sunshine, unicorns, and rainbows…(update on Moose)

epic

After a few weeks on the dark side, we are seeing the proverbial silver lining with Moose.  November was a month of bad reports, biting, and hell.  After using this blog lately as a vessel for the ugly side, I had to share not one, but THREE great inchstones today.

At this point, I may need another unit of measurement.

First, up…Moose wore mittens and a hood today.  No small feat for a boy who takes eons to readjust to climate change, which here in Chicago, is early and often.

So, hooray for kicking sensory processing issues!

After school, we deviated from routine to go right home for therapy time, and went to Whole Paycheck for a few things.  Said deviation often leads to tantrums from the dark side, but not today.  Moose happily went with the flow, and pushed his brother in the cart! He put food into the cart! He even loaded groceries on the belt!

I mean…the heavens are opening people.  When the grocery clerk ask me how my day was, I answered honestly, “One of the best days ever!”

I shit you not.  I felt like I was walking on white puffy clouds.

epic

Then, we get home, and start our home therapy.  He works with me! Makes eye contact! Writes his name!  He even read a sentence in a book.

Whatever angel has possessed my son, I hope he stays for a bit.

Onward and upward,

Nicolette

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Ray Peat’s Raw Carrot Salad Recipe: Anti-Estrogen and Vital to Women’s Health


Once I hit 33 last year, some funky female stuff starting happening. Breakouts in the facial regions that show estrogen dominance (side of cheeks, hairline), sore boobs to the point that I visited my OB… you get the idea. It’s funny how the human body works. If you take artificial hormones of any kind (I sure as hell DON’T given my history of migraines)…you need to read on, because chances are, you are estrogen dominant.

All the women in my family were DONE with menopause at age 40. I’m 34. I’m determined to break that trend. My OB, after I questioned her, is certain that I am not perimenopausal, but given the signs of estrogen dominance I had going on, I turned to the alternative circuits to correct all the annoying health issues I had surface in the past year.  Homeopathy has helped, but I also think my diet needed to be adjusted.

A pill for every ill is not my style.

The first place, I turn is the kitchen.

Dr. Ray Peat, PhD in biology, brilliant yet on the fringes of health research, has this to say about estrogen dominance…

According to Dr. Ray Peat:

Endotoxin formed in the bowel can block respiration and cause hormone imbalances contributing to instability of the nerves, so it is helpful to optimize bowel flora, for example with a carrot salad; a dressing of vinegar, coconut oil and olive oil, carried into the intestine by the carrot fiber, suppresses bacterial growth while stimulating healing of the wall of the intestine. The carrot salad improves the ratio of progesterone to estrogen and cortisol, and so is as appropriate for epilepsy as for premenstrual syndrome, insomnia, or arthritis.

In plain English, carrots keep the system moving, and acts as a natural antibiotic which promotes good bacteria.  The lowly carrot.

ray peat raw carrot salad recipe

So, indeed, I am trying this out to see if I see improvement in any of my symptoms.  I will report back. I’ve always craved raw carrot, so I found this to be one of those “ah-ha” moments for me.  And in all things health, of course, I have to pass along the good word.

A few things I’ve learned from the interwebs:

1.) It must the the WHOLE carrot, and not the juice.  It’s the fiber in the carrot that gives this benefit.

2.) It’s critical to have the coconut oil with the vinegar to maximize the benefit of the raw carrot.

Ray Peat’s Raw Carrot Salad Recipe: Anti-Estrogen and Vital to Women’s Health
 
Prep time
Total time
 
-1 organic medium carrot peeled and grated -2 tsp of melted coconut oil -2 tsp of Apple Cider Vinegar -sprinkle of good quality sea salt
Author:
Serves: 1
Ingredients
  • -1 organic medium carrot peeled and grated
  • -2 tsp of melted coconut oil
  • -2 tsp of Apple Cider Vinegar
  • -sprinkle of good quality sea salt
Instructions
  1. Grate carrot. According to Peat, the grating is essential.
  2. Make dressing by melting coconut oil over low heat. If it’s above 75 degrees, your coconut oil may already be liquid.
  3. Combine.
  4. Sprinkle with sea salt to taste.
  5. Repeat this daily until your symptoms decrease.
  6. Reporting back as of 3/14: It has worked for me!

