Autumn Harvest Stew

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons red or green curry paste- hot or mild, to taste
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 medium red onions, peeled, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled, diced
2 large yellow bell peppers, cored, seeded, diced
2 jalapeños or other hot chile pepper, seeded, diced fine (optional)
2 medium zucchinis, diced
2 15-oz. cans black-eyed peas, rinsed, drained
2 15-oz. cans white beans, rinsed, drained
2 15-oz. cans black beans, rinsed, drained
2 quarts vegetable broth or water
1 cup almond butter melted in 1 cup of hot water
1 teaspoon crushed hot red pepper flakes, or more, to taste (optional)
4 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
Juice from 2 big, juicy limes
4 teaspoons local raw honey
1 teaspoon molasses (optional)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste (it will need salt!)

Garnish:  Chopped fresh cilantro

Directions: Heat olive oil in large soup pot. Add the curry paste and cinnamon; stir for a minute to infuse the oil with spice. Add the onion, garlic, sweet potato, zucchini, yellow pepper, and jalapeño. Stir and cook the veggies for 5-7 minutes, until softened.

Add the black-eyed peas, white and black beans, broth or water, melted almond butter, red pepper flakes and cilantro.

Bring the soup to a high simmer, cover, and lower the heat; keep the soup on simmer and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 25 to 30 minutes.

Stir in the lime juice, honey, & molasses. Season with sea salt and ground pepper, to taste. Warm through and taste for seasoning adjustments.

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Summer Garden Gazpacho

This is what I concocted for dinner tonight and we loved it so much that I made a second batch as soon as we finished off the first!  I was hoping to have some left over for lunch tomorrow, but it doesn’t look like that will happen.

Summer Garden Gazpacho

Summer Garden Gazpacho

Ingredients:

4 cups of diced watermelon, seeds removed
3 medium tomatoes, diced, seeds removed
1 or 2 small chili peppers (jalapeno, serrano, or your favorite)
1 large cucumber, diced, seeds removed
1/4 of a small red onion, diced
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp sea salt
fresh dill, chopped
freshly ground black pepper

Directions:
Place 2 cups of the watermelon and all other ingredients except the dill and ground pepper into blender and blend until smooth.  Pour into bowls and top with the remaining diced watermelon, fresh dill, and ground pepper.  ENJOY!!!

Heat Note:  If you like your food mild, omit the peppers or use one jalapeno without seeds.  If you like medium heat, add two chili peppers without the seeds.  If you like it hot, leave in the seeds or use a pepper with even more heat.  We used two red chilies from our garden, without seeds, and it was a “pleasant medium”.  When my kids make this for themselves in the future, they will surely add more heat.

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Rose enjoying MORE of the gazpacho at 10 p.m.!  I think it's past your bedtime, sweetie!

Rose enjoying MORE of the gazpacho at 10 p.m.! I think it’s past your bedtime, sweetie!

South of the Border Gazpacho with Kickin’ Lime Cream

This is a favorite in the Schuchmann household!  Even my grown son Eric who is not into healthy food loves it!

Kickin’ Lime CreamSouth of the Border Gazpacho

Ingredients:
1 C raw cashews
2 jalapenos, seeded and diced
juice of 4-5 large limes
1 T extra virgin olive oil
1 T raw honey
1 t sea salt
zest of one lime
1/4 C water (more or less to acquire desired consistency)

Place all ingredients except water into blender and blend until smooth and creamy, adding water as needed.  Vita Mix and other high power blenders will require less water than standard blenders.  Place in serving bowl.

South of the Border Gazpacho

Ingredients:
8 large tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 large cucumber, seeded and diced
1 large red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 large green bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 jalapeno
1/2 medium sweet onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic
juice of 1 lime
2 T extra virgin olive oil
2 T raw honey
2 T chili powder
2 t sea salt
1 t cumin
1 t ground coriander
1/8 t chipotle powder

(optional garnish: fresh cilantro leaves)

After putting lime cream in bowl, without cleaning out blender, layer half of each gazpacho ingredient into blender and blend until smooth and creamy.  If your blender is small, you will want to put about a third of the ingredients in each batch.  Pour into large bowl for serving.

