Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Beauty of Breastfeeding

I first want to state that I am in no way an expert on the topic, however, my wife is currently breastfeeding our first child, and to see the connection that he and my wife get from that action is truly amazing.  Anyway, with that said, I have recently been hearing quite a bit about formula and formula feeding, even people denouncing breastfeeding.  From a chiropractic and a health and wellness standpoint, breastfeeding should be your only option.

Like I said above, there is a scientific connection achieved between mother and child when breastfeeding occurs.  The skin to skin contact and suckling action somehow creates an unbreakable bond that lasts a lifetime.  There is plenty of research to back that up.  Also, breastmilk contains the EXACT correct amounts of nutrients, minerals, and immune boosting immunoglobulins that a growing baby needs.  Yes, breastmilk does make your baby healthy and help fight off all the bugs.  Furthermore, there are a plethora of scientific studies showing a positive link between breastfed babies and things such as IQ, healthy weight, attitude, etc.  Of course, there are exceptions to every rule, but in the majority of cases, it's true.  Not to mention breastfeeding is FREE.  Who can turn down something that's free?

Now, this in no way means that women who do not breastfeed their children are terrible people and should be chastised for their decision.  The problem that I have is the reasoning behind the decision for some women (some, not all).  I have heard and read of a number of women who make this decision based solely on reasoning for themselves (not wanting to aid the affects of gravity, not having time, etc.).  I would just like to have those women really look at their reasoning for not breastfeeding and decide if their decision truly was for the betterment of all people involved.  Also, when you look at the health aspect of formula, it's hard to trust that formula is truly aiding in your child's health.  Most formulas are made from some sort of alternate source (cow, soy, hemp, goat).  Also, most formulas contain particles that are made in a lab somewhere.  Whether it's the "vitamins" in the formula or the immune boosting properties.  I have a hard time putting chemicals from a lab into my own body, there's no way their going into my baby's body.

However, there are reasons to not breastfeed also.  Some women are chemically incapable of producing breastmilk or are physically unable to breastfeed (mastectomy, mastitis, clogged milk ducts, etc.).  And in a lot of these cases, these women tried to breastfeed and couldn't.  Like I said above, I don't like people bashing others who prefer to breastfeed, but I also don't like people mocking those who don't just for the sake of mocking.

Once more, I just want to state my opinion on the topic.  Strictly from a health and wellness standpoint, if you are able to breastfeed, you should.  The natural vitamins, minerals, nutrients, immune boosters, and connection that your baby gets from breastmilk from the incredibly smart, precise, working-toward-wellness machine that is the mother's body will undoubtedly aid in the beginning of their long, arduous journey through life

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Chiropractic and our Military

I figured that this week would be the perfect opportunity to talk a little about the essentiality of chiropractic for our nation's servicemen and servicewomen because we are offering a new benefit to all active members of the military.  If you are currently an active member of any branch of the military, you can receive chiropractic treatments for only $10.  It's just a way to say thank you for your service.  Anyway, now that the plug is out of the way, it really is essential that affordable chiropractic care is available to the military.

First of all, if you think about it, most, if not all, people serving in the military are far more active and weighed down by their eveyday gear than your "regular joe".  I've heard in mutiple cases where the packs can weigh at least 1/4 of the person's weight.  That means if you weigh 200 pounds, add another 50+ pounds to your body and carry that around for multiple hours per day.  Now when you have all of that extra weight on you, it really weighs down on your spine.  And, unless you are perfectly aligned before hand and have perfect posture, you are bound to get misalignments in you spine which lead to pain, irritation, and swelling in the short term but also may lead to arthritis, chronic pain, and disability in the long term.

The added physical stress isn't the only strain put on your body if you serve in the military.  Everyday, someone who served or is serving in the military deals with an increase in emotional or mental stress as well.  The toll of seeing things in combat or being overseas for your first child's birth would take cause undue stress on even the strongest willed person.  And, if you remember, there's a whole field studying the relationship to mental thoughts and how your body feels (psychoneuroimmunology).  The more mental/emotional stress you have, the more pain, stiffness, aching, headaches, etc. you will feel and notice.

