April Showers Bring May Flowers – Achoo! – and Allergies….

Allergies are in full bloom right now! You’ve probably noticed that your car has a nice glow-in-the-dark colored coat of dust in the mornings right about now.  If you haven’t noticed it yet, your nose probably has if you suffer from seasonal allergies.  There are some things that you can do to take the miserable out of your March, April, and May…..

There are some basic things that you can do to reduce the amount of environmental exposure to allergens.  Keep your doors and windows closed so that that nice yellow coat on your car doesn’t float into your house and cling to your couches and carpet, too. Change the filters in your air conditioning units to a HEPA filter.  You can also purchase portable HEPA filters to clean the air in your bedroom as you sleep at night. Make sure you change your filters regularly to help clean the air inside your home clean.  Also consider using a vacuum with a HEPA filter to trap the pollen versus just spreading it around. Remove your shoes at the door so that you don’t track the dust in that way.  If you work or play outdoors, consider showering off especially before bed so that you don’t take the pollen into the bed with you where you will marinate in it all night.  When you dust, use a damp cloth or a microfiber one that will trap the pollen.  Otherwise you will probably just end up stirring up the dust and flinging more back into the air to resettle somewhere else in the house.Now! We’ve talked about adjusting what’s happening outside so let’s look inward. If you have allergies, asthma, and/or eczema, then by definition you have a leaky gut! ‘What’s leaky gut?’ you ask?  Learn more about that here. Also, be mindful that if you and/or your spouse have any of those conditions, then your children can have any combination of one or two or all three as those three ride on the same gene. But fear not! There ARE things that you can do to address the root of the problem and get some genuine relief. Take it from me. I used to take FOUR medications daily and still felt awful.  After cleaning up my diet and lifestyle, I take NO medications and I feel ten times better than I ever did on those medications.  Most medications simply address the SYMPTOMS not the true cause of allergies.

Here are a few simple things that you can start today.  Consider removing gluten (the protein found in wheat) from your diet as it literally pokes holes in your intestinal lining allowing partially digested food molecules to slip in to your bloodstream triggering an angry antibody response and all the histamine release that goes with it.  If you just can’t live without your bread, then at least consider digestive enzymes to help mitigate the impact of gluten on your gut. Don’t forget – there is always good old colostrum to the rescue to seal that leaky gut and calm the storm.

Also, consider a good herbal cleanse to clear out any bad bugs in the microbiome in your gut that are contributing to the leakiness.  Part of the reason I no longer need the FOUR medications that I used to take daily for allergies is we do a one month herbal “cleanse” every so often.  I do a cleanse maybe twice a year and I feel better than I ever did on all of those prescriptions!!  You don’t need to spend a lot of money either.  There are super expensive ones that cost over $100 and have been sitting on a shelf for who knows how long.  However, we found a small family owned company that literally grinds the herbs by hand the day that they ship it to you and it costs just $40. That’s a LOT cheaper than a copay for four prescriptions every month I tell you!

The next step is to start a good quality, multi-strain probiotic.  Studies show that various probiotics help reduce allergy, asthma, and skin symptoms. Each strain of bacteria has different properties. Some help synthesize vitamins, some modulate your immune system, some directly displace yeast off of your gut cell receptors, and on and on.  That’s why its good to have a wide variety of strains in high numbers along with a clean diet will have the most impact.

There are a couple of other things that you can do to alleviate some of your allergy woes. Taking raw, locally grown honey for instance.  The premise is that locally produced honey contains small amounts of the pollen that is common in your area the may help desensitize you to it over time.  **(Do NOT give honey to children less than 1yo due to the risk of botulin toxin and paralysis!!)  In addition, honey has good antiseptic and anti fungal properties which can help clean up your gut a bit. There is also propolis which is a resin produced by bees to help solidify the honeycomb structure. It has immune modulating and antibacterial, anti-oxidant properties as well.

Remember! Never underestimate the power of a clean, organic diet with lots of fruits and veggies. The microscopic phytonutrients are rich with nutrients and antioxidants that help heal and cleanse from the inside out.  If you don’t think that you will meet the mark of 5 – 9 fruits and veggies a day, consider a whole food plant based supplement like Juice Plus.

Happy Healthy Living!

Until next time…

Questions, Comments? Post them below.

The Doctor is in!

Take Home Tidbits

  • Keep pollen outside by keeping doors and windows closed.
  • HEPA filters can help remove the pollen from the air in your home.
  • If you have allergies, you have a leaky gut.

Autism Awareness and Nutrition – An Introduction

Autism Awareness Month is upon us. Many chronic illnesses, including Autism, can drastically improve by adjusting your diet.  Sound too simplistic to be true? Bear with me as I connect the dots.

Research is finally coming to the forefront confirming how very important diet and nutrition are to your overall health. You ARE, in fact, what you eat. Hippocrates, the “Father of Modern Medicine, said it thousands of years ago “All disease begins in the gut”.  Let’s dive in shall we?

Your intestinal tract is filled with what we call your microbiome. Your microbiome consists of microscopic organisms like bacteria and yeast.  Probiotics are the good bacteria in your intestines that help your intestines do what they do.  We now know that different strains of these bacteria have different properties. Some synthesize vitamins, some help regulate your immune system, some help digest your food, some directly displace yeast off of the receptors on your intestinal cells, and some assist with speech and other cognitive functions and more!  How is this possible?!

For starters, the cells that line your intestines are identical to the cells that line your brain and they talk to each other! They are part of the endocannibinoid system.  In addition, there is a very large nerve, the Vagus nerve, that comes right off of your brainstem that innervates the first 2/3 of your intestines as a part of your autonomic or automatic nervous system. The kicker is that 75% of that nerve actually carries information FROM your intestinal tract BACK to your brain!  Furthermore, seronotinin, a mood modulating neurotransmitter, is produced by your intestinal cells.  That serotonin then goes to your brain to help regulate your mood.  It also goes to the pineal gland where it is converted to melatonin which tells our brain when it’s time to go to sleep. So if you are having mood or behavioral disorders and difficulty sleeping, it may be time to check your gut and change your diet!!

