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Berkeley, CA

510-325-4785

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Nourishment and Support for Growing Families

Filtering by Category: Healing Library

Measles: what you should know (GetzWell Pediatrics)

Angie Needels

GetzWellLogo.gif
 

Whole Kid Newsletter

February 13, 2015 - Brought to you by GetzWell Pediatrics (www.getzwell.com)

Measles: what you should know

In light of the recent measles outbreak this winter, we have been fielding many questions from our families. In this summary, we hope to address some common questions and concerns about the disease in order to help you make informed decisions surrounding vaccination, prevention and treatment for your family.

As of February 10th, there have been a total of 121 cases confirmed in 17 states and Washington DC, with the majority being in California, and we are aware of at least one confirmed case in San Francisco this week. At this rate, the number of cases will easily surpass the 644 cases in 2014—the greatest number of cases since the disease was nearly eradicated in the early 2000s. Some of this year’s cases can be traced to exposure at Disneyland, while others are seemingly not linked.

An Overview

Measles is an extremely contagious, airborne viral infection that produces flu-like symptoms and a red rash all over the body. It is commonly spread by coughing and sneezing but can survive in the air for up to 2 hours after its host has left the area. Measles multiplies rapidly in the nasal cavity and then spreads to the lymphatic system, respiratory tract, and other organ systems. Symptoms usually appear 10-12 days after exposure, well after the virus is contagious, meaning that an exposed individual can spread the disease before they experience any symptoms. The virus can be killed by heat, light, and solvents so preventive measures can be effective especially if you suspect exposure. Nasal irrigation with a solution like Xlear can help flush out the virus before it spreads beyond the nasal cavity. Sanitization of surfaces and hand washing can help reduce the potential for exposure.

Rate of Infection

Despite the relative ease of killing the virus, its rapid proliferation makes rates of infection high. A person is contagious as soon as they are infected, for days before symptoms begin and for days after a rash develops. The likelihood of an unvaccinated person becoming infected after exposure is over 90% on average, and 94% for unvaccinated children ages 1- 4.

Symptoms

Initial symptoms are similar to influenza, and may include a fever of up to 105F, runny nose, cough, and pinkeye. One significant differentiating symptom is the brief appearance of white spots (called “Koplik spots”) inside the cheek during the early onset of measles. Following respiratory symptoms and Koplik spots, a red blotchy rash typically appears—first on the face, then spreading downward over the body. Unfortunately, because Koplik spots appear only briefly during early onset of measles, this symptom has often passed by the time a patient presents to their doctor.

Complications

Complications are greater among children under 5 and adults over 20, as well as those with nutritional deficiencies and individuals with weakened immune systems.

Common complications of measles include diarrhea, ear infection, and pneumonia. A less common but severe complication is brain infection, called encephalitis, which occurs in about 1 per 1000 cases. Encephalitis carries a 15% mortality rate and a 25% prevalence of lasting neurological damage.  As pediatricians, this is a risk that we worry about especially for unvaccinated children.  Very rarely, a fatal degenerative neurological condition known as SSPE may present up to a decade after apparent full recovery. This condition presents in about 1 per 100,000 measles cases, but always results in death.

Overall mortality for measles is 1-2 per 1000 cases, with the proportion being higher among young children. The risk is higher for infants under 1 year for whom the measles vaccine is not recommended except for short-term protection while traveling to high-risk areas, or in the event of an epidemic, which has not been declared in California. These very young children must rely on “herd immunity” to avoid infection, as their developing systems are less likely to respond to the vaccine.  Most experts say that herd immunity depends on a vaccination rate of 95%.   Our understanding is that the measles vaccination rate in the San Francisco Bay Area is currently around 91%.

MMR Vaccine

Among confirmed cases of measles in California, fewer than 2% were vaccinated against the disease.

MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) is the vaccine used to prevent measles infection. It is a live virus that creates a mild infection to elicit an immune response. The first dose is typically given at 12 to 18 months of age, with about 95-98% of these children developing protective antibodies. A second dose is given to ensure that those remaining 2-5% also develop immunity. This second round is typically given at 4 years but can be administered as early as 4 weeks after the first. An alternative to receiving both rounds of the vaccine is to draw titers (bloodwork to check for antibodies) to confirm immunity from the first vaccine.

Because MMR is a live virus, certain populations are not able to receive it and must rely on others’ immunity to be protected. This includes babies under 6 months, pregnant women, and immunocompromised individuals. Those with severe allergic reactions to certain components of the vaccine should also avoid MMR, though this is rare. MMR is considered safe for people with egg allergies.

Very rarely, the MMR vaccine may trigger an autoimmune reaction that causes brain inflammation, though this occurs less frequently than with the measles virus itself. Individuals with autoimmune disorders seem to be more susceptible to this complication. As noted above, compromised immunity is one of a few contraindications to receiving MMR.

So while we cannot say that MMR carries zero risk, we do know that the risk of developing serious complications like SSPE is many times higher among individuals who contract the measles virus compared to those who receive the vaccine (1 in 100,000 vs.1 in 1 million).

Prevention & Treatment

Vaccination at 12-15 months provides the most certain protection against the virus. Vaccination within 72 hours of exposure has been shown to prevent the disease in previously unprotected individuals.  Unvaccinated adults who are around young children should consider vaccination. 

