How to Eat? Vegan? Vegetarian? Omnivore?

healthyQuestion:

Hi Amy,

I am curious what your general philosophy is surrounding food/diet. Do you view humans as evolving towards a “kinder” diet (vegan) or do you see humans as needing the bodies and products of animals? At this point in my life (I am almost 50), I find myself utterly confused and wearied by the conflicting views and beliefs about food. I get completely overwhelmed by all the nutritional information. Also, I have a daughter who has decided to eat as a vegan. I ask you this because I do so much appreciate your intelligent and holistic perspective.

Debra

Answer:

Hi Debra.  Thanks for your question.

Well, I can only give you my personal opinion and perspective on this. As you say, this can be a very contentious and personal issue.  When it comes to diet, what people elect to do can often be based on personal religious or philosophical beliefs rather than on health.  I cannot comment one way or the other about that.  Everyone must follow their conscience.

When it comes to health, however, I believe that the appropriate diet is one that is healthy for the person.  If someone cannot tolerate gluten — say, it causes severe diarrhea or other symptoms — then they should not eat gluten until their body is healed from this intolerance.  If someone is allergic to nuts, then they should not eat nuts until this allergy is healed.

For the rest of us, however, the answer is: eat as balanced and as clean a diet as possible.  That means organic whenever possible, avoidance of all GMOs, an emphasis on vegetables and fruits, meat in moderation, whole grains, and avoidance of all processed foods.  In other words, home-cooking!  I’m also a strong believer  in avoiding all forms of artificial sweeteners (they are literally poisons!) and drinking water as your primary beverage — although tea and limited coffee is okay too for most people.

I believe if America made one dietary change and replaced all soda and juices with water, the obesity and diabetes epidemics, and perhaps more, would be greatly reduced. The second change, which subsumes this one, is that if people learned to cook again and ate only what they could make at home, they’d be a lot healthier.

Another problem with most of our diets is that we eat too much.  Eating out in restaurants has gotten us into that habit.  If you want to assess your portion sizes, I suggest you follow  recommendations of Weight Watchers, who provide excellent advice on that matter.  Another habit we have developed, due to restaurant eating and advertising, is eating way too many cookies and other sweets.  A little treat now and then is okay, but it should be a special thing, not an every day thing.  If you are craving something sweet, eat a piece of fruit.

As far as vegetarianism and veganism, especially for children — frankly, I am not a big fan of this.  I say this out of the experience of watching other families and their children.  Vegetarianism is doable for some children if their parents really know how to balance their diet and bring them up to eat healthily.  But children can be fussy eaters and it’s often hard to given them  proper nutrition, regardless of the diet we provide. (One good strategy, however, is to have the whole family eat together for meals — that is, set a good example of everyone eating a healthy, balanced diet at the same table.)

Unfortunately,  I have seen children in vegetarian homes become quite obese because they end up living on things like bread, pasta, and cheese.  Not a good idea. Veganism has the added difficulty of lacking first-class proteins in the form of eggs and dairy, and possible deficiencies in vitamins like B12. I suppose it is possible to compensate for this with grains, nuts, and beans.  But realistically, I personally believe that  first-class proteins and nutrients are necessary for children’s bodies, including their brains, to grow and mature properly.  For example, I know one boy who insisted on veganism as a child — in fact, he grew up to be an animal activist, so that was truly his life passion and I respect that.  However, as a teen and young man, he was gaunt and weak, when he should have been at the peak of his vigor.

Another problem with vegan and vegetarian diets is a tendency to eat a lot of soy products as meat and dairy substitutes.  Unfortunately, almost all soy is now GMO.  In addition, there are many people who now believe that soy is not a healthy food in large quantities because of its estrogenic properties.  Even the Japanese eat soy mostly in fermented form and in smaller quantities.

In other words, there may be some families who can make veganism (or vegetarianism) work, but in most cases, I think it’s too risky to play around with veganism for children.  Our children can’t get a redo on their childhood growth. If children want to become vegan, they can do so as adults. If they insist, let them simply be vegetarian as they grow up and demonstrate their ability to properly manage their diet, growth, and health.

Finally, you don’t say how old your daughter is. If  she is pregnant, I believe that the same holds true for pregnant women as for children.  We can hold true to our beliefs and take what comes — for our own bodies.  A pregnant woman, however, needs to think of the life growing within her.  I believe she needs more balanced nutrition than a vegan, and perhaps even a vegetarian, diet can provide.

My two cents!  I know that many will disagree!  While our minds and souls may be evolving away from eating animal-based foods, I don’t think our bodies have quite done so yet.

