Heartbroken for our mamas and babies

Yesterday, my heart broke as I found out just how blessed I really am. I may have known, and even acknowledged, the blessings God has poured down on me in the past eighteen months, but it never struck me how large they were, or how different my life would be without them.

 

But then, in the middle of our morning shift yesterday, a young new mom walked in with her teeny tiny newborn girl, five pounds all wrapped up in pink, and asked us to adjust her. We were excited to see her, and to get the baby started off right, so we began the process.

 

As we spoke to this young mother, I heard all sorts of other peoples’ opinions  about her baby – and none of her own. There was no confidence or pride in her ability to be a mother, to provide for her daughter. And I thought, “Wow, this could have been me.”

 

It could have been me who allowed the doctor to induce labor four weeks early for whatever reason. It could have been me who thought a “natural” birth only meant I didn’t get the epidural. It could have been me who thought my newborn should be on a schedule. It could have been me who gave my baby formula because “I couldn’t produce enough.” It could have been me standing there, with my crying baby, not knowing what to do because it wasn’t “time” for her to eat, while I questioned a doctor about why she wasn’t pooping every day, or why she wouldn’t stop crying.

 

That’s the difference the “Designed by God” series is making, one family at a time. I read Baby Designed by God, and was blessed enough to have access to the authors when I had questions. So it was me that refused to let the doctor scare me into early induction “because my baby measured big.” It was me who got adjusted throughout my pregnancy, exercised, ate well, and rocked right through a thirteen hour labor – no drugs, no interventions and only fifteen minutes of pushing. It was me who held that 7 pound baby boy on my chest and delayed cord clamping and “newborn procedures.” It was me who told the hospital staff not to give my baby formula, we were exclusively breastfeeding – and went home early so we could learn how in peace. It was me who told them I wouldn’t supplement because my baby was eating enough – he just gains weight slow like I did, like his daddy did. It was me that went through weeks of arguing with pediatricians about formula and vaccines and reflux medications and kept feeding my baby on demand, even when it was every forty five minutes and I felt like I was only a milk machine. It was me who weaned him off the nipple shield, and celebrated the first time he slept all night.

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Remember:

 

  1. Babies come when they are ready – early or late.
  2. God won’t give you a baby you can’t birth.
  3. Chiropractic and exercise prepare your body for the marathon of labor, reducing the need for interventions. Its safe for mom and for baby (my little one got his first adjustment at just three days old.)14517368_1246786255380006_6358203927914943409_n
  4. Drugs and medical intervention interfere with your body and your baby connecting, causing issues with postpartum recovery, depression, breastfeeding, et cetera.
  5. Breastfeeding raises immunity, greatly reduces risk of allergies and asthma, helps mom recover, and is 100% possible for every mom and every baby.
  6. You make the decisions – your body, your baby, your call.
  7. You can get more information by reading Baby Designed by God (available on amazon, this website and in some bookstores).
  8. You can reach out for information and support on our facebook page “Natural Living Designed by God.”

Ladies, gentlemen, moms, dads, grandparents, doctors – trust our amazing bodies, our mamas, our babies. Remember that you were created in His image – and that is not an image of lack, of sickness, of deprivation.

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His image is one of health, wealth and happiness. “For I know the plans I have for you, plans for a hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

3 Ways your Fur Babies can Live Naturally

If you’re visiting this blog, chances are you want to live a healthy, natural life. And for most of us, part of living natural is making sure our families live natural as well. For many of us, this means our fur babies need to get on the bandwagon.

As mom to a dog, a cat and a bearded dragon, I’ve learned a ton about natural living for animals, but I still have so many questions! Keep in mind that every animal and every situation is different as you check out these tips!

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Our beardie, Emerson. Shes 2 years old, and her favorite food is blueberries!

 

1. Feeding your Pets Naturally: Feeding our bearded dragon naturally is pretty easy – she eats live crickets and fresh, organic fruit and veggies. When I eat blueberries or peaches, so does she. Our cat and dog are a little more difficult. You really only have two options – make your own food or pay the big bucks for a natural food at the pet store. A quick Pinterest search will give you plenty of recipes, and if you would rather pick some up at the pet store, you can research brands to find one to fit your life – and your wallet!

2. Fleas and Ticks: Fleas are the bane of every pet owners existence, they make us and our babies miserable. Most of us have, at one time or another, opened up that tube of yucky, chemical smelling flea treatment and thought, “there has to be a better way!” Good news: there is a natural – and affordable way to prevent fleas! Apple cider vinegar, applied topically after a bath or ingested (heavily diluted with water) will kill and prevent fleas. Since you probably already have apple cider vinegar in your pantry, try it this week and let us know how well it works on our facebook page!

