Monthly Archives: June 2011

Easy Recipe: Kale Chips

30 Jun
by Kristen, posted in Blog   |  6 Comments


Have you been hearing a lot more about kale lately and wondered what’s so great about it?  Well, kale is a true superfood.  The most nutrient dense foods are vegetables, not whole grains like some people think.  Kale is packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, enzymes and many other nutrients that are important for optimal health. Here are a few other nutrition facts about kale:

  • Kale eases lung congestion and is beneficial to the stomach, liver and immune system.
  • It contains lutein and zeaxanthin, which protect the eyes from macular degeneration.
  • It also contains indole-3-carbinol, which may protect against colon cancer.
  • Kale is an excellent source of calcium, iron, vitamins A and C, and chlorophyll.

Kale chips are a staple in our house.  They are extremely easy to make and a delicious side to your dinner.  If you don’t love them the first time (like my husband), keep trying because they will grow on you.  I absolutely love them!  Here is the recipe I use:

Kale Chips:

Ingredients:
1-2 bunches of kale
Olive oil
Sea Salt (to taste)
Cumin

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2. Wash kale and remove from stalk, leaving the greens in large pieces.
3. Put the kale pieces in a bowl, and drizzle a little bit of olive oil over the kale. Stir it together so the olive oil lightly coats all the pieces.
4. Lay the kale out on a baking sheet and sprinkle with cumin & sea salt. Bake for 5 min or until kale starts to turn a bit brown. Keep an eye on the kale; it can burn quickly. Turn the kale over and bake with the other side up.
5. Remove, serve, & enjoy!

An even greater way to enjoy kale’s benefits is to eat it raw.  Here are 2 smoothie recipes that are delicious and include kale:
Kale Smoothie
Nutrient Packed Smoothie Recipe

Naturally Yours,
xoxo
Kristen M. Pardue, RD, LDN

Could Those Silver Fillings In Your Mouth Be Dangerous?

15 Jun
by Kristen, posted in Blog   |  12 Comments


My sister-in-law sent me this story yesterday because parts of it reminded her of me.  While my own health journey was nothing like this poor woman’s, I also suffered mercury toxicity.  Unfortunately, most people in the U.S. are contaminated with many heavy metals, and you would never know unless you continued to dig and dig for answers.  Many people have no symptoms of heavy metals in their bodies, until the exposure has gotten too high.  I recommend this video to truly understand just how dangerous mercury is to our bodies.  Looking back, I had never thought about the timing of everything, but all of my joint pain/swelling/stiffness started right after I had my silver (mercury) filling removed.  According to the video above, mercury induces autoimmune diseases in rats.  I truly believe that the improper removal of my silver filling induced my entire health escapade last year.  To this day, I never had any answers on what triggered my autoimmune symptoms, but now I do.  It’s so good to finally have answers, and now I can share my story and hopefully help others.

Check out Stacy Case and her story with Multiple Sclerosis-caused by the removal of her silver fillings.  She also went through chelation, and is on her way to being undiagnosed with M.S through alternative treatments.

What Set My Levels Over the Limits:

Last February (2010), right before my joint issues all started, my dentist here in Nashville informed me that I needed to get my silver fillings removed and replaced with a safer material as the mercury in those silver fillings was very toxic.  She seemed to know what she was talking about, and as my dentist, I trusted her that she was taking good care of my health.  I remember the metallic taste in my mouth as my fillings were being removed, but because my dentist didn’t inform me of the dangers of mercury and because I trusted her as my healthcare practitioner, I didn’t think much about it.  Not long after my first filling was removed, the joint pain and stiffness started.  It got so bad that I would wake up in the middle of the night not being able to move my fingers.  Also, the following weeks and months after my first (and later second) silver filling removal, I had repetitive yeast infections and UTI’s and could not figure out why.  A few months later, I started having muscle tremors and constant twitching throughout my body.  I had no idea what was going on in my body.  One day, a facebook page that I follow, Heal Thyself, posted a link titled, “Dangers of Mercury Amalgam Fillings and How to Remove Them.”  After reading about the “safe” way of removing these fillings and the dangers of doing it the wrong way, I felt sick to my stomach.  No wonder I had all these crazy symptoms and repetitive infections for no reason.  Did I mention hypothyroidism was another symptom of mercury toxicity? (reversible, thankfully) What happens is that “the excess mercury circulates in the body (during and after placement and removal) to be excreted (or stored in the organs, brain and gut).  As the daily mercury exposure is lessened (after removal) old stored mercury is released into blood circulation for excretion.”  There is a lot more to mercury toxicity, so if you want more articles or if you have any questions, please let me know.

