Homemade Vicks

One of the reasons I started to make my own Vicks Vapor Rub was because I had a child, and I started to look at every single label of the things I purchased to use on her.  One of the things that always made me nervous about Vicks was a couple of  ingredients in the gel, one of them being petrolatum.    There have been several studies linking Vicks Vapor Rub to severe respiratory problems. Research published in the peer-reviewed journal of the American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP), found that it can  interfere with the ability of infants and toddlers to breathe.  “The ingredients in Vicks can be irritants, causing the body to produce more mucus to protect the airway,” Dr. Rubin, the study’s lead author, said in a statement to the media. “Infants and young children have airways that are much narrower than those of adults, so any increase in mucus or inflammation can narrow them more severely.”

Furthermore, Petrolatum is one of those nasty ingredients that have been linked to breast cancer in women and men.  “Among the studies linking the petrolatum impurity PAHs [polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons] to breast cancer is a Columbia University study in which researchers found that the breast tissue of women with breast cancer was 2.6 times more likely to contain elevated levels of PAHs bound to DNA (called DNA adducts) than the breast tissue of women without breast cancer (Rundle et al. 2000). Serious questions need to be answered over the safety of petrolatum or petroleum jelly as it is more commonly known.”

After reading/researching the information I have shared with you above, I started using essential oils, and I haven’t looked back since.  The brand we use and sell at the office is called Young Living.  You can sign up for an account to buy their products through the link above or HERE.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil (any food store, even Homegood’s will have it at a reduced price)
  • 2 tbsp bees wax, which can be bought on amazon
  • 10 drops lemon oil for children under 10, eucalyptus oil for anyone over 10
  • 4 drops thieves oil

Directions

In the pot on the stove on low heat, I melt the coconut oil and bees wax.  I usually make one large batch and put it in a large glass container with a lid to use as needed throughout the winter season. Once you have gotten the coconut oil/bees wax mixture to melt, I remove the pot from the heat and put in the lemon oil or eucalyptus oil (depending on age) the thieves oil.  I let that sit until the coconut oil/bees wax hardens again, and then I put it in the glass container for later use!  Rub on the chest and back as needed.

 

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Pregnancy and Chiropractic

Chiropractic care in pregnancy is an essential ingredient to your prenatal care choices.  Preexisting but unnoticed imbalances in your spine and pelvis become stressed during pregnancy.  These pronounced discomforts make it difficult to perform routine daily activities.

A large percent of all pregnant women experience back discomfort and/or pain during pregnancy.  This is due to the rapid growth of the baby and interferences to your body’s normal structural adaptations to that growth.

Chiropractic care throughout pregnancy can relieve and even prevent the common discomforts experienced in pregnancy.   There are no known contraindications to chiropractic care during pregnancy.  Chiropractic is a safe, natural, and effective treatment for you to feel your best during pregnancy and be ready for your best birth!

Here are a list of complaints we commonly treat during pregnancy:

  • Mid Back Pain
  • Low Back Pain
  • Neck Pain
  • Headaches
  • Leg Pain
  • Muscle Pain
  • Lower Abdominal stretching pain
  • Breech Baby (Webster Technique)
  • Rib Pain/Costochondritis
  • Ankle/Foot Pain
  • Supportive Taping Procedures for the growing belly
  • SI joint pain

Aside from helping with the discomforts of pregnancy, there are three main reasons why every pregnant woman should see a chiropractor:

  1. Chiropractic Care helps provide structural balance and stability for the mother, resulting in a more comfortable pregnancy.
  2. Research studies have shown that pregnant mothers under chiropractic care during their pregnancy tend to have a shorter labor with less medical interventions. “A retrospective review of statistics reported that primigravida women who seek chiropractic care throughout gestation have, on average, a 25% shorter labor time whereas multiparous women who seek chiropractic care throughout their pregnancy have, on average, 31% shorter labor times.”
  3. By supporting better function in the mother’s body, chiropractic care can help to create a healthier and more comfortable in-utero  environment for the newborn, helping them to get a better start to life.  In fact, research suggests that there is a strong link between the baby’s experience in the in-utero environment and his or her lifelong health potential.

