Dandelions are our friends

 

dandelion2

Wait!  Stop! Don’t cut the weeds; they can be good for you. “In the second month on the fourteenth day, at twilight, they shall keep it; they shall eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs” Numbers 9:11. The children of Israel probably learned to eat bitter herbs from the Egyptians. Ancient Egyptians would place the green herbs on the table, mix them with mustard then dunk their bread in the mixture.  Dandelion may be one of several candidates for the bitter herb of Passover (The Holy Bible).

While dandelion is considered a nuisance in residential and recreational lawns, it has lots of medicinal benefits. The dandelion leaf contains abundant vitamins and minerals especially A, C, and K, and are good source of calcium, potassium, iron and manganese. Did you know that dandelion leaves are a rich source of vitamin C and have a higher content of beta carotene than carrots? It is the best source of natural potassium.

Dandelion roots, are considered a powerful diuretic and it has been used in herbal medicine to treat chronic disorders of the kidney, infections, and bile and liver problems. They act as a blood purifier that helps both the kidneys and the liver to remove toxins and poisons from the blood. Dandelion also acts as a mild purgative (laxative), and improves appetite and digestion. It’s believed to help prevent age spots and breast cancer.  The dandelion “weed” has many benefits. As soon as they spring up, I get some from my yard, I clean them off really good and boil them and drink them as tea or I cut them up and chew them in my salad. They are bitter by themselves, but they mix very well into a salad without noticing the bitter taste. Haven’t you notice that they are only with us for short period of time? The yellow flower tops come early Spring. I believe that’s Earth rendering to us one of nature’s secrets and letting mankind know that it is time to cleanse and to detoxify your liver, especially after hibernating during the winter. Winter is the time we eat most of our heaviest food stuff.  So, why not enjoy the dandelion and use them for our healing while they are with use during the season they are there. Don’t cut the weeds; they can be good for you. Dandelions are our friends.

Resource:

http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/natural-health/health-benefits-of-dandelion-root/

Written by: Dr. Michelle Butler, RND

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Vegetarian, my Blood type

vegetarian-food-sign

Why vegans do not eat animal products. The vegan eat grains, vegetables, fruits and plant-based foods.  They choose to become vegetarians for: (1)  their health. A balanced vegan diet (also referred to as a ‘plant-based diet’) meets many current healthy eating recommendations such as eating more fruit, vegetables and whole grains and consuming less cholesterol and saturated fat. Balanced vegan diets are often rich in vitamins, antioxidants and fiber and can decrease the chances of suffering from diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke and some cancers. Well-planned plant-based diets are suitable for all age groups and stages of life (Natural News, 2011), (2)  the environment, raising cattle requires massive amounts of water that could be used elsewhere; more than that, though, the amount of grain grown to feed cattle could be used to feed starving nations. According to The Vegan Society, more than one-third of the grain grown worldwide is fed to animals. Imagine how many people those grains could feed (Natural News, 2011), (3) their conscience and ethics is “reverence for life”, and (4) the global community.

I am amazed how meat is important to  American cultures. I do believe that everyone should eat some meat as a source of protein, but we eat too much.  Americans would rather eat much more meat than fruits and veggies not understand the importance of eating a well-balanced nutrient-rich meal.

 In 1996,  I decided to take all the meat out the diet. I was raising family (homeschooling mom)  I wanted a better way of eating so I took the meat off their plate. I spent lots of time educating myself on the benefits of eating better and eating a meatless diet.  Around the dinner table I would bring the topic to my husband and my four daughters. I would share the health concerns and the benefits. Sometimes they were okay about the idea, most times they were not. I was a mom on a mission to better my families’ eating.  When, we made the decision, I gradually started to minimize the meat from the meals. I got them involved by taking them to Whole foods Market (use to be called Fresh Fields Market) and letting them pick out healthy substitutes.  I also grew a small garden.  It took some time, but eventually we were meatless. I had changed the whole diet/meal plan.  From full of meat to no meat at all and there were times where they fussed about it.  Meat eaters will bite back when you take their meat from them.  Lol!  I saw great improvement in my young teenagers skin, their thought patterns improved, their energy levels were good, there was no overweight gain, they were not sluggish, and they were rarely sick.  My girls are all grown up now, with healthy children of their own and a practice that will stay with them forever, even if they fall away.  They know what it is to eat healthy and will pass this down through the generations.  I believe that most nutritional deficiencies are not genetic they are generational.  If we teach our children how to eat health then our generations will be healthier.