The International Academy of Oral Medicine & Toxicology website informed me that there is a safe removal of amalgam fillings protocol.  The PDF file is at this link. Do you have silver fillings?  It is beneficial to your health to get them removed, but make sure you get them removed the safe way.  Go here to find a dentist who safely removes amalgam fillings and who knows all about mercury detoxification pathways.  *Note: Let your IAOTM dentist know if you plan to get pregnant within a year of amalgam removal, as proper chelation is necessary to completely rid your body of the excess mercury before pregnancy.

Here is a list of symptoms/conditions that could be caused by mercury or other heavy metals in your body.

My alternative doctor confirmed through a stool sample that my body had elevated amounts of several heavy metals, especially mercury.  He then started me on oral chelation therapy. The agents he used for my chelation were:

  • DMSA
  • EDTA
  • Cilantro Tincture
  • ALA (Alpha Lipoic Acid)
  • As well as a few other supplements to support my body

I just had another stool sample collected to see exactly where my body is in this chelation processBut I can tell you within a month or two of starting the chelation therapy, the twitching, buzzing, and spasms throughout my body went away.  Those were a few of my symptoms, but remember every heavy metal has its own set of symptoms.  Heavy metal toxicity seems to be a topic that few people talk about or even think about when dealing with symptoms with an unknown cause.  Most conventional doctors will not order a stool test for this, so I advise you to either find an alternative doctor or naturopath who will.  Better yet, contact Great Plains Laboratory and order a test yourself.  This is the lab (but certainly not the only one) who performed mine.

You’re probably thinking, dang, this girl has had some crazy health problems.  You’re right, I have, and when I look back at everything I went through last year, I can honestly say that I’m thankful for it all.  My health issues have forced me to look at the food I eat and the products I put on my body in a whole new light.  I have learned so much through my own health journey, and I absolutely love researching and learning more. I truly believe that God allowed the pain and suffering that I went through last year so that I could help others.  That is my prayer and passion: that my stories and knowledge will help you become a healthier and happier person.

Naturally Yours,
xoxoxo
Kristen M. Pardue, RD, LDN, CLC

Nutrient Packed Smoothie Recipe

14 Jun
by Kristen, posted in Blog   |  1 Comments

When I make a smoothie, I don’t worry about whether I have all the right ingredients or not.  I just use what I have on hand and try to throw in extra nutrients when possible.  My breakfast smoothie today consisted of:

I didn’t write amounts of each ingredient because I don’t measure everything. I just throw however much of each ingredient that I want to put in, taste it, and if it needs something else, I’ll add it in.  For example, this morning when I tasted it (before banana), the texture wasn’t thick enough for me, so I added half a banana and more blueberries to the smoothie.  Make your smoothie to your likeness.  Enjoy!

Naturally Yours,
xoxoxo
Kristen M. Pardue, RD, LDN, CLC

Don’t Forget A Doula

09 Jun
by Kristen, posted in Blog   |  6 Comments


By Annie Scott, B. Comm, Doula, CBE, Lactation Support

You just found out that you are pregnant. While making list after list of items that you need to start accumulating for your new baby it is very important to focus on your actual labor and birth itself. You need to allow yourself some time to think about what kind of birth experience you would like to have and the kind of birth team are you going to surround yourself with. Are you and your partner ready for the postpartum period? Breastfeeding? These days it is becoming common for expectant parents to hire the services of a Doula for their labor, birth and postpartum needs.

Let’s have a quick look at why people are choosing to hire Doulas.
Studies have shown that having a Doula supported labor significantly decreases the following:

  • the length of labor,
  • the incidence of medical complication,
  • and the amount of medication and medical intervention needed during labor, including epidural anaesthesia, c-sections,  and forceps or vacuum delivery.

Doula support has also been shown to:

  • improve the effectiveness of medication when it is used,
  • improve postpartum outcomes in areas such as healing, bonding, and breastfeeding.

