Making the Seasonal Connection: Winter

 

I will begin by saying that I am not particularly fond of the winter.  However, I must admit, this time of year I am very motivated, highly creative and much more introspective.  I find myself organizingeverything, enjoying nesting at home, getting clear on my intentions for the year and reading ALOT.  Usually more than one book at a time.  

I was skimming through some cooking type / wellness books and was reminded of some useful information I thought I would share about the winter season.  It reaffirms the power of the seasonal eating concept but it actually takes it a bit further.  To state briefly, the ancient Chinese discovered thousands of years ago that our internal organs respond in very specific ways to the changes of the season.  As a result,  certain foods are recommended to strengthen each of the organs.  The Chinese teachings indicate that the winter season is associated with our kidneys and bladder.  Therefore, in order to find balance, we need to focus on giving these organs a boost during this time of year because they tend to get stressed.  Recommended foods are fat dissolving vegetables (daikon radish, shiitake mushrooms, green onion, onion, leeks), aduki beans, sturdy root vegetables, greens, miso, twig tea.  These options are used specifically to cleanse, tonify,strengthen and boost the organs which in turn will help us elevate our energy, mood and overall health.  It is an interesting experiment to try and take notice if and how making these little shifts do infact impact us and how.  * Side note: This is where a “food / mood” journal would come in very handy.

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I welcome any insight that provides me with a deeper understanding of the physical, mental and emotional correlation to health as well as insight into a deeper awareness of my body’s natural rhythms.   I believe we are highly intelligent beings that intuitively know what we need to nourish and sustain ourselves in order to maintain optimal health.  This information is never static it is constantly evolving and changing.  It changes with the season, it changes with our age, environment and life circumstances.  The question is whether or not we choose to honor ourselves and listen toour inner guidance or not. 

During the winter months we instinctively gravitate toward warming, heartier foods, especially stews and soups.  Here is a very simple soup recipe which utilizes many of the suggested ingredients mentioned above.  

Kale & Aduke Bean Soup

Ingredients:

Sesame Oil (you can really use whichever oil you like here)

1 handful Shiitake Mushrooms (thinly sliced)

2 Garlic Cloves (sliced)

1 bunch Kale (stems removed and chopped)

1 large Daikon Radish (julianne or dice, however you prefer)

1 T Mellow White Miso or Barley Miso

1 small can Aduke Beans (rinsed)

1 box Vegetable Broth

Sea Salt & Pepper

1 T Tamari

OPTIONAL: Gomasio or Black Sesame Seeds for garnish

Heat a stock pot on medium heat and add oil to coat bottom.  Once hot, add garlic, radish, shiitake and beans and let simmer a few minutes while stirring occasionally.  Next add the kale and sprinkle with some sea salt and pepper.  Add your stock or broth then place lid on pot so the kale will wilt.  Meanwhile, dilute 1 T of miso with 1-2 T of the stock in a small bowl- stirring until miso is dissolved.  Add miso to the soup.  Allow soup to simmer on low heat about 10-15 minutes until kale is soft.  Add 1 T of tamari and stir.  Taste for seasoning.  Serve in bowls and sprinkle with gomasio or black sesame seeds if desired.  Enjoy the healthy, warm goodness and let the healing begin!

 
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