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

The Irony of Refined Sugar

Today I am joining Five Minute Friday. We write fast and free for five minutes. Today’s prompt is REFINE.

The dictionary gives these definitions: to reduce to a pure state, to improve or perfect by pruning or polishing, to become pure or perfected.

When I think about refined white sugar I notice great irony. Cane sugar is refined to a white sweetness that we add to food. The irony is; the refining process depletes the nutritional content of sugar.

When sugar is refined the byproduct is molasses. Molasses contains the minerals and B vitamins that have been stripped from the white crystals. Blackstrap molasses is richest in mineral content.

Blackstrap Molasses

Refined white sugar makes baked goods less healthy. Our body must use up its store of stress vitamins to metabolize the sugar into energy. I recently came across a recipe for healthy ginger muffins that includes blackstrap molasses. You can find the recipe here.

Words are sometimes misleading. The descriptive term may be deceiving. It is important to search for the truth. The Bible will always point us to truth.

When the Bible mentions refinement it likens it to purifying silver and gold. The result is truly better. When we are refined, we are becoming more like Christ. The book of Malachi looks ahead to the coming of Jesus Christ.

He [Lord] will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver . . .   Malachi 3:3

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The Women’s March on Washington

A friend of mine is going to participate in the Women’s March on Washington that will take place on Saturday (1/21). I have seen pictures of pink hats that women are knitting for this event on instagram. I don’t plan to go, but the event has captured my attention. The following paragraph is taken from the mission statement of the march:

The Women’s March on Washington will send a bold message to our new government on their first day in office, and to the world that women’s rights are human rights. We stand together, recognizing that defending the most marginalized among us is defending all of us.

This statement sounds good—defend the marginalized. Who are the most marginalized? What rights are human rights? Life is the most basic right. The organizers have issued a statement. The march is for pro-choice women only. Pro-life women are not welcome. This saddens me.

As a nurse I am concerned about reproductive health.

According to World Magazine chemical abortion (pills that terminate pregnancy) is becoming more widespread with less medical supervision. The FDA published a report of adverse events following use of abortion pills in 2011. Fourteen women died. Another 339 women experienced blood loss requiring transfusion.    Young  women  need  to  be  fully educated about medications and treatments that they receive.

More needs to be done to rescue the girls that are caught in the web of human trafficking. Abortion clinics enable abuse when they don’t report the pregnancy of underage girls.

Women need complete information about the side effects and risks associated with hormonal birth control. An article published by the BBC News Magazine was titled “My Nightmare on the Pill”. Vicky Spratt wrote:

We can’t make informed choices without information. We need better research into how hormonal contraception can affect women’s mental health, better ways of monitoring reactions in patients, more awareness and support for those who do experience serious side effects. No woman should feel dismissed or ignored.
To read the whole article click here.

Midwifery Today published statistics on maternal death following childbirth. Almost all countries are seeing the rate go down. In the U.S. the rate is going up. In 2015 the rate was 14 deaths per 100,000 births.

Women would benefit from an increase in the availability of midwives. Illinois could move forward and license certified professional midwives. Midwives educate women on healthy lifestyles and childbirth care at lower cost.

Pray for the women in our country and across the world. Pray that they would find their identity in Christ. Pray that every woman could grow and mature with support, health education and good healthcare.

Sharing this post with Tuesdays with a Twist,  Grace & Truth and Thought Provoking Thursday

Fear, Hype and the Zika Virus

If you look up fear in a Bible concordance you will find hundreds of     entries. Mentions of fear can be divided into two categories: things we should not fear and the instruction to fear God.

Recently the zika virus has been in the news. Photos of babies born with microcephaly are being shown on TV and social media. Pregnant women are being urged to avoid mosquito bites.

It is helpful to get a little perspective on microcephaly. Many people are unaware but the cytomegalovirus has been linked to microcephaly for decades. Because of my nursing knowledge I looked for recent articles about cytomegalovirus. This article was published in February of this year. You can read the complete article here.

