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Making and Freezing Bone Broth

Making and Freezing Bone Broth

Bone Broth Does the Body Good

Bone broth has come back to the forefront of nutritional news lately with all its health benefits. I make it on and off, but I recently got motivated to start making it again. Being 14 weeks pregnant, I have noticed some aches in my legs and feet, especially when running. I have a standing desk this time, but I have also noticed that I needed to start using my compression socks earlier in pregnancy while running because of the soreness. I have also noticed just more inflammation per say this time when I eat certain foods or stress.

Maybe I am just more aware of my body this time, I don’t know. I am probably just more sensitive to small shifts in how I feel and my health. Overall, I have felt way better this pregnancy physically, so I can’t really complain. Brendon has also had some joint pain because we are both training for a half marathon in September.

Plus, looking ahead, I am due in January. That is PRIME sickness season in our house. Without fail, Brynn seems to get a major cold in early to mid-January, and I really don’t want to deal with that for several reasons. I don’t want anyone getting sick in general, but I don’t want it to spread to me or the baby. Plus, dealing with her (or any kid) while sick is super stressful, and I want to try and reduce my stress as much as possible during that time. I don’t want any stress to delay my labor (any pregnant woman knows at that point you want that baby OUT!).

Benefits of Bone Broth

  • Immunity
  • Gut health
  • Packed with zinc and other vitamins and minerals
  • Collagen

My Predicament with Bone Broth

Previously, I have made batches of bone broth and not used the whole thing. To be honest, I don’t really enjoy drinking a cup of bone broth every day, and it is extremely filling. Plus, being on the go, sometimes it is hard to remember. So, sometimes half the batch gets wasted.

This time though, I have a plan. I am going to make batches to store and freeze it in small portions. Then, I can cook with it or drink it whenever I want. I figure as long as I am getting some into my families diet at regular intervals that is doing pretty well. Hopefully, by boosting our consumption even a little bit, it can help our bodies and immunity for the next 6 months (and beyond).

Ingredients

  • 3 lb grass-fed bones
  • 3 stalks celery
  • 3 carrots
  • 1 onion
  • 2 TBSP raw apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp turmeric (optional)

Directions

  1. Roughly chop celery, carrots, and onion. Cover the bottom of the crock pot with them.
  2. Place bones in crock pot on top of vegetables.
  3. Fill the crock pot with water to cover the bones.
  4. Add apple cider vinegar and seasonings.
  5. Set crock pot on low for 24-48 hours.

Storing

  1. Place portions of cooled bone broth into pouch bags/breastmilk bags.
  2. Freeze flat.
  3. Remove from freeze and defrost as needed.

Ways to Add Bone Broth to Your Diet

  • Soups
  • Mix in mashed potatoes
  • Cook rice and cous cous with it
  • Drink it
  • Bone broth protein powders
4 Easy Meals for Busy Parents Who Don’t Have Time to Cook

4 Easy Meals for Busy Parents Who Don’t Have Time to Cook

Do you ever feel like you don’t have time to cook? Do you just not want to cook?

Me too. As parents, we would love to have time to cook meals from scratch that are perfectly balanced and nutritious every single day, but that isn’t reality.

This past weekend, I was talking to a mom of 5 who works full-time and volunteers frequently with the Willow Tree Family Center, which is a local center for moms and babies. She talked with me about how she has no time to cook and is so tired at the end of the day that she doesn’t want to cook. She desperately wanted to have her family eat healthier. She said her family ends up eating take-out most days and doesn’t know if anyone in her family even eats a vegetable.

So, I started to think, what if I was someone who REALLY had no time to cook or didn’t want to cook? What would I feed my family? I thought of some of my go to meals when the meal plan doesn’t go as planned (we all have those days), and then, Noah and I went to the store to look for some healthy options.

These 4 options that I have laid out take less than 10 minutes each to put together and would cost LESS than take out. Most of these options cost less than $10 for a family of 4. To order pizzas, would cost at least $20.

All these meals have healthy protein, fiber, carbohydrates, and some source of produce (fruits and veggies).

Meal #1

Meal Components
  • Organic Rotisserie Chicken
  • Steamer Bag of Carrots
  • Natural Mashed Potato Packet
Instructions:
  1. Heat rotisserie chicken in the oven.
  2. Steam bag of carrots.
  3. Boil water, and stir in powdered mashed potatoes.
  4. Serve chicken, mashed potatoes, and carrots.

Meal #2

Meal Components
  • Clean Plate Chicken Burger (pre-cooked)
  • Against the Grain Gluten-Free Bun (or Udi’s Gluten Free)
  • Steamer Bag of Cauliflower
  • Organic Unsweetened Applesauce
Instructions:
  1. Warm up the chicken burger.
  2. Steam bag of cauliflower.
  3. Pour applesauce into a small bowl.
  4. Place burger on bun.
  5. Serve chicken burger, applesauce, and cauliflower.

Meal #3

Meal Components
  • Egg Omelette
  • Smoothie
Ingredients for Omelette:
  • Egg
  • Butter
  • Omelette additions: ham, bacon, cheese, spinach, tomato, broccoli
Ingredients for Smoothie:
  • Fruit of choice: strawberries, banana, blueberries, pineapple, raspberries
  • Nut butter (optional)
  • Milk of choice
  • Protein powder (I like collagen or bone broth protein)
Instructions:
  1. Heat a pan to medium heat and put 1 TBSP of butter into it.
  2. Scramble two eggs in a bowl and add any additions you want.
  3. Cook the eggs.
  4. In a blender, combine fruit, milk of choice, protein powder, and nut butter, and blend. Pour into a glass. (My favorite smoothie is 1 scoop chocolate bone broth protein, 1 banana, 1 cup almond milk, and 2 TBSP organic peanut butter).
  5. Serve omelette and smoothie.

