What Is Elderberry?
Elderberry is the purple berry that grows on the Elder tree in North America and Europe. The edible fruit of the Elderberry shrub or Sambucus Nigra is used to make many things. The most well-known use is for boosting the Immune system. The elderberry is very nutritious; with just 105 calories and 10g of fiber, and 58% of the recommended daily amount of daily vitamin C! On top of all of that, they are full of flavonoids that provide antioxidants and anti-inflammatory benefits.
An Israeli researcher found that elderberry contains complex sugars that support the immune system in fighting a cold and the flu. According to Isreal21c, Dr. Madeleine Mumcuoglu of Hadassah-Hebrew University in Israel completed multiple test studies during the Southern Israel flu epidemic. What she found not only did the sambucol have dramatic improvements in symptoms like fever, cough, & muscle aches, and pains but also a higher percentage of her patients felt better than the untreated group. Within 24 hours 20% of the patients reported significant improvement, 73% improvement by day two and 90% feel better in three days vs the untreated group only had 16% feel better after two days. The subjects that received the placebo required six days to recover. She also found that elderberry disarms the enzyme viruses used to penetrate healthy cells in the lining of the nose and throat. When taken before infection, elderberry prevents infection. Taken after infection, it prevents the spread of the virus through the respiratory tract.
As mentioned above the most commonly known use of Elderberry is for the common cold and flu. But it is said to offer many benefits. According to RxList Elderberry is also beneficial and have been used for the following:
+ Sinus Pain
+ Back & Neck Pain
+ Swine Flu
+ Gum Inflammation
+ Nerve Pain
+ Hay Fever
+ Weight Loss
+ Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
+ High Cholesterol
+ Heart Disease
Keep in mind that the benefits lie in the extract, which can be taken in many different ways. According to Eating Well, it is important to remember that the concentration varies with each product and recipe resulting in different outcomes. Some may work better than others. It is not recommended to use Elderberry syrup that contains honey in children under 1 year of age. Ask for a syrup without honey if you wish to give to younger children.
Wellness Mama’s Elderberry Syrup Recipe
A simple elderberry syrup recipe made with dried elderberries, honey, and herbs for an immune-boosting and delicious syrup. Can be used medicinally or on homemade pancakes or waffles.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Author: Katie Wells
- 3½ cups water
- 2/3 cup dried elderberries (or 1 1/3 cups fresh or frozen)
- 2 TBSP ginger (grated)
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground cloves
- 1 cup raw honey
- Pour the water into a medium saucepan and add the elderberries, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves.
- Bring to a boil and then cover and reduce to a simmer for about 45 minutes to 1 hour until the liquid has reduced by almost half.
- Remove from heat and let cool until it is cool enough to be handled.
- Mash the berries carefully using a spoon or other flat utensil.
- Pour through a strainer into a glass jar or bowl.
- Discard the elderberries and let the liquid cool to lukewarm.
- When it is no longer hot, add the honey and stir well.
- When the honey is well mixed into the elderberry mixture, pour the syrup into a mason jar or 16-ounce glass bottle of some kind.
- Ta-da! You just made homemade elderberry syrup! Store in the fridge and take daily for its immune-boosting properties. Some sources recommend taking only during the week and not on the weekends to boost immunity.
Instant Pot option: Put all ingredients except honey in pot, seal lid, and set manually for 9 minutes on high pressure. Vent pressure and strain. When cooled to room temperature, stir in the honey.
The standard dose is ½ – 1 teaspoon for kids and ½ – 1 tablespoon for adults. If the flu does strike, take the normal dose every 2-3 hours instead of once a day until symptoms disappear.
Serving: 1tsp | Calories: 6kcal | Carbohydrates: 1.7g | Fiber: 0.1g | Sugar: 1.5g
Photo Credit: dudeiwantthat.com
Dr. Brenda Fairchild
The Wonders of the Neti Pot
As many of you know… I can talk about the neti pot all day. I think this product is one of the greatest inventions of modern times!! Now, I know not everyone loves to see and feel the neti pot doing its job, but it is a wonderful way to naturally rid your sinuses of congestion and infections. And when you are pregnant and not a lot of options as far as decongestants go, this is a wonderful alternative!!
The word Neti means “nasal cleansing” and comes from ancient India. It has been around for over 5,000 years!!! Yoga masters used this technique to help with mediation. They felt they could get to a higher and deeper state of mind. Some yogi’s also believed it helped with mood swings and addictions as well. The neti pot was then massed produced in the early 1970s and has since become a favorite for those of us looking to relieve the sinus pressure naturally!
Benefits of the Neti Pot
- Lessen the time of cold, flu, or allergy
- Relieve the pressure of sinus headaches
- Help reduce pollen from the nasal passage
- Remove mucous
- Allows for easier breathing
- Great for post nasal drip
- Allows for easier breathing
Using the neti pot is pretty simple and oddly satisfying. You can get a simple pot at most of the chain stores. And most come with packets of sodium bicarbonate and sodium chloride. Usually under $20. You can get ceramic to metal ones at health food stores or online. Now, from personal experiences, I highly suggest the packets!! I have tried just plain water, and it did not feel well. But, it is all up to you. I like to use filtered water if I can. I don’t use it all the time, but I try to as much as possible.
How to use the Neti Pot
Add one packet to the warm water and let them mix. I like to start with draining my most clogged nasal passage first. This means the pot is pouring the water into the good side and the clogged side is towards the sink. And let the magic begin!! I use about half the pot per nasal passage. Depending on what is going on with you our your child, the nasal mucous could be green or yellow which could be an infection to clear which could be allergies. When in doubt, call your primary physician. If there is a bad infection, there may be some blood mixed in. When you have done one side, gently blow your nose. You want to rid the body of the mucus, which is inflammation. I always tell my patients “better out than in!” You will instantly feel the pressure release!!! It is amazing!!!
