Five Recipes to Keep You Healthy This Cold and Flu Season

Once the new school year starts, there are all kinds of germs being spread and it is the start of the cold and flu season. I hate being sick and so I try to keep me and my family well and strengthen our immune systems when these bugs are going around. I’m a little bit of a germ freak and HATE putting my kids in a buggy without a cart cover. But, I’m reasonable and know that I can’t keep the germs away but, I can give them things that will help them fight off any bug that enters their system.

Our family doesn’t get sick very often and I can count the number of times any of us have been sick this year on one hand. There are every day things I do to keep us healthy like cooking meals from scratch (we hardly ever eat processed food. I try and stay as close to the source as possible.), I make kombucha and we drink it daily, we take high quality vitamins and take vitamin D when we remember, we drink raw milk, and we try and kick colds in the butt when we feel them coming on with essential oils and herbal remedies.

I’ve been doing a little bit of research on some herbal remedies that will help you this cold season and have gathered them all in one place. You can get most of the herbs needed from the bulk herb store or mountain rose herbs. We use elderberry syrup, echinacea tincture, and fire cider when fighting a cold and they really help knock it out. I haven’t yet tried the vitamin c syrup or natural cough syrup but, I’m planning on those being added to our medicine cabinet this Fall.

 


 

Fire Cider Recipe

This recipe is from Mommypotamus and sounds reasonably easy and simple to make. We still have fire cider we purchased last year, so I haven’t tried the recipe out yet. But, I imagine instead of purchasing it when we need some I’ll make it instead. This stuff has a kick, is quite spicy and will really burn if you don’t swallow it right but, it REALLY helps knock out colds and also helps get rid of sore throats. As soon as I start feeling a sore throat or cold coming on, I reach for my bottle of fire cider and take a tablespoon 3 times a day until my symptoms disappear.

Here is another recipe and here is where you can purchase it if you don’t feel like going the DIY route.

 

Elderberry Syrup Recipe

I have 3 different recipes for Elderberry recipes that are very similar but, slightly different. All of them sound good and since there are only small differences in each recipe, would probably all taste pretty similar.

Mommypotamus has a video and some good information on elderberries to go along with her recipe.

Wellness Mama gets straight to the point with her recipe, so if you’re one of those people who doesn’t like to scroll through 5 paragraphs to get to the recipe, this is the link for you. ūüėČ

And Holistic Squid is in between the two.

Chose whichever sounds best and easiest to you and omit whatever spice you don’t like. The recipes are seriously so similar you probably wouldn’t be able to determine a difference if you tasted them side by side.

 

Vitamin C Syrup

Vitamin C is an important part of our supplement routine when dealing with a cold or the flu.It is a great immune boosting vitamin. Normally we take vitamin C powder that we purchase from the store, but once I am able to, I’ll be making this recipe which is much better for you than what you can get from the grocery store. You can purchase all of the herbs in the recipe from The Bulk Herb Store.

 

Echinacea Tincture

Tinctures are pretty easy to make and there are lots of resources out there with information on how to make tinctures with alcohol, glycerin, and vinegar. The three methods extract different properties from the herbs. We normally use alcohol to make our tinctures since it’s the easiest method and has the longest shelf life but, glycerin is faster and more kid friendly. I haven’t ever tried making a tincture with vinegar yet so, I don’t know how easy they are to make or how they turn out.

To make an Echinacea tincture I will fill a quart jar about 1/2-2/3 of the way full of herbs and then pour vodka up to about an inch under the rim of the jar. I then cover tightly with a lid, place in a cool, dark place and shake once a day for 3-4 weeks. I then strain the herbs out of the alcohol and portion the tincture into small syrup bottles I have saved and labeled. I’ll take 1 tsp. 3 times daily when sick, give my 3 year old 1/4 tsp 3x’s a day, and my 1 year old between 1/8-1/4 tsp. 3x’s a day.

Here’s some information on how to make tinctures from Wellness Mama. I have never poured hot water over my herbs first like she does though.

 

Cough Syrup

Here’s an herbal cough syrup recipe from Wellness Mama that will also help soothe sore throats.

This recipe from Mommypotamus also helps soothe sore throats.

This post contains two recipes that are super simple and easy to make.

 


When my family gets sick, in addition to using herbal remedies, vitamins, and essential oils, I also cut out refined sugar (which I try to limit anyway), white flours, and meals high in simple carbs. I try and feed our bodies healing foods that will give it energy to fight off whatever bacteria our virus that has entered our system. I make rich, hearty soups and stews and have my boys drink kombucha. Having a healthy gut is important in fighting off any sickness and preventing disease.