Fill each soup bowl with gazpacho with a dollop of lime cream and cilantro leaves for garnish.

If you do not like spicy food, eliminate the chipotle.  If you like your food hot and spicy, use serrano peppers instead of jalapenos and add extra chipotle.

Since you are using fresh vegetables, your gazpacho will taste slightly different each time you make it.  Choose vine ripened tomatoes and high quality veggies for the best flavor.  Roma tomatoes are especially delicious in this recipe, but you will need about 12-15 medium romas for this recipe.  Do not leave out the cucumber!  It makes a huge difference in the flavor.  Feel free to substitute other kinds of tomatoes, peppers, and onions for variation.

If you like corn chips, you can either find a recipe for raw corn chips made in the dehydrator or buy some organic, non-GMO corn chips to complete this meal.

Enjoy!

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Vaccination Information

This letter has been around for a couple years, but it is worth re-posting.  If you want to learn everything you can in order to make an informed decision about vaccines, read on…
~Kristin

Forced Vaccinations, Government, and the Public Interest

By Dr. Russell Blaylock, M.D.

December 2009

Those who are observant have noticed a dangerous trend in the United States, as well as worldwide, and that is the resorting of various governments at different levels to mandating forced vaccination upon the public at large. My State of Mississippi has one of the most-restrictive vaccine-exemption laws in the United States, where exemptions are allowed only upon medical recommendation. Ironically, this is only on paper, as many have had as many as three physicians, some experts in neurological damage caused by vaccines, provide written calls for exemption, only to be turned down by the State’s public-health officer.

Worse are the States, such as Massachusetts, New Jersey and Maryland, where forced vaccinations have either been mandated by the courts, the state legislature, or have such legislation pending. All of such policies strongly resemble those policies found in National Socialist empires, Stalinist countries, or Communist China.

When public-health officers are asked for the legal justification for such draconian measures as forcing people to accept vaccines that they deem either a clear and present danger to themselves and their loved ones or have had personal experience with serious adverse reactions to such vaccines, they usually resort to the need to protect the public.

One quickly concludes that if the vaccines are as effective as being touted by the public-health officials, then why should one fear the unvaccinated? Obviously the vaccinated would have at least 95% protection. This question puts them in a very difficult position. Their usual response is that a “small” percentage of the vaccinated will not have sufficient protection and would still be at risk. Now, if they admit what the literature shows, that vaccine failure rates are much higher than the 5% they claim, they must face the next obvious question – then why should anyone take the vaccine if there is a significant chance it will not protect?

When pressed further, they then resort to their favorite justification, the Holy Grail of the vaccine proponents – herd immunity. This concept is based upon the idea that 95% (and some now say 100%) of the population must be vaccinated to prevent an epidemic. The percentages needing vaccination grows progressively. I pondered this question for some time before the answer hit me. Herd immunity is mostly a myth and applies only to natural immunity – that is, contracting the infection itself.

Is Herd Immunity Real?

In the original description of herd immunity, the protection to the population at large occurred only if people contracted the infections naturally. The reason for this is that naturally-acquired immunity lasts for a lifetime. The vaccine proponents quickly latched onto this concept and applied it to vaccine-induced immunity. But, there was one major problem – vaccine-induced immunity lasted for only a relatively short period, from 2 to 10 years at most, and then this applies only to humoral immunity. This is why they began, silently, to suggest boosters for most vaccines, even the common childhood infections such as chickenpox, measles, mumps, and rubella.

Then they discovered an even greater problem, the boosters were lasting for only 2 years or less. This is why we are now seeing mandates that youth entering colleges have multiple vaccines, even those which they insisted gave lifelong immunity, such as the MMR. The same is being suggested for full-grown adults. Ironically, no one in the media or medical field is asking what is going on. They just accept that it must be done.

