Wednesday, November 17, 2010

My Morning at the Farmer's Market

When I say I'm going to the Farmer's market, I dont' really mean your typical multi booth open air market with many different farmer's represented plus some local merchants thrown in. I am most likely referring to the parking lot behind the medical building where all the patrons of Carlton Farms meet. They are not your usual suspects either. No yuppies here, these people are of the homeschooling kind. They show up at 10am on Wednesdays in Dunwoody to buy fresh raw milk, raw cheese, grass fed meat, free range chickens and eggs, raw honey and whatever veggies are in season and they have been doing so for much longer than I have. I am impressed by their dedication to this way of eating and their political awareness concerning any sort of farm or food legislation. These people are tough and really know about the food they put on the table. Most of them have Chad's (the farmer) personal cell number and call him if he happens to be late one Wednesday just to make sure everything is OK. When he does show up a line usually 20 deep has already formed and you know it will take about 30 minutes before you are at the front of it. Each and every patron feels the need to have an in depth conversation with Chad about the cows, the feed, the chickens, the weather or whatever and Chad obliges them eagerly. Its unspoken protocol to wait patiently and not give dirty look looks or utter impatient sighs. These people are engaging in a relationship with the man who provides their food and its something remarkable to witness. It takes you back to a century ago before all of our food became processed and impossible to trace back to the source. It actually reminds me of Little House on the Prairie in some ways, a more honest time in history.

On this particular fall day, I waited and had a pleasant conversation with one of the patrons while we waited. Its getting cold here in Georgia, especially in the mornings and we were both positioning ourselves in the tiny slit of sun that managed to get beyond the thick and colorful trees. We talked about S510 and whether it will pass and how that could potentially change the way we get organic sustainable food in the future. Its a sad thought, but there may come a day when farmers markets like this one will cease to exist because they will be illegal. The FDA and Big Agra want it that way and their pockets are much bigger than Chads.

Its finally my turn to purchase and I ask Chad if he has any extra milk because I forgot to put in my order last night online. "Ofcourse", he replies and gladly hands me 2 gallons. I ask about his little girl who is about to turn 1 in a month. He quickly whips out an adorable picture of her sitting on his tractor. Precious. I pay, and go on my way with a warm feeling inside. I know I am doing good things for my family and helping to keep an honest, sustainable farmer in business. I wish I could do this for all all of them. Unfortunately its just not possible.

For more info about my type of Farmers Market, please go to
They also give tours of their farm which the kids absolutely love!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Asthma, Allergies or the Common Cold

My son (the oldest twin) has had a dry cough since May. We took him to our pediatrician and she said not to worry, most likely was due to post nasal drip irritating the throat and causing the cough. Hmmm. OK so one day he wakes up coughing so bad he can't stop and almost vomits. I take him back to the pediatrician (a different MD in the same practice) and she hears wheezing. We then administer a nebulizer treatment to his massive dismay and the wheezing goes away. At this point there is suspicion of asthma but then again allergies could be causing an inflammatory response in the airways which would explain the wheezing. We went home that day with a spacer and some albuterol. If you know me and read my blog, you know that I did not intend on using this or at least using it very sparingly. I am not a fan of steroids for small children but if the poor guy can't breathe, you gotta do whats best for him.

My son does have some allergies but not too many. I took him to an allergist about a year ago to get tested and he came up allergic to raw egg, dust, cat and dog dander. We try our best to keep these allergens to a minimum in our lives. I do notice that when he is exposed, he breaks out in itchy hives or eczema. But I had no idea these allergens could be causing asthma like symptoms and a cough?

As the summer went on, the cough would wane and then come back intermittently. I did not need to use the spacer at home except for one occasion. Then the seasons started changing. School started up again and germs invaded our life. I continually use Theives oil on my kids to prevent any real sicknesses and so far so good. But it seemed like your basic runny nose was turning into a cough fest for my little guy. The cough turned productive and he sounded congested. But it was relentless and he had a hard time stopping himself from coughing and I got nervous.

So back to the pediatrician we went. She still was not convinced that it was asthma due to the fact that a repeated spacer treatment did not help the cough to subside. They ruled it as a sinus infection and gave him some antibiotics to see if it cleared up any. Well yes, the cough cleared up but its still there (although maybe a couple of times a day and its very mild) but I would like to get to the bottom of this. I do not believe that ANY cough is OK to leave alone and not figure out the root cause.

