How to Build Confidnce in Using Natural Remedies

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-images-linden-tea-tilia-image23487009When I’m browsing Facebook or just talking to other parents, the subject of sick kids seems to come up often. Kids do get sick more then adults because their immune systems are still developing, and it’s good for them to get sick sometimes. The truth is most of the time, the little colds and viruses they get are not much to worry about. With basic things like rest, fluids, and comfort from Mom, they will get through it. Using natural remedies can help their little bodies fight off the illness and also alleviate some of the uncomfortable symptoms. I know, the idea of your child being sick isn’t a great feeling so it’s natural to want their aches and pains to go away immediately but using pain killers, decongestants, and other harsh medicines is not the answer.

Most of us did not grow up using homeopathy, herbs, or essential oils (If you did, that’s awesome) so it’s a fairly new concept. More commonly, you grew up using Doctor recommended over the counter items such as Tylenol, Sudafed, NyQuil, and Robitussin. Since you have experience with these drugs it seems more comfortable to use them with your own children. You know how they work and what the outcome will be if you take them. It’s familiar. The reality is, just because it’s familiar doesn’t mean is safe or healthy.

Natural remedies are a safe and gentle way to assist the body to heal itself. The issue is that most people are not familiar with them, don’t know how to take them, and are not sure about dosages. It’s common for someone to “try” a natural remedy and not give it enough time to see if it can really help before they give up and take the conventional drugs.  This happens because it’s unfamiliar and you just don’t trust it since you’ve never experienced it’s power.

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17 Warning Signs That You Are Magnesium Deficient

17 warning signs that you are magnesium deficient

Most Americans today are magnesium deficient. This is mainly due to the “standard American diet,” the quality of our food sources, and inefficiencies in the GI tract. Magnesium is essential for over 300 different chemical reactions in the body, including maintaining your energy level, helping you relax, and sustaining the health of your heart and blood vessels. More then half of the US population is not getting enough Magnesium in their daily diet. Since it has so many crucial functions, magnesium appears to protect us from many serious conditions.

How do you know if you are magnesium deficient?

Unfortunately, blood tests are not entirely accurate enough to show if you are not getting enough magnesium so it’s not the best way to find out. A better and easier way to determine if you need more magnesium is to look at some lifestyle factors.

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My Kids Have the Sniffles…This is What I’m Doing About It

my kids have the sniffles

My oldest started back at school this week. It is bitter sweet for me because I miss her while she’s away from me but I know she has a blast with her friends and her teacher at school. Being back at school can also mean there are more opportunities for illness – which in the long run does strengthen their immune systems – but can be tough to deal with in the short term. After one week of school everyone in my house (except me) has the sniffles.

There are a lot of things I do as preventative measures and there are a number of remedies that I use. The biggest part of prevention is diet along with some superfoods and some supplements. This post details all of my tips on prevention. In addition, some of the preventatives also work as remedies in higher and more frequent dosages.

At the first sign of the sniffles, this is what I do…

Elderberry Syrup

Elderberry syrup is my daughter’s favorite remedy because it tastes really good. It’s easy to make and it only requires 3 ingredients (one being water). There are many different recipes for Elderberry Syrup. It can be as simple as elderberries, water, and honey or other herbs and essential oils can be added to give it even more power. I was reading in an eBook called DIY Natural Remedies by Nina Nelson that she adds ginger to her syrup and I thought that was a great idea because of the warming effect of ginger. Warming herbs and spices help to break up congestion and help the nasal passages to drain. Sometimes I add rose hips to my concoction because it is very high in vitamin C. Also, essential oils like lemon or thieves (a Young Living blend) can be added once the syrup is made to enhance it even further.

Garlic Oil

Garlic is really one of my go to herbs for a lot. It has so many anti-microbial properties that it helps get rid of a lot of nasty stuff. Garlic oil is simple to make and you only need two ingredients – garlic and olive oil. I talk about making it in this post where I used it as an ear oil remedy. Garlic oil can be used as ear oil as explained in that post or it can be rubbed on the skin or taken internally. This is a good one for small children since it can be used topically. I am using this one on my 1 year old now. Whenever I change his diaper I rub some garlic oil on his feet and put socks on (which he loves to pull off).

Diffusing Essential Oils

I love to diffuse essential oils even when no one is sick. It’s a natural way to freshen the air and also provides health benefits. I often diffuse lavender because it smells great and it calms my children (and me). I use a diffuser similar to this one found on Amazon (I think the one I have is discontinued now). Once I notice the sniffles I make sure to run a diffuser in my children’s bedroom while they sleep. The oils fill the air and as they breathe them in it soothes their symptoms and assists the body in healing. Some oils I use for colds and congestion include eucalyptus, thieves, R.C. (a Young Living blend), and lavender. If you are interested in learning more about essential oils I would highly recommend the eCourse by Vintage Remedies.

