Healthier Home, Nutrition

Reusable Non-Toxic Straws

🥤Reusable Non-Toxic Straws🥤

Some benefits:

🥤They are reusable! Not only is that good for the environment, saving our sea life from the pollution of plastic straws that ends up in the ocean but they are also good on your pocket! It will save you money in the long run if you are used to buying disposable straws.

🥤Plastic reusable straws start to build a film inside of them that are hard to clean and can build up bacteria or mold, can’t go in the dishwasher or they melt.

🥤Plastic leaches chemicals, even more so when exposed to extreme temperatures like freezing or heat, acidic beverages or UV light which of course posses a risk to our health since it can disrupt our hormones but even more so cause cancer. Most single-use plastic straws are made from polypropylene, a type of plastic commonly made from petroleum. 

Options for non-toxic reusable straws: glass, stainless steel, bamboo and silicone (which are perfect for small children or people with disabilities that need a bendable straw). 

🌾If you are needing single use non-toxic straws, for lets say a party or an event where you will need a great amount of straws, I recommend using these natural Hay Straws that are made from wheat stems. They are 100% compostable, so you can throw them in the compost and they will break down completely.

Personally, I like to use glass straws because I like to be able to see thru them and make sure that they have been fully cleaned out on the inside. Good quality straws are made sturdy enough where you do not have to worry about your children using them or breaking them. My favorite glass straws are from GlassDharma. I love that their glass is thick and very durable. I also love that their cleaning brush handle is made from stainless steel. Perfect combo with their soft hemp sleeve to hold the straw and be able to take it on the go! Glassdharma creates a variety of glass straws, including a nice collection of etched straws with inspirational words on them. They even make custom sized straws if you have a container you would like a specific length of a straw for. Best part is they have a lifetime guarantee!

⚠️Tip: make sure with any cleaning brush that you use, that the handle is all stainless steel (no aluminum). 

This reusable monkey print travel pouch is from Marley’s Monsters. The pouches are perfect to take your straws on the go! I also store my straws in the pouch inside my kitchen drawer to keep them clean in between uses. This pouch even has removable and washable interior wet bag to keep your dirty straws in. They have a wide variety of adorable prints to choose from, as well as different sizes to match the length of your straws. Their site has a variety of great non-toxic, reusable items aside from straws ranging from kitchen towels, napkins, facial washcloths, nursing pads, bibs, washable duster, dryer balls, shopping bags and food containers.

Here is a full list of my recommendations: https://amzn.to/2H7jzTI

Nutrition

Cooking in Cast Iron

Healthy eating is not just about the food itself that we ingest, it also matters what you use to cook it in!

I have always loved using non-stick cookware for the ease of cooking and the cleaning portion that comes thereafter but truly never realized that in order for it to be made that way it takes harsh chemicals like perfluorooctanoic acid, that eventually leeks out into our food. According to the American Cancer Society, “PFOA has the potential to be a health concern because it can stay in the environment and in the human body for long periods of time. Studies have found that it is present worldwide at very low levels in just about everyone’s blood. Animal studies have also presented a link between PFOA exposure and cancer development. Of course, something else that can cause cancer!

After Anthony was diagnosed with cancer, this was one of the simple changes that I made. I stopped utilizing all non-stick cookware and started slowly changing out items in the kitchen, beginning with purchasing a cast iron skillet which I now use to cook all of his meals in. Because I knew that Anthony would start have iron deficiency anemia related to his cancer treatment secondary to reduced appetite, poor nutrition, potential gastrointestinal mucosal damage that results in blood loss and bone marrow suppression I resorted to using cast iron cookware. Iron is an essential nutrient for all the cells in our body. Iron’s main function in our body is to help transport oxygen through hemoglobin in the blood and myoglobin in muscles. 

As a registered nurse one of our education instructions to our patients is to use cast iron cookware to cook in as a way to help increase their iron levels and prevent or improve their iron deficiency!