Our dog Bambi and our cat, Briar. They both just turned a year. Briar is a sucker for tuna, and Bambi loves turkey!

Our dog Bambi and our cat, Briar. They both just turned a year. Briar is a sucker for tuna, and Bambi loves turkey!

 

3. Vaccines: Keep in mind as you read this, every state has different laws about vaccines for pets. Most states require a rabies shot for dogs and cats, so be sure to check your local ordinances. If you are required to get the rabies vaccine, take heart – you can request a mercury free vaccine

For dogs, the other major vaccine is Parvo, and research is being done about natural ways to expose puppies to parvo in a way that naturally builds their immunity – even more than the vaccine. Along that line, studies show that indoor cats should not receive the distemper vaccine – as they are not at risk of exposure to the disease.

You can see the study here: http://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/prevent-parvo-and-distemper-without-vaccination/

 

These tips are a great baseline for starting your pets on the natural path, and when you need more information, Pinterest is your friend!

We look forward to your questions, comments and discussion on facebook!

 

Worshiping with your Health in 2016

Welcome to Designed by God 2016!! We are excited to share some changes with you, changes we hope will make this blog a resource for you and your family, as well as a tool to teach the community about health, healing and natural living. To that end, be sure to subscribe to the blog on the Designed by God website. Also be sure to plug in on Instagram @designedbygodbook and on Pinterest @DesignedbyGod. Let’s share ideas and thoughts about natural living, what you’d like to see on the blog, and hear tips from Drs. Hess about how to put the principles of the DBG series into practice! 

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Now that housekeeping is done, let’s talk about the meat of this post: Fasting.

Fasting is mentioned over 70 times in the Bible, and we all know its an important part of worshiping, and of developing our relationship with God. But did you know that fasting can boost your immune system, kick start your weight loss and help prevent cancer!

 

A newly published UK study explains that fasting for 3 days causes your body to use stored sugar and fat to fuel itself, causing weight loss. 3 days of fasting also causes the body to conserve energy, which it does by recycling old or damaged white blood cells – which fight disease. You can read the article in full here.

Those results obviously come from fasting food, but what about the benefits of fasting from specific things, like sugar or caffeine? There’s a weight loss factor, but its also great for your hormones, your brain, and your teeth. Check out information about sugar fasting here – and maybe we’ll hear from Dr. Jeremy Hess about his own sugar fast later this week on Instagram!

I myself fasted from Starbucks – not coffee in general, Starbucks. Coffee, food, mints, the whole nine. For about the first week I was cold, grouchy, and sleepy. It was freezing outside, I had just started my freshman year of college and I was thinking, “I messed up big time.” But I prayed my way through, and my accountability partners encouraged me. By February 1 I could walk past the Starbucks without being upset, or craving coffee, and my energy levels were up so high I started working out in the morning instead of drinking homemade coffee. The fast improved my body and my mind – and my wallet.

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What if you fast by removing tv or games or (gasp) Facebook? You end up with more time, a better connection with your spouse and your family, your coworkers, everybody, and an uplifted spirit – we all know there’s a ton of negativity on social media, and taking a break for a day, or a week, or whatever works for you, will give you better input and thus better output. Check out this great testimony on Facebook fasting, and if you aren’t doing it then we’ll see you on our Instagram for Dr. Amanda’s tip on fasting, my January fast, and maybe some testimony from others like you!

Like, Share, Pin and interact, let’s make 2016 a healthy, happy, NATURAL year!

 

Top Five Tips for Growing Your Own Organic Produce

In part one of Going and Growing, we talked about some of the reasons it’s important to eat organic foods. We also touched on how difficult it is to go organic on a tight budget. My best tip (the one my aunt and I use) is to grow your own food. As an FFA alumni and hobby horticulturist, I’ve studied tons of information about food gardens, so I’m going to give you my top 5 and I’ll be watching the comments for any tips, comments or questions from you!

Number 1: Choosing your location – What you grow (and how much) is dependent on how much space you can allot to the garden. You need a spot that’s fairly easy to access (for watering and harvesting), gets plenty of sun and a little shade, and isn’t going to be trampled by your kids, pets or visitors. If you only have a small space, remember you can maximize it with a raised bed! There are several varieties, so check it out on Pinterest or Google and have fun designing a bed to meet your families needs!

