Foods for Dampness


Foods to Eat

The best way to remove Dampness is to nourish the Yang Qi and invigorate Qi circulation. This can be done by eating foods like beans, sprouts, radish, savoy cabbage and celery. Spices and pungent herbs like nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, chives, basil, black pepper, garlic, marjoram, coriander/ cilantro and turmeric can also be beneficial. Green tea is also a better alternative to coffee.

Foods to Avoid

Avoid sweets, alcohol, dairy, fried/greasy foods and foods that contain gluten (wheat, rye, spelt, triticale, some oats). If you chose to eat dairy products, foods made from goat milk are preferable to cow milk.

Other Things to Do

Dry brushing helps to stimulate the circulation of blood and lymph. Use a natural bristle brush, starting at the tips of the fingers and toes and moving towards the center of the body, to vigorously but gently brush the skin. You can read more about dry brushing here.

Musical Selection for Winter

Winterreise (Winter Journey) is a song cycle by Franz Schubert.   The link below will take you to an excellent recording of Winterreise.  The music is beautiful and the singer’s voice really captures the feeling of winter.  There is a deep longing in his voice and the music is very reminiscent of the feeling of winter.

Click here Winterreise in the iTunes store.

Essential Oil Blend for Winter

Warm the Joints Blend

  • 8 drops of Orange
  • 12 drops Carrot
  • 14 drops Ginger
  • 6 drops Cinnamon
  • Almond Oil base (10mL bottle)

This soothing blend nourishes the blood and warms the channels to ward off cold in the joints.  Apply to the spine at Du 14 and Du 4, which are located on the spine where the neck meets the shoulders, and on the spine in the low back region.  It can also be applied to the ankles and wrists and anywhere you feel stiffness or cold in the joints.  Apply 2 to 3 times a day and enjoy.  The blend is also available at our clinic.

Winter Recipes, Part 1

From a Western nutrition perspective, winter is the time our bones need the most support with added minerals in our diet. All of these recipes will give you a mineral pick-me-up, and be good for your overall health and wellbeing. Eating nutrient-rich foods is preferred over supplements, when possible, so try adding these easy recipes to your repertoire this winter.


Bone broth
The key to unlocking the health effects of bone broth is getting good bones. What I mean by that is bones, especially spine bones, of organic, pasture-raised animals. Buying bones of conventionally-raised animals is a sure fire way to get a dose of hormones, antibiotics and other chemicals used by factory farmers. Visiting EatWild or your local greenmarket will help you source the right bones for the job.

You can make the broth with bones as is, or try roasting them first in the broiler. Brown, but don’t burn them. Clean up your roasting pan while hot with some water, and then add the water to the stock for a flavor boost.

See my blog post about the benefits of bone broth by clicking here.

  • 2 lbs ofbones (beef spine and knuckle are good choices, as are chicken backs and necks)
  • The cloves of ½ to 1 head of garlic as suits your taste
  • 2 T unfiltered cider vinegar (helps release minerals from the bones)
  • Water to cover

I usually use an enameled Le Creuset 6-quart stockpot for this, but you can use any heavy stockpot you like that isn’t made of aluminum. Add the bones, garlic, vinegar to the pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and let cook for 8 to 24 hours. Skim off foam from time to time while preserving as much of the fat that rises to the top. Strain through a colander and then a sieve to remove all the pieces of bone. Store in the refrigerator in a glass container. Use for soups, or just add a healthy dollop to sautéed vegetables as you wish.

Hot Cereal Topper

Main Content Inline SmallWalnuts and black sesame seeds are Chinese medicine wintertime superfoods.  Walnuts are rich in Vitamin E, many minerals, phytonutrients (tannins, etc.) and Omega-3 fatty acids. In Chinese medicine, walnuts are also associate with the kidneys, which needed to be warmed and nourished, especially during the Winter. Black is the color associated with Winter in Chinese medicine, so black sesame seeds will further nourish the kidneys and also the blood.

Use this combination toasted and ground as a sprinkle on top of hot breakfast cereals. You can even use it to make a tea with honey or blackstrap molasses.

  • 2 cups toasted walnuts
  • ¼ cup toasted black sesame seeds (this is best done in a sautee pan on the stove until a popping sound is heard. Be careful not to burn them.)

Grind and store in an airtight glass container in the fridge. Use as desired.

Winter-spiced Kale Chips

Winter is a time of storage, when the cold sends plants and animals inward to rest and be still. Kale is a nutrient-dense food that will nourish us while we commune with the stillness of winter. These kale chips are seasoned with herbs and spices to chase the cold away, too.

  • 1 bunch of kale
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon smoked black peppercorns (finely crushed)
  • 3 healthy pinches of paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon powdered ginger (or 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated)
  • Chili flakes according to taste
  • ¼ cup gluten-free nutritional yeast flakes

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Wash the kale well and dry in a salad spinner. Remove stems and roughly chop into finger-food sized pieces. Toss with seasoning mix. Bake until the edges begin to brown, but before they burn. This should take about 12 minutes.

Also try this recipe using your favorite curry powder or garam masala mix. I love the mix from Kalustyans.

Black Strap Molasses

Blackstrap molasses – a sugar alternative of sorts – is packed with nutrients. Blackstrap molasses and sugar have the same number of calories per teaspoon, but sugar is all calories and no nutrients. Blackstrap molasses are simply full of goodness.

A single teaspoon of these molasses will get you 10% closer to your recommended intake of iron, calcium and other essential minerals. You will also get the full daily dose of chromium, an essential nutrient in the maintenance of even blood sugar.

Blackstrap molasses are, as the name implies, nearly black. This ties back into the Chinese medicine correspondences of the season, which links winter and the color black.
Try adding blackstrap molasses to your morning hot cereal, tea, dessert recipes, smoothie (forgo on ice in smoothies during the winter months) and marinades.

Winter Foods

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These foods are good to eat more during the winter months.

Soups and stews especially bone soups

Root vegetables and winter squashes

Beans and legumes

Roasted nuts and seeds especially walnuts and black sesame seeds

Winter greens such as kale, collard greens, escarole and broccoli rabe

Garlic, ginger, cardamom and cinnamon

Black strap molasses