May 13, 2008 [Volume 2, Issue 12]
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In this issue of To Your Health:
Preparing for Baby
Putting Your Finances in Order
Listen Up: Children Rarely Need Antibiotics for Earaches

Preparing for Baby

Most women don't understand the importance of establishing healthy eating and lifestyle habits before becoming pregnant. It's rare that great nutritional advice is provided to women until after they've conceived, and the Western lifestyle often leads to unhealthy and out-of-balance choices.

The first question to ask your doctor is: What does the body require to have a healthy pregnancy? Start with the whole-food concept. To eat a balanced diet, we should understand that living a "whole-foods" rather than a "processed" lifestyle is best for you and your future baby.

Start With Whole Foods

Proteins and iron are important, preferably derived from organic, grass-fed, or hormone- and antibiotic-free beef, lamb and poultry. Eggs will provide vitamin A. Additional sources of iron can be found in wheat germ, bran, nuts, parsley and molasses. Essential fatty acids and protein can be found in fatty fish (salmon, black cod, etc.). Fish oil supplements should be a part of the regimen as well.
Dairy products are a great source of calcium and protein, but your diet should be balanced with other healthy calcium sources such as soy products, nuts, seaweed products, wheat germ or wheat bran.
Beans, legumes and green leafy vegetables provide fiber, protein and other essential vitamins for a healthy, balanced diet.
Folic acid and vitamin B are addressed with a diet of whole grains, nuts and dairy products. Monounsaturated fats also can be found in nuts and avocados. Berries provide antioxidants, additional vitamins and phytonutrients.

When considering dietary changes, remember that living foods do not come in boxes or packages. They will not be found in the aisles of your grocery store, but in the meat, dairy and produce section.

A "wellness pregnancy" shouldn't start once you become pregnant; it should start four to 12 months prior to conceiving. One of the first things you should do after deciding to have a baby is ask your doctor for nutritional advice.

The saying is true: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. A great nutritional start to your day should include protein, vegetables and legumes. For example, a scrambled egg with lightly steamed spinach and black beans wrapped in a whole-grain tortilla is an easy way to fuel your body.

Throughout the day, you should eat healthy snacks to keep your energy up. Healthy snacks for women include raw nuts, fruits, and dairy and soy products. For example, a handful of raw almonds and a slice of apple or a slice of avocado mixed with black beans is a much healthier choice than a diet soda and a few cookies.

Changing your eating and drinking lifestyle is vital for your health and the health of your future baby. With all the unhealthy choices out there, it's important to make the right choices now, not after you're pregnant. And implementing a healthier eating lifestyle and making it part of your everyday living could have a huge impact on how you feed your entire family.

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Putting Your Finances in Order

Credit Cards: Have You Considered the Consequences?

Don't underestimate the connection between finances and health. If you're like most people, you worry about finances all the time, which leads to considerable stress – and stress is a major contributor to a variety of health conditions. Not to mention that the better positioned you are financially, the more prepared you are to handle those unexpected health crises and insurance headaches that can leave you with big bills.

Credit Cards: A Blessing or a Curse?

Ah, the credit card – the "I want it, I need it now!" generation finally has found the answer to its dreams. A little piece of plastic can go a long way; sometimes too long. However, after all the negative statements have been said, credit cards actually have some redeeming features.

This is one area that many have opinions about, but no straight answers. Credit cards can be your friends if used properly, or they can bury you. What do I mean? Most people are walking around with a "pocket full of plastic" and don't have a clue what they are paying for all of that plastic.

Know Your Interest Rate

Interest charges can be as low as 0 percent and as high as 39 percent. Where are you on that totem pole? Not sure? That's your first big mistake. You need to be sure! It's time you did a little homework to save yourself from financial ruin or even bankruptcy. Pull out your most recent credit card statements and look in the lower left-hand corner. What's your annual percentage rate or APR? Unless your credit score is lower than your IQ, you should not be paying more than 12 percent. If it's higher than that, it's time to look on that statement for the "800" number and give your credit card company a call. When you call, don't ask, but tell them you have been a good customer and if they want to keep you as a customer they need to do two things:

Lower your interest rate
Increase your credit limit

Another thought on those dreaded hunks of plastic is the so-called "semi-precious cards" that come in a variety of silver, gold, platinum and the latest, jet black. For what they offer in benefits, the higher annual fees are not justifiable. They look impressive when you pull them out of your wallet, but they really aren't worth the additional dollars you will spend year after year. Just another thought to keep in mind while you are culling your crop of plastic.

Are you abusing your credit cards? According to the financial planning section of, here are some of the warning signs:

Do you have more than two or three credit cards in your wallet?
Do you pay the minimum (or less) every month?
Are any of your credit cards maxed out or nearly at their limit?
Do you hold off sending in other bills so you can pay the monthly payments on your credit cards?
Do you charge items you used to pay for with cash?
Do you send in payments late or miss payments?
Have you taken out a loan to pay off a credit card – but then continue to charge things to the card?
Do you take out cash advances on your credit cards to pay other bills?

Credit cards do have some benefits. Right now, they might be your best source of financing anything. Finance and leasing rates are not cheap, and you must start paying on them as soon as the deal is signed. You also have a limited period of time to pay all the money back. Credit cards usually give you a lower interest rate and the terms are much better. It's worth comparing before you sign on any finance or leasing plan. It could save you a bundle.

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Listen Up: Children Rarely Need Antibiotics for Earaches

Ear infections and related problems are almost a foregone conclusion for most children. According to Seattle Children's Hospital, ear infections (otitis media) account for at least 25 percent of all pediatric office visits, and an astonishing 94 percent of children suffer at least one ear infection in the first three years of life. Typical pediatric treatment involves antibiotics or (in more nonresponsive cases) surgery to place tubes in the ears.

However, antibiotics or surgery may not be the answer. According to an article in the Journal of Clinical Chiropractic Pediatrics, nearly 80 percent of children were free of ear infections for the following six months after receiving chiropractic adjustments. The lead researcher explained, "Chiropractic mobilizes drainage of the ear in children, and if they can continue to drain without a buildup of fluid and subsequent infection, they build up their own antibodies and recover more quickly. Once they fight it themselves, kids tend to do very well and stay away from ear infections completely."

Not only that, but other types of conservative treatment – including "watchful waiting" may be a better option than antibiotics for treating ear problems. Another study, published in the Archives of Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery, evaluated the effectiveness of antibiotics in treating middle-ear effusion (MEE) (fluid in the middle ear) as compared to no antibiotic treatment.

The researchers concluded that for children older than age 2, antibiotics are unnecessary: "Because of a marginal effect of antibiotic therapy on the development of asymptomatic MEE and the known negative effects of prescribing antibiotics, including the development of antibiotic resistance and adverse effects, we do not recommend prescribing antibiotics to prevent MEE."

So, what can you do to help ease your child's pain? The Seattle Children's Hospital recommends using either a warm washcloth against the affected ear or a few drops of warmed sweet oil (such as olive oil), applied directly into the ear, to at least temporarily stop the earache. Talk to your doctor about these options and ask about the benefits of chiropractic adjustments.

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The information provided is for general interest only and should not be misconstrued as a diagnosis, prognosis or treatment recommendation. This information does not in any way constitute the practice of chiropractic, acupuncture, massage therapy, medicine, or any other health care profession. Readers are directed to consult their health care provider regarding their specific health situation. MPA Media is not liable for any action taken by a reader based upon this information.