Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Why Homeopathy Isn't Widespread in the United States

I've recently completed a 16-hour beginning homeopathy class, and am eager to share the knowledge I've gained. This post is the first in a series on homeopathy basics. 
Homeopathy is a system of medicine that is fundamentally different from conventional (allopathic) medicine.  Whereas allopathic medicine focuses on suppression of symptoms, homeopathy seeks to correct the underlying imbalance that caused the symptoms in the first place. Homeopathy achieves this by strengthening the body's own defenses, thereby allowing the body to heal itself.

Homeopathy Used to Be Well-Known in the United States

In the 1800's, homeopathy was much more well-known here in the United States than it is now. According to Homeopathic Medicine at Home,

In 1890, there were 14,000 homeopaths as compared to 100,000 conventional physicians. In some areas -- New England, the Middle Atlantic States, and the Midwest-- one out of every four or five physicians was a homeopath. There were twenty-two homeopathic medical schools and over a hundred homeopathic hospitals.

The allopathic medicine establishment took strong measures to suppress homeopathy as a form of medicine.

The American Medical Association was formed in 1846 as a direct response to the founding of the American Institute of Homeopathy two years earlier. Homeopaths were denied admittance to standard medical societies. A member of such a society who consulted with a homeopath was punished with ostracism and expulsion. (In 1878, a physician was expelled from a medical society in Connecticut for consulting with a homeopath -- his wife!)

The AMA and the pharmaceutical industry paired up against homeopathy, eventually buying the homeopathic medical schools and hospitals. Once these homeopathic institutions were bought, they were converted into allopathic institutions such as New York Medical College and Marshall Hale Hospital. That of course led to a complete decline in homeopathy in the United States in the early 1900's. 

Use of Homeopathy is Widespread in Other Parts of the World
While homeopathy was nearly eradicated in the United States, it's use continued to proliferate in other parts of the world.  Currently, one-in-two doctors in India are homeopaths. Homeopathy is used extensively throughout Europe, and there are homeopathic hospitals and pharmacies in nearly every major city. According to a Homeopathic Medicine: Europe's #1 Alternative for Doctors,

(I)n France...[homeopathy] is the leading alternative therapy. In 1982, 16 percent of the population used homeopathic medicine, rising to 29 percent in 1987, and to 36 percent in 1992 (8). In 2004, 62 percent of French mothers used homeopathic medicines in the previous 12 months. A survey of French pharmacists was conducted in 2004 and found that an astounding 94.5 percent reported advising pregnant women to use homeopathic medicines...

...17 percent of the British population use homeopathic medicines. The respect accorded homeopathy and homeopathic practice by British physicians is evidenced by a 1986 survey in the British Medical Journal that showed that 42 percent of physicians referred patients to homeopathic doctors.

Good Enough for the British Royal Family
According to The Homeopathic Revolution: Why Famous People and Cultural Heroes Choose Homeopathy, the British royal family has used and advocated homeopathy since the early 1800's and they still use homeopathy today. There are also many other famous people who use homeopathy, including:
  • literary greats such as Louisa May Alcott, Charles Dickens, and Alfred Tennyson,
  • sports stars such as David Beckham, Martina Navratilova, and Elvis Stojko,
  • celebrities such as Catherine Zeta-Jones, Jennifer Aniston, and Ashley Judd, and
  • politicians and peacemakers such as Mahatma Gandhi, Benjamin Disraeli, and U.S. Presidents Lincoln, Tyler, Hayes, Garfield, Arthur, Harrison, McKinley, Harding, Coolidge, Hoover, and Clinton. 

Have you tried homeopathy? 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Immune System, Grains, and Behavior, including a recipe for Millet Porridge (gluten-free)

While we are transitioning back into eating grains, we've had troubles finding grains that don't cause behavior problems in our daughter.  Her immune system has always been weak, but I only recently learned that this is likely the cause of her issues with grains as well.  In consulting with our homeopath I've learned that, while most kids have a very strong immune system by the time they are 2 years old, some kids' immune systems don't fully develop until 8-12 years of age. My 5&1/2 year old daughter seems to fall into the latter category (given her history of illness and enlarged tonsils), whereas her little brother definitely has a more robust immune system even though he is only 2&1/2.