Epsom Salt Bath

Epsom salt is one of my detox tools. Adding some epsom salt to the children’s bath is an easy thing to do since I am already bathing them anyway. I am not scientific about it I just add a handful or two. Espom salts help to pull toxins out of the body through the skin. One thing to note is that it’s important to drink water afterwards to help replenish the body.

Herbal Tea

Herbal tea is so soothing when you feel crummy. There is something about the warm feeling it creates that instantly makes me feel better. My daughter loves to drink tea with me so it’s another easy way to get some herbs into her when she needs it. If you need help enticing your children to drink tea try getting a kids tea set and make it a tea party. Some herbs I use for tea are chamomile, echinecea, and elder flower.

I use a combination of all of these remedies when I notice the first signs of a cold and it usually helps knock things out pretty quickly. It addition to all of these things its important to keep in mind that a healthy diet is top priority. I make sure not to allow sweets and to offer lots of warm broths and soups to help the body get rid of all the nasty bugs.

What is your protocol at the first signs of a cold? Please share in the comments below.

Natural Headache Relief Without Tylenol

natural headache relief

Headaches are very annoying. Especially when you are chasing around a couple of small children. It is very easy to turn to Tylenol for headache relief but is it really good for you? Tylenol is one of the most commonly used medications for pain and it is also the leading cause of acute liver failure in America today, as stated in this article. Damage to your liver can occur if you overdose on this medication.

There is also information out there that suggests taking Tylenol during pregnancy may affect the development of the unborn child. This article refers to a study on pregnant women who took Tylenol for at least 28 days during their pregnancy and their children had developmental symptoms that align with the symptoms of the Autism spectrum. To avoid any possible damage to yourself or your child, there are safe alternative natural ways to reduce pain from a headache.

Water

This sounds too simple but actually one major cause of headaches is dehydration. Sometimes simply drinking a few glasses of water will provide headache relief. If you know that you are a person who forgets to drink enough water a great way to combat this problem is to get yourself a reusable water bottle like a Klean Kanteen and keep it with you at all times. The more you do this you will get used to the idea of drinking water.

Protein

Lack of protein in your diet can also be a cause of headaches. If you eat a diet that does not provide enough protein it can be the source of chronic headaches. Starting with a protein rich breakfast is a great way to stop headaches before they start. If you suspect that you might not be eating enough protein a food journal is a great way to figure out if this is your problem.

Essential Oils

Essential oils are extremely potent and can be a way to relieve headache pain. Place a few drops of lavender essential oil in a diffuser to help ease pain. Another way to get relief is to mix a few drops of lavender essential oil and rosemary essential oil in a little olive oil or sesame oil and gently massage it into your temples. My favorite essential oils and diffusers are from Young Living.

Homeopathic Medicine

Homeopathic medicine is a helpful tool to have to help ease symptoms while also aiding the body in healing rather then masking the existence of symptoms. Try Hyland’s Headache Tablets.

Chiropractic Care

The root cause of many headaches stems from chronic neck pain. Mothers who are constantly carrying around little children and picking them up from low places can strain their neck muscles without realizing it. Try visiting a chiropractor if you have chronic headaches and neck pain.

Turmeric

Turmeric helps to reduce inflammation. Taken in pill form, like these, at the first sign of a headache it can really help to stop the pain. Also, for chronic headaches it can be taken daily or added to your food.

These are all safe and effective methods to relieving the pain of a headache. This way you are also getting at the root cause of the headaches to prevent them in the future and also using gentle remedies to help with pain management. Eating a healthy diet rich in herbs and spices and healthy sources of protein will help to prevent future headaches. Try our 7 day Real Food Challenge to get your diet  back on track.

Do you use another natural method to relieve your headache pain? Please share in the comments.

Natural Flu Remedies that Work

flu remedies

After 10 years of not getting the flu, this year I got the flu. As bad as it was, I still would rather go through 10 days of the flu every 10 years then inject myself with the garbage that they call the flu shot (Read this: What’s in the Flu Shot). I knew right away what it was, the body aches, joint pain, throbbing headache, and high fever so I immediately started with some natural remedies to make it more bearable.

Elderberry Syrup

Elderberry syrup is a supplement that can be taken daily to strengthen the immune system. When you are ill, it can be taken every few hours to help fight off the illness. This study on elderberry and the flu concluded, “Symptoms were relieved on average 4 days earlier and use of rescue medication was significantly less in those receiving elderberry extract compared with placebo. Elderberry extract seems to offer an efficient, safe and cost-effective treatment for influenza.” Once I started taking elderberry syrup during the time I had the flu, it seemed to start to improve. You can make your own Elderberry Syrup using this recipe or you can purchase it over the counter like this one.

