Mediterranean Spaghetti recipe

You know how it is when you’ve made all your “good” dinner recipes a thousand times and are bored of them, but also can’t come up with anything new?  That awful stuck-in-a-rut feeling?

That’s how I was feeling a couple months ago… and it just so happened that I found a sale on massive cans of soup and bought like 12 of them for our dinners for a couple weeks- Andrew was NOT happy a couple days into that scheme.

mediterranean spaghetti recipe

Fresh and ready to eat

 

But then we went to Fiji for a week’s holiday, and something about the way these people cooked influenced me to toss together a few fresh morsels when we got home, which resulted in some new creations, one of which is this Mediterranean Spaghetti one.

Here’s what to do and use:

For each serving/plate, toss together

  • a handful of cooked brown rice spaghetti (healthier than normal spaghetti, even the whole wheat kind)
  • 1/2 a tomato, diced
  • 1/2 an avocado, diced
  • a handful of smoked salmon, cut into flakes or cubes (which you buy already cooked)
  • a dribble of extra virgin olive oil
  • a couple shots of lime juice
  • a topping of some freshly shaved or grated parmesan cheese

Soooo good, filling, and healthy.  Andrew was pleased that we were outta the soup phase (although one leftover can still lingers in our pantry), and I was glad to be out of my rut.

Also, if you’re making this for dinner, you can chuck a couple extra portions into a container for lunch the next day.  Done and done.

Any other fresh dinner or lunch ideas that you love?  Please share in the comments below… the simpler the better.  🙂

 


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Baby Vaccinations – Do or Die?

This post may seem slightly off-topic for a health & fitness blog, but when you think about it, vaccinations are part of health, so in case you’re interested, and in case you’re a parent (or about to become one), read on.

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Conversation between Andrew and I a couple months ago:

baby vaccinations

Us at the beach, talking about the baby most likely

me: Our baby is gonna be born all precious and pure; I’m not sure I want him pumped full of chemicals (vaccinations) right away, and every couple months after that

Andrew: But don’t baby vaccinations save the kid from getting life-threatening diseases?

me: Ya, but apparently not all the ingredients in the vaccines are that healthy, and can have other side-effects

Andrew: So what are we gonna do?

me: I’m gonna RESEARCH. 

…and research I did.

It soon became glaringly obvious that there are two very strong sides to the debate, namely, pro-vaccination and anti-vaccination, and in everything they publish, they demonize the other side.

The pro-vaccine people say your child could die a horrible death of some rare disease if you don’t vaccinate (and show scary pics to back up their point), and then the anti-vaccine people say your child might develop autism, etc, if you do vaccinate.  And on and on it goes.

This makes it really tough; who do you believe?  How do you know the difference?  It was getting frustrating.

That’s when my friend Esther recommended I check out The Vaccine Book by Dr. Robert Sears, who is a pediatrician in California.  The excellent thing about this book is that it’s written by someone who’s super qualified (he sees hundreds of kids in his practice every year), and he gives both the pros and the cons of each vaccine, as well as the likelihood that your kid might actually catch the disease.

So I grabbed the book from the library (actually, I had to line up for months as it’s quite popular and always on reserve), and read the heck out of it.  Not like casual lounging by the pool reading, but sitting at my computer taking notes reading.  I wanted whatever decisions I made based on reading this book to be well-documented, so that if I ever doubt these decisions, I could go back and check my rationale without having to read the whole massive book over again.

And now, lucky for you, I’m gonna share my notes with you… just in case you’re also having the same internal debate and don’t feel like reading the whole thing.  These are the Coles Notes/Cliffs Notes, if you will.

In the book, the first 12 chapters go through the 12 most common baby vaccinations (and the diseases against which they vaccinate).  The rest of the book talks about special cases such as vaccinations for travel, etc.

If you’re just curious on what we’ve decided to do with our kid, skip to the bottom of this post where it says “What We’re Gonna Do.”

Here we go with the notes:

 

Vaccines

 

1. HIB (Haemophilus Infulenzae Type B); HIB Vaccine

What is this disease? 
A bacterium that can cause meningitis, blood infections, bone infections, severe throat infections, and pneumonia

Can it be treated?
Yes, most people recover well from it, but there can be some lasting after-effects

Is the disease common?
No; it is extremely rare.

When is the vaccine given?
2 months, 4 months, 6 months, and 15 months

What brands of this vaccine exist?
ActHIB, PedVaxHIB, and Hiberix

Any controversial ingredients?
Yes.  Aluminum in the PedVaxHIB, and formaldehyde in the other two.  Aluminum is toxic if too much is given at once (such as in getting multiple vaccines containing it).  Formaldehyde is a carcinogen, but there is only a tiny amount of it in these vaccines.

What are the side effects?
Common ones: 25% of kids experience redness, swelling, and pain at the site of the injection, and fever occurs in about 5%
There are no known severe reactions.

PROS of getting this vaccine:
-protection from the rare chance of getting the disease
-has one of the safest side effect profiles of all vaccines
-the ingredients are purer than those in most other vaccines

CONS of getting this vaccine:
-severe cases of this disease are now extremely rare (about 25 cases per year in the US in kids under 5 years old)
-if you breastfeed your baby and it doesn’t go to group daycare, it has an even lower chance of catching this disease
-there are many other forms of Haemophilus bacteria (not type-B), which this vaccine doesn’t protect against.  Vaccinating against HIB has made the other forms increase.  This is called “strain replacement.”

Other things to consider:
-try to go for an aluminum-free brand of this vac, or at least make sure no more than ONE aluminium-containing vaccine is given in the same month
-try not to go for the Comvax or Pentacel brands

 

2. Pneumococcal Disease (Pc Vaccine)

What is this disease? 
Streptococcus pneumonia can cause mild colds, ear infections, pneumonia, blood-stream infections, and meningitis.  It’s transmitted like the common cold, and affects more young kids and old people.  In rare cases if it gets really severe, it can result in hearing loss or brain damage.

Is the disease common?
Yes.  However, the vaccine for it doesn’t cover the multitude of strains.  They keep coming up with new versions of the vaccine to cover new or prominent-at-the-time strains, but they can never cover all the strains.

When is the vaccine given?
2 months, 4 months, 6 months, and 15 months

Any controversial ingredients?
Yes.  125 micrograms of aluminium.  Aluminum is toxic if too much is given at once (such as in getting multiple vaccines containing it).

What are the side effects?
Common ones: 25% of kids experience redness, swelling, and pain at the site of the injection, and fever occurs in about 5%.  There is also a high rate of irritability.
Severe reactions: less than 1% of children

PROS of getting this vaccine:
-protection from the fairly common chance of getting the disease (however seriously your child happens to be effected by it)
-the ingredients are comparatively safe

CONS of getting this vaccine: 
-it may add to the problem of emerging Pc strains like 19A (the vaccine created this problem in the first place)
-if you breastfeed your baby and it doesn’t go to group daycare, it has an even lower chance of catching this disease
-it doesn’t protect against 1/3 of the strains of Pc that are going around

Other things to consider:
-there is no aluminium-free brand of this vaccine yet
-make sure no more than ONE aluminium-containing vaccine is given in the same month

 

3. Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Pertussis (DTaP Vaccine)

What are these 3 diseases? 
Diphtheria is a very serious throat infection, irritating the throat and upper lungs, causing severe coughing and breathing difficulty.  Often caught after traveling to a developing nation.