I start to use the neti pot at the first sign of a cold coming on. I will do this 3-4 times a day if it is really bad. And use that over the course of 2-3 days if need be. It really cuts down the time of the cold or allergy. And can help you get some sleep at night due to your breathing better!
Other recommendations to follow the neti pot. Get Adjusted!!! It helps with aligning your body and helps with draining your sinuses as well. Watch your dairy, gluten, wheat, and sugar as they can be inflammatory. Stay hydrated with water. Get Sleep and make sure you are getting you vitamin D!
By Joseph Fairchild
’Tis The Season
It’s so hard to believe the holidays are upon us, isn’t it? Thanksgiving 2019 has come and gone, and 2020 is just around the corner.
What comes to mind when you think of the holidays? Is it holiday traditions handed down or developed over the years? Memories of holidays past? People you have loved and lost? Delicious food you enjoy each year? Seeing people you don’t see very often?
One thing many of us associate to the holidays, regardless of faith or upbringing, is giving. While a source of joy in many respects, it can also cause frustration or resentment. It seems that every time you turn around, someone somewhere is asking for a donation or gift. What to do? While the answer isn’t quite so simple, here are a few ideas:
- Just say no: It is ok to say no. Co-workers or well meaning friends and family want to exchange gifts, and we don’t want to seem cheap or miss out on the fun. At the same time, we participate – sometimes begrudgingly- though we are really just “going through the motions.” When you give or participate, doesn’t it feel much better when it’s done from a place of enthusiasm instead of compulsion? This isn’t to say don’t join in the activities – just re-consider the gift exchange piece of it. Maybe you can plan a weekend away or nice meal out and enjoy relaxing time together instead.
2. Be mindful about your approach: give some thought to they causes that are most important to you. Which organizations match your personal values? Who is doing the work you want to support? Reserve your giving to those charities.
3. Research the organizations you plan to donate to: this is especially important if you plan to donate a sizable amount (and only you can decide what sizable means). Established charities can provide annual reports upon request (they may be available on their website). These annual reports show how much the organization received, and how they use their money. Be wary of organizations that don’t invest most of their money in program expenses- those expenses used to provide the actual services to end users.
4. Involve your family: our children often amaze us don’t they? Even those times it seems like they are not paying attention, they watch us closely. Why not teach them by example? Some children are so inherently generous this comes naturally to them.
5. Take a little time to give to yourself, too: for some, this is a struggle and it doesn’t feel quite right. This does not mean you have to buy yourself an expensive gift or go away for the weekend. It means you do something you enjoy, just for yourself, no matter how small, that will bring you joy during the holidays. And guess what? Those around you will feel it too. Isn’t it easier to give something you have in abundance?
Just like over eating or drinking too much alcohol, giving too much can make us sick, too. Please keep this in mind and don’t “give until it hurts.”
- With 20 years experience in the financial industry, Joseph Fairchild loves to help others make sound financial decisions. He is an amazing husband to Dr. Brenda and father to Madelyn.
The colder days are approaching, and along with purchasing more soup and stew ingredients, most people are adding tissues, elderberry syrup, and over-the-counter cold and flu medications to their carts. You can’t seem to turn a corner or go one commercial break without reading a sign or hearing about ‘flu season’ and how bad it will be this year. Along with the increase in coughs, colds, sniffles, sore throats, and ear aches, the flu and other ‘winter illnesses’ cause more missed work and school days than illnesses commonly contracted in other seasons.
Have you ever wondered why we, as a population, tend to get so sick in the winter? The flu doesn’t magically appear every year when it gets cold outside, it exists year-round, but is generally caught and passed to others easiest throughout the coldest months. The same goes for strep throat, stomach viruses, fevers, and colds.
Research from 2015 shows that 1/4th of our gene activity is impacted by seasonal changes with winter suppressing the gene responsible for warding inflammation. This, of course, effects the cells that make up the immune system. It also impacts our blood composition and adipose tissue (fat cells), making us more susceptible to weight gain and pain, along with increasing our chances of getting sick. You can see that researchers found a cyclical trend in healthy individuals’ genes over a year’s time, which identifies the body’s natural ability to stay healthier throughout the summer as compared to the winter.
When you pair this gene activity with the cold, dry air that presents in the winter, and the decreasing Vitamin D levels due to less sun exposure, you have the perfect environment for viruses to attack. Viruses enter the body through the nose, and when you have a runny nose, a virus has the ability to ‘hang out’ in that mucus longer than it would be able to in a clean nose. Everything that mucus touches then becomes contaminated with the germs it contains. It may seem impossible to prevent a runny nose, so keeping tissues nearby and using soap to wash your hands well will prove to be your best defense.
The winter generally keeps you indoors, whether at home, work, or school, with windows sealed tight and the heater running. This also presents the perfect environment for viruses to spread. Having the same air continually circulate weakens the already impacted immune system. While turning up the heat is a necessity, you need to pay attention to the humidity levels as you do so. The dry air caused by your heater and outdoor weather not only increases illness probability by allowing germs from a sneeze to survive longer, but it also causes dry, cracked skin, sore throats, and headaches. Research shows that running a whole-house humidifier, or having versions in the rooms most commonly used, can help you stay healthier throughout the sickest season of the year, killing up to 30% of the influenza virus in the air and promoting more restful sleep.
One thing to note: humidifiers must be cleaned out at least two times a week to prevent build up.