That vaccine-induced herd immunity is mostly myth can be proven quite simply. When I was in medical school, we were taught that all of the childhood vaccines lasted a lifetime. This thinking existed for over 70 years. It was not until relatively recently that it was discovered that most of these vaccines lost their effectiveness 2 to 10 years after being given. What this means is that at least half the population, that is the baby boomers, have had no vaccine-induced immunity against any of these diseases for which they had been vaccinated very early in life. In essence, at least 50% or more of the population was unprotected for decades.

If we listen to present-day wisdom, we are all at risk of resurgent massive epidemics should the vaccination rate fall below 95%. Yet, we have all lived for at least 30 to 40 years with 50% or less of the population having vaccine protection. That is, herd immunity has not existed in this country for many decades and no resurgent epidemics have occurred. Vaccine-induced herd immunity is a lie used to frighten doctors, public-health officials, other medical personnel, and the public into accepting vaccinations.

When we examine the scientific literature, we find that for many of the vaccines protective immunity was 30 to 40%, meaning that 70% to 60% of the public has been without vaccine protection. Again, this would mean that with a 30% to 40% vaccine-effectiveness rate combined with the fact that most people lost their immune protection within 2 to 10 year of being vaccinated, most of us were without the magical 95% number needed for herd immunity. This is why vaccine defenders insist the vaccines have 95% effectiveness rates.

Without the mantra of herd immunity, these public-health officials would not be able to justify forced mass vaccinations. I usually give the physicians who question my statement that herd immunity is a myth a simple example. When I was a medical student almost 40 years ago, it was taught that the tetanus vaccine would last a lifetime. Then 30 years after it had been mandated, we discovered that its protection lasted no more than 10 years. Then, I ask my doubting physician if he or she has ever seen a case of tetanus? Most have not. I then tell them to look at the yearly data on tetanus infections – one sees no rise in tetanus cases. The same can be said for measles, mumps, and other childhood infections. It was, and still is, all a myth.

The entire case for forced mass vaccination rest upon this myth and it is important that we demonstrate the falsity of this idea. Neil Z. Miller, in his latest book The Vaccine Information Manual, provides compelling evidence that herd immunity is a myth.

The Road to Hell is Paved with Good Intentions

Those pushing mandatory vaccination for an ever-growing list of diseases are a mixed bag.   Some are quite sincere and truly want to improve the health of the United States.   They believe the vaccine-induced herd immunity myth and likewise believe that vaccines are basically safe and effective.    They are not evil people.

A growing number are made of those with a collectivist worldview and see themselves as a core of elite wise men and women who should tell the rest of us what we should do in all aspects of our lives. They see us as ignorant cattle, who are unable to understand the virtues of their plan for America and the World. Like children, we must be made to take our medicine – since, in their view, we have no concept of the true benefit of the bad-tasting medicine we are to be fed.

I have also found that a small number of people in the regulatory agencies and public health departments would like to speak out but are so intimidated and threatened with dismissal or destruction of their careers, that they remain silent. As for the media, they are absolutely clueless.

I have found that “reporters” (we have few real journalists these days) rarely understand what they are reporting on and always trust and rely upon people in positions of official power, even if those people are unqualified to speak on the subject. Most of the time they run to the Centers for Disease Control or medical university to seek answers. I cannot count the number of times I have seen university department heads interviewed when it was obvious they had no clue as to the subject being discussed. Few such professors will pass up an opportunity to appear on camera or be quoted in a newspaper.

One must also appreciate that such reporters and editors are under an enormous economic strain, as vaccine manufacturers are major advertisers in all media outlets and for an obvious reason – it controls content. A number of excellent stories on such medical subjects are spiked every day. That means we will always be relegated to the “fringe media” as our media outlets are called. Despite the high quality of the journalism in many of the “fringe” outlets, they have a much smaller audience. And despite this we are having an enormous effect on the debate.