Let me know if this helps you!
Nicolette

p.s. Post is intended for educational purposes only. Read my disclaimer here.

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dragon days, silent nights

challenge dragon the gift is yours quote

I will try to find the good in today. Because today has been a today, where seriously, I give up. Moose bit me four times today. Four.  In public.  At a trampoline place on special needs night.

I’m the kind of tired today that sleep can’t fix.

He bit his teacher last month.

He has entered a new phase of anger and chewing and biting and it feels like I have a one-year-old again and you have to worry about his eating the ornaments off the Christmas tree and small toys.

I want to buy Monkey the big boy set of Legos in the blue bin for Christmas, but part of me is like keep the Duplos for another year, because the 6 year old might eat them.

Today, I will tell autism to fuck off.

Today, I hate autism.

challenge dragon the gift is yours quote

I hate that it is almost impossible to take my children alone anywhere without epic tantrums and exhaustion. I hate that anger is pouring out of my child and into his teeth.

I do not hate my child. I love him above and beyond all else in this world.  Lately, he has been sick. He is reacting. I get that. But being bit four times in one day, is well, enough to make you want to quit.

Or at least fantasize about leaving for a corporate job downtown far away from the reality of making lunches, school pickups and drops off, the fights, the refusal to comply and follow directions…and then, yeah, growing a small business in between all the daily chaos.

So, despite all that…I choose to focus on the small good of today.  The only good moment of today:

My four year old Monkey, while we were driving to a warehouse of trampoline kid heaven late this afternoon, spelled “w-h-i-t-e” “c-a-s-t-l-e”…’Mom, there’s a white castle! What’s in there? Horses?”

I have raised a child without knowledge of fast food.

So, autism, you may win today.

But, after a good night of sleep, I’ll be back to fight you again tomorrow.

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Taming the Dragon: Rethinking Autism

challenge dragon the gift is yours quote

So, much in life, is our reaction to things.  How we approach the adversity, how we respond to the deaths, the diagnosis, the job losses, the financial hurdles, and the heartbreaks is one and all the same.

You can let these challenges destroy you, and at many times in my life, I have allowed them that power.

Maybe it’s been a few years deep into this “new normal”.  I look back on the earlier years when Moose first started early intervention, and all I felt was Worry and Desperation and Fear and all those other shitty things when life throws you a curveball and a quick punch to the throat.

Perhaps it’s age.  Perspective.  Seeing my son is more than a word.  A label.

He always has been, but so much of my energy was in the wrong place.

I was operating out of a place of fear, not of love.

Now, the fear is gone.

That’s what the change is about now: it’s about finding the calm, the patience, and the hope.  It’s tuning out the negative, and counting blessings. Focusing on the good in every day.  In the words of Anne Lamont, Bird by Bird.

It’s not the diet.   The supplements. The therapy.  The forms. The IEP goals.

It’s our perspective of the situation.

challenge dragon the gift is yours quote

 

 

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Gluten-Free Pie Crust Recipe and Gluten-Free Apple Butter Pie Recipe

gluten-free pie crust recipe, gluten-free apple butter pie recipe momnivores-dilemma

Long before “gluten-free” became a household name and celebrity trend, we here at the estate were suffering with the lack of good recipes, ingredients, and frankly, mourning all the traditions and happiness that surrounds the holidays in the name of gluten and food.

I fed my kids hot garbage the first year into this gluten-free lifestyle.  Stuff the dog wouldn’t even touch.  Baked goods heavy in rice flour and chewy.  Not a good chewy, a chewy of the undercooked variety.

Going on year 4, I’ve learned a lot about gluten-free baking.  Namely, to stay away from rice flour as the end all be all.  Now, my baking is so damn good, that even my gluten-eating mother approves.  She doesn’t give a seal of approval to my baking lightly.  I trust her palate, because she still eats the gluten, and this pie passed her test.

Yes, apple butter pie.

gluten-free pie crust recipe, gluten-free apple butter pie recipe momnivores-dilemma

It was a mistake really.  A happy accident, this recipe. I was cooking down some of these apples from a trip up to Michigan we took in October to the only organic farm near Chicago.  Yes, I strong-armed my husband into a day trip to Michigan, because that’s how passionate we are about voting with our dollars here at the estate.

organic apple orchard outside chicago

As those apples cooked slowly in the crock pot, I passed out in bed.