This means that my daughter's immune system is reacting to grains, which leads to a nervous system response that manifests as poor behavior.  If she eats gluten grains, the next day my daughter will be overly emotional and have meltdowns repeatedly over things that seem trivial.  She can handle small amounts of white rice and soaked oatmeal, but if we overdo those she has the same behavior issues. The homeopath says it's likely that her grain issues will spontaneously resolve on their own once her immune system develops fully.  That is great news!

In the mean time, the homeopath recommended that we try a few other grains to see if she can tolerate them.  Quinoa is one that we've tried before, but my daughter really doesn't like the flavor so we don't know whether or not it gives her any issues.  One grain we had never tried before was millet, so I decided to give it a shot.  My daughter LOVES millet porridge, and it gives her no behavior problems even if she eats it for breakfast every day!  My husband and I also really enjoy the flavor of millet porridge. (My son isn't much of a porridge/starch/bread-eating kid regardless of what it is made of; he'd be happy to subsist on meat, pickles, fruit, and dairy.  He will occasionally eat millet porridge, though.)

[As a side note, my daughter was on the strict GAPS Diet for over 18 months.  It definitely improved her immune system and sleep, but over time her weight gain stalled.  Given that she has always been underweight (as you can see in the picture with her brother who is three years younger), and that my husband and I were suffering worsening adrenal problems on GAPS, we decided to stop the diet.  It seems that our health problems are too deep for diet alone to solve, but I'm hopeful that homeopathy will be the additional boost we need to regain health.]

Recipe: Millet Porridge
Millet has a very neutral, almost bland flavor that makes it a great base for porridge.  It soaks up lots of liquid when cooking, so a little millet goes a long way. I like to make plenty of millet to last throughout the week, and then just reheat single servings in the toaster oven or in a small pot on the stove.

Serves 3-5
  • 1 cup organic millet
  • 2 cups of filtered water, for soaking
  • 2 Tb raw whey (or substitute lemon juice, vinegar, or yogurt)
  • 3.5 cups filtered water, for cooking
  • 1 tsp celtic sea salt
  • 4 Tb (half stick) butter, preferably from grassfed cows
  • Additional butter and raw honey for drizzling over each serving
  • Optional add-ins:
    • Chopped pears
    • Chopped apples and a dash of cinnamon
    • Sliced bananas, chopped crispy pecans, and a dash of maple syrup
    • Blueberries with maple syrup or molasses
  1. Carefully sort through the millet, looking for small pebbles.  I always seem to find at least one pebble each time I make millet, so don't skip this step!
  2. Combine the millet, 2 cups of filtered water, and whey in a glass bowl.  Cover the bowl and allow the millet to soak for 8-24 hours.
  3. Pour off most of the soaking liquid, and then combine the millet, salt, and 3&1/2 cups of water in a medium pot.  (If you want your millet to be tangy, feel free to cook it in the soaking water and just reduce the amount of additional water you add.)
  4. Bring to a low boil and skim off the foam.  Add the butter and cover the pot. If you like, you can stir in some chopped apples at this point.
  5. Reduce the heat to very low.  Set a timer for 20 minutes and allow the millet to cook, stirring occasionally.  If necessary, stir in another 1/2-to-1 cup of filtered water towards the end to reach your desired consistency.
  6. Turn off heat and serve!  Add a little dollop of butter to each bowl, and plenty of raw honey.  If desired, you can also add fruit such as pears, apples, bananas, or blueberries to each bowl. This makes it especially easy to add in variety during the week when the leftover millet is consumed.  When reheating leftovers, you may need to add some additional water.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Grain-Free Thanksgiving Recipe Round-up

I thought I'd share some links for grain-free Thanksgiving recipes.  Some are from my site, and others are from around the 'net.

