Tag Archives: lifestyle choices

Activism Guest Posts Healthy Living Real Food

An Inheritence Squandered

www.mypicshares.com

Today I am excited to share a guest post from Lauren Snyder Grosz who has been providing wellness and nutrition education on the Liberation Wellness Blog since spring of 2010. She writes  articles about the effect fad diets and eating processed foods has on our health, as well as other important health topics.

I’m so enthused about the work Lauren does in spreading the real food and nutrition word.  I hope you’ll go visit Wellness Liberation and read more of her posts as well as other fantastic contributors who also provide information. These people are making  enormous contributions to our knowledge of real health, and are doing some of the most important work in the world.

I met Lauren at the Weston A. Price Wise Traditions Conference in Philadelphia last month, and she was sweet and engaging.  As with many other great people I met there, I wish I’d had more time to visit and talk with her. But as conferences go, the schedule was tight and there were so many people to meet and see. I’m hoping to get to know some of those amazing people better whom I wasn’t able to spend time with by featuring their posts on Agriculture Society.

This wonderful essay describes missed opportunities by those who have every means possible to bring great health to themselves but instead listened to the wrong advice about how to achieve their goals.  Although I don’t follow celebrity life much, I’m always encouraged to hear accounts of famous people who make positive changes through real food and share their stories. It’s important when those in the public eye speak out against mainstream health channels and tell the world about their health successes since so many people listen to and are influenced by what they do.

And still, there are other stories of those who chose to starve themselves or follow unseemly diets to become healthy – and aren’t doing themselves any favors. Lauren’s essay today talks about several people in the spotlight who have chosen those paths, and I think the lessons we can learn from these choices are extremely important.

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I admire the Guests the way some people admire the Kennedys.  My daughter is named Charlotte Catherine because I wanted to be able to call her C.C. as a way of paying homage to C.Z. Guest; horsewoman, fashion icon, and gardener.  In the Spring of 2002, I had a chance to attend a lecture she was giving at The Chicago Botanic Garden.  She was 83 at the time and appeared to be in excellent health.  A year and a half later C.Z. Guest died of ovarian cancer.

In the November issue of Harper’s Bazaar, I was saddened to learn that C.Z.’s daughter Cornelia is a vegan.  A quick Google search revealed that she has made this decision for health reasons.  Congestive Heart Failure turned my father, who had been an exceptional high school and collegiate athlete into the equivalent of an invalid when I was 16 years old.  Two years later, I became a vegetarian as a way of steering clear of my dad’s fate.  Occasionally, I’d lapse, but it wasn’t until I became pregnant that I permanently ditched vegetarianism.  Cornelia is almost 47, so it’s not likely that pregnancy will rescue her from her vegan wasteland.  Discipline will also make it harder to turn away from something she perceives as providing a payoff.  As a young socialite in 80′s, the article emphasizes how her equestrian habit saved her from the other popular habits of the era.  Even if she was out late, there were horses to ride the next morning.

Once, I made the acquaintance of a pro football player, who had started drinking soy and was a vegetarian during the week.  When I began inquiring as to why he was doing this, what I learned was interesting, disturbing really.  He felt this way of eating required discipline, hard work, and persistence, all of the things that helped him to be a starter in the NFL.  He was a physical specimen to behold, but was unable to credit his grandmother’s  and mother’s love of traditional southern food for his stature and strength.  This inability to give credit where credit is due is also what led Cornelia Guest to ban all animal products from her life.  The saying in their house was, “a pound of butter a day keeps the doctor away” and still she banishes the food!  It isn’t enough that her mother enjoyed robust health until she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Surely butter, cream, eggs, and meat must be to blame.

