Speaking Up on Hot Topics

Every Friday the FMF community writes for five minutes on a prompt given by Kate Motaung. To visit this inspiring community of writers, click here. Today’s prompt is: SPEAK

Through my experiences as a nurse, mother and grandmother I have come to believe that minimizing medications is a good thing. Beginning with fertility and childbirth. It is good to be educated about hormonal birth control—benefits and risks. It is good to go into labor naturally unless there is a medical problem. It is good to ask questions about proposed treatments.

I participate with a group called Women Speak for Themselves. This group encourages education about fertility and natural family planning. I am still learning how to raise discussions with women. I need grace and a good listening ear.

In the midst of the loud voices of our culture we can become timid or brash. But there is another way. We need grace and kindness as we speak up and share our point of view.

This verse in 1 Peter gives guidance for sharing our faith, and can apply to discussion of controversial topics.

But in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect. 1 Peter 3:15

Cucumbers for a Healthy Gut

When I visited my grandmother as a child she had viili, homemade sour milk, in her kitchen. My mother had been raised with the clabbered milk as a part of her diet.  The slippery consistency of this sour milk did not appeal to me. Now I recognize the health benefit of naturally fermented foods.

Traditional foods with beneficial bacteria are good for digestion and a healthy gut. Antibiotics eliminate both good and bad bacteria, stripping the gut of bacteria that assist in digestion. Our digestion system needs help to recover from some of the medications that are in commonly prescribed.  Dr. Mercola’s site has an informative article about traditional lacto-fermented foods.

So, I have a goal to include lacto-fermented foods in our diet. I grew pickling cucumbers in my garden and they have flourished!  The pickling  cucumbers are a little lighter in color than the salad cucumbers.

Pickling Cucumber

The farmers market nearby has  plenty of  cucumbers  also—but it  is   important to make sure you are getting pickling cucumbers.   ( Salad    cucumbers will get mushy when fermented.)

I found a detailed recipe for making lacto-fermented pickles and made my first jar. You can find the recipe here.

The recipe calls for whey. I strained an organic plain yogurt by putting cheesecloth in a strainer and adding the 6 ounces of yogurt. I let it stand until the whey had drained. (At first I had it on a counter in the kitchen and then placed it in the refrigerator. It took about 4 hours to get ¼ cup whey. Different brands of yogurt may have less whey. I purchased two containers just in case I needed to drain more.) The remaining yogurt can be used in other recipes. I added mine to a quiche I was making.

I let the pickles sit on my kitchen counter for three days and now they are in the refrigerator. Notice that lacto-fermented cucumbers will have a cloudy appearance.

lacto-fermented cucumbers

We will try them in a couple weeks. I expect them to have a nice, crunchy flavor. According to the recipe I followed, I will know if they are good or not!

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Healthy Thoughts About Parenting

Every Friday the FMF community writes for five minutes on a prompt given by Kate Motaung. Sometimes the first five minutes of writing stimulates more thought, and I continue on . . . Today’s prompt is: FUTURE

When I look back over my years of parenting, I realize that I have made mistakes. I would do some things differently. But I have also done some things right.

I prayed for my children consistently.

We made dietary changes. The combination of vaccines and courses of antibiotics led to health problems. I removed all refined sugar from our diet for a period of time.   And then I removed wheat.   We  learned  to  appreciate a wide variety of fruits, vegetables and grains.

I found ways to include garlic in my cooking and made garlic tea for colds. Garlic has antibacterial qualities.

When I think about the future, I have concerns about children and the number of medications they receive. If you have read my blog, you probably know that I am concerned about the number of vaccines recommended for children. I support informed consent for parents. //

The Bible says that we are wonderfully made.

Psalm 139

God has given us a body with an amazing immune system. We can support it with a healthy diet, regular hours of sleep, exercise and sunshine.

I hope you will visit the community of Five Minute Friday. Click here.

The Health Benefits of Dates and a Muffin Recipe

Dates have some surprising health benefits for expectant mothers.