Safe, non-toxic types of cookware include: cast iron, stainless steel, glass and copper. One of the cast iron skillets that I use the most, which is also incredibly priced is from Lodge. Taking it way back to one of the oldest, yet safest ways to cook!

The best part about a cast iron skillet, other than the health benefits are that it will last you a lifetime. That is of course, if you take care of it appropriately:

Cleaning Tips

  1. Wash cast iron by hand (avoid putting in dishwasher or using any metal scrubbers). For extra sticky situations, simmer a little water for 1 minute, then scrape after cooled.
  2. Dry promptly and thoroughly with a lint free cloth.
  3. Rub with a very light layer of oil, preferably while the cookware is still warm.
  4. Hang or store cookware in a dry place. 

Cooking Tips

  1. The great thing about cast iron is that it can be used on all types of stovetops, including in the oven!
  2. Cast iron heats up very quickly, so make sure to use a lower heat setting to pre-heat prior to adding food and to also prevent food from burning or sticking. 
  3. You can use any utensils you like on cast iron, but avoid using anything plastic or aluminum for toxic purposes! Bamboo utensils are always a great option as they are organic and will not scratch any surface.
  4. Make sure to use a hot handle mitt (remove if placing in oven!).

Seasoning Tips:

  1. Seasoning is a very important part of keeping your cast iron cookware working to its optimal state and preserving its condition. It is the act of baking oil onto the iron.
  2. Using the cookware regularly will help maintain its seasoning but if it not in use often, you will want to make sure to season it if you start to notice it is getting dull.
  3. Although essentially you can use any type of cooking oil to season, it is not recommended that you use any animal based fats as they can go rancid quickly which is a health concern.
  4. It is important to maintain the seasoning by applying a very thin layer of oil after each cleaning.
  5. At some point you may need to completely re-season your cast iron cookware, if so follow these instructions.

Purchasing all new cookware can definitely be a financial burden but it is a lifetime investment for your health and in the long run can save you a lot of money on potential medical care related to health conditions that may arise from using alternative cookware that expose you to hazardous toxins. Lodge has a nice array of cookware to choose from which is reasonably priced.

Health tip:

*Any application of the recommendations in this website is at the reader’s discretion.Information is provided for informational  purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.Please consult with physician prior to use.  

Nutrition

The Grind on Flaxseeds

“According to the WHO, approximately one-third of the deaths caused by cancer are due to bad eating habits and lack of physical activity. By improving eating habits and increasing physical activity, more than 30% of the cancers diagnosed could be avoided. Thus, with the increased risk, a proper nutrition intervention is necessar. Nutrition plays a fundamental role in cancer, as it can reduce complications that happen during treatment and can contribute to the patient’s well-being.”-National Institutes of Health

With that said, a simple yet nutritious superfood to add to your diet are flaxseeds! These small seeds are loaded with essential nutrients, have tons of health benefits and can be easily incorporated with a variety of drinks and meals.

Nutrients:

  • lignans (a class of phytoestrogens which act as antioxidants)
  • alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid (essential for energy, brain function, cell maintenance, heart function and anti-inflammatory. ALA is an essential fatty acid, which means that your body cannot naturally produce it, so you need to obtain it from the food you eat.)
  • thiamine ( vitamin B1, essential for normal metabolism and nerve function)
  • magnesium (important for bone health, calcium absorption, heart function, metabolism)
  • phosphorus (important for bone health)
  • selenium (assists with cognitive function, helps lower oxidative stress in the body, which reduces inflammation and enhances immunity)
  • copper (It helps maintain healthy bones, blood vessels, nerves, and immune function, and it contributes to iron absorption)
  • folate (support brain health, important during pregnancy to prevent neural tube defects, needed to make red and white blood cells in the bone marrow)
  • iron (a mineral vital to the proper function of hemoglobin, protein needed to transport oxygen in the blood)
  • potassium (regulates fluid balance, muscle contractions and nerve signals)
  • zinc (plays a role in our immune function and wound healing)
  • protein (helps build and repair tissues)

