Thursday, June 30, 2011

Refreshing Mojito Iced Tea - The REAL Variety

It's been a while since I've updated, but thought I'd share a delicious summery drink I've been enjoying. Its simple, refreshing, and definitely beats the sugary-not-even-tea-iced-tea-powder that you'll buy at the store.

The Mix:

2 Mojito tea bags
A few mint leaves (I have a few too many, my mint plant is wildly taking over my garden!)
Honey, agave, or whatever you use as sweetner; to taste
A slice or two of lime

Boil about a cup of water and steep the tea bags and mint for 5 or so minutes with a drop of honey or any other natural sweetner you prefer. Add in the lime lime and top it up with      cold water and icecubes. Refrigerate to chill or serve as is. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

To Spoon or Not to Spoon?

Sometimes I close my eyes and imagine what it would be like to virtually clean the slate of all the things we’ve come to know and accept as normal, and sweep all the way back to a simpler, purer, unclouded time of simply living, and particularly, simple eating. When it comes to baby’s first foods, our children’s nutrition has become a formulized science, a quite confusing, utterly void of anything good, type formula. We are given step 1-4, told which bags, jars and cartons of food to buy when and how to feed it, and how much they should consume.
After a month or two of serving up, “just add water” fortified infant cereal to my son, I began to question the quality of what I was giving him. If only I’d flipped to the back of the bag I would have taken one glance at the ingredient list and tossed it in the trash. I ditched the expensive bags of oatmeal, rice cereal and other over processed baby cereals full of added sugars and began grinding my own grains and cooking cereals from scratch. I referred to a great baby food book called, Super Baby Food, and packed every bowl full of nutrients for the best meal possible. Not only is this a fraction of the cost of instant cereal, it majorly trumps commercial baby cereals in both nutrition and cost and takes very little time to prepare. This was mainly his breakfast meal, lunch consisted of a doctored up whole-fat yoghurt, and dinner was often similar to breakfast. 
More recently, and now that my son is passed the stage of baby cereal and eats all that we as a family eat, I’ve been introduced to a way of introducing food that is healthier, easier, and keeps in rhythm with the development of your child and his need and desire to wean to newer foods. Baby led-weaning is really a dressed up name for letting your babe self-feed. While breast-milk still remains to be their prominent source of calories, food is offered in proportions they can pick up (and won’t choke on), and voila! They eat it when they’re hungry, and stop when they’re full. Who knew eating could be as simple as cook, cut and serve?, a site dedicated to the practice of baby led weaning, offers plenty of information and tips on how to get started. Seeing as mainstream baby feeding practices have veered so far off from what’s natural, we have to inform ourselves on what should be normal. Here’s some of their tips:
  1. Have a good trawl on the internet for blogs, info and in particular video clips of BLW babies. Seeing little tiny 6-month-old babies demolishing their food and hearing the gasps of admiration from the proud parent behind the camera (and by parent I mean Dad. It’s always the Dad), will do your confidence the power of good.
  2. Next, forget ‘baby food’. Food’s food, as long as you’re not adding salt. To start off with, think chip-sized because it’s an easy shape for little 6-month-olds to grip, but you’ll soon move on to smaller pieces as it’s more interesting for a child developing a pincer grip.
  3. (Slightly bitter) experience suggests that the more effort you put into making something special for the baby, the less likely they are to eat it. Give them what you’re having. If they hate it, fine, they’re getting their calories from milk anyway.
  4. Never put food into a child’s mouth, let them put it in by themselves so that they can control it as it moves backwards. If the baby gags, remember that it’s their way of moving food around in the mouth and don’t panic. Some parents have found that making exaggerated chewing faces and noises reminds the child to get back on track.
  5. Don’t get too hung up on three meals a day, it may take a while to work up to that. Whatever’s convenient and enjoyable for you is best. And don’t put too much on the highchair tray at the one time, just a couple of pieces of food will stop them feeling overwhelmed.
Check out their link for a more extensive list of suggestions for baby led weaning, and find out if it just might be for you.
The choices are many, but the most important is that your growing baby has a balanced, nutritious diet!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Disposable vs. Cloth - The decision just got easier.

A few interesting articles to tie you over until my up and coming foodie article on starting solids! 

I don't need anymore reasons to cloth diaper, but just in case you do check out this article on how disposables are about to cost you more.

And in case you need another reason..., check out this link for the potential hazard of disposable diapers!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Into the Mouths of Babes - The Milk Dilemma

It’s a hot subject in the world of babies and nutrition, and I’m no expert, but the fact remains that the essential and initial livelihood of our children depends on US and the DECISIONS we make for them from day one. There is no doubt in my mind or in the research of numerous scholars on the subject, that breast is best. There is nothing more complete that meets an innumerable amount of functions in a baby’s development than the milk of a mother.