There are a few straight forward things that need to be done if you haven’t done so already. Although it may be easier said than done, it’s time to give it a go.  Firstly it’s time to do away with processed foods.  There is a laundry list of reasons why but for now let’s focus on what we SHOULD be doing. Let’s begin incorporating as many organic fruits and vegetables that are in season as possible. Fruits and Veggies are full of antioxidants which help reduce oxidative stress and generalized inflammation.  Organic because that removes pesticides and herbicides and their side effects from the picture as well as increases the likelihood that the produce is more nutrient rich – especially if you are buying fruit that is in season. When purchasing fresh fruit, know the advantages.  Because the fruit is in season, it will be in abundance and, therefore, cheaper.  It is more likely to be picked at it’s peak and packed with flavor and nutrition.  When you are eating strawberries in January, know that they were harvested half-way across the world – prematurely.  Then sprayed with chemicals to keep them from ripening during the long voyage to your local grocery store. If you MUST have things out of season, frozen is the next best thing.  Frozen produce is picked in season and flash frozen to preserve as much of the nutrition possible.

When it comes to food – the less you do to it, the better it is for you. So RAW organic fruits and veggies are best. Raw plants have live, active enzymes in them that help you process your food.  The raw nutrients (vitamins and minerals) are also great for all of those good bacteria that we’ve talked about that live in your gut. Eat the rainbow! Every different color of the various fruits and veggies indicates a different set of phytonutrients so be sure to get a variety in your diet. If you don’t think you will meet the mark of the recommended 5-9 servings of fruits and veggies each day, then consider adding fresh pressed juices to your routine or a whole food based fruit and veggie supplement.

With respect to processed foods anything that comes in a box or bottle should be identified as something that you should probably go without or substitute with something else.  The first ingredient in most processed foods will either be high fructose corn syrup (fake sugar) or soybean oil (mimics estrogen hormones) both of which are likely to be genetically modified (see here).  Now I get that there are a few condiments that are staple items in your pantry like ketchup.  I get it! But look for organic, non-GMO versions with ingredients on the label that you can read!  Ketchup should simply contain tomatoes, vinegar and some spices.  If you can’t read it, don’t eat it!  Pretty much anything that you should be eating is found around the perimeter of the grocery store – fruits, veggies, meat, eggs, and out! Real food rots! Anything that looks like it could survive a nuclear war probably shouldn’t be on your plate. Let’s not even start on the artificial colors and flavors that are known exitotoxins that will likely be lurking all throughout the aisles of your local grocery store.

Another truly key element in our diets is good, clean, healthy fats! Yes, I said FAT.  The cells of our brain and nervous system are coated with phosphoLIPIDS. Lipids = fat. These phospholipids that coat your nerve cells help them to conduct information faster and more efficiently. All that we are doing is to facilitate neuroplasticity.  Neuroplasticity is the phenomenon where we generate new brain and nerve cells and make new connections and pathways that operate more efficiently.  There was a time when we believed that once brain tissue was damaged that was it! We thought that there was nothing that could be done.  But now we are recognizing that isn’t true. Not only can nervous tissue regenerate or compensate for damage or improper connections, the concept that there is a time limit or age cap on when that can happen is also outdated. So since we are rebuilding brain cells, let’s make sure we have good quality building blocks in place. One easy tip is to add a spoonful of coconut or MCT oil to your drink once a day and/or take a spoonful of good old fashion cod liver oil which is chock full of natural vitamin A, D and Omega 3! All great support for your immune system and calming systemic inflammation  Stay away from “low fat” food items. Low fat items typically have added salt and sugar and other chemicals to make it taste better so you will come back for more.

The other major consideration is getting an allergy test to know if there are specific foods that should be eliminated from the diet as that will help reduce inflammation.  There is also the infamous Gluten Free Casein Free diet and others. Gluten is the protein found in wheat and Casein is the protein found in dairy products.  It would take an entire post to explain all of the ins and outs but here is a brief explanation about gluten and there are links to helpful books and websites below.  SERIOUSLY considering weaning wheat and dairy from the diet for a trial period and see what improvements you notice. Many kids improve greatly after these common offenders are removed. Although nothing beats removing troublesome foods from your diet, you can add digestive enzymes to your regimen before you eat to breakdown your foods for better absorption and to decrease the impact of some of these proteins.

This is just a cursory introduction to things that you can start today to improve your overall health and brain function.  There is so much more!  Take a look around our site and check out our Pinterest page on “A”mazing Kids for more tips and info, sign up for our newsletter and follow us on Facebook and Twitter as we post new, cutting edge medical research almost daily!

There are Doctors and laboratories that are specifically trained to help patients with Special Needs identify and treat the underlying medical issues so that all of the wonderful intervention therapies will get you farther, faster. We are here to help!

Dr. Maia on TV talking about nutrition and autism. Watch it here!

Happy Healthy Living!

Until next time…

Questions, Comments? Post them below.

The Doctor is in!

Take Home Tidbits

  • You ARE what you eat. “All disease begins in the gut”
  • The cells that line your brain are identical to the cells that line your intestines and they “talk” to each other.
  • Organic fruits and veggies and clean, healthy fats are good building blocks for our brain.

Helpful Resources

To Sleep, Perchance to Dream….

Got sleep? Most of us don’t. And whoever coined the term “sleep like a baby” CLEARLY never met my kids! #funnynotfunny. On our journey to health one of my goals was to get solid, refreshing sleep every night again. Thankfully we have arrived! Let me share with you how…

Perhaps my story is a bit unique. I was always a rather light sleeper but Medical School and Residency put a nail in the proverbial coffin. I trained back when working 36 hour days was common place. YES, 36 hour days. We would go in at 6am and not go home until after 6pm the NEXT day. Depending what department you were working in that could mean you didn’t have much opportunity to sit down let alone lie down during that time frame. I do NOT miss that aspect of training to say the least. It took me almost a year after I finished training to even find out how much sleep my body actually needed. Then I got married and had kids. Oy vey!

