Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Taking a break


I am letting everyone know that I will be taking a break from blogging for awhile. Thanks for reading and keep up with me on Facebook under The Littlest Foodie. 

If anyone is interested in blogging under this topic for me while I am on hiatus- let me know on Facebook.


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Happy Hanukkah!

Hello to all of my Jewish friends! I wish you lots of fun and blessings over the next 8 days and nights. How fun that Hanukkah and Christmas overlap this year! We all will be celebrating.

Here are some great resources to add some healthy meals to your Hanukkah table!

Eating Well- healthy recipes and meal planning

The Atlantic- 16 healthy recipes

Food Network- Traditional and healthier versions

Martha Stewart- recipes, crafts and more!

 Eat Better America- Lots of guides on how to make your favorite recipes healthier

Here is a classic favorite- I will be making these soon!

Crispy Potato Latkes

December 2005/January 2006

Crispy Potato Latkes Recipe
12 latkes
Active Time:
Total Time:


  • 1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes, (about 2), shredded
  • 1 medium white onion, shredded
  • 2 medium shallots, minced (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 pieces whole-wheat matzo, (6-by-6-inch), broken into pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 3 tablespoons peanut oil, or extra-virgin olive oil, divided


  1. Toss shredded potato, onion, shallots and salt in a medium bowl. Transfer to a sieve set over a large bowl; let drain for about 15 minutes. Squeeze the potato mixture, a handful at a time, over the bowl to release excess moisture (don’t oversqueeze—some moisture should remain). Transfer the squeezed potato mixture to another large bowl. Carefully pour off the liquid, leaving a pasty white sediment—potato starch—in the bottom of the bowl. Add the starch to the potato mixture. Stir in egg. 
  2.  Put matzo pieces in a sealable plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin into coarse crumbs. Sprinkle the crumbs and pepper over the potato mixture and toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate until the matzo is softened, 20 to 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 425°F. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.
  4. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Stir the potato mixture. Cook 4 latkes per batch: place 1/4 cup potato mixture in a little of the oil and press with the back of a spatula to flatten into a 3 1/2-inch cake. Cook until crispy and golden, 1 1/2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer the latkes to the prepared baking sheet. Continue with 2 more batches, using 1 tablespoon oil per batch and reducing the heat as needed to prevent scorching. Transfer the baking sheet to the oven and bake until heated through, about 10 minutes.


Per latke: 100 calories; 4 g fat ( 1 g sat , 2 g mono ); 18 mg cholesterol; 15 g carbohydrates; 0 g added sugars; 2 g protein; 2 g fiber; 204 mg sodium; 278 mg potassium.
Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (20% daily value).
Carbohydrate Servings: 1
Exchanges: 1 starch, 1 fat


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Recipe of the Day- Cheese Crackers!

Thanks to my friend Mattie for finding this great recipe! Healthy and, what kid does not love a cheese cracker?!

This recipe comes from 100 Days of Real Food, where a family of 4 cut out all processes food and only ate "real" food for 100 days. It has now become a lifestyle for them and they blog about healthy eating.

"Easy Cheesy Crackers

  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 5 tablespoons cold butter, cut into tablespoon size chunks
  • 4 oz. or 1 ½ cups grated cheddar cheese…the sharper the cheese the cheesier the crackers
(Yep, that’s it…only 3 simple ingredients!)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Combine all three ingredients in a food processor and blend. The mixture will eventually turn into one big ball chasing itself around the bowl. Be patient because it can take a few minutes.
  3. Roll the ball into a log about 1 ½” in diameter. At this point you could refrigerate the dough until later.
  4. With a sharp knife slice ¼” thick pieces off the log (pictured) and place each one flat on an ungreased baking sheet. Try to rotate which side you are cutting down on because the top of the log does start to flatten a little. It is like your very own homemade slice and bake!
  5. If you want your crackers to look a little fancy (as pictured above) take a fork and gently mash down the top of each one before baking.
  6. Bake for 12 – 14 minutes or until golden brown.
These crackers can be stored in the freezer so double the recipe and save some for later!
Yield: Two dozen"


Saturday, December 10, 2011

Breastfeeding and Cough/Cold Remedies

Here is some very helpful information from Dr. Hale and the Infant Risk Center about which cough and cold OTC remedies are compatible with breastfeeding:

I personally skip all of the medications and go the holistic route. In my personal experience, they work MUCH better than any medication. Of course, check with your doctor about anything you take, including homeopathic remedies.

