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Month: October 2016

Best Action Plan if Your Baby Needs to Do Some Catch Up Growth

Best Action Plan if Your Baby Needs to Do Some Catch Up Growth

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Noah’s Weight Struggles

When Noah was 6 months old, I wanted to use food to help him catch up in weight and growth due to our nursing issues that took awhile to diagnose and treat. I didn’t want to just have him gain weight. I wanted to nourish his body to provide him with optimal health. I think the pictures and his growth chart tell the tale.

You can see how his weight and facial structure changed. His face became wider, which showed the strong bone structure created by proper nutrition. He can be seen at a year climbing up the stairs. In his early months, his weight fell off the chart, but at his one year appointment, he was 56% for weight, 72% for height, and 95% for head. Here is his growth chart: growthchart1year

For any person or baby, nutrition is about quality not quantity. However, especially in a situation where a child needs to perform catch-up growth, The first year (and second year) is critical for growth and development. So, this become

4 month
Noah at 4 months

s even more of a priority. They will need high quantities of animal fats that contain the fat soluble activators. All the solid baby food you make for them should also come from natural, organic, pasture-raised, and grass-fed sources if possible.

These are my top priorities:

  • NUTRIENT DENSITY
  • collagen (from bone broth or a grass-fed collagen powder)
  • foods with fat soluble activators A, D, K2

Vitamin A’s Roles:

  • proper growth
  • protein assimilation
  • calcium assimilation
  • endocrine system function
  • immune function

    climbingstairs
    Noah at 1 year
  • proper emotional development

Vitamin D’s Roles:

  • strong bones
  • muscle development
  • reproductive function
  • proper growth
  • immune function
  • insulin production
  • nervous system function

Vitamin K2’s Roles:

  • proper face formation and dental structure
  • strength of bones
  • proper utilization and storage of calcium
  • prevents heart disease
  • reproduction
  • synthesizes myelin for learning capacity

Here are some examples of foods that you should focus on with your child:

Key Nutrients for Brain Development
Vitamin A cod liver oil, liver, butter, egg yolks
Vitamin D cod liver oil, lard, butter, egg yolks
Vitamin K2 butter, egg yolks, organ meats
Choline liver, egg yolks
DHA cod liver oil, liver, butter, egg yolks
Zinc red meat, shellfish

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The Ultimate Guide to Starting Solids for Moms with A Weston A Price, Paleo, Bulletproof Mindset

The Ultimate Guide to Starting Solids for Moms with A Weston A Price, Paleo, Bulletproof Mindset

Guidelines for Starting Solids

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One common guideline when starting solid baby foods is to start with one for a few days and then introduce another food a few days later. With this strategy, in the case of an allergic reaction, parents can pinpoint the source directly. I deviated from this recommendation to provide nutrient density at the same time as acceptability of the food.

All my sources for his food were natural, organic, grass-fed, or pasture-raised. I really wanted to start with egg yolks as a first food because of the healthy fats, cholesterol, and choline that it provided. However, in my research, The Weston A. Price Foundation noted that some children struggle with the egg yolk by itself. Plus, the yolk is very runny and harder to keep on a spoon than other solids. So, I decided to combine it with a widely accepted first food, avocado, that contains healthy monounsaturated fats, along with vitamins like Vitamin E, minerals like magnesium and potassium, and fiber. I felt that even by introducing two foods at first instead of one, it would be easy to determine which one caused a reaction in the case that it happened.

Food Sensitivities

If you find that your child has a sensitivity to a food, you should stop offering that food immediately and work with a health care practitioner to determine the exact cause. Many allergies can stem from gut issues. So, work with a functional medicine or naturally minded practitioner to see if you can resolve the issue.

For many recipes in the book, substitutions can be made depending on the sensitivity. For example, it it is a lactose allergy, use ghee or coconut oil instead of butter. Also, many of the animal proteins can be substituted for other meats or fish.

Babies Need Fat

You will note that many recipes in my E-book or on my blog contain added fat. For the purees, keep in mind how many servings a recipe makes. If you are using, 1 lb of a protein and 1 lb of a vegetables, that may make 8-12 servings depending on your child’s appetite. The first two years of a child’s life marks a period of rapid growth mentally, physically, and emotionally. So, as you child grows past this phase, you can consider reducing the fat content of their meals, if you see that their body does not need as much fat.

Determining Portions

Make sure in the first few weeks you pay attention to your baby’s hunger cues. For the first few days, you may only offer a few bites of food once per day, or you may want to offer a few bites at every meal with the family. It is a personal preference.