For further reading on Chiropractic  care during pregnancy visit these sites below:

 

Super Immunity & The American Diet

Dr. Chris and I have read “Super Immunity” by Dr. Joel Fuhrman, MD over 100 times by now.  Each time we read it we find another valuable piece of information.  It is a good book to read if you are looking to improve your families health/diet.

Did you know that today the American Diet takes over 60% of its calories from processed foods?  Each year that percentage raises more and more.  This includes most foods made with sweeteners, white flour and oils; such as: white bread, bagels, chips, pasta, donuts, cookies, breakfast bars, cold cereals, soft drinks, pretzels, condiments, and premade salad dressings.  We as a country consume less than 10 percent of their calories from unrefined plant foods such as fruits, beans, seeds, and vegetables.  However, this is misleading because at least half the vegetable consumption in America is white potato products, including fries and chips!

What does this mean to us?  The modern diet is not just slightly derived in a handful of micronutrients, but grossly deficient in hundreds of important plant derived immunity building compounds!  Vegetable consumption is something we as a country need to start making a priority in our diets.  If we don’t make that change we are going to start seeing a lot more chronic conditions, poor quality of life and premature deaths earlier than ever before.  As I have talked about earlier, obesity has become a major problem in America.  We are the first generation who won’t live out our parents generation in age.  According to the CDC, more than one third of American Adults are obese, costing us $147 billion dollars in health care costs in 2008!  That was 7 years ago, and with the rate steadily increasing each year, the health care cost goes up!  Childhood obesity is also extremely high at 17% of Americans for the age groups of 2-17, which affected 12.7 million children last year!

So how do we change these staggering statistics? We need to not only start educating our children with the importance of eating more vegetables, but we ourselves need to start eating healthier too.  We can not expect our kids to want to eat healthy if they watch our unhealthy eating habits.  So not only do we have to be good role models for our children’s behaviors, but their eating habits too!  Get rid of the excuse, “I just don’t like the taste of vegetables”.  There are no excuses when it comes to health.  There are so many vegetables out there.  Find ones that you and your family like and try and incorporate them into your meals.  Here are some tips at eating healthier and getting your kids to eat healthier.  Start food shopping on the weekends or a day off so that you have a day to start preparing meals for the week.  We cut up all our vegetables on Sunday, and make mason jar salads for throughout the week.  Every night, we always make sure there is at least one vegetable on our plate!  We typically will snack on carrots, peppers, snap peas, or cut up cucumbers through out the day.  We always try and have a small salad for lunch or a side of dark leafy greens sauteed for dinner.  Then we always have another type of vegetable medley for dinner.  Obviously, it is going to be harder to start to change on a drastic measure so start small.  Make your goal this month to find which veggies your family likes, and at least incorporate one a day!  Then you can add on from there!

Natural Remedy for Productive Cough/ Decongestant

The following is a recipe that we use when we get congested, have a productive cough, and/or have a lot of mucus in our throats.  We at the Chiropractic Family Center have been recommending it to patients for over 38 years.  Dr. Jim Higgins learned of this natural remedy from Edgar Casey.  Everyone who has tried it only speaks highly of it as a natural decongestant/cough remover!

Ingredients

  • Juice of a whole lemon
  • White of an egg
  • Tablespoon of honey
  • 7 drops of pure glycerin

Whip ingredients together in a bowl.  Leave on the counter so that it stays at room temperature.  Cover with cellophane.  Take one tablespoon every hour you are awake.  Be sure to make new batch every day.