My sweet Bunny was okay for the first few months and would only wake up at night to nurse and typically go right back to sleep but daytime naps?! Fuhgeddaboudit! Few and far between and WAY too short for my taste.

Sweet little BeBe was an AWESOME sleeper. He was the baby that made you think you could have a hundred babies. Then at about 2yo or so they both went left! I was always so on edge that I never fully relaxed into sleep thinking one of them would pop up and come scampering in our room at any moment.   It became clear that my sweet BeBe’s body clock and rhythm were just unpredictably and inexplicably off! The cost of raising a baby genius is sometimes their brains just won’t. turn. off.

There are several things that you can do to encourage restful, restorative sleep.  We were already doing all of the typical bedtime routine recommendations by the book to no avail so we looked for more.  A balanced, whole food based diet rich in fresh veggies and fruit and all of their beneficial nutrients and anti-oxidants is essential. If you don’t think your meeting the mark of the recommended 5-9 fruits and veggies a day, consider filling in the gaps with a whole food based supplement like Juice Plus.

We also started adding Epsom Salt to their bath every night. The magnesium causes a relaxation response and also helps the liver sulfate and remove toxins from the body (great addition during cold and flu season for that reason, too). If you find that you are consistently popping up at 3 – 4am, it could be due to your liver being overwhelmed with clearing all of the toxins that we are confronted with daily.

I started dabbling in essential oils, too. Lavender, chamomile, and geranium essential oils seemed to be the most helpful in facilitating restful sleep. Make sure that you get genuine essential oils and not just a fragrance.  For more info read this.  You can add a few drops of them to the Epsom Salt that you put in in the bathtub or use a diffuser near bed time to signal to the brain that it’s time to wind down. White noise machines with pleasant ocean waves and the like can help lull you to sleep.  Reducing exposure to bright, blue wave lights from TVs, cellphones and the like near bed time can be helpful but also adding red or magenta colored night lights helps to encourage a relaxed state. Red or magenta tones are the colors you “see” in utero as a fetus floating around in your mother’s womb. Red or magenta night lights help mimic that peaceful nurturing environment.

Believe it or not, probiotics can also be quite helpful. Serotonin (a neurotransmitter that impacts mood) is actually produced in your gut! So if your gut is inflamed or the good bacteria in your gut is not present in good numbers, that can impact your ability to adequately produce serotonin (low serotonin can also contribute to depression by the way). Serotonin THEN has to travel to the brain where it is converted by the pineal gland to melatonin which signals to the brain that it is time to sleep.  So if your gut isn’t producing enough serotonin, then your brain won’t get the melatonin signal to shut it down for the night. So you see – all things do seem to begin in the gut!

If you find that you are still having trouble, consider seeing an Integrative Doctor that can do a simple, non-invasive test like a urine OATS test to look for hormones,  neurotransmitters, and metabolites or by-products of physiological processes to see if there is evidence of nutritional deficiencies for which natural supplementation would be useful.

Good, restful, restorative sleep is essential to child development, learning and just having a foothold on a good day in the morning. Here’s to you on the road to rest!

Happy Healthy Living (and sleeping)!

Until next time….

Questions, Comments? Post them below.

The Doctor is in!

Take Home Tidbits

  • A balanced whole food based diet rich in antioxidants helps encourage restful sleep
  • Epsom Salt baths and the magnesium therein can help relax you and help your liver clear toxins from the day
  • Red or Magenta night lights help induce a relaxed state
  • Probiotics can support your gut’s production of serotonin so your  brain can convert it to melatonin to signal that it’s time to shut it down for the night

Boost Your Immune System and Give Germs a 1, 2 Punch!

Cold and flu season is upon us. If you’ve already been bit by the bug all is not lost. Here are a few quick pointers to help boost your immune system and possibly shorten the course of your illness…..

  1. As always WASH. YOUR. HANDS!
    • This is a no brainer. Germs are parasites waiting to find their next host. Don’t volunteer.
  2. Eat a healthy, organic, whole food based diet and supplement if you can’t meet the mark.
    • Fresh squeezed (organic) orange juice is packed full of natural vitamin C that your body can recognize and utilize.
    • Fresh pressed fruit and vegetable juices are full of micronutrients that will help cleanse your body and help reset the microbiome of good bacteria in your gut and squeeze out the bad bugs.
    • If you’re unable to meet the mark, whole food based supplements like Juice Plus can help fill in the gaps.
  3. Raw honey is a great antiseptic that can help kill off bad bugs.  It can also help soothe a sore throat.  Years ago a study was done comparing cough medicine to a teaspoon of honey for night time cough in kids – the honey won!
    • Just make sure it’s ACTUALLY honey.  Read the label – high fructose corn syrup with honey flavor doesn’t count.
    • You also want to be sure it is raw and unprocessed as heat can kill some of the beneficial properties.
  4. Probiotics
    • 70-80% of your immune system is in your gut. Give it what it needs.  Go here for more detailed info.
  5. Grass fed colostrum
  6. Drink plenty of fluids.
    • No pedialyte on hand? Make your own!
    • To 1 Liter of clean water (we like alkalinized or Fiji) add 1 tablespoon of organic cane sugar (or honey if over 1yo)* and 1 teaspoon of see salt. Voila!
  7. Rest!
  8. Tell us what works well for you in the comment section below!

Happy Healthy Living!

Until next time…

Comments, Questions?! Post them below!

The Doctor is in!

*Do NOT give honey to children under 1yo due to the risk of paralysis from botulin toxin!

 

To Juice or Smoothie? That is the question….

Do you juice or make smoothies? Currently we are juicing in my house but we have done the smoothie thing in the past.  Why do people choose one over the other?  It depends on what you are looking for….

