Breast Milk vs Infant Formula: Our Foremothers Knew Best

One of the hardest decisions for some new mothers today is whether or not to breastfeed their babies.  And although their natural, maternal instincts might give them a nudge towards breastfeeding, the call of our modern day society will often yank them to the nearest baby aisle to purchase a can of infant formula. Let’s face it-the grocery store aisle is a well established path that has been taken by most of our lactating sisters in modern society.  And unfortunately, most of us fall prey and take the path of least resistance.  But why is that?  Why aren’t we more like our great grandparents or their grandparents before them?

 

Breastfeeding During a Time When Women Owned Their Bodies

 

When we look at birthing customs as late as the 17th and 18th centuries,  it appears that breastfeeding was a naturally perfect business solution for European working class women because it benefited their families in the following ways: 

 

(1) It nourished their babies,

(2) It was used as a contraceptive to assist with birth spacing, and

(3) It allowed them to earn an income by becoming a wet nurse for wealthy women

 

Not surprisingly, wealthy women on the other side of the royal gates were highly discouraged from breastfeeding.  Unlike their working class sisters, they were expected to bear many children for their respective monarchies and since breastfeeding would possibly act as a contraceptive, it was frowned upon.   Therefore, they used their female slaves (if they had them) or they hired working class women to be their wet nurses.

 

Needless to say, as Europeans migrated to the Americas, they continued with this highly popular system of breast feeding.  It worked primarily because the whole birthing process was controlled completely by women, such as midwives, female relatives and neighbors. Men were generally off doing “men” activities, and had absolutely no interest in being a part of a woman’s care…that is until they saw dollar signs.

 

Monetizing Women’s Care

 

Fast forward to 19th century America and you will find that things were changing rapidly. Male doctors had replaced midwives and I guess it should go without saying that if your function is deemed passé, your once expert advice is soon to follow.  The  newly found “father knows best” advice of male doctors replaced the sage wisdom of midwives in the birthing business.   And since this new, sophisticated mother was “hanging onto her doctor’s every word,” it’s not surprising that she would soon ditch the whole “dated” concept of breastfeeding and readily embrace the new instant infant food options that her burgeoning country was headed towards.

 

Introducing -Drum Roll Please…..Instant Infant Formula

 

Not to be economically outdone by their European peers, American doctors and businessmen kept a watchful eye on the European market, and by 1967, the European chemist Baron Justus von Liebig gave them just what they were looking for-a highly successful processed food for babies.   There had been other versions of artificial baby milk formulated by other chemist; however, they did not fare as well as Liebig’s.  And as they say in business, timing is everything.  Hence, American businessmen wanted to capitalize on the milk of this very lucrative cash cow.

 

While Liebig originally formulated his baby food out of personal necessity, American businessmen marketed the concoction in the US as an equal-if not better substitute to breastfeeding.  American doctors “bought into the concept” and began to advise their patients that it was no longer appropriate for them to breastfeed, and before you knew it, Liebig’s instant formulas was being sold in America by 1869.

 

Soon after, Nestle capitalized on the “infant formula is better” bandwagon and created his version of “better than breast milk,” infant formula. Everyone raved about it- both doctors and middle class mothers who switched to instant formulas agreed that it was the best food for their growing babies.  And, as with everything else in a society defined by social stratification, the ideology trickled down to working class mothers who eventually bought into the marketing ploy and began feeding their babies  infant formula too.

 

Cash Cow’s Milk on Steroids-No Pun Intended

 

We’re now in the 21st century and the growth of the instant infant formula business is one of the most recession proof businesses in the world.  It’s extension into the global market place; coupled with the strong partnership that infant formula manufacturers have with healthcare professionals, has created a money making machine that generated $36.7 billion in 2012.  So it’s not surprising that soon after a newborn baby takes its first breath, a smiling nurse is right there to put a bottle in it’s mouth.  And while this scenario might be the norm; fortunately, there has been a slow, yet steady increased interest in breastfeeding, and this new genre of informed mothers has begun to re-claim the natural purpose of their breasts.

