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Healthy Living, Naturopathy, Playful Families, Remedies & Supplements

Getting Kids to “Take Their Vitamins”

October 23, 2014

How the heck do you get in all these good-for-you supplements into your kiddos?

You may have heard that cod liver oil will help their teeth & immune system, or that magnesium will help them sleep?  But only if you get it in them!  Here’s a few tricks we’ve come up with after a decade with an ultra-picky kid who can’t swallow pills:

Tiny glasses EVERYTHING is more fun (and manageable) in a tiny shot glass! You can almost always get the kids to drink from a little glass, because it’s one big gulp. In there, mothers have crammed a bit of juice, a drop of natural iodine, probiotics, liquid B vitamins, herbal tinctures, few drops of trace minerals, and the crowning touch – a Tb of Cinnamon Fermented Cod Liver Oil.   WaLaa! Stir with the little baby spoon right before swallowing, and have a chaser ready. These glasses are super cheap (under $8) at your local TJMaxx; or even more fun, get a special tourist one when you visit the top of the Sears Tower, and distract them with fun vacation memories.

Tea Party EVERYTHING is more fun with a little tea party! This is effective when you are managing a sick kid – the one who is getting dehydrated and needs to be persuaded to sip fluids, or the one who has diarrhea and needs to slow down and sip fluids.   Tiny teacups, refilled endlessly by the cute little teapot, will engage the younger set (boys and girls), who don’t notice they are drinking slurp after slurp of something good for them. For those of you into the gut-healing benefits of bone broth, don’t hesitate to put it in a play teapot.   Just make sure that your set is FOOD SAFE!

Spoonful of Honey  EVERYTHING is better with a spoonful of honey, Mary Poppins wasn’t kidding! And luckily for the children over one year old, the wonderful benefits of raw honey are endless – immune boosting and packed with enzymes, vitamins, & wonderfulness. It can even be used by itself (but don’t tell the kids you ‘want’ them to take it, reluctantly ‘let’ them have it….. Parenting is mostly SALES! J)

Straws – EVERYTHING is more fun with a straw!  Get some for home to mix it up, and a glass straw can add that extra special touch while also protecting them from the nasty phytoestrogens that leech into food from the ubiquitous plastic straws.

Bath tubs – EVERYTHING is more fun in a bath!   A child happily playing in the tub while waiting for dinner will often wolf down the carrot or celery stick they were avoiding, drink a little fruit smoothie concoction (hiding elderberry syrup & probiotics as part of your stay-healthy-naturally routine), or drink down the tiny glass of goodness so they can then play pouring games with it. Teapots work here too, just stay present with your calm, happy fun voice until the goodness is in them, and then you leave the big-enough kids alone to their pouring fun while you pull together dinner. Have several big towels packed on the floor at the edge of the tub, and don’t get grumpy. There IS going to water OUTSIDE the tub!

Bribes – Yeah, really. But for something you want too! A chart with a nice big square for each day, or each dose.   It’s a RULE that taking the vitamins or remedies must be hassle-free to count for the big prize, which might be full attention on playing a game with them, a special walk in your favorite park, a bedtime footrub, or yes, a stop at the neighborhood chocolate shop where they can spend way too much time in the serious work of picking ONE chocolate (or maybe two if there was no hassle not even once!)

A few giggles along the way make the super-nutrients go down! Just ask Mary Poppins!



Healthy Living, Naturopathy, Remedies & Supplements, The Knowledge Nook

Spring Cleaning Our Bodies Too!

April 23, 2014

 Spring is the perfect time for cleaning, whether it’s a dusty house, crammed closets, or our bodies. There are many different ways to cleanse the body, how about an annual parasite cleanse?   Sounds yucky to imagine that it’s needed, yet most pet owners worm their animals as a matter of routine, so why don’t we worm our selves?  Our ‘modern lifestyles’ have not necessarily relieved humans from opportunistic parasites, they’re fairly common as you’ll see below.   The “sensational” ‘Dr. Oz says, that about 90 percent of humans will have a problem with parasites in their lifetime’, and “approximately 1 out of 3 Americans is infected with an intestinal parasite at any given time.”  Spring is a natural time to take action!