Certainly, this is what I thought because butter was king in our house and from my vantage point it had caused nothing but trouble.  My mom died at the ripe old age of 64.  Yes.  She smoked, but everybody knows food plays a part.  I’ve already mentioned that my dad lived like an invalid, who survived until he was 72 because he slept about fifteen hours a day, and swallowed prescription pills that could only be held by a giant shoe box.  Somehow, it never occurred to me that my family’s health woes could have anything to do with the bank of cabinets devoted to snack foods or that my mom liked to start her day with dessert and a glass of Folgers  Crystals.  She was very particular and always insisted on Heinemann’s Coffee Cakes.  A cursory glance at their ingredient list fails to turn up anything that belongs in a Bavarian coffee cake or any other food for that matter.  Now blaming sugar even seems far fetched because unless we were making sugar cookies from scratch, it seems highly unlikely that any of our favorite companies used anything other than High Fructose Corn Syrup and soybean oil.  My dietary choices were also hampered by my mom’s fabulous figure, never weighing more than 125 pounds, she was of the opinion that only peasants couldn’t wear their normal clothes home from the hospital after giving birth!  How could sugar, even if it was fake, be to blame?  She was thin, strong, and enjoyed incredibly robust health, until diagnosed with cancer.  Within a year, we had lost her.

That very same year, I serendipitously came across the life changing work of Sally Fallon Morell, President of the Weston A Price Foundation.  While I hadn’t been a vegetarian for many years, it wasn’t until then that I understood the importance of having animal fat in my diet.  Fortunately, there was enough real food in our house; my mom frequently cooked from Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking, that I instantly knew which foods were the culprits of disease in my family.  The drive to be healthy seems incredibly strong in children who’ve lost a parent at a young age.  Gwyneth Paltrow provides a window into the extremes someone, with means, will go to in order to avoid getting cancer.  She was very close to her father and to have lost him when she was only 30 obviously took a toll.  In her new cookbook she reminisces about cooking with him and notes that health food was not the priority, hence her obsession with Veganese, a concoction made entirely from fake vegetable oils.  In addition, the starlet avoids dairy and only eats animals with two legs.  I can’t help but wonder how on earth her mother  Blythe Danner allows her lovely daughter to carry on with this warped destructive food philosophy.  Not surprisingly , Gwyneth announced that she has osteopenia – a precursor to osteoporosis.  She is unable to connect the dots between her diet that is devoid of Vitamin A and D and having a disease commonly reserved for old women.  Her remedy for this which was urged by her doctors is to take prescription strength Vitamin D.  What is most disturbing is that she has enormous influence, just as Cornelia Guest has in her circle, and hordes of young girls will blindly follow their advice!

Lastly, it’s important to add that many people already understand the importance of eliminating junk food, such as sugar laden cereals and soda.  Dr. Price showed that this is only part of what is responsible for radiant health and wholeness.  Unless the all important fat soluble activators are given their due people will still experience compromised health.  Madonna’s daughter Lola is proof of this: the Material Girl’s family is on a strict organic, vegetarian, macrobiotic diet and yet the poor girl still was not spared orthodontics and additionally required a back brace for scoliosis.

Living long and living well depends on eating high-fat high-cholesterol foods. Yes.  We all have to die sometime, but that doesn’t mean it has to be via a massive heart attack, cancer,  or spending the winter of one’s life in an Alzheimer’s facility.  Traditional diets provide the antidote to these grim scenarios.  The second arrow in our quiver is that an infrastructure for excellent sanitization exists – hot water, stainless steel tanks, electrification – that should allow us to all live to a ripe old age (barring accidents).  Yet,  instead of flourishing, the diseases of civilization have never had a stronger hold on us.  It’s simply not enough to know something is bad.  While we do not need to turn our children into small nutritionists, they must be able to discern between what is true and false, and why certain principles must not be abandoned in the kitchen.
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Lauren Snyder Grosz is a Certified Nutrition and Wellness Educator. She writes for LiberationWellnessBlog.com. As a student on a lifelong quest for exceptional health and happiness, her mission is to empower people to take complete responsibility for their own health by rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true and rediscovering what truly works based on accurate science.

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Reducing Your Child’s Risk of Autism And Other Disorders: Conception, Pregnancy, And The Newborn Infant, Part I

www.mypicshares.com

Having children is one of the things in your life that will alter your future more than anything you will ever do. Although it is filled with uncertainty and a great deal of trial and error, most everyone you ask will say their lives are transformed for the better because of the decision  to have a child.

This series of posts about conception, pregnancy, and the newborn infant are intended to be companion pieces to the recent vaccination series – Vaccinations: A Choice or A Mandate? If you are considering having children or are pregnant, these posts are intended to help guide you through the many decisions you will make affecting the health of you and your child.

