What baby sleeps on. And why it matters.

sleeping babyYou do it 8 hours a day, if you’re the average American.  I do it 6 hours, since I converted to a whole-foods, plant-based diet. It’s all I need.

Sleep. We think about it very little. Many Americans have accepted that even though they do so much of it, they rarely feel rested.

The idea you need 8 hours is based on American averages. Most people are eating heavy, toxic food for dinner and need an extra two hours to recover, because their bodies are working overtime while they sleep. Instead of RESTING.

I’ve become a real believer in the role a mattress plays in the quality of sleep received. I used to sleep on this crappy Craft-Matic bed.  My dad worked for them and got it for me, free. The only good thing I have to say about it is that it was nice to have for the 6 days I didn’t walk, after my ATV accident in June 2011. Because I could move it up and down to get out of bed, when I was in excruciating pain with two broken ribs and a bruised kidney.

I used to look forward to getting away on my business travels, where the Marriott and Hyatt beds let me sleep far better than I did at home.

Now it’s the exact opposite. I now dread sleeping in even high-end hotels, because my IntelliBED at home is so awesome.

Lots of you took advantage of the group buy we did on IntelliBED last month. (Right now they’re letting us leave it open: check out the webinar we did with IntelliBED founder Bob Rasmussen. And check out the deal you can’t get anywhere else, just for GSG readers, HERE.)

The webinar covers how sleep is affected by the support and comfort that the mattress gives, and we talked about toxicity in a mattress. Did you know your mattress off-gasses? I didn’t know either! Did you know baby mattresses do, too, and that research suggests a link to SIDS?

We talked mostly on the webinar about adult mattresses.  Today let’s talk about what babies sleep on.

It took me five years, several miscarriages, lots of fertility testing and drugs, to get pregnant with Kincade. Before he was born, his twin died. I was terrified that SIDS would take my baby who I spent years trying to bring into our family. I studied everything I could. I learned of a potential vaccine link and stopped immunizing him. I learned that baby boys die of SIDS at age 4 months, at a higher rate, if they have a cold. I was terrified of him being around sick people.

Crazy to think that a crib mattress could poison a baby, but there are, in fact, a number of toxic substances in bedding and mattresses that our faces are buried in, for one-third of our lives.

US News and World Report asks the question “Does your child really have ADHD?” HERE.

The article says,

“A lack of sleep can damage brain neurons, particularly in the prefrontal cortex region,” says Karen Bonuck, lead author and professor of family and social medicine at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. This may be due to a decrease in oxygen and an increase in carbon dioxide levels; interference with sleep’s restorative processes; and a disruption in the balance of cellular and chemical systems. What can result is inattentiveness, hyperactivity, and impulsivity—the classic trademarks of ADHD. When the disorder is suspected in a child, “nighttime sleep patterns should be reviewed with the primary care doctor,” says Bonuck. “Parents may even wish to video or audio tape the problematic behavior as a first step.”

What if it isn’t ADHD at all, but our kids suffering from poor sleep beginning when they are babies?

A related article in the same publication entitled “Nine Drug-Free Approaches to Managing ADHD” suggests that two of the things I write about constantly:

….that diet and good sleep on non-toxic materials are two of the most important approaches to managing ADHD.

When women get pregnant, they are encouraged to increase their sleep to greater than 8 hours. A study from the University of California, San Francisco reveals that an overwhelming percentage of pregnant women in the U.S. have high levels of toxic environmental chemicals in their bodies.

The trial found that out of the 268 pregnant women tested for toxins, 100 percent showed traces of several individual chemicals in their blood or urine. They include certain PCBs, organochlorine pesticides, PFCs, phenols, PBDEs, phthalates, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and perchlorate.

Two new studies have provided even more evidence that toxic chemicals used in everyday products contaminate the bodies of pregnant women, who then pass the chemicals on to their fetuses before birth. Scientists from both the Harvard School of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) found that certain chemicals like PCBs, toxic flame retardants, and Teflon chemicals move across the placenta to the fetus, with concentrated levels found in breast milk.

Most women in the U.S. are sleeping on a modern mattress that is full of synthetic foams that contain many of these toxins.

This research has common themes: the need to get better sleep from the time we are babies to when we reach adulthood, plus the need to eliminate as many toxins as possible from our living space.