Coming in contact with  parasites is pretty common, they may be contracted by:

  • Consuming fresh, but not properly cleaned produce, pork (even extremely well cooked!), raw fish (sushi), undercooked meats (mostly factory raised), contaminated water, and living with or caring for animals.
  • Living with someone who has parasites, living with animals in your home, or walking barefoot in a house in which animals range freely.
  • International travel, especially to Third World nations, “Travelers Diarrhea”, & using public restrooms.
  • Amalgam (mercury) fillings can lower immunities in all areas, including against parasites, making one more vulnerable to a sustained invasion.
  • Playing in & handling dirt, neglecting to properly wash hands, and then placing fingers in the mouth (pin worms especially.)
  • Certain insects can transmit parasites by biting and infecting their victim.

Many symptoms or illnesses may indicate a parasitic infection, such as multiple food allergies, bloating, abdominal pain, constipation, gas, symptoms of IBS, diarrhea, itching around the anus especially at night, grinding teething, drooling while sleeping, depression, fatigue, apathy, sleepless, trouble falling asleep, rashes, hives, rosacea, or eczema, pain or aching in the bones, joints, or muscles rheumatoid arthritis, frequent bladder infections, asthma, wheezing or coughing followed by vomiting, heart palpitations, itchy soles of the feet, birth defect, infertility, preterm labor, type 1 diabetes in children, cancer, facial swelling around the eyes, lymphatic congestion, seizures, gluten intolerance or celiac like symptoms, anemia, and frequent or unexplained chronic illnesses. Children who pick their nose and/or itch their anus are especially likely to need a good spring cleaning!

“Some (parasites) consume your food, leaving you hungry after every meal and unable to gain weight. Others feed off of your red blood cells, causing anemia. Some lay eggs that can cause itching, irritability, and even insomnia. If you have tried countless approaches to heal your gut and relieve your symptoms without any success, a parasite could be the underlying cause for many of your unexplained and unresolved symptoms.”*

Steps to Eliminating or Preventing Invasion

Keep things moving!  Maintaining healthy bowel transit time is a huge aspect of keeping parasites at bay. The average American’s transit time, the amount of time it takes the food you consume to exit the body, is about 96 hours!  A normally healthy length of time for food to exit the body is generally thought to be about 12-24 hours, which moves out most parasites before they can get a foothold.    For instance,  the female Trichinella spiralis, a parasite commonly found in pork (even organic pork), can lay up to 10,000 eggs a day, and these spores have an incubation time to hatch of about about 36 hours.   Once hatched, these parasites begin to reproduce and take hold in the body, sometimes even migrating into bones & brain tissue.  Yes, this is a very unappetizing subject!

Some Natural Approaches: Daily use of probiotics – the “beneficial bacteria”, eating ‘live cultured food’, taking magnesium citrate supplement, or slippery elm bark can all naturally assist the body in maintaining a  healthier transit time.

Limit Sugar Intake  A little here, and a little there…it all adds up! Whether it’s organic sucanat (a healthier form of cane sugar), Wonder Bread (refined complex carbohydrate, which the body breaks down into sugar), delicious Yummy Earth Lollipops (the most amazing lollipops on the planet) or the dreaded high fructose corn syrup (one of the worst forms of sugar), sugar is sugar. Although some forms of sugar such as maple syrup, raw honey, and molasses have some benefits, they too need to be limited. Parasites, and other unwanted pathogens, such as bacteria, viruses, and mold/fungus thrive in a sugared body. It suppresses immune function, and creates pH imbalances that are hospitable for the proliferation of parasites. Not to mention, it fuels them as well – if you want them to leave, stop offering them a comfortable couch & three square meals a day (not to mention dessert)!

Don’t Get to Cozy with Pets – especially dogs! We all love our furry little (or big) friends, BUT.  Sleeping with, sharing blankets, or allowing your pets to lick your face, and failing to exercise  proper hygiene like washing your hands after handling or petting  are all easy ways to contract parasites.  Yes, even if you think your dog is ‘clean!’