In the event of infection, a high dose regimen of vitamin A may reduce risk of complications. The regimen is recommended by the World Health Organization for all children with measles. While there is a risk of toxicity with high dosing of vitamin A, this short-term protocol may help diminish adverse complications with relatively low risk of toxicity:

Administer once per day for two days…

• 50,000 IU for infants under 6 mos.

• 100,000 IU for infants 6-11 mos.

• 200,000 IU for children 12 mos. +

To boost the immune system and reduce the possibility of infection, maintain sufficient levels of vitamin D throughout the winter and be sure to eat plenty of vegetables and keep sugar intake to a minimum. Here are our tips on staying generally healthy through the winter months: Eat a Rainbow

Try to avoid fever reducers such as Tylenol and Motrin, which may actually worsen the severity of measles by tempering the body’s natural response to fighting infection. Reserve these for when discomfort from fever prevents adequate hydration and sleep, which are vital for recovery.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us for a custom consultation to further discuss measles and the MMR vaccine.

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© 2015 GetzWell Pediatrics, 1701 Church St. San Francisco, CA 94131

Kid Friendly Nourishing Savory Snacks - Part 1

Angie Needels

Want to offer your kids more healthy snack options that are easy to grab and go and will support their development, learning, play, immune and sleep? 

All of these snacks are based on a traditional way of eating, so they are either pastured, raw, cultured/fermented, and/or have healthy fats and proteins in them to bring in lots of great nutrients that will aid in keeping your child(ren) healthy and ready for another day. Many of these snacks can easily be made at home, bought in stores or online.

Please always consider the highest quality organic or pastured (no herbicides, pesticides, growth hormones or GMOs) foods for your family as an investment in your health. Reference our Traditional Foods on a Budget post to find out plenty of ways to make eating high quality whole foods easier on your pocketbook.

Stay tuned for upcoming posts with more snack ideas and simple recipes.
Next post = Kid Friendly Nourishing Beverages & Sweet Snacks... yum!

Want more ideas? Got Questions? Let me know!

SAVORY SNACK IDEAS

beef jerky / beef sticks
turkey jerky
salmon jerky, cured lox, or smoked salmon chunks
shrimp bites / niboshi (tiny dried sardines or anchovies)
hot dog bites

mini meatballs (beef, pork, lamb, turkey, chicken or mixed) with organ meats and veggies
chicken / turkey tenders with nut crust
sausage bites
liver pate on cucumber slices and other charcuterie
crispy chicken skins or pork rinds
bacon chips, salami chips, and prosciutto chips
roasted or cured sliced meats (roast beef, turkey, chicken, salami, etc.)
meat and cream cheese 'rolls'                                                                                                      
soft, hard or deviled pastured eggs
frittata bites or mini egg/cheese/meat muffins
parmesan chips "frico" (recipe below)
homemade savory crackers made with herbs, nuts, seeds, and cheeses
sprouted nuts and seeds / trail mix
veggie crudite (cut carrots, radish, snap peas, celery, etc.) with nut/seed butters, dips
sun-dried tomatoes
avocado
lacto-fermented dill pickle ‘sticks/chips’
olives (fresh or dried)
seaweed 
nori sheets /seaweed roll-ups
dried veggies chips (plantain, kale, brussel sprout, sweet potato, beet, mushroom)
teff injera bread 'chips'
popcorn with butter or coconut oil
pao de quejio (Brazilian cheese bread)
kabalagala (
plantain fritters)

Links for sourcing:
First check your local farmer's market. Many vendors make the markets diverse in ingredients and are conveniently in your neighborhood. For example...
HERE is the Berkeley Farmer's Market Vendor Directory. 
HERE you can find the closest Farmer's Market in your neck of the woods.

Vital Choice = seafood
US Wellness Meats = beef sticks, pork rinds
Grass-fed Beef Crisps / Jerky Chews / Caveman Fuel = jerky
Epic Bars = pemmican style snack bars
BackyardCSA = weekly traditional foods grocery with a variety to choose from
The Local Butcher Shop (Berkeley) = jerky, meat sticks and lots of charcuterie
Tara Firma Farms = (SF Bay Area) sliced deli meats
Thistle Meats = (Petaluma) sliced deli meats, pate
Sonoma County Meat Co.  = (Santa Rosa) meat

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RECIPE                                                                              

Savory Parmesan Chips (Frico)

1 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 Tablespoons of fresh herbs (optional)
2 Tablespoons sesame seeds (optional)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

(optional) Toast sesame seeds in small skillet over medium heat, tossing continually until lightly browned.

Toss all ingredients in a small bowl. Make small clumps (approximately 1-2" in diameter) on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for approximately 8-12 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely. They will be crisp once cooled. 

Enjoy as crackers or chips. 

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From the Old Ways,
Primal Mama
primalmama@mamakai.org

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Thanks to Nom Nom Paleo for a super fabulous kid friendly snack foods image! We heart you!

Traditional Food on a Budget

Angie Needels

 

It can seem expensive initially when making the change to eating healthy, pure foods. However, there really are ways it can be done more economically and I'm happy to share a few things that have worked well for me and my family.

