Winter is a time for rest, quiet inner work, and taking extra care with our kidneys. Keeping them warm by wearing adequate clothing on the torso and lower back, avoiding excessive cold drinks and raw food, and maintaining hydration are all physical ways of nurturing kidney strength.
This winter seems to be on a slow arrival schedule this year, but some pretty virulent strains of colds and stomach flu are traveling from coast to coast, and I'm hearing a lot of coughing these days. Lots of people are still struggling with making ends meet, and in spite of reports citing otherwise, lots of folks continue to lose their jobs. All of this contributes to strain on the kidneys. The emotional side effect of ongoing kidney stress is fear. If you are experiencing low back pain, fatigue, frequent urination, unusual dark circles under your eyes, and/or ongoing anxiety and fear, it's possible that your kidneys need a boost. (This is, of course, no substitute for seeing a qualified health professional to have your condition assessed.)
See The Five Elements and The Five Seasons for more information on kidney strengthening foods. Eat plenty of Miso Soup, several servings of gently cooked veggies every day, sea vegetables, and extra kidney enhancing grains and beans. Glazed Beets, Stewed Adzuki Beans, and Mushroom Barley Soup are just a few of many appropriate recipes for this time of year. Kinpira, or braised burdock root with carrots, is very strengthening for the kidneys as well and is quite tasty.
Photo by Jody Hoy