Nutrition for pregnant moms, babies, toddlers…..part 4 of 5

Today’s topic: NUTRITION DURING PREGNANCY.

Remember, what you’re eating when you’re pregnant is also contributing to healthy blood, bones, tissues, and organs—or not.

It’s so painful for me to remember back to eating 7-11 nachos, Diet Coke, a Special Burger and fries (extra fry sauce!) at lunch, and Ben & Jerry’s after dinner, throughout my first pregnancy. I didn’t know any better. I assumed my body was making good fuel for my baby, out of the bad fuel I fed myself—as illogical as that is.

I imagine that’s why I not only gained 65 lbs., but it’s also why my baby developed significant auto-immune problems in his first year of life. With my later pregnancies, I was learning and implementing good nutrition strategies, and the babies were FAR healthier.

My last baby was (and still is, at age 12) completely healthy—never once a bacterial infection of any kind, never any antibiotics or meds or even doctor visits. The labor and delivery got easier, too, when I ate the right foods throughout the pregnancy and gained only 35 lbs. instead of 65!

I can’t even count how many times a 12 Steps to Whole Foods young mom has talked to me after a class I teach, and told me this:

“I’m so thrilled that I changed my diet to eat whole foods, because this last pregnancy has been my easiest and healthiest!”

I’ve had many moms tell me about major complications they had during their earlier pregnancies, while they were eating the Standard American Diet, and how all that changed when they embraced whole-foods fuel.

One mother in Texas told me that with her first 4 children, she was on bed rest, with terrible edema, and pre-eclampsia. As she told me this, she was 9 months pregnant, and beaming ear to ear. She said, “This is my first problem-free pregnancy. I’m about to deliver, and I’m so excited I learned all about whole foods from you.”

My diet now is the diet I would eat if I were pregnant again. The “pregnancy diet” is no different than the ideal diet for life.

It’s high in greens, in vegetables, and in fruits—80% of more of them raw. I also eat cooked legumes (beans, split peas, lentils), and whole grains (organic quinoa, whole wheat, rolled oats or oat groats, spelt, Kamut, buckwheat, millet—most of them sprouted before they are baked at low temperatures). I buy sprouted-grain (whole grain only) bread or English muffins or tortillas at the health food store. But I also make my own granola.

I eat nuts and seeds every day, some of them sprouted, many of them rich sources of essential fatty acids. I soak and dehydrate nuts and seeds to add to my granola.

I use coconut oil on my skin and in occasional baking, for medium-chain triglycerides. I always have a quart of green smoothie a day. Most days, I also have a glass of vegetable juice, although at many points in my life, I’ve not had the time to make juice, and now I hire someone to do it.

I choose big salads in restaurants. I don’t eat refined sugar, ever, nor do I ever drink soda, or eat processed meats, or pork or beef. I eat a 95 percent plant-based diet, and I keep refined foods or animal products at 5 percent or less.

While I was having my babies, I was learning how to do all that. It was new to me then—it is habit now. I didn’t give up sugar cold-turkey back then. I had fits and starts in dealing with my addiction.

My changes involved bucking “the system.” Lots of systems, in fact. The medical system. The social system of parties and barbecues and family events and Easter and Halloween and Christmas. The church system of keeping kids quiet in nursery and later, in class, with junk food. The family system of generations of “comfort foods” that contributed to my babies’ health problems. It wasn’t easy. But it was one of the BEST THINGS I’VE EVER DONE. I’ve never looked back, and I have absolutely zero regret.

What I did HAD TO BE DONE.

So, what I’ve just described my diet being now is a great diet for a pregnant or nursing mom. It’s a terrible idea for a pregnant mom to eat a diet high in refined carbs. The baby does need good protein for brain health, and overall for building. There’s plenty of protein in nuts, seeds, legumes, grains, and greens.

If you avoid those good food categories, eating a vegan diet, you’re likely to develop dental problems, blood sugar issues, and fatigue-related disorders. If you want more protein, I suggest a scoop of our whole-food, vegan protein powder added to your green smoothies.

Doctors tell women to eat lots of protein, and everyone’s first thought with protein is meat and dairy. Those are “perfect proteins,” to be sure. But “perfect” doesn’t meant “better”—it just mean it is protein the body doesn’t have to assemble from amino acids, because it matches human flesh very closely. Protein from greens, seeds, legumes, grains, and nuts is protein the body has to work harder to build muscle with. But it’s far more durable muscle mass.