I try my best to feed my family healthy foods and prevent them from getting sick by giving them immune boosters after being exposed or possibly being exposed (like in the grocery store) to sickness. I’m hoping this collection of recipes will help you do the same. May you all stay well this winter ūüôā

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Why I Drink Red Raspberry Leaf Tea

I just started drinking my red raspberry leaf tea this pregnancy after my appointment with my midwife since I couldn’t remember how much I could drink in my first trimester. After drinking it the first day, I have noticed that I haven’t had as many instances of being nauseated. I actually haven’t dealt with nausea or low blood sugar at all on the days that I have had my red raspberry leaf tea. I don’t really remember noticing that when I was pregnant with Asher but, it was probably because I didn’t know that red raspberry leaf could help with morning sickness. I’m drinking a quart a day now and will increase that to half a gallon in my second trimester.¬†

 

Red raspberry leaf is the single best herb women can take for uterine health. It’s most common use is in a tea drank during pregnancy to provide the uterus with nourishing vitamins and minerals vital for a healthy pregnancy. Red raspberry leaf contains virtually all of the vitamins and minerals our uterus needs to work efficiently. Some of those vitamins and minerals are C, E, A, B complex, and the minerals magnesium, potassium, manganese, phosphorous, selenium, silica, sulphur, tannins and an easily assimilated form of calcium. It also contains an alkaloid called fragrine that helps to tighten and tone the uterus and muscles in the pelvic region very gently. This helps to alleviate, and sometimes eliminate, menstrual cramps and makes for an easier birth.

 

Calcium and magnesium are two very important minerals for your uterus, especially during pregnancy. Calcium that is easily absorbed by the body (the form found in red raspberry leaf) controls the depolarization of the cells. That, in turn, allows the uterus muscle to receive oxygen and work efficiently. Without a sufficient supply of calcium, only part of the uterine muscle would work as it should.  This would strain the rest of the uterine muscle and stress an already taxed body. Calcium also helps regulate the hormones released every month during your cycle and a sufficient supply helps to control symptoms of PMS. Magnesium helps to control the frequency of contractions by mitigating the repolarization of the muscle cells and slowing down the absorption of certain hormones.


 

 

 

Excerpts from The How To Herb Book

Red Raspberry Leaf is used as a basic herbal foundation for all female organs and problems. It is in many female combinations.

  • Strengthens wall of uterus and entire female reproductive system.
  • Decreases profuse menstrual flow.
  • Good during all months of pregnancy. Alleviates morning sickness and nausea. Assists labor, makes delivery easier and relieves after pains. Tones and regulates before, during and after childbirth.
  • Increases and enriches milk for lactation, can be combined with marshmallow tea.
  • Raspberry tea is mild and pleasant to taste. It is good for stomachaches and bowel problems in children. For diarrhea in babies.
  • Soothing to stomach and bowels and cankerous conditions of mucous membranes in the alimentary canal.
  • High mineral and vitamin source.

 

Excerpts from Nutritional Herbology

Red raspberry leaf tea is one of the most renowned herbal teas. It has a wide reputation as a female tonic for relieving excessive menstrual bleeding. For pregnant women, it is used to relieve nausea, to tone the uterus in preparation for childbirth and to reduce the pain of childbirth.

Because of its widespread availability in pleasantly flavored teas, the astringent leaves are administered to children with diarrhea, flu, and vomiting.

Contains astringent compounds that relieve pain and shrink inflamed tissues, especially in the female reproductive system. It also contains bitter compounds that relieve smooth muscle spasms. it is an excellent herb source of manganese.

Red Raspberry Leaf is high or very high on the following nutrients:

  • Calcium
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Manganese
  • Niacin
  • Selenium
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C

 

Excerpts from Practical Herbalism

The renowned Quaker herbalist, Henry Box, is quoted as saying, “A tea made from Red Raspberry leaves is the best gift God ever gave to women. Its utility in travail is surprising. As a drink before and after confinement, it is unequaled by any other agent. If the pains of childbirth are premature, it will make all quiet. When timely, it will occasion a safe and easy parturition. If the mother is weak, it will abundantly strengthen her, cleanse her and enrich her milk.

The tea has been taken freely during all phases of pregnancy, and particularly during the last trimester to tone the uterus, and prepare the body for delivery. Dr. Christopher summed it up thus:
“When taken regularly in pregnancy, the infusion will quiet inappropriate premature pains and produce a safe, speedy, and easy delivery. Raspberry leaves stimulate, tone, and regulate before and during childbearing, assisting contractions and checking hemorrhage during labor, relieving after-pains, then strengthening, cleansing, and enriching the milk of the mother in the post-delivery period.”

