Sunday, December 13, 2009

Should I Get The Flu Shot?

The Flu Shot.

Everybody's talking about it. Should I get it? Should I give it to my children?

Vaccinations have always been a controversial topic. But this specific flu shot raises even more concerns.

Have you noticed the hype? The urgency with which you are being encouraged to get "The Shot"? Even kids are being encouraged to do so. Here's a public service announcement directed at children. Jim Henson was on board to create this fun looking ad:



A good friend of mine, Dr. Jeff Hazim, is hosting a web seminar to help you decide whether or not to get the flu shot. I always learn a great deal from him; check it out! Info is below; follow the link to register.


Should I Get the Swine Flu Shot?

Join WellWithU.com for a Webinar on December 14



Space is limited.
Reserve your Webinar seat now at:
https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/759595776

The relentless PR campaigns from the US government, the medical/ pharmaceutical industry, and the mainstream media, claim Swine Flu (H1N1 influenza virus) is an epidemic, and advocate vaccine shots as an almost mandatory social responsibility.But what you choose to inject into your body and the bodies of your children is a highly personal decision, and should be determined through significant education and forethought, and not because of news hype and psychological pressure.Like pretty much everything in life, there is more than one-side to the story, and (believe it or not) the general public is not being told everything we genuinely need to know.

Join Dr. Jeff Hazim and vaccination expert April Renée for a live 60+ minute online seminar as they separate health fact from media fiction.

This not-to-miss health information event will be webcast worldwide on Monday, December 14th, begining at 8pm ET (7pm CT, 6pm MT, 5pm PT).

Space is limited and pre-registration is mandatory.

At this webinar you will learn:

1. What is “flu” (influenza virus) and how do you get infected?

2. What is the history of Swine Flu (H1N1), and how is it different from “normal” winter colds and viruses?

3. Is Swine Flu a modern-day pandemic and how is the Center for Disease Control (CDC) getting its statistical data?

4. Are children, pregnant women, and the elderly especially at risk?

5. What are vaccines and how do they work in your body?

6. What’s in the Swine Flu vaccine that makes it different?

7. Are there any potential health risks to getting the Swine Flu vaccine?

Plus…straightforward answers to YOUR questions!

The seminar itself will last approximately one hour, followed by Q&A from the webinar audience.
Space is limited and pre-registration is mandatory.

Please sign up immediately to reserve your spot, and then forward this email to everyone you care about!

Title: “Should I Get the Swine Flu Shot?”

Date: Monday, December 14, 2009

Time: 8:00 PM – 9:00 PM EST

After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Cuban Black Beans

I grew up in Miami, eating Cuban food. Fried plantains, guava pastries, cafe' con leche....not the healthiest things, to say the least. But mmm.

Good black beans and rice, though, is a good thing. Arroz Con Frijoles Negros, Cuban style. Healthful, a complete protein (with whole rice only, of course), and inexpensive, you can feel good about preparing this for your family.

And when you make extra beans, you can make my favorite black bean burgers with them later in the week.

This recipe comes from Three Guys From Miami. Here it is:

2 1/2 cups dried black beans
9 cups water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 1/2 cups chopped green bell pepper
3 cloves garlic, peeled, and mashed with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
Olive oil for sautéing
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 bay leaf
3 tablespoons vinegar
3/4 cup dry Spanish wine (I use Emerald Reisling. Any white wine will do.)
2 teaspoons sugar
Olive oil


Cover dry beans with water and let stand covered overnight. Drain and discard water.
Place the cleaned black beans in a large 6-quart saucepan. Add water and olive oil—this will prevent the beans from foaming. Bring the beans to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover, and cook until the beans are tender, about 1 hour.
Do not add salt to the beans when they are cooking. Salt at this stage of the game will make your beans very tough.
You may also cook the beans in a pressure cooker. Follow the manufacturer’s directions for exact times, but our pressure cooker takes about 20 to 25 minutes to cook the beans completely.
Whichever method you use, do not drain the water from the cooked beans.
Meanwhile, chop onion and green pepper. Mash the garlic with salt and peppercorns in a mortar and pestle.
Sauté the onions and green pepper in olive oil until the onions are translucent. Add mashed garlic and sauté another minute or so.
Add the cooked beans, oregano, cumin, bay leaf, vinegar, and wine. Cover and simmer over low heat for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove bay leaf.
Some cooks—including us—like to thicken the beans by taking about 1 cup of beans and mashing them to make a thick paste. Mix the mashed beans back into the pot.
Add additional salt and pepper to taste.
Stir in the sugar; then drizzle a couple of tablespoons of olive oil over the beans. Immediately cover the pot, remove from heat, and let stand for 10 minutes.
Serve the by now fantastically prepared black beans over white rice.
You may garnish the beans with cilantro and chopped white onions. Not only do they look good presented this way, they taste even better than they look.

Buen Provecho!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Swine Flu Cases Overestimated?

I have read many people's testimonies stating that, in their area, their doctors have been told to assume that any flu-like sickness is in fact H1N1(known as "Swine Flu"). That H1N1 testing has been suspended due to high cost, and that with the cost being high, it would be a waste to do such testing since it's probably H1N1 anyway.

Something's not right about that.

Below is a clip from CBS. It's an investigative report on the number of cases being reported.


Watch CBS News Videos Online


According to the CBS News study, when you come down with chills, fever, cough, runny nose, malaise and all those other "flu-like" symptoms, the illness is likely caused by influenza at most 17 percent of the time and as little as 3 percent! The other 83 to 97 percent of the time it's caused by other viruses or bacteria.



(Image from CBS News)


Where is the CDC Getting Their Data?

Why Is the CDC Purposely Misinforming the Public?

More information on this here.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

I Come From A long Line Of Tired People

That's what my Nana used to say. And it must be true; my afternoon nap has ALWAYS been sacred to me. I mean, when I was in college, I used to put a sign on my dorm room or sorority house door that said "Please Don't Knock! Kimmy needs her Beauty Sleep!" it didn't really work, the sign. People would knock anyway. Grrr.

With a new baby who doesn't yet sleep through the night and other little ones to care for, preventing me from "sleeping when the baby sleeps", I'm tired. And that's an understatement.

How much sleep do we really need? And what are the effects of chronic sleep deprivation?

I just finished reading a chapter in the book Nurture Shock called "The Missing Hour". It showed how children getting an hour less sleep a night than what they need contributes not only to crankiness in younger kids, but that the rebelliousness & moodiness in teenagers accepted by most as normal behavior is actually caused by lack of sleep. I was surprised to learn that child obesity was also found to correlate with lack of sleep, as well as lower school grades and test scores.

While the lower grades thing was not a surprise, the degree to which it is a factor was. Sleepy 6th graders performed two full grades lower. Like fourth graders. And obesity? Apparently not only from lack of exercise and poor diet.

I definitely believe that most of the crankiness and belligerence in young children comes from tiredness. Many parents stop insisting that their children nap simply because the child doesn't want to and seems to be able to stay awake all day without it. I think this is a big mistake. All of my children still take naps (even the 5 1/2 year old) except for the 6 1/2 year old, who rests on the couch with a book. And at times, we do insist that he naps when we can tell that he really needs it, if we know we'll be staying up later, like on the weekend.