IntelliBED products help with both. There is a lot of evidence out there suggesting that one of the biggest off-gassing offenders is petroleum based polyurethane foam (including memory foam).  Many of the crib mattresses being sold today are full of it, as is almost every adult mattress.

Knowing that, IntelliBED designed a crib mattress that has no foam of any kind in it.  Their “Just Gel, Baby!  Crib Mattress” is made of a plush layer of Intelli-Gel.  Intelli-Gel is so safe, it was approved for use in baby-bottle nipples, and is used in many toys.  It is made of food-grade materials and has been shown to be non-toxic and hypo-allergenic.

The cover of the Just Gel, Baby! Crib mattress is made from organic cotton.  And they don’t use spray-on additives to make their crib mattresses meet the Federal Burn Standards required by the Federal Government.  They use a non-off-gassing silica fiber that is naturally burn resistant.

Pregnant moms may not be able to afford a new mattress, but a great “budget” option to solve these problem may be an Intelli-Gel Mattress Make Over.

This is a topper made from Intelli-Gel, with almost no foam in it.  It will not only provide substantially more comfort increasing the likelihood of better sleep, it will also form a barrier separating you from the surface of your old mattress and all those potential toxins.

When you order a new Just Gel, BABY! Crib Mattress, the Mattress Make-Over or a new mattress, use the “greensmoothiegirl” coupon code I worked out for you, and get a 10% discount plus free shipping – it is the best deal you can get.

Just go to www.intellibed.com, click on the “Store” tab and place your order. Before you check out, click “Have a Coupon Code” and put the code in.

Nutrition for pregnant moms, babies, toddlers…..part 4 of 5

Today’s topic: NUTRITION DURING PREGNANCY.

Remember, what you’re eating when you’re pregnant is also contributing to healthy blood, bones, tissues, and organs—or not.

It’s so painful for me to remember back to eating 7-11 nachos, Diet Coke, a Special Burger and fries (extra fry sauce!) at lunch, and Ben & Jerry’s after dinner, throughout my first pregnancy. I didn’t know any better. I assumed my body was making good fuel for my baby, out of the bad fuel I fed myself—as illogical as that is.

I imagine that’s why I not only gained 65 lbs., but it’s also why my baby developed significant auto-immune problems in his first year of life. With my later pregnancies, I was learning and implementing good nutrition strategies, and the babies were FAR healthier.

My last baby was (and still is, at age 12) completely healthy—never once a bacterial infection of any kind, never any antibiotics or meds or even doctor visits. The labor and delivery got easier, too, when I ate the right foods throughout the pregnancy and gained only 35 lbs. instead of 65!

I can’t even count how many times a 12 Steps to Whole Foods young mom has talked to me after a class I teach, and told me this:

“I’m so thrilled that I changed my diet to eat whole foods, because this last pregnancy has been my easiest and healthiest!”

I’ve had many moms tell me about major complications they had during their earlier pregnancies, while they were eating the Standard American Diet, and how all that changed when they embraced whole-foods fuel.

One mother in Texas told me that with her first 4 children, she was on bed rest, with terrible edema, and pre-eclampsia. As she told me this, she was 9 months pregnant, and beaming ear to ear. She said, “This is my first problem-free pregnancy. I’m about to deliver, and I’m so excited I learned all about whole foods from you.”

My diet now is the diet I would eat if I were pregnant again. The “pregnancy diet” is no different than the ideal diet for life.

It’s high in greens, in vegetables, and in fruits—80% of more of them raw. I also eat cooked legumes (beans, split peas, lentils), and whole grains (organic quinoa, whole wheat, rolled oats or oat groats, spelt, Kamut, buckwheat, millet—most of them sprouted before they are baked at low temperatures). I buy sprouted-grain (whole grain only) bread or English muffins or tortillas at the health food store. But I also make my own granola.

I eat nuts and seeds every day, some of them sprouted, many of them rich sources of essential fatty acids. I soak and dehydrate nuts and seeds to add to my granola.

I use coconut oil on my skin and in occasional baking, for medium-chain triglycerides. I always have a quart of green smoothie a day. Most days, I also have a glass of vegetable juice, although at many points in my life, I’ve not had the time to make juice, and now I hire someone to do it.