Breastfeeding can be a struggle, and often comes with a huge amount of hurdles to overcome. But research has shown that only about 2% of moms are actually physically unable to breastfeed their children due to low milk supply, low milk nutrition or other physical obstacles. So why don’t the numbers reflect this fact? Almost 50% of mothers in our country by 6 months postpartum have stopped breastfeeding, and just over 15% breastfeed longer than a year. These numbers are even lower worldwide. I believe a lack of awareness, support, information, and normalcy of breastfeeding in our culture all contribute to these low numbers.

For more information on my own struggle,check out my, "Breastfeeding May Be Best...", article. For additional help and support in your community, contact your public health nurses, your local La Leche League, a lactation consultant or read up on some great online sources such as Kelly Mom and Dr.Jack Newman - leading Canadian breastfeeding expert, for great videos and answers to all questions breastfeeding related.

Whatever your decision may be, eventually there comes an end to your breastfeeding relationship, whether it’s the 6 month minimum (exclusively) breastfeeding that WHO recommends, or the 2 years + they encourage. If you must switch to formula before your child reaches 12 months, consider your best options, and refer to this guide for great tips in choosing the right one.

So what’s next?

It seems that milk is marketed as the anchor of nutrition when it comes to healthy, strong children, but is it? The cow’s that provide our milk are fed a diet of antibiotics to fight chronic infection caused by improper nutrition and poor living conditions. They’re fed hormones to increase their milk supply, and are horribly mistreated, in many cases. Cow’s milk is poorly digested by humans, and a lot of its nutrition is destroyed in the pasteurization process. Read about out the benefits of raw milk here, and check out this video for more great information.. Goat’s milk can be an alternative to the traditional cow’s milk, and infants and young children may benefit from it’s easier digestion and higher nutritional content to meet the 16oz a day of milk that is recommended in toddlers over 12 months.

Almond milk, rice milk, coconut milk and other milk imposters, (check out this link for more information on soy milk and the controversial affects it has), although they make good substitutes for hot cereal, coffee condiments or baking, their nutritional content doesn't replace those of real (preferably, raw) milk.

The question of whether milk continues to be necessary for our older child/adult diet is something I cannot answer. What stands out to me is that - in light of that fact that we are the only mammal to consume milk (not of it’s mother) after infancy and childhood, and being that the nutrients that compose milk can be found in many other fruits, vegetables, grains and other milk products (like yogurt), it doesn't seem that milk is always the answer.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Food, And All Things Edible

It’s all about food! It’s amazing how much of our lives are consumed and built around eating. Food is sustenance; it keeps our blood flowing and our heart pumping, our organs functioning and our brains thinking – food equals life. It’s a scary reality that we’ve come to a place of allowing the lucrative food industry to decide for us what is healthy, and neglected to really see that their motives are not our health, but rather their gain. I’ve always been moderately food conscious, and through dealing with health problems a few years ago I began to discover so much more was under the rubble. Having my son has really caused me to dig even deeper and truly investigate and articulate the whole culture surrounding food and the misconceptions and lies we are fed due to total corporate domination of this industry.
Heavy. Stuff.
So the next few weeks on Sagacious Mama are devoted to all things food. A healthy baby starts with a healthy you, so journey with me as we uncover the reality of what’s on our plate, and smeared all over the faces of babes. Food, and all things edible.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Little Green Tushies and the Mythical World of Cloth Diapering

I swore I'd never do it. I promised to all humanity that I'd velcro my kids in disposable diapers from the day they were born to the day they were potty trained. I committed,without hesitation that I would "NEVER cloth diaper". Yuck.

After 5 months of dumping blue, horrific looking piles of decomposing baby excretions in the trash, disposable diapers made from who-knows-what and costings us upward of $15-20 a week, I got sick of all the waste I was creating, retired my diaper genie of it's duties and started on my research. 

There are dozens, if not hundreds of options when it comes to cloth diapering. Times have changed a tad from yesteryear; cloth diapering is no longer limited to folding, pinning, and plastic covers (although, it's still available!) The list is endless: there are all-in-ones, one size, pocket diapers, and snap-in's, training diapers, sleeping diapers, swimming diapers and more. Overwhelmed and totally perplexed by this infinite world of cloth diapering, I signed up to learn everything you can learn about it: Cloth Diapering: 101, at our local Natural Children's store - Podlings.

I realized after my jam-packed information session along with the research I did on my own, that much of what was holding me back from cloth diapering were a few silly myths. Let me first do some myth debunking:

Cloth Diaper Myth #1 - "Cloth Diapers are TOO much work!"