If you’re looking for a meal replacement or an after workout pick me up or recovery, then a smoothie may be more up your alley. Smoothies are good for a filling rejuvenator or meal replacement in a pinch. You can add protein (there are even vegetarian options available) and other supplements that may be harder to palate alone or sneak in extra nutrition or veggies for your picky eaters. *Hint – baby spinach has no taste so slip it into a smoothie and put it in a dark colored or opaque cup with some tasty fruits and your picky little one will be none the wiser. We’ve even squeezed in a bit of green bell peppers, romaine lettuce, kale, and cilantro to fresh juice and Sweet BeBe couldn’t get enough!

Juicing gives you the opportunity to jam pack all the powerful micronutrients found in fresh fruits and veggies in a smaller volume of liquid.  It’s a great way to complement a detox protocol or as an immune booster when a bug gets you down.

Different fruits and veggies offer different benefits. Each fruit or veggie is the color that it is due to the dominating phytonutrients that it contains.  That is why “eating the rainbow” is essential so that you get a broad spectrum of nutrients to help your body do it’s job most efficiently. Juice or Smoothie

Masticating juicers are best. With mastication juicers there’s no heating up the juice which can happen in other types of juicers.  Centrifugal juicers spin at high rates as the fruit or veggie is pressed down against the grating mechanism.  The friction that occurs releases excess energy as heat.  The increased heat during processing can damage some of the very phytonutrients that you are trying to consume. Mastication (think of the chewing motion your mouth makes when you eat) compresses and grinds the fruit or veggie and extracts the juice in a more gentle manner.  They can be more expensive but may very well be worth the investment.  If you’re not sure if you will stick with it, start with a smaller, cheaper run of the mill juicer before you make a huge investment.  My first juicer was just about $30 and I used it for about a year to be sure it wouldn’t be just a fad for me before I considered investing in something more pricey.

No matter how you slice it getting as close to the recommended 5 or so cups of fruits and veggies a day can be a little easier if you add a smoothie or fresh juice into your routine. (5 cups a day is based on a basic 2,000 calorie per day plan.  Your age and level of activity may dictate a different caloric requirement per day so discuss this with your doctor.) Throw in a couple of fresh, organic berries! Berries are full of rich anti-oxidants which can help reduce your risk of heart disease.  If you have concerns regarding elevated blood sugar, then focus on the veggies and add just enough fruit to make sure that the taste is pleasant to you.  If you’re really concerned, taking a capsule of cinnamon before you eat or juice can help stabilize your blood sugar levels. 

Happy Healthy Living!

Until next time…

Take HomeTidbits

  • Smoothies are a good meal replacement or rejuvenation option especially if you add protein and/or supplements.
  • Juicing allows you to concentrate all of the powerful micronutrients in fruits and veggies into a smaller volume.
  • The color of each fruit or veggie indicates a different set of nutrients are present so eat the rainbow!
  • If elevated blood sugar is a concern, cinnamon can help!

Questions or Comments? Post them below!

The Doctor is in!

 

Busy Bodies and “A”mazing Kids

Struggling with ADD, ADHD, Dyslexia or Dyspraxia?! These are all nuerodevelopmental disorders that can be dramatically improved and corrected with the proper BIOMEDICAL intervention and therapy – NOT pills.
One struggle that I had in private practice was explaining to parents, patients, AND professionals that medication is NOT the treatment for these disorders. After a PROPER evaluation, if indicated, then a medication can be used to give you a window of opportunity to grasp your attention while utilizing other modalities that actually treat the PROBLEM – not just the symptoms. Especially now with data showing that there may be an increased risk of drug abuse in the future if you take these medications, it would behoove you to find a better way.
As a parent I’ve learned a lot more about even more modalities to treat these issues. Let’s Dive in…..
Firstly, you ARE what you eat! If your gut is inflamed and leaky due to poor dietary choices or food sensitivities (that you may not even realize that you have), it WILL affect your brain’s ability to function. Hippocrates said “All disease begins in the gut” THOUSANDS of years ago. There is plenty of evidence now proving that – all the way down to specific probiotics that affect certain brain functions like speech for instance. Also, for all of the naysayers – hold on to your hats – The Vagus nerve is a HUGE nerve that comes right off of the brain stem and controls automatic functions of the upper 2/3 of your intestinal tract. If what you eat and probiotics don’t matter, riddle me this… why then is 75% of the vagus nerve made up of Afferent nerves meaning that 75% of the vagus nerve takes information FROM the gut BACK up to the brain?! Think about that for a minute… I’ll wait…..

ADD, ADHD, Dyslexia help
There are also plenty of studies proving the additives and coloring of foods have an excitatory effect on your nervous system.

Eating clean, organic food that isn’t processed along with taking good quality probiotics is a great start. Removing some of the common offenders like gluten (wheat protein) and processed dairy and getting a PROPER food SENSITIVITY panel test (NOT simply a celiac disease test – big difference) can help immensely. Working closely with a highly trained developmental or biomed physician can help you wade through specific evaluations and nutritional supplements tailored to your needs would be very helpful support for this process.

In medical school we are taught about primitive or newborn reflexes. You know, make a loud noise around a new baby and their arms flail out to the sides as a startle reaction briefly then they calm down and that’s it, right?! Wrong! We are simply taught that you are born with a set of immature neurological reflexes that should extinguish by about 6 months of age and are only relevant again if there is a brain injury to determine the extent of the damage. You may have seen it in a movie or TV show – the Doctor swipes up the bottom of the comatose patient’s foot and if the big toe goes up? Uh oh!  Well, there is SO much more to it than that!!! If that startle or Moro reflex doesn’t extinguish or integrate properly, then your visual tracts won’t mature correctly and being able to track letters as you read across a page or switching back from reading the board at school and then back down to your paper to write will be VERY difficult to say the least.