I choose big salads in restaurants. I don’t eat refined sugar, ever, nor do I ever drink soda, or eat processed meats, or pork or beef. I eat a 95 percent plant-based diet, and I keep refined foods or animal products at 5 percent or less.

While I was having my babies, I was learning how to do all that. It was new to me then—it is habit now. I didn’t give up sugar cold-turkey back then. I had fits and starts in dealing with my addiction.

My changes involved bucking “the system.” Lots of systems, in fact. The medical system. The social system of parties and barbecues and family events and Easter and Halloween and Christmas. The church system of keeping kids quiet in nursery and later, in class, with junk food. The family system of generations of “comfort foods” that contributed to my babies’ health problems. It wasn’t easy. But it was one of the BEST THINGS I’VE EVER DONE. I’ve never looked back, and I have absolutely zero regret.

What I did HAD TO BE DONE.

So, what I’ve just described my diet being now is a great diet for a pregnant or nursing mom. It’s a terrible idea for a pregnant mom to eat a diet high in refined carbs. The baby does need good protein for brain health, and overall for building. There’s plenty of protein in nuts, seeds, legumes, grains, and greens.

If you avoid those good food categories, eating a vegan diet, you’re likely to develop dental problems, blood sugar issues, and fatigue-related disorders. If you want more protein, I suggest a scoop of our whole-food, vegan protein powder added to your green smoothies.

Doctors tell women to eat lots of protein, and everyone’s first thought with protein is meat and dairy. Those are “perfect proteins,” to be sure. But “perfect” doesn’t meant “better”—it just mean it is protein the body doesn’t have to assemble from amino acids, because it matches human flesh very closely. Protein from greens, seeds, legumes, grains, and nuts is protein the body has to work harder to build muscle with. But it’s far more durable muscle mass.

Always eat protein when you’re eating sugars. For instance, if you have a green smoothie and yours is high in fruits, eat a handful of almonds, too, or a bowl of lentil or split pea soup. Or add a scoop of protein powder. I make my green smoothies as high in greens, and as low in fruits, as I can tolerate. Slow down and regulate impact on blood sugar, by eating FIBER and QUALITY PROTEIN. This is how you can, with lifelong habits, avoid insulin problems and eventual diabetes, which currently most of our population is heading toward.

Don’t undertake a major, radical detox program while you’re pregnant or in the first year of nursing. As toxins range your body, on their way out, they flush through a developing fetus, and through your breast milk, as well.

Again, don’t take my advice in lieu of competent practitioner care and counsel.

Tomorrow, we talk once again about WHAT TO DO ABOUT PICKY KIDS.

 

Nutrition for pregnant moms, babies, toddlers…..part 2 of 5

Breastfeeding versus formula is our topic today.

First of all let’s talk about how long to nurse your baby.

We’ve over-sexualized breasts in our culture. We’re squeamish about the use of breasts for feeding babies.

Cover it up, don’t let anyone know you do it, get your boobs back as fast as you can for their main purposes, and perish the thought that they LOOK like they nursed babies!

I’m not suggesting they aren’t sexual, okay? Nor that we should give up looking good. Not my point. Here’s what I’m saying.

Young moms, if your baby needs your breast milk for 6-9 months longer than most people do it, for her brain health, for her budding immune system, for her pancreas and liver to finish developing…..will you do it? Or is doing what everybody else does more important?

(Look how it’s working out for them. We’ve NEVER had so much degenerative and neurological and congenital disease, at young ages, in the history of the world.)

Your baby needs breast milk for 18 months. I nursed my last child till he was 21 months old. He was my healthiest child, never got sick, never has visited the doctor for illness, never has needed an antibiotic or any other drug.

But because I nursed him so long, one day he ran over to me when we were watching his sister’s soccer game. At nearly 2 years old, poked me in the chest with his finger, and yelled:

“Nurse you!”

(Yes, I was embarrassed. I am not a hippie. I do care what people think. However, I’m just not going to do the wrong thing for my child out of peer pressure. I was about done nursing anyway, and that embarrassing little incident pinkie-pushed me, pun intended, into quitting.)