The verdict: There's definitely a certain draw to the ease of disposables - seeing as all it takes is putting out the trash to eliminate the stink, but there really isn't all that much to cloth. Pocket Diapers are almost as simple as All-in-one's, which require no dis-assembly. For my pocket diapers I simply remove the soiled soaker and put both pieces in the wet bag. Every 2 days I fill the washer with cold water, flip the wetbag inside out and dump the diapers in, do a quick cold rinse, then fill the washer with hot water, 2 scoops of detergent and a teaspoon of NaturalClean Oxy Stain Remover. I hang my diapers to dry, and dry the soakers in the dryer for 30 minutes on high.
Soakers easily insert in the diaper when dry, and they're all ready to use again!

Cloth Diaper Myth #2 - "Cloth Diapers Smell"

The verdict: They don't. Not once have I smelled  any foul odor coming from my son's behind - no more than I would from a disposable diaper, I'd even venture to say they smell considerably less. In addition, you get to enjoy the natural of your baby without the overpowering odor of perfumes! I personally think the smell of disposable diapers mixed with poop creates a much greater stink! Amazingly, the smell of soiled cloth does not permeate the bathroom, unless the diapers are left too long (no more than 2-3 days). If your diapers start getting a little funk, soak them for an hour in a mixture of hot water and Rockin Green Detergent and they're good as new!

Cloth Diaper Myth #3 - "Cloth Diapers Cause Diaper Rash".

The verdict: My disposable's caused the worst rashes and bleeding (!) my son's bum has ever seen. Most of the cloth diapers are made with a fiber that wicks moisture away from the skin. Cloth diapers (like disposables) should be changed often, every 2-3 hours.

Cloth Diaper Myth #4 - "Cloth Diapers are Too Expensive"

The Verdict: The average household will save $400-600 dollars per child, per year by switching to cloth diapers. Cloth diapering is a bit costly at first, but consider buying diapers one at a time, or putting aside money throughout pregnancy to be able to afford them as a lot.

Below are a few suggestions I have found helpful for starting out with Cloth Diapers:

1. Put aside money - the cost of one or two diapers, every month while you're pregnant. Even if you find an affordable cloth diaper, you need a minimum of 16-20 to full-time cloth diaper, it's a lot of cash to put out all at once!

2.  Do your research, try a mix of diapers - Some cloth diapering stores offer trials of a variety of cloth diapers. They charge a fee as well as a deposit, and this allows you to sample different styles of diapers, getting a feel for the ease of use and care for each diaper and find one that suits you and your baby best, without having to purchase multiple diapers.

3. Don't necessarily limit yourself - I generally stick to one diaper, but different diapers serve different purposes. Rumparooz, are a great nighttime diaper with a double layered large soaker, but are quite bulky for daytime use, whereas AMP diapers and AppleCheeks offer a more fitted, trimmer option.

4. Prepare yourself for a bit of a mess - as much as I'm an advocate for cloth, and was incredibly surprised at how easy they are to use and launder, you can't avoid the fact that they're a bit messier than disposables! There a few gadgets that will make cloth diapering easier:

Bummi's Bio-Soft Flushable Liners are helpful once your child is on solids. However, for those messy newborn poops......consider purchasing a Diaper Sprayer, a device that can be easily attached to your toilet, shower head or faucet.
- Get a Wet Bag. My wetbag is stored behind my bathroom door. I flush my liner, remove the soiled soaker from the diaper and toss both pieces in the bag, leaving it for no longer than 3 days before a wash. Both wet bag and diapers get thrown in the wash together. Most wet bags have an elastic top, making it easy to fold around a laundry basket (with a lid!) I use disposable for trips and long outings, but I carry a zippered wet-bag in my diaper bag for easy cloth-diapering on-the-go.

- Don't sacrifice on soap! Most commercial soaps cause build up on cloth diapers, causing them to be less absorbent and therefore ineffective! My favorite brand of diaper-laundry soap is Rockin Green, they have loads (pun intended) of different scents, it's great for the environment, and even better for your diapers!

After trying a number of diapers, my first one being the cutest little velcro closure, snap-in liner cloth diaper - a bright green,GroBaby,as well as the AIO Bum Genius, Rumparooz, AMP diapers, and FuzziBunz, I decided on the Made-In-Canada, Vancouver based diaper manufacturer, ComfyRumps. I fell in love not only with the money-saving, environmentally friendly cloth-diaper concept, but also how cute my kids butt looked in a little squishy green diaper!

ComfyRumps has a large color selection of one-size pocket diapers at an affordable $8.75+ shipping for both the diaper and cloth insert.  This is a steal of a deal compared to other cloth diapers, which generally run at $20-30 dollars a pop.They usually have a promotion on allowing you to receive free diapers with a minimum purchase.

Some of you are not convinced, but let me challenge you with this: check out your local Cloth Diapering Store, or order online from, and sample a single cloth diaper. Try it out, get comfortable with it, and see if just maybe, cloth diapering is for you too!