Another key one is the spinal or galant reflex. If you turn a new baby face down on your palm and gently stroke down the side of their spine, their back/behind will curl over to that side and vice versa. If that doesn’t extinguish properly, then you expect a child to sit in a hard back chair all day at school, guess what?! That chair is constantly hitting their backs and causes a REFLEXIVE movement in their back – meaning they CAN’T control that wiggling!!  A pill WON’T fix that. Proper integration of the reflex will.

It’s just like when a Doctor taps your knee with a reflex hammer and your lower leg kicks out – you can’t control that either- its a reflex! There are a myriad of learning or developmental difficulties that can be attributed to poorly integrated reflexes – poor handwriting? emotional outbursts? social awkwardness? motion sickness? clumsy? bump into and/or drop things a lot? difficulty focusing and paying attention? poor/ slow speech development or pronunciation? reflux? the list goes on and on…

Your best bet is to find a qualified practitioner (likely a specially trained Occupational Therapist or perhaps a Pediatric Chiropractor) in your area that can specifically evaluate and treat retained primitive reflexes.  You have to specifically ask if reflex integration is what they do. One thing that I’ve learned is that all therapy isn’t equal. Some therapists go the extra mile and receive additional training in specific areas and techniques after they finish the standard education and training. ALL therapists aren’t even aware of this phenomenon, let alone know how to treat it. I’ve been fortunate enough to discover wonderful professionals that “get it” right in my own backyard! They are few and far between but they are out there!

These reflexes can be gently integrated by doing simple exercises daily under the guidance of a highly trained professional that specializes in this process and follows you closely and adjusts the exercises as needed.  I’ve listed a few books below that explain this more in-depth below to get you started. Feel free to comment or ask questions below…

Happy Healthy Living!

Until next time….

Questions? Comments? Let me know below. The Doctor is in!

Take Home Tidbits

  • Medication is NOT the TREATMENT for ADHD.
  • Medication can give you a window of opportunity to institute the correct therapies .
  • Primitive/Newborn Reflexes that do not integrate properly can cause a myriad of learning and behavioral difficulties.

Helpful Resources

The Symphony of Reflexes: Interventions for Human Development, Autism, ADHD, CP, and Other Neurological Disorders

Reflexes, Learning and Behavior: A Window Into A Child’s Mind: A Non-Invasive Approach To Solving Learning and Behavior Problems

Gut and Psychology Syndrome : Natural Treatment for Autism, Dyspraxia, ADD, Dyslexia, ADHD, Depression, and Schizophrenia

Beauty IS More than Skin Deep

I’ve been asked a lot lately about several skin conditions like acne and eczema and if I have any products that will help. Although we have a few products coming down the pipeline, I think it is prudent to explain what you can do from a holistic stand point TODAY.  It doesn’t much matter what you slap on top of your skin to fix a problem (which is really just a symptom of something deeper oftentimes) without fixing the real underlying problem – the inside! The old adage “you are what you eat” is SO true! Many skin ailments begin on the inside. Remember last week we talked about how the skin is actually the largest organ in the body? and how it absorbs and excretes things? Well let’s dig deeper.

Recent research has shown that ailments like asthma, allergies and eczema (all three ride on the same gene) and even psoriasis can be improved with taking probiotics. Why is that you ask? Many chronic illnesses with immune system or inflammatory issues actually begin in the gut just like Hippocrates said!

All disease begins in the gut.

So we talked briefly before about gluten and leaky gut.  So here we are again.  Allergic or inflammatory responses like eczema and psoriasis can find their root in your gut.  If you have the typical Western or American diet, then likely all of the (genetically modified) additives have poked microscopic holes in the lining of your gut and caused an imbalance in the bacteria that line your intestines.  Recolonizing your gut with the good bacteria it needs from fermented foods and high quality probiotics can help. Taking colostrum can also help plug those holes in your leaky gut as well.  When you have a leaky, improperly functioning gut, partially or improperly digested food particles can slip straight into your bloodstream through the gaps that are created in between your intestinal cells by this unhealthy environment.

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These molecules are recognized by your immune system as foreign invaders and attacks them.  The problem is that your now overactive immune system also attacks your own healthy tissue by mistake – including your skin.  In addition, as we mentioned earlier your skin excretes and absorbs things.  When your liver (which typically helps filter and clean your blood of undesirables along with your kidneys) becomes overloaded, the skin takes the hit as things spill over into the blood stream in uncontrollable amounts. The consequences can be eczema, psoriasis, acne, and hives among other things. One thing that you can do to help is adding Epsom Salt to your bath water. The magnesium sulphate is absorbed directly through your skin and gives your liver the cofactor it needs to help with the excretion of toxins via a sulfation process.  It will also help calm the itching.  If you can’t stop to take a bath try soaking a clean cloth in warm (not hot) water with Epsom salt dissolved in it and apply it to the rash. Don’t apply to broken skin that has been scratched raw as the salt may cause a stinging sensation. Be sure not to bathe in hot, hot water as heat causes histamine to be released from your immune cells and will aggravate itching. Hence, the use of anti-histamines to treat allergies (anti means “against” or “opposite of” so an anti-histamine medication works “against” the release of histamine to reduce or prevent itching).

One other thing to consider is not using harsh soaps. In fact, try to refrain from lathering your whole body and taking prolonged showers or baths as that disrupts the protective lining and probiotics that naturally coat your skin.  I’ll tell you like I tell my kids “Get in, get the good parts, and get out!”  Of course, they don’t always listen as they LOVE to play in the tub but I try.  That’s part of the reason that I created my own Body Wash without the harsh Sodium Laurel Sulfates and the like so as to minimize the damage to our skin. I also load their bathwater up with Epsom salt to boot.  Infants (especially newborns) and very young children don’t need baths everyday by the way. They don’t have developed sweat glands like adults that cause odor yet. (Put a pin in that topic for another day). So unless they’ve had an extensive day of outdoor play in the hot sun, it’s okay to skip a day especially in the cooler months when eczema symptoms can be more intense. Now if they smell like the “great outdoors” after a day of play, of course, give them a bath.  But if not, don’t stress about it.

