Monday, March 16, 2015

Celebrate with Me!

Who's the girl who never managed to finish college?

This girl!

Who's the girl who just got hired as the Senior Copywriter for a fast-growing digital marketing company (which has tripled its growth in the last seven months alone!)?

This girl!

Who's the girl who is now making enough to double our income?

This girl!

Today was my first official day as an employee with my new company. Last week I was a contract writer. This week, I can't invoice for every single piece of work I do, but I am part of a team at a company whose philosophy is one for which I can stand up and cheer. Plus, the numbers added up, which is always crucial, don't you think? I'm not mercenary, but I did want to make sure it made sense to walk away from being a contract writer and tie myself down to one company. I think there's plenty of room to grow here, though.

I just attended my first company-wide call. I was asked to introduce myself as one of the two new team members whose official start date is today, and I managed not to make an utter and complete fool of myself, which is always nice.

I've only met one person at this company in real life. The Senior Content Manager, who is my direct manager, is also stationed in Utah, and she's not so far away that a couple meetings a month aren't doable. We had lunch last week, which was the first time I've ever met her in person after knowing her for four years. At the end of this month I'll be meeting the president and one of the directors when they come up to give us some training. All twelve of us employees are scattered throughout the United States and Hong Kong, and we all work remotely. There are clusters of people, like most of the marketing division in Chicago and the design division up in Seattle. A few live in Phoenix. Several are in Hong Kong, including the CEO, who has to get up at something like 4:00 in the morning his time to attend the Monday meetings.

So what do I do? I am part of the Content Team. We write the stuff that goes on website pages, in clients' blogs, and manage the social media campaigns. The sales team is doing such an excellent job bringing new clients on board that we are kept very busy. Except for the meetings I now have to attend, I don't know that I'll be any more busy than I was working as a contract writer for this company, and I was really busy then, too. If we get much busier, we'll have to hire more writers.

Anyway, thanks for celebrating with me. I'm very excited for this new opportunity, and I'm so grateful to God for being aware of my family's needs. I can still work at home and be my kids' mom during the day while bringing in a paycheck that makes me finally have hope that I'll be able to put together a strong food storage and keep my family from starving when California runs out of water/the apocalypse happens/WWIII finally explodes. Whichever comes first. :)

Saturday, March 7, 2015

The Vaccination Solution

I've been watching this vaccine debate get heated and ugly. It disturbs me when people I know who are intelligent and educated start calling people who are wary of vaccines nasty names or jumping on the bandwagon for mandatory vaccine legislation. I also don't appreciate the anti-vaxxers calling people names, either, but I've seen far, far more of the first issue and far less of the second. Anti-vaxxers know they are in for it. Pro-vaxxers, however, feel free to shout loud because they are supported by a majority of people they know.

My first problem with mandatory vaccine legislation is that I trust the government as much as I trust a deadly, poisonous snake which you are poking with a stick. That's the libertarian in me. Seriously, when, when has the government ever made anything more efficient, better, cheaper, or safer than the private sector (which, admittedly, isn't perfect either, but at least the private sector is accountable to its customers and the government always evades accountability)? How objective is our government, when many of the elected individuals in it are tied by money interests to pharmaceutical companies and other industries that consequently receive special treatment through legislation? How fair is a government that can rule through regulation, with thousands and thousands of unelected (and publicly unaccountable) bureaucrats effectively making laws that reach far outside the purview of the Constitution? And when has the government ever relinquished any power once it gets it but, instead, seeks yet more? These questions alone should make every person think very, very carefully before blithely calling on government to force people to buy health insurance or vaccinate their children, for instance.

My second problem with all the pro-vaccination self-righteous squawkery is that the jury is still out on whether vaccines are absolutely safe. I'm not kidding. Read the warnings for any vaccination, which admit that sufficient scientific studies have not been conducted to prove the safety of said vaccine for various segments of the population (including infants and pregnant women), and then watch doctors and vaccine experts go around telling pregnant women and infants to get vaccinated. That alone is a huge red flag to me. It would make me skeptical of vaccines (and medical doctors) even if I didn't also know that vaccines contain Thimerosal (mercury), formaldehyde, aluminum, bovine cow serum, phenoxyethanol, and other nasty things that can cause serious health issues in humans when injected directly into the blood stream.

