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Winter is ruled by the water element; it is the time to rest, reflect and vision. This season, we find balance when we withdraw and focus energy inward.
As we glance out at the world surrounding us, we see examples of this withdrawal everywhere: the skies become darker, trees live without their lushness, green growth comes to a halt and animals slow down or hibernate. Winter is the season of death and rebirth, a necessary aspect of the yearly cycle to create space for new life. For most of us, winter is predominantly a cold, wet and damp season.

This same process and energy is occurring internally, too. Deep within our systems is the need to slow down and take pause, too.

The busy schedules we commonly keep towards the end of the year and into January can pull us out of sync with the natural cycle of the Earth and although we have less energy to exert in winter, we can find ourselves moving at a faster pace. This may leave us feeling depleted in the new year, which can artificially create stress that destabilizes our immune system, releases the heat we so greatly need and can cause dis-ease and discomfort throughout the body.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the winter season is associated with the kidney system. Your kidneys are the source of yin and yang – the most fundamental energies that keep your body in balance. This system governs body fluids, tissues, and hormones and is considered to be the “root” system.

The kidneys are the source of your jing, or total life essence. Jing is said to be the basis of the physical body. It nourishes, fuels and cools the body. Energy can most easily be depleted during these months and to find balance it is important to nurture and nourish this organs. In this season, we confront death and re-birth, which can bring up emotions of fear. In nourishing the kidneys, we can find the energy within to conquer our fear and connect deeper with our selves, our purpose and our people.

In the winter, digestion is actually strongest and the body tends to more easily tolerate whole grains. Oftentimes, it is favorable and more filling to opt for a warmer breakfast, especially when the weather is cold. Porridges are quick to prepare and soothing for the body. Warm cereal can be cooked in water, but can be made even more nutritious with bone or vegetable broth. Substitute water for these nutritious liquids for more flavor and a satisfying savory taste. You can use a number of different grains for your porridge, including oats, quinoa, brown rice and millet. Flavor your porridge with coconut or sesame oil, dried fruits, warming nuts and superfoods such as maca, bee pollen and hempseeds.Save leftovers for a warming snack mid-day!

Simple Bone Broth Oatmeal 

1/2 cup oats
1 cup bone broth – sub for vegan broth or water
1 tbsp coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 tablespoon hemp seeds
1 teaspoon bee pollen
1/2 cup spinach (optional)
Method:
– Add coconut oil, oats, salt, pepper, turmeric and broth to a pot and stir
– Once boiling, reduce heat to low, add spinach and cover until water is absorbed, stirring occasionally
– Remove from heat and stir in hemp seeds and bee pollen.

 

It is common to feel cold, heavy, sluggish and drowsy when the temperature is cold or the skies are gray. You may experience nausea, poor appetite, and a slower metabolism as well as colds, coughs, excessive mucus, a runny nose and congestion. On an energetic level, you may feel tense, anxious, fearful or insecure. To cultivate the opposite qualities of warmth, nourishment, compassion and focus, food and self care should be focused on building internal heat and immunity to assist the body in balancing its energy
If you’re curious to know how your body shifts with the season and ready to root deeper into a lifestyle that is guided by your body’s seasonal cycles, sign up Julien’s The Joyful Cleanse. This guided 10-day journey of food and health will support you as you create a more intuitive relationship with what you eat and develop a deeper knowing of what your body needs to feel fulfilled, supported and energized for your best life. For more information, head over to our site or book a yoga or nutrition coaching session with Julien here.

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