As the Public Awakens, the Collectivist Becomes Desperate

John Jewkes, in his book Ordeal by Planning, observed that as the British collectivists began to see opposition rise to their grandiose plans, they became more desperate and aggressive in their reaction.   They then initiated a campaign of smearing their opponents and blaming every failure on the unwillingness of the people to accept the planner’s dictates without question. We certainly have seen this in this debate – opponents to forced vaccinations are referred to as fringe scientists, kooks, uneducated, confused, and enemies of public safety – reminiscent of Stalin’s favorite phrase, “enemy of the people.”

This desperation is based upon their fear that the public might soon catch on to the fact that the entire vaccine program is based upon nonsense, fear, and concocted fairy tales. One special fear of theirs is that the public might discover the fact that most vaccines are contaminated with a number of known and yet-to-be discovered viruses, bacteria, viral fragments, and DNA/RNA fragments. And, further, that our science demonstrates that these contaminants could lead to a number of slowly-developing degenerative diseases, including degenerative diseases of the brain. This is rarely discussed but is of major importance in this debate.

The idea that adults and their children would be forced to submit to being injected with dozens of these organisms and organic fragments is terrifying. No regulatory agency is tracking to see if chronic diseases are rising in the vaccinated, yet we have compelling evidence of a massive rise in all autoimmune diseases, neurodegenerative diseases, and certain cancers since the advent of a dramatic increase in the number of vaccines being mandated.

Of special concern is the finding that many of the contaminant organisms can pass from generation to generation. For example, new studies have found that SV-40, a major contaminant of the polio vaccine until 1963, not only existed as a latent virus for the lifetime of those exposed to the vaccine but was being passed on to the next generation, primarily by way of sperm, something called vertical transmission. This means that every generation from now on will be infected with this known carcinogenic virus. There is also compelling evidence that some polio vaccines manufactured after 1963 may contain SV-40 virus.

What makes the SV-40 contamination disaster of such concern is its association with so many cancers – including mesothelioma, medulloblastoma, ependymoma, meningioma, astrocytoma, oligodendroglioma, pituitary adenoma, glioblastoma, osteosarcomas, non-Hodgkins lymphoma, papillary thyroid carcinomas, and anaplastic thyroid carcinomas.

The Federal government has gone to enormous lengths to cover up this association, despite the powerful scientific evidence that this vaccine infected at least a hundred million people worldwide with this carcinogenic virus. And, it took over 40 years just to get this far. Linking vaccine contaminations and immunoexcitotoxicity to the drastic rise in neurodegenerative diseases will probably take even longer because of the widespread growth of entrenched powers high in government and their control of the media, which is equally extensive. The fact that powerful, enormously wealthy foundations, such as the Ford Foundation, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Rockefeller series of foundations, are supporting forced vaccination greatly enhances the power of governments all over the World.

These foundations operate in the shadows, influencing legislation and government actions through the World Health Organization and individual governmental bodies. Behind every call for forced vaccinations, mandated quarantines, and home invasions, one can find one of these foundations providing the money as well as experts. Remember, the largest of the pharmaceutical-vaccine manufacturers are also providing much of the money for the foundations and serving on the boards of these foundations. The Rockefellers either owned outright or had controlling interest in all of the major pharmaceutical companies. This has given them absolute and extremely powerful access to the reins of power at all levels. Yet, they can be defeated by the truth.

Dr. Blaylock is a board-certified neurosurgeon, author and lecturer. He attended the LSU School of Medicine in New Orleans, Louisiana and completed his internship and neurosurgical residency at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston, South Carolina. For the past 24 years he has practiced neurosurgery in addition to having a nutritional practice for 2 years. Retiring from his neurosurgical practice to devote full time to nutritional studies and research, Dr. Blaylock has written and illustrated three books (Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills, Health and Nutrition Secrets That Can Save Your Life, and Natural Strategies for The Cancer Patient). In addition, he has written and illustrated three chapters in medical textbooks, written a booklet on nutritional protection against biological terrorism, has an e-booklet on radioprotection (Nuclear Sunrise), written and illustrated a booklet on multiple sclerosis, and written over 30 scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals.

