Tag: Chinese medicine

Absolutely The Healthiest Foods To Eat In Winter

winter

Strolling through the supermarket and loading up your cart with fruits and veggies might seem healthy. But eating certain produce this time of year can actually cause an imbalance in your well-being. In this post, Chef V uses ancient wisdom from the Far East to determine the healthiest foods to eat in winter.

It’s really amazing if you think about it. We have access to an amazing abundance and variety of all kinds of foods throughout the year. Blueberries in winter? No problem, thanks to it being summertime in Chile this time of year. Because of the global supply chain—a little sluggish at the moment but we won’t get into that—and hydroponics (growing produce without soil), we have at our disposal all kinds of produce and grains, no matter the season. 

While we definitely should count our blessings and feel gratitude for this abundance, we shouldn’t absent-mindedly toss just any food into our shopping carts. This is true any time of year but at no other time is this food-shopping philosophy more important than in winter. 

The stress of holiday shopping, low-UV sunlight that provides insufficient vitamin D, over-eating at holiday parties and the cold weather that drives us indoors zaps our immune system. 

To have a healthy, balanced immune system, eat foods that are in season. That means no blueberries, apricots and other summertime fruits. I’ll share my list of the best foods to eat in winter in just a bit. But first, in addition to eating seasonally, there’s another principle of healthy eating this time of year I’d like to share with you…

kidney

Supporting Kidney Function In Winter

I’m a big fan of applying ancient medicinal wisdom into modern diet advice. For instance, according to the 5,000 year old system of traditional Chinese medicine, there’s one organ that’s vital for a balanced immune system in the winter. 

Not to be confused with the organs you learned about in science class, traditional Chinese medicine organs involve more than the physical organ. They also include physical energy points (meridians) and directly impact emotional and spiritual well-being. 

In ancient Chinese medicine, every organ is associated with a season. Winter is the season of the kidneys. Take care of your kidneys and your kidneys will take care of you. The kidneys in traditional Chinese medicine act as the body’s pilot light. If this light diminishes because of stress and poor diet, your vitality and health will suffer.

root vegetables

Best Foods In Winter To Support Kidney Health

Ok, enough with the Chinese medicine lecture. Let’s cut to the chase. What are the best foods to eat this time of year? Which foods are in season, are warming to the body and keep your kidneys working in balance? 

Roots and Tubers

To stay grounded this time of year, we need food that’s pulled from the ground:

  • Sweet potatoes
  • Squash
  • Yam
  • Green beans
  • Carrots
  • Beets
  • Turnips
  • Rutabaga
  • Parsnips
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Mushrooms

Fruits

Are you a fruitarian? Could you live off of fruit all year long? If you want to have a balanced immune system, you’ll increase your chances of staying healthy by eating fruit that’s in season only in winter. The good news is there are a few on the list this time of year that are ripe for the picking: 

  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Pomegranates
  • Oranges
  • Grapefruit
  • Persimmons (eat in moderation; they’re high in fructose)
  • Clementines
  • Tangerines

grains

Grains and Legumes

Unless you’re on a super strict low-carb diet (keto), you don’t have to say no to grains. Eating a couple handfuls of a grain with a lean protein like wild salmon and healthy fats like avocado will help keep you full. 

Here’s my list of the best low-starch grains and legumes (which also get a bum rap in the low-carb world) to eat in winter:

  • Quinoa
  • Rye
  • Oats (purchase non-GMO because oats are one of the most heavily-sprayed crops)
  • Wild rice
  • Barley
  • Kidney beans (makes perfect sense to support kidney health)
  • Lentils
  • Black beans (soak them overnight in water to make them easier to digest)

spices

Herbs and Spices

When the weather is frightful outside, herbs and spices that “warm the blood” as the ancient Chinese philosophers would say, might not be able to replace a wood-burning fireplace. But sprinkling these on your food or in your tea may support the immune system and actually make you feel a tad bit warmer:

  • Ginger
  • Turmeric
  • Cumin
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Cinnamon
  • Garlic
  • Nutmeg
  • Clove
  • Cardamom
  • Garlic
  • Red chili pepper flakes

kale

Best Wintertime Veggies
And last but certainly not least, no wintertime food shopping run is complete without these veggies not already mentioned above:

  • Celery
  • Broccoli
  • Peas
  • Pumpkin
  • Onions
  • Leeks
  • These 7 dark leafy greens that you can conveniently drink and have delivered to your home almost anywhere in the USA.