As a parent, I'm interested in this stuff. I know both my 6 1/2 year old and my 3 1/2 year old are not getting enough sleep. I want them to have it, but getting that schedule exactly right is tough, especially when children share a bedroom.

If you want help figuring out whether your kid's getting enough sleep, the following might be helpful.


The American Academy of Pediatrics Guide to Your Child's Sleep provides some helpful guidelines regarding just how much sleep children need at different stages in their development. Keep in mind that these numbers reflect total sleep hours in a 24-hour period. So if your son still naps, you'll need to take that into account when you add up his typical sleep hours.

Between Birth-Six Months, children need 16-20 hours

Between Six-Twelve Months, children need 14-15 hours

Between Ages 1-3, children need 10-13 hours

Between Ages 3-10, children need 10-12 hours

Between Ages 11-12, children need about 10 hours

Teenagers need about 9 hours of sleep per night

SOME INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT SLEEP:

  • The record for the longest period without sleep is 18 days, 21 hours, 40 minutes during a rocking chair marathon. The record holder reported hallucinations, paranoia, blurred vision, slurred speech and memory and concentration lapses.
  • It's impossible to tell if someone is really awake without close medical supervision. People can take cat naps with their eyes open without even being aware of it.
  • Anything less than five minutes to fall asleep at night means you're sleep deprived. The ideal is between 10 and 15 minutes, meaning you're still tired enough to sleep deeply, but not so exhausted you feel sleepy by day.
  • No one knows for sure if other species dream but some do have sleep cycles similar to humans.
    Elephants sleep standing up during non-REM sleep, but lie down for REM sleep.
  • Scientists have not been able to explain a 1998 study showing a bright light shone on the backs of human knees can reset the brain's sleep-wake clock.
  • Seventeen hours of sustained wakefulness leads to a decrease in performance equivalent to a blood alcohol-level of 0.05%. (by the way, 24 minus 17=7...this means that you are walking around drunk if you get 7 or less hours of sleep.)
  • Diaries from the pre-electric-light Victorian era show adults slept nine to 10 hours a night with periods of rest changing with the seasons in line with sunrise and sunsets.
  • Approximately one-third of your life is spent sleeping, and the length and quality of your sleep directly affects your daily performance, your mood, and your entire waking life.

I apologize for the formatting problem above. I've tried to correct it but am unable and cannot spend more time on it.

I never outgrew my nap. I have a good excuse for needing one now, but I think that when the kids are grown, I'll still be enjoying an afternoon siesta. Maybe I'll enjoy it even a little bit more.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Doctor Won't Give Flu Vaccine To His Kids

In the same vein of my last post-posting what I can instead of waiting till I can do more, I share this video with you. I want to do more on vaccines, more on swine flu, more, more. But, I can't right now, and I'm okay with that (yeah, right!)

Anyway, I thought this was interesting. Look for more like these to come, too.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

My Hidden Talent

I'm here. Typing with one hand while I feed the baby. Which is why I haven't posted anything sooner.

But the baby's still going to be one for a while, and if I wait until I have the time to type with two hands like a human, well, it's going to be a looong time.

So, this is what I can do. I've been learning to not be a perfectionist (thanks to Flylady) and to just do what I can, and not wait until things are different...

That's all for now. Expect more posts like this one.

By the way, when I was little, I used to lay on my back, on the floor with my head under the piano and reach up and over and play Mary Had A Little Lamb. My mom thought that was amazing and would ask me to show that talent off when we had company. Kids do weird things. Mine like to play with broken rubber bands. But I digress.

What can you do today that you haven't done because you've been waiting until the "right time"?

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Amazing Black Bean Burgers

I found this recipe the other day when browsing for something new to make out of beans, and it looked really good. I made it last night, and WOW. It was so delicious, we were amazed. And we are burger people (I mean the kind with meat), so we know of what we speak.

I changed it slightly to suit us, omitting chili paste and adding more oats to thicken them so they would hold their shape better.

We added cilantro mayonnaise, (also delicious), as recommended, as well as the standard lettuce, tomato, red onion, and a slice of melted cheese.

There was one left over, and I snatched it up for lunch today and took this picture. YUM.

Amazing Black Bean Burgers
4 burgers, serves 4

Ingredients
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
2 cups black beans, cooked (or 1 can, drained and rinsed)
1 egg, beaten
3/4 cup quick-cooking oats
1/4 cup red onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
2 tablespoons veg. oil

Directions
1)Heat 1 teaspoon of the oil over medium heat.
2)Add the red onion and garlic to the pan and saute until softened, about 8 minutes and then set aside to cool for a few minutes.
3)Combine beans, egg, oats, onion, mixture, chili paste, salt, pepper and cilantro and thoroughly mix and mash until pretty homogeneous, leaving a few whole beans.
4)Divide mixture into 4 equal portions and shape into patties.
5)Refrigerate patties for half an hour. (This step is not completely necessary but I find it helps hold the burgers together while cooking.).
6)Heat 2 tablespoons oil in large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.
7)Place burgers carefully into the oil, being careful not to crowd the pan.
8)After 5-6 minutes, flip and cook another 5 minutes. They should feel firm to the touch when finished.

Note: To freeze for later use, after shaping flash freeze and then wrap in plastic wrap. Place wrapped burgers into freezer bag and squeeze out excess air. To cook from frozen, simply heat frozen burgers over medium-high heat on the stove-top, cooking until done.

Cilantro Mayonnaise
Ingredients
3/4 cup mayonnaise
3/4 cup loosely packed cilantro leaf
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice (I used lemon)
1 teaspoon light soy sauce
1 garlic clove

Directions
1)Put all ingredients in a blender.
2)Blend until smooth.
3)Store in the refrigerator

Friday, September 11, 2009

Is Wonderbread Making You Sterile? Part 2

ENRICHMENT OF FLOUR
In the 1940s, a flour enrichment program was instituted to compensate for wartime shortages of other foods. However, in the 'enriched' flour only the B vitamins - thiamin, riboflavin, and niacin - and the mineral, iron, were added. Flour 'Enrichment' implies a loss of nutrients and should not be equated with wholesomeness. For approximately 20 nutrients, there is an average loss of 70-80% in refined and enriched flour. When you eat this, you are placing your body at a disadvantage, casting a burden on the rest of the diet.

Prosser, WA. An old grain mill downtown near Twin City Foods

ADULTERATION OF FLOUR
Flour manufacturers want to make as much money as possible. For example, removing the germ not only prevents flour spoilage, it generates profits when sold to millfeed producers and pharmaceutical companies.
For centuries, bakers have known that 'good quality' baked goods could not be made with freshly milled flour, because the dough lacks strength and resilience to trap gas. Until the 20th century it was common practice of storing flour for months to allow oxygen to condition it.

However, as well as storage costs, spoilage and insects caused losses. Chemical oxidizing agents or bleaches were developed to produce the same aging effects in 24-48 hours. They cause one of two effects: oxidation of the gluten to help with rising, and bleaching of the yellowish carotene pigments which could have been sources of vitamin A.

