Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Perfect Grain-free Peanut Butter Cookie

You know when you're smacked with the need for cookies and milk? You know what I mean... that warm cookie that soaks up all the ice cold milk, does the waltz in your mouth and dances all the way down to your stomach?

Watching a movie one night I was hit with this craving, so I whipped up a batch of the ever so addictive and delicious crack cookies. I excitedly sat down to enjoy my santa snack only to be smacked in the face with disappointment.

Almond flour doesn't absorb milk. It kind of does what we should do when people say negative things to us: it rolls off its back. I was utterly bummed when I took a bite and realized that this heavenly cookie tasted like nothing more than wet almonds-not at all what I had in mind.

This put me on a mission, a mission to google my heart out until I found a grain free peanut butter cookie. I tried recipe after recipe-nothing fit the bill. Either they were so dense that you had to drink an entire glass of milk just to keep from choking, or they were so light and airy that they disappeared before you got a chance to actually chew.

Only one option was left: come up with my own recipe. This was a bit daunting because I'd never actually come up with anything from scratch before. I mean sure, I'd tweaked other recipes, made changes here and there, but never made my very own.

Many failed batches and tossed cookies later, I give you (in my opinion ;), The Perfect Grain-free Peanut Butter Cookie:

**Edit: The trick to keeping them soft and chewy is to pull them out of the oven BEFORE you think they're done. They should be firm around the edges, but still look a bit undercooked in the middle. Even the ones in my picture are a little on the over-done side. Once these bad boys cool, watch out-they are off the charts** 

1/2 C + 2 Tbls almond flour (does not need to be blanched. I just put almonds in my blender and   
blend until it's nice and fine)
1 1/2 Tbls coconut flour
1/4 C real shredded coconut (the only ingredient should be coconut) 
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt (if using unsalted peanut butter, double this amount)
2 Tbls coconut oil
1/3 C honey (if you pour the coconut oil into this measuring cup first and then empty into the bowl, 
the honey will not stick and will plop out nicely :)
3 drops of Sweet Leaf Stevia (this is optional. They still taste good without it, but 3 drops [and 3 drops only] add that last bit of cookie sweetness. As far as brands-this is the only stevia brand I can vouch for as far as there being no hissy after taste-but like I said, only use 3 drops!) Also, this seems expensive, but it's chemical and alcohol free and lasts forever.
1 egg room temperature or run it under warm water just before adding 
2 tsp vanilla (if you're strict on GAPS, make sure that this is grain-free)
1/2 C real peanut butter (the only ingredient(s) should be peanuts and salt-if you get salted)

Preheat your oven to 350.
In a large bowl, combine all wet ingredients (if the egg is not room temperature run it under warm water before cracking-the reason for this is cold egg + coconut oil = clumpy mess). Using a hand mixer, blend all of the wet ingredients until smooth.
In a small bowl, mix all dry ingredients and then combine with wet, stirring with a spoon until incorporated. 

Let the batter sit for 5-10 minutes (this is optional, but I find that it makes the batter less sticky).

Like I said, the batter is sticky. Dampen your hands and take about a tablespoon of batter and lightly roll into a ball. Place them about two inches apart on a parchment lined cookie sheet (don't worry about flattening them). Bake at 350 for 8 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Let sit for 5 minutes and then transfer to your stomach to a plate or wire rack.

I hope you enjoy these cookies as much as we do! If you try my recipe and like it so much that you share it, being that it is my original recipe, please include a link to my blog. Thanks!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Grain [& nut] FREE Cereal :)

We have missed cereal-bad. Thank God for the woman who created this recipe! Now we can pour ice cold milk over our cinnamon toast crunch [health edition] cereal, and enjoy its crispy crunchy goodness. Oh, and don't be intimidated by the thought of making cereal. It's way easier than I thought, and probably easier than you think too.

A few little extras to add to her recipe:

I (accidentally) found that adding about 1.5 tsp of coconut oil to the recipe eliminated 
the dough sticking to the parchment paper, problem

I cut the squares with a pizza cutter


I also used honey instead of maple (if you use maple, be sure and use the real thing-it may taste weird otherwise)

Make sure to use real coconut shreds

I blended the chia seeds separately in my coffee grinder-keeps those pesky seeds from hanging out in our front teeth (my thought is that it may be easier on the digestive system this way as well)

Ok, try not to eat it all at one time. I dare you.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Sugar and grain free? No problem.