*My Aunt’s raised Herb Garden. She built it from cinder blocks and lit it up with twinkle lights so it adds to the look of the yard, and it only uses a little space.*

 

Number 2: Soil – This one is super important. Most veggies and fruits like a nice thick, dark soil. (In Georgia, its practically non existent!) You’ll need to test the soil in your garden at key times like the beginning of the season and when your plants start to bear fruit, and its great to check it every couple weeks to maximize the yield of your plants. Soil testing is easy, just pick up a soil test kit at your local nursery or order one online. Test the soil for each component (Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium) BEFORE adding fertilizer.

Number 3:  Fertilizer and Pest Control – Here’s where the fun starts. To grow organic food, you have to start with organic soil, right? The good news is our friends at Miracle Grow and Home Depot have our backs. You can get organic soil by the bag (and its not too much more than regular soil). Easy.

Pest control… can’t use your garden variety pesticide (pun totally intended)! Local nurseries and Home Depots have organic bug sprays, and if you a cat there’s no issue with varmints… I mean squirrels eating the crops. Add a few earth worms, and keep clean soap on hand just in case.  If you think about cheating and hosing the perimeter in pesticide, remember that when water hits, the chemicals get leeched into the soil and absorbed by the hungry roots of your crops!

Number 4: Crops – Are you growing fruits, veggies, or both? Remember that variety is your friend in the garden, since each plant processes nutrients differently. Vegetables will take and put back different nutrients than veggies, so growing both helps keep your soil balanced. My aunt currently has a large veggie bed, surrounded by blueberries, blackberries and strawberries. (Her organic herb garden is a raised bed built from cinder blocks! DIY for the win!)

Number 5: Water, H2O! – Watering your plants may seem self explanatory, but just like pesticides put harmful chemicals in your soil, tap water from the hose adds chemicals and toxins to the garden. I’ve got two ideas for you that I’ve had excellent results with: rain barrels and water filters. I’m sure you know about water filters for the sink, and they work the same way on your hose, so follow that link and check out the options! Rain barrels sounds like a ton of work, but you can get wood or metal barrels to collect your rain almost anywhere, and then you can fill the watering can from the barrels!

Alright, so you’ve got all the information you need to start your garden, and like I said last time, it’s not too late! Late summer and fall crops will still give a great yield if you plant soon, so happy gardening!

Check us out on Facebook and I’ll see you next time for tips on harvesting, cooking and saving the yummy produce coming from your organic gardens!

 

Going & Growing Organic: Why?

Organic food is better for you, it tastes better, it costs less… oh, wait. It costs more. A recent Scientific American article stated that because organic foods cost more to produce, they also cost more in the store. An extra 50 cents for bananas makes a big difference for those living on a tight budget. So let’s start of the going and growing organic series with some reasons why going organic is important (and worth that extra 50 cents).

Organic food may not be more nutritious than regular food, but it is cleaner. Organic food is grown without any of the hundreds of chemicals used in today’s agriculture, which means when you eat the organic foods, you aren’t exposed to chemicals that can cause health issues like liver and kidney diseases, and even cancer.

Speaking of cleaner, have you heard about clean eating? Closely related to going organic, clean eating also means cutting out processed foods, and eating as close to out of the ground as you can. For example, plucking a perfectly shaped, ripe, juicy tomato off your home grown vine and eating it. Just like that.

We know eating clean, organic, natural foods is better for us than eating processed foods. You feel better, you look better and you maintain your health. But it is very expensive, and for those of us working with tight budgets that’s a deal breaker. Today, I’ll start you off with my best ideas for balancing the budget and going organic.

Idea 1: Some organic is better than none. Check out chart of foods you should only eat organic, are you surprised by any?

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Idea 2: Grow your own! We will talk in depth about this on the next post, but growing your own organic food is easy, fun and budget friendly! If you think you don’t have enough space, check out renting a garden or having a raised bed or two. There are a million ways to make a garden fit your life!

 

Think on those ideas, share your own and your thoughts on our Facebook page! Follow the blue links for more information and we will see you soon with an in depth look at growing your own organics, just in time to start fall crops!

What’s the Difference?

What’s the difference?

demotefinal“I can’t be addicted to it, my doctor prescribed it.” Those are some of the last words I would hear my grandfather, a Vietnam veteran and retired Sheriff’s deputy, say to my father. He died less than a year later of a prescription drug overdose. Sadly, most Americans have the same misconception that granddaddy did: If the doctor prescribes it, it is not addictive. More and more people are dying of a prescription overdose every year, because nobody is telling them that their medicine could be hurting them. Americans are drugged out, not only on illegal drugs, but on prescribed ones.

So I ask you, what is the difference? What makes it wrong to be addicted to cocaine, but acceptable to rely on Lunesta to sleep at night or ritalin to stay awake during the day? Why does society accept addiction in one form and not in another, instead of trying to fight the whole monster? The answer is simple: lack of education. Doctors need to be aware of what they prescribe and to whom, and patients need to be aware of possible side effects and signs of addiction.