At the first hint of illness, I take:

- raw manuka honey (1 tbsp every few hours)
- probiotic pills (as directed on the label, usually twice per day)
- Edlerberry syrup (as directed on the label, usually 1 tbsp every few hours)
- pre-natal vitamin
- lots of water

This has literally cured me of illness, and at the very least, has made my illnesses last only a few days instead of a week or more. Everything can be found at your local health food stores.

What do you do?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Toddler Meal Ideas

Need a handy site to jazz up your meals for your toddler?

Well- check out Wholesome Toddler Food! 

Or, check out these quick links on the site:





and- my favorite- the meal planner!

Now- anyone who knows me, knows that I do not make separate meals for my son. He eats what we eat. Period. But, there are sometimes when he needs to eat and my husband is not home yet, or when I just need to make my son something quick for lunch and we are not going to eat.

And, most of these recipes can be adapted for the whole family.

Click here to visit Wholesome Toddler Food

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Healthier Turkey Recipes and MORE!

Check out this great site called Eat Better America for some great healthy recipes for your Thanksgiving dinner!

They take your favorite recipes, and tweak them just a bit to make them healthier and just as tasty as before. There are user reviews to help you know which ones taste great!

Turkey Recipes

Sides Recipes

Desserts Recipes

Appetizers Recipes

Vegetarian Dishes


Leftover Ideas

Click HERE to visit Eat Better America and get hundreds of recipes!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Thanksgiving- the healthy way!

Everyone has their favorite recipes for Thanksgiving, but why not incorporate some healthy choices into your meal this year?

I will be posting several healthy recipes over the next week to get you ready- but in the meantime- check out the HUNDREDS of recipes I posted last year! (Including diary free, gluten free recipes too!)

Click HERE to check them out!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Hello everyone! I need your help.

My husband is the Executive Director of a non-profit called The Arizona Academy of the Performing Arts. It is a group that has music and performing arts programs to serve kids and adults here in Arizona.

The Academy is in a contest on Facebook called Chase Community Giving. In this contest, Chase bank is giving away money to the charities receiving the most votes. It is that simple. It costs you nothing. It takes 10 seconds. You will not get spammed or get tons of annoying updates on your FB wall. Best of all, you get 10 votes, so you can vote for 10 of your favorite non-profits.

Please help and spread the word and vote for our group. The Academy could win up to $250,000- and this amount of money would be life changing for our organization and ensure the continuation of the organization for years to come.

Just go to:

1. "like" Chase Community Giving
2. Vote for The Academy


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

What is the WHO-CODE?

This is a VERY important topic that every citizen should familiarize themselves with- I am talking about the WHO Code for artificial formula marketing. Trust me- this issue is not just for breastfeeding mothers, this is something that everyone should be very concerned about. Please read and go to the Best for Babes site to learn more.


From the Best for Babes website

"What is the WHO-CODE?"

"The primary purpose of the “WHO-CODE” is to protect mothers and babies from the highly effective, aggressive and predatory marketing of substitutes for breastfeeding (i.e. infant formula, bottles, artificial nipples) at the most vulnerable period of their lives, the birth of a new baby.

Health workers helping vulnerable new moms and babies, day after day, have discovered an alarming trend: in areas where formula and bottles are marketed heavily, breastfeeding rates go down, and infection, disease and mortality go up.  This happens in countries around the globe, independent of  a country’s economic status.  In fact, it is estimated that globally, at least 1.5 million babies’ lives could be saved every year from improved breastfeeding & complementary feeding; in the U.S., it is estimated that 900 babies’ lives could be saved every year from improved breastfeeding rates, and $13 billion could be saved in health care and associated costs for ten pediatric diseases alone.