The greatest way to ward off illnesses year-round is of course proper hand-washing, regular exercise, eating a whole food diet, and getting proper rest. Throughout the winter, however, supplementing with Vitamin D3 has been shown to decrease the probability of contracting flu symptoms, especially in school-aged children. It can prevent or lessen joint pain caused by inflammation, too. You can also aid your body by taking daily probiotics, keeping your gut health at an optimal level.
The season of sickness is upon us. This rings especially true for infants, toddlers, and young children in daycare.
Daycare germs are real. They have been researched and explained away as evil necessities of childhood. If anything, most parents joke about the fact that their children spend more days sick than healthy while in their first few years of daycare. They then try to explain their theories with the myth of, “getting sick now builds a baby’s immune system to be healthier later!” (While this sounds ok, it is completely untrue due to the lack of developed immune systems, over vaccinating, unhealthy diets, over sterile environments, etc.)
Yes, an infant in daycare is going to get sick more often than one who is with his mother throughout the day. Breastmilk builds antibodies to the environment around the mother. This helps protect the baby from getting sick, and is known as ‘Nature’s Vaccines’ by those who like to label everything. But, we live in a world that takes significant funds to navigate through, and mothers find themselves in a position that returning to work is a necessity. With our deplorable maternity leave ‘benefits’ in the United States, most working mothers end up enrolling their newborns (yes, newborns) into daycare between 6-12 weeks of age. While this is less than ideal, it happens every day.
Returning to work is stressful enough, but add into that the alarming statistic rates of infant illnesses related to daycare attendance, and it leaves a mother in a panic. Your baby’s first cough, stuffy nose, cold, or fever is never a fun experience, and when in daycare, it typically means that the flood gates are just opening.
How to Prevent or Limit Daycare Germs
First and foremost, breastfeed. Send breastmilk and educate your daycare provider on the importance of pace feeding. Your milk is the single most important thing that keeps your baby healthy. Keep yourself healthy and boost your own immune system to pass on all the positive nutrients to your baby while you are separated.
Give Probiotics. There are high-quality infant probiotics that you can give your baby daily to help his gut keep healthy bacteria present.
Vitamin D3 is a necessity. A drop or 2 every day can help boost your baby’s (still developing) immune system.
If you are nursing, you can help by taking Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Omega 3 Fatty Acid, and Probiotics regularly! This of course should be paired with a whole foods diet full of leafy greens, garlic, ginger, fruits, vegetables -as organic as you can manage. Include plenty of exercise, too.
Please start your baby with regular chiropractic care. A chiropractor contributes to the overall health and wellness of your little one.
If your little one is starting to sit independently and showing an interest in eating food, continue to breastfeed as often as possible, but feel free to also boost their immune system through healthy foods. If your child is beyond the breastfeeding years, definitely start working on his immune system.
10 Ways to Boost the Immune System
- Supplements: Can be taken preventatively to boost the immune system or as treatment if you are sick.
- Vitamin D3 – Vitamin D rapidly destroys the cell walls of bacteria, fungi, and viruses, including the influenza virus. Getting as much sunshine on your skin will also boost the immune system! Send those babies outside to play.
- Elderberry – In 2000, a study was done on the effectiveness of elderberry during a flu epidemic in Panama. In a placebo controlled double blind study of influenza B, a complete cure was achieved within 2 – 3 days in nearly 90% of the elderberry-treated group compared with at least 6 days in the placebo group. Elderberry is very high in antioxidants and is a good source of potassium, vitamins A, B and C and nutrients like, amino acids, carotenoids, tannin and rutin. Anthocyanins, one of the most powerful antioxidants known to man, are found in these remarkable berries in far higher quantities than either Vitamin C or E alone. This accounts for the excellent health benefits of elderberry. You can find elderberry in liquid form and even make your own gummy versions at home!
- Echinacea– This natural herb will enhance the immune system. Medical research has shown it to be safe and effective in decreasing the frequency, duration, and severity of common illnesses such as ear and sinus infections, colds, and the flu. Echinacea comes in adult tablets and liquid, as well as children’s chewables and drops. Numerous clinical trials have been carried out on Echinacea preparations: it appears that the extracts shorten the duration and severity of colds and other upper respiratory infections (URIs) when given as soon as symptoms become evident.
- Vitamin C– This simple vitamin can fight off invading germs. Younger kids up to age 6 will benefit from around 250 mg per day. Older kids and adults can take 500 mg per day. Available as a powder, chewable, or capsule. You can get enough Vitamin C through a good diet, but if your diet is not quite where you would like it to be, supplementing will help.
- Fruits and vegetable supplement– The immune-boosting properties of nature’s food is remarkable. If your kids won’t eat enough fruits and vegetables, taking a “raw foods multivitamin” will help.
- Zinc– Zinc is an important nutrient required by the body for proper growth, better immune, nervous and reproductive systems. Unfortunately, the body cannot produce this nutrient on its own and hence it needs to make up for it through a proper diet.
- Probiotics– Probiotics help to regulate the immune system by balancing the good bacteria (flora) in the tummy. These “good” microorganisms potentially reduce the risk of diarrhea and respiratory infections. Strengthen your child’s immune system by serving live-cultured products like organic yogurt or by adding a probiotic supplement to their water or applesauce. Be sure the probiotic is organic high quality. The best species of probiotics are lactobacillus and bifidobacteria. Available as liquid, powder, and capsules, children and adults can take as directed.
2. Nutrition/Diet: A healthy immune system begins with a healthy diet. Processed foods are full of chemicals, and toxins that weaken our ability to fight illness and stay healthy. Skip anything that comes in a box (or a bag typically) and stick with whole foods. Yes, this means you will be preparing and cooking more, BUT grab a crockpot and let it do the work for you. Most foods that boost the immune system are those that are good sources of one or two particular vitamins, minerals or nutrients, so eat a diversity of foods. For the immune system to function properly and be able to defend your body against pathogens, it is very important to supply the body with a sufficient amount of all vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and amino acids. Immune health and proper immune response cannot be obtained without all these essentials.
