The Healing Cook’s Winter

Winter is represented in the Water element and the health of our kidneys and bladder. This season encourages receptivity, introspection and a seeking of warmth in our foods. The health of our kidneys is most affected at this time. 

By keeping our kidneys healthy we encourage strong bones, good hearing, healthy hair; urinary, sexual and reproductive balance; good growth development and stable emotions. Persons with healthy kidneys are active, calm and courageous with gentle nurturing demeanors. They can accomplish a great deal without stress. 

To encourage the storage of energy needed to keep our kidneys warm, sea-salty and bitter foods are appropriate. Use sea salt but use it in moderation as excess can also weaken organs. Bitter foods are a combination of bitter with other flavors and strengthen the body-mind connection.

Hearty foods that require longer cooking methods are most beneficial during this season and create effective protection against cold weather. Emphasize grains, brown rice, millet, barley, beans, root vegetables like squash, and reduce the proportion of salads and fruits in your diet. Incorporate lots of hearty soups, whole grains and roasted nuts.

Use sautéing when adding bushy greens, peas and chestnuts. Use sea salt, miso and shoyu to provide the weight and heartiness needed if you do not use animal protein foods. Combine with lettuce, watercress, endive, escarole, turnip, celery, asparagus, alfalfa, carrot top, rye, oats, quinoa and amaranth to balance the bitter flavor. These foods nurture resolution, strength of will and feelings of trust 

Flavors create balance and help bring the body into harmony with the seasonal influences. The sea-salty flavor of winter moistens dryness in the body, softens hardened lumps and stiffness and improves digestion, helping to detoxify and purge. 


Pauline Wolf, CHHP, Certified Provincial Instructor, is a practicing Colon Hydrotherapist in Campbell River and loves to share her wealth of knowledge of holistic healing.

Published by Dr. Pauline Wolf

Dr. Pauline Wolf, is an educator and holistic health practitioner in Campbell River, B.C.