Severe Morning Sickness – Stinky Backyard Chickens – Probiotics that work – Chemotherapy Side Effects – Cloves for Tooth Abscess – Spinal Surgery Healing – Alternative for Antibiotics for Wheezing
I hope you're enjoying a fun and festive summer. I've been spending the past week hitting the beach and celebrating my daughter's fourth birthday with princesses and pompoms galore.
But alas, even this beach girl needs some work to stay happy and balanced. My inbox runneth over with questions from readers wondering – What would Emily do – about Real food and holistic health topics. I’ve created this Q&A to get your questions answered and for other folks to benefit from the answers too.
Who am I to know the answers to your questions?
I’m a holistic-minded mom, a sometimes beach bum, a real food foodie, a curious health researcher, and I’ve been practicing holistic and Chinese medicine for over a decade. That said, the answers here are only my opinion, and shouldn’t be construed as medical advice.
If you read something here and have your own wisdom or opinion to add, by all means, please leave a comment so we can all benefit from your experiences and perspective.
Okey dokey! Let’s dive in…
Question 1: Severe Morning Sickness
Hi Emily – I know you are a licensed acupuncturist and a proponent of homeopathy. I was hoping you might have some advice or guidance on how to handle severe nausea and vomiting in pregnancy /hyperemesis gravidarum. I'm currently seeing my allopathic doctor and using prescriptions that are not working well. Does acupuncture have a good record with helping to alleviate these symptoms?
Hi Emalee. I've worked with pregnant women experiencing everything from mild nausea to severe vomiting that requires hospitalization. In my experience acupuncture is a great tool for helping to take the edge off for morning sickness symptoms.
And you may find this post interesting too: Can you really prevent morning sickness?
Question 2: Stinky backyard chickens
Amy Lou needs advice…
Any suggestions to keeping chickens from smelling? The neighbor said our chickens smell. I don't want to have a smelly yard.
Hi Amy Lou! While I love me some home-grown, pasture-raised chicken and eggs, I am not a chicken owner myself. So, I called up my friend Sophie. She says, if you can't get new neighbors, try cleaning out chicken poo from under perches every morning.
You can read more about backyard chickens from Sophie in this post.
Question 3: Probiotics that work
Jade wants to know…
Hi Emily, I am looking for a really good probiotic for my 3 girls ages 7, 4 and 2 years. I have given them the kids Garden of Life probiotic and it didn't keep them from getting sick over the winter. Also, I just gave them an antibiotic because they all had ear infections and were completely miserable, it was my last resort.
Thanks for your questions, Jade. Lately I've been loving BioKult which is a shelf-stable probiotic. You can get it here.
I don't find that probiotics alone are enough to prevent cold and flu over the winter. You can read my approach to cold and flu prevention here, and, in the future, if you're interested in trying natural remedies for ear infections, read this.
Question 4: Side effects of chemotherapy
Looking for advice for dealing with chemo. My 67-yr mother was diagnosed with Stage 3 breast cancer. She had a (single) mastectomy. She has gone paleo and eliminated sugar, grains, and (for the time) most dairy except occasional raw. She is getting daily vitamin D. She exercises. After MUCH research, she has decided to do an “abbreviated” chemo treatment. I'm not looking to debate the chemo, but what can she do to lessen side effects and be as healthy as possible during this?
Hi Mary. It sounds like she's doing great with diet and lifestyle – make sure to do plenty of bone broth for digestive and overall health. Learn how to make bone broth here. She should not take on any immune support supplements during treatment as it may work against the chemo, however acupuncture may help with the side effects.
Question 5: Treating tooth abscess with cloves?
I need help. I have an abscess in my mouth. I have been placing cloves in my mouth for 24 hours, not getting better. Any help would be appreciated. Thank you!
Hi Susan – Clove can be helpful in temporarily numbing the pain and reduce infection – I would use clove essential oil and apply it directly to the infected area. Ramiel Nagel, author of a super awesome book called Cure Tooth Decay recommends a few other remedies including: rinsing and gargling with warm salt water, applying goldenseal powder, oil pulling, and/or working with a Chinese herbalist.
If you haven't already, I highly recommend that you read Cure Tooth Decay.
Question 6: Healing from spinal surgery for 3 year old
My 3 1/2 year old son had spinal surgery a few weeks ago. For six weeks prior to surgery we had to pump him full of antibiotics to try to kill off the infection that was inside his spinal column (terrifying, yes)… he got high doses FIVE times a day via PICC line…woah, I know. Surgery went fabulous, he's doing awesome…until he got C.diff almost two weeks ago. C.diff is pretty serious stuff. He was prescribed yet another antibiotic (three times a day for two weeks). He's back to doing awesome again, as the symptoms of c.diff have chilled out.
Here's my question: what sort of plan of attack might you suggest for getting his gut health back on track???
(Here's a slightly unrelated side note: I'm a totally natural health supportin' mama…but when it comes to an infection that's threatening my kid's central nervous system I was not about to argue against antibiotics.)
Hi Malissa – Thanks for your question. If you haven't already, I would start a high potency probiotic for your son like this one. Make sure to include plenty of probiotic-rich foods, which you can read about here.
Next, I would take on gelatin as a religion: bone broth, jello, and put it in everything – both to heal his gut and for bone health and healing. If you don't already, learn how to make bone broth here, and you should definitely grab a copy The Gelatin Secret that will help you to understand all the whys and hows of gelatin. This is the gelatin that I use.
Finally, focus on food as medicine – meaning his diet should be focused on deeply nourishing him following real food principles that I discuss here.
Question 7: Alternative to antibiotics for wheezing
Becky is looking for alternatives…
Classic case of taking daughter to the doctor, listened to her breathing, heard some wheezing, prescribed Azithromycin, no x-rays, nothing. Heck, no clue what she even HAS…pretty much just was rushed out of there. I read up on it and it is a scary drug! She is 11. Looking into a much better option. Hubs is not seeing an issue… I need to have a healthier option.
Hi Becky – I understand your frustration. It is a good idea to have a health professional listen to your child's lungs with a stethoscope if she is having a difficult time breathing, but unless it's an emergency, there are effective, safe treatments that are also less intense on the body than antibiotics.
I'd recommend working with a holistic practitioner whom you can turn to for alternative treatments when faced with situations like this.
In my practice, I would probably treat your daughter with Chinese herbs to stop wheezing, resolve the phlegm and strengthen her lungs and immune system plus some supplements for general immune support such as the ones in this post.
Got questions about real food or holistic health and wondering W.W.E.D.?
If you have a question for me, please first use the handy dandy search bar at the top righthand corner of this site. If that doesn’t give you the answers you need, email [questions at holisticsquid dot com].
I can’t guarantee that I will get to every single question, but I will do my best (with a priority for questions that will serve the most of the Holistic Squid community).
Also, keep in mind that I cannot and will not give you medical advice over the internet. It’s inappropriate and unethical. If you want my medical opinion about a health or nutritional issue for you or your child, I take virtual patient consultations on a limited basis via phone or Skype; You can find out more about my distance consultations here.
Got answers not included here?
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