As an example of the positive benefits of Doula care, we can look at a study examining the benefits of Doula support by McGrath & Kennel that looked at labor induction and labor support in 1999, a sample of 531 women were studied and it was shown, with significant statistical difference that there was a decrease in cesarean rate, oxytocin use, epidural rate, and narcotics use.

So what is the role of a Doula and how do they create these positive benefits?
Doulas are trained to support their clients’ psychosocial and emotional needs. They also provide resources to help clients assess their labor, and give advice on comfort measures and positioning. The most important role of a Doula is to ensure constant and continuous support for the laboring mom and her partner without interruption.

What a Doula doesn’t do
Doulas specialize in non-medical skills which means they do not perform clinical tasks, such as vaginal exams or fetal heart rate monitoring. They are not midwives. Doulas do not diagnose medical conditions, offer second opinions, or give medical advice. Most importantly, Doulas do not make decisions for their clients; they do not project their own values and goals onto the laboring woman. A Doula is present to be an advocate for their client, to make sure that their client is being heard, and to help clients have the confidence to ask questions and be involved in different medical procedures and choices.

What reaction will I get from my OB or hospital if I hire a Doula?
Doulas are slowly becoming a respected member of the maternity care team, but I do stress the word slowly. There is still apprehension that exists due to some Doulas practicing outside of an appropriate scope of practice or being argumentative and inappropriate with hospital staff. This is a struggle for Doulas who abide by a professional code of conduct.  Through an ever expanding pool of certified Doulas and marketing of best practices, this apprehension can be turned into repeated positive experiences for medical staff with the end goal of a Doula being a supported member of the maternity care team. Midwives are often very pleased when clients express the desire to hire a Doula, and obstetricians are slowly warming up to it as well. In the end, it is your choice to hire and have a Doula present for your birth. You are the one giving birth, not your care provider.

How to choose a Doula
Choosing a Doula comes down to personality and fit. I suggest that you interview quite a few Doulas before settling on “the one”.  Get references and ask a lot of questions. Remember that your Doula is going to be a main support to you during one the most vulnerable times of your life, so make sure that you feel comfortable, and most of all, like her. If you are looking for a doula in your area and can’t find one through a basic Google search you can check out www.dona.org.

But Doulas can be expensive…why should you consider one?
The value of labor support is to ensure the presence of an experienced and focused partner in your journey through your birth experience. A Doula adds value to an expectant mother by knowing how to read her needs and adds value for her partner as someone to coach them and support their needs as well.

The hiring of a Doula should be something that all expectant families consider with as much care as they use when choosing a car seat or a stroller. After all, this is the birth of your child and you won’t get a second chance to make sure that you are prepared for this life experience.

About Annie: Annie is a Doula and prenatal educator committed to supporting and nurturing women and their families through their birth experience. Her goal as a Doula is to help each woman develop her own confidence and ability to give birth the way she wants to. She practices in Toronto, On. She runs her blog: www.doulaannie.com, teaches classes through www.prenatalclassestoronto.com, and runs an online prenatal class www.mybirthonline.ca. Have a question? Contact her: annie@doulaannie.com

References:
Kennel and Klaus, DONA Position Paper and Klaus, “Maternal Assistance and Support in Labor”

McGrath SK, Kennell JH, “Induction of labor and Doula support,” Pediatric Res, 43(4):Part II, 14A, 1998.

Everyone Needs A Vacation

07 Jun
by Kristen, posted in Blog   |  No Comments

Last week, my husband and I went to Hilton Head Island, SC with my family.  I must say, this vacation came at the PERFECT time.  About two weeks before the trip, my joints decided to have a flare up (pain and inflammation).  I hadn’t had this problem at all since I went gluten free and completely changed the way I viewed food. (Read my story here.)  I could not understand what was causing this flare up (neither could my doctor).  I knew that I had to do something, because I hated the pain, and I’m the type of person who has to know answers to everything (like what could be causing this). I know, I know, sometimes there are no answers. But I still dig for them.

So what did I do? I juiced more, I practiced hot yoga, I ate healthier (more than I already do), and I prayed.  The day we left for the beach was my worst day yet.  To make a long story short, after being at the beach a few days, my pain was so much better.  Some days, I didn’t feel pain at all.  You know what that means?  I’m definitely supposed to move to the beach. :) j/k  It means that I need to slow down more; take time for myself.  We could all use a beach vacation, right?  If you can’t go on vacation and relax, then find something that you can do for yourself: get a massage, read a book at a coffee shop (to get away from your to-do list at home), go to the pool, or anything that makes you calm and relaxed.

