How To Live in Harmony With Winter

February 16, 2015 Updated: February 16, 2015

Shaping your life in the middle of winter is different than the same task would be in summer. 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.

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 kidney’s.

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

Traditional Chinese tea is perfect for winter (Shutterstock)

Black Sesame and Goji Berry Tea

1 cup black sesames
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.”

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

Jennifer Dubowsky, LAc, is a licensed acupuncturist with a practice in downtown Chicago, Illinois, since 2002. Dubowsky earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology from University of Illinois in Chicago and her Master of Science degree in Oriental Medicine from Southwest Acupuncture College in Boulder, Colorado. During her studies, she completed an internship at the Sino-Japanese Friendship Hospital in Beijing, China. Dubowsky has researched and written articles on Chinese medicine and has given talks on the topic. She maintains a popular blog about health and Chinese medicine at Acupuncture Blog Chicago. Adventures in Chinese Medicine is her first book. You can find her at

*Image of “lanterns” via Shutterstock