Health Benefits of Cranberries

Health Benefits of Cranberries
Nutrition, Nutrition and more Nutrition
by Susan Oshel, CPM, LM

Though cranberries are tiny, they are potent. Packed with nutrition, they are high in vitamin C and in fiber. But cranberries, like their relative the blueberry, also contain antioxidants in abundance which has antibacterial effects on the body.

In documents that have survived since the 17th century we have learned that cranberries were used then, not for their nutrition, but for an assortment of medicinal purposes: stomach ailments, liver problems, and blood disorders. Cranberries traveled to sea as a protection against scurvy. Though vitamin content as part of our daily nutrition was not known at the time, it was the high vitamin C content in cranberries that was valuable.

According to the USDA’s largest study, measuring both the concentration and the antioxidant capacity per serving size, cranberries, blueberries and black berries shine as the brightest stars.

Cranberries are tart to our tongues, but they are even tarter when confronting free radicals which goes beyond the nutrition of vitamins. What are free radicals? They are atoms that scour our bodies’ cells, harming them so that the immune system is too weakened to resist disease. Plant foods provide anti-oxidants which fight free radicals. Cranberries are among the highest of the antioxidant plants. Drink cranberry juice, eat fresh cranberries in season and dried cranberries out of season. Pack in the nutrition.

Proanthocyanidins, also called tannins, prevent bacteria (including Escherichia coli) from adhering to the urinary tract. We have long used cranberries as a cure for urinary tract infections. This also protects the cranberry itself and may have evolved to prevent it in the damp climate in which it lives.

The major flavonoids in freshly squeezed cranberry juice are quercetin and myricetin.

Quercetin is found to be the most active of the flavonoids in studies. Quercetin has anti-inflammatory activity because it inhibits some of the process of inflammation at the onset.

Myricetin is a flavonoid (pigment) and is considered an antioxidant. Fighting free radicals, it is thought to have anti-cancer properties, including the ability to lower the chances of prostate cancer. Myricetin may also lower cholesterol levels.

Oxalates. Cranberries’ are high in oxalates, which can rob the body of calcium and can be a cause of kidney stones.

Terpenes create the spicy scent and combined with other phenolic compounds give it its tart, astringent taste.

Click here for a recipe for delicious Cranberry Relish.

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Holy Yoga

Christian Yoga-Type Exercise!

For a long time, Christians have shied away from yoga because of its connection with Eastern religions.  In our home, however, we do yoga-type exercise as a way to remain fit.  It is EXCELLENT exercise and fun for the whole family.  My husband has significantly decreased his back and joint pain by strengthening his core through yoga-type exercise.  He does a simple routine every morning and every evening.  There are many other Christians like us who have discovered that this kind of exercise is not religion, but a wonderful way to care for our bodies.

My clients who have done yoga-type exercise throughout their pregnancies have been in great shape for delivery and find it very easy to assume whatever labor or delivery position is needed.  They also have a quicker recovery after giving birth.

I am aware of two Christian yoga organizations, “Yahweh Yoga” and “Holy Yoga”, but there may be more.  I recently discovered that “Holy Yoga” has DVDs that are specifically for pregnant women.  This would be a great way to introduce beneficial yoga-type exercise to Christian friends and clients who may have been hesitant to consider it in the past.

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Grammy Ethel’s Delicious Cranberry Relish

Grammy Ethel’s Delicious Cranberry Relish
(This is what Ethel Sinkewitz brought over to our house for Thanksgiving dinner yesterday and it is so AMAZING I had to share the recipe!!!  By the time we thought about taking a picture of this beautiful dish, it was almost gone.)


12 oz fresh cranberries (not dried)

1 orange, peeled and seeds removed

1 apple, cored

8 – 10 oz. dates, stems and pits removed

2/3 C raw walnuts

Juice of 1 orange


Place all ingredients (except orange juice) in a food processor and process until coarsely chopped.  Place in a beautiful bowl and mix in the orange juice.

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Christmas Salad

Christmas Salad

This salad can be enjoyed anytime the ingredients are available, although it looks especially beautiful on the table for Christmas dinner with all the reds and greens.  So simple, but so good!


Kale, torn into pieces

Strawberries, sliced

Dried Cranberries

Your choice of: sesame seeds, hemp seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, almonds, or other favorite nut or seed  (I especially like the hemp seeds and almonds on this)


Fresh Lime Juice and Raw Agave Nectar – ratio 3:1

Place strawberries and cranberries on a bed of kale.  Sprinkle nuts/seeds on top.  Drizzle a generous amount of dressing over the salad and enjoy!