But young mothers are not taught that the body does not produce and release digestive enzymes at birth. The infant body is programmed to receive human breast milk, which is rich in its own enzymes. Digestion of human breast milk is easy for an infant and a toddler. Part of the genius of each species is that the milk adapts and becomes precisely what the baby needs, at each stage of development.

What a tragedy, then, when we deny our babies this birthright. When companies like Enfamil and Similac convince mothers in the hospital, all over the world, including now in poor Latin nations, to take home a whole case of formula. (It’s free!) Formula manufacturers know if they get you before you leave the hospital, any milk they give your baby is milk your body then doesn’t produce, so you will not be able to give your baby a full supply of breast milk. Unless you’re very careful.

Plus your baby will become used to fake foods, instead of quickly developing a taste for human milk, making him that much less likely to reject formula later.

Of course, cooked baby formula, cooked and processed, has no enzymes, and this begins heavily taxing the infant body and causing it to produce mucous. Not to mention you’re fighting the antibiotics and steroids fed the cow, and the terrible food supply of GMO corn and soy products.

A buildup of mucous creates an acidic climate to invite infections, both bacterial and viral. Breastfed babies get sick far less than formula-fed babies. Everyone knows this. But I’ve just described one of the reasons why.

So you can’t nurse. Or you’ve adopted. Or you want to wean the baby. What do you wean her onto?

My friend Dr. Ritamarie Lozcalzo was an adoptive mother to two children who are now young adults. She is a raw vegan and nutrition expert and a prominent internet personality. She developed a high-nutrition, raw baby formula using nut milk, vegetable juices, and some specific supplements that include the right fats babies need. I’m always sending young moms to her, but you can get her formula recipe here if exclusive breast feeding is not an option.

If you won’t make your own formula, I would look for an ORGANIC goat-milk formula. If you can’t find that, an ORGANIC dairy formula. Soy formula would be my last choice.

I personally weaned my babies, once I learned not to use cow milk and baby formula, onto whole, raw goat milk.

Your instant reaction is to fear the word “RAW.” Doesn’t pasteurization of milk kill all the bad bacteria that might hurt your baby?

Yes. And no.

It kills the bacteria. There can be some bad bacteria in milk. There’s bad bacteria in your body right now—some really deadly stuff, actually. It’s in a teeming metropolis of bacteria, actually. Think of it as the Manhattan of living organisms, what’s going on in your gut, tissues, and bloodstream as you read this.

There are pathogens there. Molds. Fungus, bacteria, cancer. Not only now, but 10 years ago too. And 10 years from now.

But even organisms you think of as “bad” play an important role, often. It’s not fully understood, but I did a fascinating recorded call with Dr. Jack Tips, PhD, N.D., recently, for the Detox program I’ve been developing for over a year. He discussed how even bad bacteria play good roles. Even candida. The thriving metropolis has an intelligence that is crippled and devastated with the atom-bomb approach of antibiotics.

And when you pasteurize the milk, you also kill all the GOOD bacteria. You kill everybody and everything, machine-gun style. You kill all the enzymes that make the raw food easy to digest.

So killing stuff isn’t the answer.

Establishing, nurturing, and maintaining a healthy environment in your body, where GOOD bacteria flourish, and bad bacteria are managed and controlled, never making you sick, is the answer.

Eating foods that are organic, and living, and whole, is the main answer.

So like I said, I weaned my babies onto raw goat’s milk. You have to go out of your way to find it. The dairy industry has a chokehold on the FDA. Dairy spends $50 million a year in propaganda (read: advertising) to convince us we must drink and eat lots of dairy products to be healthy. One of their tactics is to drive out competition. So you can’t buy unpasteurized goat milk as “food.” You can ask around, at health food stores and with people who have been studying nutrition for years, and find the little goat dairies.

They will sell it to you—for other purposes, not food. (What YOU do with it is up to you.)

My four children drank it for many, many years, without incident. Before I began using it, I studied it, and discovered that no one in the Western United States had registered any complaint, about any goat-milk problem, in the previous 10 years.

(The same cannot be said about cow-milk dairies.)

I also learned to make yogurt out of raw goat milk. Later, I learned to make an even better food: KEFIR. It not only supports healthy flora in the gut, it can re-establish it, build it from the ground up. It does not require heating the milk. It’s very easy and simple, and costs next-to-nothing, as the live kefir grains are infinitely re-useable.

