Episode 100 AMA: Your Questions Answered on Circumcision, Vaccines, CBD & More

Episode 100 AMA: Your Questions Answered on Circumcision, Vaccines, CBD & More

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Your Questions Answered on Circumcision, Vaccines, CBD & More

Today is the 100th episode of The Healthy Moms Podcast! We’ll be doing things a little differently to mark the occasion … it’s your turn to interview me! I’ll even dive into the topic of vaccines, which I’ve never talked about on the blog before but am asked about often.

First, a little recap of the best episodes (I think) since the podcast began …

My Favorite Healthy Moms Podcasts (So Far!)

It’s nearly impossible to choose “favorites” from the long list of interviews I’ve had with amazing health experts from all around the globe. That being said, here are some can’t-miss interviews from the past 99 episodes:

  • Episode 60: Dr. Cate Shanahan on deep nutrition
  • Episode 90: Dr. Kelly Brogan on hormones, anxiety, depression, and the connection between them
  • Episode 92: Dr. Elisa Song (my kids’ pediatrician) on a balanced but holistic approach to kids’ health
  • Episode 77: Joshua Becker on minimalism (I love his family-friendly take on the topic.)
  • Episodes 42, 43, 44, 45, and 74: Dr. Izabella Wentz, the expert on thyroid issues
  • And my personal favorites, my saunacasts with Heather of Mommypotamus (episodes 59 and 69)

You Ask, I Answer … Even About Vaccines

I asked all of you to send in any questions you might have for me, and you sent me some great ones. In this anniversary podcast conversation I’ll answer some of the topics that came up the most.

First, the Disclaimer

I always say … I’m not a doctor, I’m just a mom sharing what I learn about health along the way. Please don’t take what I say as medical advice, and please don’t take my opinion (or anyone else’s opinion for that matter) at face value.

I encourage you to dig in to the research to decide what’s best for your family, because it may not be the same as what’s good for mine. There’s just no getting around the fact that a lot of health topics are controversial and the science can be debated. I always welcome respectful dialogue here on the Wellness Mama blog (keyword: respectful!) because that way we all can learn from each other.

Now that that’s out of the way … on to the interview!

In This Episode, You’ll Learn:

Some Personal Things About Me

  • what I’m doing this summer with the family
  • the question I get the most—”How do you do it all?”—and my answer!
  • where I’m at in the process of managing Hashimoto’s disease
  • news about some very exciting gut health testing I’m getting done a company called Viome
  • my true thoughts about doctors who practice conventional medicine
  • how (and when) I wean my babies
  • my opinion on the “What the Health” documentary that’s blowing up Netflix
  • little tips I’ve picked up along the way about sleuthing health headlines and separating good science from hype
  • the “warrior gene” that defines my family (for better or worse!)
  • whether or not I’m eating all of my recipes on the Bright Line diet
  • what I take for natural sun protection
  • one controversial topic I never shy away from: the research and my thoughts on circumcision
  • what areas of research I’m working on bringing to the blog (and my next book)

Answers to Health Topics You’re Wondering About

  • cannabidiol (CBD) and related products – could they actually be a good idea?
  • endometriosis – can it be healed naturally?
  • eating meat – can it really be good for you?
  • fish oil – which supplements to take
  • undereye bags and wrinkles – is there anything that can be done?
  • sleep – my best tips for how to get it
  • gelatin – how to work more into your diet
  • natural formula – is there a good storebought option?

Vaccines: My Two Cents

I’ve steered away from this and other emotionally charged issues publicly because I sincerely want the blog to be a respectful and pleasant place. But vaccines are a huge part of what we as moms wrestle with and are definitely worthy of discussion.

In this episode, I’m finally speaking out with my take on:

  • what I considered before deciding about vaccines for my family
  • my thoughts on the chickenpox vaccine
  • why the questions being asking about vaccines might not be the right questions

P.S. Thank You!

I appreciate you all so much. Thank you for listening, sharing, and working with me to find ways to better health for us and for the next generation. It means a lot that you would take time to hang out with me here each week!

p.p.s. Want to time travel and find out what’s changed by our 200th episode? Here it is!

