Dong Zhi (冬至) Solar Terms – Diet and General Wellness Guidelines

We are into the Dong Zhi (冬至) solar terms (节气) starting from 22 Dec to 04 Jan 2024. Dong Zhi is the 22nd Solar Term out of the entire 24.

Of all the 24 solar terms, perhaps people are most familiar with this Dong Zhi solar term as it is popularly associated with sweet dumplings (汤圆). 

When I was little, I always looked forward to Dong Zhi as I enjoyed eating sweet dumplings because back then, we could only eat sweet dumplings when Dong Zhi solar term arrived.

The dietary direction during this Dong Zhi solar term will be 温肾阳、暖脾阳. It means boosting the yang energy of the kidneys and the spleen.

Unless you are living in a cold climate during this solar term, else hardly you will need to consume mutton soup to boost your kidney yang (肾阳) energy.

During this solar term, do your best to avoid taking cold drinks as it is a sure way to hurt your spleen yang (脾阳) energy. 

Some of the best foods (and a fruit) to eat during Dong Zhi solar term are:

Chinese chestnut – Known as 栗子. It not only strengthens kidney qi, but it also helps to strengthen the spleen. Nowadays there are Chinese chestnut snacks available that you can eat immediately after opening the packaging.

Walnuts – Helps to boost kidney qi. It can also help to relieve back pain and knee pain. Walnuts are easily available and can be consumed as snacks.

Cherry – Most people do not know that actually, cherry can help to strengthen kidney and spleen yang energy. Thus, making cherry an ideal fruit to eat during this and the next two solar terms.

If you also have the habit of eating sweet dumplings during Dong Zhi, then perhaps you can choose to eat sweet dumplings (with black sesame fillings). It has the following benefits:

Glutinous rice – Most sweet dumplings are made of glutinous rice and its thermal nature is warm. Glutinous rice can also strengthen spleen yang energy so it is ideal to be eaten this solar term for the benefit of our spleen.

Black Sesame – Although most black sesame fillings found in commercial sweet dumplings are too sweet and not 100% pure black sesame, you can still get the minimal benefits of black sesame (liver, spleen and kidney strengthening). of course, you can choose to make your own sweet dumplings using 100% pure black sesame powder for the maximum effect!

General Wellness Recommendation

There is a tradition where the children will give socks as a gift to the elderly during this solar term. 

The purpose is to remind the elderly to keep warm, especially during their sleep during this Dong Zhi solar term.

There is a saying goes 寒从脚下生. It means that the cold environment qi (that can make a person sick) can enter the body through the feet. Thus, it is important to keep our feet warm when we sleep during this and the next few solar terms.

You might need some time to adjust and get used to wearing socks to sleep if you do not have such a habit. But it is a very good way of helping your body to strengthen its immunity for the long-term. Do give it a try!

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