Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Babysteps: Calcium

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One of my goals is to increase my calcium intake. We know how important calcium is but for years I thought I was lactose intolerant and rarely if ever drank milk. Now I have switched to whole milk and can drink it without any problems whatsoever. It’s also non-homogenized, organic, hormone-free, antibiotic-free, and very easy to digest. I still have to work to make sure I get enough calcium. After two pregnancies and nursing, I’m sure my bones have taken a beating. I have even looked into calcium supplements, but I’m really only interested in whole food supplements (see previous post). The downside is that calcium is not easy to condense, and when you take whole food supplements, it’s even harder to condense it. I’m really not interested in take 5-6 pills a day of just calcium.

Here are some other ways you and I can both get our calcium:

Yogurt: one cup = 448 mg

Cow’s milk: one cup = 297 mg

Swiss cheese: one ounce = 270 mg

Spinach, cooked: one cup = 260 mg

Collard greens, cook: one cup = 226 mg

Mozzarella cheese, shredded: one cup = 184 mg

Almonds: two ounces = 150 mg

Black beans, cooked: one cup = 120 mg

Orange: one = 53 mg

Almond butter: 1 tablespoon = 43 mg

Monday, November 29, 2010

Makers Diet: Whole Food

You have heard me talk about whole foods, particularly concerning supplements. Why whole foods? Here is an excerpt from Extraordinary Health, Jordan Rubin’s new health magazine published monthly by Garden of Life, Inc.:

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We all know that one of the key nutrients provided by an orange is vitamin C. The health benefits of vitamin C have been promoted for decades. Vitamin C is so important that hundreds of companies now manufacture vitamin C to their food products. That seems like a good thing. In fact it is a huge mistake.

An orange contains so much more than vitamin C. It contains hundreds of nutrients, minerals, and phyto-chemicals. These co-factors work synergistically with each other. Without them vitamin C is not nearly as effective. Vitamin C needs all of these other beneficial compounds in order to work as effectively as possible. When you isolate vitamin C from all of the other nutrients in an orange you severely limit its potency.

This is the basis for whole food nutrition. Food consumed in a state as near to nature as possible is far healthier than food that has been processed, isolated and fractionated into its individual nutrients.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Know Your Ingredients Answer #12

Campbell's Healthy Request Cream of Mushroom Soup (99% Fat Free, 1/3 less salt, low cholesterol, 60 calories, no MSG)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Know Your Ingredients #12

Water, mushrooms, modified food starch, cream, corn starch, vegetable oil (corn, cottonseed or partially hydrogenated soybean oil), wheat flour, sugar, salt, whey protein concentrate, potassium chlirde, spice extracts, disodium inosinate, disodium guanylate, maltodextrin, dehydrated garlic, mushroom powder, and calcium lactate

Friday, November 26, 2010

Product Review: SuperUndies cloth trainers

After all of our leaks with Ladder Hill Tinkle Time Trainers, I decided to try one other brand that seemed to be made specifically for overnight use. Super Undies makes daytime trainers but they also make a Super Undies Nighttime Underwear. Their website says “Most children have 100% success of non-leaking with these.” What??? Most everything else says not intended for naps or nighttime. Even better, these come with a 14 day guarantee. The only thing that kept me from ordering several was the cost. In the end I decided to try one and if they were as good as I was reading, I would save up for more or sell some other trainers.
These are pullup style, which are harder to stuff but leak less if they are pockets, but these only have a short pocket to stuff. The soaker is like an insert and doubler in one that is sewn in so you never have to search for it after doing the laundry. That amazing thing is that it agitates out of the short pocket in the wash so you don’t have to worry about unstuffing it before washing it!! Yes, I know only another cloth diapering mom really cares what I’m saying!

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More about the design…the inside pocket is soft and stretchy lycra. The only disadvantage is that sometimes that area of the trainer takes a little longer to dry but not much. There is a 3-layer soaker built in under the lycra, then the additional 6-layer soaker is sewn into the back and tucked into the short pocket. The front pocket also allows more absorbancy to be added if needed.