What do you think about these topics? Are there any questions I missed? Let me know what you’d like to hear about in the next 100 episodes!

This post contains affiliate links. Click here to read my affiliate policy.

Reader Interactions

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Reader Comments

  1. Hi! I have loved your blog and podcasts. Thank you!!!!! If possible, could you point to some research links related to vaccines? I have a hard time discerning the research results and am feeling overwhelmed about the research presented online. If not, I understand and respect that as well.

    • There’s an excellent documentary on YouTube (plus you can purchase the DVD to have in your personal library) called “Vaxxed. From Cover up to Catastrophe.” They’re also known as (on YouTube) Vaxxed TV, where you get to hear all sorts of experiences and vaccine injury damages because of vaccines. Excellent program and mini experiences! They really opened our eyes to the whole vaccine world!!!

      • “Vaxxed” is an incredible documentary, mostly because the shocking part is that the U.S. government knows there is a direct correlation between certain vaccines and autism and yet does nothing about it. I would encourage everyone to watch this if you have questions about vaccines.

      • Vaxxed is a sham. I’m sorry you fell for it.

        • There is an entire Vaxxed channel on YouTube and it documents hundreds of parents who have vaccine-injured children. This is so widespread and parents are noticing injuries and deaths very shortly after vaccinating. Everyone cannot be wrong. If you actually read the vaccine ingredients and side effects warnings that the drug companies provide, you will see how horrible they are. Vaccines are being made with aborted fetal DNA along with DNA from various animals, not to mention the aluminum and mercury. How is this ok? These are not things that I want injected into me, let alone tiny babies.

    • Please also read Suzanne Humphries MD , she has lots of YouTube videos as well. I can’t recommend her enough.

  2. Hi Katie,
    Love listening to your podcast, particularly as there’s a lot less of this type of conversation here in the UK, or if there is in the classic British way, we’re not being loud enough about it.
    Really enjoyed this podcast but found it really sad that you felt it necessary to comment that you’re not giving medical advice, its your experience & opinion. This isn’t a criticism, just a sympathetic comment. I’m worried that fear of backlash is going to constrain people like yourself from putting this info out there. If it weren’t for your podcast, I’m not sure I would have got onto this journey. That’s pretty major for me as I don’t know exactly what’s going on as I can’t afford to go privately to work all this out.
    Sorry getting a bit ranty, just wanted to say that I massively appreciate what you do!!
    Claire x

    • Hi Claire,
      I agree, but unfortunately here in the U.S.A. if one is not a licensed doctor, then one is not legally allowed to give “medical advice”, otherwise you can be sued and held liable by the government.

      • You think that’s bad. Here in Canada we can’t even give “medical advice” about a pet without the risk of being charged (and I mean legally charged).

  3. Hey Katie!
    Thanks so much for all you do!!! I have loved listening to your podcasts so so much!! You pick the best of the best to interview….I was wondering if you would consider doing a podcast on REAL low milk supply. There is not much research on this at all and most dr’s, obgyn’s, and even midwives, doulas, and LCs don’t recognize true low milk supply as legitimate. I experienced this myself and it opened me up to a whole group of woman (a growing FB group of over 7k) that are being neglected and belittled. I truly believe this will be a growing epidemic in the near future. It took me hundreds of hours of research to figure out my low milk supply was related to low thyroid which in turn was affecting my blood sugar, etc. it will also be no surprise to you that these woman are also suffering from severe ppd (which also goes hand in hand with low thyroid). Of course not being able to breastfeed adds a whole new layer of failure and depression as well as mama not bonding with baby. Aviva Romm did such a great job in her podcast and briefly touched on this. Maybe she would be able to really get into this topic a bit more. Thanks so much again for all you do and I would so love if you would consider making this a topic!! Many blessings!

      • I am a grandma now, but I went through the low milk supply with my firstborn. It ended up being a combination of nipple confusion (thanks to the hospital) and low Vitamin B levels. I found B6 and nutritional yeast took care of the latter. B6 is also good for morning sickness.

  4. I’m a mother of six. My oldest is almost 24 and I have 1-year-old twins. Seeing how different vaccination is today when compared to how it was more than two decades ago makes me concerned and frustrated. I feel similarly about the choices I made for my 20-year-old son and circumcision when compared to how I have handled my three new little guys.