 

Several years ago there was an article saying that large amounts of red raspberry leaf tea should be avoided during pregnancy. But, medical researchers have since said that it is safe.

“Medical studies have shown that red raspberry leaf can be consumed¬†safely during pregnancy and can decrease the length of labor and decrease¬†the number of interventions used such as artificial rupture of membranes¬†(AROM),¬†assisted delivery, and cesarean delivery.1¬†Red¬†raspberry leaf also seems to help prevent pregnancies from pre-or¬†post-term gestation (delivering too early or too late).” (source)

If you are unsure about drinking red raspberry leaf tea, avoid it in your first trimester and start out drinking only a cup or two a day. I see no reason why red raspberry leaf tea would be unsafe during pregnancy as it seems to do nothing but aid the body during pregnancy, labor, delivery, and after birth.Hopefully after reading this post, if you were wary at all about red raspberry leaf tea during pregnancy, ¬†give it a try. I order my tea from The Bulk Herb Store. I love the way it tastes and am actually able to drink it unsweetened. That did take some getting used to but, I’m trying to cut out as much sugar as possible ūüôā¬†

I have had very easy pregnancies and had an easy labor with Asher. I don’t know if that’s in anyway due to me drinking red raspberry tea during my pregnancies but, I believe that the red raspberry tea does play a role in the health of my uterus. Now that I know of all of it’s health benefits, I plan do drink it the rest of my childbearing years and my menopausal years. It is truly an amazing herb that God blessed us women with.

 

Disclaimer: I am not a healthcare professional and the views expressed in this post are not to be viewed as professional advice. These are only my opinions. Consult your doctor/midwife before trying any herb during pregnancy.

 

Natural Tooth and Gum Care

¬†Since America is the leading country in water fluoridation, we have a much harder time avoiding it. Most other countries decide not to fluoridate their water. Not because they haven’t heard of the “miraculous” benefits it has on your teeth but they don’t think adding a known toxin to their public water system is a good idea. Surprising, there’s no discernible difference in tooth decay in countries that don’t fluoridate their water compared to countries that do. Even the CDC acknowledges that the only justifiable benefit fluoride has to teeth comes from topical contact, not from ingesting. Thankfully, as more and ¬†more people become aware of how detrimental fluoride is to our health, more than 75 communities in America and Canada have voted to end fluoridation.

Since fluoride is an endocrine disrupter, it affects your bones, brain, thyroid gland, pineal gland, and even your blood sugar. There have been over 34 human studies and 100 animal studies that link fluoride with lower IQ, brain damage, and a wide variety of health problems including cancer, arthritis, dementia, diabetes, and infertility. Over 40% of American teens have dental fluorosis. A condition that changes the tooth enamel caused by long term ingestion of fluoride in the years their teeth are forming. This usually means that the teens are over exposed to fluoride due to fluoridated water, toothpastes, tea, processed beverages/foods, supplements, or fluoridated drugs. If there is visible damage to your teeth due to fluoride, you can guarantee that it is damaging other parts of your body.

The FDA has not approved any fluoride supplements. Any supplement gone in for review by the FDA has been rejected. ¬† ¬† ¬†¬†‚ÄúSo¬†with fluoridation, we are adding to the water a prescription-strength dose of a drug that has never been approved by the FDA,‚Ä̬†FAN noted. Though some communities have “naturally” occurring fluoride in their water supplies, the fluoride “supplement” added to most water supplies, tooth paste, supplements, etc. is actually fluorosilicic acid, which is captured in air pollution control devices of the phosphate fertilizer industry. As FAN reported,¬†‚ÄúThis captured fluoride acid is the most contaminated chemical added to public water supplies, and may impose additional risks to those presented by natural fluorides. These risks include a possible cancer hazard from the acid‚Äôs elevated arsenic content, and a possible neurotoxic hazard from the acid‚Äôs ability–under some conditions–to increase the erosion of lead from old pipes.‚Ä̬†

Since fluoridation is a form of disease control (tooth decay) the FDA qualifies it as a medicine. Fluoride is the only medicine added to our water supply. Many European nations opted out of adding fluoride to their public drinking water because they felt that medicating through the public water supply was inappropriate. Water fluoridation is a form of mass medication and denies the right to informed consent. Some people would argue that adding fluoride the water supply is no different than adding vitamin D to milk. I disagree since fluoride is not an essential nutrient.

 

I discovered all of the horrors of fluoride a couple of years ago and decided to cut as much fluoride as I possibly could out of our lives and take a more natural approach to caring for my teeth. Below I share recipes and methods for natural teeth and gum care.