Women often receive a prescription for iron during pregnancy.  During pregnancy a woman’s blood volume increases by 50% and the red blood cells increase by 30%. Red blood cells contain hemoglobin that carries oxygen; iron is a component of hemoglobin.

Iron is a vital mineral during pregnancy. A low hemoglobin level is associated with fatigue and is a risk factor during childbirth.

I looked up iron-rich foods in my nutrition almanac and found this list:

Organ meats and meats, eggs, fish and poultry

Blackstrap molasses

Cherry juice

Green leafy vegetables

Dried fruits [including dates]

 

A research study, published in March of this year, looked to see if eating dates in the last trimester of pregnancy had an impact on a woman’s     labor, childbirth experience. The study demonstrated that women who consumed dates had less of a need for medication to augment their labor.

Here is a muffin recipe that has iron-rich ingredients, including dates. Brown rice flour or a gluten-free blend works fine.

Date Muffins

Ingredients:

1 + ½ cup flour
½ cup almond meal
2 + ½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
½ cup pitted and chopped dates
¼ cup melted butter
¼ cup honey
3 Tblsp. unsulfured dark molasses
2 eggs
½ cup almond milk (or other milk of choice)

Preheat oven to 350°

Combine flour, almond meal, baking powder and salt. Stir the chopped dates into flour mixture until well combined.

Mix together the melted butter, molasses, honey, lightly beaten eggs and milk.

Then mix the liquid ingredients into the dry. The batter will be a little lumpy. Fill the muffin cups—I had enough batter for 14 regular size muffins.

Bake at 350° for 18 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Date Muffins

You can find the study about the effect of date consumption on labor here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28286995

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Viewpoint of Alternative Science: Breast-feeding is Unnatural

Cathy Areu was a guest on Tucker Carlson Friday night. She argued that breastfeeding was not natural because it put too much pressure on a woman to feed her baby. She insisted that it was natural for a dad to feed the infant formula. She referenced a recent “study”.

I watched the astonished expression on Tucker’s face as she made her case. Lol.

The argument was so bizarre that I looked for the study on-line. Ms. Areu was referring to an article that was published by Heatstreet on April 26, 2017. The article, “Study: Describing Breastfeeding as ‘Natural’ Is Unethical Because It Reinforces Gender Roles” was written by Jillian Kay Melchior. She writes:

It’s “ethically inappropriate” for government and medical organizations to describe breastfeeding as “natural” because the term enforces rigid notions about gender roles, claims a new study in Pediatrics

I checked the link to Pediatrics and found the opinion piece that was published on April 1, 2016, a little over a year ago. Not a recent study.  The article,  “Unintended Consequences of Invoking the “Natural” in Breastfeeding  Promotion,” * was written by Jessica Martucci and Anne Barnhill.

They wrote: Promoting breastfeeding as “natural” may be ethically problematic, and, even more troublingly, it may bolster this belief that “natural” approaches are presumptively healthier. This may ultimately challenge public health’s aims in other contexts, particularly childhood vaccination.

This perspective really startled me. I looked for other viewpoints. CNN had an article about the study and I was grateful that they included an opposing view. Carina Storrs authored the piece entitled, “Are there unintended consequences to calling breast-feeding ‘natural’?”

In her article she included this quote: “(The authors) are using this article to label the breast-feeding group in a very negative way, and to equate breast-feeding with people who don’t want to take immunizations,” said Eidelman, who was lead author of the 2012 AAP policy statement on breast-feeding.

It was troubling to me that, in the Pediatrics article, assumptions were being made about women who breast-feed and women who have questions about vaccines. It is true that some parents are reluctant to vaccinate their child because their child was injured by a vaccine.   Some have studied the issue and are concerned about the risks.    They have   legitimate concerns. The vaccine controversy will not go away by labeling people and denigrating them.

Wow! Over the next few hours I kept thinking about the dismissal of breastfeeding. We know that breast milk has immune factors that formula cannot provide. We know that it is most easily digested and absorbed by an infant. It is recommended that a mother breastfeed her infant for six months to avoid food allergies. The benefits are too many to enumerate.

