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Tuesday
Apr292014

CLEAN CLEANING

It seems like each day I see a new article proclaiming the dangers of toxic cleaning supplies.  I have done so much work over the years to remove toxins from our food and drinks- I knew it was time to extend that further into our home environment. Recently I have gone the "non-toxic" route in the kitchen.  It was pretty painless. It just took a bit of time to research and purchase a few low cost replacements. Vinegar has become my new BFF. Vinegar was actually discovered by accident 10,000 years ago when wine was left to ferment too long and turned sour. Since that time it has been used in a number of useful ways including cleaning. I use it in counter sprays, sink/oven cleaner and for cleaning produce. I even called my landscaper and asked him to switch from Round-Up (most toxic chemical around!!!:(- don't get me started! ) to straight white vinegar as a weed killer in my yard! Here are a 1001 ways  more ways to use it if interested!

Basic vinegar counter spray

standard spray bottle rinsed well

1/4 cup white vinegar

fill with filtered water

few drops of fave essential oil (lemon is good)

(may also add 1/4 cup hydrogen peroxide for additional disinfecting)

 

Basic oven/ sink vinegar cleaner

sprinkle Baking Soda in sink/oven drain, etc

spray straight vinegar on soda (creates fizzing)

let sit (overnight if needed) in highly dirty areas, scrub off and rinse

 

Basic floor cleaner

1/2 cup white vinegar

1/2 gallon warm water

 

Vinegar veggie wash

1/2 cup vinegar

2 cups water

let them soak and rinse well

another option for disinfecting well is to have a spray bottle of pure white vinegar and one of hydrogen peroxide...spray fruits and veggies with one then the other and rinse well- neither are toxic and now your have super CLEAN produce to enjoy!!!

 

Monday
Oct082012

Abby's Story

Abby was born nearly 7 years ago.  She was my third child and we had the pleasure of documenting my pregnancy and delivery on TLC's ,"A Baby Story." We lived in New Jersey at the time and were enjoying life as busy parents.  She was born with a few minor heart defects which resolved themselves on their own as she grew, thank God.  Other than that we thought we had a healthy baby on our hands.  About a month after she was born, I noticed she became VERY fussy.  It seemed her belly was bothering her all of the time.  She would kick and scream and have a lot of gas and it just seemed something was hurting her.  She had a very hard time eating and burping.  She would nurse, and I would hear bubbles in her belly, but could not get her to burp, so that gas would travel into her intestines and make her scream in pain.  I went through bottles and bottles of gas relief drops!  I would bring her in to the Dr. and they called it "colic" and said she would outgrow it.  Well, she didn't outgrow it.  She would eat, scream and pass out after hours of crying.  It was horrible on all of us.  I had to have my husband, Jay, sleep on the other side of the house so I could tend to a screaming baby all night.  It was emotionally and physically exhasuting.  

I blamed myself, because I was nursing, I thought it had to be something I was eating.  I cut out nearly everything I could think of...dairy, citrus, chocolate, coffee, spicy, etc., to no avail.  I felt like I was going crazy.  This went on for months.  I finally brought her in at 4 months and the Dr. diagnosed her as "failure to thrive." He prescribed her zantac for what he thought was "silent reflux" and anti-spasmodics for her intestines when they were in pain.  She was a pound under the lowest weight on the charts for her age and he said I needed to give her 10 extra ounces of milk a day or he would have to admit her.  Her ability to nurse had become compromised and I, eating hardly anything, felt there was no way I could produce that much more milk, so I resorted to the hypo-allergenic formula, Nutramingen. My husband took our 2 oldest and flew to Florida while I had a nursing consultant come in to help me teach Abby how to suck and take a bottle.  She failed miserably and I had to dropper feed her the extra milk for many days until I got her to figure out how to suck on a bottle.  

This colicy behavior went on for the first full year of Abby's life.  I introduced all of the foods with her as I had the other kids and not seeing any visible signs of reactions (rash, swelling, etc) really never thought twice about it.  She was NOT a happy baby in the least.  I had a hard time getting her to smile.  She was constantly chewing on her hands and sleeves of her shirts.  She was always drooling and hiccupping.  She was very mischievous and had a hard time staying still.  She was off from one thing to the next non-stop from morning to night.  I couldn't get her to sit still to do anything! There were days I think I put her in time-out 10 or more times because she was so angry and defiant.  I knew this wasn't normal behavior, so again I brought her to the gastroenterologist.  He decided it was time to scope her and see what was going on in her throat/belly.  He noticed inflammation but nothing extreme and biopsies came back as positive for eosinophilic esophagitis, and negative for celiac's disease. EE is a disorder that has just been recognized over the last 5-6 years in the medical community.  It often is the result of eating foods that there is a allergic response to as they pass through the GI tract.  Abby, along with her Zantac for reflux was now given flovent (spray steroid) which she would spray and swallow twice a day to try and counter the immune response going on in her throat/belly.  I really saw little change in her behavior, and some days I would just cry thinking of all of the junk I was putting in her little body. I started doing research on nutrition and diet and how to heal the body, because I was suffering too, through the additional stress of having a sick baby (by now I had our last child, Olivia, as an infant as well).  I had my gallbladder rmoved and was getting bouts of pancreatitis on and off during this ordeal.  I prayed and asked God to help us.  To please give me wisdom and guidance to know what to do to heal us.

