Recently in Healthy Living Category

Hallie Lord:

Scientists have long believed that when people experience stress, a hormonal cascade is triggered compelling the body to do one of two things: (1) stand and fight or (2) flee. New research out of UCLA shows that – for women, at least – it may not be quite that simple. As it turns out, there is an additional reaction that takes place within a woman’s body – the release of oxytocin – that buffers the fight or flight response and encourages her to tend to her children and gather with other women. Once she does this, even more oxytocin is released, further countering stress and producing a calming effect.

I realize this will surprise no one....

A 14-year-old schoolgirl died hours after being given the controversial cervical cancer vaccine today. The teenager from Blue Coat Church of England School, in Coventry, died in hospital after receiving the Cervarix jab.

The tragedy marks the first reported death since more than 1.5m doses of the injection were given to young girls as part of a national vaccination programme since last September in the UK.
A number of her classmates have reported side effects to the vaccine.....


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How to build up your brain:

Positive social connections

New learning

Healthy diet

A daily multiple vitamin

Fish oil

Learning music

Regular exercise

Dancing (of course, without drinking)

Positive thinking



I had my prenatal visit the other day and the PA mentioned that at 18 weeks, if I so choose, I could get genetic counseling, a level II ultrasound, and perhaps an amnio to look for birth defects-specifically Down Syndrome. I am now 35, therefore officially of "advanced maternal age" making the chances of having a Down Syndrome child go up substantially. The more advanced my age, the more "up" my chances go, and from what she described, it seems once I hit 40, well, don't even try reproducing (ha ha, I just made a funny..."try" ha ha).

She said this is just and offer (about 100 x's), and not necessary (I had the feeling the fact that i was pro-life showed somewhere). I said I would ask my husband and so I did. He said if it makes me feel comfortable, sure but in his estimation we do not need it. It's our baby, nothing they reveal would stop us from having the baby, end of story. Good answer. In my pregnancy brain, I flip flop back and forth over the dumbest details and I think were I asked this when I wasn't pregnant, it would be a cut and dry answer, but now I am emotional and I worry, and am indecisive and I need a partner in all this life stuff to tell me what to do until I'm sane again.

13 years ago, when I was 22 years old and pregnant with my Number 2, Posco, my AFP Triple screen came out "funny" (according to the doctor who left a message on my answering machine). So they sent us to genetic counseling, an ultrasound and an amnio. We of course opted to go because the doctor scared the living daylights out of us and gave me the impression that this was simply the next step after a Triple Screen. And I of course *thought* the idea was to give us a head's up to prepare for a child who might have special needs (I was actually thinking Spinabifida more so than Down's).

The genetic-screen-counselor person told me I had about the same chance of having a baby with Down Syndrome as a 35-year-old woman (oh, the irony) which was pretty high (according to them).Before I had a 1 in 1 million chance of having a child with Down's Syndrome, now it was like 1 in 200 (I don't remember the exact stats, but they were startling). We had the ultra sound, we had the amniocentesis and the doctor who did the procedure said "18 weeks is still early enough along to take care of it if we find out there is bad news today." I felt stupid and angry and felt that by participating, I unwittingly contributed somehow to the philosophy that children are disposable. I told my mother this story and she rolled her eyes at my melodrama (as par the course) and said her doctor told her these tests were to perhaps fix an anomaly that could be fixed or to prepare parents in advance.

I know the usual pro-life mom tagline is simply to reject these tests, and I don't think I had a Triple Screen again after that incident with my following 4 children. Like my husband said, I will most likely turn down the tests this time around. But it makes me wonder: preparing ahead if you have a child who needs special attention does not seem anti-life to me. I think if I had a pro-life, NFP only doctor, I might opt for the tests. Do women who are lucky enough to have NFP only docs, who feel confident that abortion is not an ulterior motive accept these tests? Or do these doctors simply not offer these tests? I guess the overall question is what would women's health care look like if the industry wasn't so obsessed with birth control and abortion and you had confidence that your doctor was genuinely trying to take care of you and not sterilize you.

I Can't Eat Sushi

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I guess that means ceviche is out too? I suppose that would make sense since the prohibition is against raw fish as opposed to Japanese food. I am craving everything I can't eat: hoagies, sushi, bleu and Camembert cheese. I read somewhere that once something is prohibited, that is exactly what you want, but I think the answer is simpler than that-it's summer and cold, simple food is appealing in summer.

i may go splurge on some veggie sushi...

(I know, really deep after the Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn tribute.)