Wash Your Produce – Taking the time to properly wash fresh produce can significantly minimize your exposure to food born bugs. Use diluted food grade hydrogen peroxide or Super Veggie Wash (both carried at yours truly Indigo Forest.)

Silica is a magnetic mineral referred to as the “surgeon without a knife”. Silica will either help the body expel (“push-out”) or dissolve, and breakdown unwanted masses, such as a splinter, tumors, or infections, or unwanted parasites. Used in a dilute form, know as a homeopathic, as well as building your actual silica stores in the body are both excellent ways of utilizing this minerals powerful properties.

How To Get Silica : Consume the skins of properly washed produce, shavegrass-horsetail (herbal tea), HSNW (herbal caps from Natures Sunshine Herbal), use diatomaceous earth*, a silica rich compound that chews up unwanted critters. Potentiate your bodies use of silica by taking the cell salt silica 6x, or high potency homeopathic.

*Always use food grade Diatomaceous earth, and be cautious not to inhale it, if inhaled it can cause great harm to the lungs. Also, some studies suggest that people whom suffer from kidneys disease may want to avoid excessive amounts of silica in this form. In the case of Kidney disease, cell salt silica 6x may be your best option.

Black Walnut Hulls Extract/Capsules Black walnut hulls are a general anti-parasitic remedy, especially for parasitic worms. They also support thyroid function and the proper formation of tooth enamel. If you are pregnant or nursing consult a trained Herbalist.

How To: Use Black Walnut Extract or capsules through Natures Sunshine. Follow directions for dosage.

Di-gize Essential Oil Blend with Clove Essential Oil   Di-gize is a lovely blend used for digestive complaints that range from heartburn/acid reflux, to constipation, diarrhea, gas, colic, and intestinal parasites. Clove essential oil has been used historically for diarrhea, intestinal parasites, and helps ease toothaches. If you are pregnant or nursing consult a trained Aromatherapist.

How To: Dilute oils with a base of almond, grape seed, or coconut oil. Oils can be layer on the bottoms of the feet, or over the belly. Per drop of essential oil, use about a nickel size amount of base oil or more depending on sensitivity. Apply Di-gize, then layer or clove (DILUTE). In-general, use 1 drop of essential oil per 70 pounds of weight.

Herbal Pumpkin by Nature’s Sunshine Great for getting rid of intestinal worms.

Symptoms Specific Homeopathic and Isopathics Homeopathics are a great tool. They can complement herbal therapies, to expedite the process of eradicating parasites, as well as alleviating uncomfortable symptoms. Because homeopathics are symptom specific, you will need to find the one that fits your situation best – search online, stop in at Indigo Forest to use on of our references, or purchase a homeopathic book, we’re glad to help you learn.

Homeopathics often indicated for parasitic conditions: Cina, Sabadilla, Nat Phos, Podophyllum, Indigo, Cuprum oxidatum nigrum, Spigelia, Stanum, Filix mas, Santoninum, Teucrium, and Chelone glabra.


*This is not intended to diagnosis, treat, cure, or prevent a disease. We are not doctors.  Please use common sense, and seek professional help If you have a medical issue.



Healthy Living, Naturopathy, Remedies & Supplements, The Knowledge Nook

Which cell salt should you be taking right now?

April 10, 2014

Kali Mur – Potassium Chloride

May 22 – June 21*

Cell Salts are diluted mineral combinations know as homeopathics. There are 12 individual combinations. These combinations help the body use and uptake the specific mineral that the cell salt is made from. Each cell salt has very specific functions, and strengthens entire body systems as well.