More about the use…these have been bullet-proof. We haven’t used them every night because I only have one for him, and we also have a large rotation of other trainers. We have not had a single leak after about 6 uses, though. Super Undies come with all sorts of recommendations about how to improve absorbance if you experience leaks and other reasons for leaks. They are very upfront about helping solve any issues. I feel like a I can’t go wrong if we run into issues.

Efficiency: 10—We have not had any leaks!! These are soooo easy to prepare after they are washed and dried, and they take about 3 seconds to put on. They are not puffy whatsoever, no gaps around the legs, and extremely soft feeling. I love, love, love that the soaker pad is sewn in (I am a big all in one fan) and takes 2 seconds to stuff. It’s really not like anything else I have seen. I hope to add more of these to our trainer stash!!!

Green: 9.5—No more pullups. These are so well made that as long as C doesn’t mind rocket ships they will absolutely last for 2 kids. The only downside is they take a little longer to dry since they are like a combination of an AIO and a pocket. I’m thinking a few more wool dryer balls and will help. I also noticed that I missed that you are supposed to turn it inside out to wash. This almost always helps with drying so I might have to go back and change this to a 10!

Cost: 7—I think $30 is high for a trainer. It is built for overnight, but if they were priced lower I would definitely have bought more of them. It takes a lot of pullups to equal the cost of one trainer so that might deter someone who is interested in saving money more so than being eco-friendly. I think we will get our money’s worth, but these are one of the most expensive trainers that I have come across.

Overall: 9—These are my favorite trainers so far. I like ones that snap because Kai loves unsnapping them but these are easy for him to pull off, too. They have not leaked, and they are so soft and comfortable looking. The fleece has elastic built in so there are no gaps, and these fit perfectly. Again, I can’t say enough how much I love the built in/sewn in soakers. The lycra makes it super simple to stuff (no pulling, tugging, twisting), and there is plenty of room to add another insert if needed. I would definitely recommend saving up for one or a bunch of these!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Babysteps: Fever

I work in a hospital. I am surrounded by conventional medicine. Have a headache? Take some Motrin. Congested? Take some Pseudophed. Have a runny nose and sore throat? Go to the doctor. Get a flu shot? Take some Tylenol. Have an infection? Take 3 antibiotics and 2 nasal sprays.

Well, I am a pretty unconventional pharmacist…and I am becoming even more unconventional sometimes by the day. I no longer treat every fever in my children. I hesitate to take them to the doctor unless I am pretty certain they have more than a virus. I do not let them get Tylenol with their shots anymore. I usually only opt for required vaccines. I only give dye-free pain medications with as few preservatives as possible. I only give whole food vitamins and supplements. (Have you looked at the ingredients in Mylicon? Grape Tylenol? Gummy Vitamins??).

Let’s talk about fevers first. Fever is actually our body’s backup defense mechanism. It is a healthy response to infection, and it serves to help kill invading organisms. Many microbes cannot live in elevated temperatures. It also stimulates our immune system to fight the infection. The best course of action is to let fever run its course.

I am not advocating to never treat a fever, but I am suggesting that you do no treat a fever immediately unless it rises very high, very fast. There are a few other times treatment is warranted:
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o Infants less than 1 month old—always seek care immediately for temperatures greater than 100.4 degrees.
o Infants 1 month to 3 months old—seek care for temperatures greater than 100.4 degrees
o Children 3 months to 36 months—seek care for temperatures greater than 102.2 degrees
o All ages—temperatures over 104.5 degrees

Usually I only treat fever over 101-103 if they appear ill or are obviously uncomfortable. With two children under the age of 3 around other children, in the church nursery, at mother’s morning out, with a mom that works in healthcare, we are bound to get infections. Most of them are viral and run their course in 5 days. There is a recent study that even suggested giving Tylenol before vaccines can interfere with immune response. Next time you have a fever, think about letting it last a little bit longer to do its job.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Makers Diet: Probiotics

One of the keys behind the Makers Diet is that extraordinary health starts with the gut. An estimated 90% of illnesses emanate in the gut and 50-80% of our immune and nervous system is there. Jordan Rubin and other health experts state that the ratio of good bacterial flora (probiotics) in our gut to bad bacteria should be 80% to 20% but that this ratio is reversed for many of us.

