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.

Coconut oil benefits going mainstream, part 2 of 2

Dr. Newport talked to Dr. Richard Veech at National Institute of Health and studied everything she could find on coconut oil, fatty acids, human breast milk, and various disease states. She is an M.D. who clearly places a lot of faith, as all M.D.’s have been schooled to do, in the past century’s protocols of drugs to cure illness. But she says this after her self-directed studying and experimenting with her husband’s diet:

“I wonder about autism and whether something very important is missing in infant formulas and in the diets of women who are breastfeeding.”

After the 1950’s, we abandoned the use of coconut oil that was a staple until studies of PARTIALLY HYDROGENATED coconut oils were shown to be detrimental. (There’s a big difference between that and the cold-pressed, organic oil I’m recommending! Hydrogenated oils aren’t real food, as they’ve been heated to high temps and molecularly altered; they are highly damaging to our health.) Then coconut oil was completely bumped from the American lifestyle for 40 years until just recently. I wonder, to what effect? Only time will tell, but back then, we had radically lower rates of heart disease, cancer, and other inflammatory conditions.

Karen W. and her family, for GreenSmoothieGirl Makeover, have been so ill that while the Cornia family and Total Care Dental are off and running, we haven’t been able to get them started. We had an interview on camera where Karen lamented that her closest friends are marathon runners and she wants to be outside running with them instead of lying in bed. She said she’s come to hate the tree outside her bedroom window because she marks time by it, because it’s her only connection to outdoors. Leaves on, leaves off, winter, spring, summer, fall. Karen’s story is killing me!

I am going to give her a gallon of coconut oil and have her, like Dr. Newport’s husband, start using a couple of tablespoons of it daily. We’ll see if it makes a difference for her, with multiple sclerosis symptoms. What do you have to lose? It’s just real food!

(Side note: Karen and her family were at my class at Good Earth last night. She said she told her doctor that she was about to start following the GreenSmoothieGirl program, and her doc said that another of his patients was doing so and was completely off his cholesterol meds. Cool!)

Spread coconut oil on toast like butter. Sautee in it. (It creates no trans-fats, even at high temps!) Use it in cookies or other baked goods. Dr. Newport put 7 tsp. daily in her husband’s morning oatmeal. Slather it on your lips. Slather it on your significant other’s lips and kiss it off. Use it as a facial moisturizer, or on your hands/arms/legs.

You can also use coconut milk, which you can get at health food stores or Asian markets–it’s a combo of coconut oil and coconut liquid.

(Can you tell I’m madly in love with coconut oil? I don’t know that I’d call its taste “haunting” like the rather dramatic New York Times writer, but I love the health benefits!)

Introducing the Cornia Family: GreenSmoothieGirl Makeover [part 4 of 4]

Our third selection is the video that moved me to tears as I watched it. You know how I feel about young moms. You knew I’d pick a young mom. This was our most difficult choice–but BlendTec and I were unanimous with each of the three picks.

Samantha Cornia is only 25 years old and has four children. Everyone in her home struggles with MRSA infections–staph that is immune to antibiotics. That’s because they’re constantly on antibiotics and other prescriptions, like steroids.

You’ll hear more of her story as we release segments of their journey, on YouTube and here. Her 3rd child was born with all her organs outside her body. When my baby was very ill, a woman named Ginger Ford whose son had the same syndrome, spent a year pumping breast milk while her baby was in the NICU having many surgeries to get his organs put inside his body. She gave all of that breast milk to me. (I was under a lot of stress and was very underweight, 115 lbs. at over 5’8″. My own milk disappeared and my baby refused most foods and was allergic to the rest, like Samantha’s baby.) Largely thanks to her, my baby recovered and thrived. I told Ginger that if I could ever do anything for her–anything at all–I want that opportunity, because she helped save my baby’s life in a very intimate way.

As I watched Samantha’s video, I wrote in my notes, “She reminds me of me. When I was her age.” Very ill. So tired of drugging my babies and watching them struggle. Desperate for something else, something better than drugs and fatigue.

What a crucible for powerful change that awful place in my life turned out to be. Sometimes we have to hit rock bottom before we climb out.

Samantha’s youngest is 14 mo. old and has massive food allergies and won’t eat. He’s on lots of steroids and recently had an upper GI and colonoscopy–his esophagus is swollen and raw and he cries constantly. He falls asleep at night clutching his throat. He is a heartbreakingly gorgeous little boy, and you will fall in love with him on film.

I am ecstatic to work with the Cornia family of Lehi, Utah. They are big soda drinkers, and until attending my Junk Food Dude book reading last weekend, they’d never had a green smoothie.

They don’t generally eat whole foods. Samantha’s parents struggle with obesity, and she was raised on what she calls “Mormon Mom casseroles.” When a friend suggested a few years ago that she visit GreenSmoothieGirl.com, she said, “Green Smoothie Gross!”

Now Samantha finds herself in a very different place in her life. Devastating health problems have humbled her, and she finds her mind and heart open to change.

(Make a mental note of that. Those who mock you now, for taking a whole-foods path, may be on your porch begging for mentoring a few years from now. When they’re ready, they know where to go.)

Please stay tuned for more from the Cornias, and watch their sweet video here.

American processed-food outreach knows no bounds

I seem to be rather clumsy. First of all, I’ve been initiated as a cyclist:

After three months and about 1,000 miles, I finally wrecked my bike. Thanks to a kid changing lanes as I hauled down the canyon at 15+ mph. (Kid was fine.)

