Tag Archives: Children’s Health

Why Beeyoutiful Carries Homeopathic Remedies

Why We Use Homeopathic Remedies from Beeyoutiful.com

The subject of homeopathy can be a very touchy one for some people. Here’s our personal experience.

When we started Beeyoutiful many years ago, our primary goal was to share products that we personally used to take care of our family’s health at home, to build health, avoid illness, and prevent trips to the doctor’s office.

We looked at all sorts of “alternative medicine” venues and products. Our first look at homeopathic remedies was before we had a baby, and at that time we gave it a pass. There was just too much drama and conflicting information surrounding the entire category of products, and we didn’t have any pressing needs that we thought could be met by homeopathy.

Why We Use Homeopathic Remedies from Beeyoutiful.comThen, our firstborn Noelle came along, and this wonderful little blessing of a baby suffered from colic. We looked for a good colic medicine (that didn’t contain toxic ingredients) and tried out a variety of them, but the one that other people seemed to use with the most success was a homeopathic remedy.
*gulp*
We decided that we needed to jump back into researching homeopathics before trying them with our precious little one.

The medical community said there would be, could be, no benefit at all from homeopathic remedies. Even what looked like the most reasonable and scientific of the homeopathic organizations admitted to only a mild benefit from homeopathic preparations, stating that much of the benefit from homeopathy was in the other care given by practitioners.

We noticed, however, that one thing was consistent. None of these folks said that homeopathics were dangerous, or that there were ANY side effects, risks, or other special considerations. This was in stark contrast to other options we were evaluating at the time, options that frequently had lengthy lists of possible unwanted effects.

We did find pockets of warnings about homeopathics from individuals cautioning that there was indeed a danger involved: a spiritual danger. These people contended that homeopathics did work, and that they worked using demonic forces.

This wasn’t something new. We had encountered identical warnings when originally researching essential oils years ago. So we investigated again.

I never could find out exactly what was supposed to happen to someone using a homeopathic preparation. Were we supposed to be made open to demon possession/oppression, damnation, destruction of the body/mind/soul, or what? Or maybe it was just sinful to use homeopathic preparations.

Our finding was that the voices online that were saying such things were radicals, sensationalists, and fear-mongers. The more reading we did on their sites (and believe me, it was hard for me to read), the harder it was to take seriously anything that was said, much less about homeopathics. Still, we proceeded with caution.

Noelle continued to suffer from colic, so we prayerfully decided to get a preparation and try it out. It worked better than anything else that we had used!

photo-1415822138156-fd0cd874335aI don’t know if it was the charcoal ingredient or if it was the homeopathic preparation, and to be perfectly honest, at the time, I really didn’t care. I was just grateful that something had finally worked. (Do you know what it is like to wake up every 20-30 minutes ALL NIGHT LONG to a crying baby and never drop into the deep, restful part of a sleep cycle for weeks on end? I certainly hope not.)

It’s now many years later, and we have tried a few different homeopathic products for different situations. Our conclusion is that homeopathics are not like herbs, essential oils, or medications. They are very safe, but may or may not be very effective. This is kind of the norm when it comes to health supporting tools in general, though: the more potent a remedy, the greater the risks.

An analogy that comes to mind is this: you have a little paper boat out on the water and you need to change its direction. One “remedy” for this situation would be to throw rocks or various things at the boat or near the boat that would directly influence its direction. It’s possible that one of these remedies would be a bullseye on the nose of the boat, with just the right sized object at just the right angle and velocity to change its direction by exactly the right amount. It is also possible that some of these remedies would not be the right size and would destroy the boat or capsize it or water log it. Homeopathics would be more like sitting on the shore, making waves to try to change the boat’s direction. It might work, it might not, but it’s a gentle attempt and there really are no associated risks.

I think it is in the care of the very young that homeopathics really have a place for us. There are so many powerful and effective alternative remedies (such as some herbs and essential oils) that just cannot be used on the very young.

photo-1415668459433-37167d4331aeWithout anywhere else to turn, folks often end up in a traditional medical setting where they get a prescription drug for their wee one. Unbeknownst to the poor parent, the medicine, as often as not, has a warning label as long as their arm listing potential side effects. So then you’re stuck using a tool which could potentially be just as dangerous to your child as any of the powerful natural remedies that you wouldn’t use because of their own set of potential side effects.

