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Best of 2009

Here’s my post and product review faves from 2009.  Enjoy the re-cap!

Favorite Posts:

  1. Going Back to Work After Staying Home with Baby
  2. Date Night Re-Cap
  3. Caring for Cloth Diapers
  4. Camping
  5. Country Capers
  6. Children in Church
  7. Real Food on a Budget
  8. Getting Back in Shape
  9. Make Your Own Baby Leggings for Less than $2

Favorite Product Reviews for Women:

  1. Best Practical Accessory – Gardening Gloves by Ethel
  2. Best Hair, Skin Care & Body Care – Bubble & Bee Organic
  3. Best Mineral Make-Up – Alima Pure
  4. Best Jeans – Stella by Chip & Pepper
  5. Best Meals – Dream Dinners
  6. Best Footwear – Tony Lama Stars Boots
  7. Best Sunglasses – Native Eyewear
  8. Best Trail Running Shoes – Mountain Masochist GTX by Montrail
  9. Best Apparel – Lacie Tunic Top (for her) and Axiom Jeans (for him) by prAna
  10. Best Tech Gadget – PC Back-Up System Replica by Seagate

Favorite Product Reviews for Children:

  1. Best Toddler Sandals – Newport H2 by Keen
  2. Best Snack – Brothers All Natural Fruit Crisps
  3. Best Children’s Travel Bag – Kushies My Bag
  4. Best Summer Apparel – UV Skinz
  5. Best Sneakers for Toddlers – Flex by Pediped
  6. Best Hydration System – Stainless Insulated Water Bottle by Camelbak
  7. Best Toddler Play Apparel – Jasper Hearts Wren
  8. Best Travel Toy – Zoobie Pets
  9. Best Safety Item – Safety 1st / Air Protect infant to toddler convertible car seat
  10. Best Sentimental Gift – Little Baker Suitcase by Child to Cherish

Favorite Tuesday Travels:

  1. Visiting the Local Fire Station
  2. Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello
  3. Painless Travel Tips
  4. Visiting the Local Airport
  5. 5 Tips for Road Trip Solace with Toddlers

Favorite Health Happy Round-Ups:

  1. Natural Defense Against Allergies
  2. Vaccine Awareness
  3. Safe Fun in the Sun
  4. Prevent Picky Eating
  5. 7 Tips for a Good Night’s Sleep for Children
  6. Skin Care for Moms and Babies
  7. Breastfeeding Benefits
  8. Extended Breastfeeding

Favorite Recipes:

  1. Healthy Yogurt Fruit Dip
  2. Raw Food Dessert
  3. Banana Pancakes, and Ratatouille Recipes
  4. Chicky Chicky Hummus
  5. Buckwheat and Acorn Squash Pancakes
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Health Happy Round-Up: Safe & Healthy Tips for Weight Loss

Welcome to a weekly series on Traveling with Baby, Health Happy Round-Up that  focuses on multiple aspects of wholesome living and optimal health for the entire family.  Each weekend, Traveling with Baby will share some insightful news, recipes, or tips to help you consider fresh new perspectives on wholesome and happy health.

The following is an excerpt from an article I wrote in this month’s health newsletter from Spinal Health & Wellness.   There’s some great tips for weight loss, especially for new moms.  Enjoy!

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Crash diets and sporadic exercise plans may not only prevent you from reaching a desired goal of losing excess weight and maintaining those results, but they can also lead to some serious health risks to the sudden (instead of gradual) stress on your organs and joints.
There are safer methods than yo-yo diets or weekend warrior workouts:
  1. There’s evidence that breastfeeding and taking probiotic enzymes may help new moms shed post-partum pounds.
  2. A study conducted over 12 weeks found that exercise alone (1 hour per day, that can be split up into 2 to 3 intervals instead of continuous) without dietary restrictions resulted in substantial weight loss. Read more.
  3. Reduce sugar intake…that includes fructose that is linked to weight gain.  In fact, fructose converts more cells to fat than any other sugar!
  4. Drink more water.  Your cells and your body are comprised of 70% water, but how much do you drink?  Simple formula: drink half of your body weight in ounces.  For example, if you weight 150 pounds, you should drink 75 ounces of water per day.  If you’re well below this average, slowly increase by 1 cup per day.  If you’re pregnant, nursing, or in hot and arid climates, you should increase your water intake even more than the general formula.

Remember, always consult your physician if you begin a weight loss program and feel dizzy or unwell…be safe, be healthy, and be well!