Today, I still practice no meat, however every once in a while I will eat a piece of wild caught Salmon.  Most times I will go for months at a time with no fish in my diet but will substitute my protein with a plant based protein, like grains and beans, nuts and eggs.  When I was a young girl,  I was  having a difficult time digesting milk and especially beef. I was raised with heavy meat eaters and there was lots of meat at every meal, every event on every plate. Growing up, I really did not like meat and came to find out later in my adults years through my studies, that being Blood type A gave me the reason why.  I am the agrarian (related to land) type, blood type A–which do not do well with animal protein especial beef, lamb and other red meats or dairy. This meant that what I consume should be not only whole and unprocessed, but mainly those foods that grow out of the earth. Everything else eaten outside of this is very stressful to the Blood type A. Eating, poultry, eggs is our best choice especially fish because of the essential fatty acid which reduces the risks of heart disease for my blood type. The Blood Type A system is compatible with a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, which it uses in large quantities to balance protein, beans and grains so the proper acid/alkaline balance is maintained.  The Blood type A has a difficult time with protein digestion. No wonder, I did not favor eating meat when I was young.

 I did practice being a vegan for about a year.  It was a challenge. Being a vegan means that you also advocate for animal rights and your environment should support that idea. If I was alone doing this practice, it would have been a little easier. Practicing Vegan is a true lifestyle. However, I was raising family at the time and I had to consider the all the leather, possible animal by-products and everything else made with animal in my close environment. So I gave in. Today, and for about 25 years, I’ve enjoy being a practicing vegetarian.

 References:

 Dimensions of Cultural (2010), Cross-Cultural Communications for Health Professionals, retrieved from http://www.dimensionsofculture.com

 NaturalNews.com (2011.)  Retrieved from http://www.naturalnews.com/030890_vegetarian_reasons.html#ixzz2OnuMZYqS  

Retrieved url from:  www.vegansociety.com

Retrieved url from: http://www.dadamo.com/

Written by Dr. Michelle Butler

Basic Nutrition

Food is the primary drive of all life, and human life is no exception.  A vast majority of our human family must spend a great deal of time and effort getting enough food to survive.  The fortunate of us have an abundance to choose from, and therefore, we do not have to expend our every waking hour searching for sustenance.

But we must learn to make choice between what we must eat, and what we must not eat.  By choice we mean that both those who have an abundance and those who have not, must use discriminating choice.  Choice holds the keys to health for each group.  Those who have little must choose carefully in order to obtain good nutrition, because food is scarce.  Those who have abundance must choose carefully since so much of what is available to eat is of little or no nutritional value.

The notion that in our land of plenty we do not have to concern ourselves with good nutritional choices is false.  The percentage of people in the United States suffering from malnutrition is surprisingly high.  It is ironic, and we must recognize, that the abundance of choice in the supermarket has contributed to this state of po0r nutrition.

Fast food, convenience foods, and over processed product of modern food technology have placed upon the shelves of our food markets a plethora of lifeless, useless foodstuff.  It is unfortunate that these products account for most of the space taken up in the shopping cart. This is important:

When we go to the supermarket we are making a greater choice than merely between nutritional or non-nutritional product. The choice we make may lead to a condition of vibrant health and energy or toward disease and a foreshortened life span.  We are choosing between health and ill-health.

Food additives in the form of concentrated chemical substances are used by the hundreds in almost everything we eat.  At least one-third of those substances have been determined by the Food and Drug Administration to be unsafe.  Some of them are considered definitely harmful.

Written By:  Dr. Michelle Butler, RND (4/2016)

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Homeschool

Parents should home school their children. Children that are home schooled by their parents are healthier and become successful people because of the benefits of homeschooling.  They tend to become successful in their academics, their spiritual development, their family relationships and their social development.