That's what we call these. They don't last long at our house. They almost have a caramely/pecan pie-ish taste. Mmm, they're so good! They're sugar and grain free, but they don't have that I'm healthy taste to them, at all!

1/4 C coconut oil (or oil of your choice)
1/4 C honey
1 t vanilla
1 1/4 C blanched almond flour
1/4 t sea salt
1/4 t baking soda
1/2 C chopped nuts (I use pecans... mmmMmmm)
1/2 C shredded coconut, unsweetened

Before you get started, preheat your oven to 350 F.
In a large bowl, combine oil, honey and vanilla, and set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine almond flour, salt, baking soda, nuts and coconut.
Add dry the ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix throughly (I use a big spoon).
Take about a tablespoon or so and roll/shape (they can be a little sticky so they may not "roll") them into a ball and slightly flatten.
Bake them on a parchment lined cookie sheet for 8-10 minutes, or until golden brown around the edges. Cool and then move them onto your serving tray (I made the mistake of trying to move them too soon... Just trust me, don't do that).
Enjoy. My mouth is watering just typing the recipe out!

Adapted from Simply Living Healthy

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Tantrums. Bad Tantrums.

(this is not a picture of a tantrum:)

Personal story:

Ezra is my sweet boy, but he used to throw terrible, and I mean terrible tantrums from time to time. All kids misbehave and throw fits, either because they’re tired, have had too much sugar, need discipline... But these aren’t the type of fits I’m talking about.

How to describe them? It’s like for a few minutes, my sweet boy isn’t there. He turns into someone who is screaming and yelling at the top of his lungs; growling, throwing things, kicking the walls and crying uncontrollably. Then, after it’s all over and we’re talking, and I ask him why he threw such a fit? He will usually look bewildered and say very genuinely, “I don’t know” and then star down at the floor very sad.

For a while these outbursts seemed to happen all of the time. Anyone who’s experienced these kinds of tantrums knows, you seriously wonder what’s happened to your kid? We figured it was the “terrible two’s” carrying over into the three’s.

Then, one day we noticed that he hadn’t had a tantrum in a while. They began to happen less and less, until it was only one every week or two; then they seemed to pretty much stop... Interesting.

Around this time we’d changed up our disciplining techniques and cut out TV (except for “special occasions”). Those were the only reasons we’d accredited seeing such an improvement in Ezra’s overall wellbeing. It was so nice having our goofy, innocent crazy kid back! Yet, with all of the changes we’d made it didn’t make sense that every now and then one of these tantrums would pop back up. Granted, it wasn’t as big of a deal because we knew that they would pass and he’d be fine, but it was confusing.

It wasn’t until one night, after we’d been out celebrating with family, that Josiah and I connected the dots. When we got home Ezra was bonkeroos!! He wasn’t being “bad” necessarily, he was just bouncing off the walls and was going ninety to nothing in his eyes. At one point he ran up behind Johnny and just whacked him on the back of the head! “EZRA!!” I yelled. “Why did you do that?” Again, he looked down, and then back up at me and slowly and quietly said “I don’t know.” “Ezra” I said “No, WHY did you do that?? You could hurt Johnny...” And that’s when it clicked.

That night he’d had red ice cream.

No. This could not be it. I didn’t believe it. I went to Josiah and told him and we both just stared at each other. Food dye? That just seems too weird. I’ve heard about those people who are sensitive to food dyes and I think it’s a bunch of crap... at least, that’s what I thought.

Hello google.

I found stories of the kind of behavior that we were experiencing and the culprit was indeed, artificial food coloring.

Up to this point, I had never had a second thought about food dyes. If the word “food” is in the name, then it’s got to be safe to eat... But, these are a few of the things I learned about artificial food coloring:

Many of them contribute to hyperactivity, restlessness and attention problems in children.

