Winter, according to traditional Chinese medicine, is a time to consume warming foods to nourish our bodies, and kidneys. In TCM, winter is often associated with the kidneys, as they hold our body’s fundamental energy. By consuming warming, seasonal foods (aligning with the changing season), we are strengthening our kidneys and reducing our chances of getting sick.
In traditional Chinese medicine, the seasons have a profound effect on human growth and well-being - as humans, we are influenced by climate changes and should strive to live in harmony with them.
Seasonal Winter foods include:
citrus fruits (warmer climates)
These foods are excellent to incorporate into stews, soups and serve roasted. Whole-grains, and roasting nuts additionally offer nourishment and warmth to the body.
The recipe below is a warming winter meal. Kitchari, meaning mixture, is a comforting Auyrvedic dish, that is nourishing and easy to digest.
1 c.up split mung dal
1 cup brown rice
1 & 1/2 piece fresh ginger, chopped
1/2 cup purified water
3 Tbsp. ghee
2 inch piece of cinnamon bark
1/2 tsp cumin
5 whole cardamom pods
5 whole cloves
10 black peppercorns
3 bay leaves
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp Celtic sea salt
6 cup water
1 cup roasted vegetables, optional
Rinse mung dal and rice well. Add mung dal and rice to a small bowl and cover with water. Let soak over night, 10-12 hours. The next day rinse in 2 changes of water. Set aside.
Put the ginger, and water in a small blender and blend until you have a smooth liquid.
Heat a large sauce pan over medium heat and add the ghee, cinnamon, cumin, cardamom, cloves, peppercorns and bay leaves. Stir with a wooden spoon for a minute or two until very fragrant. Be careful not to burn the spices.
Add the blended mixture to the pot along with the turmeric and salt. Stir until it is light brown.
Stir in the mung dal and rice well to coat completely.
Pour in the water, cover the pot, and bring to a boil. Allow it to boil for five minutes them reduce to a simmer on the lowest possible setting, lid ajar for 25-30 minutes or until mung dal and rice is very soft.
When kitchari is done turn off heat and let sit. Add in the roasted vegetables, if using.
Recipe adapted by A. Geary from Ashley Neese, http://ashleyneese.com/winter-kitchari-two-day-cleanse/, author Ashley Neese, 2015.