So You Want a Natural Birth Experience?

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Are you hoping for a natural birth? The first step is to use that phrase carefully. I’ve seen some Doctors view a vaginal birth though started with an induction and an epidural a natural birth.  If you’re looking to experience a birth that begins on its own spontaneously,  without augmentation,  and without drugs then you’ll need to be very specific with your care provider in stating, “I want an un-medicated birth.” Interventions have their place but I would say that most of the time they are abused.

So you want an un-medicated birth? Here are some tips from a doula and mother of two, whom experienced a hospital birth with interventions and home birth with none.  Yes, you guessed it, in contrast my home-birth without interventions was easier, faster, and more joyful then my hospital birth with unnecessary interventions.

  1. Educate and prepare yourself. You are responsible for your birth and like the saying says, “if you do not know your options, then you have no options.” Some awesome books for reference are:

Natural Hospital Birth: The best of Both Worlds by Cynthia Gabriel

Ina May Gaskin’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin

The womanly Art of Breastfeeding by Diane Wiessinger, Diana West, Teresa Pitman

The Nourishing Traditions Book of Baby and Childcare by Sally Fallon Morell, Thomas S. Cowan

Hypnobirthing by Marie Mongan

Spiritual Midwifery by Ina May Gaskin

  1. Chose a place and care-provider that supports this decision. Ask people you’ve known that have had un-medicated births who they had for care-givers. Look at hospital policy and statistics, on induction, assisted vaginal births, and cesarean deliveries.  Once you found the right care-provider talk with them regularly about what you want/don’t want and make sure they are on board.
  2. Labor at home until you hit active labor. The hospital setting and the car ride usually slow down labor at which point Doctors will start pushing for pitocin or to break your water. Active labor begins at 6cm and is usually accompanied with contractions 2-3 minutes apart and 60-90 seconds in duration. There are other ways as well to check your dilation yourself without doing a cervical check. There are some great articles here and here on how to do this.  Or consider a home birth.  For most women homebirths are a completely safe and terrific option. Remember, most births take time, around .5cm an hour… If it happened all at once and rapidly our babies and bodies would get stressed.
  3. Take a childbirth education class. I highly recommend Hypnobirthing. Read the book and practice the relaxation techniques every day. Role play and practice labor scenarios with your partner and other support team. Have them practice the massage techniques, show them and remind them of different positions you should try during labor. Practice, practice, practice. Nothing will be more helpful when you are focusing on getting through a contraction then having a support team who knows how to help you cope and to offer suggestions when something stops working.
  4. Watch natural birth videos. You can find many birth videos for free on You Tube, including The Business of Being Born. Another great video to watch is Organic Birth.
  5. Eat a nutritionally dense diet and exercise. It is highly recommended that you consume a diet high in protein and fiber loaded with lacto-fermented foods like yogurt. Maintaining a healthy gut flora, by eating lacto-fermented foods and taking a probiotic as well as eating “anti-bacterial” foods like garlic can help in the prevention of Strep B. The good bacteria in your system will also transfer to your baby during birth and breastfeeding which will set the tone for their immune systems. Keep moving, whether its walking, yoga, weightlifting, running… Keep it up. If you were on a work-out program prior to pregnancy continue with it as much a possible but listen to your body. If you were not on a program here is a great chance to get going. Start with yoga, walking and swimming. Swimming is a great option in the last trimester when joints, pelvic girdle and back pain set in. Swimming is also great to reduce swelling. Movement keeps and promotes baby into a good birth position. AVOID positions such as slouching and reclined sitting which promote a posterior baby and is not ideal for labor. When sitting try turning the chair backwards and resting your arms on the back of the chair or get rid of the chair completely and use a balance ball.
  6. Hire a female doctor. I know, I know I am not a sexist person and personally hate it when someone tells me I can’t do something because I am a female. However, there are a few things I don’t think male OB/GYN’s understand. For one they cannot even begin to understand what labor, menstrual cycles, and healing from labor is like and therefore will not be able to relate to a woman and her needs. They also do not understand that labor is a magical experience for women and goes beyond much more than bringing forth new life. Birth matters and it can shape how she mothers in the future. All birth, especially natural birth is in incredibly empowering experience either creating a mother more confident in her roles or it can diminish her stature creating a sense of failure. I am sure there are great male doctors out there and I don’t want to generalize but chose wisely who will assist you in birth.
  7. Hire a doula or acquire a support team. Preferably women who have birthed before and will offer positive support. Negativity and horror birth stories have no place around the laboring woman. I say it again hire a doula or acquire a support team. A husband is not enough and though there are great, fantastic, supportive husbands out there but most have never seen a birth nor can relate to a laboring woman’s needs. Please refer HERE for the evidence for doulas.
  8. Avoid cervical exams especially prior to the onset of labor. I have seen Doctors push for an induction purely on the fact that you’ve already started to dilate. This is not a medical reason for an induction and cervical dilation does not tell us how long labor will last nor will it tell us when it will begin. It simply tells us where you are at for the moment. During labor, nothing can bring down a laboring woman more than being told she has not made any progress. Not to mention, I have seen within a 30 minute time frame a nurse measuring a woman at 6-7cm and the Doctor following up with a measurement of an “easy 8.” The lack of accuracy here is enough to avoid doing them and also prevent further damage by mentally bringing a woman down. For more on cervical dilation click HERE and HERE.
  9.  Find privacy. My last tip to accomplishing an unmedicated birth is to find a private and secluded area to labor. If you chose a hospital setting and everything is going well with labor the bathrooms are a great place to labor undistracted. It is difficult to concentrate and relax on your birth when Doctors, nurses, and staff are interrupting. We are naturally accustomed to relaxing our pelvic floor when we sit on the toilet, couple that with dim lights and minimal staff distractions, the bathroom, can really help move things along!