Bleaching agents did not come into use without opposition. Harvey W. Wiley, Chief of the FDA early this century, won a Supreme Court decision outlawing bleaches, but he was forced out of the FDA, and the Supreme Court order was bypassed. The approval of chlorine dioxide as a bleaching agent was also protested by U.S. Army nutrition experts.

Today, in both Canada and the US, the addition of numerous chemicals to white, whole wheat, and rye flours is permitted. These include chlorine, chlorine dioxide, benzoyl peroxide, potassium bromate, ammonium persulfate, ammonium chloride, acetone peroxide, azodicarbonamide, ascorbic acid, l-cysteine, mono-calcium phosphate. Regulations also specify the acceptable levels. In many European countries the use of additives is almost completely prohibited. In Germany, for instance, chemical oxidizing agents were banned in 1958.

Nitrogen bichloride was one of the earliest bleaching agents. After 40 years of use, it was finally found to cause canine hysteria, and was outlawed. The currently most common bleaching agent is benzoyl peroxide. It must be neutralized by adding such substances as: calcium carbonate (chalk!), calcium sulphate, dicalcium phosphate, magnesium carbonate, potassium aluminum sulphate, sodium aluminum sulphate, starch, and tricalcium phosphate.

The most common maturing agent in use is potasssium bromate, and it is added with carriers such as calcium carbonate, dicalcium phosphate, or magnesium carbonate.

In addition to the chemicals permitted to be added to flour, many more are permitted to be added to bread before baking. Chemicals likely to be found in breads include: lecithin, mono- and di- glycerides, carragheenan, calcium sulfate, calcium carbonate, dicalcium sulfate, ammonium chloride, potassium bromate, calcium bromate, potassium iodate, calcium peroxide, azodicarbonamide, tricalcium phosphate, monocalcium phosphate, calcium propionate, sodium propionate, sodium diacetate, lactic acid, calcium stearoyl-2-lactylate, lactylic stearate, sodium stearyl fumarate, succinylated monoglycerides, ethoxylated mono- and all-glycerides.

In Germany, propionic acid, sodium propionate, calcium propionate, and potassium propionate have been banned as preservatives since March 1988. This was in response to earlier experiments which found that rats fed these substances developed tumors.

In addition to all of this, grains may be irradiated to help prevent spoilage and bugs. This also affects the nutrients, and not in a good way.

Have you read enough? I know I'm tired from typing (or even copying and pasting) all those chemical names. They certainly should have no place in our diets!

So, you say, you don't eat white bread, so you don't need to worry about hurting your body by eating all those chemicals? Well....

Stay tuned for part 3, where I tell you what can happen even from "whole wheat" bread and flour.

Most of the information presented in these posts came from Nutritional Characteristics of Organic, Freshly Stone-Ground, Sourdough & Conventional Breads by Judy Campbell, B.Sc., Mechtild Hauser, and Stuart Hill, B.Sc., Ph.D., P.Ag.




Thursday, September 10, 2009

Is Wonderbread Making You Sterile? Part 1

I LOVE bread with butter; I think I could eat it all day long. When I became more health conscious, I switched to whole wheat, like most of you probably have. But most people don't really think about the potential nutritional value of bread which makes up a major part of their diet.

How much bread do you eat? I bet more than you think. We have 5 children. All but the new baby eat sandwiches for lunch almost every day. Add one for me most days, and that's TEN SLICES OF BREAD each week per person, and that's just for lunches. On Shabbat we enjoy a sweet Challah loaf (or two), and we eat bread with a dinner meal at least 2 or 3 times a week. That's a LOT of bread.

Are all whole wheat breads the same? Is the whole wheat flour you buy at the store really better for you than the white flour? Why would anyone be crazy enough to spend the time and effort to grind his own flour? I'm going to answer questions like these and more, and you will likely be very surprised at what you learn. I know I was. (Hint: see the title)
A Little About Wheat
The kernel of wheat is composed of the outer bran layer, the germ, and the endosperm. It is rich in nutrients, many of which are concentrated in the bran and germ. It contains the entire B complex, except for vitamin B12.

Wheat germ has a very high content of vitamin E. Vitamin E increases the good HDL cholesterol. Animal studies have also shown that vitamin E protects against free radicals released by the body when it is exposed to toxic chemicals.

During the milling process, steel rollers crush the grain, and the flour separated by sifters. The bran and germ are totally removed in this process. They are used in the production of animal feeds and by pharmaceutical laboratories for making diet supplements.

Whole wheat flour is produced by recombining ground bran with endosperm flour, but the germ is usually left out, because it would go rancid.
In the next post I'll describe what gets done to the flour, after all the nutritious parts are removed, before you either buy it at the store to bring home, or it gets baked into bread that you buy. Stay tuned!

Most of the information presented in these posts came from Nutritional Characteristics of Organic, Freshly Stone-Ground, Sourdough & Conventional Breads by Judy Campbell, B.Sc., Mechtild Hauser, and Stuart Hill, B.Sc., Ph.D., P.Ag.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

"No Shots, No School!" - Not True! (On Vaccine Exemptions)

Have you ever been told that your children will not be allowed to attend school without being up to date on their vaccinations? If not, where have you been? That scare tactic has been used for so many years, it's amazing that it's survived for one simple fact: IT'S NOT TRUE.

Megan at SortaCrunchy posted this a couple of days ago, and the information is exactly what I'd like to share with you, so please
click here to read her post: http://bit.ly/2lSNl

Then come on back here to leave your comments; this can be an interesting discussion!



The First Day...

Yesterday I lost it. More than once.

The newborn wouldn't wake up and really eat when she was supposed to, so then she dragged on and fussed/wanted to keep eating when I needed to cook to have dinner on time so that we could have bedtime on time the night before the first day of school. Then she fell asleep and never really finished eating, so my boob felt like it was going to explode. But I couldn't stop and go pump because I had dinner cooking on the stove and a toddler who needed a new diaper very badly. The 5 and 3 year olds who were supposed to be clearing and setting the table were running around chasing each other as the dogs were barking and my husband was recording a video and needed QUIET in the house.

Oh, and this was only ONE of the times I lost it.

But the good news is: Today is the First Day of the Rest Of My Life.

I am a homeschooler at heart, and hope to homeschool in the future, probably starting next year. But for now, for various reasons, we have decided to send the boys to school. And boy, am I glad!

I see the light at the end of the tunnel. I'm still exhausted, I still have more to do than I know how to fit in. But, its so nice and quiet here! I can think! There's a calm in the house that I haven't noticed in a looong time.

Aaahh.

Monday, August 31, 2009

The Poop on Cloth Diapers (part 2)

The Poop on Cloth Diapers (part 2)

I used to think that disposable diapers were the only way to go….

In my previous post, I started giving the reasons why we switched to cloth diapers a few years ago. In this post I’ll cover the environmental and money-saving benefits of cloth diapers over disposables, as well as discuss basic cloth diaper care.

Except for very limited uses, we’ll never go back to disposables!

Cost To The Environment
(from an article by the Sustainability Institute; entire article here: http://bit.ly/KIuk2)

..."18 BILLION disposable diapers are used in th US each year. Each one has an outer layer of waterproof polypropylene and an inner layer of fluff made from wood pulp plus super-slurper sodium polyacrylate that can hold a hundred times its weight in water.