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Garden Vegetable Dip

Garden Vegetable Dip

This dip is quick and easy to make and is great for dipping raw veggies or as a salad dressing.  It’s addicting!

1/2 small onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1/2 large red bell pepper, diced
1 C raw tahini
3/4 C extra virgin olive oil
1/2 C fresh lemon juice
1/4 C nama shoyu (or tamari or soy sauce)

Place all ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth.  Refrigerate in a glass container.

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Raw Food Pot-Luck ~ November 15

The next Raw Pot-Luck in North Port, FL, will be
Sunday, November 15, 2009, from 2:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m.

Spread the word!

What to bring:
a raw food creation to share
copies of the recipe to share

August 2009 005

If you plan to come, please let me know by Friday, November 13, how many to expect so that I’m sure to have enough utensils, drinks, etc.

The Schuchmann Home
5857 Babian Road
North Port, FL 34291
(click here for a map)


Tangy Kale Salad

Balancing the demands of being a wife/mother with the demands of being a student

A question was recently posted on the e-mail group for Charis Childbirth students about how a woman can most effectively balance the demands of being a wife and mother and the demands of being a student or birth professional.

Here are my thoughts on the topic:

When we read in Proverbs 31 about the virtuous woman, it can make us feel a little inadequate.  (Before you read further, get out your Bible and read Proverbs 31:10-31 even if you have already read it before.)

WOW!  She did it all.  She was an excellent wife and mother, she spun her own thread and made beautiful clothes for her family, she fed her family gourmet foods, she woke up early and stayed up late at night working, she was a successful business woman, she was benevolent, her husband had a good reputation because of her, she had a positive outlook toward the future, she was a skilled housekeeper, she spoke with kindness and wisdom, and the list goes on.

When I first read this passage decades ago, I thought to myself, “Is all that even possible for one woman?”

Here are some things to consider when thinking about the Proverbs 31 Woman.

1.  She had a supportive, godly husband.

2.  She did not do it all in one day.  That is an account of an entire lifetime of accomplishment.

3.  She had maidservants.

Here are some valuable lessons I have learned along the way:

1. I must keep my relationship with God the highest priority in my life. Nothing should ever become more important than intimacy with God.  If it does, it is time to reevaluate and shift things around.  Our lives can be full and still keep God on the throne.  It is just about keeping Jesus at the center of all I do and hungering for Him above all else.

2. I desperately need my husband to love me “like Christ loved the Church and laid His life down for her”! (Read Ephesians 5:25-33)  I believe that is the main reason I have been so successful in all I do (as a wife, mother, teacher, minister, business woman, etc.)  My husband takes his role in our family very seriously and truly does live to see me blessed.  He has been willing to give up everything for me, but has in turn gained so much more than if he had tried to hold on to his own desires.  He is a very fulfilled man!  Without our husbands laying their lives down for us, as women we are crippled in all we do.  So, if I do not allow my husband to love me that way, I steal his blessing, I make life more difficult for myself, and as a family we are not in the center of God’s will.  That is hard for us at times because of some of the popular Christian teaching concerning women that makes it sound like our job is to lay our lives down for our husbands.  That is backwards!  Our job is to respect and honor our husbands and our husbands’ job is to love us and lay his life down for us.  When the proper order of things takes place in the home, the woman shines and the husband is fulfilled.  (Todd wrote some things about how husbands can support their birth professional wives in past Charis newsletters in a column called “The Secret Power”.)  Todd and are a team.  Everything we do, we do as a team.  Midwifery isn’t MY thing, it is OUR thing.

