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A Toolbox for Children and their Brains

A TOOLBOX FOR CHILDREN AND THEIR BRAINS from Beeyoutiful.com

This post by Esther Ramsey originally appeared in our Fall 2014 catalog

Being the oldest of eight children, I expected motherhood to be easy. I naively thought that I could simply fix all the problems I saw other parents facing: obviously, my child would never be allowed to throw a tantrum in a store, or throw his food all over a restaurant.

And if at just sixteen I was already able to cook dinner with a baby sibling on one hip while also correcting my math homework, how hard could it be to raise a few of my own?

I remember the leather couches of the perinatologist’s office when he told us it would be a miracle if our unborn child was brought into the world without severe mental handicaps. Part of me died that day, even though the prognosis turned out not to be true, and it started a pattern of me being given grim news and then working to overcome it.

Then my son was born two months prematurely, which started us down a yellow brick road that went something like “failure to thrive”… ”developmentally delayed”… ”speech delayed”… and ”borderline autistic”. As he got older, the diagnosis morphed into things like “sensory processing disorder” and ”ADHD” (which was an improvement, but still discouraging).

If you asked any medical professional along our journey, she would have said there was no cure for the diagnoses my son has. Oh sure, there’s therapy and early intervention, and psychiatric drugs to help mitigate the more obnoxious symptoms, but nothing you can do to actually fix it.

However, I’ve learned a lot in the nine years since sitting on those leather couches, and contrary to how I felt that day, there is a great amount of hope. Science and research have come a long way, and whether you’re dealing with a dyslexic kid who is having trouble reading and writing, or a kid with Asperger Syndrome who can recite all the ingredients from every can of soup in your pantry, don’t give up.

There is a lot you as a parent can do to help, if not entirely reverse, neurological disorders.A TOOLBOX FOR CHILDREN AND THEIR BRAINS from Beeyoutiful.com (2)

Food, Probiotics, and Digestive Enzymes

The biggest factor has always been diet. For years, research has increasingly indicated that children with any sort of neurological impairment also have compromised digestive systems.

The gut is often referred to as the second brain because it controls so much of how healthily the brain functions. For a struggling child, the brain is like a war-torn ship trying to pump water out and patch up holes in whatever way it can, and the gut is like a 20-ton octopus attached at the bottom either helping or dragging the boat down further.

Whether the culprit originally was vaccine injury, birth trauma, heavy metal poisoning, or genetics, it all tends to swirl together like a perfect storm bent on sinking the ship.

Some kids are seemingly impervious to things like vaccines, and other kids sink like a torpedoed battleship after a simple flu shot. But diet can help to repair those holes. Both GAPS (Gut And Psychology Syndrome) and SCD (Simple Carbohydrate Diet) are the big guns of the gut healing world, with more moderate diets like Gluten free/Casein free also helping.

You can’t simply patch up the ship, though. While you’re using bone broths and gelatin to repair the holes, you also need to hire sailors, and stock the ship with supplies. This is where probiotics (beneficial bacteria) and digestive enzymes (to make the most of food) come in.

Ideally, you should use a wide spectrum of probiotics and switch them up from time to time, like starting with Tummy Tuneup Jr and Toothie Tuneup, then switching out Toothie Tuneup for the stronger Gut Guardian. Add a digestive enzyme like chewable GoGoZymes and you’re well on your way to better gut health.

Cod Liver Oil

High-quality cod liver oil is the great-granddaddy-heavy-hitter of the brain world. Fish oil’s effectiveness (and CLO in particular) is so well documented that you can now buy the candy flavored gummy versions in just about any store from Costco to Wal-Mart.

Unfortunately, those probably won’t do much good, as they are more “candy” than health supplement. The amount of oil is low and the nutritional quality of the oil poor due to high temperature extraction techniques that damage the vitamins. The bio-available Vitamin A in a good fish oil stimulates the brain’s pathways to connect properly, and the EPA/DHA combo of fatty acids work like building blocks in the brain.

I noticed eye contact and verbal skills increased dramatically in my son after starting fish oil. (Pro tip: If you can’t get your kids to take it, try giving it to them via oral syringe after they’re asleep, or letting them chase it with whatever juice is their rarely-allowed awesome treat.)

Giving the Brain A Chill Pill

 If you’ve ever thought your child was acting like a jet engine attached to a row boat, get yourself two things: Magnesium and Vitamin B-12. In the case of my son, it wasn’t just his body that was bouncing all over the place (although some kids are like that); rather, it was his brain, and we all had to hang on for dear life as he tore through a million thought processes nobody could keep up with.

Apparently it’s impossible to sleep at night if you’re worried the door might be opened one tenth of a millimeter more than it was the night before, which may or may not allow for a new species of dragons to be let in, because we all know mythological creatures carry around tape measures to catch ignorant parents who don’t listen when their child tells them the door needs to be exactly three inches cracked open. 

The imagination? Awesome. The million-miles-a-minute anxiety? That needs to go bye-bye. Magnesium and B-12 worked wonders for this. My kids like the blueberry-flavored Bone Ami, which has the perfect amount of magnesium for a child.

Secondary benefit of Bone Ami? It also has calcium, and I’m convinced it’s the reason my sons have crashed off a hundred playground slides and swings without breaking anything yet. Tertiary benefit? The magnesium helps with constipation, which can be another big digestive problem for kids with neurological disorders.

The B vitamins in general are important for brain support and health, with B-12 being especially crucial for children with learning disorders. Simply put, it acts as a freeway for all cell growth and regeneration in the brain. If those freeways are broken down, or filled with bumper to bumper traffic every day, then the brain ceases to function optimally.

You know you’ve got Los Angeles-level traffic problems in your child’s brain when he has high anxiety, is neurotically freaking out about the littlest things, and overall is just unhappy. It’s time to bring in the B-12 vitamins. Thankfully these also come in a dropper or chewables and are easy to get into even the pickiest child.

Essential Oils

This is a new area of research for me. (And there’s so much to learn!) Until recently, I only thought of Frankincense as one of the three gifts brought to baby Jesus, and then I found out firsthand that the essential oil is quite the superhero when it comes to saving the brain. It’s the heavy hitting oil for mental clarity, dispelling brain fog and clearing up pathways for optimal thinking. I line up all of my children and apply a dilution to their big toes and the base of their skulls.

Lavender and Chamomile are the other two essential oils in my tool box for kids. I keep the lavender oil bottle right on the kitchen counter while we do schoolwork, where I can easily rub it on frustrated temples when multiplication and division concepts just don’t make sense to little minds. I’ve also been known to liberally apply Lavender on myself because no one wants a teacher yelling about how obvious it is that two baskets with three apples in each equal six apples!

Lavender oil and chamomile oil also work great for those middle of the night woes where you can’t figure out what your child is crying about. For nightmares and unidentified ailments, I mix lavender and chamomile with coconut oil and massage their little backs and foreheads. My husband says the boys room sometimes smells like an apothecary shop when he gets up in the morning. I tell him it’s merely a warning sign that I’ll need lots of coffee that day!

I’ve since discovered even more powerful benefits of essential oil blends, and wrote about how they impacted my family here.

The Special Agents With Controversial Agendas

One of the biggest factors in autism and developmental delays is heavy metal toxicity and its evil twin, unhealthy yeast overgrowth. Usually one doesn’t happen without the other, although it’s anyone’s guess as to which comes first. Did the heavy metal cause the body to lose its ability to fight the yeast, or did the yeast compromise the body’s ability to chelate the unwanted metals? Either way, both yeast and metals need to be evicted.

This is the reason diet and probiotics were the first tools I mentioned. When you starve the bad yeast from their beloved sugar-fuel (or anything that turns into sugar), and you start feeding your child nutrient-dense food, those bad bugs freak out and die by the thousands.

As the body heals, it starts naturally flushing the mercury, lead, and aluminum that acted like a ball and chain in the brain. As the evil stuff is tossed overboard (sometimes literally, I’m afraid to say… so be ready with activated charcoal!), you have to repopulate the gut with good bacteria. Use kombucha, sauerkraut, kefir, and any other living, fermented foods that you can get your hands on, and supplement with even more strains of probiotics.

But sometimes those metals are stubborn and that yeast refuses to budge. The gentlest way to escalate your war against yeast and metal is to start out with diet, and then slowly add other forms of detoxification. Yeast Assassin is a veritable ninja on yeast, but it’s powerful stuff so start with a half capsule after a week of the GAPS protocol and work up from there. (Consider the Lite version, if your kids can swallow large pills.)

Chlorella binds and flushes heavy metals, but if your child’s body isn’t working properly it ends up being like a busy airport with no traffic controller: planes going everywhere with the luggage and flight paths all mixed up. Ideally, add Chlorella after your child is well past the initial detox stage and has been doing some sort of gut healing protocol for at least a month.

Even then, chlorella is somewhat controversial as it hasn’t been studied well enough to know the time frame of its chelating properties, making it a bit like trying to schedule those airplanes without a super accurate clock. A lot of people report great success with it, so I’m putting it in the toolbox even though I haven’t personally used it yet.