Physicians pass out prescriptions like the leader of a parade passes out candy, left and right to anyone who asks and many who do not. A patient comes in with no history of heartburn or digestive issues, but when they ask for the pretty purple pill it is given to them by the nice man in a white coat. Why? Physicians get paid for every prescription they write, and when they put large numbers of people on certain medications, they often receive bonuses or incentives, such as new cars or trips to exotic islands. Many physicians only know the major symptom the medication is meant to treat, not the side effects or possible issues of that medication. They also do not watch for signs of an addictive personality in patients.

One scientist says that “increased physician awareness of  trends in drug addiction can significantly reduce prescription abuse” (Riggs 1). A common argument in the prescription awareness debate is that it the responsibility of the pharmacist, not the doctor, to know the potential side effects and signs of abuse in patients (Gianutsos 1). The pharmacist studies the medicine specifically, but they also do not have access to patient history the way a doctor does. All the pharmacist can do is make sure the medicines patients are taking do not have adverse reactions to each other. It is the responsibility of the doctor, who has access to history, sees behaviors and tells the patient to take the medicine, to be sure that the patient needs that medicine, will not have harmful reactions to that medicine and understands what it is for and how it is used.

If every physician learned his or her patients’ history and behaviors, and also learned about which medicines can become addictive, the drug overdose rate would drop dramatically in a few years. If rock and roll legend, Steven Tyler, had seen an aware and educated physician, who knew of his previous addictions and addictive personality, perhaps his most recent trip to rehab, preceding his first season as an American Idol judge, could have been prevented, As it is, the singer was prescribed Lunesta for his insomnia and soon became so addicted to it that he crushed it up and snorted it. This led him back to a cocaine addiction that nearly killed him (Tyler 362). Celebrities like Elvis and Heath Ledger might still be alive if society acknowledged that prescription overdose is a growing problem, with the number of deaths increasing by three hundred percent each year (Tiry 2).This is not a problem limited to famous people or to people with a history of addiction though.

Some people have an addictive personality but do not expose themselves to addictive behaviors, like illegal drugs and alcohol because of that personality. But when the doctor says take this to help with your pain, this to help you sleep, this for your acid reflux, they listen because they believe anything the doctor says is correct and anything he says to take will not, cannot hurt them (Sale et al1). They do not even protest when the doctor prescribes something to “prevent” a disease from happening. A recent incident where a “preventive” medication was given was seen in a case study on bone fractures and osteoporosis, where patients with a history of bone fracture were prescribed osteoporosis medication even though there were no indications of osteoporosis (Sale et al 1). Another example is prescribing Ritalin to children in order to make them stay awake. Ritalin is usually prescribed to improve focus in children with Attention Deficit Disorder, and is a schedule II substance just one molecule from being cocaine. It is often snorted through the nose in order to produce intense focus, and everyone knows someone with a prescription(Heyes 1).

Doctors are prescribing medication at a rapid pace, with no care for whom they are giving the substance to. Prescribing young people Hydrocodone, with no thought to the likelihood of these young people selling their medicine or sharing it with friends.  This leads to several people being exposed to the medication and often becoming addicted to it as well. Former addicts and alcoholics are daily prescribed medications that are closely related to illegal substances such as cocaine and meth, with no care for how they will react. They often believe that because the drug is legal and was prescribed, it is safe, even when they become addicted(Gianutsos 1). But prescription addiction is not limited to individuals, it is a far reaching social problem that begins at a young age, not in the doctors office, but in the home.

Above the sink in most American homes is a cabinet full of medicine. Prescriptions, old and new, allergy medicine, aspirin for headaches, Pepto Bismal for an upset tummy, and so on. From childhood, everyone is taught to go to this cabinet for every discomfort they experience. As they get older, they see advertisements for prescription drugs that end in an auctioneer’s voice listing side effects too quickly for anyone to notice them and a cheerful “ask your doctor if whatsit medicine is right for you!” This creates a drug first, questions later culture that breeds addictions like maggots feeding off the corpse of self-awareness and critical thought.

For every common illness there is a medication, over the counter or prescribed, that will provide  relief from the symptoms for at least a few hours. However, these medicines often have negative side effects such as vomiting, fatigue, suicidal thoughts, depression, trouble breathing, liver failure and the list goes on and on. When the medicine is used too often or in excessive quantities, it can produce similar effects to many illegal substances. Ritalin, when snorted through the nose, produces intense focus and energy, similar to cocaine. Continued use in patients without Attention Deficit often experience depression and sleep deprivation( Heyes 1).  Just like the illegal drugs medications are closely related to, medicine can be addictive, especially in young people. So why do we tell our young people to stay away from one while insisting that they use the other?