Or, you do your research and read that list of side effects and then decide not to use the medicine after all, and you just wasted a bunch of time and money to end up in exactly the same helpless spot. I believe that homeopathic remedies have helped us avoid this exact situation with our children many times. 

No remedy is a one size fits all for everybody. Not everybody is a user of essential oils, or herbs, or any other specific alternative remedy. And the same is true of homeopathics. You may not want to use them, and that’s alright. You may not agree with our conclusions and or our decision to carry homeopathics at Beeyoutiful, and that’s alright too. We support the freedom of each person to act and make educated decisions that serve their families best. 

We hope that, whatever your thoughts about homeopathy, we can continue to have a relationship with you and to openly share what we’re learning. We also love to learn things from you as you write or call in. If you have any questions or concerns about the new homeopathic products we’re carrying, please do feel free to contact me directly. But before you do that, please also do your own research, first for yourself, and then to pass along to me, if you’d like to share a different perspective. You can get in touch by emailing steve@beeyoutiful.com and I promise I’ll pay attention to your concerns.

How-To Tuesday: 8 Ways To Soothe a Cranky Ear

How-To Tuesday: 8 Ways to Soothe a Cranky Ear from Beeyoutiful.com

There is nothing worse than a cranky ear that won’t let you rest… except maybe your little one’s tired, cranky ears. Sometimes, no matter how hard we try to watch what they eat, remove food items that seem to trigger ear problems, and make sure they don’t get water in their ears while swimming, it seems that occasionally our little ones still end up bothered by a painful ear.

How-To Tuesday: 8 Ways to Soothe a Cranky Ear from Beeyoutiful.comHere are a few things that have worked in our family to help soothe cranky ears and let us all get some rest!

Important note: If you even suspect the eardrum might be ruptured, do not put anything into the ear and contact your care provider immediately.

1. Slice off the top of an onion and, using the stem and outer skin as a handle, hold the onion up to the offending ear. Typically within a few minutes the discomfort disappears.

2. Good digestion can often help you avoid cranky ears. Our littles take a digestive enzyme and probiotics daily.

3. Eliminate common trigger foods such as wheat, dairy, soy, and sugar from the diet.

4. Try steam inhalation with dried or fresh herbs (remember the nasal passages and ears are connected!). In a large heatproof bowl, place 1 oz of each or some of the following herbs: Lemon Balm, Chamomile, Elder Flowers, and/or Spearmint. Pour very hot or boiling water over the herbs and let steep for 1-2 minutes. As it steams, drape a towel over your shoulders and head, leaning over the bowl to trap the steam and direct it more easily as you breathe. (Be very careful to avoid steam burns!)

5. Sip on some tea made from equal parts Lemon Balm and Mullein. It is yummy and soothing! Add some honey for extra comfort.

6. Use a clean sock filled with uncooked rice and then warmed in the microwave to apply gentle heat to the ear (keep the heat mild; overheated rice packs can irritate and even burn the skin). One of our Beeyoutiful teammates also recently tried this using Coarse Rock Salt instead of rice; the salt seemed to work faster and hold a gentle heat longer, and the added minerals may also be beneficial.

7. Use Lavender and Tea Tree Essential Oils, diluted with Sweet Almond Oil to gently massage around the ear and neck

Ear and Neck Massage Oil

Mix together in small bottle. Massage around ear and neck. For external use only; Do Not Put This Blend Inside the Ear!

8. For soothing of a very cranky ear, try using Garlic Oil or Mullein Oil.

Garlic Oil

  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/8 cup Olive Oil

Simmer at lowest possible heat for several hours. (Do not let it burn!) Strain and store infused oil in a dark glass bottle. Use 2 drops per ear, as needed. Store for no more than one month. This recipe can also be used on the bottom of the feet, spine, and neck to help boost immunity.

Mullein Oil

  • 2 oz Dried or Fresh Mullein
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • 2 oz Olive Oil or other carrier oil

Mix all ingredients in a glass jar and let sit for 1-2 weeks, shaking occasionally. To speed up the process for immediate use, you can cook over the lowest heat possible on the stove for 30 mins to 6 hours.) Strain and store infused oil in a dark glass container. Use 2 drops per ear, as needed. Store for no more than 1 month.