We hear a great deal from the medical and health communities at large about what we should be doing to make a better foundation of health and future for our children. But many of those pieces of advice are actually counter to what our children need to be healthy. For instance, we are repeatedly reminded to eat fruits, vegetables, and whole grains – but very little is said about including a good variety of healthy fats and proteins – foods which contain the most nutrients per serving – and fermented foods full of natural probiotics which keep your immune system in optimal condition. The information here provides a thorough treatment of these critical topics, and won’t leave you hanging on what to eat for maximum nutritional support.

Please take some time to read through these posts about things you can do to give your child the best possible chance for a healthy and happy life. Good foundations are extremely important, and one of the best ways is to focus on a healthy lifestyle and superior nutrition through nutrient-dense foods.

In the vaccination posts, I talked extensively about the factors that can lead to disorders such as autism, ADHD, ADD, and other related issues.

This list of items will address those concerns and provide some tools with which to do what you can to prevent the development of health issues. (some of these item are from the following resource: Pathways To Family Wellness, Maureen McDonnell, R.N.):

Prior to conception:

  • Spend six months to a year improving dietary habits and lifestyle choices. Whenever possible, eat organically and sustainably-produced produce, and locally-sourced food from farmers who use safe practices – no synthetic pesticides, fungicides, insecticides, hormones, antibiotics, and other chemicals, and do not use GMO (genetically-modified substances, crops, or feed for their animals). Eat meats/meat products, raw dairy, safe-sourced seafood, eggs from pastured birds, and fats from healthy sources such as butter, lard, tallow, olive oil, coconut oil, and sustainable produced palm oils.

Remember: a real, whole food is something that our ancestors would have eaten. If it’s not real, don’t eat it! For some ideas on foods that really pack a nutrient-dense punch, check out this list:  11 Healthy and Nutrient-Dense Foods At A Glance. Want more information on what the differences are between processed, whole, traditional, organic, and sustainable foods? Read: How Well Do You Know Your Food? Find Out!

  • Reduce or eliminate processed and refined foods – and in particular, sugar and white flour products, and most all packaged or prepared foods from the store. Throw out artificial fats like margarine, “butter spreads” and those containing soy and vegetable oils like canola, soybean, cottonseed, and others.

Want to learn more about why claims made on packages of the foods you buy in the store are usually false? Read Fortified and Processed Foods: Are Label Claims About Nutrition True? and Reading Labels in The Store – Don’t Be Fooled By Marketing Lingo!

