Winter in general is a time for slowing down, especially after the rush of the holidays are over.
We all like to hibernate in Chicago, at least a little bit. This is the natural tendency of the season and living in tune with the season is what Chinese Medicine is all about.
In winter its important to eat warm and nourishing soups and stews and to get more sleep, even if it’s just a nap on Sunday afternoons. Keep your digestion going with extra fiber and warming spices, do some gentle physical activity, and keep your head and neck covered.
One of my favorite things to do in January is to purge my possessions.
I like to go through my clothes, closets, kitchen cabinets and drawers, even clean out the bookshelf. This makes room in our lives for our wants and desires of the new year to have a space, so they stick around. Check out this helpful schedule and daily emails from Apartment Therapy, called the January Cure.
I also like to do a bit of a deeper clean than usual in January. Wash all of your linens and area rugs. Get underneath the furniture and chase out those dust bunnies! Along with an energetic purge, it will also help you spend more time inside with less allergens and wake up with less congestion.
One of my favorite ways to get back on track with diet and overeating is to do a week of congee.
Congee is basically a rice porridge, rice cooked down with a lot of water until the grain breaks. The rice is extra easy to digest and it has a lot of water to hydrate your system. You can add almost anything and everything to your basic congee, kind of like the ramen fad that’s popular right now. Traditionally, more medicinal herbs were also added as an alternative to decoctions. In fact, food therapy and diet are one of the pillars of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Congee, in one form or another, is part of every Asian culture, so there is a ton of variety out there. I personally like to use my InstantPot and throw in whatever veggies I have on hand, plus herbs and beans, and maybe an egg on top with a splash of Sriacha. Compared to the typical SAD (standard American diet), the lack of dairy and high fiber is part of what makes congee a good reset food.