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Health Happy Round-Up: Banana Bread Recipe

A few weeks ago, Elisa B. invited Calvin and I over to hang out with the puppies.  Just before we arrived, she baked homemade banana bread since she had an overstock of bananas.  What a treat for our noses and bellies.  There’s hardly any sugar and extra oily gunk.  It’s sensational, and I highly urge you to try it!

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Ingredients

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup applesauce
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 large bananas, mashed
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, optional

Directions

  1. Lightly grease 2 loaf pans.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and sugar. Add applesauce, eggs, nuts, and mashed banana. Beat until blended.
  4. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake about 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Elisa B.

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Health Happy Round-Up: Turkey Leftover Recipe Ideas

The Thanksgiving day feast is done.  Sure, you could re-heat plates with leftovers, but eventually, you’re gonna get tired of roasted turkey.  Here’s a few of my favorite options for leftovers:

1. Create a turkey casserole.  Use rice, potatoes, mushrooms, turkey, a little turkey broth, and cheese.  If you’re a follow-the-recipe person and “winging it” in the kitchen (no pun intended) isn’t your thing.  Then check out, the Nourishing Gourmet for some fantastically nutritious and economic recipes!

2. Create turkey tacos.  Dice 2 cups of turkey meat into small 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch cubes.  Heat up a cast iron pan to medium-high heat with 1 – 2 tablespoons of coconut oil and lightly brown 2 cloves of crushed garlic.  Then, fry up the turkey cubes in the garlic and coconut oil until crispy.  While cooking, season turkey meat with smoked paprika, cumin, sea salt, and a dash of red or green chile powder.  Serve the turkey meat along with small bowls of toppings and sides such as roasted tomatillo sauce, fresh salsa, cilantro, diced onions, grated monterrey jack cheese or queso, sour cream or whole-milk plain yogurt, steamed white corn tortillas, and shredded lettuce.

3. I think I’m going to make turkey enchiladas based on this chicken enchiladas recipe from All Recipes.

4. I always prefer to use a roasted chicken or turkey carcass to make homemade broth.  In fact, you use my chicken broth recipe–easily adaptable to turkey broth.  I’ll use the broth to make my favorite vegetable soup, Golden Winter Soup.

YOUR TURN: What is your favorite thing to do with leftovers from Thanksgiving?

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Health Happy Round-Up: Child-Proofing Tips

health happy round-upWelcome to a weekly series on Traveling with Baby, Health Happy Round-Up that  focuses on multiple aspects of wholesome living and optimal health for the entire family.  Each weekend, Traveling with Baby will share some insightful news, recipes, and tips to help you consider fresh new perspectives on wholesome and happy health.

Kimberly Mitchell, Child Safety Expert and “professional childproofer”, recently wrote Childproofing 101 to offer parents tips on childproofing a home…beginning as early as pregnancy.

D1428Child-Proof-PostersMitchell’s got some great ideas for new parents…yet when I read her article, I can’t help, but recall a hilarious scene from Baby Mama movie where adoptive mom-to-be, Kate  (played by Tina Fey) childproof’s the toilet seat long before baby’s even arrived…and pregnant Angie (played by Amy Poehler) struggles to unlatch the toilet seat lid in time to relieve herself.  Failing that, she ends up going in the sink.

We’ve done some babyproofing with our son.  We have rubber bands around the cabinets that are accessible to my son.  However, when the rubber bands are off, he helps secure them back on–obviously they were better at keeping him out of the breakables when he was younger.

We also used child-proof gates to keep him out of the bathroom…definitely a safety concern.  I still use a gate on occasion at the office to keep him from wandering behind the front desk and turning the computer off.

Although I think child proofing is a good idea, I do think it can go overboard.

I have a curious child who wants to explore his world.

However, if there are certain things that are off limits, I’d rather make that clear by explaining it to him, and enforcing those boundaries with discipline.  My son understands when he’s not supposed to touch something or open something.

I can’t child-proof every place we visit, so I’d rather train my son to be obedient to prevent him from wandering across the street or out of plain view, and to prevent him from opening cabinets and drawers when we visit other people’s homes.

Although I can’t be everywhere at once, I can teach my son to listen and obey–far more effective and longer lasting than most child-proofing products on the market.

YOUR TURN:

What’s your approach to child proofing?  What’s been most successful for you with keeping your child safe?

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Natural Cold Care

health happy round-upWelcome to a weekly series on Traveling with Baby, Health Happy Round-Up that  focuses on multiple aspects of wholesome living and optimal health for the entire family.  Each weekend, Traveling with Baby will share some insightful news, recipes, and tips to help you consider fresh new perspectives on wholesome and happy health.

I’ve had my fair share of colds during my pregnancy – really though, is it ever “fair” to be pregnant and sick at the same time?! You probably already know you shouldn’t be taking over the counter medicine while pregnant if you can avoid it, so here is my list of natural home remedies that can help relieve your symptoms and lessen your recover time.

