Birth Control Pills and Breastfeeding – Gluten Free Diet Making Her Sick? – Homeschooling a Grade Schooler – Health Issues from Living in a Basement – Eczema with Raw Milk – Toddler with Low Iron – Cure for Tinea Vericolor
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: Birth control pills and breastfeeding
Kirsten wants to know…
I am currently breastfeeding my 6 month old baby and I am worried that the hormones in the pill will affect her. I have read on many websites that the progestin only mini pill is safe to use, however I'd like to get some information from a holistic point of view.
Thanks for your question, Kristen. I have a much more extensive post on birth control coming soon, but in the meantime, it's my opinion that any hormonal birth control is not a great idea during nursing.
Aside from possibly passing those hormones along to baby, hormone birth control can reduce milk supply, disrupt healthy gut flora, and inhibit nutrient absorption – all things you don't want for yourself while your body is working to nourish another little human.
The postpartum time period is such a delicate time for your readjusting hormones, introducing an outside disruptive factor is asking for trouble. As far as alternatives, I would vote for withdrawal method, condoms, and/or the copper IUD – with the latter only if you don't have a history of painful periods.
Question 2: Gluten free diet making her sick?
I started eating gluten free about 2 months ago. I do not have celiac disease, or any overtly obvious issues with gluten, but wanted to see how I felt going off of it after reading and listening to the many benefits of a gluten/grain free diet. I felt fine for about the first 3 weeks. After that I began getting very bloated/gassy/crampy feeling and my stomach was visibly bloated. I have been contemplating going back to my regular diet to remediate my stomach issues.
Have you ever heard of these issues on a gluten-free diet? Any ideas what I can do to correct it? My thought was that maybe I am not getting enough fiber and I am eating too much protein.
Hi Meg – Personally I found that with a grain-free diet I was eating WAY more nuts that I ever had and especially almonds were creating digestive upset like you describe. Also, with significantly less starchy carbs in my diet, I lost my appetite often and felt nauseous. These days I eat wheat (mostly soured or sprouted, but sometime white – gasp!) and white rice often, and I feel great.
Without knowing specifically what you're eating, it's difficult to say why a gluten-free diet is not working for your body at this time. If you have eliminated all grains, you may want to try adding some simple white rice back in to see if more carbs help. Also, any unusual foods (nuts, gluten free flours, etc) that you may have started eating in larger quantities should be considered for sensitivities.
While many folks are helped greatly by eliminating gluten, I don't think gluten itself is the evil that many believe it to be. If you listen closely enough to your body, you'll hear what your body needs and what's not working for you.
Question 3: Homeschooling a grade schooler
I am not convinced that public school is the route we want to go. What program are you using for homeschooling a grade schooler?
Hi Holly – Our first year of homeschooling has definitely been an adventure! I've really enjoyed organizing the curriculum, and I've loosely based it from the guidelines and recommendation in The Well Trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer.
Here are some of the texts/curricula that we are using and really love…
Math: Singapore math
Reading: The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading – and – First Language Lessons for the Well Trained Mind
Writing: The Complete Writer: Level 1 Workbook for Writing with Ease
Science: Real Science 4 Kids Biology Level I
History: The Story of the World: History for the Classical Child
Spanish: Song School Spanish – Student Book
Question 4: Health issues living in a basement
Tiffany is wondering…
I will be moving into my mother's newly renovated basement soon but I am worrying about a few things…
I've read about radon and it worries me that there is a greater risk of exposure to higher levels of radon when compared to living on or above ground level. Should I have it radon tested?
I spend lots of time at home. Do you think that a lack of natural light can affect health in any way? Should start vit D supplements once I move lived in?
Hi Tiffany – I understand your concerns. Since radon levels are higher below ground, you could certainly test for radon – hopefully to put your mind at ease, and otherwise you can take measures to reduce exposure (filters, etc) and taking extra antioxidants – such as this glutathione – to protect against health risks of radon. As for vitamin D, you don't really get any significant sun while indoors and above ground, so I would just make sure to get plenty of outdoor time, just as you should living in the top part of a building.
Question 5: Eczema with raw milk
Jessica is curious…
I'm curious to see how many cows milk drinkers still have eczema issues with raw milk. My toddler got eczema like pimples from pasteurized milk last year and this year we are trying again, but with raw milk. A week has passed and the same type of pimples are popping up. Thankfully, they don't bother her and aren't inflamed. It kills me thinking about her not being able to get the benefits from the milk … She can eat pasteurized cheese and yogurts without this reaction (we have cut these out a few months ago though). Will it eventually it clear up?
Hi Jessica – I had a very similar experience with my children and raw milk. Despite the known health benefits, I would stop all dairy for now, wait six months or so and then slowly try reintroducing grass-fed dairy products, starting first with ghee, then butter, then cultured dairy like yogurt and kefir, then cheese, then raw milk and cream.
While the reaction may not be that severe, the pimples are her body's way of saying it's too much for her to process at this time. By giving her gut a chance to heal and mature with less foods causing inflammation, there's a much greater chance she'll tolerate dairy soon.
Question 6: Low Iron in toddler not improving
Amy Lee asks…
Question about my 21 month old's low iron levels: After over 6 months of supplementing and adding lots of iron rich foods to his diet, it won't budge. We started an elimination diet, starting with gluten, then dairy, thinking there may be an intolerance contributing to poor gut health. We haven't seen much difference, in fact his poor sleep issues have gotten worse, with him waking every hour or two thrashing around and fussing. He also has alternating diarrhea and constipation, and undigested oats, corn and quinoa in his stool. Is this an issue of phytic acid? What am I missing here?
Thanks for your question, Amy Lee. Without knowing your son's case in more detail, it's difficult to say for sure. How low is his level? Which iron rich foods are you adding, how much, and how often? Is he eating liver regularly? Are you including vitamin C-rich foods to help absorption?
If you haven't already, you might try floradix, a natural and non-constipating iron supplement.
Fiber can certainly reduce absorption, so I would eliminate the oats, corn, and quinoa for now. I would also suggest working with an alternative healthcare practitioner to address the underlying digestive issues. Specifically, Chinese herbs to help strengthen his digestion should also help improve absorption.
Question 7: Cure for tinea versicolor
I am wondering if you know any remedies for curing tinea versicolor? It is a hideous rash and I've had it off and on since I was a teenager, argh! I've seen a doctor and they prescribed a nasty smelling shampoo that has NOT worked for me. I'm getting married soon and really don't want this rash.
Hi Amber – I understand your frustration. Tinea versicolor can be a stubborn skin condition to heal – largely because treatments focus on killing the fungus from the surface of the skin. However, as with any skin condition, it's important to address any internal imbalances that may be making your skin a friendly host for the fungus. This usually involves digestive health.
When addressing most conditions from a holistic perspective, the rule of thumb is: For every year you've had a condition it takes a month to treat. While this is not a hard, fast rule, it will give you a general idea of what to expect for a course of treatment.
Most folks that I've know with tinea versicolor have either opted for the antifungal treatments or just ignored it and hoped it would go away.
For a compromise, I might try a course of treatment with colloidal silver – both internally and topically – learn why and which colloidal silver can be safe in this post. Because the silver ions kill since cell organisms, it is important to pair this with probiotic supplementation and a no-junk, nutrient-dense diet rich is healthy fats. Do you have a real food lifestyle? Find out here.
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