Some of them are known carcinogens. In short, a carcinogen is a substance that is capable of causing cancer in humans or animals.

The FDA actually recommended that one of the Red dyes be banned because of it’s link to thyroid tumors; Yet, it is still being used today.

In Europe they have to put a warning label on products that contain certain food dyes.

So, besides coloring the food, what do the dyes do? NOTHING. Absolutely nothing. They add no nutritional benefit or flavor. Something else that’s interesting, it is completely possible to use natural food coloring, most companies just choose not to. For instance, in Europe (again) Kraft Foods uses natural food coloring in it’s Mac ‘n Cheese, but here? Nope.

Once we started entertaining the idea that food dye could be a huge culprit in Ezra’s tantrums, it clicked with us that the uncontrollable behavior began to lessen around the same time that we changed our diet to a more plant based, whole foods, natural way of eating. We would still let Ezra have cheats if we were out somewhere (hence random tantrums?), but the more real ingredient foods we ate, naturally we ate less processed artificial foods. Looking back it’s plain to see a direct correlation to our diet and Ezra’s behavior.

There are a lot of stories out there like ours. Your child doesn’t have to have an “allergy” to something for it to not be good for them. I encourage you to educate yourself and not assume, like I did, that things are safe just because they’re for sale to eat. Check labels out. I was shocked this Easter when I couldn’t find one jar of relish at the grocery store that didn’t have yellow dye in it. Really? Food dye in pickles?? I would never have thought.

Now, I still believe in fun foods and candy; I just want the real stuff, not something that was formulated in a lab. This is a link to a store that sells candy that is 100% natural and artificial dye free. Not only is it not harmful to you or your child, but there is no comparison to the taste. Hide your debut card before you click though. Trust me.

Friday, March 22, 2013


The other day, as I was driving home, I passed some kids selling Girl Scout cookies. I don’t know about you, but I attach memories to different things, good and bad. Let me tell you, I have all kinds of great memories attached to those delicious little bits of heaven. There’s something nostalgic about them. Popping a sleeve of those guys into the freezer and then enjoying them while watching movies on Friday night... Ah, the good ol’ days.

I want my kids to have those same good memories attached to delicious little treats too, and this is what I was thinking about as I passed the Girl Scouts. Only, I don’t want them to have to eat a bunch of hydrogenated oil, high fructose corn syrup or any other crap ingredients to be able to have fun, happy, party foods. This gave me an idea... Could I make thin mints?


Are they “easy” to make? Well, they’re not “hard”, but they’re time consuming. This isn’t that big of a deal to me though. Good tasting healthful food, takes time. My one rule in the kitchen is that is HAS to taste good. Eating healthful foods doesn’t have to taste like cardboard.

So, this is where I got the recipe. I had to adjust it a little to make it dairy, gluten and soy free (she gives some good ideas). Instead of butter, I used coconut oil. Instead of whole wheat flour, I used 1/2 C brown rice flour and 1/4 C sorghum flour. Instead of regular chocolate chunks, I used Enjoy Life chocolate chunks (I am in love with whoever started this company, by the way. I want to hug them for like an hour straight).

Now, she makes these cookies look like everything magically falls into place; but we know that when you’re actually the one making them, that rarely happens. So, I’m going to give you a pictorial play by play.

Should you choose to make these cookies, you absolutely will not be disappointed. I honestly like them more than Girl Scout thin mints, and I didn’t think that was possible. They’re light and crisp and don’t leave that plasticy feeling in your mouth when you’re done eating. Oh, my one bit of advice: don’t eat too much of the chocolate as you're baking them... you won’t realize how much you’ve eaten until you’re about ready to barf, and that just takes away from the goodness of the cookies:).

My thoughts at this moment are, what the eff? It's a bunch of crumbs!! Fight the urge to add water. She says to "shape into a ball and then flatten into a disc and then place it into the freezer". Right. As you can see, that didn't work for me. I just stuck it into the freezer like this (but don't leave it in the freezer too long or you'll have a rock on your hands... trust me).

After removing it from the freezer and pressing it around in my hands (a lot), and then rolling it out (I put a piece of parchment paper between the roller and the cookie dough) it came together like this.

