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.

Green smoothies for old, fat, busy executives

GreenSmoothieGirl and our franchise in the Highland, Utah Roxberry are on Forbes.com. Check it out HERE.

Business contributor Ken Krogue feels like he showed up late to the party, just this week discovering a green smoothie at Highland, Utah’s Roxberry store, introduced to him by one of Utah’s most successful company founders.

Go to the article and tell him you love green smoothies and that we can change his whole world and make him Forbes’ healthiest writer. (He takes comments at the end. He was excited the day after the story ran that it was #8 on all of Forbes.)

I told my best friend in San Francisco that I had an interview with the journalist yesterday, and she texted me and said, “Tell him Mitt Romney is your cousin. Forbes will love that.”

Yeah. Cuz THAT’S relevant. (I wonder if I could work that into the interview. I also worked out in a gym with Barack Obama last year. Just sayin’. The conversation could drag. If I get desperate, I’ll throw that in.)

Roxberry, featured in the story, is a franchise, and the two with a GreenSmoothieGirl franchise in them—frequented by Utah mega-millionaire Greg Butterfield in the story— are owned by Mark and Holly Jackman. I love them. The true family-owned business, totally loved in that community. Holly is one of the most “CAN-DO” people I know. Our daughters have been competitors in soccer.

She insisted on bringing me something, after my oral surgery, when she’d read I couldn’t really chew stuff. She was coming over last week to get a box of The Green Smoothies Diet. She brought fresh squeezed orange juice, and some wheat grass juice too. Thank you, Holly!

Roxberry carries more of my books than anyone else locally, since—as with putting a GSG franchise in stores, we don’t initiate any sales efforts—we just hook people up with our self-published books if they come to us. (Tip for locals: get my books at Roxberry, avoid paying shipping!) The Good Earth carries The Green Smoothies Diet (as do Barnes and Noble and a few others), Dr. Christopher’s in Springville has 12 Steps to Whole Foods. But Roxberry carries the most of my information products.

Roxberry is sponsoring our Provo and Sandy lectures in the next two weeks, and that’s lucky for you if you’re coming, because when they make them, they are yummier than when I make them. Just ask my kids.

Ken Krogue agrees that they’re delish, and couldn’t believe something with so many greens in it tasted so beautiful.

He says they’re perfect for old, fat, busy executives. I think they’re perfect for young, skinny, bored people too. Pretty much everyone.

GSG.com in Forbes, whoda thunk? A national internet sensation, my site? Aw, shucks. I dunno about that, but me likey! The more people are talking about it, the more people are taking a step in the right direction. A step AWAY from Mickey D’s, my arch nemesis. Good stuff, great movement, thanks for being in it with me.

Just did an interview with Ken, the Forbes reporter, and when his story about GSG comes out, I’ll show it here!

 

We’re back from the Pacific Northwest! part 1 of 2

Just back from the Pacific Northwest, where our audience size has doubled each of the three times I have spoken there.

I had Couer d’Alene on the schedule so I could see my grandpa, but he died in May. We went anyway and spoke to nearly 150 of our friends, and then 230 in Seattle and 330 in Portland. Thank you all for coming; I always feel so honored that anyone would come, but especially those who drive a long distance!  Laura and Debbie will be back, the week after Labor Day!

Last year we promised ourselves that next time, we would stop for a few days to learn more about the area. We hung out with my college roommate, Paula, and Kristin’s brother and his wife, Todd and Lori. We went to a music-and-food festival downtown called The Bite.

We ran and biked along the Willamette; hiked in Seaside, Oregon; and picked blueberries in the beautiful Columbia River Gorge with its high waterfalls on Sunday on our way to the airport. In Seaside, the scenery got a lot better the second day we were there, when a whole lotta 6’4” and shirtless showed up for a huge volleyball tournament on the beach. Just as we were leaving.

Kristin and I were blown away by the hydrangeas in bloom everywhere, the easy public transportation, organic everything, and thousands of people on bikes…..we loved everything about Portland.

One morning I ran miles away from the downtown Marriott where we stayed. As I turned around to run back, I realized I was really hungry. Luckily wild blackberry bushes grow everywhere along the river banks and I had an amazing snack of huge, juicy blackberries, even if my arms and legs were covered with scratches.

What an amazing place. We are thinking of moving GreenSmoothieGirl.com there one day. (My only qualm is the lack of sunshine much of the year! But I discovered there are many tennis courts and clubs.) First we have to finish raising some kids here in Utah.

 

Why we developed the Menu Planner

I spent all of 2008 developing 12 Steps to Whole Foods, in response to many readers discovering GreenSmoothieGirl.com and asking for a step-by-step plan to learn the lifestyle I was advocating for.