Other credits include Dr. Blaylock’s DVD Nutrition & Behavior, a CD-ROM on the Truth About Aspartame, and, for the past five years, a health newsletter The Blaylock Wellness Report, published by NewsMax. Since the publication of his first book, he has been a guest on over 100 syndicated radio and television programs and appeared on the 700 Club seven times. He lectures widely to both lay and professional medical audiences on a variety of nutritional subjects.

Dr. Blaylock is a visiting professor of biology at Belhaven College and serves on the editorial staff of the Journal of the American Nutraceutical Association, the editorial staff of the Fluoride Journal and is on the editorial staff of the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, official journal of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons. He is also a regular lecturer for the Fellowship for Anti-aging and Regenerative Medicine.

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Beautiful Salad with Ginger-Orange-Cucumber-Cashew Dressing

The following salad was made by my children for dinner a couple nights ago.  It is absolutely delicious, super filling, and packed with vitamins, minerals, and protein.

Colorful Salad with Ginger-Orange-Cucumber Dressing

Equal amounts of Red Cabbage, Romaine Lettuce, Kale, and Collard Greens torn into bite-size piecesBeautiful Salad

Raw Walnuts

Fresh Cherries, halved and pits removed (or dried if fresh is not available.  Another option is red seedless grapes.)

Dressing 

Blend the following ingredients in the blender:

a 4-inch piece of ginger root, peeled and sliced

3 oranges, seeds and peel removed

2 cucumbers, seeds removed

1/2 C raw cashews

2 cloves of garlic

4 T freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/2 C extra virgin olive oil

1 t sea salt

Toss cabbage and greens in dressing and top with walnuts and cherries.   Enjoy!

New ACOG Guidelines: Vaginal Birth After Cesarean is a Safe Option

For Immediate Release
July 27, 2010

Contact:
Midwives Alliance of North America
Geradine Simkins, President & Interim Executive Director
president@mana.org
info@mana.org
231.228.5857 (O)
231.590.3742 (C)

New ACOG Guidelines: Vaginal Birth After Cesarean is a Safe Option

Washington, DC – The Midwives Alliance of North America (MANA), a professional midwifery organization since 1982, commends the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) for their updated practice guidelines on Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC) released July 21, 2010. ACOG’s recent guidelines are less restrictive than previous ones. The new guidelines state that VBAC is a “safe and appropriate choice” for most women who have had a prior cesarean delivery, including some women who have had two previous low-transverse cesarean incisions, women carrying twins, and women with an unknown type of uterine scar.

There has been a dramatic increase in cesarean delivery in the United States (from 5% in 1970 to nearly 32% in 2009) and a rapid decrease of VBACs (from 28% in 1996 followed by a decline to 8% in 2006). Lack of VBAC availability in U.S. hospitals due to practitioner and institutional restrictions, which diminished women’s choices in childbirth, is often cited as the reason for the conspicuous decrease in VBACs. In light of the VBAC restrictions that have become commonplace in most U.S. hospitals, it is noteworthy that ACOG’s new guidelines emphasize a woman’s right to self-determination. The new ACOG guidelines state that even if a hospital does not offer a trial of labor after cesarean (TOLAC), a woman cannot be forced to have a cesarean nor can she be denied care if she refuses a repeat cesarean. In addition, previous ACOG guidelines on VBAC stated that anesthesia and surgery must be “immediately available” for an institution to offer VBAC; the new guidelines have relaxed this restriction.