I used a glass to make the cookie cut outs.

This is my hodge-podge of cookies.

Once they've cooled, right before the chocolate dip. You want to avoid making them too thin, or they'll crumble and you'll yell obscenities.

My homemade double broiler. Hey, use what you got, right?

Freshly dipped cookies. Had a little chocolate left over, so I grabbed some strawberries. Whoa, was that a good decision! To coat the cookies, I just dropped them in the pan (one at a time), spooned the chocolate over the top and then took them out with my fingers, shaking off the excess chocolate.

I like them best once they've been in the freezer for a little while. Oh my. These are so good. And the best part is that you can feel good about eating them!:)

Saturday, March 2, 2013

[hash tag] #food allergies

I feel like my life the past 8 months could best be described as #dairyfree #soyfree #oatfree #glutenfree and most recently, #xanthangumfree. This has definitely not been by choice. Yet, in a weird way, I'm glad. I would never have discovered how many more options are out there, besides plane ol' wheat (in all of its beauty). I would never have realized that I could create recipes. I feel like a room to a different part of my brain has been opened. I see food in a completely different light. And it's all thanks to this guy:


In the days following his birth I started noticing that, at times, he would sound like he was choking. I began hearing a gurgling sound in his throat, especially at night. It scared me so badly that I would hold him through the night to make sure that he wasn't choking. He was also "collicky", meaning he would cry and cry without end. He would only stop if he were being held. Exhausted, I felt like I was losing my mind.

I called his doctor and explained what was going on and they wanted us to come in. It was confirmed: reflux. GERD to be more exact. Relieved that it was figured out, I filled the prescriptions. After reading the possible side effects of the medications, the risks far outweighed the benefits. So, I got him started on the more mild medicine and began my search to find out what causes GERD in infants. This led me to Dr. Sear's Elimination Diet. Sure enough, my diet was the culprit. One by one, I began learning which foods were causing his reflux.

I felt very lost at first. No dairy? Ok. I can do that. No oats? There go my favorite cookies, but oh well. No gluten?? Wait, what? Seriously?? What will I eat?? I mean, you can only eat so many salads. Oh, now there's no soy??? Who cares. I stopped paying attention after "no gluten." So this is where I decided that I had to do something because I love food far too much to be in misery for the next year. I dove into this whole thing head first, and it's actually been pretty fun. My only prerequisite: It has to taste good. That's non-optional. With that in mind, I'd like to share with you a couple of snack/breakfast recipes that we love.

The first is Maple Morning Granola Cereal

This stuff not only tastes great, but it's loaded with nutrients-specifically, protein. With quinoa as one of its main ingredients, it's one of the few breakfast cereals that provide a complete (meaning, it has all of the amino acids present) protein.

So, for this you'll need:
1 1/2 C Oats (if you're like me and can't have them, omit them and add more quinoa. Play with it to find the ratio that you like)
2/3 C quinoa
1/2 C pecans
1/2 C almonds
1/2 C walnuts
(the nuts were measured before chopping)
1/4 C cranberries
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 C real maple syrup (if you want it even sweeter, just add a little more! But I'd start here)
Other optional highly recommended ingredients: 1 1/2 tsp vanilla, 1 1/2 tsp coconut oil

Heat large skillet to med/high heat and toast the oats, stirring often. Err on the side of a little too toasty. Once you begin to smell their nutty scent, add the pecans and continue toasting and stirring. I use this time to chop the rest of the nuts put the nuts in a zip lock and smash with a cup because I don't have a chopper! Next, add the quinoa and the rest of the nuts and cranberries and continue toasting and stirring (are you noticing a theme?). Add cinnamon and stir it all around. If you're using coconut oil and/or vanilla, (liquify the oil first) mix them into the maple syrup an then pour over the granola in the skillet and stir, stir, stir. It'll sizzle and be a little wet. Just keep stirring until everything is coated and it's completely dry. Allow it to cool.

And viola! All you need is milk, a bowl and a spoon:)

*If it didn't turn out as crispy as you would have liked, either you didn't toast it long enough, or you need to scale the recipe down for the size of your skillet.