All that being said, we all need to listen to our body more.  If we are in pain, than our body is trying to tell us something.  If you’re exhausted and tired, it’s okay to skip a workout and rest.  Rest is good for us.  (I’m speaking to myself as well)

Now onto more exciting things.  I wish I would have taken pictures of the delicious food we had on vacation, but I was too busy enjoying it.  I’ll try to remember for next time.  Since I won’t be telling you about all the amazing fresh seafood we devoured, I’ll end this post with pictures from our beach vacation with my mom, dad, brother and his wife, and my twin niece and nephew.  We had an amazing time!  I am so thankful for that time we had together.

Eric & I: Dinner at Skull Creek Boathouse

My niece, Chloe, & I Before Dinner at The Black Marlin

Caden & Chloe on Memorial Day: It's Hard to Sit Still When You're 15 Months

Date Night @ Skull Creek Boathouse w/ My Brother & Amiee

My Mom & Dad w/ Their Grandbabies

My Sister-in-Law & I with the Twins

I hope you have a fun & relaxing summer!

Naturally Yours,
xoxoxo
Kristen M. Pardue, RD, LDN, CLC

Babies With Benefits

06 Jun
by Kristen, posted in Blog   |  No Comments

 

Photo Source: NewParent.com

This blog post by: Erin Moore, IBCLC (Certified Lactation Consultant), RLC, Doula
Twitter: @theIBCLC
Website: Mother Nature Birth & Lactation

It seems these days that we are inundated with news articles and medical studies that expose the benefits of breastfeeding your baby. It seems that everyone is trying to be so careful in their language and the way that they put this information across to the public.

If we are to say that breastfeeding is good for babies’ health, then what do we call the alternative?

If I can tell you with no argument all of the health benefits of breastfeeding, but what if I tell you that there are health risks to NOT breastfeeding your baby?

According to the U.S. Government, the health risks of not breastfeeding your baby include not providing your baby with disease-fighting antibodies that protect them against illnesses including diarrhea, ear infections and pneumonia, not providing “joyful bonding” with your baby, increasing your baby’s risk of developing asthma and allergies, increasing your child’s risk of developing obesity, increasing your baby’s risk of sudden infant death syndrome to name just a few.  Lower IQ is another risk of not breastfeeding your baby.

As a mother, if you do not breastfeed your baby, you are increasing your own risk of breast and ovarian cancer, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. With growing concern among mothers and healthcare providers about postpartum depression, it’s also important to point out a 2009 study by Dennis & McQueen citing decreased breastfeeding duration as a likely contributor to postpartum depression.

It seems that when you put it that way, NOT breastfeeding sounds awfully dangerous from a physical and mental health standpoint, doesn’t it?

One of my favorite resources on really just putting this out there and being up front about the risks of not breastfeeding is the Normal Fed website by Diane Wiessinger, MS, IBCLC called “Breast or Bottle?” The article goes into great detail about the benefits of breastfeeding while presenting facts about bottle feeding and artificial baby milk.

I do understand why it’s almost taboo in our society to denigrate artificial baby milk when we, as mothers, seem to crave validation and reassurance that we are doing the best we can by our children. The rub is that you cannot be doing the best thing and not doing the best thing at the same time. Does it mean that you are a bad mother if you choose for whatever reason not to do the best thing for your child? Not at all.

Because of the lack of breastfeeding support in every healthcare situation and in every community, because of the aggressive and unethical marketing strategies of the companies who manufacture artificial baby milk and accessories, because of the obsession with growth charts and our desire to know exactly “how much” food our babies are getting in a feeding down to the milliliter; because of those things and more, mothers are often passively choosing not to give their baby the nutrition that their baby needs out of fear and worry and not getting the support needed to give their babies what they need.

Let’s support each other through the first few challenging weeks of breastfeeding a newborn.  If you can make it past the first weeks of your baby’s life, then breastfeeding only gets easier.  When challenges hit, call your lactation consultant at the hospital you delivered.  Or call your local La Leche League where you can connect with other parents and have an instant support group.