Monday, November 7, 2016

Laughing Gas Arrived for Birthing Women: It's NO Laughing Matter

We all want more options and more autonomy for women during birth. That doesn't even need to be said, but I'll say it anyways to make sure we're all on the same page here.

Nitrous oxide (NO2), or laughing gas as many people call it, is on the way to the U.S. as a lower intervention to manage discomfort and anxiety for birthing mothers. And while this might be less risky than other interventions or cascades of interventions, it is not risk-free. Worse, perhaps, is that we all know providers will not be taking the time to offer women real, evidence-based data to achieve informed consent. And when it comes to Nitrous oxide, informed consent could be the difference between a simmering cascade of problems versus an empowered approach to continued health after birth.

What is the problem with this intervention? For many people who are familiar with things such as epidurals, they might be confused or irritated that I have an issue with offering NO2 to women during labor.

The problem has to do with methylation. Our understanding of methylation and how important it is for whole body health is still in the baby stage. Researchers are still struggling to pin down all the ways impaired methylation damages our body, creates disease, and also leads to congenital defects and neurological damage in our offspring.

Over and over again, as more research continues, we learn that impairing the methylation cycle such as by experiencing B vitamin depletion has numerous health consequences. Particularly for childbearing women, impaired methylation can play a part in many of the common pitfalls after birth such as post partum depression, anxiety, psychosis, thyroid and adrenal conditions, fertility conditions, breastfeeding discomfort or issues, low libido, and autoimmune conditions. Methylation is necessary to keep the brain neurochemically balanced. Clogged or impaired methylation, to put it simply, leads to mental illness in the brain and inflammation/pain in the body.

Here's the shining moment: Nitrous oxide impairs methylation. It degrades your B12 stores and basically causes a train wreck in your body. (Basic study to give you a research starting point here.)

Does that mean we should all run screaming from it? Does that mean a woman should never, ever consider it as part of her birth plan? No. With proper education and resources, this kind of damage can be mitigated and/or healed. And for some women, when they are empowered with all of the facts, they might want to retain the right to run away screaming. And that is their right.

But again. What is easily the main problem in our birth industry? Informed consent.

How many women are going to be encouraged to use NO2? How many women will be assured that it is safe, easy, and cheap? How many times will doctors fail to remind women that NO2 impairs methylation, depletes B12, and that this combined with her genetic background, lifestyle, and current health status could trigger cascades that develop into chronic pain, illnesses, and mental health issues?

How many do you think? Let's be real here. Is zero real enough? Maybe one woman out there? Maybe if she already knows about MTHFR, methylation, and depletion, she might demand that the doctor divulge the risks.

But not many women will know. Not most. The majority of women are going to look at NO2 as a safe, easy, and cheap alternative to other interventions during birth. And they aren't going to be equipped with the basic knowledge and tools to overcome the damage of NO2 exposure depleting their B12 stores even more after pregnancy already depleting them, and with breastfeeding about to happen to create an even more demanding burden.

What can you do?
Start talking about methylation to your friends. Start talking about B vitamins and cofactors. Start talking about the issues with synthetic or bio-unavailable supplements. Share articles, talk about it until other women consider it normal and basic information. Spread the word now, because the new cascade of interventions is on the way and it's going to be a doozy.

If you're curious to see a bigger, spinning picture, check out my article on birth control. Childbearing women are experiencing multiple sources of methylation burden and impairment. It's time to break the silence on this topic. It starts with you.

With our family history, when my son broke his elbow, I knew
it was vital to avoid the routine NO2 given to children before surgery. We worked with his
doctor to create an alternative plan and I also provided him with a bioavailable protocol afterwards.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Shutterfly: FREE Personalized Stocking TODAY ONLY

Shutterfly released code STUFFED through November 4th to highlight their selection of personalized Christmas stockings!

Create your stocking and then enter the promo code during checkout to receive a FREE one. As is normal for Shutterfly deals, you still have to pay taxes and shipping. So you will be paying $9.99 shipping out of pocket.

Go here to begin building!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

It's Time to Embrace Holiday Traditions and Join Your Community

Before everyone begins hating on the Holiday-Christmas-Kwanzaa et al season, can I broach a thinking thinky here?

Although it's true that a large part of the promotion in our society is obviously to maximize profits, the act of anticipating and celebrating seasons has been around FOWEVER, Folks.

For those of us who aren't insane, and do NOT appreciate the end of life (aka sunshine, happiness, warmth, survival, etc), the oncoming season of darkness can be horrible. Back in the wonderful olden days, it literally did represent the harbinger of death, as many people became ill or starved through the winter. Once the harvest celebrating was complete, the townspeople needed to do a quick calculation: did they have enough food stored away to save everyone? Were their homes weather proof enough? Who was going to make it, and who was going to lose out in the game of life?

This age old process of creating festival after festival, holiday after holiday, entire seasons such as Advent season leading up to Christmas, then the Christmas season going on until's all about keeping people together as a community, keeping them fed, encouraging people to be generous (e.g. to share food with their starving neighbors), and making sure everyone gets through the season. Together. In an uplifting way.

Look at Diwali. It literally translates to festival of lamps, or festival of lights. People gather together to celebrate the triumph of good over evil by lighting up the darkness, shooting off fireworks, and wearing new clothes. They pass out gifts and treats to their family and friends.

Look at the traditional Germanic Yule holiday. The emphasis is on feasting together, massive feasting. Look at Saturnalia, the celebration of the return of light midway through the winter solstice. During that time, again, everyone feasted together and it was one of the rare occasions where slaves were permitted to feast like their masters. A famous poet, Catullus, called it the "best of days."

The symbolism is clear.

Maybe the reality is no longer true in the strictest sense of the word for most of us in a developed country. Most of aren't going to die from starvation or lack of clean water, or minor infections. Most of us have enough money to heat our homes and buy gifts for our family and friends.

Not everyone, though. And these celebrations help us move forward, together. These holidays help us to stay connected with others. Whether for physical reasons, such as sharing resources, or mental reasons, which might be more applicable in the modern age. They give us a context and a reason to stay positive, happy, and relaxed. They give us a designated time to turn off our electronics, to visit another person in their home, to make human contact. Even on the darkest night of the year.

So when you want to start bashing the decorations and complaining about holiday music on the radio, maybe it's time to pause for a thinky. Maybe instead of calling human customs stupid, you can send a card to that friend you hardly see around because she's been struggling with anxiety lately. Maybe instead of saying these celebrations are a money grab, you can bake some cookies and walk them down the street to the elderly husband and wife who never have visitors. Or maybe you can just swallow your overall hatred and put up some decorations so people driving by on their zombie-commute to a dead end job can feel a little brighter for the day.

No, you don't have to wear an ugly sweater and drink eggnog if you hate those ideas. No, you don't have to buy slave-made decorations or put up a lead-filled, artificial tree if you want to stay true to your principles. You can still make conscious changes to embrace this winter season, to integrate into your community, and to embark on an ancient journey through the darkness just as millions did before us, though.

And for those who are recovering from Cluster Parenting Abuse, sometimes what people call narcissistic or disordered family abuse, it's actually vital to find a new way to embrace these seasons, with new traditions that are positive in your own family. It's important to reach out, to search around for a new and healthy community. Toxic people love to use the weapon of isolation, so that's how most survivors are when they finally leave (or escape). They are isolated, alone. Outside of the rhythms and support of the human ecosystem. Finding a way back in, re-growing a healthy support network, is another healing step on this journey, and it will take you out of the metaphysical darkness just as surely as these festivals of light remind us that the darkness is coming to an end.

 Just a thinky thought.

It turns out our little family loves to celebrate Krampus and St. Nick's.
(We do not lie to our children about these characters, and can all still have a good time.)