Meal #4

Meal Components
  • Egg Salad
  • Blue Diamond Hint of Sea Salt Crackers (Gluten-Free)
  • Baby Carrots
  • Grapes
Ingredients for Egg Salad:
  • 6 store-bought hard boiled eggs (found in deli section)
  • 1/2 cup Primal Kitchen Mayo OR Full-fat organic, grass-fed plain yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Pepper
  • 1 tsp Paprika
Instructions:
  1. Dice the hard boiled eggs.
  2. Mix the eggs with mayo (or yogurt), salt, pepper, and paprika.
  3. Wash grapes, and remove from the vine.
  4. For smaller children cut the carrots for easy chewing.
  5. Serve egg salad, grapes, carrots, and crackers.

Looking for more recipe ideas, check out our E-book!

Shop natural, organic, nutrient dense baby and toddler food at www.mama-bear-naturals.com

 

Interview with Dr. Kellyann Petrucci about Healthy Eating for Kids

Interview with Dr. Kellyann Petrucci about Healthy Eating for Kids

I had the absolute pleasure of interviewing naturopathic doctor and celebrity nutritionist, Dr. Kellyann Petrucci about healthy eating for kids. She is the author of Dr. Kellyann’s Bone Broth Diet and Paleo Cookbook for Dummies. Check her out at drkellyann.com!

She has amazing knowledge of nutrition and functional medicine. Plus, her and I share the same passion for healthy kids. It is the REASON and WHY that we both do what we do.

The Interview

In our interview, we chat about meal planning strategies, best foods for babies, and she was even so kind enough to say such sweet things about Mama Bear Naturals baby and toddler food products.

Check it out!

  1. Why do you think bone broth should be in the diet of babies and children?

Bone broth supplies young children with gelatin, which helps to build a healthy gut, and it loads them with anti-inflammatory nutrients like glycine, glucosamine, and chondroitin. It’s also a good source of minerals like magnesium, and it’s rich in the building blocks of collagen—the “glue” that helps build strong skin, bones, and connective tissue.

One caution, however: Home-made bone broth may contain levels of certain nutrients, such as iron and vitamin A, that are too high for infants. So if you’re going to feed broth to a baby or young toddler, I suggest buying a broth that’s especially designed for them.

2. What would be your top recommendations for foods for babies and children? Also, why are these foods best for children? What benefits would foods like wild-caught salmon, grass-fed butter, egg yolks, and grass-fed liver provide for children?

My biggest recommendation is to focus on quality pastured proteins, fresh vegetables, and healthy fats (which are so crucial for early development). I recommend pastured and wild-caught proteins because they come from healthy animals eating a natural diet—and that translates into greater nutritional value.

 

  1. What are the top nutrients for growing children?

I tend to think less in terms of individual nutrients and more in terms of nutrient-dense foods. For instance, pastured beef contains crucial nutrients like iron, zinc, omega-3 fatty acids, and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). Fresh vegetables contain a host of vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals that work hand-in-hand. Pastured eggs are loaded with choline, B vitamins, vitamin D, and minerals. Clarified butter is rich in vitamins A, D, E, and K. Pastured liver, of course, is a powerhouse of nutrients. When children get foods like these, you’re supplying them with all of the nutrients they need in the correct proportions.

  1. Looking at www.mama-bear-naturals.com, do you see any benefits to these foods compared to the current baby foods on the market?

Absolutely. I love the emphasis on high-quality proteins, organic vegetables, and healthy fats like coconut. And I love that these foods are free from additives, artificial flavors, and artificial colors. This is the pure, beautiful food that children should be eating.

  1. In your practice, what impact have you seen in regards to gut health and childhood development?

Kids with sick guts are more likely to have illnesses, behavior problems, sleep issues, learning problems, and obesity. Healing their gut can dramatically improve their physical and their emotional health, as well as their academic performance.

  1. What are your top tips for cooking healthy meals for busy families?

I’m a huge fan of batch cooking. Once every week or two, I schedule an afternoon in the kitchen and cook like crazy. I’ll boil a dozen eggs, brown several pounds of hamburger, and maybe roast one or two chickens and freeze the meat. In addition, I’ll wash veggies for salads and freeze packets of veggies and fruits so I can grab them fast to make protein shakes.

And that’s another tip: Make shakes, not just for breakfast but sometimes for lunch or dinner. All you need is a high-quality pastured protein, a little bit of fat (I like to add some avocado or some coconut milk), some berries and greens, and maybe a little monk fruit or stevia. It’s quick, easy, and nutritious, and the cleanup is a breeze.

  1. Do you have any recommendations for how to get kids to eat liver?

One trick is to grind it up, mix it with ground beef and spices, and make burgers out of it. What kid doesn’t like a burger? Add a little bit of liver at first, and up it gradually to see how much you can get away with.

  1. For those that don’t want to drink bone broth, what are other ways that they can incorporate it into their diet, especially for picky eaters?

Simple! You can sneak it into soups, stews, and chili, or cook veggies in it.