Some people don’t believe that formula marketing affects a mother’s decision to try breastfeeding or her ability to continue. It’s understandable: it is human nature not to want to believe that we can be so easily duped out of protecting and advancing our own and our babies’ health! So, before you read further, we urge you to please read this article on the 10 Most Successful Ad Campaigns of All Time.   Read about what ad campaign helped Miller go from selling 7 million to 31 million barrels of beer, which ad increased Clairol’s sales 800%, and how Nike’s market share jumped from 18% to 43%.   Now consider that in 2004, just as the U.S. government was rolling out its largest effort, the three-year, $40 million “Babies Were Born to Be Breastfed” awareness campaign, formula advertising almost doubled to $50 million annually. More importantly, the government’s campaign was diluted and rendered ineffective under the influence of industry lobbyists.  Further, under lobbying pressure, a valuable, national meta-study conclusively showing the association of breastfeeding and lower rates of disease was suppressed.  No surprise:  Breastfeeding rates went down.  Breastfeeding was outmarketed, and this is precisely why examples of successful formula marketing make it into marketing textbooks.  Try to remain objective while watching this extremely sophisticated formula commercial, and then consider it in the context of research showing that breastfeeding protects against SIDS and is critical in the NICU.

In recognition of the devastating effect of formula and bottle marketing, the World Health Organization and Unicef adopted the “WHO-CODE” in 1981.  The “WHO-CODE” is short for the World Health Organization’s International Code of the Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes. Scores of countries have enacted legislation implementing all or many of the provisions of the Code, but the U.S. has not.  Because “The Code” is a voluntary pledge, it is easy for countries to say they uphold the code even when they don’t enforce the following stipulations:
  1. No advertising of breast milk substitutes to families. (Read: Why formula advertising is different from other types of advertising, making it predatory.)
  2. No free samples or supplies in the health care system.
  3. No promotion of products through health care facilities, including no free or low-cost formula.
  4. No contact between marketing personnel and mothers.
  5. No gifts or personal samples to health workers.
  6. No words or pictures idealizing artificial feeding, including pictures of infants, on the labels or the product.
  7. Information to health workers should be scientific and factual only.
  8. All information on artificial feeding, including labels, should explain the benefits of breastfeeding and the costs and hazards associated with artificial feeding.
  9. Unsuitable products should not be promoted for babies.
  10. All products should be of high quality and take account of the climate and storage conditions of the country where they are used.
Note that several of these stipulations forbid the marketing of infant formula to health care workers.  Tremendous damage to mothers and babies occurs when formula companies market their products directly to parents through hospitals, physicians, health care professionals, and networking, peer support and “education” groups (such as expecting mother “classes”, lunches or events).

  We love to claim we are savvier at looking past the claims of a print ad or commercial–even when studies show us that rates of breastfeeding decline when formula advertising increases–but it is undeniable that we are easily influenced and persuaded by our trusted doctors, family members, and peers.  Formula companies are turning respected authorities, i.e. health professionals and organizations, into marketing arms for their product, a practice which is extremely unethical, and is especially hard for the public to see through.   Marsha Walker of NABA has collected examples of formula companies sponsoring pediatrician conferences, donating to nursing professional associations, and providing “information” and gift bags to Ob/Gyns for their patients.

We’ve learned that formula companies donate to hospital NICUs–a terribly mixed message considering that intensive care babies need breastmilk the most–with the understanding that formula gift bags are pushed on breastfeeding mothers.  Formula companies sponsor name badges, frappuccinos and breakfast “seminars” for hospital nurses, branded crib cards for the baby’s hospital bassinet, and funding for the hospital’s NICU.