Related Resources

Holidays and the Narcissistic Grudge Read this one!
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The Narc's Devalue and Discard

Why Narcissistic People Love to Ruin Holidays

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Attachment Parenting Begins in the Partnership: The Trickle Down Effect of Violence and Why You Need to Model a Respectful, Peaceful Relationship for Your Children

Attachment Parenting is all the rage these days, despite harsh debate over what it constitutes and how to do it right. Parents everywhere are educating themselves on the benefits of healthy, strong attachment in early childhood through responsive parenting techniques.

Although the medical literature is clear that violent parenting damages a child's developing brain and impairs systems from emotional intelligence to verbal ability, one area many parents overlook is the connection to violence displayed in the home between adults.

The dynamics of the adult relationship directly intersects with the parent-child relationship, not only due to skill set, but also due to expectations of behavior based on a worldview of either respect and harmony or control and punishment.

Put succinctly, no matter how gently and attached a person is as a parent, if a woman's partnership is filled with disrespect, toxic shaming, verbal abuse, or even physical abuse, the foundation of the home can still cause intense trauma and impair skill development despite her attempts to be a gentle parent.

October is Attachment Parenting month. This year, let's bring awareness to the bigger connections by breaking the silence on the taboo topic of violence and dysfunction in parental relationships and how it influences children.

We can already put together how a hot and cold home environment might still create opportunities for trauma, including compounded issues. For example, a recent study looked at parents who physically discipline their children and then attempt to be loving afterwards. What they found is that not only does the loving behavior afterwards fail to heal the wound from the physical punishment, but the change in behavior actually creates symptoms of anxiety in the children. And that's not surprising. Small children, unsure of adult context and intent, watch a loving caregiver go hurting them to loving them over minor issues such as not obeying or not eating vegetables for dinner.

Those familiar with domestic abuse and violence can quickly see the connections. One of the classic themes of violence in adult relationships is the way it flip flops quickly from good to bad. At the a moment's notice and for the smallest infraction, your partner might go from happy and loving to upset and punishing. And then after the incident is over, the person tends to become overly loving and attached, trying to say sorry, give a gift, and even pushing for physical love. This leaves the victim feeling confused, unsteady, and hypervigilant. It's not hard to imagine how this impacts small children.

As a parent educator who has promoted non-violent parenting for about a decade now, one of the most common situations I see is a family model where one parent is imbuing disrespect and violence into the home while the other parent attempts to act as a buffer, or otherwise tries to compensate and "clean up" the damage. This might even feel instinctual, to try to jump in to fix things and smooth things over, but it can't overcome a foundation of violence, and frequently leads to confused, unsteady, hypervigilant children trying to desperately guess what will come next. Love or pain?

Parents might be surprised to realize that this family dynamic is an established cycle, often connected to related issues such as personality disorders and substance abuse. Typically, one parent hurts the other parent and the child. Then the other parent goes behind him, cleaning up the broken glass, comforting the children, and lying or maintaining an image to outsiders. Her intentions are good, and her efforts are courageous, but unfortunately, the kindness afterwards does not overcome the violence. It instead creates a synergistic effect that breeds more anxiety.

Going back to that study on spanking with love, the lead researcher confirms: "If you believe that you can shake your children or slap them across the face and them smooth things over gradually by smothering them with love, you are mistaken." It's not a huge leap to go from the parent to the partner, and back again when it comes to surveying the damage of emotional, verbal, and physical violence.

Just as the damage from spanking children has been clearly and consistently shown in the medical literature, so has the damage from witnessing adults fighting and hurting each other. So much evidence is available, in fact, that it would make this article needlessly long if I tried to stuff them all in here. For more information outside the scope of this article, be sure to check out this website entirely dedicated to children who witness violence in the home.

The evidence is clear that whether children witness violence between their parents or are the target of violence from their parents, they experience a variety of negative outcomes, including anxiety and depression, lowered IQ scores, lowered vocabulary scores, increased risk of learning disabilities, increased incidence of high-risk behavior such as substance abuse, and even physical manifestation through chronic adult diseases.

Violence in the home is pretty much the one area where we have the most evidence of harm, and the most evidence of how ineffective it is as raising healthy and functioning people, yet many people are still strongly attached to violent and disrespectful methods in their parnterships and parenting.

At this point, some readers might be experiencing a rising sensation of panic and hopelessness. If you're in a home with episodes of rage, disrespect, shaming, threats and intimidation, physical punishment, etc, you might have sought out resources on attachment parenting specifically to buffer your children. You most likely have pushed yourself to human limits in your attempt to create a small, safe space in an unsafe home. And now you're reading that this isn't working and in fact can create additional problems.

So now what?

All partnerships need work. Whether it's a case of disrespectful shaming and door slamming or a case of physical attacks and stalking, both cases are still a spectrum of the same foundation of disrespect. If you're trying to be responsive to the needs of your children through attachment parenting, it's imperative that you extend this way of living and thinking to your own adult relationship. Some might recognize this as the adage of "fill your cup so you can give to others." It is viscerally applicable here. If you are filled with anxiety and resentment, that will impair your ability to be present and calm for your children. If you have your boundaries violated or mocked by an adult, then your children cannot believe you when you tell them their boundaries are important or valuable.

Attachment partnering and parenting go hand in hand, neither can be successful without the other. If any person is being hurt in the home, then all people are being hurt in some way. So even if you're sure you aren't experiencing severe domestic violence, this concept is still an important one for all of us to learn about and to spend time working on in our lifetimes. Just as we are always working to improve our parenting skills, we need to be working on our partnerships.

TherapyTherapy is obviously a common sense step for any situation. The common scenario I hear is that the other partner refuses to attend therapy. If that's the case, then go alone. Bring your children to therapists. If at all possible, look for a therapist specifically experienced in "dysfunctional family dynamics" as not all therapists have the same level of training and might waste your time and money. Go consistently, encourage your partner to go consistently, and create an action plan with measurable progress so you can develop a sense of direction for the situation.

DBT, which stands for Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, is a vastly underutilized tool that can help anyone in any relationship, at any age and stage. That includes children! DBT is a multi-faceted therapeutic approach focused on mindfulness and emotional integration. The beauty of this technique is that you can learn about it privately and work on it in your own home. You can even find DBT parenting books, which should be a must read for any parents struggling with behavioral disorders in their children.

For those relationships mired in disrespect that are not tipped into the domestic violence category, a simple approach can turn your ship around quickly. Sit down together for a family meeting and lay out clear standards of respect for all family members. Holding yourself and your partner accountable can have a dramatic influence on your children, and develop a strong sense of trust and respect. Discuss together how arguments can be resolved without hurting others. Establish a code phrase that any member can use to diffuse a situation. For example, "I'm taking the dog for a walk" lets the other person know things need a cool down phase without resorting to withdrawal or rejection techniques. Some families designate the bathroom as a safe space, meaning if someone enters the bathroom, they are not to be bothered or chased down.

Connect the dotsLook for opportunities to model non-violent, healthy interactions to your children. When you and your partner have a disagreement, provide observational statements to your children. Don't hide your situation or lie to your children. "Your dad is upset about the schedule change. He let me know in a respectful way, didn't he? I really appreciate that. Sometimes people make mistakes, including me. When we say things honestly but kindly, we can talk about our issues without hurting each other." One of the frequent ways I connect the dots is when my young sons act violently. "She took your toy, so you hit her. But, hitting hurts the other person and doesn't get your toy back. You know that Mommy and Daddy don't hit you, and we don't hit each other. Let's try a different way."

