Monthly Archives: February 2012

Winter Wellness: Part 2

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This is the stuff that has worked for me and my family. I have been studying and practicing the art of nutritional healing on my family for years but I am NOT a certified practitioner. Please use common sense and research things for yourself before implementing them on your family. Seek out a health practitioner if your child is very ill or mama intuition tells you your child needs extra help. If you are on medication take extra precaution, especially with herbs, because of drug interactions.

Cod Liver Oil: I double our daily doses in times of illness. I give my 4 and 7 year old kids 10,000 iu of vitamin A from fish liver when sick. The husband and I take 20,000 iu + if we feel unwell. Here is important information on cod liver oil and vitamin A. Green Pastures brand high vitamin cod liver oil is best thing to take, but I have been priced out of that. I use a combination of Twinlab Cod Liver Oil and Country Life A and D3 (from cod liver oil). If your children cannot swallow pills carefully puncture a soft gel and squeeze contents into their mouth or on a bite of food.    

Vitamin C: One half (500 mg) to one gram every hour until loose bowels. I use this if the illness seems persistent. I use 1/4 teaspoon powdered sodium ascorbate  mixed with a little orange juice (it is salty).  Here is more information.

Vitamin D3: I double our daily dose in times of illness. I give about 3,000 iu a day total to my bigger kids (ages 4 and 7) when they are sick.  I take 10,000iu a day when they are sick (to protect myself!) or when I get sick. Drops are easy to give children. The Vitamin D Council has more information on supplementation. Only use D3 not D2.

Basics you may be missing: An overall nutrient dense diet, sleep/rest, stress management, moderate exercise and fresh air. Pray for wisdom,healing, and strength when trying to help your family through illness.

SPECIFIC ISSUES:

Ear infections: Cut out all dairy get mullein and garlic oil like this one from the health food store to use in the ear. Generally ear infections do not need antibiotics. One of my children is very prone to ear infections and limiting cow milk  has been very beneficial.

Fever: Generally, I try not to use Tylenol or other fever reducers so the body can fight off the infection.  I will give an overnight dose if my child cannot rest at all because I need some sleep to stay sane and take care of my other kids. Fevers deplete vitamin A in the body so be sure to supplement with cod liver oil. A high fever in a very young child can be dangerous so exercise more caution  with them.

Cough: I give warm tea with 1-3 teaspoons of honey (raw is best) and some coconut milk if desired. Honey has been reported to work better than cough medicine. (Do not use honey in children under age 1). I choose  lobelia tincture for moderate to severe coughs and it works quite well but must be used with care. My midwife recommends these doses: 1/2 dropper full for kids 3-8 years. Adults 1/2 – 1 dropper full every 2 to 4 hours as needed for cough. Use the lowest effective amount.  Bigger kids and adults can use elderberry and zinc lozenges. Both components support the immune system. I let my seven year old have 4 a day (an adult dose is 8).

Body aches from a virus: This seems to be due to mineral depletion. Helpful minerals are calcium, magnesium, and potassium. Bone broth and avocados or bananas would help. Epsom salt baths allow your body to absorb magnesium through the skin and are comforting. Epsom salts are even available at the grocery store. A magnesium supplement that we use is Natural Calm in lemon raspberry. Magnesium can also help with headaches.

Intestinal Illness: Let it run its course. The main danger is dehydration. We use Recharge natural sports drink for this (It is available at Raleys in our area). Broth, fermented drinks, and gelatin also work well when it is time to try food again. Higher doses of probiotic supplements can be effective for stopping diarrhea as well.

One of my favorite books on this topic is How to Raise a Healthy Child in Spite of Your Doctor by pediatrician Robert Mendelsohn.

I have also found the article “Traditional Remedies for Childhood Illnesses”  by Sarah Pope very helpful.

Have a happy rest of winter!

Dying to Self (or Doing My Best) and Letting Go

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Because I really do want to be like Jesus, I used to think “dying to self” (or “doing my best”) meant I pushed myself to do more than I possibly could while still trying to remain joyful. “Letting go” meant generally giving up.  I would not have told you that is how I defined them but that is the way those terms played out in my life.

“Dying to self” (or “doing my best”)  meant that even if the thought of adding one more thing meant me feeling like I was going to have a panic attack, I would do it anyway because I don’t want to be selfish! It meant trying to be amazing in every category yet still feeling guilty that I was not joyful or “dying to myself” enough. (I can cook a meal, right? It is not like someone asked me to be martyred!)

“Letting go” meant that I would just stop trying at all. It was really a form of hopelessness. I meant that I needed to realize I could never accomplish anything in life and that I should just give up on anything I ever wanted to do.

These are both WRONG!

