Tuesday, October 12, 2010

To Get, or Not to Get the Flu Shot During Pregnancy?

There are two sides to every issue. How to make the right choice for you and your baby this flu season is very personal.
While Walgreens, Duane Reed and Rite Aid all have their big signs outside pushing the flu shots and the CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practice recommending the flu vaccination as well as many doctors, It is hard to decipher what to do and how to make the most educated decision on protecting yourself and your baby this flu season. However below are some facts that may help you decide?
Flu infection is rarely a threat during normal pregnancy.
There is no "convincing evidence" that the flu vaccination is effective during pregnancy.
Studies have not adequately assessed the risk of flu vaccination during pregnancy.
Thimerosalgarlic, a mercury-based preservative present in most flu vaccines, has been linked to neurodevelopmental disorders, including autism, in humans.
Thimerosal has been linked to a number of animal reproductive toxicities including teratogenicity, mutagenicity and fetal death.
For me as a mother and holistic Health counselor I always try to opt for the most natural approach and I tend not to put things in my body without knowing the origin….. To this extent, I avoided the flu shot while I was pregnant and recommend the same for my clients unless they work in a high-risk environment.
However, this does not mean I take the risk of the flu lightly.
Below are the precautions I recommend. Vitamin D, C, E and zinc are the big super star during flu seasons. Eat food that contain them as well as supplementing them. A person with a low vitamin levels is more vulnerable to contracting colds, influenza, and other respiratory infections.
Vitamin D is found in many dietary sources such as wild salmon, mushrooms, eggs, fortified organic milk, and cod liver oil. The sun also contributes to the daily production of vitamin D, and as little as 10 minutes of exposure is thought to be enough to prevent deficiencies. You can also take it as a supplementVitamin C is found in broccoli, strawberries, citrus fruits, green peppers, brussel sprouts, honeydew, and cantaloupe. Vitamin E is found nuts, seeds, and wheat germ. Zinc an important mineral is found in pumpkin seeds, dark chocolate, oysters ; (however not recommended when pregnant) garlic, sesame seeds, wheat germ, and grass fed red meat and nuts. Also make sure to get plenty of rest, wash your hands frequently and avoid processed foods, caffeine and sugar.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Coconut Covered Almond Balls

Makes roughly 45 balls

If you want to do something different at your next school bake sale, these are an excellent choice. They are easy to make and are delicious and nutritious. With such an easy recipe, these almond coconut balls are great to whip up in mass quantities!

1 1/4 cup old fashioned oats

1/2 cup almond butter/cashew peanut or sunflower butter)
1/2 cup honey

1/2 cup coconut flakes, unsweetened
1/8 cup goji berries or cacao chips or a mixture

1. Place the oats in a food processor or blender until finely ground.

2. Stir the butter and honey in a bowl until thoroughly combined.

3. Add the ground oats and continue to stir until thoroughly combined.

4. Using 1 teaspoon of the mixture at a time , roll into balls.

5. Place the coconut goji and or cacoa in a separate bowl or plate and roll the balls in the mixture to completely cover.

Grab and Go Mini Banana Muffin

Makes 12 muffins

1 cup of quinoa Flour

1/2 cup Wheat Germ
1/2 flaxseeds

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

4 medium ripe bananas

1/2 maple syrup

3 tablespoon coconut oil

1 tablespoon vanilla

1 large egg

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Combine flour, wheat germ, baking powder, baking soda, salt in a bowl.
3. In a standing mixer combine the bananas, maple syrup, oil, vanilla and egg. Beat until combined and bananas are mashed.
4. Gently mix in the dry ingredients
5. Grease or line mini muffin cups with the mixture.

6. Bake for 15 minutes.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Fall Pumpkin Chip cookies

With temperatures dropping and Halloween approaching these healthy , easy delicious cookies are the perfect for an afternoon snack with a cup of hot tea or warmed almond milk.

3/4 cups pumpkin puree (about 1/2 of 1 15-oz can)
8 ounces dates, finely chopped
3 tablespoons coconut oil
2 tablespoons maple syrup, grade B
2 cups rolled oats
2/3 cups finely ground almonds
1/3 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 t. sea salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup dark chocolate chips
1 teaspoon ground flax seeds

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
2. In a blender or food processor, combine the pumpkin puree, mejool dates, oil and maple syrup until creamy. Set aside.
3. In a medium-large mixing bowl, combine the rolled oats, ground almonds, coconut, cinnamon, flax seeds, sea salt and baking powder until well combined. Stir in the pumpkin mixture until combined. Fold in the dairy-fre chocolate chips.
4. Use a tablespoon to spoon dough into balls.
5. Bake on the top rack for about 13-15 minutes, or until the cookies are golden brown.
6. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Baked Mini Chicken Meatballs

For lunch my kids like anything mini; anything that they can eat with their fingers or can be served on a stick. These meat balls are nutritious, easy to make, they freeze well, and can be served hot or cold or with tomato sauce for dipping.

1 cup zucchini, chopped (about 1 zucchini)
1 cup carrots, chopped (about 2 carrots)
½ cup parsley, coarsely chopped
3 medium cloves garlic
¼ cup flour of choice/oatmeal
1 egg
1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon ground pepper

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a food processor, pulse together the zucchini, carrots, parsley and garlic.
3. Add flour, egg, and chicken.
4. Then add salt, pepper and and process until thoroughly combined.
5. Drop tablespoon sized balls of the chicken mixture onto a parchment lined baking sheet.
6. Bake meatballs for 20 to 25 minutes.
7. Ready to serve!