can be great for ‘a sluggish post-Christmas metabolism’.
Ginger too has powerful anti-inflammatory and immune boosting effects and can help give much needed
Cinnamon can help regulate blood sugar and will help to curb any sweet tooth hangover from the festive period.
Be mindful of portion sizes. This is a simple and highly effective way to loose excess pounds and manage weight long-term. Eating slowly and mindfully and chewing each mouthful allows your brain to register when your stomach is full. (See our blog on mindful eating)
Make like an Eskimo & oil your body internally with good quality fats. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil or flax seed oil on food. Cook with olive oil, rapeseed oil or coconut oil as these have a high burning temperature. Enjoy omega 3 rich oily fish including wild salmon, mackerel, sardines. Snack on omega 3&6 rich nuts & seeds, especially almonds and walnuts.
Above all, be kind and compassionate with yourself, go with the slower flow of winter and do as nature intended. Spring-time is the right time for self-rejuvenation and a 'spring clean' of the body. We will definitely have some great detox tips up our sleeve then, but for now feel free to crawl back under the blanket and warm yourself with hearty stews and baked puddings!