Have you ever noticed how a tasty bowl of soup is extra satisfying on a cold winter day?
Just as ice cream pairs perfectly with summer, other foods seem to appeal to your appetite more than others during the year’s chilliest months. According to Chinese Medicine and Qi Gong, this isn’t a mere coincidence.
Intuitively, your body knows what it needs in order to maintain balance and harmony. To a large extent, your dietary needs are related to the current season and its associated Element. Since winter is connected to the Water Element, it’s important to consume foods that support your Water Element during the season of winter.
In this blog, you’ll discover five dietary tips to help you cultivate your Water Element and experience more balance and vitality this winter season.
Not surprisingly, meals that come from the sea are generally rich in Water Element. This includes fish, sea crustaceans, and seaweed.
Any seafood lover knows that there are numerous ways to prepare a fresh catch. If you enjoy the taste of well-marinated baked salmon, simply place one in the oven and pair it with your favorite veggies or a seaweed salad. If you prefer the slight crispiness that an open flame offers, putting fish on the grill can be a great option. Of course, there are a million different ways to prepare seafood, so feel free to get creative and find a recipe that suits you the best.
When it comes to seafood, one thing to keep in mind is quality. It’s best to consume wild-caught seafood that is sustainablysourced. For many fish species, look for wild and line-caught, which indicates that it most likely isn’t farm raised or part of a harmful industrial fishing operation. You might pay a bit more, but it will be healthier and more sustainable.
Warm tea helps balance the Water Element, especially when the weather is cold outside. There are many different kinds of tea that are great for the Water Element, including chamomile, Ceylon, and various white tea blends.
It’s important to note that caffeine can sometimes throw your Water Element out of balance. Therefore, it’s typically best to avoid caffeinated teas if you have a Water deficiency or are trying to focus on boosting your Water Element.
Also, because tea affects all of the Elements within you, it’s wise to consider how different teas will affect the other four Elements as well. This article goes into more detail about various kinds of tea and how they affect Water and other Elements.
3. Vegetable Soup
Hot soup nourishes the Water Element in several important ways. First of all, just like tea, the warm temperature of soup can help balance the Water Element, especially during winter. This is one of the key reasons why soup is so satisfying when it’s cold outside.
Additionally, cooked vegetables play an important role in keeping your Water Element well-supported. While all vegetables are generally healthy for you, a few are especially important for the Water Element. These include zucchini, celery, eggplant, broccoli, spinach, mushrooms, and squash. If you can make a big pot of veggie soup this winter, your Water Element will thank you. Not to mention, cooked vegetables help all aspects of your health, not just your Water Element.
4. Grapes and Raspberries
Grapes and raspberries can help balance your Water Element, especially if you have a Water deficiency. You can eat these fruits raw or blend them into a smoothie or glass of fresh juice.
While smoothies can be a great choice for boosting your Water Element, it’s best not to make them too cold if you have a Water deficiency, especially during winter. This can be a bit tricky since smoothies and juices are traditionally ice-cold. If you’re making juice or a smoothie yourself, you may want to consider reducing the amount of ice you use in order to arrive at the right temperature.
Lastly, drinking lots of water is a crucial part of boosting your Water Element. This is partly due to the fact that the Water Element is connected to your Bladder and Kidneys. Both of these organs require a healthy flow of water through your system in order to function properly.
To ensure that you’re drinking enough water, try to make a habit of always having a water bottle with you when you leave your house. This makes it easy and convenient to take a sip whenever the urge arises. After all, many public places lack the availability of water fountains. Water is extra important when it’s hot outside or if you’re doing something physically active. And, of course, staying hydrated is also helpful for maintaining stable energy levels and mental focus.
Foods to Avoid
Just as the foods mentioned above can help boost your Water Element, there are few foods that can weaken it. These foods should be avoided whenever you feel that your Water Element is depleted, especially during winter.
A few signs of a Water Element imbalance include joint pain, chronic fatigue, and feelings of insecurity. For more guidance on how to identify a Water imbalance, be sure to check out our previous blog, 7 Signs Your Water Element Might Be Out of Balance.
Just as salt can contribute to dehydration, it can also lead to a Water Element imbalance. Therefore, salty or deep-fried foods should typically be avoided when your Water Element is depleted. Similarly, icy drinks and raw vegetables can have a similar effect on your Water Element. This shouldn’t be confused with vegetables in general, which can indeed boost your Water Element. The trick is that they should always be cooked whenever your Water Element requires some extra vitality.
Alcohol has a negative effect on many aspects of your body, and the Water Element is one of them. Just as alcohol can weaken your immune system, it can also weaken your Water Element. The same is true for refined sugar.
Also, as mentioned above, caffeine is extremely Yang and can also contribute to a Water imbalance. In fact, even when your Water Element is strong and healthy, it’s important to avoid consuming too much caffeine for this reason.
While proper nutrition can go a long way in helping balance your Water Element, it’s not the only path for cultivating harmony and balance. When you combine the right nutritional habits with the right Qi Gong practices, the positive balancing effects are magnified…
Learn Qi Gong Practices to Cultivate and Balance Your Water Element
In our Qi Gong for Winter Workshop, Lee teaches powerful practices specifically designed to energize and balance your Water Element. These practices include a variety of activation exercises, flowing movements, and standing postures, all of which you can enjoy online from the comfort of your own home.
There are many core benefits to cultivating your Water Element, including boosting your immune system, experiencing more energy, getting better sleep, and feeling more peaceful. Click on the banner below to learn more about how Qi Gong for Winter can help you feel your best.