Category: Health

Fluoride in Baby Formula Can Harm Developing Teeth

Posted on Apr 18, 2014 by No Comments

I’m reading a book called, Kiss Your Dentist Good-bye, in an effort to improve my oral health and came across information on fluoride in baby formula. I admit, I never thought about this. The dentist who wrote this book, Dr. Ellie Phillips, talks about how fluoride is harmful to developing teeth. This was a lesson she learned the hard way.

In her book, she uses her own children as an example. Her 5 kids were born from the late 70s to 1990 and the first actually was religiously given fluoride drops. By the time her second child was born, the dosage had been reduced so the second child received less.

To make a long story short, when her oldest cut her adult teeth they had brown spots on them. When the second child cut adult teeth, they also had spots but not as severe. This condition is known as fluorosis. The younger children who didn’t receive the fluoride had no signs of this condition.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says “the proper amount of fluoride from infancy through old age helps prevent and control tooth decay. Community water fluoridation is a widely accepted practice for preventing and controlling tooth decay by adjusting the concentration of fluoride in the public water supply.” The question is what is the “proper” amount?

In her book, Dr. Ellie says, “If babies consume a fraction too much fluoride before the age of three, it may poison the cells that form healthy tooth enamel.” She goes on to say that formula manufacturers have been told to reduce the amount of fluoride in their products because of a study that showed fluoride in baby formula had been shown to result in fluorosis in varying degrees.

Another thing to consider is the amount of fluoride in your tap water, if you use it to make your baby’s formula. This can raise the amount of fluoride to an unhealthy level.

Photo credits: nerissa’s ring

No Sugar Family Challenge

Posted on Apr 17, 2014 by 1 Comment

In my quest to eat healthy, I’ve covered a lot of ground. I grew up in the Midwest in a family who thought every meal included meat, a starch and a vegetable. When I got married I ventured into cooking ethnic foods, and expanded my palate. Then I lived as a vegetarian for about a decade and learned a whole new way of cooking.

During that time, I cut out most refined foods and learned how to eat desserts created using natural sweeteners. I even followed a mostly raw diet for a good amount of time. The thing is that during my time as a vegetarian, I reached my highest all-time weight. In fact, I surpassed my full-term pregnancy weight by 30 pounds.

I returned to eating meat, about seven years ago, when I had someone offer me their extra venison. Since then I’ve gradually added meat back into my diet. Last year my diet turned low carb, and I’ve reached a “normal” weight, but I’ve gradually let the sugar back in and I can see if I’m not careful, I’ll end up with an unhealthy BMI, again.

Finding Motivation

I don’t know about you, but I need a certain amount of motivation to say no to cookies…or ice cream. I recently read a story about a family of four who all agreed to give up all forms of sugar for a year. I mean ALL kinds of sugar including things like agave and honey. The mom wanted to see how hard it would be to cut anything with added sweetener (even artificial sweeteners) from their diet for a year!

In my diet experience, I’ve made it for six months with no sugar when I followed the Prism Diet and I lost all my extra weight. For that diet, I didn’t eat anything that had sugar within the first four ingredients. As soon as I turned back to foods with added sugar, the pounds gradually snuck up on me again.

Why oh why do I go back to eating the stuff that pushes my BMI into the unhealthy range!

The mom who gave up all sugar for a year was surprised at how much better she felt and the renewed energy she experienced. I had felt the same way! Her kids’ school absences dropped from 15 days a year to two. And now that the year is up, they continue to eat little sugar with dessert saved for special occasions.

Her story has me toying with the idea of cutting out sugar…again. And this time, I’d love the whole family to join me. The thing is, my goal is to find balance. I don’t really want to cut any one food group out totally, but is sugar really a food?

Photo credits: wikimedia

Is Fruit Juice Really a Healthy Beverage Choice?

Posted on Apr 9, 2014 by No Comments

Fruit juice may seem like a healthier alternative to soda, but did you know that even 100% juice blends are high in sugar content and can provide up to three times the sugar and calories as whole fruits?