See the photo of us on the balcony (on our cruise vacation we just got back from). You can see the road rash on my shoulder. (I have some other banged-up parts that don’t show. Ow.)

Emma and I may or may not have sung karaoke Love Story (Taylor Swift) with an audience of several hundred and a live band including backup singer, see photo below. I may or may not choose to put the video up on YouTube.

But then I was swimming in Cabo a few days ago, where the Sea of Cortez meets the Pacific at a place called The Arch, see photo of Emma below. (Sea lions! Sea turtle! Many beautiful fishies!) And I accidentally got smacked into a reef because I was checking out said beautiful fishies and apparently got too close just as a wave came in.

Anyway, my arm was all cut up. I don’t think my fellow passengers minded, since they figured THEY’D be safe in a shark attack. But the inflatable-boat captain who drove us out to Chileno Bay gave me a lecture, probably for everyone’s benefit, about staying away from the reef.

That’s why we call it ECO SNORKELING, he said.

Well, that’s just rich, I thought. A lecture on keeping the wildlife healthy, from a guy dumping Frito-Lay products by the bagfuls to feed the fish, to entertain the tourists. (Not that I didn’t feel guilty for donating part of my forearm to the coral–I very much regret any harm I may have unintentionally inflicted on it.)

Turns out that saltwater fish feel the same way about Frito-Lay that folks around here do. It was an all-out feeding frenzy.

I’ve been in over 20 countries in the past 3 years. In December I go to Africa. One thing that strikes me in my extensive travels is the Monroe Doctrine of the vast American processed-food empire. American outreach–the worst parts of our culture inflicted on helpless others–knows no bounds. I thought I’d seen it all in rural Vietnam when I saw a two-year old with black, rotted teeth, riding a tricycle and drinking Coke. I’ve seen impoverished Mexican mothers feeding their newborn infants Similac–no doubt given them free in the hospital to encourage them to bottle-feed rather than breastfeed.

And now we’re feeding the tropical fish fried corn chips.

Young moms make tough decisions about their babies’ nutrition!

I received this email from a health care practitioner who is a young mother. As I replied to her, it occurred to me that maybe these comments would be helpful to other young mothers who read this blog. (Similar content is found elsewhere on the site and in my writing.) Please do not consider this medical advice. It is my opinion based on my research and having raised four babies of my own. I do not suggest things regarding raising children that I don’t follow. But always, always follow your instincts as a mother. I believe those promptings to be God-given and more powerful and trustworthy than anything an M.D. (or any health care practitioner) will tell you. (That said, do your homework and listen to experts. Be selective about which “experts” you trust.)

Also, a heartfelt apology to those who don’t receive personal answers to emails because I get so many–I so, so wish I had time to answer them all like I did in the beginning, please forgive me.

Dear GreenSmoothieGirl: My husband and I have recently started having green smoothies each day and we are feeling great. I have an almost 8 month old daughter, who currently nurses and eats avocado (almost 1 a day). We would like to start some other foods with her, but I’ve been  holding off as I don’t want to do those recommended by my  pediatrician and conventional books.

I read somewhere on your site that babies have difficulty  digesting cooked food for a  while. I would love to start her off on raw greens, spinach, kale, etc.  Do you think this is safe? I think the reason that most people give for the recommendation that all baby food be cooked is because  raw food could be contaminated with bacteria and cooking kills that. What do you think about this? She’s  eating the avocado raw and many books say raw bananas are fine, maybe because those are both contained within a skin? You also wrote about doing mostly veggies the first few years and then fruits, which I love! I think that makes so much sense. I guess my bottom line question is: are the raw veggies safe or should I cook the greens?

I’d  REALLY appreciate your feedback on this. I am a first time mother and a bit tentative about some of these decisions. My daughter’s health is literally the most important thing in the world to me.

Thanks so much for the help and inspiration you have given to me and my husband.

Much love, Heather

Answer: Heather, avocadoes are beautiful for babies (wonderful fats for brain development, easily digested, excellent enzyme profile, and higher in calories).   And yes, plant foods encased in skin are the safest of all. I would go to bananas next, not just because they’re in skin, but also because they’re enzyme rich, higher in calories than most fruits, and nutritionally powerful.   Then see if you can find raw goat’s milk.   Make it into kefir or  yogurt (see Ch. 8 of 12 Steps). Then try a simple green smoothie with few ingredients, teaching her to drink from a straw, or making it thicker and feeding it with a spoon.

But the longer you can nurse and avoid food, and the more of her calories she gets from your breast milk, the better–up to 18 months! (That said, don’t agonize about feeding her “regular” food–just make it wonderful whole foods!) If you do feed her cooked stuff, like brown rice or quinoa, do so in a meal WITH raw foods containing enzymes, like a green smoothie.

People are worried about contamination with bacteria, but the older your baby is, the less I would worry about this, especially as she gets older and especially if you have endowed your daughter with a healthy digestive tract by nursing her.   I personally worry more about denatured foods gumming up her little digestive tract (refined grain-based “cereals,” cooked veg/fruit baby foods, etc.) and forcing her body to produce lots of mucous to flush it out, than the fact that natural foods sometimes contain bacteria that, 99.9+% of the time, is not only common and safe, but also helps develop a healthy immune system.   Use organic produce for smaller babies/children as much as you can, and wash any conventional produce well with a good, natural fruit/veg soap.   Remember than conventional animal products (dairy/meat) have much higher pesticide and chemical concentrations than even conventionally grown produce. (John Robbins documented this well in The Food Revolution.)