Those 18 billion diapers add up to 82,000 tons of plastic a year and 1.3 million tons of wood pulp -- 250,000 trees. After a few hours of active service these materials are trucked away, primarily to landfills, where they sit, neatly wrapped packages of excrement, entombed undegraded for several hundred years. "...

Cost To Our Pockets

“Disposable diapers” was absolutely the highest on-going expense we had with our first two babies. Consider this:

Your baby will use about 6500 to 7000 diapers from birth to 30 months.

Most parents seem to spend an average cost of $50-$80/month for Huggies® or Pampers® OUCH!!! That would come to $1500-$2400 over a 30 month period, more if you diaper longer -- and there are reports that show cloth diaper babies often potty-train up to a year earlier than those who wear disposables.

Now….I've been using Mother-Ease One Size diapers since March of 2006, and (full disclosue) we will soon be offering them for sale here on my blog. The same diapers fit my newborn all the way to my toddler. It only takes 4-6 months to completely recoup our family's initial costs. After that, we're essentially diapering for FREE. The laundering costs are minimal in both time and money.

By choosing cloth diapers over disposables, you will save thousands of dollars on each child!

Especially in these difficult economic times, who doesn't want that? Let’s face it, who doesn’t NEED that?!

Caring for Cloth Diapers
Caring for the diapers is quite simple: just rinse poop into toilet (NOTE: we have a sprayer attached to our toilet that makes this easy; in the US where it's not as simple to connect this, I think most folks dunk&flush) & place diapers in a covered pail with water and some vinegar (neutralizes odors). When ready to wash, empty the soak water into toilet, do a prewash or rinse cycle, and then a full cycle in hot water with detergent. Dry. That's it! We wash diapers every night before we go to bed. Our older children (even the toddler who still wears one at nighttime) know how to fold them and put them away. It's as simple as that!

I love knowing that my babies are touching comfy soft cloth and not toxic chemical-filled plasticky-feeling stuff. I love knowing I'm doing our part to keep disposable diapers out of landfills, and I LOVE the amount of money we have and continue to save!

(There’s a lot more to say regarding using cloth diapers vs disposables -- including the benefits of natural fibers, tips for making the care of cloth diapers even easier, and the scientific links of disposable diapers to asthma and male infertility. I will cover these issues in future posts.)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Poop on Cloth Diapers (part 1)

The Poop on Cloth Diapers (part 1)

With a new baby in the house, of course we are changing a lot more diapers -- and even with five children under the age of seven, with two in diapers full-time, I’ve been reminded why I love using cloth instead of disposables.

When I was pregnant with my first child, my environmentally-conscious husband approached me to consider using cloth diapers. I didn't know anyone who used them, and didn't know that "modern" cloth diapers had been designed. I was too overwhelmed with all that would come with being a first time mom and never looked into it. When my second son was born only 11 months after my first, I was once again too overwhelmed. Not until my third did I dare to enter what I was sure would be a complicated world...only to find that it wasn't! I wish I'd started using them sooner.

The cloth diapers I use really are simple (ours have built in snaps to accommodate all sizes, so there is no pinning) and don't take much time at all to rinse and wash. I love that I never need to worry about running out of diapers, like I used to with disposables.

The way I see it, there are 3 main reasons to choose to cloth diapers over disposables:

1. To avoid the toxins (and their negative effects on health) in disposable diapers

2. To reduce environmental waste

3. To save a bunch of money

In doing research for this post, I discovered that the many costs of disposable diapers were more than I realized:

Costs To Our Childrens’ Health
from an article on The Diaper Hyena; entire article here

SODIUM POLYACRYLATE - This is the chemical, added in powder form to the inner pad of a disposable, that makes it super-absorbent. When the powdered form becomes wet, it turns into a gel.

Can absorb up to 100X its weight in water.
Can stick to baby's genitals, causing allergic reactions.
Reported to cause severe skin irritations, oozing blood from perineum and scrotal tissues, fever, vomiting and staph infections in babies.
When injected into rats it has caused hemorrhage, cardiovascular failure and death.
Banned from tampons in 1985 because of its link to Toxic Shock Syndrome.
Has killed children after ingesting as little as 5 grams of it.
Causes female organ problems, slows healing wounds, fatigue and weight loss to the employees in factories that manufacture it.


DIOXIN - This is the chemical by-product of the paper-bleaching process, using chlorine gas, in the manufacturing of diapers.

Carcinogenic (cancer-causing chemical)
The EPA lists it as the MOST TOXIC of all cancer-linked chemicals.
In small quantities it causes birth defects, skin/liver disease, immune system suppression & genetic damage in lab animals.
Banned in most countries, but not the United States.

If we really care about our babies’ health, isn’t this information alone enough to make natural-fiber cloth diapers the right choice?

(In my next post, I’ll cover the environmental and money-saving benefits of cloth diapers over disposables, as well as discuss basic cloth diaper care.)

Monday, August 24, 2009

Our Daughter

What an incredible week! Our baby girl came to join us...

Everything went according to "plan". She was born the very day we hoped to have her (for a variety of reasons), the beginning of the 38th week of pregnancy, the morning after a restful Shabbat. The birth was at home, and went perfectly. Labor was just a few hours, and the delivery was done in the water. It was all quite amazing.

Now I'm dealing with the exhaustion, the emotions, the new challenges that each unique baby brings. Yes, I've done this four times before. But I've never done it with this baby.

She's worth every moment.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

I have a confession to make. I have not been following my own advice.

A short while back, I posted about using a schedule for children home during the day to help keep chaos away.

I haven't been doing it. I've been stumbling around, my big belly and discomfort being my "excuse" for not organizing my thoughts, or my time, even a little. It's not been worth it.

My children are misbehaving. A lot. I'm yelling. A lot. And I'm becoming one of "those" moms who can't wait for her kids to go back to school. I don't want this.

So, I think I can at least manage some of those tips, even if I am not doing the full schedule. The following seems to be the things that I can do now:

Separating them into pairs for playing. Group play of more than 2 seems to consistently meltdown into either arguments or wildness that I just can't handle.

Assigning them activities to do separately. Example: one does a puzzle (he may choose one), one builds with Legos or K'nex, etc.

Not letting them do chores together. They always fight or fool around.

Therefore....reserving group free play for the exception, not the norm. Yes, they have it, a few times a day. Just not all day long.

That's about all this pregnant mama can muster right now. Soon enough, a little bundle of joy will be everyone's focus. We're so excited!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Head's Down, Thumbs Up! On My Way To Home Birth

That was what my first grade teacher would call out before we played Seven Up, which was my favorite game at that big-kid school. (Well, not the homebirth part).

This time, I mean something entirely different......THE BABY TURNED! HER HEAD IS DOWN!!!
Thumbs up, as in, "fantastic." Head's down, as in: her head is down. Capish?

I am so excited that she's finally decided to go along with the program.