And woke up to apple butter.

I had made my first-ever gluten-free pie crust with the Monkey the day before, and the hell I wasn’t going to have some apple pie, when it had been YEARS since I had pie.

Some love ice cream.  Some cake, for me…it’s pie.  I waited tables at a pie shoppe here in Chicago during high school.  You’d think after three years of unlimited access to pie, I’d hate the stuff.  No, I still have impure thoughts about Baker Square’s pies, and await the day they decide to jump on the GF bandwagon.

Hell, even California Pizza Kitchen has GF now.

I’m sure the rest of the ingredients are crap, but still.  I aim for 80% perfect eating, and then muck it up and eat some garbage too.  After all, I’m human.  A human who was raised on Tang and PopTarts.

You are here to learn the secrets.  Of how I did it, right?

First, the flour.  GF flour blends are a mixture of unicorn tears and fairy dust.  I tried my hand at making many a blend, but now, the Costco aisles are alive with the sound of music…

Yes, this stuff rules.

It does.

I’m a convert from the 17 bags of flour I used to buy from Bob’s Red Mill to this stuff.  Plus, it was started by another autism mom, so yeah. This isn’t a review or sponsored post.  This stuff is the best I’ve used in baking.  Bar none.

All hail, Namaste.

best gluten-free flour blend ever

 

gluten-free pie crust recipe, gluten-free apple butter pie recipe momnivores-dilemma

Look, I even got to use those little pie cutters I found at Target on clearance! This pie crust RULES.

momnivore+recipe+ingredients.jpg

 

FOR PIE CRUST

 

-1 1/2 cup Namaste Perfect Flour Blend

-1/2 cup Kerrygold Butter cut into small chunks…COLD

-3-6 T of ice cold water.  ICE COLD.

That’s it.

FOR APPLE BUTTER

-3 lbs of apples (I used organic golden delicious and rome mixed)

-24 hours in the crockpot

That’s it.

momnivore+recipe+directions.jpg

 

One day, when I have $15 to spare on a pastry cutter, I’d say use that.

I used my hands to cut the butter in to the flour.  Add the water a Tbsp at a time until

you feel the consistency begin to form into a proper dough ball.

Then, it will kill you to do this, refrigerate it.  Wait.

I waited overnight.

Then, working quickly, I used some technique from my pie shoppe days when some

of the pies were still made in house.  Pretend the pie crust is a clock, and go 12’o clock, 5 o’clock, and

repeat til you get a perfect circle.

BAKE at 350 F for 45-55 minutes or until the crust is golden-brown.

Pie is best served luke warm or at room temperature.

***

Take it from this pie shoppe waitress, twenty years later.

Off to plan a few more pies.

Pumpkin. French Silk.  Coconut cream.  Banana Cream.

Would you like that ala mode?

Ha.

Another fun fact.  I made more money waiting tables at 16 than I did my first year of teaching.

Hope this recipe helps you this holiday season, my gluten-free readers.

Nicolette

Sharing @ Shaken Together:: Twigg Studios

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the autism cha cha or when the teacher can’t teacher her own…

autism hope

Back when I was teaching I had some tough kids.  Kids who brought weapons to school.  Kids who sexually assaulted other students at recess.  Kids who would just sleep through class and never turn in a single assignment.  Having to call DCFS.

Those were my years teaching here in Chicago.

When I ran a small tutoring business when my sons were very young, my students were tough cases, not behaviorally, but academically. Kids who simply couldn’t comprehend the material.  I loved the challenge, breaking lessons down into bite-sized pieces and seeing the stars go off in their heads.

autism hope

Now, with my sons, I’m realizing that the ways I’ve been taught to teach, and the ways in which we define learning and behavior, are all inside out and upside down.

Moose turned 6 last month.  He has known his letters and numbers and sounds since 18 months.  No joke.  When autism set in, he lost his ability to communicate with us.  His IEP goals at school are very basic: recognize some sight words and demonstrate understanding of one-to-one correspondence of numbers 1 to 10.