 

Breast Milk is the New Fad

 

During the past decade, there has been a huge global reform from healthcare professionals, The World Health Organization, midwives, and mothers for women to return to breastfeeding, and as a result, breastfeeding has been increasingly on the rise. This strong comeback is probably due to the fact that scientific research demonstrates that breast milk is extremely superior to instant infant formulas in the following ways:

 

Important Facts about Breastfeeding

 

  • It builds your baby’s immune system,
  • It protects against lymphomacrohn’s diseasetype 1 and type 2 diabetes, asthma and allergies, respiratory infections, eczema, and juvenile rheumatoid arthritis,
  • It improves your baby’s brain functions, It helps your baby to be more emotionally secure because you are bonding closely together,
  • It improves your baby’s IQ, 
  • It saves you thousands of dollars, and
  • There are at least 400 nutrients in breast milk that processed milk cannot duplicate.

 

These nutrients work in tandem (because they’re naturally found in breast milk), which maximizes their nutritional effectiveness. Conversely, any isolated, synthetic vitamin that is found in infant formulas offers no real nutritional value. Synthetic vitamins lack the synergy of multiple nutrients working together that vitamins derived from whole foods, such as breast milk, would have.

 

Where Do We Go From Here?

While the scientific research is very compelling, we still have a lot of work to do in terms of increasing the number of mothers who breastfeed.

 

It’s understandable that many women are still undecided about whether or not to breastfeed their babies, and reasons vary from the fact that they view instant formulas as a fashionable trend to the fact that instant formulas are more convenient, especially if you are a working mother.  

 

In America, the biggest group to lag behind in breastfeeding are African American women -probably for the same reasons as other mothers.  The good news is that there are sites such as Blacktating, that might be of great support and possibly provide the much needed resources to help get them started.  

 

Lastly, there are other alternatives if a mother is unable to breastfeed (unfortunately it happens),  such as using a wet-nurse, using a breast milk bank, or making your own healthy, homemade recipe of infant formula.  A homemade recipe might not be breast milk, but at least mothers can control the ingredients to ensure that they are natural, and/or organic, and preservative free.

 

 

Here’a a Video of a Mom Making Infant Formula

 

References

Battling It Out for the Infant Formula Market

 

Suffering from Infertility? ART Diagnostic Testing Just Might be the Solution

Infertility has increasingly become a major problem for many couples who are trying to conceive, and unfortunately many of us have friends, family, or co-workers who are are currently frustrated due to their inability to make a baby.  The underlying causes of infertility are numerous and sadly some women will remain unable to fulfill their womanly rights to well…have children.

 

However, for many other women, a house full (or one or two if you prefer) of chubby, bouncing bundles of joy could very well be in the horizon despite the doom and gloom reports poorer quality eggs in women and reduced sperm counts in men.

 

According to Dr. Dietrich Klinghardt, a naturopathic doctor based out of Seattle, Washington, the quality and amount of sperm count in men has continued to drop over the past 50 years. In an effort to better understand the difficulties that men and women are having with fertility, Dr. Klinghardt developed a comprehensive biofeedback diagnostic tool called Autonomic Response Testing (ART).

 

The Beauty of ART Diagnostic Testing

The ART diagnostic testing focuses on the autonomic nervous system’s (which controls sexual arousal and internal organs just to name a few) reaction to different stressors. Dr. Klinghardt uses muscle tone testing as a biofeedback mechanism to search for what is causing the infertility, and according to Dr. Klinghardt, through non-invasive techniques, he has been able to determine the exact cause of the infertility.

 

The Menacing Reasons Why Some Women Can’t Conceive

Sperm Allergies:  The woman actually develops sperm antibody reaction to the man’s sperm.  Five to 25 percent of couples with fertility problems have sperm allergies, and within that group, about 20 to 40 percent of couples have conceived with the help of artificial insemination or an assisted reproductive technology (ART) treatment.

 

Intrauterine Problems due to Toxicity:  Toxicity can be caused by chemicals in personal care items and house hold items.

 

Malnutrition-causes a hormonal imbalance:  The woman does not eat a proper diet of whole foods and/or does not eat right for her metabolic type.

 

Low Sperm Count:   As stated above, low sperm count continues to plague men.

 

Toxic Building Syndrome-is a multiple combination of illnesses due to cell towers and electromagnetic fields, mold, and/or poor air quality-especially in new or newly remodeled buildings.

 

Chlamydia Trachomatis-one of the most common reasons; yet remains widely under diagnosed. According to Dr. Klinghardt, women with chlamydia have open tubes; however, the motility is impaired.

 

Allergies: Gluten allergies are a major cause for concern and are very common.

