Warm Temperature Foods:
with foods that are warming or Yang. Kidney Yang deficiency happens when there is lack of exercise, poor diet
(high in fat, sodium, sugar, dairy and low in fiber), and excessive consumption of cold food and drinks.
With regards to women and infertility imbalances, there is considered to be kidney Yang deficiency.
Fertility imbalances are commonly a sign of kidney QI deficiency (inadequate kidney function).
Strong Blood and spleen QI are vital for fertility as well.
For kidney Yang deficiency diets, and Spleen Yang deficiency diets, it is best to consume fresh foods that are cooked.
Food that is lightly prepared, helps to ensure that nutrients are preserved, and are more readily digested and absorbed.
Kidney Yang is responsible for the power to fuel every function in the body.
Yang makes things move. Yang warms the limbs.
Yang warms the lower back, knees, and feet.
Especially useful for those who have hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Enjoy meals by sitting down, to relax, while you eat.
Chew your food very well, and eat slowly. Best to not rush. Savoring flavors is recommended. Focus on the flavors of every bite. Eating slowly, and mindfully, will also strengthen the spleen and QI. We want to properly, and thoroughly, receive the nutrients from the foods that we eat. Gut integrity, and small intestine health, play vital roles in our assimilation of nutrient absorption from food.
YIN and YANG
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, foods are considered one of the following:
cold, cooling, neutral, warming or hot. All of these foods fall under either Yin, Yang, or QI.
QI, also called chi, is the underlying energy in all life, our life force. Yin is the passive, negative, slow-moving, cool, relaxed representation. Yang is active, fiery, hot, expanding, and fast-moving representation. The moon is Yin, and the sun is Yang.
Please do not come to the clinic if you have Covid, or it has been less then 14 days since symptoms started, or positive Covid test.
Please do not come in if you are sick with cold, flu, cough, fever.
Please note that we may be treating immuno-compromised, elderly, and pregnant patients, who are more susceptible to becoming severely ill from Covid.
Appreciate your kokua, help, and understanding.
Christine Walinch L.Ac.
Foods To Build Kidney Yin:
The kidneys are associated with the water element. Drink ample water at room temperature throughout the day.
Coconut water, and omega 3, 9 rich foods build Yin and moisturize internally. Yin is the cooling, moisturizing component in the body that lubricates our eyes, nose, skin, hair, mucous membranes, digestive tract, and joints.
Eat kidney shaped foods: black beans, kidney beans, most beans. Beans are kidney shaped, as well as seeds with potential for new life, these foods have long been considered especially nourishing to the kidneys.
Eat blue and black foods: Blueberries, blackberries, mulberry, black beans, black rice, black chia seeds, black sesame seeds. The colors blue and black correspond to the water element of the kidneys. It is possible to strengthen the water element by eating blue and black foods. Cranberries are specific to good kidney and urinary function.
Eat seafood: Fish, shrimp, and seaweeds all support the water element. Do not eat shark, marlin or swordfish, as their mercury levels are dangerous. Eat tuna a few times a month and avoid eating seafood during pregnancy because of toxic heavy metals. I look to buy and use organic seaweed. I like Maine Coast brand. Hijiki, dulse, nori, kombu. So many good ones. Iodine and kelp is contraindicated in those who have high thyroid (hyperthyroidism), and auto immune conditions like Hashimotos & Graves. If someone has low thyroid hormone, hypothyrodism, kelp and iodine are usually encouraged.
In Chinese medicine, we look to the kidney system for thyroid, adrenal, and endocrine imbalances.
Eat naturally, salty flavored foods: Miso, sea salt, tamari, salted, raw sauerkraut or kimchee (Korean cultured vegetables without MSG). Each of the five elements in Traditional Chinese Medicine has a flavor attributed to it, and the water flavor which governs the kidneys is salty. To support the water element, consume a healthy amount of salt, as too much salt will have the opposite effect.
Moderate intake of dried foods are one traditional way to access foods not freshly available throughout the cold storage months. They are more concentrated and help build kidney yin and jing (essence). Normally, they should be reconstituted or cooked in water.
Seeds: Flax, pumpkin, sunflower. Black sesame seeds relate to fertility and growth, which is governed by kidney energy.
Nuts: Walnuts, chestnuts (nuts are seeds). These nuts are particularly recommended for kidney energy.
