Staci Bishop

Friday, January 18, 2013

Surviving Cold & Flu Season: Wrap Up

This is the final post in a 4-part series.
If you missed the first post click here: Lifestyle
If you missed the second post click here: Food
If you missed the third post click here: Herbs & more!

"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." 
~ Benjamin Franklin

Cold & Flu season is here. Below you will find some of my favorite tips and tricks that I use to keep my family healthy. So far, we have discussed lifestyle habits, using food as "medicine," as well as herbs, supplements, homeopathy and essential oils! Today, I just want to recap the steps I take to prevent and treat should illness occur. 

Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor. These are simply home remedies that I have researched on my own and applied to my family for health and wellness. 

My Preventative Measures: These are a part of my regular daily & weekly routine. I follow this protocol year round. If you have a weakened immune system, you might want to add in some additional preventative measures to give your body a boost.
  • Drink lots of water and get plenty of rest.
  • Follow an exercise routine and get regular chiropractic care.
  • Eat a healthy diet that utilizes coconut oil, onions and garlic.
  • Take a daily probiotic and supplement with vitamin D.
  • Sprinkle a few drops of lavender essential oil on my pillow.

When Someone Around Me Becomes Ill: These are immune boosters that I introduce in addition to the above if someone that I am in close contact with becomes sick. 
  • Take a dose of Elderberry, Raw Honey, Astragalus & Echinacea once per day.

When I Notice the First Signs of a Cold: I am pretty in tune with my body. At the first sign that I'm not feeling well, I start the following regimen. Many times, I can ward off whatever is coming on and avoid a full-blown cold. 
  • Up my doses of Elderberry, Honey, Astragalus & Echinacea to twice per day. 
  • Take up to 8000 mg of Vitamin C, 5000 IU of vitamin D, and 250 mg of Zinc within 24 hours of symptoms broken up into equal doses, usually four or five.
  • Do a couple rounds of salt water gargle.

When Cold/Flu Symptoms Persist: At this point, I'm probably not a happy camper but I will do what I can to get the symptoms under control and decrease the duration. 
  • Up my doses of Elderberry, Honey, Astragalus & Echinacea to three times per day. 
  • Continue daily doses of Vitamin C (1500 mg), Vitamin D (2400 IU), and Zinc (150 mg). I break this up in to 3 doses. 
  • Do a salt water gargle 3 times a day. 
  • Use OTC homeopathic combinations. 
  • Cut all sugar from my diet (aside from the honey). 
  • Drink lemon water or ginger tea. 
  • Call in my order for donor breast milk and use it in a Netti Pot.
  • Let a fever run it's course only using Tylenol or ibuprofen if extremely uncomfortable. 
  • Run a hot bath with Epsom salt & grated ginger. It's also best to do this again at the conclusion of any sickness to be sure your body has detoxed from the illness.

I hope you have found this series helpful. I absolutely believe it is possible to both protect yourself against sickness and treat yourself naturally should illness arise.  Let's face it, we come into contact with germs on a daily basis but a healthy immune system will fight them off, many times without us even being aware.  Antibiotics certainly have their place but with antibiotic resistance on the rise, I beg you, please use them sparingly. Again, please refer back to the previous posts for details on each item listed above. 

Surviving Cold & Flu Season: Lifestyle,  Food,  Herbs & more!

As always, please research these remedies on your own or contact your doctor before proceeding should you have questions. 

Be well! 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Surviving Cold & Flu Season: Herbs and More!

This is the second post in a 3-part series.
If you missed the first post click here: Lifestyle
If you missed the second post click here: Food

"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." 
~ Benjamin Franklin

Cold & Flu season is here. Below you will find some of my favorite tips and tricks that I use to keep my family healthy. I have already told you about our lifestyle habits and using food as "medicine." Today I want to talk about herbs, supplements, homeopathy and more.

Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor. These are simply home remedies that I have researched on my own and applied to my family for health and wellness. 