Tetanus is an infectious disease caused by bacterium that lives in soil, dirty rusty metal, unsterile needles, intestines of animals, and in their stool.  You can get it from deep and dirty wounds, surgery, burns, crush wounds, dental infections, animal bites, minor wounds, scrapes, self-piercing, and tattoos.  It can either be local (in one area) or general (spread to the rest of the body), and can range from minor to extremely severe.

Pertussis (aka whooping cough) is a bacterium that infects the upper lungs.  It seems like a common cold for the first few weeks, then worsens into severe coughing (30 seconds to 2 minute spells) with breathing difficulty.

Is the disease common?
Diphtheria- no.  Last reported case in the US was in 2003.
Tetanus- no.  Only about 1 case in kids under 5 in the US per year.
Pertussis- yes.  There are thousands of cases each year, but the numbers rise and fall in about a 5-year cycle.  The vaccine is only about 85% protective, so pertussis cannot be eradicated like some other diseases in the world have been.

When is the vaccine given?
2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 18 months, 4-6 years, and 12 years.  New moms and dads can get it too (Tdap) so they won’t catch Pertussis they won’t pass it along to their baby.

Any controversial ingredients?
Yes.  Aluminum, which is toxic if too much is given at once (such as in getting multiple vaccines containing it).  Formaldehyde, which is toxic and a carcinogen, but there is only a tiny amount of it in these vaccines.  Polysorbate 80, glutaraldehyde, and 2-phenoxyethanol, which are toxic in large amounts, but probably harmless in this vaccine.  Mercury in the Tetanus (alone) vaccine and the DT vaccine.  Make sure your doc uses the low-mercury single-dose vials and not the 15-dose vial with 25 micrograms of mercury.

What are the side effects?
Mild side effects in about 25% of children.  One in a million have severe allergic reactions.  The older version of this vaccine, the whole-cell DTP had much more severe reactions (like brain injury).  This has been replaced by DTaP in the mid-1990s is much safer.

PROS of getting this vaccine:
-Pertussis is a common disease, and is most serious in the first 6 months of life
-Diptheria is a very dangerous disease, although it is extremely rare in the developed world.  It is, however, a potential hazard during international travel
-Tetanus is very serious when, in a rare case, it occurs in a child (although it is not a disease of infancy)

CONS of getting this vaccine: 
-there is no vaccine for just the P part of the DTaP vaccine (Pertussis), which is the most likely threat to children (much more-so than the D and T (diphtheria and tetanus)
-the child could however skip the DTaP at birth, and then just get the DT series prior to age 7, or the dT series as a teenager before traveling the world

Other things to consider:
-try not to go for the Pediarix or Kinrix combo vaccines due to their higher aluminium content
-Petnacel and TriHIBit are good combo choices
-use a brand with a lower amount of aluminium.  Tripedia, who made this lower-aluminum-content vaccine recently stopped making it, though
-the actual amounts of the chemicals are like a drop in a bucket

 

4. Hepatitis B (Hep B Vaccine)

What is this disease? 
Hep B is an STD that causes liver damage and can be fatal.  You can get it thru sex, accidental needle sticking, or unclean tattoo needles.   You can also get it from blood transfusions, although this is extremely rare as all donated blood is tested.

Is the disease common?
No, not among infants and young children, and most who do get it, get it at birth from their undiagnosed Hep B-postivie mother (during delivery).

When is the vaccine given?
At birth, 1 month, and 6 months.  Unless the baby is born to a Hep B-postive mother, the baby really doesn’t need this vaccine at birth, so be sure to tell the hospital your wishes beforehand.

Any controversial ingredients?
Yes.  250 micrograms of aluminium per dose, and a small amount of formaldehyde in the REcombivax HB/Merck brand.

What are the side effects?
Local injection site reactions occur in under 10% of people.  Fever, headache, and fatigue occur in up to 10% of kids.  More bothersome reactions occur in less than 1% of babies.  Severe reactions are one in a million.
Overall this vaccine is generally safe, but reactions in newborns are more worrisome.
Lots of post-marketing surveillance reactions (see the book for the full list, but they’re not good)

PROS of getting this vaccine:
-the ingredients don’t include any animal tissues
-recommended for any teens or adults who have various sexual partners, and for any health care or emergency workers who will come into contact with patients’ blood

CONS of getting this vaccine: 
-most babies and children are at very low risk of catching Hep B
-can be delayed in the first few months while other, more important, vaccines are being given (pertussis and meningitis)
-teenagers who choose abstinence until marriage could skip this vaccine completely

 

5. Rotavirus (Rotavirus Vaccine)

What is this disease? 
Rotavirus is an intestinal virus that causes vomiting and diarrhea.  You get it by coming in contact with stools or saliva of an infected person.  It is resistant to disinfectant cleaning solutions and antibacterial hand soap.  Only strong antiseptic or alcohol solution kills the germ (such as hand sanitizer).  Cases vary a lot in severity, but can get very severe.

Is the disease common?
Yes.  By 3, most kids will have caught rotavirus at least once, especially during fall and winter weather, and they are much more susceptible if they are in group daycare.  About 2 million people around the world get it each year.

When is the vaccine given?
2 months, 4 months, and 6 months, and is given by mouth as a liquid.

Any controversial ingredients?
Yes.  Monkey kidney cells, feral cow blood, Polysorbate 80, and pig virus contaminants.

What are the side effects?
Fever in about 20% of infants, vomiting and diarrhoea in 10%, and poor feeding in 25%.  Also, temporary intestinal symptoms can occur.  Severe reactions are rare, and this vaccine is very safe overall.
It is a live-virus vaccine.

PROS of getting this vaccine:
It’s not a question of if, but of when your baby will catch this disease, and how severe they will get it.  It can be a very serious disease for infants in their first year of life.

CONS of getting this vaccine: 
-infants who are breastfed and not in group daycare have a fairly low chance of catching Rotavirus in the first year of their life
-fatalities from this disease are rare in developed countries
-the animal products used to make the vaccine may concern some parents (but they are most likely nothing to worry about)
-it’s a live-virus vaccine, so it can cause a bit of a reaction
-babies with SCID (severe combined immunodeficiency disease) should not get this vaccine as it can cause severe reactions

 

6. Polio (Polio Vaccine)

What is this disease? 
Polio is a virus that is transmitted like the common cold or flu.  Some people just get a sore throat and fever without knowing they’ve got the virus, and it goes away.  However, if the virus invades the nervous system, it causes muscle weakness and paralysis.

Is the disease common?
No.  There have been no cases of polio in the USA since 1985.  There are a couple thousand cases per year in parts of Asia and Africa.

When is the vaccine given?
2 months, 4 months, and 18 months, and 5 years

Any controversial ingredients?
Yes.  Baby cow blood serum, human albumin (blood proteins), glutamate (component of MSG), formaldehyde (100 micrograms), 2-phenoxyethanol, and monkey kidney cells

Combo Vaccines
You can get the polio vaccine combined with DTaP and either HIB or Hep B.  Pentacel brand is okay.  Pediarix and Kinrix have more aluminium in them than most, so not as good a choice.