Eat animal products sparingly. Excess cheese may be too dampening for the spleen. Too much meat, particularly without the balance of vegetables, will stagnate the liver, and colon, and create heat.
Look to the individual to decide on the ideal amount of animal products.
Eat bone-marrow broths and soups: This will nourish marrow governed by the kidneys. Especially beneficial for people wanting to prevent, or heal osteoporosis. Bone broths help expedite healing after surgeries, and injuries.
Grains: Barley, millet. These are both mildly cooling, and nourishing to Yin.
Eat vegetables daily: Asparagus, deep green leafy vegetables. Asparagus has diuretic properties, and is especially helpful with opening the flow for those with dark, scanty urine. Deep green, leafy, vegetables build the blood. Blood is a Yin fluid. Moist vegetables, such as cucumbers, okra, avocado, and celery are helpful for Yin.
Eat fruits and melons: These are emphasized since they are moistening, and mildly cooling.
Too much fruit, can be cooling, resulting in diarrhea. 2 - 4 pieces of fruit a day is a good "rule of thumb."
Eat melon alone. Do not combine melon with other foods at the same time, for optimum digestion and enzyme activity.
Take kidney and liver strengthening tonics: Spirulina, kelp, wheatgrass, blue green algae, chlorophyll. These mineral rich foods build the blood, which enhances Yin. They are also high in nucleic acids (RDA/DNA) which have been shown to reduce signs of aging. Blue green algae supports the manufacturing of our own stem cells. Green super foods help to support lung, liver, kidney, lymph function and detox heavy metals. Superfoods greens tend to be very cooling. Cold in nature.
Lower Back Health and the Kidney Relationship in Traditional Chinese Medicine
Treat old and new back injuries with acupuncture. If you have an old, or a new back injury, be sure to get this treated and resolved as soon as possible.
External Causes of Low Back Pain:
Long term back injuries can cause poor circulation, and stagnation, which affects kidney function and weakens the kidneys. "Dampness leading downward from the spleen" can damage both the liver, kidneys, and the spleen. The spleen dominates the muscles, and digestion in Traditional Chinese Medicine. The spleen also controls the ability to hold things in and up in the body. Kidneys dominate the spine, bones, lower back, knees, and the neurological system in Chinese medicine.
The Liver dominates the tendon, ligament, and joints. The sinews. The smooth flow of Blood and QI in the body, is controlled by the liver. Similar to blood circulation. Get to bed by 11 pm ideally, so your liver can properly nourish your body, and joints with an abundance of liver Yin. Liver Yin is the lubricating component affecting joint "suppleness" and flexibility. Less likely to have tendon tears, and ruptures, when our joints are properly lubricated and "oiled." Omega 3, good 6, and 9, fatty acids lubricate our joints, and prevent dryness. Drink enough water, keep moving, prioritize quality sleep, and try to avoid drying out your joints. Coffee, alcohol, sugar, fried foods, processed foods, and spicy foods create internal heat, and burn up Yin, dry us out.
Strengthen your lower back muscles, tendon, ligament, connective tissue, and the spine, through sound nutrition. And lifestyle choices. Avoid drinking ice water. Cold slows down circulation, weakens the lower back, and kidney Yang. Cold is very "taxing" to the spleen for muscular health as well. Avoid lifting heavy items to protect your spleen.
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, our QI and Blood flow can be affected by invasion of energies from the external environment. These energies are wind, cold, dampness, heat, dryness, and summer-heat. One of the five functions of QI, is to protect the body from invasion of these environmental energies. If the defensive QI (WEI QI), is weak, environmental energy can invade the body. This invasion enters the channels, and blocks the flow of QI and Blood in those channels. According to Chinese medical texts, invasion by external energies, can only occur, when the defensive QI is deficient. Environmental, pathogenic influences usually do not invade the body singly, but rather in pairs. IE: Cold/Damp, Wind/Heat etc. For instance, wind often combines with heat, cold, and/or dampness. When these energies invade the upper body, we typically come down with a cold, flu, neck pain, headache. When pernicious, outside, environmental influences attack our WEI QI, they can invade the lower back, as well.