Benefits of ground flaxseeds:

  • Help lower the risk of different types of cancer, type 2 diabetes, heart disease
  • Reduce oxidative stress with its antioxidant properties (high in polyphenol antioxidants)
  • Aid in gut health (support the growth of probiotics in the gut and may also help eliminate yeast and candida in the body.)
  • Aid in preventing and relieving constipation (one of the major side effects endured during cancer treatment, make sure to take with plenty of water!)
  • Good for colon detoxification
  • Help reduce overall total cholesterol and bad cholesterols: triglycerides and LDL (low density lipoprotein) cholesterol
  • Help balance hormones (bind to estrogen in the bowel and help eliminate it which might help reduce the risk of breast cancer and aid in mood regulation)
  • Help regulate blood sugar levels
  • Promote healthy hair: nourish the hair follicles making them stronger, shinier, help improve elasticity of hair and aid in hair growth.

There are studies that also show that flaxseeds have an effect on breast cancer, according to the National Institutes of Health “α-linolenic acids have been shown to be able to suppress growth, size, and proliferation of cancer cells and also to promote breast cancer cell death. Additionally, some clinical trials showed that flaxseed can have an important role in decreasing breast cancer risk, mainly in postmenopausal women.”

Lignans are considered natural “phytoestrogens,” or plant nutrients that work somewhat similarly to the hormone estrogen. Phytoestrogens in flaxseed can alter estrogen metabolism, causing either an increase or decrease in estrogen activity depending on someone’s hormonal status (in other words, flax has both estrogenic and antiestrogenic properties). For example, in postmenopausal women, lignans can cause the body to produce less active forms of estrogen, which is tied to increased protection against tumor growth.” -Dr. Axe

The best benefits of flaxseeds has been found to come from ground flaxseeds over the consumption of whole flax seeds (which are not easily absorbed by the body and you will likely pass them whole in your stool) or flax oil (which lacks fiber and protein).

The freshest flaxseeds will be buying whole flaxseeds and grinding them right before use. You can use a mortar and pestle , coffee grinder or a blender. You can also buy flaxseeds pre-ground.

Health tips:

  • The fiber in the flaxseed may also lower the body’s ability to absorb medications that are taken by mouth, so avoid taking it at the same time (take at least 1 hour apart).
  • Freshly ground flaxseeds should be used shortly after grinding or stored away in the refrigerator immediately. It is best to add to cold beverages like smoothies or sprinkle on top of food like yogurt, fruit, açaí or salads.
  • Flax seeds have a mild nutty taste, so if there is a bitter taste then your flaxseeds have gone bad and should be tossed out.

Ground flaxseeds are best stored in an airtight container kept in the refrigerator. When I buy my already ground flaxseeds I transfer them from their bag into a large glass mason jar and cover them with a bamboo lid (avoid using aluminum and plastic) and store it in the refrigerator. It typically lasts up to a year when refrigerated but make sure to check expiration date on package and always look out for that rancid smell.

Here are a couple of ways that I have been able to incorporate flaxseeds into my sons diet (mind you he is a very picky eater and has not noticed the ground flaxseeds or their taste used in these methods):

  • Adding to homemade pancake mix! Pancakes have also been one of the easiest ways I have been able to pack in nutrients and calories to help my son battle his weight loss during cancer treatment. Our favorite are making Golden Milk Pancakes:
    1. Start out with your favorite pancake mix (I love Birch Benders!)
    2. Add a tsp of golden milk mix (I use Zen’s Tea House Golden Milk mix)
    3. Add milk of choice or alternative
    4. Add a tsp of ground flaxseeds with lignans (great way to add fiber and omega 3)
    5. Add an egg (farm fresh eggs are always the best, if not look for organic eggs with the highest omega 3 and DHA) or you can substitute for banana
    6. Cook in butter (my favorite is Kerry Gold or Organic Valley) in a cast iron skillet (as a way to increase iron levels, unless contraindicated)
    7. There are so many other things you can add to the mix, some of my favorite are: coconut, dark chocolate chips, walnuts and blueberries
    8. Some tips that helped me add calories to my son’s pancakes were adding: a tsp of almond butter or any nut butter, dash of heavy cream or whipped cream
  • Adding it to homemade baked cookies
  • Adding it to ground meat when making meatballs, meatloaf or burgers

