Megan now writes at LivingWhole.org

“Living Whole” is the landing place for all of Megan's thoughts, opinions, research, and struggles as a mother. It's focus is to build-up, empower, and encourage you to channel your inner crunch.

January 6, 2014

Megan's Mind Being Replaced by LivingWhole.Org

Hey everyone! I know, it's been awhile. I have finally decided to start posting again only this time...at the new website LivingWhole.Org. Some of my posts on this blog will be updated and refurbished and you'll be able to read many new posts from myself and all sorts of amazing contributors as well. Please take a few moments to venture over to the new site and subscribe or join the LivingWhole Facebook page so you'll never miss a post.

Thanks for hanging with me through the years! Megan'sMind will soon be phased out.

Megan

December 19, 2012

A Toddler Vitamin Regimen & The Must-Haves for Preventing & Treating Your Child’s Cold or Flu at Home


originally posted this on my other blog but realized that it was relevant to this blog as well. This is a very simple post about my most essential remedies I keep on hand for cold and flu season, my daughter's vitamin regimen, and how my husband and I respond to her sickness. 

Yes, I am a Naturopathic Doctor and my husband…a classically trained Family Practice Physician, but most importantly I am a mom and feel that all parents can be equipped to prevent illness and handle their child’s cold, flu, and sickness symptoms at home.
I have received countless questions from mothers about what to do when their children get sick and how to prevent it. Unfortunately, most children aren’t on a preventative protocol to begin with and many homes are ill-equipped with natural treatment for flu-like symptoms. So here’s the list of things my husband and I have on hand for Mea…our medicine cabinet so to speak. First, you should know that we are a vaccine-free family, which means none of us are vaccinated, and we eat a whole-foods organic diet free of sugar, wheat, dairy, pork, beef, and other common allergens but packed with fruits and vegetables. We also are a medication-free family, which means there is not a single pharmaceutical medication in our house, nor do any of us take them. This is our main form of prevention.
Here is the supplement protocol our 21-month-old toddler is on:
Infant Start Probiotic by Natren – Taken every other day.
Liquid Vitwave – 1 toddler spoon every other day
Liquid Calcium - 1 toddler spoon every other day
My two favorite supplements to have on hand for colds and flu of any kind:
Peppermint oil diluted with organic, extra-virgin olive oil – I purchase Young Living (or Nature's Sunshine) therapeutic grade peppermint oil and dilute 1 drop of peppermint to 4 drops of olive oil and keep it in an amber dropper bottle. I use this oil for everything from stuffy noises, runny noses, and teething, to fevers, sinus infections, and bronchitis. Only apply 1-3 drops when using it on your child.
Check out this link for more information on the health benefits of peppermint oil.
Lavender oil (no dilution required but I also dilute with olive oil) – Lavender is known as the universal oil because it is beneficial for any health condition. When in doubt about which essential oil to use, I always go with lavender. It  also works great in conjunction with peppermint oil. Because these oils are anti viral and anti bacterial, they work well for colds and flu regardless of the cause.
Check out this link for more information on the health benefits of lavender oil.
Silver Shield – We haven’t had to use this one yet. But liquid silver shield is an excellent all-natural alternative to antibiotics. Studies show it to be more effective than the three most commonly prescribed antibiotics without the devastating side-effects.
What to Do When Your Child Gets Sick: 
Mea is 21 months old and has only been sick for a total of three days when she was 12 months old. She experienced a high fever, loss of appetite, and lethargy, consistent with a virus. Here is what we did for her then, what I recommend for my clients, and what I do for my family the minute I see a flu-like symptom:
First, realize the importance of a fever. In our society our first urge when our children get sick is to give them a medication to suppress the symptoms and lower the fever. This is absolutely the wrong thing to do. Our body has a natural method of handling sickness and each symptom you see is crucial to permanent and proper healing. Ever wonder why your children keep getting sick over and over? Giving a medication suppresses the symptoms but it also suppresses healing and causes bugs to remain alive inside your child’s body. This increases the liklihood for further sickness and infection.
With that being said, if my child’s fever is under 102 degrees, I let her body do it’s thing. If it gets up to 103 I put her in a tub of lukewarm water (which will feel very cold to her) with several drops of peppermint or lavender oil. I repeat this every few hours as needed to keep her fever in our “safe zone.” I keep her hydrated with breast milk if still nursing, or if she were to get sick at this point, I would give her a sippy of filtered water with 1/4 lemon to tolerance, organic chicken broth, or  chlorophyll water. I let her sleep as much as she needs, rub peppermint on any affected areas (ex. under nose, on chest, back, temples, sinuses, etc.). If your child has a lung condition, percussion their back to break up mucus.
A normal sickness if left to his natural defenses usually takes 3-5 days to clear up on it’s own. If your child does not eat properly, get adequate amounts of sleep, and is not on a vitamin protocol, their body will have a much harder time fighting a cold.
I know this list seems simple but it works! Keep these things on hand and you’ll save many trips to the doctor, and your child will be happier and healthier.