    I don’t listen to podcasts – ever. I’m so glad I put on my earbuds, paused my workflow, and listened to yours. Like you, I won’t make a public declaration about what I’ve done for my children but I will say that I wholeheartedly appreciate your tone, your word choices, and straightforward approach to a controversial topic.

  5. Do you ever post a transcript of your podcasts? That would be amazing! Thanks!

    • You can download the transcript by clicking on the “view transcript” button at the top of the post…

  6. Dear Katie

    I love your podcast. After nearly 14years of being a vegetarian my husband and I came to the same conclusion, separately, that we needed to include some animal protein in our diet for the health our children and ourselves. We took things very slowly to begin with but now eat good sources of meat, fish, butter and bone broth.

    I am a big fan of kombucha and enjoyed your podcast on that subject. I also make my own milk kefir and I am currently experimenting with fermented veggie although I sometime struggle with the taste. Any advice on child friendly combinations of veggies? Have you ever done a fermented foods podcast? – I’d definitely listen.

    Oh and your advice on magnesium has helped us to decide to start using it. Also your vinegar of four thieves health tonic has been successful as a cleaning product and head lice repellent. Thanks


    • Hi Gemma,

      Regarding your question about child-friendly veggie combinations (I assume from your wording that you’re talking specifically about fermented veggies), may I make a few suggestions?

      More important than what foods you serve is how you talk about food with your kids. Using specific descriptors for foods (crunchy, salty, sweet, spicy, chewy, etc.) and avoiding vague words like yucky, gross, and yummy has been so helpful in getting my kids to try more foods. They’re learning to think about and articulate what they’re tasting. And talk about health benefits of the foods you eat too. Kids really do listen and remember what you teach them; they have an incredible capacity for learning so take full advantage of it!

      Also, fermented veggies are so good in combination with other foods. That distinctive sour taste can really add more dimension other foods that you serve them with. When treated as a condiment, they have so much more possibility. I love to stir sauerkraut into my sausage & potato hash. Fermented relishes go great with meats, for example. Start with veggies you know they like and do a side-by-side taste comparison of raw or cooked vs. fermented.

      What sour condiments does your family enjoy? Can you possibly make your own fermented version? Fermented ketchup, pickles, jalapenos, horseradish…have fun!

  7. Thank you for your post and comments on circumcision. I read your post about this a couple years ago before becoming pregnant with my son. It led me to do more research on the topic and feel confident that I made the best decision for my son. I absolutely agree that it is a human rights issue.

  8. I have two children, one 17 and one 14. I live in the U.S., which I say because I don’t think we are in generally very progressive when it comes to breastfeeding and circumcision. I breastfed my daughter until she was 4 and my son until 3 and a half. It was the most gratifying and wonderful experience in my life. I still get backlash when I tell people the ages to which I nursed my children. Side note: I also nursed on demand, never pumped or used a bottle, and co-slept with both babies (another huge controversy that I get lambasted for). Regarding circumcision, I, too, chose not to circumcise my son. The two points you bring up are exactly my thoughts. I don’t believe it is medically necessary as most men are not circumcised (worldwide), and it does not appear to be an issue. If my son did have an issue, we would address it then. He is 14 and we have NEVER had any issues at all. If he wants to be circumcised when he is an adult, that will be his decision, but I doubt he will ever agree to the procedure. Keep getting the word out and fighting the good fight. Every decision we make for our kids needs to be thoughtful and fact based! Bravo!

  9. I would like to read about the Syngenta corporation because, since it was found out that they are a flavorings manufacturer which uses fetal cells/blood to make them and Pepsico was using their stuff in their “Next” drink, I want to know whether Pepsico is still tainting their drinks. I am not a cannibal, that’s certain. I had to stop purchasing DiGiorno pizzas because the Nestle company is messing around with gmo’s…yuck!!! Anyway, it’s getting hard to trust any company these days, not knowing if a food or a pill is going to turn us all into freaks, especially our children. Thanks for the great site, love your articles!