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Consuming flaxseeds, especially when first introducing them to your diet, can cause bloating, gas, abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea and/or nausea. It is recommended not to consume more than 4-5 tablespoons daily. Because it is considering a bulk-forming natural laxative it can block the intestines if you are not taking in enough fluids, so make sure to have an adequate water intake.

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Taking flaxseed by mouth during pregnancy is POSSIBLY UNSAFE. Flaxseed can act like the hormone estrogen. Some healthcare providers worry that this might harm the pregnancy, although to date there is no reliable clinical evidence about the effects of flaxseed on pregnancy outcomes. There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking flaxseed if you are breast feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Bleeding disorders: Flaxseed might slow clotting. This raises the concern that it could increase the risk of bleeding in people with bleeding disorders. Don’t use it, if you have a bleeding disorder. (Take precaution when platelets are low during chemotherapy)

Diabetes: There is some evidence that flaxseed can lower blood sugar levels and might increase the blood sugar-lowering effects of some medicines used for diabetes. There is a concern that blood sugar could drop too low. If you have diabetes and use flaxseed, monitor your blood sugar levels closely.

Gastrointestinal (GI) obstruction: People with a bowel obstruction, a narrowed esophagus (the tube between the throat and the stomach), or an inflamed (swollen) intestine should avoid flaxseed. The high fiber content of flaxseed might make the obstruction worse.

Hormone-sensitive cancers or conditions: Because flaxseed might act somewhat like the hormone estrogen, there is some concern that flaxseed might make hormone-sensitive conditions worse. Some of these conditions include breast, uterine, and ovarian cancer; endometriosis; and uterine fibroids. However, some early laboratory and animal research suggests that flaxseed might actually oppose estrogen and might be protective against hormone-dependent cancer. Still, until more is known, avoid excessive use of flaxseed if you have a hormone-sensitive condition.(Consult with oncologist)

High blood pressure (hypertension): Flaxseeds might lower diastolic blood pressure. Theoretically, taking flaxseeds might cause blood pressure to become too low in individuals with high blood pressure who are taking blood pressure-lowering medication or individuals who already have low blood pressure.L

*Any application of the recommendations in this website is at the reader’s discretion.Information is provided for informational  purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.Please consult with physician prior to use.  

Nutrition

Environmental Working Group

During my research of utilizing natural and non-toxic products after Anthony’s diagnosis with cancer, I was introduced to the Environmental Working Group which has made a world of difference in the way I choose the foods we eat as well as the personal care products that we use. The EWG is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to protecting human health and the environment through their extensive research and education.  

“EWG is educating and empowering consumers to make safer and more informed decisions about the products they buy and the companies they support. In response to consumer pressure, companies are giving up potentially dangerous chemical ingredients in their products and improving their practices.”

https://www.ewg.org/about-us
Copyright © Environmental Working Group, www.ewg.org. Reproduced with permission.

The EWG VERIFIED™ program does a lot of the work for you in taking the time to research products that are safe for your health. So when you see that stamp on a personal care product you know that it has been thoroughly reviewed and approved. These products are free of parabens, phthalates, retinyl palmitate and triclosan, amongst other toxic chemicals.

Copyright © Environmental Working Group, www.ewg.org. Reproduced with permission.