Appeal to the partnerIn many of the cases shared with me, the partnerships have strongly defined roles. One person is clearly the feeler, and the other person is clearly the thinker. This can cause conflict because one person intuitively feels that disrespect is wrong. But the other person wants proof. Just as you might have had to provide all of the medical literature on spanking to show that spanking is wrong for the child, you can also provide medical literature on the detriments of witnessing disrespect in the adult relationship. Using a therapist as a third party mediator is often helpful in this situation, too. It's important to research issues such as gaslighting and projection because you might need to distinguish between a reasonable request for information versus an abusive tactic to control the situation.

When all else failsIf looking at attachment parenting through the lens of attachment partnering is a catalyst for you, don't shy away from the difficult path ahead. Sometimes, our fierce attempts as mothers to protect our children might also serve as a way to distract us and keep our minds busy. If you begin to see that your home is not safe and cannot be healed right now, then it's time to be responsive to your children on a deeper level by moving them to safety and taking a new path.

Whatever your situation, if you've been interested in or practicing attachment parenting, now is a great time to expand the concept and connect the dots with your adult relationships. And ultimately, all relationships. Feeling safe, secure, and stable in a relationship is vital for human health and happiness. From the inside out, and from the outside in, the more we see the connections, the more we can promote a consistent way of living out our values for our children.

*Please note, the pronouns in this article are set to the largest audience of my blog. Violence in families can and does happen no matter the gender or sex. Also, all of the hyperlinked articles open in a new page so you can access them easily. I encourage you to read every one of them!

Related on the blog:

Relationship books for gentle partnering

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Buy one entree, get one free at Chipotle: GO NOW!

Play a simple memory card game, enter your name and phone number, and receive a text offer for B1G1F from Chipotle!

*B1G1F means Buy One, Get One Free in coupon world.

Here is the link to play the game. You can get one offer per unique phone number!

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Sometimes Sugar Cravings Indicate Low Vitamin C

We all learned about vitamin C deficiency in school. It's the infamous scurvy! Those pirates on the ship were totally losing it and no one knew why, but thanks to the wonders of scientists in the early part of the century, we figured it out and they all lived happily ever after.

The problem is, vitamin C deficiency doesn't always have to mean scurvy. You don't have to lose your teeth or die of simple infection to claim deficiency. The borderline and depleted cases have chronic implications for your health, too. And what's worse is that those go unseen and dismissed as getting older or just having a bad month.

When it comes to sugar cravings, you can find plenty of theories on the internet. And I actually promote a few of them, too. So I'm not writing this article to claim that other reasonable theories are wrong. Rather, I want to draw your attention to an overlooked reason that might explain some things.

Why would sugar cravings be associated with low vitamin C? Keeping it simple here, think of cell receptors. They are similar to keypads for garage door locks. You enter in the code, and your door opens. Receptors tend to only work with specific codes for specific substances. Sometimes, they take a few specific codes. Sometimes, they are only supposed to take one code, but they happen to be easily tricked by a look alike. This is similar to the issue between iodine and radiation for our thyroids.

When it comes to sugar (glucose) and vitamin C, they both are regulated by the same receptor. The GLUT-1 receptor opens in response to glucose and vitamin C, allowing them to pass through the gate so to speak. But, see, GLUT-1 likes to let glucose in first, and more of it. This slows down vitamin C, which could cause a downward spiral.

And that's not the only way the body can spin slowly out of balance when it comes to sugar and vitamin C. Researchers have closely studied how vitamin C interacts with serum lipids (aka cholesterol levels) and glucose levels. They've learned that vitamin C helps to bring these two levels into balance again. The big picture here is that things such as type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndromes tend to be downward spirals. The body pumps out insulin, develops resistance, can't control glucose levels, pumps out more insulin, resistance increases, liver and gallbladder start to pass out from the effort, and weight gain slowly continues, and so on and so forth.

What that means over on our side will help bring this together: Let's say you're experiencing some mild sugar issues. Maybe you're stressed out at work. Maybe you had a family tragedy. Maybe years of childbearing and lactation (both glucose based processes) have you tilted a little out of balance. You reach for sugar. For energy, for satiation. You begin to realize it's turning into a vicious cycle and a bit of an addiction. You eat more refined sugars, carby, starchy, processed foods. You need that quick energy. As you continue to do this, your glucose levels slowly spin out of balance, insulin resistance develops, and your organs start to get mighty tired.

At the same time...this means your vitamin C levels are being depleted! You're increasing your glucose levels, and keeping them high. That clogs the GLUT-1 receptors. And it slows down the hexose monophophate (HMP) shunt, leading to a weaker immune response. And meanwhile, you are already under chronic stress and your body is feeling inflamed and out of balance, so it needs maximum immune system efficiency!

You might be experiencing borderline deficiency or otherwise have low vitamin C stores if you show any of these symptoms:

  • Tiredness and weakness.
  • Muscle and joint pains.
  • Easy bruising.
  • Spots that look like tiny, red-blue bruises on your skin.
  • Dry skin.
  • Splitting hair.
  • Swelling and discoloration of your gums.
  • Sudden and unexpected bleeding from your gums.
  • Nosebleeds.
  • Poor healing of wounds.
  • Problems fighting infections.
  • Bleeding into joints, causing severe joint pains.
  • Changes in your bones.
  • Tooth loss.
  • Weight loss.
If you find yourself stuck in the sugar rut of crashing and then reaching for more fast, refined sugars and carbs, consider looking closely at your vitamin C intake. You'd be surprised at how much your body really needs if storage is low or in the face of chronic stress or illness. Our bodies do not make any vitamin C, we must obtain it from diet. To make matters worse, vitamin C degrades easily such as from heat, cooking, and storage. Obtaining a medicinal level of vitamin C from your diet means you need to eat tons of fresh, raw fruits and vegetables.

That's something I want to emphasize here. I am on the side of eating a healthy, fresh diet as a default. The thing is, when you've experienced a trauma, or slowly brought the body out of balance with depleted nutrition, a default diet is usually not going to repair the damage. It's a healthy choice nonetheless, but you do need to look at targeted, high quality supplementation in the face of an actual issue. I can't dispense medical advice, and recommend working with a care provider who can develop a unique plan for you. I just wanted to highlight that eating vitamin C rich fruits a couple times a day is not going to address an issue that's been spinning out of balance in your body for months or even years.

This study here helps to underscore what I'm saying. The researchers gave 500mg and 1000mg of vitamin C to their participants. They concluded that 500mg showed no change. Whereas 1000mg did show change. To put that into perspective, one of the highest, easily available foods in vitamin C is the bell pepper. It has 90-95mg of vitamin C in one pepper. So you'd have to eat roughly 10 peppers daily to reach the level necessary to show beneficial change in this study! (Which might or might not be a great goal for you...I'm just providing perspective here.)


The next time you feel an urge to eat refined sugars or to reach for a quick fix, taking more vitamin C in that moment likely will not help. The relationship between sugar and vitamin C means the issue is indirect. And switching to a raw fruit or vegetable that is high in vitamin C but also high in fructose might not help much, either, although it's a great way to begin developing new habits. This is true for orange juice or other fruit juices, too. Despite the vitamin C content, they pump a lot of sugar into your body all at once when you might already be struggling with glucose balance.

 A healthier approach to this downward spiral would be to start your day out with vitamin C. As you begin to replenish your stores, you might notice sugar cravings lessen. You might also feel more energy, clearer thinking, and better digestion. This is because vitamin C is super important for your adrenals. And so I've saved the best for last here.

Vitamin C is super important for adrenal function and health. When you realize this, you start to see why the lemon juice and salt trick helps people. It's often recommended that a person drink lemon juice and himalayan salt every morning when struggling with adrenal fatigue. Lemon juice = vitamin C! Your adrenals use up vitamin C when they secrete cortisol. The adrenal connection is a big topic, so I won't try to tack that onto this already long winded article. Instead, I encourage you to check out this writer. I looked at about 20 adrenal articles and found this one informative without being overwhelming or confusing. Check it out when you have time so you can continue to see all of the contributing factors to this situation.