Foods to Include: (Superfoods list)
- Tumeric: a powerful anti-inflammatory, new studies show that turmeric also lowers fevers.
- Garlic: It’s antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-fungal. Garlic has some serious infection-fighting capabilities.
- Bone Broth: Homemade can’t be beat. A cure-all in traditional households, bone broth or stock can be made from chicken, fish, or beef bones. It builds strong bones, soothes sore throats and nourishes the sick.
- Almonds: Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin, meaning it requires the presence of fat to be absorbed properly. Nuts (especially almonds) are packed with vitamin E. A half-cup serving provides nearly 100 percent of the recommended daily amount.
- Citrus: Almost all citrus fruits are high in vitamin C and with such a variety to choose from it’s easy to add a squeeze of C to any meal.
- Red Bell Peppers: red bell peppers have twice as much vitamin C as citrus, as well as being a rich source of beta-carotene.
- Broccoli is super-charged with an arsenal of vitamins and minerals. Packed with vitamins A, C, and E, as well as numerous antioxidants, broccoli is one of the healthiest vegetables you can put on your table.
- Ginger: helps prevent a cold from taking hold of you
- Spinach: full of antioxidants
- Yogurt, kefir: Probiotic-packed foods!
- Mushrooms: Numerous medical studies have shown that beta glucans (found in mushrooms) can positively modulate and strengthen the immune system and prevent infections.
3. Lose the Sugar: If you do only one thing to boost your immune system, eliminating sugar will do the most good. Refined sugar is a poison which, among other things, dramatically decreases immune function.
4. Herbs and Salts: Epsom Baths, salves, teas, steams, tinctures have all been found to have immune boosting qualities! You can make your own, or purchase high quality versions to use at home on yourself or your little one. Mixing magnesium flakes and Epsom salts with a few drops of essential oil will give you boost. Same with a steam shower with a few oil drops. Doing these things weekly will keep your body cleansed and ready to ward off illness.
5. Massage: Just what you have wanted to hear! A massage session calms you down, eases your anxieties, and even helps you sleep at night. A study by the government’s National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine finds that those sessions help you ward off illnesses, too.
6. Exercise: Physical activity may help flush bacteria out of the lungs and airways. This may reduce your chance of getting a cold, flu, or other airborne illness. It causes changes in antibodies and white blood cells, which circulate more rapidly and detect illnesses earlier. The brief rise in body temperature while exercising may prevent bacteria from growing and fight off any existing infections more effectively.
7. Essential Oils: While it is not shown safe to ingest any essential oils, you may diffuse them, use them in salves, rubs, baths, etc. There are “hot” oils that should not be used on children, so make sure you know what you are purchasing and how you are using it.
8. Sleep: If your child is 12 and under and gets less than 10 hours of sleep per night, or if your tween or teen is getting less than eight and a half hours— they ’re prime candidates for a weaker immune system. Make sleep a priority in your home.
9. Fresh Air, Germs, and Play: Yes, you read right – GERMS. Not all germs and bacteria are bad for you! Some exposure to germs can help build a child’s immunity and protect them from illness. As homes become cleaner and more sterile, the immune system doesn’t have to work as hard to defend the body against common bacterial infections—and this may have led to an unintended consequence: allergies. A theory, the “hygiene hypothesis,” developed by immunology experts, states underexposure to germs and bacteria are decreasing the body’s ability to fight allergies and asthma later in life. Allow your kids to be kids, get dirty outside and play with friends—and don’t worry incessantly about germs.
10. Skip The Chemical-Filled Products: Anything you put on the skin is absorbed into the body, either helping or hurting yourself or your child. From toothpaste to shampoo, read your labels or make your own products.
http://www.askdrsears.com/topics/feeding-eating/family-nutrition/foods-to-boost-immunity/boost-your-childs-immune-system http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=78 https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminC-Consumer/ https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Zinc-HealthProfessional/#h3 http://www.askdrsears.com/topics/health-concerns/childhood-illnesses/echinacea http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15035888 http://www.smallfootprintfamily.com/the-many-different-kinds-of-sugar https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/007165.htm http://theholisticmama.com/take-this-herb-daily-to-boost-immunity/
Alongside of the backpack, lunchbox, and new shoes should also be a reminder list of how to keep the school germs at bay this year. We saw a nationwide increase in illnesses this time last year, no doubt related to the back-to-school rush and ‘unhealthy’ environment our kids are sitting in day after day.
While most classrooms look spotless to the naked eye, there is so much happening that you just aren’t seeing. Generally speaking, classrooms are sprayed and wiped with chemical-filled and artificially-scented cleaners. There can be hidden mold and other growing issues not even known about. Bleach is a janitor’s best friend. I’m not judging because schools are huge cesspools of snot and sickness, so go ahead and get them as clean as possible; however, a completely bleached space does not mean germs are stopped from spreading.
What it means is that all bacteria, both good and bad are eliminated daily. When you add to this foundation a squirt of hand sanitizer a few times each day, you have a recipe for disaster.
Most classrooms have a carpet or rug area, even a couch and/or pillows. These items are rarely cleaned more than a quick vacuum (for the rug). This is what I call the sick-pot. If there are community crayons, pencils, scissors, or other supplies, you can bet they too are holding the sick germs. You see, when your child is void of the healthy bacteria to fight these germs, they get sick easier, and spread the sick germs easier. It is a vicious cycle that most parents and teachers think is par for the course. The biggest myth, though, is when parents state, “It’s just building their immune systems.” When you are preventing your child from being able to fight the illnesses, you aren’t building anything.