Problem is: not meeting his goals.  He can’t attend to tasks long enough to sustain significant learning and attention.  When we practice sight words at home, I use every “sensory-based” approach I can…and still, nothing is sticking.

I mean nothing.

We write the sight color word “red” out in sand, and when I ask him the word he tells me “r”.

For every word we’ve practiced other than his name- all he sees is the letters.  His language is still basic at best.  He isn’t conversational yet.  Everything is requests.

But, I am grateful for each and every word uttered from his mouth.  Truly, I am.

It’s just we are at a plateau with his language and learning.

At yoga last week (yes, I’ve finally returned after a 6 month hiatus-it kicked my ass), my teacher said something along the lines of this:

6a00e54f13dba98834019aff2a6b8e970c-320wi

via

Here, at the estate, it’s more like a cha-cha slide drunk at a wedding, than at some hipster coffeebar with inspirational quotes.

I’ve had my fair share of set-backs in this life, and I’m learning a great deal from my children.  I am.  We’ve taken more than a step back, but more like a major detour and then we got a flat.

I thought having a fancy pants teaching master’s would prepare me for teaching the two most important “students” I will ever have, my sons. But after seeing Montessori schools last month, I’m still in a place of purgatory.

Meanwhile on the sunnyside of child-rearing, Monkey, my 4 year old is starting to read without any direct instruction.  Sure, I’ve close-captioned any PBS shows they’ve watched for years, and have read to them incessantly since they both came home from the hospital, but in terms of “let’s sit down and learn to read!”…it’s pure osmosis with this kid.

I was exactly the same as Monkey.  Reading was something I was just always able to do.  My mother read to me, pointed to the words, and it all just sunk in without fanfare or flashcards by age 4.

Any free moment that Monkey has, his nose is shoved in a book.  He even brings them in the car now.  For fun.  But, his fine motor skills are incredibly weak, and he is resistant to having me help him.

So, again, I’m stumped.

Parent-teacher conferences are next week here in Chicago, and frankly, I’m at a loss.  This is the first time in my teaching career, that I am truly at a loss.  We’ve tried every therapy and treatment known to man.  Moose’s kindergarten teacher is incredible, and she’s even at a loss.  Monkey can’t qualify for services with our PPO because he doesn’t have autism, and so I am left to playing Occupational Therapist at home.  I’ve sat through enough therapy in the past four years to know what to do.  It’s just I’m MOM, and not Mrs. So and So.

We will just keep on keeping on.

So, if any of you are special ed teachers or parents who have a child with Moose’s situation…bend my ear.

 

With love,
Nicolette

 

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Changes and New Directions…

Hello, dear readers.

It’s been a few years since I started this here site, and over the course of those years, I’ve learned a lot about the interwebs and blogging.  It’s been an incredible experience sharing our journey with you.  I know my words and stories have helped countless families dealing with autism and gluten-free, and by no means, is this a Dear John letter.

 

This was the picture that started it all.  Monkey, age 6 months.  Now he’s 4.  My God. This website has had, in my opinion, too many directions.  I started just about autism, and then feel in love with craft blogs, and then ADHDed in too many directions…

So, in short, I’ve started a new blog to house all my creative projects.  Slowly, I’ll be moving my favorites over to the new site, and leaving the early posts in these archives.  The menu bar now showcases the new areas this blog will cover exclusively.

Momnivore’s Dilemma will continue to share autism, health, nutrition, gluten-free recipes, and special needs parenting type posts, while my new site will house all the crafts, DIY projects, and creative pursuits.

Basically, what I should have done from the start.

Yes, 2 kids and 3 blogs…I’m a bit insane, but the busier I am, the more productive I am.  The Classroom Creative is truly my job, while my personal blogs, although they do bring in some money, are more for the fun of it.

So, if you’ve enjoyed any of my DIY and creative projects over the years, stay tuned.  I actually designed the next site ON MY OWN. I got really brazen over the weekend, and bought a new dot com and installed a wordpress theme.  Believe you me, it was MUCH easier to start fresh at wordpress than it was to transfer this site from blogger to wordpress!

Stay tuned for more later this week.

I’ll give you a hit about the name.  It’s two words.  6 letters and one character total.  I love it.   It encompasses the feet on the ground head in the clouds dichotomy of me…  Reveal to come shortly…

So, as the years bring about change…so do the blogs of our lives.