  1. What are your top snack recommendations for kids on the go?

I’m big on coconut chips, dark chocolate, blueberries, high-quality beef jerky, and non-grain trail mixes like my Tropical Trail Mix.

  1. What are the top 3 switches families should make to get their kids onto a healthier diet?

First, start cooking again! Simply switching from processed foods to home-cooked foods will have a dramatic impact on your kids’ diets. And get your children involved in cooking, because kids who become confident cooks won’t be dependent on junk food for the rest of their lives.

Second, limit or completely eliminate sugar, grains, highly processed seed oils, foods with artificial colors and flavors, and soy “Frankenfoods.” All of these put your kids at risk for serious health problems including obesity and diabetes.

Third, make sure your kids get plenty of high-quality protein AND plenty of good fats like coconut, coconut oil, coconut milk, avocados, avocado oil, fatty fish, olives, olive oil, ghee, and nuts. The worst thing “experts” ever did was to demonize healthy fats, which are absolutely crucial to staying slim and healthy.

  1. What are families biggest struggles in eating a real food diet, and what are your recommendations?

I know that one struggle is money. When that’s an issue, I tell people to look for the least expensive high-quality proteins—for instance, pastured eggs, pastured chicken legs (save the bones for broth!), and hamburger from pastured cows. Also, shopping at farmer’s markets or big-box stores is a great way to get organic fruits and vegetables at a lower price. You can also save money by buying less-polluted fruits and veggies in non-organic versions. The Environmental Working Group’s “dirty dozen” and “clean fifteen” lists can help you make the best choices.

Also, getting kids to like healthy foods can be a challenge if they’re used to junk food. The good news is that while they may kick and scream at first, most of them eventually learn to appreciate the taste of good food and stop craving the junk. Many parents find that the “two bites” rule works well—that is, requiring a child to eat two bites of a new healthy food at first. Of course, your best bet is to introduce children early on to healthy foods—like your Mama Bear Naturals meals—so they appreciate good food from the start!

Feed Your Family Beans for Longevity and 1 Nutrient Dense Bean Quesadilla Recipe for Kids

Feed Your Family Beans for Longevity and 1 Nutrient Dense Bean Quesadilla Recipe for Kids

Why should I eat beans?

Our bodies need carbohydrates, and beans are one of the foods that healthy, traditional cultures have eaten for thousands of years. Beans are a great source of phosphorus, iron, and fiber. In today’s world where our bodies are bombarded with toxins and environmental pollutants, we need that fiber.

Honestly, when starting on a paleo, ancestral diet, I got a phobia of beans. However, I came across Dan Buettner, who wrote The Blue Zone about populations that lived the longest. Here is a talk with Dan and Chris from Chris Beat Cancer that I found really interesting: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hRUxo8FEyZo

Many of these cultures ate 1 cup of beans per day and 90% plant food diets (high carbohydrate diets) like sweet potatoes, sourdough bread, greens, and lentils. He doesn’t say sprouting is necessary, but I think sprouting is critical because this unlocks the nutrients and removes the phytic acid.

Some other characteristics of these long living populations that I think are important to reflect on are:

  • Exercise – low impact, all day long
  • Prayer/meditation

Those are not related to beans but are definitely lifestyle choices we should reflect on in trying to improve our health, quality of life, and longevity.

With fiber and carbohydrates in the diet, we aid our digestion and help our body remove toxins. I try to feed Noah sprouted beans once a week, and the next day, his body definitely cleans house! I think this is especially important on a diet that contains meats and dairy that can be constipating depending on the levels. He loves to pick up beans and eat them plain, but making a quesadilla is one of my favorite ways to feed them to him. I love that it is a quick family meal that also gets some healthy fats from the grass-fed cheese into him. I always sprout my beans the night before to unlock the nutrients and neutralize phytic acid. This aids in digestibility.

Nourishing Bean and Cheese Quesadilla Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 sprouted brown rice tortillas
  • 1/4-1/2 cup grass-fed cheddar cheese (many kids like mild cheese)
  • 1/4 cup black beans (preferably sprouted)
  • 1 TBSP grass-fed butter

Directions

  1. The night before, place beans in a bowl of water to soak.
  2. Cook the beans according to package directions once sprouted, and drain them.
    Note: Some kids may prefer the beans to be pureed up
  3. Shred your cheese.
  4. Heat your pan on medium heat.
  5. Add 1 TBSP of grass-fed butter to the pan.
  6. Put together your quesadilla: lay one tortilla flat, sprinkle with shredded cheese. add a layer of beans, sprinkle with another thin layer of cheese (this is important to hold it together), and top it with another tortilla.
2 Gifts Eating Real Food Gives Your Kids

2 Gifts Eating Real Food Gives Your Kids

Giving Your Children the Gift of Real Food

I wanted to share two big reasons that you should make feeding your kids real food a priority. I am so passionate about the importance of nutrient dense food fueling our bodies and brains. As good parents, we want the best for our children. Giving kids healthy food and teaching them how to cook are more than just nice ideas. They are truly GIFTS to help your child have a better life. Let me explain.

1. Real Food Builds Quality Kids

As a mom, I know we all want the best for our children. However, let’s talk about the story of the 3 Little Pigs quickly. In the story, each pig built something called a house, but we all know the houses were built of very different materials. Without question, we know that though the stick and straw houses are houses, they easily broke down.

So, what about our kids?

WHAT WE FEED OUR FAMILY MATTERS. We get to help determine the quality of life our children lead through their health and brain function.

