Saturday, February 13, 2010

Happy New Year, AGAIN!

Do you feel like this year has gotten off to a difficult start? I do and I know many others who feel the same way. Chinese Medicine would diagnose this "difficult start" as stagnant because the ease is missing, the flow is gone. But, I have a better, hopeful way of looking at this dilemma. Do you know why? In China, this New Year begins on February 14th. I have a do-over. In the U.S., we have Valentine's Day and Presidents' Day and snow days this week, but China has a new year and a new start. I've decided my new year begins tomorrow! Tomorrow we begin The Year of the Tiger .

The tiger is one of the most dynamic and powerful signs. Its nature is unpredictable, courageous and volatile. Therefore, The Year of the Tiger is usually associated with big changes. This courageous and fiery fighter was admired by the ancient Chinese as the zodiac sign that kept away the three main tragedies of a household: fire; thieves; and ghosts.

Let's look at The Year of the Tiger as a chance to begin again, to reload the year 2010. Use this as an opportunity to shape your life. Shaping your life in the middle of winter is different than the same task would be in summer. Like the Tiger, we have to be a smart cat and know when to pounce and when to be still. Winter is a time to be still, so the new beginnings might not be as active or flashy as a Spring or Summer beginning. In winter, the days are shorter with less natural light, and certainly less warmth (especially here in Chicago!).

The ancient Chinese believed that human beings should live in harmony with the natural cycles of their environment. The cold and darkness of Winter urges us to slow down. This is the time of year to reflect on health, replenish energy and conserve strength. It is a time to let our bodies restore and rejuvenate. In winter it is important to nourish your kidney Qi (you can think of qi as your body's energy reserves). In Chinese Medicine benefits of nurturing your kidney qi include;enhanced ability to thrive in times of stress, faster healing, illness prevention and increased vitality. Sounds good doesn't it?

Perhaps your new beginning in Winter would encourage you to: go to bed earlier, rest, give yourself a chance to catch your breath, and eat warm hearty soups, whole grains, and roasted nuts to warm your body. Black beans ,kidney beans, asparagus, and dark, leafy green vegetables are all great choices for recharging your kidneys.

One more idea, this TCM tea is perfect for winter.

This recipe is from Adele Reising Acupuncture
200 East 15th Street, Suite A
New York, NY 10003
#646 336 1280

Black Sesame and Goji Berry Tea
1 cup black sesame seeds
2 Tbsp goji berries, rinsed
3 cups water
Brown sugar (raw, unprocessed)

Bring sesame seeds, goji berries and water to a boil and then reduce to a simmer partially covered for about 20 to 30 minutes until 1 cup of tea remains. If it does not cook down in 30 minutes, the flame is too low. Strain tea and sweeten to taste.

Black sesame seeds are very calming and good to drink in the morning if you have morning anxiety, or in the evening if you have trouble winding down. Black sesames nourish and calm the adrenals, as do the goji berries; overall the formula is very moistening. Brown sugar is full of minerals as are the sesame seeds, so this formula is rich in calcium and good for the bones. Brown sugar can be avoided for those sensitive to sugar, but the seeds are bitter. Maple syrup and honey are also suitable sweeteners as is agave; however, I prefer maple syrup or brown sugar for their high mineral content.

Ingredients can be purchased at the local Chinese grocery store or from an on-line service for Chinese herbs, such as Kamwo pharmacy."

Are you a Tiger? You are if you were born in: 1902, 1914, 1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, or 1998. If you weren't born in these years, you can learn from the Tiger - be a courageous, smart cat.

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