Be Mindful – Herxheimer Reaction

Be aware but don’t panic! Sometimes as you begin a new regimen, your skin symptoms may sometimes appear to worsen briefly before they get better. This is a phenomenon known as the Herxheimer or die-off reaction.  As the new, good bacteria starts to squeeze out the old, the old bugs will die and release some toxins which have to go somewhere. If your liver is overloaded, the toxins will exit through your skin. This may appear as an increase in your original symptoms or new rashes.  You may also feel a general sense of ‘blah’ and maybe even joint or generalized aches and pains.  Have no fear – this, too, shall pass.  If you can push through the discomfort (consider slowing down on your new regimen for a few days if it becomes too much) and drink plenty of clean water, then life will be better on the other side! Applying coconut oil to those areas of your skin rash flare -ups can help.  If you mix in a little lavendar or Teatree oil with the coconut oil that may help even more. Coconut oil is antiseptic and anti-bacterial and also helps kill yeast which is one of the main culprits in eczema.

canstockphoto23765846Cleaning up your diet  (and personal care products) and removing processed foods by sticking to organic vegetables, fruits, fats, and meats (in that order) is a great first step.  Daily probiotic use, drinking clean water, and even juicing can take you to the next level of health. We will go into more detail about juicing in the future – it’s more than just a fad. Awesome things can happen when you add it to your healthy lifestyle. Can’t wait to chat about it later!

Happy Healthy Living!

Until next time…..

Questions? Comments? Post them below.

The Doctor is in….

The Name Game

A few weeks ago we talked about “What’s in a Name?!” where we focused on food labels and what they meant.  This week let’s focus on personal care products and how to shop wisely.

First and foremost, don’t be fooled by packaging.  Often times the same old players will catch wind of the newest trendy oil or ingredient and simply change the color of their packaging to green and scrawl “NATURAL” all over the bottle (even though we now know that the word natural means nothing).  Then they print in bold letters the name of the latest trendy ingredient.  Please know that could mean they put a drop of the new thing in a huge vat of their same ole chemical laden formula, make it pretty, jack the price up, place it strategically in the store, and rake in the dough!  Don’t fall for it! If “natural” isn’t what that company was founded on, “natural” is likely not what they are really doing….

While working on production for our next lavender based product line a friendly healthcare worker overheard the conversation and belted out “oh that’s that stuff that has all these babies coming in our office with rashes!”  I politely asked “what stuff?!”  She went on about the big purple bottle of ‘nighttime’ baby wash and lotion that bears a household name. I smiled and thought to myself “I’d bet money there isn’t one drop of lavender in there”.  Sure enough we pulled it up online and for starters, the first ingredient is WATER! If you don’t know, that matters because the ingredients are listed in order by volume.  That means that water makes up the largest component of what is in that bottle for which you’re overpaying. The rest of the ingredients were nothing that any average person can even read, let alone pronounce! I have a degree in Chemistry and I still paused to dust off those brain cells in the back of my mind that haven’t been used lately to read it! The last and final ingredient was PARFUM! Case closed!! You just bought overpriced, chemical laden water with PARFUM.  Parfum or simply (synthetic) fragrance have NO therapeutic effect! so even though it may smell remotely like lavender it will do NOTHING to relax or calm anyone, most especially after your immune system goes berserk trying to process all those chemicals you just slapped on!

perfume-1468091Authentic essential oils have been scientifically proven to have therapeutic effect on your mind, body and psyche. Parfum? not so much!

Why does any of this matter?  We forget sometimes that the skin is the largest organ in the body and we absorb what we apply. How else would deodorant work if that weren’t the case?

Let’s dive into some of the chemicals and why we should be concerned…

Here are just a few of the usual suspects.

Parabens (paraben, butylparaben, methylparaben, propylparaben)

Parabens are VERY commonly used preservatives in cosmetics and personal care products like lotions and deodorants (remember that). It is widely known that they are hormone disruptors but they also STIMULATE CANCER CELLS. Well, remember I just mentioned deodorant? About 90% of breast cancers occur in the upper outer quadrant (the part closest to the armpit). Your deodorant could be a large part of the problem.  Then there is also the aluminum factor but that is a topic for another day.

 

Lead and Heavy Metals (???)

These are typically contaminants and, therefore, may not even be listed in the ingredients but still commonly found in lipsticks and other cosmetics like foundation. Developmental delays and frank mental retardation, hormone and general organ disruption are some of the biggest concerns. Guess what? If you used any of these items before or during pregnancy, then your kid(s) were exposed, too! They absorb what you are exposed to via the umbilical cord while you’re pregnant.

 

Petroleum Jelly

Did you catch that? PETROLeum jelly. PETROL = GASOLINE.  You heard me correctly! The same source of oil that creates gasoline for your car is what you are slathering on your lips everyday!

 

Formaldehyde (Formaldehyde, quaternium-15, DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea, diazolidinyl urea, polyoxymethylene urea, sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, and others)

Used in many industries (including morgues for preserving dead bodies) and can also be found in baby personal care products. Cancer and skin irritation are the major concerns.  Also be mindful that it is also used to fix the dyes found in clothes so the colors are brighter so ALWAYS wash new clothes before you wear them the first time – especially for our little ones.

Phthalates (phthalate, DEP, DBP, DEHP and fragrance)

Commonly used in cosmetics and lotions and can also disrupt hormones, fertility, and contribute to cancer risk and a host of other issues.

 

Talc (Talcum powder, Cosmetic Talc)

Commonly found in “baby powders”, feminine hygiene products. Recently recognized as a causative factor in ovarian cancer.

 

pexels-photo-6So start reading your labels. If you can’t read or pronounce it, you may want to think twice. This is why I went through so much to create products that I feel comfortable using and using on my kids. My husband blinked and I had turned my side of the garage into a literal apothecary! I began reaching out to organic wholesalers and farmers and started concocting personal care products to use so that I knew EXACTLY what sweet little BeBe & Bunny were absorbing. I even started making toothpaste! I’m not playing around! There’s a reason why there has been such an uptick in chronic illnesses that our parents and grandparents generations didn’t see. Check your Pantry and your Powder Room. The culprits could be lurking in there….