Most common question is where to buy glycerin.  You can find it at your local drug store (CVS, Walgreen’s) or at your local health food store (Nature’s Nutrition is the store we use)  You will just have to ask the pharmacist because they have it in the back.  You can also find it online, which is what we do.   You can click HERE to find it.

IMPORTANT NOTE:  DO NOT USE for children under the age of 2 due to Honey!!!

Importance of Priobiotics

Probiotics are a type of “good” bacteria used by the body to aid in natural and healthy digestion.  Friendly bacteria are vital to proper development of the immune system, to protect against microorganisms that cause disease, and to maximize the digestion and absorption of food and nutrients.  Due to unhealthier diets and the increased number of people on antibiotics and other medications, men and women’s natural flora (good bacteria) have been decreased leading to digestive issues such as bloating, diarrhea, constipation, and irritable bowel syndrome.  Probiotics have also been linked to strengthening the immune response and help reduce the severity of colds, flu’s, UTI’s, vaginal yeast infections, and certain skin infections such as eczema.  Did you know that 70% or more of our immune system function is in our gut?  Your stomach has 5-7 pounds of good bacteria which is constantly under attack by the foods we eat or the medications we take.  Another fun fact is that 90% of seratonin production is made in the gut which helps prevent anxiety and depression.

Probiotics can be found naturally in foods such as yogurts and kefir.  Kefir is a drinkable form of yogurt which contains beneficial yeast as well as probiotics, which when found together actually produce an enzyme called lactase (lactase is what helps break down lactose in the body).  Kefir also has been found to help cleanse the intestines and boost immune system function (www.kefir.net).

Probiotics may also be taken in supplemental form.  The most effective probiotics are found in the refrigerated section of your health food store.  It is recommended that when taking antibiotics and certain medications you should supplement with probiotics offering around 85 billion organisms per day.  If you are not taking any medications or antibiotics, I would recommend getting a good probiotic and following the bottle’s instructions.  Here at the Chiropractic Family Center, we sell a probiotic by Metagenics for adults, and soon we will also offer probiotics for your children and infants as well!  The infant probiotic is actually a liquid so it can be used right from birth for both breastfeeding mom’s and for formula feeding mom’s!  If you have additional questions please don’t hesitate to ask!

Elderberry Syrup

Fall is a common time for colds and/or the Flu to start showing up.  If you or any of your family members have ever gotten the Flu, you know how helpless you feel to watch them suffer because there is no antibiotic to give to treat a viral infection.  Elderberry syrup is one way to treat the flu naturally by speeding up the healing, and getting you or your family member better at a faster rate.

Elderberries are a type of plant that is known is have therapeutic benefits.   The berries contain high doses of vitamin A, B, and C all of which stimulate the immune response.  Black Elderberries (sambucus nigra) have been shown to prevent flu and speed recovery in those who have the flu.

Elderberry syrup can be purchased online.  We found ours on amazon, it is by the brand Nature’s Way.  You can also make your own after purchasing the elderberries , which also can be found online or at your local health food store, like Nature’s Nutrition in Brick.  Here is the recipe below:

Ingredients

  • ⅔ cup black elderberries
  • 3½ cups of water
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh or dried ginger root
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • ½ teaspoon cloves or clove powder
  • 1 cup raw honey (we get from our farmer’s market)
  1. Pour water into medium saucepan and add elderberries, ginger, cinnamon and cloves (do not add honey!)
  2. Bring to a boil and then cover and reduce to a simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour until the liquid has reduced by almost half. At that point, remove from heat and let cool enough to be handled. Pour through a strainer into a glass jar or bowl.
  3. Discard the elderberries and let the liquid cool to lukewarm. When it is no longer hot, add 1 cup of honey and stir well.
  4. When honey is well mixed into the elderberry mixture, pour the syrup into a pint sized mason jar or 16 ounce glass bottle of some kind.
  5. Hooray! You just made homemade elderberry syrup! Store in the fridge.
  6. Standard dose is ½ tsp to 1 tsp for kids and ½ Tbsp to 1 Tbsp for adults. If the flu does strike, take the normal dose every 2-3 hours instead of once a day until symptoms disappear.

