I'm back with another installment of Whole New Mom Answers Your Questions.
I so love hearing all of your thoughts and questions. I feel honestly inadequate to answer them sometimes, but I will for sure do my best.
And I hope that all of you super sharp readers will chime in with more information on all of the great questions that were asked…
So…..here goes with your great questions from this week!
This post may contain affiliate links from which I will earn a commission.
Question: How to Save Money on Special Diets?
I'm new to being gluten/grain-free (among other dietary restrictions), so I'm still suffering from a major case of sticker shock for the cost of gluten/grain (dairy, corn, potato & peanut) free foods. I've tried to find this out on my own, but have had no luck so far. In my local stores, the gluten-free (etc.) foods are at least double (and sometimes a lot more) the price the regular foods are. Why are these foods so expensive? I am on a very restricted budget. With the cost of medication plus these foods, I'm having to choose: do I want to feel better (with the GF foods) or save a little, buy the regular food and be able to afford my medication? This is not a choice I should have to make! I'm sorry to ramble, but I'm just so frustrated. Whenever I've contacted the manufacturers, I'm stonewalled as to the reason behind their prices. The most they'll do is give me a coupon; a nice gesture, but not helpful in the long term..
Well, Emily, I've been at this special diet thing for a long time, so I first want to encourage you that it is a process–learning how and where to shop. But I will give you some of my favorite places to buy foods and my favorite tips.
1. BULK, BULK, BULK. I buy almost everything in bulk. And I don't mean just Costco bulk (which actually doesn't always save money anyway).
I buy dried beans, sweeteners, oils, grains, and even meats and produce in bulk.
You should really take a look at my post on Frugal Pantry Storage Tips. I wrote this early on in my blogging days (not that long ago, really), and it has quite a few of the tips that I use all the time to save money on food.
2. ALL WHOLE FOODS / DIY EVERYTHING (or as much as you can)
I buy almost no processed foods. We make our own almost everything. That way you can really save money and all you are buying is raw ingredients. Do this in steps. Go after the highest priced items and start making them yourself. You'll be amazed at how much you will save.
How about making your own:
Homemade Spice Mixes like:
- Mild Curry
- Taco Seasoning
- All Purpose Seasoning / Vegetable Broth Mix (great on popcorn)
- Pumpkin Pie Spice
Homemade Salad Dressing (this one is really great!!)
3. Get good online sources.
I almost never go to the grocery store anymore. Now, I'd like to support local businesses more –and I do. I buy local eggs and meats most of the time. And we have a garden. But I can't handle the prices of the specialty foods I want locally. So I pick and choose what I do.
Some of my favorite places to shop are:
Green Polka Dot Box – I am ordering from them monthly. BPA free organic canned tomatoes, organic brown rice, sesame oil, coconut flour, organic tomato paste. Those are just some of the products that I love from there. You can get a FREE 30 DAY MEMBERSHIP to check them out. And they have organic produce shipping to the West Coast now. The rest of the country should follow soon. I'll see if I can do another membership giveaway soon with them. It's been a big help here.
Update 12/16: I no longer recommend this company.
– Country Life Natural Foods – A good non profit co op that has free delivery to my door for orders over $400. I'll have to write a post on how to get something like this going. I've been ordering from them for about 12 years now.
I hope that helps get you going on a better food budget!
Vaccines and Autism / ADD
I think your sequel poses (she is referring to my post on Did Vaccines Cause My Son's Autism – Part Two) a bit of a conundrum for some. Okay, I have a serious question: Have the ingredients in vaccines changed dramatically since we were kids? I ask this because 1. I don't know the answer, and 2. This seems to be the most dramatic rise in autism diagnoses second, probably only to ADD. Was I just blissfully oblivious to what seemed rare so many years ago?
So, if the ingredients HAVEN'T changed, why the sudden increase? I'm definitely against injecting heavy metals into anyone's body, but have only learned of this over the past year or so, so I don't know if this was the case when I was a child. When our CF specialist asked if my son was up to date on his vaccines, I honestly didn't know because I've been afraid to get him any more. Not because of the idea of vaccines, but because of what I've learned they're putting into them!