All my children are vaccinated, and I'm not sure I'm completely happy about that. The more I learn about health and nutrition, the more I am concerned that I have allowed my children's immune systems to be compromised. I have two asthmatics, one of whom also suffers from serious eczema and hay fever. The other one has nut allergies. Both of these issues, I'm convinced now, arise from inadequate nutrient absorption and leaky guts brought on by overgrowth of pathogenic microbes in the intestines. This happened because of my own poor diet while pregnant (and I have to remind myself that guilt is not a helpful emotion here unless it spurs me to find a solution) and continued overgrowth of pathogenic microbes through unhealthy diet and rounds of antibiotics and steroids (to control asthma attacks). In fact, I'm pretty convinced that I, my husband, and all of my children--even those who don't exhibit severe symptoms of asthma and eczema--are suffering from gut dysbiosis. Given our health situation, I'm convinced that vaccines have only exacerbated the problem.

I've been wary of vaccines for years now. I have read a lot about them on both sides of the argument. I have little respect for authority anyway, but the more shrill the argument and the more authorities try to force me to do a thing, the less respect I have. I'd rather think a little more critically, and that is what I've been trying to do. My kids' doctor is a lovely woman who is intelligent, kind, compassionate, and always trying to help. But she tends to want to write a prescription for everything, and that makes me question the truth of the education she received in medical school because medical school is now essentially run by the pharmaceutical industry. I don't want to be cynical, I just want to be informed. How can pharmaceuticals always be better than good diet and nutrition?

I just read the best and most logical solution to the vaccine argument I have ever read before. It's truly well thought out by an educated, experienced doctor. Her name is Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride, MD, MMedSci (neurology), MMedSci (nutrition), and she has practiced in the pediatric field in Great Britian for years.

Dr. Campbell-McBride works with children who have autism, schizophrenia, dyslexia, dispraxia, depression, ADD, ADHD, epilepsy, asthma, learning disorders, and other conditions. The common connection between all these patients is gut dysbiosis. She argues that when pathogenic microbes like bacteria, viruses, fungi, and protozoa overwhelm the beneficial flora in the gut, all kinds of physical and psychiatric weirdness begins to happen. As every person has a unique gut makeup and because every person reacts differently to gut dysbiosis, children and adults present with different symptoms. Some will succumb to autism, some to asthma, some to epilepsy, and so forth.

She talks about what causes gut dysbiosis--including the specific ways antiobiotics, steroids, other medications, and poor diet wreck beneficial gut flora--and then talks about how to cure it. As she has worked to cure and heal the gut and restore the correct balance between beneficial and pathogenic microbes, almost every single patient she has ever seen has shown remarkably reduced or eliminated symptoms of autism, schizophrenia, learning disabilities, etc., including her own child with learning disabilities.

In regards to vaccines, she posits that vaccinations are meant for healthy children, and that healthy guts can usually successfully overcome the bad things in vaccines. However, given our propensity to poor eating habits and taking medications, most of us suffer from gut dysbiosis, whether or not we are autistic or have other serious physical and/or psychiatric illnesses. When a vaccine is introduced (or multiple vaccines in one dose), the body, already compromised, cannot successfully handle it. That vaccine can be the straw that broke the camel's back, triggering an onslaught of symptoms of various diseases and conditions or making them worse.

Her solution: test every child before giving vaccinations to see what condition their gut is in, and test them every time. For healthy children who do not suffer from gut dysbiosis and do not have the markers in the blood or stool that would indicate this health issue, give them the vaccinations because they will probably be helpful. For those who are not perfectly healthy, either work to correct the situation and delay the vaccination until the situation is corrected or, in severe cases, put off the vaccination indefinitely. It strikes me as a far better balance between the "Force All Parents to Vaccinate Their Children" camp and the "Never Vaccinate Your Children for Any Reason" camp. (But just for the record, I would not put the government in charge of deciding who is and who is not ready for vaccinations.)

The book is GAPS: Gut and Psychology Syndrome by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride (I make no money on book sales and am not affiliated with Dr. Campbell-McBride in any way). It's absolutely fantastic, and I could not put it down until I'd finished it entirely. The point about vaccinations is not at all her main point. What she tries to do is help parents and caretakers of GAPS children and adults (and we're far more common that you might think) heal through diet and nutrition. Dr. Campbell-McBride refined the GAPS diet, which helps heal the gut, restore the correct balance of beneficial to pathogenic flora, and reduce or eliminate symptoms of diseases and conditions that are growing to epidemic levels. The answers have been around for decades, but this book reminds us of what doctors knew before Big Pharma started making tidy profits by pushing their wares on anyone and everyone and before modern food manufacturing had begun to crank out the false and harmful "food" that it now does: inadequate nutrient intake and absorption both causes and is exacerbated by gut dysbiosis, and this is what is causing autism, schizophrenia, asthma, and other serious problems among our children and ourselves.

Even if you violently disagree with me about the safety and efficacy of vaccines, this book is something you'll want to read. I promise the vaccine debate is not even a factor in it, but you'll find a wealth of good, solid information about the importance of diet to our health.