ACOG has seriously considered recommendations from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Consensus Development Meeting on vaginal birth after cesarean held in Washington DC in March 2010. Based on the scientific evidence, the NIH expert panel affirmed that risks in VBACs are low, similar to risks of other laboring women, and repeat cesareans expose mothers and infants to serious problems both in the short and long terms. The NIH expert panel concluded that in the absence of a compelling medical reason, most women should be offered a trial of labor after cesarean. The NIH expert panel further recommended that all women be given unbiased educational information during their pregnancies with which to make decisions regarding VBAC in partnership with their healthcare providers. Women should also be offered full informed consent and refusal during their labors.

“While we are pleased that ACOG has issued less restrictive VBAC guidelines and affirmed a woman’s autonomy in her childbirth experience, it is still up to women to take charge of their lives, educate themselves about childbirth practices, and put pressure on their healthcare practitioners to provide the safest birth options for their babies and themselves,” says Geradine Simkins, President and Interim Executive Director of the Midwives Alliance. The Midwives Alliance takes the position that the best interests of most mothers and infants are served when women are given the opportunity to birth under their own power and in their own way with the intention of avoiding primary cesarean deliveries and other unnecessary interventions. An impressive body of research literature shows that the midwifery model of care results in less intervention in the birth process and safe and satisfying outcomes for mothers and babies. In addition, evidence shows that birth in a woman’s home with a trained midwife, or in a freestanding birth center, results in decreased cesarean sections and other obstetrical interventions. “We want women to have all the choices they need to have healthy pregnancies and give birth safely,” say Simkins, “and we are pleased that ACOG’s new guidelines on VBAC will add another choice to the menu of maternity care options.”

For more information on the Midwives Alliance visit http://mana.org/. For information on practitioner and childbirth options visit Mothers Naturally atwww.mothersnaturally.org.

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Blood-Building Gazpacho

Blood-Building Gazpacho

I am always looking for healthy recipes that taste really good.  This one was inspired by the raw borscht recipe in the book “Eating Without Heating” by Sergei and Valya Boutenko.  It looks beautiful in the bowl and tastes great!

Directions:
Place the following in the blender, blend thoroughly, and set aside in a large serving bowl.  (If you have a small blender, you may need to divide it into 2  batches.)

1 C water
2 medium beets
1 1/2 -inch piece of fresh ginger root, peeled and sliced
2 large cloves of garlic
2 fresh bay leaves

Place the following in the blender, blend briefly (30 sec.), and pour into the same large bowl.  (If you have a small blender, you may need to divide it into 2 batches.)

1 C water
1 medium carrot
1 stalk of celery
1/3 C raw walnuts
1 T apple cider vinegar
2 oranges (remove peel and seeds)
1/2 T raw honey
1/4 C extra virgin olive oil
sea salt to taste

In a food processor, chop the following into confetti-sized pieces and add to the blended mixture and stir.

1 medium carrot
1/4 of a small head of red cabbage
1 small handful of fresh parsley

Serve this delicious gazpacho chilled or at room temperature.  Do not heat.

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Healthy Infant Sleep

Healthy Infant Sleep

by Dr. James J. McKenna, Professor of Anthropology and the Director of the Center for Behavioral Studies of Mother-Infant Sleep, Notre Dame University

Excerpt from: Breastfeeding Abstracts, February 1993, Volume 12, Number 3

Mother-infant co-sleeping often accompanies nighttime breast-feeding. New research suggests that co-sleeping affects infant physiology and patterns of arousal, raising questions about currently accepted norms for “healthy” infant sleep.

Judging from the infant’s biology and evolutionary history, proximity to parental sounds, smells, gases, heat, and movement during the night is precisely what the human infant’s developing system “expects,” since these stimuli were reliably present throughout the evolution of the infant’s sleep physiology. The human infant is born with only 25 percent of its adult brain volume, is the least neurologically mature primate at birth, develops the most slowly, and while at birth is prepared to adapt, is not yet adapted. In our enthusiasm to push for infant independence (a recent cultural value), I sometimes think we forget that the infant’s biology cannot change quite so quickly as can cultural child care patterns.