It may differ if your baby has struggled to gain weight or if your baby quickly adapts to having solid foods. Even if you make 4 oz portions, you may want to start by pouring just a few spoonfuls in a bowl. That way, if your baby does not eat much, you do not have to throw away the rest. You are giving your baby high quality food that you worked very hard to make. So, you won’t want to waste it!

Setting Their Palate

You can influence your baby’s taste buds based on what you offer. If you do not offer sweet foods, even fruits, for the first year, they will grow accustomed to savory flavors.

Dr. Price found that in the healthiest civilizations all of them consumed some form of animal products in their diet, and the ones with the best bone structure ate seafood. So, I made sure to introduce Noah to salmon as well as shellfish. Now, his favorite food is salmon that he will eat any time of day. I love to feed it to him for breakfast since the Omega-3s make it such a great brain food to start the day!

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How to Make Homemade Natural, Organic Baby Food: Batch Cooking of Baby Food

How to Make Homemade Natural, Organic Baby Food: Batch Cooking of Baby Food

Batch Cooking and Storing of Baby Food

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1. Determine portions – How much is your baby eating at a sitting? I started with 4 oz portions for storing.

2. Have a stock of breastmilk bags ready.

3. Cook protein and veggies for the purees.

4. Cut the ingredients into pieces your blender can handle.

5. Add the protein, veggies, and fat to the blender. If the mixture has trouble blending up, add some full-fat coconut milk to help it blend.

6. Once blended, scoop the portions into the breastmilk bags. You can get equal portions by using measuring spoons or by filling the bags up to the same oz. line on each one.

7. Label and store flat in the freezer.

Batch Cooking Tips

This strategy for batch cooking and storing can help you to make your own varieties of food. You can even make your own combinations of food by cooking extra meat and vegetables from your dinners and blending up the rest.

One trick I use that helps to save time and multitask is to cook portions of the baby food, while you are already cooking. So, if you have the oven on for cooking a family dinner, why not pop in some sweet potatoes or salmon on the other rack? These can then cook and cool during dinner. Then, you can quickly blend up the ingredients. You can either store to portion out later when you have time or do it that night. When you can be flexible with getting a few steps done at a time, you can start to feel like you are not sacrificing as much time to just focus on making the food because you can work on it in stages while you are doing other things in the kitchen as well.

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The Ultimate Guide to Making Natural, Organic, Nutrient Dense Food for Babies, Toddlers, and Children

The Ultimate Guide to Making Natural, Organic, Nutrient Dense Food for Babies, Toddlers, and Children

Food Philosophy for Babies, Toddlers, and Children

In my research, I was looking for the most nutrient dense foods that would make Noah as smart, strong, and healthy as possible. I came across the research of Weston A. Price, who was a dentist that traveled the world looking for healthy civilizations in the early 1900s. In the healthy cultures with little to no dental decay, he found they each had ‘sacred’ foods that were high in the fat soluble Vitamins A, D, and K2. These vitamins or ‘activators’ as Dr. Price called thembirthdaybreakfast were the catalysts for protein and mineral absorption. In these cultures, they all consumed some form of animal products though the diet varied. These civilizations had robust statures, good emotional health, straight teeth, and sharp minds. In generations where processed foods were introduced such as white bread, jam, white flour, condensed milk, and chocolates, dental decay increased and their facial structure started to change. These convenience foods displaced the nutrient dense foods. Dr. Price saw a narrowing of the face, nostrils, and jaw. Once modern foods were introduced, their bodies were not getting the proper nutrients for proper growth and development. This also led to increased rates of disease and infertility.

The Weston A. Price Foundation along with The Better Baby Book by Dave Asprey emphasize how much our brains are comprised of fat, especially ones that contain cholesterol, omega-3s, choline, and Vitamin A. Babies cannot produce these on their own and need them for brain and gut development. It is important to note that a person cannot produce bile if one does not consume fat, and though many plant foods contain the precursors of the Vitamins A and K, specifically K2, they cannot be converted without fat. Fat aids in the absorption of minerals, and animal foods are more mineral rich or “nutrient dense” than plant foods. Also, for brain development, babies need choline, DHA, and zinc. Though babies are small, they grow rapidly and need high quantities of nutrients for building blocks and to perform the developmental processes.