It is recommended to take daily during the flu season, but if you have a healthy diet and get your rest like us, we only take it when we start to feel like we are coming down with something or if one of us in the house gets sick.

How to support Testosterone Naturally

Low testosterone is a pretty common diagnosis lately.  Most people associate a low sex drive with low testosterone, but that isn’t always the case.  In men, testosterone slowly decreases with age, but sometimes it decreases more than it should.  Some other common reasons for low testosterone in the body are obesity, trauma to the testicles, infection, and type 2 diabetes.  The symptoms men with low testosterone present with are hair loss, fatigue, lower libido than normal, low sperm count, loss of muscle mass, increase in body fat, decrease in bone density, and mood changes like depression and irritability.

There are many things you can do to boost your testosterone.  First, start to loose weight.  Get yourself back into a work out routine, and stick with more burst type exercises.  Don’t get stuck in a work out rut, and keep switching up your routines.  Next, you need to start eating better.  Stay away from processed foods that are going to be loaded with sodium and sugar, and add more foods that contain zinc.  Zinc is an important mineral in keeping healthy testosterone levels.  The following is a list of foods know to help boost testosterone levels:

  • oysters (zinc)
  • olive oil
  • beans (zinc and iron)
  • nuts – almonds, brazil nuts, cashews, walnuts, and pecans.
  • garlic – contains allicin and quercetin, which inhibit cortisol production
  • salmon – high levels of vitamin d
  • cruciferous vegetables (cauliflower, cabbage, brussel sprouts, kale, watercress, broccoli)
  • eggs (yolk contains good cholesterol – the building blocks for testosterone)
  • pumpkin seeds (zinc, magnesium, and healthy fats)

If you are still not noticing much of a change after a couple of months, you can always go to your primary and get your testosterone levels checked.  Sometimes the lack in sex drive, low energy levels, and depression could be a thyroid issue.

Natural Ways to Combat Ear Infections

Now that a lot of my friends and I are mothers, I hear a lot about kids coming down with ear infections.  When children are young, their bodies are still developing.  A lot of the time when a child gets an ear infection it is because the fluid in their ears are not draining properly.  One way to help the ears drain properly is to get your child checked by a chiropractor to see if they have an upper cervical (neck) restriction.  When there is an upper cervical (neck) restriction, the fluid in the ears can not drain properly, so the fluid pools.  Now every day we are constantly fighting off bacterial and viruses that we didn’t even know about because our bodies are amazing at naturally fighting off infection.  If that fluid in the ear can not drain, it is basically a pool of fluid filled with bacteria.  (think of what your kid picks up on a daily basis, and how often his or her hands are touching around their face and ears).  Another way is to make sure you keep their immune system working at its prime.  Make sure your child is getting plenty of fruits and vegetables throughout the day.  Limit their sugar and processed food intake.  Make sure your child is taking a multivitamin and probiotic supplement (70% of your immune system is in your gut….we will get to that on another post).  Lastly, make sure they are drinking plenty of water (that doesn’t include juice) and getting at least 8 hours of sleep at night!

If you child does develop an ear infection there are many natural ways to treat them.  One way is by using garlic and mullein drops, which have natural anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties.  The brand we use is Wise Women Herbals.  Of course, we always recommend to have your child checked by a chiropractor to make sure her spine and body are working at its best to fight off infection.  Additionally, you can use WARM (not hot) compresses against the child’s ear for 10 minutes.  You can also raise their mattress so that it promotes better drainage. Lastly, if you are breastfeeding, breast milk is the ultimate cure all, and although it sounds strange put a few drops in the ear to help naturally combat the infection!

