Chinese Medicine teaches us that to live a long and healthful life (not just a life free of diseases) we much live in accordance with the seasons. The ancient Chinese knew that we as human beings are not separate from nature but rather our bodies are a microcosm of the world around us. Because of this it is important to change our routines and lifestyles when the seasons change. This doesn’t mean you must completely overhaul everything you do when it gets cold but making some small changes will promote longevity, vitality and resilience. After all, ancient Chinese people routinely lived past 100 years old!
Here are 4 things you can do during the winter to live in harmony with nature.
- Eat only warm foods. Yes, it’s more common to eat soups and stews in the winter but we all know Americans love their salads and smoothies. These foods might be nutrient dense but they are just too cold (physically and energetically) for this time of year. You can have your green smoothie back in the spring.
- Eat root vegetables. For the most part, things do not grow above ground in the winter so this is a perfect time to eat all those delicious veggies that grow below ground. You will be eating with the season with means more nutrients too! Potatoes of any kind, turnips, squashes, pumpkin are all fantastic. You can roast them, or make a soup or stew. Don’t forget to add some winter greens! Here is my favorite pumpkin recipe and here is a buying guide for winter greens.
- Stay warm!! This way go without saying but it’s incredibly important. Scarves are you best friend in winter (guys, this means you too!). You should always keep the nape of your neck covered and do your best to limit your exposure to wind.
- Sleep more. Ideally you would be winding down for the night when the sun goes down and waking when the sun comes up but since most of us would lose our jobs in we slept 14 hours a day lets settle for increasing sleep by 1.5 hours. Cut your workouts short by upping the intensity, and start your bedtime routine 1 hour earlier at night. Next, set you alarm for a half hour later in the morning. Make you coffee at home and skip the line at your coffee shop, your body will thank you.
Chinese medicine focuses not just on absence of disease but on living a long life where you can truly thrive.