 

In today’s culture, there are more instances of the following:

  • birth defects
  • mental issues (ADHD, autism)
  • disease
  • obesity.

We have to take an honest look at why this is happening. In a world, where we are eating boxed mac and cheese, graham crackers, fast food, and cereal instead of nutrient dense foods, we are not providing the proper building blocks for our children to thrive. We are getting calories without nutrition.

But kids just burn it off, right?

It drives me insane when I hear someone say something about a child getting to “eat whatever because they just burn it off’ because they have a better metabolism. No. Just no. Kids don’t get to eat whatever without consequences. Kids are growing rapidly MENTALLY, PHYSICALLY, AND EMOTIONALLY. They need to be supercharged with nutrition, or they will be built on a poor foundation even if they somehow stay thin.

We all want our kids to have the tools to achieve their dreams – whether it is a far off dream like going to the Olympics or doing well in math class.  As good parents, we want to give our kids the best. We buy them swim lessons, books, and toys to teach them skills. Why not also feed their bodies the right things to let them perform their best?

For me, I look at the kids in my house and want everything for them. My son, Noah, loves drums. I want to give his brain and body the healthy fats, slow releasing carbohydrates, and nutrients to rock out in whatever band he wants to someday. My step-daughter, Brynn loves to run. If she wants to run whether its in local races or in national competitions, I want her bones to be strong and muscles to recover well.

I want to give them every chance to succeed in life and that starts with giving them the right tools, including food. There are many times I have dealt with complaints about new foods or why we can’t have junk food, and yes, I get annoyed, frustrated, and hurt feelings. Ultimately, I care more about their health than my feelings. I am the parent. I can make the choices, and someday, they will look back and be glad I made the harder choices for their well being.

2. Eating and Cooking Real Food Teaches Healthy Habits

When we model and teach healthy choices, we give children a gift by teaching them how to cook and make good eating choices.

If you went through life struggling with weight issues, body image issues, knowing how to make healthy choices, learning how to cook – don’t you want to prevent your children from suffering in the same way? I want to lower my children’s risk of disease and teach them that putting good food in your body makes you strong and feel good.

This gift is personal for me.

Growing up, my snacks after school were junk – chips, cookies, etc. Treats were always in the house. I remember having bagels, cereal, and Eggos for breakfast. Sure, at the time, it was great, but I didn’t understand what eating healthy was. I thought having 10 extra lbs meant their was something wrong with me. I thought I was eating healthy because dinner included a protein, vegetable, and starch, but my lunches always included a juice, treat, and probably chips.

How was I supposed to learn how to eat well, when I was taught this was normal?  I struggled through various eating disorders because I thought it was about controlling my body and not the food. I even thought I had to run a ton of miles to be thin since I didn’t know how to change my eating at home or when eating out. I had to teach myself what real eating was, and any child I raise, I plan to teach them this so they never have to struggle.

Here are my final thoughts on why making the extra effort is important. As a parent, these are things to think about to set an example for your family.

Change your why – Why do you want to eat healthy?

These are my WHYS (feel free to steal any that resonate with you):

  • I DO NOT eat healthy just to be thin. However, now that I eat real food, I am the best combination of thin and healthy I have ever been.
  • I eat healthy to fulfill my passions and my mission on this world.
  • I eat healthy to have energy for the kids and husband.
  • I eat healthy to be able to keep up with grand kids someday.
  • I eat healthy because I want my kids to see that I respect myself enough to do so and to teach them to do the same.

For more ideas for healthy, easy family meals, subscribe for my FREE two week meal plan!
For ideas of how to feed your child nutrient dense food, check out my E-Book, A Recipe for a Healthy Baby.

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Healthy, Gluten-Free, Refined Sugar-Free First Birthday Cake (Weston A Price/Paleo)

Healthy, Gluten-Free, Refined Sugar-Free First Birthday Cake (Weston A Price/Paleo)

Carrot Cake with Creamy Frosting

frostedcarrotcake

One great thing about using a carrot cake recipe is that the cake will be similar to many of the foods they have already eaten in purees or chunks. Also, the carrots help provide structure to a cake without gluten and does not need as much sweetness. This cake is make with all natural, organic ingredients that make first birthday smash cake healthy, nutritious, and delicious.

Ingredients:

Carrot Cake

  • 3 mini Springform cake pans
  • 4 carrots (roughly chopped)

    cakecooling

  • 2 TBSP grass-fed butter or coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup pitted dates
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda

Creamy Frosting

  • frosting spatula
  • 1/4 cup grass fed butter (or ghee or you could double the coconut oil to make it all the way dairy free)
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 2-3 pitted dates or
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 Tablespoons cashew butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon lime juice

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350◦F.

2. Blend ingredients of the cake in the blender until the dates and carrots are completely broken up.

3. Grease round cake pans using coconut oil or grass-fed butter. Pour the batter evenly among the 3 pans. My pans were 4 inches wide and 2 inches deep. Make sure to level the tops using a spatula.

4. Bake for 40 minutes. The tops should have gained a golden brown color.

5. Remove from the oven. Release the cakes from the springform pan, and set on a rack to cool.

6. For the icing, slightly melt the coconut oil and butter.

7. Put the dates, butter, and coconut oil in the blender. Blend for 1-2 minutes until the dates are completely broken up.

8. Put other icing ingredients in a blender, and blend all together. Mix and store in the refrigerator until about 30 minutes before the cake will be iced.