We trust our doctors enough to let them make our decisions for us. I've known people who are put on some drug for whatever, and I'll ask them what they're taking, and they don't know! “Forewarned is forearmed.” While I would never tell a parent not to vaccinate their child because I think it should be a personal, informed decision, I would encourage them to do as you had-wait. Arm yourself with the pros and cons, observe your child, talk to a real expert about what detrimental effect it could have on your particular child, and inform your school of your decision if you choose not to so they don't “inadvertently bring your child up to date.”
On another note, should you decide to not vaccinate your child, remember that Rubella (German measles) can be fatal or cause severe birth defects in unborn babies, so keep your child away from pregnant women if they develop a rash. Just saying.
From what I understand, vaccine ingredients have been possibly cleaned up a bit, but they still contain adjuvants that are a problem. There is still mercury in the flu vaccine and there is aluminum in them too. Here is a great article on aluminum and mercury being used together in vaccines. If you read my post, Could You Have Heavy Metal Poisoning and Not Know It? – Part One, then you can see what metals can do to you. I personally am excreting a lot of aluminum now and it isn't fun.
I don't think you were oblivious to any great autism and ADD prevalence in years past.
I don't think it was there.
I think what we have here is a Perfect Storm for conditions like autism, ADD, allergies, and immune disorders. We have:
1. A Messed Up Food System – a diet that consists mostly of processed “non food” items, laden with sugar, white flour, additives, artificial colors (did you know that some are heavy metal based?), artificial flavors and preservatives. In my opinion, it's a wonder that more people aren't sick.
2. A Toxic Environment – our environment is more toxic than it was years ago. I am for developing economies, but we must clean up the countries at the same time. Truth be told, it takes money to clean up the world. I just think we need to be responsible and encourage companies to be responsible as well. And families. We have very little waste in our home. I try not to be obsessive about it but I used cloth diapers, very little packaged food, we drive less than 9,000 miles per year, we wear clothes several times before washing, if possible, we keep our home comfortable without being excessive. And we recently found a local recycling center that even takes bizarre items like styrofoam and used toothpaste tubes. Yippee!
Everything you can do to help keep our environment clean is a good thing–within reason.
3. Congenital Issues Being Passed Down Through Generations – When mom is sick, baby isn't born well. I think this all started with processed foods and adding junk to our bodies and our environments. The first generations to eat “non food” as I call it did OK because they were strong physically and didn't have to deal with all of the toxins on top of it.
However, several generations later, we have accumulated toxins in our bodies and in our environment and now we have a real mess on our hands. I read about this concept in Natasha Campbell McBride's Book, Gut and Psychology Syndrome. I am not totally sure that I will be following her dietary recommendations yet, but the GAPS diet included in this book is all the rage in whole food and food allergy circles. You should really check it out if you haven't already.
I thought back on my family and saw how we've gotten sicker and sicker as the generations went on. I suspect the autism numbers will only keep climbing until we start getting really serious about changing how we eat and how we live.
Thanks for the info on Rubella. I appreciate it!
What is the Best Probiotic?
Question from Michelle:
I've been reading your blog and awhile and finally commented on your 2nd vaccine post recently (4 year old girl with tip toe walking, high needs, allergies, sensory issues, hair pulling/eating). I read back through your natural treatment for Autism post and comments and had a couple question about probiotics. I'd love to know what brands you use or if you have several to reccomend. We've all taken a variety from our local compounding pharmacy and from the health food store, brands like Garden of Life or Nature's Way. I have no idea if they are working or not. It seems like so many real food bloggers reccomend bio kult but its so pricey and since it's linked to their resource page I just don't know if it's really worth it (since they make money from me buying it). Do you have any thoughts? Have you tried bio-kult?
The nutritional balancing stuff (NOTE: see my post on Adrenal Fatigue to see the link to more info about this with Theresa Vernon) is interesting! I did some bio meridian testing awhile back and thought that was helpful. I was considering doing it with my daugther but maybe I'll look into nutrional balancing instead! And I think we will try GF and see what that does. I'm hesistant to give up milk, she drinks raw milk and I saw some positive changes after we switched to raw milk.
Michelle, I have been struggling about the issue of probiotics for a long time now. I am not completely sure that I have sorted it all out, but I will share what I am using now and what I am thinking about doing.