  • Slow roasted turkey - This recipe from Nourished Kitchen looks fabulous.
  • Herb gravy - Elana uses cooked onions to thicken the gravy instead of flour. Genius!
  • Caramelized beets and carrots - This recipe is loved by both of my kids and would make a great Thanksgiving side dish. 
  • Simple buttered veggies - Broccoli, peas, or cauliflower are great this way.
  • Roasted cauliflower with garlic and lemon juice - I adore this recipe from Emeril. I cook it at a lower temperature for longer, and substitute a combination of butter and refined coconut oil for the olive oil (since I prefer not to cook with olive oil because most of its benefits are lost with heat).
  • Caramelized green beans - Caramelized green beans are a staple item at every Thanksgiving feast for my family.  For our holiday, I'll use chicken stock in this recipe.
  • Mashed butternut squash - Mashed butternut squash is a great alternative to potatoes or even sweet potatoes.  My favorite ways to season mashed butternut squash are savory (with butter, garlic, and thyme) or sweet (with ginger, garlic, nutmeg, cinnamon, and a touch of honey). 
  • Mashed cauliflower - This recipe from Wringing Out My Sponge sounds like a delicious stand in for mashed potatoes. (It is not quite GAPS-legal, though, since it uses cream cheese.)
  • Ginger-dill sauerkraut - Sauerkraut is a delicious, digestion-promoting ferment that pairs well with lots of foods.
  • Cranberry sauce with apples and ginger - This cranberry sauce is wonderfully tart, and spiced with ginger and orange.
  • Pumpkin pie clafoutis - This recipe is a wonderful stand-in for the traditional pumpkin pie.  I like to make it with homemade pumpkin puree
Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Banana Clafoutis (grain-free : primal : gluten-free : GAPS-legal)

This banana clafoutis (custard cake) is spiced nicely with cinnamon and a touch of lemon zest.  It makes a great breakfast, and can be dressed up with some whipped cream or ice cream for a special dessert.

Banana Clafoutis
Serves 6
  • 10 Tb (1 stick plus 2 Tb) butter
  • 1/3 cup mild-flavored honey
  • 5 eggs, preferably from pastured hens
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 Tb sour cream  
  • 1.5 tsp organic vanilla extract
  • 1/2 plus 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
  • pinch ground nutmeg
  • heaping 1/4 tsp celtic sea salt
  • zest from one large lemon (zesting is super easy with a rasp)
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 Tb coconut flour (this should be sifted if you are not using an immersion blender)
  • 2 large bananas*
  1. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat.  Turn off heat, add honey, and stir a bit.
  2. In a large bowl, combine eggs, sour cream, vanilla, spices, lemon zest, and salt.  I like to use my immersion blender to mix it all up together, but you could certainly use a whisk or mixer instead.
  3. Add melted butter and honey to wet ingredients and whisk or blend.
  4. Add coconut flour and blend until well-combined (or use mixer/whisk until smooth).
  5. Use a bit of butter to generously grease an 8X8 glass dish
  6. Slice the bananas and spread them over the bottom of the dish.
  7. Pour the batter into the glass dish and bake at 325° for 50-60 minutes. This will puff up during baking and then deflate while cooling. The clafoutis is done when the edges are lightly browned and the center is no longer wet with just a bit of jiggle.
  8. Remove from oven and cool.  Don't cut into this while it is piping hot. Banana clafoutis can be served at warm or cold. For a special treat, top with a bit of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
*Bananas are a low-spray crop, so save money by not buying organic ones!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Tips to Make Once a Month Cleaning Work

This post is the second in a series on Once a Month Cleaning.  The first part of the series is here

In the previous post, I discussed how Once a Month Cleaning can reduce stress throughout the month and make sure that no cleaning tasks slip through the cracks. Some planning is definitely involved in making Once a Month Cleaning a success.