Formula companies are now cross-marketing with maternity chains, huge baby registry sites and retail stores, photography studios like Olan Mills,  and even Disney to undermine breastfeeding moms with coupons and giveaways.   They know we all love coupons and giveaways! Our email addresses are being sold to formula companies and we, who struggle against the breastfeeding booby traps, are being zeroed in on and bombarded by formula marketing.   Parenting, medical websites and well-known bloggers are protecting parents’ “rights” to be educated by advertisements, instead of by unbiased physicians and feeding experts such as IBCLCs.  Formula companies routinely advertise and win the top spots in Working Mothers Magazine’s 100 Best Companies for Working Mothers, even though infant formula means more employee absenteeism, sick days, and higher health costs.
Unfortunately, formula marketing hurts not only breastfeeding mothers, but formula-feeding mothers too.   A hefty marketing budget ($2-$3 BILLION globally) artificially drives up the price of formula, making it harder to afford for those who need it, and outcompeting lower-priced generic brands.   It forces the U.S. government, health organizations and non-profits like ours to raise funds to market breastfeeding, educate hospitals and health organizations, physicians, nurses, and health professionals.    The government purchases billions in infant formula for low-income women through the WIC program.  Formula contracts, “new” formulations and advertising drives up this cost. Formula marketing experts are smart; they say that “breast is best” so we are lured into a false sense of security, yet there is no mention, ANYWHERE, of the next best thing to breastfeeding or a mother’s pumped milk, which is screened donor milk. When mothers are being bombarded by inaccurate advertising, are they really making an informed choice?

Formula marketing has cleverly hijacked the conversation about infant feeding, playing “the guilt card” and igniting the mommy wars by pitting mothers against each other, instead of harnessing and focusing our energy to demand better maternity policies, Baby-Friendly Hospitals, employer protocol, and protection of mothers’ rights.  If more mothers were being allowed to achieve their personal breastfeeding goals without being discriminated against, harassed, or humiliated, fewer of the more zealous activists would be misplacing their energy by accosting or judging formula feeding moms–a practice that we strongly condemn. As for guilt, the only people who should feel guilty are those who know about the negative impact of formula marketing and do it anyway.

If you are interested in learning about how formula marketing tactics negatively impact breastfeeding rates, we encourage you to read this summary of Selling Out Mothers and Babies, by Marsha Walker, RN, IBCLC, or order the full report.

We have one of the lowest breastfeeding rates of any industrialized country, and one of the highest infant and maternal mortality rates of any industrialized country. We can do better!

What can we do to raise awareness of the WHO-Code in the U.S.?   What can we do to demand that laws are put in place to enforce it?

Organizations & Resources:
World Health Organization:  Health Implications of Direct Advertising of Infant Formula
World Health Organization: Frequently Asked Questions on the WHO CODE
Unicef and the WHO-Code
National Alliance of Breastfeeding Advocacy
IBFAN: International Baby Food Action Network
Recommended Reading:
A Summary of the WHO Code (including, What, When and How) by
More breastfeeding could save 900 lives, $13 billion; (news on study by Melissa Bartick, MD)
Disney and Similac Team up to Undermine Breastfeeding Moms
Infant Formula Companies Milk U.S. Food Program  Economics in the NICU
PhD in Parenting:  How to Report a Unethical Promotion of [Breastmilk Substitutes], An Open Letter to the Attendees of the Nestle Family Blogger Event,  Similac and Babble Team Up to Dupe Breastfeeding Moms,  IBCLCs and Formula Feeding, oh, heck just search WHO CODE or infant formula on her blog!
There are LOTS of great articles on the WHO-CODE, sorry I couldn’t include them all–please let me know if I’ve missed an important, seminal link!"

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Breastfeeding failure- an Oxymoron!

Check out this beautiful post from Stephanie Casemore on the Best for Babes Website.

“Breastfeeding Failure” is an Oxymoron

"Lately I’ve been wondering if “breastfeeding failure” is an oxymoron. I mean, to fail at something don’t you need to have a predetermined understanding of what failure is and what success is? Must you not be able to assess and quantify? But breastfeeding is a relationship—not a test—and success looks different for everyone. A teen mom, the mother of a preemie, a woman working outside of the home, a stay at home mom: might breastfeeding not look different for a woman in each of these situations?