It’s true that fruit juices do contain some vitamins and minerals, but overall you’re much better off just encouraging everyone in your family to just snack on whole fruit.

Here’s an interesting infographic from the Pritikin Longevity Center illustrating the differences in calories, nutrients, and sugar obtained from consuming whole fruits vs. fruit juice.

juice-illusion

Kids Health says that water and milk are the best beverage choices for children of all ages. But, even kids get sick of drinking the same thing all the time.

When my son was little, our pediatrician told us to water down his fruit juice so it was about half water and half juice. This kept the number of calories and the amount of sugar he was consuming in check while having the added benefit of keeping our grocery budget under control.

We did this until he started kindergarten and had his first taste of full flavored juice. Once he realized what we were doing, we had to just limit juice to a once in a while beverage.

Another option, if you’re looking for a better beverage choice for your child, is to try one of the many flavored water products on the market. These are appealing to most kids, although they also have a potential drawback. If your child drinks flavored water exclusively, you might find that he or she ends up trying to avoid plain water at all costs.

What types of beverages do your children drink?

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Eight Month Old, 44 Pound Baby Put on Diet

Posted on Mar 26, 2014 by 1 Comment

Eight-month-old Santiago Medoza of Colombia weighs in at 44 pounds. That’s more than double the median weight for his age according to the American Academy of Pediatrics growth charts.

Watching his mother carry him, I can’t imagine the strain on her own body lifting and toting such a heavy baby. It would be like carrying a five or six year old. And with those folds of fat, I wonder if he can even crawl.

His obesity has led to medical complications and hospitalization on several occasions, too. Doctors with the charity, Chubby Hearts Foundation, have intervened and hope to get him down to 17 pounds by weaning him off formula and adding fruits and vegetables to his diet.

44 Pound Baby
Santiago’s mother, Eunice Fandino, is worried about her child’s obesity and she is the one who reached out for help from the Chubby Hearts Foundation.

She said, “I don’t want him to continue like this so, God willing, the treatment they’re going to give him for his heart will work to reduce his weight.” The Chubby Hearts Foundation has agreed to work with the baby and his parents. One surgeon has said, “Likely what he will need is a long-term treatment, education, healthy food, and when he is older, physical activity.”

How did Santiago get to be so big? His mother admits it was through her own “ignorance.” In her explanation she said “he was born with an anxiety, so if he cried I just fed him.” It led to a habit of giving him milk or food every time he cried to calm him down.

Santiago is Colombia’s most obese baby—a distinction no parent wants for their child. He was flown from his home in the northeastern city of Valledupar to the capital Bogota, where specialists will evaluate his condition and begin his treatment to get him to a healthy weight.

Photo credits: Diead Rİbelly

Guess What’s In Your Herbal Supplement

Posted on Mar 21, 2014 by 2 Comments

I count myself among the 40 percent of Americans who have tried an herbal supplement. In fact, I have some supplements that are a regular part of what I consider a healthy lifestyle.

When I read a recent study that shows that some of these plant-based supplements are composed of cheap fillers like soy, rice, or wheat, and can actually contain weeds or potentially harmful contaminants it makes me angry. Many of us read ingredient lists with a purpose!

For this study, scientists from the University of Guelph in Ontario tested 44 popular herbal supplements which are sold by 12 different companies in the U.S. and Canada. In all, one third of the supplements contained none of the plant extracts listed on the label.

That is really sad. That means one in three samples were useless and cheat people of their hard-earned money. Plus people turning to an herbal remedy might think it didn’t work for them, when in fact they haven’t even tried it. This offers a possible explanation for why some herb brands work better than others.

Fifty-nine percent of the samples were contaminated with plants not listed in the ingredients including some considered toxic or allergy producing along with additional substances that could prove to be hazardous. Out of the 12 companies whose supplements were tested, only two of them offered genuine products free from substitutions, fillers, or contaminants.

The fact that 2 out 12 companies offered quality products is a sad fact.

