As we move into the coldest part of the year, I find myself needing more time to rest, hibernate, and reflect upon what has passed and what is yet to come.
This is also a familiar feeling during menstruation, when the menstrual blood cleanses the womb of dead cells, preparing it for the next fertile cycle. It’s not unlike the dark hours and cold temperatures of the winter – stripping away any excess after the long period of abundance, and bringing everything back to the bare minimum.
In Chinese medicine, winter is considered the best time to nourish our kidneys and reproductive organs.
Because what we do at this time sets the foundation for the upcoming cycle. If we take time to rest, rejuvenate, and replenish our body and spirit, we’ll build up our reserve of energy, which will enable us to achieve our goals and visions in the coming year.
Here are some general guidelines to consider for the season:
- Keep yourself warm
- Go to bed earlier and get up later
- Conserve your energy as much as you can
- Connect with your spirit and have an intimate conversation with the deepest part of yourself
- Write down your goals, create a vision board, and plant new seeds for the spring
- Eat foods that replenish the kidney essence (purple, blue, black colored foods in particular)
- Have nourishing stews with warming spices such as ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, star anise, fennel, nutmeg, etc.
In this post, I’m going to share with you the recipe for a yummy winter stew that warms the uterus, eases/prevents period pain, and replenishes your energy:
1 lb. cut beef or lamb. The best cuts of meat for stew are either the front shoulder or rear end, for example, chuck shoulder, chuck roast, bottom round roast, or pot roast.
1 cup organic soybeans. You can substitute edamame, black or adzuki beans.
Ginger, 6-8 oz. Cut into small tubes or thin slices.
1 green onion. Cut into 3-4 pieces.
1 red bell pepper. If you like a bit of a spicy taste, use red hot pepper. Cut into slices.
5 garlic cloves. Cut into pieces.
¼ cup cilantro or parsley
2 star anises
½ cup sake or rice wine
1 cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons brown sugar
Soak the soybeans overnight. Cook with water until the beans turn soft. Set aside.
Boil a pot of water. Put the cut beef in the boiling water for a couple of minutes. Take it out and set aside.
Mix the star anise, brown sugar, soy sauce and sake or rice wine to make a sauce.
Put some oil in a large pot. Heat it up slightly. Then put the green onion, garlic, ginger and red pepper into the pan and stir briefly.
Add the sauce and cut beef. Stir a couple of minutes, then add water to cover it.
Turn the heat up to high until the soup boils. Then turn the heat down to low and continue to boil the soup for about 40 minutes.
Add the soybeans and boil for another 10 minutes.
Lastly, add the cilantro or parsley. And it’s ready to serve.
Try it out and let me know how you like the soup. Modify it to your taste and experiment with other ingredients if you like. Enjoy!