Homemade toothpaste

Making our own toothpaste has saved so much money and I know exactly what is going into it. Some “natural” toothpastes out there you need to wary of because they may still contain chemical surfactants. The tooth powder recipe I use is adapted from Wellness Mama’s Remineralizing Tooth Powder Recipe and it works awesomely. Another tooth powder recipe I may try here soon is Mommypotamus’s Tooth Powder recipe.¬†

If you aren’t into making your own toothpaste, Redmond’s makes an Earth paste¬†that comes in five different “flavors” and is completely natural. This toothpaste is also baking soda free for those interested.

I have gone back to regular tooth paste once in the last 3 years and I will never go back again. It was amazing how soon my teeth would become covered in plaque, how easily my gums bled, and how sensitive my teeth became. It didn’t take me long to decide to make a batch of tooth powder. Now if I’m in a bind because I don’t have the time to make a batch of the homemade toothpowder, I just use baking soda and peppermint essential oil. My teeth feel amazingly smooth and clean and my mouth feels fresh after brushing. Not only do my teeth feel better, but I feel better knowing that I am doing what’s best for my health by avoiding conventional toothpastes filled with chemical surfactants, fluoride, glycerin, and preservatives.¬†

 

Oil Pulling

Although I haven’t tried this yet, it has AMAZING benefits:

Whiter teeth

Fresher breath

Cures tooth decay

Heal bleeding gums

Cure throat dryness

Heal cracked lips

Strengthen gums and jaw

 

To use this method you place 1-2 tsp of coconut, olive, or sesame oil into your mouth with 1-2 drops antibacterial essential oils (like clove, tea tree, or peppermint. These are optional) and swish for 20 minutes. 20 minutes is the prime time to oil pull as it allows enough time for the oil to dissolve the plaque and absorb bacteria and toxins from your mouth but isn’t long enough for your body to reabsorb them.¬†

Here’s how to oil pull:

1. Place 2 tsp organic oil in your mouth with essential oils, if desired. Swish gently for 20 minutes. This doesn’t need to be a vigorous action. Just gently move the oil in between your teeth and around your mouth as you go about your normal morning routine.

2. Spit oil in trash. The oil should be milky white in color.

3. Rinse mouth out with warm water to remove the rest of the oil.

4. Brush your teeth as normal.

 

If you’re wanting to know even more about oil pulling, I suggest you go read these two articles-

Oil Pulling for Natural Health

Oil Pulling Benefits Whiter Teeth and Better Breath

These two articles were also my sources of the information shared with you on oil pulling.

 

Natural Teeth Whiteners

Activated charcoal, ironically since it’s black, is a great natural teeth whitener. All you do is dip your damp tooth brush in activated charcoal powder and brush your teeth for 5 minutes. Rinse your mouth and follow by brushing with tooth paste. Repeat daily until you get the desired affect.¬†

Not only does this help whiten your teeth, it also improves the health of your mouth since activated charcoal absorbs and traps toxins and bacteria. Using activated charcoal, homemade tooth powder, and oil pulling in addition to a change in diet can help reverse cavities. 

I tried this and noticed my teeth were a shade whiter after just one time of doing this. I’ve tried the whitening strips before and all they really seemed to do was make my teeth sensitive.¬†

 

Natural Treatment of Gum Disease

If you have problems with gum disease or sensitive teeth and/or gums, applying these methods will help heal your gums and strengthen  your teeth and gums. Dr. Axe has an article where he shares 5 natural remedies to heal gum disease.

Asher’s Birth Story Part 2: Labor and Delivery

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When I came in for my 38 week check-up (3 days after my sister-in-law had given birth to her baby girl), Charlotte asked me how I felt, if I was nesting, having any contractions, etc. I told her I had had what I thought were Braxton Hicks contractions the Sunday before, but they had only lasted about an hour and I hadn’t experienced them since. We finished up my appointment and she said she would see me that next Tuesday, if I didn’t have the baby before then.

Nick had predicted that I would have Asher within the next week. He had been right about his sister, so I was assuming he would be pretty close with Asher. ¬†All the rest of that week I didn’t feel well. I was recovering from a bad sinus infection and was having bad headaches and nose bleeds and¬†I was SO tired of being pregnant. I was miserable and ready to have my baby. I had only had a few Braxton Hick’s contractions but none that gave me any concern.