A promising study published in the Journal of Clinical Chiropractic Pediatrics indicates that there is a strong correlation between chiropractic adjustments and the resolution of ear infections. 332 children with chronic ear infections participated in the study. Each child, ranging in age from 27 days to 5 years, was given a series of chiropractic adjustments. The results show that close to 80% of the children did not experience another ear infection within the six-month period following their initial visits. The six-month period included maintenance treatments every four to six weeks. Joan M. Fallon, D.C., the author of the study and the chiropractor who treated the children in the study, states that this pilot study can serve as a starting point from which the chiropractic profession can begin to examine its role in the treatment of children with chronic ear infections. She asserts that large-scale clinical trials need to be undertaken in the field.

Easy Cauliflower or Broccoli Recipe

Here is an easy way to add some nutrient dense foods to your diet.  Cauliflower and Broccoli are huge folate sources, which is one of the essential nutrients you need during pregnancy, and breast feeding!  They are also loaded with Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Potassium, and Magnesium!

Ingredients:

  • 2 crowns of broccoli/cauliflower (any combination that you like)
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 3 tablespoons of coconut oil
  • garlic powder
  • cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 a lemon

This is one of our go to vegetable sides.  The hardest part of the recipe is cutting up the garlic, broccoli, and cauliflower .  You can make them separately or together depending on what you like.  First, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Next, after you have cut up the crowns of broccoli and/or cauliflower  and the cloves of garlic add them to a baking sheet.  You then want to add some oil, we prefer to use coconut oil because we are baking the vegetables at high heat (high heat tends to denature other oils, making them less effective) and coconut oil is loaded in good fats for the body, but if all you have is olive oil that will work fine too.  I then season with a little salt, pepper, and garlic powder (a little bit of cayenne pepper if you like some heat!).   Before you place it all in the oven, I toss everything together to make sure everything is evenly coated!  You should bake this for about 30-40 minutes.  I like to bake it until I see some browning of garlic, broccoli, and cauliflower.  After you take the vegetables out, squeeze the lemon on top, and then they are ready to serve!  This usually lasts us two nights.  I love to make extras when I cook so that I don’t have to cook every night, and I can just heat it up the following evening! Bon Appetite!

Should you or your kids be taking a multivitamin?

There is only one answer here and that is YES.  Unfortunately, every year we are taking more and more from our soil and not putting enough back into the soil.   According to the Nutritional Security Institute (NSI), we are eroding the topsoil at a rate 10x faster than the rate of replenishment.  Today, the NSI estimates that the US and Canada agriculture soils had lost 85% of their mineral content.  So basically what this is telling us is that we are not getting the the same amount of  micronutrients from our fruits and vegetables like our grandparents did when they were younger.  For example, a study found in the Trace Element Medical Biology Journal in 2008 said that we would have to eat 8 oranges today to get the same amount of Vitamin A your grandparents got from a single orange!!!  So please, if you or your children are not on a multivitamin start taking one today so that you can support your effort at eating healthy!!  Additionally, a multivitamin does not take place of a healthy diet, you still have to eat well!  You want to look for a good quality multivitamin.  Please stay away from Centrum Vitamins or Flinstone Vitamins, there have been studies done on both where the vitamins don’t even dissolve in your system, instead they go right through the body and into the toilet!!! Plus Flinstone vitamins have also been known to add sugar to their vitamins to make them more appealing! The multivitamin we use is from Anabolic Labs, we use their essential nutrition pack, which includes the multi, omega 3’s, vitamin d3, and magnesium.  If you are interested in purchasing the same thing, we sell it at the Chiropractic Family Center.  Our daughter uses the Child Life Multi Vitamin and Mineral that we got from our local nutrition store down the block called Natures Nutrition.  We have been giving it to Harper ever since we stopped breast feeding, but I would recommend 6 months and on if your child is formula fed.  Otherwise, wait until you stop breastfeeding before you start giving your child a multivitamin because if you are taking one he or she is getting all the nutrients they need from your breast milk supply!