 

Abdominal Scar Tissue:  According to Dr. Klinghardt, appendectomy and hernia scars are the biggest contributors to infertility. The scar tissue impairs the female tube and cause blood flow to the uterus to decrease. In men, it hinders sperm production and causes poor quality sperm.
Fortunately, the Art Diagnosing Testing has helped many couples in despair find their way to a more complete life because they could finally conceive a child.

 

For more details on infertility treatment with Dr. klinghardt, who is one of the most highly regarded naturopathic doctors in holistic medicine,  it would be a good idea to read, “Advice for parents-to-be, pregnant women and their partners – and those who take care of them.” 

 

Vitamin D and Chlorella: A Powerful Duo to Fight Influenza and the Common Cold

Over the holiday break, I couldn’t help but notice the local news reports of how many clinics were over flowing with patients suffering from the flu and other upper respiratory illnesses.  Of course, the news commentator added the typical advertisement, which advised everyone to get their annual flu shot.  While I do know people who swear by their annual flu shot (my mother is one of them), I have never taken one, nor have I allowed my children to receive flu shots.  My thought is that the current flu shots are made from  last year’s strain so why bother?  In addition, who knows what other toxins might be lurking in them such as mercury or some other unknown or untested substance. So I simply refrain from giving them to my family. However, I do stock my medicine cabinet with medicinal arsenal such as chlorella and vitamin D3 because both of them are extremely effective at keeping the common cold, influenza, and other viruses that cause upper respiratory illnesses in check.

Believe it or not-these natural, tried and true powerhouse remedies have kept my family healthy since my children were toddlers.  Ok- I know you’re probably giving me a side-eyed look right now and saying, “I have heard of vitamin D, but what the heck is chlorella?”

Chlorella: A Whole Food Powerhouse

Chlorella is one of the most powerful super foods found on the planet because of its amazing nutritive properties. In America, chlorella is used as a supplement; however, for the past 20 years chlorella has been used as both a food and a supplement in Asian cultures-which is no surprise to me (Asian healers have consistently and effectively used alternative remedies to combat and prevent illnesses).

 

 

Although chlorella is packed with the antioxidants A, C, and E; it also contains the complete vitamin B-complex, and has several amino acids, which are the building blocks of life and critical for a healthy immune system.  Chlorella also has a reputation for knocking out the flu because of  its ability to increase your (Ig) A antibody levels.

 

A Japanese study showed that when pregnant women consumed chlorella pyerenoidsa supplements, they had significantly higher amounts of (Ig) A antibody concentrations in their breast milk, which means that the women were producing more (Ig) A in their bodies. When the researchers studied the milk of the 35 Japanese women, they found that 18 of the women, who took chlorella while pregnant, had more of the (Ig) A antibodies than those who did not take chlorella supplements. So if you are thinking about starting a family or if you are already expecting a baby, you might want to consult with a holistic practitioner to see if this antioxidant rich, (Ig) A antibodies producing powerhouse is a fit for you.  Let me tell you why (Ig) A is important-especially if you are expecting?

 

(Ig) A Antibodies-AKA The Terminator

(Ig) A antibodies are found in areas of the body such as your nose, breathing passage, digestive tract, ears, and eyes, and are important because they protect your body surfaces that are exposed to outside sources. According to Virology Blog, (Ig) A antibodies are extremely necessary to neutralize mucosal viral infections, which is what influenza is-a viral infection (so please don’t take antibiotics to treat it because antibiotics only treat bacterial infections).  

 

Virology Blog goes on to report that, “Virions that infect mucosal surfaces encounter secretory (Ig) A antibodies present at the apical surfaces of epithelial cells.” Ok-if it’s too early in the morning or too late at night for you to concentrate on organic chemistry, let me explain.  Simply put, (Ig) A antibodies neutralize the common cold or influenza virus and stops it from spreading to the cells and infecting you further. Therefore, when the influenza virus comes into contact with your (Ig) A antibodies, it is immediately neutralized and will be unable to replicate and spread. How amazing is that?A green super food packed with a punch to stop influenza in its tracks. It not only protects you, but it also protects and builds your baby’s immunity so she is stronger when she’s born. Again, if you are skeptical about chlorella-I urge you to speak with your chiropractor a holistic doctor to ease you concerns with regards to safety.  

 

Luckily, mother earth provides us with a variety of healing nutrition so if you are still on the fence about chlorella, you still have many other great soldiers to help you fight against the common cold or influenza, such as vitamin D.  That’s right! Vitamin D is just as effective as chlorella at building your immune system and keeping you healthy.