Keep the feet warm, especially through winter, to preserve kidney QI and Yang. The body’s QI is conserved by keeping warm. Excessive sweating, from hot showers, or baths, can create a loss of Yang QI. Yang Qi can be depleted when our pores are open, and we are exposed to cold/wind, Bell's Palsy conditions (facial nerve, viral infection), are said to be brought on by exposure to cold and wind on the face. Prevention is key. Avoid A/C vents and fans directly on your face, head, neck. Avoid sleeping under moving ceiling fans, and avoid drafts. Feng Shui believes that it is unhealthy to sleep under a moving ceiling fan. The blades, moving, above us, are undesirable, energetically. Hawaii is known for having ceiling fans in almost every room of the house. Our temperate, tropical, year-round climate, and accomodating trade winds, allow us to go without A/C much of the time. Hence, why we have ceiling fans in every room of the house. Have fans away from your body, while sleeping. On airplane flights, avoid air vents on your head, face, and neck. Long term exposure to wind, and cold is not ideal. Headaches, migraines, pain, and sinus infections, are made worse with wind to the face.
Hot water, foot baths are recommended. Add freshly brewed, ginger root tea and turmeric root tea to the foot bath. Epsom salts are also a nice addition for sore, achy joints and feet complaints. Keep your feet off of cold floors, and don’t wear wet shoes, or flip-flops.
Avoid Excessive Lifestyle Habits
When the kidneys are depleted due to being overworked, it can cause fatigue. However, very few people associate fatigue with depleted kidney energy, and usually force their way through it. Regular, and excessive, coffee and alcohol consumption, can deplete the adrenal glands and kidneys. Sugar and stimulants, also heat the liver, and cause over-acidity in the body. If you drink coffee, organic coffee is very important to choose. Coffee is one of the highest sprayed (pesticides and insecticides) crops.
The liver and kidneys have to process the oils in the coffee bean.
QI Gong, QI Kung and Tai Chi practices focus on breathing, and exercises that improve circulation. This helps, QI, blood and lymph flow, and keeps the kidneys exercised and balanced. Qi Gong is known for improving flexibility, mood, inflammation, and anxiety. Plus, it’s particularly good for older people or anyone with reduced mobility because it can be practiced in an incredibly gentle, yet effective way. Preserve your Kidney Yin,Yang, QI, and Jing.
Eat dark, naturally salty foods, and soup to nourish the kidneys. Avoid toxins in food and water, as well as, intoxicants and heavy metals. Keep your lower back, legs, and feet warm.
Keep getting ACUPUNCTURE...
Have a taste of each of the 5 flavors daily. Eat slightly more salty, and bitter flavors in the winter. The 5 flavors are: sweet, salty, sour, pungent (a.k.a. acrid/ spicy), and bitter. The “sweet” flavor means the “full sweet” tastes of grains, vegetables, etc. (not empty sweets of sugars, desserts, processed sweets).
In the winter, a slight increase in the salty and bitter flavors can benefit the kidneys, adrenals, and the heart. Some foods with bitter tastes include: kale, turnip, celery, asparagus, burdock root, carrot top, lettuce, watercress, parsley, endive, rye, oats, quinoa, chicory root, dandelion and dandelion greens. Salty foods include seaweeds, salt, millet, barley, miso, etc. Himalayan Pink Crystal salt is good to consume moderately because of the trace mineral content. Trace minerals are great for the glands, bones, blood, nerves, muscles, connective tissue, skin. Every system in the body requires trace minerals (micrograms). "Macrominerals" essential to the body, are measured in milligrams.
Why Are Heavy Metals Undesirable For Kidney Health?
Heavy metal poisoning can wreak havoc on your body. I encourage heavy metal blood tests done every couple of years through primary care Dr. I do not recommend cooking with aluminum foil or pans. I do not recommend drinking out of aluminum cans.
Aluminum, mercury, and other heavy metals like lead, nickel, and tin, are "neuro" toxins.
Cold Foods and Cold Drinks Can Cause Health Problems:
The kidney time is 5-7 p.m. on the Traditional Chinese Medicine meridian clock.
The Relationships Between Meridians, Elements, and
Yin/Yang Organ Pairs Are As Follows:
Lung, Large Intestine (Metal Element)
Stomach, Spleen (Earth Element)
Heart, Small Intestine, Pericardium, Triple Warmer (Fire Element)
Kidney, Urinary Bladder (Water Element)
Liver, Gall Bladder (Wood Element)
The kidneys are considered the source of all the vital energy or “Qi” within the body. During the winter months, it is especially important to reflect on health, replenishing energy, and conserving strength.