What are the side effects?
Redness or swelling in less than 10% of kids.  No severe reactions reported (as happened occasionally in older versions of this vaccine).  However, the safety study size was extremely small (1300 infants).

PROS of getting this vaccine:
-although polio has been eradicated in North America, Europe, and South America, it has resurged in some Asian countries in recent years, and there is always a chance of it popping up again in the developed world (through immigration, etc)
-one of the safest vaccines in terms of side effects

CONS of getting this vaccine: 
-the use of animal products may make some parents hesitant on this vaccine
-polio no longer exists in the developed world (however, consider overseas travel before not getting this vaccine)

 

7. Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR Vaccine)

What are these 3 diseases? 
Measles
Measles is a virus that is transmitted like the common cold.  It causes a fever, rash (red, round bumps all over the body), red eyes, runny nose, and cough.  About 1 in 1000 cases is fatal, with complications including encephalitis (brain inflammation), and severe pneumonia

Mumps
Mumps is a virus that causes fever and swelling of the saliva gland in the cheeks (right in front of the ears).  It is usually quite mild in kids, but can be moderate or severe, which involves fever, body aches, swelling of the testicles or ovaries that can sometimes result in fertility problems down the road.

Rubella
Rubella is similar to measles and mumps in that it gives you fever and a rash, and can also cause aching joints and swollen glands.  It is transmitted like the common cold, and and is generally really mild.  If a pregnant woman catches rubella, it can cause birth defects in her fetes.

Is the disease common?
Measles– No, not anymore.  About 50-100 cases in the USA reported per year.

Mumps– No.  Only about 250 cases in the last 10 years in the USA.  However, random and large outbreaks can and have occurred.  The childhood vaccine wears off by adulthood, so it’s important to get booster shots for it.

Rubella– No.  Only about 250 cases per year, universally.

When is the vaccine given?
12 months and 5 years (booster).  It is a live-virus vaccine… in this case, a triple live-virus vaccine.

Any controversial ingredients?
Yes.  Cow fetes serum, chick embryo proteins, DNA and protein fragments from human feral cells, and glutamate

Combo Vaccines available
ProQuad combines MMR and chickenpox vaccines, but not recommended due to higher rates of seizure reactions

What are the side effects?
Common side effects: Fever in 20%, and mild rash in 5%
Severe reactions: there are quite a few, but the most serious are arthritis and neurological reactions, which are quite rare.

PROS of getting this vaccine:
-there are some possibly serious effects to the 3 diseases if you get them
-getting it is important for general public health- so others don’t get these 3 diseases
-if you delay the vaccine, the potential for severe side effects increases once a child enters puberty, so getting the vaccine no later than age 10 is recommended

CONS of getting this vaccine: 
-the diseases are mild and rare
-the potential side effects, although rare, can be serious, and this vaccine has the longs and most serious list of reported reactions
-it is the most controversial of all the vaccines when it comes to possible side effect, as the product insert doesn’t list how common or how rare many of these reactions are, or how many children were involved in the safety research
-in very rare cases, the measles virus (live vaccine) can cause an infectious and/or autoimmune reactions that severely affects the brain
-the cow blood products and human and animal tissues in this vaccine can be a concern to parents
-since they are live-virus vaccines, they don’t mimic nature, as you’d never catch all 3 of these diseases at once, and this can increase the risk of side effects
-although it’s not been proven, many parents see a link between the MMR vaccine and autism, as many children seem “normal” before one, but then develop autism in their second year of life (after their 12-month shots)

Other things to consider:
-you could choose to get only one dose of this vaccine instead of also having the booster at age 5, since one dose works perfectly fine in 95% of children (the booster is just to ensure immunity in the 5% of kids who didn’t respond to the first dose)
-the 3 vaccines used to be available separately, but they stopped manufacturing them.  Worth checking into where you live, though
-consider delaying this vaccine until after the time susceptible for autism (after 2?… see page 265)

 

8. Chickenpox (Varicella Vaccine)

What is this disease? 
Chickenpox is a virus that causes fever and spots all over the body, and is easily recognised by the pattern of these spots.  It is transmitted like the common cold.  Severe complications are rare.

Is the disease common?
No, not anymore.  There’s been about a 75% decrease since the vaccination began.

When is the vaccine given?
12 months and 5 years (booster).  It is a live-virus vaccine.

Any controversial ingredients?
Yes.  MSG (0.5 milligrams), DNA and proteins from human cells, and cow fetes serum and animal cells.

Combo Vaccines available
ProQuad combines MMR and varicella vaccines, but is not recommended due to higher rate of seizure reactions.

What are the side effects?
Common side effects: injection site reactions in 20% of kids, fever in 15%, and mild rash in about 4%.
Severe reactions: severe inflammation of the lungs in 1 in 100-1000 kids, and seizures due to fever in fewer than 1 in 1000.
Also, lots of possible post-marketing side effects have been reported.

PROS of getting this vaccine:
-chickenpox sucks
-if you’re vaccinated and still get it, at least it will be milder
-if your kid gets it, they’ll have to miss school for a week, which means you’ll have to miss work for a week ($ issue)
-public health benefit- if your kid is vaccinated, along with most other kids, the occurrence of disease will be much lower

CONS of getting this vaccine: 
-chickenpox is usually harmless in the long run
-catching this disease provides better immunity (not to catch it again) than the vaccine provides
-some parents are sketched out by the ingredients in the vaccine, and how it’s made

Other things to consider:
-1 dose is usually enough to develop immunity (don’t necessarily need 2 doses)
-good idea to get this vaccine at a separate time than other live-virus vaccines (eg- MMR)
-many parents view this as an optional vaccine
-acyclovir treatment is available if your child does catch chickenpox

 

9. Hepatitis A (Hep A Vaccine)

What is this disease? 
Hep A is a virus that attacks the liver and causes temporary liver inflammation, which result in symptoms similar to the stomach flu, and often jaundice (yellow skin and eyes).  It is transmitted through stools (poo), such as when a daycare worker doesn’t wash their hands after changing an infected child’s diaper, and then touches other kids, food, etc.  Also, if you don’t wash your hands after using a washroom that an infected person has used, and then go eat your lunch, etc.  Beaches can spread Hep A by sewage runoff.  In developing countries, water supplies are often infected with this virus because of poor sewage treatment.  Can also be passed through blood transfusions (very rarely) or sharing drug needles.

Is the disease common?
Sort of.  About 10,000 cases in the US each year, mainly in kids between 5-14.

When is the vaccine given?
12 months, and 18-24 months (booster).