Disclaimer: If your child’s symptoms go above and beyond what you as the parent are equipped to handle, please consult your physician.

October 11, 2012

Peppermint Oil - The Most Effective Treatment for IBS?


My doctor husband brought me an article today from the American Academy of Family Physicians on the therapies for IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) and I just had to chuckle. Here are some of your IBS treatment options if you were to see a regular medical doctor (with my side notes):

1. Exercise - Vigorous exercise 3-5 times per week keeps IBS from getting worse for 1 out of every 7 people. (SN: I disagree.)

2. Fiber - Fiber is ineffective. (SN: I disagree.) 

3. Over-the-counter laxatives - Scant evidence of effectiveness.

4. Probiotics - Will prevent the worsening of symptoms in 1 out of every 4 people. (SN: I believe it also improves and alleviates symptoms.) 

5. Antibiotics - Will prevent the worsening of symptoms in 1 out of every 11 people over 4 weeks. Improves constipation and bloating. (SN: Yeah, because wiping out your healthy gut flora gives you the craps!)

6. Antispasmodics - 1 out of 7 improvement for abdominal pain; 1 out of 3 have improved symptoms.

7. Antidepressants - 1 out of 4 show symptom improvement and 1 out of 5 experience relief from abdominal pain; (SN: I have a problem in general with the treatment of one's pooping problems with head medications. Modifying pain doesn't fix the underlying cause, it merely changes the body's construction of pain.)

8. 5-HT(3) Antagonists like Lotronex - 1 out of 7 see improved symptoms.

9. 5-HT(4) agonists like Zelnorm - 1 out of every 17 see improvement with constipation. Serious adverse events like stroke and heart attack reported.

10. Complementary and alternative therapies - Some herbal therapies may be effective for treating IBS, but trials are inadequate and too small. (SN: The research is there, there's just no money to be made patenting a naturally occurring substance.) 

11. Peppermint Oil - 1 out of every 2.5 people experience relief from IBS symptoms!

I found it very interested that out of all the medical treatments, the simplest, least inexpensive, safest, and most effective remedy is nature's peppermint oil! Probiotics tied for second and also overpowered the "effectiveness" of antibiotics. Naturopathic Doctors (known as the quack doctors most of the time) have been touting the benefits of probiotics and peppermint oil and using it to treat their IBS clients for years! It sometimes amazes me that it takes "science" such a long time to catch up to research, empirical evidence, and common sense.

If you suffer from IBS, do your gut a favor and pick up some peppermint oil! It is doctor recommended :)

August 10, 2012

The Perfect Tea Cookie: Almond Rosemary Granola Squares (Gluten free, dairy free, sugar free)


I am about to share one of my favorite recipes with you! I have been making this recipe for years and regardless of the flour I use, it turns out perfect…every time. These almond squares remind me of my favorite tea cookies with a hint of rosemary. When my daughter asks for a “cookie,” she’s referring to these…delicious, healthy, over the top yummy granola cookie treats! And I’m happy to share because I know she’s not only eating something that tastes good, she’s eating something that’s good for her.