So what can you do to help prevent your child from becoming sick this school year?
Preparing for School Sicknesses
Eat Whole Foods
The foods you feed your child are the fuel that power his gut. The link between the brain and the gut continues to raise the importance of eating well.
If the gut bacteria balance is off, there will be stomach aches, headaches, focus issues, and behavior problems. Study after study provides the information needed to support creating a healthy gut environment. To do so, you will need to adjust the diet and introduce high quality supplements. If you have questions on what ‘high quality’ means, head over to this post.
Probiotics – Help balance the gut bacteria with probiotics.
Multi-Vitamin – While most are filled with junk, you want to look for folate (methyl-folate is best) instead of folic acid.
Immune Boosting Tincture – Tinctures are becoming more well-known, and with great reason. Highly concentrated versions of immune boosting herbs are dropped into your child’s water cup each day. They can be found at almost any natural grocery store or ordered online.
Vitamin D3 – Unfortunately, the return to school brings with it less time outside in the sun. As most kids are naturally deficient in Vitamin D, being inside most of the day makes it worse. Liquid or chewable versions works, but drops are the easiest way to get the highest amount in your child.
Vitamin C – A liquid version can be a little fizzy for most kids to tolerate, but there are decent chewable versions out there.
Elderberry – I recommend tinctures over liquid so you skip the extra sugars and get a more concentrated dose.
Echinacea – Again, a tincture form is great. (An immune-boosting tincture will have this in it, but if sickness occurs, you may want to add this in.)
Vitamin A – Read over my Vitamin A research to ensure you have the right amount on hand if a virus is picked up at school!.
Provide Personal Supplies
Send a note if needed, but encourage your child to use his own pencil and other supplies.
Encourage Hand Washing
Hand sanitizer isn’t on my favorite list. Instead, have your child use soap and water regularly.
Get Good Sleep
Sleep is imperative for good health, especially when a body is still growing. Your child’s body and brain need to be on a regular sleep schedule.
Cloth diapers are not what our grandmothers once used- a cloth towel held together by pins. Gone are the days of hand-washing and line drying cloth diapers, too. (Unless of course, you choose to do so.)
We are entering a more environmentally friendly generational wave right now, and one trend is coming back with a new style. Keeping disposable diapers out of landfills can help to lessen your carbon footprint, and it can have significant health benefits for your baby. Choosing cloth diapers over conventional diapers is an easy decision when you understand just what it can mean for your baby.
The Benefits of Cloth Diapering
Keeping the chemicals from disposable diapers off of your baby’s skin should be a priority. Sodium Polyacrylate, Tributyl Tin, Phthalates, and Dioxin are only a few of the most common chemicals found in disposable diapers. These are all linked to lifelong health risks such as endocrine disruption, obesity, and cancer.
By choosing cloth diapers, you also lower the risk of diaper rashes and UTI’s because you will be changing your baby more frequently.
9 in every 10 American babies use disposable diapers. This adds up to 27.4 billion diapers in landfills each year.
- Just for the disposable diapers U.S. babies will wear, over 200,000 trees are cut down every year.
- In one year, 3.4 billion gallons of fuel oil will be used to manufacture disposable diapers.
- Disposables generate over 3.5 million tons of waste each year.
- Those diapers can take up to 500 years to decompose.
Earlier Potty Training:
Because cloth diapered babies can feel when they are wet, they want to potty train earlier than those in disposable diapers. They tend to have less bed wetting issues as they potty train and grow, too. It is easier to notice your baby’s bathroom cues when wearing cloth diapers, making the transition to underwear smooth and easy.
Your Bank Account:
Purchasing disposable diapers will cost you over $800 a year per child, but (depending on how many cloth diapers you purchase) cloth diapers can be bought for $5-20 a piece. You can survive with about 25-30 diapers, easily. (It’s even cheaper if you use prefolds and a cover!) These diapers can be reused on siblings, too.
The Selection of Cloth Diapers
It is an overwhelming world to jump into these days! You can choose between:
But don’t shy away because of the choices, you’ll find your favorites as you start trying them out. The easiest will always be an all-in-one, hybrid, or pocket diaper. They require the least amount of work, but all cloth diapers are pretty easy!
Perhaps the pattern options may sway your choice, too. Whales, monkeys, plaid, stripes, ice-cream cones, you name it and you can find it on a cloth diaper. Ruffles and bows? No problem. An attachable dragon tail? Yep. You may just find yourself starting a new obsessive collection!
How to Clean Cloth Diapers
If you are breastfeeding, there is literally nothing to do but toss your diapers directly into a diaper bag, and then wash the contents of the bag every other day (empty and toss the bag in, too). You’ll rinse the diapers on a cold cycle, wash them on a hot cycle with minimal soap, and then rinse them again on cold. You can hang them to dry or toss them in the dryer for convenience.
If you are using formula, or after solid foods enter the picture, you can knock the poop into your toilet before throwing the diapers into the wash.
Learn More About the Risks of Disposable Diapers:
Parents are also not aware of the adverse effects of disposable diapers being in contact with their baby’s reproductive organs 24 hours a day for more than two years and the long-term effects it causes.
Disposable diapers have been implicated by diapering proponents like leak proof polymers, super absorbent polymers, and some scented chemicals which are the key factors for everything from chronic diaper rash, respiratory problems like asthma, liver damage, skin diseases, infertility, and even to cancer.