In the US, about 1% of the 4 million babies born every year are infected with CMV, per the Congenital CMV Disease Research Clinic and Registry at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. While most of them—about 90%—won’t show any symptoms, the rest may have at least one of a variety of abnormalities, including hearing loss and microcephaly. That’s around 4,000 affected babies.

For perspective, only 17 of the roughly 400 microcephaly cases confirmed by Brazilian health officials so far have conclusively tested positive for Zika infection, according to the latest data from the World Health Organization.

So what about all the media attention on zika and mosquitoes?

zika and mosquitoes

It makes sense to use mosquito repellent and to get rid of standing water around our homes. But we don’t need to live in fear. We still do not have a complete understanding of the zika virus and its role in birth defects. An article in the Tech Times suggests that the outbreak of microcephaly in Brazil could have been caused by the use of a neurotoxic pesticide that got into the water supply. Read the article here.

Suggestions are being made in the media that microcephaly is a reason to support late term abortion.

We live at a time when we value individual autonomy and complete control over the events in our life. The truth is that we don’t have absolute control. The Bible gives guidance for sanitary and dietary measures that support health. At the same time it teaches us that we don’t have absolute control.

We should be informed and wise in the actions we choose.   For the     Christian, security is found in God. We fear and trust God. If we are touched by disease or crisis, God will help us.

Here are the words of Isaiah:

Say to those who have an anxious heart,
“Be strong; fear not!
Behold your God will come with vengeance,
with the recompense of God.
He will come and save you.”
Then the eyes of the blind will be opened,
and the ears of the deaf unstopped;
then shall the lame man leap like a deer,
and the tongue of the mute sing for joy.

Isaiah 35: 4-6

This post is being shared with Tuesdays with a Twist,  Mom to Mom Mondays,  Word of God Speak,  Thought Provoking Thursday and the Christian Blogger Link-up

Elderberries in the Garden

I look upon the pleasure which we take in a garden, as one of the most innocent delights in human life. Joseph Addison (1672-1719)

Elderberry flower buds

This year the branches on my elderberry bushes are laden with abundant berries. The dainty flowers came first, adding a lovely lace among the green.

Elderberry flower 5

 

Flowers of the common elderberry can be steeped to make a tea, which is often recommended to relieve headaches. The flower cluster can also be battered and fried to make interesting fritters. *

Ripening Elderberries

I have three elderberry bushes at different stages of ripeness. It is true that having different varieties of elderberry—like Johns, Adams & York—encourages a good harvest for each bush. I will be picking berries all the way through August. When I pick the berries I cut the cluster of berries and remove the berries from the little stems. The stems and unripe berries can cause a digestive upset. I am freezing my ripe berries until I have enough to make a batch of elderberry syrup.

Harvested Elderberries

Elderberries have many benefits. In Israel, Hadassah’s Oncology Lab has determined that elderberry stimulates the body’s immune system and they are treating cancer and AIDS patients with it. The wide range of medical benefits (from flu and colds to debilitating asthma, diabetes, and weight loss) is probably due to the enhancement of each individual’s immune system.   For more information click here.

Click here for a recipe for elderberry syrup.

Linking with From the Farm, the Homemaking PartyWildcrafting Wednesday and A Little R & R

Another MMR Vaccine?

Image courtesy of cuteimage at FreeDigitalPhotos.com
Image courtesy of cuteimage at FreeDigitalPhotos.com

A couple weeks ago I received an e-mail from the University of Illinois about the MMR vaccine. Here is an excerpt from that message: The Illinois Department of Public Health and Champaign-Urbana Public Health District have recommended that students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign receive a booster shot of the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine as soon as possible, even if they have already received one or two previous vaccinations with the MMR vaccine.

This recommendation is based on the ongoing occurrence of mumps infection in a number of students through the recent spring semester and summer sessions. Most cases on campus had two previous MMR vaccinations. 

My son is no longer a student at the University, so he doesn’t have to deal with this. If he were a student, I would encourage him to have titers drawn to determine whether he still had immunity before doing another vaccine.  He has already had two doses of this vaccine.

