Dietary Therapy guides us to stay healthy all year long. You can stay healthier by eating in harmony with the different seasons. Foods become part of the body after being consumed – so you really are what you eat!
Winter is the time to tonify your kidney energy by cooking food longer, at lower temperatures, with less added water. Slow-cooked meals are ideal!
Winter foods should focus on rich stocks, bone broth, and stew using hearty vegetables like pumpkin, black or kidney beans, walnuts and chestnuts, dark leafy greens, carrots and other root vegetables, mushrooms, cabbage, etc. A small amount of salt in the cooking is okay, but too much salt will put a burden on the kidneys.
Replenishing your kidney energy is essential at this time for both men and women because it is the centre of your deepest physical, mental, and emotional well-being and health. The good news is that eating these warming foods will benefit and support the kidneys, while warming the body’s core during the cold and darkness of winter.
So in winter it is important to get to bed early, continue drinking water, stay warm, rest well and of course eat the correct winter foods. Wishing you a happy and healthy winter from one and all at Bing’s Natural Health.
We all have our favourite seasons… in the year and in life… but the truth is that each season brings its own special gift for us to honour and blend into.
Many people love the crispy chill of winter, but some struggle with feelings of stillness and sadness and sometimes even confuse these winter blues with depression. Look around you! The trees are bare, the bright autumn colours are fading, the grey sky is over-cast and the leaves are lying on the ground in a sodden mass. Wild animals are beginning to hibernate, living off their stored fat and provisions, protected from the cold and wet in their cosy shelters and burrows. It’s all part of the natural cycle of rebirth and renewal and without this time of pruning and reflection there cannot be the same level of new life and growth.
Sometimes, we humans act as though we’re immune to this natural cycle in our climate controlled cars, houses, and offices, with electric light to eke out the fading daylight, and our flickering TVs to ward off boredom and unwelcome reflections, but that is a mistake that can cost us dearly in terms of health of mind, body, and spirit.
If we don’t honour the rhythm of nature and take the time to look inside ourselves and adjust our activity and diet to support these seasonal needs we are actually stealing from ourselves… robbing ourselves of important nourishment, cleansing and resources for the coming springtime of creativity and growth. However, if you listen to your body and allow yourself to set aside salads and focus on the warm nourishing foods that feed your kidney energy at the deepest level of your being, slow down your activity, and set aside extra time for journaling, reflection, and contemplation… so that when springtime comes again, you’ll be astounded at the bounding energy of mind, body and soul and the way in which you move forward without feeling depleted or constrained.
It can be surprising to see just how much benefit you gain from this time of pruning, cleansing and nourishing. Maybe it feels as though it’s a wasted period of the winter blues, but the end result is clarity, energy, and tremendous growth.
N.B. If you are used to constant activity and have a low winter diet, your body, mind and soul may need some extra rebalancing. Talk to your Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner.
Have you kept your child away from Traditional Chinese Medicine(TCM) because they are afraid of needles?
At Bing’s Natural Health we also practice a Japanese influenced style of acupuncture which does not involve the use of needles. Instead we use a teishin to gently stimulate the pressure point areas without breaking the skin.
Your Child’s Immune System is Much More Sensitive Than Yours
You’ve probably noticed that your child’s health fluctuates much more dramatically than most adults do. They react more quickly to environmental hazards and allergens so they get sick faster, but then they also bounce back faster. This is because your child’s energetic system is much healthier than yours and is therefore more responsive.
From a TCM perspective, this is very good news! It means that your child will usually respond much more quickly to a lesser degree of stimulus than any adult will, so teishin and laser acupuncture may provide results without the use of needles.
When Your Children are Sick, You Are Stressed Too
We all know how tough it is getting on with life and work when our heads and noses are stuffy, we’re coughing and sneezing or even feverish. It affects our sleep, our moods, and our energy. When our children are sick, it’s even worse because we feel responsible for their aches and pains. Chinese medicine treatment may also be able to assist with your stress.
At Easter I took a week off to visit the family farm in South Australia. I love being in the pretty Adelaide Hills and working with the cattle and other animals. Unfortunately, I always suffer from hay fever (literally!) because part of the experience is feeding bales of hay to the cattle each day!
I’ve learned that I can reduce my symptoms by drinking a lot of natural herbal teas, so I prepare my body before I leave and I make sure I take the appropriate teas with me, which means that my body does not react to the hay fever. Wayne went a week before I did to help his father remove a big fallen tree from the dam and to clear a creek crossing. When I arrived he had a cough and sore throat from all of this cold, damp work, so I gave him the appropriate herbal tea and he was able to avoid the impending sickness.
