I see you there, unleashing that mission-impossible maneuver between the swingset and the monkey bars. Lean a little to the left an you’ve got a clear shot of your cutie being an absolute, well, cutie. Now CLICK and check your screen. Watcha got?
Something like this, I’ll bet.
Fortunately, my trusty Canon Rebel knows a thing or two about image stabilization and taking a photo exactly when I want – not .00001 seconds later when the cuteness is G-O-N-E!!!
Good! This month I’m GIVING AWAY the awesomer version of the camera I use – the Canon Rebel t3. It speaks Spanish, too. Okay not really, but it does shoot HD video if that’s any consolation.
It’s simple! I have back-to-back giveaways planned for at least the next six months, but to be eligible you must be subscribed to my monthly newsletter. (Note: If you are not subscribed to my monthly newsletter when the winner is chosen, you will not be eligible to win.)
Here’s what you need to do:
This camera will be shipped to U.S. residents only. Winners who are residents outside of the U.S. will receive an Amazon gift card for the lowest price on the listing selected. [For example, the Canon that is linked to is listed at $479-$549 by all resellers but one, who lists it at $429. If the $429 price is available at the time the prize is drawn that will be the amount of the Amazon card, whereas if it's $479 that will be the price.]Read More »
Um, one of my FAVORITE things, and today I get to announce the winner of the Royal Berkey Filter.
The winner is…
Please contact me within 10 days via email (support at mommypotamus dot com) so I can send you your prize.
Didn’t win? Don’t worry, I’ll have another giveaway up on Monday!
Did you catch my series on growing gourmet mushrooms in your kitchen a few weeks ago?
Last week I posted an exclusive giveaway just for newsletter subscribers – a gourmet mushroom starter that uses recycled coffee grounds. The prize is being shipped out today, but there will be another one soon. If you haven’t signed up you’re missing out!Read More »
It’s time to announce the winner of the Organic 3 giveaway! Thanks everyone for entering!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Leanne – (chirolcs310@…) – please email me at support at mommypotamus.com with your name and mailing address.
Organic 3’s completely additive-free probiotic (no corn, dairy, soy, gluten, maltodextrin, cellulose, inulin, magnesium stearate, or other flow agents/fillers) and digestive enzymes can be purchased here. Remember when you’re looking at the additive-free powder that it’s super-concentrated. One bottle equals six bottles of capsules.Read More »
And the most hilarious goat birth ever. Welcome to this edition of “Things I Love” – a post in which I shamelessly foist photos of my adorable kids on you and share links to posts I wish I’d written. Let’s jump right in, shall we?
Dressed to the nines, full belly caressed by the silky feel of an empire dress, reveling in the crisp delight that is lambs lettuce. An eight course dinner in Monet’s favorite garden is not where you imagined you’d be at 35 weeks pregnant, but you’re not complaining. Except there is this one thing:
So. much. staring. You try to catch your reflection in the polished marble . . . could the light be playing a dirty trick with the fabric of your dress? Tricks that make it see-through, or turn it the exact shade of chartreuse your mother told you never to wear?
Put down the plate and walk away, honey. They’re staring at your salad.
You see, in France eating raw vegetables while pregnant is a big no-no, while an occasional glass of red bordeaux is considered beneficial. Head across the pond to the good ole U.S. though, and you’ll see a ton of this:
And none of this!
So who’s right? In her new book, Beautiful Babies, Kristen Michaelis of Food Renegade separates fact from fiction. Before we get to that, though, I have to tell you about something that is too good to pass up.
If you preorder Kristen’s book, you get her $199 online fertility, pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding and baby food course for FREE. All you have to do is email her your Amazon receipt for immediate access. You can check out the class here.
I took the class last year – it was ahMAZing. Totally worth the $199, but for the price of a paperback book it’s a steal (plus you get the book!!). If you want to give a gift that’s hundreds of times more valuable than a package of diapers at the next baby shower, now’s your chance. If you’re thinking about having a baby or you are a mom of grown children who wants the best for your future grandbabies, this book is an invaluable resource.
Who should not get this book? Two groups: Those who do not have a uterus and those who do not know anyone who has a uterus. Everybody else should have a copy.
Okay, back to the post . . .
The average pregnant woman is inundated with rules. Don’t eat soft cheese. If you eat lunchmeat, reheat it to kill the listeria. Don’t change your cat’s litter. You absolutely must not drink any alcohol at all. Don’t eat fish; you risk exposure to toxic levels of mercury. Avoid raw milk and raw cheeses. Don’t drink more than a cup of coffee per day. Don’t lie on your back. Don’t eat more than 30% of your calories as fat. And, the list goes on.
Beautiful Babies, p. 115
Indeed it does. Let’s see what Kristen has to say about a few of these taboo foods, shall we?