Herbs and More: Below is a variety of herbs, vitamins, tinctures, essential oils, and homeopathy that I have found to be effective. Please do your homework before using these products to make sure that you do not have any health concerns that would be contraindicated to their use. While they are indeed "natural" some of these are very potent and should be taken or used with care.

  • Elderberry - Just as honey was my top pick for foods, elderberry is my top pick in this category. It's a huge antioxidant and is also loaded with vitamins known for their antiviral properties. You can take this once daily to boost your immune system or up to three times a day if you feel a cold coming on or have already been hit by one. You can purchase it in liquid or tablet form over the counter at your local drug store. Just ask for the brand name Sambucol.  
  • Astragalus Root - This herb mimics the immune system and can also be helpful for increasing energy levels. It can be taken long term to help prevent colds/flu but may also be used once symptoms have started to give the immune system a little help. This can be found in capsule or tincture form. 
  • Echinacea - This will work in a similar way to Astragalus in that it doesn't fight infection on its own but instead it boosts all cells in the body to fight off bacteria and viruses on their own. Again, it can be used to prevent infection but may also lessen the duration of a cold. 
  • **Astragalus/Echinacea** - I prefer to take these two herbs together in tincture form. We use Herbs for Kids. I take it straight from the dropper. For my daughter, I put 1 ml into a shot glass and cover it with juice. She thinks it's cool to drink from a little cup and doesn't even notice the taste. This can be taken up to 3 times a day to prevent or treat illness. 
  • Vitamin C - Studies have shown that vitamin C may not help in preventing colds but it certainly aids to shorten the duration of cold symptoms. It's best to take 8,000 mg over the course of the first day of a cold.  
  • Vitamin D - Researchers have concluded that we are more susceptible to cold and flu when our vitamin D levels are low. Our bodies best absorb vitamin D through the sun but that isn't always available during dreary winter periods. Instead, consider supplementing with over the counter D3. Adults can consume up to 5000 IU of D3 per day. It's also interesting to note that vitamin C aids the absorption of vitamin D so I like to take them together. 
  • Zinc - This is available in tablet, liquid, or lozenge form. It's most effective if taken within 24 hours of onset of cold symptoms. I start it as soon as I feel any sort of tingle in my throat, just in case. It has been shown to reduce symptoms by 40% and shorten the cold duration by a full 24 hours. 
  • Probiotic - Toxins like to hide out in the intestinal track and will ultimately suppress the immune system. However, your gastric track also needs a certain amount of "good" bacteria to fight the bad. I recommend taking a probiotic year round but particularly during cold & flu season. You can start with something as simple as OTC acidophillus. This can also be helpful in preventing your children from coming home with the wretched stomach bug. You may choose a children's probiotic (my little one likes this one) or simply dump the contents of an acidophillus capsule into their juice. 
  • Essential Oils - Lavender is my favorite for preventing infection. I just sprinkle a few drops on everyone's pillow. Rosemary can also be used in this way as well. Eucalyptus can help with a stuffy nose. Simply incorporate a few drops into a carrier oil like coconut or grapeseed and rub onto the chest. Peppermint is my favorite for reducing cough and nausea. Remember, essential oils are not designed to be ingested but inhaled. That's how they are most effective. 
  • Oscilloccocinum - Should full-blown flu symptoms occur grab this and start treatment pronto. Homeopathics work best when taken without food and when given at regular 15 minute intervals. The science behind how they work is that it introduces trace amounts into the body that mount an immune response, which helps combat the symptoms. This can also be found at your local drug store. 
  • Homeopathy - These are some of my favorite OTC homeopathy brands and combinations that can be found at local drug stores. ColdCalm Tablets, Sinusila, Cough 'n Cold for Kids, and Complete Flu Care for Kids.
I had intended for this to be the last post in this series but I think I will do one more post to tie everything together and give a sample schedule of what I do when any of my peeps get sick. If you have questions, fire away in the comments and I will try to answer them as well. 

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Surviving Cold & Flu Season: Food

This is the second post in a 3-part series.
If you missed the first post click here: Lifestyle

"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." 
~ Benjamin Franklin

Cold & Flu season is here. Below you will find some of my favorite tips and tricks that I use to keep my family healthy. Yesterday we discussed lifestyle habits and today we will look at foods that I use as "medicine." Tomorrow we will address herbs, supplements, and homeopathy.

Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor. These are simply home remedies that I have researched on my own and applied to my family for health and wellness. 

Food: This is nature's medicine at it's finest. While maintaining a healthy diet goes a long way in supporting your immune system, sometimes we need specific ingredients. All of these can be found at your local supermarket. That's the best part about natural cures, they don't have to cost a fortune and they are easy to come by.

  • Honey - This is my #1 recommendation for cold & flu season. To get the best effect, you need local, raw honey. It has antibacterial properties and is a big energy booster. It's also great for a sore throat! For maintenance, take 1 tablespoon once a day. If you are feeling sick, up the dose to 1 tablespoon three times a day. Please note that honey should NOT be given to anyone under 12 months of age. 
  • Coconut Oil - I heart coconut oil and my favorite brand is Nutiva. It's a very versatile product but also has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral, and anti-inflammatory properties! Seriously miraculous stuff here! Adults can take up to 3 tablespoons per day and you can also cook with it. It's also great for a sore throat and soothes dry skin. 
  • Lemon - Fresh lemon juice is packed with vitamin C, which has been shown to boost the immune system. It's also good for detoxifying the body.  
  • Garlic - This tiny little thing has lots of immune boosting agents. Raw garlic is best but you can also take it in capsule form. If you are cooking with garlic, be sure to let it "rest" for 10 minutes after chopping so that it seals in all the good stuff. 
  • Onions - These are very similar to garlic in that raw is best but you can also include them in cooking if you let them "rest" before cooking. Onions are full of antioxidants, which strengthen your immune system. 
  • Apple Cider Vinegar - This product works by balancing out the pH in your system and restore the body. It's also great for reducing fever. I will warn you that the taste isn't pleasant but it can be mixed with other things. 
  • Salt - If you have a sore throat, a salt water gargle can help to soothe the discomfort because it reduces inflammation. It can also loosen up mucus from post nasal drip. Research has even shown a 40% decrease in upper respiratory infections when conducted routinely. Heat up a cup of water as warm as you can stand, and mix in 1 tsp of salt. Gargle deep in the throat and spit out. Continue until the liquid is gone. 
  • Spices - These items have also been known to have antibacterial & antiviral properties: ginger, cayenne pepper, and cinnamon.
  • Sugar - If you are sick, you should cut sugar consumption as much as possible. It will just surpress your immune system. Besides, bacteria LOVE sugar so stop feeding them!

Recipes: If sickness occurs, it can often be helpful to combine some of the above ingredients into a powerful potion of sorts. For example:
  • 1 tsp warm honey + 1/4 tsp cinnamon + 1 tsp coconut oil = cold buster
  • 1 tsp grated ginger + 1 tsp lemon juice + 1 tsp honey + 1 cup hot water = drink to soothe a sore throat
  • 4 ounces honey + 4 drops peppermint oil = cough suppressant 
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper + 1 tsp grated ginger + 2 Tbs apple cider vinegar + 1 cup hot water = cold buster

Honestly, you can't really go wrong mixing ingredients here. Just find a combination that you like best and stick with it when you are feeling puny. 

Here is one more food item that I truly recommend because I have seen it work for my family but I know that it is highly controversial. Because it works for me, I'm listing it here anyway because I think it's important. You will need to decide if this is appropriate for your own family.

  • Breast Milk - If you are a nursing mother, continue to nurse your baby for as long as possible, even if you are sick. Your body is producing additional antibodies against the infection and passing those antibodies onto your baby. They don't call it "liquid gold" for nothing. If you aren't nursing, consider using donor milk. Because breast milk is full of amazing antibodies, if we are sick, I get breast milk from a trusted friend. For my daughter, I mix some into her own milk. For myself, I use it with a Netti Pot. It gets the antibodies right where they need to be. 

Check back tomorrow for my final installment of how we are Surviving Cold & Flu Season.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Surviving Cold & Flu Season: Lifestyle

This is the first post in a 3-part series. 