Some ways to introduce the beneficial bacteria and re-establish the right ratio include eating foods high in probiotics, such as yogurt, kefir (like a thick, drinkable yogurt), sauerkraut, lacto-fermented foods, real apple cider vinegar, miso, and natto.
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Another way is to supplement. I am a big fan of probiotic supplements. After I had Caitlin, I started to suspect that she had reflux. After a lot of research I found some enlightening news that suggested probiotics could help. I started taking them myself since I was nursing and debated about giving them directly to her. Her reflux symptoms were much better controlled. We had made a few other changes so I wasn’t really sure if the probiotics helped. When I ran out I stopped taking them and within 24 hours her symptoms flared again. Since then she and I have been taking them and have also experience less cold symptoms than Kai and Lee. Recently I started giving them to Kai, and yesterday Lee started taking “purple vitamins.”

My favorite and extensively researched brands are Garden of Life Primal Defense, Nature’s Plus Animal Parade Acidophikidz, and Udo’s Infant Probiotic. All include high cell counts of live bacteria and multiple strains. The first two products are shelf stable (do not have to be refrigerated). It’s hard to compare different brands because they all contain different bacteria, and almost every probiotic study uses different strains. However, I have seen personal benefits in my own self and my family with all of these products!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Know Your Ingredients #11

Beef stock, carrots, tomoatoes, potatoes, celery, peas, zucchini, green beans, cabbage, water, modified food starch, spinach, salt, vegetable oil (corn, cottonseed or partially hydrogenated soybean

Friday, November 19, 2010

Product Review: Ladder Hill Tinkle Time Trainers

The first trainer that I decided to try is from Ladder Hill Designs. Hope has a licensed pattern called the Tinkle Time Trainer. One of the best things about working with Hope is that she does customs!!!! This means that you get to pick out the fabric and customize the trainer (I can see my husband rolling his eyes and trying not to sigh). This means you can get your toddler much more excited about his new "underwear" and make potty training even more successful. Now Kai may have gotten just as excited about blue or green pull-ups but he truly loves and brags about keeping his firetruck, turtle, etc. trainers dry. The other amazing thing about working with Hope is that she asked me for Kai's measurements and then told me exactly which size would work best.

I LOVE these trainers. They look so "handsome" and they are extremely well-made. The stitching looked very professional and I was very impressed by the style. You can customize them to be "pull-up" style like regular underwear or get them with snaps on the front. I still can't decide which style I like better. I got 3 of each. The pull-ups do a much better job at preventing leaks. The snap trainers are MUCH easier to stuff.

Both styles come with a pocket opening in the back to stuff either a prefold (think Gerber cloth diaper tri-folded but better quality) or you can order the inserts that Hope sells to go with them. The insert is wider, and if you order a doubler (smaller, to increase absorbancy) it comes with snaps to snap on top of the insert. The pull-up style then has a small opening at the front to help pull the insert into the trainer (the snap version does not have nor does it need this extra opening—super easy to stuff).

I really cannot say enough about how much I love the design. The only problems we have had are with leaks. Again, Hope has been a blessing to work with. I cannot say our problem is entirely solved, but her communication and offer to help has been amazing. She has even agreed to replace two of the trainers with a different fabric to see if it helps with the absorbancy issues.

Some things I have tried to prevent leaks by stripping them in hot water to be certain that there was no buildup of detergent or fabric softener (which we do not use anymore on even regular laundry), add another doubler outside of the pocket, and making sure that little boy parts are pointing down.

Some days we have leaks and some days we do not. Some days the trainers are completely dry so it's hard to tell if they would have leaked. Some days the trainer is just super saturated. Other days it seems like they could be more absorbent.

I still think these are well made. I know Hope is now using a different fabric on all of her trainers so I will give an update when I get two of them back. It’s hard to troubleshoot because Kai is starting to wake up dry more often, and we also have 6 different trainers in 2 different designs.

Efficiency: 6—I would rank this much higher if I was certain it we had not had so many problems with leaks. There were days when we had to wash sheets twice a day, and I wasn’t expecting to have issues with leaks from the get go. The issue does seem to be absorbancy related at times when it’s not very saturated, but adding a doubler outside of the pocket seems to help. Some of the leg openings have stretched and aren’t tight. One has elastic, but the others do not. Some are nice and tight but others leave a little gap. All are supposed to be the same size.