I used to just use whatever brand was the least expensive. But a number of years ago I contacted a Special Needs Coordinator at the Home School Legal Defense Fund and spoke with her about my son's autism and dietary and nutritional intervention. At that time, Dianne Craft told me that she had been working with special needs children for years and had found that three probiotics had had the best effect as far as she could tell.
Honestly, I don't recall one of the brands, but I do recall that it was quite expensive–too much for our budget :-)!
The second was another very expensive brand, called Natren. Here is a link to it on Amazon:
The third probiotic that she recommended was more within our budget's range. It is Primadophilus Bifidus.
It's very reasonable.
Here is a photo of it and a link to it on Amazon:
I currently use this brand for my children and my husband, while I am taking NOW Brand's Probiotic-10 50 Billion. Again, here is a link to it on Amazon, but it is available at Vitacost as well.:
Here is one of my very favorite products — Strata Flora.
Currently, I am taking Strata Flora from Life Enthusiast Co op daily and I LOVE it. The problem is that the company that makes it isn't doing well and might be going out of business soon. Maybe if you all call Life Enthusiast Co-op and tell them that you plan to buy it we can keep them in business :-)!
Please don't fall of your chair when you see the price of this stuff. It is AMAZING! And one bottle lasts me about 5 months (since I only take 1 tsp per day), so it turns out to be so reasonable for what I get from it. It is one of the only probiotics that I have taken where I see a for sure result.
And it's more than a probiotic. It also has ingredients that apparently fight parasites — and more. Um, this is probably “too much information”, but in the words of Martin Pytela, the owner of Life Enthusiast, “It will make you poop.” Enough said.
UPDATE 12/10: Finally, here is another high quality probiotic that I am currently checking out. I would be happy to talk with you about it if you are interested in it.
UPDATE: Check out The “Straight Poop” About Probiotics to read more about my experience with this product. It's been a very fascinating road!
This product is amazing. It has strains of bacteria that have been developed for 20+ years. The manufacturer has taken high quality probiotic strains and has subjected them to chlorine, stomach acid, and other “assaults”–and only the strongest strains have remained in final resulting product.
It is made completely of organic fermented food and believe me–it works.
One of my friends from church started using this after she developed some digestive disorders and a bad rash on her hand (apparently from candida). After taking this for just three days, I saw her again and couldn't believe the change in her complexion.
She had never had “problem skin” so to speak, but her glow was unmistakeable.
When I told her how great she looked, she responded, “That's so funny. Someone else just told me how good I look–and I am even sick!”
Again, I would be happy to talk about Miessence's InLiven, and any of their other products. I love them!
To answer your questions about Bio Kult and other bloggers making money, I have not taken that product. To me as well, it seemed to be too expensive. I am skeptical too about seeing what folks are recommending when they are making money by my purchasing it. That being said, I do make a small commission if you were to purchase on Amazon after linking from my site.
The whole foods bloggers whom you are referring to have different ways of making money on their sites but one of the ways they are making money is by a “pay per click” arrangement. Basically, they make money every time you click through from their site (though they may have another arrangement on top of that). I don't have any links like that at this time. I only make money (and I don't from every link on my blog) if a reader actually makes a purchase. And believe me, for the amount of time I put into this blog, I am not making a great hourly wage :).
Basically, the way that I blog is with integrity. I love recommending things to others that I like, and saying what I would stay away from as well. This way, I am able to do what I do normally, but I can reach a wider audience and get compensated for it as well :-). I will never recommend something that I don't want to use or don't love myself. And I will always be honest with you.
If I make a mistake and recommend something that I change my mind on later, I will do my best to inform you.
That being said, however, I am very busy and need to be careful with my health and I can't do everything. So a few things might fall through the cracks and I ask you to be patient with me.
Whew. That was a lot to cover today. I hope it helps you and I would love to hear what other thoughts you all have on Vaccines, ADD, Autism, Saving Money on Special Diet, and Probiotics. Let's all learn and share together!
If you have a question for me, email me at wholenewmom at gmail dot com and put “Whole New Mom Q&A” in the subject line so I see it right away!
I look forward to hearing from you!