Saturday, December 10, 2011

I Love Homeopathics

My high-tech homeopathic storage ;-)
If you Google homeopathics, you'll get mostly a loooong list of people ranting and raving about how it's quack medicine and they can't believe people actually believe it and how studies have disproven it, blah, blah, blah.That doesn't really matter to me. I find that most of the things I believe about health "have been disproven by studies" at this point. In my mind, what that phrase means is that there's no money to be made in it. Which there isn't, because a tube of homeopathic medicine costs roughly $6. If you don't think it works and you don't want to do it, don't. But it works. And it makes me and my family much more comfortable when we do occasionally get sick.

People often ask me, "What do you give your kids when they get sick?"

The answer is somewhat complicated. My friends who have helped me pack my kitchen during our many moves can tell you what my medicine cabinet looks like - it is a strange mix of minerals, amino acids, herbs, homeopathic remedies, and various other concoctions that you might not recognize. It has actually taken me several years to build up a set of all the various homeopathic remedies that I need to treat the things we regularly deal with. I now have about 20 of the little blue tubes, about 5 white ones, and a few remedies in drop form, all with the funny Latin names that I don't even try to pronounce correctly.

Over the years, there have been so many medicines, particularly cold medicines recalled or proven unsafe for young children. I can't see myself giving my kids most of those medicines at this point. Actually, the only mainstream children's medicine I keep on my shelf is dye-free Benedryl (which is actually Target brand, because Children's Benedryl got recalled and hasn't returned to the shelves as far as I've been able to find.) And we only use that one under rare circumstances. And it doesn't usually work as well as the alternatives we've found.

ANYWAY, homeopathics.

I'm not going to bother trying to convince you that it works, because if you want to go do all the research, you'll do it anyway. OR, you'll just take my word for it (especially since there are zero side effects to them, they're completely safe to use for little kids and pregnant women), and try them yourself. Most of the people that read my blog are already big fans of homeopathic teething remedies anyway, so I doubt I'll have to sell you on this. :)

We use them most often for cold symptoms, and they seem to work best with the kids. I suspect that's because they have less caffeine, and also tend not eat spicy things - mint, ginger, and spicy food wipes out the affect of homeopathics. The more "pure" you eat, the better they seem to work. That could be another reason why the studies show they "don't work."

Several years ago I bought this book, which I really like. It seems to be out of print, but that link has several used copies, or really you could buy any reference book or even use online references.

Here are a few of our favorite remedies, ones I'd recommend you have on hand if you're interested in giving this a try. I'm going to be blunt with the symptoms/remedy descriptions. Enjoy. :)

Pulsatilla: good for ear infections, colds with yellow snot, the kind of coughs that are loose during the day and tight at night, pressure in your head
Kali Bichromicum: colds with green boogers that stick to the inside of your nose.
Nux Vomica: that sneezy feeling that makes your eyes water
Allium Cepa: clear snot that won't. stop. running.
Spongia Tosta: croupy cough
Belladonna: sudden fever, sore throat

I use 2-3 of the pellets per dose, and you can start with a couple doses 15 minutes apart, then continue 2-3 times/day after that. When you get the right remedy, the symptoms literally stop or improve within a few seconds. As you work with these more, you start to understand what symptoms go with which remedy. It is a very intuitive type of medicine - you have to pay very close attention to the symptoms and only use that remedy as long as the symptoms stay the same. People refer to "tracing" symptoms with homeopathics, because over the course of an illness the symptoms change and the remedies change.

Just because it's interesting, here's a website with some more info.
And here's a good post I read recently about using homeopathics for digestion issues.

So, that's a good start! Do you use homeopathics? Do you have some favorite remedies? Are you interested in trying this?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

When We're Sick...

Being all into natural health can sometimes be a double-edged sword.

On the one hand, I love knowing what I need to do to help my kids get well. We rarely get sick (is it just me, or are the things going around particularly nasty this year?), and when we do it usually resolves within a couple days without a doctor visit or traditional medication. On the other hand, it is far too easy to take the entire burden of my children's health on my own shoulders, weighing myself down with expectations that are not only unfair, but just unrealistic. We WILL occasionally get sick, sometimes at the most inconvenient times. That doesn't make me a failure.