While she was turned the wrong way, I did some research and found http://www.spinningbabies.com/. It was very helpful and gave me lots of information as well as recommending the exercises/positions I tried, like the inversion I showed as a video example in one of the last posts. Some of the information on baby position I got from this picture that I borrowed from them. The caption above this picture is

Head Down Is Only Half The Story



I didn't know this. I've heard of "posterior"babies that give you lots of back labor. That's when the baby's occiput (the back of the skull) is facing your back, so you see the baby's face as it comes out, instead of the back of the head. It's a little harder and usually more uncomfortable to push this baby out.

The ideal baby position is LOA, "Left Occiput Anterior". This means that the baby is lying along the left side, with the occiput facing the mother's front (not posterior).

I believe that my little princess is in that ideal position, but I am not sure. At least her head is down, though.

If your baby is head down, but in one of the other positions, SpinningBabies has some exercises/positions that are supposed to be helpful for getting the baby to move. I am going to rest and trust that all is well unless I get an indication of something otherwise.

If at all up to us, we would like to have our baby one week from yesterday, on August 16th. Don't laugh, we've chosen a delivery date in the past, and it worked just fine.

I'll keep you posted!

From a very soon to be mama of 5.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Who Knows How to Deliver a Breech?

"C-sections shouldn't be 'automatic' for breech births, Canadian doctors say"

Duh.

I can't believe that since the year 2000, every woman with a breech baby gets cut open. They thought it was safer. I am so glad that it's finally being concluded that it's not necessarily true.

But there are still 2 main problems.

First, and this is the smaller of the two, not everyone agrees with this yet. But, I think it will come soon.

The bigger problem lies with the short-sightedness of the medical community.

Nobody has regularly delivered breech babies naturally for so long, that nobody knows how. They don't get trained to do it. So, even those who might be willing have no skill. Some do, and have, but it's a small group. And depending where you live, there may be laws against it.

Here in Israel, it is illegal to have a breech delivery at home. So the midwives won't do it; they'd lose their licenses. And they haven't been trained for it, anyway. The only option for someone like me (if my baby doesn't turn) is to go to the hospital. At the hospital, they want to automatically cut me open, and not even try to deliver naturally. I can choose a hospital where they have more doctors who do deliver breeches, and refuse a C-section, and pray that they will not automatically cut.

But it's a crappy position to be in.

If I lived in many other places, especially in Europe, there would be midwives who would be happy and confident to help me birth this baby at home, as I'd like to.

For now, I'll keep going to the chiropractor and hanging upside down. And pray that she turns.

Here's the link to the article from Canada: http://bit.ly/6Cb3k

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Time To Hang Upside Down

Yes, really.

I just came from my ultrasound where I found out that this girl of mine (who is indeed a girl, I did find out) is now completely Breech. No good.

I'm going to begin inversion exercises. And continue going to my chiropractor for the Webster's technique (see video on my last post). And I'm also going to find a Chinese Medicine/acupuncturist and go. I'm not looking forward to that one. I tried acupuncture once and hated it. But it's certainly better than the alternative.

Here's the inversion technique I will try. I'm not looking forward to it, either.

I'll let you know how it goes...

Are Baby Girls More Difficult?

My supposed baby girl ( I say "supposed" because it's possible that the doctor made a mistake, and it's not a girl I'm carrying) is being difficult. I have heard that boys are much easier, and girls are more complicated... I wonder if she's starting already?

Last week I went for a checkup to find that the baby was lying in a somewhat transverse position.
This is a true transverse lie. The baby is going side-to-side instead of up and down. A baby in this position cannot be delivered vaginally. It would have to move into a better position, or be delivered surgically. I don't think I have a true transverse baby; she seems to be more oblique.
This is an oblique position. The head is at least in the right "hemisphere" (down). This baby still needs to move before coming out, but it's a lot closer.
This is an optimally positioned baby. This is what I want. Head down, in the middle, with the baby's back facing outward.
There are things that I can do/have done to help my baby turn into the right position.



One is the Webster's Breech Turning Technique, performed by a chiropractor. I had this done 2 times last week, and on the third visit, my legs were completely balanced, so he didn't perform it.

I have been diligently trying to discern the baby's position, but I really can't tell. So, I'm going for an ultrasound in just a little while to see what she's up to.

I'll let you know!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

"For Low-Risk Births, Home Is As Safe As Hospital"

I just read a great article, on Quality Health, put out by Reuters Health in New York. It states that for low-risk births, home is as safe as hospital.

"Low-risk women should be encouraged to plan their birth at the place of their preference, provided the maternity care system is well equipped to underpin women's choice," Dr. A. de Jonge, from TNO Quality of Life, Leiden, the Netherlands, and co-researchers note in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

I am tired of people looking at me like I have two heads when I say that I am planning to give birth at home, that I have done so for all four of my babies, and that I wouldn't want it any other way. Even if it is free of charge in the hospital, and I'd have to pay out of my pocket for a midwife at home. (we have socialized medicine here in Israel.)

I think the tide is turning.

"The findings, they conclude, indicate that with proper services in place, home births are just as safe as hospital births for low-risk women."

This study was done in the Netherlands, a place that has a lower rate of both maternal and fetal deaths than the US. Maybe we should listen to them.

People are getting wise to the motivation (from the hospital's side) behind most hospital births, and I am so glad to see more people seeking alternatives. The documentary movie The Business of Being Born gives great details about hospital births; watch the trailer here: http://bit.ly/f1Tzi

Cindy Crawford chose to have a home birth and shares her story in 4 parts. Here is the link to watch part 4 of her interview:

http://bit.ly/MwvTp

If you want to watch all of it, you can follow links on that site to the previous webisodes.





You can read the full article from Reuters here: http://bit.ly/KqNXW

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Watermelon: A Pregnancy Super Food

I love watermelon, I always have. Crunchy and refreshing, it’s the Perfect Snack For Summertime When You Don’t Have Air Conditioning In Your House. (That’s pretty common in Israel)

And I just found out some great news. Watermelon is not only delicious, it has special qualities which make it a great pregnancy food. Apparently, watermelon:

Eases Heartburn
Reduces Swelling
Helps Morning Sickness
Alleviates Dehydration
Contains Minerals That Help Third Trimester Muscle Cramps
Contains nutrients important for the development of baby’s brain, vision, nervous, immune systems, and more.

Is high in Lycopene, an antioxidant which increases the skin’s SPF (besides all the other great things that antioxidants do). Who doesn’t want that during the summer?
Lycopene also reduces the incidence of preeclampsia by 50%.

I’m enjoying my second bowl of the day right now. Eat up!

This information came from an article on FitPregnancy. Here's a link to the full article:

http://tinyurl.com/kmzcd4

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Summertime Kids-How Scheduling Can Stop The Madness!

I have four children, ages 6,5,3&16 months. And a baby due in about 4 weeks (yay!). The 3 older boys have been at day camp for the last 3 weeks, but today is the last day. They will ALL be home, with me, until school begins again September 1. (*Gulp!) They will ALL be home/out of school when the baby is born and for a few weeks after that. What am I going to do with them?

I am a big fan of homeschooling. I did it for one year of preschool, and am taking a break from it until they get a little bit older; they need to learn Hebrew which I believe can best be done by immersing them at school, and I do not feel I can homeschool when so many of them are so young. So, my plan (at the moment) is to begin homeschooling the oldest after first grade and add a child each year after that.