Always eat protein when you’re eating sugars. For instance, if you have a green smoothie and yours is high in fruits, eat a handful of almonds, too, or a bowl of lentil or split pea soup. Or add a scoop of protein powder. I make my green smoothies as high in greens, and as low in fruits, as I can tolerate. Slow down and regulate impact on blood sugar, by eating FIBER and QUALITY PROTEIN. This is how you can, with lifelong habits, avoid insulin problems and eventual diabetes, which currently most of our population is heading toward.

Don’t undertake a major, radical detox program while you’re pregnant or in the first year of nursing. As toxins range your body, on their way out, they flush through a developing fetus, and through your breast milk, as well.

Again, don’t take my advice in lieu of competent practitioner care and counsel.

Tomorrow, we talk once again about WHAT TO DO ABOUT PICKY KIDS.

 

Nutrition for pregnant moms, babies, toddlers….part 3 of 5

Today’s topic: WHAT DO I WEAN MY BABY ONTO?

So, you can’t feed your baby nothing but breast milk, and then goat milk (or yogurt/kefir) forever. Now you know why I highly encourage you to breastfeed as exclusively as you can, for 18 months.

But when you do begin to wean your baby, avoid all the boxed ‘cereals’ and the jars of baby food. I never fed my last three any of those things, not even once. Not one of them drank any ‘formula.’

Babies sensitive to dairy formulas are often given soy formulas, which is deeply troubling to me. Soy is estrogenic, and it is a very well-known endocrine disruptor. It is very possibly my least-favorite option to feed an infant. Plus, over 85% of America’s soy crops are genetically modified. Some evidence links it to degenerative gut conditions. Obviously we don’t want to start your baby down that path, shortly after birth!

I started weaning my babies onto raw, primarily non-sweet plant foods. More greens and vegetables than fruits.

If you start there, when your baby is hungry (beginning to outgrow the milk-only diet, and getting interested in table foods, wanting what you eat), you’re setting her tastes, which truly last a lifetime.

What you feed her NOW will be things she always gravitates towards. Programming at this very young age is very powerful. (Even the things you ate while your baby was developing in the womb, are often foods the baby later craves.)

So you have the opportunity to craft your child’s tastes. Make it easy on yourself, instead of choosing years of tantrums if you don’t feed her Skittles at every meal. That’s what you’re choosing for yourself, if you start feeding your little one sugar! A guaranteed future of refined-foods addiction.

Mash avocado. Make a simple green smoothie with only two ingredients. Chard and a small amount of banana, with water. Spinach, and an apple, and water. Blend it in your turbo blender. (Blendtec is the best one, Vitamix is the second-best one.)

MAKE IT ORGANIC. Your body doesn’t do well metabolizing pesticides. Your baby’s body is even more sensitive—plus, his body is just tiny. It should be developing, not struggling against organophosphates, or heavy metals.

Don’t cook the veggies to puree them in the blender. Blend RAW carrots and just enough water to blend. Cooking makes it soft, yes, but also kills vitamins, minerals, and enzymes. Remember your baby isn’t producing digestive enzymes yet anyway. So give them to her in the form of raw plant food!

Don’t feed your baby raw honey until after 12 months, to be sure that her body is equipped to deal with the very mild pathogens occasionally found in that food.

Don’t sweeten the green smoothies with any concentrated sweetener. The only reason YOU think they have to be sweet is that you weren’t lucky enough to have a mother systematically weaning you onto wonderful living, whole, raw plant foods. Your baby has no addiction to sugar. Yet. Your baby has no emotional attachment to eating. Yet. Add nothing to sweeten but a bit of banana, or dates.

Add only one food a day, or each few days, to carefully observe any reactions in your baby, any potential food sensitivities. If you noticed when you were nursing, that your baby reacted to your breast milk when you ate certain foods, there is a higher likelihood that your baby is going to be sensitive to some foods when you feed them to her directly.

A mashed banana is a wonderful food for a baby. I think a banana and an avocado mashed for a baby is a FABULOUS baby or toddler meal. Perfect fats for brain health. Great potassium and many other vitamin and minerals, full of enzymes to make it easy to digest.

When you see the eyeteeth come in, at about 18 months, your baby is better able to digest foods, because that developmental milestone also generally means the body is in full digestive enzyme production as well. That is when I introduced cooked foods. But every meal or snack, then and now in my home, has been 60-80 percent raw. That way we are providing most or all of the enzymes our bodies need, rather than forcing the pancreas to release its limited stores.