So why is it that so many women in our society today feel as though they failed at breastfeeding? Is it possible to even fail? If you breastfed, even for a short time, were you not a breastfeeding mom? How is it then that you can do something, but yet fail at it?

In almost every other human endeavour, we give credit for the attempt; we give credit for the effort; we give credit for the action. I am unsure of exactly what determines “breastfeeding success”—is it the WHO guidelines, the AAP, my mother’s experience, the local La Leche League members? It seems that are there many criteria that we hold ourselves and other women up against when it comes to breastfeeding failure. If you are one of the many women who believes she failed at breastfeeding, my question for you is “Who told you you failed?”

It was only when the breastfeeding relationship with second child was coming to an end—a  relationship that had been a three year odyssey in healing—that I began to think about my first breastfeeding experience and how the emotions surrounding that first breastfeeding effort affected my nursing relationship with my second child. It was at that point that I realized “breastfeeding failure” might very well be an oxymoron.

With my first child, my son, I had every intention of breastfeeding. I floated through my pregnancy thinking everything was going to be rainbows and sunshine! And then at 30 weeks, I got hit hard with pre-eclampsia and my plans began to dissolve.

From the start I pumped, expressing milk every two hours around the clock. My breast pump soon became a permanent fixture in my living room and remained so for the first year of my son’s life. Breastfeeding was more challenging than I could have ever imagined, and even though my son received far more breast milk (albeit by bottle) than most babies in our modern world, I still felt like a failure.

And I know I’m not alone. I’ve heard from many, many women over the past several years who feel that they failed at breastfeeding, and even more heart wrenching, feel they failed their children. Women who have struggled to breastfeed, who have believed the motto of “breast is best”, and who have in many cases gone to extraordinary lengths to try to provide their babies breast milk, are feeling enormous guilt and a burdensome sense of failure.

Breastfeeding is a biologically expected activity, but it must also be socially supported. If we were to follow our biology we would breastfeed our infants until they naturally wean, which Katherine Dettwyler’s research suggests is somewhere between 2.5 and 7 years of age. If this is the criteria we’re to use for “breastfeeding success” then almost every breastfeeding mom and baby are failures!
But in our human experience, breastfeeding is not only biologically led, it is also largely influenced and supported (or not supported) by our society. The division between what is biologically expected and what is socially supported can create a tremendous amount of difficulty for moms. When it comes to breastfeeding—and many other activities in life—moms will look around them to determine what success mean,  and our society presents some questionable determinates of breastfeeding success.
So I’ve come to this conclusion: “breastfeeding failure” is an oxymoron. You either breastfeed or you don’t. You can’t breastfeed—regardless of how long it lasts—and be a breastfeeding failure. How can we fail at something that has no predetermined finish line? You may not be satisfied with your experience; you may not reach your intended goal; but you do not fail when it comes to breastfeeding.  You do not fail your child when you have given everything you could and done everything you could do to breastfeed.