The reason I bring up homeschooling is that one of the biggest challenges of homeschooling is: how to get schooling AND housework AND playing AND (fill in the blank) done without everyone killing each other?

I find a similar challenge during vacation time. My boys love to play together, and are good at finding things to do. But after 2 days off or so, I find that there is not only an increase in bickering and injuries, but also they are more likely to find things to do that...ahem...I don't approve of. While free time and "boredom" can stimulate creativity, I find that lack of boundaries/expectation/direction leads to less than desirable behavior.

What to do? Just as a homeschooling family must do, you schedule. Schedule, schedule. I know some of you are thinking that it doesn't sound like much fun for them, that you want them to be able to relax and enjoy themselves, and think of their own activities. I'm not suggsting an absence of free time. Instead, I'm suggesting that even free time is scheduled.

Most of the help in scheduling I learned from Teri Maxwell, in her book Managers Of Their Homes. www.Titus2.com It was the only guide I found for step by step help in creating a schedule for a large family that had time slots for all that was necessary.

Some of my favorite tips are:

  • Schedule play periods for 2 siblings together. They strengthen their relationships and get along better than they do when there are 3 or more.
  • Schedule meal helpers
  • Schedule one on one time with Mom or Dad
  • Schedule playtime alone; every child should learn to entertain himself
  • Choose activities for different days of the week so that they rotate and the children don't get bored. Example: Monday fingerpaint, Tuesday playdough,Wednesday blocks, etc.


Kids love dependable routine. They are much more likely to go along with the program if you already know what the program will be. And I really think it's the only way to stay calm in the eye of the vacation storm.

I've tried it the other way during vacation time. I didn't like it much. This time...I'm ready.

What are you doing with your little ones during summer vacation?

Friday, July 17, 2009

Challah Recipe

When I was growing up, we used to buy our challah from the Publix bakery. (Publix is a supermarket in Florida; I don't know if they're around the country)Publix makes a GOOD challah. (They also make great sheet cake)
Yes! I made this delicious looking challah. Freshly ground whole wheat and delicious!
The name of this bread, "challah" is so due to the word "separate." A challah has a small amount separated and offered to G-d. I never knew this until I moved to Israel; I always thought that challah was just a yummy egg bread.
Here is the Bible reference:
Numbers 15:17-21 The LORD instructed Moses: 18 "Speak to the Israelites and tell them: After you enter the land where I am bringing you, 19 you are to offer a contribution to the LORD when you eat from the food of the land. 20 You are to offer a loaf from your first batch of dough as a contribution; offer it just like a contribution from the threshing floor. 21 Throughout your generations, you are to give the LORD a contribution from the first batch of your dough.


When I learned the importance of using freshly ground flour and started making my own bread, I needed a good challah recipe. I tried variations, but this one has been the best so far.

RECIPE
1 3/4 c water
1/3 c oil
2/3 c honey
1 1/2 tbsp yeast
2 tsp salt
2 eggs, set a little of one egg white aside
6 1/2 c freshly ground whole wheat flour
1/4-1/2 raisins (optional. But I always use them.)

Combine water, oil, honey and yeast, and eggs. Add half the flour and salt, mix. Add the rest of the flour and knead until smooth and elastic (about 10-15 mins). Let rise till double. Shape, adding raisins if desired. Let rise till double again. Bake at 325F for about 25 mins. Brush with slightly beaten egg white for the last 5 mins of baking.
This recipe makes 2 small loaves (usually a regular 3 braid) or one large (4 or 6 braid).
I have better luck getting it to rise and be big and puffy if I do a large loaf, with a braid using 4 strands. Below is a video showing one way to braid with 6; there are many ways. Do whatever you like and enjoy!
If you want to know more about challah, here are some articles and other recipes:

Shabbat Shalom!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Easy Hummus Recipe


If you've never tried Hummus, you've been missing out. Hummus is a Mediterranean dish made from pureed chickpeas (garbanzo beans.)It's delicious on sandwiches or as a dip for veggies. There are many varieties and flavors; if you don't like it one way then that only means that you haven't found "your" secret ingredient.


The basic ingredients are:Cooked Chickpeas,Garlic,Olive Oil,Lemon Juice.


Israelis add Tahini, which is a paste made from sesame seeds (like peanut butter, but from sesame seeds). Tahini is a critical ingredient to Israelis; I don't like it, and I make my hummus without it, like the Greeks do.


I can't give you an exact recipe because I don't use one; I just:


1)Put my cooked chickpeas in the food processor and add:

A garlic clove

Some lemon zest, and juice of 1 lemon

Salt

Cumin (optional)


Blend till smooth, adding water as necessary, tasting and adjusting seasonings.


Variations include: Adding roasted peppers, fresh herbs such as cilantro, dill, or parsley, cayenne pepper for a little kick. Be creative! There are many things you can do, it just depends on your taste.

For a nice presentation, spread the hummmus on a shallow dish, with an "edge" higher than the rest, and a slight depression in the center. Sprinkle with paprika and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil; add some olives if you'd like.
I serve this with Roasted Eggplant and Couscous Tabouli Salad, with pita bread for dipping or making sandwiches.
Here is a video showing the basic steps for making Hummus. It's not my video; I don't use all of the same ingredients. But it shows the main idea and what it should look like when you're done. Because there are so many variations, you can take some, all, or none of the ones shown here.
Enjoy!


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

More Reasons to Birth at Home

For obvious reasons, I have Birthing On My Mind. I can't believe our little GIRL might be here in FOUR weeks! Maybe five or six. But either way, it's soon.

I've been spending a lot of time lately on the web, researching things related to a more Natural Lifestyle for this blog. I've noticed what seems to be a trend: more people are becoming less satisfied with the "standard" hospital birth. Those same people are helping to publicize Natural Childbirth, which almost always means Home Birth.

This is Good.

In getting closer to my own birthing experience and poking around on the web, I've discovered something: I am very passionate about hombirth. I see these interviews and read of people's experiences and tears stream down my face as I feel sad for those who don't know how peaceful and wonderful the birth experience could and should be.

Here is an extremely well-done video which further helps convey some reasons we choose to birth at home. For anyone considering this, or just wanting to know more, WATCH THIS.

It's one video, in two parts.




And here's an article from the LA Times about Ceseareans in hospital births http://articles.latimes.com/2009/may/17/business/fi-cover-birth17

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Homemade Almond Milk

Are you looking for a milk alternative? If you are wondering why you should be, then please read my post on milk

Well, we try to limit our dairy consumption to occasional cheese or ice cream for a treat, so when it comes time for eating cereal, we have used rice milk for years. I recommend rice milk over soy milk because soy is quite difficult to digest.

Rice Dream costs about $3.50 per 1 liter box, and our family of 6 easily finishes a whole box for one breakfast. In learning to be frugal, I started thinking....maybe I can make my own rice milk. I haven't really looked into it, because I think it may be complicated (but I still will try to find out at some point), but I realized that I could do what I used to do when I was weaning the boys and wanted to introduce a highly nutritious "milk" for them. I made seed and nut milks!