All natural, un-medicated births will rock your world and medically if you can it should be the goal.  I am not saying it will be easy it will be worth it.

JEN

Randilee’s Birth Story

new baby and zThe day began just like that last few had, me still pregnant and growing more and more bitter that I was now 9 days past my due date. I was sure that I was going to have the baby that previous weekend. Well it was Monday, June 23rd, and I slowly, and carefully hobbled out of bed, my pelvis screaming at me with severe hesitation.  The previous day my midwife had attempted to strip my membranes at my request with no luck.  I was getting anxious for labor to begin as I didn’t want to transfer care at 42 weeks and my sister was in town from Denver to help with the birth. Not to mention exhaustion and pelvic girdle pain had set in heavily. My midwife sent me a text that morning advising we could try putting evening primrose oil on my cervix. I agreed and at about noon she put three capsules in my cervix. To our surprise my cervix had made a lot of changes since Sunday. I had dilated another centimeter and effaced to 80%.

Later that day, my sister, mom, and I drove to Rock Springs to try some induction Acupuncture. It wasn’t long after we had gotten in the car that I started to have mild but regular contractions. I brushed it off because I had had “false” labor very similar for weeks that would not amount to anything. The contractions were consistently five minutes apart. After the acupuncture they started to come about every 3 minutes apart. They were not painful and I ate, drank, talked, and even slept through them.

I let my midwife know about the contractions and she informed me she would head back to Pinedale as she had just gotten to Jackson to go birding.

Right about the time we got home the contractions subsided significantly.  I reluctantly got the birth room ready and my husband and the midwife started setting up the birth pool.  My midwife had forgotten the plugs to the birth pool so that it would retain the air inside. She was able to find caps from large Armorall bottles that we glued and duck taped onto the holes and miraculously it worked. Marie, my midwife, encouraged me to load up on some carbs and to call her if I needed her.  Rachael, my sister, and my mom decided to go for a walk (I think they were just as ready for me to go into labor as I was.)

Once we got home still nothing had happened. Contractions to my disappointment had subsided completely. I plugged in my ear buds, sat in my rocker and started listening to my hypnobirthing relaxation CD. Discouraged, I decided to just go to bed and try to get some sleep.  Trying to center and relax I laid down on the futon in the birthing room and fell asleep.

I woke up when I felt a pop down low in my pelvis. I thought, “well that’s a new feeling.” I wanted to get up to go pee, eh hum, yet again. I wriggled (cause trust me at this point I was moving like a 99 year old arthritic senior citizen). Fluid started to leak and as I sat up completely my water broke sending out a gush that I thought would never end. Not sure what to do, I quietly hollered to anyone who would hear to help me. I was trying to be quiet to keep from waking my son. I sent a quick text out to Marie my midwife, and my mom. Apparently my mom had just gotten home after leaving my house. Marie, who was staying in our camper just outside our house, texted back, “coming over.”

Quickly, I tiptoed to the adjacent bathroom and began to disrobe my soaked clothes, grabbing towels to stand on.

Marie came over, verified that the fluid was clear, and asked if I was having any contractions. I said not yet and that I was actually sleeping when my water broke. She was surprised that it had but after verifying that the fluids were clear she left and said, “call if you need anything or you get contractions that you can’t talk through.”

For the briefest of moments, I had allowed fear in, as I thought “oh no labor is going to be intense now that I am starting it with breaking of the waters.”  Just as the thought entered I brushed it off and didn’t allow myself to think negatively. With my first child, my waters were ruptured by my doctor and it  intensified my contractions immediately,  which is why I was so nervous to start labor with my water breaking.

I met up with my mom and sister in the living room, draping a towel over the balance ball and sitting on top. Contractions started right away.  My sister, while helping me, also made notes about my labor which I will include.

10:30PM Jenn’s water broke, an extraordinary amount, apparently.

After a short visit from Jenn’s midwife, mom started to boil a large pot of water. Jenn sits on her ball, rocking gently, experiencing contractions that range in the 2-3 minute time frame. She listens to her hypnobirthing noises with one ear bud.

I have been tasked with keeping track of her contractions. The signal I have been watching for is her closed eyes and deep breathing. A slightly furrowed brow and an occasional catch in her breathing are the only signs she is in pain.

11:40 PM She is now urinating. I have been told that this should be encouraged every hour. Mom giggles about the “panic routine” for birthing partners and commented that it was the perfect thing for her to read right now.

11:44PM Jenn has now opted out of wearing underwear. I don’t blame her.

It’s obvious that the contractions are worsening, but the only difference is the deepness of her breathing and her head resting on a pillow over the couch.

With every contraction I closed my eyes and relaxed as deeply as I could, resorting back to the months I had been practicing the hypnobirthing methods. There was only a handful of contractions where I tensed and mentally thought I couldn’t do it. Those were the contractions, that because of my mental state were the most painful. Relaxing every muscle and quieting the mind with every contraction truly made the pain less and easier to handle.