Just a few simple reasons why there are hundreds of advocates trying to get chiropractic care covered by programs like TriCare and trying to get chiropractors into VA hospitals.  These are some of the people who could benefit the most from and deserve regular chiropractic care.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Getting Finicky Eaters Fascinated with Food

Since we still have Kids Month going on at Cascade Chiropractic & Massage, I'd like to stay with the kid theme.  And, we all know how picky kids can be when it comes to food.  In fact, an unnamed sibling still prefers a good ol' chicken nugget to to a plate of grilled halibut and steamed broccoli (yum!).  Anyway, I thought that I would pass along some tips that I have picked up along the way to aid in the process of expanding and adding healthy options to your child's diet.

1)  When it comes to kids only liking the "white bread" options (chicken nuggets, hotdogs, mac 'n cheese, etc.) it really comes down to what you (the parent) are giving them.  Yeah, these options are easy, but they are also typically devoid of nutritional value.  More ethnic foods will usually have more flavor, nutrients, and use better, more natural ingredients.  By introducing your child to ethnic varieties at an early age, such as Indian, Ethiopian, or Japanese food, you are opening their palates to a greater variety of tastier, healthier, less-processed cuisine.

2)  The same goes for fruits and veggies.  The more you give to them when they are young, typically the more they will enjoy and actually want them later on.  I know quite a few kids who prefer carrot and celery sticks over a candy bar every time.  Also, it's important to have that variety of fruits and veggies so that they don't get stuck in a rut of only "liking" one type.  However, this also means that you need to consciously and wholeheartedly limit the junk that goes into their bodies.  There's a reason that candies and sugary things are the smallest portion of the food pyramid.  They are to be viewed as luxuries and once-in-a-while treats.

3)  One of the best ways to get your child excited about what they are going to eat, even if it's healthy, is to get them involved.  Almost every child wants to be able to do what mom and dad are doing, why not let them help plan or even make meals with you?  There's a pretty cool resource out there that let kids engage in a nice, healthy competition aiming to plan and create the healthiest meal possible.  http://www.zisboombah.com/ is a website that allows kids to login and creat their own virtual meals (with parental oversight of course).  These virtual meals can then be e-mailed to their parents and they kids, along with their parents, can share in the opportunity of making a healthy, fun meal.

(By the way, if you haven't tried or even heard of Ethiopian food, I would highly recommend it.  Your kids will like the experience because you eat with your hands!)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Back to School Bugs

With all of the excitement of buying new clothes, supplies, and books for the new school year, the health of your child tends to fall by the wayside.  So, I'm just going to give a couple of reminders of what you can do for your child and what they can do on their own to help fend off the bombardment of germs from their grimey classmates.

1 - Of course we all know the importance of washing hands after using the restroom or before lunch, but how about trying to avoid getting those little grabbers dirty in the first place.  You should remind your childrem to sneeze and cough into their arm, not into their hands.  It's one of the easiest ways to keep them clean.

2 - Boost their immune system the natural way.  In order to make sure that your child gets ample immune boosters, make sure that they are not only getting enough fruits and veggies, but make sure that they are getting a good variety of them as well.  Different fruits and veggies have different amounts and kinds of vitamins and minerals that are essential to add oomph to your natural germ and virus fighters.

3 - You DON'T always need to get the latest, greatest flu shots.  First of all, getting a dead or partially dead virus injected directly into your bloodstream in NOT the best way to build immunity.  Secondly, the drug companies make an educated guess about what strains are going to be the big strains to innocuate against.  Finally, the flu is a relatively mild sickness.  It's best to fight it naturally to build up your immune system for later on in life. (I'll expound more on this topic at a later time)

Of course, like always, there are a ton of different ways to boost your child's immunity for the beginning of school.  These are just a few suggestions.