The researchers offer a solution to such scamming, aside from regulation. “We suggest that the herbal industry should embrace DNA barcoding for authenticating herbal products through testing of raw materials used in manufacturing products. The use of an SRM DNA herbal barcode library for testing bulk materials could provide a method for ‘best practices’ in the manufacturing of herbal products. This would provide consumers with safe, high quality herbal products.”

Photo credits: Ano Lobb

Preschooler Gets Suspended for Possession of Cheese Sandwich

Posted on Mar 19, 2014 by No Comments

Anyone who has ever lived the hectic life of a preschool parent knows getting your child dressed, fed and to school on time can be a bit of a challenge, especially if you’re the one who has to deliver them and pick them up on time.

One Canadian man, Randy Murray, found himself in a pinch. He was running late and had to get his 2-year-old daughter to school before he went to work. Like many of us have done, he decided to feed her on the run and made a quick cheese sandwich. He handed it to her in the back seat to eat while he drove. The problem is she didn’t eat it. Instead she tucked it away for later, only Dad didn’t know that.

When she pulled it out as a snack later at school, the Ottawa preschooler was found in violation of the “no outside food” policy. They suspended her for three days. If it had been something with peanuts she might have been kicked out of the school for good.

It’s understandable that schools have policies and violations are dealt with, but sometimes it can feel like we’ve totally lost the ability to apply common sense to such situation. Mr. Murray was upset and said if they had warned him, he would have admitted his mistake, but that isn’t how it happened.

What we have to realize it that when it comes to food allergies there’s no room for mistakes or exceptions. The daycare, like many other institutions, is operated by the letter of the law, because they have to be strict. Food allergies are serious and can lead to life and death situations.

“We do have children with multiple allergies, and the parents are more than happy that we have all these things in place to protect the children.” – daycare director Ottawa Sun

Many people don’t really understand the gravity of food allergies. My niece’s toddler can’t even touch anything peanut related without rushing for the EpiPen. When they send him off to daycare they are trusting the staff there to keep him safe.

While the oversight of the cheese sandwhich was just that, I bet it won’t happen again. I agree that it was harsh that his little girl was suspended, but even she will remember not to bring outside food to school.

Photo credits: Chow

Graco Recalls 403,000 Additional Car Seats

Posted on Mar 18, 2014 by No Comments

We all strive to keep our children safe and to follow all the regulations for transporting our children safely. Sometimes learning to use a car seat with all the buckles, straps, and latches can seem a bit daunting, but we do what it takes. And right now for those of us who own a Graco car seat, it turns out that may include replacing a faulty latch.

Graco, a well-known manufacturer of quality children’s products, has issued a voluntary recall of a number of their car seats. Earlier this month they had recalled nearly 3.8 million car seats for safety issues involving faulty harness buckles that may not unlatch. Now the recall has been expanded to include an additional 403,000 car seats making it the fourth largest child seat recall in American history.

The newly recalled car seats in question were sold between 2009 and 20013 and include the following models:

  • Cozy Cline
  • Comfort Sport
  • Classic Ride 50
  • My Ride 65
  • My Ride With Safety Surround
  • My Ride 70
  • Size 4 Me 70
  • Smartseat
  • Nautilus
  • Nautilus Elite
  • Argos 70

In all, the company is recalling more than three million car seats after learning the buckles may become stuck or unable to unlatch making it difficult to remove a child in the event of an emergency. Graco became aware of the potential safety risk after 80 complaints were filed to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration which still wants Graco to add 1.8 million infant seats to the recall because they have the same buckles.

As a solution, Graco is offering consumers a new and improved replacement harness buckle at no cost. A replacement harness can be ordered via the company’s online order form.

This is a voluntary recall and no injuries have been reported due to the harness latching issue. Graco’s website stresses that their car seats are “safe and effective in restraining children” and that consumers “can continue to use your car seat while waiting for your new buckle.” For more information check the company’s website for more information.