Good cooked foods for toddlers would include toasted sprouted English muffins, “buttered” with coconut oil, or manna bread, or homemade, wholegrain sourdough bread. You can make lots of soups that feature legumes and vegetables, and many ideas are found in 12 Steps to Whole Foods, recipes I’ve raised my own family on and continue to make. Sometimes we eat whole-grain pastas, which is an excuse to make a sauce full of raw tomatoes and vegetables, and toss in steamed veggies. We make lots of different things with sprouted-wheat tortillas, and vegetarian refried beans that we make our buy, and veggies.

We eat a lot of salad. All of my babies were big salad eaters well before they were 2 years old. This helps them build a strong jaw capable of breaking down whole, raw plant foods.

You have perfect control of what fuel you give your child to make the most of his natural gifts, his natural intelligence, his naturally perfect mental health. Avoiding giving your baby sweet foods in his first two years of life also helps him have a better chance of excellent dental health, for many years to come. You can easily avoid white flour and sugar, food dyes and chemicals, hormone- and steroid-fed animal products. You might have to talk to church and daycare workers and ask them not to feed your child the standard snacks. (I told them my child was “allergic.” Aren’t we all?)

It’s worth it to swim upstream against the culture, to protect our children’s right to grow up healthy and strong. It’s worth a little money to buy organic for our babies. It’s worth a little time to plant a garden to control more of our food, decrease our carbon footprint, and set an example to our kids.

Tomorrow, nutrition during pregnancy.

Nutrition for pregnant moms, babies, toddlers…..part 2 of 5

Breastfeeding versus formula is our topic today.

First of all let’s talk about how long to nurse your baby.

We’ve over-sexualized breasts in our culture. We’re squeamish about the use of breasts for feeding babies.

Cover it up, don’t let anyone know you do it, get your boobs back as fast as you can for their main purposes, and perish the thought that they LOOK like they nursed babies!

I’m not suggesting they aren’t sexual, okay? Nor that we should give up looking good. Not my point. Here’s what I’m saying.

Young moms, if your baby needs your breast milk for 6-9 months longer than most people do it, for her brain health, for her budding immune system, for her pancreas and liver to finish developing…..will you do it? Or is doing what everybody else does more important?

(Look how it’s working out for them. We’ve NEVER had so much degenerative and neurological and congenital disease, at young ages, in the history of the world.)

Your baby needs breast milk for 18 months. I nursed my last child till he was 21 months old. He was my healthiest child, never got sick, never has visited the doctor for illness, never has needed an antibiotic or any other drug.

But because I nursed him so long, one day he ran over to me when we were watching his sister’s soccer game. At nearly 2 years old, poked me in the chest with his finger, and yelled:

“Nurse you!”

(Yes, I was embarrassed. I am not a hippie. I do care what people think. However, I’m just not going to do the wrong thing for my child out of peer pressure. I was about done nursing anyway, and that embarrassing little incident pinkie-pushed me, pun intended, into quitting.)

But young mothers are not taught that the body does not produce and release digestive enzymes at birth. The infant body is programmed to receive human breast milk, which is rich in its own enzymes. Digestion of human breast milk is easy for an infant and a toddler. Part of the genius of each species is that the milk adapts and becomes precisely what the baby needs, at each stage of development.

What a tragedy, then, when we deny our babies this birthright. When companies like Enfamil and Similac convince mothers in the hospital, all over the world, including now in poor Latin nations, to take home a whole case of formula. (It’s free!) Formula manufacturers know if they get you before you leave the hospital, any milk they give your baby is milk your body then doesn’t produce, so you will not be able to give your baby a full supply of breast milk. Unless you’re very careful.

Plus your baby will become used to fake foods, instead of quickly developing a taste for human milk, making him that much less likely to reject formula later.

Of course, cooked baby formula, cooked and processed, has no enzymes, and this begins heavily taxing the infant body and causing it to produce mucous. Not to mention you’re fighting the antibiotics and steroids fed the cow, and the terrible food supply of GMO corn and soy products.

A buildup of mucous creates an acidic climate to invite infections, both bacterial and viral. Breastfed babies get sick far less than formula-fed babies. Everyone knows this. But I’ve just described one of the reasons why.

So you can’t nurse. Or you’ve adopted. Or you want to wean the baby. What do you wean her onto?