Raw nuts and seeds are highly nutritious and can be made into butters, and yes MILKS, for babies and adults alike. The most nutritious are almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds.

I prefer Almonds to the others for milk due to their mild taste. Here is how to do it:

1/2 to 3/4 cup raw almonds (depends on how full you want the flavor to be. I used 1/2 c)
3or 4 dates (for a little sweetness)
water

1. Put the almonds and dates(pitted) in your Vitamix or blender. (more on this below)
2.Cover with water not much above the level of the food
3.Blend on high till smooth, adding only as much water as needed to blend. It will be thick.
4. Add water until liquid consistency.
5. Strain through fine mesh strainer, and again through cheesecloth (I used a clean cloth diaper/burprag) DO NOT THROW AWAY ALMOND MUSH! This is nutritious stuff and can be used in your next smoothie or added to pancakes or cookies. Use within a day or freeze for future use.
6. Your milk should be nice and smooth, free of particles. Add as much water as you want to achieve the consistency and flavor you want. I made 1 L of milk from 1/2 c almonds & 3 dates.

Pour on your quick and easy homemade granola or other cereal and enjoy! Also delicious to drink.

Note: this milk will not keep for more than a day or two in the fridge. Use the same day for best taste and nutrition.

About the blender: Work like this is tough on a regular blender. It can be done although it will wear your blender down quickly. For regular smoothie making, nut milk making, creamy soup blending, and other yummy stuff, I highly recommend a Vitamix or similar blender. I use mine every day and love it!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

MILK...It Does A Body Good. Or Does It?

When I was little, I remember my grandparents always telling me to “drink your milk”. And my friends’ parents always said the same thing. Mine were pretty lax about it; I really didn’t like milk unless I filled it with Hershey’s syrup (I remember when it came in a can before they invented the squeeze bottle). I guess they were ahead of their time.

So, back to the milk. Is cow’s milk good for you? These are the questions I encourage you to ask yourself:
1) Who/what kind of animal is cow’s milk designed for? (a cow)
2) Are YOU a cow? (I hope not)
3) Do cows continue to drink milk after they are mature/weaned? (no)
4) Are YOU grown? (notice I didn’t say “mature”…I hope you still like acting like a kid sometimes :))
5) Do cows, or ANY animal you can think of, drink milk from another animal, and continue to do so post-weaning? (no, no, NO!))

Each species of mammal creates milk specially designed for that species’ growth needs, at birth and until weaning. Cow’s milk is designed to DOUBLE a calf’s weight in fifty days. I doubt you would enjoy the same affect! It also contains almost three times as much protein as human breast milk. The differences are many more than I will list here.

Besides the differences in the chemistry between human milk and that of cow’s, or any other species, a significant argument for excluding or minimizing cow’s milk in your family’s diet is the fact that it is heat processed (pasteurized). Heat denatures proteins & enzymes; in other words, you are not going to get the “good stuff” from the milk because it’s been “killed”. Also, the typical dairy farm compromises the cow’s lifestyle. They may be fed stale grains, grown in nutritionally depleted soil. Unless they are free to roam, they get no exercise. They often are pumped with hormones to get them to produce more milk, and given antibiotics since they are unhealthy, due to their lifestyle. These chemicals come out in the milk.

Many people are “lactose intolerant”. This is actually a NORMAL condition, because our bodies do not produce the enzyme lactase which is needed to break down lactose after early childhood (because it’s not expected that we would still be breastfeeding) !

“What about calcium?” you ask. While it’s true that milk has lots, it is also so high in protein that your body cannot absorb the calcium it gets at the same time. Not only can't you get calcium, but the high protein content actually causes your body to REMOVE calcium from your bones to act as a buffer in your blood. That’s right, drinking milk actually causes you to LOSE calcium from your bones. The best place to get calcium is from dark green leafy vegetables. If you are concerned you are not getting enough of those, I highly recommend JuicePlus+ to help you get what you need. Almonds are also a good source of calcium; this fresh almond milk is what we use most of the time instead of cow's milk.

As far as osteoporosis, there is NO evidence that increased dairy consumption decreases the occurrence of osteoporosis. In fact, the countries with the highest milk intake also have the highest rates of osteoporosis. This probably is because of what's stated above: your body REMOVES calcium from your bones to deal with the milk you put in. The dairy council has done a number on us! Not that I blame them.

What to drink instead of milk? Well, water is what should be drunk on a regular basis. But as far as milk alternatives, many options exist.

See my post on Making Fresh Almond Milk for milk alternatives.



This made me laugh so much that I had to include it!


Here is a very good article about osteoporosis: http://www.betterbones.com/osteoporosis/top10myths.aspx

And this is a fantastic site with detailed articles on many physical conditions and how they relate to milk consumption: http://www.notmilk.com/

Monday, June 29, 2009

My Story

I graduated from the University of Florida with a BS in 1995, and from Life University School of Chiropractic with a Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) degree in 1999. After practicing a few years in Ft. Lauderdale, Fl, I met my husband-to-be, and six months later was married and living in Jerusalem, Israel. Fast forward seven years, and here I am. I have four rambunctious boys, ages 6,5,3,and 1. And baby GIRL #5 is due to join us soon, in August, 2009. Though I'm not actively practicing Chiropractic, I not only adjust my family and friends, but I still teach others the benefits of a natural and healthy lifestyle. Through this blog, I hope to be able to share the benefits of my knowledge and experience, as well as the challenges and adventures of day to day life with lots of "littles" around.

Couscous Tabouli Salad

Living in Israel offers many differences to living in the US. Being here this long, I have begun to really appreciate the flavors of Middle Eastern cuisine.

Most tabouli is made with bulgar wheat; I prefer the taste of the couscous. I had just been introduced to these types of foods before moving here; they are healthful, and neither expensive nor difficult to prepare. I'll add recipies for the accompaniments as I can.

Couscous Tabouli Salad
Serves 6
Adapted from: Chez Christine

2 cups whole wheat couscous
1 garlic clove, minced
2 large cucumbers, peeled, seeded, & finely chopped
3 medium tomatoes, seeded and finely chopped 1 bunch fresh mint leaves 1bunch fresh parsley approx 4 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
Fresh lemon juice (about 3 lemons’ worth)
Salt & pepper


1. In small saucepan with tightly fitted lid, mix DRY couscous with 2 tsps extra virgin olive oil.
2. Add 2 cups boiling water to couscous. Immediately cover and let stand 5 minutes.
3. After 5 minutes, fluff with fork, and leave uncovered to cool.
4. In the meantime, in large bowl, combine chopped tomato, cucumber, and garlic.
5. Finely chop mint (separate from stem) and parsley leaves. Note: I have tried to use the food processor for this to save time, but was not satisfied with the uniformity and size of the results. If your food processor is better than mine, go for it. Otherwise, I find it worth the effort to chop by hand. Add to bowl.
6. Add couscous, and gently mix to combine
7. Add olive oil.
8. Add lemon juice, salt, and pepper to taste. Cover and chill.
9. Add crumbled feta just before serving.


