• Welcome!


    Chiropractor Mama Dr. Dolly and professional photographer Elisa B. share about adventures in intentional and natural parenting while living in Virginia's beautiful Blue Ridge.
  • Popular Reads

  • Shop

  • Categories

    • Alltop. We're kind of a big deal.
  • Stats

    • 357,638 Visitors

The Incredible Egg

For a healthy, filling, and inexpensive snack, I love to eat hard boiled eggs.  To dress ’em up, sometimes I turn them into egg salad which is fun to eat plain, on top of a bed of fresh spinach leaves, or nestled in wholesome bread for a hearty sandwich.

Hard boiled egg snack:

1-2 hard boiled, peeled eggs

add sea salt and cracked black pepper to taste

Egg salad:

slice and cube 4 hard boiled eggs

add 2T of mayonnaise (made from scratch, or purchased from the store)

pinch of sea salt and dash of cracked pepper to taste

1/2 to 1 tsp of dried tarragon

optional: for added color and crunch, add chopped green onions or diced pickles

My entire family loves egg salad.  However, I must admit, I’m not a big fan of the egg cracking/peeling process.  For years, I’ve done the hot water boil, immediately followed by an ice water bath to cool them down enough that I don’t scald my fingers while peeling.  Sometimes I just put them in the fridge and let them cool for a few hours before I work on them.

Well, I just saw a freakingly cool vid by Tim Ferriss on how to de-shell hard boiled eggs without peeling them, and I have to share it with you.  I’m intrigued enough that I’m going to try this technique this weekend, and I’ll let you know how it pans out.

–By Dr. Dolly

Healthy, Recession-Friendly Dinner

vegI love eating healthy, but let’s face it.  Buying all of your groceries at a health foods store can add up pretty quickly.  There are definitely some items worth purchasing organic, and others that don’t make that much of a difference.  Don’t have time or garden space to grow your own vegetables?  Don’t fret.  There are a few cost-saving tips to healthy eating that will allow you to do the organic thing and stretch out your food budget.

YOU CAN DO IT!

Have a baked potato night near the end of the week.  Use leftovers (chili, veggies, even thickened soups) as toppings!

Chili or bean soups and stews are inexpensive.  They stick to the ribs to fill you up and can really stretch out for quite a few meals for minimal work.

Make your own chicken stock/broth from the remains of a rotisserie/baked chicken.

  • It’s NOT difficult, and you really can stretch out a meal with this method
  • If there’s a place near you that sells hormone-free and free-range hens on the rotisserie, your prep time for a few meals is greatly reduced
  • First, have your family eat dinner and possibly even a next day’s lunch from the chicken.
  • Next, de-bone the chicken.  I like to pull off the remaining meat with my fingers.  Depending on how much is leftover (not enough for just one person), you could stretch it into a chicken salad for 1 person’s sandwich…if not, save the meat for chicken soup to accompany the chicken stock.

TO MAKE CHICKEN or TURKEY STOCK:

1. Once de-boned, cover one-half  to three-fourths of the remaining chicken bones and cartilage with water.

2. Add olive oil or expressed canola oil, salt, coarsely chopped garlic, and whatever other seasonings you may prefer (we also like thyme, ginger, and celery salt).

3. Bring to boil, then reduce to simmer for 3-4 hours.  Really cook the flavor out of those bones and into the stock.

4. Let cool, then store in airtight container and either freeze or store in fridge.  If refrigerated, use within 7 days.

USES FOR CHICKEN or TURKEY STOCK:

Any recipe that call for chicken broth: casseroles, chicken noodle soup, chicken marsala, etc.

EASY CHICKEN SOUP RECIPE

Soups are a great way to use up leftovers from throughout the week.  Add water/broth, leftovers, cook on the crock pot or simmer on the stove.  Voila! You’ve stretched out some food and made a creative and delicious new main attraction.

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 cups of chicken stock
  • 1 pound of hormone-free chicken (I prefer dark meat)…if you have less than 1 pound, it’s okay, use what you have!
  • 1-2 cloves of crushed garlic
  • 2 large carrots sliced
  • 4 stalks of celery
  • Use whatever veggie leftovers you may have (corn, peas, mushrooms are all fabulous in chicken soup!)
  • Sea salt, 1-2T
  • Celery salt, 1 tsp.
  • Thyme, few dashes
  • Black pepper, dash
  • Optional: whole-wheat noodles or brown rice for more substance and as a slight thickener

Preparation:

In a 4-5 qt slow cooker, pour in 2-3 cups of chicken stock.  Add chopped chicken and vegetables.  Then, add more water until everything is covered.  I add enough so there’s just one-half inch clearance from the top of the slow cooker.  Add spices and seasonings.  Heat on high for about 3 hours, and then it’s ready to eat!