Sagacious Mama

Monday, December 6, 2010

Saving the World - One Blog at a Time.

I love to learn. I devour any new information, anything that expands and enhances what I may already know about nutrition, health, babies, culture etc. Learning is limitless, and no matter how well read and researched I feel I may be, every day I discover new information  that challenges my current sub-par thinking, and time and time again I’m challenged to confront what I believe.  I like this about myself. I’m not satisfied with the status quo (at least, what I perceive as status quo) and strive to set the bar higher and further with every bit of information I receive, and I enjoy living life this way.
A fact you may not know: I am an ENFP. There’s no question in my mind or grey area around this assumption, Myer’s Briggs nailed my personality type without flaw. I stumbled across this quote in an article that described me to perfection:
“ENFPs often have strong, if unconventional, convictions on various issues related to their Cosmic View. They usually try to use their social skills and contacts to persuade people gently (?) of the rightness of these views; this sometimes results in their neglecting their nearest and dearest while flitting around trying to save the world.”
My mom is nodding her head in wholehearted agreement as she reads this.
I love to share/convince/make you believe what I believe, and often mistakenly take the approach of “take it or leave it, but you better believe it!” And I’ll be honest, I’d much prefer you take it. And to top it all off, motherhood has multiplied this process by approximately a million.  Myer’s Brigg’s evaluation doesn’t excuse my behavior, (and I’m really working on curbing it!) but it definitely explains a lot. And not just about myself, but so many other momma’s out there.
We all know the phrase, “girls can be catty”, and there’s no doubt in my mind this label was coined when the first generation of females went through Junior High. Girls are tough - they can rip each other apart and destroy any ounce of self worth in one, feisty stab in the back. If girls are cats, then momma’s are tigers, and the fighting doesn’t stop at childbirth, it only gets nastier, feistier, and a whole lot more personal.
The intricacies of raising a child from birth are immeasurable. After two or three decades of only thinking about ourselves we become faced with the responsibility of being the decision maker for every detail of our child’s life. Some may be more ready than others, having invested in a library worth of reading, preemptively planning each step of the way and facing decisions steadfast and absolute, or at least with careful thought and study.  Others of us make decisions based on what we’ve seen done, going with the flow of what is normal and relying on our upbringing and cultural influence.
There is so much information (mostly media driven), and so much of what we do in our culture is “default parenting”. The general population allows the media, advertising, healthcare providers, and the stocked shelves in their local Superstore to decide the fate of their future. I’m 100% guilty of this mentality. The rest of the population tend to lean toward being information junkies, researching everything with incredible detail, and relentlessly summoning all to follow in there footsteps. I feel like I fall somewhere in the middle. 
 Many of the decisions I made were based on the mainstream culture and I was devastated to find out that what I thought was best for my baby boy was often in fact someone else’s chance at making a buck. As I moved through the journey of mothering over this last year, I was sickened to discover that so much of what I was spoon fed about what was best for my child, was in fact a money-making, marketing strategy, set out to deliver a mediocre start to my child’s life for the betterment of a few large corporations. But what can be equally devastating is making innocent, and even well thought out decisions, and being told via someone’s facebook status update (in a roundabout way) that I’m an ingnorant, mindless and misinformed mother.
What’s worse?
Social media avenues like Facebook and Myspace are too often used as “protected platforms” for moms to innocently share information, but for what purpose, and at what cost?
There seems to be a level of rationalization in the realm of mom slashing; that, somehow, defacing a mothers’ dignity and shaming her for her choices by thoughtlessly pushing information regarding parenting decisions is offering a measure of protection for all children, and therefore, justified.  
I’m as passionate as the next person, and I fully understand (and love!) all you momma’s out there who are like me, or perhaps even a little fierier (!), but I think there comes a point when we need to tame that fire, step back, and ask ourselves what our motivation is, and who our hot head is going to hurt in the process. Our words need to be chosen wisely, graciously, and with understanding that we’re all at different places in our mothering journey.
By the same token, there is an all too common and far too comfortable passivity in our culture to take things in stride with what we know, without having to dig too deep to find it. There is a wealth of information at our finger tips, and if we uncover the rubble we will find so much we weren’t aware of. I am grateful for the women in my life who have shared with me some of their knowledge and findings, and I’ve been challenged to deliberately evaluate the choices I make as a parent. But I promise you, these women did not defame my character and decisions in the process.
We can be passionate without be arrogant, and we can share our knowledge and beliefs without crushing each others spirit. We must parent with thoughtfulness, make informed choices, and allow others wisdom to challenge our own. Let’s live, love and learn with one another in harmony, respecting and encouraging one another as we grow and move in this beautiful journey of motherhood together. 

Sagacious Mama