Boost Immunity in Cold and Flu Season – Natural Qi Winter Newsletter

Natural Qi Newsletter
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Happy New Year!

I hope you find this newsletter interesting, informative, and helpful. As always, if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact me. Also, check out the Natural Qi website at www.NaturalQi.com!

Wishing you luck and good health in the new year,
–Melani

Beat the Bugs!

As winter is upon us, so is cold and flu season. That’s right—the sniffling, sneezing, coughing and aching! While winter illness can’t always be avoided, there are simple ways to better protect yourself from colds and boost your immunity.

  • Cover Your Neck — In Chinese medicine, the back of your neck and shoulder yoke are the gateway of disease. That’s why this area is the first to feel achy when you’re coming down with a bug. To prevent illness, be sure to protect your neck by keeping it warm and covered when you go outside.
  • Wash your hands — Your mother was right! Washing your hands frequently—especially in our busy city full of bustling businesses and packed subways— can protect you from the spread of flu and colds.
  • Eat Well & Drink Plenty of Fluids — Take care of your body by treating it right. Eating healthy foods and drinking lots of fluids helps you maintain a healthy immune system so you can fight off winter colds.
  • Invest in Self-Care — Commit to regularly doing something that you enjoy, and that you know relaxes you. Find time to read, take a bath, or listen to music. For even ten minutes, turn off the phone, computer or television and let yourself meditate. If you are able, commit to your health by scheduling acupuncture treatments. Caring for your body with acupuncture and herbs can help keep your immune system healthy and on alert.
  • De-stress with Breath — If you’re feeling tense and rushed, stop and take ten deep breaths. If you can, follow that up with some simple stretching. Even stopping to breathe for one minute can lower your blood pressure and calm your mind.

Remember, your body can be your best ally, so treat it with love and care.

Tasty Recipes

Veggie Bake

This is the perfect winter recipe. It’s healthy, easy, and great for the winter. Use this meal as an opportunity to try all the wonderful root vegatables available in the winter months!

Ingredients:
All the leftover veggies in your fridge that need to be used
1 large can chopped tomatoes
1 can chickpeas
3 or 4 large yams, thinly sliced
Extra virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 160 degrees.
*Chop veggies (not yams) and stir-fry in a bit of oil until soft.
*Add can of tomatoes and drained can of chickpeas.
*In a casserole or lasagna dish, layer yams then veggie mix (same as if you were making lasagna, but use potatoes as lasagna sheets and veggie mix instead of meat.)
*Finish with a layer of yams, lightly drizzle olive oil on top.
*Bake for 30 minutes. Then take off cover, turn up temperature to 180 degrees for ten minutes to crisp up the top layer.
*Tip: Add your favorite spices, like basil, oregano, fennel, cumin, chilli pepper, sea salt, etc., when adding tomatoes and chickpeas.

Lentil-Walnut Pate

This recipie is for the more adventurous cooks. It’s one of my all time favorites. I like to keep some in the freezer and bring it out for surprise guests!
Note: Walnuts come whole, in halves, or as “syrupers,” which means roughly chopped. You can use any of the three for this recipe but the syrupers are definitely more convenient. Always be sure the nuts are fresh. Rancidity, of course, ruins the recipe, so be sure to taste the nuts before proceeding with the recipe.

You can opt to mash the pate in a mortar or suribachi instead of using a food processor, in which case it will have a rougher, more rustic consistency. Umeboshi paste is salty and sour, so in a pinch you could substitute some red wine vinegar mixed with salt or some pickled vegetables.

Yield: 3 cups
Cooking time: 30 minutes

2/3 cup dried green lentils, rinsed
1 large boy leaf
2 cups walnuts
1 tabelspoon extra virgin olive oil
3 cups diced onions
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon umeboshi paste
1 ½ tablespoon barley miso
1 tablespoon dried basil

*Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
*Rinse lentils in a strainer under cold running water.
*Place lentils in a 2-quart saucepan with bay leaf and enough water to cover by 2 inches.
*Bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover and simmer until the lentils are tender, about 30 to 40 minutes.
*Meanwhile, roast the walnuts on a cookie sheet until they turn a shade darker, about 6-8 minutes.
*Pour the nuts into a a colander and let them cool.
*Drain the lentils. (You may want to reserve the cooking liquid for soup or stock.)
*Optional: Rub the walnuts together between the palms of your hands to remove the skins. Set aside. Walnut skins will impart a slightly bitter taste.
*Saute the onions and garlic in olive oil in an 8- inch skillet over a medium flame, stirring frequently, until lightly browned, about 10 to 15 minutes.
*Combine the walnuts, lentils, onion mixture, and the remaining ingredients in a food processor fitted with a steel blade and puree until smooth.
*spoon into a bowl and refrigerate until cool.
*The pate will keep 3 to 5 days refrigerated in a tightly sealed container.

Serving suggestion: Spread pate on slices of sourdough bread, broil for about one to two minutes, and serve warm.
Other Serving Options: Serve in small scoops on lettuce leaves, garnished with sliced scallions, accomplished by thinly sliced baguettes, chips, or crackers. It can also be spread on bread and topped with roasted vegetables and lettuce to make a sandwich.