Breastfeeding

I found that I agreed with one statement that Ms. Areu made. Breastfeeding is hard. The first time a woman breastfeeds she needs support and guidance. But her labor and birth experience have also had an impact .

My observation as a labor/delivery nurse is that the interventions that take place in the hospital can influence the breastfeeding experience. Medications given to induce labor and for pain management can have negative side effects. Women that have cesarean sections have a more difficult time establishing breastfeeding.

How soon the baby is placed in the mother’s arms (hopefully skin to skin in the first hour of life) influences early success in breastfeeding. If the mother has been traumatized by the manner of birth, breastfeeding may be more difficult to establish.

As I tried to understand the upside-down way of thinking that Ms. Areu was demonstrating I wondered what has happened to science.

Are we being asked to consider all medical interventions as natural? When we observe normal physiology and gain practical insights, are these unnatural?

I am sad because the turmoil in science and medicine is only making it hard on parents. My hope is that the medical community will listen to the concerns parents have and treat them with respect.

If you found this article interesting I hope you will visit my Facebook page.

*Jessica Martucci and Ann Barnhill, “Unintended Consequences of Invoking the “Natural” in Breastfeeding Promotion”, PEDIATRICS Vol. 137 No. 4 April 01, 2016

 

 

More to Think About

Another week has gone by. It’s Five Minute Friday! We write for five minutes (well, today I took a little longer to gather my thoughts) and share our posts at Kate Motaung’s community. Today’s word is: more

As a mother and grandmother I have been concerned that more and more vaccines have been added to the vaccine schedule. The United States gives the largest number of vaccines to children.

In 1986 a bill was passed that protected pharmaceutical companies from any liability for vaccine injury—because they were being sued too often.

Since then the number of vaccines recommended by the CDC has risen dramatically.

This past week I have been sending e-mails and making phone calls in opposition to a bill in the Illinois senate that would mandate flu vaccines for health care workers.   The flu vaccine contains  mercury  (a neurotoxin) and has varying degrees of effectiveness. It is documented that following the flu vaccine a person is more susceptible to another viral infection.

The flu vaccine should be a personal choice with informed consent.       Mandates . . . will there be more and more?

I am in favor of supporting the immune system that God has given me; a healthy diet, physical exercise and adequate sleep. The immune system is designed to fight off infections. Still, there are times when a vaccine has more benefits than risk. This should be carefully evaluated.

We cannot let fear dictate health care policy.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalm 139: 14

5 Questions About Vaccines

Over the past week I have been watching a documentary series, The Truth About Vaccines. Because one of my children had varying vaccine reactions—first to the MMR and then to the hep B—I continue to follow this issue. I am concerned about the health of the next generation.

One of the key issues is the inclusion of mercury and aluminum in vaccines. Mercury is used as a preservative for multi-dose vials of vaccine. Mercury is in the flu vaccine. Aluminum is an adjuvant. It is added to a vaccine to increase the body’s reaction to the virus in the vaccine. Both mercury and aluminum are neurotoxins, meaning they can cause nerve damage.

By watching the series I have developed a list of questions to pursue when making decisions about getting a vaccine.The flu vaccine is being recommended for pregnant women. Does the benefit of the vaccine (might be effective in preventing the flu) outweigh the risk of harm to the developing baby?    At this  point  no    research has been done on the safety of this vaccine during pregnancy.

Why does a newborn infant need the hepatitis B vaccine—commonly given the first day of life? Hepatitis B is transmitted by sexual contact or by needle sharing.

Have any studies been done to look at the effect of giving multiple vaccines in one dose? (The MMR is three vaccines: measles, mumps and rubella.) We usually do not fight three diseases at one time. It has been documented that when a child did get both the  measles  and  mumps  naturally, in close proximity, the child developed inflammatory bowel disease.

What is the cumulative amount of aluminum and mercury that a child is having injected into their system when they receive all 69 doses of vaccine recommended by the CDC?

Have doctors and pediatricians been trained to recognize signs of vaccine injury? Some studies are also associating tics with vaccines. A medical journal describes the relationship  of  pots (postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome) with the HPV vaccine. Read the article here.