Consider eating whole foods as an investment in your health. By eating well and supporting your health, you'll have less out-of-pocket expenses on doctor's visits, missed days at work and expensive medications or supplements.

  1. Remember that you will be saving money on processed stuff you won’t be buying anymore! This is huge when you think about how much sugary boxed cereals cost, how quickly you can go through money on eating out/fast food and how expensive other packaged foods are.
  2. Meal planning. Try to sit down once a week and get a general plan for what you’ll be making for meals, then make a grocery list. If you have a thorough list, it really does cut down on the impulse buys and your time.
  3. Make foods at home. Homemade items like breads, crackers, creme fraiche/sour cream, yogurt, pickles, sauerkraut, salad dressings, condiments, soups, casseroles and snacks can be much cheaper made at home.
  4. Keep your kitchen well stocked and organized. Have extra staples on hand, so you don't have to do last minute trips to the store or pay high prices at the 'corner store'. You can keep a 'cabinet and/or freezer inventory list' on your fridge telling you what you have on hand. It may cost more in the beginning to do this; however, it will save you considerably over time.
  5. Shop at the farmer's markets. Decreasing the distance from the food source to your table, is not only more beneficial for our bodies and for our environment, it is easier on the budget by cutting out the middle man and the cost of fuel. Also, you can give yourself a budget to stick within much easier when shopping at the farmer's market. Simply allot an amount of cash you can spend and when your pocket is empty, pack up and go home. If you want even further discounts on produce, shop toward the end of the day at the farmer's market and many farmers will reduce their prices so they don't have to take their goods back to the farm. *** NOTE *** If you use food stamps or EBT for buying your foods, many farmers markets will accept those as payment now. In Berkeley they also have an amazing program called Market Match where you'll get extra free dollars to spend on produce if you use your EBT there.
  6. Buy in bulk and/or join a local co-op, buying club or CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). When you buy yourself or split orders with friends, you can take advantage of deeper savings in buying in bulk and larger quantities. This can include butchered pasture raised meats, fats and oils, dried pantry goods and spices, fresh produce for drying, canning or freezing, supplements and so much more. Check out: Azure Standard and even CostCo is carrying organic products. We'll be adding a Sourcing Page to MamaKai's Wellness Resource Library in the near future, so please check back soon to find loads of great places to buy high quality ingredients.
  7. Plant a garden. Gardening is very affordable when done from starter plants and even more so when starting from seeds. Even those of you with limited space can have container gardens or fresh herb planters and subsidize your overall food costs. Take pleasure in watching your food grow right before your eyes and pick/eat it when its perfectly ripe for maximum nutrition.
  8. Buy whole foods when on sale, discounted or with coupons. Plan your meals around what whole foods are on sale. Certain stores have specific days/times when things might be on sale, ask your preferred grocers and they'll let you know their schedule. There are plenty of recipe apps, magazines and websites that you can search to find new recipes to make with the ingredients that you find on sale. Crop Mobster is a listserve which alerts you when farmer's have an abundance of produce that they need to sell quickly at discounted prices.
  9. Buy the inexpensive cuts. When buying meats, buy and use more of the cheaper cuts like ground, stew meat, shoulder cuts, roasts, shanks, organs, bone-in and sausages. Because these generally have more fats, cartilage, bones and marrow and take longer to cook they are actually going to be healthier. They'll have a wider make-up of nutrients and those nutrients will be more accessible through slow cooking techniques. Not to mention they'll be much more flavorful and comforting to eat. 
  10. Buy whole pieces of meat. A whole chicken or duck is much cheaper by the pound than the sum of it's parts. You can roast it whole to serve for a couple meals or take off the bone and add to soup or make a chicken salad. You can save all bones, skin and cartilage for making nutrient-dense broths.  
  11. Buy in Season. Out of season produce is more expensive because it is being shipped from other places. If there are things you might like to have on hand throughout the whole year, buy them in bulk when they are in season and either dry, freeze or can them for later use. Farmers have special pricing for full flats or if you buy a pound/s of a particular item.
  12. Make your own bone broths and include them in your cooking. Bone broths are very economical to make. Save bones, skin and cartilage from meat or ask for knuckle, neck, or shank/marrow bones from your butcher. Instead of buying broths that are laden with MSG and other substances to make it taste like broth, Nourishing broths are deeply healing and will make every dish (soup, stew, sauce, gravy or cooked grain) taste rich and comforting.
  13. Make meals in large batches and freeze leftovers. You can make a double batch of any dish you make. So if you're roasting a whole chicken for dinner, roast two instead. Eat one for dinner and save the other for another night. Or you can pick a day a month to make several dishes in large quantity. Package meals in single serving containers for lunches or quick dinners. Simply label the dish name, date, freeze it and thaw it later to balance with side dishes. 
  14. Eat out less. You can buy several meals at home for the price of one at a restaurant. When you make meals at home, you also know all of the ingredients that are used, that they are safe and healing for you and your family's health. Pay less and get so much more!  
  15. Pack your bag with snacks. Take a few minutes before you leave the house to pack a drink and a few nutrient-dense snacks to take wherever you go. This will help you avoid buying fast food or snacks from vending machines that not only add up in costs but are detrimental to your health.
  16. Pack or plan food for trips. By car, take a cooler and have lunch on a picnic table or in a park. By plane, bring non liquid foods like canned fish, beef jerky, cheese, cured meat, dried fruit, sprouted nuts/seeds, homemade crackers. Also save money by staying in a place with a kitchen & shop at local markets, AirBnB makes it easy to do this all over the world. Check out Local Harvest and the Eat Well Guide for more food resources at your destination spot.
  17. Eat a few balanced 'vegetarian' meals a week. Use plant or dairy 'proteins' and healthy fats by incorporating cheeses, yogurt, soaked/sprouted gluten-free grains, bone broth, lard, tallow, coconut oil and nuts/seeds in your meals. You can have very nutrient-dense options for considerably less. Our ancestors didn't eat meat everyday, so maybe we shouldn't either.
  18. Do the best you can and don't stress about it. Make the best food choices with the resources you have. If you can’t afford all organic or pastured meats all the time, make it a goal to add more in when your budget allows.

