The Power of Nutrition

Upstate New York is abundant with fresh fruits and vegetables in the summertime. These enlivening foods are readily available at local farmer’s markets, grocery stores and in personal gardens. Many foods that are recommended to enhance overall health are also recommended to support fertility.

According to Chinese medical nutrition, foods that one needs to support fertility will foremost be based on your Chinese medical diagnosis. One needs to eat foods that help support the individual system-we can get very specific with dietary choices depending on what our diagnosis is. To support fertility in general, one should eat foods that are considered kidney tonics and blood tonics. Additionally, there are foods that are categorized as qi movers, qi tonics, blood movers, damp resolvers, etc. which are determined individually. Each of these categories points to a different set of symptoms, for example, amenorrhea versus heavy menstruation or endometriosis versus PCOS. For the sake of simplicity I will highlight a few of these nutrient rich foods that are considered blood and kidney tonics which all individuals can benefit from to support a healthy body and reproductive system.


Beets are known as a ‘blood tonic’ in Chinese medicine. A blood tonic ‘builds the blood’ and is typically high in fiber, minerals, possibly iron as well as other nutrients essential for the oxygenation of blood. Raw beets can be grated on salads and sandwiches, cooked in soups, sauteed, steamed or roasted. Beets contain significant amounts of potassium, fiber, and folate.

Dark Leafy Greens

The dark leafy greens include: spinach, swiss chard, arugula, mesclun greens, collard, kale, and red/green lettuce. These vegetables have significant amounts of vitamins, A, C and K. Spinach is high in folate while swiss chard is a great source of iron and, like kale, fiber. Kale is known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Dark leafy greens are best consumed after they have been lightly steamed, sauteed or cooked in soups.


Raspberries, blackberries and blueberries can be found in your own back yard, nature trails and even along the side of the road. These fruits flourish during the summer. According to Chinese medicine berries are kidney tonics. They nourish the fundamental source of our reproductive components: egg, sperm, and overall vitality. They contain significant levels of flavonoids whose antioxidant natures are known for anti-tumor and cardiovascular benefits.

To determine your Chinese medical diagnosis and which additional foods may benefit you, please consult with one of our Licensed Acupuncturists below.

Phone 518-724-5750

Phone 315.671.5755

Phone 585.244.1280

Nutrition and Fertility: Foods to Increase and to Avoid

When it comes to diet and fertility it is a good rule of thumb to not eat in excess. It is however important to listen to your cravings. We often crave for the nourishment that our body is missing. As seen in new vegetarians a meat protein is craved. Listen to your body and keep in mind that moderation is the best choice.

There are many reasons why women experience infertility.  What is most important is that we treat the cause at its root level. One of the most productive ways is through the diet. By eating specific foods and or eliminating foods it is possible to improve the body’s constitution to a point of harmony.  Symptoms causing infertility such as stress, anxiety, endometriosis, fibroids, cysts, delayed ovulation and low follicle production will dissipate given enough time.  It is important to keep in mind that change through diet takes time. Nutrition in its nature is gentle and accumulative.


1. All fried foods (fried foods create a mucous accumulating environment in the body that makes digestion difficult). Moderate hot sauces!!!!!!!!!!!

2. Cut back on all refined sugars and artificial sweeteners.

3.    Avoid all intoxicants such as alcohol, tobacco, coffee and recreational drugs.

Bringing the body back into harmony takes time and patience. The sooner you start to make the appropriate adjustments in your diet the better.


1.    Go Organic! It is possible that some of the infertility problem is diet based. With all of the insecticides, herbicides, pesticides hormones and antibiotics in our food it is no wonder our fertility levels are lower. When switching to organic consider switching your soaps and toothpaste first.  These are the substances we come in contact every day. Dish, body and laundry soaps are the most used products. Next consider changing all cleaning products. Industrial cleaning products are toxic and we are usually exposed to them in small unventilated areas.

2.    Eat Seasonally:
Try to eat seasonally. Foods grow at particular times of the year for specific reasons.

  • Summer Foods: In the heat of the summer months you will find fruits and vegetables that naturally remove heat from the body. Examples of this are watermelon, cucumbers and tomatoes.  Since these fruits have such high water content they are natural diuretics. Naturally cooling summer foods include lemon, lime, and celery. Stay away from heavy foods. The heavy rich foods can cause sluggishness in the summer heat. Avoid too many meats, eggs and nuts.
  • Fall Foods: It is at this time of the year we need to prepare for the upcoming winter. It is time to leave the cooling summer foods behind and focus on moistening our bodies to adapt to the dryness of fall. Pear, apple, honey and dairy products help moisten the body.
  • Winter Foods: Winter is a time to go inside yourself. A time to concentrate on energy, vitality and strength. Energy exercises such as meditation, yoga and tai chi are good ways to stay healthy over the dark months. Potatoes, squash, root vegetables are all good foods to help adjust to the darkness and cold of winter. Try to add sour and salty foods. Use salt sparingly. Examples of sour foods are turnips, brussel sprouts, rye and cabbage. Meals in the winter months should be cooked or steamed.
  • Spring Foods: Spring is a time to rise up. The  best foods are leafy greens that are raw or slightly steamed. Fresh herbs, kale, onions, garlic and rice.