Suffice to say, if you've been experiencing high levels of stress for a long time, your body might have burned through vitamin C stores. Which means the adrenals are struggling. And once your body gets low on vitamin C, it begins to recycle it desperately. This process requires using glutathione. Those of you who follow my writings on methylation health know why this is bad news. Glutathione is produced in the methyl cycle and stored in the liver to break down/convert/detox dozens of substances in the body. Low glutathione is a major health problem.

So as you start to look at all the different pieces here, you can see how the body experiences a slow, downward spiral that drags more and more parts of the system into the free fall. As each vitamin or mineral is depleted, the cofactors become involved. As one system fails, the back up goes online and then it begins to fail, too.

All of this is to point out a key principle that I hope you take to heart: When your body has been stressed, and you've been pushed to the max every day for many months and perhaps years now, and when your body demands that you feed it a fast fix of "junk food" or "bad sugar"...

You are not a bad person.
You are not suffering from poor self control.
You are not lazy, weak, or stupid.

In fact, your body is exhibiting an intense, carefully designed process to survive. It has operated under extreme conditions for a long time and it is still determined to do its absolute best for you, no matter what is depleted, no matter what is imbalanced. It is going to get up and keep going for another day. Your body is hard working, clever, and strong, beyond what you can imagine.

Stop beating yourself up, and start making small changes every day to give yourself the best chance at success. Start to make these changes not to continue to deprive your body even more, but to uplift, energize, and love your body all the more.

Wake up tomorrow and ditch all processed or sugary foods
Suck down tons of fructose-based fruits and fruit juices
Tell yourself you will be 100% sugar free from now on
Call yourself names or play the blame and shame game

Consider starting every day with a vitamin C and/or adrenal support
Slowly reduce or replace your quick fixes with small steps that work for you, such as replacing a candy or pastry with a raw, fresh fruit and a protein dip
Focus on increasing other food groups instead of trying to eliminate demonized foods
Meditate on how strong and complex your body is, and how much it has been working for you

Some non-medical-advicey supplement ideas...remember to always DYOR! (Do Your Own Research!) These are a couple products that I wouldn't mind taking myself, or have already tried. Don't overwhelm yourself trying to find the bestest. When starting out, take baby steps. Taking the first step is the best of all.

Natural Calm Plus
This product has a ton of magnesium, but rounds it out with cofactors including vitamin C. I've found a lot of depleted women and children respond positively to this product. This flavour also tastes good to anyone who generally likes soda. It does NOT have enough C in it to stand alone, but is still a great starter or addition.

Nutribiotic Electro-C
This unassuming bottle is actually impressive. I tried this one myself. It contains a good starting dosage of vitamin C, and also supportive amounts of converted calcium, magnesium, zinc, chloride, sodium, and potassium. I liked this plus the additional magnesium of Natural Calm Plus so I mix them together for a soda-like drink.

Kirkland Vitamin C
It seems 99.9999% of my audience shops at Costco, so I wanted to include this one. It has a good starting dosage, it contains a blend of bioflavonoids to help uptake, and it's cheap. Only downside is that you have to grind this one up for kids or people who don't swallow horse pills.

Lypo-spheric C
This is a liposomal product, which is purported to be better absorbed. It tends to be a lot more expensive. Some people swear by it, others don't notice any difference. If your budget allows for it, you might find it worth trying.

As always, I don't make any money on product ideas and am not affiliated with any companies. You're always welcome to donate if you like my work, though!

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

B is for Birth Control and B Vitamins

You've probably seen the news by now, even from sites such as the New York Times, talking about the connection between birth control and depression. Judging by the thousands of comments around the internet, most women are already quite aware of what the scientists concluded: taking birth control seems to cause mood imbalance, especially towards depression and anxiety.

But, why? We could put the blame on several mechanisms, and really, most of the theories have merit. Messing with a complex endocrine function in our bodies has consequences, that much is obvious to us.

What I wanted to do today is focus on one particular angle. B vitamins. And B vitamins means methylation. B vitamins, especially B6, B9, and B12, basically run the methylation cycle. Now, you can find a lot of articles on the internet about methylation, epigenetics, nutrigenomics, etc. So I'm not going to move into the detailed, technical stuff. I want to keep this simple and easy to digest because I think the B vitamin angle is being completely overlooked, and this means women are falling through the cracks. To add to the offense, B vitamins are beneficial for hundreds of reasons, fairly inexpensive compared to other medical treatments, and can prevent or heal all kinds of conditions. So the idea that women are suffering with chronic complaints such as depression, anemia, neurological symptoms, fatigue, etc, and no one is saying a word about the B vitamin connection really "chaps my ass" as my husband would say.

Hormonal contraceptives (birth control) and hormonal replacement therapy (HRTs, often used for infertility or menopause complaints) can drain your B vitamin storage. That's the long and short of it. I'm not saying that using these products will always cause severe deficiency. It's simply an overlooked factor that can add to a woman's individual burden, creating a nutritional cascade.

Are you familiar with The Business of Being Born? Remember in the movie when they discuss how the woman is given pitocin, then given an epidural for the pain, and then the heart beat dips, so she's rushed off to a c-section? They called that a birth cascade. I like to talk about nutritional cascades on my blog, and taking birth control can be a factor in a nutritional cascade as it encourages the body to drain B vitamins. A similar situation happens during real pregnancy, too, so as to provide nutrients to the fetus. Depletion can also occur after birth in order to create nutritious milk for breastfeeding.

To make matters worse, most women are heavily encouraged to take synthetic folic acid and other unconverted B vitamins such as cyanocobalamin when trying to conceive, during pregnancy, and while breastfeeding. These low quality vitamins are difficult for the body to use, but they attach to the receptors, clogging them. Think of it as the same annoying situation of trying to get onto the internet in your teen years but hearing that dreadful dial tone instead because someone was on the phone. The body is stuck with low quality vitamins and that makes it harder to absorb anything else such as from any healthy foods the woman is eating.

When you pause to think about the chain of events in a woman's childbearing years, the cascade is obvious. A woman begins her childbearing years using birth control, which begins to slowly but steadily deplete her nutritional stores. She stops taking them momentarily because she's ready to conceive. She probably stops them only 1 or 2 cycles before conceiving unless she's experiencing fertility challenges. That means she goes from one depletion to the next.

During pregnancy, her body drains all available resources to the fetus. She obediently takes her low quality prenatal vitamins every day, clogging up the receptors and limiting the amount of nutrition her body can absorb. Then she gives birth and is exposed to some medications that can deplete B vitamins even more, such as anesthesia. She also likely takes pain medications during the birth or right afterwards, and they are almost always the kind that damage the liver. This is important because liver health is connected to methylation and hormonal balance.

Finally, she's determined to breastfeed, which is another slow and steady depletion as the body scavenges for any nutritional stores available to transfer through the milk to the baby. She takes a prenatal or women's multivitamin while breastfeeding, which causes more clogging.

Then six weeks after birth, she goes in for a check up that almost all childbearing women are familiar with: the birth control check up. That's what it is unless she has a very Catholic doctor or very natural midwife. She goes onto birth control 6 weeks after birth, while breastfeeding a baby and taking low quality vitamins. That means she has now hit the magical moment where she has assumed multiple burdens at the same time.

Do you know when Post Partum Depression (PPD) is most commonly diagnosed? The 3 month mark. Yep. She goes in for birth control at the 2 month mark and within one cycle, she's back in the clinic for depression.