These kidney-supporting foods are in prime season right now. Load up your cart with them and have a healthy winter!

Love, 

Chef V

Veronica in field

Best Foods For Great S-E-X

Best Foods For Great S-E-X

Best foods for great S-E-X – Ladies: don’t feel like getting it on lately? Got no mojo, gentlemen? Here’s how certain foods and holistic health can improve your sex life.

A curious thing happened in the initial weeks of the pandemic. Couples who for the most part functioned as roommates prior to the pandemic suddenly rediscovered their intimate side. 

Despite the stress and fear in the early days of the pandemic, stay-at-home orders led to an initial increase in sex. After all, what else is there to do besides watch TV when you’re stuck at home all day and night? 

However, as stay-at-home orders eased (at least in the U.S.) and life’s other chronic stressors returned to the fold, our collective libido plummeted to pre-pandemic levels.

So if your libido is shot because of Covid-anxiety and life’s general grinding assault, I’ve got some tips for you about foods for great S-E-X…

Root Causes Of Low Libido

But before I share my tips for restoring your libido, including the best foods for great S-E-X, let’s explore some of the factors responsible for lowering sex drive.

Obviously, stress is a huge factor. But how exactly does stress affect libido? Chronic stress places a huge demand on two glands that rest on top of the kidneys called the suprarenal glands. You probably know these glands by their more familiar name, the adrenal glands.  

Your adrenal glands produce stress hormones such as cortisol. Cortisol plays several critical roles in the body, including normalizing inflammation levels; regulating blood pressure, and increasing blood sugar in order to deal with an emergency situation. 

The problem with chronic stress is that your body acts as if it’s always an emergency situation. And after a while, elevated or insufficient cortisol levels cause an imbalance of sex hormones. 

Imbalanced sex hormones can make sex torturous for women. For example, poor sex hormone balance can lead to vaginal dryness. 

Women who suffer from vaginal dryness often experience anxiety before intimacy because of the dilemma caused by the lack of enjoyment and the desire to please their partner. This pre-intimacy anxiety leads to a vicious cycle of more stress. And it’s not just women going through menopause that experience this. 

For men, excess cortisol results in poor sexual performance or a lack of desire to engage in sexual activity. 

Ancient Secrets To Enjoying Sex

Ancient Secrets To Enjoying Sex

No, I’m not going to rehash steamy scenes from the Kama Sutra here. But what I do want to share is the simple yet profound logic of traditional Chinese medicine that rules all aspects of life including getting it on between the sheets. 

You’ve probably heard of Yin and Yang. But can you define them? No, it’s not as simple as opposites. Rather, Yin and Yang are two halves of the same whole, constantly transforming but always striving to maintain harmony. 

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, every organ system strives for Yin/Yang balance, or as we would say in the West, homeostasis. 

When homeostasis is achieved, that is every single bodily system is running efficiently, a healthy libido will naturally arise (no pun intended). 

When your body is mostly humming perfectly along with Yin-Yang balance, blood vessels widen, circulation improves, the synapses that activate sensory organs fire more effectively and sex organs and sensual areas of the body receive enhanced blood flow. 

