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


  • 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

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

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
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

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

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

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:

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.

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