Last But Not Least

There’s good ol’ fashioned sunlight, or rather, one of its gifts, Vitamin D3. Recent studies show that a lot of children are deficient in Vitamin D thanks to shifting cultural paradigms and the widespread use of sun block. Kids with neuro disorders also have a harder time absorbing Vitamin D3, and research suggests they need a much higher dose than most other people.

Vitamin D3 works to moderate brain development and is responsible for the growth of neurons. Ideally I like my kids to get Vitamin D3 from playing outside, but I also give them Vitamin D3 drops not only to supplement what they’re getting naturally, but also to ensure their body has it available to use from several different resources. If I had to pick only one thing to give my children, it would be Vitamin D3. The drops are flavorless and potent, making it an easy supplement to give even babies.

Don’t Give Up

My son was re-evaluated recently for special ed, and shockingly, he’s almost all caught up to his peers. The language and social skills that were so absent when he was five are now neurotypical and age appropriate. The math and reading he once struggled to understand are now whipped through with speed (he’s still a jet engine attached to a row boat).

Esther Ramsey from BeeyoutifulIt isn’t always easy. We have regressions, and we have breakthroughs. My other sons have their own set of health challenges that keep me researching, and I’m sure my toolbox of remedies will have to grow and expand. Every child is different, and no two neuro disorders are exactly alike, but hopefully with the right tools, you can find the healing and support their little bodies and minds crave.

Esther is the mom of four rambunctious boys who keep her in a semi-constant state of insanity. When she is not coming up with creative ways to get bone broth and other nutrients down her kids, she’s a book addict who is convinced there is nothing that cannot be learned with enough research. She lives in Southern California where she thinks the ocean is nature’s ultimate spa, the sun is an antidepressant, and gardens are pharmacies.

Are there children you love who struggle with neurological issues? Share this post with a friend who might need it!

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A Nourishing Holiday Feast

A Nourishing Holiday Feast

by Bronwyn Deiter

The scent of a Christmas ham and candied sweet potatoes, or Grandma’s pumpkin pie: ah, who doesn’t love a great holiday feast? Yet if you’ve revamped your diet around whole, nutrient-dense foods, you may think of the holidays with angst. How will you survive the feasting and social etiquette while navigating your own nutritional preferences or allergens? Take heart, because we have some tips which should keep you jolly!

Take a Dish (or Three)

If you are lucky enough to be invited to feast with friends or family, graciously offer to help out the hostess by bringing some sides and dessert. Offer to make whole-food versions of the usual (often refined) holiday fare. This way, you’ll be sure to have some foods with which to fill your plate. A crockpot is a great way to take hot sides, and a homemade pie will forever endear you to your hosts.

If you have specific allergens which you avoid, such as gluten, dairy, or sugar, remember to bring substitutes for those parts of the meal, or assure your hostess beforehand that you prefer to go without. Be specific with her about what you can and can’t have, but by offering to do the extra work in bringing a gluten-free pie or gravy, dairy-free mashed potatoes, or honey-sweetened cranberry sauce, you’ll enjoy the meal more and put yourself in the running for a repeat invitation next year.

Host

There’s no better way to control the food choices than simply making it all yourself. Gourmet cooks know that whole, fresh food is the best food, so your guests should be just as delighted with the meal as you are.

DeathtoStock_Cozy1The Main Course

Traditionally, the star of the table is a golden turkey, glazed ham, or tender prime rib roast. If sourced from farms which follow natural methods of animal husbandry where the animal is uncaged and grass fed, then turkey, ham, and beef are excellent, nourishing centers to the meal. Contact your local chapter leader of the Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF) for referrals to local farms which offer animals raised in this manner.

In many parts of the country, cage-free grass fed turkeys go for $4-$6 a pound, so a hefty gobbler could set you back $100 or so. But before you decide to simply turn vegetarian, consider that one bird will supply excellent protein in many meals beyond the holiday table: turkey meat not eaten immediately can be frozen and later used in soups and casseroles. The carcass itself can be stewed for many quarts of excellent, gelatin-rich broth. Just remember that most farm-fresh turkeys must be reserved months in advance of the holiday.

Roasted Pastured Turkey

  • Set oven to 425, with rack at lowest level.
  • Rinse fresh or thawed turkey in a large sink, and remove head at base of neck, and feet if still attached. (Save these parts for stewing later with the carcass for bone broth.) Pat turkey dry with paper towels, and place breast upward into a large roasting pan with a rack.
  • Spread ½ cup softened grassfed butter over the skin of the turkey, and sprinkle evenly with 2 Tb organic poultry seasoning (with sage), 1 tsp crushed rosemary, and 1 tsp coarse sea salt. Next, insert 1 TB of coarse sea salt and 2 TB of natural poultry seasoning into the cavity of the bird, coating the interior as best you can.
  • Place bird into preheated oven, and check after 30 minutes for browned skin. Once golden brown, reduce heat to 350 and tent with aluminum foil to prevent further browning.
  • The total length of time for roasting your bird depends upon the total weight: check a turkey roasting chart, but assume about 20 minutes for each pound of weight. It will be finished when a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast meat, not touching bone, registers at 165 degrees.
  • Once roasting is completed, remove from oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes before carving. During this time, the gravy may be made from the drippings in the roasting pan.

Gluten-Free Pastured Turkey Gravy

  • If giblets have been included with your turkey, simmer them over low heat with 1 cup water for 30 minutes. Retain the flavorful water, allowing it to cool. (The giblets may be discarded, or reserved for later broth-making.)
  • When the turkey has been removed from the oven, ladle the drippings from the bottom of the pan into the saucepan with the giblet broth.
  • In a glass jar with tight fitting lid, combine 1 cup of poultry broth and 1/4 cup potato flour. Secure lid and shake vigorously until smooth.
  • Add potato flour slurry to the drippings mixture on the stove, whisking over medium heat until large bubbles form. The gravy should thicken after about 1 minute of simmering, but if not, add another cup of broth/potato flour mixture and simmer again. Check for seasoning, adding sea salt as needed.

Nourishing Side Dishes

Your meal becomes a feast through a dazzling display of delectable side dishes. Nutrient rich ingredients like fresh vegetables, bone broth, mineral salt, grassfed butter, pungent herbs, and essential oils amp up the flavors as well as nourish body and soul.

Garlic Mashed Red Potatoes

Wash and remove large eyes from 3 lbs of red potatoes. Cover with water in a large pot, add 6 peeled cloves of garlic, and bring to a boil. When fork-soft, about 20 minutes, drain off water, and mash with a potato masher. Add 1 stick of grassfed butter, 4 oz. of cream cheese, 2 TB minced fresh chives, and about 1 tsp salt. Cover pot for 1 minute to allow butter and cream cheese to soften. Whip with electric beaters until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. This is an excellent dish to make early in the day and keep warm in a crockpot.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Elderberry Glaze

Heat oven to 450. Rinse and trim 1 pound fresh Brussels sprouts. Place on a large baking tray lined with baking paper. Toss in about 3 TB melted coconut oil, and sprinkle with sea salt. Roast in hot oven until edges brown, about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Centers should be fork tender. When finished, remove from oven, and toss in 3 Tb elderberry syrup or other dark jam or preserve. Return to oven to 3 minutes to glaze. Serve hot.

Sweet Potato Casserole with Candied Pecans

This is an excellent dish to make a day in advance, and then reheat (in a separate oven from the turkey). Rinse and trim 3 lbs of sweet potatoes. Place on foil (for easy cleanup) in a glass roasting pan and bake at 400 until soft, about 1 hour. Remove from oven; allow to cool a bit before removing skins. Place peeled pulp in food processor in batches and purée until smooth. Transfer into a large mixing bowl and add ½ cup raw honey, ½ cup organic coconut oil, and 1 tsp sea salt. Using a hand mixer, blend until smooth. Spread into a 9X13 glass baking pan which has been greased with coconut oil. In a saucepan over medium heat, melt 2 Tb coconut oil, 1 tsp sea salt, and ¼ cup raw honey. When it begins to bubble, add 1 cup whole pecans, and saute the nuts in the syrup for 2 minutes. Remove from heat, and using a fork, transfer the candied nuts as a garnish for the top of the sweet potato casserole.

Wild Rice Stuffing

True wild rice is black and is not a rice at all but rather the seed of marsh grass native to North America. It is often mixed with true rice grains for “wild rice mix” but can also be found alone. Although often more expensive than true rice, wild rice expands three to four times its original size when it is cooked, so one pound of wild rice is enough to provide up to thirty-five servings.
In this grain-free stuffing, wild rice takes center stage: enjoy its pungent, slightly smoky flavor alongside the earthy flavors of mushroom and celery and sweetness of onion and dried cranberries.