"An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." 
~ Benjamin Franklin

Cold & Flu season is here. Below you will find some of my favorite tips and tricks that I use to keep my family healthy. I've started with lifestyle changes that we have made. Over the next few days we will look at various ways to aid the immune system and treat the body naturally should sickness occur.

Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor. These are simply home remedies that I have researched on my own and applied to my family for health and wellness. 

Lifestyle: These may seem obvious but it's important that we take the time to do them. If you take care of your body on the inside, it will serve you well.

  • Water - Good ole H2O keeps the body hydrated and keeps the bowels moving. Toxins like to hide out in the intestinal track so it's important to keep your system flushed out. Winter is also a very dry time of year and staying good and hydrated will help your skin not to be so irritated. You can't really overdo this one. Drink, Drink, Drink!
  • Exercise - I'm a huge fan of hot yoga. Not only am I making stronger muscles but I'm detoxing my body at the same time by sweating. If yoga isn't your thing, find something else. My hubby does indoor rock climbing. My daughter does hip hop and is about to start karate. Aside from physical benefits, exercise releases all sorts of good hormones and boost cells that keep the brain and body happy. That hard work also keeps your heart and lungs healthy as well!
  • Rest - If you are tired and run down, your immune system is more susceptible to an attack. Try to slow down and make it a point to get adequate rest.
  • Nutrition - Did you know that sugar suppresses the immune system for up to 5 hours? A balanced diet is key during peak sickness seasons. Avoid processed foods. Stick with fresh fruits & veggies and make sure you have adequate protein intake. 
  • Hot Baths - This is another easy way to detox the body. Run a bath as warm as you can stand it. Add 1 cup of epsom salt and 2 tablespoons of grated fresh ginger. Stay in for at least 20 minutes. The combination should cause you to sweat out toxins. 
  • Chiropractic - This form of care is not just for back pain. Aligning the spine allows the brain to effectively communicate with the rest of the body. If someone around here starts feeling puny, this is the first place we go. It's also important to keep the immune system working properly through regular maintenance so I would recommend a visit every 4-6 weeks. We use Batson Chiropractic. LOVE them!
  • Fevers - Our society is inundated with fear about high body temperatures but that fever has a purpose. It means your immune system is working. I always let a fever run its course. I push fluids and try to wait it out only introducing Tylenol or ibuprofen if myself or my child become extremely uncomfortable. 

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Client Testimonial

Staci Bishop was a fantastic doula! She was a calm and helpful presence during a surprisingly difficult labor for both my husband and I. I would strongly recommend using Staci and plan on calling her as soon as we are expecting #2!


Thursday, January 3, 2013

My 2012 Doula Babies

This year has been amazing! Not only was I able to complete my doula training and become certified but I was also privileged to help 5 amazing families. I'd like to take a moment recap what I experienced in 2012.

  • Surprisingly, the babies were all girls! It's also interesting to note that I had 1 Leap Day baby and 1 New Year's Eve baby.
  • I had 3 clients having their 1st baby and 2 clients having their 2nd baby. 
  • Earliest delivery was 37 weeks, 1 day and the longest was 42 weeks, 1 day (both 2nd time moms). The average gestation was 287 days or 41 weeks for my 1st time moms. 
  • The shortest labor was 90 minutes and the longest labor was 18 hours.
  • I attended 1 home birth and 4 hospital births (Baptist, Williamson, Vanderbilt, Centennial). 
  • Midwives were present at 2 of the births, and an obstetrician was present at the other 3.
  • An epidural was chosen 40% of the time. 
  • Pitocin was only used in 2 cases to control bleeding in the 3rd stage of labor (delivery of the placenta). 
  • All my clients delivered vaginally, including 1 VBAC. 
  • There were no inductions and no episiotomies. 
  • To date, all moms are still breastfeeding. 

I can't wait to get started in 2013! It's such an honor and privilege to be present for the birth of a baby. I take this job very seriously and have a great love and devotion for each and every family that I work with. It's wonderful to finally be actively working in a field I am so passionate about.