Breastfeeding, Eco-Friendly Renovating: Natural Qi Winter Newsletter

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Hello Friends,
This winter has been a season of ups and downs. Thermometers have peaked at unprecedented highs and plummeted to some chilly lows. What an adventure!

This winter’s newsletter contains articles that will help you learn more about breast feeding, and how to make environmentally sound choices during home or office renovations. There are also a great recipes for foods that help you fight off colds.

…and don’t forget to check out Cooper’s Tip on supporting our friends in Haiti!

As always, please contact me if you have any questions. I look forward to speaking with you or seeing you at your next appointment!

Breast Feeding: Your Body & Your Baby

It is widely accepted that breast feeding is a healthy choice for both babies and mothers. As a doula, a Chinese Medical practitioner and a mother myself, I encourage patients, if possible, to try to breastfeed their newborns for at least 3 months and, ideally, for one year.

The benefits of breast feeding are numerous. Breast milk is easy for a baby to digest, and breast milk can strengthen a newborn’s immune system. New York City Health Commissioner, Dr. Thomas Farley, advocates breast feeding as a way to lower the rates of many common childhood illnesses such as asthma, diabetes, obesity and SIDS.

Breast feeding can also benefit mothers as it can help them avoid osteoporosis, bond with their newborn, balance hormones (that can lower the risk of certain cancers), alleviate postpartum depression and anxiety, and lose excess baby weight at a healthy pace.

Though breastfeeding is beneficial, it is not always easy for a mother to breastfeed at first. Breastfeeding is not always a skill that women automatically understand instinctively. Many women need a nurse, midwife, or lactation consultant to help with baby positioning and latching-on techniques. I strongly encourage mothers to have compassion for themselves and seek help if they have questions or difficulty with any aspect of the breastfeeding process. I could not have worked breastfeeding out without the help of my amazing lactation consultant, Kate Sharp (212-595-1627,

Acupuncture and herbal treatments can be a great support for women who choose to breastfeed, especially if they are experiencing difficulties or pain in the breastfeeding process. Labor, delivery and post-partum recovery can be very taxing on a mother’s body. Acupuncture and herbal remedies can help restore a mother’s energy, and support her body as it recovers from the birthing process. This support will help a new mother as her body works to supply food for her new baby.

Acupuncture and herbs have been shown to increase milk production, and treat the heat, swelling, and discomfort that comes with nipple irritation and mastitis (blocked ducts). Acupuncture and herbs are an excellent way to treat a breastfeeding mother because they are safe, drug-free and non-invasive treatment options.

If you would like to learn more about breastfeeding and Traditional Chinese Medicine, please visit Natural or feel free to call me. I am always happy to discuss your health and well-being!

Eco-Friendly Renovations: What Are My Choices?

As many of you know, this winter Natural Qi transitioned to a new office space! Setting up our new treatment space has involved office renovating. On a personal front, I’ve also been involved in some home remodeling. These activities have given me an opportunity to explore environmentally sound renovation options, and I’d like to share some green renovation tips with you.

PAINT – One of the simplest ways to change the look and feel of a room is with paint. It’s important to realize, though, is that not all paint is created equal.

Many paints contain hazardous materials that can have a major impact on indoor air quality and the environment. In fact, the second largest contributor to Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) air pollution is paint fumes–second only toautomobile emissions! That’s some serious environmental impact.

The good news is that many eco-friendly paint choices have become available in the past few years. Your best option for “green” paint is natural paint. This paint is an excellent choice in environments where people maybe particularly chemically sensitive. Look for mineral, lime or milk-based paints, as other naturally-based paints may still trigger allergies.

Natural paints do have some drawbacks, though. They have a long dry time–about two to three days. They also may require more prepping and priming. Natural paints are also generally 20-80% more expensive than more conventionalpaints.

Another good choice for paint is certified Green Seal recycled latex paint. You can find zero VOC or low VOC latex paints by reading the paint labels. Many of these paints also come in low odor options.

Try to avoid oil paints if you can because they are the most toxic and most difficult to dispose of. Certain high-traffic, high-moisture areas may require an oil paint, though. If you need to use an oil paint, look for the low VOC label and paints that are mercury free.

FLOORS – Another area with big design impact is flooring. A great flooring option is cork, as it wears well, and is an easily renewable resource. Wood floors can bemade of eco-friendly bamboo or salvaged, recycled wood. There are manydurable, attractive laminates that are also easy on the environment.

Another flooring option is natural fiber rugs, made of seagrass, sisal or coir. Vintage rugs can also warm a space up. I encourage you toresearch carpeting before you buy it, as it may be highly chemically treated and can leech chemicals both on contact and into the air.

COUNTERTOPS – There are many great eco-friendly countertop options. Concrete is durable and can be custom poured for any space. Be sure to look into recycled materials from a local source for the lowest carbon footprint.

Paper composite and recycled plastic countertops are both made from recycled matter. Paper composites are quite durable. Recycled plastic may damage a bit more easily in comparison.