And whining every few hours in the Facebook status block is not enough. The other night I was gagging through doing dishes. It was after supper, which always means I am sicker than before I ate. I break out into sweats, the fatigue worsens, and the nausea just doubles. So here I am expending every ounce of energy I have to get through the dishes and please, please hold down supper. Rosey Posey was at my side yakking about the imperative need to have her hair put in dredlocks right away. I nodded and "uh huhed" through the conversation paying close attention to the task at hand until I heard a chorus of "Mom? Mom? Mom? Can't you do it? Can't you do it right away? I read it doesn't have anything to do with not washing? Mom? Mom? Mom? Mom?" to which I answered "Rosey Posey, please..."

To that she stomped off and tattled on me to her father. What was my dear, and understanding husband's reply? "Don't worry, Mommy's moods will even out in another month." What the? My "mood". For crying out loud, this is kid number 7 and after all this time he still thinks this is nothing more than a grumpy spell?

Is there a man out there who "gets" morning sickness? Is there anyone for that matter? How is it every time I go to the OB/Gyn office, they lecture me about eating right. Now mind you prior to having morning sickness, I worked out an hour five days a week, I had no trouble gobbling meals of brown rice and steamed vegetables. Yet I go to the doctor's office, step on the scale and get a reproachful look from the nurse: "you gained 5 pounds". The doctor's reply is always the same, she writes out a scrip to send me to a nutritionist because I obviously need a crash course on the basics of the four food groups. I explain "I am so sick, and my mouth fills up with saliva and it is so gross. The only relief I get is when I eat and the only food I can stomach are cheeseburgers. And I cannot work-out because I only have so much energy. I tried, I walked two miles the other day and I couldn't keep my eyes open for the rest of the day like I was drugged." He/she looks at me and nods as if to say "Silly little Hispanic lady," (remember I have brown hair, therefore I am Hispanic) "we know how you love soda and Kool-Aid and are making excuses for your tons of bad lifestyle habits!"* , and hands me the dang scrip. Aaaaahhhhh!!!

Now tell me, am I alone? Am I the only one who has been in this doctor's office complaining of morning sickness? Am I the only person who finds relief in eating, and despite knowledge of the difference between a good diet and a bad one, can only choke down a few cheese fries? Am I the only one who gags while brushing their teeth to the point that when it is time, you pace in front of the bathroom to gear yourself up to finally brush? Also, if you don't you will be gagging because of the taste in your mouth. Or do you have to keep a mask on with some kind of fresh smell to keep from being overwhelmed by the smell of, well, everything? Am I the only one who gets up in the morning, has enough energy to put clothes on, and that's it. Energy supply spent.Then I sit at the dining room table with my head down hoping to get the energy to fold an item of clothing, or fix the next meal or something else I need to do. Is anyone else totally thirsty all the time, but water seems to burn going down?

Please someone tell me I am not alone because I feel like I am losing, my. freakin'. mind. I am like completely dysfunctional. Yes, I know this will pass and it always does, but it does not last for a day, it lasts like 10 weeks. Do you know what a house with four boys six kids looks like after ten weeks of a useless Mommy? Hint: it ain't pretty and I hope no one knocks on my door.

And the "expert advice": "eat saltines", "don't drink while eating", "don't lie down", "go exercise", "don't eat fried food", "don't eat vegetables". C'mon now, where is the advice for the real human beings? Admit it, ya'll don't know what ya'll be talking about, so you just had to write something on the subject to keep the 'expert" credentials.

I have been spending an inordinate amount of time on the computer lately because it has me sitting up in the living room (as opposed to lying on my bed) and at least looking at the kids like I am a responsible parent or something. Reading, sewing, all the relaxing hobbies I love and could be doing, make me nauseous.

Rant over, I think...Please if there are any commiserating Mommies reading this, let me know I am not alone.

*I have no idea if that is what the doctor is thinking, but when I am this miserable and the doctor is "hmmm"ing me about a subject they are supposed to know a thing or two about, all kinds of evil and crazy conclusions enter my mind.

Working Out May Prevent Drug and Alcohol Addiction

A study found tweens and teens who reported exercising daily were half as likely to smoke as their sedentary counterparts, and 40 percent less likely to experiment with marijuana.