Green: 8—I would have said a 10 without all of the extra washes we did after leaks, but all of the troubleshooting and extra work involved factored in a bit.

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Cost: 8—These cost about $15-18, which is comparable to other trainers, but then the inserts and doublers are in addition. With an insert and a doubler inside the pocket and another doubler outside of the pocket, the cost does add up. For offering to replace two of them with a different inner fabric that were leaking the worst, I give a lot of respect to the designer!!  Still less than disposable pullups!!!

Overall: 7—I love the look of these trainers, but I wish we had not had so much trouble with leaks. I like that they are thick but not puffy under pajamas. I don’t like having to use two doublers but I am glad that it seems to be working. I wish the fleece on the inside didn’t seem to only absorb in spots. The fleece around the legs seems to be loosening, but it does not seem to make leaks worse at this point. They are extremely well made, and I think the new material will increase efficiency.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Babysteps: Wool dryer balls

Something else that I have gotten rid of in our house is fabric softener sheets. If you google fabric softener sheets you will see claims of everything from cancer-containing ingredients to disease-worsening fragrances to waxy buildup. One of the biggest reasons I could not use them is they can leave build-up and residue on cloth diapers even if used only on regular laundry. I don’t like the idea of anything leaving a film or residue on my clothes so I finally just threw the rest of the box away without even using it up.

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Instead, we have started using wool dyer balls. I love mine so much that I decided to start making and selling them. I’ll probably make a total of $6 of off them, but they are fun! I can tell the biggest difference in drying time with the cloth diapers, especially the thick inserts for Kai’s trainers. If I don’t put the dryer balls in, everything is still damp afterwards.

These can be used over and over again instead of dryer sheets, plastic PVC balls, or chemical additives. They are an excellent green alternative to chemical-laden fabric sheets! Best of all they are money saving!! Safe for cloth diapers. Will not bleed.

Wool absorbs moisture and cuts down on drying time, often cuts times in half. The bouncing around of the balls increases air circulation, softens laundry and reduces wrinkles, as well as static. Lint and pet hair sticks to the balls.

The more you add the shorter your drying time. It is recommended to use 2-6 balls for a normal-sized load. For synthetic fibers, at least 4 balls are recommended. For large loads, at least 6 balls are recommended. By using 4 or more, drying time is usually reduced 20-50%, depending on the size of the load. If dryer balls start to pill, you can use a sweater shaver or leave them natural. Pilling may actually help the balls work better.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Makers Diet: Supplements

One of the drawbacks of the Makers Diet and GPRx books is that the Garden of Life supplements that are touted were developed by Jordan Rubin. Several people I know have been turned off from the MD for that reason. Anytime you see someone making money off making money (selling a book selling his products) it raises a red flag. It definitely made me question some of his information as well.
I did a lot of research comparing Garden of Life (GOL) products to other similar whole food supplements. I definitely think Jordan Rubin has made a lot of money (A LOT) from advertising his own products. However, I really do think they are some of the best products on the market.

GOL are leading whole food supplements sold in over 12,000 stores nationwide. They have made Entrepreneur Magazine and Inc. 500 lists of fastest growing privately held companies. Jordan Rubin has appeared on Good Morning America, NBC Nightly News, FOX news, Inside Edition, and the Food Network. His story has been featured in Time, Newsweek, The New York Times, Reader’s Digest, People, Woman’s World, Women’s Health, and O (Oprah) Magazine. He has authored over 20 books.

No, fame does not mean that his supplements are gold, but his message has inspired thousands. It’s hard to ignore his supplements when his story is so well known. Now his supplements are starting to gain recognition as well. They are some of the best-selling on the market, and I challenge you do to your own review of them. I have decided that whole food supplements are the way to go, and Jordan Rubin goes into a lot of depth in his books explaining why he has developed them this way…in whole foods so that our bodies can actually absorb them. You cannot synthetically derive Vitamin C in a laboratory and dump it into your body and expect your body to utilize it the same way as when you extract it from whole foods along with other important co-nutrients that aid in its absorption and utilization.