Important note worth repeating: If you even suspect the eardrum might be ruptured, do not put anything into the ear and contact your care provider immediately. Massages outside of the ear and on the lymph nodes around the ear and down the neck may continue to be helpful, but never drop anything into an ear that has a ruptured eardrum! 

Beeyoutiful’s Kid-Friendly Essential Oil Zone

Beeyoutiful not only has an amazing adult team working together to bring great products to you, but we also currently have a small army of kids with us. When we all get together, there over a dozen little ones 10 and under, all playing together and getting into everything.

As you can imagine, we also have our share of sniffles, sneezes, upset tummies, and overstimulated and sometimes even sad littles ones. Essential oils are one very prized part of our toolbox to help support our wee lot.

Beeyoutiful's Kid-Friendly Essential Oils

Step into our world for a bit and see how we use essential oils with our kiddos! (Be sure you’ve read about the things we think you should know before you begin using essential oils for any age.)

It can be hard to know which essential oils are appropriate for these young ages. After much researching and reading, we’re sharing a list of the oils that we personally use in our homes, along with a few tips on how we use them with our children.

Beeyoutiful’s Kid-Friendly Essential OilsKid-Friendly Essential Oils from Beeyoutiful.com


Bergamot

Black Pepper
Cedarwood
Chamomile
Citronella
Clary Sage
Frankincense
Geranium
Ginger
Lavender
Lemon
Myrrh
Orange
Patchouli
Spearmint
Tangerine
Tea Tree
Thyme

We’ve also bundled some of the most popular kid-friendly oils for respiratory support here.

How We Use Beeyoutiful’s Kid-Friendly Essential Oils With Our Children

Calm Down Rub

1 drop Chamomile
1 drop Tangerine
1 ounce Sweet Almond Oil

Gently massage child all over, or focus on applying the blend to the spine, base of the neck, abdomen, and bottom of the feet.Calm Down Kid-Friendly Essential Oils from Beeyoutiful.com

Tummy Love

1 drop Spearmint
1 drop Ginger
1 ounce Sweet Almond Oil

Mix and rub gently on abdomen, back of the neck, and spine, or rub on bottom of the feet during times of nausea or upset tummies.Tummy Love Kid-Friendly Essential Oils from Beeyoutiful.com

Breathe Easy Baby

1 drop Lemon
1 drop Spearmint
1 drop Cedarwood
1 ounce of Sweet Almond Oil

Mix and rub on the chest and over the spine of the child to help support respiratory health.Breathe Easy Baby Kid-Friendly Essential Oils from Beeyoutiful.com

Sweet Sleep

Add equal parts Cedarwood and Lemon to a diffuser. Diffuse at 15 minute intervals as child falls asleep.Sweet Sleep Kid-Friendly Essential Oils from Beeyoutiful.com

How to Massage Your Baby

Mix 1 drop of Lavender Essential Oil with 3 Tablespoons of Jojoba Oil. Make sure baby is lying on a warm and comfortable surface, and that your hands are warm (if you’re cold, wash your hands in hot water to warm them up).

Use gentle, steady pressure and a calm, comforting voice while touching your baby. Keep continual contact with the baby’s skin. Discontinue massage if you or the baby experience stress or unpleasant emotions; massage should be a tender way for baby and parent to bond and encourage healthy development.

Baby Massage Card from Beeyoutiful.comKnow a parent who could benefit from this information? Want to remember it for later? Use the buttons below to share it, pin it, tweet it, send it!

6 Crucial Things You Need to Know BEFORE Using Essential Oils, Part 2

6 Crucial Things You Need To Know BEFORE Using Essential Oils, from Beeyoutiful.com

Thanks for joining us for Part 2 of this article! Don’t miss the vital information and helpful graphic we shared in Part 1.

 In our last post, we talked about how important it is to put safety first and to respect the potency inherent in essential oils. Let’s continue our discussion with four more areas to consider before using these powerful tools.

3What is good for Peter may be bad for Paul

Especially if Paul is a young child! Appropriate and safe guidelines for use vary widely from one species of plant to another, and even more widely from adulthood to childhood. Please take the time to personally research each and every essential oil you use with your child or baby. There are very, very few infant-compatible essential oils, a few that are considered okay for toddlers, and then the list expands by several more for young childhood. Once a child reaches 10 years old, the list of oils considered safe expands significantly. (Here are a few oils that we carefully use with children in our own homes.)

