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.