From the old ways,
Primal Mama

primalmama@mamakai.org

No More Sugar Blues - Starting the Year with a Sugar Detox

Angie Needels

It’s that time of year and many of you probably have some sort of exercise regimen, weight loss program or cleanse at the top of your New Year’s Resolution List. A sort of "hit the reset button" right? 

After the holidays and maybe indulging in sweet treats at work, holiday parties or family dinners, it's time for us to recalibrate our sweet tooth.

Let's do a little sugar detox. This can help increase all of our health goals for the new year.

It’s important to give our bodies a break from sugar and an over abundance of carbohydrates. Too many carbohydrates in our diet are directly linked to fatigue, blood sugar issues, weight issues, brain fog, energy highs and crashes and much more.

In the old days, eating desserts or sugary snacks were a rare treat. Anything sweet that was eaten was from nature and coming with all the necessary components to digest and integrate the minimal carbohydrates in the most optimal way. However, in today's society we've come to expect sweet in our everyday life. By eliminating sugars even for a few weeks, your body can break this addictive cycle.

There are many ways to detox and reset your sweet cravings, here are couple:

2 Week Sugar Elimination - Remove all flours, sugars or sweeteners, including sugar substitutes and even natural sweeteners

Paleo Style Elimination Diet - Remove the above ingredients in the 2 Week Sugar Elimination as well as coffee, grains, beans/legumes, dairy, alcohol, and chocolate. So you're asking... "What the heck can I eat?" - Check out the Paleo dietary guidelines and meal plan generator in the link - http://paleologix.com/about/dietary-guidelines/

When eliminating sugars and carbohydrate rich foods from your diet, you force your body to use fats as a more sustainable source of fuel. Fats contain 9 calories versus the 4 in carbs. You'll find that your energy level is more sustained throughout the day, you have less crashes and a need for a sweet treat or cup of coffee in the afternoon. And not to mention you're body will start to burn the fats that you already have in your body, trimming you up and showing more of your natural muscle tone.

Below are links for more support. Feel free to email me if you've got questions along the way.

21 Day Sugar Detox - http://21daysugardetox.com/

Whole 30 Program - http://whole30.com/whole30-program-rules/              

Whichever detox you choose, keep in mind that it may be rough the first few days. Sugar withdrawals are similar to the addictive nature of kicking a drug habit. Some of these symptoms include headaches, fatigue, cranky-ness, and digestive issues. Please be sure to take things slow and consider working with a health care provider if you have other health issues.

These detoxes are ideal as they are not depriving your body along the way like some cleanses do. These detoxes are very nourishing and re-building.

To support your body during this detox, consider: getting more sleep, supplementing with high quality liquid B Vitamins, cod liver oil/salmon oil, and minerals.

Happy detoxing and starting your new year off with no more sugar blues!

From the old ways,
Primal Mama
primalmama@mamakai.org

Sacred Foods: Water & Nutrient-dense Beverages

Angie Needels

Water is life. We can’t exist without it. Water is essential for our bodies’ health and the health of our environment. The primordial soup that made all of life, came from water.

Every day we should be drinking about half of your body weight in ounces of water or nutrient-dense beverages. Averages are 2.2 liters of water for women and 3 liters of water for men. If you don't know or don't think you are coming close to that consumption, carry a water bottle wherever you go and start tracking you're intake. You'll find that you just drink more when you have it with you anyway.

Water composition in our bodies:

  • babies 80-90%
  • adults 60-65%
  • brains & hearts 70-75%
  • lungs 80-85%
  • skin 65%
  • muscles & kidneys 75-80%
  • bones 30%

Water performs many roles in every cell of our bodies.

  • exchange of nutrients in blood and cellular fluids
  • building new materials
  • regulating body temperature
  • metabolizing carbohydrates and proteins
  • flush toxins and waste through urination and elimination
  • shock absorption in joints, brain, spinal cord, and amniotic fluid
  • in saliva transport minerals to remineralize teeth and enzymes to break down food

Water levels in our bodies are constantly changing along with levels of water-soluble nutrients, including the B vitamins and vitamin C, as our bodies try to maintain homeostasis. Results from water-based health tests like blood and urine tests will vary greatly depending on our water levels in that moment. A test that is not water-based like the Hair Mineral Analysis test will give nutrient level results based on a longer period of time, about 3-4 months.