I can hear it now: some of my fellow mamas are voicing exactly what went through my head when I first read some of these age-based safety guidelines. “Huh… well, I rubbed XYZ essential oil on my little one neat and not only were there no adverse reactions but it lowered her fever, so THERE. This sounds like a lot of paranoia to me!” Please understand this: just because you can use a particular oil on a young child with no noticeable adverse effects the first time (or even several times), that does not mean that it cannot happen at a later time. ​(Remember also that not all adverse effects are visible; for instance, you cannot tell from the outside whether your child’s tiny liver is stressed by trying to process the powerful compounds present in certain oils.)

4Reaction x2

There are two main types of reactions that can happen in response to external use of essential oils and it’s crucial for all users to understand them.

Skin irritation was the only type of potential reaction of which I was aware when I started with oils. This is the type of reaction that one is to test for before using any new essential oil externally. Skin irritations can occur in one individual and not in another, due to individual sensitivities. Skin irritation happens on the first exposure to the irritatant, the reaction is rapid, and the severity will depend on the concentration of the irritant present. The skin responds with an inflammatory reaction.

Skin sensitization is the second type of reaction and it took me years of learning to discover a thorough explanation of what it is. Skin sensitization is a type of allergic reaction. The oil will not produce any irritated reaction on the first patch test, but during later exposures, once the allergen has penetrated the skin, the body’s immune system reacts in an attempt to fight off what it views as an invader. This can result in a rash on the skin. Sensitization reactions can also take the form of inflammation, breathlessness, nausea or headache. It is possible to become sensitized to any essential oil, no matter how pure or safe the particular species or variety.

Sensitization to an essential oil happens most frequently through overuse of a specific oil. This is a good reminder that it is unwise to repeatedly use the same oil (or blend of oils) day in and day out. There is benefit to changing out our oils on a regular basis and making sure they are sufficiently diluted for external use. Both of these strategies will decrease the risk of sensitization over time.

5The Swiss Army Knife of natural tools

Essential oils are so incredibly multi-faceted. They can do it all, and do it with style. These are the primary ways they are suggested to be used.

Aromatherapy includes heat diffusion, cold nebulizing diffusion, steam inhalation, or simply smelling the oil from the bottle or applied on an item in the vicinity. It is generally agreed that aromatherapy is the safest way to use essential oils. But, even with aromatherapy, there are cautions to beware.

External use covers applying an oil directly to the skin, either neat or diluted. There is a wide range of opinion as to what constitutes safe external usage, recommended dilutions, and what health situations warrant external use.

Internal use is by far the most controversial form of essential oil usage, with well-diluted considered the safest form of essential oil internal use. Diluted or not, internal use requires the most research and expertise, and entails the highest amount of risks.

There is a range of risks and contraindications inherent in the available options of essential oil use. Understanding this is an important step in being an informed consumer and moving beyond the naive view that all oils are equally safe and viable options for everyone.

6Why a Company cannot create a well-informed Consumer

When I first began using essential oils, I was very careful to read everything I could that was published by or recommended by representatives of the company from which I bought them. After all, who better to trust than the source of the oil itself?

Now that I’ve read many more books, scientific studies, and articles written by certified aromatherapists, I feel a little betrayed by the narrow scope of information given by the company I placed my trust in as a fledgling essential oil consumer all those years ago. There was so very much that they didn’t say, and so much they did say that I found out later was not a reflection of what other experts considered good advice.

My perspective has changed and I no longer hold that company completely responsible for my ignorance as a consumer. I know now that the information a company publishes and shares about their essential oils, with recipes, dilution recommendations, cautions, warnings, and benefit suggestions will all be driven by that company’s philosophy, the personal way the individuals in that company use oils, and the training and personal knowledge of the people in the company. It will also likely be heavily filtered and carefully worded due to the legal restrictions placed upon alternative health businesses.

Through the years, Beeyoutiful’s essential oil descriptions have been revised multiple times. Many times, the edits were very frustrating for us to make because they meant removing information that could be very beneficial for consumers to know but that we are not allowed to share based on our best understanding of FDA guidelines. Other times, the edits were made to reflect new information as we learned it about specific essential oils. The most recent round of edits was intended to be more comprehensive of health, age, and pregnancy and nursing precautions.