1 cup wild rice
soaking water
2 cups water
2 cups poultry bone broth
1 tsp sea salt
2 TB organic poultry seasoning which includes sage
1 TB organic dried parsley
1 large sweet onion, chopped into small pieces
3 large stalks celery, chopped into ½ inch pieces
1 cup (divided) grassfed butter
8oz crimini mushrooms, cleaned and halved
½ cup dried cranberries
In a large kettle, cover wild rice with 3 inches of water and allow to soak overnight. In the morning, pour off soaking water and add 2 cups fresh water, 2 cups bone broth, and 1 tsp sea salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat, cover pan, and simmer for about 45 minutes, or until tender and liquid is absorbed. In the meantime, sauté the onion, celery and ¼ cup butter in a large skillet over medium heat until edges begin to brown, about 10 minutes. Remove to a covered dish. Without cleaning the skillet, add the other ¼ cup butter and sauté the mushrooms, also until just caramelized.
When wild rice has finished cooking, add onions, celery, and mushrooms, stirring gently to combine. Add additional ½ cup butter to skillet, melt over medium heat, scraping pan until it releases vegetable fragments. If butter is unsalted, add about 1 tsp sea salt, then pour over stuffing in kettle. Stir in dried cranberries. Serve hot, in either a dish or inside a display turkey.

Pumpkin Pie with Cassia Whipped Cream (Grain, Gluten, and Refined Sugar Free)

Preheat oven to 425. Prepare crust, then prepare filling.

Crust
Blend together:
1 packed cup blanched almond flour
1 Tb coconut flour
½ tsp salt
½ tsp cinnamon

Add:
2 Tb soft butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 small egg
1/8-1/4 cup honey

Blend just till smooth. Press into a greased pie plate, using plastic wrap to help spread crust smoothly on bottom and sides. Peel plastic wrap out and set aside crust.

Filling
2 cups of pumpkin pulp purée from a sugar pumpkin*
1½ cups organic heavy whipping cream

¾ cup raw honey
1 dropperful of Vanilla Stevia
½ teaspoon salt
2 eggs plus the yolk of a third egg (or 2 duck eggs)
2 teaspoons of cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
4 drops lemon essential oil

Mix honey, stevia, salt, spices, and lemon oil in a large bowl. Beat the eggs and add to the bowl. Stir in the pumpkin purée and cream. Whisk until well incorporated.

Pour into prepared crust and bake at 425°F for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, reduce the temperature to 350°F. Bake 40-50 minutes longer, or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.

Cool on a wire rack for 2 hours. The pumpkin pie will come out of the oven all puffed up and will deflate as it cools. The pie may be made the day before and kept in the refrigerator until serving with whipped cream.

Cassia Whipped Cream
Empty 1 pint of heavy whipping cream into a small metal bowl which has been placed in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. Whip with beaters. When peaks have just begun to form, add 5 drops of Cassia essential oil. Keep refrigerated until serving.

*To make pumpkin purée: cut small/medium sugar pumpkin in half, then scrape out and discard the insides. Lay the cut sides down on a rimmed baking sheet lined with baking paper. Bake at 350°F until fork tender, about 60-90 minutes. Remove from oven, let cool. Scoop out the pulp and purée in a food processor.

Poultry Bone Broth

After the feasting is over, take a few minutes to get a batch of bone broth simmering. Bone broth is rich in gelatin and minerals.

Remove all desired meat from turkey carcass; set aside for later meals. If it is a large bird, you will need to break the carcass in half and do two batches. Place half of the carcass into a large crockpot, and cover with filtered water. Cut an organic lemon in half, squeeze juice into the pot, and place both halves in the pot (rind and all).

Turn crockpot to high; after an hour, reduce to low setting. Simmer broth for 24-48 hours, then strain the broth into glass jars, leaving at least 1.5 inches of space at the top. Top with lids and refrigerate jars of broth, then move to freezer. (I have found that canning jars tend to break in the freezer, but glass jars from prepared foods such as pickles or marinara do not.) To use, thaw broth in refrigerator for 1 day before using.

 

Bronwyn Deiter is a happy wife to Heiko, and home schooling mother of their six children. In her spare time (bwahahaha!) she is a wellness coach and shares her passion for healthy living on her blog: cleangreenstart.com.

The Whoop Dee Doo about Whooping Cough

 

The Whoop Dee Doo about Whooping Cough

Written by Gwen Brown from www.gwens-nest.com

and used with permission from http://www.gwens-nest.com/natural-remedies/whooping-cough/

 whooping-cough-I-1024x794

Whooping cough was the last thing on my mind as we packed for a late summer vacation at the beach.  But on the second day there, our baby’s cough got considerably worse…we realized that we had an insidious guest.  The pertussis bacteria had traveled with us on vacation.

The really scary thing is, my babe was the last of the four kids to get the “bad cough”. Up to that point, we really had only thought of it as a cold with a bad, lingering cough.  We started researching based on the symptoms we’d observed with our kids, and realized that we had whooping cough.  We had lived with it for a couple of months, unaware.  

At the doctor’s office, my  baby was smiley and didn’t seem sick at all, and (of course!) he didn’t cough once during our visit.  the nurse practitioner began telling me that it didn’t seem to be croup; he seemed perplexed and a bit anxious when I asked him about whooping cough.  He agreed that the symptoms fit, and told me that the Dr’s in the practice had just (as in that weekend) agreed to plan a course of action for diagnosing whooping cough (aka Pertussis) because the medical journals are beginning to call attention to the disease.  He said because of the vaccines, they simply don’t consider it, but the medical journals are bringing attention back to pertussis, as it’s being grossly misdiagnosed and under-reported.  I had questions, but the answers I was getting didn’t make sense to me.  After our visit, I really began researching this disease in earnest.

The information I was getting from my pediatrician, the CDC, and other mainstream sources seemed contradictory to me.  Some sources stated that infants under a year with whooping cough should be hospitalized (really?), but my doctors office didn’t seem that concerned.  What was going on here?

I became slightly obsessed with knowing more about whooping cough, so that I could make an informed choice for treating my kids, as well as for protecting others around us from being exposed to this virulent bug.  And it IS virulent…my oldest two have been vaccinated against it, and they were the first two to come down with whooping cough.

I have heard of a LOT of cases of this in the past year popping up among friends all over the U.S.  I am of the opinion that the current vaccine may be failing, but I don’t think doctors are really aware of this, nor are they equipped with good diagnostic or treatment options at this point. (We’ll discuss more on this in part II)

Whooping cough hasn’t really gotten on the national radar screen.  Yet.

Now, I do enjoy research, but I’m generally not obsessive about picking apart a disease in medical textbooks and sharing it with the world.  Especially diseases like whooping cough…it sounded somewhat antiquated, mostly mild outbreaks, and I thought that there were easily available treatments.

But I discovered that whooping cough is extremely contagious; and it’s contagious before you even know you have it, and by the time you get to the doctor, the damage has already been done.  After spending some serious reading time, I feel that in this case, it’s super-important to “know thy enemy.”  Allow me to introduce you…

In a nutshell, here’s what I think every parent should be aware of in regards to whooping cough:

*People who have been immunized can still get whooping cough.
*Pertussis is most contagious when only minor cold like symptoms are present…and at that stage, it’s *extremely* contagious.

* Most cases go undiagnosed, and are uneventful…a mild persistent cough in adults and older kids (and rarely “whoops”), but the damage that whooping cough can do in young infants (under 6 months), the elderly, and those who have impaired immune systems is extremely serious and can be life threatening.

*Pertussis is often misdiagnosed or misunderstood, and incorrect information about the disease is common, even in doctors offices.

*Whooping Cough is often diagnosed after the damage is done, and is commonly overlooked as a persistent cough.  Other names for it are the “100 day cough” and “nurses cough”.

Whooping Cough: Just the Facts

Whooping cough is the only vaccine-preventable disease on the rise in the US and it is severely under-reported.(2)  The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that, at best, one out of three cases are believed to be reported (2); but other estimates place the true number of reported incidences at closer to 1 out of 10 to 1 out of 20 reported cases. (2) Those are pretty shocking stats…or better stated, a shocking lack of stats.

Imagine the impact of this in daycare centers and schools alone.

Whooping cough can actually be caused by one of three bacteria.  B. Pertussis is thought to cause 95% of the cases of whooping cough, with B Parapertussis, a milder strain, causing the other 5% of reported cases. (1)

Now, my friends, if you’re up for it, here are the cliff notes from my obsessive research plus, my own little cute illustrations, for us visual learners.  From medical textbooks, lectures, and government authorities, here’s a peek into the dirty lair of the whooping cough <dun-da-dah-dunnnn>

The Stages of Whooping Cough

Stage One: Infection and incubation
(note: many sources roll this stage in with the second stage)
Day one:  B. pertussis bacteria is inhaled and attaches itself to the mucous membranes…the infection begins.  Whooping Cough is spread by breathing in the bacteria from the discharge of an infected persons cough or sneeze. (3)
Grody.
Immediately, the bacteria begins to colonize and multiply on the cells lining the respiratory tract and airways.  The protective cell layer that lines the airways are like living velvet…they are covered in tiny hairs or cilia. The cilia move back and fort, expelling mucous, and tiny foreign particles, including invading bacteria.  But B. pertussis is magnetically attracted to these ciliated epithelial cells.  It attaches to them and begins to silently colonize and obliterate the lining of the large airways.(4)

The incubation period lasts on average from 7-10 days, but can range from 4 to 21 days in which the person is highly contagious, but has no symptoms at all.  The pertussis bacteria never actually enters the cells or the bloodstream.  So sytemic or oral treatment is minimally helpful.  Pertussis is very effective at causing major respiratory distress.