According to the CDC’s website these are the ingredients in the MMR: Medium 199, Minimum Essential Medium, Phosphate, recombinant human albumin, neomycin, sorbitol, hydrolyzed gelatin, chick embryo cell culture, WI-38 human diploid lung fibroblasts. For a full list of vaccines and their ingredients click here.

Knowing what I know now I probably would have refused the vaccine when my son was a toddler. The fact that the rubella portion of the vaccine is developed off of aborted fetal cells (human diploid lung fibroblasts) goes against my view of the sanctity of human life and my faith in God’s design of the immune system. If a child gets the measles or mumps it is possible to support the immune system while they are sick. Measles is most virulent for malnourished individuals. Rest, plenty of oral fluids and vitamin A supplementation (for the measles) is recommended. By getting the measles and mumps in childhood an individual develops lifetime immunity.

As a society we are now in an unfortunate position. The vaccine wears off over time. Women that were vaccinated and did not actually have the measles do not have lifetime immunity. They don’t pass an immunity to their infants, which would last 6 to 9 months. Infants and adults may get the measles if exposed to the virus or even exposed to someone who has recently been vaccinated. (It is interesting that during the outbreak in Palatine, Illinois this year the cases involved an adult and infants. Not school age children. No one died.)

Lee Hieb, M.D. wrote about the effectiveness of the MMR vaccine:

In 2006 an epidemic of mumps broke out in my state of Iowa. Ultimately, 11 states reported 2,597 cases of mumps. The majority of mumps cases (1,487) were reported from Iowa. As reported in “Mumps Epidemic – Iowa, 2006,” “Despite control efforts and a highly vaccinated population, this epidemic has spread across Iowa and potentially to neighboring states.” According to the CDC, “During the prevaccine era, nearly everyone in the United States experienced mumps, and 90 percent of cases occurred among children, although 97 percent of children entering school in Iowa had received two doses of MMR vaccine. ” Of note, this outbreak mostly occurred in young adults of college age who had received the vaccine. Only 6 percent of those affected were known to be unvaccinated, 12 percent received one dose of MMR vaccine, 51 percent had two doses of MMR vaccine, and 31 percent (mostly adults) were not sure of their immunization history.

To read her entire article listing the risks and side effects of vaccines click here.

I am not against vaccines for life-threatening epidemics. Vaccines have been helpful, but more research is needed for our vaccine schedule.

My opinion is that we have become increasingly dependent on medications and vaccines while forgetting to address principles of health that support the immune system. Our medical system encourages a quick fix mentality.

Over years of parenting my husband and I became more actively involved in our family’s health. We have made healthy changes. Of course change in habits is difficult. It took time and persistence and we can still improve. Here are seven practices that our family has adopted to support the immune system.

  1. Eliminate (begin by reducing) refined sugar and flour from the diet. Sugar, in a variety of forms, is in every processed food. I learned to read labels.
  2. Less antibiotics. With my youngest son we avoided antibiotics unless truly necessary. We learned that we could wait and see with symptoms of an ear infection. We took milk out of the diet and added garlic for treatment.
  3. Drink plenty of water.
  4. Include lots of fresh fruits and vegetables in the diet. Once we eliminated refined sugar our appetite for and enjoyment of fruits and vegetables grew.
  5. Increase the use of garlic and herbs in the diet.
  6. Get adequate sleep. For children this should be 8 to 10 hours each night. We could have done better during the high school years.
  7. Raw honey and elderberry syrup are more recent additions that we have made for cold and flu treatment. More about elderberry syrup in a future post.        NOTE: Honey should not be given to a child under one year of age.

For additional thoughts on the MMR vaccine, click here.

UPDATE: The MMR is in the news also because data from vaccine safety studies was destroyed by the research team. Documents from a whistleblower have been given to congress. You can learn more and contact your House Rep. and Senators by clicking here.

Linking with Coffee and ConversationA Little R & R,  The Homemaking PartyTitus 2sday, Tell It to Me Tuesday, and Tuesdays with a Twist