My friend Dr. Ritamarie Lozcalzo was an adoptive mother to two children who are now young adults. She is a raw vegan and nutrition expert and a prominent internet personality. She developed a high-nutrition, raw baby formula using nut milk, vegetable juices, and some specific supplements that include the right fats babies need. I’m always sending young moms to her, but you can get her formula recipe here if exclusive breast feeding is not an option.

If you won’t make your own formula, I would look for an ORGANIC goat-milk formula. If you can’t find that, an ORGANIC dairy formula. Soy formula would be my last choice.

I personally weaned my babies, once I learned not to use cow milk and baby formula, onto whole, raw goat milk.

Your instant reaction is to fear the word “RAW.” Doesn’t pasteurization of milk kill all the bad bacteria that might hurt your baby?

Yes. And no.

It kills the bacteria. There can be some bad bacteria in milk. There’s bad bacteria in your body right now—some really deadly stuff, actually. It’s in a teeming metropolis of bacteria, actually. Think of it as the Manhattan of living organisms, what’s going on in your gut, tissues, and bloodstream as you read this.

There are pathogens there. Molds. Fungus, bacteria, cancer. Not only now, but 10 years ago too. And 10 years from now.

But even organisms you think of as “bad” play an important role, often. It’s not fully understood, but I did a fascinating recorded call with Dr. Jack Tips, PhD, N.D., recently, for the Detox program I’ve been developing for over a year. He discussed how even bad bacteria play good roles. Even candida. The thriving metropolis has an intelligence that is crippled and devastated with the atom-bomb approach of antibiotics.

And when you pasteurize the milk, you also kill all the GOOD bacteria. You kill everybody and everything, machine-gun style. You kill all the enzymes that make the raw food easy to digest.

So killing stuff isn’t the answer.

Establishing, nurturing, and maintaining a healthy environment in your body, where GOOD bacteria flourish, and bad bacteria are managed and controlled, never making you sick, is the answer.

Eating foods that are organic, and living, and whole, is the main answer.

So like I said, I weaned my babies onto raw goat’s milk. You have to go out of your way to find it. The dairy industry has a chokehold on the FDA. Dairy spends $50 million a year in propaganda (read: advertising) to convince us we must drink and eat lots of dairy products to be healthy. One of their tactics is to drive out competition. So you can’t buy unpasteurized goat milk as “food.” You can ask around, at health food stores and with people who have been studying nutrition for years, and find the little goat dairies.

They will sell it to you—for other purposes, not food. (What YOU do with it is up to you.)

My four children drank it for many, many years, without incident. Before I began using it, I studied it, and discovered that no one in the Western United States had registered any complaint, about any goat-milk problem, in the previous 10 years.

(The same cannot be said about cow-milk dairies.)

I also learned to make yogurt out of raw goat milk. Later, I learned to make an even better food: KEFIR. It not only supports healthy flora in the gut, it can re-establish it, build it from the ground up. It does not require heating the milk. It’s very easy and simple, and costs next-to-nothing, as the live kefir grains are infinitely re-useable.

Learn about kefir HERE. It’s a vastly superior food to the raw milk itself, because the culturing (or fermenting) process breaks down the proteins in the milk to be essentially “pre-digested.” Goat milk is not mucous forming for humans. Neither is goat-milk kefir or yogurt.

Tomorrow, what do I wean my baby onto, besides raw goat milk? We discuss a progression of foods to introduce.

Nutrition for pregnant moms, babies, toddlers…..part 1 of 5

Dear GreenSmoothieGirl: My baby is breastfeeding, and doing great. But I know I have to make the transition. Besides blending cooked vegetables, what else should I do?

Answer: Please share this blog series with anyone with a baby, or anyone thinking about starting a family.

What I’m about to tell you is worth more than money could buy. I wish I’d had this information before I even conceived my oldest son.

I must make this disclaimer first: My comments should not stand in for competent medical advice. Talk to your naturopathic medical doctor or other qualified, holistic practitioner before implementing these or any other strategies.

In my opinion, the information I want to share with you in this blog series is worth more than the four-year degree I got before going to grad school. I’m crushed that I spent a year feeding my son crap (on the advice of a pediatrician!) before I studied hard (many sources), learned the truth, executed on it, and forever changed my entire family’s future, for the better.

What I’m going to write here is a digest of what I learned during years of intensive study, when my first child was very ill with asthma. He was constantly choking on yellow and green mucous coming out of his nose, which meant it was all over in his head, throat, and throughout his body. No babies or children who have yellow and green mucous are healthy.