I focused on finished my pre-baby to do list. I made sure to make my post-birth meal to put in the freezer the weekend after my niece was born so that I could be prepared in case I went into labor within the next week or so. I also put my husband to work transferring boxes from our house to the garage. I checked my birth bag and made a list for whoever ended up keeping Titus that had his favorite meals, snack ideas, and a guideline for nap times and bed time. That took a load of off my mind and made me feel so much more prepared.

That next Monday, September 30th, I woke up feeling amazing. I had tons of energy! Boy! Was I excited! I could get all the work that I had been putting off done! So, I got busy! I scrubbed the bathrooms, scrubbed the kitchen from top to bottom, dusted, vacuumed and mopped the floor, did laundry, and every other thing I could find to keep busy. The house was¬†spotless¬†by the time I was finished and I had supper ready when my honey got home at 6:15. I felt so good about myself and remembered thinking “ok, I can go into labor now.”.

While I was eating supper, I thought I felt some mild contractions but they were so mild that I had to REALLY concentrate on them so, I just dismissed them and decided that I would start timing them when I could be sure when they began and ended. I cleaned up the kitchen, got Titus in bed, made sure my birth kit and bag were by the door (just in case), took a shower, and went to bed. Around 9:30 I felt my first REAL contraction. So, I texted my family and told them that I was having contractions and that I was going to bed. I dozed from 9:30 til around 10 when my hubby came to bed and after that, I didn’t really get much sleep. ūüôā

My contractions were coming about 7-12 minutes apart and lasting anywhere from 30-45 seconds. They were pretty strong but still bearable and I was able to rest in between. I labored on my side in the bed until midnight when I told Nick that I thought he should call Charlotte and let her know that I was having contractions. My contractions were still about the same in length but were coming a little stronger and came much faster when I would get up to go to the restroom. I would wait until a contraction had ended before I would sit up to go to the bathroom. After I sat up, I would have a contraction, then I would have a contraction on the toilet and then another before I left the bathroom. I would have THREE contractions in the span of about 6 minutes. Gasp! That was a little scary to me and I knew in my gut that that meant I was in serious labor and needed to go. But, since I was in serious labor, I couldn’t make any decision for myself. So, when Nick was relaying everything to Charlotte, it seemed like I was just in the beginning stages of labor and that I could be doing this for hours longer. ¬†She told him to give me some Benadryl to help me sleep and to just come in for my appointment in the morning.

So, we settled back in and tried to get some sleep. Nick got some sleep while I timed my contractions. Advice to all you husbands out there.¬†TIME YOUR WIFE’S CONTRACTIONS FOR HER.¬†I will tell you why: My contractions were much more intense around 2:30 or 3 and still coming stronger and faster when I would get up and gravity would do it’s work. But, they were still coming 7-9 minutes apart and lasting 30-45 seconds.¬†Or, so I thought.¬†Nick woke up at 3 am and asked me how long and fast my contractions were coming, I told him and he decided to check for himself. He asked me to squeeze his hand at the beginning and end of each contraction. He timed a couple, sat up in the bed and said “Babe! You’re contractions are lasting 60 seconds and are 3 minutes apart!” He then hopped out of bed, told me he was gonna call my momma (she was going to drive us to the birth center so he could focus on coaching me during the drive), and go get grandma to stay with Titus. I got ready to go and made it through 3 or more contractions without him, remembering to breathe normally and relax during each. My momma drove up about half an hour later, she was under the impression that we would let them know with plenty of time to spare because we wanted to be sure to make it to the birth center a couple of hours before I delivered, but that was not the situation. So, she had taken a shower before she drove over. ūüôā She ended up arriving at just the perfect time though. Grandma had just made it over and Nick was still gathering up our things. I headed to the van in between contractions, momma got me settled in (on a towel and trash bag just in case my water broke), and then she went to help Nick get the rest of what was needed.

We left our house around 4:15 and she drove as fast as she safely could. I began going through transition after about 30-45 minutes on the road (for those of you who don’t know what transition is, it’s the part of labor where the woman will go from about a 5 or 6 to a 10-fully dilated-in about an hour or two. It’s the stage right before the pushing stage). Nick hadn’t even bothered to call Charlotte until after we were on our way. He called her as soon as he had service and told her to head to a the hospital in between us and her because he didn’t think I was going to make it to the birth center because I was going through transition and my contractions were 60-90 seconds long with only 30 seconds in between. When I heard him say that, as soon as I was able to, I told him that¬†I DID NOT¬†want to have this baby in the hospital and I wanted to make it to the birth center. He told me OK and he said that after that my contractions settled down a little bit. He said they were about 60 seconds long with a 60 second break. He called Charlotte back, gave her an update and just told her to keep on heading our direction but to be prepared to turn around if we made it past the hospital without having a baby. ūüôā He was coaching me through contractions, whispering to me that I could do it and would tell me to relax when he felt me tense up. I know some of you women who have gone through labor are probably thinking “How in the world are you supposed to¬†RELAX¬†during a¬†CONTRACTION?!”.¬†I can tell you now, that it is very possible because I did it. Your mind is stronger than you think it is. If I started to tense up during a contraction, it would get 3-4 times more painful and I would have to force myself to relax so that the contraction was more bearable. I was PRAYING that God would keep this baby inside of me until I made it to the birth center. I prayed the whole way there. I could feel Asher progressing down my birth canal the longer we were on the road.

