What is more dangerous? The Swine Flu or The Vaccine?

It is hard to know which is worse – the illness or the vaccine. With the H1N1 virus making headlines every night and the media reporting that we all might die (of course I am exaggerating… a little) it seems silly to not run out and get the vaccine as soon as it is available. But what about the vaccine?

I have been doing a lot of research on the seasonal flu vaccine and the H1N1 flu vaccine. The more I read, the more I am certain that neither myself nor my family will be getting either vaccine. Here are some articles that highlight why.

1) Thimerosal, organic mercury, swine flu and you.
2) Ten Swine Flu Lies Told by the Mainstream Media
3) Why swine flu vaccines just don’t add up: Doing the (fuzzy) math
4) Warning: Swine Flu Shot Linked to Killer Nerve Disease

For me and my family, we will take our chances with the flu. We will make sure we are careful about washing our hands and we will load up on vitamin D.

I was just called “crazy” at work today. I work in a public building. My department is on one side of the building and the Health Department is on the other side. They are having the first Flu Shot clinic today (not for the H1N1 vaccine – it will not be available until late October). I was asked where my band-aid was and when I said that I was not getting the shot they looked at me in disbelief and then said, “You are just going to take your chances? Even when your pregnant?”. It took everything I had in me to stay off my soap box. I wanted to explain to them that they should do research before blindly following the media and lining up for the vaccine. I wanted to explain the worrisome ingredients used to make the vaccine (here and here). I wanted to tell them some of the side affects of the vaccine. But I didn’t. I just smiled and said, “Not a chance”. They wouldn’t have listened to me anyway.

If you are looking for some natural ways to build your immunity to the seasonal and swine flu, you might like these articles:

1) How to Build Natural Immunity against the Swine Flu
2) Vitamin D deficiency linked to more colds and flu
3) Low Vitamin D Increases Flu Death Risk in Kids

What are your feelings on the seasonal flu vaccine and the swine flu vaccine? Will you be getting it? Will your children?

Another Reason Breast is Best

Not all women have a choice to breastfeed or not. But if you have a choice, although it is a very personal choice, more research has come out about the benefits of breastfeeding. On top of the already valuable list of reasons, a new study shows that breastfeeding actually helps to protect women who have a family history of breast cancer. Not only is that good news but the amount of time you breastfeed doesn’t seem to be a big factor. According to the study, only 3 months worth of breastfeeding (and it doesn’t have to be all at once, it can be split between babies) offers this protection!

Here is the full article:

http://www.typeamom.net/breastfeeding-protects-women-with-family-history-of-breast-cancer.html

Breastfeeding Protects Women with Family History of Breast Cancer

Written by Jodi Cleghorn

A new study into the link between breast cancer and breastfeeding provides new evidence as to why breastfeeding is especially important for women with a family history of breast cancer.

The study by Dr. Alison Stuebe and colleagues at the University of North Carolina found women with a family history of breast cancer radically reduced their risk of developing invasive premenapausal breast cancer by breastfeeding. The effect was comparable to taking an anti-estrogen drug such as Tamoxifen for five years. Unlike Tamoxifen, breastfeeding has advantages for both mother and child.

Previous studies have been mixed regarding the protective effect of breastfeeding. Dr Stuebe believes these studies may be flawed due to cancer patients being asked to recall their breastfeeding history after diagnosis.

Using a prospective study model Dr Stuebe and colleagues looked to collect information on breastfeeding and breast cancer before diagnosis. They drew their information from the Nurses’ Health Study II using the data of 60,000 women who reported giving birth in 1997.

Women were asked also to describe their breastfeeding practises. They were also asked if there was a family history of breast cancer and if they had been diagnosed with invasive breast cancer.

They followed the cohort through to 2005 to see how many developed cancer in that time. At the end of the study 608 cases of invasive premenopausal breast cancer were identified. The average age at diagnosis was 46.