 

Happy Healthy Living!

Until next time…..

Take home Tidbits

  • Don’t fall for marketing traps and pretty new bottles or labels
  • Your skin absorbs what you put on it
  • Water is likely the first ingredient in a lot of your personal care products
  • If you can’t read the labels of your personal care products, you probably should be using them

Helpful Resources

Sweet Cheeks Personal Care Products by Mommy Made, M.D.

Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards

Substances Listed in the Thirteenth Report on Carcinogens

Fragrance allergens in cosmetic products

Safe Cosmetics

Please be sure to check out the informative video below. Questions or comments? Ask me comments sectionbelow.

The Doctor is in…

Eating Healthy on a Budget

Last time we talked about how important it is to eat a clean healthy diet to keep your immune system strong.  One thing that I hear in response sometimes is “But eating healthy is SO expensive!”  I admit it does cost a little bit more but I say ‘pay a little more now or pay for it later’! Thankfully there are some things that you can do to decrease the impact on your day to day budget.

For starters several of the warehouse stores are including more and more organic, non-GMO items. (Side bar: non-GMO means non-Genetically Modified Organism. Genetically Modified Organisms are plants that have been altered at a genetic level by inserting DNA from other organisms including bacteria, fish and other species into the plant DNA! There is so much wrong with that picture on so many levels. I’ll have to dedicate another post to delve into to that. It’s a doozy!)  If you don’t have a membership to a warehouse, partner with someone who does until you save enough money to buy a membership of your own. Some warehouse clubs offer rebates on your purchases that you can apply to your membership fee the next year. If you’re thinking ‘but I’m single or have a small family. There’s no way I will be able to eat all of those large, bulk servings before they expire or go bad!’  Again, partner with someone! Pick a buddy and plan to go maybe once a month and stock up on things like organic frozen (not canned- too much salt and preservatives) fruits and vegetables or a case of paper towels and toilet paper and split it. In time you will build up a good sized stash of things that isn’t overwhelming and are less likely to perish and you can use the money that you save to pick up a few fresh, organic items at your local grocery store or farmers market.pexels-photo-109277

EAT. OUT. LESS! Eating out is laden with unhealthy additives like MSG and it’s EXPENSIVE!  For instance, a “value meal” for a family of four can run you about $20.  Well, you can get a YUGE bag of frozen organic vegetables for about $9 from a warehouse store which is enough for 4 rounds of dinner for a family of four and a pack or two of meat (or more if your talking ground meat) at your local grocery store.  So for the cost of one (cheap) dinner out you can buy enough food for two meals and then some. Fresh vegetables can cost even less like a large box of organic spinach.  food-salad-healthy-lunchWe use it to make salads, fresh juice and smoothies. Baby spinach has NO taste so sometimes juicing or slipping it in a smoothie is the only way that I can sneak something green into BeBe’s diet. Shhhhh he does’t know my secret! What he doesn’t know won’t hurt me.  If you partner with someone you can buy organic meat in bulk, too and split the pre-portioned packs for even less than what it costs at your local store.  Keep doing this bit by bit and you will eat and, therefore, feel better and have more energy and a stronger immune system and perhaps be able to spend less money on medications and doctors visits. Just a thought….

 

strawberry-fruit-red-sweet-54624

Only eat fruits and vegetables when they are in season! Newsflash! We are NOT supposed to be eating fresh strawberries in January!! That is just wrong! They are out of season so they will have less flavor, less nutrients and COST MUCH MORE! Firstly, they will be harvested prematurely, then sprayed with chemicals to keep them from ripening during the super long boat ride they will have to take to get here form the other side of the equator!! There are lists all over the internet with what is in season in your area and when. Print one out and keep it handy.

One other way to save money is STOP THROWING AWAY FOOD! Americans throw away anywhere from one third to one half of our food daily! One day I stopped and noticed that every week food seemed to get sucked into a black hole in the back of our refrigerator only to be found when something started to grow on it! Yuck!  So I started making an effort to check every few days and FREEZING the leftovers. They’ve come in handy in a pinch on a lazy weekend afternoon and my husband asks ‘what can we eat for lunch?’  and I remember that we have frozen spaghetti or taco meat and the like that I can defrost quickly and feed us with little effort in a pinch.

Also, when you do cook, make a double portion! Cooking ground meat? Cook 2 pounds instead of one and freeze the second pound. Defrost it and dump spaghetti sauce or taco seasoning on it and throw together a quick meal on a rainy day!  Baking chicken? Same thing. Double up and freeze for another day.

Consider buying some of your staples online. We use Vitacost.com and other websites. Since we participate in the Upromise program (it’s free), we get cash back every few months into our kids’ college funds when we cdfmake purchases through their links. We get organic pantry items delivered to our front door in about 2 days (free shipping) and free money is added to BeBe & Bunny’s futures.  Win-win!

If you have any questions or money saving tips that you would like to share, please do so in the comment box below

@ www.MommyMadeMD.com

The Doctor is in!

Happy Healthy Living!

Until next time…

Take Home Tidbits

  • Buy organic produce in bulk when possible.
  • Frozen food is better for you than than canned.
  • Consider a warehouse club membership to defray costs or partner with someone that has one.
  • Buy fresh fruits and veggies only when they are in season!
  • Stop throwing away food!

Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is – Dental Care Done Naturally

I was recently asked for my opinion on mouthwash. Due to the use of saccharin as a sweetener in mouthwash a friend of mine was very concerned. She takes great care of her diet and health and didn’t want to expose even just her mouth to saccharin that is commonly used to sweeten mouthwash.  She asked me and a few other health Gurus what we thought about the use of mouthwash with saccharin. I don’t use mouthwash personally. There is an increased risk of cancer associated with mouthwash use and saccharin is likely one of the main culprits of that risk – that and the eradication of the protective bacterial balance (probiotics) in the mouth. The conversation about mouthwash that my friend initiated inspired me to do an oral health article.

