It’s a time of year that’s often accompanied by the ’tissue-clutching’ misery of colds, coughs, and feeling, errm… ‘just a bit under par.’
For many people, the approach to these challenges can generally be summed up as: ‘a trip to the chemist, a few days in bed, and then straight back to business as usual.’
Ancient Taoists, however, followed a very different path!
Taoist Philosophy places an extremely high value on being ‘Adaptive’ to the natural environment and supporting your body in becoming more Resilient to the Elements.
Historically, a Chinese Medicine Doctor was paid to keep their patients healthy.
If a patient became sick, the doctor would not be paid until the patient’s health was restored!
TCM is very complex and comprehensive system that’s beyond the scope of this article…
Today, I just want to offer you a few ‘Taoist-inspired’ suggestions to help you adapt your diet to the winter climate…
So that you can maintain your Energy and Vitality until the return of the sun!
*You can customize these guidelines to suit your own particular preferences and dietary needs.
My Top Tips For Winter Nourishment:
- A nourishing diet for this time of year is mineral and vitamin rich
- Eat a variety of Sea Vegetables and dark green leafy vegetables such as Kale
- Add dark colored beans such as Adzuki, Black, and Kidney to your diet (soak overnight and rinse well)
- Add a premium quality raw sea salt to your food after cooking- do not heat to maintain all the beneficial minerals! ( A raw sea salt will not be crystal white, but rather slightly grey and damp in appearance).
- Combine a Small amount of high-quality protein with a wide range of vegetables- root vegetables are particularly beneficial.
- Certain herbs, known as Tonics, were considered a food group. Daily intake was considered essential to health and longevity.
- Eat sweet fruits such a pears and dark fruits, such as blackberries, mulberries, and wild blueberries.
- Avoid Stimulants such as coffee and alcohol.
- You can include animal produce such as fish, eggs, dairy, duck or pork in moderation. However, make sure they are organic, and grass fed and kept with strict ethical welfare guidelines. (This is usually easier to source from small local suppliers)
- Slowly cook nourishing stews and soups, like this Adzuki Bean & Vegetable Casserole from the incredibly talented Holistic Chef and Yoga Teacher, Hayley North:
Adzuki Bean & Vegetable Casserole With Sea Vegetables
3/4 cup dry adzuki beans per person – soak overnight, wash well
Vegetables of choice – carrot, pumpkin, squash, sweet potato, daikon, kohlrabi, cauliflower work best – roughly chopped
1-inch piece fresh ginger – grated
1 large leek – finely chopped
1 large clove garlic – grated
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
A handful of sea vegetables of choice, small pieces of kombu – dulse, wakame or arame work well (cut into small pieces with scissors)
Tamari to taste
- Heat a saucepan on a medium flame
- Add the coconut oil
- Add the cumin and coriander, stir and sauté for 2 mins
- Add the garlic, ginger and turmeric powder and stir, sauté 2 mins
- Add the leeks and stir, sauté for approx 10 mins, adding splashes of water to avoid
sticking – you do not want the leeks and spices to burn
- Add the vegetables and stir well, sauté 2 mins adding splashes of water
- Add the beans and stir well
- Add water or stock to at least an inch above the contents
- Bring to the boil, add the seaweed and simmer for approx 45 minutes, adding more water if you need to (if you prefer a thicker stew add less water)
- When the beans and vegetables are cooked, add the tamari to season