Healthy, Natural Living

Archive for April, 2014

Chocolate Coconut Chews

I am not much of a baker, but if I don’t make something, hubby will buy something. This treat was quick, easy, and satisfied his (and my) palate. The boys ate them up too.
Anytime I can get coconut oil in our diet, that is a bonus. Approximately 50% of the fat in coconut oil is lauric acid, which is rarely found in nature. In fact, coconut oil contains the most lauric acid of any substance on earth. The major fat in breast milk is the same lauric acid that is seen in coconut oil. Your body converts lauric acid into monolaurin, which has anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-protozoa properties. Coconut oil has been reported to inhibit various microorganisms including bacteria, yeast, fungi, and enveloped viruses. Coconut oil is the most easily digestible and absorbed class of fats and does not circulate in the blood stream and is not deposited.
Did you know that multiple studies on Pacific Island populations, who get 30-60% of their total caloric intact from fully saturated coconut oil, have all shown nearly non-existent rates of cardiovascular disease? Coronary Artery Disease is unknown among Polynesian population whose staple diet is coconut (Prior et al, 1981). When these groups migrated to New Zealand however, and lowered their intake of coconut oil, their total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol increased, and their HDL cholesterol decreased.

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1/2 cup Coconut Oil
1/2 cup Honey
1/2 cup Cocoa
2 teas Vanilla
dash of Salt
1 1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

Combine all the ingredients except the coconut into a pan. Warm until everything is melted together. Whisk until smooth. Remove from heat mix in coconut. These can be scooped onto a cookie sheet covered with parchment. I opted to fill a silicon tray. Place into a refrigerator until hard. Enjoy!

Now, that I have edited the photo with ‘mint’ green font, I will be adding some mint extract next time. I will start with 1/2 teaspoon.

For more understanding on the benefits of coconut oil.
Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences

Why Do We Take Supplements?

When I look at the health crisis in America, I am often saddened. Our children are sick! While we praise the successes of modern medicine, the fact is, many childhood illnesses are on the rise. I do not understand why we are so blinded to this. All the different literature I’ve read about eczema, asthma, allergies, ADHD, and cancer just to name a few, all say the same thing, ‘We are not sure why there is an increase.’ They are quick to say what they ‘believe’ is NOT the cause. I am not just referring to the cause of the actual disease necessarily, as much of my concern is the RISE in the diseases.
Well, until that is figured out I am going to do something different.

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.” -Unknown

‘They’ make cancer for example sound so casual and no need to be concerned, “Childhood cancers make up less than 1% of all cancers diagnosed each year. About 10,450 children in the United States under the age of 15 will be diagnosed with cancer in 2014. Childhood cancer rates have been rising slightly for the past few decades.”

Cancer is the second leading cause of death in children (after accidents). About 1,350 children younger than 15 years old are expected to die from cancer in 2014.
But, when referring to an infection like measles they say, “Measles can be dangerous, especially for babies and young children. In the United States in 2011, 38% of children younger than 5 years old who had measles had to be treated in the hospital….In rare cases, it can be deadly” That sure sounds scary. But, don’t we first need to know how many children under age 5 got measles in 2011 to know exactly what 38% is? I can not find the exact number. In 2011, 27 (14%) were aged <12 months, 51 (26%) were aged 1–4 years, 42 (21%) were aged 5–19 years. Among the 70 (32%) measles patients who were hospitalized, 17 (24%) had diarrhea, 15 (21%) were dehydrated, and 12 (17%) had pneumonia. No cases of encephalitis and no deaths were reported. I don’t know about you, but Whoa! I feel a lot better now. Diarrhea and dehydration are two very treatable symptoms.

My 2 aunts and my father in 1958 with my grandfather.

My 2 aunts and my father in 1958 with my grandfather.

The back informs us, the children all had measles. Ages 5, 3, and 1.

The back informs us, the children all had measles. Ages 5, 3, and 1.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As we are applauding the decrease of certain infections, diseases are racing out of control. For example, Asthma is a lifelong disease that causes wheezing, breathlessness, chest tightness, and coughing. It can limit a person’s quality of life. While we don’t know why asthma rates are rising. The number of children who currently have asthma: 6.8 million the numbers are increasing every year. Asthma was linked to 3,447 deaths (about 9 per day) in 2007.