Continue the research:
There is nothing more eye-opening than becoming a parent. The moment you find out that you are pregnant, it is as if you realize just how dangerous everything is that surrounds you. That soap? Toxic. That packaged food? Poison. The microwave? Death. Suddenly, you throw yourself into learning about the healthiest, safest items possible. This little life you are growing will enter the world completely perfect, and you want to provide an environment full of safe items and positive experiences. There are enough uncontrollable toxins flying around to worry about, make sure that the things you bring into your home don’t add to the list.
One of the biggest fears most new parents experience is SIDS. It is terrifying because the cause has not yet been determined; although, we can look at a pattern of toxic exposures in relation to SIDS occurrences and form our own opinions. While keeping your baby in your room is highly recommended, one thing that is often not talked about is the quality of your baby’s mattress. Toxic chemicals are found in the materials used to make the most commonly sold crib mattresses (and all mattresses for that matter!). Did you ever even think that a mattress could be dangerous?
All crib mattresses have the same overall construction: the core, the padding, flame retardant material/chemicals, and a cover or “ticking,” which may also have chemicals added to make it waterproof. Crib mattresses range from those made almost entirely of petroleum–based products (petroleum = SCARY dangerous) to others made of natural fibers like wool or cotton.
According to Women’s Voices for the Earth:
- 72% of surveyed mattress models use one or more chemicals of concern identified in this report, such as antimony, vinyl, polyurethane, and other volatile organic compounds.
- 40% use vinyl coverings.
- 22% use proprietary formulas for waterproofers, flame retardants or antibacterials, keeping potential health impacts secret.
- 20% of surveyed mattresses offer some “green” components but do not take meaningful steps to ensure products are free of toxic chemicals.
Crib mattress may contain chemicals of concern in any of the four layers. For example:
- Some flame retardants are made with antimony, which is also a contaminant of polyester. Long-term inhalation of low levels is linked to eye irritation and heart and lung problems.
- Vinyl, used as a waterproof cover, relies on many toxic chemicals throughout its production, including cancer-causing chemicals, asthma triggers, and developmental toxins.
- Polyurethane foam, also appearing as “memory foam” or “soy foam,” is made with a potentially cancer-causing chemical, and may emit harmful “VOCs”—volatile organic compounds—in the home. VOC’s can also be found in synthetic latex foam. VOC’s can irritate eyes, nose and throat, cause headaches and some cause cancer.
- Companies that use proprietary chemicals, or refuse to disclose chemical use, make it impossible to determine potential health threats. In the absence of disclosure, assume they may cause harm.
What brand mattress should you go with?
The following companies have been noted to be safe and reliable (this is not an all-inclusive list):
- White Lotus
- Land and Sky
- Natural Mat
- Organic Mattresses, Inc.
- Pure Rest
- Savvy Rest
- Shepherd’s Dream
- Soaring Heart Natural Bed Company
- Suite Sleep
This information is also relevant for all mattresses, not jus crib mattresses.
Take the time to research before you purchase and air your mattress out for at least a week before using it!
Learn more about mattress chemicals and dangers:
As you have read so far, the supplements we are consuming are full of fillers and sugars. There are other hidden dangers within these capsules, tablets, liquids, and even powders: DYES.
According to the FDA, in 2007 Americans were consuming five times more artificial food colorings than they were in 1955. That number in no way has decreased in the mast eight years. http://www.organicauthority.com/blog/organic/banned-in-europe-food-coloring-linked-to-behavior-problems/
Artificial colors are being added to our vitamins, supplements, and medicines (as well as our foods, skin products, bath products, etc.) at an alarming rate. Somehow the rate is increasing even though studies are linking these dyes to everything from cancer to hyperactivity in children. The risks can be deadly, and the benefits: a more appealing product to draw consumers in, to make a sale.
The Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of these dyes, even as they are band in other countries across the world due to their significant side effects. Countries throughout Europe have banned against food dyes and insisted on strong labeling with warnings including all health risks to these dyes. But yet, here in the United States we not only promote the use of dyes, but they are included as ingredients within our health-boosting supplementation and medications.
The seven FDA approved food dyes include: http://www.fda.gov/ForIndustry/ColorAdditives/
- FD&C Blue No. 1 – Brilliant Blue FCF, E133
- FD&C Blue No. 2 – Indigotine E132
- FD&C Green No. 3 – Fast Green FCF, E143
- FD&C Red No. 40 – Allura Red AC, E129
- FD&C Red No. 3 – Erythrosine, E127
- FD&C Yellow No. 5 – Tartrazine, E102
- FD&C Yellow No. 6 – Sunset Yellow FCF, E110
Some of these artificial colors (Yellow Dye 5 & 6) are derived from toxic coal tar. Coal tar is a mixture of many chemicals, derived from petroleum. It is recognized as a human carcinogen, with the main concern of using it for individual colors (whether produced from the coal tar or synthetically) is the potential to cause cancer. These colors may also be contaminated with low levels of heavy metals and even be combined with aluminum substrate. Aluminum compounds and many heavy metals are toxic to the brain. Coal tar is used for purposes such as: roofing, outdoor sealants, exterior paints, and heating. This should obviously NOT be ingested. http://www.davidsuzuki.org/issues/health/science/toxics/chemicals-in-your-cosmetics—coal-tar-dyes/
Current research is working towards providing the direct link from synthetic supplements and artificial dyes to autism, sleep disturbances and other chronic problems in children. Previous studies show links to artificial dyes and cancer, hyperactivity, ADHD, allergies, and sterility. http://melisann.hubpages.com/hub/Know-Which-of-Your-Vitamins-and-Medicines-Contain-Toxins
This research is eye opening, even for myself. I have a four year old son with sensory processing disorder, food allergies, food sensitivities, speech delays, and sleep troubles. We were told by wonderful natural-minded pediatric doctors and chiropractors to keep toxins away from him. This meant vaccines, chemicals, processed foods, etc. We learned of a wonderful diet that removed all dyes, fillers, and chemicals from the body to heal the gut. We have had great success on this diet, but hadn’t looked into the hidden details of his supplements (or ours!). While we have been making smart supplement decisions, there were a few with hidden dyes that have since been eliminated. I know that it sounds extreme to most people, but I am telling you from our personal four year journey that what you put into your body makes a world of difference.