  10. I’d love to know what your using now for omega 3 and what you recomend for kids? Ages 3 months(breastfeeding), 2.5, and 4. we are using fclo at the moment but it’s a pain to get everyone to take it. I want to switch as soon as the bottle is gone.

  11. Thank you for this! I really appreciate your dig into research on all these things. I love your point of view and the opportunity to make my own decisions. Ultimately I came to the same decision for my sons, my husband didn’t agree but I said he could find a dr to do it if he wanted it done and he never did. Phew! Thanks again x

  12. I really appreciate your intelligent, pragmatic, and warm approach to all or these topics. I love that you continually encourage your listeners to do their own research.

    This is the first podcast that I’ve listened to of yours. I am now officially a fan! Thank you for sharing your intelligence and wisdom.

  13. There is also an excellent 7-part series called The Truth About Vaccines, produced by the same group who did The Truth About Cancer. They just wrapped up a free screening of it on YouTube, but it is available for purchase. Or perhaps you could contact them for info on when they might be willing to re-air for free.

  14. Hope you don’t mind me posting this here but I was unable to post a comment on the appropriate page.

    As a 76 year old uncircumcised male I found your treatment of the subject to be very educational. Growing up, including through puberty, I didn’t have any issues with my genitals. Not with other boys when we showered together at school after gym or sports. No hygiene issues and no offensive odours. I guess we just washed often enough.

    However, as I’ve aged and my sexual habits have changed, my penis is no longer (no pun intended) have shrunk somewhat. With the foreskin still in place, this sometimes causes an issue when urinating as the foreskin closes over the opening and re-directs the urine. The problem is there’s still as much foreskin as there’s always been. Thus, at my age I’ve considered circumcision as an option.

    I certainly don’t think my issue is any reason whatsoever to justify circumcision in newborns and I doubt that I’ll actually go through with it. But it is a thought.

    Anyway, I wanted to post my experience on this delicate issue. Thanks Katie for being bold enough to raise it.

  15. Love the way you handled the vaccine issue. We are so looking at the vaccine issue the wrong way. Love the bathtub example and how you explained how the children today are getting so many more vaccines than we did when we were young. Obviously that is going to cause a problem somewhere and somehow. That bathtub is going to overflow, and that overflow is going to show up as a problem in the child or adult. The problem could be because of the vaccines; it could be because of too many antibiotics; or it could be because of eating too many of the wrong foods or because of too much stress. Very nicely done on the whole podcast. Probably one of the most respectful dialogues I’ve heard or seen on the Internet involving some tricky topics. Social media, I think, has destroyed any kind of charity towards others so it is a sigh of relief to hear such kindness and respect.

  16. Hi Katie,
    Thanks for taking on the hard questions. I really appreciated the bathtub analogy for vaccines.
    I wanted to add a perspective that I have found really helpful in my struggle with these parenting decisions:
    While vaccination is so often presented as a starkly black and white topic, there is a rather large grey zone. Instead of feeling like I have to pick a side, each disease/vaccine can be evalutated independently. This can be complicated due to the combining of multiple vaccines into one shot, but its still a comparably reasonable approach. For example, as you pointed out, chickenpox is not a scary illness, and in this case I felt that the vaccine presented a greater risk to my child than the disease itself. Likewise flu. Tetanus, on the other hand, is a really scary disease, and my barefoot kiddo seems highly drawn to sharp metal things. Of course it is more difficult to assess the risks of things like hepatitis, but the bottom line is this: we don’t have to make one giant scary decision about whether to vaccinate or not. Breaking it down into smaller decisions helps me feel more compassionate toward both “sides.” and as you strongly emphasized, this approach necessitates that each parent do the research in order to make the decision that is right for them.

  17. Hi Katie,

    You asked for suggestions for new topics. I would love for you to research Reiki, which is a form of energy healing. I was SUCH a skeptic, thinking that it sounded stupid, ridiculous, like voodoo, but it’s worked on me twice, and I’m someone that nothing works on! It could help SO many people with health issues that the doctor shrugs his/her shoulders at.