  • Badger Balm. This stuff is the natural equivalent of Vick’s Vapor Rub. It smells great, when you can smell, and relieves congestion when you can’t.
  • Essential Oils. Cinnamon essential oils help break up phlegm in your chest and reduce coughing. I’ll often walk around the house just sniffing from the bottle, or you can also drop some into a pot of steaming water and the scent from the steam will permeate your house (smells like Christmas!). Hang over the pot and breathe in – what a relief! If you don’t like the smell of cinnamon, consider giving eucalyptus oil a try.
  • Herbal Expec. This is another natural remedy for coughing. No more robatussin needed.
  • Homeopathy. When I was miserably sick and pregnant I was given free reign from my midwives to try whatever homeopathic remedies I wanted in my search for relief. A lot of the remedies you’ll find on the shelves at your natural food store contain what they termed “buckshot” homeopathy – meaning it contains several different cures for congestion, runny nose, etc, assuming that you don’t know which one you specifically need to address. I certainly had no idea, so buckshot homeopathy worked well for me.

We’re coming up on cold and flu season, so I hope this information is helpful. Feel free to post your comments on what natural remedies worked well for you and your family!

Healthy Mamas and Breastfeeding Back Survival

health happy round-up

Welcome to a weekly series on Traveling with Baby, Health Happy Round-Up that  focuses on multiple aspects of wholesome living and optimal health for the entire family.  Each weekend, Traveling with Baby will share some insightful news, recipes, and tips to help you consider fresh new perspectives on wholesome and happy health.

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Hey Moms!

If you’re an expectant or nursing mom living near Charlottesville, there’s not one, but TWO opportunities to attend a free Healthy Mama Workshop taught by moi.

The first Healthy Mama Workshop will include postural considerations for mom and baby in breastfeeding and babywearing at 11:45 AM on Saturday, November 7th at Downtown ACAC located at 111 Monticello Avenue. The event is part of ACAC’s pre-natal and post-natal seminar, and it’s free and open to the general public. Refreshments will be served, and new moms and their children will have the opportunity to socialize and meet with others.  So fun!  Bring your baby carrier and nursing pillow, if you have one.healthy mama small

The second workshop takes place on Friday, November 13th at 4PM at Sugar Snap Consignment located at York Place on the historic Downtown Mall.  This workshop is primarily focused on postural considerations for mom and baby during breastfeeding.  Bring your nursing pillow, if you have one.

Both events are free and open to the general public.

I’m soooo excited to share the Healthy Mama Workshops with Charlottesville mothers. I want to help new moms learn how to take of themselves while nursing, so they’re confident, and comfortable at giving their 100% to baby and continuing a wonderful breastfeeding bonding experience.

I previously taught the Healthy Mama Workshops at Nature’s Child in 2008, and ACAC’s pre-natal seminar in October 2009. For more information on the Healthy Mama Workshops, please visit www.scoliosisdoc.com.

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Health Happy Round-Up: Tips for Car Seats

health happy round-upWelcome to a weekly series on Traveling with Baby, Health Happy Round-Up that  focuses on multiple aspects of wholesome living and optimal health for the entire family.  Each weekend, Traveling with Baby will share some insightful news, recipes, and tips to help you consider fresh new perspectives on wholesome and happy health.

One of the most expensive and necessary purchases that parents [living in western countries] need for their babies and toddlers is a car seat.  I remember feeling overwhelmed with the options and determining the one that would last the longest before we needed to graduate to a larger seat or booster seat.

Car Seat Features to Avoid

Also, I’m not a fan of car seats with handles because they put excessive strain on the back, shoulders, and neck of those who lug them around.

Air Protect1

Instead, I recommend and use more permanent car seats that aren’t meant to be carried around with a child.  As a newborn, I’d slip my son in and out of it, and then immediately tuck him into a sling to carry him to and from the car.

What REALLY Matters in a Car Seat

I think a great car seat should primarily be designed for impact safety.  That’s the purpose and point of the life-saving technology of car seats.  The second most important feature is comfort since babies and children will spend a significant amount of time in the car seats as parents commute and travel for longer periods of time.

My son and I were passengers in a serious car accident when he was only two months old–a combination of icy roads, heavy-falling snow, momentum from a hill, and on-coming traffic.  Although many of us had whiplash injuries or other minor gashes (and the vehicle was totaled), my son, who was immediately checked by paramedics, was perfectly safe without any scratch, strain, or stress on his body.