11:52PM The first moan of pain has been issued. “That one was intense.” Jenn breathes.

12:03PM I have learned the “breaking the popsicle” massage technique for Jenn’s hands. She says she feels nauseous now.

Jenn has now been strapped to the massage xp micro. Two patches attach to her lower back and deliver pulses to “massage” her.”

The massage xp micro is also called a TENS unit and it did distract me from labor pains. At this point, we all thought it would be good to let Marie know that labor did in fact start right after my water broke and that contractions were pretty intense and close together. I sent her a quick text in between contractions.

12:15PM Marie the midwife is now here with all her equipment.

12:58AM This baby will now be born on my wedding anniversary. Jenn’s friend Danielle is here and Z-baby has slept through the vacuum for the pool. Danielle has switched off for massaging Jenn’s hands. She is taking contractions like a champ. Her arms jerk in my grip but you can see her determination to remain relaxed.

1:05AM Jenn is now in what I call the “sick frog” position. On her knees, chest on ball.

Up until this point I had labored in a squatting position on my balance ball swaying and rocking in-between contractions.  I was facing the back of my couch which made it ideal for others to massage my back, or hands and for me to rest my head if I needed.

Laying my chest on the birth ball and in the hands and knees position was not more comfortable for me. I can remember my lower pelvic region burning in this position. I only made it through a few contractions in this position before I got back on the ball. Rocking and squatting on the ball was the most comfortable. Applying massage to my low back was especially helpful at this point. It wasn’t much later after returning to the squatting position on the ball that I fell into that dreamy, sleepy state right before the pushing stage of labor.

I loved reaching each stage of labor and experiencing everything I had learned about. Besides reaching down and grabbing my daughter from the water, this dreamy state of labor was my favorite. Contractions slowed and all I wanted to do was lay my head down and dream.  Light touch massage was especially nice at this point. I wanted to lay down at this stage but because I was too fearful to move I stayed slowly swaying on my ball grabbing onto Danielle and Rachael’s shoulders when a contraction came. I felt high, euphoric, dreamy, it was all too wonderful. The best part was I knew I was going to be pushing soon because I had remembered that this would happen before delivery.  This was the easiest time to relax during and in between the contractions.

It wasn’t long after being in this state that I started to get contractions that almost forced my body into pushing. We decided it was time to get in the pool since it was finally ready.  The walk there was intense and I had to stop at the kitchen island during a contraction where again I felt the need to push. At that point I remember saying “I feel like I need to poo.” and Marie said, “It is the baby.” Once I got into the pool I felt immediately relaxed and had wished I had been in there earlier.  The pushing stage was honestly the most painful part. I was still scared to push. Marie checked me when I got into the pool because I wanted to be sure that pushing was going to be productive. I am glad she did check me because my cervix still had a lip that hadn’t quite fully opened. Marie said to get on my hands and knees, knowing from earlier that being on my hands and knees was more painful I was not excited to get that news. I ended up laying and floating on my side allowing my head to rest on the edge of the birth pool. It worked because after a few contractions I was able to roll over and float on my back to push.  My husband reminded me not to push but to breathe the baby down. When he did that my pushing became more productive. I can remember thinking that I wasn’t going to be able to do this. I looked up at my husband who was holding our son. He was so focused on me and what was going on and it was almost like he said, “Mom you pushed me out and you can do this again.” I got strength from looking up at him. At the peak of crowning Marie encouraged me not to push and though it was very uncomfortable it did eventually go numb (and I didn’t tear.) Clearing the shoulders was the most painful part of delivering baby.

At 2:55am, with the encouragement of everyone in the room I reached down and pulled our daughter from the water. I felt a rush of relief, intense happiness and I was exhilarated with energy as I plopped her onto my chest.

My placenta did not want to come out as quickly as Marie had hoped and therefore she gave me a pitocin shot in my leg. (Which now I can honestly say has been the sorest part of post partum)

3:17AM The baby has been born. The two hour hiatus was making sure Jenn was comfortable by massaging her low back and gently stroking her arms and upper back. The hoses had some issues so the tub didn’t get filled until a little later than was hoped.

Jenn bravely made her way to the tub, loved it, and pushed while saying a few “owie’s”. The birth was “easy” according to Marie, but I’ve never seen something that made me more afraid to have a baby before.

The baby came out milky white, holding its head up and squinting at the world. It is a girl. Her name is Randilee Rose Semmons.

I could not have been happier when Marie checked me and said that I didn’t tear and that I didn’t have any swelling. To this day, I do not experience burning while urinating, swelling or pain with sitting.

During the newborn examination Marie said that baby did not have “cranial molding” I asked her to clarify and she said “You must have a pelvis you can drive a Mack truck through.” She said my baby looked like a C-section baby. I attribute a lot of that space in my pelvis to all the hip openers and squats I did during pregnancy, not to mention laboring almost entirely in a squatting position on the balance ball.

Labor was something with my first child I did not think you could prepare for at all. With my second, I knew that to be wrong and my entire pregnancy I prepared for Delivery Day. I can honestly say now that nutrition, exercise,  practicing relaxation techniques, and being educated are the best ways to have a wonderful birth experience.