The reality of the situation is that due to the biological nature of breastfeeding and the expected relationship between a mother and her child, when breastfeeding doesn’t work out, there is a loss felt. This loss is sometimes not recognized as a loss and as a result many women carry with them feelings that they identify as guilt and a sense of failure. Just like any other loss we experience in life, it is important to recognize it and grieve it. There are things you can do to work through the loss of a breastfeeding relationship and to refuse the label of “breastfeeding failure”:
  • The first step to overcoming the lingering pain of a breastfeeding relationship that was not what you expected, not what you hoped for, is to reframe your understanding of what success and failure looks like. Who or what made the determination that you were a breastfeeding failure? Don’t give your power over to people, companies, media, or other groups that are not willing to recognize the success of your efforts.
  • Take back control of your experience. So you didn’t breastfeed as long as you may have planned; plans change. Things don’t always go as expected. Recognize all that you did do to make it work. Give yourself credit for your effort.
  • Consider your experience at the time. We have the luxury of looking back on our breastfeeding experience from a position of relative calm, hormonal stability, and rest. My guess though is that after your baby was born and you were struggling with breastfeeding, you were not feeling calm, hormonally stable, or particularly well-rested. It’s important to acknowledge the circumstances at the time and what you accomplished given the challenges. Then figure out how you will overcome those the next time around.
  • Grieve your loss. Breastfeeding is a relationship that is biologically expected. So when we don’t get that relationship, we experience a loss. As with any other relationship that ends, you need to grieve it. Just recognizing it as a loss can go a long way in helping you to come to terms with your experience. Talking about it will also assist you to process the emotions you are feeling. If you don’t work through the loss of your first breastfeeding experience, those emotions are likely to surface again with your next baby.
  • Learn from the experience and make it something positive. We can either choose to define our “failures” or be defined by them. Choose to define your experience as a learning opportunity and as a period of growth. You might use the experience to help support other women, take it as a lesson of persistence or humility, or use it as a vehicle to rail against the dangers of formula advertising. Whatever you take from the experience, let it be positive, for even in seemingly painful experiences there are opportunities for positive outcomes.
My final plea would be for all women to be kind and fair to each other—and to themselves. Question what success means and who it is that determines the criteria for success. And most importantly, avoid using “breastfeeding” and “failure” in the same sentence; I’m convinced it is an oxymoron.

Stephanie Casemore has experienced breastfeeding as a challenge, a gift, and a healing experience. She exclusively pumped for a year for her first child and nursed her second child for three years. Turning the challenges into a positive as an opportunity to support other mothers, Stephanie shares her experience through her books:  Breastfeeding, Take Two: Successful Breastfeeding the Second Time Around and Exclusively Pumping Breast Milk: A Guide to Providing Expressed Breast Milk for Your Baby."


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Meal Planning and Freezer Cooking

In my attempt to save money and make my life easier, I have been working at learning how to meal plan and freezer cook. At first, I thought it sounded so easy...boy was I wrong! I mean, once you get the hang of it- it IS easy. It saves so much time and money. However, it is a skill that needs to be learned and practiced.

It is hard for me- because I am more casual when it comes to eating. Whatever I feel like at the moment, is what I want to eat. I don't like planning out meals, despite being a planner in most other areas of my life. But with me only working part-time and now having two kids- it has become a necessity.

It also has been interesting for me to do this while keeping health in mind. Some freezer cooking options are not the healthiest. Plus, when you eat mostly fresh foods and not as many processed, boxed foods, it is hard to only grocery shop every few weeks and plan ahead.

picture from
BUT- it can be done. I am not going crazy with it, but I am incorporating some ideas into my routine.

Check out some great resources and menu suggestions here:

It is the same principal as making your own baby food. You control the ingredients, you save money, and buy spending some time once in awhile, you save time on a daily basis by having the food ready to go!

So- let me know! Do you do freezer cooking or meal planning? Tips? SHARE!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Recipe of the Day- Pumpkin Spice Muffins!

From the Pioneer Woman...another use of my favorite ingredient- PUMPKIN!

Pumpkin Spice Muffins

(photo from


  • 1 cup All-purpose Flour
  • 1/2 cup Sugar- (I would substitute some agave nectar/honey and molasses here a total of about 1/4-1/3 cup)
  • 2 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon Ground Ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon Nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 4 Tablespoons Butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 cup (heaping) Pumpkin Puree
  • 1/2 cup Evaporated Milk
  • 1 whole Egg
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon Vanilla
  • 1/2 cup Golden Raisins (optional!)
  • Preparation Instructions

    Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Generously grease 12 muffin tins.
    Sift flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt. Cut in butter with two knives or a pastry blender until it is fully incorporated. In a separate bowl, mix together pumpkin, evaporated milk, egg, and vanilla. Pour pumpkin mixture into the flour mixture. Add raisins. Fold gently until mixture is just combined.
    Pour into a greased muffin pan—batter hardly ever fills all twelve unless you keep it down to 1/2 full. Sprinkle with remaining cinnamon-sugar-nutmeg mixture over the top of each unbaked muffin.
    Bake for 25 minutes. Allow to cool in pan for 15 minutes, then remove and allow to cool
 She tops her muffins with a cinnamon sugar mix and then frosts with cream cheese frosting, but I think the basic recipe is healthier and just as delicious!