Did you know that pregnant women regularly eat sushi in Japan? According to Kristen, “If they had a sweeping epidemic of listeria because of this habit, surely eating sushi would be taboo there, too?”
Indeed. While Kristen does not at all try to downplay the seriousness of Listeria poisoning, she points out that aside from raw meats and cheeses, deli meats, hot dogs, and even raw vegetables and fruits can be sources of listeria. From there she makes several other good points:
From there she describes the criteria she used for sushi consumption during her pregnancy.
I decided to set my limits. Since I didn’t really know what went into the safe handling of raw, sushi-grade fish, I decided not to eat sushi I prepared at home. I’d only eat fresh sushi from a source I trusted, a source with an impeccable kitchen that would answer my questions.
After taking such reasonable precautions, I indulged.
It felt amazing. My body was craving it, and I gave it what it wanted with a clean conscience.
Beautiful Babies, p. 120-121
Kristen goes on to talk about how vital knowing your source is. Regarding another taboo food, raw egg yolks, here’s what she had to say:
When asked about the relative safety of pastured-poultry operations in the wake of a nationwide egg recall for salmonella, Joel Salatin said,
“So far, not one case of foodborne pathogens has been reported among the thousands of pastured poultry producers, many of whom have voluntarily had their birds analyzed. Routinely, these home- dressed birds, which have not been treated with chlorine to disinfect them, show numbers far below industry comparisons. At Polyface, we even tested our manure and found that it contained no salmonella.
Pastured poultry farms exhibit trademark lush pastures and healthy chickens with deep-colored egg yolks and fat. As with any movement, some practitioners are excellent and others are charlatans. Knowing your product by putting as much attention on food sourc- ing as you do on planning your next vacation is the way to insure accountability.”9
Once you know your farmer, weigh the risks. I ate raw egg yolks from pastured hens routinely during all three of my pregnancies with no fear of salmonella. Even among conventional battery hen eggs, the risk of contract ing salmonella is one in 10,000. From pastured hens? The risk is almost non- existent.
Unfortunately for you brie lovers, Kristen gave soft raw cheeses the axe, saying “Soft cheeses run one of the largest listeria risks even among the cleanest of cheese making facilities. The risk greatly diminishes as the cheese ages, so I heartily pampered myself with aged raw hard cheeses like Gruyere or cheddar from grass fed cows instead.” (p. 121-122)
Until recently, there has never been a study measuring the effects of light or even moderate drinking during pregnancy. The studies only addressed heavy drinking—defined as “five drinks or more per day”—or no drinking at all.
. . . Then, in 2010, a large study on light drinking during pregnancy was published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. It studied 11,513 children whose mothers reported on their drinking habits while pregnant. The study followed the mothers through their pregnancy, birth, and the first five years of the child’s life. For the purpose of the study, “light drinking” was defined as two units of alcohol no more than once or twice per week, when a standard unit is 7.9 grams—approximately one small glass of wine. The British research found no negative effects—at all—of such light drinking on five year olds. In fact, the children were slightly less likely to have behavioral problems and performed somewhat better on cognitive tests than children whose mothers had abstained. ¹
In 2012, a series of five Danish studies were published in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. They also monitored alcohol consumption in pregnant mothers and studied the children of those mothers again at age five. These studies defined low consumption as one to four drinks per week and moderate consumption as five to eight drinks per week. Heavy consumption was nine or more per week, and binge drinking was defined as having more than five drinks in a single sitting on any single occasion. A drink is defined as 12 grams of alcohol.
Not only did this series of studies find no negative cognitive, emotional, or neurological effects in the children of light to moderate drinkers, but it also found no harm to children from binge drinking!² Heavy drinking, of course, resulted in the typical and well known alcohol side effects—behavioral problems, lower attention spans, learning disabilities, etc.’
Beautiful Babies, p. 122-123
Y’all, I am so thrilled about this. Though the studies do carry some weight with me, what really puts me at ease is that the taboo against wine is not universal. This little quote from the book really resonated with me:
The ancients knew of both the benefits of light consumption, as well as the risks of excess. Some of the oldest Ayurvedic texts we have called it a ‘medicine’ if drunk in moderation and a ‘poison’ if abused.
This is true with just about everything we consume – even water in excess is risky to a pregnant woman! I always crave red wine when I’m pregnant and I have never indulged. Obviously, I won’t go overboard, but I think I’ll take my hints from the French and Japanese and not restrict myself entirely.
Kristen explores raw eggs, iron supplements, saturated fat and other hot topics in her myth-busting chapter. I highly recommend you check it out along with the other chapters on increasing your odds for conception, preventing morning sickness, having a gloriously healthy pregnancy, and starting your baby of right with nutrient-dense foods.Article sources: ¹ Kelly, Yvonne. “Light Drinking during Pregnancy: Still No Increased Risk for Socioemotional Difficulties or Cognitive Deficits at 5 years of Age.” Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health 66.1 (2012): 41-48. Print. ² “Danish Studies Suggest Low and Moderate Drinking in Early Pregnancy Has No Adverse Effects on Children Aged Five.” British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. BJOG, 20 June 2012. Web. 26 June 2012..