The human brain is comprised of:

  • 77% water
  • 12% fat
  • 8% protein
  • 2% minerals
  • 1% carbohydrates

Food acts as the building blocks for our bodies. Through those percentages, one can see that a large part of our make-up is protein and fat. When you consider not only the fat in the brain but the sheaths surrounding the nerves, it is 60% fat. In the cultures that Dr. Price studied, saturated and monounsaturated fats comprised most of the fat in their diet, as opposed to polyunsaturated, and they consumed as much Omega-3s as Omega-6 fats. So, especially in the growing years, a large part of the diet should be comprised of those nutrients.

The vitamins A, D, and K2 all play important roles. Vitamin A aids in proper growth, protein assimilation, calcium assimilation. endocrine system function, immune function, and proper emotional development. Also, Vitamin A levels correlate with the rates of birth defects, and Price found that eye deformities were some of the first birth defects to occur with Vitamin A deficiencies. Vitamin D promotes strong bones, muscle development, reproductive function, proper growth, immune function, insulin production, and nervous system function. Vitamin K2 ensures proper development, especially in the facial bones, proper utilization and storage of calcium, prevents heart disease, reproduction, and synthesizes myelin for learning capacity. It is also important to note that one needs the proper balance of these activators since they work together.

When creating a diet plan, I wanted to incorporate “modern day sacred foods” in the chart below, good quality fats, and other nutrient dense foods. I decided to avoid grains (cereals), fruits, and processed foods for at least the first year. Because babies’ guts do not produce amylase, fruits (except bananas) and grains are not processed well in their guts. Many times this leads to gut issues or skin issues like eczema. Furthermore, grains, like rice cereal, do not offer nutrient density.

According to the Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF), here are some of the “modern day sacred foods”:

Key Nutrients for Brain Development
Vitamin A cod liver oil, liver, butter, egg yolks
Vitamin D cod liver oil, lard, butter, egg yolks
Vitamin K2 butter, egg yolks, organ meats
Choline liver, egg yolks
DHA cod liver oil, liver, butter, egg yolks
Zinc red meat, shellfish

Aside from brain development, it is important to incorporate other important foods for a healthy baby. WAPF noted that fermented foods provided more stamina and strength because enzymes allow the body not to have to work so hard. So, I added a probiotic to his morning purees. They also emphasized the importance of iodine for thyroid function and brain development, which led me to sprinkle kelp flakes on his food. All the cultures that Dr. Price studied also salted their food and had a source of gelatin or collagen, such as from bone broths. So, other daily additions for a healthy baby should include:

  • collagen (from pastured-raised or wild caught animals, preferably) either from a broth or a pasture-raised collagen powder
  • pinch of sea salt to food for digestion and adrenal function in morning (your baby won’t need prune juice to prevent constipation if you do this!)
  • coconut oil at night to increase ketones for brain development and metabolic health
  • cod liver oil

Supercharged Guacamole

  • half an avocado
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp kelp flakes
  • pinch sea salt
  • 1 serving of infant probiotic
  • 1 serving cod liver oil

Dr. Price saw the strongest, thickest skulls in those that ate the most fish and shellfish, which protects against injury. So, I made seafood a focus of the diet. Now, my son’s favorite food is salmon! Finally, make sure to incorporate liver occasionally to their diet by mixing 3/4 lb of grass-fed beef with 1/4 lb of liver and a root vegetable like carrots or sweet potato to hide the taste. Liver is nature’s multi-vitamin!

There are also ways to pair foods to make nutrients more bio-available. Here are some great combinations:

  • Foods rich in vitamins A, D, E, K with healthy fats
  • Foods rich in iron with vitamin C foods
  • Foods rich in zinc with sulfur

Even if your baby does not like a certain food, it is important to try a food several time as it potentially takes seven tastes to get accustomed to a food. Remember, this is not only the time to provide good nutrition, but it also is the time to develop taste buds for a variety of healthy foods so they can build sustainable healthy habits. By focusing on protein, fat, and vegetables in the first year, the taste buds grow accustomed to savory flavors instead of preferring sweet foods right at the start.

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The Ultimate Guide to Making Natural, Organic, Nutrient Dense Baby Food: A Recipe for a Healthy Baby

The Ultimate Guide to Making Natural, Organic, Nutrient Dense Baby Food: A Recipe for a Healthy Baby

Becoming a mother has been the greatest gift and challenge of my life. We all want to do what is best for our child, and that can begin with how we nourish their growing bodies. The first two years especially are critical to their mental and physical development. So, it is important to make sure their food contains the nutrients to do some work!

