Cloth Diapers vs Disposables

Cloth Diapers-BAH!
In this day and age why would anyone want to fool around with cloth diapers when you can just go to the store and buy disposables? I remember the cloth diaper changing routine from when I was a child. A proper fold being of the utmost importance, safety pins and plastic pants and you’re good to go. No pun intended. When disposable diapers came on the scene, they eliminated the need for safety pins and plastic pants making moms job easier by simply disposing of the entire thing in the trash. Disposables appear to have solved a lot of time consuming problems for mom right? Not so fast. With skin being the largest organ of absorption, and baby wearing a diaper nearly 24/7, at the very least you want something safe against your baby’s most sensitive parts. Convenience may not always be the best thing to base your decision on in this case.
Many of today’s disposable diapers contain some very scary chemicals responsible for everything from cancer to neurological damage. The three scariest ingredients found in disposables are Dioxins, Volatile organic compounds (VOC) such as toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene and Sodium polyacrylate or SAP for short. Not to mention fragrances. I have long encouraged new mothers with babies experiencing severe diaper rash to stop using scented disposables. Many times the issue clears up shortly after. For families looking to decrease toxic chemicals in their environment, dumping the disposables is a great place to start.
Last but not least, let’s consider sustainability. A lot of today’s practices are carried out with no thought given to our plastic footprint on the Earth. If you consider how many diapers a baby goes through in a 24 hour period, organic cloth diapers just make so much more sense. A cloth diaper can be used up to 200 times in some cases before being turned into the rag bin.
Modern cloth diapers are just as easy to change as disposables and you never run out. Although the expense of cloth is an up front expense, the need to replenish disposables over and over can really add up over time. Generic disposables can cost up to $1400+ over a period of a couple of years, eco friendly disposables add a hefty load costing up to $2500 over the same period. A cloth diaper system can cost as low as $300.00.
GroVia is my choice for organic cotton diapers, baby wipes and no prep soaker pads. Whatever your babies needs when it comes to cloth diapers, GroVia has your little butt covered!

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Spice It Up This Cold & Flu Season