Is it any wonder now that the cascade has been laid out here? How much burden can one hard working mom take before beginning to struggle?

If women were given full, informed consent about methylation health, the burden of various childbearing choices, and the risks and downsides of low quality vitamins, they could potentially prevent this cascade. A focus on bioavailable nutrition during the tough moments might really be just enough to help.

Even more concerning is the fact that B vitamin depletion is transferred to the child. If the mom doesn't have enough B vitamins, the child won't. Either due to exclusively breastfeeding, or due to using formula since formula contains the same low quality vitamins that clog up the receptors. B vitamin depletion in children often takes on many forms and is also easily overlooked or misdiagnosed. As an example, here is one article that discusses the issue of B12 deficiency misdiagnosed as autism:

"The signs and symptoms of pediatric B12 deficiency frequently mimic those of autism spectrum disorders. Both autistic and brain-injured B12- deficient children have obsessive-compulsive behaviors and difficulty with speech, language, writing, and comprehension. B12 deficiency can also cause aloofness and withdrawal. Sadly, very few children presenting with autistic symptoms receive adequate testing for B12 deficiency. Infants and young children are often misdiagnosed. Irritability or gastric symptoms of B12 deficiency can be easily mistaken for colic or gastroenteritis. The apathetic or dull infant can be mistaken for an “easy” or “good” baby, and “late walkers” or “late talkers” can be considered variants of normal development. "

So as you continue to hear about birth control and the depression link in the upcoming weeks, please take a few moments out of your day to spread the word to other women about the B Vitamin Cascade. Encourage your friends and family to research B vitamins, methylation health, and the differences between converted and unconverted B vitamins. If you've become aware of a potential B vitamin deficiency, make sure you are looking at higher quality supplements with converted forms, and that you're working with someone who is knowledgeable about methylation challenges. Health officials, the CDC, doctors, even midwives and nurses are not speaking up about this issue enough yet. And in the meantime, PPD, PPA, and PPP remain common diagnoses in our country, with thousands of women receiving a diagnosis every year.

The stigma of mental illness is still strong in our society, and it's often amplified for women struggling with a diagnosis alongside childbearing. Women often grapple with feelings of inferiority, of being defective, of not being good enough at motherhood. What an empowering and enlightening moment, for a woman to realize that sometimes, these issues are most likely not due to some inner defect or failure, but rather a mere level of nutrition at key points during her childbearing years. This can also encourage other women to develop a true level of empathy, as they begin to recognize that the difference between their mental health and the mental struggles of their sisters might merely be a lab value. And with the change of a value, with their own vitamin cascade, they, too, could end up struggling.

We can talk about this topic with our sisters and start to get ahead of this cascade right here, right now.

Below are some various medical studies and articles that help to create a rough picture of the connections to this cascade:

Pediatric Vitamin B12 Deficiency: When Autism Isn't Autism

How Birth Control Pills Affect Your Nutritional Needs

Mood disorder with mixed, psychotic features due to vitamin B12 deficiency

Chronic psychosis associated with vitamin B12 deficiency

Vitamin B12 Deficiency Manifested as Psychosis Without Anemia

Treatment of depression: time to consider folic acid and vitamin B12

Related posts on my blog:

MTHFR and alcohol

Is folic acid the only and best choice?

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Target Cartwheel: 50% off Suja Organic Cold-Pressed Juices

Check your Cartwheel app! Target released a 50% off Cartwheel offer for Suja juices. Even better, you can submit your receipt to Ibotta and receive a $1 rebate! If you have any peelies or tags (coupons directly placed on the product) you might snag free or NF (nearly free) juices!

They are organic, cold-pressed, and raw. I've noted two cons. One is that they are in plastic bottles. Yeah, sorry about that. Second is that some of them have a LOT of sugar. As in, 44-60 grams per serving. Those who press or slow masticate know that this can be a pitfall due to trying to make raw juice taste "good" so just keep an eye out for that. They have 3-4 options that are low sugar including a classic green bottle. I prefer the purple one as it seems to taste the best but has a moderate 6 grams of sugar. Other than that, $1 a bottle is a steal for cold-pressed, organic juices so I'm definitely not trying to nitpick!

If you don't have Ibotta yet, please consider signing up through my referral link here. It's an app where you receive direct cash back for purchasing certain items. Obviously, the trick is to get things with coupons, on sale, or items you already need. Once you reach $20, you can buy giftcards or have it transferred straight to paypal.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Tuna, Vaccines, and Fillings

One of the biggest mistakes people make is looking only at one toxin, one path of injury, or one environmental factor. It's a big mistake I call the "one myth." Don't fall for the mistake of "one toxin, one danger, one exposure." We damage transgenerationally, from one generation to the next, while living in an accumulative and multi-faceted environment.

Some common statements that fall into the one myth include:

"Well, my child is vaccine free and still has XYZ condition." (What about previous generations?)
"He only had one vaccine."
"She had antibiotics one time and I gave her probiotics."
"He's never, ever used fluoride products but his teeth show fluorosis."
"If it's true that this toxin/vaccine/medicine/method causes damage, then all kids would be hurt!"

It's all about how many cards are stacked in one direction. We've discussed this with a few other examples. For reference, see my article on MTHFR and circumcision here. Another one about FASD is here. I call this situation an "epigenetic cascade" since it frequently involves multiple systems and levels from the cellular to metabolic and from the immune system to the digestive system.

Those of you who have researched birth choices in our society recognize a birth example of a cascade: When the woman enters the hospital too soon, she ends up consenting to medically contraindicated pitocin, which then requires epidural anesthesia to withstand. This can develop into a downward spiral where she is rushed off to the OR for an emergency c-section. The idea of epigenetic cascades is similar.

When it comes to a cascade, if the person cannot see the many puzzle pieces and how they fit together, tracing the path back through the multiple factors to begin healing is difficult if not impossible.

I have another example for you today.

Here's your case profile: Take a mother who was vaccinated in the 70s, 80s, or even early 90s. Remember that ethylmercury in the product called thimerosal was used in pretty much all standard vaccines until thimerosal was slowly phased out starting in the late 90s. Ethylmercury is a specific form of mercury, different from what's in your tuna, with very little medical literature available to assure us of its safety. It was grandfathered in (let in the back door without stringent safety research) decades ago. You can read more about thimerosal here.

So anyways, here's this woman who got all her ethylmercury-containing vaccines. She also went to the university for a college education and perhaps she works in the healthcare industry, education industry, food industry, government sector/military, etc. This means she received recent vaccines for college and her job, so she was exposed to ethylmercury and then later exposed to various forms of aluminum.

As is normal for the majority of U.S. citizens with some level of health insurance, she has several silver amalgam fillings, which contain mercury. Research continues to show that these silver fillings emit mercury vapors. Additionally, because she is pregnant after a lifetime of SAD (Standard American Diet) and receives inadequate or no dietary education from her OBGYN, her teeth are starting to experience enamel hypoplasia, releasing small chunks of the fillings. This leads her dentist to encourage new mercury fillings during pregnancy, assuring her that they are safe. She consents.

The CDC now tells healthcare workers that all pregnant women regardless of family history, medical history, or any other epigenetic or health factors, must receive the flu vaccine and TDaP vaccine during each pregnancy no matter how many pregnancies she has or how close together. You can read the CDC's statement here. It's important to note that several brands of the flu vaccine contain thimerosal (49% ethylmercury).

