Supporting A Fever

How is it already back to school season? I have absolutely loved seeing my friends kids in their first day of school outfits on Facebook – their smiles are so big with excitement for the new year. There is one downfall to the new school year that most parents loathe – the dreaded cold season.

A combination of air-conditioning (which depresses the immune system), being crammed into a classroom, and not enough fresh air, healthy food, or water, all play a role in a child coming down with a cold. That being said, a good cold – like a really, really good cold and one that develops a fever once or twice a year is a good thing to keep the immune system active, strong, and dialed in. To go years without a cold or, on the opposite end, to spend all of winter perpetually sick isn’t good, it’s a sign that the immune system does not know how to properly respond to pathogens.

What can you do if your child DOES come down with a fever? I know that when I was growing up, Children’s Tylenol was my parent’s go-to. The doctor even suggested it! Acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol and other name and generic brands, has been implicated in liver damage, liver failure, and death, when used incorrectly (and depending on your medical presentation, there is no determining amount it seems). Families with MTHFR genetic mutations should use caution – those with MTHFR already have impaired detoxification. Acetaminophen has also been linked to reduced testosterone in in-utero baby boys and a link between its use and autism when given after the MMR vaccine.

So, what can you do to support your child? As a nutritionist, I’m a fan of a well-balanced diet with lots of green leafy veggies (don’t blame the messenger), bone broth, organ meats (you can mix one pound of grass-fed ground beef in with 1/4 pound of pureed organic chicken livers), limited sugar, NO processed food, and healthy fats. I know, I know. “But my kid will flip out if I try to get them to eat that way, it’s just not reasonable.” My only advice – remember, you’re the parent, stick to your guns. Our children deserve the right to be healthy and grow up into thriving adults.

Before I list my favorite ways to monitor a fever, fevers are actually healthy! For years, I was unable to develop a fever – a sign that my body’s immune system was challenged in coming online when I needed it. I remember a few years back, I had a strong wintertime bug. And I had a fever. I probably checked my temp every 5 minutes. And cried tears of joy. Why? Because it was a sign that my body was healing. A fever means that your body can elicit a strong immune response against an invading pathogen. So, riding a fever out can actually be a good thing (again, monitoring it so it doesn’t get dangerously high). 

Here’s a little nice tip: These remedies are GREAT for adults, too!

 Note: The information in this post is not to be confused with medical information, as given to you by your doctor. If you have any questions, please consult your doctor or medical professional. You are the parent, you know if your child’s condition is not improving and if medical help is needed. If your child’s fever is not managing well and is at a dangerously high temperature, please seek immediate medical attention.

 

My Favorite Methods to Support a Fever:

  • Cold Sock Therapy
    I love this method. It’s simply miserable but it works well. Get a pair of 100% cotton socks wet and throw them in the freezer until they’re good and cold. Peel two cloves of garlic. Once the socks are good and cold (not frozen… but very, very cold), place a clove of garlic in the foot and put the socks on. Over those cold, wet cotton socks, place a pair of thick wool socks. Do this nightly, starting with the first signs of a cold, for three nights in a row.
  • Sleep
    This one is a given. Let your child rest when they need to rest. Take away the blue screens – they signal the brain to stay awake. I know. Being sick is no fun.
  • Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Vitamin C and Selenium
    Vitamin A is depleted in the urine during acute infections. Cod liver oil is a a wonderful balance of Vitamins A and D and is in a usable form. Most supplements out on the market for Vitamin A are synthetic. I’ll do a post on the dangers of synthetic form of Vitamin A later on but for now, take my word for it. Vitamin A and D need each other. Like Bert and Ernie. So, taking it in the form of cod liver oil (I like Nordic Naturals for children), is a good way to go. Vitamin C – it’s an antioxidant. We’ve all heard about the wonders of it. A bit of organic rose hips, steeped in hot water for about 10 minutes. Add some local raw honey to the tea prior to giving it to them and make sure it is a luke-warm temperature. Selenium is very important in fever moderation. A study from 2015 found an association between hemorrhagic fever and its occurrence in selenium-deficient populations. Sardines and Brazil Nuts are particularly high in selenium. Making a sardine salad (much like you would make a tuna fish salad) is a great way to hide those little fishes. (I prefer Wild Planet Sardines.) Supplementation can also be used. An aqueous selenium can be easily administered to a small child, who cannot swallow small pills.
  • Lots of fluids
    Yea, yea, yea. We’ve heard this one before. But, how many of us have given fluids that are actually diuretic? Giving a child hydrating fluids is very important. Filtered water, bone broth, a bit of filtered water with a pinch of pink Himalayan sea salt for minerals, and 4 oz of lemon water with 1 tbsp of lemon juice (can further dilute if needed) are all going to help nourish their little body. Soda, ginger ale, Sprite, 7-Up, Gatorade, Powerade, juice, Pedialyte, etc., further deplete the body of necessary nutrients to help them bounce back.
  • Fire Cider
    Mix 1/2 tbsp (for small children) and 1 tbsp (for larger children) with a bit of local, raw honey to taste and filtered water. This stuff will literally kill anything on site… or so I am convinced. Find my recipe here. 
  • Yarrow Tincture
    If you’ve never seen yarrow, it’s the cover photo of this article. Yarrow tincture is a wonderful supplement to keep on hand at all times. You can harvest yarrow from the mountains, where you know there has been no spraying or, you may order it from a reputable herb shop.To make the tincture, put the flower heads in a mason jar. Cover with 80 (or 100) proof alcohol — I use a lower-shelf vodka. Seal with a lid. Allow to steep for 4 weeks in a cool, dark area, shaking the jar daily. Strain with a fine mesh strainer. Preserve the now yellow liquid in a dark colored glass jar in a cool, dry place, away from light.During a fever, mix warm filtered water with 1 teaspoon in 1/2 a glass of water (small children should use 1/2 teaspoon) and drink up to 3 times a day. The warm water will help to increase the flushing action of the herb.  This tricks your body into acting as if the fever has broken and speeds your immune system to finish the healing.

