During our winter detox, we focused on strengthening the bladder and kidneys which are the organs that rule over winter. In traditional Chinese healing, sea vegetables correspond to the winter season and to the kidneys, adrenal glands, bladder and reproductive organs. The strengthening, balancing and cleansing properties of sea vegetables are known to help these organs as well as the hair, skin and nails. Sea vegetables (or seaweeds) provide a large array of minerals and vitamins, including calcium, iron and iodine, and can help balance hormone and thyroid levels in the body. Eating too many processed foods or foods grown in mineral-depleted soil can result in a lack of minerals in the body, leading to cravings for salty or sugary foods. Adding sea vegetables to your food repertoire can help balance your energy levels and alleviate cravings.
You’re probably thinking seaweed-yeck! But you know that green stuff, that’s floating around in your miso soup-that’s seaweed. The wraps that your sushi is in is seaweed. And remember a little bit goes a long way. You don’t have to eat a ton of it. You can also season food w/nori granules and ginger seasoning or seaweed gomasio (which is bits of seaweed, sea salt and sesame seeds).
Some other foods that are very healing for the bladder and kidneys are aduki, black and kidney beans (easy to remember-they’re shaped like a kidney), brussel sprouts, kale, and cabbage. Unsweetened cranberry juice and basic lemon water are good astringents for clearing and flushing the bladder and kidneys. For my complete guide to winter wellness check out my “Winterize Your Body” audio/e-book Winter Detox Cleanse and learn how to stay healthy naturally all winter long.
Here’s an easy Miso soup recipe using Wakame which is considered the “women’s” seaweed because of it’s benefits for the female reproductive organs.
Cooking Time: 10-15 minutes
Prep Time: 5-10 minutes
4-5 cups spring water
1-2 inch strip of wakame (my favorite sea vegetable-considered the woman’s sea vegetable because it supports our reproductive organs) rinsed and soaked 5 minutes
in 1 cup of water, until softened
1-2 cups thinly sliced vegetables of your choice (see notes)
4-5 teaspoons barley miso, white sweet miso, or red miso
2 scallions, finely chopped
1. Chop soaked wakame.
2. Discard soaking water or use on houseplants for a boost of minerals.
3. Place water and wakame in a soup pot and bring to a boil.
4. Add root and ground vegetables first and simmer gently for 5 minutes or until tender.
5. Add leafy vegetables and simmer for 2-3 minutes.
6. Remove about 1/2 cup of liquid from pot and dissolve miso into it. Return it to the pot.
7. Reduce heat to very low-do not boil or simmer miso broth.
8. Allow this to cook 2-3 minutes.
9. Garnish with scallions and serve.
Notes: Any combination of vegetables can be used in miso soup. Here are some classic combinations: Onion-daikon: very cleansing. Onion-carrot-shiitake-mushroom (also very nourishing for bladder and kidneys). Kale leek-corn-broccoli: great in summertime. Onion-winter squash-cabbage: great in wintertime. Variations: Add cooked grains at the start of making the soup. They will become nice and soft. Add a tablespoon of uncooked quinoa or millet at the beginning and let it cook with vegetables for 20 minutes. Add cubed tofu toward the end. Add bean sprouts toward the end. Season with 1/2 teaspoon ginger juice for an interesting twist. Add a tablespoon of peanut or almond butter or tahini for a richer brew. If using dry shiitake mushrooms, let them soak for 20 minutes, slice and add at the beginning.