I often notice people who are into nutrition or "real food" obsessing over every detail - most recently it was a conversation about how the different ranches in our local area raise their beef. Now, there is scientific evidence about how grass fed vs. grain fed changes the nutrition and safety of meat. I know all that stuff, I've read it too. But I think it can quickly turn into a humanistic "worship," if you will? A thought process that says, "It's all up to me, this is about what decisions I make, and if I make bad ones we will suffer. If I make good ones we will thrive." Maybe our family is unique, but I don't find that to be true. There have been many times in my life when I have done everything "right" and still not had the outcome I hoped for. There have been many other times when I have done almost nothing right, and just because of God's amazing mercy and grace, things have come out just fine.

Once, when I was talking to our Christian naturopath about this stuff, he told me, "This natural health stuff is not God, this is just wisdom." That really stuck with me.

God has been teaching me about His grace for the past several years. I can't tell you how freeing it is to begin to deeply realize that His blessings don't come about as a result of my good behavior. They come just because He's good, because it's His nature and He loves me. When I release my control and expectations over the situations in our lives, suddenly I have more energy, I'm more at peace and happier, and things still work out - I don't have to will them to happen!

God has given all of us a measure of wisdom. We have the tools to carry out what He has called us to do. We also inherently know where the danger areas are - places where we need His strength so we can avoid the traps Satan would set for us. These ARE our responsibility, the talents we've been given. When I try to function beyond those, I burn out because I'm working in my own strength which is very small.

This is a little bit abstract today and I'm not sure anybody will follow it completely, but here it is anyway. :)

Thursday, December 1, 2011


Tess and me working on pumpkin carving :)
I can't believe I haven't blogged since August. I really honestly feel a bit rusty!This post started out as a "7 Quick Takes," but I soon realized there are neither 7 nor are they quick, so I'll spare you the cute framework and call it an update. :)

Tess patiently putting up with shopping on main st in Huntington Beach
1. My Gramma passed away in California on September 16th. She was only 72, and outlived my Grampa by only 18 months. My grandparents weren't perfect people, of course, but I have many fond memories of them. I miss them both. We drove out there with the kids for the funeral and were gone about 10 days. Overall the trip went well, and we got to see soooo many relatives and do some fun things, but there was no way to avoid eating out A LOT, and we ended up in a hotel for several days, which exposed Audrey to a lot of things that tend to irritate her, which leads me to:

23 of the 25 grandchildren, at Gramma's funeral
2. We had another big bout with Audrey's eczema in the past few months. She got home from CA in pretty bad shape - we haven't seen her that bad since before we started GAPS. About two solid weeks were more or less filled with caring for her. She was just that sick - covered in sores and crying most of the day, etc. After trying what had been working with no success, we took her to see Dr P (our naturopath) and she tested for candida overgrowth and aluminum toxicity. He gave her three different supplements that slowly brought her system back under control. Those issues were keeping her body from dealing properly with toxins. So, thankfully, we're back to the way things were before we left now - her food allergies are much better and her skin is more or less clear. We are believing for complete healing and strength for her body!

3. During that same time period, our wonderful Christian landlords called us up and told us that they are moving to Jordan to become missionaries and need to sell the house we're living in. Yay for missionaries. Boo for having to move again. This will be move number 8 for us, in 7 1/2 years of marriage. We decided to attempt to qualify for a home loan, in spite of the fact that almost no one is qualifying right now. Much to our surprise, we qualified! It seems that we fit into one little segment of the population - a particular income level, a particular credit score, first time homebuyers... So, we began our house search in the rural area near where we currently live. Through a process, God changed our hearts about how much we wanted to spend monthly and how far we were willing to be from Nick's work. We have loved living a bit more in the country, but it does cost more, Nick is away more because of drive time, and we are about to be raising four kids 7 and under. Sooo...we began searching in the city, mainly in a very desirable area of town that tends to have outdated houses that need a bit of fixing up.