3. I can’t do it all today! There are seasons in our lives where we have the time and energy for certain pursuits and then there are other seasons when we do not.  In our family, we all pitch in so that things run smoothly in our household.  There are no jobs that solely belong to one person.  During soccer season when my oldest son was in high school, he had very little time to help with chores around the house because of the long hours he spent on the soccer field.  Instead of insisting that he “pull his weight” and make him do all the chores he normally did, he and I sat down together and figured out what he could realistically accomplish in a day and the rest of us pitched in to cover the rest.  Some things just did not get done until soccer season was over.  After I gave birth to my babies, however, Eric did way more than his share since I was “out of commission” for weeks.  No one in our family is exempt from serving and doing housework.  If I wasn’t homeschooling, I would have more time during the day to do all of the housekeeping, but I do homeschool and I have neither the time nor the energy to be the only one cooking, cleaning, gardening, etc.  Todd wants me to be successful in teaching my children, so he is willing to pick up the slack.  I think he does more laundry than I do.  He is also realistic about his expectations of what I can accomplish and has made “executive decisions” about things that we will live without for a season because it is more than I can do.  Now that I will most likely be starting school in January, our family has talked about the things that I will not be able to do for the next 3 years and they have all agreed that they will pitch in so that I can be successful in my studies.  You see, I can’t do everything all at the same time.  I am a great housekeeper, but there are seasons when I delegate those tasks.  I love preparing meals for my family, but I don’t do it every day.  Over the next few years, I will shine as a diligent student.  The only thing that must be mine to do every day is spend time loving on my husband and children.  Everything else can be delegated, postponed, or omitted.  The dust bunnies can wait.  At the end of my life, I believe my husband and children will make a list like the one in Proverbs 31 and it will look very impressive; but it will be a collective list, not a list of what I did every day.  If you look at my life one day at a time, it is not very impressive.

4. I need help! I think it is pride that gets in the way of our asking for help.  I learned the hard way that pride comes before a fall.  I fell hard.  Instead of admitting that I can’t do it all myself, I worked myself into a burnout when, in 2006, my adrenal glands said “we quit!”  With that scary event fresh in my memory, it is much easier to accept help from other people and I have even learned how to ASK for help.  My husband would hire a personal assistant for me (a “maidservant”) if he could afford it.  But since he can’t, instead of hiring someone, I have bartered with friends and acquaintances.  My friends and I have swapped childcare so we can have some quiet time to get things accomplished.  It is fine to ask people to help you!

5. I need a Sabbath rest! If I don’t give myself enough rest each day and a day of complete rest each week, I can’t make it.  I accomplish so much more when I take a day off each week to rest than I do if I work every day.  That means taking a day off of household duties as well as paid work and school work and even church work.  If you find that your Sundays are not restful because of church activities, then you will need to find another day of the week to rest.  Todd has become very protective of our Sabbaths and our family is doing better than ever as a result.

6. I must want to succeed! If I am honest with myself about some things, I find that I truly lack the desire to succeed in those areas.  When that is the case, I will surely fail.  A desire to succeed is the first step toward success.  If I want to be able to be a good wife, mother, and student, then I have taken a giant step toward being able to do it.

7. I must believe I will succeed! Desire alone, however, is not enough.  I must also believe I can do it!  If I don’t believe I can do it, then I will find every reason in the world I will not succeed.  As I focus on the obstacles to my success, I will have a difficult time seeing the answers to overcoming those obstacles.  Even when those answers are pointed out to me, I won’t believe the answers are for me.  If I believe I will succeed, however, then I will look past the obstacles and see the way toward success and be willing to do the work necessary to overcome the obstacles.

8. I must be willing to work hard! There is no room in a successful person’s life for laziness.  Also, I can not allow discouragement due to the difficulty of the task to paralyze me.  Anything worth having is worth working for.  It is super fulfilling to accomplish something that is not easy and requires sacrifice.

9. I need to take care of my “temple”. God has given me this body to carry me through this life on earth.  If I take good care of it, then it will take good care of me and I’ll have a much better quality of life as a result.  God gives us so many things and I believe it pleases Him when we take good care of those things.  Our bodies are no exception.  It pleases God when we are good stewards of our bodies and we get to reap huge blessings as a result.  A healthy body makes it easier to fulfill our purpose in life. 

10. I can know and trust that God, who is the one who put all these passions and gifts inside me, intends for me to walk out my calling. One way or another, he will help me accomplish what I was designed to do in a way that glorifies Him.  It brings God glory when my relationship with Him is the highest priority in my life, when my family relationships are healthy, and when I use the gifts He has given me.  He wouldn’t give the gift if He did not intend for it to be used on earth, and he wouldn’t intend for it to be used if my family and my relationship with Him had to suffer as a result.  It is, therefore, possible to be a good wife, good mother, AND a good student!

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Raw Pot-Luck ~ Sunday, October 18, 2009

The next Raw Pot-Luck in North Port, FL, will be
Sunday, October 18, 2009, from 2:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m.

Spread the word!

What to bring:
a raw food creation to share
copies of the recipe to share

August 2009 005

If you plan to come, please let me know by Friday, October 16, how many to expect so that I’m sure to have enough utensils, drinks, etc.