My best,

Nicolette

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Ideas for Improving Fine Motor Skills: Cutting Skills with a Purpose

My youngest son, Monkey, has a mild delay in fine motor skills. He struggles with a proper pencil grasp, and until recently, he couldn’t cut with scissors.

At all.

My attempts at working with him ended in tantrums and headaches.

I tried many tricks from various OTs, but nothing short of bribery could get my son to work on his cutting and coloring.

But, yesterday, a random idea popped into my head: he could create “leaves and grass” for his beloved animals. As I set out to make lunch after a morning of preK for Monkey and a long morning of work for me, Monkey got to work “making lunch” for his family of giraffes.

ideas for improving cutting skills

Slowly, other animals took interest and needed to be fed as well.

ideas for improving fine motor skills

Hot damn, why did I not think of this before???

If your child has fine motor delays, I’d recommend cardstock over construction paper, because the heavier weight of the 60lb paper seems to make it easier for them to grasp as they cut. I prepped some of the paper into 5 inch strips, so it was easier for him to snip.

His preschool teacher gave me a tip that I love, and of course, it incorporates animals of course. Tell your child the scissors are like alligators and they “chomp, chomp”. I think Monkey said chomp five hundred times.

You need to watch that your child doesn’t do the limp wrist flip, that is so common in children with fine motor delays.  Simply redirect them to orient their hands so their thumb is on top.

Following this unreal amount of time spent cutting leaves and grass, he and I made an “African Savana” together from a large shoe box.  Clearly, it an excuse to buy more boots, right?

It was a solid two hours of the most enjoyable “fine motor work” I’ve ever had with Monkey. It goes to show, with a little creativity and incorporating a child’s passion (in Monkey’s case: animals)- you can build in “work” that addresses areas of need on their IEPs, and frankly in their normal school skills.

He weilded a paint brush and scissors without fight or struggle. For two hours!

I’m going to buy stock in green paper.

For more educational ideas, be sure to check out my day job at The Classroom Creative.

With love,
Nicolette

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Homeopathy for Cold and Flu Season (Two Homeopaths Share Ideas)

homeopathic remedies for cold and flu season

As I type this, I’m battling my first cold of the season.  It’s annoying, but not nearly the knock-me-off my sails type illnesses of the past.  Over the past few days, I’ve changed homeopathic remedies for my cold depending on the symptoms.  Homeopathy is a powerful way to treat common colds and flus without harmful side effects.  Basically what would have lingered for weeks before my knowledge of homeopathy disappears in a matter of days.  It’s also, as I said, much weaker of a cold, given the remedies affect to bolster my body’s immune system.

Now, two professional homeopaths Lora Roberts of 360 Homeopathy and Kelly Callahan of Concentric Healing will share their ideas on cold and flu season.  *This post is for informational purposes only, and DOES NOT constitute medical treatment*

homeopathic remedies for cold and flu season

Homeopathy for all seasons: Colds, the flu and you!

by: Lora Roberts, 360 Homeopathy

With the cold air already sneaking up on us and winter approaching, now is the perfect time to have some homeopathic remedies on hand to help with fall and winter ailments. I have thoroughly enjoyed this beautiful fall weather in the midwest this year. As much as I like to procrastinate and enjoy these beautiful days, I also know planning for optimal health for the winter is needed. They say if you don’t plan, you plan to fail so let’s be proactive!

First a little background is helpful–What is Homeopathy? Homeopathy is a natural therapeutic method of medical treatment that is based on the philosophy that a substance which causes symptoms in a healthy person can also remove symptoms in a sick person as long as the substance is highly diluted. The Homeopathic remedy stimulates the body’s natural healing process. Homeopathic remedies are traditionally made of plant, animal, or mineral elements rather than synthetic forms. Homeopathic remedies are the only other health products along with conventional drugs that are regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Homeopathy views illness as effecting the entire individual (mind-body- spirit) and treats the whole person rather than just the symptoms, disease or specific body parts.