When we finally got to the exit for Marshall, TX I felt my first pushing contraction. Those, my dear friends, are powerful! There was nothing I could do to prevent it. It’s scary how powerful they are. Your body just takes over. I had 3 more pushing contractions before making it to the birth center, one of them in the parking lot. I was able to waddle into the center, remove my clothes, and get into the water birthing tub before another contraction hit me. It was much more powerful than the last one I had experienced. I leaned against the side of the tub and let my body do what it was made to do. Nick asked me if I wanted him in there with me to help hold me up, I told him yes, and he was able to get in and support me through my next contraction. My momma was there telling me I was doing SO well and the midwife in training was there getting everything set out while Charlotte arrived, checked to see how far Asher had progressed, said he was RIGHT there, and started rubbing on my back and giving me gentle instruction during my contractions. My water broke the next contraction (here came the ring of fire!) and the next one I was able to get his head out and then he was born! She told me to reach down and pick up my baby. I sat back, with Asher in my arms and held him against my chest. He didn’t cry, he just laid on my chest, opened his eyes, and looked around. They checked his nose and mouth and made sure they were clear, covered him in a towel, waited for the umbilical cord to stop pulsing, clamped it and then Nick was able to cut it. Charlotte then reached and felt my belly to see where my placenta was, coached me through delivering it, and then helped me out of the water. I was able to hold Asher until I got out of the water, which was just amazing. It was totally opposite of what I had experienced with Titus. Just so y’all know, I delivered 12 minutes after walking through the doors of the birth center. NOT at all what I was planning but, hey, at least I made it right? ūüôā He was born around 6:16 am October 1st.

After getting settled into the bed, Miranda checked my blood pressure and went to get me something to drink and to help with the uterine contractions I was having. While she was doing that, Charlotte was drying Asher off on the bed next to me and getting him wrapped up and weighed before handing him back to me to nurse. He latched right on and nursed for 45 minutes! I was amazed! Still, totally opposite from my experience with Titus. After he nursed, I gave him to momma, she changed his diaper, and handed him to Charlotte so that she could get his measurements. I had a little bit of free time to try and eat, drink, and get some rest. I had some problems with low blood pressure and dizziness for a little while and had have some fluids but I was able to go home around 2 that afternoon. Asher was doing great! He did awesome on the way home and just fussed a little. He hadn’t nursed since that first session of 45 minutes but, Charlotte told us that she wasn’t concerned about it as long as he nursed for me that evening. He spit up some fluid that evening when we got home and I was able to nurse him that night. He nursed about every 30 minutes to every hour actually. So, I didn’t get much rest ūüôā Oh well, the life of a mom.

It took me a couple of weeks before I was strong enough to walk farther than from the bed to the kitchen because of the strong, quick labor being such a shock to my system but, I healed up just fine and Asher and I both had a check up about 2 weeks later. He was doing great and so was I. He had gained a couple of pounds since birth and was nursing like a champ. He’s still a champion nurser 10 months later and doing great. He’s super smart, healthy, and has such a deep bond with me. I’m so happy that I chose to go the route that I did and that his birth turned out to be as calm and peaceful as it was, even though it was a bit rushed. ūüôā

When I think back on my labor, my memory is a little foggy because I was so focused on relaxing. But, I do remember that it was SO peaceful. It was the most amazing birth experience. Even though I had had an epidural with Titus, Asher’s birth was so much less painful. I hope to have birth experiences as amazing as Asher’s with the rest of my children. Now that I’ve gone through a natural birth so awesome, I don’t fear labor and delivery anymore. I know that I can do it! I know that I can handle the pain and that it will be forgotten once I have my bundle of joy in my arms. Birth is such a beautiful thing, a true blessing from God.

