Melon Breakfast Smoothie

I have more than 2 whole Galia melons to use up, so this morning I whipped up this delicious smoothie.  Galia melons are an heirloom variety similar to a honeydew, but sweeter and juicier.  They are delicious!

2 cups Galia melon (or honeydew)

1 overly-ripe banana

1/2 cup frozen mango

1 T hemp seeds

1 tsp. maca

Enjoy!

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Spring Garden: Before & After

Spring is my favorite time of year to garden; I’m antsy to get things growing after a long cold winter and it’s not too hot to enjoy working the ground.  We have had one raised bed for several years and decided this year to add another raised bed and a cold frame.  The cold frame is made from a repurposed cabinet door with a glass panel to allow the sunlight to come through while creating a warming greehouse effect, so I can start lettuces, arugala, and herbs earlier without danger of frost.  The panel is on hinges so on warm days I can open the door, while on cold evenings I can close it to protect the seedlings.

In my original raised bed, which is 4′ x 8′, I have my perennial asparagus patch, which takes up about half of the bed.  Last fall I planted garlic in between the asparagus rows, and it will be ready to harvest in June.  Garlic is really easy to grow, and it is a great plant to add to your garden to deter rabbits and deer from nibbling, as are onions. In the other half of that bed I have kale, collards, oregano, broccoli, peppers, and tomatoes going.

In my new raised bed, which is 4′ x 6′, I have an outside row of onions, an inner row of beets, and sections of peas, kale, pak choy and broccoli.  I planted the outside row of onions to deter the rabbits from nibbling on the tender inner plants, like kale.  So far it is working fairly well.  These are all great spring and fall crops, as they can handle the cool nights.  Once I harvest the pak choy, beets, and peas, I will pull the plants out and plant some good summer crops, like tomatoes, bell peppers, jalapenos, cucumbers, and zucchini.

Here are photos of my garden area just after installation of the new beds, and another photo of how they look today.  I’m excited to see how this garden area evolves.  My next project is to add 2 blueberry bushes.  Happy Gardening!

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Balsamic Brussels Sprouts

This is a quick and easy yummy recipe that I whipped up the other night.  Enjoy!

1 bag of fresh Brussels Sprouts

1/2 a white onion, cut into half-moons

1 Tablespoon each of chopped fresh rosemary and thyme

Cracked black pepper

Drizzle of balsamic vinegar

Cut off the ends of the Brussels sprouts and cut in half.  Place on a baking sheet with the onion slices.  Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and toss with herbs.  Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes, stirring halfway through.

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Sugar Brainwashing!

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Since I work in healthy eating education, I hear parents tell me all the time that their child is a picky eater, or in particular, doesn’t like vegetables.  In my opinion there are a lot of reasons for this, including: parental behaviors (kids model their parents- what are the adults eating?), media influence (kid’s themed snacks are junk foods), sugar addiction (Hello Lucky Charms, NutriGrain Bars, etc.), and independence (I just learned how to say “no”!), just to name a few.  The area of media influence is huge, as we are bombarded with more media than humans ever before.  Some of it is unavoidable (unless you move underground), but some is easier to filter.  One thing that struck a cord with me recently was sweets-themed baby clothing.  You know, all of the cupcake bibs, and “I’m sweeter than candy” onesies.  I have yet to see a vegetable-loving onesie at Target!  I can’t help but think that when we start conditioning babies at birth to seeing cupcakes, candy, ice cream cones, sweets, etc. all over the place, but yet they never see spinach until a long time later, that we are changing their eating-preferences before they are even eating!  The epitome of teaching children unhealthy eating habits is to have them wear a “Shall we have cupcakes for dinner?” bib!  Just food for thought.  In the meantime, I think my baby needs the veggie onesie.

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Cold Season – Should I Still Breast Feed with a Cold?

Being sick on its own is bad enough, but being sick and trying to care for your baby without getting them sick is even worse!  I talk to so many moms who had breastfeeding going so smoothly, and then they got sick and started supplementing with formula.  Unfortunately, some doctors in the medical community recommend women to stop nursing when they are sick.  There are numerous reasons why this is negative.  First, feeding is a supply and demand system; your baby is the demand, you are the supply.  If the demand goes down (ie, baby drinks formula), then your supply will go down.  Second, breast milk is full of probiotics and antibodies that are custom-made for your little one.  Your body is so amazing; it creates antibodies in response to the virus’ and bacteria that you come in contact with, so it actually keeps baby healthier to nurse them while you are sick.

One thing I’ve experienced while nursing through my cold, is to be cautious with the medications you choose to take.  Kellymom.com has some great resources for nursing through illness:

http://kellymom.com/bf/can-i-breastfeed/meds/cold-remedy/

Here are some things that I have tried:

  • Homeopathic remedies – Cold Calm from Boiron is in my purse right now.  Avoid coffee and mint an hour before and after using homeopathics to maximize their effectiveness.
  • Humidifier – I like the warm air version
  • Aromatherapy (eucalyptus essential oil in my diffuser)
  • Neti pot – Great for keeping nasal passages clear- use once/day
  • Drinking lots of water
  • Getting plenty of sleep
  • Guaifenesin (Mucinex) is typically ok to take while nursing, but in my experience it cut my milk supply in half when I pumped, so I opted not to take it again.
  • Soft tissues!  I am going to get some handkerchiefs soon; not only are they softer for your nose, but greener for the environment as well!