My interest in making healthy baby food came from wanting to do the best for my son, as many parents do for their children. In Noah’s early months, he struggled to gain weight due to some milk transfer issues that took a few months to figure out. There has been no worse feeling than to walk up to the scale at the doctor’s office, see he wasn’t gaining weight, and feel like a failure to take care of my son even though I thought I was doing everything I could by nursing him around the clock.

4 month
Noah at 4 months when his weight gain issues were at their peak.

As I approached the 6th month mark, when I knew it was safe to start solid foods, I devoured all the research I could on first baby foods and the best ones to nourish your baby. I was not looking for the foods he would enjoy the most or that would just provide calories. I wanted to know the best ones that would help him reach his full potential of being smart, healthy, strong and happy – everything that a mom wants for their child. That’s when I came across resources like The Weston A. Price Foundation and voices in the Paleo community like Dave Asprey, writer of The Better Baby Book and The Bulletproof Diet. Some of their principles went against everything conventional medicine said to do – skip cereals, skip fruit for the first year, babies need fat, babies can digest protein and fat but not carbohydrates, and salt your baby’s food.

Even though the advice was atypical in today’s society, it just ma

9 month
Noah at 9 months

de sense to me when thinking about what human bodies are made of, I knew that my prayers for a solution had been answered because their focus was on micro-nutrients. At 6 months of age, Noah started with a poached egg yolk and half an avocado. We moved to foods like salmon and sweet potato, grass-fed collagen protein and fat in his veggies, liver mixed in beef, and cod liver oil. In the beginning, I got some weird looks and comments about my strange choices, but within the next few months, people could see what a miraculous difference these nourishing foods were making. His facial structure changed from narrow to wide and square. His hair grew like crazy to the point where he needed a hair cut at 9 months. He shot up to 18 months clothes by 10 months old, and he started gaining a few pounds a month.

At his 1 year check-up, his head measured 19 in (95 %), height was 30.5 in (73 %), and weight was 21 lb 10 oz (56 %). I could see that these nutrient dense foods were helping him grow strong and build his brain. He was working on standing, walking, and making new sounds every day. He could pick up a trumpet after watchin

swimming
Noah at 1 year

g my husband play a few notes, put it to his mouth, and press the valves, as if he was going to play. I’m so thankful God led us to such nutrient dense foods and provided me with information to continue a healthy diet with my family. Now, I want to share it with other families and provide easy ways to incorporate these nourishing foods into your baby or young child’s diet.

piano
Noah at 1 year

 

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Healthy, Quick Dinner Idea: Paleo/Gluten-Free Salmon Burgers that the family will love!

Healthy, Quick Dinner Idea: Paleo/Gluten-Free Salmon Burgers that the family will love!

My family love salmon burgers! I love that this recipe is such an easy and quick family meal, especially on busy nights. For these, I typically make them the night before, while I am cleaning the kitchen. Then, we can just quickly reheat them in the oven, while we get the table ready and steam some vegetables.

You can find some great gluten-free buns, or these are even easy to serve without the bun. Toss on a salad with some sauce. I like sriracha, but your kids may want some simple mayo. I personally don’t have a sensitivity to gluten, but I do think that wheat is not a very nutrient dense source of carbohydrates, especially our standard refined bread, and when planning meals for myself and my family, my goal is nutrient density at each meal. So, I would rather have my calories coming from real food starches like squash, sweet potatoes, and carrots, or fruit. I personally would rather have a bunless burger and a side of baked sweet potato fries!

I try and fit some salmon into our diet on a regular basis. Salmon is a great source of Omega 3s, protein, Vitamin D, and Vitamin B12. Plus, the cauliflower adds magnesium and fiber. I’ve found that serving salmon in a burger form makes it more acceptable to even picky eaters too.

salmonburgerandbun

Salmon Burgers

Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 lb salmon
  • 1 cup cauliflower (steamed)
  • 2 TBSP parsley
  • 2 pastured eggs
  • 3 TBSP preservative-free mayo
  • 3 TSBP coconut flour
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp garlic power
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 2 TBSP oil for cooking

Directions

  1. Chop and steam cauliflower. Each piece of cauliflower should be 1/2 inch – 1 inch. To steam the cauliflower, boil about 2 cups of water in your steam, add your cauliflower, and steam for 7 minutes.
  2. Remove cauliflower from the steamer. salmonburgersalad
  3. Add cauliflower and ingredients except salmon to blender, and blend.
  4. Add the salmon in large chunks and pulse. You want to incorporate the salmon while still keeping some texture in the burger.
  5. Form 4 equal patties.
  6. Line a baking sheet with a silicon baking mat or parchment paper.
  7. Bake the patties for 20 minutes at 350 F.
  8. Serve on gluten-free bun or salad.