Randilee’s Birth Video

baby number 2 belly bump

13 Things I Wished I Would Have Been Told With My First Pregnancy.

Going into my pregnancy I thought I was well educated and ready. Sometimes things are best learned through experience and that was definitely the case for me. Below are 13 things I will be ready for during my next pregnancies. Below is a list of recommended reading and resources to get further information on each subject. Also, before you start anything new you should consult with your Doctor or Midwife.Image

1. Start the iron supplements early and perhaps even before conception. If you cannot obtain enough iron from foods (and if you’re like me then eating anything in the first few months of pregnancy is rough, especially meats) then you should start a supplement such as midwife approved iron supplement from Trilight Health. Interesting fact: Iron is also a natural remedy for sciatica.

2. Eat a nutritionally dense diet. Not only is it important for you and baby, I swear it helps prevent fatigue and morning sickness. Think lots of eggs, juicing(like leafy greens and beets with the leaves), real fruit smoothies, organ meats, and lacto-fermented foods. Though, it’s tempting to eat a platter full of brownies the sugar not only harms you and your baby but poor diet can lead to difficult and long labors.

3. Take fermented cod liver oil in conjunction with High Vitamin Butter Oil (like green pastures.) This has some of the richest sources of naturally occurring vitamins A and D and omega fatty acids. This is especially important if you are pregnant during winter months where Vitamin D is minimal.

4. Get a rice heat pack, a foam roller, a yoga bolster, and a balance ball. Pregnancy, labor, and nursing are hard on the back and these items alleviate back pain and are also nice for labor.

5. When you receive the “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” book throw it out and replace it with Sally Fallon’s “Nourishing Traditions Book of Baby and Child Care” and Ina May’s “Guide to Childbirth.”

6. Deny your doctor the desire to speed up your labor, when you are laboring fine, and your baby is happy. I was handling labor perfectly until my doctor wanted to speed things up for his sake. Once he broke my water, contractions increased in intensity and duration with little to no breaks in between. I believe this and lack of support was the sole reason I got my epidural.

7. Take a birthing class, watch “The Business of Being Born” and if you can, hire a doula. When it comes to birthing classes I’ve heard great stories about Hypnobabies.

Studies show that hiring a doula reduces the rate of:

1. cesarean by 28%

2.pitocin use by 31%

3. any pain medication by 9%

4. vacuum or forceps delivery

5. epidural

6. labor length

Hiring a doula increases:

1. spontaneous labor

2. overall satisfaction of birth

8. Get frequent massages and chiropractic care. Both have been shown to have tremendous outcomes for optimal labors, pain reduction during pregnancy, and prevention of miscarriage.

9. Start drinking Natural Calm early in pregnancy. I didn’t discover this until my third trimester and it virtually cured my restless leg syndrome, leg cramps, and insomnia.

10. Oil and massage the perineum the weeks leading up to delivery. I thought this was ridiculous until I had to heal from a stage two tear.

11. After week 37 start taking Nature’s Sunshine 5-W for reproductive, glandular and uterine health and strengthening.

12. Use essential oils throughout entire pregnancy. With my pregnancy I suffered migraines, round ligament pain, sciatica, nausea, and insomnia, all of which could have been treated naturally with DoTERRA’s essential oils.

13. After baby is born don’t immediately jump into crunches. Even if you do not get split abs pregnancy still stretched your abdominal muscles and gaining strength needs to be approached carefully. Instead of crunches do transverse abdominal exercises, walk, and sit tall. Here is a great website to help you get your waist back:

Resources and Recommending Reading:

The Nourishing Traditions Book of Baby and Child Care by Sally Fallon

Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin

http://www.naturessunshine.com

http://www.birthwithoutfearblog.com

www. http://fit2b.us/

http://www.naturessunshine.com/us/shop/

http://www.trilighthealth.com/

Am I Radical or Extreme?

DSC_0916I get called extreme, radical, crazy, and even Hitler at times for my lifestyle. Now I know Hitler is a joke and usually a direct smirk to the work-outs I make my classes do. As for the other’s, I use to take great offense to them but now I am seeing things in a new light. Now, I take it as a compliment. There is nothing wrong with being extremely worried about my health and the future of our children’s health. There is pride in the radical work-outs I can do and I do them because I can! Don’t get me wrong though, I certainly enjoy the finer things in life. Not even I want to pass up pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving or chocolate fudge at Christmas. I love my morning coffee and wine and cheesecake for dessert. But I know me and one bite leads to two, and two to eating it all week long. For me, I have to be radical or else I will continue to make bad choices every day.

I am extremely worried for the generations to come all because the rate at which we are diseased, obese, and living with pain is ever increasing. I am passionate about conception, pregnancy, labor, and nursing mothers and the direction American’s are taking is scary. I am radical about Vaccines, Antibiotics, Pharmaceuticals and the rate/willingness American’s are using them. And lastly, I am angry with our Government, health care and evil companies like Monsanto.

According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) more than one third of American’s are obese. It also states that 17% of children are obese which is triple the amount from just one generation ago. The CDC also states that of the top ten leading causes for death in America 7 of those are health related and could either be prevented or managed through diet and lifestyle. Of those the first is heart disease and second is cancer. To me is appalling and scary. In no way should children be obese. With the knowledge and advances we’ve made in the medical/health/fitness industry these numbers should be declining not increasing. I believe corruption and greed are the reason these numbers are high and increasing but I will discuss this later. It is my hope that I can make a difference and it is my hope that I can have a voice to reach these people. It is my hope that they can enjoy a life free of obesity and disease. So I will continue to share and speak out.