-Amy

 

 

 

Tick Bites

tickQuestion:

Hi Amy,

My friend found a tick on her three year old last night. He doesn’t have symptoms today. Lymes is a worry. Any suggestions?

Thanks,
Julie

Answer:

Hi Julie.  That is a worry.  Lyme Disease is serious business. Let me begin by saying that say I’m not a doctor, or even a practicing homeopath, so this is just my general advice.

First of all, I assume that they got the tick out cleanly — I’m sure you can find advice online about how to do that — i.e. they got it out without leaving the head of the tick still in there.  Ideally, when it is removed, the tick will still be alive. The “twisting counter clockwise” method usually is good for that.  Next, if possible, (and if the tick is dead or alive), keep the tick in a sealed jar.   You can then have it tested medically to see if it actually carries Lyme disease.  If it doesn’t, you can breathe easy! However, even if it does carry Lyme, the child may not have gotten it.

Clean the area completely and thoroughly.  If it was me, I’d use:  hydrogen peroxide frequently and alcohol and an antibiotic cream. Really clean out the area thoroughly.

Next, keep a look out for the red bulls-eye rash.  See this site for a description of what to look for.  It might or might not occur (even if you got Lyme) and it usually takes a few days.

Now, a doc would definitely tell you to take loads of antibiotics at this point.  This will be your choice, and obviously there are downsides to doing that, but upsides as well. However, those with Lyme will tell you that the antibiotics often aren’t helpful at all, and may make things worse. It’s a hard call.

The homeopathic “specific” remedy for Lyme, however, and for bites like this in general, is Ledum. I describe a case of Lyme cured using Ledum in my book Impossible Cure.  Personally, I’d give Ledum right away if it was me.

If the tick is tested and is negative for Lyme, then I’d relax at this point.  If it is positive for Lyme, I would get the child under the treatment of a good homeopath quickly.  You can check the referral lists on my book web site.

You might also check these articles about Lyme on the National Center for Homeopathy site.  There is also a somewhat technical book about the homeopathic treatment of Lyme.

I hope this is helpful!

-Amy

 

How to Handle the Problem of Fleas in Pets, Using Homeopathy

petsQuestion:

Hello Amy,

I would like to know if there are any good homeopathic remedies for flea control on dogs and cats. I tried sulphur with no success on both my cat and dog. Or any other natural remedies, cats are very sensitive to even natural stuff.

Thank you.

Martha

Answer:

Hi Martha! Welcome to Ask Amy!

First let me give you the deeper answer. The truth is, the healthier the animal, the less likely they will get fleas. I experienced this with my dogs.

My first dog was in my pre-homeopathy days. We did all the vaccines, flea collars, normal dog food, and all the rest. She died from cancer at age 10.

My second dog was in my homeopathy days. Although we got her from the pound and she got some vaccines and a flea bath there (she was 10 months), we avoided vaccination from that point on (for most of her life, just a 3-year rabies vaccine, and nothing at all in her elder years), fed her the best natural dog food, she was under the care of a homeopathic vet the whole time getting her constitutional remedy, and in her later years we even fed her the BARF (bones and raw food) diet. She lived to be 16 and was a largish dog too! She basically died of old age. And…
SHE NEVER HAD FLEAS.. We never used a flea collar. I know this for sure, because I am really reactive to flea bites. If I even pet someone else’s dog, even if they use flea collars and don’t think their dog has fleas, I often get a flea bite from them.

So the long answer is — find a homeopathic vet (most of them in the USA are licensed vets) — follow their advice, and your pet will likely no longer have fleas anymore. To find a good homeopathic vet, try: The Academy of Veterinary Homeopathy
http://theavh.org/
Many of these vets have been trained by Dr. Pitcairn, who is really considered the “father” of homeopathic veterinary medicine, at least in the USA.

The short answer is: there is not “one remedy” for fleas. I don’t think so anyway. I recommend you consult the following two homeopathic veterinary books:

Homeopathic Care for Cats and Dogs by Don Hamilton
Dr. Pitcairn’s Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats by Richard Pitcairn

These books will likely provide some specific remedy guidance for this specific problem, as well as others.  So buying one of them will probably be a good investment!

However, one remedy that does spring to mind, is Staphysagria, which is often a good general remedy for dealing with parasites.  For example, it is useful for a child with lice. Notice, once again, that it is more about treating the tendency to become vulnerable to parasites, rather than about treating the itching itself (with a remedy like Sulphur).

I hope this is helpful! I wish I could give you a simpler answer, but as is often the case, the truest answer is that a remedy that matches the patient is the best defense against disease, and in this case, susceptibility to parasites.

-Amy