Next are the Nut Bars (inspired by Kind Bars)

For these you can use whatever nuts and dried fruit that you have on hand (in all of my recipes the nuts I use are unsalted). All of the ingredients except the honey and dates are optional and can be interchanged.

What you'll need:
10-15 dates (remove pits)
1/3 C honey
1 C almonds
2/3 C cashews
2/3 C pecans
1/3 C sunflower seeds
1/3 C pumpkin seeds
1/3 C walnuts
1 or 2 tbs ground flax seed (I use my coffee grinder)
2 tbs hemp hearts
1/3-2/3 C cranberries
1 tbs chia seeds
3 tbs water

Combine the chia seeds and water and set aside. Blend dates in food processor/blender until smooth (it'll be sticky and you'll have to scrape the walls a few times). Add the chia seeds, honey and hemp hearts to the dates, and pulse. Don't over blend, you want it chunky. Empty contents into a bowl. It will not all be blended. The majority of the nuts won't even have the honey/date mixture on them. Now, rub a little (I use coconut) oil on your hands and mix everything together. Next, empty the mix onto a piece of wax paper (on top of a pan) and flatten, press together and shape into a big square (keep adding oil to your hands to avoid it getting too sticky). At this point you can top it with any toppings you wish, or just leave it simple and plain:). Next, I usually dehydrate mine for an hour or so and then stick it in the fridge to firm up. If you don't have a dehydrator, you can either put them in your oven, on the lowest setting, for 45 minutes (give or take-keeping a close eye that they don't start toasting) or put them directly into the fridge, they just may not get as firm this way. After about 4 hours or so, you can remove them, cut them into bars and store them in the fridge. They usually don't last long in ours:)

Here's another batch topped with coconut flakes:)

Unless specified, my recipes are extremely versatile. You can interchange ingredients, omit them, add more of them... they're pretty hard to mess up.

Oh, and if you're wondering about this guy...

He's been medication free for about 6 months. Anytime I hear some reflux, instead of reaching for the Zantac, I just realize that my cooking's about to get a little bit crazier!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Vaccines (part 1: birth - 6 months).

There has been so much controversy surrounding vaccines the last several years that it's made everything quite confusing. I for one, didn't even know that they were optional. I thought that you had a baby, they got shots, and that was that. No thinking required. After all, it's just a shot right?

The truth is, vaccines are here to protect us (though some would disagree, and that's fine). The truth is also that the Hepatitis B vaccine, given when your baby is a day old, contains 250 micrograms of aluminum. Aluminum is crazy stuff. The FDA has determined that a "safe" amount of aluminum is 5 micrograms per kilogram per day. So, a healthy 8 pound baby should be able to handle 20 mcgs of aluminum with no problem. Again, the Hep B vaccine contains 250 mcgs. In Dr. Sears' The Vaccine Book, he references a study from 1997 (found in The New England Journal of Medicine) that gave 100 premature babies a feeding solution that had 500 mcgs of aluminum, spread over 10 days (50 mcgs a day). They also gave another group of premature babies a feeding solution that had the aluminum filtered out to approximately 10 mcgs of aluminum per day. They found that the babies who received the higher dosage of aluminum had "impaired neurologic and mental development at eighteen months, compared to the babies who were fed much lower amounts of aluminum." That's very concerning. Especially considering that autism has sky rocketed in recent years (going from 1 in 10,000 children, to 1 in 88).

Let me put aluminum in vaccines into perspective for you:
Birth: Hep B (250 micrograms)
1 month: Hep B (250 micrograms)
2 months: HIB (225 micrograms, there is also an aluminum
free brand), Pc (125 micrograms), DTaP (varies from 170-625), (There are also combo
vaccines that vary from 330-850 micrograms of aluminum per shot)
4 months: Same as above
6 months: Same as above, but also add another Hep B (250 micrograms)

If you do the math, at your baby's 2, 4 and 6 month doctor visits, he can receive anywhere from 295 micrograms of aluminum, to an astounding 1225 micrograms of aluminum per visit. The FDA says that premature babies, and anyone with impaired kidney function, should not be injected with more than 10 to 25 micrograms of aluminum at one time. But I don't have a premie. Well, according to Dr. Sears, there haven't been any studies done on healthy infants to determine their ability to "excrete the aluminum rapidly." So no one really knows where the toxic level lies.