  • Minimize or eliminate the use of over-the-counter drugs, antibiotics, birth control, and other medications.
  • Reduce or eliminate caffeine, alcoholic beverages, and tobacco.
  • Begin or continue an exercise routine that is suitable to your abilities, interests, and is something you can do regularly and that you enjoy.
  • Consider a detoxification or cleansing program – especially if your lifetime exposure to chemicals and toxins includes prescription and over-the-counter drug use, a diet of processed foods, or if you live or work in a chemical-laden environment
  • If detoxification does not reduce or eliminate symptoms, consult with a knowledgeable practitioner – a medical doctor familiar with alternative treatments, chiropractor, nutritional therapist, naturopath, or other health care specialist familiar with advanced detoxification protocols.
  • If you have mercury-based amalgam fillings, consider having them removed by a holistic dentist familiar with proper removal of these substances. Check out the American Dental Association web site to find practitioners who can safely remove these types of fillings at least 6 months prior to conception. Do not have them removed while breastfeeding.
  • In addition to a healthy diet, begin taking a whole-food based, organically-sourced multivitamin supplement. Synthetic supplements, which make up the bulk of what’s on the consumer market, are not bio-available (meaning, they are hard for the body to absorb because they are not naturally-occurring nutrients accompanied by necessary co-factors and enzymes) and can cause more toxicity in the body. A whole-food based, organically sourced supplement is real food for your body, and will add to the nutrition you are consuming along with your real food diet to give your unborn child the best support for growth and health.
  • Add naturally-fermented cod liver oil to your diet. The best product available on the market is from Green Pasture Products. Fermented cod liver oil is a highly potent source of Vitamins A, D, E, and K. Vitamin D must be accompanied by Vitamin A for absorption, and is associated with the reduction of many degenerative diseases and health issues such as heart disease, cancer, obesity, and diabetes. These nutrients support the immune, reproductive, cardiovascular, and nervous systems. Getting Vitamin D levels tested is a good idea, especially if you have consumed a processed diet for any length of time.
  • Find a “green” dry cleaner if you  use dry cleaning services. The chemical used in most dry cleaning facilities is perchlorethylene, a known carcinogen.
  • Drink filtered water. For more information about water filtration systems, call NSF International at 800-673-8010 or visit their web site. Because most filtered water does not contain adequate minerals, drink home-made bone broths from the bones of animals and birds on pasture,  make a nettles infusion and drink daily, or add sea salt to your water or organic cranberry juice not from concentrate to provide necessary mineral supplementation. Cranberry juice is also an excellent natural lymphatic stimulant.  Be sure your diet is rich in sustainable and organic foods, and your mineral intake will be higher.
  • Replace plastics in your home as much as possible, including containers for storing food and water, and for cooking. Stainless steel, cast iron, glass, ceramic, wood, and bamboo are all good alternatives. There are also many eco-friendly alternatives available for cookware, dishes, and utensils.
  • Limit consumption of seafood containing toxic amounts of mercury. Do include in your diet plenty of safe seafood choices. For more information, visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium site.
  • To build beneficial bacteria in your digestive tract and immune system, consume naturally fermented foods - yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, lacto-fermented vegetables, natto, kimchi, and take therapeutic-grade probiotics. Good brands include BioKult, GUTPro, Nature’s Sunshine, Prescript-Assist, and Biotics Research. Probiotics and “fermented” foods bought in grocery and health food stores are generally a waste of money as they do not contain adequate levels of friendly bacteria strain necessary for optimal gut and immune health.
  • Avoid flu shots and other vaccines at least one year prior to conception.
  • Minimize exposure to  electromagnetic fields in the home and office. Computers, televisions, and cell phones emit electromagnetic radiation. Do not sleep with these items in your bedroom. Use cell phones only when necessary. You can purchase protector diodes which greatly reduce EMF radiation from devices (such as cell phones) you use from Premier Research Labs.
  • Take reasonable measures to make your home green and minimize exposure to radiation, chemicals, and other harmful toxins. If you are planning a home remodel, consider green materials, paint, and other supplies for your project. Select no-VOC paints and sustainable wood instead of composites or resin-based products. Minimize exposure to building materials and allow outgasing of new materials such as countertops, flooring, or furniture. Many different green countertops and flooring are available.

During pregnancy:

  • Continue a high-quality whole foods diet that includes organic or sustainable whenever possible. Greatly reduce and eliminate sugar, refined, and processed foods.
  • Continue to take a whole foods-based, organically-sourced multi-vitamin supplement.
  • Make sure you are getting plenty of healthy fats and proteins in your diet – extra virgin coconut oil, olive oil, and palm oils, lard and tallow from healthy animals raised on pasture, whole (raw is a plus) dairy from milk, cheese, butter, sour cream, yogurt, and kefir, grass-fed meats, game, and organ meats, pasture-raised poultry and eggs from chicken on pasture, and safe-sourced seafood.
  • Try to avoid dental work while pregnant. If you cannot avoid it, consult with a biological or holistic dentist that can counsel you about safe procedures, if absolutely necessary. To maintain your bones and teeth, eat a healthy diet complete with healthy fats and proteins, organic whenever possible, and fermented cod liver oil.
  • Avoid antibiotics, over-the-counter, and prescription medication. There is no pharmaceutical drug on the market that has been proven safe for pregnancy. A new study published in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine show that antidepressants are especially dangerous to take during pregnancy.
  • Continue a moderate regimen of regular activity and exercise, one that is gentle and enjoyable for you and your condition. It is important to stimulate circulation and peristalsis (the contraction of muscles that propel movement in the digestive tract) because intestinal motility slows as a result of pregnancy hormones. Pregnancy yoga, pilates, walking, stretching, cycling (on a stationary bike as you become further along), dancing, water exercise (in a non-chlorinated pool or water), and dancing are safe.
  • Avoid the flu vaccine or any other immunizations.
  • If you get sick, rest and take care of yourself. Drink plenty of filtered water and continue a healthy diet. Hot water with lemon and ginger, garlic, or peppermint with raw honey is a good treatment for colds, flus, and other viruses. Do not use goldenseal during pregnancy.