I am concerned for the future of women and babies due to lack of nutrition, and the way we birth. When compared with the rest of the world, the U.S is ranked in between 22nd and 40th on the list for infant mortality, neonatal mortality, and perinatal mortality. In the U.S about 95% of all babies are born with drugs in their system from physicians giving them to their mothers. These drugs include artificial hormones to start, speed up, or slow labor, narcotics to sedate, and anesthetics to numb. These have not been fully researched as to the effects they may have on baby’s. In pregnancy and labor it is my opinion that there are too many interventions, not enough instruction on eating properly, and there is a lack of support to do pregnancy and labor naturally. Even my own doctor, at 40 weeks said that if we induced labor that I would more than likely need a cesarean. At 41 weeks and 1 day I delivered my son without pitocin, went into labor spontaneously, did not need a c-section and had a happy, healthy baby with no meconium in the bag of waters. I get so disappointed when doctors allow or encourage for an induction especially before the due date. A nutritionally dense diet and exercise can virtually prevent most problems in pregnancy and labor. Such as prevent gestational diabetes, pre-term labor, low birth weight babies, long and difficult labors, and pre-clampsia. I will continue to speak out about the way we birth in America and pre-natal nutrition or lack thereof.

The next subject I am radical about is vaccines, pharmaceuticals, antibiotics and the abusive way they are being administered. As of now, almost 103 vaccines are given to babies before the age of five. This is before their immune systems are fully developed and a time when their brains are doing the most growing. Babies at one day old are receiving a vaccine for hepatitis b, a sexually transmitted disease, and it has been highly linked to SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.) In my opinion, the incidences in which a 1 day old baby should be vaccinated for hepatitis b is extremely rare. Isn’t it also interesting that Pertusiss (whooping cough) is rarely fatal in children under 12 months of age and that if a nursing mother had Pertusiss as a child she passes on the anti-bodies through her breast milk? This does not happen through a Pertusiss vaccine.

Before the vaccine was prevalent nursing babies rarely contracted Pertusiss. Even before I knew anything about vaccines, in fact since high school, I thought the flu vaccine was absolutely ridiculous. In order to develop an immune system your body needs to get sick. The best and safest way to treat and prevent flu is Vitamin D. Vaccines are also laced with heavy metals like mercury and aluminum. Mercury is the second most toxic element on earth next to plutonium and yet it is being injected into our bodies. In 1991 pharmaceutical executives had calculated that 6 month old babies who received the recommend shots could receive a mercury dose up to 87 times higher than federal guidelines for the maximum daily consumption of mercury from fish.  “We have found statistically significant relationships between exposure to mercury in vaccines and outcomes. At two months age, developmental delay; exposure at three months, tics; at six months, attention deficit disorder. Exposure at one, three and six months, language and speech delays-the entire category of nuerodevolopmental delays.” Dr. Tom Veerstraeten, CDC epidemiologist.   Antibiotics are also highly overused; they are being prescribed for viruses and bacterial infections that can resolve on their own. Dr. Mendelsohn states that most ear infections can resolve on their own and that natural therapies can help the process. As a result of the abuse of antibiotics super strains of bacteria are evolving and antibiotics are not killing them. Not only that, but antibiotics kill the beneficial bacteria in your gut which is where 80% of your immune system resides. Like vaccines, pharmaceuticals have had very little research on the affects they have to our health and immune systems. Just look at the history behind vaccines. It is scary how little research or testing was done before they started vaccinating and mandating people to be vaccinated. We are just discovering how devastating they can be to our health. Same goes for pharmaceuticals. Day after day I am bombarded with commercials that if you were ever harmed by a pharmaceutical to call this number and they’ll get you the compensation you deserve.

Lastly, I am radically angry with our Government, The Food and Drug Industry, and large food corporations. The corruption behind vaccines and pharmaceuticals is what makes me really sick. Doctors receive quite a bit of compensation for everything they prescribe. During my miscarriage my doctor strongly recommended I get a prescription for Vicodin. After telling him “no” several times he then reserved to, “well at least take the prescription in case you change your mind.” I again refused and he finally backed off with the final offer, “well call me if you change your mind.” Later, I was outraged because I knew he wanted his cut from the prescription not caring whether I became addicted or suffered an accident because of it. He was also aware that my husband was gone for the military and that I was alone. He knowingly wanted to prescribe a pain-killer to a grieving woman, who would have no supervision while being under the affects of a narcotic.

Again, when it comes to vaccines doctors also receive bonuses for having a percentage of their patients receiving vaccines. If they fall below that percentage they don’t get their bonuses. This infuriates me because, of course, why would they, at the risk of losing a vaccinating patient disclose the possible reactions? Of course they are going to push for them. Of course they will tell you they are “safe and effective.”

I am angry with Monsanto and because of Monsanto I refuse to eat corn or soy beans. There is an ethical, moral, and health related reason why I choose not to support Monsanto. Monsanto is a chemical company. Excuse me, EVIL company that is genetically modifying our crops with horrendous repercussions to our health. They are putting patents on their seeds and suing farmers left and right for allegedly stealing their patent or for cleaning and reusing their own seeds. Why are WE the people allowing this? Please cast your vote and buy organic. Avoid corn and soy as Monsanto owns almost all of it. And cast a vote to your health to avoid the damaging repercussions from eating GMO foods. This is why I choose to buy organic, grass fed, and to buy locally. Every time you make a purchase you are voting. You are voting for a change by purchasing grass fed, organic, and humanly treated meat. You are casting your vote to live free of pesticides, herbicides, and Non-GMO’s when you buy only organic. You are casting a vote when you refuse to buy processed, bleached, and preservative laden products. Not only are you casting a vote but you are boosting your health.