Any controversial ingredients?
Yes.  Aluminum (225-250 micrograms), formaldehyde, cow blood proteins (in the Vaqta brand by Merck), human cell proteins and DNA, and 2-phenoxyethanol and polysorbate 20 in the Havrix brand by GlaxoSmithKline)

What are the side effects?
Common side effects: 15% have local reactions at the site of injection, and fever, fatigue, and loss of appetite occur in about 10%
Severe reactions: seizures in 1% of infants
Also, numerous post-marketing reactions

PROS of getting this vaccine:
-it is well-tolerated by most people
-the disease can be very challenging to go thru as a teenager or adult
-provides protection for traveling to developing countries where Hep A is more common
-especially good for people with chronic liver diseases as catching Hep A would be ultra serious for them

CONS of getting this vaccine: 
-the seizure rate is higher in infants, so good to postpone this vaccine until at least 2 years old
-Hep A is virtually harmless for kids
-some parents may be concerned by the chemical ingredients, human cells, and cow blood proteins in this vaccine

Other things to consider:
-since it contains aluminium, it might be a good idea to get it at a separate time than other aluminium-containing vaccines
-as the seizure rate was higher in infants (in the safety study), it might be a good idea to wait until at least age 2 to get this vaccine

 

10. Influenza Disease (Flu Vaccine)

What is this disease? 
The flu is a virus which has many different strains.  It is transmitted like the common cold and causes fever, headache, body ache, are throat, vomiting, diarrhoea, stuffiness, coughing, etc.  It is uncomfortable, but passes, usually without further complications.

Is the disease common?
Yes.  It is the most common illness that we have a vaccination for, and there are millions of cases each year.

When is the vaccine given?
6 months (2 doses), 18 months, 2-18 years (given each year at the start of flu season).

Any controversial ingredients?
Yes.  Mercury in most brands (25 micrograms), formaldehyde (small amount so probably harmless), and many other chemical in small amounts that are generally regarded as safe.
Fluarix and Agriflu brands are mercury-free.  FluLaval brand has a full mercury dose in it.  With the other brands (Fluzone, Fluvirin, and Afluria), it depends on the formulation.  The nasal spray vaccine never has mercury in it.

What are the side effects?
Common side effects: typical flu symptoms can happen after the vaccine, and injection site reactions occur in about 1/3 of people.  About half of infants show irritability, and 20% show fever, drowsiness, loss of appetite, vomiting, or diarrhoea.
Severe reactions: Febrile seizures can occur, but the risk is low enough that this vaccine continues to be recommended
Post-marketing reactions: there are tons of bad reactions that could happen/have been reported, but are very rare.

PROS of getting this vaccine:
-high-risk groups (such as the elderly, and those with chronic medical problems) really benefit from the flu vaccine since catching the flu will effect them a lot more than the average person
-if you live with someone with poor health, getting the vaccine will protect you, and in turn, protect them
-missing work due to the flu (or staying home with your child who has the flu) can be hard, financially
-preventing the flu decreases the chance of ear infections

CONS of getting this vaccine: 
-the high incidence of flu-like symptoms after getting the shot
-babies who are breastfed and not in group daycare are less susceptible to catching the flu (and other illnesses)
-the number of infant deaths due to the flu is very low
-the flu vaccine has more chemicals (apart from mercury) than most other vaccines
-one large study shows that this vaccine doesn’t work for kids under 2 anyways, so better to wait until age 2 to start (if at all)
-mercury isn’t healthy for anyone’s brain, especially in a developing one (like a baby’s)
-not all brands of the vaccine have been properly safety-tested (only tested for creating antibodies)
-there are several strains of the flu each year, so being vaccinated against one strain doesn’t guarantee that you won’t get another strain of the flu (which you weren’t vaccinated against)

 

11. Meningococcal Disease (Meningococcal Vaccine)

What is this disease? 
This bacterium causes an infection that runs through the bloodstream to body organs and can spread to the brain, causing meningitis.  It is transmitted like the common cold, and is always very serious.  There are several strains, the most common one being Type B, against which an effective vaccine has not been developed.

Is the disease common?
Around 3000 cases per year in the US.  Most cases are in kids aged 6 months – 2 years, and are mostly Type B (no vaccine for this type).

When is the vaccine given?
At age 11 or 12, with a booster vaccine 5 years later.

Any controversial ingredients?
Yes.  Formaldehyde, but only 0.3 micrograms of it, which is harmless.  Apart from that, this is one of the purest vaccines available.

What are the side effects?
Common side effects: injection site reactions in about 50% of people, headaches in 35%, ill feelings in 25%, joint aches in 20%, drowsiness, irritability, or loss of appetite in about 10% of kids, and fever in 5% (rare).
Severe reactions: possible association with temporary muscle weakness or paralysis

PROS of getting this vaccine:
-this disease is devastating, and the vaccine protects you
-there are about 250 teenage and college-age cases per year
-the ingredients are very pure and simple

CONS of getting this vaccine: 
-the unclear association with temporary paralysis
-the standard side effects are more common with this vaccine than with many others
-the disease isn’t very common
-you can delay this shot (and then only get one dose) until high school (instead of age 11 or 12) as high school and college are the riskiest years for this disease to occur, and many teens lose their immunity from the first dose (age 11-12) anyways, so why bother?
-kids as young as 9 months can now get this vaccine, however it’s not recommended as much more safety research needs to be done

 

12. Human Papillomavirus Disease (HPV Vaccine)

What is this disease? 
This virus has many strains, and can cause genital warts and cervical cancer.  It is transmitted through unprotected sex.

Is the disease common?
Most sexually active people carry this virus by the time they’re in their early 20s; it is the most common STD in the US, with about 20 million people becoming infected with it each year.

When is the vaccine given?
11-12 years old, with two more doses given within 8 months of the first dose.

Any controversial ingredients?
Yes, aluminium (225 micrograms), but since the child is not a baby when receiving this vaccine, it shouldn’t effect them.

What are the side effects?
Common side effects: injection site reactions are common- 80% experience pain at the injection site for several hours, 50% show redness, swelling, headache, fatigue, muscles aches, and joint pain, and 25% experience nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain.
Severe reactions: severe injection site reactions occur in about 10% of kids, which is much more common than with any other vaccine, but usually pass without problems.  There are numerous other severe and post-marketing reactions listed in the book, such as autoimmune reactions.

PROS of getting this vaccine:
-it decreases the risk of cervical cancer and prevents genital warts
-even for people who don’t have sex before marriage, it can protect them from contracting HPV if their spouse didn’t wait until marriage and carries this virus

CONS of getting this vaccine: 
-it is a fairly new vaccine
-no one is sure how long the immunity from the vaccine actually lasts
-this vaccine only protects against the most common strains of HPV, and does not protect against other STDs, and teens could develop a false sense of security from getting this vaccine, thinking they are immune to all STDs now
-the vaccine is not without risk

Other things to consider:
-go for the Gardasil brand over the Cervarix brand as it protects against more strains of the HPV virus

 

Vaccines for Travel

-you don’t need to be vaccinated to fly within North America
-you don’t need to be vaccinated to fly on an airplane at all (even with sick people aboard)
-if you are traveling internationally, especially to Africa, Asia, and South America, and if you’ll be staying for a longer period of time and your kids will be interacting with local kids, you should always check the CDC’s recommendations at www.cdc.gov/travel/page/disease.htm

-the life-threatening diseases that your kids should be vaccinated against when doing this kind of overseas travel are:
-diphtheria
-polio
-meningococcal disease

-non-life-threatening diseases overseas which are a good idea to be vaccinated against are:
-HIB
-DTap
-Hep B
-MMR
-Hep A

 

Special Vaccines for Travel

Yellow Fever– this occurs mainly in sub-Saharan Africa, and tropical parts of South America.  Babies 9 months and older can get this vaccine, but it can have serious side-effects since it’s a live vaccine (so it can cause an actual infection).