Keep your Ming Men "Life Gate" fire strong in the body.
This important concept in TCM, the Gate of Life, is where the original life essence (jing essence) of the individual is based.
The Gate of Vitality was originally thought to be a function of the Kidneys. Some traditional Chinese medical texts tout that Ming Men resides in the right kidney. It is thought to lie between the two kidneys, in front of your lumbar vertebrae. A special point in the middle of the lumbar region of your back "Centre of Vitality."
Located between your L2 and L3 vertebrae, the Mingmen is not only important for providing Qi to maintain and correct organ function, but it’s also the spot in which your kidneys blend the Yin and Yang (Water & Fire) energy. This is the essence that originates from the kidneys, which is transformed into the most pure kind of QI. The kidneys are responsible for filtering and cleansing the blood. This fresh and clean blood will then be redistributed into the veins. This high quality QI, which is accompanied by the blood, is important to balance your body's energy properties. It supplies our entire body with energy for its vital functions. The Mingmen sits right behind your lower Dan Tian. The 2 are closely related. Although the Mingmen and the Dan Tian have different purposes, collectively, they form what we know as the Sea of QI, our lower energy center in the body.
The "Dan Tian" (Cinnabar Field), resides one hand-breadth below our navel. This area is a QI center. Where we store our energy, and make strong Blood. Qikung, nutrition, deep breathing, proper rest, and movement all help to build strong QI and Blood. Make it well. Store it in the Dan Tian. We are warm-blooded beings, and from this Gate of Vitality, comes our ability to be warm. When we die, the Gate of Vitality fire goes out, our bodies grow cold, and we cease to live.
Martial artists also call this point the “Gate of Power” because it is an important marker for movement and essential for internal power, development, and execution.
The cold and darkness of winter urges us to slow down (even in Hawaii). It is the perfect time to recharge our batteries, and generate vital energy, QI. In winter, just as the energy of the tree goes into the roots, so too, does the energy of our bodies.
The kidneys are the roots of the body. Ming Men is our heating furnace. Stoke for willpower, drive, strength, and energy.
Tao is an East Asian concept that relates to the true nature of the world. It is the universal force that generates and propels everything in it. Yin, Yang, Blood, and QI. All things can be described according to their Yin, and Yang nature.
Different aspects of your body and health are in relative Yin, or Yang states.
Depending on the time of the day, or during different times in your life.
Your internal, equilibrium, and homeostasis are maintained by an appropriate balance of Yin, and Yang in the human body.
The meridians operate in Yin organ and Yang organ pairs, each of which are associated with a particular element.
QI, Blood, Yin, Yang, and the interaction between the 5 elements in our bodies, determine our internal health, and constitution.
Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioner's determine which meridians are in need of treatment, by feeling the pulses and "checking" the status of your Blood, Qi, Yin, Yang, Jing, Shen.
Eat to minimize “Dampness.” Dampness is fluid where it's not supposed to be (phlegm, mucus, edema, cysts, tumors, yeasts). Dampness leads to feeling heavy, sluggish, foggy (physically and mentally); it impairs your digestive 'fire' and overall warmth and energy. It contributes to allergies, low immunity, and chronic illnesses. Damp-causing foods include: dairy (especially cow), almost all sugars (including most fruit), wheat (sprouting helps), overly-salty food, meats and eggs, most fats and oils, yeasted breads, alcohol. Food that is hard to digest (raw, cold, inadequately chewed, etc.). Refined, processed, stale or rancid food (including most commercially shelled nuts and seeds, especially peanuts) create phlegm, and "damp-heat."
Eating excessive amounts, overly complex meals, and late at night, also contribute to dampness.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, there are not ‘good’ foods or ‘bad’ foods; there are appropriate foods for each individual and inappropriate food for a specific individual. Like there are appropriate herbs for each individual, depending on what their health needs are. Like herbs, foods have different energetic qualities: warming or cooling.
No one dietary guideline is going to be correct for all individuals. Raw foods tend to be cold and can damage the spleens energetic organ system. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, nutrition and food therapy, is simply part of the larger system of medicine which includes acupuncture and herbal medicine.
As Hippocrates says, “let food be your medicine, and medicine be your food.”
North Kauai Acupuncture
Lic. Acupuncturist, M.S.O.M.