Your Water Element Prescription — Eat Fat and Hibernate!
With the onset of daylight savings, one of my patients came to me and said, “What’s happening? My body is screaming to eat fat and hibernate.” Well, her body is responding to the rhythms of nature, and her inclination to eat more fats and get more sleep are quite normal, and, in fact, healthy. The cycle of winter begins on 10/17 an ends on 1/16.
Water, the most Yin of all the elements, governs winter. Water can be still, or full of movement, and in the winter, it is best to mimic the quieter aspect of water.
Yin energy calls us to be introspective; to rest and renew ourselves. This inner-reflection and conserved energy, will give rise to the dramatic burst of new life in the spring. Like the bears who hibernate for winter, we are wise to nourish our inner-self throughout the dark season. The Yang of Summer is balanced by the Yin of Winter.
The organs associated with the water element are the kidneys and bladder, which regulate water within the body. In the philosophy of traditional Chinese medicine, the kidneys represent an energetic system. This system stores our vital essence, which we receive from our parents. This vital essence is finite and helps us to remain resilient as we age. It also governs brain performance, fertility, and longevity. If we don’t take good care of kidney energy, it will become depleted. Kidney deficiency will turn wisdom into confusion, introspection becomes fear, or, phobia, and one’s resilience quickly becomes exhaustion.
In practical terms, the best way to nourish your water element is to get plenty of sleep and reduce stress to maintain good health throughout the winter. Drink water to prevent dehydration and keep the energy flowing. DON’T FORGET TO BREATHE! Find a breathing technique that works for you and do it.
Eating the right kinds of food for the season is also important. Get your fats in, but make sure they are the right kind:
- Foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids such as: walnuts, flax seed, wild salmon and tofu.
- Foods rich in omega 9 fatty acids such as: olive oil, peanut oil, sunflower oil, avocados, almonds, pistachios, and walnuts. *If you are inclined to be less active during the winter, it is important to pay attention to your caloric intake while consuming foods rich in oils. Drinking sufficient water will help the body metabolize the fats for better health.
- Beans are another excellent food source to tonify the kidneys. Even the shape of most beans mimics the shape of the kidneys.
- Black foods, such as black rice, sea kelp, black mushrooms, and black sesame seeds are good for the kidney, bladder, and urinary tract. They protect against kidney stones and are good antioxidants.
- Warming foods such as soups and stews are also good to protect from the cold and dampness.
Acupressure points: K4 — reinforces the kidney, strengthening the will, and dispels fear. It also enhances brain function.
K7 — benefits the kidney, strengthens the lumbar region, and regulates sweating / hot flashes.
With warm relationships, proper rest, moderate and healthy food, the winter can be a wonderful time for inner peace.