 

Vitamin D: A Powerhouse Supplement

Having optimal vitamin D levels is crucial for overall health and fighting all disease and illnesses-including influenza A, B, C, and H1N1 viruses. According to Dr. Mercola, one of the reasons you are susceptible to getting the flu is because your vitamin D levels are low. Cambridge Journals Online sites a Epidemiology and Infection study of Dr. John Cannell who is a medical doctor responsible for criminally insane patients.  Dr. Canell noted that his ward never contracted the flu although there was a flu epidemic sweeping through the maximum security hospital in April 2005. The main difference between his patients versus the other patients was that he had been giving his patients 2000 units of vitamin D for several months. Shortly after the 2005 flu epidemic, Nature, an international weekly journal of science, published a paper stating that vitamin D was a potent antibiotic, which works by increasing the body’s production of proteins called antimicrobial peptides. These peptides destroy the cell walls of bacteria, fungi, and viruses, including influenza. This is why Dr. Cannell’s patients remained influenza free while the other patients and staff were stricken with the flu.

 

That’s a compelling reason to get your vitamin D levels checked as soon as possible to ensure that you have an optimum amount.  If your vitamin D levels are low, it is critical that you begin a supplementation regimen.  I check my vitamin D levels and my children’s levels annually, and we supplement  with 2000 IUs per day during the winter months.

 

With both chlorella and vitamin D you can’t go wrong in terms off building your immune system and fighting off viruses that attack the respiratory system.  They are two inexpensive remedies that effectively fight off the influenza viruses. However, please make sure that you take the right type for each supplement. When buying chlorella, look for a high quality broken cell wall chlorella to avoid toxins and to ensure that the nutrients will be properly matabolized. In addition, when buying vitamin D, look for a high quality cod liver oil, which has vitamin D3 because it is better metabolized in the body than vitamin D2. You can find chlorellacod liver oil or a vitamin D3 supplements at your local health food store.  I highly recommend Carlson’s Arctic D if you choose to take a cod liver oil or the Carlson’s vitamin D3 drops because the drops are very easy to administer to the whole family.

Healthy is as Healthy Does: Three Actions to a Healthier You in 2013

Health insurance is a very important commodity to have, especially during this era where chronic illnesses are almost as common in a 10 year old as they are in a middle aged person.  For those who take advantage of it, we now have (for the first time in American history) a comprehensive health care plan that will aid those in need of medical care.  But do you really want to rely solely on health insurance and live your life in such a way that you actually might need it due to a life threatening chronic illness?  Hmmm, while I”m happy to be insured, I’m also thrilled that there is another alternative that is more reliable and less  frightening than becoming seriously ill-it’s called PREVENTION!

President Benjamin Franklin said it best, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice to be able to get medical treatment if you should need it-but, your goal should be to prevent the need to seek treatment. So, for those of you who are still holding steadfast to your New Years resolution of getting healthy, I’ve listed three of the most important things you can do to ensure good health this year and every year:  The first action is good ol’ exercise.

(1)  Exercise-You’ve Got to Move It…Move It!

Yes people, unfortunately (for those of you who hate exercising) most healthy roads are paved with ….well….exercise.  And yeah-I know what you’re thinking (especially those of you who like to take short cuts) that there is somebody out there that has never worked out a day in her life and lived to be 100…..blah, blah, blah…  Perhaps during our grandparents time (when our food supply was more pure) that happened more frequently because the food during that time was more nutritious and less processed.  And in addition, they actually did exercise (not formally) because their jobs generally consisted of a lot of manual labor inside and/or outside of the home.  However, during our current times, the odds are that the Gods won’t smile down on us like that because we have changed into a more technologically advanced nation-right along with our “fast paced” food supply.  Therefore we have to keep on pushing on-Right?

Exercise for Internal Beauty

Basic exercise (walking daily) is probably the most important thing you can do to ensure good health. It restores your energy, decreases depression, gets those synapses jumping in your brain, reduces the risk of heart disease and cancer, prevents osteoporosis, and prevents insomnia-and that’s just some of the benefits.  