An infant sleeping for long periods in social isolation from parents constitutes an extremely recent cultural experiment, the biological and psychological consequences of which have never been evaluated. Most Americans assume that solitary sleep is “normal,” the healthiest and safest form of infant sleep. Psychologists as well as parents assume that this practice promotes infantile physiological and social autonomy. Recent studies challenge the validity of these assumptions and provide many reasons for postulating potential benefits to infants sleeping in close proximity to their parents – benefits which would not seem likely with solitary sleeping. Current clinical models of the development of “normal” infant sleep are based exclusively on studies of solitary sleeping infants. Since infant-parent co-sleeping represents a species-wide pattern, and is practiced by the vast majority of contemporary peoples, the accepted clinical model of the “ontogeny” of infant sleep is probably not accurate, but rather reflects only how infants sleep under solitary conditions. I wonder whether our cultural preferences as to how we want infants to sleep push some infants beyond their adaptive limits.

To explore this possibility further, Dr. Sarah Mosko and I are studying the physiological effects of mothers and infants sleeping apart and together (same bed) over consecutive nights in a sleep lab. Our two pilot studies conducted at the University of California, Irvine School of Medicine, showed that the sleep, breathing, and arousal patterns of co-sleeping mothers and infants are entwined in potentially important ways. Solitary sleeping infants have a very different experience than social sleeping infants – although we do not know yet what our data mean.

Funded by the National Institutes of Child Health and Human Developments, this research will help us to evaluate the idea that infant-parent co-sleeping may change the physiological status of the infant in ways that, theoretically, could help some (but not all) SIDS-prone infants resist a SIDS event (McKenna 1986: McKenna et al. 1991: McKenna et al., in press). One of the suspected deficits involved in some SIDS deaths is the apparent inability of the infant to arouse to reinitiate breathing during a prolonged breathing pause. Our preliminary studies show that mothers induce small transient arousals in their co-sleeping infants at times in their sleep when, had the infant been sleeping alone, arousal might not have occurred. We have suggested that perhaps co-sleeping provides the infant with practice in arousing. Before we can draw any conclusions, more work is needed.

Regardless of what our own research will reveal, there already exists enough scientific information to justify rethinking the assumptions underlying current infant sleep research, as well as pediatric recommendations as to where and how all infants should sleep. Especially needed are new studies which begin with the assumption that infant-parent co-sleeping is the normative pattern for the human species – and that our own recent departure from this universal pattern could have some negative effects on infants and children. We need to determine if unrealistic parental expectations, rather than infant pathology, play a role in creating parent-infant sleep struggles – one of the most ubiquitous pediatric problems in the country. It may well be that it is not in the biological best interest of all infants to sleep through the night, in a solitary environment, as early in life as we may wish, even though it is more convenient if they did so.

Co-sleeping is often discussed as if it were a discrete, all-or-nothing proposition (i.e., should baby sleep with parents?). Many parents fail to realize that infants sleeping in proximity alongside their bed, or with a caregiver in a rocking chair, or next to a parent on a couch, in a different room other than a bedroom, or in their caregiver’s arms all constitute forms of infant co-sleeping. I studied the location of infants and parents in their homes between 6:00PM and 6:00AM and found more infant-parent contact than parents describe.

I prefer to conceptualize infant sleep arrangements in terms of a continuum ranging from same-bed contact to the point where infant-parent sensory exchanges are eliminated altogether, as, for example, infants sleeping alone in a distant room with the door closed. Nowadays, one-way monitors often broadcast infant stirrings to parents in these situations, compensating for the loss of sensory proximity.

I am amused by this baby monitor phenomenon, primarily because we Americans seem to have gotten it all backward. Rather than parents monitoring the infant, a great number of developmental studies suggest that it should be the other way around, with the infant processing parental stirrings (especially breathing sounds and vocalizations). Infant sleep, heart rate, breathing, and arousal levels are all affected by such stimuli, probably in adaptive ways to facilitate development and to maximize adjustment to environmental perturbations (Chisholm 1986). At the very least, monitors should be broadcasting sound in both directions!