Stage Two: The Catarrh (Inflammation & Mucuous) Stage
For approximately the past week, these quickly multiplying bacteria are coating the upper respiratory tract, and doing massive damage to the cells that line the airways.

The infected cells are exploding, pumping out toxins that damage lining of the airways, which in turn increase histamine response and mucous production, and ramps up the immune response of the host. (3)   Symptoms begin to show, but are very mild, and will mimic that of a cold, with a runny nose, mild occasional cough, and low grade fever. (4)  In our cases, only one child had a fever, and the others had very, very minor cold symptoms with an occasional cough or a sniffle. In babies, this may present as sneezes and throat clearings.

As the top layer of ciliated cells die off, the body reacts with acute inflammation and by producing large amounts of thick, sticky mucous. (1)  This stage goes on for one to two weeks. (2)

So, to sum up:
For three weeks or more, these buggers are stripping your airway of cilia, creating gunky thick mucous, you’re majorly contagious…and you may just have a minor sniffle.

<shudder>

I’m a visual person, so I thought I’d share a visual aid of what is happening in the first 2 phases of whooping cough.whooping-cough

Stage Three: The Paroxysmal (Fits) Stage
Next comes the coughing stage, which lasts from two to six weeks.  This is usually when we begin to get a clue that something is very, very wrong.  Most cases are diagnosed in this stage of the illness.

The person will present with violent fits of coughing, interspersed with deep gasps for air that can make a whooping sound.  Though, in our four cases, only one child had the classic ‘whoop’, and only did so one time.

This is where you really begin to see the damage that has been happening to the lining of the airways.  On average, the coughing fits increase in frequency during the first 1 to 2 weeks, remain at the same level for 2 to 3 weeks, decreasing gradually after this. (2)

Coughs may be hard, dry, convulsive coughs, or more croupy and rattley as mucous begins to be expelled. (6) The thick, sticky mucous is difficult to expel, and once a coughing spasm begins, it usually continues until all the air is expelled from the lungs.  It is common for the person to throw up during or just after a coughing fit. (1)
The coughing spasms can also cause a person to turn red or blue in the face (cyanotic), blood vessel ruptures in the whites of the eyes, and in some cases, cracked ribs and hernias. (1)

My little ones would literally cough all the air out of their lungs until they puked.  Every night, sometimes multiple times a night.  For weeks.

The pertussis bacteria puts off a toxin that causes an increased histamine response, which means that the respiratory tract overreacts easily, triggering these major coughing fits.(3)  The coughing spells average about 15 times in a 24 hour period, and occur most commonly at night, which results in fitful sleep (understatement of the year).(1)

Other activities such as eating or laying down can also cause coughing spells to occur.  For my 6 1/2 month old, pretty much all of his normal activity triggered cough spells: rolling over, laying on his tummy, drooling, putting things in his mouth, burping, and nursing.  It was heart wrenching.

The crazy thing is, between coughing fits, the person seems perfectly normal, and feels fine.  Which is part of the reason why this so often goes undiagnosed…the child doesn’t look or feel sick unless they start coughing, and, of course, they never, ever have a coughing fit at the doctors’ office.  In adults, whooping coughing may just seem to be a mild, persistent cough.  The “whoop” is uncommon in adults. (2)

Stage Four: Recovery or convalescent phase
The final stage is the recovery period, which can take up to six months.  Coughing fits begin to happen with less frequently and duration. (3) The lungs recover slowly, and the person is more susceptible to secondary infections because the protective cilia layer is gone.  Infections that do develop afterwards are going to stimulate similar coughing fits.

 

Sources cited:

1.  Dr. Neal R.Chamberlain, http://www.atsu.edu/faculty/chamberlain/Website/lectures/lecture/reairin2.htm

2. http://www.jabfm.org/cgi/content/full/19/6/603 

Note: this study was funded by the “largest company in
the world devoted entirely to human vaccines.”  Just so you know.

3.  Essentials of Immunology and Serology, By Jacqueline Stanley, 2002  http://tiny.cc/n89sh

4.  Bacterial Toxins and Virulence Factors In Disease by Joel Moss, 2008 http://tinyurl.com/2a5c794

5.http://www.cdc.gov/pertussis/

6.  Whooping-cough; its pathology and treatment, By Thomas Michael Dolan, 1882  http://tinyurl.com/2asybrq
(obviously, very inaccurate with regards to pathology, but interesting in
regards to immunity and history of the disease)

whooping-cough-II

Whooping Cough II: Dangers, Diagnosis & Conventional Treatments –

Our internship with whooping cough this fall has prompted me to get the word out.  Though I’m not a fan of scare tactic health care, I want everyone to be aware of how contagious, and potentially devastating this disease is to those who may be immune compromised, and especially to very tiny babies.  It’s just not something to take lightly.

But it’s also not something to totally freak out over for most people.

First, let’s talk about the odds of this being really life threatening or serious.  Then, let’s dig into the topics of diagnosisimmunity, and conventional treatment recommendations.

I’ve had some great questions and feedback from my first post that I’d like to answer.  If you haven’t gotten a chance to read that post yet, you can read it here: Whooping Cough, Part I.

How Serious is Whooping Cough?

The main concern with whooping cough is catching a secondary infection.  Namely, bacterial pneumonia, which occurs in less than 10% of children with whooping cough under the age of two. (4)  The vast majority…90% of deaths from pertussis…occur in children younger than 6 months old.  Most of the deaths attributed to pertussis are caused by a secondary infection of bacterial pneumonia.  This is the most common complication and the cause of most pertussis-related deaths across all age groups. (2)

Despite most of the journal articles claims that whooping cough is associated with substantial morbidity and mortality, it’s difficult to dig up actual numbers on mortality rate.  In fact, one article states that whooping cough is associated with “substantial morbidity and mortality”, but later on says “death due to pertussis is rare, occurring in about .2 percent of reported cases.” (2)

While I find these risk factors to be on the small side, it’s still worth taking precautions with anyone that is exposed to very young infants or the elderly and immune compromised.  I was also careful to watch for a fever or signs of pain in the chest/lungs in my little ones.  We did not have any complications or secondary pneumonia.

Another question that I was asked is “How do you know if a cold or sniffle is whooping cough?…

How would I get a confirmed diagnosis?

This is a great question, since the earliest and most contagious stages mimic a common cold.  One of the main reasons I took my son in to the pediatrician was to get diagnostic testing to find out if we were really dealing with whooping
cough.

This is what I’ve found about diagnosing whooping cough.  I’m going to pull from the CDC website, since more than likely that is what your doctor is going to refer to for diagnostic and treatment protocols.

The CDC describes the clinical case definition of whooping cough as “a cough illness lasting at least 2 weeks with one of the following:

  • paroxysms of coughing
  • inspiratory “whoop”
  • posttussive vomiting without other apparent cause (as reported by a health professional).”

We had two of out of the three…well, actually, three out of three if you count the one teensy-tiny whoop my boy did one night.

So how do they officially confirm whooping cough?

Pertussis (the bacteria that causes whooping cough) is diagnosed in three ways.

1. The “gold standard” preferred test is a bacterial culture, which requires a special swab and nerves of steel.  If you want to see what they do with said swab, click here.

WARNING: It ain’t pretty.  I can’t imagine my kids having this done.  A restraining device would have to be employed.
2. The second test is called a PCR…[polymerase chain reaction: researchers produce millions of copies of a specific DNA sequence in approximately two hours.]

3. And finally, there is a serum (blood) test, that looks for the antibodies that are created against pertussis, to confirm that you’ve had a positive case.  Each method has benefits and drawbacks…to see a chart that lays it out pretty neatly, click here.

The nurse practitioner that we saw agreed that this appeared to be whooping cough.  My son looked healthy, and didn’t cough at all, but he could hear congestion in the lungs.  He informed me that one of their doctors had called the CDC just that week, to find a source for the specialized swabs that are used in collecting a specimen in suspected pertussis cases, and he was told that there were no swabs available in the state.  That blew my mind.  Really?  In the whole state?  And the state that the CDC is located in no less!

No other diagnostic options were offered by my doctor’s office, which makes me wonder how often cases are even reported.  Of the cases that are reported, only cases that have (or are related to) a positive swab culture or PCR are considered confirmed cases.  The rest are considered “probable” cases, and they won’t make the news.  Or the statistics.  For this, and other reasons, I think the numbers relating to whooping cough are dramatically higher than what are actually reported.