And, above all – make sure to smother your child with love and affection and attention. Nothing beats the nurturing a loving parent can provide.

 

 

How to Fight the Smoke from Summer Fires

August in the Pacific Northwest, while beautiful, usually means forest fires. Lots and lots of forest fires. While these are necessary to our area’s ecology, it can be most troublesome for many who have respiratory difficulties… and the rest of us who are so used to breathing the sweet, sweet mountain air. Please remember to keep our wildland firefighters and those displaced by the fires in your thoughts and prayers.

 

There are 8 easy things you can do to protect your family from the smoke exposure.

  1. Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and antioxidants help combat free radical damage. Rose hips, lemon or lime water (made with fresh, organic fruit), and acerola cherries are all good sources of Vitamin C. For the rose hips, I like to steep them for 10 minutes in hot water and drink the tea. Vitamin E also helps protect the body from widespread pollution. A good quality tocopherol, NOT one found at a common pharmacy, vitamin shop, and certainly never generic, will be of great benefit. You can find an adequate quality Vitamin E at a natural foods store (ask their specialist for help) or email me for recommendations.
  2. Vitamin B rich foods, such as pasture-raised egg yolks and liver. They will help support the adrenals (along with Vitamin C) in times of increased stress to the body.
  3. Extra fatty acids. I know I talk about the necessity of fatty acids (you should really look into my Restart Program offerings). Increasing them during times of increased pollution will help keep your lungs healthy during smoke exposure. Wild caught fish, flax seeds (raw and ground in a dedicated grinder), coconut oil, extra virgin and cold pressed olive oil, evening primrose oil, chia seeds, and hemp hearts are all good sources.
  4. Cod Liver Oil. Really this one should have been first. It’s one of the first things that I recommend to my clients. A good quality cod liver oil will help supply the perfect balance of Vitamins A and D, which strengthen the immune system, and omega-3 fatty acids, a very effective anti-inflammatory agent. Make sure to take it with a meal for best digestion and absorption.
  5. Mineral Rich Foods. Mineral rich green leafy veggies have never been more important. Okay. That’s a lie. They’re important just about every day. With every meal because they provide us with so many nutrients. Just make sure they’re organic! Homemade bone broth and stocks, made from pasture-raised animals, kelp and brown seaweed, and organ meats all provide wonderful sources of minerals. And, when in doubt, a pinch of pink Himalayan salt in your water (not so much that it tastes like the salt water you would gargle with), will help increase your mineral status.
  6. The Neti Pot. I never said this list was only food based. A neti pot, used properly, will help clean the sinuses of any residue and debris from the smoke, allowing sinus passageways to not be as inflamed. Neti pots can safely be used twice a day during increased pollution to help keep things clean. A plastic neti pot system can be purchased from many local pharmacies, or you can buy a pretty sustainable ceramic pot from your local health food store or co-op.
  7. Water. This should really go without saying but, drinking filtered WATER (no additives) will help keep your body hydrated and provide a way to filter out the toxins. If you find yourself rushing to the bathroom too often, take a look at the salt suggestion in #4.
  8. Rest. As tempting as it might be (and I was tempted today to go for a nice long bike ride), now is not the time to over-exert yourself by training for your couch-to-5k or the next decathlon. Even you morning power walkers and leisure strollers should allow your body the time it needs to rest… which allows your body time to strengthen and heal and detox.

For more answers to questions you may have, please feel free to email me.

 

 

On Being Grateful

Some of you might read this and wonder how a post on gratefulness really ties in with health and nutrition. Well, trust me. It does.

Exhibiting gratefulness isn’t something that has come naturally to me. It wasn’t that I was ungrateful – quite the contrary! But, showing someone my appreciation for their generosity, no matter how small, isn’t a natural-born quality. For years I had post-it notes around my house with phrases like “Attitude of Gratitude” and “Be Grateful for Today in All Things.” (Yes, that included being stuck in traffic.) They were on my door, on my dresser, on my vanity mirror in the bathroom, above the sink in the kitchen, in my car visor – the list went on and on! I knew this was a handicap to life and that it needed to change.