In the U.S. our drinking water comes from one of about 160,000 public water systems that are governed by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency). The EPA created the Safe Drinking Water Act to establish safe drinking water standards. Some people in the U.S. have private well water systems, and those are not governed by the EPA and the Safe Drinking Water Act.

The EPA requires that tap water is purified and tested for contaminants in these six categories:

  1. microorganisms - bacteria, viruses, protozoa like giardia
  2. disinfectants - chlorine, chloramine
  3. disinfectant byproducts - bromates, chlorates
  4. inorganic chemicals - arsenic, cadmium, asbestos, fluoride. Drinking fluoride in water does not impact our dental health in the same way as fluoride treatments. Fluoride is not supposed to be swallowed. It disrupts endocrine function, leading to thyroid and adrenal issues.
  5. organic chemicals - lead, mercury, nitrates, nitrites
  6. radionuclides - radium, uranium

Other factors that affect our water quality and resources include:

  1. drought
  2. lead and toxins from pipes or transit system
  3. natural gas fracking / oil drilling / mining / manufacturing
  4. CDC published outbreaks in 150,000 public water systems
  5. people putting things back in
  • antibiotics
  • harsh cleaners
  • pharmaceuticals
  • washing toxic things off body
  • farming runoff: pesticides, herbicides, waste from animals

It is important to drink and bathe in high quality water. Do not use bottled water. Most of the time bottled water is bottled in plastic which has petrochemicals that leach into the water and the bottles create literal tons of waste in the environment. This plastic waste doesn't break down organically and is reaping havoc not only on human health, but on plant and animal life, causing mass extinction for many species.

Bottled and Sold: The Story Behind Our Obsession With Bottled Water by Peter Gleick explains how bottled water has destroyed communities.

Water filtration options:

  1. determine filtration needs by getting a water test from the EPA or other source (check out this easy method you'll be able to do yourself soon)
  2. sources for filters:

Berkey

Premier Research Labs RO Tap Filter / Shower Filter (email to get pricing)

Radiant Life

Brita / Pur - These are not the most recommended systems because they have a lot of plastics involved as well as don't remove all of the toxins that we are hoping to. Might be applicable however depending on what kind of water you have coming from your tap.

Keep in mind, Reverse Osmosis filters strip water of harmful toxins as well as beneficial minerals creating distilled water. We need minerals in our water to make it usable for our bodies. If you use a reverse osmosis filter, please add polar minerals back into your water.

Healthy ways to meet your body’s requirements for your daily water intake:

  • watery foods like whole fruits, celery, cucumber, and lettuces
  • bone broths and stocks in soups and stews
  • herbal teas or tonics (reishi mushroom, fresh ginger, elderberry etc.)
  • lemon/citrus water (rinse often with clean water to ensure the acids of citrus don't break down tooth enamel)
  • fermented beverages like lacto-fermented sodas, beet kvass, water kefir, dairy kefir, kombucha, ginger beer, root beer. check out The Art of Fermentation by Sandor Katz, Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon, The Essential Book of Fermentation by Jeff Cox, and Weston A. Price (2) for recipes
  • MamaKai's swamp water (see general recipe below)
  • raw organic coconut water (nature's "gatorade")
  • raw milk (if tolerated)
  • AVOID: pasteurized juices, soda pop, coffee, alcohol, caffeine - These are depleting and hinder homeostasis and are just not good sources for water consumption

 

MamaKai's "Swamp" Water Recipe

Many mornings I make 1 quart of what I call "Swamp" water and drink it throughout the day. This is not the only water/nutrient-dense beverage I'm drinking, but it's a great part of making sure that I'm getting added nutrients into my diet and giving me little bits of those nutrients throughout the day in a very absorbable way. 

I'm not one to recommend loads of supplements, but because many of us are "healing" our bodies we need more components to do that on top of simple maintenance. 

Depending on what's going on with us personally we may adjust what's in our "Swamp" water. This is the recipe that I use daily and is fantastic for any woman who's pregnant or is breastfeeding. 

MamaKai offers these private supplements as a nutrition consultant, please contact me directly to discuss what you might have in your "Swamp" water based on what your overall health goals are and we can get you the right recipe and the supplements ordered so you have them on hand.

  • 1 tsp - Premier Research Labs Greens Powder (chlorella, spirulina, wheat grass...)
  • 1/2 tsp - Premier Research Labs Polar Minerals
  • 1 tsp - Premier Research Labs Liquid Zinc Assay
  • 1 dropper - Premier Research Labs Max B Vitamins
  • 1/8 cup - Premier Research Labs Pomegranate or Black Cherry Elixade
  • 1/2 cup fresh unpasteurized juice or blended fruit of choice (citrus or berries are a great start) - optional

Place all ingredients in the bottom of a clean glass quart sized container (mason jar, reused bottle). Finish filling with filtered water. Place lid on top and shake well. Take with you wherever you go, shake often before sipping on. Finish 1 whole "Swamp" water each day in addition to the remaining water/nutrient-dense beverage consumption you should be intaking based on your weight (1/2 body weight in ounces... example... I am 120 pounds, I drink 60 ounces a day... 1 quart = 32 ounces).