Typhoid Fever– this is contracted through contaminated water and food in developing countries in Asia, Africa, and Central/South America.  It is treatable with antibiotics.  Babies can get the vaccine at 2 years and up.  The vaccine is only 50-80% effective in preventing this disease, so many people choose not to get it.

Japanese Encephalitis– this is spread by mosquitoes in Southeast Asia, China, India, and eastern Russia.  Most people who catch it don’t notice any symptoms, but those who do suffer severe neurological problems, and about 1 in 3 people will die.  Good idea to get this shot if you’re traveling to these countries and doing a lot of outdoorsy stuff like camping during mosquito season, however, it can have quite unpleasant side effects (in about 1 in 200 people who get the vaccine).

 

Vaccines and Autism

-many parents are concerned that vaccines (especially those containing mercury, and the MMR vaccine) cause autism
-there are several studies to show that this isn’t true, and several that show it’s quite likely.  However, none of these studies are perfect as they are often funded by groups that have a vested interest (ie- money), or are not published in peer-reviewed journals
-so really, the jury is still out on this issue, but Dr. Sears believes that “the majority of mainstream research does not show a link between vaccines and autism”

 

Aluminum in Vaccines

-direct quote from the book:  “There is good evidence that large amounts of aluminium are harmful to humans.  There is no solid evidence that the amount of aluminium in vaccines is harmful to human infants and children.  There is considerable animal research that shows it may be harmful.  No one has actually studied vaccine amounts of aluminium in healthy human infants to make sure it is safe.”
-he goes on to say that to be safe, ask your Dr. for vaccines that don’t contain/are low in aluminium.  If they don’t have them, ask them to order them in.  Be a pain.

 

Mercury in Vaccines

-mercury (aka thimerosal) used to be in several vaccines, and around 2000, it was discovered that the amount in the routine vaccine schedule exceed known safety limits (there was 87 times too much mercury in vaccines)
-now, most vaccines do not contain mercury, apart from some brands of the flu shot, and also some multi-dose forms of tetanus, DT, and Td vaccines (but are rarely used)

 

Formaldehyde in Vaccines

-is used as a preservative in several vaccines (just like it was for the animals/eyeballs you dissected in Biology) 🙂
-used in very small amounts in vaccines, so is probably okay
-the only research really available is about inhaled formaldehyde, not injected

 

What We’re Gonna Do

Here is what we are leaning towards… nothing is set in stone yet, but this is what we are comfortable with, based on the above facts/research:

 

Vaccines our baby WILL get:

DTaP, but will not to go for the Pediarix or Kinrix combo vaccines due to their higher aluminium content (Petnacel and TriHIBit are good combo choices, but that means we’d be vaccinating against DTaP and HIB as well, which I don’t think we will (see the “no” list below), so we’ll probably just go for the DTaP vaccine on its own)

Meningococcal (but this isn’t a baby vaccine, so will wait till 11-12 years old)

Vit K (but this isn’t technically a vaccine)

 

Vaccines our baby WON’T get:

(if we put him in daycare before age 2, or can’t breastfeed for some reason, these will definitely be re-thought)

HIB (If we travel to a lot of developing countries, we might change our mind on this one, and if we do, it will have to be an aluminium-free brand of this vaccine)

Pc (if we do, we will make sure no more than ONE aluminium-containing vaccine is given in the same month)

Hep B (if we do, it can be delayed in the first few months while other, more important, vaccines are being given (pertussis and meningitis)

Rotavirus (unless we put him into daycare in the first couple years… then we’ll probably change our mind)

Polio (unless we decide to travel to Asia and Africa quite a lot… then we’ll think about it)

MMR (if we do, we could choose to get only one dose of this vaccine instead of also having the booster at age 5, since one dose works perfectly fine in 95% of children (the booster is just to ensure immunity in the 5% of kids who didn’t respond to the first dose).  We would also consider delaying this vaccine until after the time susceptible for autism (after age 2), and also in time for going to school, so probably just one dose around age 4 or 5.  Also, if we are traveling overseas to developing countries a lot, we might go for this one)

Chickenpox (and if we do, 1 dose is usually enough to develop immunity (don’t necessarily need 2 doses), and it’s a good idea to get this vaccine at a separate time than other live-virus vaccines (eg- MMR, which is on our “no list” anyways)

Hep A (and if we do, we’ll do it when the kid is at least 2 years old, and probably only if we travel to developing countries with him.  Also, since this vaccine contains aluminium, it might be a good idea to get it at a separate time than other aluminium-containing vaccines, most of which we won’t get anyways, so moot point there)

Flu

HPV (and if we do, we’ll go for the Gardasil brand over the Cervarix brand as it protects against more strains of the HPV virus)

 

Vaccines we’re not quite sure about yet:

-Rotavirus (I’ve put it down as a “no” above, but not for sure)

 

Precautions to take if you don’t vaccinate

To help your kids stay ultra-healthy and minimize their risk of catching these diseases…

-feed them natural, whole foods (try for organic), limit junk food and sugar, get plenty of exercise and outdoor play, and take immune-boosting supplements such as Vit D, fish oil, and fruit-veg-berry supplements

-breastfeed for at least one year (two years is even better)

-don’t put them in daycare and nurseries for the first 2 years, and avoid large playgroups

-keep your kids home if they’re sick so they don’t spread it around (in case they’ve got a sickness they’ve not been vaccinated against.  Take them to the Dr. right away for a diagnosis)

 

Any thoughts on baby vaccinations?  Leave them in the comments below- I’d love to hear what you think.

 

8 Responses to Baby Vaccinations – Do or Die?

  • Joana says:

    As I live in a develping country I won’t have the chance you do with my babies. The choices my family and I can make, we do like not getting the flu vaccine. Your post is very intetrsting, and it’s good to know that although you have strong beliefs of not getting some vaccines you are also open minded about changing it if the circunstancies ask you to. Also I didn’t know some vaccines could cause autismn. Whatever decision you make I hope your baby comes healthy and stays away of all these desieses.! Love from Brazil

  • admin says:

    Thanks, Joana. Ya, living in a developed country changes the game on this one for sure. Glad you got something out of the post 🙂

  • Beth Weaver says:

    Dear Corinna, You have certainly done your research! I generally agree with this list of pro’s/con’s and there is certainly controversy around vaccinations and whether the vaccine or the disease is the lesser of the two evils.

    I have a couple of things to add/comment on.

    1. The book you were reading stated disease occurrence rates as is found in the USA where generally there is good uptake of vaccinations. As has been recently seen in Texas (http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2013/09/12/221737535/big-measles-outbreaks-worry-federal-health-officials) this year where immunisation levels fall within a community there is potential for sudden and unexpected outbreaks of these “rare” diseases. The sunshine coast, and many other parts of Queensland has some immunization rates of less than 85% (less than 40% in some areas according to a friend of mine who is a GP in Brisbane- http://www.nhpa.gov.au/internet/nhpa/publishing.nsf/Content/Healthy-communities/$file/HC_ImmRates_2011-12_FINAL_130409.pdf).
    Not only does your area likely have higher rates of disease but this is below the 90% level needed for what is called Herd Immunity. 90% of a population need to be immune to a disease to contain it if someone does bring it into the area. And to protect people who are unable to have vaccinations because of know immunodeficiency states.