My favorite products so far are Primal Defense (probiotic) and RAW ONE vitamins. I would like to look into CODmega or Oceans 3, RAW Vitamin D3, RAW calcium, and RAW Kombucha. Vitacost has a great comparative feature where you can see side-to-side profiles of different brands of whole food supplements by best seller, price, or reviews.

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Saturday, November 13, 2010

Know Your Ingredients #10

Enriched wheat flour (wheat flour, niacin, reduced iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin), partially hydrogenated cottonseed oil, dehydrated vegetables (green pea, carrot, green bean), salt, freeze dried chicken, whey, buttermilk, nondairy creamer (corn syrup solids, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, whey, sodium caseinate, sugar, dipotassium phophate, mono- and diglycerides), butter powder, hydrolyzed vegetable proteins, monosodium glutamate, xanthan gum, onion powder, cheddar cheese powder, chicken fat, natural flavors, soy sauce powder, garlic powder, spices, potassium carbonate, sodium carbonate, sugar, carrot and turmeric oleoresins as color, sodium alginate, disodium guanylate, disodium inosinate, sodium tripolyphosphate, citric acid, tocopherols, sodium citrate and sodium sulfite to preserve freshness

Friday, November 12, 2010

Product Review: Trainers

We made the transition to cloth diapers for Caitlin without much trouble. In fact, I loved them. They make disposable diapers feel so scratchy and paper like. I felt really good about our decision, but I was not sure what to do about Kai. He was starting to potty train so I knew our cost would go down substantially once he was day trained. However, I expected him to need some sort of diaper or pull-up for naps and nighttimes for quite awhile. That has been an accurate assessment. Some days he wakes up dry and sometimes he goes days in between.

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I finally felt convicted enough that once he ran out of the diapers I had stocked up with coupons and sales we would switch to cloth trainers. I had already decided not to do disposable pullups for the expense but mostly due to the fact that he could tell a huge difference between underwear and diapers. I just think pullups are too much like diapers. So I went on a search for cloth trainers.

My biggest frustration was that most trainers were for "one accident" or just daytime use. They are not intended for nighttime or even naps due to the strong tendency that toddlers are "heavy wetters." I must have looked at 20 brands…pocket trainers (like a pull-up but need to be "stuffed"), all in ones (AIO, but likely not absorbent enough), snaps in the front, pull up style without snaps, snaps in the back, snaps on the side, pockets of all shapes and sizes. The other frustration is that while you do not need nearly as many trainers compared to diapers the trainers usually run $15-30 each.

The next two reviews I will look at two of the different trainers that are our favorites. Some of the other brands you may want to look at…Happy Heiney's (heard from many moms that these are puffy and don't always fit great), Snap EZ, and Tot Wraps (found on Hyenacart).

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Babysteps: Face wash

When I ran out of my Aveeno face wash, which I previously thought was so "healthy," I decided I was going to find a safer and more natural cleanser. I started hearing about other people using honey as a cleanser/face wash. I have always heard of honey having many health benefits, but I had never heard of topical uses.

Honey is antibacterial in nature and can even help heal skin burns. People with acne and other skin inflammation say it clears their skin up immediately. It has a semi-acidic pH and glycolic acid, which is also supposed to be good for your skin. You can add brown sugar or oat flour to use it as an exfoliant.

I have not been using it long but I already love this. My skin is not oily at oil, and it washes off very easily with warm water. I would recommend raw honey. It has not been filtered or pasteurized so it contains the most enzymes and nutrients.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Makers Diet: Sleep

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One of the principles by Jordan Rubin is to get enough sleep. Do you feel rested when you get up? I know I often do not. Not getting enough sleep or the right kind of sleep can weaken your immune system, cause weight gain, impair your memory, impair physical tasks, accelerate tumor growth, worsen medical conditions, increase depression, and possibly even lead to premature aging.

Dr. Mercola is another huge proponent of sleep. He wrote a great article with 33 tips to a good night sleep. Here are a few of my favorites:

1. Sleep in complete darkness, or as close to it as possible. This is so true. We noticed a dramatic difference in our baby’s sleep when we put up room darkening shades in his room for the first time. Our daughter has had them from the start and been an amazing napper. I have even gone in to my son’s room to lay down for a quick snooze.