The benefit of rear-facing car seats is the angle of incline. Since many car accidents are due to rear-impacts, life-threatening injury from upper-neck instability due to whiplash is greatly reduced with rear-facing seats.  The longer a child can remain rear-facing in a car seat, the better.

However, there remains an even greater threat to a child in a car accident.  Once again, the upper-neck instability in a baby and small child make them susceptible to severe spinal cord injury or head trauma in the event of side-impact collision.

1 in 4 car crashes involving children are side impact collisions. They are by far the deadliest type of collision for children, accounting for 1 in 3 child fatalities; nearly all of which are caused by head trauma.

Side-Impact Safety

As a mom, I appreciate the intense level of safety testing that was used to develop the Complete Air™ Convertible Car Seat.

Air Protect car seatDorel Juvenile Group (DJG), creators of highly-ranked safety products for babies and children, collaborated with Kettering University’s renowned Crash Safety Center to develop a new standard for side impact testing.  They have shared their findings with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), supporting NHTSA’s efforts to provide more comprehensive regulations for side impact crash testing.

Side airbags that protect the head, chest and abdomen reduce driver deaths by an estimated 37 percent, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

airprotect

The Air Protect can be used rear-facing beginning with infants weighing 5 pounds to 40 pound toddlers measuring 19 to 40 inches.  And, it can be used forward-facing for toddlers to preschoolers weighing 22-50 pounds and measuring 34 to 45 inches.

Best Features

My husband and I love the side head “air-filled” wings that not only protect against side-impact collision–but, when our son falls asleep on long road trips, the side cushions support his head and prevent it from rolling around on his shoulders.  As a chiropractor, I hate seeing kids fall asleep with their heads lurched forward in strollers and car seats…I know how that prolonged posture negatively affects their little necks and overall health!

We also like that it’s very easy to install the seat since an adult hand can feed a seat belt strap through the back for the forward-facing feature. One click LATCH system.  Click, and voila! you’re done.  Easy. The QuickFit harness allows you to adjust the tightness from the front–instead of the back. Simple.

The “air protect” technology doesn’t use air bags, but a type of aerated foam system that uses the right amount of air for support upon impact.  I love this safety feature, and the fact that the seat is extremely comfortable for my son.  Perfect for long road trips.

A Little Room for Improvement

There’s very little room for improvement on the Complete Air™ Convertible Car Seat because it already has so much going for it.  However, one thing that would help parents get their babies and small children into the seat easier are velcro attachments on the harness belts and sides of the chair.

This velcro feature in on the harness of our son’s other car seat.  When the straps are unbuckled, they can adhere to the sides of the chair for easy in and out access for a child’s arms.  Adding velcro for the bottom safety latch could also help.  Otherwise, parents may struggle with putting a child on the seat, only having to hunt and find the harness buckle that the child is already sitting on.  Awkward and time consuming.  Velcroing the buckle toward the bottom of the seat saves time and helps parents get a small and squirmy child into the seat easier.

It’s not easy to do one-handed harness button depression and unlatching…a feature that I got used to with other car seats.  However, this might be a plus since our soon-to-be-two-year-old is quickly learning how to push buttons and open latches.

This car seat is worth the financial investment–not only because it’s designed for newborns to pre-schoolers, but because of it’s significant safety features and thorough testing.

The Safety 1st Complete Air™ Convertible Car Seat is available in two styles: McKenna (gray/black) and Harvest (brown/burnt orange/tan trim).  You can find it exclusively at Babies “R” Us and Toys “R” Us, and it retails for $249.99.

Thank you to Safety 1st for providing the Complete Air Convertible Car Seat for the purpose of this review.
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Health Happy Round-Up – Breastfeeding Benefits

health happy round-upWelcome to a weekly series on Traveling with Baby, Health Happy Round-Up which focuses on multiple aspects of wholesome living and optimal health for the entire family.  Each weekend, Traveling with Baby will share some insightful news, recipes, and tips to help you consider fresh new perspectives on wholesome and happy health.

Few will argue the benefits of breastfeeding a newborn.  It’s the perfect food with the bionutrients and perfect ratio of fats, protein, and carbohydrates for a newborn to older baby depending on the stage of their development and maturity.  Breast milk fats/protein/carbos ratio actually changes throughout the course of the year to mimic baby’s gut development and digestion needs!