Most of us are too focused on the wrong sickness. I have never see anyone posting on Facebook about asthma or pointing fingers as to why they think it is increasing. As I have for Whooping Cough. Pertussis is known for uncontrollable, violent coughing which often makes it hard to breathe. After fits of many coughs, someone with pertussis often needs to take deep breathes which result in a “whooping” sound. Pertussis most commonly affects infants and young children and can be fatal, especially in babies less than 1 year of age. 20 pertussis-related deaths during 2012 have been reported to CDC. The majority of deaths occurred among infants younger than 3 months of age.
Again, we are left wondering the exact number. We are not given any health history of these infants. Many questions arise for me. Was the baby being breast-fed? Was this a healthy pregnancy? Did Mom & Dad practice preconception health? There are many unanswered questions. There are weaknesses that gives an infection like whooping cough the ability to kill.

My friend's daughters, they've had whooping cough for 2 weeks.

My friend’s daughters, they had whooping cough for 2 weeks, when this picture was taken.

Don’t mis-understand me, I don’t want any child to die. Trust me, it is the worse thing to happen to a parent. Unfortunately, babies, children, and young adults die. There is always the chatter about “risk and benefit.” Well, I will take the risk of measles to get the benefit of lifelong immunity for my children. If they were female their babies would also benefit with an immunity their first year of life, when these types of infections carry the most risk.

I really feel the need to touch on cardiovascular disease. When my brother died, last spring, from Atherosclerosis at the age of 37, it was shocking to say the least! And once again, I found myself doing research. How did this happen to my very active brother? Heart disease doesn’t run in our family. No one in my Mother or Father’s family had ever had a heart attack!

More than 15,800,000 Americans have known coronary artery disease.
About 8 million of them have had heart attacks.
Around 500,000 people will die of coronary artery disease this year. More than a million will have a heart attack.
One-third of all deaths in Americans older than 35 are due to coronary artery disease.
After age 40, about 50% of men and one-third of women can expect to eventually have coronary artery disease.
Source: webmd

When I look at those numbers, I just shake my head. This is strictly my opinion…I think ‘most’ people go to the doctors. I think most have an annual check-up…I know I am in the minority. So, why are these numbers so high. If going to the doctors, and taking the medicines, keep us healthy, why are we so sick?
And why when someone like me chooses a different path, and it is working are we the ‘lucky’ ones?
To nourish my family, I first strive to feed them a clean, healthy, and natural diet. As I have said in other post, supplementation does have a place in our home. When I choose supplements they must be whole food supplements.
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In 2002, 12 years ago:

The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) recently reversed a long-standing anti-vitamin stance by publishing two scientific review articles recommending multivitamin supplements for all adults.
In the scientific review article, the researchers wrote that the North American diet is generally sufficient to prevent overt vitamin deficiency diseases such as pellagra, scurvy, and beriberi. However, they explain, “recent evidence has shown that suboptimal levels of vitamins, even well above those causing deficiency syndromes, are associated with increased risk of chronic diseases including cardiovascular disease, cancer and osteoporosis.” In a clinical commentary, they note that “a large proportion of the general population” has less-than-optimal intakes of a number of vitamins, exposing them to increased disease risk. In addition, they counsel that, “it appears prudent for all adults to take vitamin supplements.”

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Before my children become adults and it is “prudent” because they are deficient, I will give them supplements as they grow. My husband, myself, and Roman all get a multivitamin and mineral. With Silas nursing he will not start a multi until he weans.

The first supplement I give to my babies is a fish oil for the omega 3 fatty acids DHA and EPA.

Most recently, two new studies have confirmed that boosting your child’s intake of DHA as an infant and into the school-age years may be a simple way to generate measurable improvements in their brain function.

Hundreds of studies suggest that omega-3s may provide some benefits to a wide range of diseases: cancer, asthma, depression, cardiovascular disease, ADHD, and autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis.
How could fatty acids be so beneficial for so many different conditions?
“All these diseases have a common genesis in inflammation,” says Joseph C. Maroon, MD, professor and vice chairman of the department of neurological surgery at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Co-author of Fish Oil: The Natural Anti-Inflammatory, Maroon says that in large enough amounts omega-3’s reduce the inflammatory process that leads to many chronic conditions.

More info from National Institute of Health on the benefits of fish oil.
The final vitamin I would encourage you to research for your family is Vitamin D3. During the winter months, all four of us take a vitamin D3 supplement.

There is no one-size-fits-all dosage level at which “magic” happens, but based on the most recent research by GrassrootsHealth—an organization that has greatly contributed to the current knowledge on vitamin D through their D* Action Study—it appears as though most adults need about 8,000 IU’s of vitamin D a day in order to get their serum levels above 40 ng/ml. This is significantly higher than previous vitamin D recommendations!
For children, many experts agree they need about 35 IU’s of vitamin D per pound of body weight.
More info here.

Vitamin D is a major player in immune defense.

