Major Cold dà hán is the last solar term before spring and the lunar new year. While the cold is still here, and in colder climates, frost, snow and ice still blanket the ground, warmer days are coming. During this solar term it is still recommended to stay warm and continue 'protecting the yang' by including warming spices like nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger. Activities during this solar term include cleaning or clearing (energetically and physically) in preparation for the upcoming active months of spring. Take some time to organize that pile of papers, books, clothes etc that has been building up. Now is also a good time let go of grudges or resentments in order to move forward into the upcoming new year with a fresh start in our hearts.
Food recommendations include rice, yams or sweet potatoes, peanuts, ginger (sheng jiang), white wood ear mushrooms, pears, and chicken soup with astragalus and *goji berries (gou qi zi). Try this recipe that includes the perfect combination of sweet potatoes, peanuts, and warming spices. The soy sauce and vinegar nourish the kidneys and liver, while the honey balances out the drying effects of the pepper. For something with a little more kick, try this spicy peanut stew over rice.
Winter Buds Prepare for Spring Growth
Many trees bud in the winter as a way of getting a head start on the coming spring growth. Buds contain the potential of an entire tree, and while they don't grow quickly, they are developing slowly. Gather your dreams and ideas from the previous winter solar terms, and consolidate them into action plans.
*Check out this recently published study on the potential benefits of goji berries and vision.