The Schuchmann Home
5857 Babian Road
North Port, FL 34291
(click here for a map)

Sweet Spirulina Cacao Pie

Tangy Kale Salad

When Considering Vaccination, Consider This

According to beloved pediatrician, the late Dr. Robert Mendelsohn, when deciding which, if any, vaccines your child will receive, you need to consider the following:

1)  the incidence of each individual disease
2)  the severity of each individual disease
3)  the potential side effects of each individual vaccine
4)  the efficacy of each individual vaccine

As responsible parents, Todd and I feel it is our job to make informed decisions concerning our children.  We’re not leaving it up to someone else, jumping on a bandwagon, or blindly following anyone.  Afterall, WE must answer to God for how we care for our children.

Even after pretty extensively studying the immune system and vaccines for the past couple decades, I’m sure there is still much Todd and I don’t know; but with what we DO know, we have made the best decisions we can and are very confident in them.  That’s the best anyone can do.

It is good to have a sound basis for our decisions.  When we are rock solid in WHY we have made the choices we have made, then when those decisions are challenged (and they WILL be challenged by those who disagree), we can remain confident and not become confused.


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Governor Charlie Crist Signs Proclamation Heralding Midwives for Dedicated Care

SARASOTA, FL (October 5, 2009) – Governor Charlie Crist signed a proclamation today observing October 5 through the 9 as Licensed Midwives Week in the State of Florida, upholding midwives for being “dedicated to the care of pregnancy and childbirth and treat[ing] each woman’s pregnancy according to her unique physical and personal needs.”  Governor Crist’s proclamation also recognized midwives for their role in the need to “improve birth outcomes in the State of Florida and ensure that women are given proper care and treatment in all phases of childbirth.”

In honor of this week, Florida Friends of Midwives (FFOM), a non-profit grassroots organization dedicated to promoting and supporting the practice of midwifery in Florida, will be hosting various community events throughout the state this month to celebrate the more than 110 Licensed Midwives in the Sunshine State.

Florida Licensed Midwives Week coincides with National Midwifery Week, a time to recognize the contributions of Certified Nurse Midwives (CNMs), Certified Midwives (CMs) and Certified Professional Midwives (CPMs) nationwide.  The American College of Nurse Midwives (ACNM) publicly announced the week with an introduction to midwifery.  “The heart of midwifery care for women and newborns lies more in the nature of that care than in its specific components. Midwifery practice has a firm foundation in the critical thought process and is focused on the prevention of disease and the promotion of health, taking the best from the disciplines of midwifery, nursing, public health and medicine to provide safe, holistic care.”

Midwives have a long and valued history in Florida. The state first passed legislation to license direct-entry midwives in 1931. In the 77 years since, Florida’s licensed midwives have continued to tirelessly serve the families of Florida and to ensure the continued availability of safe, evidence-based birthing options for Florida’s families.  In 1992, Governor Lawton Chiles declared the first-ever Licensed Midwives Week. More women than ever before are seeking out licensed midwives for maternity care. According to the latest data from the Florida Council of Licensed Midwifery, births managed by Licensed Midwives in the state grew by about 5.5% from 2005 to 2006.

“We are honored every day to serve Florida’s mothers, babies, and families,” says Sarasota Licensed Midwife Alina Vogelhut, LM. “It means so much for our profession to be honored by Governor Charlie Crist and the State of Florida.”

Midwifery in Florida

In Florida, two types of midwives are allowed to practice:  Certified Nurse-Midwives and Licensed Midwives (a Florida state licensure), also known as direct-entry midwives.  Throughout the state, about 11.2 percent of births are estimated to be managed by midwives, rather than by OB-GYNs. Many birth centers and midwives have reported a significant increase in business in the past year. This increase is believed to be a result of various factors, primarily a greater number of women seeking alternative birthing choices due to an unhealthy increase in caesarean sections and other unnecessary interventions that frequently occur in hospital settings.  In a 2006 report on Florida Licensed Midwives, midwives had a caesarean section rate of 6.3 percent compared to a 36.64 percent statewide average in hospitals the same year.

For more information of midwifery in Florida, please visit

About Florida Friends of Midwives

Florida Friends of Midwives is a non-profit grassroots organization dedicated to promoting the Midwives Model of Care and supporting the practice of midwifery in Florida. Florida Friends of Midwives was formed to support midwives who offer safe, cost-effective, evidence based care to Florida’s families.  For more information, please visit


Laura Gilkey


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