Immunity

Vaccine immunity among fully vaccinated infants is tested between 80-85% effective, and the effectiveness wanes from there.  Current medical research reveals that the immunity whether through vaccines, or from naturally acquired antibodies, are minimal after about 10 years. (2)
Prior to the Pertussis vaccine, which was developed in the 30’s and was being widely administered by the mid 1940’s, whooping cough was considered a childhood disease, mostly occurring in children between 1 and 5 years of age. (2)  It was thought to usually only occur once (6), and maternal immunity was thought to pass to babies under a year old. (2)
No carrier state exists. (1)  A carrier state means that you can pass the active bacteria to others, but that you have no symptoms of the disease.

How is Whooping Cough Treated?

Now, we’ll explore conventional treatment of pertussis.

At our doctors appointment, we were offered prescriptions for our 6 ½ month old boy for both antibiotics (approved for 6 months and up) and a cough suppressant.  I took the prescription, but came home to do a bit more research…this is what I found.

The CDC recommends treating whooping cough with antibiotics, but says “If treatment for pertussis is started early in the course of illness, during the first 1 to 2 weeks before coughing paroxysms occur, symptoms may be lessened. If the patient is diagnosed late, antibiotics will not alter the course of the illness and, even without antibiotics, the patient should no longer be spreading pertussis.” (5)

In other words, by the time you start coughing, it’s too late for antibiotics to do much good. 

But then, a couple of paragraphs down from this, they go on to say “A reasonable guideline is to treat persons aged >1 year within 3 weeks of cough onset and infants aged <1 year within 6 weeks of cough onset [with antibiotics].” (5)

The CDC confuses me.  I have no idea how those two statements can both be true…they seem contradictory to me.

Beyond antibiotics, no other mainstream medical interventions or therapies, including corticosteroids, cough suppressants or beta-blockers have proven beneficial in treating whooping cough. (2)  And if you saw the illustrations of what the disease does to the lung lining in my first post, you understand why.

My husband and I decided not to fill the prescription unless we felt that his symptoms turned into a concern for pneumonia.  Personally, I wonder if giving antibiotics alters the body’s ability to create antibodies against what it’s fighting, so I prefer to let nature take it’s course as long as he is improving and isn’t sickly or running a fever.

We’d had some good results already in treating and preventing whooping cough with natural remedies, so I began researching ways of helping my little buddy to heal up faster…which leads us to this post:

Questions about Whooping Cough vaccines, and the cause of the Epidemic?  Check out this great blog post over on Holistic Squid. (will open in a new window)

Sources cited:

1.  Dr. Neal R. Chamberlain,
http://www.atsu.edu/faculty/chamberlain/Website/lectures/lecture/reairin2.htm

2. http://www.jabfm.org/cgi/content/full/19/6/603
Note: this study was funded by the “largest company in
the world devoted entirely to human vaccines.”  Just so you know.

3.http://journals.lww.com/pidj/Abstract/2009/03000/Infant_and_Maternal_Risk_Factors_for.6.aspx

4.  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10451159?dopt=Abstract

5.  http://www.cdc.gov/pertussis/clinical/treatment.html

6.  Whooping-cough;
its pathology and treatment, By Thomas Michael Dolan, 1882
http://tinyurl.com/2asybrq
(obviously, very inaccurate with regards to pathology, but interesting in
regards to immunity and history of the disease)

7. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC143554/#r1-23

whooping-cough-III

Whooping Cough III: Natural Remedies for Prevention and Treatment – 

This is the Whooping Cough post that I’m the most excited to share!!!  I mean, I’m not giddy about having such a long and nasty bug this year, but it’s such a great feeling to treat your family at home with herbs and foods that you feel good about giving them, and watch them get better!  So I want to share what has worked for our family.

In case you missed it, Part I: Our Whooping Cough Story is here, and Part IIDangers, Diagnosis & Conventional Treatment is here.

I’m going to post random vacation pictures.  The only way that these will relate at all is that this is the time that we discovered that this handsome little beach stud had whooping cough.Me-and-the-beach-stud

Prevention of Whooping Cough

If you read the article I wrote on September 3rd about using Garlic as a natural remedy, you’ll see that I mentioned that I was trying to come down with a cough.  Well, I didn’t know it at the time, but the babe and I were in the first phase of whooping cough.  I felt as if I had a thick layer of mucous high up in my chest/throat area.

I decided to go ahead and treat myself with garlic, as I find that treating at the *VERY* first sign of an illness really gives your immune system the home court advantage.

Placing a whole, fresh clove of garlic in my cheek, biting down on it with my molars, and holding it for a few minutes knocked it out.  I did this twice…once that night while writing the blog post, and once the next day.

The garlic biting was really not as bad as I anticipated it being…it’s no where near the intensity as chewing a clove, as it sits so far back in the mouth and there is no chewing and tongue coating intensity.  It’s doable even for an herbal wimp like me.

So, I accidentally knocked out a case of Whooping Cough using the powerful antibiotic properties of garlic…but the baby still got it.  If I had known what we were dealing with at the time, I would have used a garlic poultice on my little guy, and eaten more garlic myself to rally his immune system to knock it out.beach poic

Whooping Cough Treatment in the Coughing Phase (Paroxysmal Phase)

When we went to the doctor in my baby’s second week of coughing, the coughing fits were really, really bad.

But when he wasn’t having a coughing fit, he was a happy, healthy looking baby with no symptoms of illness besides a bit of congestion rattle when he breathed.  No fever, runny nose, etc.  And OF COURSE he didn’t cough once at the doctors office.

My husband and I decided not to medically prevent our baby’s coughs by using cough suppressants.  However, my heart just broke every time he had a coughing fit…I hated it, and I wanted to help support his body in healing.  I wanted to do something about it, and I felt strongly that herbs and nutrition would be the best way to help him heal quickly.

Since my babe was at the age where he was very interested in watching us eat,  I decided to look into herbs or foods that would help support and repair what the whooping cough toxins had compromised.  If he had been a bit younger, I would have simply applied the foods and herbs to my diet, and he would have benefited from it through nursing.

This is actually where a majority of my whooping cough research began.

I wanted to know exactly what areas of the body had been damaged, and find foods that contained nutrients that supported healing in those areas.
So I did a little (OK…several hours worth of) research.

First I looked at medical journals that outlined the progression and actions of the disease.  Then, I took those terms, and searched for foods and herbs that directly addressed those issues in the body.  This is what I came up with for him:

My Recipe for Whooping Cough Remedy Stew

The Problem is:“Pertussis progressively destroys the ciliated epithelial cells” (4)
Research says:… beta-carotene acts to strengthen the epithelial cells of the mucous membranes  (1)

Some herbs and foods that are high in beta carotene are alfalfa, and cooked carrots.  Cooking and pureeing carrots actually increases the availability of the beta carotene

…so pureed carrots went on the menu. 

I also read that a small amount of fat in the meal ensures that the body absorbs more of the beta carotene.(3)

…so I added a bit of good organic butter to the mix.

The Problem is: Pertussis “inhibits coupling of receptors to inter-cellular signaling pathways, leading to the secretion of fluids and electrolytes from the cells.” (4)  [My translation: it shuts down the electrical system of the cells and cause them to leak fluids or burst]
Research says:
-A substance called Beta-1,3-D-glucan (found in oats, barley and yeasts) are potent macrophage activators.  Macrophages ignite intercellular communication by releasing chemical messengers called cytokines (interferon and interleukin). These cytokines are powerful proteins responsible for catalyzing and regulating several immune responses within the body.

Great!  I just happened to have pearled barley and oats…tossing those in with buttered pureed carrots.

The Problem is:“Studies with animals have shown that both humoral [within the body fluids] and inter-cellular immunity is required to eliminate an infection with B. pertussis.” (4)
Research says:
-Garlic may stimulate both humoral and cellular immunity, cause T-cell proliferation, and restore suppressed antibody responses (5)

…adding in some garlic.

The Problem is:“Pertussis paralyzes the cilia, coating it with a sticky toxin.  This, in turn, makes the lungs even more susceptible to secondary infections. B. pertussis potentiates [increases or enhances] the effects of histamine, resulting in increased mucus production.  The respiratory tract becomes overly sensitive to environmental irritants”
Research says:
-Garlic eases bronchial secretions (6) and has rejuvenating effect on all cells.  Garlic is effective against toxic bacteria, viruses, and fungi.(7)

…and some more garlic.

I also added in some dried basil and oregano, which I had on a list in my herbal notes as natural anti-histamines.  Other natural anti-histamines include chamomile, fennel and tarragon.  The first two would be nice in a tea blend.

