2014 Health: Renew with the Chinese New Year

chinese-new-year-red-envelopes-oranges

Today marks the 2014 Chinese New Year, ushering in the year of the horse. It also stands as the one month marker from when you set your resolutions at the outset of the month. This is a great time to revisit those goals and evaluate whether or not you’ve been staying on track.

Use the Chinese New Year to renew and refresh. Whether you’re still riding pretty or you’ve seem to fallen off your horse, it’s never too late to pump up the energy and really put your goals into action. Haven’t set a resolution yet? We can all benefit from working towards positive initiatives. Make the Chinese New Year your New Year, and spend some time today to declare a resolution.

Need some extra inspiration? Following are some ways to use the year of the horse to your advantage.

  • Giddy up [off the couch]: The horse is part of a 12-year cycle of animals that make up the Chinese zodiac. Each hold different characteristics bestowed to those born in that year. A primary one for those in a horse year is “energy”. Yee-haw.

It is said that this year, all past horse babies will embody an even extra amount of vitality. Good for them. But what does that mean for the rest of us? Well, it’s simply a good excuse to try to tap into some of that energy for ourselves. Let this year be the year you establish a regular workout routine, and find the exercise that fits you best. Whether it’s unwinding after a day of work with an evening yoga class, getting up bright and early for an awakening morning walk, hitting the tennis courts on a Saturday afternoon, or joining a group class, there are tons of ways to get active. Allow yourself to try new activities until you find the one(s) that fits you best. Research shows that exercise fights fatigue, meaning we call all make this the year of our most energized self. The key is just a bit of regular movement! Yee-haw to that too.

  • Taste the tradition: While our New Year seems to be more about imbibing brews and booze, the Chinese New Year is one filled with culinary traditions. Many of the foods they use to signify good luck could also bring your body good health. Plan a celebratory dinner that starts out with a plate of long, leafy greens, meant to signify and wish upon a long life for your parents. Check out this recipe for Bok Choy with Oyster Sauce. Tackle a whole fish for the main event of the meal. The word for fish in Chinese sounds like, and is associated, with the word for abundance. It’s important that the fish be kept whole to represent a good start and finish and to avoid bad luck throughout the year. This recipe for Fragrant Steamed Fish with ginger and scallions from PopSugar sounds like a winner to us. Finish with a simple dessert of fresh oranges, which denote luck and wealth. Bonus points if they still have their leaves, a symbol of longevity.
  • Keep your house pure and clean: It’s Chinese tradition to thoroughly sweep every corner of the house before and after the New Year to rid it of bad luck and negativity. (Take note: don’t clean on the actual New Year, today, for this is said to sweep away good luck!) While cold weather lurks, dance around with your broom, and burn some calories while doing it. This is also a good time to take a look at your cupboards and rid them of unneeded junk. After all, your body is your true home, meaning it’s the most important thing to keep clean if you want to embody good fortune. Let’s raise a green smoothie to that.

Wishing you all a prosperous year ahead, Gong Xi Fa Cai.

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