Ingredients:
1 cup of the gluten-free flour of your choice or white spelt flour (I use white spelt flour.)
1 cup regular or gluten-free rolled oats
1/4 Bob’s Red Mill almond flour (If leaving this out, substitute with flour.)
3/4 cups crushed slivered almonds  (I place mine in a bowl, and crush with the bottom of a glass into smaller pieces.)
1/4 teaspoon aluminum free baking powder
1/2 t sea salt
2 tablespoons chopped rosemary or 10 drops of rosemary essential oil
1/2 cup olive or safflower oil
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 t. vanilla extract
Directions:
1. Mix dry ingredients together in a mixer.
2. Add wet ingredients and mix thuroughly for about a minute. Your dough will be sticky but if it seems too moist, add a little more of your flour.
3. Sample your dough. Don’t feel guilty if you eat all of it and can’t make it to the next steps. You are in good company.
4. Spray a cookie sheet and roll out your dough on the sheet. (Some people use parchment paper but I like to keep things simple.) You can use a rolling pin but I simply dip my fingers in flour and press the dough onto the sheet. The dough will rise a little when baking so press or roll it out to about 1/4-1/2 inch in thickness. Depending on the size of your sheet, the dough might only fill 3/4 of your cookie sheet.
5. Bake on 350 for 12 minutes for soft squares and 15 for crunchy squares.
6. Pull out of the oven, let cool for a few minutes, and slice into squares or crumple into granola. The dough will not look done when you first pull it out but it will continue to cook and you will end up with a perfectly soft (yet firm) cookie!
These cookies only last one day in our house! I hope your family enjoys them too.

August 7, 2012

A One Night Prep to Eat Clean All Week


Do you ever find yourself wanting to eat healthy, but not having the discipline to stick with it? Do you find yourself exhausted and overwhelmed by the thought of preparing a meal from scratch…with kids in the kitchen? Do you ever throw a pre-packaged meal (or in my case, random raw food scraps) on the table because you didn’t get to the store in time, couldn’t figure out what you wanted to make, or my personal favorite – you’re missing the one ingredient you need to make your recipe (and of course you had that ingredient just two days ago)?
This is not my fridge. No, this is what I want my fridge to look like this evening before I go to bed. The inside of my fridge looks more like a tazmanian devil stormed through my house and tossed the groceries in the fridge before a child could toss them all over the floor. The problem is, I then forget what I have in the fridge and am so overwhelmed by the hidden mess of fruits and vegetables that I dare not venture beyond what my eye can see when I first open the door. Can you relate?
In our house, we cook everything from scratch, and by scratch I mean we use nothing that comes pre-prepared from a box. We also don’t use a microwave, canned goods, or frozen meals. Thus, each meal takes a lot of planning, preparation, and cook time.
Before I had Mea, if I ran short on time I’d grab a protein shake, some raw fruits or veggies, or order in. But because both her and my husband also require healthy meals, I’ve had to figure out how to adjust my day so that I know what I’m cooking, have the ingredients, (can find them in my fridge), and have time to cook it.
Enter – this amazing post from the Green Plate Rule. This healthy Mama has a Sunday night prep where she organizes her fridge for the meals she is going to make that week. I use her prepping tips, as well as meal planning tips from the Nourishing Home to organize my fridge each week.
Here are a few tips that will help you organize your fridge and meal plans while saving you both time and money. Who couldn’t use a little extra of both right?
1. Plan your meals for the week. Plan a healthy menu for 3-7 days. Make a grocery list and purchase only the ingredients you need on your list. If you don’t, you’ll end up buying a whole bunch of ingredients for things you think you might want to make, and they’ll end up going bad while you try to remember what it is you bought them for. Buying only the ingredients you need will also save you money in the long-run. Trust me on this one!
2. When you get home from the store, place all groceries on the counter (out of the reach of children). 
3. Before putting any of your groceries away, clean out any food that has gone bad. We are talking prevention here. You know when you clean your room but a few days later find yourself in a rush and leave a few shirts on your bed – only to notice later on that your few shirts turned into the rest of your closet? Your fridge is the same way. Keeping it clean and making an effort to organize your fridge the minute you get home from the store sets the tone for the rest of your week.
4. Wash fruits and vegetables and place in individual containers so they are “ready-to-eat” during the week, or place in separate bags to go into your fruit and vegetable compartments.  First, produce lasts much longer when it is washed and separated. Secondly, You’ll be able to take your fruits and veggies out when your kids are hungry and won’t find yourself standing at the sink trying to quickly wash a grape or peel an orange when your in the middle of doing something else. Example: Take grapes off the vine; wash strawberries, blackberries, and blueberries; wash apples and place them in a bag or container by themselves; peel your oranges, put carrots in a container with water.
5. Look at your menu list and prep foods that can be prepared in advance. Waffle and muffin batter, salsa, hummus, home-made yogurt, chopped veggies for stir fry, and nut milks, are a few of the things prepared right now in my fridge. Instead of spending 30 minutes (45 if you count the interruptions I’d have) in the morning making waffles, I spend three minutes heating my batter up in a waffle iron.
I am more likely to cook healthy when I have healthy ingredients in my fridge, a meal plan, and prepped meals. Hopefully these tips will help you too! Happy prepping everyone!