So, the natural remedy was disguised as baby food, using these specific ingredients. It would also have made a delicious stew, if I had not pureed it.  Here is a printable recipe if you’d like to try it!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Whooping Cough Stew
Author: Gwen
Ingredients
  • 2 T good quality butter
  • ⅔ c. chopped carrots
  • 6 cups of good, homemade chicken or beef stock (or 6 cups of water, and beef or chicken bones)
  • 1½ cups cooked chicken meat (optional: I leave this out for little ones)
  • 4-6 cloves of garlic, chopped fine or minced
  • 1 t. salt
  • ¼ t. dried basil
  • ¼ t. dried oregano (or sub ½ t. Greek Seasoning Mix for dried herbs)
  • ½ c. pearled barley
  • ½ c. oats (any form from steel cut to quick cooking)
  • 1½ cups of fresh, organic spinach greens
  • ½ t. yeast
Instructions
Broth Instructions
  1. If you’re starting with bones and water, place them in a large pot.
  2. Bring to a boil, and then simmer for a couple of hours, skimming the top from time to time.
  3. Or you may alternatively place it all in the crock pot overnight on high.
  4. Strain broth through a sieve into a large soup pot, and follow instructions below.
Soup Instructions
  1. If you have chicken or beef broth/stock ready to go, add it to a large pot or crock pot, along with melt butter, cooked chicken, chopped carrots, garlic, basil and oregano. Heat to boiling, and then reduce heat to a simmer.
  2. Add pearled barley and oats, and continue to simmer for 45 minutes.
  3. Add in the fresh spinach and a bit of yeast just before serving.
Notes
I was a little surprised that the combination I made for my 7 month old baby smelled really good! The immersion blender did a great job of pureeing the food into a mush, and we froze most of it in ice cube trays.
I didn’t include any protein in the baby food version, because my son was still nursing for most of his nutrition. If this was being served as the main course for an older baby or child, I would add the meat or even do an “egg drop” method to enhance the protein content.
We are not “religious” food snobs by any means, but for a family who is recuperating from an illness, I find it is really worth it for me to get the best quality meats and eggs that I can find. I get grass-fed beef bones from a local company, as well as pasture raised eggs. There really is a nutritional difference.
                          ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

– See more at: http://www.gwens-nest.com/natural-remedies/whooping-cough-natural-remedies-for-prevention-and-treatment/#sthash.Ssex8wji.dpuf

My little guy was very excited to start eating, and really, really likes his food.  But the best part is that his coughing got progressively better.  I noticed a difference within 48 hours, and by the end of the week, he was remarkably better.

Which is amazing, because he had the worst cough of all, having such small airways.

Whooping Cough Treatment During the Recovery Phase

The next phase of Pertussis is called the “Recovery Phase” and is the longest of the three phases.  In fact, it can last for up to 6 months.  If you remember from my first post on whooping cough, I wrote:

“Coughing fits begin to happen with less frequently and duration.  The lungs recover slowly, and the person is more susceptible to secondary infections because the protective cilia layer is gone.  Infections that do develop afterwards are going to stimulate similar coughing fits.”

My 8 year old and 3 year old were in this phase as we prepared to leave for our family vacation…prior to me really *understanding* that we actually had whooping cough.

Just before we left for vacation in September, my 8 year old and 3 year old had been coughing for 4 and 3 weeks, respectively.  It was still interfering with everyone’s sleep, and the coughs were still intense.

They had both been taking this homemade honey/lemon ‘cough syrup’ all along, with no real changes, but they liked it, so I let them have as much as they wanted.  And at that point, I was still thinking that I was dealing primarily with “germs”, and not understanding that it was mainly toxic aftermath/damage I should be addressing.

As we were getting ready to go out of town, I happened to run across a blog post about the benefits of turmeric as an anti-inflammatory.  So I added turmeric and a dash of pepper to their honey.  My  3 y.o. had the worst cough of the two.  I gave her one dose of the turmeric boosted “cough syrup” the night before we left for vacation.P1330859

On day 2 of our vacation, we realized that she was barely coughing anymore!

The bad news was that I had left the turmeric honey at home.  Thankfully, it’s a common kitchen herb, so after a quick run to the local super market, I dosed both of them with the turmeric honey.  After weeks of coughing, we were amazed that this simple natural remedy diminished their coughs to almost non-existent.

Turmeric is a yellow spice (a ground root) that is used in Indian food.  It has a warm, spicy smell and taste, and it is a very good anti-inflammatory and anti-histamine.  Using a bit of black pepper thrown in helps the body absorb more into the blood stream (and by more, I mean 2,000 percent more, according to one study!)  Turmeric powder is VERY yellow, though, and can stain, but a soak (or two) in Oxy-Clean got the stains out for us.

I wrote about turmeric in depth here, and it’s now one of my favorite herbs that I keep on hand in bulk.  It’s VERY versatile in its actions and we prefer it for headaches, stopping blood flow, and especially for coughing.

Since I don’t give honey to my little guy yet, I gave the him some turmeric mixed in plain organic yogurt or maple syrup.  Because he was still in the paroxysmal (fits) stage, we were dealing with fresh damage to his lung tissue, he responded more-so to the foods and herbs that I posted about earlier.  The turmeric didn’t shut down the coughing as quickly as it had for my other two kiddos, but it was still helpful for him as an anti-histamine.

I’m really grateful that we had another opportunity to use natural remedies to help us get well.  Even after seeing it work over and over, it’s still amazing and rewarding to see how the body responds to good whole foods, and medicinal herbs.

I want to hear if this works for you!  Pass it on, and send me your comments.  I love hearing from you!

Update

This was shared on the Gwens-Nest facebook page, and I wanted to share it here as well:

“Hi there!! I just wanted to pass along the vitamin C info someone recommended to me – it seems to be helping alot!
http://www.vaccinationcouncil.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/updatedThe-Vitamin-C-Treatment-of-Whooping-Cough-10-5+doc-1.pdf
We are doing high doses of Vitamin C – if I ease off on the dose the cough gets worse so it really does seem to be helping! He has one major coughing fit per day (unfortunately at about 5am!!) and then the odd cough or two throughout the day and that’s it.” Lauren C.

Feedback:

“Hi Gwen, my whole family has been suffering from whooping cough. My daughter and I have had it quite severe and are still suffering the effects. I started to google home remedies as the doctors can not give you anything for it. I found your cough syrup which my husband made me up a big batch on Saturday. I must say, it has helped me so much. On Friday night, I was going to take my daughter and I to hospital. I haven’t felt that way again since taking your cough syrup. We are still coughing, but it isn’t as bad and doesnt seem to last as long. I have been taking the syrup for nearly 48 hours, so I am hoping I will continue to improve. I have been giving it to the kids too, and they dont mind it. Thank you for sharing your recipe and it has at least given me some hope that we will all get over this dreaded bug.” Paula

Thank you so much to all those who have taken time to share their tips, stories and experiences with Pertussis.

I had no idea that there would be outbreaks of Whooping Cough when I wrote this series.  My heart goes out to the parents and little ones who are in the midst of this scary illness, and it is my hope that you find resources and research to help your family cope with and heal from Whooping Cough.

And we can rejoice together that immunity from having Whooping Cough is generally life-time immunity!

Here is another great article to check out: Natural Ttreatment for Whooping Cough by Holistic Squid.

Sources cited:
(full disclosure: the last two books are linked through my Amazon affiliate account)
1. http://www.bulkherbstore.com/AHC?s=cells
2. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/09/000904124728.htm
3. http://www.vitamin-basics.com/index.php?id=35
4. Essentials of Immunology and Serology, By Jacqueline Stanley, 2002  http://tiny.cc/n89sh
5. http://www.mskcc.org/mskcc/html/69230.cfm
6. Nutritional Herbology : A Reference Guide to Herbs
7. The How to Herb Book: Let’s Remedy the Situation

P.S. Info…not meant to treat, diagnose…blah blah…I’m just a housefrau, so don’t listen to anything I say. :) Mmm-K?

Turn Norovirus into No Mo’Virus

Turn Norovirus into No Mo' Virus with healthy tips from Beeyoutiful.com

Turn Norovirus into No Mo’ Virus

by Nancy Webster

nancy_smallA few weeks ago, our grown son came home to visit for a few days. His appetite was just returning after a serious stint of diarrhea and nausea. He said “it hit him” 48 hours earlier, soon after eating at a restaurant. Since he was certain it had been “just” food poisoning and he was now feeling better, contagion wasn’t a concern… until two days later when I woke up sick. The other seven family members still at home followed suit within the next few days.

When this familiar scene happens, a lot of folks say they’ve got the stomach flu. But they don’t. There’s no such thing. Influenza viruses do not involve the stomach but stick to making us feverish, achy, and congested. Diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, cramping, and dizziness can be caused by salmonella, campylobacter, E. coli, and many other bacteria, along with viruses or parasites.

The Inside Culprit

These days, the most common culprit of gastrointestinal illness is the norovirus. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), norovirus causes about 20 million illnesses in the United States each year, and is blamed for at least 800 U.S. deaths each year.