Natural Shampoo Options and Why You Shouldn’t Use the “No ‘Poo” Method

One of the first things I did when I started out on my natural health journey was read the ingredients on my shampoo and conditioner bottles. It didn’t take much for me to chunk most of my body care products in the trash, especially my sons skin care (which I trusted to be safe because it was for babies!). I started looking for natural store-bought options, shampoo and body wash recipes, and I put everything through Environmental Working Group’s ¬†Skin Deep. I couldn’t feel comfortable slathering chemical laden lotion on after a chemical laden bubble bath, or putting chemicals into my hair or my sons hair. So, I used homemade shampoo bars for a while, then, I went to using the no poo method. I liked it for a while because I didn’t have to wash my hair every day. My hair seemed to be healthier. But, after about 6 months of using that method, my hair started to tangle easily, looked dry, and felt straw like. I hated it so, I immediately switched to Shea Moisture and Argan Oil. I have loved these two so far. After stopping the “no ‘poo” method I have since done some reading on the method and have learned that it is horrible for your hair. Many women have problems with their hair drying out and breaking off. They’ll have INCHES of hair break off all over their head. I just recently read an article about this woman’s experience with the” no ‘poo” method and how it ruined her long, beautiful hair (link below). All I can think is, I am so glad I stopped when I did. I also read another article a couple of months ago about the damage baking soda does to your scalp and how it imbalances your natural ph (link below).

Anyway, I’m writing this post to give you options for natural hair care that isn’t the “no ‘poo” method or just using water.

 

Here are some links to recipes-

Coconut Milk Shampoo Recipe

Rosemary Mint Shampoo Bar Recipe

DIY Honey Shampoo

 

Here are some links to posts from other blogs-

Does the No-Poo Method Damage Hair?

What Years of Baking Soda “No Poo” Did to My Long, Healthy Hair

Yes, I’m Sure it Was the Baking Soda

 

Here’s a blog post with store-bought alternatives-

9 Natural Shampoo Products You Can Trust {for the Non-DIYers}

 

I hope you all chose a more natural option to cleanse your hair. Usually natural shampoos won’t suds up as much as normal shampoos because they don’t contain the chemical surfactants that normal shampoos use to give you that nice, rich lather. It did take me a little while to get used to less suds but, now that I am used to it, it seems like I have just as many suds as with normal shampoos. Also, we each have different ph and our hair is unique so, if one of these shampoos or recipes aren’t working for you, don’t give up. Just try another one until you find something that does work for your hair type.

 

5 Blog Posts That Helped Me Keep My Cool

My 10 month old was sick this past week, running a fever of 102-103. Before this past year, I would have immediately turned to Tylenol and/or Ibuprofen to keep their fever around the 99-100 mark. But, I’ve done a lot of research into letting a fever run it’s course and how fever reducers can cause febrile seizures and prolong your child’s (or your own) illness and decided to treat his fever naturally. Unless your child is acting lethargic (more than you think they should while running a fever), refusing to eat or drink, or your mommy instinct is telling you something is wrong, a fever under 104 is usually nothing to worry about. So, I listened to my gut, fed him as much as he would eat, and offered him water every 10 minutes. I monitored his nursing, eating, drinking and the number of wet diapers he had to make sure he was getting enough fluids so there was no danger of him getting dehydrated. I fed him soup and foods high in fat and protein so that his body would have plenty of nutrients to use to fight the virus in his system. I applied essential oils to his feet and back and diffused them in the house (Only do this when you know what you’re doing.). And, of course, there was lots of prayer ūüôā His fever was gone by the 3rd day.

Now that you know what I did and ¬†plan to do in the future, I’ll let you know where I learned to do what I did. Here’s the posts that influenced my decision to forego the fever reducers-

5 Ways to Treat a Fever Naturally

This post¬†written by Mommypotamus gives 5 natural remedies to treat a fever. I didn’t use any of these, but was considering using the egg white or garlic paste method if his fever didn’t drop by a certain time. Thankfully, his fever dropped a degree in an hour and I just let it run it’s course with the aid of essential oils.

Why I Don’t Reduce a Fever and What I Do Instead

This post was written by Wellness Mama and she tells you what she does when her children run a fever. I did  the homemade soup, gave him a small dose of elderberry syrup, and added coconut oil to some of the foods I fed him.

Lemon Socks for a Fever

This post was written by Holistic Squid and she shares with you how she treated her 5 year olds fever with lemon socks.

A Detox Bath for Your Child’s Next Fever

Modern Alternative Mama shares a recipe for a detox bath in this post. I didn’t use this one either but ginger will be a medicine cabinet staple in the future.

How to Treat Kid’s Fevers Naturally With Essential Oils

Here’s a post, written by Meagan Visser author of Treating Fevers Naturally: A Parents Guide to Keeping Their Cool While Managing Fevers in Children,¬†with 3 DIY essential oil recipes for treating your child’s fever. Since the FDA allows essential oil companies to label their products as 100% pure, even when they’re sometimes only around 5%, I suggest going with Young Living, the only essential oil company I trust.