“The “ Homeopathic” system of the Cell Salt remedies was developed by Dr.Schuessler a German doctor in the late 1880’s. He analyzed the ash residue of human cells and found 12 inorganic mineral salts. He theorized that these 12 elements are critical to balancing cellular activity and health and made 12 homeopathic remedies in low potency in order to be assimilated rapidly and easily.”*

Wether a person is on and excellent nutrient dense diet, or a pretty average diet, cell salts can be taken to maximize mineral absorption.  They are great for addressing the underlying cause of “dis-ease”*.  Cell salts help to strengthen the mineral terrain of the body, which in turn helps minimize ones vulnerability to unwanted invasions (viruses, bacteria, fungus). In some cases, they are employed to help quicken recovery in persons whom have suffered a rapid or severe blood loss (calc phos & ferrum phos). “Failure to thrive” infants may benefit from the cell salts silica and calc phos. Cell salts are one of the safest remedies on the market. There are no side effects or interactions associated with cell salts. They can be taken along with other dietary supplements, in including herbs, vitamins, minerals, and medications. Cell salts are appropriate for all ages, from infants, to the elderly – everyone benefits!* Read bellow for more reasons to take nat sulph cell salt!



The aspects of the body that are influenced by kali mur, include, the lungs, shoulders, arms, hands, fingers, & nerves.

  • Use to treat severe inflammation from chronic illnesses
  • Use for burns, including sunburns
  • It is “essential for the formation of fibrin, which is found in every tissue and organ except bone”
  • Kali mur is the chief salt used when the eustachian tubes become blocked


Physical symptoms that may be present if there is a deficiency, include; sore throat, the common cold, congestion of the bronchial tubes, chicken pox, measles, constipation,  and sluggish liver.

Emotional indications that may be present if there is a deficiency include; worry, nervousness, hyperactivity, excessive chatter, inattentiveness, and indecision.




* Note that cell salts are effective regardless of the time of year. Though, when they are taken according to their traditional cycle, they hold more potential.

*This is not intended to diagnosis, treat, cure, or prevent a disease. If you have a medical issue seek professional help. As with all dietary supplements, and diets, talk to your Dr. before starting.

Healthy Living, Naturopathy, Remedies & Supplements, The Knowledge Nook

Spring Cleaning: Time to cleanse your gallbladder!

April 8, 2014

Feeling a bit sluggish or irritable? Having a hard time crawling out of bed in the morning? You might just be in need of a little spring cleaning – and by “you”, we mean “YOU”. Springtime is a time of year when the body will naturally make an effort to cleanse itself. We can help that process by a few dietary changes, a supplement or two, and some fresh squeezed lemon juice. An ideal cleanse for this particular time of year is a gallbladder cleanse*.  Once the gallbladder is flushed out (this includes the elimination of gallbladder stones), then the liver and other organs in the body feel free to release toxins as well.

The gallbladder is a small organ that sits directly under the liver, on the right side of the body. It aids in the digestion of fats, and stores and releases bile. The release of bile into the digestive track helps to simulate peristaltic action – the process that helps the body move waste through bowels for excretion. This is also how the gallbladder helps the liver with the removal of toxins from the body (when the bile isn’t flowing freely, toxins get “stuck” in the body!). Bile is made of several substances including cholesterol, lecithin, and bile salts (minerals).

Stress, unprocessed emotions, environmental toxins, poor dietary choices, a lack of healthy fats, a lack of food based sodium (from fruits and vegetables, and real unrefined sea salt) and an overload of unhealthy fats, as well as certain mineral deficiencies, can contribute to  gallbladder stagnation, and  the creation gallbladder stones.

The following symptoms may indicate that your gallbladder is in need of a cleanse:

  • Feeling sluggish in the morning
  • Emotional symptoms, include feelings of anger, irritability,  resentment, bitterness, or an excessive need to control situations
  • Nausea, chronic indigestion and vomiting
  • Back pain between your shoulder blades
  • Pain in your right shoulde Emotion 

Thirty Day Gallbladder Cleanse

For Days 1 – 28 

  •  Nature’s Sunshine Hydrangea Capsules: 8 – 10 per day, divided between meals. Hydrangea helps to soften gall bladder stones.
  •  Nature’s Sunshine Gall Bladder Formula: For best absorption, open four capsules and steep contents in 8 oz of water. Repeat up to four times daily. Gall Bladder Formula helps  to increase bile flow.
  • Organic Apple Juice: 2 cups daily. 
  • Dietary Guidance Consume high amounts of fruits, fresh squeezed lemon, grapefruit juice, celery juice, vegetables, and homemade broths, or stocks. Consume moderate amounts of chicken, eggs, and dairy.  Avoid high fats foods, beef, pork, and  starches such as grains and potatoes. 