Symptoms of norovirus include diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach cramps and, sometimes, general achiness and fever. Once exposed, a victim usually feels symptoms within 48 hours, and they last last one to two days followed by a full recovery. Complications (sometimes deadly) tend to happen in the weak and immune-compromised population, largely due to dehydration.Turn Norovirus Into No Mo' Virus! from Beeyoutiful.com

Norovirus is named after Norwalk, Ohio, where the first confirmed outbreak was identified in 1968. You might have heard it nicknamed “the cruise ship disease”. Its favorite haunt is where many people gather in close quarters. This means nursing homes, daycare centers, hospitals, dormitories, retreat centers, and yes, family homes, too.

What makes norovirus so famous is how easily it spreads. If an infected person- even one whose symptoms ended up to three days earlier- prepares food or drink (think restaurants and cafeterias), that contaminated food can make you sick. The virus can live on surfaces for up to two weeks; if you touch contaminated surfaces and then scratch your nose or rub your eyes or mouth, you can get it. And when an infected person vomits or flushes a toilet after vomiting or having a bowel movement, the norovirus goes air-bound and spreads when inhaled.

Norovirus is, like the flu, a family of ever-mutating viruses. You may become immune to the strain you catch, but there are plenty of other noroviruses waiting in the wings so you can suffer an encore later. It’s most often traced back to leafy produce sprayed by pesticides diluted with fecal-contaminated water, and to food handling by still-infected food workers.

Because norovirus does not have a fatty lipid membrane protecting its cell wall, it cannot be broken down by soaps or detergents. Even alcohol does not kill it, which means using hand sanitizer after a trip to the store won’t protect you from norovirus. Chlorine bleach will do the trick, but touching and breathing toxic bleach is not a wise idea for long-term good health.

If all this bad news about norovirus has you feeling hopeless, don’t despair. As long as you and your loved ones are fairly healthy, if you get norovirus it will blow through like a storm system and you’ll feel sunny again within two days. However, you can greatly reduce your risk of catching it (and other “bugs”) by following some or all of these preventive measures:

Keep Your Immune System Strong

1) Support the immune system throughout the year with a nutrient-dense diet, including a daily dose of cod liver oil and high vitamin butter oil. Cod liver oil is high in immune-strengthening vitamins A and D and butter oil is rich in vitamin K2. The three nutrients work together. If you take no other supplements, these are the most important. Consider them as necessary as food. If you cannot afford the cod liver oil/butter oil blend, Beeyoutiful also offers the option of A&D as Dynamic Duo and K2 as Katalyst. Some people are also extra low in Vitamin D3. If that’s you, or if you don’t know your levels but also don’t get much sun, you may want to add D3 to the mix as well.

probiotics

2)Take in probiotics every day! Your immune system is based in your gut. A plentiful supply of good bacteria makes a strong army against bad bacteria and allows your body to absorb completely all the immune-boosting foods and supplements you take in. If you eat a portion of lacto-fermented foods (yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut and other veggies and fruits) every day, you get a dose of preventive probiotics. If you do not but are generally healthy and eat well, consider taking Acidophilus Blast. If your schedule hasn’t been tweaked yet to include regular, nutrient-dense meals or you’ve got some health issues, bump up your daily probiotic to Beeyoutiful’s Ultimate Defense or even Gut Guardian for high-potency support.

ultra_immuneweb3)Beeyoutiful also carries Ultra Immune, a handy, all-in-one softgel with virus-enemies allicin (the medicinal part of garlic), elderberry, olive leaf, rosemary and oregano oil. Take one per day all the time so viruses will find you to be a very inhospitable environment. If a family member succumbs to sickness, take Ultra Immune several times per day to increase your chances of evading the bug. (Skip this one if you are pregnant. The oils taken internally may cause miscarriage.)

4)Then there’s the classic, all-round immune-booster and healer: vitamin C. Most of us don’t get enough of this needful vitamin in our diets, because our food is shipped far, stored long, and processed empty. Beeyoutiful’s Rosehip C contains acerola powder that has many extra, illness-fighting minerals. For those who can’t swallow pills, Beeyoutiful carries Gentle C, capsules of C plus buffering calcium which can be opened and stirred into drinks or soft food. And now there is new ChewC, too!chewc

bee_immuneweb5) Bee propolis, packaged in Beeyoutiful’s Bee Immune, works hand-in-hand with vitamin C. Made by honeybees, propolis contains antiseptic plant resins, enzymes, flavonoids and other immune-supporting compounds. The combo of vitamin C and propolis is a safe option for pregnant mamas to stay well.

6) Check your lifestyle. Eat regular, nutrient-dense meals. Avoid a lot of sugar, especially if sickness is in your midst! Get regular, gentle exercise. Do not over-exercise as this stresses your immune system. Go outside every day. Sleep: it’s not a luxury; it’s a necessity! Your immune system is rebooted every night you get enough sleep. Keep your relationships solid and happy and lift your cares to your Creator. There’s no better stress reliever!

Keep Things Clean

We touch 300 surfaces every 30 minutes. The very best advice for staying well is to wash your hands well and often, especially after visiting the bathroom. Although the soap does not disinfect the tough norovirus, a thorough washing (including under the fingernails) will help the virus particles slip off the hands and down the drain. But if your children wash hands like some of mine (if they even remember!), you know some extra disinfecting is in order, especially when norovirus has struck.

Toilets, sinks, counters, floors, doorknobs and light switch covers all need a frequent wipe down when sickness hits home. Don’t forget phones and keyboards, too. Norovirus particles can live up to two weeks on surfaces. A 10% bleach solution kills norovirus, but it is very unhealthy to use. Instead, fill a 32-ounce spray bottle with water and add 40-60 drops of grapefruit seed extract (GSE). GSE is proven to destroy norovirus (it kills mold, too). Add 10 drops per load to the softener compartment of your washing machine to kill norovirus on sick clothes and bedding. Add a few drops to your dishwasher (or dish water). Norovirus particles like to hide in food stuck onto dishes. And don’t forget toothbrushes! After use, soak yours in a glass of water with 2 drops of GSE. Rinse before using again.

Another option for sanitizing and freshening is essential oils. Most are anti-viral as well as anti-bacterial and anti-parasitic. Use in all the places you use GSE, although not as many drops of oil are required as of GSE. Mix 5-10 drops of tea tree or oregano oil in a spray bottle of water and wipe away. Or get fancy and mix up several oils together for maximum protection. See two great blend suggestions in the sidebar.

Don’t forget about clean air quality! Remember how norovirus goes airborne. A diffuser is most helpful in doing this job well. You can run straight tea tree or oregano oil or use your blends in it. If you don’t have a diffuser, regularly spritz your spray bottle of oils and water in the air of every room, focusing on sick rooms, bathrooms, and kitchens. I have heavily sprayed a damp cotton cloth and hung it by a fan in a pinch, too.

When It Hits

You are not defenseless when norovirus hits. There are many “tricks” touted to take away symptoms quickly and to keep family members of the first victim well.

1)Take iodine. Almost everyone in America is deficient in iodine, says Dr. David Brownstein, author of Iodine: Why You Need It, Why You Can’t Live Without It. There are varied opinions about how much to take, but a daily dose is helpful for most people and will greatly boost immunity to all sicknesses including cancer, especially cancer of the breasts and prostate. Testimonies abound of stomach viruses being stopped in their tracks by taking six drops of Lugol’s liquid iodine in a little water (it tastes strong) as soon as symptoms develop. This may need to be repeated 2-3 times in a day if vomiting has already started or becomes severe.

2)Take apple cider vinegar (preferably raw). Two teaspoons diluted in water for adults and 1 teaspoon in water for children. A squeeze of fresh lemon juice in the water is extra help. This measure works best as a preventative when you know you’ve been exposed to norovirus but have no symptoms. The ACV helps get the body in an alkaline state. Viruses, like all disease, grow best in an acid state.

charcoal powder3)Take activated charcoal. As soon as you get “that feeling” in your stomach, take 10-12 capsules and it likely will go away. If symptoms get ahead of you, take the charcoal anyway and again after vomiting or having diarrhea and your sick time will be over much sooner than if you let nature take its course. Try to drink enough water with the capsules to help them work. The charcoal captures toxins and carries them out of your body. (Do not take charcoal at the same hour you take probiotics.)

4)Take a high-quality probiotic. Especially if you have severe diarrhea, large, therapeutic doses are required. This calls for Gut Guardian Supreme, with 50 billion beneficial bacteria per dose. The reason your stomach cramps with norovirus is because the virus irritates the lining of your stomach and intestines. Take four capsules as soon as possible and follow up with that many on an empty stomach 3-4 times that same day. Once your symptoms are gone, keep taking 3-4 capsules 2x/day for a few more days to help stabilize your gut. Then drop down to the regular, suggested dose.

OreganoEOil5)Use oregano oil. This one is for when you know you’ve been exposed, but not for after symptoms start. Add one drop of oregano essential oil to a serving of food that contains fat (an olive oil-based salad dressing is a great choice). Be sure it is a pure brand like Beeyoutiful’s. Repeat twice daily. Oregano oil kills good bacteria, too, so don’t overdo, don’t use for more than a few days, and don’t take at the same time you take a probiotic. (Make sure you’re using essential oils correctly and very carefully!)

