Embrace what the Chinese have known for thousands of years – what you eat flows into every part of your life. Professor Lun Wong is one of Australia?s foremost practicioners of traditional Chinese medicine. His book Foods for the Seasons teaches you how to eat well and stay healthy by following the basic principles of traditional Chinese medicine.?Damp, heat, wind, cold and dry are the environmental elements that cycle with the seasons and create our weather. These same elements can exist within the body at any time of year, however they are likely to be more extreme in the seasons they correspond to as the weather creates and promote the conditions in which imbalances thrive. What happens inside our bodies is influenced by the weather and the effects of the seasons, and also by our food intake, genetic make-up, body type, and emotional and mental wellbeing. So to have a balanced diet, we need to consider the effects of the environment.? From Foods for the Seasons by Professor Lun Wong and Kath Knapsey (Black Dog), pp 11.

Winter is the season of hibernation ? when energy moves inwards. A time when stillness and quiet seem to amplify what sound there is. Yin qi (female energy) is highlighted and yang qi (male energy) is subdued. Winter foods such as grains, dried or preserved foods, seeds and nuts have an inward-moving energy too. In winter, meals should be nutritious and warming. And it?s a time of gentle celebration where food and family connection is promoted. In winter, it?s appropriate to drink a small amount of spirits or wine to warm the system up, since they are hot-warm in nature, promote circulation, stimulate the appetite, relieve tiredness and keep out the cold.

In Australia because of our relatively temperate climate you might be tempted to pretend that winter doesn?t exist. But don?t let this opportunity pass you by. Respond to this season by rugging up and eating delicious stews and soups.

Enjoy the chance to revel in your own company and that of close friends and family with cosy gatherings and plenty of warming, comforting foods. Many cultures have the majority of their celebrations that involve food in winer, whereas because the northern hemisphere cultures have been transplanted here, most Australians feast in the warmer months. New traditions can be created ? cook up a warming feasting in winter and invite people you love over.? From Foods for the Seasons by Professor Lun Wong and Kath Knapsey (Black Dog), pp 113-114.

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Next week we feature some great warming winter recipes to share with your family and friends.