But sauerkraut cupcakes? Not so much. While creativity in the kitchen is nice, I still prefer healthy twists on tried-and-true favorites: a warm, bubbly peach crisp made without refined sugar, slow-churned coconut lime ice cream, decadent brownies and healthy homemade creamsicles in the spring.
If you feel the same way but are on a grain-free/dairy-free diet, Jenny of Nourished Kitchen has put together a collection of 90+ grain-free recipes that even sourdough families like mine are sure to adore.
Recipes like this these chocolate coconut donuts, which I-kid-you-not taste exactly like slightly less sweet Little Debbie snack cakes without the cream filling. I LOVE cream anything so I melted a little coconut butter in a double boiler with some water and poured it over the top as a glaze . . . yummo! Real whipped cream would have sent these over the top. I would dunk them like some people dunk coffee.
(Hey, no one’s looking, so now is the perfect time to wipe the corner of your mouth. It’s okay, I drooled the first time, too)
Let me tell you a little about this book. The Nourished Kitchen Guide To Grain-Free Baking, Sweets & Treats is everything I wish I’d known when my family went grain-free a few years ago. If you want to learn . . .
And how to make great-tasting grain and dairy-free treats for birthdays, parties or snacks on the go, definitely check out these recipes. Okay? Okay. Now about that recipe . . .
Makes about 6 donuts.
Here are a few of my favorites:
And though it could technically be considered edible, this mint chocolate whipped body butter works better as a light bronzer. Did I say a few recipes? I meant ten.Read More »
Well schooch on up, I’ve got them right here! Sometimes, what gets left out of a product is just as exciting as what goes in. For those of you avoiding dairy, corn, soy, maltodextrin and other ingredients, this custom blend probiotic has an “Other Ingredient” list I think you’ll be very interested in. Are you ready to see what’s on it?
Zip. Zilch. Nada.
We are talking zero corn, dairy, soy, gluten, maltodextrin, cellulose, inulin, magnesium stearate, or other flow agents/fillers. What it does have, however, is a custom probiotic formulated after gathering extensive research from communities with a vested interest in improving gut health, such as those working with:
For those of you who might be wondering about the D-lactate/neurotoxicity issue I wrote about earlier this week, here’s something worth mentioning: My research on the subject was sparked by a conversation with Organic 3, Inc. President Dan Corrigan, who helped to formulate GUTPro. We met at the Wise Traditions Conference last year and have chatted a few times since then. Based on our converations and my own research, I believe GUTPro strikes a good balance between L-lactate and D-lactate.
Organic 3 has generously agreed to donate a bottle of their probiotc powder – which is so concentrated it’s the equivalent of 10 bottles of their probiotic capsules – along with a special measuring spoon to help you get the dosage just right.
They’re also adding in a bottle of GUTZyme, which is made without wheat, rice or corn-derived maltodextrin, yay!
There are 3 easy steps to enter:
2. Click the link in the Rafflecopter widget below for the mandatory entry.
3. Sign up for extra entries using Rafflecopter.
Tipping at a restaurant in Iceland is considered an insult, camels have three eyelids, and what we thought we knew about L-acidophilus just might be all wrong.
Okay, not ALL wrong, but what if certain probiotic strains sometimes make autism worse, exacerbate chronic fatigue syndrome and other autoimmune disorders, and create brain fog, confusion and depression? I’m not talking about “die-off” or a healing crisis, where an individual gets worse before they get better. In this post, I’m going to share research that has caused me to conclude that sometimes the probiotics themselves may the problem. Let’s jump in with a little Probiotic 101, shall we?
The two most common types of probiotics come from lactic-acid producing bacteria (LAB’s) and bifidobacteria. Of the LAB’s there are two categories:
L-Lactate, which is usually predominant in the body, is easily metabolized. For most people D-Lactate is not a problem, either, but in large amounts it may be difficult for those with impaired digestion to break down. This is especially true for those who have difficulty digesting carbohydrates.
Certain probiotics – especially L. acidophilus – are sometimes taken in huge quantities because they’re considered “safe in any amount.” However, L. acidophilus mainly produces D-lactic acid, and for those who cannot easily break this could create unintended consequences.
D-lactic acidosis (or a sub-clinical form of the same) occurs when the body is unable to rid itself of D-lactic acid. Diet – especially a diet rich in carbs if an individual cannot digest them well – is considered by some to be the main factor behind acidosis. As we’ll discuss later on, though, there are studies which indicate probiotic use can also induce this condition.
