Embracing the water element, balancing kidneys and bladder
I think the above picture says it all. We love the water when we're swimming in it or having a nice warm shower but when we get caught out in the cold rain we are left feeling slightly miserable!
Tomorrow being the 1st June is the beginning of winter for us in Australia and in Chinese medicine that brings us to the water element. The water element contains the Bladder and Kidney meridians so is all about the flow of water in the body, detoxification, fear and anxiety, the ears and the bones.
Obviously hydration is essential for the water element, the kidneys and the bladder. Keeping hydrated in winter can be more challenging as people tend to want more hot drinks and go for tea and coffee. So my top tip for keeping the water element balanced is to have a maximum of 1 caffeinated drink per day and otherwise try:
decaf coffee or tea (ensure it's water filtered decaf)
herbal teas - there are soooo many to choose from
hot water - plain or with lemon/lime/mint
Aim for 30ml water or non-caffeinated fluids per kg body weight per day e.g. a 70kg person would need 2.1 litres.
If having lots of hot drinks measure your mug to see how much fluid it holds. You may be pleasantly surprised - our mugs are 350mL so 3 of those and I've already had 1L.
My second top tip is for keeping the water element balanced is to review your alcohol intake. The bladder and kidneys help us to eliminate toxins so winter is a great time to take a break from alcohol if it has become too much of a good thing. Ideas for reducing alcohol include:
only drinking alcohol when out for social events but not at home
if you already only drink at weekends, have one weekend on, one off
have the whole 3 months of winter alcohol free!
My third top tip ('cos it's always nice to do things in threes) for the water element is upping the ante on vitamins A, E, Bs and chlorophyll. In food terms this means oranges, reds and greens!
pumpkins, carrots, sweet potato
green leafy veggies like silverbeet/chard, spinach
cruciferous greens like kale, cabbage, bok choy
green veggies like zucchini, broccoli, green capsicum
citrus fruits, red berries
We're aiming for 2 portions of leafy greens per day where 1 cup raw and 1/2 cup cooked is one portion. Plus 2-3 portions of other vegetables where 1/2 cup (raw or cooked) is one portion.
For fruit, we want 3 portions per day where 1 cup is a portion plus 1/2 cup berries per day.
These are all simple things that on the surface may seem boring and insignificant when compared to taking a supplement or trying the latest "superfood". However, in reality it's the small things practised consistently that accumulate to make big change. What change are you wanting to create?
P.P.S. Online bookings are available for current clients.