Archive for August, 2009

Pina Colada Chai Green Smoothie

If you know me, then you know that the green smoothie is the holy grail of my raw food daily eating! But today, I thought I would mix up my green smoothie ingredients a bit. I had been feeling really dehydrated after my smoothies lately. This is a sign that I needed to switch up my greens because all greens have alkaloids that can be slightly toxic if you eat the same ones day-after-day. So, instead of the typical spinach, I used beet greens. I bought 6 beets for a recipe I am going to make this week so I used the green tops. Another unique ingredient I added this time was coconut meat. I was at my friend Rene’s house yesterday where her husband cracked open a coconut from their backyard to use the water. He let me take home the coconut meat so I decided to throw that in there too. I looked in the fridge and noticed my husband had cut up some pineapple last night. Hmmm…I am thinking pina colada! I added some spices to give it a chai flavor. And, wah-lah, the pina colada chai green smoothie was born!

Pina Colada Chai Green Smoothie
6 beet tops
Handful Pea Sprouts
2 Tbs Chia Seed Gel
2 Tbs Probiotic Powder
2 Frozen Bananas
5 Pineapple chunks
2 cups water
5 ice cubes
Meat from one coconut
Dash of the Following:
Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Cardamon, Cloves, Ginger, Stevia

Pina Colada Chai Green Smoothie

Pina Colada Chai Green Smoothie

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It’s Almost Time For Football – Go Vols!

Football season is almost here so Baby Roku decided he wanted to model his new football jersey. He was born a Tennessee Vol and loves the color orange. He has many favorite teams, but The Vols are his favorite. We are going to Tennessee for a family reunion which happens to coincide with a UT Game! We hope that it will be on TV so that Baby Roku can watch a Vols game with the whole family.

Baby Roku is ready for football season

Baby Roku is ready for football season

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How to Avoid Common Breastfeeding Challenges

I have been breastfeeding Baby Roku for 6 months and am so happy that things are going smoothly! It was not always this way though. I had a very difficult time for the first 3 months. He was getting enough to eat, as indicated by his above average weight gain, but I was in severe pain. I had mastitis twice, both times with a fever above 103. I could not imagine breastfeeding without pain as I walked around my house without a shirt for almost 90 days. I dreaded the days I had to wear a bra and cringed at the thought of wearing a sports bra to the gym (let alone the pain that would occur from the ‘bounce’ during cardio).

I wanted to love to breastfeed so bad so I did a ton of research online as well as obtained help from a few different lactation consultants in my community. I also attended my local La Leche League Meetings for support. If you are having trouble breastfeeding, I highly recommend that you do all of these things before switching to formula. Every day that I was in pain, I committed to one more day of breastfeeding and, fortunately, Baby Roku and I made it through the tough times and are successfully breastfeeding today…and I love it! I had really only planned to nurse him for 6 months, but now that things are going so well I plan on nursing him for at least a year. Another reason that I have decided to breastfeed him for longer is that I now have a better understanding of the massive benefits that he will obtain from breast milk over formula. I also like knowing what is in his food. As someone who eats mostly raw, I know what is in everything that I eat. I don’t feel like I would ever really know what is in formula including any residual BPA that might be absorbed into the formula from the container.

I would like to help moms that are having breastfeeding challenges to do their best to stick with it! I have put together some tips that helped me get through the rough period in the beginning, and I really hope that it will be helpful if you are having troubles similar to mine before deciding to switch to formula.

Proper Latch
Not until about 3 months into breastfeeding did I feel like Baby Roku and I consistently had a proper latch. There are a lot of great resources online that provide illustrations of how the proper latch should look. Here is a link to a great resource for advice on obtaining the proper latch: How to Latch. I looked at a ton of stuff online and still had trouble. I obtained one-on-one support before leaving the hospital and also consulted with 3 lactation consultants over the phone. I also went back to the hospital with Baby Roku to sit with the lactation consultant for an hour as she watched me feed. However, there was one piece of advice that really helped me finally overcome my challenges. I could not get Roku to open his mouth wide enough before latching. Someone from La Leche League told me to try lowering his head before pulling him in for the latch. So, instead of having his head right in front of my breast, bring his head in from below. This totally worked! I had been nursing him with the boppy pillow much too high. I thought the perfect position of the pillow was directly in front of my breasts, so I propped it up on the arms of my glider and set him on top. Once I lowered the boppy pillow, his mouth came from below which (magically) made him open his mouth much wider. This was a great start!