In the 1990’s, my little boy had nearly died of severe asthma and allergies. In eliminating sugar and dairy, and converting to a whole-foods, 60-80% raw diet, we eliminated all-night wheezing and suffering. We eliminated steroids and bronchodilators and antibiotics. In the process, I lost 50 lbs. and regained my deteriorated eyesight. I regained my ability to run and play sports, dropped my cholesterol to 100 and blood pressure to 98/56, and eliminated eczema and allergies. I never again had debilitating migraines or TIA (mini-strokes) that plagued me in my 20’s.

I became preoccupied with wanting others to be able to do what I’d done, but without all the frustrating bumps along the way. I’d made countless recipes that no one in my family liked. I’d bought hundreds of dollars of ingredients that were hard to find and expensive, with limited or one-time uses.

I’d made recipes that took several hours in the kitchen. I’d wasted time chasing down nutritional bunny hills with little or no gain, and I’d read a lot of useless books about food cults. Along the way, I did find many invaluable nuggets of information and good practices that enormously impacted my family’s life for the better, and others’ as well, when I taught them.

I like the free-form nature of 12 Steps to Whole Foods. You can eat whatever salads, whatever dressings, whatever main dishes you want. Feeling free to explore new foods, learn new habits, try new recipes, anytime you want.

However, in working with thousands of people the past few years, we found that many were trained in how to “diet.” I resist the idea that 12 Steps is a diet. The word itself connotes “temporary”  and “restrictive.” What I am teaching here is a lifestyle that I intend to bless your life and minimize your disease risk, forever. It’s about abundance, since the world of plant foods has nearly infinite colors, textures, tastes, and combining potential.

However, there is value to making things simple and easily planned, and as a planner and list-maker myself, I understand the value of living from lists!

Our just-released Menu Planner tool was highly requested, so we’ve spent well over a year developing it!

It is an effort to help your initial foray into the whole-foods lifestyle be as predictable as possible! Many thanks to Desiree Ward and Tina Huntsman, who assisted in developing the menu plans and shopping lists and counted every penny to give you budget predictions. They found that feeding a family of 4 with these menu plans cost $100/week.

According to my research, that’s what families spend who budget very strictly and have to live on a young, single-earner income.

Anything new can be frustrating in the beginning. There are a number of habits to change, and at first, you may feel out of your depth, like you have no idea what to eat. (Especially for the overachievers, who try to do 6 steps at a time!)

Before now, you may have eaten prepared and processed foods, or fast foods, but you had a routine, you knew where to buy everything, and how to get or make it. Now that you’ve committed to a change, of course, you have to re-learn those things. Keep in mind when I suggest Costco as a source, and you don’t have a Costco membership, there are other places to obtain the same item in your hometown. Having a health food store, a buying club, an Asian market, and a regular grocery store with a good produce section, you’ll be just fine. Even if you’re missing one or even two of those, you can definitely do this!

If you stay the course, your new habits will become as easy and habitual as your old ones were. Those new habits have the power to nourish you, energize you, and endow you with health, lovely skin and hair, and ideal weight. Your old habits were likely clogging your digestive system, draining your energy, and causing your weight to gradually creep upwards.

To the end of nourishing you well and providing the benefits you seek, I hope the plans and lists in our new Menu Planner are helpful on your journey to amazing health!

dramatic testimonial from “the happiest grama on the planet”

We get a lot of wonderful testimonials, both in person when I teach, and via email on the site. Few are as dramatic as this one we got from Mary Kay:

Since hearing about your website six months ago, I have been drinking a quart of green smoothies every day. People I meet now ask me, “How do you look so good, how do you stay so skinny, how do you have so much energy?” I tell them about your website and they either walk or run to get a blender and start the practice for themselves.

I have had a profound personal healing experience. I was STUCK in an abusive marriage and lost my will to live. Luckily, I had a compelling reason to get out and now I live on my own. I was emaciated (5’9? and weighed 120 lbs), had daily anxiety, my skin was wrinkly and I had no color in my cheeks. My eyes were dull and bloodshot. My hair was mousy and lifeless. I had no energy and no muscle tone. I was achy and stiff and VERY constipated.

Six months later, my skin is glowing, my hair is shiny and my nails grow super fast. I am emotionally stable again, and I dance and sing and laugh. I have a challenging job and ride my bike to work. I am at my ideal weight again (130), which is what I weighed in high school. My digestion is vastly improved and I guess I just glow. I was recently at a family reunion and my aunts and uncles and cousins raved about how good I look.

I attended your class recently in Sandy and found it very inspiring and fun.

I have a hard time making only a quart of smoothie. I usually end up with the whole blender jar full, so I jump on my bike and take it to share with my daughter and my grandbaby. A Vitamix blender jar fits perfectly in my backpack!

–The happiest Grandma on the planet thanks to you!