If the woman is very knowledgeable and a strong advocate, she will know to request thimerosal-free flu vaccines. She doesn't know there's a difference and her doctor doesn't mention it, so she receives the brand that contains 25-26mcg of ethylmercury. Or let's say she does know and she fights for a mercury-free version, but her doctor tells her that supplies are limited and only the mercury version is available, so she relents. Her doctor also stocks the the TDaP vaccine that still has trace amounts (up to .5mcg) of ethylmercury in it, along with a heavy dosage of aluminum far beyond the EPA safety limit. The two heavy metals might react synergistically, but she isn't informed about this. She gets all the suggested vaccines during pregnancy.

She gives birth to a baby without obvious incident. Her child shows signs of mild midline defects such as tongue tie, sacral dimples, a deviated septum, and rib cage abnormalities. She is unaware that these small differences mean anything and none of the health care providers involved with the birth or post-partum care are educated on the topic, or otherwise don't tell her. She consents to the CDC's standard childhood vaccination schedule, so her newborn receives multiple vaccines roughly every 2 months from birth onwards. This includes some brands that still have trace amounts of ethylmercury and hundreds of micrograms of aluminum in various forms.

Her child also receives tylenol before, during, and after his routine circumcision. You can read more about why tylenol is specifically damaging here. And around 6 months, she begins to supplement with formula and slowly weans him off human milk. He's exposed to synthetic vitamins, high levels of fluoride, aluminum, BPA, and perchlorate from the fluoride and tapwater.

As her child reaches age 1, he displays enamel hypoplasia and erosion in his baby teeth. This is a common issue due to a variety of factors such as dioxins accumulated in her milk, fluorosis from exposure to fluoride products, and the uterine exposures we just listed. She seeks help online and some people try to tell her that the tongue tie somehow caused it instead of rightly recognizing that they are comorbid conditions from all the factors we've discussed here, so she takes her child in to get the tongue tie surgically removed. She's instructed to give her 1 year old tylenol before and after the surgery for pain management so he experiences more liver damage and immune system damage.

She wants to be healthy on a budget and get her body back. So she eats 1-2 servings weekly of tuna during her pregnancy and continues after her baby is born. She quickly begins feeding her toddler tuna, too. Tuna contains high amounts of methylmercury, even higher than previously believed.

What is the outcome? What do you see in this cascade? Do you understand now why saying something such as, "If vaccines were so bad, all children would have autism" is scientifically absurd? Do you understand now why some kids have seizures and some do not? Why some children are covered head to toe in eczema and others are not? Our bodies are not all the same. Our lives are not all the same. Our mothers, grandmothers, and ancestors are not all the same. Our medical conditions are not all the same. Our diets are not all the same.

Our medicine should never be all the same.
Don't fall for the "one myth" when it comes to epigenetics, nutrigenomics, and your child's individual lifetime exposure to toxins and medical interventions.

"Generally, the results indicate that prenatal exposure to metallic vapor causes alterations to both spontaneous and learned behaviours, suggesting some deficit in adaptive functions. Coexposure to methylmercury, which by itself did not alter these functions at the dose given in this study, served to significantly aggravate the changes."

Related on the blog:

One size does NOT fit all

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Our First Day Back to School!

Last year's school photo

I've seen a variety of creative ideas for back to school photos that run from celebrating to condemning the season.

Although we emphasize child-led learning at every stage and we are "officially" life learning (a less politicized and dogmatized form of unschooling), we still choose to celebrate this season, looking at it as a positive form of social acceptance and cultural reference. The kids call it "leveling up" and are excited to post with their board.

Partially for great memories, and partially for their school portfolios, I also compile all of our learning-related photos into a yearbook using Shutterfly. It creates a beautiful, hardcover photobook that tells the story of our school year. If you search around, you can almost always find free codes!

We recently celebrated our first day back to school with a pool party, movie night, and dinner at Ihop. Everyone is excited to get into a loose but helpful structure as we prepare for the weather to switch over and the pools and splash pads to close. Our traditionally schooled friends (at home or schools) left in August so my kids are ready for a different rotation of activities and more field trips compared to the laidback days we've had in the creek, forests, and pools.

Do you take back to school photos? Or "not" back to school photos? Or do you have another kind of tradition? I'm curious to see what other alternative schoolers are doing out there!

Movie Night!

Late night pancakes! 

Friday, September 2, 2016

Target Cartwheel Vitamix Stack! New 10% off Cartwheel + Vitamix Clearance! Add now!

Have you been stalking the Vitamix models at Target? The Professional Series 200 went on official clearance a couple weeks ago! They are currently holding at $307 in my region. (Remember that clearance timing and tiers varies by location.) That's over $100 off the original price. And if they stay put long enough, they will get marked down again and again.

I confirmed the markdown in my region on August 19th, and
confirmed it's still standing at $307 last night. So I'm hopeful the next
markdown will occur this week!

Even better, Target Cartwheel released an offer specifically for 10% off Clearance Small Kitchen Appliances. If you find a Vitamix on clearance, you can stack the Cartwheel offer to save even more. This Cartwheel expires on September 9th, so if you are in the market for a new Vitamix, be sure to check out the clearance at Target ASAP. Also remember to add the Cartwheel offer to your list right away since popular offers can be limited.

Remember the #1 Slick Dealing Rule: NEVER CALL ON A DEAL! You need to step into your local store(s) to scope out the potential clearance for yourself. Happy Hunting!

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

How every parent is hurting their child in the car and how to fix it

We talk extensively about carseat safety and driving safety on this blog. One area we haven't discussed yet is the issue of lordosis and kyphosis in developing skeletal systems.

One thing parents realize in the carseat debate is how children have developing skeletal systems. This is one of the main reasons rearfacing to the max of your carseat limits is important. Ossification begins around age 4 and is fairly complete around age 6.

This means proper posture is also important for shaping our children's spines. And carseats for most children are a daily, accumulative experience that can shape their spines for better or worse.

First, when purchasing a carseat at any stage (infant, toddler, preschool, etc) it's important to make sure the seat provides ample room for the hips and shoulders. Narrowing and lengthening the legs during infancy and early toddlerhood can increase complications related to hip dysplasia besides causing discomfort. Fortunately, most seats on the market have updated to provide a wide, cocoon shape much like a baseball glove that encourages a neutral spine position when rearfacing.

Incidentally, the issue of spinal health is also another reason to stay committed to rearfacing for as long as possible. When forwardfacing, the child's legs dangle. This has a tendency to encourage the pelvis to tilt forwards and downwards, following the weight of the legs and feet. This will cause increased lordosis of the lower back, which is a common modern lifestyle issue that can cause chronic lower back pain. Although your small child might only be complaining about pins and needles or feeling sore in the hips, being forced to sit forward prematurely every day can potentially mold the spinal cord into an unhealthy position, setting your child up for a lifetime of complaints.

*Before I continue, I want to note that projectiles in the vehicle are a valid concern and to research the topic of projectiles. Keeping your car clean and any moving objects secured is important to make sure they don't fly into your child during a vehicle collision. Using books and electronic devices in the vehicle is a controversial topic. Some CPSTs and carseat advocates promote a zero tolerance approach. Others feel the risks are small and having an occupied child is also important. This is something you as a parent need to research and conclude on for your own family. Since the majority of families I work with do use books and electronic devices, I want to address how to do this while promoting optimal spinal health.

When a child is sitting in her carseat, both forward facing and rearfacing, the natural tendency is to drop the book or device down onto her lap to rest it there. This causes the head, neck, and shoulders to follow course, drooping forward and tilting downwards.

The child could potentially hold this position for hours, especially during long trips or back and forth commutes. Young children are unlikely to periodically check themselves, lifting their heads up to stretch and reposition the spine and muscles. Instead, they tend to hyperfocus and remain in one position for long periods of time while their attention is on the book or device.

