Cookies for Kidneys. If it sounds like a charity campaign for your organs, well, it is. Actually the Kidneys are the most depleted organ in modern people. It’s extremely rare to meet anyone with very strong kidney system even if they eat all the right foods and meditate daily. In grade school, our school had a campaign to raise money for the Kidney Foundation of Canada. We had to sell little snack size bags of roasted peanuts to our family and neighbors.
Now if only we were selling sesame seeds instead, then according to Eastern Food Therapy, we’d really be
doing the kidneys a huge favour. Sesame (hei zhi ma) is warm and sweet and a tonic for the Kidneys and Liver. It is said to strengthen Yin, Jing and Blood as well as “blacken” grey hair (use black sesame) and build the spirit (Shen). Yes, you can eat cookies for a good cause.
The Kidney system is in fact the most charitable organ of our bodies. Whenever one organ is deficient in Yin or Yang, eventually it asks the Kidney system for an energy loan. The Kidney is like the savings account of the body so it always needs to be replenished for those “rainy days”. The Kidney system includes the adrenal glands in TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine). The World Health Organization recently (2010) recognized adrenal fatigue as a disease, calling it “21st Century Disease” a condition whereby frequent, prolonged and intense stress caused the adrenal glands to release cortisol which over time leads to burn-out of the adrenals or “Kidney Yang Deficiency” in TCM speak.
The Kidney system is associated with the emotion of fear in TCM. In this “Age of Precariousness” as some are calling this time of economic and job insecurity, fear is rampant. The stress toll on the body is evident as people often wake up feeling tired in spite of a long sleep, using caffeine to stimulate their adrenal system which is not strong enough to provide the energy boost and motivation (Yang) for the day ahead, having frequent infections, environmental sensitivities, and doing aerobics (which further depletes the adrenals – do weights/sit-ups instead) to eliminate the excess fat around the waist or “spare tire” which is actually caused by the adrenal insufficiency in the first place. There are a whole host of symptoms and conditions that have adrenal insufficiency at their root. I highly recoomend Dr. Wilson’s adrenal fatigue quiz as well as his book .
Now, let’s get on to those yummy cookies!
Ingredients (Makes about 20 small cookies)
1 ¼ cups almond flour (can grind almonds into flour using food processor or coffee bean grinder)
¼ teaspoon Celtic sea salt
⅓ cup pitted dates or agave syrup
1/2 cup sesame seeds(un-hulled has double the calcium than hulled)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon natural vanilla extract
Grind almonds until finely crumbled in a food processor.
Mix in sea salt, dates, sesame seeds, olive oil and vanilla.
Blend until fairly even.
Place mixture in fridge for a couple of hours to harden.
Form dough into small cookie shapes with a cookie cutter or small glass jar (just improvise!)
You can also roll the formed cookies in whole sesame seeds for decoration.
We’re nearing the end of winter in the northern hemisphere and many of you are experiencing fatigue or depression (sometimes depression in TCM can be about Qi or energy deficiency – there’s not enough energy for the body and the energy debt can bring the mind down with it). Just understand that this fatigue is seasonally normal. The winter months are a time of rest and retreat (hibernation). Many of us keep working too hard and staying up late over the winter causing exhaustion in early spring. If we’ve pushed ourselves too hard for too long we may experience adrenal fatigue also known as adrenal burn-out. In TCM adrenal burn-out is Kidney deficiency (the adrenals sit on top of the kidneys). Please do yourself a favour and listen to your body. If it’s asking for rest, please try to prioritize rest and sleep when you need it. Your body works miracles during rest and sleep time, detoxifying your liver, cleaning your blood, clearing your mind, rejuvenating your glands.
Many people become addicted to caffeine because caffeine stimulates the adrenals to release cortisol which activates the sympathetic nervous system. When the adrenals are healthy they will produce cortisol naturally and release it at the right time, mainly first thing in the morning. Healthy adrenals gets us leaping out of bed in the morning and starting the day with a bang. Remember that from childhood? When we’ve been working too much and under too much stress, the adrenals can get weak. So may reach for caffeine to stimulate the gland chemically. The addiction to caffeine, even the desire for caffeine in the first place indicates that the adrenals (Kidney yang) is weak. People try to force themselves off of caffeine, kicking the habit through will power alone. This is a good start but often the person will continue to crave the caffeine because the adrenals are crying out for nourishment. The following list of foods and supplements gets to the root of the problem by giving the adrenals the nutritional boost they need.
1. Royal Jelly – a powerful longevity tonic in TCM, try to buy fresh, refrigerated
2. Acerola Cherry concentrate – contains extremely high levels of Vitamin C, 1/2 Tablespoon=500% of the daily recommended requirement, vitamin C is important to adrenal health
3. Salty foods – naturally occurring sodium is found in high doses in celery, seaweed, Himalayan or Celtic sea salt. Use in moderation.
4. Bee Pollen – contains high amounts of B vitamins to heal your nerves and reduce perception of stress
5. Maca – supports and heals the adrenals, an adaptogen