Here’s what happens at a cellular level: D-lactate buildup causes cellular metabolism of glucose to switch from an aerobic (oxygen-rich) process to an anaerobic (oxygen-deprived) process. In this oxygen-starved environment cells are unable to produce adequate amounts of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is needed for the “synthesis, degradation and ‘firing’ of neurotransmitter molecules.” (source)
Low ATP can affect cognitive function, create feelings of fatigue and impair coordination among other things. More generally, symptoms of D-Lactic acidosis include fatigue, confusion, impaired central nervous system function, impaired coordination, depression, nausea, vomiting, anxiety, anemia, headaches and in extreme cases encephalopathy. (source 1, source 2)
Hmmm . . . fatigue and brain fog? Does this sound familiar to you?
If you’ve come across the GAPS or SCD protocol before, you already know that re-balancing damaged gut flora can involve some pretty unpleasant experiences. Tops on that list is the Herxheimer reaction (aka “die off”), which is a term that “was coined to describe what Karl Herxheimer saw when he administrated drugs to patients. The reaction is thought to happen when toxins from dying pathogens (viruses, bacteria, parasites, candida, etc.) overwhelm the body’s abilities to clear them out.” (source)
Basically, the idea is that it’s normal for some people to temporarily feel bad when introducing probiotics – the body working hard to clear a lot of junk out all at once! But what if that’s not what’s happening? Acidosis and die-off can have very similar symptoms so they could be easily confused. “Die-off” typically lasts 3-7 days according to some experts, so if it’s lasting longer than that it might be worth considering acidosis or another factor.
Unless they’re taking megadoses, it appears that most people with good digestion will be able to clear excess D-lactate. Unfortunately, the individuals most likely to experience side effects from D-lactate are those who are taking probiotics therapeutically for conditions such as:
Since the side effects can be the same as the original symptoms it’s hard to figure out what’s going on without a lab test, but we do know in general that abnormally high levels of D-lactic acid have been observed in some individuals with chronic fatigue and autism. (source) According to this study:
Coleman and Blass in  were the first to link to bioenergy metabolism disturbances with ASD [autism spectrum disorder]. They reported lactic acidosis in four children with autism. Later, Laszlo et al.  reported increased serotonin, lactic acid and pyruvate levels in children with autism. Lombard  then proposed that mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation defects could cause abnormal brain metabolism in children with autism, leading to lactic acidosis and decreased serum carnitine levels.
Ironically, both probiotics AND antibiotics are implicated in D-lactate acidosis. This study found that invasive infection from probiotic strains is rare but possible, though some actual infection rates may be under-reported due to misdiagnosis as “die-off.” In this study set, a little girl who had been given acidophilus from 4 months to 18 months began exhibiting “nervous shuddering, ticks, and OCD tendencies with greatly increased amounts of flatulence.” Lab tests indicated an overgrowth of L. acidophilus as the possible culprit.
On the flipside, some D-lactic acid producing bacteria appear to be antibiotic resistant, which means they could survive a course of antibiotics which killed everything else. With the competition eliminated, D-lactate producing bacteria could gain a stronger hold.
This is simple math, really:
Studies indicating probiotic induced acidosis + studies confirming neurotoxicity from D-Lactic acidosis = popular probiotic strains may induce neurotoxicity.
Now just to tie up a few loose ends!
I imagine some of you are wondering whether it’s worth it to continue taking probiotics. I’m not an expert, but I personally think they’re beneficial in many circumstances. The benefits of lactic acid producing bacteria (LAB’s) have been thoroughly documented, and research indicates that trying to eliminate them completely can negatively affect our inner-ecology in different ways. Should we rethink megadoses of L. acidophilus and monitor individuals with compromised digestion for signs of acidosis? I think so, especially in cases where people are working hard to heal and not seeing the results they expect.
For me, the important thing to understand is that certain species of lactobacillus may be more compatible with our biology than others. Just about everyone easily clears L-lactate, so I buy probiotics that focus on strains which primarily produce this acid instead of D-lactate.
If you don’t mind, I’ll respond to this question with a question: Have you ever heard of the Belly Button Biodiversity Project? Oh yes, it’s a real endeavor pioneered by scientists at North Carolina State University. Apparently, they’ve found 1,400 different distinct bacterial strains that live in the belly buttons of random volunteers – half of which have never been identified before!
In a similar way, the diversity of beneficial bacteria that can be found in fermented foods is stunning. Some D-lactate may be present, but I wouldn’t miss out on all the other amazing strains they have to offer by worrying about it.
That was A LOT of info! Please imagine me standing in my bathrobe, loudly applauding you for making it to the end of this post! Any questions?
Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and cannot diagnose, treat, or cure any disease. Please see my full disclaimer here.Read More »