    2. You commented in the MMR section about needing to vaccinate to protect others from the disease and this is a real social decision to make. Pregnant women who might be susceptible to Rubella, or the cancer patient in church who is currently immuno-compromised. This does need to be part of the decision of whether or not to immunize children.

    3. I would (on the basis of point 1) strongly encourage you to reconsider vaccinations for HIB, MMR and polio. These are horrible diseases when the do happen and do lead to severe disability and death.

    You are correct the the vitamin K given at birth is not a vaccine. It supports production and function of clotting factors which babies do not have when they are born (it is made by e.coli in the gut so takes a while for babies to produce enough themselves). It prevents hemorrhage in newborns and is especially important for breastfed babies.

    Super excited about baby Nairn’s arrival and that your folks will be able to be there!
    Love Beth x

  • admin says:

    Thanks so much for your insight, Dr. Beth- very much appreciated.
    If I were to get the baby immunized with the vaccines you recommended (HIB, MMR, and Polio), what would you think about just delaying those until after age 2, especially if he’s not in daycare for those first 2 years?

    • Beth Weaver says:

      I am of the opinion that there is no proven link between autism and vaccinations. There is some speculation around it, and spreading out the vaccinations (one a week rather than 3 every 2 months for example) would be one way to minimize any possible risk since this concerns you. Infants under 2 years are most susceptible to these diseases which can cause meningitis, encephalitis and permanent disability. For me (and I am open to new research and the fact that we don’t know everything about how we respond to the medicines and packaging that they come in) the proven risks to a baby (and others in the community) from these diseases are more serious a threat than the possible link, that is unproven, of autism.

      Even if your baby doesn’t go to daycare, you and Andrew will be taking him to church. This is enough of a mixing pot for exposure to disease, especially when you factor in visiting missionaries/mission trips etc that are more likely to bring these infections into your social group too.

      Delaying until after 2 would still leave him vulnerable for the time when he would be most susceptible.

      Lots of love x

  • corinnanairn says:
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  • corinnanairn says:

    In the end, we decided to have our baby vaccinated after all. A couple of good articles (although there are many others as well) are found at http://www.iflscience.com/health-and-medicine/dear-parents-you-are-being-lied and http://www.todaysparent.com/baby/baby-health/vaccination/

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Coconut Avocado Cookies (gluten- and dairy-free)

These little gems have been a big hit with the health-nut crowd I hang around… they’re gluten- and dairy-free, and nearly sugar-free as well… I guess if you omit the chocolate chips it would be the perfect health-food snack option, but I like to leave a little bit of fun in there  😉

coconut-avocado-cookies

Fresh out of the oven on the cooling rack

 

What’s In Them:

1 cup coconut flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp sea salt
2/3 cup choc chips
1/4 cup shredded coconut

 
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1 ripe avocado, mashed with a fork
1 cup almond milk
4 tbsp honey
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs

What to do:

Preheat oven to 375 F (190 C)

In one bowl, combine all dry ingredients, (first 6 things).  Un-clump any clumps of coconut flour.

In a second, larger bowl (or in pitcher using the Bamix), add in the remaining 7 ingredients, mashing the banana and avocado with a fork. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in bowl, mixing well.

Let sit for 2 minutes for the coconut flour to absorb some of the moisture. (Seriously, this works, although I’m not sure why.)

Spoon out dough blobs of about 2 tablespoons each onto a greased baking sheet.  Bake cookies for 20 minutes, or until golden-brown.

(For some reason, they taste MUCH better after refrigerating for a couple hours, as they come out of the oven quite crumbly and a bit mushy-tasting)

Makes about 2 dozen cookies

Let me know what you think (or how yours turn out) in the comments below.

 

2 Responses to Coconut Avocado Cookies (gluten- and dairy-free)

  • Larissa says:

    I didn’t have honey so I just added extra almond milk to keep the liquid ratio fairly similar. I am currently minimizing sugar and so skipped the chocolate chips and added an extra 1/2c. of shredded coconut. My thoughts..tasty but they need either honey or apple sauce for sweetness for sure! Lol I tried!! Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  • admin says:

    ha ha, ya, definitely add something to sweeten them… good effort on the modifications, though 🙂 Maybe try adding a bit of Stevia, which is a natural sweetener.

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Pregnancy Update – 27 weeks

Heaps of people have been asking how the pregnancy is going, so I thought I’d do a quick post on it, seeing as a lot of my friends and family are overseas… always good to keep everyone in the loop.

27 weeks pregnant

The last few weeks

So… here’s the the main news: Everything has been bobbing along just fine.

The only thing that has been not so great is acid reflux, which I think is called “heartburn” in pregnancy.  In actuality, it’s not exactly my heart that’s burning, but higher up- like in my esophagus and throat region, especially when I lie down.

The closest thing I can compare it to is when you have a shot of hard alcohol and you get that warm, burning sensation as it goes down… except this is really unpleasant, and it’s on its way up, not down.

The midwife said to drink some milk for it, but I hate milk, so that’s a no-go.  The naturopath said to try slippery elm bark powder and apple cider vinegar (not mixed together), both of which haven’t helped so far.

At 27 weeks I’m finally showing… actually have been for the past 3 or 4 weeks, so that’s good.

We haven’t bought anything for the baby yet, mainly because we don’t have a lot of space to store stuff… we’ll have to do a major closet clean-out and organize stuff soon.

Let’s see, what else?  Well, I’ve been thinking a lot about baby vaccinations and whether or not they’re all necessary and healthy, so I’ve been committing a LOT of time to researching that.  I know it’s a contentious issue, so I’ve been taking lots of notes and will post my findings here, if that would be helpful to anyone.

I’ve been working out still, but definitely not to the level I was at before the pregnancy… not that I’m slack, but I just can’t.  Running is out, and so is doing most abs exercises (which you’re not supposed to do in your 2nd and 3 trimester anyways).  You can see a bit more about that on the last pregnancy workout video I did.

So, fitness-wise it’s been a lot of power-walking and some weight training for my arms and legs using the free weights I have at home, plus my snazzy new yellow Equalizer.  I definitely feel and sleep a lot better when I work out, just like before, so trying to keep it up as much as possible, but it’s hard when you’re working lots plus feeling tired from being 6 months pregnant.  Still, no excuses, right?  Well, not quite, but that’s what I’ve been telling myself.  😉

I read a really encouraging interview with Jamie Eason, a fitness model and fitness writer, who just gave birth to her first child a couple weeks ago.  She was talking about what she did during her pregnancy, and basically how she kept pretty fit, but didn’t over-do it either.  It made me feel like I’m somewhat on the right track.  If you’re interested, you can read it here.

Two more things…

The first is a bit of a rant, which has to do with people (and by that I mean pretty much EVERYONE) asking “have you thought of any names yet?”  What the heck am I supposed to say to that?  “Yes.”?  (end of conversation, which is lame).  Or “Ya, here’s a list of our top 10.”?  Seriously people, PRIVATE.  As in none-of-your-business.