Thieves Essential Oil

Young Living Essential oils makes an oil blend called Thieves. This is not necisarily a remedy but something that supports good health. Thieves was created based on a story about four thieves in France who covered themselves with cloves, rosemary, and other aromatics while robbing plague victims. It might be helpful to put some thieves oil in an essential oil diffuser like this one in your home. Diffusing is a great way to get essential oils into your body by inhalation. For more information on where to get this oil, visit this page.

Fluids

One of the worst parts of the flu was the high fever and dehydration. This time it was so severe for me since I am nursing. I got even more dehydrated then usual because of this fact. Lots of fluids were very important to keep hydrated and flush out the germs.

  • Bone Broth – soothing, warming, and filling when you don’t feel like eating. Try this recipe.
  • Water – can’t beat water when it comes to hydration
  • Electrolyte drink – this was helpful in the days when I was recovering and getting my strength back. Try this great recipe from Modern Alternative Mama.
  • Herbal Tea – herbs are great to support healing unlike over the counter meds that just mask symptoms. Try Gypsy Cold Care tea.

Rest

This shouldn’t be discounted. Rest is so important when it comes to healing. I believe not enough rest is how I got the flu in the first place. Getting sick is almost a way of your body telling you that you need to slow down and rest. It’s nearly impossible to rest when you are running around after little children so do ask for help from your family when you are sick and get the much needed rest your body is craving.

Neti Pot

I will admit, I am not very good at using the neti pot but it sure does work. Use the neti pot or other nasal irrigation tool like this one while you are sick with the flu. It flushes out the nasal passages and gets rid of all the gunk. This can help ease sinus pressure and give some relief if you are suffering with a sinus headache. It may also speed up healing because it flushes out germs that are sitting in the nasal passage.

If you have the flu, these are some things you can do to help get through it faster and with less severe symptoms. These remedies help to aid the body in healing and won’t mask symptoms or slow down healing by counteracting the body’s natural healing process.

The best way to avoid getting illnesses like the flu is to eat a healthy diet, get enough rest, and take care of yourself. If you need to make a change in your diet but don’t know where to start, try our 7 Day Real Food Challenge which includes a week’s worth of recipes and a online community for support. Learn more here.

What are your natural remedies for the Flu?

How To Treat Infant Reflux Naturally

by Kimball Young from www.heavyonwholesome.com

Like most moms, I spent my pregnancies daydreaming about what my babies would be like.  What would they look like?  What would they be good at?  Would they love to read, or sing, or dance? I imagined sweet, sleepy little infants who spent hours snuggling and cooing.  What I didn’t spend time daydreaming about was reflux.  I didn’t imagine myself sobbing in the furthest corner of the house holding a baby who had been screaming for hours on end.

I have 4 children and all 4 of them suffered from reflux. 

I was on baby number three before I realized there are natural ways to treat reflux.  These treatments worked much, much better than the treatments I tried with my older children.  So much better, in fact, that when baby #4 began showing signs of reflux I was able to treat the symptoms so quickly and effectively that her symptoms were only present for a matter of days.

First, let’s address what reflux is and what it isn’t.

What Infant Reflux Is Not

Almost all babies spit up sometimes, so how do you differentiate between normal spit-up and reflux?  The short version of the answer is this: If your baby appears happy and doesn’t seem to be in any pain or discomfort, it is likely normal spit-up and your child can be considered a “Happy Spitter”.

What is Infant Reflux?

The official term for reflux is Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD).  Babies with true GERD are categorized as “Scrawny Screamers”.  This may be a misnomer, however.  GERD may cause your baby to undereat, because eating is painful causing your baby to become underweight (thus, the term Scrawny Screamer).  GERD may also cause your baby to overeat, because sucking and swallowing may help keep the milk they drink down and the acid at bay.  Common symptoms of GERD are:

  • Gagging, choking, coughing, bad breath, excessive hiccoughing, burping
  • Frequent spitting up or vomiting (if it’s projectile, it is more than GERD)
  • Fussiness and trouble sleeping

Severe GERD is categorized by:

  • Extreme fussiness and/or crying associated with eating
  • Refusing to eat/poor weight gain
  • Breathing problems
  • Back arching
  • Hoarseness, sore throat
  • Severe congestion/chronic sinus or ear infections
  • Spitting up blood or bile

General Advice for GERD Babies

These are the general tips you’ll likely hear if your baby is suffering from reflux:

  • Keep baby upright as much as possible, especially during and after feedings
  • Allow Baby to sleep on an incline
  • Feed your baby smaller, more frequent meals
  • Burp your baby thoroughly after each feeding

While I think these tips can be helpful for less severe cases of reflux, I haven’t personally found them to be particularly helpful for babies who are experiencing more severe reflux.