I am angry with our Government and the push to receive vaccinations “for the sake of preventing diseases.” That is a lie and a means to get more money. The vaccine industry is a billion dollar industry, in 2011, 6 pharmaceutical companies for children’s vaccines were awarded 5.7 billion dollars. If they were really concerned for our health then they’d be addressing the top two leading causes of death in America: Heart Disease and Cancer. They are knowingly and willingly allowing carcinogenic, and highly toxic chemicals, artificial sweeteners, preservatives, and artificial flavors/colors into our food. Most processed foods are laden with these ingredients and hydrogenated oils that can lead to heart disease. The reasons for allowing this are twofold, most of those ingredients are addictive and therefore people continue to buy the foods. This increases profits for the food industry and the Government gets their cut for allowing it. Secondly, it makes American’s sick, making the pharmaceutical companies richer and again the Government for allowing it.

We all have the choice to live pain-free with strong bodies and minds. We have the choice to give our bodies what it needs for a superb immune system and vibrant energy. We all have a choice and ultimately there are many ways that people are being persuaded. Every day I am bombarded through the media either with their scare tactics about flu shots and Pertusiss vaccines or through food advertisement commercials. Trust me I know how easy it is to buy into these, or how tempting it is to go out and scarf on a milk shake after a Wendy’s commercial. This is why I take such an active role in debating and sharing the other side of the story because the other side of the story is deliberately being shoved to the back burner. The other side of the story takes time and research. The other side of the story does not make pharmaceutical companies, doctors, large food corporations, and our Government any richer. The other side of the story gives you independence . The other side gives you the power and knowledge to chose what is best for you and your family. Make an informed decision.

JEN

Recommended reading and Resources:

Make an Informed Vaccine Decision by Mayer Eesienstein, MD, JD, MPH

Raising a Healthy Child In Spite of Your Doctor by Robert S. Mendolsohn, MD

Saying No To Vaccines by Dr. Sherri Tenpenny

State of Immunity by James Colgrove

Slow Poisoning of America by Michelle Erb

The Nourishing Traditions Book of Baby and Child Care by Sally Fallon and Thomas S. Cowan

Websites:

cdc.gov

birthingthefuture.org

vactruth.com

americanpregnancy.org

westonaprice.org

thebusinessofbeingborn.com

Documentaries:

Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead by Joe Cross

Food Matters- Directors James Colquhoun and Laurentine ten Bosch

Food Inc. by Robert Kenner

The Business of Being Born

The Greater Good Documentary

Why Should You Switch to Sourdough?

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Sourdough Start ready to use to leaven the bread.

Why Sourdough?

Sourdough bread is different than most bread as it is a mixture of several strains of wild yeast and live bacteria: lactobacilli. This live bacteria is also present in yogurt. Sourdough generally takes much longer to assimilate and bake than other breads as it goes through a fermentation process that, depending on the atmosphere and temperature, could take up to 7 days. So why is sourdough better?

Sourdough is rich in probiotic microorganisms which do many great things for our health. These probiotic microorganisms are beneficial to your digestive system in that they help to assimilate and properly absorb the foods you eat. They are necessary to maintain a healthy intestinal tract and in turn creates gives vitality to the whole body. These organisms also work together to break down gluten, add B-Vitamins, and neutralize phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors. It has been proven that those who can’t eat gluten don’t have any issues with sourdough bread.

Phytic Acid is an anti-nutrient present in grains and if you’ve ever read The Paleo Diet  this is one of the reasons grains are prohibited. Phytic Acid can cause mineral deficiencies as it binds to the minerals in your gut stopping absorption.

Enzyme inhibitors suppress digestive enzymes in your system and can cause poor digestion and discomfort. Thankfully, sourdough bread neutralizes this action.

Sourdough  is rich in Vitamins B1 through B6 from the lactobacillus and vitamins B12 from the wild yeasts. It is also an optimal choice of bread for diabetics as the probiotic microrganisms deplete the starch and do not create insulin spikes.

Because of the acidic environment and the anti-bacterial agents within sourdough bread it also inhibits the growth of bad bacteria and molds giving it a longer shelf life.

The nature of the bread also dissolves proteins by producing protein enzymes which release multiple peptide bonds so that you can absorb more amino acids. There are 22 amino acids, 9 of which must be obtained through our food as our bodies cannot make them. 

Sourdough also has a nice balance of nutrients to help with optimal absorption. For example in order to absorb calcium efficiently you need magnesium and to better absorb iron you need vitamin C and the list goes on. Sourdough has a great balance between needed vitamins and minerals. 

I am firm believer that sourdough bread should be made at home to ensure the highest quality. However, if you know a good and knowledgeable (about sourdough and the process of baking it) bakery then I would assume buying sourdough would be an option. I would advise asking how long they ferment the sourdough starter and what ingredients they put into the recipe. Be careful though, many store bought sourdough’s aren’t truly sourdough. This is usually due to time and money. Sourdough fermentation can take quite a while and in order to make a profit quickly some bread companies will not allow the proper time for the bread to ferment and give it all its wonderful healthful properties. Of course I am a skeptic with many things purchased from the store. I like making things at home then I truly know what is being put into my food and ultimately into my body.