Scientists have found that vitamin D is crucial to activating our immune defenses and that without sufficient intake of the vitamin – the killer cells of the immune system — T cells — will not be able to react to and fight off serious infections in the body. The research team found that T cells first search for vitamin D in order to activate and if they cannot find enough of it will not complete the activation process.

Individually we all have genetic weakness that I supplement for. Roman was not only blessed with my skin color and eyes, he also, got my sluggish digestive system. He often complained of tummy aches after meals. Diligently, I give probiotic foods, yogurt, milk & water kefir, kombucha, raw milk from our grass fed cows. He also needed a digestive enzyme. I give him a herbal supplement of papaya, dandelion root, and ginger. Since, I implemented the herbal extract he no longer gets tummy aches.
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Because of the years working with concrete, Jeff has a weakened respiratory system his bronchiolar tubes and lungs are easily irritated. After trying many things (all with no risk of side effects) he found an herbal lung cleanse and is feeling great improvement.
This is just a quick look into our supplementation regimen. There is not a magic pill nor supplement. We are all just as unique as snowflakes. What works for one may not work for another, but trust me, God made just what you need.
One of the first books I read that helped me to understand the benefits of supplements was “What Your Doctor Doesn’t Know About Nutritional Medicine May Be Killing You” by Ray Strand M.D. Maybe you will find it helpful, too.

Drinks, Drinks, and One More Drink Water Kefir

Water Kefir, oh, how I love thee! Seriously, this in my favorite fermented beverage. Between kombucha and water kefir, I do prefer water kefir. Water kefir is much more reliable, the taste is repeatable, and timing is consistent. It is also a nice option if you are trying to avoid the caffeine that is present in kombucha, but still seeking a probiotic drink. But unlike kombucha it really is not a detoxifier. They both have a place in the Ward home.

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Water kefir is dairy free and just as beneficial as milk kefir. It is loaded with valuable enzymes, easily digestible sugars, beneficial acids, vitamins and minerals. Water kefir supplies your body with billions of healthy bacteria and yeast strains. Within your body there are already billions of bacteria and yeast that make up your gut flora. Your internal gut flora supports proper digestion, synthesis of vitamins and minerals, and your immune system by warding off foreign and harmful bacteria, yeast and viruses. It has long been known to promote and aid in digestion and overall health. Some studies show it may be anti-mutagenic and help manage free radicals in the body. It simply is another probiotic beverage option which has its own strengths. It offers a nice replacement to those who enjoy soda.

Kefir grains are an amazing symbiotic matrix of bacteria and yeast that work together to feed off the natural sugar in the sugar-water. Yeasts break down the simple sugars like glucose and fructose, turning them into ethanol and acetic acid. Lactic acid producing bacteria (such as lactobacilli) convert sugars (such as sucrose) and complex carbohydrates (starches, etc) into simpler sugars and lactic acid. Lactic and acetic acids naturally preserve as well as stave off harmful foreign bacteria. The result is a drink that has had much of the sugar converted to simpler sugars, lactic and acetic acids, carbon dioxide and ethanol. It also contains millions of probiotics, and is more nutritious than milk kefir in some regards because of the bio-available and digestible nutrients from the sugars including an increase in vitamin C and many B vitamins. Folic acid amongst other B vitamins increases as the length of the ferment increases.

Many people experiencing Candida issues have reported that Kefir has been beneficial for them. Kefir is a balanced symbiotic relationship of both bacteria and yeast, which is also what we strive to achieve within our bodies for optimum health. Kefir grains and kefir itself does not contain Candida Albicans and has no reason to aggravate the symptoms of Candida. Some sources say that the kefir yeast can even help to decrease the candida yeast. But as with all things, the best advice  is to listen to your own body’s response to kefir over time and determine if your health seems to improve, remain stable or if your symptoms are aggravated by Kefir (in which case you should take a break and try again at a later time).

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I’ve learned water kefir grains can go through many phases through the seasons from being small and more uniform looking, or large and full of strange shapes, angles and bumps. They can even become lumpy like cauliflower, or very smooth like glass. They are always semi-transparent, but will be much darker if used with less refined sugar. Their color will also be clear unless used with less refined sugar, in which case they will be light to dark brown in color. This will be an ongoing science of observation as I create different concoctions with various sugars and dried fruit.

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You can ferment minerals, herbs, fruits, grains etc. with the help of water kefir grains, thus really opening the doors to a custom blend of nutrients that you can create.