August 6, 2012

Make Your Own Rejuvelac: The Famous Health Drink of the Hippocrates Institute

When you saw the title of this post, did you think to yourself..."Rejuva what!!??"

I thought the same thing the first time I heard of rejuvalac. But once I learned about its amazing health benefits, it quickly became one of my favorite things to make, despite it's weird name.


This famous restoration remedy was created by Dr. Ann Wigmore who founded the Hippocrates Health Institute in Boston. Dr. Wigmore believes that all diseases are caused by malnutrition and that food is medicine and has the ability to heal the body. She has received the Recognition Award by the Nobel Prize Foundation, the highest honors in Netherlands for her distinguished achievements, and the Cancer Victory Award, among many others.  

Rejuvalac is a pre-digested enzyme drink that puts enzymes into the body that cooked food doesn't. It is rich in proteins, carbohydrates, saccarines, good bacteria, and all sorts of enzymes. These enzymes break down starches and sugars and encourage good bacteria to grow. The proteins in rejuvalac are broken down into amino acids and the carbohydrates into simple sugars - which mean, it is easily absorbed by the body.

Rejuvalac contains eight of the B vitamins, vitamin E, and vitamin K. It's used as a starter for all sorts of fermented dishes: (nut and cheese) sauces, cheeses, and loaves. Drinking a glass between meals will flush out your system, clean your intestinal tract, and help you lose weight. It is great for anyone with digestive and chronic illnesses, diabetes, cancer and more.


So here it is, my simple adapted recipe for making Dr. Wigmore's prestigious Rejuvalac. Drink 1 6-8 ounce glass between meals and check out her book "Ann Wigmore's Recipes for Longer Life" for more recipe ideas.

Recipe for 1 gallon of Rejuvalac:


Rinse 3/4 cup of dry millet (or any other hulled seed like buckwheats, spelt berries, oats, rye, etc.)

Place millet in a jar with 3 cups of water and place a screen over the top. Soak overnight.


Drain and discard the water. Rinse grains and place jar upside down as a 45 degree angle to fully drain, then leave the jar in the same position for sprouting.

Sprout grains for 36 hours. Rinse 2-3 times a day for a few seconds.

Blend the one cup of sprouted grains with two cups of purified water for about 5 seconds. Pour contents of the blender into a one-gallon container and add enough water to make one gallon.


Place your screen over the top of the one-gallon container and let the rejuvelac ferment for 24 hours (or longer if desired) in a room temperature of 68-80 degrees F. 

Pour rejuvelac through a strainer to strain out the grains and the sediment that forms on the bottom. Discard or compose the grains and sediment. 



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