I prayed and asked God for wisdom. I needed clear signs to know when I had already “done my best”.  Then, soon after that it happened, I was asked to serve in some way and the first thing in my mind was, “I cannot do that right now! No! Ahhhhhh! How am I going to fit that in?!” accompanied by physical sensations of stress and panic.  That was my sign!  The old me would have said yes and asked God to help me joyfully accomplish all that “He had given me” as I started down the path to psycho-time (again). What an abundant life!

“Letting go” is the same. I recently had a opportunity to learn what this meant when my baby had been up a few nights sick with a fever and I still had a triple birthday party planned at my house.  The old me would have started freaking out at night while I cared for the baby. “That is it! I am never trying to do anything fun again! Things always go wrong! I am not going to have enough energy to do this and the party is going to be lame.  My house is going to be a disaster! I am so tired so I won’t be able to exercise tomorrow either. This baby weight is here forever. I give up.”  Whoa! Just like that I am not having fun or exercising ever again because, obviously, God does not want me to have fun or exercise! (Poor God. He gets blamed for everything!)

I am so thankful God showed me the true way of letting go and trusting Him. It went more like this. “Please God give me strength to take care of my baby. Please give me special grace to get through this time. Please help me really know Jesus was amazing so I don’t have to be. I am just going to take life as it comes and not worry about the future. I will choose trust You in this”

God did answer that prayer! Without me asking, my husband was able to stay home from work that day. Then, the next day my mom called and asked if she could hang out with the kids! (Yes, you always can.) The triple birthday party was great! I skipped mopping my house and kept the lights dim instead. (Write that trick down). I did NOT cook from scratch. People helped with food and clean up. And I think most important things happened–the birthday girls felt loved and I learned to trust God!

“Dying to self” and “doing my best” is working within the limitations that I have and discerning God’s will of how He wants me to love others. I can only do this joyfully when I realize I CANNOT DO EVERYTHING and Jesus did everything on my behalf. I am only stepping into the works he ordained for me through the power of the Holy Spirit.  Humbly accepting my weakness is the path to peace.

But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble. (John 4:6)

Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:10)

Dying to myself means less about constantly pushing myself to the brink of exhaustion and more about being content that I don’t have to be awesome. The God I serve is awesome instead.  

“Letting go” is having a plan but being willing to forgo your ideas for what God is actually calling you to do.  A wise older lady once told me it is having your plan in your hand, but instead of clinching it in your fist, your hand sits open so it can be replaced with something else.

The mind of man plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps (Proverbs 16:9)

“Letting go” is not a hopeless state where you check out of life and stay in bed waiting for God to move your body. It is where you are accomplishing things but not hoping in those things for your ultimate satisfaction. You are not striving to earn God’s love or impress others. Letting go means being satisfied in God so when things don’t go your way you are not destroyed. It is recognizing you do not have ultimate control over your life and resting in Christ’s accomplised work on the cross.

And, if you are reading this feeling like I am an incredibly humble servant and you are a horrible guilty failure, please just ask my children about The Great Thanksgiving Meltdown of 2011, when they were hiding from me while I went bazerk. I was able to create a special holiday memory for them that they will enjoy for years to come.

Have you struggled with “trying your best” or “letting go”?

Winter Wellness Part 1: What to Eat

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I have received a request to make a cheat sheet for using natural remedies to prevent and heal winter maladies. Part 1 will focus on foods for winter wellness. Part 2 will cover supplements and symptom specific remedies. Helping the family stay healthy is something that can help us enjoy motherhood more because being in lockdown all winter because of illness can make mama a little crazy!

Don’t eat sugar:  It depresses the immune system and does 98 other bad things!

Bone broth soups– I make bone broth by putting bones in my crockpot, covering with water, and setting the timer on low for 12 hours. Cool, strain, and refrigerate. Here is how to make perpetual broth! Here is why homemade broth is so great.

Garlic– Raw works best. Mince and add to soup or salads. Here is more information about garlic’s health benefits.

Gelatin- Good for digestive system and easy to eat post stomach virus. There is gelatin in homemade bone broth as well! Read about its benefits in the bone broth article above.

Coconut milk and oil– Coconut contains anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties. You can use the milk to make smoothies and curries. You can use the oil in cooking like you would olive oil or butter. Some people like to melt it into hot tea. More information about health benefits here. I buy Nutiva coconut oil here.

Fermented foods– Kombucha, sauerkraut, kefir, and yogurt. Foods with live cultures are a good source of probiotics (good bacteria) and enzymes. Store brands in our area are G.T.s kombucha and Bubbies sauerkraut and pickles. Kefir and yogurt need to say “live cultures” on the label. You can also make all these goodies at home for much cheaper. More info here.

Winter Wellness Soup:

Very free form. Make it how you like it and use what you have on hand. The most beneficial components are the broth, coconut oil, and raw garlic in my opinion so it is best to keep those things stocked.