 

Supporting Our Bodies: Digestion, the Gateway to our Health

Angie Needels

Digestion is the entry way for nutrients to be absorbed into our bodies. If we have issues with our digestion and nutrient absorption, it can lead to all other health conditions including smaller things like migraines, tendonitis, arthritis; or larger issues such as autoimmune disorders, thyroid or endocrine dysfunction, cancers, diabetes and more. Whatever the health issue, I ALWAYS look to heal digestion first, this is by far the first step in promoting optimal health.

Our digestive tract extends from mouth to anus, and also involves our brain.

  1. Brain - The thoughts and emotions we have about food affects our digestion. If we eat with our sympathetic nervous system activated and we are stressed, our bodies prioritize handling the stress rather than our digestion. If we eat with our parasympathetic nervous system activated and we are relaxed, our bodies devote more resources to helping digestion. Also, when we think of our mood, we assume that we should turn to our brains first, but actually much or our serotonin and over 100 million neurons are found in our digestive tract, therefore being known as our "Second brain".

  2. Mouth - Our lips, teeth, and tongue chew our food. Chewing food well---to the texture of a blended soup---reduces the workload for our stomach and helps with digestion. Our salivary glands produce amylase and digestive enzymes to break down food, primarily starting with carbohydrates. Peristalsis moves food along our digestive tract and begins with swallowing.

  3. Esophagus - Our esophagus connects our mouth to our stomach. The cardio-esophageal sphincter is a valve that separates our esophagus from our stomach, and if this valve is weak, we may have issues with GERD and acid reflux.

  4. Stomach - The majority of food breakdown happens in our stomach "our blender", taking about 2-4 hours. Parietal cells line our stomach and produce hydrochloric acid to break down long molecular chains in our foods to small units our bodies can work with. Our stomach and whole digestive tract has a mucosal protective lining, keeping our tissues safe from the highly acidic nature of the environment, without it we can easily experience burns or lesions known as ulcers. Food can ferment and cause gas or alcohols to build up in our stomach if it is not fully chewed or if we do not have enough hydrochloric acid to maintain this process. Drinking fluids right before, during, or right after meals dilutes the hydrochloric acid in our stomach and dampens "our fire". It is better to drink between meals leaving thirty minutes before or after to keep our digestion process hydrated yet very acidic.

  5. Small intestine - Nutrients are absorbed into our bloodstream primarily in our small intestine. It is about 15-20 feet long.

    1. The duodenum is the first foot and the majority of breakdown happens here. Enzymes from our pancreas enter here: protease to break down proteins, amylase to break down carbohydrates, and lipase to break down fat. Our liver produces bile which collects in our gallbladder and concentrates, also helping break down fats. If we are missing our gallbladder, we need to eat smaller amounts of fat throughout the day.

    2. The jejunum is the second part of our small intestine and the breakdown of sucrose, lactose, and saccharides happens here.

    3. The ileum is the last part of our small intestine.

    4. Under the mucosal lining of our small intestine, villi and microvilli allow nutrients to flow into our digestive system. Inflammatory foods break down the mucosal lining which allows foreign particles into our bloodstream. This may cause allergies, asthma, or autoimmune dysfunction because our immune system does not recognize these particles.

    5. Our bodies are full of probiotic bacteria that support our immune system and help our digestion. About four to six pounds of probiotics are in our digestive tract. Antibiotics kill both good and bad bacteria.

    6. Our appendix is between our small and large intestine and supports our immune system.

  6. Large intestine - Our large intestine is where stools are formed from waste products: fiber, dead cells, dead bacteria, and toxins.

  7. Sigmoid colon and anus - Our sigmoid colon and anus are the end of our digestive tract. Healthy bowel movements generally happen one to three times per day; are smooth, brown, tapered at both ends; and not hard, lumpy, or runny. The squatty potty is a stool that may help us be in a natural squat position for smooth elimination.

We can support our digestion by eating a variety of nutrient-dense, whole foods, including fermented foods for natural probiotics, or probiotic supplements.

 

Recommended Books on Digestion:

The Gut and Psychology Syndrome by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride

Digestive Wellness and Digestive Wellness for Children by Elizabeth Lipski

Practical Paleo by Diane Sanfilippo

 

Sacred Foods: Intro to Nutrient-Density & Traditional Diets

Angie Needels

This call introduces nutrient-density and traditional diets.

We need nutrient-dense foods in our diet for optimal functioning of our bodies and minds. Nutrient-dense foods give us the highest concentration of vital components, like vitamins and minerals, that each of our body systems need to function optimally on a regular basis. Traditional diets, diets similar to what our ancestors around the world have been eating for thousands of years, were found to be rich in nutrients to allow human evolution to occur.

The Earth has been in existence about 4 billion years, and humans have been evolving about 2 million years. Traditional hunter-gatherer societies traveled around in small clans, hunting animals, birds, and fish, and gathering fruits, plants, nuts, seeds, and tubers to sustain them. Around 10,000 years ago agriculture began (timeline of agriculture and food technology), along with the establishment of more settled civilizations. The ability to cultivate more food, namely grains, and feed more people led to exponential population growth in dense area/cities.