  18. If you enjoy history, I would highly recommend the book Dissolving Illusions: Disease, Vaccines, and the Forgotten History by Dr. Suzanne Humphries, MD and Roman Bystrianyk. It is a very thoroughly researched treatment of the subject of vaccines. I wish every parent who is unsure about the vaccine question would read this book! Also every medically trained person out there who is promoting vaccines! It is hard to dispute the data that Dr. Humphries and Mr. Bystrianyk present.

    Also, if you are taking suggestions for podcasts, I feel Dr. Suzanne Humphries has so much to offer with her experience as a medical doctor, but her honest take on the subject of vaccines.

    • Agreed!! Dr Suzanne Humphries book is life changing! Wellness mama should definitely read it. It explains the evolution of vaccines and the medical industry.

  19. Hi Katie,

    Thank you so much for all you contribute to natural health communities! I love following you and appreciate all the research you do and highly respect your opinions. You mentioned in this podcast that there was no religious reason for circumcision if you’re not Jewish and I do disagree. As a Bible believing Christian, I trust the Bible as the ultimate truth. I do believe that as Christians we are not under the old testament law by any means, however God did create laws for the Jews in order to protect them. I think of old testament laws such as what is written about mold (Leviticus 14:43-45), which we know now that mold is a highly toxic substance that should be removed from our homes. I think about the dietary laws, which we know now that pork (Leviticus 14:8) is one of the worst meats to eat because pigs are dirty, have no way to rid themselves of toxins such as cows do, as well as are known to eat their own young among other disgusting things. We also know certain seafoods (Leviticus 11:10) such as shrimp are toxin absorbers and are toxic for us to eat as well. Sprouted bread was also the way bread was ceremonially made then and we know that’s a healthier way to eat bread. So even though those laws might seem strict or extreme, there was a reason for it. Even though circumcision was a symbolic covenant, I don’t think God would have the Jews do something negative or bad for them and in fact physically beneficial instead. I haven’t researched it myself, but I just trust that it’s in God’s nature for him to have us and/or his chosen people do things that would be a blessing to us, just like the dietary laws. There may be no research showing it now, but I believe God knows what he’s doing and his Word is always backed by science. Maybe research will soon reveal and I know Jordan Ruben (another health researcher) has written his own take on the benefits in his book “Great Physician’s Rx for Children’s Health.” I’d like to hear your thoughts.

  20. Most vegans supplement with B12. A vegan diet supplemented with B12 is very healthy long term, I’m surprised you would claim that it’s not. Where is your evidence? It is easy to get your protein from a combination of beans, nuts, seeds, legumes. Vegans eat tons of veggies and fruits. There is no need for animal products.

  21. One comment on the “safety” of chicken pox. I know most of us have memories of a few itchy days off school and what is the big deal. But if you never get chicken pox, then you can never get shingles. Shingles is a reawakening of the dormant chicken pox virus, and it can cause severe and debilitating pain, blindness, brain inflammation, hearing problems or death. And you can get shingles multiple times throughout your life, with those potential complications each time. So yes chicken pox may seem to be a “silly” thing to vaccinate against but it’s really a vaccination for shingles.

  22. Aloha Katie,

    Can you please share links on vaccines? I do not know where to start, who to trust, what I read is right or wrong. I’m asking if there are any sources or websites that you’d recommend that’ll help me do my h/w in finding out what (or if) vaccines are the right ones for my kids?
    Would REALLY appreciate it! Like you said, it’s a very emotional topic. Have good friends on both sides of the spectrum, and if I just have facts, that’ll make me happy!
    Thank you!

    • Great question. It is so tough to wade through the emotionally charged info on both sides. The Truth About Vaccines series offered a very balanced and fact-based approach so I’d probably start there

  23. So what I’m gathering from this is that Katie decided to vaccinate but on a delayed schedule and chose not to vaccinate for everything depending on severity of the illness. I believe a lot of parents are making this decision based on the fact that they would like to travel outside of the country with their children or perhaps one day have the option of their kids in public schools. I feel this is a very smart approach. It’s important to stay educated and informed at the same time realistic.

  24. Katie,
    My naturepath has put me on a vegin-ish diet with a bit of fish to help reduce my excess in estrogen and help with very bad periods and symptoms. You said you wouldnt personally do a long term vegan diet yourself. Could you please share or point me in the right direction to some research so I can educate myself at this point? Thanks

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