The treatment helps the body heal itself rather than suppress or control symptoms. Homeopathy acts at an energetic level, therefore it has a broad effect: shifting mental, emotional , and physical symptoms.When situations arise and self treatment is appropriate here are some remedy suggestions for the flu and cold season. Colds and flu are generally considered acute illnesses and are self limiting which means they will eventually resolve themselves in time without intervention. To distinguish the difference, colds are generally accompanied by a runny nose and mild fever and flus usually present with respiratory illness with high fever, chills, muscle aches and prostration.These remedies can be purchased in a 6c or 30c potency and can be found at many local natural health stores and pharmacies. When dosing in these acute situations, the remedy can be repeated 3-4 times a day for a duration of 7-10 days and reducing the amount as the symptoms improve.

Oscillococcinum: a great remedy to have on hand in your first aid kit. As soon as you start feeling run down or have other flu-like symptoms, such as headache, body aches, chills and fever, take Oscillococcinum. I say this is the lazy man’s remedy for someone who doesn’t want to do a lot of thinking about their illness and just take something to make the pain go away.

Aconite: works great in early stages of a illness, especially within the first 12 hours of showing cold and flu symptoms, colds with a sudden onset and symptoms after exposure to cold wind/weather, dry cough and flushed face.

Bryonia: common flu remedy, ideal for those with body aches and pains, excessive thirst, desire to remain still and aggravated by the slightest movement

Gelsemium: lack of thirst, flu like symptoms with overall weakness, shivering and heaviness of limbs, exhaustion with lethargy and droopy eyes. FYI- this was the #1 remedy used during the 1918 flu pandemic

Allium Cepa: great for colds with excessive burning acrid discharge of the nose, nose “runs like a faucet”, profuse flow of bland tears, constant sneezing

Kali Bichromicum: helps to clear out the last of cold symptoms, sinus headaches, crusting inside the nose, sticky-stringy nasal secretion, constant clearing of the throat, blocked sinuses.

Arsenicum: chilly & anxious with diarrhea and vomiting. Helpful for the gastric flu.

Nux Vomica: another great remedy for a gastric flu, increased diarrhea and vomitting and an all over toxic feeling. The patient is often chilly and impatient.

Merc. Vivus: cold symptoms with increased saliva and a painful need to swallow. They often are very hypersensitive to temperature changes.

Hepar Sulph: this individual is cold all over and worse from uncovering. They are extremely irritable and don’t like to be touched, esp. near the head (think of a screaming child who doesn’t want the doctor anywhere near their ears). It is helpful for an extreme sore throat with sharp pains that effect the ears.

Last but not least for individuals who want a more prophylaxis/preventative option Influenzinum is beneficial. One popular protocol is to take one dose once a week for 4 week in ascending potency moving from 30C up to 10M. Every year a new batch of this remedy is made and it contains the three most recent strains of the flu virus. Many homeopathic pharmacies also offer a combination Influenzinum that offers a remedy made from the flu strain of multiple years.

Homeopathic care is cost effective, has been used successfully for over 200 years and promotes gentle healing. For chronic complaints and other health concerns it is helpful to seek a qualified Homeopathic Practitioner. The homeopathic process is both simple and noninvasive.

Cheers to health! Remember even when illness strikes our body is expressing health and giving us messages. Listen and treat appropriately!

 

Thanks so much Lora! Now, here’s Kelly’s take on cold and flu season…

homeopathy final

Homeopathy for Sniffles and Sneezes

by: Kelly Callahan of  Concentric Healing

Last week, This American Life, a popular documentary style radio program on NPR, did a show on Tylenol, and the shocking risks on taking this seemingly benign pain killer and fever reducer. The only surprise was that it was actually on a national radio station that is often unfailingly on the side of conventional medicine.

You have to ask yourself- is this what I want in my medicine cabinet? How do I want to respond to my child’s seasonal illnesses?

If any part of your answer is- I want to use natural, safe medicines, that will not only help reduce suffering but actually be a benefit to the immune system… well, look no further!

Whether it’s those first runny noses or the full-on flu, homeopathic remedies are that safe, natural medicine.

Homeopathy has been used for over 200 years and has a proven track record of efficacy for not only seasonal illnesses, but the big epidemics in the history books (at least in this country) like yellow fever, diphtheria, cholera, and more. Using single substances from nature (plants, minerals, etc…) the remedies deliver a highly diluted, energetically potentized dose that interfaces with the child’s own energy, and gives it the boost it needs to complete the healing it is already trying to do. For a great tutorial on how homeopathy works, check out: http://homeopathyplus.com.au/category/tutorials/  These Aussies do a great job of breaking down homeopathy.