Day 29

  • Consume only Applesauce, pears, prunes, figs, pear juice, and herbal Teas.
  • Consume 5-8 cup of organic apple juice. 
  • If you suffer from low blood sugar, consume moderate amounts of protein. 

Day 30 

  • Consume only Applesauce, pears, prunes, figs, pear juice, and herbal Teas.
  • Consume 5-8 cup of organic apple juice.
  • If you suffer from low blood sugar, consume moderate amounts of protein.
  • Stop eating around 3:00 PM.
  • Nature’s Sunshine Magnesium Complex: Take 5 – 10 capsules at 6:00 PM & at 8:00 PM.
  • Take the following mixture between 9:30 PM and 10:00 PM, then go to bed. Lie on your right side and go to sleep. Mixture: blend together 4 oz each of the following: fresh squeezed lemon juice, organic virgin olive oil, and either pineapple juice, or grapefruit juice. 
  • Typically people wake at about 3 – 4 am and experience loose stools. Some people may pass gallstones (they look like little green peas), this would happen usually within a 12-24 hours, possibly sooner. Stay close to a bathroom. If nothing happens, you may want to consider an enema.   

Maintaining a Healthy Gallbladder (Great for Liver Support as well!) 

  • Avoid rancid oils: this includes most vegetables oils, chips cooked in oils, high heat fried foods, etc.
  • Curcumin  (an active component turmeric)  900 – 1100 mg daily. Curcumin will increase the solubility of your bile, choose a product standardized for curcuminoid content, such as Nature’s Sunshine Curcumin.
  • Consume foods high in vegetable sodium (not refined table salt!).
  • Beets, dandelion greens, endive, yellow dock, and burdock all support healthy gallbladder and liver function.
  • Hi-Lipase by Nature’s Sunshine can be taken with meals to help breakdown fats.
  • Stored or unprocessed emotions can cause stagnation (blocks) within the body. These emotions are often times the root cause of certain physical ailments. Supporting the release of these emotions can significantly benefit the organs effected by the stagnation (blocks). Nature’s Sunshine Release It Flower Essence Combination: This flower essence can support processing of emotions that disrupt the gallbladder (and liver, the two go hand in hand). These emotions may include suppressed anger, bitterness, depression. 




*This is not intended to diagnosis, treat, cure, or prevent a disease. If you have a medical issue seek professional help. This cleanse is not ideal for breastfeeding mothers, pregnant women, or people whom suffer from high blood sugar. As with all supplements, and diets, talk to your Dr. before starting.

Having Babies, Naturopathy, Nursing Support, Remedies & Supplements, The Knowledge Nook

The Bane of Thrush & Yeast Infections

October 26, 2013

Many mothers & babies struggle with yeast or thrush infections after birth.  It’s much more common now than even in the last decade, due in large part to the routine use of antibiotics at birth for the approximate 30% of pregnant women who test positive when cultured for Group Beta Strep.  While not usually a ‘serious’ problem, it can cause a very serious level of discomfort & pain for mothers/babies (as well as disrupting the infants digestion over the long term), even eroding a mama’s determination to breastfeed.  Prevention is a worthy goal, aided by passionately avoiding all antibiotics as much as possible, avoiding antibiotic soaps (which wipe out the good guys too) and including ‘live cultured food’ and restorative probiotics in one’s diet.  Here’s some more information if you find yourself wondering if you may have yeast/thrush….

Candida Albicana is commonly called yeast.  The problem arises when there is an overgrowth in the vagina (yeast infection), or when there is an overgrowth of yeast on the nipples, in the baby’s mouth or diaper area (all of which are called ‘thrush’). The body strives to maintain a delicate balance of appropriate “good” bacteria to help counter the overgrowth of the “bad”, thrush is a sign of imbalance.