2. Keep the temperature in your bedroom no higher than 70 degrees F. I am cold. I am always cold. I leave my seat heaters in my car on until July. However, I cannot sleep unless it is cold. I learned this the hard way when we tried to cut our power bill and made it warmer in our house. My insomnia returned with a roaring entrance.

3. Get to bed as early as possible. I remember my dad telling me as a kid that every hour of sleep before midnight is worth 2 hours of sleep after midnight. Scientists really think that is true, and the most important hours to be asleep are between 11 pm and 1 am.

4. Don’t change your bedtime. Go to bed and get up at the same times during the week and the weekend.

5. Avoid before-bed snacks, particularly grains and sugars. These will raise and then lower your blood sugar, often causing waking and the inability to go back to sleep.

6. No TV right before bed. TV disrupts your pineal gland function, according to Dr. Mercola. It is much too stimulating to the brain.

7. Avoid caffeine and alcohol. Caffeine has a very long half-life, and alcohol often keeps you from entering deep sleep.

8. Make certain you are exercising regularly. At least 30 min a day 2 hours or more before bedtime.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Know Your Ingredients Answer #9

Town House Fancy Tomato Catsup

You probably guessed this one, but did you know sugar is the 2nd ingredient?!  About 1/3 of it is sugar.  There are approximately 4 grams in each tablespoon...4 grams = 1 teaspoon of sugar.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Know Your Ingredients #9

Tomatoes, sugar, corn sweetener, vinegar, salt, onion powder, natural flavorings, garlic powder, spices

Friday, November 5, 2010

Product Review: Northern Essence

I am a big fan of coconut for diaper rash. It has wonderful healing properties and usually clears up rashes right away. It can also be safely used with cloth diapers. However, it just was not cutting it with Caitlin’s last diaper rash. It got to the point that I knew something was going to have to be done or else she was going to get skin breakdown. I starting researching other cloth diaper friendly creams. Several of the recommended brands had lanolin or zinc. Both of those are ointment bases and usually are not water soluable. I could not determine if they really rinse out of diapers so I did not want to take the chance. I started seeing several rave reviews for Northern Essence. After looking at their ingredients and testimonials, I ordered some immediately.

I ordered the “All Natural Diaper Salve.”

Our Diaper Rash Salves have always been one of our top sellers around the World and by far a customer favorite for years now! Our Diaper Salves contains only ALL NATURAL ingredients such as Healing Calendula Infused Oil, Therapeutic Meadowfoam oil, Natural Shea & Cocoa Butters, with a blend of beneficial Essential Oils. They contain NO lanolin, petroleum or zinc. We carry our original Diaper Rash Salve and our Sensitive Skin Diaper Rash Salve. For those little bums that are a bit sensitive, we have removed the tea tree & lavender essential oils and added other beneficial essential oils, a clean fresh citrus scent.

I also ordered the “Better Butt(er) Cream.” This stuff is amazing.

Finally a diaper cream that you can use when your baby has a yeast infection, that will NOT irritate it! Safe to use on cloth diapers. Contains no Essential Oils, only conditioning oils and butters including: Hemp Butter, Shea Butter, Meadowfoam Oil and many more. We have added Grapefuit Seed Extract in it, then we triple whip it to give it a fluffy appearance and super smooth texture. Fragrance free.

The diaper salve comes in a push stick to apply directly to baby’s skin. It does have a pretty strong smell, but it works! Her rash was gone in a day. I use this often at night just to prevent rashes. I use the butt(er) cream on top of the salve particularly after a dirty diaper. It seems to allow the salve to work while protecting the skin until the next diaper change. The butt(er) cream is sooooo smooth and creamy. It’s thick without feeling like an ointment. I like that it has no smell and thoroughly protects the skin.

It is recommended to use the products within 6-9 months which should be no problem. Whenever Caitlin has a rash I can use either of these two products and the rash is always gone before the next diaper change. We still use and love coconut oil but both of these products are great for more serious rashes.

Efficiency: 10—Rashes are gone within 1-2 diaper changes. The diaper salve healed areas that were starting to break down.

Green: 10—I felt much more comfortable with these ingredients on my daughter’s skin and they are totally safe on cloth diapers. I love that the butt(er) cream is scentless.

