Tuesday, August 20, 2013

More Lactogenic Beverages made with Barley

Barley - An Ancient Galactagogue

The barley grain has been treasured as a galactagogue for thousands of years. It contains high levels of beta-glucan, a long-chained sugar molecule that has been shown to increase prolactin, the very hormone that signals the need for milk production to the brain.

To learn more about barley, please see my articles on beer and malt.

Barley Water - A Home Remedy

Barley Water is a traditional "cure all," used on the British Isles for a range of common family ills such as indigestion, a cold or flu, diarrhea or constipation. It also "works" to increase milk supply, and is used across Europe, the Mediterranean and Asia.

Barley-Water is made by simmering about a half cup of barley in about 2 quarts of water for at least 20 minutes and up to about 2 hours. (The longer it simmers, the more potent the brew.) When it is done, lactogenic spices such as fennel or fenugreek seed or astragalus root  is added in, and steeped for about 10 minutes longer. Barley-Water can be sweetened with a natural sweetener such as honey, or with stevia

A few cups of barley water spaced between meals throughout the day is a powerful support for low-supply mothers! Amazingly, mothers report that the barley-water is comparable to domperidone, a prescription medicine that is quite effective, but that leads to weightgain and mild fatigue in many mothers when used long term.

Barley and Gluten

Today, a large number of mothers (some experts believe the number includes all mothers and all of us) have some degree of slight inflammation present in the body--in the nerves, the brain, the intestines, liver, other organs, etc. This inflammation is due to our diet of refined and processed foods, and also to our exposure to pesticides and other toxins. 

Many foods exacerbate such inflammation. The best-known trigger for inflammation is gluten, a difficult-to-digest sticky protein that is found in high concentrations in wheat, but also found in barley, in rye, and to a lesser extent, in oats. 

"Dandy Blend" and gluten

Dandy Blend is a coffee substitute that, like many such traditional coffee substitutes, is based on barley grain. 

On the phone, a Dandy Blend representative explained that their product is gluten free. Apparently, their product is manufactured through water extraction of the starch of the grain, and no protein or gluten is extracted.

The company claims to have sent samples to laboratories to have its gluten content measured, and the results have consistently come back negative. No gluten present. 

If what they claim is true, it appears that hot water extraction effectively removes the starch, including the beta-glucan from the grain, and leaves the gluten-protein attached securely within the grain. 

It is possible that barley-water, which is made by gently simmering barley in water on lowest heat and then removing the barley from the liquid, is nearly gluten-free.

However, if you are avoiding gluten, I wouldn't try this out. There are other galactagogues of equal efficacy to draw from, without risk of gluten.

Monday, August 19, 2013

The Possible Impact of Electromagnetic Fields on Low Milk Supply

Are you aware that there may be a connection between a certain kind of electromagnetic field (EMF) and low milk production?

Look at this: a study based on 12 dairy farms in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Minnesota reveals that high-tech milk pumps that emit "dirty electricity" even at minuscule levels, cause cows' milk production to decrease--so much so that farmers notice and complain.

But even sources of EMFs that are located farther from the cows can have an impact on their milk production. In this review, the "dirty electricity" given off by a cell phone tower is directed into the earth. From there, it's harmonics are carried along by underground pipes to surrounding farms, schools, etc., affecting the health, behavior and milk production of cows. Once an appropriate shielding is put in place, however, the cows' health improves and their production recovers.

It is now well-known among lactation consultants, from sharing and comparing their observations, that cases of low milk supply are on the rise. Could it be possible that some unexplained cases, including those that do not respond to herbal galactagogues, domperidone, pumping, and other interventions, might improve if the mother removes or reduces the EMFs in her home? 

Well, it's certainly worth a try. Reducing these fields can only improve the quality of her family's health.

While the influence of EMFs on the health and development of children has been much studied and documented, as you can read for instance in this article from the International Herald Tribune, its effect on women's hormones and upon our ability to produce milk is still an unknown. 

But wouldn't it be a great and wild discovery if mothers create an EMF-free or greatly reduced zone in their home where they sleep and breastfeed, and their supplies rebound? For a complete list of steps to take to reduce EMFs in the home, see http://www.electricalpollution.com/solutions.html

Here's a definition from the same IHT article: "Dirty electricity: is unusable electromagnetic energy that is created by many electrical devices – caused by interruptions and fluctuations in the flow of normal power traveling through wires and electrical systems and appliances at home and at work. These interruptions result in voltage spikes or surges which combine to form a complex and potentially harmful electromagnetic field."

What kinds of machines and devices create such spikes and surges? 

Well, any that have a "variable flow" component, that is, a variable frequency drive (VFD) or  variable speed drive (VSD) or controller. These components are used instead of old-fashioned mechanical motor switches, and are found in computers, laptops, iPads and similar devices, but also in newer home "smart" machines such as heaters and air-conditioners, smart meters, water pumps, solar and wind energy generators... Holy Cow, who knew?

To simplify the picture for those who, like me, don't understand much of anything about electricity, just think, "erratic interruption." Anything that interrupts the nicely fluent, rhythmically pulsating electric current that flows into our homes is a potential problem. 

Here's a big one: the common light dimmer causes a massive increase in the dirty electricity field in your home.

Do you dim the light to check in on your baby? 