But back to alternatives for your medicine cabinet.  Here are a few remedies that are must-haves, bringing your child(ren) relief, and peace of mind for parents everywhere who are looking for a way out of the pharma-matrix.

Aconite (monkshood)

This might be the one remedy I would take to a deserted island (but man, I would fight tooth and nail if I could only bring one!!). Aconite is the perfect remedy for fall and winter, because it helps the vital force (chi in Chinese medicine… your essential energy that regulates balance in your body) reconcile from fright, shock, and exposure. If the body can’t rebalance after exposure to a cold dry wind, or a fright that comes as a shocking surprise, then a fever and/or cough may come about as a result.

For example, let’s say you go on a hike and up at the top, the wind is going strong, even though the sun is shining. Later that night, you hear a dry barking cough and go to check up on your little one. Sure enough, he has a high dry fever, bright red cheeks, and raspy seal-barking cough that sounds like croup coming on. A few doses of Aconite 30c or a 200c if you have it, should help ease the fever and may resolve the condition altogether.

You can use Aconite for just the barky croupy cough, as long as there is no discharge present yet (goopy nose, congestion in the lungs). It is also a go-to for the first twinges of a sore throat that feels tight and dry.

Hepar Sulph

Hepar sulphuricum is one of those strange mineral combinations unique to homeopathic medicines. I love this remedy, and it follows Aconite well for when the fever might drop, but the cough advances and there’s congestion in the chest. This is definitely a second-stage remedy, where the condition has advanced to producing mucous.

The cough will still sound croupy- dry and barking. The patient often has a *very* sore throat, so painful to swallow, and warm drinks are the only thing that makes it better. There is an oversensitivity to pain- the ear, the throat, or even conjunctivitis of the eye.  The pain in the throat is like a fishbone sticking in it, and it may radiate up to the ear.

Mentally and emotionally, the child is so sensitive to their pain and intolerant of discomfort they become grouchy and irritable.

 Belladonna

Belladonna is a well-known and often used remedy for children and fevers. The key indications for the remedy are: pulsation, congestion, inflammation.

Belladonna conditions tend to come on quick. As in, your kid came home from school, he was fine and then by dinner, he’s red (inflammation) in the face with a raging fever. There may be delirium with the fever and glassy eyes. A throbbing, right sided headache might be present as well. Any motion, light, or noise makes the symptoms worse.

The suddenness, redness and inflammation that are characteristic of Belladonna may come with any symptoms picture- like a sore throat, a headache (without the fever), ear infection. There may also be a barking cough. But like Aconite, this is more of a first stage remedy, when things come on quick, but before everything settles into mucous and discharge (goopy yellow snot, that kind of thing).

The difference between Aconite and Belladonna? With Belladonna there’s an element of intensity and violence- it comes on fast, and the child may rage or strike out. The redness and pulsation are marked. With Aconite there is more a state of fear, and a desire for protection. The fever is high and dry, but without the intense inflammation of Belladonna.

 Arsenicum album

Arsenicum is a great remedy for colds and certain indications of flu. The mental state is strong, and important to prescribing- that of anxiety for health and deep insecurity. The anxiety can be for one’s own health, or that of another. I wrote about this remedy in my first post about going back to school, and how the child who might need Arsenicum will have a strong need for order and cleanliness, and what we consider to be ‘OCD’ symptoms.

Physical symptoms include extreme chilliness, with an inability to get warm. The patient is huddled in blankets by the woodstove or heater and *still* can’t get warm. They want company and in a weird twist, want to sip cold, or cool water (rather than a hot beverage). Their pains are burning- in the stomach for example, and any discharges are also burning- leaving the skin raw and red in its wake. There might be diarrhea and vomiting. The head may feel like it is burning and a cold pack will make it feel better, all the while, the patient still feels chilly! Symptoms are always worse between midnight and 2 am (think coughing).

You can start with Arsenicum if the initial symptoms are violent, consistent sneezing and a persistent chill. A few doses of this remedy in a 30c potency may help thwart a nasty bout of illness!