Advice You May Be Given, But Should Ignore

Some well-meaning doctors and friends may recommend you thicken your baby’s milk with infant cereal (either pumped breast milk, or formula).

There are several reasons this is a bad idea.  First, thickening formula may lessen the amount of spit-up you’re dealing with, but it may not actually help with the reflux.  The idea is that the cereal helps the milk to “stay down” in the stomach, but in reality what is likely happening is that Baby begins to experience Silent Reflux- reflux in which the stomach contents come up and Baby swallows it back down rather than spitting up.  This can cause a pattern of Baby bouncing back and forth between diarrhea and constipation.

The second reason this is a bad idea is that there is mounting evidence that babies don’t have the proper enzymes needed to digest grains and should not be fed any grains until they reach at least 1 year old.

Natural Reflux Remedies That Actually Work

  1. Healthy gut flora for baby.  Some cases of reflux may be due to an overpopulation of bad bacteria.  Adding in good bacteria in the form of probiotics will help to overrun the bad bacteria.  Find a probiotic that is made especially for infants, like this one.  Powdered probiotics can be given in a spoon with only a few drops of water, or can be added to pumped breast milk and given in a bottle.  You can even apply the probiotics to your nipple and allow Baby to swallow it while breastfeeding.
  2. Nurse in a more upright position.  Often, reflux is the result of Baby drinking too much milk too fast.  If you’re breastfeeding and have forceful let down, make sure to nurse it positions that allow Baby to have better control of how much milk they’re getting.  Try these positions.  Read more here.
  3. Feed Baby from only one breast per feeding.  Sometimes moms produce an overabundance of milk.  If you’re one of those moms, nurse Baby on one breast only per feeding.  This allows Baby to get both the foremilk (the more watery thirst quenching milk) and the hindmilk (the more rich, fatty, nourishing milk).
  4. Try an elimination diet.  The most common triggers are dairy, soy, wheat, and eggs.  Eliminate one food at a time and for at least a week.  Your child may have an actual allergy to something you’re eating. See our Programs page for guided elimination diets and cleanses.
  5. Try Chiropractic Care.  This one was the winner for my third baby.  He screamed incessantly for the first 9 weeks of his life.  Every other thing we tried helped a little, but he was still miserable.  When he was two months old, we moved and I was able to try a different chiropractor than the one he’d been seeing and the results were instant and lasting.  He stopped screaming during the adjustment, fell asleep and slept for 9 hours straight (he’d slept only 20-30 minutes at a time up until that point!)  When he woke the next day he was happy and content.
  6. Hazelwood Reflux Jewelry.  If you’re familiar with Baltic Amber teething necklaces, this suggestion won’t seem like a stretch.  Hazelwood necklaces proved to be very effective at helping to ease the acidity related to my babies’ reflux.  I ordered mine here.
  7. Babywearing.  For me, this one is a no-brainer.  Babies love to be worn.  Choosing a carrier that allows Baby to be more upright with no pressure on the belly is ideal. The Ergo is a great option, and very comfortable for Mama. Other choices include the Baby K’tan and the Moby.
  8. Swaddling.  All of my babies loved to be swaddled, but I noticed the two who had the most severe reflux did best when swaddled most tightly.
  9. Castor oil packs.  Castor oil has amazing detoxing abilities, and can help flush the body of whatever is causing a problem.  Castor oil can either just be rubbed on Baby’s belly several times a day or you can use the castor oil pack method.  Dip a cloth (cotton, hemp, wool, or flannel- a cloth diaper would be perfect) in castor oil.  Apply it to Baby’s belly.  Wrap with plastic wrap (to contain messes from dripping oil) and cover with a blanket.  Leave it on for 30-60 minutes, if possible.  Then, give Baby a warm bath in filtered water with a few drops of lavender oil. 

One Last Tip

Many babies who’ve dealt with reflux aren’t able to sleep well.  Even once they are no longer experiencing reflux symptoms they may continue to be poor sleepers.  This may simply be a result of never having had a chance to learn to sleep well.  Once your baby seems to be free from symptoms of reflux, make teaching healthy sleep patterns a priority.

Kimball started on her journey to real food and natural, holistic living 9 years ago, when her oldest child nearly died from an allergic reaction to peanuts.  She is passionate about wholesome food, her family, and Jesus.  Kimball is married to a Naval Aviator and together they are parents to 3 hilarious boys and a sweet baby girl.  Their family is currently stationed in sunny San Diego. Kimball blogs over at www.heavyonwholesome.com