Learn about kefir HERE. It’s a vastly superior food to the raw milk itself, because the culturing (or fermenting) process breaks down the proteins in the milk to be essentially “pre-digested.” Goat milk is not mucous forming for humans. Neither is goat-milk kefir or yogurt.

Tomorrow, what do I wean my baby onto, besides raw goat milk? We discuss a progression of foods to introduce.

Emily: pregnant, diabetic, and HEALTHY in Colorado

I met this really cool girl in Castle Rock, Colorado last weekend. She was dying to tell me about how my homemade granola, chocolate beet cake, green smoothies, and other whole-foods habits and recipes have helped her THRIVE going into her third pregnancy. This is radically different than her first two, which were a scary experiment in managing blood sugar and other tough issues faced by Type 1 diabetics.

I am routinely frustrated that most diabetes doctors focus exclusively on insulin, and NOT AT ALL on nutrition. Some things that are tough and time-consuming to turn around with diet. Entrenched degenerative gut conditions (IBS, Crohn’s, colitis, etc.) and auto-immune diseases, for instance. But heart disease and diabetes? Top two for SO EASY to turn around and control, if you understand what WISE, RESPONSIBLE FUEL is. I’ve had a number of Type 2 diabetics and pre-diabetics reverse the disease completely by following my program—even though it’s not a diabetes-control program per se. There’s NO reason for diabetics to be losing limbs and sacrificing quality of life.

I would love to hear from some diabetics, here, about what happened when you made a strong commitment to whole foods!

Happy Mother’s Day! on prenatal vitamins……

Mothers do the greatest work in the world! On this day, I’d like to say how thankful I am that Kincade, Emma, Mary Elizabeth, and Tennyson made me a mom, starting nearly 18 years ago. I love you guys so much.

And thank you to anyone who reads this blog who does that work every day. It’s hard work and sometimes it feels thankless. But there is nothing else like it–in its highs and lows and its impact on human beings and the world.

If you’re a mom, or if you might be someday, or if you participate in nurturing others, I honor you every day, and especially today!

Here’s an email I got this week about PRENATAL VITAMINS, from Sashleigha:

Dear GreenSmoothieGirl:

My doctor prescribed prenatals . These are the “other ingredients”:

hypromellose, beeswax, pyridoxine HCI, Zinc oxide, magnesium oxide, d-calcium, pantothenate, microcrystalline cellulose, cupric oxide, thiamin mononitrate, dibasic calcium phosphate, titanium dioxide, FD and C Red #40, shellac, and cyanocobalamin.

What should I take?

Answer:  Zinc oxide? They put it in paint, batteries, batteries, and plastics, because it’s insoluble in water. Shellac? That’s paint/glue! Titanium dioxide has been classified as a carcinogen if you breathe it, proven to cause lung cancer in rats, so perhaps eating it isn’t a good idea?

Red dye #40? Pull up the Materials Safety and Data Sheet on it. This is just part of what it says: “Harmful if swallowed, symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, pain and diarrhea. May cause central nervous system depression; liver and kidney damage based on animal data. Use of this product may aggravate preexisting skin, eye, and respiratory disorders including asthma and dermatitis. Causes skin and eye irritation: symptoms may include pain, redness, and swelling.”

I am so frustrated by medical doctors telling people to eat those synthetic pills. At a minimum, please don’t take the iron pills they sell in pharmacies. That form of iron is not useable by the body, and it will make you constipated.

Food is the best prenatal. All of the nutrients that are found, in synthetic form, in those pills, are found in natural form your body can use in greens, vegetables, and fruits. Also seeds, nuts, legumes, and whole grains (especially sprouted).   If you must take a vitamin (probably a good idea to avoid falling below minimum thresholds, if you’re eating the S.A.D.), at least get a brand at your health food store, not in the pharmacy.

Dear GreenSmoothieGirl: p.s. I was totally blown away by your email! Not only that, I decided to open one of them up and squeeze out what I thought would be powder.  I got a dark sludge that smelled like foul fish!!! THAT’S recommended to go in my body to harbor a healthy place for a potential fetus?! NO THANK YOU! I was so ANGRY!

-Sash