Are you ever at the grocery store and wonder which organic produce you should really be investing in purchasing? Well the EWG’s “Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce™” breaks it down easily for you with their picks of the “Clean Fifteen™” and “Dirty Dozen™” lists to help you know exactly which produce you can save money on and which you should be making an investment on for your health.Unfortunately pesticide residue is not fully removed after you remove the peel or wash the produce in the sink. If you cannot afford to purchase organic produce, try to stick to those that you can cook as pesticide levels typically diminish when food is exposed to high levels of heat.You can download a free version of this guide here.

Being exposed to pesticides posses so many health risk concerns: neurological and behavioral development including having a link to ADHD, dementia, fertility problems, and most importantly linked to several different types of cancer. Exposure to pesticides can be through contact with the skin, ingestion, or inhalation. Unfortunately our children are the most vulnerable population when it comes to these health risks. If you are looking to do additional research in regards to pesticides and how they can be detrimental to the health of our children, the Pesticides in the Diets of Infants and Children (Environmental Health Matters Initiative) is a great, easy book to read.

Copyright © Environmental Working Group, www.ewg.org. Reproduced with permission.

A lot of the times we see a food item labeled as “organic” or “non-GMO” but upon reading the ingredients we find that it is actually not a clean product. EWG Food Scores has also created a list of certified organic and non-Gmo foods .“Certified organic food must be produced without synthetic pesticides and fertilizers. Genetically engineered ingredients are not allowed. Synthetic preservatives and artificial colors are not allowed in processed foods. Meat and dairy ingredients must be produced without antibiotics and artificial growth promoters or hormones.”-EWG

Want to eat out on the town but not have to worry about the quality of food you are eating? EWG has this amazing site for you to find restaurants that utilize food products to meet their standards. In addition to restaurants, this guide also includes lists of farms, farmers markets and stores.

EWG also has an amazing Health Living app that you can download, which includes Food Scores and Skin Deep,to have instant access on your phone to food and personal care products while you are out doing your shopping. The app is super easy to use, you can search a product by name, browse by category or scan the barcode. Once you do so it will give you the products rating according to EWG’s research and assist you with making better choices, if you are not already. You also have the ability to save your searches as favorites. This is an app I revert to frequently.

I highly recommend that you utilize the EWG website and all of its wonderful tools to help you live healthier and non-toxic lives.

Copyright © Environmental Working Group, www.ewg.org. Reproduced with permission.
Nutrition

Curmin and Cancer

When our son, Anthony, was diagnosed with Medulloblastoma he underwent surgery to have a brain tumor the size of a tennis ball removed. The neurosurgeons were successful in removing 95% of the tumor, the other 5% had unfortunately infiltrated his medulla rendering it unsafe to try to remove. Regardless if the outcome of the surgery was achieving full resection of the tumor, we still knew that he would have to undergo 30 sessions of radiation followed by a year long course of chemotherapy. Having residual brain tumor not only posed a risk of having it spread but it also meant that we now had to rely on the remaining treatment. Shortly after Anthony was discharged from the hospital and we were settled back at home I started to research CAM (complimentary and alternative medicine) in which we could incorporate into his treatment course as an adjunct to therapy. As a nurse, I already knew he would endure several side effects as a result of radiation and chemotherapy, in addition to the countless amount of medications he would need to take. I wanted to make sure we did not have resort to additional medication that would be taxing to his body in order to combat the side effects but instead utilize natural holistic methods, if possible.

This is when I started to learn more about curcumin and its many health benefits. Soon after turmeric would become a staple in our household and an integral part of his healing journey. Anthony has always been a picky eater, so trying to add turmeric to his meals would be nearly impossible. I was able to slowly incorporate it into his spaghetti using turmeric ghee but even then he asked “why is my spaghetti yellow?!” So I had to find a better way of adding it to his meals without him noticing not only so much the color but the taste as well, so that he would be being willing to consume it.If him being a picky eater wasn’t a challenge enough, you then add the odor sensitivity and change in taste that cancer patients endure and its an even harder battle. 