What should you do?
First of all, educate yourself. You should do your own reading and research. I would start with The Vaccine Book, by Dr. Sears. Second, don't believe everything you hear. Many doctors will reassure you that vaccines are completely safe. This is simply not true. I have found, in my own experience, that some doctors will make you feel like a complete idiot for trying to understand and make an informed decision when it comes to vaccine safety and your children. But I have heard too many stories of kids going in for their shots completely fine, then within a week, stop speaking, begin banging on the floor, and are then diagnosed as "autistic". I'm not willing to take that gamble. Third, find a good pediatrician. To me, a good pediatrician is one who is experienced and knowledgable, listens to my concerns and questions, gives me his opinion, but ultimately leaves the decision for my child, up to me. You wouldn't drop your car off at the first body shop you found: so don't be afraid to shop around for pediatricians (I have a fantastic referral for those living in or
near San Antonio TX).

What do I do?
I vaccinate. Surprised? There are options! [sigh of relief:] Here is a kind of "play by play" of how I approach vaccines, and my thought process behind it.

Being that Hepatitis B is a Sexually transmitted disease, I opt out of this one until my kids are a little older. This can also be transmitted through sharing dirty needles, so make sure your child gets it before his first tattoo. Seriously though, "theoretically" there are other ways to get Hep B: bad blood transfusion-which is very rare, coming into contact with the saliva of an infected person (which according to Dr. Sears is virtually unheard of), and if the blood of an infected person were to get into a cut of a non infected person. This vaccine is only available with 250 mcgs of aluminum.

I feel that the HIB vaccine is very important. While this illness isn't extremely common in the US, it is a bacteria, so you could catch it. It is treatable with intravenous antibiotics, but the potential complications are severe. There are two brands of this vaccine ActHIB and PedVaxHIB. I ask specially for the ActHIB brand because it has NO aluminum!:)

I also choose to get the PCV vaccine (it's called PCV13 because it protects against 13 strains of the infection). It's one of the most common bacterias that lead to meningitis. There isn't a brand that's aluminum free (it has 125 micrograms).

DTaP. This is a big one because it covers Pertussis, aka whooping cough. Pertussis is peaking right now, meaning it's really common. There are three brands of this vaccine. I ask for the brand, Deptacel. Deptacel has 330 micrograms of aluminum, compared to the brand Infanrix, which has 625 micrograms! The brand Tripedia is the lowest, at 170 mcgs, but this one also contains mercury. (I'll briefly touch on mercury in a moment, but in short, it is known to cause neurological problems).