Monday, October 17, 2011

Stem Cells in Breastmilk!

Check out this amazing story about stem cells found in breastmilk. This is amazing, not only for the medical benefits, but also for the many people who are opposed to using embryonic stem cells!

"Serious and fatal diseases such as pancreatic cancer, Parkinson's disease and diabetes may eventually be treated using stem cells from breast milk, researchers from the University of Western Australia have discovered.

UWA PhD student Foteini Hassiotou has potentially broken through the greatest hurdle in stem cell research - the ability to ethically obtain stem cells in a non-invasive manner."

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Time for Compassion!!

I just came across this article that I LOVE. It talks about using compassion when talking about Mommy/Baby issues on the internet.

It is no secret that I am a big advocate for breastfeeding. I love it and my personal experience with it has changed my life for the better. That being said- I also do not ever in any way want to make formula feeding Moms feel bad! Formula is not evil! Every Mom and Dad does their best. Period.

I hope that it is always clear that I try and only present information about breastfeeding and try and help educate people to help their feeding experience better. I have many, many friends who have fed their babies formula. HECK- my Mom's breastmilk dried up after awhile and I was given formula. My husband was exclusively formula fed. We turned out just fine. AND my boys have never had even an ounce of formula. I even became one of "those women" who breastfed my oldest until he was over 2 years old! I breastfed while I was pregnant! So, I have been on both sides of the issue.

But of course, I am a huge believer that more women would breastfeed (and for longer) if they were given information and support from before they even gave birth. Let's all just get along and stick together! Raising kids is hard enough without attacking each other. 

Check out this great article on the Huffington Post talking about this very topic! 

Baby friendly hospitals

Check out this great resource on the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative. To become a baby friendly hospital, the facility must meet 10 requirements:

"The Ten Steps To Successful Breastfeeding

The BFHI promotes, protects, and supports breastfeeding through The Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding for Hospitals, as outlined by UNICEF/WHO. The steps for the United States are:

1 - Have a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff.
2 - Train all health care staff in skills necessary to implement this policy.
3 - Inform all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding.
4 - Help mothers initiate breastfeeding within one hour of birth.
5 - Show mothers how to breastfeed and how to maintain lactation, even if they are separated from their infants.
6 - Give newborn infants no food or drink other than breastmilk, unless medically indicated.
7 - Practice “rooming in”-- allow mothers and infants to remain together 24 hours a day.
8 - Encourage breastfeeding on demand.
9 - Give no pacifiers or artificial nipples to breastfeeding infants.
10 - Foster the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refer mothers to them on discharge from the hospital or clinic"

Sadly, there are only 119 hospitals certified in the entire country, and ZERO in Arizona. Should we start advocating for some, or what!!??

Check out this site:

Thursday, October 6, 2011

More research on Breastmilk and Good Bacteria

Check out this great video about research being done by UC Davis about the chemistry of breastmilk and how it feeds the good bacteria in our stomachs. Cures are being developed for many diseases with this information!

Watch by clicking the link below!!/video/video.php?v=10150331607079487

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Recipe of the Day- Agave Banana Spice Cake (No refined sugar!)

Healthy and delicious! Also great for little ones, as long as they have had milk, eggs and wheat flour. (About 12-18 months)

  • 4 ounces butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup agave nectar
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 to 3 bananas, mashed, about 3/4 cup
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk or sour milk- (check out easy substitutions HERE)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 scant teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Heat oven to 350°. Grease and flour an 8- or 9-inch square pan.