Terrazo is a durable, long lasting composite that adds a sophisticated finish to any space. Terrazzo is made of 95% recycled materials, so it’s very “green.”

Salvaged or recycled wood can be a beautiful, natural option. Just make sure you avoid using it in areas where there will be a lot of water, as it can warp with too much moisture.

ENERGY EFFICIENT LIGHTING – Compact fluorescent bulbs can last you four times longer than traditional light bulbs. They also use less electricity. Adding natural lights (if you have the option!) like skylights or window lighting can decrease your need for electric lights and allow you to let in air for heating and cooling purposes.

ENERGY EFFICIENT HEATING/COOLING CHOICES – There are small and large ways to regulate temperature in an eco-friendly way. Lowering the air conditioning in the summer and the heating in the winter by just a few degrees can have a huge environmental impact. Installing ceiling fans to circulate air can also decrease your need for air conditioning and heating. Good insulation choices, and energy efficient windows can also save you money and save the earth.

If you are in the market for big ticket appliances, try to make sure your furnaceor hot water heater are energy efficient models.

WATER CONSERVATION – Try to make sure your fixtures and appliances are water efficient models. On a smaller scale, you can install low-flow showerheads and faucets.

HIRE A GREEN CONTRACTOR – There are many eco-friendly contractors. Look for one certified as a Master Builder by the Energy and Environmental BuildingAssociation or a Certified Remodeler with the US Green Building Council (USGBC). Look for them in the Green Home Guide.

CRAIGSLIST! – Buying used materials is an easy and affordable way to revamp a space in aneco-friendly way.

Cooper Tip

As you all know, a great tragedy has befallen our neighbors in Haiti. As man’s best friend, I’m happy to share with you a way to continue to support Haitian people who are suffering in the wake of the disaster and the rehabilitation of their devastated country.

You can donate to disaster relief efforts through the Red Cross website. For an even easier option, you can text “HAITI” to”90999″ on your cell phone and a donation of $10 will be given automatically to the RedCross to help with relief efforts. Charges will appear on your cell phone bill.

The Red Cross site also offers other ideas about how to help our Haitian neighbors. You can learn about donating blood or volunteering as well.

Cold-Fighting Foods!

It’s a cliche, but true. Chicken soup does help fight colds! The most important cold-fighting ingredient of the soup is chicken stock–it has properties that slow mucous production. If you’re not a fan of soup, or if you are a vegetarian, take heart. There are plenty of other cold-fighting food alternatives. Below are a few recipes that can be enjoyed by omnivores and vegetarians alike! (Also, learn about how to cook congee, a Chinese restorative porridge, on Natural Qi’s website!)

Ginger Tea–Ginger Tea can fight nausea, aches and pains, and colds. Look for natural brands, or buy ginger root, slice it thinly, and steep it in hot water.

Warm-Up Ginger Tea

Get a ginger root about the length of a finger.

Peel the ginger and cut it into thin strips.

Immerse the cut ginger in boiling water.

Let the mixture simmer for 15 minutes.

Pour the liquid in a cup, trying to strain out the solid bits. Add a spoonfull of honey to sweeten.

Orange Juice and Lemon Juice–Mom was right. Orange juice really is good for fighting off colds. Citrus juices are rich in Vitamin C, which can combat winter sniffles. Fresh squeezed juice is best, because it has the most nutrients.

Hot Lemon Juice Zinger

Squeeze the juice of 2 lemons into a cup
Fill the cup with boiling water

Add a spoonfull of honey

Sprinkle in a dash of cayenne pepper

If you are feeling under the weather, you can make this drink several times a day.

Garlic–Garlic might not make you popular, but it can help you feel more healthy. Garlic has strong properties that fight both viruses and bacteria. A 2001 study by the Garlic Centre in East Sussex, England, found thatpeople who took an allicin (an extract found in garlic) supplement were half as likely to catch acold than those who did not. Raw garlic is the most-effective, though, in fighting bugs. If you’d rather not eat raw garlic, you can always buy a suplement in pill-form.

No Joke Garlic Tonic

2 cups Honey

1/2 cup garlic cloves, peeled and crushed

1/2 cup grated fresh ginger root

Warmhoney over very low heat. Do not boil. Place the garlic and ginger in aside mouthed jar with rubber seal and pour warm honey over them. Mixwell and cap tightly.

Store this mixture in a warm sunny window sill and stir daily for three days, then refrigerate.

Use within 6 weeks.

Try a spoonful of this tonic at the first sign or a cold or flu or take daily as a preventative. You can also make a fine tea with a spoonful of this tonic in warm water oradd to a cup of green tea, also full of healthy antioxidants.

Many of these recipes were found on

If you have questions, or would like to discuss anything you read here, please feel free to contact me. Take Care and Be Well!

Melani Bolyai
Natural Qi Acupuncture and Herbs

phone: 917-533-2097

Winter 2010