All of these remedies are available where homeopathics are sold. Follow the dosing instructions on the bottle. In general, if you have not seen a shift by the fourth dose, then the remedy is not a good match. Likewise, if you see major improvement, hold off on giving additional doses unless the symptoms return or progress stalls.

An important note about fevers. Many parents find themselves tethered the thermometer when their child has a fever, and religiously monitor the condition degree by degree. The key? Watch the child, not the numbers. A fever is an appropriate response on behalf of the immune system to activate antibodies and kill off bacteria. By keeping a child well hydrated and using appropriate homeopathic remedies, you can enable this vital healing response. If you see your child become listless and in great pain, disordered breathing or pulse rate, then you can help cool the body gently with cool (not cold) cloths on the hands the feet. Cooling the body too quickly can be a shock to the system. Make sure she stays hydrated.

If you have a homeopath, contact him or her to help you monitor and choose appropriate remedies. Look up natural supports for fevers *ahead of time* so that you aren’t panicking when the time comes and find yourself reverting to the Tylenol. Consider switching to a care provider that is knowledgeable and supportive of a less invasive approach.

These four remedies- aconite, hepar sulph, belladonna, and aresenicum-  when used for the conditions indicated, may bring great relief and help cut the duration of illness and potentially reduce secondary infections. There are many, many homeopathic remedies and if you find that one of these doesn’t give the results you’re looking for, another remedy is indicated. I frequently blog about remedies for acute home use at my blog- www.concentrichealing.blogspot.com. The National Center for Homeopathy is also a fantastic resource for the home prescriber.

It can be scary to see our vibrant little ones under the weather, and as a mother, I can think of no greater peace of mind than knowing *exactly* what I am allowing into my child’s body. With homeopathy, I have no fear of recalls, toxic side effects, or overdosing. Like exercising a muscle, when the immune system ‘gets a workout’ by overcoming an acute illness, it comes out the other end stronger and more resilient. Let’s support, not suppress.

 

That’s a boatload of information.  Thanks for Kelly and Lora for contributing to this blog.  Homeopathy has changed my life and my family’s wellbeing.  I hope you learn more about it.  Remedies can be found at health food stores, Vitamin World, Mariano’s and Whole Foods.  This post is not sponsored, and is intended for informational and education purposes only.  

 

To a healthy cold and flu season ahead,

Nicolette

sharing @ food renegade

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Haters Gonna Hate: On Martha Stewart & Bloggers

Martha Stewart and Bloggers

So, the blogging world just got slapped in the face by the venerable Martha Stewart.  To quote her from the Bloomberg Interview:

“Who are these bloggers? They’re not trained editors at Vogue magazine. I mean, there are bloggers writing recipes that aren’t tested, that aren’t necessarily very good, or are copies of everything that really good editors have created and done. So bloggers create kind of a, um, popularity. But they are not the experts, and we have to understand that.”

I may not be the editor of Vogue Magazine, nor honestly, would I want to be.

Bloggers do matter.  They are relevant.

Without special needs mommy bloggers, I would have felt completely alone when Moose was diagnosed with autism.  Without gluten-free bloggers, I would have spent more money, time, and energy learning how to bake and cook without wheat than is necessary.  Without health and real food bloggers, I would have never opened my eyes as wide in regard to our food system.

Martha Stewart and Bloggers

What really grates me is that Martha actually has a “network” of bloggers known as Martha’s Circle- a carefully curated selection of DIY blogs that she profits from via pageviews.  I’m sure it’s not a huge portion of her millions, but pouring salt and vinegar into the relationships that grow readers, traffic, and in her view, consumers of products leaves a bitter taste.

Blogs are growing in numbers each year.  Pinterest was born on the back of blogs.  Blogs do matter.

Frankly, any google search you type in will most likely land you on a blog of that topic.

Blogs matter because we are in the here and now.  Our sites are updated 24/7, unlike the dinosaur publications of paper. Unlike paper publications, we create community and a dialogue.

We are the mothers, creators, teachers, bakers, dreamers, and doers. We make do on a real world budget, not the unrealistic budgets of Vogue magazine.

We interact with our readers.   We respond.

 

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