The National Institute of Health has a report on the increasing number of boys that have developed tics–with association to mercury in vaccines. Read the article here.

Please take the time to educate yourself about vaccines, and be prepared to ask questions!

I’d love to read your comments.

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Women’s Rights & Midwifery

Prayer and RestWomen today have more rights than our ancestors. As we have made progress it is odd that the loudest voice in the current women’s movement is for abortion. I would rather support the right of women to give birth in the setting that they choose. Across the world there is unresolved controversy over midwifery and home birth.

At the same time that suffragists were fighting for a woman’s right to vote, the medical system in the United States, was fighting against the practice of midwifery.

For the past few years I have been researching the life of Hanna Pörn and her court case. She was a Finnish midwife that received a certificate of midwifery from the Chicago Institute of Midwifery. She lived and worked in the Finnish/Swedish community of Gardner, Massachusetts. After eight years of practice, having better statistical outcomes than the local doctors, she was arrested for practicing medicine without a license. The case went to the district court, and was appealed several times. In 1909 she was found guilty and sentenced to two months in jail.

Other countries have had lawsuits against midwives. In recent years Agnes Gereb left her position as an obstetrician and trained as a home birth midwife in Hungary. After delivering many babies in the home setting, she was arrested because one baby died. She was placed in house arrest and the case has been moving through the courts. You can read about her case here.

Today my husband handed me the Wall Street Journal pointing out this article, Sweden Blacklists an Antiabortion Midwife. Ellinor Grimmark trained as a midwife in Sweden in response to the current shortage of midwives.

In spring 2013, with one term left in her studies, she asked supervisors at the hospital where she planned to work to accommodate her conscience rights. [She did not want to participate in abortion.]

She received a furious call from one manager. “How could you even think of becoming a midwife with these opinions?” *

It is a strange world if, in order to attend the birth of babies, you must be willing to kill babies. This brings to mind the Biblical account of two midwives.

The king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, whose names were Shiprah and Puah, “ when you help the Hebrew women in childbirth and observe them on the delivery stool, if it is a boy, kill him; but if it is a girl let her live.” The midwives however feared God and did not do what the king of Egypt told them to do; they let the boys live. Exodus 1: 15-17

Ellinor Grimmark was unable to secure a position in Sweden and is now living and working in Norway. Swedish mothers are coming to Norway to give birth.

Many women are seeking a kinder, gentler way of birth.   Birth  has    physical, emotional and spiritual aspects. Midwives understand this.

So  much  emphasis  is  placed  on  the   physical aspect of birth alone—treating pregnancy like an illness. Frequently, aggressive management of labor takes place in the hospital—and there are consequences. We need to swing the pendulum back. Let labor and birth take place at a natural pace. Midwives have an important role in providing healthy birth care.

In Illinois the Home Birth Safety Act is up for debate in the senate.      Thirty-two states allow midwives to provide home birth care. Illinois should join these states and pass SB 1754. If you live in Illinois, call your state senator and ask him to support SB 1754.

*Sweden Blacklists an Antiabortion Midwife, The Wall Street Journal, April 10, 2017, A17.

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Moms for Vaccine Safety

At the beginning of the 19th century, in the city of Chicago, the health of young children  was in  perilous condition. The health of both women and children needed focused attention.

In 1916, for example, Chicago’s death rate for children under 2 years of age was 141.4 per 1,000 live births, as compared with 129.3 for Detroit, 88.3 for Philadelphia, 58.1 for New York and 49.4 for Boston.

“Enteritis under 2” remained as one of the top ten causes of death reported by the Illinois state Board of health each year from 1902 to 1913, and dramatic increases in childhood diarrheal diseases continued to be identified in the hot summer months.*

 Lack of proper sanitation and hygiene contributed to the illness. Malnutrition was another factor. The educated women in Chicago responded to this health crisis. Women from Hull House, the Chicago Women’s Club, women physicians and social workers became involved.