This soup is delicious at the first serving, but it definitely tastes better after it sits for one day.

By Dr. Dolly

Naturally Healthy Toddler-Pleasing Snack

img_4705My son loves fresh fruit.  We decided to add a new twist to an old favorite.  We stirred in some honey into plain, whole milk yogurt as a dip for apple wedges.  Not only is it a healthy, vitamin-rich snack, but it’s something that I can enjoy with my son, too.

*MAKE IT*

1-2 apples sliced and cored

(gala, fuji, pink lady, roma, or braeburns are my favorites)

2 Tablespoons of plain, whole-milk yogurt

1-1.5 teaspoons of honey (pick your fave)

Stir honey into yogurt

Serve and enjoy

img_4703

My son usually eats apple wedges similar to how I’d eat a quarter of a watermelon…leaving the apple skin like I’d eat down to the rind.  However, when i introduced the yogurt dip, I showed him how to dip it and then bite off an end of the apple.  He quickly followed suit and enjoyed his snack fully.

Cavity Prevention and Fluoride: A Paradoxical Status Quo

In the near future, I plan to post a really fantastic product review on something (that doesn’t have fluoride) that really helps teeth.  However, the controversy on fluoride is so extensive, I believe I need to write up a post just to set-up the foundation for the particular product I’m reviewing.  So, check back next week for a healthy option to fluoridated toothpaste.  Meanwhile. read on to learn why fluoride is evil and leads to cellular death AND tooth decay.  Intrigued?  I thought you would be.

My sister-in-law first piqued my interest on tooth soap by citing research about the negative effects of fluoride on teeth and overall health.  I decided to read about it, and I began my quest at Inspired Living where I found a lot of information.  I was bummed that the specific journal references were missing from the facts, but I kept digging for more info.

I decided to do my own research on Medline to find any current literature on the efficacy of water fluoridation.  For a key word search for articles, I typed in “fluoridation and bone health”.

Basic Chemistry

Interestingly, Fluorine is the most electronegative element in the periodic table of elements.  It has an extreme affinity for other positive charges to complete it’s highly reactive state.  As a result, fluorine or sodium fluoride can break hydrogen-oxygen bonds of other compounds, and cause free radicals to form.  On numerous research sites, I read some variation of the following information:

The presence of sodium fluoride in drinking water at the level of 2 ppm may cause mottled enamel in teeth, skeletal fluorosis, and may be associated with cancer and other diseases.

What’s the Deal with Free Radicals?

Free radicals are highly volatile unpaired electrons that quickly react with other compounds (seeking and destroying weak bonds) in order to capture a necessary electron to gain stability.  When a molecule is “attacked” by a free radical, it then becomes a free radical.  Then, an ugly chain reaction of molecule bullying and breaking has begun.  When free radicals naturally occur to fight viruses and bacteria, that’s not a big blow to the body’s immune system.

But, when the body’s threshold is overloaded with free radicals due to environmental toxins (pollution, second-hand cigarette smoke, pharmacological drugs, lack of sleep, pesticides, BPA, etc.) and the body doesn’t have enough anti-oxidants (vitamins C & E donate a pair of electrons)  to pair with the volatile electron-mongering free radicals, THEN problems arise.  In this day and age, a constant barrage of free radicals is easy to come by . . . so why intentionally ingest them along with drinking water?

[Read more about basic chemistry and get info on free radicals and antioxidants from healthchecksystems.]

Cavity and Water Fluoridation Research

I found a study that analyzed the trends in dental decay from 1992 to 1998 in two towns in Finland which had low fluoridation and they completely ceased fluoridation.  Random samplings of 1500+ children ages 3 to 15 from 1992 to 1998 were examined for dental caries [tooth decay] and the abstract of the study concluded:

The fact that no increase in caries was found in [the town of] Kuopio despite discontinuation of water fluoridation and decrease in preventive procedures suggests that not all of these measures were necessary for each child.