The mucous made his tiny body the perfect acidic, sluggish, anaerobic environment for getting every little virus that came down the pike. Which led to more asthma. Which led to more drugs. Which led to more mucous production, along with the dairy and sugar and chemical-added “foods” I fed him. You get the idea?

But I didn’t know that, then. I was a deer in headlights. A young mother with little information. Overweight and struggling with my own major health problems.

I’m even more crushed to think that not only did I lose a year to total ignorance, as I began my career as a mother, but there are women everywhere who would do anything for their kids, but they have no clue about the devastating consequences of following their pediatricians’ nutritional recommendations. And they follow bad counsel from doctors who are untrained in nutrition, for years.

(Mine said to pump my little guy full of pus- and bacteria- and steroid- and antibiotic-tainted milk of another animal. Of course he didn’t call it that. That’s me being sarcastic. He said to feed him lots of milk. And if I couldn’t get enough bottles of milk in him, I should just add a few scoops of artificially colored, sugar-sweetened NESTLE QUIK. When my son’s weight fell precipitously, he said to feed him lots of ICE CREAM.

A grad student I met after one of my lectures in Arizona last year told me she’d interned with that same pediatrician. And she told me he’s still giving people the same awful advice. She said he tells his patients, “Vegetables and fruits are just fiber. All babies need is milk, for strong bones. Lots of it.”)

What happens when we follow standard pediatric advice?

I turned my oldest son from a 8 lbs. 9 oz., 23” healthy newborn, to a Failure to Thrive, barely breathing, blue, constantly ill baby so underweight he fell below the 5th percentile. Following his pediatrician’s advice.

And then I stopped doing what the pediatrician said to do. I stopped buying what the pediatrician was feeding his own family. Baby formula made from dairy, then dairy milk and cheese and popsicles and white bread and chicken nuggets, hot dogs. Peanut butter and jelly. Maybe some cooked veggies now and then, a banana and an apple each day, just to feel better about my parenting.

And when I STOPPED doing what my culture’s parenting standards dictated, and started following true principles in nutrition, all the problems disappeared. My boy became strong, robust, healthy, 6’3”.

He went on to lead the state in RBI’s (runs batted in) his senior year of high school and pitch in the final two games of the state playoffs.

If he doesn’t achieve his destiny, it’s damn well not going to be because I failed him.

What I’m going to write in this blog series is worth many books I’ve read, and lets you just dismiss a lot of the OTHER books and web sites I wasted time on.

Most published nutrition advice is heavily influenced by the industries who created the mentality that there’s a dairy product for every nutritional need, and a drug for every medical problem.

What I’m about to write could mean that your family never uses an antibiotic again. (We haven’t, for over 17 years.) That you use M.D.’s only if you break an arm or get in a car accident. Isn’t that the ideal? Where did we get the idea that we have to lean heavily on doctors, because we’re so often sick, and cannot problem-solve our family’s own minor issues?

My next post reviews breastfeeding versus the alternatives. How long to nurse your baby, and what to do if you can’t.

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Five-Minute Chocolate Frosting

IMPORTANT NOTE:  I REMOVED THE  MUFFIN RECIPE BECAUSE PATTY APPARENTLY WROTE SOMETHING DOWN WRONG WHEN SHE MADE THE MUFFINS. PLEASE FORGIVE ME! I will re-post if we re-make the recipe and I have more confidence in it. Thanks for your patience as I make mistakes sometimes.

Five-Minute Chocolate Frosting:

  • 2 cups Cocoa MoJo
  • 2 cups Coconut Milk Powder
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • About 2/3 cup (add slowly to achieve desired consistency) of your favorite nut or seed milk, even Rice Dream from a box

Directions: Blend in a high-speed blender until creamy. Let it sit on a counter at room temperature for about 30 mins so it gets a bit firmer (and while waiting for your muffins to cool down from the oven). Spread on muffins and enjoy!

 

World’s Largest Cucumber Comes Out of My Garden

 

This is Patty with a cucumber that somehow escaped notice in my garden until it became The Vegetable That Ate Chicago.

It wouldn’t work in a salad. But I refused to throw it in the compost.

It made three pints of juice! It wasn’t really yummy, not gonna lie. Kinda bitter.

But, we made it when I was recovering from major oral surgery. It was a perfect way to bring the inflammation down and let those angry, insulted tissues heal.