I don't think this is new news. Breastfeeding has become more mainstream since the 70's and the fact that people still don't pick it up as "the norm" is what I think is weird. I always noticed that minorities tend rarely, if ever to breastfeed. I don't know if this is something cultural, perhaps hospital propaganda as described in this article, or whatever (perhaps Alicia can shed some light).The reasons I have been given as to why breastfeeding is bad range from "oh, breastfeeding, gross" (but this was from a cousin that I would have loved to have told "having two kids from two different convicts and leaving them in the Bronx with you grandmother to raise while you live in Long Island with your boyfriend-gross!", but I didn't) to a nursing baby "never gets enough food", or "breastfeeding causes you to have all those kids so close together" (that gem came from my grandmother).

But breast-feeding can be frustrating for new mothers because of nipple pain or the misperception that they're not producing enough milk. It's crucial that moms get proper breast-feeding advice and encouragement those first few days after birth, said Dr. Sheela Geraghty, a lactation expert at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center.

Two years ago, a girl I knew had a baby and was adamant she wanted to breastfeed. She came from a family where this was a novel idea. As soon as the baby was waking up in the middle of the night, her sisters-in-law and mother were there with a bottle telling her her baby is starving . I nicely and unobtrusively (which meant it went in one ear and out the other) attempted to offer the advice to one of the sister-in-law who was bending everyone's ear about what a dopey mother this was, that nursing babies metabolize food quickly, so they are always going to want to nurse. There doesn't seem to be an understanding with many people who are trying to cross that bridge from bottle feeding to breastfeeding, that bottle feeding is strictly about food, while nursing is about comfort, not just nutrition. There is also a lack of understanding that you cannot over breastfeed, while there must be a level of control with how much formula to give and how often.

But practices unfriendly to breast-feeding were common throughout the country, the survey found.

About a quarter of hospitals reported giving formula or some other supplement to more than half of their healthy, full-term newborns. The practice was common even when mothers were able and willing to breast-feed, Dee said.

Of hospitals who gave supplements, 30 percent gave sugar water and 15 percent gave water.

Again, this reminds me of the control-freaky family members who will not give people the opportunity to even try it and fail, and find their way. It starts in the hospital. I think of that grandmotherly nurse, you know the one in the L & D room who tells you things like "now Honey, you have to lie still...", "now Honey you are making too much noise..." (I have been to three hospitals in two states, and the same nurse is always there.) Then afterwards you find that nurse's twin sister in the nursery sticking pacifiers in the baby's mouth despite your requests. In their defense, they do this day in and day out, sticking a pacifier in the babies' mouths makes things run smoother for them...I guess.


The other day when I was at Catholic Charities a couple I knew came in with their 10-month old girl for baby supplies. I knew the father, he used to be a neighbor and he has a cute little girl (by another lady I know) about 5-6 that used to play with my kids. In the summer I used to just leave the front door open and the kids would be in and out, in and out. The boys would play games and run out and the girls would come in and draw pictures. We always have an abundance of art supplies since we home school. Anyhoo, the father and I chit chatted about my husband, the weather and whatnot. I gave them diapers, but they were also there because they were out of baby formula, so they were requesting some from the food pantry. While they were waiting, the baby was tired and fussy. She wanted her bottle and wanted to take a nap. They gave the baby bottles of water, which she drank some, but then threw and complained. They were giving the baby, salchichas or Vienna Sausages (always a common snack among us Carribean folk, I often wonder if they eat them as much in Vienna as much as they do in Kingston and San Juan), she would eat one and fuss. it wasn't what she wanted. I sat there and wondered what knuckle head(s) thought that for people where income might be an issue, formula was a much better alternative to breastfeeding? Someone who makes money off of formula, no?

Via the Daily Eudemon: Wal-Mart to open 400 in-store clinics.

I am not crazy about Wal-Mart, but this could be a really good idea, particularly if the clinics are open extended hours. One of the factors driving up health care costs is the high number of patients going to emergency rooms for matters that are urgent but not life-threatening: ear infections, bladder infections, stuff like that. They do this because they can't afford to take off work to visit the doctor or because they can't get in to see the doctor at all.

I ran into this the other day. My husband's out of town on business, so it's just me and Hambet this week. I'd had the flu last weekend and had thought I was on the mend, but then I woke up in the wee hours of the morning with severe pain in my left ear.

I called my doctor early the next morning. (By that time I was having difficulty hearing and my right ear was starting to fill up as well.) It was 7:10 and I had to leave soon to drop Hambet off at school and then go to work.

Well, the office told me I couldn't be seen until 2:30. "But all I need is someone to look in my ear...." "Sorry, can't see you until 2:30." Problem was, 2:30 was when I needed to be leaving to pick Hambet up at school. And even if I'd managed to find someone who could pick him up for me, that meant that I probably wouldn't be able to start antibiotics until 3:30 at the very earliest. With my eardrums feeling like they were about to pop, I really wanted to be seen sooner than that.