We’ve shared how our oils are made, and we’re happy to answer your common questions about them. We are sharing, educating, and disclosing everything we can to the best of our ability, and even so our efforts, on their own, will never be enough to make you a truly informed consumer. No company selling essential oils will ever be able to educate you well enough because the restrictions are too great and our knowledge base is not comprehensive enough even if we could write what we wanted without restrictions. We will never be experts on your health history, or that of your children and your family. We will never be your personal healthcare provider. We are here to simply make available the tools we use with our own families, and do our very best to share helpful information along the way.

We carry books about essential oils and freely give reading recommendations for resources that we trust that will help fill in the gaps we know exist between where our product descriptions end and where knowledgable consumerism begins. Please take advantage of these resources! It is so worth it to have a broad understanding of how these marvelous essential oils work, and this knowledge will enable you to use essential oils for the rest of your life.

Missed the important information in Part 1 of this article? Read it here! If you found this information helpful, don’t keep it to yourself! Use the buttons below to share it with a friend, and make sure to follow us on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram

Preparing For Pregnancy, Part 2: Choosing Supplements and Avoiding Morning Sickness

Preparing for Pregnancy: Choosing Supplements and Avoiding Morning Sickness

Thanks for joining us for Pregnancy Week! Start here with Part 1. Some of this material originally appeared in a slightly different form in our Fall 2010 catalog

Our Food Doesn’t Always Cut It

Ideally, you would get all your nutrients from food, but that is just not possible these days with our nutritionally-depleted soils and food supplies, busy lifestyles, and other deficiencies. That’s why the wonderful resources of Beeyoutiful are invaluable if you’re preparing for one of life’s greatest joys and hardest tasks.

Preparing for Pregnancy: Choosing Supplements and Avoiding Morning SicknessBoth parents should take a multivitamin that’s derived from whole sources, and is easily absorbed to work within the body to help build and restore nutrient reserves. SuperMom and SuperDad are excellent multivitamins which also feature “bonus” nutrient-packed ingredients such as spirulina and chlorella. (Bear in mind that dad contributes on the front end to the baby’s health, so he needs to take his vitamins to build his own immune system well in advance of conception.)

In addition to the multivitamin, Folate is a must. A sufficient level in both parents decreases the rate of several genetic problems, including spina bifida and Down Syndrome. SuperMom and SuperDad each offer 400 mcg of Folic Acid, but most midwives and health practitioners advise 800 mcg per day for women anticipating pregnancy so you’ll need to boost that nutrient separately.

Many times during pregnancy, due to insufficient diet, increased demand, and absorption issues, iron levels can drop into a range that is dangerous for both mom and baby. If you reach delivery without enough iron, it can lead to low blood levels and the need for additional interventions as well as increased recovery times.

Floradix® Iron + herbs is a safe, low dose, organic liquid iron supplement. It contains highly soluble iron gluconate as well as herbal extracts, whole food concentrates and co-factors Vitamins B and C. The addition of Vitamin B and C aids your body’s ability to absorb the iron and better utilize it once absorbed. Best of all, it is easy on the stomach and non-constipating, making it helpful for pregnant and lactating women.

Cod Liver Oil is one of my newer personal favorites that I wish I’d taken it prior to all my pregnancies. Cod Liver Oil provides the EPA and DHA required for proper brain development. I suggest using Rosita Extra Virgin Cod Liver Oil along with Butter Oil because it also provides Omega 3 fatty acids and good amounts of Vitamins A, D, and K. These three crucial vitamins work together to help build strong bones, maintain the cardiovascular system, keep skin clear and healthy, balance the clotting factors in your blood, reduce the chance of diabetes, strengthen the immune system, and myriad other great benefits. Since these are fat soluble vitamins, it is also vital to take them with a meal containing a moderate amount of healthy fats for proper absorption.

lotteHeading Off Morning Sickness

One of the most-dreaded parts of pregnancy is morning sickness and it often lingers as a “what if” when we are considering having a little one. While the babies are worth every second of agony, there are definitely things we can do that might help protect us or at least lessen the intensity. Take comfort: I had severe morning sickness with my first three pregnancies, to the point of needing to be medicated throughout, but by my fourth and fifth pregnancies I was managing well with several natural remedies instead.