I decided to bring Abby to an EE specialty clinic at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.  It is one of 5 clinics that specialize in Eosinophil disorders and I wanted a second opinion.  They examinde her biopsy slides and said they felt she was a "borderline" case and that the drugs she was using should manage it.  They told me she would most likely be on some combination of steroids and reflux meds her entire life.  I left feeling forlorn.  I decided I was going to try my best to defy this diagnosis and find out what foods were triggering her symptoms.  I decided to pull out 2 foods I suspected were bothering her- egg and dairy.  I noticed her behavior was extremely bad after she ate these 2 foods.  She would crave dairy like crazy (somedays ONLY eat go-gurts all day and nothing else!) and then drool and chew her hands after eating it.  I would make eggs for breakfast and she would sit and refuse to eat them. I would bribe her then watch her be angry and crabby all day afterwards.  I found out shortly therafter that I had an allergy to wheat (which was probably causing most of my GI problems) so I cut out gluten out of both of our diets as well.  Over then next year, I slowly weaned Abby off of BOTH of her medications.  I added in pro-biotics and had her drink 1/2 cup of aloe vera each night as well to try and heal her gut. I began eating clean- buying organic and learning how to avoid packaged, processed foods. She became a different child!!! It is like night and day! Now on the rare occasion she sneaks, or inadvertantly eats a food she shouldn't, I can tell by her behavior and complaints of belly pain.  She snuck an Oreo cookie a few months ago, started refluxing acid within a few hours, hiccupping and feeling icky.  During the night she complained of chest pain and coughing.  By the following day, she had aspiration pneumonia and I had to bring her to the ER.  Her body cannot tolerate these unhealthy foods and she pays for it when she sneaks.

This has not been easy by any means.  It has been a struggle.  It has taken daily planning of meals and snacks.  It has taken hours and hours of research and learning how to read labels and how to shop in a new way.  I learned what GMO's are (genetically modified foods) and how these may have played a role in causing her condition. I have had to learn how to cook clean, healthy meals from scratch.  It has been a labor of love for this child  I am living proof that it IS possible!!!! As a mother, you know your child better than any doctor ever could!  I knew her symptoms, I knew her cravings and I knew her behaviors.  I took her health and mine into my own hands and made choices to better our lives.   

In no way am I advocating not medically treating your child.  What I am suggesting, however, is that food has the power to hurt or heal.  If your child is intolerant or allergic to certain foods, their behavior and brain can be affected by it.  There has been amazing research done on kids with allergies, asthma, ADHD and autism proving that diet modification is very effective in altering symptoms.  It is worth a try!!!  If you can reduce or avoid prescriptions for children with these disorders, it is well worth the effort.  Her transformation has been literally amazing.  I see a child who is happy, who smiles, who laughs, who loves life.  God answered my prayer for help- this may be the answer you are looking for as well. Please feel free to contact me with any questions.

Sunday
May202012

Ditch the SODA people!!!!

As if we didn't have enough evidence to support our cause-researchers T. Bettina Cornwell of University of Oregon and Anna R. McAlister of Michigan State University recently published a paper concluding likewise. Seventy-five preschoolers were watched as they ate raw vegetables with either water or a sweetned drink.They saw that the children, age 3 to 5, ate more vegetables when they were drinking water than the other sweet beverage.  

Hey, I do research like this of my own every day!  I have 4 kids ages 11-4 and I watch their habits and preferences. My kids eat their fruits and veggies, don't drink any soda and rarely juice (unless it is watered down). Personally the last thing that sounds tasty alongside raw veggies is soda/juice! We know the research is pointing to the influx of sweet beverages in our diet to the increased risk and prevalence of diabetes, obesity and other ills now amognst American children.  It is an epidemic! We as mother's can have a BIG impact on changing those statistics if we take charge of our kitchens!  Guess what?  If you don't buy the stuff- they won't drink it! Simple as that!!!!  Rethink your choices as the supermarket.  Tell your kids how much you love them and how you will do everything in your power to keep them healthy!!!Yes, I even pack 4 school lunches a day because I do not like what is offered at school for them! I have worked very hard to foster an environment with my kids that has given them the freedom to make healthy food choices.  If I believe that food has the power to kill or cure you, it is my responsibility to do something about it!  You too! Join me in changing the statistics of childhood obesity and diabetes in this country!

Here are some ideas to try:

I buy flavored carbonated water- no sugar, no calories- and add lemon or lime juice to them.

I make large pitchers of unsweetened herbal or iced tea and have it out with glasses next to it so it is an easy choice.

If and when I buy orange juice or any juice I water it 50/50 in their glasses until the pitcher is have empty, then I fill it back up with water.  Cuts sugar/calories in half AND cost!!!

If I need to buy a prepackaged drink, I only buy Honest kids pouches or Mott's for Totts- they are both lower in sugar and calories than other juice box choices.