I have purchased sourdough starters from Cultures for Health and I have also used sourdough starters that friends have been using for years to make bread. A starter, if taken care of properly, can be used infinitely.  Sourdough takes preparation, determination, and a controlled environment, but don’t give up, it is delicious, healthy and worth it in the end. 

Why I am not afraid of fat!

Misconception number 3:

This misconception is the third and final of my three part series. The first post on misconceptions was about the biblical view of how to get to heaven and disputing the age old tale of “be good so you can get to heaven.” The second post about misconceptions was concerning violent imagery and the negative and detrimental effects it has on our children. The third misconception is widely accepted and I hear it often. That is low fat and low calorie diets are the way to losing weight and body fat.

Low fat and low calorie diets are extremely unhealthy and dangerous. Chronic low calorie diets are not only depressing but they trigger the body’s survival instincts as it thinks it’s starving. The metabolism actually slows down and keeps the fat in storage to be used later. Not only is the body’s metabolism slowing but starvation and low calorie diets can do permanent damage to the metabolism taking years to reverse.  Not to mention you are starving your body from needed nutrients.

Our foods and soils over the past centuries have actually become less nutritious and lacking in needed minerals. Even if you are eating the proper foods it is actually hard to eat enough to get what your body needs. This is one particular reason I like to juice my fruits and vegetables to pack a healthier punch without stuffing myself full.

Low-Calorie diets are dangerous and often deplete your body of needed nutrients. I do however, agree that there are instances when people need to cut back on calories in a sense of white sugar or refined sugars (such as high fructose corn syrup), white flours, refined or bleached grains and artificial sweeteners or because they live sedentary lifestyles.

The next diet raved about still today is the “low-fat” diet.  I cringe every time I hear another commercial about low fat yogurt or hear of “low fat diets” as the treatment to high cholesterol. The problem is not fat. It is more or less the type of fat that is being consumed. Nowadays meat animals are fattened on corn which is creating the omega fatty acids to be out of balance, lower in omega 3’s and higher in 6’s and 9’s.  We should be consuming a ratio of 1:1 of omega 3’s and omega 6’s. Anthropological research suggests that our hunter-gatherer ancestors naturally had this balance due to the consumption of fresh fish and grass fed meat. Further, research also points out that our hunter-gather ancestors did not suffer from cancer, inflammatory diseases, heart disease, diabetes, and of course obesity.

Healthy fats include organic coconut oil, nuts, seeds, avocados, grass-fed meat and butter, full fat/raw dairy milk and yogurt, full fat/raw cheese, wild caught fish, and virgin olive oil.

Outlined below are the reasons why you need fat:

1. Saturated Fat plays a key role in improving cardiovascular health and reduces a substance called lipoprotein (which correlates with heart disease.) Research shows that when women diet those eating more total fat lose more weight.

2. Saturated fats are needed for the absorption of calcium and therefore create stronger bones. Dr. Mary Enig, PHD “there’s a case to be made for having as much as 50% fats in your diet as saturated fats for this reason.”

3. Saturated Fats protect the liver from alcohol and medications including acetaminophen and other drugs used commonly for pain and arthritis.

4. Lungs have a thin coating called surfactant which is made up of 100% saturated fatty acids and in order to have healthy lungs those fats need to be replaced. Other types of fats cause faulty surfactant and potential breathing problems.

5.  Saturated fats are needed for healthy brains. Brains are made primarily of fats and cholesterol and a low fat diet deprives the brain of materials it needs to function properly.  Ingestion of healthy fats have also been linked to the prevention and treatment of Alzheimer’s.

6. Healthy fats like those found in butter, lard, coconut oil, and palm oil aid in proper nerve signaling. They are needed to assist signaling messengers that influence metabolism, including the appropriate release of insulin.

7. Saturated fats found in butter and coconut oil have myristic and lauric acid that play vital roles in building a strong immune system. Inadequate levels of saturated fat found in white blood cells weaken their ability to recognize and destroy foreign invaders like viruses, bacteria, and fungi.

8. Saturated fats from animals and vegetables provide the building blocks for cell membranes, hormones, and hormone like substances.

9.  Saturated fats slow down food absorption so that you feel full longer. Fats are crucial for the assimilation of fat soluble vitamins like A, D, E, and K. Fats are also needed to convert Carotene into Vitamin A, also for mineral absorption, and many other biological processes.

10. Saturated fats are fuel for your heart and give you energy.

13. Saturated fats contain palmitic and stearic acids which lower bad cholesterol.

14. Healthy fats contain butyric acid which aids in the prevention of cancer.

15. Healthy fats balance hormones including serotonin.

16. Healthy fats are crucial for the development of baby’s brains.

17. Healthy fats improve digestion.

18. Our cells are composed of about 50% Saturated fats and so eating it helps regeneration.

It is important to eat healthy fats but more so that your fats are from organic produce and grass fed animals. Helpful information on where to obtain these rare foods can be found at the Weston A. Price Foundation and from books such as the ones I have outlined below.

Eat Fat, Lose Fat: The Healthy Alternative to Trans Fats by Mary Enig and Sally Fallon

The Paleo Diet: Loren Cordain, Ph.D

Secrets of Weight Loss: Keven Trudaeu

Good Mood Diet: Susan Kliener Phd

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Jennifer Semmons

“I Hate Cops!”

