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Stay healthy this winter

by Stacey Kaplan LAc, LMT

2014 has started off with a polar vortex bang. This kind of cold doesn't visit the tri-state area too often, so it seems like a good time to discuss some ways we can keep ourselves warm and healthy this winter.

Other than bundling up when we're outside, here are some tips for staying warm from the inside, out.


Eat more soup.
Bone broth soups made with chicken, beef, lamb, pork bones help boost vitality and tonify our stored energy reserves in the body. It can also help with joint pain and body aches that are worse in cold weather. Here's a link to making bone broth soup at home: http://mindfulmealsblog.com/2013/11/06/guide-bone-broth/
Vegetable broths are great too, and super easy to make. Just throw a bunch of your favorite vegetables in a pot with some water, or veggie broth, and simmer for an hour or two. Add in your favorite spices to taste. 

Cook with warming herbs.
Herbs such as cinnamon, garlic, ginger, horseradish, cayenne, cardamon can help warm us up. Onions are also warming and nourishing, they're not herbs, but good to remember to add these in when cooking.

Drink warm beverages.
Keep water at room temperature and drink warm teas instead of iced drinks.

Exercise.
Cold has a way of contracting and constricting, which often makes it tougher to get moving and exercise. We want to conserve our energy in the winter, so workouts don't have to be strenuous right now. We do, however, need to keep moving and get our blood flowing through this time. Activities like yoga, tai chi, qi gong, stretching are really beneficial this time of year.

Keep your neck and low back warm.
Wearing a scarf can help protect us from contracting colds and look European while doing it. We also want to keep our low back covered up and warm, so maybe wear an extra undershirt, tucked in.

Get lots of sleep.
We tend to need a little extra sleep during the winter. Since it gets dark so early, try to get to bed a little earlier. Sneak in an extra hour or so of sleep this season.

And, as always;

Whatever your injury, Chinese medicine advocates immediate treatment. Treat minor problems promptly and they are much less likely to develop into larger, chronic conditions.