Polycystic Ovaries, Ovarian Cysts, Endometriosis and Fibroids:
Cyst formation can be a sign that the body is unable to process damp accumulation in the body. Damp accumulation can occur from several factors. First being too many dairy products are being consumed and or a side affect of fertility medication is damp accumulation. Dampness in the body should not be seen as a liquid but as a substance. When too much dampness accumulates a cyst can form.  Some simple dietary changes can help remove or prevent dampness. The most important dietary change should be a reduction in dairy products, fried foods and sugar. When dealing with cysts a low carbohydrate diet is recommended. 100% whole grain breads, corn, radish, lean protein such as fish and a good multi-mineral and vitamin all help prevent and dissolve cysts. Another factor leading to cysts as well as endometriosis is blood stagnation. When blood fails to circulate properly in and around the uterus existing blood begins to stagnate. The lack of proper blood flow with a damp accumulation greatly increase’s the chances of abnormal uterine or ovarian growths. Foods to increase blood flow are:  Eggplant, sweet rice, ginger, basil, chives, vinegar and turmeric.

Donald Clarke, L.Ac.
CNY Healing Arts – Syracuse

Smart Label Reading

label readingEating right can be challenging.  One way to make healthy eating easier is to be a label reader.  Label reading can be tricky; there is a lot to look at.  On the front of a package, you will find the health claims that the company wants you to be the most aware of. However, for all of the nutrition information, you need to turn the package over and read the nutrition label.

When reading a label, start at the top.  The first information you will see is the serving size.  This may be the most important fact on the label, since the rest of the information is based off of this serving size.  Servings per container will tell you how many servings you can expect from the total package.

Calorie, fat grams and carbohydrate grams are important to pay attention to.    Saturated fat should be as low as possible.  It is the saturated fat in foods that can raise your cholesterol, not the cholesterol in foods.  Try to get at least 3 grams of fiber per serving, which not only helps decrease your cholesterol, but helps decrease your risk of chronic diseases, such as diabetes and certain cancers.  Each person has a different nutrient needs for the day, so it is best to meet with a registered dietitian to find out your daily allowances.  An easy way to know if you are eating too much of one nutrient or not enough of another is to use the Daily Value.

The Daily Values are the recommended intake of nutrients based on a 2000 calorie diet.  Any percentage that is 20% or more means that it is a significant source of that nutrient.  So, if you were looking at fiber, 20% or more is a good thing, but if you were looking at sodium, 20% or more is not so good.  Any nutrient that is 5% or less, means that it is not a significant source of that nutrient.  We want to see less than 5% in fat, saturated fat, trans fat and sodium.

There is a lot more information that you can get off a food label.  The above information will get you started.  To learn more, call to schedule an appointment with me in the Syracuse CNY Healing Arts Center.

Heather Neely, RD, CDN
CNY Healing Arts Center
(315) 671-5755

Nutrition and Fertility

Healthy Pregnancy, CNY Healing Arts Center Nutrition ConsultationFor most women who are trying to become pregnant, the journey isn’t always easy.  While age and hormones play a large part in whether you will or will not get pregnant with ease, so does nutrition.  What you eat in the months prior to becoming pregnant can not only affect your fertility, but the health of you and your growing baby.

There are no specific foods that will make you more fertile.  Eating a healthy diet one year prior to conception allows your body to store important nutrients that your body and your baby will need for a successful pregnancy.  It’s especially important is to get enough of Omega-3 fatty acids.  Omega-3’s are essential for fetal brain development.  Your body cannot produce these fats, so you must get them through food sources.  ARA and DHA are two types of omega-3 fatty acids.  It is recommended to get at least 200 mg of DHA a day. Fish are among the best sources.  The fattier the fish, the more omega-3’s they will contain. It is safe to have up to 12 ounces of fish a week while pregnant.  Good sources are salmon, cod or light canned tuna.  Other non-fish sources include walnuts, flax seeds, soybeans or omega-3 enriched eggs.

It is important that you are eating a balanced diet, but even the best diets sometimes fall short.  Along with a healthy diet, be sure to take a prenatal vitamin, preferably one with DHA.

While you are trying to conceive, this is no time to go on a diet.  A registered dietitian is your best source to make sure that your diet is not deficient in any nutrients, and to help you figure out a meal plan that is right for you.  To schedule a one-on-one counseling session with me, just call CNY Healing Arts Center in Syracuse  at 315-671-5755 to schedule an appointment.  We also have yoga, acupuncture, massage and skin care to complete your total well-being. Click here to see the nutrition workshops we are holding this month at all locations.

Heather Neely, RD, CDN
CNY Healing Arts Center
(315) 671-5755

Buying Organic Fruits and Vegetables

Nutritional Counseling at CNY Healing Arts in SyracuseTo many people, grocery shopping is a chore they would rather not do.  Not only is it time consuming, but it can really give you a headache, too.  Low fat, low sodium, sugar-free, high fiber, all-natural, organic – these are some of the buzz words we see and hear when shopping.  To help make your shopping a little less stressful, let’s take a look at the organic foods.

People choose to eat or not eat organic for many reasons.  Eating organic is not cheap and luckily, it is not always necessary. The most common reason to include more organic foods is to reduce your family’s exposure to pesticides and chemicals.  It’s very common to see organic fruits and vegetables along side non-organic varieties.  How do you know which ones you should spend the extra money on?  Here are some of the top produce picks to buy organic:

Apples                   Pears
Celery                    Peppers
Cherries                Potatoes
Grapes                   Raspberries
Nectarines           Spinach
Peaches                 Strawberries

With these fruits and vegetables, it’s very difficult to wash off all of the pesticides and chemicals.  Take strawberries, for instance.  There are hundreds of little crevices on the berry where the chemicals can seep into.  As a rule of thumb, if you are going to eat the whole food (meaning you are not going to peel it), then definitely buy organic.

Hopefully these tips will help you to shop smart and eat smart.

Heather Neely, RD, CDN