Given the human infant’s evolutionary past, where even brief separations from the parent could mean certain death, we might want to question why infants protest sleep isolation. They may be acting adaptively, rather than pathologically. Perhaps these infant “signalers,” as Tom Anders calls them, have unique needs and require parental contact more than do some other infants, who fail to protest. It’s worth considering.

Cocoa Almond Cake

Cocoa Almond Cake

Cake

3 C ground raw almonds

Peel from 4 tangerines (or tangelos) ground thoroughly

½ C raw cocoa powder (or carob powder)

½ C dates (soaked for 1 hour and chopped finely)

1 t sunflower oil (2 t if using carob)

½ C raw honey or agave nectar

½ t salt

1 t vanilla extract

Combine the almonds, tangerine peel, and cocoa.  Mix the rest of the ingredients thoroughly in a large mixing bowl and then gradually add the dry mixture to the wet mixture.  Form the thick mixture into a cake shape on a plate.

Topping

Juice of 1 medium lemon

3 T raw honey or agave nectar

½ C olive oil

1 t vanilla extract

½ C ground almonds

Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend well.  Spread over the top of the cake.  Decorate creatively with your favorite fruit.  It is especially delicious with assorted berries.  Chill before serving.

This cake recipe was inspired by a similar recipe in the book Eating Without Heating.

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Raw Vegan Lasagna

Raw Vegan Lasagna

with pine nut ricotta, pistachio pesto, and rich tomato sauce

Pine Nut Ricotta

2 C raw pine nuts, soaked 1 hour

2 T fresh lemon juice

2 T nutritional yeast

1 t salt

6 T pure water

Place pine nuts, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, and salt in the food processor.  Pulse until thoroughly combined.  Gradually add the water, a little at a time, and blend until the mixture looks much like ricotta cheese.  Set aside.

Pistachio Pesto

2 heaping C well-packed fresh basil leaves

2/3 C unsalted raw pistachios

1/3 C extra virgin olive oil

2 cloves garlic

1 t salt

Pinch of freshly ground black pepper

Place all ingredients into the food processor and process until well combined.  Set aside.

Rich Tomato Sauce

1 ½ C sundried tomatoes, soaked in water a couple hours (do not soak if they come already soaked in oil)

2 medium tomatoes, diced

½ small sweet onion, diced

2 T fresh lemon juice

¼ C extra virgin olive oil (less if using sundried tomatoes soaked in oil)

4 t raw agave nectar or honey

2 cloves garlic

2 t salt

Pinch of red pepper flakes

Squeeze as much of the water (or oil) as you can from the sundried tomatoes.  Place all ingredients into a blender and blend until very smooth.  Set aside.

Lasagna “Noodles”

3 medium zucchinis (peeling is optional), ends cut off and sliced lengthwise in very thin, 3-inch lengths (I use a mandoline slicer)

2 T extra virgin olive oil

1 T chopped fresh oregano

1 T chopped fresh thyme

Pinch of salt

Pinch of freshly ground black pepper

Gently toss the zucchini “noodles” in the olive oil, oregano, thyme, salt, and pepper.

Lasagna “Meat”

3 medium tomatoes, sliced thinly

Garnish

Fresh basil leaves

Assembly

Layer 1             Zucchini Noodles

Layer 2             Tomato Sauce

Layer 3             Dollops of Pine Nut Ricotta and Pistachio Pesto

Layer 4             Tomato Slices

Continue layering until all ingredients are used up.  Top with Basil Leaf garnish.

This can be made in a casserole dish or on individual plates.  I use room temperature ingredients and serve the lasagna room temperature.  (Do not cook it!)

This lasagna recipe was inspired by a similar recipe in the book Raw Food, Real World.

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