Jump forward to the 1930s---Dr. Weston A. Price, a dentist in Cleveland, OH was concerned that the patients he was seeing, particularly children, were having an increased number of dental issues like cavities, crooked and crowded teeth, and mouth diseases. He started looking at the diets of his patients for possible causes of these issues; he theorized that eating processed foods like white sugar, white flour, and condensed milk might be leading to the deterioration of his patients’ teeth and their overall health. Dr. Price went on to spend ten years traveling and doing research, looking for people that lived without these dental issues and the other diseases and deformities of modern civilization. He spent time with fourteen different traditional cultures around the world (from Fiji, to Swiss mountainous clans, to inuit in Alaska, to maori in New Zealand, to the Masai in Africa etc.) that had healthy, beautiful teeth, and did not have the diseases of modern civilization. These cultures were not eating processed foods. They were eating traditional foods, including healthy fats that contain important fat-soluble vitamins and fermented foods that contain beneficial bacteria. These cultures also provided extra nutritious foods to women of childbearing age to support conception, pregnancy, birth, and postpartum, ensuring the health and longevity of their future generations.

"Paleo" diets are also gaining lots of attention, a similar style diet to the observations of Dr. Price and focusing on unprocessed foods, but with a few twists and load of research to back it (check out this year's Ancestral Health Symposium). Even though we don't know exactly what our ancestors in the paleolithic period were actually eating, we can use it as a template on finding out more about our individual body's needs. So many people have found huge relief and remission from life-threatening disease and illness when switching to eating this way. The messages that ring true in the paleo communities that I really jive with are... 1) eat only unprocessed foods 2) a great mixture of meats, eggs and veggies mostly... giving you anti-inflammatory foods, rich in nutrients and 3) rely on your body to tell you what's working and what's not. 

We can use this information from traditional peoples in our present day lives. Most processed foods we eat today contain ingredients (like wheat, corn, and soy) that are manufactured in ways that reduce the nutrient quantities or make the nutrients unrecognizable and unusable to our bodies. It is important we eat nutrient-dense foods to maintain health, prevent disease, and also detoxify our bodies---we have an increasing number of toxins in air, water, and soil to manage and mitigate with our body systems.

People are realizing that Western medicine and the pharmaceutical industry are not delivering us health and happiness as hoped. People are also realizing the correlation between processed nutrient-depleted foods and the rise in rates of life-threatening illnesses and are scared. I'm ecstatic to see a bold curiosity in trying these different dietary and lifestyle changes and seeing more and more people feeling great, including myself of course.

When we eat a traditional diet based on nutrient-dense foods, we wake up feeling vital, happy, healthy and in direct participation of maintaining and perpetuating more of that. Nutrient-dense diets support the health of individuals in our community starting at conception, pregnancy, birth and childhood development, setting them up with a hearty body ready to tackle a long life.

MamaKai aims to bring more wisdom and knowledge about nutrient-dense foods back  for the good of our individual health as well as for the collective health of future generations.

 

Resources:

Nutrition and Physical Degeneration by Dr. Weston A. Price

This book details Dr. Price’s scientific research with tribes around the world.


Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon

This book makes Dr. Price’s research more accessible, providing information on traditional diets and nutrient-dense foods, and it includes recipes to try at home.


The Weston A. Price Foundation

A comprehensive resource on the work of Dr. Weston A. Price, traditional diets, and nutrient-dense foods.


The Barker Theory

Dr. David Barker’s research found a correlation between low birth weight in babies and susceptibility to diseases later in life, such as coronary heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. Nutrient-dense diets help nourish pregnant mothers and prevent low birth weight babies.


Kitchen Literacy by Ann Vileisis

This book addresses the history of American food systems, how we lost knowledge of where food comes from and why we need to get it back.


Sacred Foods: The Basics on Fats & Essential Fats For Our Health

Angie Needels

Healthy fats are an important part of our daily diet.

A rule of thumb: Eat fats and oils from animals and plants that you would naturally eat.

Healthy animal fats include:

butter and ghee

beef tallow

pork lard

lamb suet

chicken schmaltz

duck fat

 

Healthy plant fats include cold-pressed:

olive oil

coconut oil

avocado oil

other nut and seed oils


Refined vegetable oils such as rapeseed, canola, and cottonseed oils are processed using high temperatures, high pressure, bleaching, deodorizers, colorants, and sometimes are hydrogenated to make them solid fats at room temperature, like margarine and shortening. These processes denature the molecules, strip out micronutrients and fat-soluble vitamins, and can create trans fats. These are not healthy fats for our bodies. Eating whole foods for our dietary fat needs helps with absorption and is preferable to taking oil supplements.

Dr. Weston A. Price observed that indigenous cultures around the world have favored eating fat-rich foods like raw milk and cream, eggs, fish, roe, fowl, game, and organ meats. These fats are nutrient-dense fertility foods and fed to couples during preconception, pregnancy, and postpartum.