9. When the cakes are cool, you need to level the top of each cake.

Tip: If you do not have a cake leveler, try kneeling down on the floor so you are eye level with the cake and using a serrated knife, cut off the excess cake to level it. Start with the least amount to cut off that you can in case you need to continue to level it out.

12. Place some icing on the plate that the cake with go on so that it acts as glue for the cake. It should be very easy to spread. If not, let it come to room temperature for a little longer.

13. Ice the top of bottom layer thinly. Set second layer on top. Ice it thinly. Do the same with the third layer.

14.Proceed in icing down the sides of the cake until it is covered.

15. Smooth the icing and decorate.

 

For more ideas for healthy, easy family meals, subscribe for my FREE two week meal plan!
For ideas of how to feed your child nutrient dense food, check out my E-Book, A Recipe for a Healthy Baby.

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Celebratory Milestones and Meals of Pregnancy

Celebratory Milestones and Meals of Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a time to treat yourself! But, you should nourish your baby and body at the same time too.

Celebrate your pregnancy and all the milestones along the way! Though it may not always feel like it, being pregnant is a gift that not everyone gets to experience. You have a beautiful baby on the way, and celebrating making it through each phase in a healthy and safe way can help you deal with some of the discomforts that come along with your growing bundle of joy. This is also an important time to connect with your partner and continue to strengthen your bond since a baby makes finding time for each other difficult.

1st Trimester

Positive Pregnancy Test – Hopefully, at this point, you are still feeling well, and you can still fit into your clothes. So, this may be a great occasion to get dressed up and go out to dinner. Some top things to avoid when eating out for a healthy diet are fried foods, pre-made bottled salad dressings, most soups as they are made from powders and contain MSG, refined carbohydrates, and excessive sugars. Some great options at restaurants would be salmon for Omega 3s or steak for iron, zinc, and Vitamin A.

First Heartbeat or Ultrasound 

A favorite celebratory meal for my husband and I is rib eye steaks and bacon Brussels sprouts. To cook the bacon Brussels sprouts

Bacon Brussels Sprouts

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb Brussels sprouts
  • 8 strips bacon (refined sugar-free, preservative free)

Directions:

  1. Heat a large saute pan on medium high heat.
  2. Once the pan is hot, lay 8 strips of bacon into the bacon. Turn when browned to your liking and cook until done.
  3. Lay the bacon on a paper towel.
  4. Cut the ends off of the Brussels sprouts and cut sprouts in half.
  5. Gently dump the Brussels sprouts in the pan that contains the bacon grease. Careful not to splash yourself with hot oil.
  6. Cook the Brussels sprouts for 10-15 minutes or until they are softened and browning.
  7. Cut the bacon into cubes, and pour back into the pan after the Brussels sprouts are almost done.
  8. Cook everything together for 1-2 minutes.

I would also recommend that you develop a habit of having a fun pregnancy drink. I loved sparkling water, either plain or with a splash of cranberry juice. La Croix is another great option. Next pregnancy, I plan to drink Kombucha as my special drink since it is mine currently while nursing.

Second Trimester

Surviving the First Trimester

Now that you are hopefully feeling better and have more energy. I would suggest some special time with your significant other having brunch in bed.

Make an orange juice spritzer, eggs with sausage or bacon, and some gluten free banana nut muffins. To make the orange juice spritzer fill a wine glass with half orange juice and half sparkling water or whatever ratio works for you.

Banana Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 3/4 cup coconut flour
  • 2/3 cup dates (pitted)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup mashed ripe bananas

Directions:

1. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and sea salt.

2. In a food processor, combine dates, banana, coconut oil, coconut milk and vanilla. Blend until the dates are completely ground. This may take a few minutes. Then, add in the egg, and blend to combine.

3. Stir wet ingredients into dry until just moistened.

4. Fill the cups in a cupcake pan, and bake at 350 F for 22-25 minutes.

Gender Scan

To celebrate finding out if your arrival is a boy or a girl, an easy treat is chocolate fondue. You can spend some time sharing your dessert and discussing what you need to buy, baby names, or your thoughts on the gender. If you are not finding out the gender, you can still celebrate having a healthy ultrasound and being halfway through pregnancy.

Chocolate Fondue

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups of chocolate sweetened with stevia
  • 1/2 cup full-fat milk of choice
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • Favorite fruit (bananas, strawberries, raspberries, pineapple)

Directions:

1. Melt chocolate in a bowl sitting on a pot of boiling water (double boiler).

2. Cut up the fruit and place in bowls.

3. Move pot and bowl to the table.

4. Dip the fruit into the bowl and enjoy.

Third Trimester

Early term

My husband and I love playing games together. So, as a fun night, find some of your favorite games and play 1 or 2. For this, make some healthy nachos to fuel your body and feed your cravings.

Healthy, Yummy Nachos

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • pinch of garlic powder
  • pinch of onion powder
  • pinch of dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • pinch sea salt
  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 can organic black beans (rinsed thoroughly)
  • cheddar cheese
  • tomato
  • avocado
  • sprouted chips
  • full-fat greek yogurt

Directions:

  1. Brown the turkey in a pan with the taco seasoning spices.
  2. Place your chips on a baking sheet. The more that you spread out the chips to reveal their surface, the more they will be covered with yummy toppings.
  3. Cover your chips in the turkey, beans, tomato, and avocado. Then, sprinkle with cheese. Make sure not to go to heavy with cheese. Just enough to give each chip some flavor.
  4. Bake at 350 F for 5-10 minutes, until the cheese is melted.
  5. Top with the Greek yogurt as a substitution for sour cream.