Ladies: don’t feel like getting it on lately? Got no mojo, gentlemen? Here’s how certain foods and holistic health can improve your sex life. A curious thing happened in the initial weeks of the pandemic. Couples who for the most part functioned as roommates prior to the pandemic suddenly rediscovered their intimate side. Despite the stress and fear in the early days of the pandemic, stay-at-home orders led to an initial increase in sex. After all, what else is there to do besides watch TV when you’re stuck at home all day and night? However, as stay-at-home orders eased (at least in the U.S.) and life’s other chronic stressors returned to the fold, our collective libido plummeted to pre-pandemic levels. So if your libido is shot because of Covid-anxiety and life’s general grinding assault, I’ve got some tips for you… Root Causes Of Low Libido But before I share my tips for restoring your libido, including the best foods to eat for a healthy sex life, let’s explore some of the factors responsible for lowering sex drive. Obviously, stress is a huge factor. But how exactly does stress affect libido? Chronic stress places a huge demand on two glands that rest on top of the kidneys called the suprarenal glands. You probably know these glands by their more familiar name, the adrenal glands. Your adrenal glands produce stress hormones such as cortisol. Cortisol plays several critical roles in the body, including normalizing inflammation levels; regulating blood pressure, and increasing blood sugar in order to deal with an emergency situation. The problem with chronic stress is that your body acts as if it’s always an emergency situation. And after a while, elevated or insufficient cortisol levels cause an imbalance of sex hormones. Imbalanced sex hormones can make sex torturous for women. For example, poor sex hormone balance can lead to vaginal dryness. Women who suffer from vaginal dryness often experience anxiety before intimacy because of the dilemma caused by the lack of enjoyment and the desire to please their partner. This pre-intimacy anxiety leads to a vicious cycle of more stress. And it’s not just women going through menopause that experience this. For men, excess cortisol results in poor sexual performance or a lack of desire to engage in sexual activity. Air Fryer Ancient Secrets To Enjoying Sex No, I’m not going to rehash steamy scenes from the Kama Sutra here. But what I do want to share is the simple yet profound logic of traditional Chinese medicine that rules all aspects of life including getting it on between the sheets. You’ve probably heard of Yin and Yang. But can you define them? No, it’s not as simple as opposites. Rather, Yin and Yang are two halves of the same whole, constantly transforming but always striving to maintain harmony. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, every organ system strives for Yin/Yang balance, or as we would say in the West, homeostasis. When homeostasis is achieved, that is every single bodily system is running efficiently, a healthy libido will naturally arise (no pun intended). When your body is mostly humming perfectly along with Yin-Yang balance, blood vessels widen, circulation improves, the synapses that activate sensory organs fire more effectively and sex organs and sensual areas of the body receive enhanced blood flow. air fryer and avocado oil How To Achieve Yin-Yang Balance For Great Sex

How To Achieve Yin-Yang Balance For Great Sex

The question then becomes, if you clearly lack Yin/Yang balance, how can you achieve it?

Well, diet of course is a huge factor and I’ll share my top foods for a great sex life below as well as a few supplements. But diet is only one piece of the holistic puzzle. Another critical lifestyle habit that will help you achieve homeostasis, and thus, a healthy sexual appetite is stress management.

If you’re waking up checking your news or social media feed and doing the same right before bed, you need a lifestyle change, stat! Replace staring at a screen in the morning and late at night with a healthy stress management technique such as yoga, meditation, a walk in the woods or neighborhood, etc.

Instead of confirming your biases or satisfying your gossipy nature, focus on getting your body back to a state of balance—if you want to have great sex!

Getting enough exercise is also important but some people actually deplete their adrenal glands even more by exercising too much. If you ask me, lowering your stress levels via meditation or going for a long walk is more important than doing high-intensity exercise. And of course, eating the best foods for great S-E-X.

Best Foods For Healthy Libido

Best foods for great S-E-X

As I mentioned, eating specific foods can help bring your body back into balance. Physiologically, certain nutrients are known to be effective vasodilators. This means that they open the blood vessels, which can help reignite libido. 

Here are my favorite foods to eat to support a healthy sex life: 

  • Dark leafy greens, like the seven different kinds in Organic Green Drink
  • Dark chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa)
  • Beets
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Citrus 
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Chickpeas/hummus
  • Avocados

These foods are great for a healthy libido because they contain nutrients that stimulate nitric oxide. Not to be confused with laughing gas (nitrous oxide), nitric oxide, or NO, relaxes the blood vessels. Every single cell in your body produces NO. But if you eat lots of processed food, your cells will do a poor job manufacturing NO. No NO means no sexy time!

As a vasodilator, NO increases blood flow by widening blood vessels and lowering blood pressure. While these benefits may be associated mainly with just men, the libido-stimulating effects apply to women as well. When women have increased levels of NO, it’s as if the nitric oxide itself acts as a signaling molecule to become sexually aroused, this study from Stanford University explains. 

Best Supplements For Sexual Arousal

In addition to eating plenty of foods on my best-for-sex list above, you may also benefit from taking a nutritional supplement. One that’s discussed in the Stanford study is L-arginine, an essential amino acid that increases NO in the cells. 

Zinc and B vitamins are also important nutrients that are often missing from the Standard American Diet. It’s best to get these nutrients from a whole-food plant-based diet. However, if your libido is running on empty, you may want to give your body the extra supplementation it needs to rediscover that magic spark. 

Here’s to your healthy sex life,

Chef V

Chef V

© 2021 Chef V, LLC.