 

Even with all the reading and research I’ve done on the subject, it still scares me for my kids to run high fevers. So, these blog posts written by other moms in the natural health care world really helped keep me calm.

Each woman gives information on what fevers are, why your child gets a fever, how to treat them, when to seek medical attention, and how a fever means that your child’s immune system is working to fight off the bug in their system. So, next time your child is running a fever, try one of the natural remedies in any one of these posts before reaching for the fever reducers. You may be surprised.

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor. The information in this post is not to be treated as professional medical advice. 

Asher’s Birth Story Part 1: Intro

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I will start off by saying that my birth experience with Titus was less than desirable and very painful and stressful. I gave in to the pressure of hospital staff and caved to pitocin and an epidural at the end. I felt like I had failed because, during my whole pregnancy, I was¬†determined¬†I was going to have a natural birth. But, I didn’t do what I needed to do to prepare for it. I read a little, but not near enough, took no birth class, watched no videos, and read no birth stories. I was totally unprepared for what I was about to go through and I really believe that’s why I was so weak during labor. My husband was also unprepared on how to deal with the hospital staff and their “rules”. He was very unhappy with how everything played out. We both decided after we came home from the hospital that we never wanted that type of birth again. We were going to do what needed to be done for me to have the birth that I wanted. (For my tips on how to have a natural pregnancy and birth, go here)

When I became pregnant with Asher, I knew what I wanted and knew what I needed to do to have the kind of birth I had hoped for with Titus. Even though I had liked the doctor I had when I was pregnant with Titus, I held off on making an appointment with him and looked into my options. My hope was that I could either have a home birth, a birth at a birth center, or a natural birth in the hospital. Having a natural birth in the hospital was my absolute¬†¬†last¬†option.¬†Thinking about having to labor in the hospital stressed me out. That wasn’t at all the kind of environment I wanted to labor in. I wanted to labor in a peaceful environment like my home or a birth center provides.

My sister-in-law, who was also pregnant at the time, was also looking into her options and ended up finding a midwife about 2 hrs away in Texas. She gave me the midwife’s contact information and we went for a consult. I ended up loving Charlotte (the midwife), birth center, and staff. I knew this was where I wanted to have my baby. THIS was what I wanted. So, we made follow up appointments with Charlotte and I became her client.

Going to a birth center is so much different than going to a doctors office. The birth center was very flexible. It was okay if you missed an appointment.¬†No big deal, I’ll see you next month.¬†It was okay if you couldn’t make a payment that day.¬†No pressure, pay when you can. We understand.¬†It was okay if you wanted to opt out of a test.¬†¬†Here’s what you need to make an informed decision about this test. Check here or here and sign here.¬†( I only took one blood test and my protein tests‚Ķthat was the extent of my tests during my pregnancy. I opted out of every test I could. I had a perfectly healthy pregnancy, so was free to do so). I built a relationship with Charlotte and her staff. When I called, Charlotte was the one that answered. We wouldn’t just talk about the changes my body was going through, my blood pressure, or swelling, we talked about names I was thinking about, how I hoped my labor would be, how the nursery was coming along, etc. It was amazing being able to build a relationship with my midwife. The more I got to know her and her staff, the more secure I felt under their care. I knew that they cared about me and wanted me to have the best birth experience possible.

Charlotte had her own library of books. Books ranging from getting pregnant to raising your kids. I loved being able to look through the books while I was waiting for my appointment, choosing ones that I thought would help me, and reading them later. I read every book I could get my hands on, watched all of The Business of Being Born films, and read lots of natural birth stories. I read blogs of doulas and women who had had natural births, I read Charlotte’s testimonials, I looked into birth classes, I did Bradley exercises and Barre‚Ķ I did absolutely¬†everything¬†I could to prepare my mind and body for birth. I was hungry for information and knew that I needed all the information I could get so that I would understand what my body was going to experience, the emotional stages I would have to go through, and so that I could prepare my mind. The only thing I was afraid of was the pushing stage. You’ve heard of the ring of fire right? That’s real and I was scared of it. I finally read Birthing From Within in my last month of pregnancy and changed my mindset from “if I relax enough, this isn’t going to be very painful” to “this is going to hurt like heck, but I can deal with it. I’m a strong woman and the pain of labor will not last forever.” I¬†needed¬†that reset in my mind. That really helped me deal with labor.

Continued in Asher’s Birth Story Part 2: Labor and Delivery