In 2005, a Chinese Journal of Hygiene Research concluded that over 2.0 mg/L fluoride in drinking water can cause renal damage in children, and the damage degree increases with the drinking water fluoride content. Renal damage degree was mainly due to water fluoride concentration.

A follow-up study was published in Environmental Research in 2007.  Researchers found that the fluoride levels in serum and urine of children in China increased as the levels of drinking water fluoride increased.  The study concluded,

Drinking water fluoride levels over 2.0mg/L can cause damage to liver and kidney functions in children and that the dental fluorosis was independent of damage to the liver but not the kidney.

More Freaky Fluoride Facts

But, don’t take my word or research skills for it, read for yourself.

Check out Wholy Water’s site for an informative article and literature review entitled Toxic Effects of Fluoride.

Read the Fluoride Debate which is a response to the American Dental Association’s Fluoridation Facts.

Check out the politically active Fluoride Action Network for up to date info on Fluoride.

Read the Flouride Research Journal.

Read more on the toxic effects of fluoridation in your water from the holistic med site.

Read America: Overdosed on Fluoride by Lynn Landes and Maria Beches.

If you’re more of a visual learner, check out the photos of teeth (dental fluoridation) and water pipes with fluoridation from the site Fluoride: Protected Pollutant or Panacea?

So fluoride in my water and toothpaste is more harmful than helpful, now what?

No, you don’t have to use your bar soap on your teeth if you don’t want to (although, that would work just as well).  There’s actually an option that’s helpful and tastes pretty minty fresh.  Check back next week for more.

–This is an original Traveling with Baby post by Dr. Dolly Garnecki

Do I need to buy all organic produce?

One health and nutrition site that I often frequent is Mark’s Daily Apple.  He recently had posts on cracking the code on produce.  You know that little sticker with the 4 or 5 digit code that’s slapped on items in the market?  It’s not just to determine how much you should be charged, it’s also an indicator of whether the produce is organic, genetically engineered, among other options.  Read his informative post: cracking the code.

Additionally, Gaiam collected a great list of information from the Environmental Working Group to determine the list of organic produce to buy.  It answers the pressing question “Do I really need to buy ALL organic produce?”  It definitely makes more of a difference with some items compared to others.  Check out this post, bookmark it, and use it when buying your veggies and fruits.  Eat happy and healthy!

42 Weeks of Pregnancy . . . Now I Know Why

Calvin was a 42-week baby. We didn’t miscalculate the due date, although there is definitely room for error. When my midwife checked him out, she noted that he was definitely at 42 weeks and he would’ve been content hanging out in the womb for yet another week.

Why, oh why was that the case? I did every natural induction method that I could find and yet, he stubbornly stayed where he was.

The answer, I suspected, was because of my super awesome and potent pre-natal vitamins. An article recently published in the Journal of Pediatrics confirms my suspicions.

I was taking some uber-loaded DHA all throughout pregnancy. Turns out it’s not only important post-partum while you’re breastfeeding baby, but it’s actually the most beneficial during the 3rd trimester. Oh, and it causes a longer gestation period.

J.L. Jacobson, et al. found that increased levels of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are associated with increased visual acuity, heightened cognitive and motor development in infants in their first 11 months, according to a study of more than 100 children and their moms. By the way, the DHA also causes longer gestation period (sorry, mom!).

The authors concluded that DHA is a critically important fatty acid during the third trimester. It enhances the formation and development of nerve receptors and photoreceptors in baby’s brain and spinal cord. Smart baby, healthy baby, long pregnancy.

Minimum requirements of DHA for nursing moms is 400 mg.  During pregnancy, I was getting close to 1000 mg per day.

Good-for-Baby Gut Bacteria

Almost everyone’s heard about how yogurt can aid in digestion and benefits gut flora for nutritional absorption. In fact, even kefir is becoming more popular as a tasty probiotic culture that you can find in a fruity and refreshing “drinkable” form, or you can make it yourself from a starter kit.

Probiotics are live microbial food ingredients which are reported to be effective in the treatment of Irritable Bowel Disorder, diarrhea, and constipation. Probiotics, such as Bifidobacteria (B.) and lactobacilli (L.), both produce lactic, acetic, and other acids resulting in a [decreased] pH in the colon. A lower pH enhances peristalsis (which is the smooth muscle mobilization of waste particles) of the colon. They subsequently decrease waste matter transit time in the colon which is beneficial in the treatment of constipation.1

But, how many of you know about the benefits of probiotics for babies and children?