Pain Relief
Heat is your friend. Not only does it help to relieve pain, it helps your milk flow faster. Heat for about 2 minutes before feeding. If you are really sore, apply a cool compress after feeding. Pain IS NOT inevitable, however I tried very hard to do everything correctly and still had pain. I purchased some ice/hot packs that were available at target with their nursing supplies. I ended up buying 2 packs; one set I kept in the freezer and the other available for heating. Don’t overheat the packs because you can burn yourself and also ruin the packs. Also, even though the heat may feel good, do not heat for a long period of time. This can make the problem worse. A nice warm shower along with massage helps with pain relief. I started to do this every morning and found it to be a critical step in my daily routine.

What did NOT work for me was any kind of packaged soother that did not have a hole in the middle. My nipples were extremely sore, so covering them up with something only made things worse. If you do use something that covers the entire area, do not wear under your bra for a long period of time. You need to keep this area dry and free of any moisture.

Engorgement
At first I did not feel like I was producing enough milk. Then, literally overnight, I became engorged. I think this was when Roku was about 4 days old. I tried to pump, but nothing would come out. Unfortunately for me, this led to my first case of mastitis. One way to try and avoid this is to put a cabbage leaf over your breast. This actually worked very well for me to reduce engorgement.

How to Avoid Mastitis
After speaking to other mom’s, so many have had varying cases of mastitis. It can be very painful. It can be prevented by reducing engorgement (see above) and not wearing tight fitting clothing. You should also make sure that your breasts are dry before putting on a bra. My doctor gave me advice that ended up leading to another case of mastitis. He told me to use the plastic dome shaped devices that are used for inverted nipples in order to keep my bra from touching my skin. This temporarily relieved the pain of my skin touching cloth, however the pressure of the plastic ended up clogging my ducts causing another case of mastitis! I would just recommend being bra-less and shirtless as much as possible if you think you are getting mastitis. How can you tell if you have mastitis? An area on your breast will be bright red and hot. You will probably have a fever. In my case, I had a fever of over 103. Whatever you do, do not stop feeding your baby on that breast. Your baby is more efficient than a pump for extracting the milk and that will help to reduce the engorgement. It hurt a little at first when I started to nurse, but it actually feels a lot better once the baby latches. If you can position them so that there lower jaw is on the affected area, that helps too. If you are able to do this, the sucking motion actually massages the affected area and reduces the pain. With a high fever, you might think the last thing you would want to do is nurse your baby! However, it is actually it is not that bad if you just where something cool (or nothing at all), drink plenty of water, and relax, knowing that your baby will not get sick from you.

As far as taking antibiotics if you have mastitis, I would have to say that it is different in every situation. I decided not to take the antibiotics I was prescribed and ended up getting much worse with an extremely high fever. After one day of antibiotics, I felt better. I would probably seek a homeopathic remedy had I been educated about the possibility of this at the time.

Crying While Feeding
My hungry baby would cry while I was feeding him and I could not figure out why. Was it because of something I ate and he didn’t like the milk? Was he already teething at 3 months? It is so hard to know why, but in my particular case I finally found out it was because he was TIRED! He had just woken up only 1.5 hours ago, but he was already tired. He wanted to eat, but needed to sleep. After learning that he needed a nap so soon after waking, I made sure to feed him a bit earlier. I was feeding on cue, but at this particular time of day I anticipated the tired spell and fed him before it started. Another reason he cries while feeding is because he needs to burp. Try pausing the feeding to burp your baby to see if that helps them relax. They may also be crying because it is taking to long for the milk to come out. You can apply heat (as mentioned earlier) to help the ‘let down’ occur faster. The most important thing to do is to try your best to read their cues and not give up!

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Sprout-o-licious Green Smoothie with Pea Sprouts

I made a wonderful green smoothie this morning with a bunch of fresh sprouts and just had to share the recipe. This made 2 servings:

Sprout-o-licious Green Smoothie
1 3/4 frozen banana
3 oz Baby Spinach (about 2 handfuls)
2 handfuls Pea Sprouts
5 small pineapple chunks
2 Tablespoons Chia Seed Gel
1 3/4 c water
2 tsp Probiotic Powder (I just started taking Nature’s Way Super Probiotic)
Dash Stevia (to taste – depends on ripeness of bananas for me)
5 ice cubes

Blend in Vitamix! Check out my previous post on chia seeds on how to make Chia Gel.

Sprout-o-licious green smoothie made with pea sprouts

Sprout-o-licious green smoothie made with pea sprouts

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Raw Food Dessert Bar – Cleaning Out the Cabinets

I was looking through our cabinets and noticed we only have a few handfuls of various sprouted/dehydrated nuts and seeds, so I decided to clean out the cabinets and make a raw food bar dessert with the remnants. One of the items left in our cabinets is some raw cacao powder that I accidentally bought instead of raw carob powder, so I decided to use this up too. I think I ate too much batter while I was preparing them because I am full and hyper! I usually use sprouted and dehydrated buckwheat groats in something like this so that they aren’t so high in fat. However, I just used all of my groats in the granola that I made yesterday so they will have to do without. Okay, so I am not quite sure what I put in them…but it is something like this.