If I were to pitch my argument to other families, encouraging them of the benefit of home schooling their children, I would tell them this:

You do not need to know everything to home school your children. While making the commitment to home-educate your children, opportunity is available for their spiritual training and character development as well as social and academic welfare renders to great benefits.  Home schooled children learn at their own pace and learning style. Each child received individual attention and has unique needs met. Home schooling makes quality time available to train and influence children in all areas in an integrated way.  Children gain respect of their parents. The family experience unity, closeness and mutual enjoyment of each other as they spend more time together. Tutorial-style education helps each child achieve his full educational potential. Children have time to explore new interests and to think.  Communication between different age groups is enhanced.

homeschool-house
Homeschoolers tend to graduate from high school early.  They often attend and enter college in accelerated programs. They have fewer sick days and unscheduled days off, because they are at home, and receive better care from their parent.  Martin Beef, homeschooling mom, says “Parents that home school probably tend to be the type of parents who would be more diligent with a child’s health anyway by mere virtue of the fact that one chooses to keep his or her children home for school” (2009).

Home-schooled children tend to be more organized and self-starters, because they are motivated by self-discipline and organization in the home. Godly principals of interaction can be taught, demonstrated and reinforce at home by parents. Children can learn needed skills by interacting with siblings or other children and adults under their parent supervisions, therefore the advantage of freedom from peer pressures can be self-confidence, independent thinking, the ability to relate to people of all ages, and better family relations, better social skills and character.

How do I know, I am a homeschooling mom.

References

Home School reviews.com, (2009) Martin Beef  URL  http://www.homeschoolreviews.com/forums/1/thread.aspx?id=63864&page=3

Written by: Dr. Michelle B.

 

Obesity epidemic in children

child obesity

Child obesity is running rampant. Today, we see more overweight children, more life-threatening diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and leukemia and even emotional behavior problems, and obesity ranks extremely high.   The primary reason could be that our children are eating a Standard American Diet (SAD). This diet is rich in fast foods, and less nutrient-rich whole foods and are exposed to more and more toxins. We are experiencing a generational pattern of destruction to our immune system (Townsley, 1996).

According to Williams’s Essentials of Nutrition and Diet therapy, the widespread of the current status of obesity among children in 1960 was 5%, but in 2004 has decreased to 17% (Williams Essentials, 2011) – triple the rate from just one generation ago”. Moreover, it was confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), on September 2011, obesity in children has become a challenging issue for doctors and parents across the US. The percentage of children aged 6-11 years in the United States who were obese increased from 7% in 1980 to nearly 20% in 2008. Similarly, the percentage of adolescents aged 12-19 years who were obese increased from 5% to 18% over the same period.  The CDC, and other medical institutions are working relentlessly to spread awareness about child obesity (Pandey, 2012).

Parents are the culprit behind this dilemma. Children became obesity because what parents fed them in the first place and the activities associated with unhealthy eating became the norm. So, what can parents do to raise healthy children? First, realize that a change needs to take place by identifying the objections to change their family’s health and tackle them one by one. As parents, we become busy with daily activities and eating healthy seems like another “job”.   Second, be willing to look at those objections and give yourself permission to take time to know where you and your family are and what do you want to change in the area of health.  Third, look at some common objections and consider how to tackle what you may consider stumbling blocks but are really excuses.

  1. “My schedule is too busy!” Change the way you think.  Health gives us more time to do what we want to do.  When you are not sick, you have more time.
  2. “My kids are too picky!”  Children will eat what they see you eat, if you look as if you are enjoying it. They are mimickers.  You are probably a picky eater yourself.
  3. “Nutrition is too confusing!” Educate yourself and learn the basics of what to add and remove from your child’s current diet/lifestyle.
  4. “Health food is too expensive!” Compared to what? Being at home from work to care for a sick child cost more time and money
  5. “It’s too hard!”  Stop fussing and start thinking. If your boss told you to do a job, and you say it’s too hard, how would he respond?

Parents should choose to identify and address the excuses and open to a new way of thinking.

I like these ideas on what can school do to promote good nutrition and physical activities:

Talk to the kids about the importance of maintaining a healthy weight throughout their childhood and incorporate daily walks or sporting activities into your routine. Do craft projects that inspire kits to eat healthier.