Plan Ahead for Successful Cleaning Days
  • Make a list of all the cleaning tasks you want to accomplish on Cleaning Day. 
    • This list should include all of the tasks you find to be most important.
    • This list should NOT include deep cleaning tasks, such as scrubbing baseboards.
    • Print or copy this list, preferably in a chart so you can mark off each task as you go.  I like to use a chart showing multiple months; that way I can see if any tasks were skipped during the previous month (for instance, I may skip a task or two during a particularly hectic month).  If you'd like to use a copy of my cleaning chart as a template, e-mail me at nourishedandnurtured[at]gmail[dot]com
  • Make a list of cleaning tasks that need to be done throughout the month between cleaning sessions to make your home liveable.  In our house, this includes:
    • Daily clutter/toy pickup - this only takes about 10 minutes a day, but reducing daily clutter goes a LONG way to making the house seem neat and tidy between cleaning sessions.
    • Sweeping the dining room at least once a week
    • Cleaning the guest toilet if guests are expected
  • Mark the calendar to set aside time for Cleaning Day.
    • In homes with small children, Once a Month Cleaning will likely take 2-to-3 days.
    • In homes with older children, Once a Month Cleaning can likely be accomplished in one day.
    • My youngest child is now 2&1/2, and I am able to easily complete the cleaning tasks before lunch on the second day.
  • Limit non-cleaning activities on Cleaning Day. If you plan in too many other activities on Cleaning Day, it can easily get de-railed.
    • Limit parent-tutored homeschooling on Cleaning Day.  I plan ahead so that my 1st-grade daughter can be relatively independent in her schooling on days that I am cleaning.  She knows that on Cleaning Day, she will do her morning reading lesson, and then be responsible for doing her writing practice and perhaps a math review worksheet or two. I give her a timer that she can use to take a short break after each subject, and she seems to like being in charge of her schooling on these days.
    • Limit doing laundry on Cleaning Day.  I try to limit laundry to only washing bathroom and kitchen rugs on Cleaning Day.
    • Don't plan any out-of-the-house activities on Cleaning Day.
    • Plan to have leftovers or some other easy dinner meal on Cleaning Day.
  • Prepare the kids for Cleaning Day.
    •  If your kids are old enough to understand, make sure they know that on Cleaning Day you will be rather busy and they will need to be relatively independent. 
    • My daughter knows that she will be responsible for cleaning up the accumulated clutter in her room on cleaning day.  She also has the option to help out by doing other cleaning chores. If she chooses to do this, then she is rewarded with watching an hour-long video (which also serves as a great time for me to sweep and mop the tiled areas in our house without any little feet in the way).
  • Be flexible.
    • If you have young kids at home, there will of course be interruptions in cleaning.  Don't get too stressed, and just try to get back on track as soon as you can.
    • During particularly hectic months, feel free to skip non-crucial tasks.  The sky will not fall if the toaster oven doesn't get scrubbed!  Just make sure to start Cleaning Day with the most important tasks first.
What tips do you have for successful house cleaning with young children?

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Maple Coconut Cookies (grain-free : dairy-free : primal : paleo : gluten-free)

Sometimes the accidental recipes are the best ones.  I first made these cookies on a day when we had run out of butter and were running low on honey.  Now these are one of my favorite types of cookies! The flavors of maple syrup and coconut combine wonderfully in these tender cookies. 

Maple Coconut Cookies
Makes 40-50 cookies
  1. Set your oven racks so that none are in the bottom third of the oven.  Preheat the oven to 325 F.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the salt, baking soda, and coconut flour. Whisk well to combine and break up any lumps of coconut flour.
  3. In another bowl (or stand-mixer), beat the coconut oil, maple syrup, and honey together for a few minutes, until the mixture is light and fluffy. If you are using a stand-mixer, make sure you scrape the sides and bottom a couple times with a spatula to get everything incorporated well.
  4. In a small bowl or pourable glass measuring cup, combine the eggs, vanilla extract, and almond extract. Don't worry about stirring this up.
  5. Pour the eggs into the sweet coconut oil mixture one at a time while the mixer is running.  Let each egg get incorporated before adding another one. (Note: the batter may look curdled during this process, but don't worry about it!)
  6. While the mixer is running, add the dry ingredients a little at a time.  Since coconut flour does not contain gluten, there is no worry of over-mixing it.
  7. Stir in the optional pecans. 
  8. Scoop the cookies onto greased cookie sheets (or line the cookie sheets with silpats, which are wonderful since the cookies never stick and are less likely to burn).  I like to use a 1-Tb scoop for consistently pretty cookies, but you could just use a spoon. Do not press/flatten the cookies, as they will spread enough in the oven.
  9. Bake the cookies at 325 F for about 16-20 minutes (or a few minutes longer if you are cooking them on stoneware). They are done when they are golden brown on top and a little darker brown on the edges.
  10. Remove from oven and allow to cool for about 5-10 minutes.  Then use a spatula to move them to a cooling rack.
  11. Once cool, store these cookies in an airtight container.  They can be stored in the refrigerator or freezer if you won't be eating them all in the next few days.  They are nice and chewy straight from the fridge, and even soft enough to eat straight out of the freezer!  Storing them in the freezer will also remove the pressure of having to eat them all in a week or so, as they will last for months in the freezer.