Full-term

Home stretch, and baby’s brain is growing a ton at this stage. That means they need adequate healthy fats, especially ones rich in cholesterol. I would suggest making some of Dave Asprey’s “Get Some” Ice Cream. I have made a custard version if you don’t have an ice cream maker, or I have a pumpkin pie version depending on if you are in the mood for some fall flavors.

Last date night before the baby

A date night for you may be going out, or it may be staying in, watching a movie, and having your favorite meal. Just enjoy your last moments of sleep and peace.

 

For more ideas for healthy, easy family meals, subscribe for my FREE two week meal plan!
For ideas of how to feed your child nutrient dense food, check out my E-Book, A Recipe for a Healthy Baby.

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Nutrients for Each Trimester of Pregnancy

Nutrients for Each Trimester of Pregnancy

How can you help your baby get exactly what it needs as it goes through pregnancy?

Most women sign up for a week by week pregnancy update system that explains your babies developments. However, these do not discuss the nutrients that are needed to support these developments and the support your body needs to perform these functions. You should always strive for a nutrient dense diet that contains all the nutrients below on a weekly basis, but boosting micro-nutrient levels of certain key nutrients each trimester can prevent the opportunity for you feeling depleted and power your baby for optimal growth.

For each trimester, I will list some of the main developments for that portion of pregnancy and detail the nutrients that will support you and your baby the most at that time. This is a general overview, but I will have posts that give more detail about specific weeks in other posts.

1st Trimester

  • Key Developments: heart, brain, nervous system

  • What are the key nutrients?

    • Vitamin A
      • It is the concert master of your developing baby. Sufficient Vitamin A is required so that all the messages are sent to develop each organ and system of your baby. It is important to be aware that though there are many plant sources that contain the precursor for Vitamin A (i.e. beta-carotene), that doesn’t mean that is Vitamin A or that you personally can make the conversion, especially if you are not eating these plant foods with fat to aid the process. So, when I discuss Vitamin A, I am referring to animal sources like liver, grass-fed butter, egg yolks, etc.
    • Iron
      • It is needed primarily in this time due to the increase in blood supply and the growing placenta. Keeping your iron stores up will prevent anemia and may help with energy. So, eat greens, broccoli, and red meat.
    • Healthy Fats
      • We all love a baby with some chunk, and there is good reason they have it! Add in some coconut oil, grass-fed butter, avocados, fatty fish, and egg yolks.
    • Vitamin C
      • Our energy takes a real hit in the first trimester as our body works on forming the placenta. Vitamin C supports our adrenals and energy, as well as progesterone production. A study in Fertility and Sterility showed that it improves hormone levels and pregnancy success. This could be due to the fact that cortisol is a precursor to progesterone, and if our cortisol is too high (as is probably the case in many Americans due to stress, coffee, dieting, overexercising), our progesterone production is inhibited.
    • Potassium
      • This is another great adrenal supporter, and as you create more blood and fluids, you need to maintain your electrolyte balance. Potassium specifically aids in the unwinding of the adrenals at night. Foods like coconut water, sweet potatoes, spinach, and avocados are great options. One of my favorite in pregnancy is dates. There is a study out of Jordan showing that eating 6 dates a day in the last month of pregnancy can allow women to have a faster, easier birth. So, I ate 6 dates a day my entire pregnancy!
    • Sodium
      • I added sodium for the same reasons as potassium. However, sodium helps to wake up the adrenals and digestion. So, it is best included in the diet in the morning. I love using Himalayan sea salt on my breakfast.
    • Vitamin B12
      • It is essential for nervous system development.
    • 3-indolcarbonal
      • This is a compound that aids in the breakdown of hormones and helps the body excrete them. So, as we produce and utilize estrogen and progesterone, they can be broken down to prevent some pregnancy symptoms due to excessive hormone levels. This can be found in sprouted and fermented foods.
    • Fiber
      • As progesterone production goes on hyper-drive, our digestion slows. Incorporating more fruits and vegetables may be enough, or you may want to research incorporating a fiber supplement or digestive enzymes.

2nd Trimester

  • Key Developments: movement, senses

  • What are the key nutrients?

    • Beta-carotene
      • It is great for eye health, and the eyes develop at this time. So, eat some carrots and colorful produce.
    • Calcium
      • Your baby’s cartilage turns to bone at this time. Strong bones need plenty of calcium. Grass-fed, full-fat dairy is a great source of calcium. You can also include greens, sardines, okra, and broccoli.
    • Magnesium
      • Magnesium works with calcium in the formation of the bones. You need a good structure for a building to work. Your baby needs the same. Eat avocados, greens, and pumpkin seeds.
    • Vitamin K2  –
      • This nutrient gets confused with Vitamin K1, but is essential for calcium to go to its proper place in the bones. We all want our children to be strong, grow tall, and have great teeth. K2 is the workhorse for all of that, and many humans are deficient due to low-fat diets and not consuming grass-fed dairy. Include grass-fed dairy or a K2 supplement.
    • Vitamin D
      • This nutrient works in tandem with Vitamin A. It is important to have a good balance of both. When there is a deficiency in one, a person may develop toxicity symptoms of the other, and they need each other to perform their functions. Vitamin D works in the bone development, hormones and endocrine function, immune system, brain activity, nervous system, and the heart development.
    • Zinc
      • Zinc is great for muscle growth, immunity, and nutrient absorption. Your baby really starts to gain muscle and move more. Eat lamb, grass-fed beef, and chickpeas.