Maximizing your nutrient-dense foods and thus nourishing your system is the foundation, but often our diets need a special boost. Two nutrients in particular seem to impact morning sickness the most.

Magnesium plays crucial roles in managing cortisol and blood sugar and even impacting hormones. When we are deficient in magnesium, our body is not able to properly maintain these other areas, leading to what we call morning sickness. Usually having optimal magnesium levels prior to pregnancy will help this. (For more information on magnesium deficiency, click here.)

We need to add B Vitamins, particularly B12 and B6, because they aid our body’s ability to absorb magnesium. Having daily intake of food rich in Vitamin B is a great place to start, but if your body has difficulty converting it to a usable form, you may also want to consider using a methylated form of both folate and B12 instead.

Putting it All to Use

To make sure your body can actually use the foods and supplements you’re giving it, you’ll need to do all you can to keep your digestive system working its best. Even if you are blessed with an iron-clad stomach, you’re likely to have taken antibiotics sometime in your life, or have been exposed to toxins that could wreak havoc on digestive flora. Here are two key ways to help build a strong digestive tract.

Probiotics, taken daily, rebuild good intestinal flora which will pass to the baby growing inside of you. It also protects against harmful bacteria. And here’s a big plus I wish I had known during my first stomach-churning pregnancy: daily use of probiotics such as Tummy Tuneup can help decrease nausea while pregnant.

Digestive enzymes are crucial because enzymes are the tools your body uses to extract nutrients from food. Most people are deficient in enzymes and unable to use well what their food offers. Without sufficient enzymes, many people experience fatigue, constipation, diarrhea, food cravings, and various stomach complaints. Eliminating these problems before pregnancy will help you feel better during pregnancy. And it will help maximize the nutrient building blocks available to help grow your child’s body.

Red Raspberry Leaf is an invaluable herb for women of all ages, but specifically for pre-pregnancy. The leaves are known to increase fertility in both men and women, prevent miscarriage and hemorrhage, and decrease morning sickness. Many midwives agree that Red Raspberry Leaves are safe to take throughout your pregnancy, but some advise against use during the first trimester, so (as always!) check with your preferred health care provider before continuing any supplement during your pregnancy.

A Matter of Timing

The plans I’ve shared here should be started six months to a year prior to pregnancy, if at all possible. Certainly, if you are experiencing specific health concerns such as thyroid dysfunction, extreme fatigue, chronic infections or illness, etc., it would be best to get control of your health immediately, whether or not pregnancy seems to be in your future. Whether through diet modification, adding supplements, or working with a naturopath, the more you work to build your health now, the less effort will be required to restore it in the future, and you’ll reduce the chances of passing on chronic problems to your children.

Whether your first or your tenth, pregnancy is one of the most exciting times in life! Every baby brings a wealth of expectations, joys, and new experiences. As you contemplate bringing a life into this world, I hope you can learn a little from my early bad choices and the subsequent better ones. The most rewarding result of my better choices has been the noticeably better health enjoyed by my third child, who is by far healthier than my older two.

Join us tomorrow for Part 3 when we’ll talk about exercise and rest during pregnancy.

Mary Ewing has been with Beeyoutiful for six years (through three pregnancies!). She enjoys exploring life with her husband and five children as they cook, garden, play and dream of homesteading. Her interests include traditional cooking, learning about herbs and essential oils, and traditional art forms such as sewing, crocheting, knitting and smocking.

Preparing for Pregnancy, Part 1: Laying a Nutritional Foundation

Preparing for Pregnancy: Laying a Nutiritional Foundation

This material originally appeared in a slightly different form in our Fall 2010 catalog

When I married in 2004, I was almost 26, and my husband and I knew we didn’t want to wait long to have children. Although many women have children after thirty, we both wanted a large family and weren’t sure how long our child-bearing years would last. Even so, we were slightly surprised when just six weeks after the wedding we found ourselves expecting our first child! Excitement filled our house, and to add to our own joy, this would be the first grandchild for both his parents and mine.

Preparing for Pregnancy: Laying a Nutiritional FoundationAt the time, I was a practicing registered nurse, and although I did not work in obstetrics, I’d always been fascinated with the subject. Despite the fact that I had scored a perfect 100 ranking among my peers that year in the OB/GYN national competency exams, I gradually found that I actually understood little about the importance of preparing my body to be a mother.