Photo credits: chimothy27

Is My Kid too Sick to Go to School?

Posted on Mar 17, 2014 by 1 Comment

It’s a question that didn’t used to be an issue for me when I was homeschooling. If you were sick, you could read quietly in bed or watch educational videos. Now, with the kids in regular school, it’s much more difficult to decide how sick is too sick. For one thing, they are more likely to be trying to get out of actually going, but if I am wrong I have a 20 minute drive to make in the middle of my day.

That’s not good.

When most moms were of the stay at home variety, kids didn’t come to school with sniffles or headaches, but now it’s just not that easy. How can you know when your kid is too sick to go to school?

Stuff that Should Stay Home

Here’s a list of the stuff that should keep her home with a good book and plenty of fluids.

Cough. OK, maybe not a little frog in the throat kind of cough but if it is hacking, severe, or she is coughing up phlegm, then it’s a good idea to keep her at home.

Diarrhea. It’s a good idea to keep your child home if he has diarrhea for several reasons. One, and probably the best reason, is that it can be embarrassing if he can’t get to the bathroom in time. School kids have memories like elephants and he could hear about that all the way through high school. Another reason is that he might have a contagious bug that’s best kept contained.

Ear pain. Some people would disagree because ear infections are not contagious, but I keep them home if they are complaining of ear pain. It’s just not worth my kids being miserable. Same thing with headaches, cramps, and other pains they feel are severe.

Fever. Anything over 100F is considered a fever and most school ask that you keep your kid home even if there are no other symptoms.

Pinkeye. Conjunctivitis is very contagious so if you spot unusually red eyes, it’s best to plan a quiet day at home.

Rash. It could be a reaction to the new laundry detergent or it could be something more sinister. If you aren’t 100 percent sure then keep her at home and contact your doctor.

Vomiting. This is without a doubt a good reason to stay home unless you suspect the milk mixed with mustard trick. If you don’t know, it’s the way some of us used to get out of school back in the day. The general rule of thumb is to keep him home 24 hours after the last time he vomits.

Give them Two Sick Days a Quarter

One way to decide whether they are too sick for school is to give them one or two sick days per quarter. On those times when it isn’t obvious they are sick, they can use a sick day. When they have used them up they have to go no matter how they feel  unless they are exhibiting one of the symptoms above.

Worst case scenario, you end up picking them up and they learn to be more careful about how they spend their sick days!

photo credit: madaise via photopin cc

A Simple Solution to Needle Phobia

Posted on Mar 5, 2014 by 2 Comments

Buzzy is the brainchild of Dr. Amy Baxter, who wanted to create a simple solution to help kids overcome needle phobia.

Buzzy uses cold and vibration to block the unpleasant associations with needle sticks, along with optional cards featuring puzzles that help distract children from the procedure. This approach can be useful for a child who needs to get required immunizations or incorporated as part of a treatment plan for a serious ongoing condition like juvenile arthritis or diabetes.

Buzzy and the accompanying distraction cards have been proven to decrease the perception of pain associated with phlebotomy by as much as 88%. However, Buzzy is not recommended for those under four years of age. Young children have thinner skin and may not be able to tolerate Buzzy’s ice pack as well. They can use Buzzy without the ice pack, but this diminishes the product’s effectiveness somewhat.

Even though Buzzy was created to help children overcome their fear of needles, it’s worth pointing out that the product can be helpful for adults, too. Statistics indicate 23% of adults fear needles enough to avoid making trips to the doctor, so Buzzy is certainly worth a try if you fall into this group.

Buzzy is also said to help relieve itching from allergies and eczema, because itching and pain from needle sticks are affected by the same nerves in the body. Buzzy can even be used when you’re removing splinters or cleaning out cuts and scrapes. This makes Buzzy a helpful addition to any home first aid kit.

Visit the Buzzy website to learn more about this unique product. You can buy Buzzy on Amazon for $39.95 in your choice of bee, ladybug, or plain black designs.

Photo credit: Buzzy

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