Spice It Up This Cold & Flu Season

Every year about this time I find myself in the midst of hackers and sneezers. While most people seek out over the counter medications to relieve their symptoms, unfortunately some OTC medications can have some pretty serious side effects. Some raise blood pressure, some can even cause liver toxicity and most suppress normal immune response.
Look no further than the kitchen and garden for relief. Some of my favorite natural remedies consist of herbs that can be found in most people’s spice cabinet. Ginger, which can be found fresh in most grocery store produce sections is turning out to be high on my list of home remedies. It is anti-viral, which cold and flu both are, and helps relieve nausea. Because it stimulates the flow of blood, it is anti-inflammatory and it has a warming energy handy for these chilly mountain mornings. Ginger is active against antibiotic resistant bacteria like staph. It is also synergistic in that it can enhance the action of pharmaceutical antibiotics increasing their potency especially against resistant bacteria. Some studies have shown it to be more effective at killing cancer cells than cancer medication without damaging healthy cells. Worth mentioning, I would heavily advise against wasting your money on powdered ginger if you expect to get medicinal action from it. Ginger should have a strong smell and flavor to be effective. The ginger juice mixture shown below is anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory as well as providing vitamin C, a necessity for cold & flu season.
Vitamin C
In regards to Vitamin C, most supplements found over the counter are made from ascorbic acid. Not the same thing as Vitamin C, ascorbic acid is only a fraction or an isolate in naturally occurring vitamin C. Vitamins do not consist of individual compounds. They cannot be isolated from the complex and perform necessary functions in the cells. They are biologically complex and a number of factors need to be present for them to actually work. My point being this, naturally occurring vitamin C is the best method of delivery. Where can we get naturally occurring Vitamin C? Some excellent food sources include citrus fruits, leafy greens such as spinach and green or red peppers. Lightly cooked or raw is best. Other naturally occurring sources are pine needles and rose hips. Pine needles can be cut and made into tea by pouring hot water over them. Steep only 3 minutes or so or you will feel like you’re drinking turpentine. While hovering over your cup of pine needle tea, take a few deep breaths to allow the volatile oils to coat the respiratory system as a preventative. Tea can also be made from rose hips. Just one rose hip can provide as much vitamin C as 3 lemons. Another easy method of ingesting vitamin C is to dry the peel of organic citrus fruit and grind it into a powder. One teaspoon per day stirred into water is recommended.
Back to the kitchen, no medicine chest would be complete without gingers golden cousin, turmeric. One of the most versatile herbs in the kitchen. Per the website http://www.turmericforhealth.com/turmeric-benefits/turmeric-and-the-flu
laboratory studies have shown that curcumin, an active constituent in turmeric reduced viral replication by up to 90% in cells infected with the influenza virus. It is a potent antimicrobial meaning it is antiviral, antibiotic and antifungal to name a few. It’s also anti-oxidant, assisting the immune. It is powerfully anti-inflammatory in action and has shown benefit to those stricken with inflammation from arthritis to Alzheimer’s. Talk about bang for your buck. Turmeric has got to be one of the most inexpensive and versatile food/medicines available.
Garlic
Yet another antimicrobial found in most kitchens. Per herbalist Stephen Harrod Buhner, “No other herb comes close to the multiple system actions of garlic, its antibiotic activity & its immune potentiating power.” Garlic contains hundreds of minerals and nutrients. Again fresh garlic is best, it should always be strong smelling and strong to the taste buds. Some of its healing power actually comes from a chain reaction of compounds produced by bruising or crushing the clove. The supplements found in stores that are deodorized are not going to have nearly the power or strength of the fresh herb. Although many people are subconscious about smelling like garlic, maybe there is some truth to the old wives tale about keeping the vampires away. Rich in vitamin c and potassium, garlic can help make your meals an opportunity for healing.
To learn more about garlic, there’s a whole book written on the subject called The Healing Power of Garlic by Paul Bergner.
Why are herbs better?
As with over the counter vitamins, many pharmaceutical antibiotics are isolated chemical constituents. They are one compound or one chemical – penicillin is penicillin, tetracycline is tetracycline etc. This makes them easier for bacteria to adapt to and counteract. In contrast, herbs are much more complicated. Garlic has over 33 sulfur compounds, 17 amino acids and a dozen other compounds. The different compounds work synergystically with each other. The complex ingredients of herbs work together in concert which is probably what makes them effective and safe. They don’t encourage antibiotic resistance or destroy gut bacteria as with pharmaceutical antibiotics. One of the things I love the most about herbs is they have a multitude of uses unlike over the counter or pharmaceutical medications which are typically used for only one purpose. When I write about the herbs and their uses I feel as if I am only touching the tip of the ice burg.
The beauty of “food” like herbs is that you can’t take too much but they sure can pack a punch when it comes to knocking out an illness. Ginger, turmeric and garlic bring with them the wisdom of the ages. All three are ancient spices and have been used for thousands and thousands of years without one single documented case of overdose or death.
I often wonder when the notion that eating well would contribute to better health fell by the wayside. It certainly did happen somewhere down the line as evidenced by the rise in the health and pharmaceutical industry. When I consider cooking with herbs as preventative medicine, it makes a whole lot more sense to me coming from that angle. No mystery about it. Many of your kitchen herbs are immune boosting and antimicrobial. I can’t think of one single fast food that can show benefit or positive results regarding your health. In fact, I believe leaving our health in the hands of doctors and resorting to fast food and processed packaged food to be the leading cause of obesity and diabetes as well as lowered immune function to say the least.
Ginger, turmeric and cayenne can easily be grown in the garden or even indoors. Using fresh ginger or turmeric, plant the root knobs up and watch your medicine grow.
A great ginger juice recipe for the onset of cold or flu
Juice 3 pieces of fresh ginger about the size of your thumb. Add about 10 ounces of hot water, a squeeze of lemon or lime, approximately 1/16 tsp of cayenne pepper and a bit of honey to sweeten. Drink 3-4 cups per day or more if you feel a monster coming on. You can take the remaining pulp from juicing, soak it 4-8 hours in water and drink the liquid. An alternative to ginger ale can be made by adding honey and club soda to the remaining liquid.
Folk remedy garlic foot wrap
Mince 4 cloves of garlic, make a thick paste with olive oil and spread on the soles of the feet. Cover with cotton socks. Best done before bedtime. If the person is sensitive place a cloth between the garlic paste and the skin. For children use 1 clove.
Garlic honey lemonade because everything is better with a little bit of honey.
2 cloves finely minced garlic. Add to 1 quart mason jar and fill with boiling water. Cover 30 minutes and strain. Add the juice of one whole lemon. Sweeten with honey. Serve warm.
**Large doses of ginger should be avoided in pregnancy, however used in moderation can be effective against morning sickness.
Mari Marques is a Certified Herbalist and owner of The Thymekeeper. For questions or more information contact: Mari at mugsyspad@aol.com or 719-439-7303.