So I said no thanks and decided to go to an urgent care center -- a "doc in the box" type place. But after I dropped off Hambet, I reconsidered. "Doc in the box" wouldn't open for another hour -- and was half an hour's drive in the wrong direction. The emergency room was five minutes away. So I decided to try the E.R.

I was optimistic when I walked in -- the waiting room was empty -- but right after I signed in the paramedics brought in three vomiting old ladies. I ended up waiting almost three hours before I was seen, but I was still able to start the antibiotics that much earlier. As I was being discharged, I remarked to the nurse that I felt silly coming to the E.R. for a mere ear infection, but the urgent care center was so far away, and so on.... "Oh, don't worry about it," she said. "They would have sent you here anyway."

And for all my impatience, I had the luxury of taking half a day off work to try to get seen right away. I was also doing better than when I had an ear infection a couple of years ago. My doctor couldn't see me for two days, I didn't want to mess with the E.R., my ear was killing me, and I ended up doing the Bad Thing and mooching a leftover bottle of unexpired amoxicillin from a friend.

That was before I'd found out about Minute Clinics. When we were living in Maryland, a couple of pharmacies near us had opened "Minute Clinics" -- drop-in clinics with extended hours (and fixed prices) for treating limited conditions (ear infections, sore throats, etc.) We'd gone there for flu shots before and that would have been a good option in this situation. But alas, no Minute Clinics in Virginia as yet. I wonder if Wal-Mart clinics would be along the same line.

I Need Intervention!

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Interesting article on caffeine addiction.

I only drink one cup of coffee a day because more caffeine than that makes me a bit nuts. But if I skip a day, I am a very cranky Mommy!

Vegetable Ideas for Kids

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Now that it's summer, I hate the idea of taking time to cook vegetables. I don't mind it, but when you think of summer, you think potato salad, and cole slaw, that sort of thing. I am worried about my children not getting enough veggies. We eat lots of green salad, but that can get boring after a while too.

How do you get vegetables into your kids during summer? They are pretty good as far as eating veggies, and during the day they snack on carrots, celery, apples and bananas. Dinner is the problem. I am not the type to just steam some broccoli and serve it either.But when it is grill time, no one really pays attention to the veggies.

One thing I do with green beans is I steam them, toss them with some garlic, salt, pepper, olive oil and balsamic vinegar, chill and serve (or serve warm). But like salad, you can only serve that so many times.

I Want Plastic Surgery!

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OK, not really. I think plastic surgery is cheating, it can be dangerous, it is expensive...But I am sooo depressed and have issues with this whole postpartum-body-image thing.It has been incredibly hard to get back into shape after Baby Fredegar. Then one sleepless night I was watching some plastci surgery show on the Discovery Health Channel (it's really bad what happens when you give someone who has been living off-grid for two years a remote control) and your skin stretches out after so many pregnancies, like those 800 lb people who lose weight-you need to have it either surgically removed or deal.They have show after show of women who have had children and are unhappy with their saggy guts and saggy boobs. Then they just dish out a few K and bam! Good as new!
That is so not fair! Well, I guess it's fair, I am just not happy about it.I want my body back! I want to be this gorgeous Mommmy person that people look at and say "Wow! You've had how many kids?" and not "Oh yeah, you've had 5 kids!" (Incidentally, is there an in between reaction?)

Anyway, I work out every morning, my diet has been so so. I hope to do better with the New Year. But in the past, with this much effort, I snapped back. It is a year later and I still feel like I have a figure like Augra from The Dark Crystal

Myeloma is the form of cancer my father has. My mother found this neat website with tons of info on this cancer,including this neat article about a priest who is a myeloma survivor.

"I am not sure what will come after this, but I have learned not to live too far into the future.
Instead I value each and every moment and experience and above all value the people."

Oral contraceptives and hormone replacement therapy drugs have been classified as carcinogenic by the World Health Organisation.

WHO's cancer research group - the International Agency for Research on Cancer - announced yesterday that it had reclassified the pill and hormone replacement therapy from "possibly carcinogenic to humans" to "carcinogenic to humans".


Di Fattura Caslinga: Pansy's Etsy Shop
The Sleepy Mommy Shoppe: Stuff we Like
(Disclaimer: We aren't being compensated to like this stuff.
Any loose change in referral fees goes to the Feed Pansy's Ravenous Teens Fund.)

Pansy and Peony: The Two Sleepy Mommies