To read more about natural remedies, read this post: My Home Medicine Cabinet – What I Use To Remedy Ailments.

  • Interview a practitioner who will work with your philosophy about pregnancy and childbirth – midwives, doulas, and some obstetricians are open to alternative and complimentary philosophies.  Find one that makes you feel comfortable and empowered. Home birth is an option that is not right for everyone, but is something that you may consider if you have the right type of support and environment. However, a study published by the British Medical Journal found that natural birth at home with certified practicing midwives is safe for low-risk mothers and their babies. The study followed 5,000 mothers in the U.S. and Canada, and found that these home births with low-risk mothers had much lower rates of medical interventions when compared with intervention rates for low-risk mothers giving birth in hospitals.
  • Consider other alternatives in care during pregnancy. Acupuncture, acupressure, massage, yoga, shiatsu, Traditional Chinese Medicine, nutritional therapy, naturopathic care, homeopathy, chiropractic care, and other forms of body and energy work are all good treatments for pregnancy. Research each modality and interview practitioners or get referrals from people you know to locate the person(s) right for you.
  • Avoid ultrasounds unless absolutely necessary. There are no conclusive studies showing ultrasounds are safe during pregnancy. Of greater concern are the studies showing how prenatal ultrasound affects brain development. Even standard, “routine” ultrasounds are not medically necessary and have not been shown to improve birth outcomes. Issue #22 of Pathways To Family Wellness has an informative article on the potential relationship between ultrasound and autism.
  • Choose birth care providers wisely. Rather than selecting a provider or place of birth because of your insurance coverage, select providers who are willing to support your philosophical core beliefs about pregnancy and childbirth. Decisions made about “unnecessary treatment” may vary drastically between home birth midwives, birth center midwives and obstetricians. Define your values, beliefs, and wishes, and then seek a provider accordingly.
  • If you decide to use childbirth classes, start early. Seek classes outside of the hospital environment, with independent groups that offer support and knowledge about natural childbirth. Finding a birth-support doula is essential for a better birth outcome. The perceived need for medication can be eliminated with proper breathing and relaxation techniques and adequate support during birth. Additional information on natural labor and birth procedures is available in Pathways to Family Wellness, Issue #24.

Prior to and during labor:

  • Minimize intrusive procedures during labor such as induction with Pitocin, pain meds, epidurals, forceps, C-sections, and early cord clamping. Research these procedures and discuss them with your practitioner. Pathways to Family WellnessIssue #21 has an article that relates many of often unnecessary procedures to an increased risk of autism.
  • There is a higher risk of autism in cesarean-delivered babies. Although it’s tempting to skip labor, labor is actually mother nature’s way of preparing the child for life outside the womb. The baby’s neurological function is enhanced by naturally passing through the birth canal and through cranial molding.
  • Walk during labor, and stay in an upright position or on all fours as much as possible for pushing and delivery. This greatly maximizes the ability of your pelvis to easily open and birth. It minimizes the need for doctor intervention and pulling with the use of forceps and vacuum extraction. Any form of pulling or rotation to the baby’s delicate spine in labor may have a lasting affect on his or her future nerve system function.
  • Interview several pediatricians, naturopaths, or other knowledgeable child health care providers during your pregnancy to find one who accepts your views on health and is open to discussing and giving careful consideration to invasive care with drugs and vaccines. Many parents are now seeking providers outside the typical allopathic model, choosing instead holistic practices which offer safer, more natural options to achieve health and well-being.

When you consider all the options you have for preparing your body for pregnancy, childbirth, and after care of a newborn infant, it can be extremely overwhelming to sift through all the information that is available. Just remember that anything advising you to do something that goes against your intuition and participate in something that isn’t natural can adversely affect your child’s health.

Modern medicine has many things to say about procedures, medications, and chemicals being “safe options” for your pregnancy, childbirth, and aftercare choices, but please carefully consider what the pharmaceutical companies and medical industry have to gain before you choose to use artificial means and prescription medication or drugs as a part of your overall program in your pre and post-childcare regimen.

Please check back for the conclusion of Reducing Your Child’s Risk of Autism and Other Disorders: Conception, Pregnancy, And The Newborn Infant, Part II.