Common ailments linked to these dyes include headaches, mood response, hyperactivity, skin rash, and swollen gut, trouble falling asleep, or breathing problems. An actual allergy to dyes may be difficult to diagnose. However, if removing dyes from the diet is linked to absence of symptoms, this may prove dye sensitivity. Allergy testing for dyes is not conclusive, but an IgG antibody test can be part of your investigation. (We had IgG testing done as early as 15 months of age with our son.)
Each dye can be traced to its own set of possible side effects: http://www.cspinet.org/reports/chemcuisine.htm
Blue Dye No. 1 can cause hyperactivity, skin rashes, bronchoconstriction – especially when combined with other artificial colors- and chromosomal damage. It may also cause issues with the gastrointestinal tract while inhibiting cell respiration and lead to ADHD, asthma, and other allergic reactions. (This dye is banned in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Norway Switzerland, and Sweden.) New studies show that Blue Dye is also absorbed through the skin. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23127598
Blue Dye No. 2 is a synthetic coal tar dye commonly added to pharmaceutical drugs and is also used as a medical diagnostic aid. The dye, which is banned in Norway, has been known to cause nausea, vomiting, high blood pressure, skin rashes, breathing problems, brain tumors and other allergic reactions.
Green Dye No. 3 is linked to tumors and gene mutations in test animals.
Red Dye No. 40 is a petroleum byproduct often used in medications and supplements that can cause allergy-like reactions, hyperactivity in children and potential cancer. Asthmatics and those intolerant to aspirin are at increased risk of a reaction to this dye, which is prohibited throughout Europe. http://www.npr.org/2011/03/30/134962888/fda-probes-link-between-food-dyes-kids-behavior
Red Dye No. 3 has been shown to cause cancer in lab animals.
Yellow Dye No. 5 is one of the most dangerous artificial colors. Derived from Coal Tar, the dye is linked to cancer and provokes asthma attacks, skin reactions, and hyperactivity in children. It has been banned in Norway, Austria, and Finland.
Yellow Dye No. 6 is linked to hyperactivity, allergic reactions, nausea, and nasal congestion. It is often used in medications and supplements Yellow Dye #6 is banned in Finland, Norway, and the UK.
Unfortunately, these reactions and their connections to artificial food dyes have largely been dismissed by the FDA. In 2004, an analysis of fifteen studies found evidence that artificial colors worsen the behavior of children with ADHD. Even after studies found that artificial dyes affect the behavior of children without behavioral disorders, the FDA continues to deny any significant link between food dyes and behavioral problems.
By eliminating food dyes and food additives, studies have continuously shown increased improvements in children’s behavior.
The FDA has approved a number of natural dyes for use in products. These dyes include:
- Beet Juice
- Grape Skin Extract
- Paprika Oleoresin
- Fruit and Vegetable Juices
Some natural dyes can still cause adverse reactions to those with sensitivities. My son, for example, reacts to annatto extract. Annatto, caramel, and cochineal extract (known as carmine) have all been traced to allergic reactions.
A partial list of popular vitamins with toxic dyes: http://www.vaclib.org/docs/ToxicDyesVitamins.doc
- One A Day – Red #40
- One A day for Women – Mixed Berry’s – Blue #1 Yellow #5, Yellow #6 and Red #40
- One A Day Scooby Doo – Blue #2, Yellow #6 and Red #40
- Flintstones (Children’s Vitamin) – Blue #1, Blue #2, Yellow #6, Red #40 and Aspartame Toxic Sweetener
- Centrum & Centrum Silver – Yellow #6 and Red #40
- Geritol – Blue #2, Yellow #6 and Red #40
- Prenatal from Nature’s Bounty – Blue #1, Yellow #6 and Red #40
- Tums – Blue #1, Yellow #5, Yellow #6 and Red #40
Starting in the 1950s, hundreds of communities across the U.S. became embroiled in heated battles over whether fluorides—ionic compounds containing the element fluorine—should be added to their water systems. Activists stated that the risks of fluoridation were inadequately studied and that the practice amounted to compulsory medication and thus was a violation of civil liberties.
When fluoride was first introduced to water in the 1940s as a means of preventing tooth decay, not a single dental product contained fluoride: no toothpastes, no fluoride mouth rinses, no fluoride varnishes, and no fluoride gels. In the past 60 years, as one fluoride product after another entered the market, exposure to fluoride increased considerably, particularly among children.
As you read through the research, you may decide to trash the fluoride-filled toothpaste in your bathroom (PLEASE lose your child’s fluoride toothpaste!), which I highly recommend. But you probably don’t know that processed foods, pesticides, bottled teas, pharmaceuticals, Teflon pans, and mechanically deboned chicken all contain fluoride. DITCH THEM. However, there is a bigger issue at hand: OUR WATER.