I know people are probably just excited and don’t know what else to ask about a pregnancy, so I’m not getting all bent out of shape about it, but it just gets me every time someone asks.

So now you’re probably wondering if we have thought of any names?  😉  The answer is yes, we’ve spent lots of time looking online, and almost every name is either a) weird,  b) the name of a bad boy we’ve taught, or c) a good name for a dog.  We’ve got a shortlist of about 5 names that are possibilities, but nothing concrete, and probably won’t be till we get a good look at him after he’s born.

The other thing… and this is minor, is that I’m sorta mourning the loss of my cute iny belly button.  It’s now sticking half-out as my stomach gets bigger… hoping that’ll all fold itself back in after he’s born.

Anyways, there you have it… 27 weeks down, 13 to go.  Kind of scary how fast it’ll go when you think of it like that.  Super excited though.

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Pregnancy Workouts for Legs, Butt, and Lower Body

Alrighty… get yourself ready for Pregnancy Workouts #2.  (In case you missed #1 for Arms & Upper Body, you can find it at Pregnancy Exercises #1).

Today’s workout focuses on getting your legs and lower body strong and ready for delivery, plus tones up your little tushy.  Watch the video for a quick intro and the correct form, and then do the 8 exercises 12 times each (and repeat the list 3x).  See the list below the video.

 

 

Pregnancy Workouts – Today’s 8 moves:

1) pelvic lifts

2) squats (with fitball between you and wall for support if needed)

3) forward-walking lunges

4) can-can legs in crab-walk position (keep legs very straight in the air)

5) step back, kick forward lunges

6) kick the sky

7) donkey kicks

8) mountain climbers (slow and light)

(Remember, NO high impact stuff like jumping jacks, skipping, etc from 2nd trimester on)

 

More News…

23 weeks pregnant

Last week- 23 weeks pregnant

Just to keep you updated on my own pregnancy, I’m about 5 months along now (24 weeks), and feeling great.  Still not massively huge, but getting a little bigger week by week.

I can totally feel Little Mr. kicking up a storm in there, especially today.  Feels so cool.

The only real pregnancy “symptom” I’m experiencing is some heartburn when I lie down, so I paid a visit to my local health food store today to see what they could wheel & deal me that would help.  I came back with a pouch of slippery elm powder and some apple cider vinegar… hopefully those’ll do the trick.

Last night I gave my skinny jeans a bit of a “farewell tour.”  Not that they buttoned up anymore, but no one had to know that since I was wearing a long shirt over top.  It’s all lyrca from here on in, though.

Good thing I get to wear stretchy shorts and track pants to work (teaching PE) every day.  Would not want to be going out and dropping a fortune on stacks of dressy work clothes that I’m only gonna be wearing for a few more months.

So that’s me for now… any questions or comments- go nuts in the comment section below 🙂

 


Lebert Equalizer Total Body Strengthener


3 Responses to Pregnancy Workouts for Legs, Butt, and Lower Body

  • EB says:

    I love that you are adapting your workouts to your changing life phase. It’ll be fun to watch your journey as you find third trimester workouts and then later on, postpartum ones! Totally agree, having gone through it once before, that laying down (supine position) is neither natural nor helpful if you can avoid it. I squatted for 12 hours straight as that was the only position comfortable to me in labor. It made me realize how important it is to have done some squats before. In fact, I have been reading a lot of C. Northrup’s view on supine/lithotomy position. She agrees it is unfavorable for birth as it favors pressure into the posterior vagina and decreases the diameter of the pelvis – a setup for tears. She asks if it has ever felt normal to you to have a bowel movement when lying on your back: um, no! Of course, the position was popularized by a man, Louis XIV actually, who wanted to watch births of women in his court without their knowledge of his presence. Asshole! Of course, it is the ideal position for vag. interventions (like forceps) as medical professionals have a good idea of what is going on. So, you will usually be asked to lie down if you aren’t having a natural birth.

  • corinnanairn says:

    Ya, totally agree. At my midwife appointment at the hospital last month she said that lying down to birth is actually even working a little bit against gravity because of the way the vagina is angled.
    She also said that it’s easier on the male doctors if the woman is lying down, b/c it means they don’t need to be crouching beside her in whatever position she’s in.
    So… I’m building up those quad muscles for a natural birth… thanks again for your comment and all your advice so far.

  • Pingback: Pregnancy Update | Busy and Fit

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Dal Bhat recipe

By popular demand, here is the Dal Bhat recipe I use for an amazing clean eating dinner that is high in protein and low in fat.  Dal Bhat was a staple when I was trekking the Helambu Circuit in Nepal a few years ago… every place you stayed at would offer you this for dinner since this is what they were eating themselves.  Of course you could order something exotic like spaghetti with tomato sauce (if you wanted to pay triple).

dal bhat recipe

“Dal” is the lentil stew part, and “Bhat” is the rice over which it’s served.  You can eat the Dal alone, or with some brown rice underneath.  I usually just eat it alone and only add the rice if I’m extra hungry or need more carbs.  Anyhoo… here’s the recipe for the Dal:

2 Tbsp olive oil
5 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 onion, chopped
250g lentils (any kind) or split peas, soaked for 3-4 hours beforehand
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp cumin
2-3 tomatos, sliced
3 cups hot water
2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp coriander, chopped

Soak lentils in water for 3-4 hours, then and drain and rinse.
Heat oil in large soup pot (or wok) over medium heat.
Add garlic and onions; saute until translucent, but not browned.
Add lentils and cook for 10 minutes, stirring often.
Stir in the spices and lay the tomato slices on top.
Put lid on for a few minutes to allow flavors to soak in.
Add water, bring to a boil, then bring down to a gentle simmer and cook covered until soft- about 50 minutes.
Remove from heat and mash, or use the Bamix blender right in the pot to roughly puree.
Add the salt and cilantro.

dal bhat

Leftover Dal Bhat portions ready for the freezer.

Leftover Dal Bhat freezes super well in individual portions for quick and easy clean eating lunches.

I have a stash of frozen “emergency lunches” in the freezer that I can take to work just in case I’ve got nothing else for some reason.  It happens.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Pregnancy Exercises for Arms & Upper Body

So I promised to start posting some pregnancy exercises / workout videos a few weeks ago… and have finally gotten around to filming the first one, which is for your arms and upper body.  Stay tuned for the next videos on Legs, Butt, and Lower Body, Core Workouts for Pregnancy, and Total Body Workouts.

By the way, these videos will be good for you even if you’re not pregnant since they’re pretty low-impact.  If you’re looking for more of a sweat/challenge (because you’re not pregnant), check out my previous videos free workout videos.

 

 

As always, make sure you’ve got clearance from your doctor before exercising while pregnant, and if something doesn’t “feel right,” stop immediately.  For me it’s sometimes a tightness or “pulling” kind of feeling in my uterus/abdomen when I’m engaging my core too much.  This is my sign to stop, but yours might be something different, so remember listen to your body.

Also, remember that pregnancy is not a time to get super fit.  You should definitely keep exercising and make healthy choices, but don’t be signing up for the next marathon or Cross Fit competition.  Put your baby first.