Promoting physical activity and health in the classroom encourages children to adopt a healthy lifestyle as they grow older. Healthy activities involve playing sports and games and simply walking outdoors. Specific lesson plans can focus on the importance of weight control, eating vegetables, nutrients and physical activity. Teachers can promote good health by incorporating exercise and health education into their daily lesson plans. Make goals before the school year and choose activities based on the needs of the children.

Provide physical and social environments that encourage and enable physical activity. For example, schools might allow access to facilities before and after school hours and during vacation periods, encourage teachers to provide time for unstructured physical activity during recess and during physical education class, and help school personnel to serve as active role models by enabling and encouraging their own participation in physical activity.

Resources:

Center for Disease Control, (2013) Retrieved from URL:   http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/childhood/index.html

Kundan Dandey, (2012), Buzz, Retrieved from URL:  http://www.buzzle.com/articles/childhood-obesity-statistics.html

http://www.ehow.com/how_7722318_promote-physical-activity-health-classroom.html#ixzz2mLm5aV2n

Written by:   Dr. Michelle Butler

 

Vitamin D

vitamine-d
 Vitamin D is as the “Sunshine Vitamin” as it is required for sunlight exposed on the skin.  Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin. Vitamin D works synergistically with vitamin A.  It plays a role in absorbing and regulating calcium and phosphorus and deposition in the bones.  This vitamin helps the body synthesize protein and helps build strong bones, teeth and skin.   Its use of nutrients in the body are for, rickets, fatigue, nervous tension and imperfect bone and defective teeth. vitamin D builds energy, helps absorbs minerals, promote eye health, and nourish the thyroid gland. Vitamin D is absorbed in the small intestines.
 It is vital to the health of the nervous system and kidneys.  It can be derived from the sun’s action on oils secreted and reabsorbed by the skin.  But if skin is tan or older, it is less capable of producing vitamin D.  Clinically, vitamin D has been shown to be linked with glucose and insulin homeostasis (Pregled, 2013) . Clinical uses of vitamin D are psoriasis, nearsightedness, arthritis. lockjaw, pregnancy, jaundice osteomalacia (softening of  the bones) and Nervousness.
It is necessary for growth, and is especially important for the normal growth and development of bones and teeth in children.  It protects against muscle weakness and is involved in regulation of the heartbeat.  It also is important in the prevention and treatment of breast and colon cancer, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, hypocalcaemia, enhances immunity, and is necessary for thyroid function and normal blood clotting (Balch, 2000).
If you live in the tropics and can expose your unprotected skin to two sessions of 15 minutes of sunlight each week your body will naturally produce adequate amounts of vitamin D. If you live far from the equator, your sunlight exposure will be less during many months of the year. Cloud cover, Smog and Sunscreens are factors that may reduce your body’s vitamin D synthesis.
Natural source of vitamin D is found in yeast and vitamin D occurs in fish liver oil.  Butter, eggs, sardines, tuna fish, sunflower seeds and unprocessed, raw milk are foods high in vitamin D.
The Dietary Reference Intake (DRI), Adequate Intake (AI) estimates the amount of dietary vitamin D required to sustain appropriate blood levels in the absence of sun exposure. The  AI for person between 6 months and 50 years of age is 5mcg (200 IU), for adults 51 to 70 is 10 mcg (400 IU) and for those 71 and older it increase to 15 mcg (600 IU), based on their diminishing skin synthesis of vitamin D (Mosley, 2011).
Intestinal disorders and liver and gallbladder malfunctions interfere with the absorption of vitamin D.  Some cholesterol-lowing drugs, antacids, mineral oil, and steroid hormones such as cortisone also interfere with absorption.  Taking excessive amounts of vitamin D (over 1,000 IU) daily may cause a decrease in bone mass.

It is recommended not to take vitamin D without calcium.  Toxicity may result from taking over 65,000 IU of vitamin over a period of two years.

References
Balch, Phyllis A. & James F, (2002). Prescription for healing, 3rd ed. Penguin Putnam, Publishing, Co.
MNT, Medical News Today, (2013) retrieved from http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/161618.php
Mosby, Elsevier (2011). Williams Essentials of Nutrition & Dietary Therapy, tenth edition. Mosby, Inc.
Voinsanitetski Pregled (2013), Military Medical & Pharmaceutical Journal of Serbia & Montenego.
Written By:  Dr. Michelle Butler