The majority of our weekly hospital follow-up visits have been on Wednesdays, which also happens to be farmers market day at the hospital. To my luck, I came across a golden milk mix from Zen’s Tea House. I was able to try it on the spot and it was absolutely delicious! Not only was this something that I would enjoy myself but it would be great to use in Anthony’s pancakes since it has a sweet taste to it. 

Golden Milk is one the most famous remedies in Ayurvedic medicine originating in India. Turmeric is famous for its anti-inflammatory and detoxifying properties, making it a wonderful remedy for those suffering from injuries, joint pain, and build up of toxins, most importantly cancer patients undergoing radiation and chemotherapy.

Curcumin, the yellow pigment and main component of turmeric, is one of the most potent spices in nature for its healing properties:

  • Supports brain and joint health
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Anti-oxidant, liver detoxifier
  • Antiseptic, said to have anti-viral, antibacterial and anti-fungal properties
  • Boosts immunity
  • Anti-cancer properties for certain types of cancer
  • Helps maintain cholesterol levels, lowering tryglicerides
  • Supports circulatory system and blood pressure
  • Helps the body digest proteins and fats
  • Aids in relaxation (perfect when drinking warm before bedtime)

Golden milk is one of the easiest and most delectable ways to enjoy turmeric and reap its benefits. In trying several different types of golden milk, I must say that I love Zen’s Tea House Golden Milk. What makes it so powerful, is the quality of ingredients. You can truly capture its essence and distinct rich taste. All three ingredients, Turmeric root powder, Vietnamese Cinnamon powder and Ginger root powder, are 100% Organic, non-GMO and of the highest quality.

How to make Warm Golden Milk:

  • Bring 8oz of milk (or alternative) to a simmer
  • Add 1 tsp of Golden Milk mix
  • Let simmer for 5 minutes, while stirring occassionally and enjoy.
  • Perfect to drink before bedtime as it aids in relaxation!

How to make Cold Golden Milk:

  • Use 8-16oz of milk (or alternative)
  • Add 1 tsp of Golden Milk mix (you can shake or stir until the Golden Milk is completely dissolved but I personally like to place it in a blender to get a smooth finish).
  • You can make as much as you want and store in glass bottles in the refrigerator to enjoy later.



Health Tip: Adding a pinch of black pepper to turmeric enhances curcumin’s bioavailability due to it component piperine furthermore increasing its health benefits. Also if you do not use milk and want to use water instead to make a hot tea, add some coconut oil/ghee and/or MCT oil. Turmeric is fat soluble so it is best absorbed when combined with a fat.

How to make Golden Milk pancakes (these are my son’s favorite and honestly how I am able to get him to ingest it because “drinking yellow milk” is not going to happen any time soon! Pancakes have also been one of the easiest ways I have been able to pack in nutrients and calories to help him battle his weight loss during cancer treatment):

  1. Start out with your favorite pancake mix (I love Birch Benders!)
  2. Add a tsp of Zen’s Tea House Golden Milk mix
  3. Add milk of choice or alternative
  4. Add a tsp of ground flaxseeds with lignans (great way to add fiber and omega 3)
  5. Add an egg (farm fresh eggs are always the best, if not look for organic eggs with the highest omega 3 and DHA) or you can substitute for banana
  6. Cook in butter (my favorite is Kerry Gold or Organic Valley) in a cast iron skillet (as a way to increase iron levels, unless contraindicated)
  7. There are so many other things you can add to the mix, some of my favorite are: coconut, dark chocolate chips, walnuts and blueberries
  8. Some tips that helped me add calories to my son’s pancakes were adding: a tsp of almond butter or any nut butter, dash of heavy cream or whipped cream

There are so many ways that you can reap the health benefits of turmeric but I assure you golden milk will be one of the most delightful ways that you can enjoy it.