So we are left with asthma, allergies or just a cold. I still think its allergies at the root but what kind? Its something he is exposed to everyday if the cough has not completely gone away. I teeter on thinking that milk could be the cause. I did some research that explained how a child that is allergic (or intolerant) of milk protein can produce mucus and this would explain the post nasal drip. Then I also read scary articles that link milk directly to asthma. I am not 100% convinced that milk is the culprit but a food challenge may be in the near future. I would like to rule it out at the least.

The whole allergy, inflammatory, autoimmune response diagnoses seem to cause much confusion. I don't think we know enough about them and the sad part is that they are on the rise. Is it dietary, environmental, genetic or a little of all three? Why are the current testing methods so shady at best?

All I know is that I have to be the doctor and detective and try to figure this out. I will keep you posted on what I find. I am not convinced my child has asthma and if its allergies then we need to do a  better job of removing them from his environment or diet.

Here is an interesting link on the milk asthma connection. It really makes you  think....

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Keeping Your Kids Healthy this Season

Its seems as though our kids are perpetually sick with some form of virus or infection from October through March. The runny noses, coughs and stomach bugs are enough to drive us insane. Not to mention how unhappy our little ones are. Although it seems unavoidable, this season of sickness can be shortened and even prevented to some degree.

I have found success with the following regimen and hopefully you will too!

A daily probiotic. I have blogged about the benefits of a probiotic, especially if your child is taking antibiotics. The probiotic replenishes all the good flora in the gut that is essential for immunity. We use ProBio with 7 billion CFU's. Its a powder that can easily be hidden in their juice. One to 2 tsps per day.

Daily fish oil supplement. We have been using Nordic Naturals cod liver oil for kids but recently found a new brand that is extracted from smaller fish and is purer than many of the other cod liver oils on the market with less chance of any mercury or PCB's. Although I do hold Nordic Naturals in high accord on their purity and will continue to recommend them as one of the best brands. Our new brand is called NutraSea (kids) by Ascenta. It contains EPA, DHA, GLA and vitamin D3. All these things are helpful for immunity as well as brain development! The vitamin D3 is especially helpful in preventing the flu. Kids can take up to 3000IUs per day, but I like to stick around 1000IUs. My boys like the fruit flavor of the oil and take it without complaint.
One tsp per day.

Thieves essential oil. This oil can be purchased at or you can contact me. Its a great oil because of all the antibacterial properties it has. Its ingredients are clove, lemon, cinnamon, eucalyptus and rosemary. The oil itself smells like cinnamin so its very pleseant to put on. Thieves is like a mini defense system for the body, protecting it from harmful antigens that may try to infect your young ones. I rub 3-4 drops on the bottom of their feet every morning before school.

Washing hands. No brainer!

Garlic. If they do happen to start feeling under the weather, dice up a garlic clove and let it oxidize in some pure olive oil. Then rub the oily garlic on the bottom of their feet and put socks on. Yes it will smell like an italian restaurant in their room but the anti viral and anti bacterial properties of  garlic are unsurpassed. More than likely, if you caught the cold early enough, the garlic will do the rest.

Peppermint essential oil for fevers. If there is a fever involved, peppermint on the bottom of their feet can help to reduce it without having to overdose them on tylenol or motrin. This can also be diffused in a diffuser or  humidifier. The peppermint also helps to reduce any swelling in the trachea which helps any breathing issues or a cough.

I also blogged a while back about other oils that I use for ailments such as the Croup.

A healthy diet goes without saying to maintain good immunity but our kids sometimes make this hard to achieve. If you have kids like mine, getting them to eat vegetables is a chore. I have been sneaking them into other foods they normally eat. Hiding them in muffins and juices, pancakes and burgers is my main strategy. So far its been working well. Thankfully one of my twin's enjoys his veggies and will eat carrots, broccoli, tomatoes and sweet potatoes as well as many different types of fruits and fresh fruit smoothies.

My kids also drink raw milk which contains essential enzymes and probiotics that replenish good flora in the gut. I mentioned before how the flora in the gut is the power center of our immune system. Pasturized milk is heated and therefore these enzymes and good bacteria are killed off in the process. If you need information or resources on where to get a safe supplier of raw milk, please contact me or visit or .

In a future post, I will go over various types of foods that help increase immunity and hopefully will mitigate any sickness that may try to invade your life.

I hope these ideas are helpful and keep you and your family free from sickness this winter. Or at least less than last year!