4. We found a house! It is about 3 minutes from Nick's work. It's 4 bed/2 bath, on 1/3 acre (almost unheard of in that area-most lots are .16 of an acre), on a cul de sac. It desperately needs paint and probably carpet too, and the kitchen needs quite a bit of work. It has a huge fenced garden area and a storage shed with a dog door in it. Lots of lilacs in the backyard. It has a ton of potential, just needs TLC. So, we are currently under contract on it. However, this house is a foreclosure (which means it's a great deal!), and the selling bank is in no hurry (which totally makes no sense to me - wouldn't you expect them to want to get rid of the thing? It's just sitting there, vacant.) So we have dealt with many delays in the process. God brought 2 Chronicles 29:36 to mind for us as we prayed about this house, and we are trusting that He will carry us through the delays. "Thus Hezekiah rejoiced, and all the people, because of what God had prepared for the people, for it was done suddenly."

5. Baby number 4 is due January 17th! He/she is healthy and STRONG, and greatly enjoys jamming tiny toes and fingers into...interesting spots in my torso, as well as elbowing so hard I jump. My blood pressure has been perfect, no swelling at all, and as long as I don't eat weird stuff I haven't even had many aches or pains, even now at 33 1/2 weeks. I decided to go to the chiropractor this week, and he actually told me, "You don't have any major issues, I'd just like to see you twice in week 35 and twice in week 36, so you're ready to go by week 37." I can honestly say I've never been told that. NO MAJOR ISSUES. Seriously, getting my digestion working right has totally changed my life. I could barely walk by now in my pregnancy with Tessa because my back and hip hurt so badly. I've even been able to exercise - not as much as I'd like - but certainly more consistently than ever before.

6. Sickness - the stomach flu went through everyone but Audrey (seriously, how did she escape?) last month, and yesterday Hannah came down with what seems to be influenza. I HATE sickness. But, maybe if we get through both of those now, before the baby comes, we can have the rest of the winter be well for our infant? Here's hoping! Our kids always bounce back quickly with home remedies, but Hannah has to miss an event at church this weekend that she's SO been looking forward to. :( Poor kid!

7. Christmas - I don't know where to start, so I haven't. Heh. This year is going to be super simple, even more simple than the year Tess was born ON Christmas day, since we don't even know what house we'll be in yet. We are pretty much getting a house for Christmas, though we're thinking we will get the kids a Wii. I'm thinking we may get a tabletop tree or something too, just to have SOMETHING. Kinda sad to spend the whole month with no decor!

8. For the first time, Nick taught voice lessons for the School of Worship the past 2 1/2 months. He was so nervous but I knew he would be great, and it was a terrific experience. He has an uncanny ability to recognize voices and differentiate between all the different aspects of a person's voice to pinpoint what will improve the tone quality, not to mention all his years of taking voice lessons and choir! He came up from our little studio in the basement tired but excited every time he taught. It's so exciting to watch my husband doing things in which he is gifted. And hearing worship music through the house every Monday and Tuesday night felt so right with the culture of our home. The only thing that was tough was being on my own with the kids for those long days, but we did it.

9. Food - We have eaten out more in the past two months than I think we did in the past three years! Somehow, we don't seem that bad off for it. Eating grain free (not even strict GAPS, though we do try at home) and getting enough healthy fat has just made a massive difference for all of us. Many of my from-scratch projects went by the wayside for awhile while I dealt with sick kids, etc. I just started up my last batch of frozen water kefir grains this week. It's taking awhile to get them active, but I think they are well on their way. I also started a fresh kombucha scoby from a bottle of raw kombucha. We have more or less given up on using dairy for the time being. I buy about 5 oz of raw goat milk cheddar each week, and that's about all we can handle. Mixed reviews on how we're doing with our egg sensitivity. I think after all the stress is over and things settle down we'll try again. Audrey and Nick are the only ones who eat eggs regularly. We have introduced occasional small amounts of soaked buckwheat porridge with our breakfast sausage, with good success. I think since we were coming from an already organic, gluten free diet, it maybe won't take us the recommended two years to heal on GAPS. Still hoping for the food sensitivities/sensitive digestion to clear completely though.

10. The ONLY way we are getting through this season is to remember that God knows us, loves us, and will take care of us. If you haven't heard much from me lately, this is why! :) There is even more going on than I've written here. I'm looking forward to, on the other side of this, having my own home, my sweet baby, my husband home more because of no commute, and a period of rest!