Each fat is composed of its own ratio of saturated and unsaturated fats. We tend to think of saturated fats as being solid at room temperature and unsaturated fats as being liquid. No fat is 100% saturated or 100% unsaturated, but is a mixture of both. Fats are made of triglycerides which are three fatty acids attached to a glycerol. Fatty acids are composed of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen molecules. A saturated fat has its carbon molecules fully saturated by hydrogen, which makes it more stable and less susceptible to oxidation and rancidity. An unsaturated fat has openings for other molecules to attach to it, which makes it more volatile and more susceptible to oxidation and rancidity. Monounsaturated fats have one opening, and polyunsaturated fats have multiple openings. Saturated fats are safer to cook with since they can be heated to higher temperatures without it changing their molecular structure. Saturated fats include butter, coconut oil, and rendered animal fats. Unsaturated fats are best used in cold preparations, such as salad dressing and mayonnaise. Unsaturated fats include olive oil and nut and seed oils.

The foods we eat contain both micronutrients and macronutrients; fat is a macronutrient that contains micronutrients. Micronutrients include vitamins, minerals, trace elements, phytochemicals, coenzymes, and antioxidants. Vitamins A, D, E, and K are fat-soluble, as are the carotenoids: alpha and beta carotene, lutein, lycopene. Fat-soluble means we need fat to absorb these nutrients and make them available for our body to use. Macronutrients are carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. Carbohydrates and proteins have four calories per gram, and fats have nine calories per gram. Calories measure the energy that we can produce from foods. Since fats provide more calories per gram, they provide longer lasting energy than carbohydrates or protein and keep us satiated for longer periods of time. For people with blood sugar regulation issues, such as those with diabetes, eating fats with carbohydrates slows digestion as fat envelops glucose and slows absorption of glucose. This is less-taxing on the digestive system and on the pancreas for the production of insulin. When we use fat as the primary source of energy in our cells, we are in a ketogenic state. When we use glucose from carbohydrates as the primary source of energy, we are in a glucogenic state. A ketogenic diet has anti-cancer properties because cancer cells can not use ketones, the energy from fat; they can only use glucose.

Fats do many functions in our bodies. They create the outside membranes of our cells; the quality of the fats we eat affects the quality of the cell membranes in terms of strength, suppleness, and permeability---the ability for nutrients to flow into the cell and for waste products to flow out of the cell. Our skin cells are constantly regenerating, and healthy fats in our diets help keep our skin supple and prevent wrinkles. Our brains are made of 60% fat molecules. Fat provides body insulation and warmth which is essential for living in colder climates. Fat protects our organs, holds them in place, and keep them warm. In Chinese medicine fats are yin and provide a sense of groundedness, security, warmth, and safety.

Fats and cholesterol tend to be controversial topics. Cholesterol is linked to heart disease as it can be seen during surgery blocking arteries. Therefore doctors recommend limiting cholesterol intake as a preventative measure. However a primary purpose of cholesterol is to respond to inflammation in the body and to try to patch up cells. People who have heart disease tend to have high cholesterol and high levels of inflammation in their body. This inflammation may be due to eating processed foods, toxin exposures, or autoimmune disease. A low-cholesterol diet may not lower our cholesterol levels much because cholesterol comes both from foods we eat and is made in our liver. Our bodies will create the cholesterol we need to deal with inflammation. Eating healthy fats brings in cholesterol more easily, so there is less pressure on the liver to produce it, and the liver can devote itself to other functions. Cholesterol is also vital for the formation and processing of hormones; healthy hormone levels help us manage our emotions and stress.

Essential fatty acids can not be manufactured in our bodies; we need to eat foods containing them in our diet. The two essential fatty acids are linoleic acid, an omega-6, and alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3. Omega-3s and omega-6s are precursors to eicosanoids like prostaglandins which control inflammation in our bodies. A 1:1 ratio of omega-3s and omega-6s helps balance inflammation. Omega-3s create prostaglandins which are anti-inflammatory, and omega-6s create prostaglandins which are inflammatory. People tend to eat more omega-6s today, so there is higher incidence of inflammatory diseases. Omega-6s are found primarily in plant fats such as hemp, chia, flax seeds, and any plant-based oils. Omega-3s are found primarily in animal fats such as egg yolks, seafood, and meats. DHA, an omega-3, is found in fish and some sea vegetables, and is important for healthy neurological function starting from conception to continuing to old age. Lauric acid is another fatty acid important for brain development and is found in high concentrations in coconut oil and breast milk. Breast milk is 50-80% fat and is recognized as the perfect food for babies.

A great book for more information on fats is Know Your Fats by Mary Enig.

Vital Choice is a reputable source of seafood and fish oil supplements


URGENT Fukushima Petition

Angie Needels

Hello Friends, Please join me in signing a petition to the United Nations secretary, Ban Ki-Moon, to closely monitor and bring in international experts to help the Japanese government and Tepco decommission the Fukushima nuclear power plant.

The possible consequences of a botched removal job, or a failure of the containment pool are truly frightening. Journalist and activist Harvey Wasserman described it this way:

"The potential radiation releases in this situation can only be described as apocalyptic. The cesium alone would match the fallout of 14,000 Hiroshima bombs. If the job is botched, radiation releases could force the evacuation of all humans from the site, and could cause electronic equipment to fail. Humankind would be forced to stand helplessly by as billions of curies of deadly radiation pour into the air and the ocean."

The United Nations must compel Japan to bring together an international group of scientists and engineers for this job, instead of rushing the job without experts and international oversight.

Click HERE to sign the petition NOW!

Thank you everyone for ensuring our planet and our future are safe without this deadly threat!