3rd Trimester

  • Key Developments: brain, lungs

  • What are the key nutrients?

    • Vitamin K2
      • Your babies bones continue to harden, and it is important to make sure the calcium for this goes to the right places. This supports proper formation of the bones. As above, work to include grass-fed dairy like Kerry Gold Butter or raw cheddar cheese and/or a K2 supplement.
    • Calcium
      • It is not only important for bone formation, but it will also help with muscle contraction as you look ahead to labor.
    • Magnesium
      • Magnesium aids in the strengthening of the bones and will help relax your bowels, which may be desired as your organs get squished as the baby grows. If you are struggling with elimination, you may find a magnesium supplement helpful like Ancient Minerals spray or Natural Vitality’s Natural Calm.
    • Vitamin D –
      • The third trimester is the period of the most rapid growth. The baby utilizes Vitamin D for their skeletal growth.
    • Phosphorus –
      • This is also critical for rapid and proper skeletal growth.
    • Healthy Fats
      • This really promotes brain growth in this critical phase. Plus, your baby builds its fat stores at this time to prepare for growth once outside the womb.

Nutrient Density is KEY

Again, I want to emphasize the key for the entire pregnancy (and let’s just include fertility, postpartum, breastfeeding, and life in general) is NUTRIENT DENSITY every day. This is not a life sentence to never have something again (like your favorite chocolate cake), but the more you center your diet around real, nutritious food, the more you and your baby will thrive! You may even enjoy being pregnant from time to time 🙂

How to Pack an Avocado for Your Kid’s Lunch

How to Pack an Avocado for Your Kid’s Lunch

avocado

Avocados are a great addition to your child’s lunch or a great snack, especially in the morning to fuel their brains for the day. The problem with foods like avocado or other fruits is the enzymatic browning that leaves them looking and tasting less than ideal. However, there is a way to prevent the browning and keep your child’s food fresh until snack or lunch time.

I plan to send 1/2 an avocado in my son’s lunchbox. He is a 1 year old toddler, and a very good eater. So, for some children they may want a little less, but 1/2 is a good starting point.

I cut the avocado in half and cut that half into cubes. I then add about 1 cup of water to a bowl and a squeeze a few teaspoons of lime or lemon juice into the water. I then let the cubed avocado sit in the “water bath” for about 5 minutes to let the acid from the citrus juice deactivate the enzymes.After 5 minutes, pull the avocado pieces out of the water using your hands or a slotted spoon. Make sure to let it drain enough to get off the excess water. Setting it quickly on a towel may help.

With the other half, you can pour some citrus juice over the top and store in the refrigerator until the next use. If you use this half the next day, you will still want to do the “water bath” in the morning when you cube it to get all the surfaces.

By substituting a 1/2 avocado for your child’s morning snack or in their lunch, in place of a carbohydrate, especially a processed one like a granola bar or crackers, you will provide them with more nutrition, fiber to fill them up, and prevent a blood sugar drop that can cause focus and energy issues. This is a great food for anyone from toddlers, school kids, to adults. Fuel them for success!

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Adjusting Your Macros – What’s the Right Ratio for Me?

Adjusting Your Macros – What’s the Right Ratio for Me?

It is so hard with all the different diet trends out there to know what the right diet is out there for you. Low carb, high fat? Ketogentic? High carb vegan? Everything in moderation? Then, these experts say “But, ultimately it’s what works for you” with no further information as to how to figure out what that is. AHHHHHHH!

I’ve definitely struggled with this myself. I’ve tried calorie counting with nothing off limits, high carb and running marathons, low fat, low carb and high fat, and fasting (that’s never lasted very long). None of these are for everyone, and I have come to realize that long term, none of these are for me.

In my high school and college years, I tried to calorie count. Some days, I thought eating only low fat ice cream and cheerios was okay as long as I ate under 1500 calories that day and did some sort of exercise. At the end of college and in the beginning of my working career, I started running half marathons and marathons. I was still watching my calories, but I focused on carbs because I thought that is what my body needed, and I thought because I was running I had the permission to eat whatever I wanted: pizza, hard cider, sugar cookies, and every other processed junk out there. I was carb loading for races with apple juice, crackers, and pasta. I craved sugar and didn’t feel that great all the time. I drank several cups of coffee a day to get through! Plus, my weight hit a plateau even though I was exercising more.

Then, in the winter of 2013, I had a case of acid reflux and a stomach ulcer. This made me take a long, hard look at what I was eating. When researching foods that caused acid reflux and inflammation in the gut, I realized this was the main part of my diet. At that time, I cut out fried foods, dairy, alcohol, coffee, grains, hydrogenated fats, and sugar. I realized how little focus I was putting on fruits, vegetables, and just real food in general. By cutting out those foods, I quickly lost 5 lbs. Once my stomach healed, I added some of those foods back but definitely more in moderation.

Then, my husband and I decided to have a baby. I researched the best foods for fertility and pregnancy. The researched showed eating lots of fruits and vegetables, healthy fats like avocados, and good quality protein like salmon. I also started eating eggs for breakfast every day. Over my pregnancy, I moved from eating at egg sandwich to an egg wrap with a sprouted tortilla to an eggs with avocado and sauteed greens. I was feeling great in the morning. My lunches started to include salads, and my snacks were fruit, nuts, seeds, and whole fat yogurt. I had a great pregnancy and labor, and I only gained 20 lbs, while being able to run until 36 weeks pregnant.