Here are the pregnancy exercises in today’s video.  Do each exercise 12x, and go thru the list 3x in total.  Watch the video for the correct form.

1) bicep curls (with weights)
2) arm T-raises (lateral raises)
3) tricep extensions (bent over, and pushing back behind you)
4) bent over row with overhand grip (not underhand)
5) push-ups (and then on your knees later on in pregnancy so you don’t bump your bump), or using the Equalizer
6) triceps dips off of floor, chair or Equalizer


Lebert Equalizer


One Response to Pregnancy Exercises for Arms & Upper Body

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Gender Reveal Party

So I know we said we weren’t gonna reveal the baby’s gender (and weren’t even sure if we were gonna find out ourselves)… but in a rapid turn of events, both have happened.  If you’re curious, check out this video clip from our gender reveal party yesterday.  Fun times.

 

 

Thanks to everyone who was there for all your support and laughter.

 

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Adidas Energy Boost Running Shoes product review

Although I love the look of Nikes, I’ve always been an Adidas kind of girl… they just seem to fit my feet better, so I’ve run in pair after pair for the past 12 years or so.  In the past couple years my Adidas styles of choice have been the softer Response shoes, and the Kanadia trail running shoes because they’re so nice and grippy on the bottom, but since I started teaching PE again, I needed another pair to switch things up a little.

Adidas Energy Boost shoes

Off for a run, complete with my Running Room socks from Vancouver

I started shopping with the intention of buying another pair of Adidas Response shoes to take the pressure off being on my feet all day, but the savvy sales rep at Rebel Sport up-sold me to the brand-new Adidas Energy Boost shoes that had just come in a few days ago.

She made all these sales-pitchy claims like that the white part on the bottom is made of little foam-filled balls that push energy back into your knees with every step you take, yada yada yada, so I decided to leave them at the store, go home, and do a little research before parting with my moola.

After looking them up online and listening to the sales videos on the Adidas website plus other un-biased review sites, I still couldn’t decide if they were worth the cash, or if it was just all marketing hype, so I decided to give them a go, especially since the chick at Rebel Sport had told me I could return them after a 28-day trial, even if I’d totally trashed them while trying them out.  Sold.

Well, I didn’t end up returning them after the 28 days because I really did love them.  I’m still not sure about all their marketing claims, but I do notice quite a difference in cushioning between these and my Kanadias.

Plus it’s nice to have options and not wear the same shoes every single day, which is strange for me since usually I’m a bit of a minimalist and like to make do with one of everything in life until it wears out and then I get a new one.  Boring, I know, but that’s how I roll, and what I believe.

The only thing I’ve found “wrong” with them is that they’re not very waterproof, so if you’re running/walking in the rain, they’ll probably soak through on the top part of your foot.  I read this on another review site before buying them, so I made sure to buy some water-repellent spray when I bought them and gave them a good spray straight out of the box.  They’re still not the greatest in the rain, so I just wear my Kanadias on wet days… problem solved.  Too easy.

Hope that helps shed some light on things if you’re considering buying the Adidas Energy Boost shoes.

 

 

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Big Announcement

Well, I guess it’s finally time to come clean and officially announce that I’m pregnant 🙂

13-week ultrasound pic

13-week ultrasound pic

We’ve been a bit slow in telling everyone just because we wanted to wait to get thru that first trimester to make sure everything was cooking alright in there (which it was/is), and then we wanted to tell our families in Canada over Skype, and then I had to tell my work… so internet-land is pretty much the last to find out.

It’s amazing how human-ish it already looks at 13 weeks, eh?  I’m 17 weeks now, and I can’t wait for the next scan (around 20 weeks) to see how much it’s grown.

7 weeks

7 weeks… bikini time

The funny this is that I’m not really showing much, like no obvious baby bump (unless I’m naked), so sometimes I’m afraid people totally won’t believe me when I tell them I’m pregnant, especially since I’m nearly half-way through.

The pic on the right is of me at 7 weeks… in the more recent one I have some nasty bed-head going on, so that’s NOT going online anytime soon.  I’ll post a 17 or 18-week one when I get around to it.

The due date is November 20th, so it will work out almost perfectly with the school year ending here in Australia… it means I can teach almost right up until the end of the year, and then Andrew will be off and have the summer holidays off to hang out for 6 weeks.

We’re definitely hoping that some family, especially my mom, can come down when the baby is first born to help us out and show us the ropes.  She’s done it 6 times before, so she would know all the tricks of the trade.

So what does this mean for fitness, and for this website?

Well, I’m still gonna keep it fitness-focused (as per the name of the site), and not change it into some mommy-blog (nothing against them; that’s just not what this is).  Of course I’ll be posting some workouts for pregnant chicks, as I’ve been doing a lot of research in this area lately.

Unfortunately, I don’t think I’ll be filming anymore high impact interval training workouts for the rest of this year, as it’s not agreeing with my body during my 2nd trimester, but I’ll still be posting healthy recipes, etc.  If you need a high intensity workout, check out some of my previous free workout videos to keep you going for the time being.

On another note, Andrew and I feel like this is the perfect timing for us… we’ve been married for over 6 years now, have had heaps of time to travel together and get to know each other super well, and have had a good stab at our careers.  Also, Andrew finishes his Masters next week, so will have a lot more free time then.

Even though we’d still like to travel way more, we thought now would be a good time to start a family because if we wait any longer, we’ll be grandparent-aged.  Oh well, this kid will have to be content with being traipsed around the world, because that’s probably what will end up happening.

Any questions or comments, I’d be happy to hear from you.  🙂

 

pregnancy questions and answers

 

6 Responses to Big Announcement

  • Hannah says:

    I was going to “like” this, as 61 others have… BUT it says we can’t tell other people until it’s posted on facebook… and if I like this, it posts to facebook… doesn’t it?!?!

  • admin says:

    Good eye, Hanners… you can go ahead and like it now… it’s all over Facebook. Thanks for thinking of this though… much appreciated.

  • Joana says:

    wonderful!congrats!parabéns!

  • Joana says:

    ps: havaianas are the best 🙂

  • MJ says:

    So happy for you both. Love the website. Hope your mom does visit as yes, she will have lots of great tips.

  • Rainer says:

    Hey does that mean I’m a GREAT uncle!!? I always wanted to be a GREAT uncle!! (Grate uncle…?) Any ways, Doris and I are delighted that you finally, after 6 hard years (in German: sex yahre). I guess you and Andrew finally figured out was causes babies. After six years of trying everything, I bet you did right, you just got lucky and figured it out! Way to go! Any ways, I also worry about the kids potential confusion when he/she/it comes out because the Sun goes the wrong direction down there, not to mention that the seasons are all screwed up down there and that Christmas comes in the summer. It just doesn’t feel right, and how are you supposed to dream of a white Christmas!!? Maybe a mirage over the Out-Back?. By the way, I just checked your ultrasound now and I can clearly see the little thingy so definitely a boy!! Ok, I take no responsibility if the kid got woken up now because you are laughing/crying/taking a hiss-e-FIT right now. (to blend into your web site). And for Andrew, a very Happy Father’s day in advance!! You will soon be the second most important person in Corinna’s life! And finally I greet you both with Psalm 127 & 128 which my wonderful family just read with me. Great promises, great truth!

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