Do not use light dimmers! Seriously. We used one of those devices to measure EMFs in our home and discovered that any time a light was dimmed, the EMF in that room, but also all along and within the walls in surrounding rooms and the corridor, basically, wherever electric lines were laid--would resonate with an unbelievable increase in EMF. The measurement went from barely detectable to HOT! Since that day, no lights are dimmed in our house.

We also discovered that our laptops emit powerful radiation when they are plugged in to the wall, but not when they are running on their own batteries. There is something about the back up of electric flow when the computer does its interrupting thing with its variable drive. It's not the interruption alone--it's the way it backs up and creates an erratic rhythm--the surges and spikes--in the flow of electricity along the lines leading to and from the interruptor.

(An old-fashioned am transistor radio set to static will resonate with EMFs and give you a good idea about hot spots in your home.)

Another source of fairly strong EMF in the bedroom would be any multiple outlet power boards/surge protectors. These should be turned off at night, or moved far from the bed where you sleep.

Wireless phones, cell phones and smart phones do radiate frequently, sometimes constantly, and should be turned off or placed outside of sleeping areas.  

Basically, if it is "smart" it is potentially dangerous--especially for infants and children, whose tissues, muscles, organs, nervous system and brain are developing, and who depend upon a steady and clean "environment" not only of nurturing and love, but also of invisible energy fields. But the danger is very real for all of us, regardless of age, because it is believed that damage from EMFs can occur incrementally, bit by bit. We might not notice the results, our lack of energy, our lack of focus, or insomnia, until many years pass and the damage (asthma, cancer, Alzheimer's, chronic fatigue) is beyond repair.

Reducing your exposure to "dirty electricity" may possibly be the most crucial thing you can do to improve the quality of your family's health. 

Below are two documentaries on this topic. Please take some time to review them. Gather up your partner and your children, and discuss possible lifestyle changes with the whole family.
In this first documentary, you can learn many mysterious and marvelous things about energy frequencies and their impact on health.

In this second documentary, Dr. Dietrich Klinghardt talks about his decades of research with people with all kinds of illnesses and syndromes that were rare or virtually unknown 40 years ago. He is an expert in the treatment of autism, Lyme disease, and other unfortunately-no-longer-so-rare conditions. He also presents some suggestions to reduce the fields.

Please comment here and share your experiences with electromagnetic fields and your health. Thank you for reading! 

And please like my Facebook Mother Food Page, and stay in touch. More articles are in the works!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Simple Solutions: Molasses for Iron Deficiency and Anemia

Mothers often ask me if molasses is a galactagogue, that is, if it increases milk supply.

The easy answer is yes--it provides a source of minerals that nourish and support your body in making more milk. 

However, as with all vitamins and supplements, molasses alone is not a substitute for a good diet.

Mothers today affirm that BLACKSTRAP molasses is helpful for lactation.

But historically, I've found only one source that documents the use of molasses specifically to boost supply--from a 19th century United States cookbook.

Blackstrap molasses is the mineral rich sap of the sugar cane--the part that is removed so that sugar can be perfectly white, denuded, as it were, of its true mineral content. The minerals appear to be easy to absorb, as molasses is famous for increasing iron levels in iron-depleted mothers, for diminishing fatigue and preventing the onset of full-fledged anemia. See my article about anemia, and this article for more suggestions on how to build iron for more information.

Our nerves depend upon the electric conductivity of minerals to function well, as do all the cell walls of all the cells in the body. We are truly a "Body Electric."

Of course, nerves are involved in lactation. For instance, through the stimulation of the nerves in the nipple, the pituitary produces prolactin, a hormone of lactation.

Everyone understands that we need a balance of "electrolytes" in our blood -- tiniest "mineral salts" that keep our blood "electric," and that provide the nerves and cell walls with plenty of super-conducting minerals.

Lactogenic foods and herbs to the rescue! Many are extremely rich in minerals--as is thick, slightly bitter blackstrap molasses. Sports drinks are not a good solution, as some contain toxic food coloring, plus they do not serve up the complete palate of nutrients and micro-nutrients found in food.

To the extent that blackstrap molasses provides iron and helps build blood cells, it also participates in the oxygenation of the body--including of course of the mammary glands. The body functions better if there is plenty of blood supplying oxygen and nutrients to all the cells.

Personally, I have had excellent experiences with blackstrap molasses, and very positive feedback from mothers who use it. (Obviously, however, if you are avoiding any and all potent sources of sugar, you will want to avoid molasses as well.)

How to use it--one to two tablespoons a day. I like to dilute a heaping teaspoon (or more) of blackstrap molasses in a cup of boiled water, and add in raw milk or Half & Half. It tastes somewhat like a rich, bitter-sweet coffee, and is a nice coffee substitute.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The Best Beer for Breastfeeding

What is the best beer for breastfeeding?

I'm moving! Bookmark my new sites: 
 www.beerandbreastfeeding.com and www.lactogenicdiet.com

Join me  -- I know you'll like it! There's great new info and lots of free stuff :)

With Lots of Milky Blessings


This article represents my original research, and is an excerpt from my book in progress, The History of Low Milk Supply and the Lactogenic Diet. All rights reserved. Do not re-print or use without my permission ©hilaryjacobson 10.2011-2016