I knew I needed to take a prenatal vitamin once the pink line appeared on the pregnancy test. I knew the importance of Folate to prevent birth defects. I knew I needed to generally take care of myself. But I did nothing to really prepare my body for pregnancy.

My pre-pregnancy diet consisted largely of fast food, meals from a box, and sodas. I had done nothing to eliminate my chronic gut problems, build nutritional storehouses, or make sure my body was in shape for this miraculous event.

Due to long work hours, my entire day’s nutrition consisted of an orange for breakfast, half a sub sandwich for lunch, and half for dinner (and when I say sub, I mean a foot-long white bread sandwich with nothing but processed cold cuts, American cheese and jalapeño peppers). I washed that all down with the largest cherry limeade I could buy, because it had to last my entire shift; it was a healthier choice, I figured, since it did not have caffeine. I often went an entire week without eating unprocessed meat, fresh vegetables, and whole grains.

My bouts with morning sickness (to the point of vomiting) lasted from early in the pregnancy until three days after my baby was born. With my second pregnancy came nine months of migraine headaches, followed by my newborn son’s chronic health issues. I finally decided there had to be a better way to do pregnancy! The challenges I faced have led me to some fascinating factors that make for a healthier momma and, therefore, a healthier baby.

The Two-Way Gift of Health

maryOur health is a gift, not just from the Creator, but also from our parents. The field of genetics is still full of mystery, but we do know that the health of our parents when they brought us into the world plays a large role in determining what our own level of health will be, and your health will play a major role in your children’s health.

People generally assume that most health issues depend simply on the genes we pass on, that they determine what makes us more or less vulnerable to various diseases and health conditions. Many of us don’t make the connection that we directly pass on to our children a reflection of our own state of health, apart from genetic factors.

As a result, our children often suffer from the same digestive, immune, and chronic health issues that we do, not just because of genes but also because of how we care for ourselves. If you’ve had problems with your digestion, it should not come as a surprise that your child is colicky. So before you think about having a baby, first consider how to rebuild and restore your own health. Not only will you be passing on to your future children a head start in health, but the habits you develop will benefit them throughout life.

Getting Your Gift in Shape

The place to start building your health is with your diet and your nutritional lifestyle. Nutrients are the building blocks of cells, and it is vital to take in nutrients that build healthy cells. Diets full of healthy fats, grass-fed and organic proteins, fermented foods, properly prepared grains, and fresh fruits and vegetables are vital. While there are several very good diet suggestions out there, I personally recommend Diet for Pregnant and Nursing Mothers as a good starting place. It’s published by the Weston A. Price Foundation and offers great guidance for nourishing your body and preparing the inner stores of nutrients necessary for pregnancy.

Most people recognize the need for protein, iron, and vitamins from fresh fruit and vegetables, but it is only recently becoming known that healthy fats are needed as well. A British publication noted that for a healthy reproductive system, a woman needs 25 to 30 percent body fat, while the American recommendation for women of child-bearing years is 21 to 33 percent. Healthy fats include coconut oil, whole milk, extra virgin olive oil, avocados, and grass-fed butter and meats (with healthy portions of the fat included). A great primer in the study of fats is Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon.

Just as important as what you put in your body is what you don’t put in. Fats to avoid are shortening, margarine, vegetable oils like corn, soybean, and canola oil. Other no-no’s include artificial sweeteners, white sugar, white flour, MSG, High Fructose Corn Syrup, caffeine, and soft drinks (even cherry limeades!). Not only are they empty calories, they are often toxic to the body.

Another crucial part of your lifestyle evaluation is your level of physical activity. At any time in life, exercise keeps the body feeling well, the joints moving, aches and pains dispelled, and increases overall vitality. To “get in shape” for pregnancy, it’s important to incorporate into daily life activities and exercises that increase stamina, flexibility, and cardio function. If you’re wary of exercise because of pain, I recommend you read Pain Free. I’ve followed its guidelines for almost a year now and have found incredible relief from aches and pains, while increasing my flexibility and balance.

When you exercise while pregnant, it’s important that you not burn too much fat. High impact aerobics and long distance running often burn more than the recommended amount of body fat for a healthy pregnancy. The key here is to research the regimen you will be participating in and maintain a level that’s right for you.