Breastfeeding Mom

Breastfeeding benefits to baby:

  • Increases baby’s immune defense for faster recovery from illness since the mother is able to create antibodies and distribute them through breast milk to baby
  • Reduces cavities and need for braces
  • Reduces risk of colic, diarrhea, SIDS, obesity, ear infections, respiratory illness, allergies, diaper rash, osteoporosis, diabetes, infantile cancer, and death
  • Increases IQ up to 20 points
  • Prevents malnutrition
  • Increases social and better psychomotor development of baby
  • Promotes better growth and satisfies baby’s need for sucking
  • Prevents the development of pathogenic germs in the intestines
  • Contains lactoferrin that transports iron and increases immune defense

Breastfeeding Benefits to Mom:

  • Increases the mother-infant bonding relationship
  • Reduces risk of post-partum depression
  • Reduces the reappearance of menstruation, thereby allowing more time until the next pregnancy
  • Decreases the risk of breast and ovarian cancer
  • Reduces puerperal bleeding and fever
  • Promotes the education of others in the family to practice breastfeeding
  • Helps a woman realize her role as mother
  • It’s practical–moms can nurse frequently throughout the night (without washing bottles), when traveling, anytime and anywhere
  • It’s a huge psychological benefit to baby, mom, and the entire family
  • Saves money and time

Breastfeeding Benefits to the Planet:

  • It’s always the perfect temperature and it’s produced it the necessary amount–doesn’t require heating and energy waste
  • Doesn’t require a storage container
  • Reduces the use of medications, medical procedures, and hospitalizations
  • Saves money in health care services
  • Does not leave residue or garbage
  • Doesn’t pollute the environment
  • It’s hygienic and sterile

Sometimes mothers defer to soy-based or dairy-based formula because 1) it’s convenient, 2) although rare, sometimes the baby has a medical condition that prevents the suck reflex, or 3) even rarer, the mother has a glandular deficiency in the breast tissue.

I have dear friends with babies who were born with conditions that prevented nursing at the breast, and I am in awe of them for pumping breast milk around-the-clock to support their babies’ needs.  However, medical conditions in babies are rare.  The inability of mothers to produce enough milk is even rarer.

Often, difficulties with latch-on and sucking enough milk are related to jaw or TMJ or upper neck spinal bone misalignments that can occur through the birth process.   Gentle chiropractic treatment can help babies regain a normal suck reflex by removing nervous system interference.  Read more about how chiropractic care can improve a baby’s suck reflex through the International Chiropractic Pediatrics Association.

For more on breastfeeding, check out Part II, Breastfeeding Support for Moms, and Extended Breastfeeding.

Your Turn:

What are your favorite benefits of breastfeeding?

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Ear Infections: Hear Your Other Options

health happy round-upWelcome to a weekly series on Traveling with Baby, Health Happy Round-Up which focuses on multiple aspects of wholesome living and optimal health for the entire family.  Each weekend, Traveling with Baby will share some insightful news, recipes, and tips to help you consider fresh new perspectives on wholesome and happy health.

I get a lot of questions from moms who are looking for alternatives to antibiotics to help their babies or children suffering from ear infections.  Many of them are surprised to learn about the benefits of gentle pediatric chiropractic care that often help children’s ear infections resolve.

Are Antibioitics the Answer?

This is just one of many studies that indicate the ineffectiveness of antibiotics for ear infections (not only do they damage gut flora, but they don’t necessarily work for their prescribed purpose!)  Here’s another that indicates antibiotics only have a short-term, and non-lasting effect.  Doctors prescriptions for antibiotics for middle ear infections is so rampant and automatic.  Here’s a study that suggests doctors cease defaulting to the antibiotics prescription…STAT.  When specifically testing amoxicillin, a study found no difference in the drug compared to a placebo, thereby claiming amoxicillin is ultimately ineffective for treating ear infections.

listening edit

Alternatives to Drugs for Ear Infections

Instead of antibiotics, many doctors are encouraging parents to “watch and wait” instead.  Read more from WebMD.  Also, check out this health article on CBS where chiropractors teach young children to fight against ear infections.

As for medicated ear drops, there was a study that found that a naturopathic ear drop was just as effective as the medicated ear drops, minus the side effects of the medications.  This study followed 103 test subjects between the ages of 6 to 18 years of age.  After 3 days of receiving the Naturopathic drops compared to the group receiving the medicated drops, both groups reported the same decrease in perceived ear pain.

Here’s a great article on holistic approaches to ear infections by Lawrence Pavelsky, M.D.  I like that he helps parents differentiate between an ear ache and an ear infection, he describes how ear infections develop, and he discusses alternative methods of treatment that won’t leave your child’s gut blanched from the beneficial bacteria killed off by anti-biotics.

I encourage you to find a chiropractic physician in your area who will support your choice for health care.  Check out the International Chiropractic Pediatrics Association, today!

Your Turn:

What about you?  Has your child suffered from an ear infection?  What treatment methods have you tried?  What did you like or dislike about the treatments you tried?

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