Exercise to Unleash the Goddess/Adonis in You

If you want the ultimate benefit, you know the one that puts your vanity on blast, then you can’t just “exercise.”  You’ll have to switch it up a bit to get the full vanity benefits of a body that turns heads, by doing these four types of exercises:

  •  Aerobic exercise- strengthens the heart,

  • Strength training or weight lifting- strengthens your bones and prevents osteoporosis,

  • Core exercises- strengthen your abs, back, and pelvis and most importantly of all,

  • Interval anaerobic training, which requires you to combine jogging or walking with short bursts of high intensity exercising such as sprinting- this not only strengthens your heart, but it also burns the most fat and truly conditions your total body.

But! Before you grab those jogging shoes, (just like a perfectly performing car) you must feed your “God given machine” (hint: your body) the proper nutrition. Exercise requires lots of energy so you can’t skimp on proper eating.  One of the things that stood out the most when Gabby Douglass, who won the Olympics gold medals, was her comments about her diet while she trained for the big occasion.  She was not able to eat any “junk food” until the Olympic games were over because proper nutrition actually turns your body into a high performing athletic machine.  

But perhaps more importantly, the importance of good nutrition was captured so brilliantly with the sage advice of Hippocrates who suggested that “We let food be our medicine and medicine be our food.”  Now this is where it get’s really interesting…. the only way to achieve that goal is to have an individualized nutrition plan. This brings us to the second action you’ll need to take to get to a healthier you.

(2)  Nutrition:  Follow the Doctors Orders-That Doctor being one of the best Physicians to ever live-Hippocrates

In the same way that some medicines cure or heal person A, but might possibly kill person B (yes people medicines can kill you. Don’t ignore those frightening side effect warnings), the wrong food can be just as harmful and lead to chronic illnesses.  This is why you need get very familiar with metabolic typing.  

Metabolic typing basically suggests that each of us are different and have different nutritional needs in order for our bodies and minds to perform optimally.  I could really delve more into metabolic typing, but the purpose of this article is to just highlight the three critical things that you can do this year to take control of your health. So here are three of my favorite metabolic typing gurus who can navigate you through the process-and they even have tests to help you determine what your metabolic type is:

Again, regardless of the doctor you prefer, you can’t go wrong because they all provide comprehensive information and tests to help you determine what your metabolic type is to get you on the right path to a healthy body.

So once you start eating right and exercising, you will without a doubt, start to feel and look amazing.  Your energy level will increase, your food cravings will decrease, and your brain will “reset” your eyes and ears in terms of how you’ll actually take in or receive information. Hey, wouldn’t it be great if we actually did have an automatic reset button so that when people start to become “awkward,” (that’s the new word for crazy) we could just push their reset button.  But I digress (smile)… You will eventually be able to say goodbye to the following things: 

  • Goodbye paranoia (it will destroy ya),

  • Goodbye teary outbursts and/or depression (your hormones will start to normalize),

  • Goodbye bad hair and skin days (you’ll radiate), and

  • Goodbye medications for any and everything-including high blood pressure and diabetes (these diseases are controlled by your mal-functioning endocrine system)

And finally as result of dropping all of your unhealthy baggage, you will naturally end up at action number three which is extremely important towards achieving overall health.

(3) De-Stress: Follow The Musician Bobby McFerrin’s Orders-Don’t Worry Be Happy!

Yes, eating healthy and exercising greatly reduce stress which is often referred to as a silent killer because it completely throws your hormones off kilter by flooding your body with cortisone.

Cortisone is a hormone that is released by the adrenal glands when the body is under stress. It puts your body in a fight or flight state when you feel that you are under attack.  That’s a good thing when you are actually being attacked and have to flee for your life.  Conversely, cortisone every day (when you are not under attack) can actually lead to your death because it can be very toxic when it circulates throughout your body for long periods of time.  Cortisone can cause your brain cells to die; as well as destroy your immune system because your heart rate and blood sugar levels are constantly increased. This is why you must get your stress under control.  In order to completely control your stress and reduce your cortisone levels, I’ve listed a few other things to help you manage:

  • Exercise, exercise, exercise (exercise naturally reduce stress),

  • Eat right for your nutritional type (proper nutrition naturally balances your hormones),

  • Meditate at least 15 minutes a day (meditating naturally reduces your heart rate, blood pressure, and makes you feel less angry),

  • Practice yoga (yoga taps into the mind-body energy and aids in reducing stress), and

  • Find a place to worship (Psychology Today suggest that organized religion helps you to cope with stressful situations and makes you more relaxed).

  • So that’s it-three simple actions to get you to a better you this year and every year: Exercise more, Eat right for your body type, and reduce that stress.