A broad coalition of public health practitioners, social welfare advocates, and women’s rights supporters argued that a sound and democratic future depended on mother’s ability to produce and maintain a robust citizenry.**

Since that time improved sanitation, indoor plumbing, purified water, pasteurization of milk and improved hygiene have made a difference. Public health classes on infant care and nutrition have benefited young mothers.

In addition, the discovery of antibiotics to treat infections has saved lives. These wonderful medicines were eventually overused. Doctors have learned that not every ear infection should be treated with antibiotics. When antibiotics are overprescribed they lose their effectiveness: bacteria become resistant and increasingly difficult to treat.

Is the same thing happening with the heavy use of vaccines?     Is  the  immune system—intricately designed by God—being impaired by too many vaccines?

VAXXED: A Powerful Message
Photo by Naypong@FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Currently 1 in 68 children has been diagnosed with the autism spectrum. Children have more allergies and are being diagnosed with immune system disorders. It is shocking that research data indicating a relationship between the MMR vaccine and autism was destroyed. Click here for a news article.

The number of vaccines recommended for children by age six has dramatically increased. If you count up the doses of each type of vaccine, there are 39 to be administered by age six.  Click here for the recommended vaccine schedule.

Each vaccine injection contains adjuvants. These are additions like mercury and aluminum, which stimulates the immune system to respond. What is the cumulative effect of these additives? We are concerned about mercury in the environment—and yet it is injected into the bodies of young children? Click here for an interview with Robert Kennedy Jr. regarding his research into mercury in vaccines.

Vaccines should be evaluated by their benefits and risks. Why does an infant need to receive a vaccine (hepatitis B) for a sexually transmitted disease? Click here for a school nurse’s concern about the hepatitis B vaccine.

A group of researchers, doctors and parents are working together for the robust health of children in the United States.    A petition  for  vaccine  safety is available on-line.

Click here to join the voices of many others who have concerns about vaccine safety.

*Lynne Curry, Modern Mothers in the heartland: Gender, Health and Progress in Illinois, 1900 – 1930, Columbus, Ohio: Ohio State University Press, 1999. p. 19.

**Ibid. p.1

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Thankful for Good Books During a Hospital Stay

There is a kind of comradery on the hospital elevator. I recognize the tension on the faces of men and women. We make a little conversation about the weather. Then we smile and wish each other a good day as we exit the elevator.

For almost two weeks I have made the daily trip to sit at the bedside of my brother. My role is simple. I answer questions and advocate for him. My brother doesn’t talk much, so I have had lots of time to read.

The Best of A. W. Tozer, a collection of excerpts from his books, is inspiring. The book was compiled by Warren Wiersbe. The first chapter, Following Hard After God, is from The Pursuit of God. I have been reading a chapter each day.

A dear friend loaned me some books by Sandra Dallas.   I thoroughly   enjoyed Prayers for Sale.   It is a novel about two women—one in her   eighties and the other in her late teens. The story is set in a mining town in Colorado, in the 1930s. The importance of women’s friendship is the underlying theme. Forgiveness and redemption are also a part of the story.

I borrowed Night by Elie Wiesel from my sister.  The book is the true    story of Elie’s survival in a Nazi concentration camp. His father died in the camp a few months before liberation took place. It is a heart wrenching story, but so instructive.

In his book Wiesel documents the warning that was given to his town by a man that had escaped from the death camps. No one believed the man. They couldn’t fathom it. They discarded the plea that he made for them to flee.

I wonder if there are warning signs today that are considered beyond belief. Independent researchers, some doctors and parents are raising the alarm over vaccine injury. The number of vaccines given to a young child has steadily increased with more being planned.

No one wants to believe that vaccines could have a negative impact on health. Yet, the pharmaceuticals have no liability for vaccine injury. The National Vaccine Information Center is a good resource for parents that want to be well informed.

My sister has some books by Dorothy Sayers. I love a good mystery so in the evenings I read Strong Poison. The main character, Lord Peter Wimsey, is quite taken by a young author, Harriet Vane. She is accused of murder, and Lord Peter is determined to prove her innocence.

Do you have a favorite mystery writer? I’d love to read your comment.

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