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I hate cops. Normally, when I hear this phrase I brush it off as ignorance and forget about it. However, this week, especially today, this phrase struck a nerve. Particularly, it hurt as I mourned and cried over the tragedy of the Boston Bombing, knowing full well that cops were the first responders running towards flames, shrapnel, and wounded, innocent people.

When I was young, yes I admit I said, “I hate cops!” Honestly, I did not really mean it; more or less they made me nervous. Why? Because usually I was getting into mischief and in my naive, youthful ways it was of course the cops trying to ruin my fun. Did I really hate cops? No. I was feeding into the nonsense that my peers puked up daily about cops.  As I matured, and later as I became a cop, I realized that what I really hated, or “disliked” was the laws, not those that upheld the laws. Or I disliked getting caught for breaking a law. For years, I prided myself for the fact that I had never gotten caught speeding. Well it wasn’t long after that I got three speeding tickets in about a year’s time. There was the briefest of moments with each of those cops that I wanted to be mad at them. I blatantly, knowingly, and almost pridefully sped, and yet I had the inclination to be mad at the officer. Sounds ridiculous doesn’t it? And yet this occurs daily time after time.

If you’ve ever said the phrase, “I hate cops!” I want you take a moment to consider why. Granted, there are “dirty” cops out there. They are cops for all the wrong reasons and have wronged people tremendously. But I am going to go out on a limb here and say most cops are in it to do good, protect and serve their peers, and because they have a strong moral and ethical desire to uphold the law. Most cops work horrible hours, get paid very little, have poor benefits and contribute extra hours outside of work for training, staying fit, and going over case law. On average, I probably contribute two extra days a month for training outside of work, not to mention going to trainings where I have to travel and spend numerous days away from home.

They continually put themselves in dangerous situations and not just while on the clock but also while they are off duty. Off duty cops, especially the good ones, are never “off-duty” and are ready to react however need be in any given situation. Most cops are compassionate, genuinely love people, and want the best for the human race.  They continue to serve knowing full well their spouses pray for safety every time they exit the front door for work.  Not only am I a cop but I am a wife to a cop and every day he leaves there’s a part of me that knows that may be the last time I see him.

Words have power. And I believe that every time a cop hear’s that phrase a piece of him/her breaks just a little. Some officer’s may question why they are making such sacrifices for an unappreciative public. Other’s ask, “Am I doing any good at all?”  These kinds of phrases lead to destructive thoughts and in this line of work cops need all the positive encouragement they can get. Being a cop is mentally exhausting in more ways than one and a positive atmosphere or voicing appreciation can be just enough to press on the good fight.

The next time you may want to bash a cop take a moment and consider the repercussions.  Take some accountability for your actions and your mistakes with some humility. You will actually be thought of better for it and in time everyone will forget what you did and move on. If you truly feel like you have been wronged take your complaint through the proper channels. Get to know the laws so that you know your rights, your privileges (know the difference), and be aware of what you can and can’t do. If you have a problem with a law then it is within your power to do something about it.  The next time you get pulled over for a traffic violation put away your pride and thank the officer for doing his job. He/she may have just saved your life. If you have a problem with the stop and believe it was unlawful then court is a perfect and responsible place to voice your concerns. The next time you encounter a cop, I want you to thank him/her for their service, you may need them someday and I can guarantee they will be running towards the danger while you are trying to get away.  If you have a few extra bucks pay for their coffee, it might be just the edge they need to get through a long shift or you may just set a good tone for the shift.

Cops are fallible and do not pretend otherwise. We make mistakes just like anyone else. Have some grace when it comes to those who’ve messed up, especially to those who’ve apologetically taken accountability for their mistakes. Just like you and me, officers too have to suffer the consequences of their mistakes.  If you didn’t already know, cops are under a lot of stress, bound by many legalities, and are constantly in the thick of thorns. Think of the most stressful times of your life. Did you make mistakes during that time that you normally wouldn’t do? Think of times when you were sleep deprived. Did you make more mistakes than usual? And during those times were you irritable? Joyful? Confused easily?  Smiley? Stress, sleep deprivation, and intense situations are daily occurrences in the life of a cop. Be mindful of that with your encounter.  Even in a sleepy little town there are stressors, intense situations, violent vagrants, and crimes you may not even be aware of.

Cops generally are viewed with dislike and we know it. But remember we are also here when you need someone to search your house for an invader, perform CPR on your loved one with cardiac arrest, rescue you from danger, from fire, from a car accident, and perhaps deliver a baby to a mother who didn’t make it to the hospital.  They run towards danger, towards the enemy, and may even kill another in order to protect you and other innocent people.

As for myself, I am thankful to the cops who have given me tickets and warnings for traffic violations. Because of you I learned to change burned up bulbs on my car, consciously update registration and demonstrate it so on my license plate. Because of you I drive slower, use blinkers and drive safer. I am thankful to the cop who cleared my house when someone was in my basement. Thank you for directing traffic safely through scenes of car accidents or unruly road conditions. Thank you for putting my horses or mom’s chickens back in their pens when they got out of their corrals and onto road ways.  Thank you fellow co-workers for being amazing friends and awesome people to work with.

Remember, officer’s don’t just carry guns. We carry first aid kits, oxygen, resuscitation masks, and many other tools to help citizens in whatever situations they may find themselves in.

JEN