Think about how much time children spend in a carseat, and how long they might keep their shoulders bunched, neck straightened, and head tilted down! We are talking about a major factor in their spinal health here. As the child hunches forward and leans his neck down, his vertebrae are straightening out. This loss of cervical curve has long term consequences, including chronic migraines, tingling in the arms, and reduced muscle strength in the core and neck.

Even worse, a fresh study from February found that people with a loss of good lordosis (curvature) in their necks had smaller vertebral arteries. This means their brains are receiving a restricted blood supply. I don't even have to spell out why this is a danger to your child's developing brain!

Besides the potential damage to the development of their spines, tilting the head forward is a specific risk in a vehicle. If a child is sitting against the harness and out of the shell of the seat when a collision occurs, their head, neck, and shoulders might experience an increased jolt and move a farther distance before impacting with the carseat. So not only is this position hurting your child chronically, it can also increase acute, severe injuries if you get into a car accident!

What can you do when it comes to carseats and spines? Bring a pillow pet, or any related stuffed animal or small blanket that easily bunches up into a pile. It's cheap, simple, and easily accepted by the child. Place the item on their lap so they can rest the device onto the item. This raises their book or device up higher, allowing them to return to a neutral spine position. This works for rearfacing and forwardfacing children. Here are some before and after photos:

This rearfacing toddler is showing a down ward tilt that involves his head, neck, and upper back:

 With the pillow pet, he immediately returns to a neutral spinal posture, aligning his neck and back again.

Here is a forward facing elementary aged child showing a typical head tilt to read:

With the simple addition of a pillow pet, she automatically moves her head back and releases the tension in her shoulders and chest:

Remember: Protect their necks: grab a pet! You can view this topic in vlog form here:

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The Art of Patient Parenting: It's Time to Say Goodbye to Instant Gratification

We have lots of names for parenting methods in the natural world. Gentle parenting, attached parenting, non-punitive parenting, respectful parenting, Christ-based parenting, positive parenting... the list goes on and on!

I've used many of these labels before, but they seem to miss the deeper truth. And sometimes, I've come across parents trying to parent to the label, with good intentions. But again, it misses something.

Yesterday, I was reflecting on this missing element. I think it's patience. Patience, perseverance, foresight. These things are fading away in our society of instant gratification. When we think of instant gratification, our minds might wander to things such as expecting beautiful latte art a minute after ordering at a drive thru, expecting a big document to download immediately, and expecting access to ten seasons of a TV show instantly without any commercials or lag.

That's not the downside to instant gratification. That's not what worries me. This way of living in the here and now is damaging to certain higher ideals, such as marriages, good wine, and fulfilling careers. Even more so, has anyone noticed the art of patience belongs in the very depths of parenting? Our society glorifies instant gratification in parenting.

We are conditioned to believe that children must obey, and NOW. Children must be born perfect, they must perform perfectly, and it must happen right this moment. To delay is to fail. If I tell my child it's time to go, then that means RIGHT NOW. I am supposed to tell my children to stop that crying this MINUTE. Get up off the ground at the count of THREE SECONDS. Jump the MOMENT you hear my voice. Get over whatever IT is and do as I say IMMEDIATELY.

When parents decide what is right or good for a child, they then set about on a path to achieve that as soon as possible. Not only in the day to day parenting with threats, bribes, and even direct physical hitting, but also for bigger skills through lessons, tutors, remedial classes and exercise. It all becomes a flurrying reality for the child so that a skill or behavior is incorporated as soon as humanly possible.

And children for the most part can do this. That's not what I'm denying. If you tell a child to stop crying RIGHT NOW and you enforce that with glares, threats, even physical pain, most children can stop crying RIGHT NOW. Did anyone ask if that's really the path we want to take as parents, though? What are we losing to gain instant satisfaction?

The art of patient parenting is about looking at the process itself and paying attention to the long term more than the short term performance. It's about realizing that children are people today, and they are aging slowly and deliberately, coming into their own place in the universe. Our NOW NOW NOW expectations might be attainable, but at what cost?

As summer slowly ebbs into autumn and the leaves begin to drift down into the swimming pool, I sit here, reflecting on one such incident where patient parenting bore fruit. See, at the beginning of summer, my four year old son could happily climb into the shallow end of the pool in his life jacket and briefly dip his face into the water. I knew he had inside him the ability to do more. As his parent, I knew with confidence that he was capable of swimming independently, not only by his age and stage but also his innate abilities. I acknowledged that, but instead of giving into the desire for instant gratification, I set about to discipline myself some more on the art of patient parenting.

The thing about patient parenting is that it's as much about the gradual development of the parent as it is about the child. I spent the entire summer patiently taking my children to the pool nearly every day. I disciplined myself, working hard to provide a fun, relaxed environment so that he was excited to get into the pool consistently. I dedicated myself to getting up off that relaxing lounge chair and into the chilly water, playing with him instead of barking orders at him. His development inched forward, led by his internal motivation. Which is the best motivation in the world. It's the one we as parents need to realize is worth unlocking and worth protecting at all costs.

As the days went by, he shed his lifejacket. He moved from a dog paddle to full strokes. He started dipping under the water for dive sticks. Soon enough, he was itching to cross the rope to the 10ft area. I again had to discipline myself, to watch him, to prevent any anxiety from seeping over to him. And then it happened. One day, he saw DH diving into the water and asked to learn this "trick" as he called it. And my husband stood on the edge, giving him basic pointers. And my four year old vaulted head first into 10ft of water as if he had been told to learn it NOW and to do it this way IMMEDIATELY and to OBEY ME.

But, that's where the similarity to instant gratification diverged. As his head popped up out of the water, his eyes wide as saucers, practically glowing with joy, he shouted out, "I DID IT! Mama, I DID IT!" He did it. For him. In his own way. On his own time. The final piece of patient parenting is realizing this isn't about you or for you. You're not raising a child to obey your every whim or comply to your every interest and need. You're in it for the long haul of dedication, of serving a little person as he slowly and painstakingly unwraps who he is and what he can do on his own terms and for his own benefit.

 The two outcomes appear the same on the surface. If you tell a child to listen to you and spank her a few times, chances are, she will listen to you. If you remind a child two thousand times, chances are, she will listen to you. Parents make a mistake when they only look at the surface outcome. They want that instant gratification and deem it as the most valuable aspect of parenting. But, what are they missing? What are we losing? Who are we breaking in our mad dash to get what we want when we want it?

When we short circuit a child's development, this includes impairing the growth of physical coordination to perform a task. It means running roughshod over the cognitive organization to problem solve. It means jumping ahead of the emotional maturity to process stress. It means throwing a wrench into the steady advancement of executive functioning skills to properly complete everything. Living in the here and now as parents means we are depriving our children of deep, long lasting self-actualization in their own lives.

We are receiving a hit of instant gratification at the expense of our children's futures! On the surface, instant parenting and patient parenting look similar and parents might ask, why should I waste my time helping a child ten thousand times over and over again? She needs to do what I say RIGHT NOW.  I know she can do it! She just needs to respect (fear) me and be made to do it. And this way of thinking misses out on every moment of the process.

This is forgetting that we are working with people. We are forging a life long relationship with someone who just learned to speak our language and is still trying to understand why water is wet and why her balloon floated away. This way of viewing the world looks at the very beginning of the race, right at the starting line, and forgets to set a healthy and successful pace for the next 26km.

Our need for instant gratification is dissolving the edges and contrasts of life. It's removing the beauty and meaning of growing together with others. We're chugging down a $3 bottle of wine and saying it's the same as a decades-old Chateau Latour. It's all wine! Give it to me NOW! This is a problem because our thirst for immediate satiation in parenting involves immature, unprepared, unique people who depend on us in acute ways when they are young.

This isn't as trifling as arguing over vintage wines. This is arguing over the human journey, the very moments in daily life that shape every one of our neural connections, that etch wounds and love into the fabric of our being.