Join us tomorrow for Part 2 when we discuss choosing supplements and avoiding morning sickness. 

Mary Ewing has been with Beeyoutiful for six years (through three pregnancies!). She enjoys exploring life with her husband and five children as they cook, garden, play and dream of homesteading. Her interests include traditional cooking, learning about herbs and essential oils, and traditional art forms such as sewing, crocheting, knitting and smocking.

6 Ways to Travel Well and Stay Well (Especially With Kids!)

6 WAYS TO TRAVEL WELL AND STAY WELL (ESPECIALLY WITH KIDS!)

Along with fun and excitement, traveling also brings a measure of stress on a body’s health and well being. It takes a toll with later nights, strange beds, hectic (yet fun!) schedules, and exposure to more people and places and thus more germs. There is nothing worse than being out of town and sick, except being out of town, sick and without your favorite supplies. It’s doubly awful if the ones who succumb are young children!6 WAYS TO TRAVEL WELL AND STAY WELL (ESPECIALLY WITH KIDS!)

Our family had a stomach bug catch us several years ago on the tail end of a long trip for my husband’s job. Having Tummy Tuneup, Activated Charcoal, Essential Oils, and Vitamin D on hand helped kept me from getting sick too, and we were able to get home quickly and recover.

Here are the strategies and items that I consider absolutely crucial in my family’s travel arsenal.

  1. When I get to our hotel room, I immediately plug in our diffuser. Optimally, I can add Eucalyptus Essential Oil and Bandito Blend into the Breeze and then we can go out for a couple of hours, giving the essential oils time to do their disinfecting jobs. But, since I have littles, I will usually turn instead to a child-friendly combination of Lemon, Spearmint, Tangerine and Thyme to diffuse. Those oils are less irritating to their little systems but still are effective at going after bacteria.
  2. I always bring a small travel size spray bottle. When I arrive, I add several drops of Spearmint, Thyme and Tangerine Essential Oils and then fill with water. I use this to wash down all the surfaces in the hotel. You can also pull down the beds and spray the mattresses, if necessary; just spray lightly and then allow to air dry. That, combined with diffusing into the air, will cleanse the room of the majority of potential threats.
  3. Before we go out in crowds, we prevent, prevent, prevent! If it’s summer, I usually skip the Vitamin D. But if it’s winter or we already seem a bit unwell, we dose up with Cod Liver Oil for extra Vitamin A and D. A dose of an elderberry syrup is next. And finally, we never travel without our probiotics! Our choice is usually Tummy Tuneup because it is easy to dose the little ones, and it’s shelf-stable so I don’t have to worry about keeping it refrigerated.
  4. In case our tummies go sour, we keep extra Tummy Tuneup, Activated Charcoal, and essential oils on hand. Our favorites are Spearmint (for anyone under 10), Peppermint, and Oregano, each well diluted in a carrier oil and massaged on the feet, lightly on the abdomen, and down the spine. We open a capsule and put Tummy Tuneup powder under the tongue. I use Charcoal to both treat and prevent the spread of upset stomachs; it’s highly absorbent and can quickly bind to toxins and move them out of the digestive system.
  5. If a nose is running, we dose up with our Berry Well and Vitamin D [LINK] and then keep a paper towel handy with a few drops of either Spearmint or Peppermint to assist in breathing. (I use Spearmint for children under ten and Peppermint for ten and over.) We also brew a big cup of Red Raspberry Leaf Tea to sip. All you need is your hotel room’s coffee maker and you are all set with hot water to make enough tea for everyone.
  6. Cuts and bruises! Busy travel days in unfamiliar environments can lead to more accidents and injuries than normal. I clean well with soapy water and then slather on some Miracle Skin Salve. For stings, bites, and sunburns, I bring along a baggie of dried Plantain (at home we often use the fresh leaves, but in urban areas it can be scarce or there is a possibility of pesticides). For fresh plantain, just chewing it up a bit and applying the crushed leaf to the sting or bites brings almost immediate relief. You do that with dried plantain as well, or you can make a poultice with hot water and the dried leaves.

While these items don’t chase away every chance of sickness, they do make any downtimes on trips a lot less stressful. Have we missed any of your favorite tips or products? We would love to hear your travel tips!

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