After my son was born, I played around with a low carb, high fat diet. This worked well for a short period of time for me as a therapeutic intervention. I think I needed to do this to help cleanse my body of inflammation and some insulin resistance from previously being on a processed, high carb diet. Plus, breastfeeding and pregnancy had caused a fatty acid deficiency. I was eating a half batch of “Get Some Ice Cream”, feeling rushes of energy afterward, and losing weight. Then, after a few months, I started to get more tired and gain weight. I was confused since I wasn’t eating more or less “clean”, running more, and still breastfeeding. It took awhile to realize that my body just didn’t need that much fat anymore since I had become such a high fat advocate, and I realized I needed more carbs especially as a woman, who breastfeeds, runs, is a tired mom, and was looking to have another child and needed my cycle to come back.

So, at 13 months postpartum, I made adjustments again. I decreased my fat slightly and started to really be mindful of how many servings of fat I was having a day. Since I no longer had a fatty acid deficiency, I didn’t need as much fat. I looked to Jonathan Bailor’s SANE approach of 3-6 servings of whole food fats a day. I started to look at how many I was having and realized I was knocking out most of those just through breakfast by having avocado, Bulletproof coffee, and cooking in butter. I thought it was eye opening that Jonathan notes that you should have 30 g of protein in the morning, and percentage-wise whole eggs fall more in the category of whole food fats as opposed to quality protein. This made sense since I always seemed to feel hungry if I didn’t have some salmon or bacon with breakfast. Protein is especially critical in the morning for women. Plus, many days I was using some combination of the following: Primal Kitchen mayo, Bulletproof collagen bar, nuts or nut flours, cocoa, fatty treats like Get Some Ice Cream, cooking with coconut oil or butter throughout the day, and coconut meat. I realized I needed to be much more mindful of my fat intake and give my body more of the other things it needed like carbs and protein.

Along with my diet, I wanted to address my cortisol since I suspected it was higher than I would like, and being a busy mom, wife, runner, and breastfeeder, I had adrenal fatigue. I started to increase my carbs again by having fruit and a serving of whole food starch with dinner like white potato, sweet potato, or plantain. I still wasn’t eating processed carbs though. So, my diet was still real food based. Most of what I eat is not in a box, needs to be refrigerated, and doesn’t have a label. I also switched my cup of coffee in the morning to a cup of swiss water processed organic decaf with only a splash of milk or cream. I also started taking a whole food fruit powder, Camu Camu, for Vitamin C. Finally, I incorporated liver into my regular diet, making a liver and beef meatloaf, for B vitamins and Vitamin C along with continuing to eat brazil nuts (selenium) and seaweed (iodine) for thyroid health.

As you can see, it’s no wonder people get confused since one protocol may not even be right for a person long term. Some diets are just therapeutic interventions to heal, and then, we hope to find a healthier moderate diet afterward long-term. I can even argue that a raw vegan diet will make you feel great in the short term due to the cleansing nature of the foods, cutting out processed ingredients, and the increase of glutathione in the body. That doesn’t mean we can function without the essential Vitamins A, D, K2, and B12 that are only from animal foods.

It may help to go into these “diets” or “nutrition protocols” with an experimental mindset. Tell yourself you will try it for X amount of time, maybe 30 days, like the Whole30. Take notes of how you feel and do research as to why this may be the case. What did you add? What did you remove? Then, once you get through the 30 days, you can either chose to keep certain things the same or introduce foods back in and see what macro-nutrient ratios work for you. I would assume that many Americans would benefit from starting with a low carbohydrate diet for 30 days and then assessing whether adding more real food carbohydrates back in makes them feel better or not. It may even work for some to include more carbs every few days and not every day. When you are playing with your macros after the therapeutic intervention, your weight may fluctuate as you make wrong turns. Just think of these moments as data to prevent getting discouraged. A few lbs is easy to fix. Moving to a real food based diet will make the most impact long term.

This is where I have currently ended up with my macros to lose weight, heal my adrenal fatigue, balance my hormones, and sleep better. I was listening to the Ancestral RD podcast, and they discussed three things that really struck me:

  1. It is sometimes hard to get enough carbohydrates on a real food, highly plant based diet.
  2. Sometimes, it is important to track your calories occasionally to make sure you are getting enough on a real food diet.
  3. Those with adrenal fatigue or are active should get at least 30% of calories from carbohydrates and to heal hypothalamic amenorrhea, you should potentially titrate up to 50% from carbohydrates.

So, I started tracking my calories and worked on incorporating more carbohydrates while reducing my fat intake. I realized that it was actually hard for me to get enough calories since all my snacks are veggies and fruit, especially while breastfeeding and running. No wonder I was waking up in the middle of the night to pee! Learn more about how this may indicate you have cortisol disregulation in this podcast. The gist is that when cortisol rises, vasopressin (what prevents you from having to pee) is suppressed, and you have the urge to pee. So, I was having a rise in cortisol a few hours to early because I was not eating enough carbohydrates. I started eating a macro ratio of approximately 40-50% carbohydrates, 20-30% fat, and 20-25% protein. I will see how this goes for a while and will have to adjust over time as my stress and activity change.