*Any application of the recommendations in this website is at the reader’s discretion.Information is provided for informational  purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.Please consult with physician prior to use.  

 

Nutrition

Functional Formularies: Organic Whole Food Meal Replacement

After Anthony was diagnosed with Medulloblastoma I began an endless journey of research. There is so much to possibly learn and know to be able to understand what is going on and even more so know how to deal with it. Essentially, the ultimate goal was how to thrive through cancer. I had come across posts of “Liquid Hope” and “Nourish” formulas on a Medulloblastoma parent support group but didn’t look into it further since Anthony was not being tube fed at the time. I had also read that most people had to end up paying out of pocket for the formula, as it wasn’t covered by insurance. Fast forward to 9 months after Anthony was diagnosed and we now found ourselves needing a NG (nasogastric) tube to be inserted. Along with the order from the physician to have it inserted because Anthony had lost significant amount of weight, came the order from the dietician for the formula that Anthony would be put on based on RDA requirements: the average daily level of intake sufficient to meet the nutrient requirements. We were never given a choice of formulas we could give Anthony, just told which one he would be put on and then went through the motions of having the supplier contact us for delivery. 

One random day, 2 months after Anthony had his NG tube inserted, one of the parents in the support group posted that her son had completed his  cancer treatment and she still had a box left over of the Nourish formula. She stated that she would be willing to ship it to anyone who could cover the costs of shipping alone. I responded as fast as my fingers could type and took her up on the offer. After receiving the box I slowly incorporated the Nourish formula with his formula by replacing one of the cartons. Then after a couple of days kept incorporating more of the Nourish, until I fully switched over to the Nourish alone. Within a week I noticed Anthony was suddenly able to tolerate his continuous feeding at a higher rate, was not vomiting it out as he usually almost would daily and his bowel movements were now normal. He had been battling between episodes of constipation and diarrhea which required the use of a combination of stool softeners or laxatives. His energy levels also seemed to improve. Of course this could be all coincidence but to go from a formula where we could not pronounce all of the ingredients to an organic whole food formula was amazing! Its bad enough that Anthony gets so many chemicals pumped into him with chemo, why add to it when we could nourish it as well. After all, food is an integral and huge part of healing.

Once we informed Anthony’s dietician of the change, she mentioned she had heard of the formula but it wasn’t something she really offered to families since its often not covered by insurance. If you were to purchase each pouch of organic formula it’s about $12.50, which Anthony would need four pouches a day in order to meet his calorie requirements. That would mean a monthly cost of $1,500 alone. But guess what?! To her amazement and ours, the insurance covered it 100%! I wish I would have remembered at the time when Anthony had his NG tube inserted about looking into Nourish as a possible option. But with another thing added to our “normal” daily life, I honestly forgot about it. Thank God for this random mother in Boston who was so generous enough to share her son’s leftover formula.

During the month of December 2018, Functional Formularies was doing a Facebook giveaway which I entered to win. I received the package which contained an entire case of Nourish formula, a tote bag and the book written by the creator of Nourish and Liquid Hope (their other formula), “A Turn for the Worst: Traumatic Brain Injury and a Daughter’s Search for Answers“. I started reading it as soon as I got it and could not put it down, to the point that I finished reading it in one sitting! Robin Gentry McGee tells the story of her father who suffered a traumatic brain injury and her journey through the experience with Western medicine which led her to create an organic whole food formula for him since he was tube fed. Such a great book and highly recommend it, of course along with the formula! So thankful for Robin for creating such a great formula and Functional Formularies for choosing me as a winner! This has all been so life changing!

I say it often, but I can’t stress it enough, I urge you to always take the time to read/do your own research, get second opinions, ask questions, seek advice from others in the same situation as you are in and never settle for the first information you are given. You are your own and your child’s best advocate!

If you are interested in learning more please visit their website directly at: https://www.functionalformularies.com/

Click on picture to be redirected to link to purchase book!