What you will need:
3 Tbs water kefir grains
1/4 cup sugar per quart of water (I like organic unrefined sugar)
Non-chlorinated filtered water (If you just have tap water, boil it to remove chlorine and cool before using)
1 Quart Jar

Dissolve the sugar in small amount of hot water.
When sugar is dissolved, fill the rest of the jar with cool filtered water and make sure the water is not warm- it must be at room temp.
Add the water kefir grains
Cover with towel, cheesecloth, or coffee filter and rubber band
Store out of direct light and away from other ferments for 24-48hrs. (I put mine in the cupboard) The longer you leave it, the more sugar ferments out. Don’t leave longer than 48hrs it can starve the grains. When the process is complete the water kefir will be significantly less sweet and the color will be lighter.

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Strain the water kefir grains through mesh strainer (don’t use metal if you can help it) pouring the liquid into a half gallon jar.

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Restart the process by dissolving more sugar in water, adding cool water and adding Water Kefir Grains.

The Second Ferment not only creates the carbonation, but increases the B vitamins.
Mix 1 cup of your favorite fruit juice into the strained water kefir. Recently, we discovered we really like white grape!
Citrus is not recommended for this part, as it makes stringy yeast-like things that are not tasty.
Once you’ve added the juice, cover the jars tightly with an air tight lid (I re-use old store bought kombucha bottles) and allow to sit at room temperature another 24 hours or when bubbles form on the top of the liquid, before refrigerating.

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I advise to not open your water kefir until it is chilled, warm water kefir is REALLY fizzy.
Repeat the process.

As your grains grow and multiply you will be able to share with your friends.

Check out yemoos.com for more info.

Drugs Are Trash?

Every year our local high school sells garbage bags that say, “Drugs are Trash.” Obviously, they are referring to illegal street drugs. But, I have to wonder, how much of this statement is truth, when referring to prescription drugs. When I read, “in 2009, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reported 1,742 drug recalls representing a 309% increase over the 426 recalls reported in 2008…Based on the number of recalls reported to the FDA during the first half of 2010, it appears this trend is likely to continue.”
So, the next question that arises is, “Does the risk outweigh the benefit?” Well, of course it does, as long as the risk happens to somebody else. I think a lot of us walk around thinking “oh, that will never happen to me.”

Before I continue I have to put in the disclaimer to protect myself. I have to say, I am not a doctor. If you’re not sure what you need to do, go see a HEALTH care provider. What bothers me most about this statement, is that everyone ‘must’ put the disclaimer in their blogs or websites, or they can get into legal ramifications. It is hard for me to honestly stand behind that statement when I read this: “Now comes a study in the current issue of the Journal of Patient Safety that says the numbers may be much higher between 210,000 and 440,000 patients each year who go to the hospital for care suffer some type of preventable harm that contributes to their death.” That would make medical errors the third-leading cause of death in America, behind heart disease, which is the first, and cancer, which is second. Source

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Ok, now back to the drugs…
Are you aware that colds, flu, most sore throats, and bronchitis are caused by viruses? Did you know that antibiotics do not help fight viruses? It’s true. Children and adults with viral infections, usually recover when the illness has run its course. Colds, a type of viral infection, can last for up to two weeks. Plus, taking antibiotics when you have a virus may do more harm than good. Taking antibiotics when they are not needed increases your risk of getting an infection later that resists antibiotic treatment. Each year in the United States, at least 2 million people become infected with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics and at least 23,000 people die each year as a direct result of these infections. Many more people die from other conditions that were complicated by an antibiotic-resistant infection. 20140401-103635.jpgIt is estimated that 142,505 emergency visits are made to the hospital each year due to antibiotic-associated side effects, with allergic reactions being the most common. Certain antibiotics increases your risk of developing a retinal detachment by five times compared with nonusers. In 2008, the FDA notified manufacturers that a warning label be added to a different antibiotic stating, an increased risk of tendonitis and/or tendon rupture. It took two years after the discovery was made for the warning to be implemented.

According to the CDC widespread overuse and inappropriate use of antibiotics continues to be a problem. So much so, the CDC has launched a campaign entitled “Get Smart about Antibiotics.”

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What About Other Prescriptions?
If doctors are prescribing antibiotics inappropriatly, can we assume it is happening with other drugs? According to these statistics from the Kaiser Health Foundation. The average American, aged 19 to 64, now takes more than 11 prescription drugs, Almost 4 prescriptions per child (age 0-18)
More than 31 prescriptions per senior, aged 65 and over. Prescription drugs are now killing far more people than illegal drugs.

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I gathered all this information to strengthen my confidence. I know what is best for my children. I do! Medicine does have a place in an emergency crisis. Children need to be able to get sick. Their bodies need to have the opportunity to fight off infection. To fight a good fight and finish the race. Sick children make for healthy adults, that is my motto. Health is NOT the absence of a condition, disease or symptoms. Instead health is a state of balance where your body is working like it is supposed to!