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Common Is Not Normal

We love statistics. Okay, we may not love stats class (I cried my way through it in college), we love looking at statistics. How much alike are we to others? What percentage is voting for whom? Or not voting at all? How many women will get heart disease? Get my drift? Statistics rule our world and help us calculate what risks we may or not take.

But statistics also normalize behavior. And make us think that things that aren’t normal are.

What do I mean? For starters, over the past few decades, the incidence of PMS (pre-menstrual syndrome) has increased, with women now reporting PMDD (premenstrual dysphoric disorder aka PMS on steroids). Don’t believe me? Ask women who are a few generations older than you. Chances are, they won’t remember being home from school or work for days on end with cramps. We’re told by the medical establishment that most women suffer from some level of PMS. So, all of a sudden, it’s considered a normal side effect of Aunt Flo.

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Battling Acne

I’d like to say I’ve had perfect skin since I was 13. At 32 years old, I’ve spent more years with acne than without. It’s embarrassing when children and adults alike pointed out that I had spots on my face like I had never owned a mirror. I used to work in an assisted living facility when I was in college. Women would point out my acne all the time. I chalked it up to them being old and possibly senile in order to hide my hurt. Doctors had talked about putting me on birth control pills or Accutane to get rid of it – but being a bit on the crunchy side of things, I was more than happy with blemishes rather than chemicals being pumped into my body. Or at least, that’s what I told myself. Instead, invested lots of my money in concealer and heavy foundations that left my skin clamoring for oxygen. I sometimes found myself looking at other people’s complexion and wondering what it would be like to wake up in the morning and not see the latest reincarnation of Mt. Vesuvius on my face.

I’ve tried everything other than the oral or injectable drugs. I’ve done the topical RetinA treatments – they left my face red, extremely dry, blotchy, and with deep cysts. I’ve tried over-the-counter oil-free or oil-reducing or whatever other marketing gimmick they put on the label. No dice. And ProActiv? Try NoActiv.

Ultimately, since I went on GAPS and started working hard to rid my body of toxic build-up, my need for moisturizers and face tonics has reduced greatly. Now-a-days, I rarely wear foundation, only putting on a bit of blush for a pop of color and much-needed mascara (Beautycounter is my favorite) because I have blonde eyelashes. Vanity wins again. My skin is even toned and I very rarely get any flare-ups…. if at all. Anything that does surface gets a dab of tea tree essential oil at night and it’s usually gone or mostly gone by morning.

Adult acne is ultimately the result of many factors. Gut dysbiosis (an imbalance of gut microbes), liver congestion, underlying viral or bacterial infections, consuming foods that we are sensitive to, heavy metals and mineral imbalances, and increased intestinal permeability all play a contributing roll.

Here’s some things you can do to help reduce your acne:

  • Figuring out your food sensitivities and ridding it from your diet:  This has to be your first step. You can go about doing an elimination diet (The Restart Program is a great place to start) – chances are, there are other areas of your body that a sensitivity is harming and you’ll feel a lot better pretty quickly. Your skin, however, will take some time to heal (it can be months) so don’t use that as your marker.
  • Healing your gut: Now that you’ve figured out what the heck was making you sick, it’s time to do some healing. Bone broth and ferments are integral healing foods. Working with a practitioner on this one is important. There are many, many layers to healing that are more easily managed by someone else. We tend to be partial when it’s our own body. Many men and women notice a dramatic decrease in acne when they follow a paleo-type diet.
  • Cutting out carbs and increasing fats: Reducing processed foods and increasing good fats is a wonderful place to start. So is incresing your organic vegetable low-starch vegetable intake. (Again, The Restart Program dives into this in detail) Healthy fats like avocados, coconut oil, animal fats (from pasture-raised animals), cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil, pasture-raised egg yolks, ghee (clarified butter), raw flax seeds, olives, evening primrose oil, avocados, cod liver oil (Nordic Naturals is a good brand). I encourage my clients to avoid all oils that read hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated. Those two are literally killing us. Other good oils to avoid are any of the “vegetable” oils.
  • Fat as a face wash: What the what? Just like oil-pulling with coconut oil, fat pulls toxins out of your skin. I use sweet almond oil on my face. To remove eye make-up, I’ll gently massage coconut oil around the eye area and promptly follow it up with a dollop of sweet almond oil and wipe it off with a warm wet wash cloth. Beautycounter also has wonderful face washes and moisturizers. I especially like their Cleansing Balm.
  • Moisturizer: I use argan oil for a moisturizer and a rosewater hydrosol. I spray the mist on my face, let it dry and then apply the argan oil.
  • Make-up: Impurities in your make-up can also cause flare-ups. And a lot of popular brands contain toxins and heavy metals. I started carrying Beautycounter in my practice because they work so hard to avoid these toxic ingredients and they avoid chemicals that affect women’s hormones.

Getting rid of adult acne is not impossible. Cyclical hormonal acne is also not impossible. By allowing your body to heal and balance out the hormones, hormonal acne can and will be a thing of the past. If you have more questions or would like a free 30-minute consult, please feel free to contact me!