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Stay hearty,stay healthy

By Jonny Clement Brown (Global Times)

10:40, November 16, 2012

(GT Photo)

Battle cries for braving the start of Beijing's winter season were signaled for all at the beginning of this month, as the capital's first snow fell. Though it didn't snow heavily, with each successive up-coming snowfall, temperatures will continue to drop. Add biting Arctic winds to the equation, and Beijingers have themselves a pretty hostile environment in which to keep warm.

According to Alex Tan, a Chinese medicine practitioner and head educator of the Straight Bamboo Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) clinic in Beijing, winter is a time where warming food and family connection is most important. "Many cultures have their biggest family and food festivals during the winter months… with plenty of food and alcohol," Tan says. He notes that it's important to redress the body's new imbalances during this time in order to remain healthy and ailment free. Here are some suggestions to aid in the quest for a hearty yet healthy winter diet.

Black Chicken Soup

For many Chinese, Black Chicken Soup is a staple winter dish with 'medicinal' properties. Black chicken is literally what its name suggests, as it is stewed for hours to achieve the perfect texture in savory richness. It is often made with other medicinal ingredients such as wolfberries (gouqi), a small reddish raisin-like fruit. According to Sun Ran, a nutritionist at the Beijing Nutritionist Association, wolfberries are "good for the kidneys and brighten the eyes."

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