I’ve learned so much recently and wanted to share what I’ve learned. I just had a dental appointment and was spontaneously informed that my “gums are in great shape!” That’s when I began to share what it is exactly that I do. Thankfully my dentist is very open to natural and holistic approaches and was well aware of a lot of the misinformation regarding dietary recommendations out there as well. So it was very nice to have a great meeting of the minds over the current shift I’ve taken in my life.

For starters I use a silk all natural floss for my teeth before I brush. Growing up we were taught to brush and then floss but that has since changed. The recommendation currently is to floss and then brush.  That changed back when I was in Medical School. We took some lectures with the Dental Students so I learned a lot from them. The thought is that you dislodge and loosen the plaque and tartar that harbors the bacteria that causes tooth decay and gum disease before you brush. (Dental disease is also associated with an increased of heart disease – let’s put a pin in that for another day.) Loosening up the plaque before brushing will help you be more effective at removing it when you brush. I use silk, fluoride free floss. Silk because it’s natural and honestly it just seems to be so much more effective! I can literally see the tartar and plaque being removed every time I use it. Plus it’s natural – no chemicals and it doesn’t cut or irritate my gums when I use it.

Also, I refrain from fluoride use in any and everything!  You heard me correctly – no fluoride in my house at all! We have a water filter that takes all of the fluoride and chlorine (among many other things) out of the water that we drink and cook with. When I can remember to fill up my canteen I keep in the bathroom, I use that water to brush my teeth. Truthfully there’s plenty of evidence to support not using fluoride for preventing cavities. Perhaps this is why most of the Western World does NOT fluoridate water. In fact, there is no significant change in the amount of cavities in the studies that I’ve seen associated with fluoride use. Plus there is a lot of toxicity associated with using fluoridated water including the risk of lowered IQ as clearly demonstrated in 50 studies!!  Nothing is one size fits all – not even fluoride. Some people are genetically predisposed to the toxicity of fluoride use. If you are a person of color, it’s more likely that you have one or two copies of the gene that increases the amount of fluoride your body uptakes when exposed to it. Too much fluoride or fluorosis causes discoloration of the teeth.  Do you have any white or brown specks, lines, pitting, or freckling on your teeth? Bingo! Studies back from the 1930s demonstrate that it is actually the increase in grain consumption that is associated with increased cavities.

Also, do you have any idea where this fluoride comes from? It is actually a waste or byproduct from fertilizer production!! It’s called fluorosilicic acid, sodium fluorosilicate, and sodium fluoride. It is shipped to our water treatment plants in HAZMAT (Hazardous Material Transportation) trucks and the staff that is charged with delivering it also wear HAZMAT suits!!  I’m not comfortable putting THAT in my mouth and body! You?! A good amount of the fluoride that we put in our water sources actually comes from China. Guess who doesn’t put fluoride in their water? China! Now years ago there was a big scare about not buying toys made in China because of lead contamination. Yet we’re going to accept fluoride from them?!  I’ll take the zero. Now the latest  is the USA has contracted with China to grow chickens for us. Guess what I won’t be eating?! Chicken from China. But I digress….

Dental Care Done NaturallyAll of that to say I do not use fluoride in my toothpaste and we are very judicious about removing fluoride from the water that we drink or use to cook. My children have NEVER used fluoridated toothpaste. My sweet little BeBe has never been diagnosed with any cavities (he’s 4yo now). And my oldest, Bunny, only had one small cavity in between two of her very tightly spaced teeth at 5yo. However, I realized shortly thereafter that the cute little flossers that I had been buying for her to get in that tight space had fluoride on them! Aaaargh! So obviously since then I stopped using those. She’s had no more problems since then.

When in doubt we make our own remineralizing toothpaste or gel if there is a concern about cavities. We had a little scare with my sweet little BeBe recently and I thought I saw some brown spots behind what looked like a little bit of tartar buildup. (We had to reschedule his dental appointment due to some scheduling conflicts so it was a couple weeks later than normal and brushing his teeth when he was younger sometimes was like wrestling a 40 pound octopus – true story.) I jumped right on it and started smearing a little bit of my homemade remineralizing solution on it.  Within a day or two the brown spot started to shrink and is now no longer detectable by the naked eye.

I almost never use toothpaste when I brush my teeth as I had so many concerns about some of the ingredients -even in the “natural” options. I use an ionic toothbrush. It uses gentle natural ionic charges of electrons to draw away bacteria, plaque and tartar.

I also use coconut oil to do oil pulling from time to time. I will admit I don’t even do it every day.  I might do it once or twice a week at most but I definitely feel how fresh my mouth feels afterwards. Coconut oil has natural antibacterial and antifungal properties so that helps clean my mouth naturally.  Also, when I remember to do so I use a copper tongue scraper or cleaner when I do my dental care. It’s a nice natural way to kill bacteria in the mouth. I was riddled with cavities growing up and lots of dental issues (while using fluoridated toothpaste and drinking water mind you). But as an adult I’ve had no problems! No more cavities and no more loss of enamel since I’ve stopped using fluoride and started using Mother Nature whenever possible. Yes, we go to the dentist every six months for a thorough cleaning and check up. But we clearly request no fluoride treatments! And the Beebster, Bunny, Daddy and I have been just fine!

Happy Healthy Living!

Until next time…..

P.S. As I was sitting here typing this my sweet Bunny came to tell me that she just discovered two more loose teeth! I hope the Tooth Fairy has deep pockets because she is on a roll! Pixie Dust here we come!

Dental Care Done Naturally

Take Home Tidbits

Helpful Resources

Fluoride Action Network

The Influence of a Cereal-Free Diet Rich in Vitamin D and Calcium on Dental Caries in Children

Ten Facts About Fluoride 

Feel free to comment and ask questions in the comment box below!