1 Tablespoon raw cacao powder
10 dates (soaked)
1 ripe banana (for moisture)
15-20 brazil nuts
1/4 cup raw shredded coconut
Splash of Date Water
1/2 cup sunflower seeds (sprouted and dehydrated)
1/4 cup almonds (soaked and dehydrated)

Put the first 6 ingredients (everything except the sunflower seeds and almonds) in food processor using the S Blade. Place mixture into a large bowl. Put sunflower seeds and almonds in food processor with S Blade until a fine powder is formed. Fold into the mixture in the bowl.

I then rolled them into balls and placed in the dehydrator for a couple of hours. You can make them any shape you like! YUM! Hope they don’t make Baby Roku hyper after breastfeeding him today. I don’t think there is enough cacao for him to notice.

Dehydrated Raw Food Dessert Balls

Dehydrated Raw Food Dessert Balls

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How to Help Your Baby Get a Good Night’s Sleep

How do I get my sleepy, crying baby to go to sleep? This is a question that many new moms would love to have answered. However, every baby is different so there is no one single answer. My husband and I found it helpful to read a few different books to get some ideas. We ended up pulling a few ideas from each along with some techniques of our own to determine what works best for little Baby Roku. And it is an evolving process! What worked for him at 1 month no longer works at 5 months! When he was a newborn, we would co-sleep. But after two weeks, he suddenly was not falling asleep in the bed with me…even after a full belly! That is when we read “The Baby Whisperer” and “Happiest Baby on the Block”. We found that a combination of swaddling, ‘shhh-ing’, rocking, and then placing him in his own baby crib was what worked best for him. I highly recommend researching techniques along with understanding your baby’s cues to find a technique that is best for him/her.

Baby Roku is 5.5 months old and loves being swaddled. We started swaddling him when he was about 2 months to help him sleep better and longer at the advice of one of the books that we read. It totally worked! To this day, swaddling calms him down before he goes to sleep in his crib. Which is great at his current stage because it seems when he is getting sleepy his arms and legs REALLY start moving. Swaddling also keeps him from scratching his face and eyes in the middle of the night.

We use the Kiddopotamus organic cotton swaddle (we have about 4 of them). I highly recommend this swaddle because the velcro attachments make it very easy to use. He occasionally ‘breaks out’ of the swaddle, but this does not seem to wake him up. I just swaddle him back after feeding and he lulls himself right back into a deep sleep. We joke that he will still want to be in a swaddle even after we send him off to college! However, I am sure that he will ‘let us know’ that he has grown out of the swaddle before then. : )

roku in his swaddle at 3 months

Baby Roku in his swaddle at 3 months

Baby Roku in his swaddle at 5.5 months

Baby Roku in his swaddle at 5.5 months

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Chew On This – The Eco-Friendly Way to Drink Your Smoothie

One of my raw food staples is a green smoothie loaded with greens and a little frozen banana. My preferred drinking method? I love to drink my smoothie from a straw. I even have a straw preference…the thicker the better! But I really hate the waste that all of these straws create (not to mention that you should chew your smoothie…see below). We tried reusing our plastic straws, however I do not feel that this is a very sanitary practice. Fortunately, most straws ARE recyclable. Most straws are made of polypropylene (#5) or polyethylene (#2) which are both recyclable plastics. Plastics #2 and #5 are generally considered safe as far as toxicity goes. Another option are straws made from potato, cornstarch or paper which are biodegradable and sometimes even biocompostable (biodegradable and compostable). The only place I can find to buy the biocompostable straws are in huge bulk supply. If anyone is interested in going in with me on a case, let me know!

There are some pretty cool reusable straw option out there made of bamboo, glass, and steel. However, there is still the cleanliness issue that I have. If you have a special cleaning utensil that can scrub the inside of the straw (like the kind used to clean baby bottles, only longer) then I would see this as a good option. For instance, rinse your straw immediately after use and then clean with a sanitized pipe cleaner. That might just do the trick!

But the MOST eco-friendly way to drink your smoothie…no straw at all. Just make sure to wipe off your green mustache when you have finished drinking!

Whether you drink your smoothie through a straw or not, you should still CHEW your smoothie. Digestion actually begins in the mouth. To ensure optimal assimilation of all of the smoothie’s nutrients, make sure to chew each mouthful a few times before swallowing.

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