6)Rest your stomach. Some suggest no liquid (or food) be taken for up to three hours after the first vomiting episode and then just occasional sips should be re-introduced. If that is too difficult, try to just allow sips instead of big gulps.

Ginger drinks are known for settling the stomach. Old-fashioned ginger ale, made with real ginger and real sugar, is still often recommended, but not the ordinary kind found in most stores today. Ginger ale made by lacto-fermentation is another option, as is hot tea made from grated, fresh ginger and sweetened with a bit of honey. Our family sips kombucha when sick. And I admit we’ve even used Gatorade when homemade felt overwhelming.

Peppermint essential oil is also known for relieving nausea and indigestion. One drop in a little water, sipped slowly, may not only help your tummy but will also freshen your mouth.

Once symptoms abate, do not rush the re-introduction of food or your stomach may rebel one last time. Start with light foods. Bone broth is excellent (do not use MSG-laden bouillon cubes). We like salted soda crackers at this time, too.

7)Isolate the patient. If you have the luxury, isolate the patient to a certain bedroom and bathroom to help contain the virus. Caregivers should use disposable paper towels for clean up and wear latex gloves for extra protection. (As a mom of many in a small house, I’ve found this an impossible suggestion to carry out!)

Prevent Dehydration

The big complication of norovirus that causes hospitalizations and even death is dehydration. I have a daughter who will vomit 20 times or more when she gets sick with the same virus that makes the rest of us get sick 3-4 times. Some people seem to tend that way. Non-stop diarrhea is another problem. If your patient is very weak and faint, with no urine for hours and no tears, and sometimes with sunken temples (or a sunken soft spot on a baby’s head), dehydration is severe. If you cannot get an oral or rectal rehydration solution into them, the need for hospitalization to get intravenous fluids is essential and immediate.

First try an oral rehydration recipe to administer by teaspoonfuls every five minutes if that’s what it takes to keep it down. Pedialyte is what most pediatricians recommend. Unfortunately, it has many unhealthful ingredients blended with the needed electrolytes and salts, but those may not be a worry in the face of possible hospitalization. You can also mix up your own using a recipe approved by the World Health Organization. Be careful to follow it precisely or worsened diarrhea or imbalanced cell salts (and resultant seizures) may occur. Made correctly, this recipe works very well (see sidebar).

When vomiting prevents a patient from absorbing enough liquid, a rehydration enema is the answer. The body actually absorbs liquid faster rectally and this bypasses the upset stomach. Once, a grown daughter of mine was so dehydrated she could barely walk. I administered the following recipe using a $10 enema bag kit from the drugstore and her health was turned around within thirty minutes. This is another recipe you should store with an enema kit and the ingredients in your emergency medical supplies (see sidebar).

In spite of technicalities, my family has called norovirus the “stomach bug” forever. When we eat well, watch sugar intake, take cod liver and butter oil daily, our friends get the bug but we do not. Those are the most important ways to stay well. But when Real Life happens and the bug threatens or catches us, the other suggestions definitely lessen the damage.

(If despite the above measures your patient exhibits any of the following, call your doctor immediately: 1)No urine output in 8 hours; 2)No tears with crying; 3)Excessive thirst; 4)Dry mucus membranes in the mouth; 5)Persistent vomiting and/or diarrhea; 6)Abdominal pain, especially abdominal pain which settles in the right lower abdomen.)

With her eight children, Nancy Webster has accumulated over 156 child-years of parenting experience so far. She has many more stomach bug stories (“learning experiences”) she spared her readers in this article. Nancy assures all new parents apprehensive about how they’ll handle the gross factor of stomach bugs that pity will get them through it.

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“To-Do List” for Winter Fun

This article was originally presented in slightly different form in our Winter 2012-2013 Catalog.

You know you live in Minnesota when the four seasons are: almost-winter, winter, still-winter, and road construction. (That’s how we see it here, anyway.)

And when you think that minus 10 degrees is “just a little chilly,” you’re definitely a Minnesota native. As Minnesotans or even Americans living most anywhere north of the Florida panhandle, at some point we just have to laugh at the cold and make the best of Old Man Winter’s visit.

Even so, Jack Frost can be a downright harsh visitor. The blizzard of the century hits; ice storms in the Midwest or South wreak havoc on trees and power lines, or even a few inches of snow in areas that don’t often get any can throw things (like cars) into a tailspin.

So when the inevitable frigid challenges of winter happen and we get stuck in the house because snow piles up or ice cripples our travel plans, it’s time to pull out my “Snow Day Survival Kit” to cope with the worst that winter has to throw at us.

pin winter funHere’s what you do!

  • Stay indoors. An extra car slipping around on the roads is not necessary!
  • Put on wool socks and your favorite warm sweater or hooded sweatshirt.
  • If you’re a woman: Take the day off from your makeup routine. Or better yet: Spend some of the crazy day playing with the new stash of Beeyoutiful all-natural makeup you just ordered. Do your eyes in a new color of eye shadow, or try a new technique for applying eyeliner.
  • Brew a big pot of your favorite hot drink. Coffee, tea, or cocoa.
  • Pop about 6000 IU’s of Vitamin D, because you’re definitely not getting enough of that! Here in the north, we get so little sunlight during winter that supplementing with Vitamin D is critical. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is no joke!
  • Bake some muffins. There’s something perfectly comforting about a fresh-from-the-oven muffin.  Pumpkin, banana, blueberry, or your favorite of Beeyoutiful recipes!
  • Snuggle on the couch with a blanket, your favorite person, or your favorite animal (or all of the above).
  • Pull out a craft to work on. Start that knitting project you’ve had waiting, or finish the photo album that’s been on the shelf for 4 years.
  • Find a terrific book to read. Last year in the dead of winter, I was riveted to the true story of Louis Zamperini as told in the best-selling book by Laura Hillenbrand, Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption. If he survived being a Prisoner of War held by the Japanese, I know I can survive a measly winter storm.
  • Watch a Christmas movie. Or some other movie set in winter. (White Christmas, anyone? It’s a favorite around here.)
  • Make snow ice cream, sweetened with Stevia. My toddlers LOVE making this as much as I did when I was a kid. It’s a fun activity that makes really good use of that pile of fresh snow.
  • Call friends and family who live far away and chat for an hour or two.
  • Be thankful we’re not in the White Witch-ruled Land of Narnia. At least here, with winter, Christmas does come!
  • Put a new essential oil blend in your essential oil diffuser from Beeyoutiful. Enjoy the aroma, and know it’s helping kill off the icky germs cooped up in the house with you.
  • Put on some fun music and have an impromptu dance party with your kids or animals.
  • Write a REAL letter to someone you love. You know, the kind you write with a pen on a pretty piece of paper? Yeah, the old-fashioned way!
  • Spend some time praying for people who are truly suffering.
  • Make homemade pizza for dinner.
  • Put flannel sheets on your bed.
  • Heat up a rice bag to which you’ve added some of Beeyoutiful’s delightful Lavender Essential Oil, and get cozy.

Around here, we usually get the opportunity to “rinse and repeat” this list four to six times each winter. I love the snow, and my three-year-old will be in raptures the first time God opens His storehouse of white and dumps it on our yard.

But the cold? Oh my! I could do without the sub-zero temperatures. Yet we soldier on and thank God for a warm house, wool socks, fireplaces, and hot cocoa. And, of course, there’s always the beautiful promise of spring.

Johanna’s Favorite Winter-Day Recipes

Grain-Free Chocolate Pumpkin Muffins

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree or fresh-baked pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup organic maple syrup or honey
  • 6 oz dark chocolate chips chips
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix eggs and other wet ingredients in one bowl. Mix dry ingredients in another bowl. Melt chocolate and coconut oil together over low heat, and let the chocolate cool for 5 minutes. Add the chocolate and coconut oil to wet ingredients; then blend with a whisk. Combine the wet and dry mixtures until well blended. Scoop into muffin tins with paper liners. Bake for 25 minutes or until firm.

Vanilla Hot Chocolate (serves 8)

  • ½ cup cacao
  • Liquid Stevia to taste (substitute raw honey to taste if desired)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Small pinch of sea salt
  • 1 cup raw cream
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 3 cups milk

Dump coconut milk and cream into small pan. On medium-low heat, whisk in cocoa powder, Stevia, and vanilla. Add salt, and mix until dissolved. Add milk, and bring to desired temperature. Taste and adjust sweetness as desired. Top with a homemade marshmallow or whipped cream, and enjoy!

Johanna Puelston loves her life as a wife, mother, a sometimes caterer, and freelance writer. She lives in beautiful Minnesota with her husband and three children. Feeding her family well and making memories together are two of her many passions. The Puelstons also love to travel, hike, make new friends, drink coffee, and laugh. 

 

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