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Kidney Strengthening Recipes


According to 5-element theory, our kidneys govern our vital life force energy. They regulate water metabolism, our sex organs and fertility, bones, teeth, hair and hearing. In other words, kidney energy is incredibly important to our health. Most Americans have some imbalance in their kidney energy because of our diets and high stress lifestyle.
While kidney issues can manifest any time of year, the winter is our season to take extra care with them. Winter governs the water element. It is the dormant season, when all life force burrows deep in the bosom of the earth. It is a time of replenishing so that when spring comes, the gathering energy will burst forth with new growth. The color of the water element is black, its flavor is salty, and the associated organs are bladder and kidneys. The hours for bladder are 3 to 5 p.m.; kidney is 5 to 7 p.m. We have a great selection of recipes that can strengthen our kidney 'essence' any time of year. For more information on kidney foods, see The Five Elements and the Five Seasons.

1. Black Beans

Jen Hoy
Black beans are kidney strengthening, and we have a long list of yummy dishes made with them. Pan Seared Black Bean Cakes, smokey Black Bean and Chipotle Soup, hearty and delicious Vegan Brazilian Feijoada, or a simple rice and black bean dish Moros y Cristianos. Black beans make great hummus, can be generously sprinkled in a Mexican frittata or mixed into a Quinoa, Corn and Black Bean Salad.

2. Adzuki Beans

Adzuki beans strengthen the kidneys and adrenals, and aid in detoxification and weight loss. This creamy, slow cooked dish is slightly sweet and fragrant with herbs.

3. Cucumber and Seaweed Salad

Jen Hoy
This crunchy cucumber and seaweed salad nourishes the kidneys and liver. Cucumbers are rich in silica, potassium, and fiber, and are cooling as well as hydrating for the skin. Seaweed is a rich source of essential minerals.

4. Marinated Cucumber Pickles

Jody Hoy
This easy recipe for crunchy, zesty, juicy marinated cucumber pickles is cooling, hydrating and healing for the kidneys and liver.

5. Quinoa Porridge

Quinoa is a cousin to amaranth, and is one of the ancient staple foods of the Incas. It is strengthening for the whole body, and for the kidneys in particular. Quinoa is high in protein, calcium, iron, and B vitamins. This simple porridge is a great meal to start the day with. For more quinoa recipes, see A World of Ways to Cook with Quinoa.

6. Herb-Scented Artichoke Spread

Artichokes are members of the thistle family, and as such contain phytochemicals that benefit the liver, gallbladder and kidneys. They are good sources of folate and vitamin C. This chunky, herb-scented spread can be made with globe artichokes, artichoke hearts, or the tender baby artichokes that have completely edible leaves.

7. Quinoa Tabbouleh

Jen Hoy
This gluten-free spin on a classic Lebanese recipe packs a double punch for nourishing the kidneys: both quinoa and chlorophyll-rich parsley are excellent healing foods.

8. Zucchini and Asparagus Soup with Corn, Cilantro and Basil

This beautiful, nourishing soup packs plenty of healing energy. The combination of asparagus with zucchini and corn along with sweet herbs is an exceptional combination of nutrients for the whole body.

9. Kidney Bean and Vegetable Salad with Cumin and Lime Vinaigrette

Jody Hoy
So-named because of their resemblance to our organs, kidney beans also nourish kidney energy. This easy whole foods kidney bean and vegetable salad recipe can be made with canned beans if you are in a hurry, and includes crunchy blanched vegetables for extra texture and nutrition.

10. Soba Noodles and Begetables

Jen Hoy
This simple soba noodle and vegetable recipe is nourishing for the kidneys and relaxing for the liver and gallbladder. Ginger, sesame oil and a bit of tamari make a quick, easy and delicious dish!

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