Here we are in 2015 still fighting about fluoride. Over the past 65 years, a lot has been discovered and brushed under the table pertaining to this chemical. Since 2010, more than 75 US and Canadian communities have voted to end water fluoridation, and the issue is heating up as more and more people begin to demand water that does not expose them to this highly toxic industrial waste product. The United States is one of the only developed countries that fluoridate their citizens’ drinking water. Most countries fully realize that adding a known poison to your population’s water supply is probably not a good idea. In Europe, only Ireland (73%), Poland (1%), Serbia (3%), Spain (11%), and the U.K. (11%) fluoridate any of their water. Most developed countries, including Japan and 97% of Western Europe, do not consume fluoridated water. More people drink fluoridated water in the US alone than in the rest of the world combined. About 70% of our public water supplies are fluoridated. This equates to approximately 185 million people, which is over half of the number of people drinking artificially fluoridated water worldwide. http://www.fluoridealert.org/
The FDA labels fluoride a drug, which has the purpose of preventing tooth decay. Did you know that according to the World Health Organization, decline in tooth decay has absolutely nothing to do with fluoride? The decline has taken place worldwide, not just in areas with fluoridated water.
The National Academy of Science reviewed the safety of fluoridation and remains “unsettled,” but in 2006, a committee at the NAS published an exhaustive 500-page review of fluoride’s toxicity. The report concludes that fluoride is an “endocrine disruptor” and can affect many things in the body, including the bones, the brain, the thyroid gland, the pineal gland, and even blood sugar levels.
According to the National Research council (2006) fluoride has the ability to interfere with the functions of the brain, lower intellectual abilities, disrupt the endocrine system, effect thyroid function, increase the severity of diabetes, and increases the risk of Alzheimer’s. Further study needs to be done to rule out links to infertility and bladder cancer. Studies also show that children in high-fluoride areas have significantly lower IQ scores than those who live in low-fluoride areas. Not only are our children at risk for lower IQ levels, but studies have reported an association between fluoride exposure and impaired visual-spatial organization. Other studies found association between prenatal fluoride exposure and fetal brain damage. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3491930/
Today, not only do 40% of American teenagers have fluorosis, but, in some fluoridated areas, the rate is as high as 70 to 80%, with some children suffering advanced forms of the condition. (http://fluoridealert.org/)
Many people argue that fluoride is naturally occurring at high levels in our water. However, a lot of toxic substances (arsenic and lithium for example) occur naturally at high levels, but that does not mean they are safe. Most people also assume that the fluoride artificially added to our water is added at the same level as (the toxic) natural occurring fluoride, but it is not. The levels are far higher, and add to that the amount of polluted, contaminated water, we are in trouble. Fluoride is captured in air pollution control devices because fluoride gases are hazardous air pollutants that cause significant environmental harm. This captured fluoride acid is the most contaminated chemical added to public water supplies, and may impose additional risks to those presented by natural fluorides. These risks include a possible cancer hazard from the acid’s elevated arsenic content, and a possible neurotoxic hazard from the acid’s ability, under some conditions, to increase the erosion of lead from old pipes.
Healthy adult kidneys excrete 50-60% of the fluoride ingested each day, but the remainder accumulates in the body, largely in calcifying tissues such as the bones and pineal gland. Infants and children excrete less fluoride from their kidneys and take up to 80% of ingested fluoride into their bones. The fluoride concentration in bone steadily increases over a lifetime.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that 41% of American adolescents have dental fluorosis- a discoloring of tooth enamel caused by too much fluoride.
Breastfed vs. Formula-Fed Fluoride Exposure Breastmilk has a remarkably low level of fluoride (0.004 ppm). A formula-fed infant consuming fluoridated water can consume up to 300 times more fluoride than a breast fed baby (0.6-1.2 ppm). There are no benefits, only risks, to ingesting fluoride. Infants are already susceptible to environmental toxins, so consuming formula made with fluoridated water, we are placing them at extremely high risks. These infants have the highest exposure to fluoride, by bodyweight, in the population. The American Dental Association (ADA) distributed an alert in 2006 recommending parents be “advised that formula should be made with ‘low or no-fluoride water’.” Unfortunately, the ADA has done little to get this information into the hands of parents.
Aluminum + Fluoride = Alzheimer’s Many municipal water supplies are treated with both alum (aluminum sulfate) and fluoride. These two chemicals combine with each other easily in the blood to form aluminum fluoride. Although elemental aluminum cannot pass the blood-brain barrier, some compounds such as aluminum fluoride do. Aluminum fluoride is very poorly excreted in the urine. It is poisonous to the kidneys. Aluminum salts in the brain lead to Alzheimer’s Disease.
If you think you are escaping artificially added fluoride by consuming bottled water, think again. The following companies “provide you with added fluoride” without so much as a warning on the bottle: (http://www.bottledwater.org/fluoride)
· Alhambra · Arrowhead · Belmont Springs · Crystal Rock · Crystal Springs · Deer Park · Diamond Springs · Hinkley Springs · Ice Mountain · Kandiyohi · Kentwood Springs · Mayer Bros. · Mount Olympus · Nursery Water · Ozarka · Poland Spring · Pure Flo · Puritan Springs · Shenandoah · Sierra Springs · Sparkletts · Zephyrhills
FLUORIDE and CANCER: Fluoride has been to shown to thicken but weaken bones, and worse mutate normal genetic cells into cancer cells. Some researchers believe that fluorine is a carcinogen. The National Cancer Institute, the New Jersey Department of Health, and the Safe Water Foundation all found that the incidence of osteosarcoma (a type of bone cancer) is substantially higher in young men exposed to fluoridated water as compared to those who are not.
Because of everything the fluoride is linked to, it is estimated that 30,000 – 50,000 people die from fluoride poisoning each year. (http://fluoridealert.org/)
What can you do? Filter your drinking water with a well-made reverse osmosis filter system that is able to remove over 90% of dissolved fluoride in drinking water.
Side note: The skin is our largest organ and absorbs what is put on it. Showering, bathing, washing our hands, etc with our over-polluted, fluoridated water is allowing our skin to absorb the toxic drug. Consider a filter for your showers and sinks as well as your drinking water.
(I’ll take a second to love on our Berkey water filter now.)