Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries!

Cherries, deliciously healthy!  A growing body of science reveals tart cherries, enjoyed as either dried, frozen cherries or concentrated cherry juice, have among the highest levels of disease-fighting antioxidants, when compared to other fruits. They also contain other important nutrients such as beta carotene (19 times more than blueberries or strawberries) vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, iron, fiber and folate.  From reducing insomnia and inflammation to relieving pain from muscle soreness to arthritis, this little fruit is worth looking into.

In a pilot study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food, scientists from the University of Pennsylvania, University of Rochester and the V.A. Center of Canandaigua tested the effects of tart cherry juice on the sleep habits of 15 older adults.  During the weeks the study participants drank the cherry juice, there were significant reductions in reported insomnia and drinking the tart cherry juice appeared to help people sleep through the night better, without waking up.  The researchers noted that tart cherries' natural sleep-enhancing benefits could be the result of their relatively high content of melatonin -- a natural antioxidant that has been shown in previous research to help induce sleepiness at night and wakefulness during the day.

Weight, Diabetes & Heart Disease:
University of Michigan research published in the Journal of Medicinal Food, suggests tart cherries may help to control weight and to prevent metabolic syndrome, the cluster of symptoms including high blood pressure and high cholesterol that ups the risk for type 2 diabetes and heart disease.  The researchers report that animals that received powdered tart cherries in their diet had lower total cholesterol, lower blood sugar, less fat storage in the liver, lower oxidative stress and increased production of a molecule that helps the body handle fat and sugar, compared with rats that didn’t receive cherries as part of an otherwise similar diet.

Pain Relief:
Oregon Health and Science University's Department of Medicine researchers have also found that drinking tart cherry juice for 7 days before and during a strenuous running event minimizes post-run muscle pain. Their study was published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.

Michigan State University study found that 20 tart cherries were at least as effective as other painkilling remedies, including aspirin, ibuprofen, and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). 

Arthritis & Gout:
Cherries' anthocyanidins have been shown to inhibit the activity of xanthine oxidase, the enzyme involved in the production of uric acid. Clinical studies have shown that consuming fresh cherries is very effective in lowering uric acid levels and preventing attacks of gout.
The Encyclopedia of Healing Foodsby Michael Murray, N.D. and Joseph Pizzorno, N.D

Cherries are a well-known remedy for gout, arthritis, and rheumatism. They also help overcome numbness in the limbs and paralysis as a result of rheumatism. Part of their action in rheumatic disorders occurs from their ability to eliminate excess body acids. Cherries are most beneficial for treating disorders accompanied by coldness, such as when the person feels perennially cold. Richly supplied in iron, cherries are often used to improve the blood and treat anemia.
Healing with Whole Foods: Asian Traditions and Modern Nutritionby Paul Pitchford

My mother gets relief from her arthritis pain by drinking concentrated tart cherry juice.  My family simply enjoys flavoring carbonated water, almond milk or teas with concentrated cherry juice just because it's yummy!  We also drink it to reduce inflammation from occasional illnesses/fevers.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Bold Mom or Crazy Mom?

Choosing alternative therapies & medicines for my daughter was not an easy road to travel.  It was scary leaving main stream medical & jumping into homeopathic and chiropractic care with little to no support.  However, the road we were on not only wasn't helping my sick little girl, I felt it was making her worse.  There had to be another way and I learned there were several ways.

My daughter was born healthy and exclusively breastfed until 8 months when we incorporated solids along with nursing.  Her first year of life was incredibly healthy, aside from RSV at 6 months she never contracted anything, not even a cold.  She was fully vaccinated at all the regular times and reacted harshly although I was told it was "normal".  Well, projectile vomiting, fevers and arched back screaming inconsolably for hours until passing out is not normal- wish I had known then...  Her 1st birthday marked the end of her healthy life as we knew it.  She contracted Roseola and suffered a febrile seizure.  It was downhill from there. 

I went back to work & enrolled my daughter in daycare where they gave her processed foods and cows milk.  Again, we continued with vaccinations, not knowing the part they played.  She began getting colds which then turned into upper respiratory infections which came with fevers and more febrile seizures.  Seizures would last 5-8 minutes, the 8 minutes ones being the scariest watching her turn blue.  The upper respiratory infections began to turn into pneumonia's and at one time she was hospitalized with pneumonia and influenza.  We thanked God if she went 2 weeks without some kind of illness.  Eventually the wheezing and allergies to cats & dust began and with it the eczema.  She was diagnosed with asthma at 18 months and put on daily meds.  The neurologist suggested we put her on a daily anti seizure medication to boot due to having approx 2 seizures per month for 9 months, even some without fevers.  By this time I'm a zombie, staying up nights making sure she's breathing, dreading any illness that would cause a seizure, scared to take her into public.  I hated how shaky and irritable the asthma meds made her.  I read the side effects on the anti seizure medication and that was the last straw or turning point, however you want to look at it.  The alternative journey began and we never looked back.

Feb 2008, 18mo
I began researching root causes for seizures and asthma as well as alternative therapies.  I eliminated certain foods and products known to worsen asthma and/or seizures and added organic whole foods, superfoods, herbs, essential oils & supplements.  I took her to a Cranial Sacral Therapist, a Homeopath and a Chiropractor.  I researched vaccines and adverse reactions & ultimately stopped vaccinating altogether.  I stopped giving her Tylenol/Motrin for fevers and used homeopathy this day, more than 2 years later I still get friction from family & friends on this even though homeopathy has more than proven to work better!  In all, within 2 weeks of alternative methods I was able to remove asthma meds forever.  In the 2-1/2 yrs since beginning alternative methods, she has had two short less than 2 minute seizures, and maybe 3-4 small colds.  Now that's nothing to sneeze at!  The knowledge I have gained on this journey not only helped my daughter immensely, but saved our pets too.  That's another blog down the road...

So, bold or crazy or both?  I've been called reckless, crazy, dangerous, but also determined, courageous, caring and super-mom.  Did you know that a pulmonologist can call CPS on you if they find out you stopped giving your child asthma meds?  I did what I needed to for my daughter, that's what moms do.  But what do I know?  I'm just a mom, not a doctor.  The proof is in the pudding, I have an incredibly healthy girl; asthma, allergies,eczema, illnesses, seizures are long gone.  She's my inspiration for this holistic blog :)
Christmas 2010, 4yrs old