Fun personal story about the DTaP vaccine:
Johnny and Ezra have different pediatricians (long story). While Johnny's doctor is nicer than some when it comes to choosing a delayed vaccine schedule (covered in Dr. Sears' book), he doesn't "advise" it. But then again, he doesn't think there's anything toxic about aluminum either. In order to let Johnny gain weight, and develop a healthy gut flora (through breastfeeding), I had planned on waiting to get him started on getting vaccinated until 4 months. Because we were doing this, we were very careful. We washed our hands like we were supposed to, kept him away from sick people as best we could, and I breastfed (which is baby's biggest defense against sickness. Breast milk contains antibodies that coat the lining of the nose, lungs and intestines, so that most of the germs that are inhaled or swallowed, are killed before they can stick around). However, at 4 and a half weeks old, Johnny contracted viral meningitis from something similar to the common cold (there is no vaccine against this form of meningitis). Before it was confirmed to be viral and not bacterial, they did several days of intravenous antibiotics as a precaution. Once everything was over, and we were back home, I wanted to give his body time to recover from everything. So, I decided to wait on the vaccines and stayed home with him as an extra precaution (until I felt he was well enough to be around other people). So at 6 months Johnny went in for his first vaccine: DTaP. When we got there I was ready. I wanted the Deptacel brand and I was really trying not to care if I sounded stupid asking for a specific brand of vaccine. When we got into the office Ezra decided to ask the same question over and over and over again, as I was nervously trying to talk to the Doctor. I told him that I wanted the Deptacel brand because I was trying to avoid aluminum. He looked at me like I was a quack job. Then he left and the nurse walked in and said that she was getting the shot ready. I ask her the brand. She left and comes back and said "Infanrix." Now, if you've ever tried to go somewhere with two little kids, you know that it can be very hectic. By this point I think I was threatening Ezra, bouncing Johnny, and now I couldn't remember the brand that I wanted! So, confused and frustrated, I'm like, "OK!" She left the room and I did a quick google search and realized that this is the worst one!!
Que the doctor.
He walked in with a huge unfolded paper and was reading every ingredient in the vaccine trying to see if it had aluminum. Finally he saw that it did and knew that I didn't want it. My head was screaming at me, JUST DO IT! YOU'RE WASTING THEIR TIME! YOU ARE NOT LEAVING HERE WITH NOTHING AFTER MAKING SUCH A SCENE WITH YOUR LOUD KIDS! But I couldn't. So I told the doctor that I knew it probably sounded ridiculous, but that I really wanted the other brand. To my surprise, he had no problem with it. Ezra was still acting like a 3 year old, Johnny was still needing to be bounced, and yes the shot was ready and waiting on a metal tray, but we left-looking like a circus act and all:) -and it was OK. It all worked out, and I felt like I had done the right thing. Now, they save the shots that I ask for in the fridge with my name on them:).

As far as Polio and Rotavirus, I haven't decided on these yet. If we do them, I'll probably wait until we've completed the rounds of HIB, PC and DTaP.

Now, a little something that I do to avoid too much aluminum at one time, is only get one aluminum containing vaccine per doctor visit. Truth be told, I only get one, at the most two, vaccines of any kind, at one time for my kids. Sure, you have to take a few more trips to the doctor's office, but to me, it's worth it. I don't know all of the science behind it, but in my own experience, it's easier on their bodies this way: which in turn, makes it easier on me.

When Ezra was an infant, before I knew anything about vaccines, I had him on
the normal schedule. When I told his (former) doctor that he was extremely
fussy, ran a fever, and was sick for 7-10 days after each round of shots, he
told me that it wasn't related to the shots. Ezra also had 3 ear infections
before he could crawl. I began purposely stretching out his appointments so
that there was more time in between, and only doing one or two shots at a time.
His reactions were much more mild and, to this day, he hasn't had
one more ear infection. Skeptics would probably call this coincidence, but I
don't think so.

A *brief* note on mercury:
Mercury, also known as Thimerosal, has been proven, time and time again, to cause brain damage. If you give your child the seasonal flu shot, go to this page. This has a list of all of the vaccines and whether or not they contain mercury (not aluminum, just mercury). In infant vaccines, mercury is only in one of the brands of DTaP and 4 brands of the flu shot. But keep a watchful eye because the World Health Organization and American Academy of Pediatrics’ have just issued their support for continued use of mercury in vaccines. When considering the welfare of our children, this makes no sense at all.

Mercury has clearly been linked to neurological problems. Go to this page and watch the first two video clips. It's from C-SPAN, so at first it looks boring, but once you start listening to what they're saying, it's shocking. The second clip is especially insane. It shows an actual animation of a study recently conducted that reveals, "with direct visual evidence from brain neuron tissue cultures, how mercury ions actually alter the cell membrane structure of developing ions. Case in point: You actually see parts of the brain changing. I couldn't stop there, so I watched all of the clips:). The people speaking aren't all natural radicalists, they are congressmen who, like me, support vaccines. What they are working toward is removing the toxic ingredients from them. They believe that the surge in autism is related to these toxins. Once you watch the clips, you may be convinced too. It just doesn't makes sense that, to protect the unborn child, pregnant women aren't supposed to eat mercury; yet, we turn around and inject it into our children.

Don't take my word on all of this though. I highly encourage you to do your own research. Don't read one article saying that something is or isn't "safe" and believe it. Be well rounded in your research so that you can make an educated, informed decision for your child. This is vitally important because our kids don't have a choice in the matter; the responsibility lies solely on us.