Cost: 10—1 oz push tube $3.95, 2 oz $6.95 for the diaper salve; 2 oz tub $6.95 for the butt(er) cream. Cheaper than triple paste (my old favorite) and same price as boudreax’s butt paste (Lee’s favorite).

Overall: 10—LOVE it. I will get the unscented diaper salve next time, but it works so well.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Babysteps: Cutting out sugar

One of our steps has been to cut out sugar. Ok, well, my step. This has been a blessing and a curse. The more sugar I cut out, the better I feel, but the more I crave it. It is still hard for me not to overindulge, and even small to modest amounts can send me into a downward spiral. The last time I had a coke was over 6 months ago, and I had a migraine for 3 days.

Americans eat an average of 22 teaspoons of sugar a day!! Sugar raises blood pressure, reduces HDL (good cholesterol), raises triglycerides, triggers abnormal insulin surges, and makes us hungry for more. The American Heart Association recommends limiting our intake to 6-10 teaspoons a day. Guess how much a single glass of orange juice contains? The equivalent of 11 teaspoons!!

We all probably know that sugars end in –'ose, but I still get confused about the differences. Basically sucrose comes from sugar cane or sugar beets. Fructose, maltose, and dextrose come from fruits and starchy plants. Lactose comes from dairy products.

The Glycemic Index (GI) ranks how food affects our blood glucose levels. Table sugar (sucrose) has a GI of 60. Eating below a GI of 50 is recommended to control blood sugar naturally.

Fructose (fruit sugars) is commonly thought to be benign since it dose not raise blood glucose levels the way glucose does. However, fructose is converted to triglycerides in the liver (fats associated with heart disease) and interferes with the absorption of minerals.

The good news is that there are some ways to still use sugar. Some are even nutritious to an extent. Here is a review of some of those varieties:

Rapadura—pure juice extracted from sugar cane. It is not cooked at high heats, and it has not been separated from the molasses…so it has more nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. It will not affect your blood sugar as much as a more refined sugar. Many people (like me!) that get headaches with white (refined) sugar can eat rapadura without any problem.

Sucanat—similar to rapadura but the sugar stream and molasses stream are separated from each other during processing and then reblended.

Turbinado, Demarara, and “Organic Raw Sugar”—all refined, although not as much as white sugar. The cane juice is heated, clarified, dehydrated, and then spun. Sometimes chemicals are used during the clarifying process. The crystals that are formed are basically empty carbohydrates. “Organic Raw Sugar” does not mean it is unrefined. It means it was grown with organic agricultural methods…and then refined. The molasses has been mostly removed, and there is not much nutritional value left.
Brown sugar—white sugar (see below) mixed with molasses.White sugar—the most refined form. The sugar is washed with a syrup solution, then washed with hot water, clarified (chemically), decolourized (you don’t want to know how), concentrated, centrifuged, and then dried. Crystallized refined sugars are pure sucrose devoid of any nutrition other than calories. Refined sugar can actually compete with and remove vitamins and minerals.

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Some other natural, whole sugars in other forms that still retain a lot of nutritional value are honey, blackstrap molasses, and maple syrup (organic, no formaldehyde). Molasses is a byproduct of processing cane or beet sugar. It is high in iron, calcium, and magnesium. Maple syrup contains fewer calories and higher concentrations of minerals than honey. It is a good source of manganese and zinc. Honey contains trace amounts of vitamins and minerals, but it contains compounds thought to act as antioxidants. Pasteurization destroys yeast cells, deteriorates the honey, and destroys enzymes. Raw honey contains pollen and is mildly antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral.

Beware of agave syrup. Some brands can contain as much as 92% fructose…not a naturally occurring ratio anywhere in nature!! It contains more fructose than high fructose corn syrup! Even though it is low on the glycemic scale, the concentrated fructose may be worse than high amounts of glucose.

Stevia is a South American herb that is gaining popularity. Stevia is 30 times sweeter than sugar. Refined stevia can be 30-200 times sweeter than other sugars. It will not spike blood sugar levels, and it is calorie free. However, be wary of the refining process and stick with natural forms if possible.

See this amazing website with pictures depicting how many sugar cubes your favorite beverages and meals contain…