Before you gasp and protest, “But, they’re too young! Babies don’t need any vitamins or supplements as long as they’re still receiving breastmilk,” consider some of the latest research on probiotics and how they could possibly benefit your young’uns.

The latest research in several journals reveals how probiotics can help children who suffer from diarrhea, constipation, or eczema, and they can even help boost immunity among children.

Diarrhea

“Probiotics are safe for healthy children, and [they are] effective in reducing the risk of antibiotic-associated diarrhea and the duration of acute infectious diarrhea. Probiotics may also be effective in preventing community-acquired diarrheal infections, in reducing the risk of necrotizing enterocolitis in premature infants, and in the prevention and treatment of atopic dermatitis (or eczema).”2

There is a high level of evidence for positive effects of some probiotics to alleviate constipation, to treat [liver disease]. Probiotics may be used to alleviate lactose intolerance, antibiotic-associated intestinal disorders, and gastroenteritis. Probiotics may also assist in the prevention of recurrence of inflammatory bowel diseases.3

Constipation

Last fall, a study conducted at the Department of Paediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition at the Academic Medical Centre in Amsterdam, The Netherlands was published. The study specifically studied the benefit of probiotics containing containing bifidobacteria and lactobacilli in treating childhood constipation. For four weeks, twenty children, ages 4 – 16 (50% male, and average was 8 years) received a daily mix of the probiotics, and outcomes assessed were frequency of bowel movements per week and stool consistency. Additional measurements considered frequency of fecal incontinence per week, abdominal pain, and side effects.

The study concluded that the probiotics mixture containing different strains of bifidobacteria and lactobacilli, increases the frequency of bowel movements in constipated children presenting with a defecation frequency of less than 3 times per week. This probiotic mixture was also effective in decreasing the number of fecal incontinence episodes and in reducing the presence of abdominal pain. No side effects (such as bloating, increased flatulence, and vomiting) were reported. Probiotics are much safer than laxitives to administer to constipated children.1

Eczema/Atopic Dermatitis

In 2003, a study from Copenhagen, Denmark’s Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University found probiotics were beneficial in treating atopic dermatitics (or eczema) in children. For 6 weeks, children ages 1 to 13 were given 2 probiotic lactobacillus strains (Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Lactobacillus reuteri). After active treatment, 56% of the patients experienced improvement of the eczema, and the treatment response was more dramatic in patients who tested positive for allergies in at least one skin prick test.4

Get Some

Okay, so where does a parent find probiotics safe for babies and children to consume? Although children 5 years of age or older can probably safely consume most probiotics manufactured for adults (although varying the serving size dependent on the child’s age, weight, etc.), until more research is done, it’s probably best to stick to a probiotics mixture created specifically for babies and young children.

To date, the only formula that I’ve found is created by MMS Pro:Entrin for Children. The nice thing is that you don’t have to be a health care professional to order this product, so any health conscientious parent can place an order for it. MMS Pro doesn’t sell directly, rather, they have a few distributors. Personally, I’ve only purchased the Entrin from Levine Health who ship it with reusable ice bags to preserve the integrity of the product (which is sensitive to heat!).

My 7-month-old son has definitely benefited from the probiotics. His stool is regular, several times a day (instead of twice a week!) and the consistency is normal as opposed to hard as a rock. I give him 1/4 tsp. once a day mixed in with his solids at lunchtime. And, I’ll probably keep him on probiotics for several months to assist with the development of gut flora and peristalsis.

Resources

  1. Bekkali NL. et. al. The role of a probiotics mixture in the treatment of childhood constipation: a pilot study. Nutr J. 2007; 6: 17. Published online 2007 August 4. doi: 10.1186/1475-2891-6-17.
  2. Kligler B, Hanaway P, Cohrssen A. Probiotics in children. Pediatr Clin North Am. 2007 Dec;54(6):949-67; xi.
  3. Marteau P, Boutron-Ruault MC. Nutritional advantages of probiotics and prebiotics. Br J Nutr. 2002 May;87 Suppl 2:S153-7.
  4. Rosenfeldt V. et. al. Effect of probiotic Lactobacillus strains in children with atopic dermatitis. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2003 Feb;111(2):389-95.