One of the things I learned in Australia is that the Chinese have a different approach to health. In China we don’t wait until we are definitely sick to seek treatment, and we don’t just adopt a fixed regimen and stick with it no matter what. In keeping with the idea of ‘food as medicine’ we listen to our body and adjust our Chinese herbs, teas, foods etc in response to the signals our body is sending. This usually involves small tweaks and changes rather than dramatic interventions.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine(TCM), seasonal changes (such as moving into autumn) are always a trigger for modifying your diet, exercise regime, and herbal teas to help your body adapt to the different temperature, humidity, germs, etc. The basic premise is that as the environment changes, your body needs different things and “one size” does not fit everyone all the time.
I have a large stock of herbal teas in my home pantry and select the appropriate mixture by listening to my body. I suggest that you talk to your TCM practitioner about your body type as well, and ask what combinations or individual teas you can take (we have a selection of pre-made teas available at reception to make this easy). You will be surprised how powerful the right tea can actually be in boosting your energy, balancing your moods, and fighting off sickness.
In addition to these teas (which rarely have adverse effects), I also prescribe herbal decoctions, which are a stronger, more medicinal intervention. You should definitely consult your practitioner before taking a decoction as, contrary to popular thought, they can be harmful if you use the wrong herbal decoction for your body type and symptoms.
Balms, lozenges, and oils are also useful additions to your daily routine that can help boost your system, so that it can cope with the challenges of seasonal change. These are available from the reception desk without the need for an appointment.
Chinese herbs are very different to vitamin supplementation!
From ancient times, in both the East and the West, herbs were recognised as powerful sources of healing and wise medical practitioners sought to understand their dangers, benefits, and uses. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) uses herbs to treat specific symptoms and conditions as well as treating the root cause of some disease. They can rebalance your system so that it becomes stronger and healthier.
Vitamin supplements may address deficiencies when your diet is inadequate.
Benefits of Chinese Herbs
The Chinese herbs your practitioner prescribes may help you to achieve a faster result compared with acupuncture treatments alone. The use of individualised herbal granule formulas allows your practitioner to create a personalised formula that is able to be altered as your body heals and your symptoms diminish. It is important to discuss all of your ongoing symptoms with your practitioner, no matter how trivial.
Chinese Herbs are medicine, not supplements – and, like any medicine they only work if you actually take them.
Which sometimes turns out to be one of the biggest issues for some clients, to actually remember to take their herbs regularly, as prescribed.
Your prescribed herbs may:-
- Deeply nourish your body
- Help your body cope with stress
- Rebalance your body and energy
Your registered TCM practitioner has been specifically trained to use Chinese herbs at a tertiary education level, and your practitioner has a deep understanding of phyto-pharmacology (use of plants as medicinals), herb-drug interactions and contra-indications, plus western biomedical knowledge. This is why it is important never to self-prescribe any Chinese herbal formulas based on the descriptions on the label, and to tell your practitioner about any other medications or supplements that you are taking.
Acupuncture and Chinese medicine are generally considered to be safe in the hands of a well-trained practitioner, but occasionally (as with all health treatments) may be associated with possible adverse reactions in individual cases.
I was really looking forward to spending a week in Bali at a two-bedroom villa overlooking the beach with a friend during March. As you may have noticed our summer wasn’t really all that hot so I was anticipating consistent warmth, total relaxation, and being with my friend.
She had gone ahead, so I went out to the airport to check-in. Everything went smoothly until they checked my passport: I only had 3-months left before it expired and Indonesia requires a minimum of six months! (Note to my readers: Always check that your passport has at least 6 months validity before you plan your overseas trip!) To cut a long story short, by the time I got my new passport I couldn’t get a flight for another 2 days. It hardly seemed worth going for the few days that would be left, so I decided not to go to Bali and do something else.
So, my partner and I headed off on the motorbikes to a farm-stay near Bruthen (40km north of Lakes Entrance) for 5 days. It was beautiful (even if the weather wasn’t warm at all) I watched sheep, fed the ducks, played with the dogs, walked across the valley, listened to the kookaburras laughing in the background and generally enjoyed the peace and tranquillity after a few very busy months – including assisting my nephew set up house in Melbourne, working hard, and helping various friends in crisis. Once again I was reminded how the frantic pace of life can take over and stop us from truly enjoying the pleasures we have.
It’s not that we can’t be busy, it’s just that it’s important to plan breaks from busy-ness… times to recharge and evaluate where we are and where we need to be.
During those 5 days away the holiday pleasures that we enjoyed together included:
- Riding the motorbikes: I love the feel of the wind rushing past (especially when I’m protected by my jacket and helmet), and the sense of speed and balance. There’s nothing quite like motorbike travel to get a sense of movement and life!
- Enjoying the beauty and tranquillity of the farm – I’ve already mentioned the walks, sheep, ducks, kookaburras and dogs!
- Exploring the Lakes Entrance town, the beach and the beautiful local lakes.
- Wandering around pretty Bruthen, sampling the local produce and generally taking life slowly.
I felt bad because I’d let my friend down by not joining her, but we’ve talked about it since and she just really needed some extra time alone (even more than she needed my company), so it worked out well all round. Maybe it’s a lesson to me: when things don’t quite work out the way I’ve planned it’s still OK.