The drug abuse problem in the United States goes back to the medicine cabinet. Mom and Dad keep it full of allergy medicine and aspirin, then when little Tommy says his head hurts, Mom sends him to the cabinet for aspirin. He begins to rely on medicine to feel healthy, which makes him susceptible to the other contributing factor in the home: the media. In one hour of television, there are about seventeen minutes of advertisements. Half of them are for prescription drugs.  The purple pill for heartburn, sleep aids and depression medicine to aid your depression medicine, all these are advertisements are expertly designed to make someone think that they have a disease by listing symptoms and advising that the patient should talk to their doctor that very day about whether or not such and such medication is right for them.

The first time they see it, they blow it off, but then they see it again and the next night they feel funny after they eat that spicy burrito, so at their next doctor’s appointment they ask about the purple pill for heartburn. It never occurs to this person to just not eat the spicy burrito, because diet and exercise have been replaced by orange, semi-transparent bottles. As a society we have been trained to take medicine for anything that causes an adverse reaction, even to the point that when we have an adverse reaction to a drug, we are given another drug to fight that reaction. We are an addicted society. Furthermore, we are an addicted society who does not recognize our addiction.

Driving down the highway, commuters are confronted with gruesome images of emaciated, pale, hollow eyed men and women saying, “I wish I had never taken meth.” These signs frighten people to the point that they would never even consider trying meth, but it also encourages them to judge those people who became addicted to it. “Meth heads” and “stoners” are seen as stupid, unworthy human beings even though they become addicted for the same reasons people become addicted to prescriptions: it makes them feel good. Cocaine produces energy, weed provides relaxation, just as Ritalin produces energy and Prozac produces relaxation. But when someone is addicted to their prescriptions, they are not an “addict” and it is not their fault.

They just need more of their medicine to combat their health problems and their doctor should be giving them more.  However, the definition of addiction is physical or psychological dependence on a substance. Therefore, anyone who depends on a substance to get through the day emotionally or physically, is an addict.

One of my favorite quotes is, “Do not judge others because they sin differently than you do.” What the addict relies on is not what matters. What matters is fighting the addiction. Instead of reaching for the pain killer, grab the ice pack and lay down for a few minutes. Instead of taking the purple pill, do not eat the spicy foods. Instead of giving children medicine to stay awake and focused, put them in bed early and feed them breakfast. Society needs to fight its prescription addiction! That starts with each individual making the decision to research their medicine and think about their options. Every human on earth has a brain.

It is high time they use those brains and make their own well thought out decisions about health. Is the medicine necessary for survival? If the answer is no and the same effects can be gained through a controlled diet and an exercise regimen, why take the medicine? Start the withdrawal process and let’s fight addiction at its roots: in our homes.

 

 

 

 

Works Cited

Coulter, Steve. “Prescription Drugs: Understanding the ‘epidemic'” The Ridgefield Press. N.p., n.d.           Web. 29 Apr. 2013.

 

Gianutsos, Gerald. ” Prescription Drug Abuse: Strategies to Reduce Diversion.” USPharmacist.com         Continuing Education. N.p., 1 Dec. 2009. Web. 30 Apr. 2013.

 

Heyes, J.D. “Students Now Snorting ADHD Drugs before Taking Academic Tests.” NaturalNews. N.p., 12 June 2012. Web. 02 May 2013.

 

Riggs. “Non-medical Use and Abuse of Commonly Prescribed Medications.” Diss. University of Colorado, 2008. Abstract. PubMed. N.p., 8 Feb. 2008. Web. 29 Apr. 2013.

 

Sale, Joanna, Monique Gignac, Gillian Hawker, Lucy Frankel, Dorcas Beaton, Earl Bogach, and   Victoria Elliot-Gibson. “Decision to Take Osteoporosis Medication in Patients Who Have Had a   Fracture and Are ‘high’ Risk for Future Fracture: A Qualitative Study.” BMC Musculoskeletal           Disorders. N.p., 2011. Web. 28 Apr. 2013.

 

Tiry, Emily. “Reducing Unintentional Prescription Drug Overdose Deaths in North Carolina: Policy             Implications Based on Current Public Health Surveillance Systems and Law Enforcement             Records.” Duke University Library. N.p., 19 Apr. 2013. Web. 29 Apr. 2013.

 

Tyler, Steven. Does the Noise in My Head Bother You? New York: HarperCollins, 2011. Print.

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