Women with a mother or a sister with breast cancer were found to have reduced their risk of developing cancer by 59% as a result of breastfeeding. There was no difference found in women who did not have a family history of breast cancer.

“This could be because there’s something about genetically caused breast cancer that’s affected by breastfeeding,” said Dr Stuebe, “or it could be because rates of breast cancer were so low in women without a family history that we couldn’t see an association in this data set.”

The good news is protection is not dependent on the length of time a woman breastfeeds. The important point in question is whether a woman breastfeeds or not. The protective effect is apparent with just three months of breastfeeding – which may be accumulated from one child to the next. This means a mother breastfeeding each of her two children for six weeks will still gain the benefit. There was also no difference in women who exclusively breastfed compared with women who breastfed and supplemented. (1)

There is still no answer as to why breastfeeding reduces the risk of breast cancer. The researchers suspect when women do not breastfeed, inflammation and engorgement shortly after birth causes changes in breast tissue that may increase the risk for breast cancer. This inflammation may be prevented by breastfeeding and weaning.

A recent study by the Centre for Disease Control found half the women gave up breastfeeding before they wanted to. “Mothers and babies need supportive hospital policies, paid maternity leave, and workplace accommodations so that they can meet their breastfeeding goals,” Dr Stuebe says. “Public health begins with breastfeeding.”

One wonders in an era of public health policy which asks us to stop smoking, limit our alcohol consumption, eat better and exercise more, all of which attack big business profits and advocate no profit activities, if there should not be more room to aggressively promote breastfeeding on the same platform.

References

Based on the Chapel Hill School of Medicine Press Release at Media NewsWire

Alison M. Stuebe; Walter C. Willett; Fei Xue; Karin B. Michels. Lactation and Incidence of Premenopausal Breast Cancer: A Longitudinal Study. Arch Intern Med., 2009; 169 (15)

(1) Breastfeeding May Cut Breast Cancer Risk Kathleen Doheny at EmedicineHealth

Jodi Cleghorn is a Brisbane mother, writer, lactivist and natural birth advocate. When she’s not writing breastfeeding articles she is working on her fiction stories including a new novella and a new publishing project Chinese Whisperings. Her new blog Writing in Black and White chronicles her journey as a writer, editor and publisher. This week she’s enjoying a quiet house for the first time in two weeks!

The beginning of the harvest

One of my favorite things about our backyard (besides the waterfall and pond) is the garden than my husband built for me.  I only get to use it for about 5 months but it is SO worth it.  This year, I planted 4 types of tomatoes: Champion, Super Fantastic, Roma and Yellow Pear.  So far, I like all of them A LOT except for the Roma tomatoes.  The Roma’s are good – way better than store bought Roma’s but compared to the Champions and Super Fantastics they are very bland and dry.  I also planted two squash plants, which I unfortunately lost to evil squash bugs, a Sweet Banana Pepper and a green Bell Pepper.

Around the yard, we also have grapes, blackberries, strawberries, a red delicious apple tree, a golden delicious apple tree and blueberries. All are producing fruit this year, their second year, except the blueberries which we just planted this spring.

Most of the produce is not ready yet but we have been able to start enjoying the tomatoes and this weekend, grapes! We were all excited about the grapes.

I will post more pictures of the garden and the yard but to start, here are some pictures of my first big harvest this year!

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All of produce is grown organically – no pesticides or toxins at our house!

It is World Breastfeeding Week!

August 1-7 is World Breastfeeding Week and helps to remind us how important breastfeeding is for all babies across the globe. For information on why the breast is best, you can go here and here.

Here are a few great breastfeeding resources:

WABA Website

Best for Babes which includes tips on how to avoid Breastfeeding Booby Traps

Le Leche League International

Breastfeeding.com

Earth Mama Angel Baby -  Breastfeeding

Earth Mama Angel Baby wants to help you with breastfeeding.  They are offering 15% off Natural Nipple Butter, Milkmaid Tea and Booby Tubes for the entire month of August. Coupon Code: BoobyTubes04.