Botanicals of the macabre

Botanicals of the macabre

Although many plants today are considered food and remedies, some of them have a very sinister past with criminal records as long as your arm. Historically, one of the most notorious poisonous botanicals is Aconite; AKA Monkshood, devil’s helmet, wolfsbane, mother-in-laws poison.

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Meet Some Local Yokels

Meet Some Local Yokels

Purslane

Portulaca oleracea.

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Usnea aka Old Man’s Beard

Usnea aka Old Man’s Beard

usneaontree2

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Superweeds or Super Nutritious Super Foods?

Superweeds or Super Nutritious Super Foods?

During WWll, the American Government considered garden weeds to be good nutritious food. Some of the top weeds at that time included Amaranth and Lamb’s Quarters. Not only are they nutritious but they grow incredibly fast! Currently farmers across America are experiencing a phenomenon known as “superweeds” and one of those causing a great deal of trouble is Amaranth AKA Pigweed. There are 60-70 different species of Amaranth that can be found almost anywhere, but the Palmer Amaranth specifically has become resistant to the popular weed killer Roundup. This particular species can easily grow up to 18 feet tall or more and stop a combine dead in its tracks. This is no surprise really, when you consider we now have “superbugs” as a result of antibiotic overuse. Glyphosate, the main ingredient in Roundup is classified as an antibiotic and millions of tons of it are used on factory farms every year. Unfortunately the strategy to combat the issue of superweeds is to add more herbicides. Coming from a historical viewpoint, I don’t think that’s going to work.

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The Gifts of the Great Mullein

The Gifts of the Great Mullein

Verbascum thapsus

AKA: Common Mullein, Gordolobo, Shepherds staff, Old Man’s Flannel, Velvet plant, Indian Tobacco, Candlewick plant, Camper’s toilet paper, Torches and many other common names including “those damn cabbages!”

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Eat Those Dandy Greens

Eat Those Dandy Greens

Wait! Don’t spray that beautiful yellow flower! Dandelion is a most awesome nutritious food as well as an excellent herbal remedy.

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Choices

Usually when presented with “do you want the good news or the bad news first?” you get to choose. Not this time, I’m giving you the bad news first but will give you other options!

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The Dandelion and The Bee

Once upon a time there was a little golden haired girl named Deanna. Upon returning home from a 3 day trip with her parents, she noticed a fuzzy little bee lying on a rug in her bedroom. The bee was still alive but could barely move. “Oh no” thought the little girl. “The poor little bee must have been without food and water. Everyone needs food and water.” Knowing how much the bees loved the wildflowers she carefully picked up the rug and carried it outside. Luckily the dandelions were in bloom and plentiful in her yard so she picked a flower and laid it beside the ailing bee. Slowly the bee climbed up onto the dandelion flower, nestled in and drank the nectar. Within just a short while the bee was recharged and flew away back to the hive to do what bees do. This made the little girl very happy as she loves honey and she knew without the bees there wouldn’t be any. The little golden haired girl and the little golden flower saved a life that day. Yes Deanna, the bees do give us delicious golden honey but few people know they are responsible for one in three bites of food we eat.

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