  • Start with sauteing onions/carrots/celery in coconut oil (or butter or olive oil)
  • Add homemade bone broth.
  • Add protein of choice (chicken, meat, lentils ect).
  • Add any of the following:  brown rice or other grain, noodles, fresh or frozen vegetables (cauliflower, cubed butternut squash, cubed potatoes).
  • Simmer until cooked. Can add coconut milk or tomatoes/tomato sauce at this step.
  • Turn on low and add herbs/spices/sea salt/ pepper and taste. Really spicy additions can help with congestion if you can handle it.
  • If you have an immersion blender you can easily make blended soups. I make cream of broccoli that my kids love with broccoli, full fat coconut milk, and curry powder.
  • Ladle soup into bowls and add raw garlic to each serving. Add additional coconut oil to each serving, if desired. 
  • Eat and feel happy.

Healthy Homemade Gelatin:

 I got this from another mom online. Good for if you are having tummy troubles.

  • 2 cups of juice (grape works well)
  • 2 cups of water
  • honey to taste, if desired
  • 4 packets of plain gelatin (or 4 tablespoons)

Bring 2 c of juice plus 1 c of water to a boil. Add gelatin to cold water in a casserole dish and let dissolve for a minute. Combine all ingredients and stir until gelatin is dissolved. Add fruit (like drained canned mandarins) during the boiling phase if desired. Refrigerate a few hours until firm.

Hope this helps you enjoy motherhood more! I can answer your questions in the comment section below.

The Difference is Joy

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What is the difference between a wine aficionado and an alcoholic? They do the same thing but what is happening in their heart is very different. The difference is joy. The aficionado wants to feel and experience joy. The alcoholic does not want to feel or experience his sadness. One is embracing and enjoying the other is numbing and running.

I think it is the same in the faith journey.  There are people who are embracing life and loving out of the joy in their hearts. Then there are others that have mapped out all the things they “should” be doing because it is numbing in a way. To not have to really love and live in the freedom that Jesus has called them into. Bought by Him and prepared through Him.  So we can do what is “expected” and disconnect from the joy of living out who God made us to be. We follow a form of religion looking for security but cannot find peace because God is not there.

Like Timothy Keller talks about, we can run from God in our legalism–by keeping “the rules”. Doing this we can effectively numb ourselves to Him and His presence and the leading of His Spirit–His JOY!

It can be scary to step into the works and life He has created for you. It seems easier to print the list and follow the culture’s/your parents’/church-ianity’s directions. The problem is you will find no peace or true happiness there because you are not allowing God to write your story.

“Don’t get drunk on wine, but be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18). Don’t go numb or disconnect by getting drunk on rules, slaving away at Christianity. Get filled with the Spirit and experience God and what He has for you. The difference in your life will be joy.

“You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.”  (Isaiah 55:12)

For When You Need to Lol

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Sh*t My Kids Ruined: Because if you don’t laugh about it you will cry. See the destructive aftermath of other people who forgot they had kids for 45 seconds.  

Catalog Living : “A glimpse into the exciting world of people living in your catalogs.” Fictional characters Gary and Elaine highlight how ridiculous it is to live in a house that looks like a catalog.

Awkward Family Photos and Awkward Family Pets: All your photography “don’ts” in one place. See other imperfect families do some weird things for the camera.

Portlandia’s Feminist Bookstore : Fred Arminsen of SNL and Carrie Brownstein run an unsuccessful feminist bookstore.

Enjoy motherhood this weekend! What makes you laugh?

Do We have the Same Babysitter?!

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Vision.  Mr. Tel E. Vision?

Moms have told me secretly that they use the same babysitter and feel really guilty. I think the expectation that our children have to be absolutely TV-free to be smart, happy, fit children is another false assumption that makes it hard to enjoy motherhood and avoid the nuthouse. Some reactions when I have admitted to letting them watch PBS kids make me wonder if they thought I said porn. I said SESAME STREET.

But really? Thirty  Sixty minutes so I can take a shower, sleep a little longer, or have a meaningful phone conversation and my kids are going to become dumb bunnies and have bad lives? If that is the case then newborn period is the most IQ degrading time in our household!

The problem is that my mom does not live here. (But she is invited to).  I do not have my tribe available to me all day everyday and my husband is at work.  I am not supermom and nor do I need to be to raise healthy balanced Jesus-freaks.

I am an idealist and I love the idea of no TV.  But idealism paves the way to the mental hospital and I have found it is much easier to parent my children from home.

(Don’t tell people your kids don’t watch TV and then it gets leaked by your kids that you do Netflix, computer movies, DVDs–Just come out already! Jesus can still love you! And if you really don’t use TV or TV-like substances, I am truly happy for you!)