I serve this together with homemade hummus, roasted sliced eggplant, and labana cheese (similar to yogurt) along with olive oil for dipping and some nice bread or pita. Yum!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

You're Giving Birth WHERE?!?

Which sounds better to you: Bright lights, strangers walking in and out checking machines that make beeps, being strapped to a table, unable to choose whatever position is most comfortable, being cut open because you're taking to long.....

OR

Your own comfortable home with a few select friends or family, your favorite relaxing music, the lights low, able to do whatever feels best?

I love homebirth. I completely trust my body to know what to do; it was created to do it. Birth is not an illness, and it has no place among the sick in an atmosphere of fear.I have had all four of my children in a home birth setting with a certified nurse midwife attending. I can't imagine doing it any other way, and I hope that I never need to.

Below are 2 short related videos.








Watch this trailer to what looks like an amazing documentary: http://www.thebusinessofbeingborn.com/trailer.php

And here are some good websites/communities about natural birth:

http://www.mybestbirth.com/
http://www.givingbirthnaturally.com/

Number FIVE is due to arrive!


Five children. I will soon have five children. I can't believe it; I am so excited! (and nervous, and Oh My Goodness how am I going to manage....FIVE.) Our other four are boys. In this house of lots of testosterone (well, it'll be more when they get a little older), we are soooo ready for a cute little GIRL. And she's coming in August.


This was the first time I found out the gender of the baby ahead of time. We were of the school of thought, "there are so few genuine surprises in life, let's really experience this one." So we did. Again, and again. And they always came out with that darned little dangling thing! So, this time, I didn't want a surprise. At least not another boy kind of surprise. So, we found out that's it's all sugar and spice and everything nice this time. I can't wait to dress her up in all that frilly stuff!


Some think we're a little crazy to have so many. Are we? I am an only child, and was always lonely. I always pictured a full dining table with lots of noisy little people, all being part of my family. We're getting there. We also believe that children are a blessing, and I certainly have been blessed to be so fertile...so many people long to have children, and all I have to do is blink (well, not really) to get pregnant. I love that my kids always have someone to play with and learn with, and that we all get to have so many relationships.

CAN A ONE YEAR OLD LEARN TO NOT TOUCH?

We’ve all seen it: the harried mom (or dad) in the store, with the toddler riding in the shopping cart. Maybe there are one or two other children walking along, looking at all the interesting and exciting things on the shelves…things they don’t have at home. They don’t even have to be toys; they could be cleaning supplies and they’re still fascinating. One reaches out to inspect an item more closely. Another does the same, but he’s reaching for the display where they’re all piled, balanced ever-so-carefully…..Uh oh.

So you tell them, “no touching.” “Look with your eyes, not with your hands.” And anything else you can say to escape the store without being required to pay for an entire spilled or broken bunch of whachamakalits. And they obey.

Now the one year old, he wants to touch too. But you tell him, “no.” And what does he do? He touches anyway. So you take it away from him. And what does he do? He scrunches up his face, takes a deep breath, and….. you guessed it!

Is this you? Or do you leave all the kids at home so you won’t have to deal with this situation? I understand. Believe me.

But, believe this too: it is completely possible to train even a one year old to obey a command to not touch.

Are you in the habit of poking yourself in the eye? Why not? How old were you before you learned to not do that?

Training a child is as simple as learning to not poke yourself in the eye. A baby can learn to not do something if the outcome is undesirable (it doesn’t feel good).

How? Say “No.” and flick his little hand. He’ll look at you, surprised, and then try again. Repeat. Again. Again. Eventually, he’ll start crying. Is he crying because it hurts so badly? No. He’s crying because he finally realizes that he is not being allowed to do what he wants; you are breaking his will. When he makes the choice NOT to touch, and instead does something else, praise him. You have won.

If you are consistent with this, and find or arrange opportunities to practice it, you will train your little guy to respect your word. Eventually, the word alone will be enough to stop him.

Does this work? Sure. My 15 month old LOVES to play with the silverware that’s in the dishwasher. Nothing wrong with this. Except when it’s dirty, or has sharper-than-I’d-like-him-to-play-with things. He also thinks it’s great fun to splash around with the dog’s water bowl. I suppose I could never load the dishwasher until he was occupied elsewhere, or make Fido wait until baby’s asleep to let him quench his thirst. But that doesn’t work for me. (Or the dog.)

We’re all much happier when we know who’s in charge.

Now, where did that crawling guy go? I’d better go see what he’s up to….

Quick and Easy Granola

Did you know that between 4am and 12 noon, your body is on its "elimination" cycle? That means it's the time that your body "takes out the garbage". Ever notice you seem to need to use the bathroom in the morning? This is why.

The complicating thing is that anything you eat will slow down this elimination cycle. You definitely don't want to do that if you want to lose weight, or just keep your body from developing toxin-related diseases. Anything will slow down elimination, that is, except for fruit. That is why the best thing you can eat in the morning is fruit. We get our fruit in the form of a smoothie. We have them for breakfast almost every day. Another time, I'll give details on how to make your own delicious, nutritious, filling and easy fruit smoothies.

One day a week we have cereal for breakfast as a treat. The boxed cereals are so expensive, especially if you want to buy some with good wholesome ingredients (no processed sugar!), that I looked for an alternative, and I found one. This granola is easy to make, inexpensive, and tasty. We use it with rice milk for cereal, and it is also delicious with fruit and a little yogurt. I hope you enjoy it!


QUICK AND EASY GRANOLA



1 stick butter
½ c honey
4 c rolled oats
Optional: raisins, about ½ cup
Vanilla, a splash
Dried coconut
Nuts
About ½ tsp cinnamon


1) Preheat oven to 400F. Grease a baking sheet.
2) Melt butter and honey. Add vanilla and ½ tsp cinnamon if desired.
3) Add oats, stirring well to coat
4) Spread on baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes
5) Stir, adding raisins if desired
6) Bake an additional 5 minutes
7) Allow to cool, stirring every so often so it doesn’t harden all together.
8) Store in airtight container and enjoy!

Apple Crisp


Most evenings we don't have dessert after dinner. But once a week, we have a special treat. This is one of our favorites, and although cooking the apples takes away most of their nutritional value, at least it's not loaded with sugar or other processed ingredients.

APPLE CRISP
Adapted from The Occasional Vegetarian by Karen Lee


8-10 apples
¼ c honey (preferably raw)
1 ½ tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp whole wheat flour (preferably freshly ground)
Optional: heavy whipping cream for garnish

CRUMB TOPPING

1 cup whole wheat flour
¼ cup brown sugar or sucanat
½ cup butter (1 stick), softened
Zest of 1 lemon

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F
2. Peel, core, and slice the apples into eighths. Toss the apple slices with the sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, and flour.
3. Put the apple mixture into a 9-inch round baking dish with high sides.
4. Using your fingers, in a different bowl, make the topping by crumbling together the flour, sugar, and butter. Add the lemon zest.
5. Distribute the crumb topping over the apples. Bake until the topping is brown and crusty, about 1 hour. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Optional: beat heavy whipping cream with electric egg beater until desired texture. If desired, add 2 tbsp sugar and ½ tsp vanilla before beating. Place a dollup on each plate before serving.
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