Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

Flu shot: Not gonna do it

My least favorite time of year came around recently – the season of yearly checkups for my kids. Yes, to me it’s a season because my two girls have birthdays one month apart. Conveniently, they’re both on the 12th day…one in August, one in September. I totally planned it that way, and for those who know me, they wouldn’t be surprised. JK

It’s also the time that I’m reminded to make that decision of whether or not my kids will receive the flu shot. Last year, they both received it and naturally, my oldest got a terrible case of the flu. In bed with a fever for 6 days. She missed an entire week of school and lost weight her slim frame couldn’t afford. Luckily, we didn’t have to visit the hospital but the episode did leave me wondering about the benefits of the flu shot. I realize that the shot cannot cover all types of flu, but this left me wondering if injecting my child with unknown (to me) substances can really benefit in the long run.

Each year, I have this internal debate – do we or don’t we. I was raised in a family that very much believed in regular checkups and following doctors advice – don’t question, they know what they are doing. And for the most part, I think they do – but I learned to question doctors with my husband’s heart issues a few years back. That’s a whole separate post in itself, but suffice it to say, I’m thankful he taught me that lesson. Don’t take for granted the power to advocate for your own health.

So my 7yr old went for her checkup in August. Thankfully no boosters, vaccines, shots, torture for parents – whatever you want to call it – were needed. I was fervently praying that the same would be true for my newly minted 5 yr old, but since this is the age for kindergarten, in the back of my mind I knew it would be too good to be true. And of course, come that lovely visit to the dr. in September, it was all my DD could think about going into that office.

Let’s take a step back…when you’re expecting your first child, it’s all rainbows and butterflies right? For the most part? Except for maybe some morning sickness and blood tests, and oh yeah, giving birth. But nothing can really prepare you for the coming years when you’ll actually have to pin your child down while a relative stranger jabs multiple needles in your child’s arm(s). It’s hard to get that look of terror on your child’s face out of your head, knowing that they’re wondering why YOU are doing this to them.

Talk about traumatic for all involved – except for said stranger who probably does this all day and has become desensitized to the point that they forget that all the parents want to do is get it over with. But somehow they think that talking about the shots for a good 5 minutes while brandishing the needles in front of the terrified child is a good idea. “Let’s get the show on the road!”, I  tell the nurse as politely as I can while trying to shield my daughter’s eyes.  So, DD #2 received her standard vaccines but we’ve foregone the flu shot and in fact we’re supplementing with some traditional Chinese medicine tea to boost immunity. We’ll see how it goes. That pretty much sums up the doctor visit last week, but she’s recovered and all is well.

What kind of advocating have you done for your own health, or the health of a family member? Have you gone against your doctor’s advice – and if so, how did it turn out?


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Follow up on bleach

Had to share this post on bleach alternatives when I saw it on Organic Authority…very applicable given my bleach challenges!

Have you used any of these tips?  I’ve tried the vinegar and tea tree oil (the latter mainly for my yoga mat, mixed with water), but I’ll have to give lemon juice and borax a try.

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For my birthday, super-hubby gave me a new juicer! It’s a Breville. Don’t ask me the model number – that would require me to get up out of my chair, which I’ve consequently melted into since I took a hot yoga class this evening. I’ll save that one for another post.

Back to juicing. I have to say, this beauty does much better than my all-purpose blender that previously wrote about. What a pathetic first try at juicing, but hey…you live and learn right?

The Before…

The After… 

Honestly, juicing is not what the Ninja was made for and I still love using it for other things in the kitchen, like homemade apple cobbler which we inhaled a couple nights ago after dinner.

It even sounds like a jet engine when you start it up! Here’s our current favorite recipe. This only makes enough for two juice glasses, so double or triple it if you want more. I’ve occasionally thrown in some ginger and that adds a nice kick.

2 green apples
2 stalks of celery
4 carrots

Want to know the surprising things I’ve learned as I’ve started my juicing journey?

1. If you don’t put the pusher-downer thing into the fruit chute, whatever you stuff in there will surely come back to visit you…and your walls, cabinets and nice new blouse your wearing. Ok, so maybe that’s not so surprising when you think about it.

2. Celery juice has a much more pungent taste than you’d imagine. Use it sparingly if you’re not that into it.

3. Use a plastic bag to line the can that catches all the cast off material once the fruits/ veggies have been juiced. Then you can dispose of it in your composter. What works perfectly are the bags from your daily newspaper (do people actually still get those things??), or your last trip to Target when you went back to school shopping and you of course forgot your reusable bags and now have 20 of them staring back at you waiting for their encore.

4. This is a GREAT way to use those just-overripe fruits and vegetables. It reduces waste and gives you a great energy boost that is healthy!

Bottoms up!!

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So I’ve decided that while homemade cleaners are good for some cleaning tasks – like taking care of sticky spots on the counter and innocuous messes like that, what I have found is that they aren’t very good at battling mold and mildew in the shower. Yes, I truly love the smell of Dr. Bronner’s peppermint castile soap…and baking soda has a nice grit to it, but nothing gets those nasty stains off my tile and grout like the cleaners that contain bleach. I feel like such a green failure for admitting this, but I really can’t stand the thought of taking a shower with visible growth on the walls and floor.

The one comfort I take in sending the bleach water down the drain is that I don’t use it very often, which may give you some sense of the state of my bathrooms. Good thing too because I think I burned my throat and dissolved any pesky nose hairs I had. People probably pay good money to have their nose hair waxed! Why bother when you can just breathe in some bleach?

I guess this really is a veiled inquiry for any non-harmful solutions to bathroom mold and mildew. Any ideas…before I harm myself even more?

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R has come down with a terrible cold – likely the same cold that A had for the past two week since she seems to have impeccable timing with her coughs and sneezes right into his face and food. Since A’s cold included a lovely cough, we started giving her a homeopathic cough syrup with a honey base. It was amazing how quickly her cough calmed! Unfortunately though, it didn’t seem to be enough as the infection really took hold and I ended up having to take her to the doctor.

And yes, she was prescribed an antibiotic – I was less than thrilled. So I’ve also put her on a probiotic that will help maintain the healthy bacteria in her body – and it seems to be working nicely as I’ve seen proof but will spare you the details!

Which leads me to my latest research topic –  homeopathic ‘maintenance’ of our health. Is it true that 70% of our immune system stems from the health/status of our intestines?  As with all topics I’ve stumbled across through my research on organics, this is going to take me a while to wrap my head around – what should we be taking that we can’t supplement through our diet? What food should we be avoiding (dairy, sugar…just kill me now!)? Does doing a ‘cleanse’ really work?

Here are a few books on my reading list:

A Cancer Therapy: Results of Fifty Cases and the Cure of Advanced Cancer by Max Gerson (1958) – and no Mom, if you’re reading this, none of us has cancer. Just interested in the therapy Dr. Gerson recommends.

What the Drug Companies Won’t Tell You and Your Doctor Doesn’t Know: The Alternative Treatments That May Change Your Life–and the Prescriptions That Could Harm You by Michael T. Murray (May 4, 2010)

Nutrition and Physical Degeneration by Weston A. Price and Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation (Jan 31, 2008)


Some pretty heavy stuff, but that’s the path down which I am headed. What research have you done/conclusions you’ve reached about how your diet affects your immune system? Have you changed any habits as a result?

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