Sometimes referred to as a fungus, yeast/thrush is an opportunist microbe, which reproduces rapidly & thrives in moist dark places.  And as you might guess, it’s highly contagious, and requires scrupulous hygiene to limit its spread.

You’re at greater risk for thrush if you:

  1. Have a history of yeast infections
  2. Have had antibiotics (yes, ever)
  3. Had an IV in the hospital which may have included antibiotics (I.e. Surgery)
  4. Wear wet nursing pads
  5. Take medications

Women are more at risk for thrush during times of illness, stress and times of hormonal changes such as during menstruation or pregnancy.

What to watch for – things that MAY indicate thrush in Mom: 

  1. Onset of intense nipple pain after a period of comfortable nursing
  2. Itchy or burning nipples, which MAY appear pink, red or shiny
  3. Cracked nipples that will not heal

What to watch for – things that MAY indicate thrush in Baby:

  1. White patches in the baby’s mouth that don’t wipe off, or if they do they are red or bleed underneath
  2. Diaper rash
  3. Baby’s mouth is sore, as possibly indicated by pulling off the breast or a clicking sound during nursing
  4. Gassiness or fussiness

It is possible for both mother and baby to have no visible symptoms.

Simple Solutions:

  1. Expose nipples to light and air.
  2. Change pH by rinsing nipples with a 20% vinegar solution (after nursing is a good time to apply it, as although it’s not harmful the baby would not like the taste.)
  3. Kill yeast by washing ALL items that come in contact with the yeast (breasts, milk, infant clothes and spit-up rags) in water over 122 degrees F  (‘hot wash’ generally does it) or hang wash to dry in the sun.  Set nursing pillow in sun for 20 minutes; UV light is your friend, not yeast’s.
  4. Reduce or eliminate consumption of sugar, coffee, black tea and dairy products.  Some also would increase consumption of ‘live cultured foods’, which include yogurt (organic brands, NOT sugary dessert versions), miso broth, real sauerkraut, feta cheese, raw cider etc.
  5. Increase use of coconut oil in diet, which has antiviral, antimicrobial and antifungal properties due to it’s lauric & caprylic acid.   Studies have found it kills off excess yeast & fungal overgrowths in the body, and balances beneficial flora in the gut while targeting harmful bacteria.

Critical Care:

  1. Acidophilus/Probiotic Supplements – highest (and most effective) quality will normally be found in the refrigerated section, and often cost $25-$45/bottle.  Look also for infant specific strains to give the baby directly (sprinkled on your nipple before nursing or to suck off your finger).

“Work up to 3 capsules 3 times daily for at least 2 weeks AFTER symptoms are gone.”  (Hafner-Eaton, 1997).

Many mothers seem to need an extraordinary level, even as much as 12-14 caps/day for a couple of weeks, including at least 5 days longer than the symptoms, to overcome thrush.  The more persistent the case, the longer passed the symptoms one might take the probiotics (reduced level) as a preventative against ‘relapse.’
(Beth Barbeau, Indigo Forest Owner/Midwife)

  1. Liddell’s ‘Candida Yeast’ Homeopathic liquid tincture, take according to directions.
  2. Homeopathic pellets – Borax 12c or 30x, take according to directions.
  3. Motherlove Thrush and Diaper Cream.   This can be safely used on both mom (nipples) & baby (bottom rash).   Use a fresh, clean finger each time, so as not to contaminate the bottle.  Don’t use lanolin-based creams if they are not thrush specific – they can make it worse.
  4. Fresh Breast pads – cotton (wash hot), disposable (change frequently), or soft natural wool (helps heal cracked nipples and can be put in the sun for 20 minutes of UV to kill any lingering yeast.)
  5. Essential oils – specific to your symptoms, often includes oregano oil.

Support for the tough times:

Ann Arbor’s original “Nursing Café” most Wednesday afternoons, 2-3pm, @ Indigo Forest, no charge.

La Leche League, free weekly support groups in many areas.  Breastfeeding help & meeting locations are available 24 hours/day at 1-877-LALECHE (452-5324).