I fully plan on breastfeeding, for as long as possible, and I know that I need to start reading and researching so I can be prepared and have a better understanding what I need to do and what I can do to avoid “booby traps”.

What are your tips, tricks and stories for successful breastfeeding or the trials and tribulations you had while trying to breastfeed? Did you enjoy it? Was it worth it? What would you do differently?

Great family, outdoor entertainment just got cheaper! Over 100 National Parks that usually charge an entrance fee are waiving the fee this weekend

Great family, outdoor entertainment just got cheaper! Over 100 National Parks that usually charge an entrance fee are waiving the fee this weekend!

For a list of National Parks that are waiving their fee this weekend (listed by State), go here.

For a list of other dates when fees will be waived, go here.

Is your sunscreen safe?

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“May the sun shine all day long, everything go right and nothing  wrong. May those you love bring love back to you, and may all the wishes you wish come true!” ~ Irish Blessing

It is that time of year again – when we can enjoy the sunny outdoors!  But we have to be careful or those fun, sunny activities are followed by painful, dangerous sunburns.

But what is just as bad?  Many of the sunscreens on the market!  According to Natural News, new studies say that 84% of sunscreens on the market are harmful to us.  Many contain inadequate protection, ingredients that break down in the sun, or even chemicals that are harmful to us and are known to cause cancer.

Don’t fret though! SkinDeep.com has come to your rescue and rated (from 0-10, low hazard-> high hazard) 1,095 common, and not so common, sunscreens to help you pick what is best for you and your family.

Top 10 products (limited to one product per brand)

Soleo/Atlantis Resort Organic chemical free sunscreen SPF 30+

Keys Soap Solar Rx Cosmetic Sunblock, SPF 30

California Baby Sunblock Stick No Fragrance, SPF 30+

Badger Sunscreen, SPF 30

Purple Prairie Botanicals Sun Stick spf 30

Marie Veronique Organics Creme de Jour Tinted, SPF 30 (light face screen made with non-micronized zinc oxide)

Devita International solar protective moisturizer 30

Lavera Sunscreen Neutral, SPF 40

Corrective Skin Care Anti-oxidant sunscreen non water proof UVA & UVB protective SPF 30

UV Natural Sunscreen, SPF 30+

Here are some that might be easier to find -although they don’t all have quite as good as rating.

Recommended products from popular brands

Blue Lizard Australian Suncream Lotion, Sensitive, SPF 30

Blue Lizard Australian Suncream Lotion, Baby, SPF 30+

Blue Lizard Australian Suncream Lotion, Face, SPF 30+

California Baby Sunscreen Lotion No Fragrance, SPF 30+

California Baby Sunscreen Lotion Natural Bug Blend, SPF 30+

California Baby Sunscreen Lotion Everyday/year-Round, SPF 30+

California Baby Sunblock Stick No Fragrance, SPF 30+

California Baby Sunblock Stick Everyday/year-Round, SPF 30+

CVS Sunscreen with Zinc Oxide, SPF 45+

Jason Natural Cosmetics Sunbrellas Mineral Based Physical Sunblock, SPF 30+

Kiss My Face Face Factor Paraben Free, SPF 30

Kiss My Face 100% Paraben Free Sunscreen with Oat Protein, SPF 30

Neutrogena Sensitive Skin Sunblock Lotion, SPF 30

Olay Complete Defense Daily UV Moisturizer, Sensitive Skin, SPF 30

Olay Complete Defense Daily UV Moisturizer, SPF 30

Skinceuticals Physical UV Defense, SPF 30

Solar Sense Clear Zinc, for Face, SPF 45

Walgreens Sunblock with Zinc Oxide for Face, Nose & Ears, SPF 45+

And just as important, here is a list of major brands that have no recommended sunscreens.  All of these are rated a 3-6, moderate hazard or worse:

