Are Organic Foods Safer?
Have you ever stood in the grocery store and couldn’t decide if you should buy the less-expensive regular chicken or the pricey organic one? Will you and your family benefit health-wise from consuming organic foods? You are not alone. Many people struggle with the same dilemma.
The word “organic” refers to the way farmers grow and process food; organic farming practices are designed to encourage soil and water conservation and reduce pollution. Farmers who grow organic produce and meat do not use conventional pesticides, growth hormones or harsh chemicals.
While organic foods do seem to provide some health benefits, they are 20-100 percent more expensive than non-organic ones. So when should you spend the extra money, and when should you save it?
“With fruits, if there’s no peel on it, I’ll buy it organic,” Dr. Travis says. “If it’s a banana or an orange, I’ll just take the peel off and I don’t have to worry about pesticides.”
Dr. Ordon advises that if you can afford it, you should buy organic fresh produce and dairy products; though Dr. Lisa warns -- in addition to the price -- organic foods may spoil faster. But despite the price, Dr. Jim recommends organic foods for young children because they may be more susceptible to the effects of lingering pesticides.
Is Tuna Toxic?
What’s a better lunchtime snack than a tuna fish sandwich? But is it safe to give to your kids?
While tuna does provide high-quality protein and beneficial unsaturated fatty acids, which mothers and children need for healthy brain function, it also contains potentially harmful mercury.
The Doctors suggest eating tuna in moderation -- between one and three cans per week -- especially for mothers and young children. If you feel you’d rather avoid tuna altogether, you can make up for the nutritional benefits by taking fish oil or Omega-3 supplements and eating low-fat chicken.
All Stuffed Up
Laura, 28, has suffered from severe allergies most of her life, but recently they have become nearly unbearable. Her nose runs constantly and Laura goes to the most extreme measures -- even risking her sense of smell -- to fix her problems. Laura is currently using nasal spray, two inhalers and taking a number of different antibiotics to alleviate the symptoms, but they rarely work, she says.
“When my symptoms are pretty bad, I will [lie] on the couch and I cry,” Laura says. “It feels like somebody has taken all of the energy out of you and you just can’t move. … I am worried that at one point I won’t be able to breathe at all.”
Allergy specialist Dr. Warner Carr performs a state-of-the-art procedure called a rhinoscopy on Laura live onstage. He reveals that Laura has a deviated septum and a polyp that is plugging her nose and affecting her sense of taste.
TOP FIVE MEDICAL MISTAKES NEW PARENTS MAKE
No. 5: Confusing Vomit and Spit Up
Michael, 25, and Patricie, 22 -- who were on the series premier of The Doctors -- rejoin the show to understand the difference between their baby Drew’s vomit and spit up.
Spit ups can come without warning and are generally a wet burp that may happen when the baby is just “bouncing around and having fun,” Dr. Jim explains. Often the baby will just spit up whatever it had been eating.
“My general rule of thumb,” Dr. Jim says, “is if it doesn’t bother the baby, it doesn’t bother me.”
If there is projectile vomit or if the baby is fussy while spitting up, however, it should be looked at more seriously. Also, if the baby spits up blood or bile -- which can be yellow or green -- call your doctor.
No. 4: Overfeeding
Kim, 41, and Todd, 40, fear they are overfeeding their 7-month-old son Jake. Dr. Jim says a normal serving for a baby is about the size of its fist. Once you feel your baby has had enough to eat – a serving or so – turn the baby’s attention to something other than the food. Putting water in the bottle and giving it to the baby is also a good tool, because the baby is still consuming something, but not taking in the calories.
Signs that your baby is overeating include vomiting after eating and stomach pains, which the baby may show by drawing his legs up or having a tense stomach.
No. 3: Delaying Oral Care
“What we’re trying to do now,” Dr. Jim says, “is create healthy habits. We want [the baby] to think brushing his teeth is fun.”
To make it an enjoyable experience for the baby, put non-fluoride toothpaste on gauze-wrapped fingertip and gently brush inside the baby’s mouth. Also, make brushing teeth a family event so the baby will mimic the behavior.
No. 2: Nail Clipping
While clipping Jake’s nails, Todd confesses that he accidentally clipped part of his son Jake’s fingertip. To prevent this, there are clippers designed specifically for babies that have magnifying glasses, lights at the end and even safety guards to prevent the clippers from going too far. If the baby becomes fussy about the idea of clipping its nails, try to distract it while you finish.
No. 1: Managing Crying
When her 4-month-old son Caden cries, Gina, 34, isn’t sure when she should hold him to calm him down and when she should let him cry.
“One thing I want you to remember,” Dr. Jim says, "Is trust your instincts. They’re usually right. If he’s fussy and your instincts are telling you to pick him up, then pick him up. If your instincts are saying ‘You know, he doesn’t seem that upset, maybe he’ll settle down after a minute or two,’ then let him try.”
Most 4-month-old children will not sleep through the night, Dr. Jim says. They will probably need to feed a few times and then be helped back to sleep. But over time, Caden will start sleeping longer and longer and will get into a good sleeping routine, such as a bath, a massage and some snuggling.
Dr. Jim warns Gina that if a baby cries vigorously by itself for longer than 10 minutes, blood flow to the brain can be decreased. Interestingly, “If you’re with the baby and he’s crying, that whole blood flow thing doesn’t change,” Dr. Jim says. “If the baby is laying in his crib and you’re in there, maybe with your hand on his back trying to settle him down, but you’re not actually picking him up, that’s one way of communicating to the baby ‘Hey, it’s time to sleep and we’re not going to play.’”
Whether you are with the baby or not, if it has been crying for more than 10 minutes, “they’re so worked up, you’re going to have to shift gears a little bit and try something else,” Dr. Jim says.
The Cootie Question
Maya, 7, asks The Doctors something every little kid has wondered: Can she catch cooties if a boy kisses her at school?
Dr. Jim assures Maya that she will not catch cooties, but does warn her that by kissing and sharing food and drinks, she can contract mono, colds, the flu, chicken pox and even warts.
“I’d try to lay off the kissing,” Dr. Jim says with a smile. “Maybe wait until you’re a little older.”
Healthy Eating on a Budget
The average family of four spends an average of $6,300 per year on groceries. But don’t worry; there are ways to eat healthy and not break the bank. Here are some tips:
• Stick to basic vegetables. Shop for carrots, onions and celery and save the more exotic veggies for a special occasion.
• Red, yellow and orange peppers actually cost more than basic green ones, which have the same amount of nutrition.
• Instead of buying canned soups, save your celery tops, onion skins and carrot peels in a bag and at the end of the week, you will have enough to make a big pot of soup you can freeze for the week.
• Don’t buy individual-sized products. Buy in bulk and make your own portions.
• Don’t fall for the two-for-one deals, especially on junk food. “They don’t last twice as long,” Dr. Jim says. “You just eat twice as much and they’re gone just as quickly.”
• Substitute whole wheat pastas and breads for the white pastas and breads you were buying. The cost is similar, but they are much healthier.
• Buy gallon bottles of 100-percent juices, such as Welch’s Concord Grape Juice, and pour the juice into smaller bottles.
• Using a shopping list and sticking to it will ensure you do not make impulse purchases.