Hopefully all of you are healthy and cold-free, but if you do come down with a cold, remember to “Keep Calm and Carry on Breast Feeding”.

What are your tried and true cold-fighting remedies that are safe while nursing?keep calm

Maternity Leave in the US

The US is top notch in a lot of ways.  Democracy, freedom of speech, the convenience of the suburbs, etc.  I love where I live and am blessed in many ways.

One area that falls short, however, is maternity leave.  12 weeks maximum with no pay, really?  That’s not even enough time to get breastfeeding down smoothly and heal a perineum!

A few days ago I received an email with a request to submit a survey rating the FMLA (Family and Medical Leave Act) standards.  Here is the response I submitted:

“I recently took maternity leave for my newborn.  I truly appreciate the 12 weeks allowed under FMLA, but compared to other first-world countries, we are way behind.  12 weeks is just not long enough!  For example, Canada’s leave is 53 weeks of paid!  I only received 5 weeks at 60% of my normal pay, and that is only because I opted in and paid for short term disability insurance.  A lot of women cannot afford to even take the 12 weeks, and only take 6.  It is hard to even get breastfeeding going well by then.  I feel that it is imperative to human health to start life off with a strong bond between mother and child.  This bond improves a child’s self esteem and confidence.  By having more time off after giving birth, healthy breastfeeding is established, which builds a stronger immune system, leading to a healthier person.  I believe as a country we need to support pregnant women and new mothers by providing a better leave program.  I think at least 12 weeks should be paid, and women should be able to take off a year or 2 and be guaranteed to have their job when they return.  ”

Although I’m obviously glad there is a law at all, I do not think it is adequate.  Look at this comparison of the US vs. other countries:

thinkprogress.org

thinkprogress.org

The US is one of only three nations that do not offer paid maternity leave (there are 178 nations).  We are supposed to be at the top of everything, or so the media would like us to believe.  This is a glaring example of an area where we are WAY behind the rest of the world.

And unfortunately, mothers and babies are paying the price.

Sign the petition to make your voice heard here: https://secure2.convio.net/npwf/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=643

 

To check out a list of countries and their maternity leave pay, go here: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/05/22/maternity-leaves-around-the-world_n_1536120.html

 

Breastfeeding: Controversial Bliss

I love breastfeeding.  The 15 minute refuges that I get to have with Audrey numerous times a day are profound.  Its a relationship that only she and I can have, and I’m so grateful for it. Looking down at my baby with milk dripping out of the corners of her mouth and smiling up at me melts my heart.  These moments aren’t just feeding; they are bonding moments with my little girl that help her grow into a conscientious and caring person.

And I’m so excited that breastfeeding is on the rise.  First off, it’s the single most important thing a mother can do to ensure a healthy start to her child’s life.  Breast milk helps a baby’s intestinal tract to develop and flourish with healthy bacteria, which is vital to the human body’s immune function.  It helps to “seal” the gut.  Formula actually harms the body in this process.  Formula companies like to point out that “breast is best”, as if breastfeeding is going above and beyond, but that formula is “good”.  I dislike this mentality.  Breast milk is normal and perfect for a baby’s body.  Formula is actually harmful.  Look at this ingredient list:

Corn syrup (sugar) is the first ingredient!  Ack!  Then soy protein isolate, which is a highly processed soy product that should always be avoided, as it interferes with hormonal balance.  Then oil, which is 100% processed fat, then more sugar.  Then more oils.  Then a bunch of chemicals that cannot be pronounced.  And so on.  This is quite far from being the perfect food that breast milk is.

I understand that some women have trouble with breastfeeding, and some of you may be thinking, “wow, she is being really harsh toward women who have used formula”.  I do not fault those individuals, as we live in a culture which doesn’t promote the breastfeeding lifestyle.  That is where our biggest opportunity lies.  Breastfeeding in public should be more acceptable than bottle feeding.  Sounds radical but it’s true.  Lactation consultants or doulas should be included with the birth process 100% of the time.  Most women who stop breastfeeding stop because it was painful or too difficult, or because they are told their babies aren’t gaining enough weight.  Let’s remember we live in an obese society; what is the right amount of weight?  Is the baby happy and alert?  To me that is more important than weight.  And, breastfed babies gain weight differently than textbook formula-fed babies.  What these women need is support, not formula!  Support with a good latch, support from other mothers in knowing that it does get easier,  support from their partners, support from our culture.  This is where the disconnect is.

In my grassroots effort to “Change the World”, I can start on this one with the simple act of breastfeeding proudly in public.  It may seem small, but the more people see it and become comfortable with it, the more mothers will embrace it and not feel embarrassed to bare their breasts for their baby in public.  Then the cultural shift can happen.

Some resources that I’ve found to be useful:

Womanly Art of Breastfeeding New 8th Edition

La Leche League