When we start to value people over instant gratification, we will recognize why helping someone ten thousand times is the more loving and wiser path. When we start to understand the life long implications of building healthy habits, emotionally validating others, and creating multi-faceted skills versus immediate obedience, we will stop craving instant gratification from our children's performances and start looking for those little moments in life that seem to go on forever as they slowly weave together a strong, beautiful tapestry in the lives of our children. We're in this for the long haul, so don't run yourself breathless in the first mile.

 Related on the blog:

A Short Time Ago

Friday, June 17, 2016

YOU are the killer and it's time to admit it

Things are getting pretty intense lately. Several states have enacted or are attempting to enact increased mandatory vaccination laws. Some people, such as famed Paul Offit who receives royalties from one of the vaccines on the CDC childhood schedule, are even joining a campaign called "Let Them Live" that could have children removed from homes for not fully vaccinating.

The vitriol on social media is thick. If you don't vaccinate (or if you simply are researching, or partially vaccinating, or waiting to see if your child is healthy enough to withstand vaccination) you are pretty strongly harassed. I'm not talking merely about the namecalling and death threats. You can even find pages dedicated to hunting you down and reporting you to your employer, or people joining together to make multiple CPS reports on you.

With all the action and focus, vaccines must be THE hot topic, eh? I mean, we must be hemorrhaging as a country. And yet, a quick look at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC, you know, the official, reliable, government resource for those who are pro-vaccine) shows us this isn't the case.

What IS the leading killer in the U.S. of children?

Let's see what the CDC has to say:

"Motor vehicle crashes kill more children in the United States than
any other cause of death. In 2011, more than 800 children aged

14 years and younger died in motor vehicle crashes1

and almost 180,000 more were injured as motor vehicle passengers2. 

Most motor vehicle-related deaths and injuries are predictable and preventable." 

~CDC National Action Plan (PDF here.)

So, in 2011, the CDC counted 800 children's deaths and about 180,000 injuries from "predictable and preventable" car accidents. (This is referring to things such as texting and driving, drinking and driving, using prescription medications and driving, or driving while drowsy. All of these together are what NHTSA and CDC call "distracted driving.")

Let's take a quick look at the CDC numbers for measles cases in 2011. We'll go with measles here because it was prominently displayed in the media and it's one of the vaccine diseases that has a higher number of cases. This is an attempt to be fair and brief. You're welcome to research the CDC's MMWR yourself to find out statistics for other diseases.

For 2011, the CDC reported 220 cases and 0 deaths.

So in 2011, while 800 children were being killed on the roads, most of them due to "predictable and preventable" reasons, there were 220 total cases (including ADULTS) of non-fatal measles.

Parents, let me step out of my comfort zone here for moment to say something.

What the ever living FUCK. Yes, a FUCK is more than warranted here! This is pure and total bullshit, Parents! Put on your damn thinking caps! Take off the pro-vaccine tinfoil hats!

Our children are being maimed and slaughtered daily on the roads through what the CDC calls "predictable and preventable" ways. But we are being encouraged to freak out over vaccines? Or any odd story. How many of you shook and cried and gasped at the boy drowned by the alligator? How many of you got into a discussion on social media about the boy dragged around by the gorilla? How many of you know about that DAMN NAP NANNY RECALL that killed 6 children while being used improperly?!!

By the way! Idaho's carseat law is still outdated by decades
and only requires an infant rearfacing to age 1/20lbs!

We have officials such as Offit promoting campaigns and laws that could lead to having your children removed from your care if you don't fully vaccinate.

We have people calling for non-vaccinating families to go to jail. We have a group on Facebook the other day organizing to hunt down people who don't vaccinate and harass their employers so they lose their jobs! 

And all the while, our children are being MAIMED AND KILLED through "PREDICTABLE AND PREVENTABLE" car accidents!

Don't let them distract you! Don't let them manipulate your parental anxiety or waste your parental energy. Even if you are pro-vaccine, or partially vaccinate, look at the numbers. By sheer numbers and commonality alone, your anxiety and RAGE should be a thousand fold higher when it comes to car accidents.

Ask yourself this: are you rationally and thoroughly assessing the actual risk for your children? We have people rolling "mandatory vaccination laws" off their tongues without wincing. And yet children's deaths from car accidents alone are higher than the number of TOTAL non-fatal measles cases in the same year.

I have some straight up heavy hits to put on a plate for you people out there who have spent years mocking, harassing, or otherwise invalidating those who choose to keep their children's immune systems intact.

If you support compliant vaccination for all children, but you don't rearface to the absolute max of the seats on the market (50lbs/52"), you are a bamboozled hypocrite.

If you support compliant vaccination for all children, but you don't put your phone into the glovebox every time you drive, you are a hypocrite.

If you support compliant vaccination for all children, but you get behind the wheel while on prescription medication or painkillers, you are a hypocrite.

If you support compliant vaccination for all children, but you drive your car while feeling drowsy/tired, then you are a hypocrite.

If you support compliant vaccination for all children, but you get into your vehicle after drinking alcohol, then you are a hypocrite.

If you call antivaxxers dangerous to society, you are a hypocrite.

If you want "antivax parents" to have their children removed and forcibly vaccinated, you are a hypocrite.

YOU driving in your car distracted, tired, or drugged and drunk are the DANGER to society!



It didn't get better since 2011.

In 2013, the CDC reported 1,149 children's deaths. And 200 of them were caused directly by drunk driving.

In 2015, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) partnered with the CDC and urgently reported a sharper increase in deaths. They predict 2016 will be even worse.

The kicker? The NHTSA is saying cars have never been safer, and that these statistics are due to driver behavior!


When you drive distracted. When you drive impaired. When you fail to use the correct seat for your children and fail to buckle them in correctly. When you fail to get your seats checked for expiration and recalls. YOU ARE THE KILLER.

It's time to admit it. The NHTSA estimates we will break the 40,000 mark this year. (Read more from right here.)

That is to say, our government estimates that over FORTY THOUSAND PEOPLE will die this year alone from mostly "predictable and preventable" car accidents.

You want mandatory laws? You want parental rights restricted? Let's see you drop the hypocrisy and apply it to something maiming and killing thousands annually. You're the killer and it's time to admit it.

Here's my challenge to you, Parents! The next time you read a scary headline about some obscure, rare or strange event and feel your heart pounding, feel dizzy or sick, start to cry , etc. Take all of that anxiety, adrenaline, fear, and grief AND PUT IT INTO THE BACKSEAT OF YOUR VEHICLE!

  1. Rearface your children to the maximum height and weight limits allowed by the seat.
  2. Harness your child forward facing and booster train them.
  3. Keep them in a booster until they pass the 5 step test as tweens.
  4. Have your seats checked by a certified Child Passenger Safety Technician (CPST)
  5. Buckle your children in correctly EVERY TIME.
  6. Put your phone in the glovebox EVERY TIME.
  7. Never drive drowsy, drunk, or drugged.
  8. Tell other parents! Participate in events! Share links!
And this part is for the pro-vaccine trolls out there. The ones who visit my page to comment on vaccine articles. The ones who PM my parent friends and harass them. The ones who run violent or harassing pages and groups. I've noticed something. You're primarily male, white, 20-30 years old and appear childless.

Do you know what demographic that is for car accidents? Yep, you guessed right.

YOU are killing our children! And not only do you feel entitled to drive your vehicle unsafely, to potentially maim and kill innocent children. You also feel entitled to force parents to sacrifice their children for the "good of the herd" by which, let's not beat around the bush really mean my children are to be sacrificed for YOU. On the roads and in the doctor's office.

You, sirs, are malignant narcissists.