 

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Pumpkin Bulletproof “Get Some” Ice Cream

Pumpkin Bulletproof “Get Some” Ice Cream

It’s pumpkin season, and my husband is a pumpkin fanatic! So, we had to make a pumpkin version of our favorite treat. Original recipe of Dave Asprey’s is found here.

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Ingredients

  • 4 whole eggs (pastured of course)
  • 4 yolks (in addition to the whole eggs above)
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 10 drops lime juice
  • 7 tbs grass-fed butter
  • 7tbs coconut oil
  • 3tbs + 2tsp brain octane oil
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 cup H20
  • 6 Tbsp molasses or honey or 6 pitted mejool dates
  • 3 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 9 dashes clove
  • 1/2 tsp ginger

Methods

  1. Melt the butter and coconut oil. I measure out both in a bowl and microwave for about 30 seconds.
  2. If you are using dates as the sweetener (even though it is low on the bulletproof scale for fruit, but I think it is an amazing sweetener and has great nutritional properties), make sure the dates blend well. You may want to soften them in warm water before blending. I find it helpful to blend the dates with the water or melted butter by itself for a few minutes to really break them up. If you are using molasses, you can skip this and add everything to the blender at once.
  3. Add the eggs, vanilla, lime juice, brain octane, pumpkin, and spices to the blender. Blend everything but the water in blender. It takes a while to get the butter blended into perfect creaminess.
  4. Add water and blend some more until well blended. Ideally, you want a yogurt-like consistency for creamy ice cream, or add more water for a firmer, icier texture.
  5. Add your ice and rock salt to your ice cream maker. Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker and turn it on.
  6. Go get some and enjoy!

If you do not have an ice cream maker…

  1. Proceed with steps 1 – 3 as normal.
  2. Bloom 2 TBSP of grass-fed gelatin into your 1/3 cup water. I have done this by taking room temperature water, adding the gelatin, whisking it in, and letting it sit for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the water and gelatin to the blender and mix everything together.
  4. Pour it in dishes.
  5. Place in the fridge to harden (30 minutes to 1 hour).
  6. EAT!
Healthy Toddler Breakfast Idea: Cheesy Plantain Scramble with Avocado

Healthy Toddler Breakfast Idea: Cheesy Plantain Scramble with Avocado

Here is a great natural, organic toddler breakfast that is quick and easy! My family eats a  diet that focuses on real food, Paleo starches like sweet potato, potato, plantains, root vegetables, and fruit.

cheesyplantainscramble

Cheesy Plantain Scramble

Ingredients

  • 1/2 an avocado
  • 1 plantain
  • 1 egg
  • 2 TBSP raw grass-fed cheese

Directions

  1. Put plantain, egg, and cheese in the blender and mix.
  2. In a buttered pan, pour the plantain mixture and cook on medium heat. Using a spatula, move the mixture around the pan like scrambled eggs. Let the mixture cook for about 5 minutes.
  3.  Serve with half an avocado. The plantains are starchy enough that pieces can be picked up or scooped with a fork.

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Delicious Paleo Meatloaf (with liver) That Even Kids Will Love!

Delicious Paleo Meatloaf (with liver) That Even Kids Will Love!

livermeatloaf2

Why Should I Love Liver?

Liver is nature’s multi-vitamin! But, let’s be honest. It doesn’t taste the best on it’s own. Sometimes we make the mistake of thinking babies don’t need as much of certain nutrients because they are smaller, but kids need nutrient density EVEN MORE than adults because they are growing so much.

Hidden Liver Meatloaf Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 lb grass-fed ground beef
  • 1 lb grass-fed liver
  • 1 cup carrots
  • 1 TBSP butter or lard (plus some to grease the pans)
  • 1 onion
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350◦F.
  2. Grease a bread pan (with coconut oil, butter, or lard).
  3. Blend the liver in your blender.
  4. Dice the onion and carrot, and add to these to the blender. You just want pieces that will break up easily in the blender. Quickly blend these to break up the pieces.
  5. Add all other ingredients (butter, egg, almond flour, spices) except for ground beef.
  6. Blend until smooth.
  7. Take the blade out of the blender, add the ground beef, and mix together with a spoon or spatula.
  8. Pour mixture into the bread pans.
  9. Bake for 1 hour.
  10. I like to use dijon mustard for dipping when I serve it. Enjoy!

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