Aubrey Organics (6), Avalon Natural Products (8), Aveeno (21), Banana Boat (41), Biore (1), Biotherm (11), Bull Frog (9), Burt’s Bees (2), Cetaphil (2), Clean & Clear (2), Coppertone (41), Cover Girl (4), Dove (4), Dr. Scholl’s (2), Elizabeth Arden (12), Eucerin (5), Garnier (3), Gillette (1), Hawaiian Tropic (10), Jergens (2), Juvena (2), La Roche-Posay (5), Lancome (28), LORAC (5), Lubriderm (1), Maybelline (1), Murad (9), Nature’s Gate (7), Nivea (4), Paradise Gold (4), Phisoderm (2), Pond’s (2), Purpose (2), RoC (6), Skin Simple (1), Target (.method) (1), The Body Shop (3), Vichy (2), Zia Natural Skincare (3)

To check out the full report or to look sunscreens up individually go here.

On a personal note, I have used Badger sunscreen with good results.  This year I plan on trying California Baby sunscreen.  I like all of their other products so much that I want to give their sunscreen a try as well.

Have you tried a sunscreen that is rated as low hazard?  I would love to hear your reviews!

Organic Pet Products

It is no wonder we want to take the best care possible of our pets.  They are our friends, our companions, our allies. Organic pet products offer the same benefit to pets as they do humans: better nutrients, less chemicals and pesticides, better for the earth.

Our Green House offers a line of organic products for your cats and dogs that includes supplies, toys and pampering items.

Shouldn’t we treat our pets, our best friends, as good as our family?

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Starting to navigate the world of cloth diapers…

Before I was pregnant, I had already made my mind up about a couple of things:

I will use cloth diapers

I will use glass bottles

Of course, it was easier to come to this decision than it has been to understand all the styles, brands, and choices. Luckily there are only 3-4 solid choices for glass bottles (with a sleeve). Cloth diapers, however, are a completely different story. Just type “cloth diapers” into Google and you are inundated with 1.6 million results.

I was very thankful to find Pampered Buns which has a nice overview of the different types of cloth diapers along with the pros and cons of each style.

As I continued my search, I came across Kelly’s Closet which has a huge selection of cloth diapers (not to mention much more) and makes browsing the different styles and brands easy – even for someone new at this!

Check them out by clicking the link to the left or clicking here:

Great green gifts for Mother’s Day!

Mom is special – no doubt about it.  And although we should appreciate her, and show her we appreciate her, year around, it is extremely important that we make sure she knows we love her on this one day a year that is dedicated to her.

Here are some great GREEN gifts to give Mom to show her how much you appreciate all that she did and still does:

Flowers: Moms love to get flowers (except for mine!). Flowers are beautiful and unnecessary – the perfect treat! Check out these great bouquets, wreaths and plants from Organic Bouquet and California Organic Flowers.

Herb Garden:  Does your Mom like have fresh ingredients ? Then an herb garden may be the perfect gift. Check out this organic herb garden from Olive Barn.

Candles: Does Mom like candles? Then get her some candles that are more eco friendly but still work great and are better for you! Try Beeswax or Soy Candles.  Not sure why these types of candles are better?  Check out these two articles: Article 1 and Article 2

Chocolates: If your Mom loves chocolate, she will love there all natural and wonderful tasting chocolates and confections made by Vere Chocolates.

Makeup: Help Mom feel beautiful with a new look. Affordable Mineral Makeup is a green company that sells all natural and some organic makeup.  They offer everything from foundations to lip gloss, brushes to eyeliner.  Not sure what color is best for Mom? Contact me: brenda@purelynaturalminerals.com or buy a gift certificate and let her pick out her own.

Not into the material items?  How about a homemade gift certificate?  You can make it good for a cup of coffee, a nice dinner or a day of yard work.  Or you can buy Mom a piece of our planet. Sponsor one of the many beautiful National Parks we are so blessed to have in her honor. Check out Sierra Club for details.