In a large mixing bowl with electric mixer, cream butter, agave nectar and molasses. Beat in egg, milk, vanilla, and mashed banana until blended. Combine remaining dry ingredients and spices. Stir the dry ingredients into the first mixture until moistened. Spread in prepared pan.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until cake springs back when lightly touched with finger. 

Monday, September 26, 2011

Information about milk substitutes

From Yahoo:

Cow-free milk is no passing trend: The milk-alternatives market grew 12.5 percent last year, according to the Beverage Marketing Corporation. "While cow's milk contains nutrients such as calcium, vitamin D, and protein, people are turning to nondairy varieties because of allergies, lactose intolerance, and concerns about hormones and antibiotics," says Elisa Zied, R.D., author of Nutrition at Your Fingertips. Some faux milks are more beneficial than good old moo juice and clock in at fewer calories (skim has 90 per eight-ounce glass), while others lack nutritional value or harbor hidden calories and sugar, particularly the vanilla-and chocolate-flavored ones. Consult this guide before you drink up.

Almond Milk

Almond Breeze Original, Per cup: 60 cal, 2.5 g fat (0 g sat), 8 g carbs (7 g sugars), 150 mg sodium, 1 g fiber, 1 g protein
Taste: Creamy, rich, and slightly nutty with a hint of sweetness

Pros: The least caloric of the bunch, it's fortified with vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant that fights UV damage, as well as calcium and vitamins A and D

Cons: While almonds themselves are a good source of fiber and protein, the milk contains skimpy amounts of these nutrients (that's because the milk is made by grinding the nuts and mixing with water). Almond milk is also higher in sodium than other alternatives.

Best in: Smoothies, coffee, and cereal

Hemp Milk

Tempt Original, Per cup: 100 cal, 6 g fat (0.5 g sat), 9 g carbs (6 g sugars), 110 mg sodium, 0 g fiber, 2 g protein

Taste: Nutty and earthy

Pros: It's naturally rich in omega-3 fatty acids—wonder nutrients for your heart, brain, and mood. Hemp milk is made with cannabis seeds, but it won't get you high, because it lacks significant THC (the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana). 

Cons: Depending on the brand, you may gulp only 10 percent of your daily calcium needs. It's not a great source of protein either.

Best in: Mashed potatoes, muffins, and quick breads. Unobtrusive in flavor, it's a good stand-in for cow's milk in baked foods.

Coconut Milk

So Delicious Coconut Milk Beverage Original, Per cup: 80 cal, 5 g fat (5 g sat), 7 g carbs (6 g sugars), 15 mg sodium, 0 g fiber, 1 g protein
Taste: Thick, creamy, and, well, coconut-y

Pros: It has the least amount of sodium and can be fairly low-cal—even some flavored kinds will cost you only 90 calories per serving. Plus, most brands are fortified with half a day's worth of vitamin B12, a brain-boosting nutrient. 

Cons: "The majority of fat is saturated," says Lauren Slayton, R.D., founder of Foodtrainers in New York City. But at five grams per serving, it constitutes less than 8 percent of your total daily value for fat.

Best in: Coffee, tea, pudding, smoothies, and oatmeal—it's a go-to thickener.

Rice Milk

Rice Dream Enriched Original, Per cup: 120 cal, 2.5 g fat (0 g sat), 23 g carbs (10 g sugars), 100 mg sodium, 0 g fiber, 1 g protein
Taste: Light, watery, and sweet

Pros: The carbs. "Have a glass before or after a workout—it offers carbs to fuel and fluid to hydrate, and like a sports drink, it's a good source of electrolytes," says Nancy Clark, R.D., author of Nancy Clark's Sports Nutrition Guidebook.

Cons: The carbs. If you're trying to drop a few pounds, it's best to eat whole-grain carbs, which contain filling fiber; rice milk has zero.

Best in: Desserts, baked goods, pancakes, and French toast. Its natural sweetness complements indulgent foods.

Soy Milk

Silk Original, Per cup: 100 cal, 4 g fat (0.5 g sat), 8 g carbs (6 g sugars), 120 mg sodium, 1 g fiber, 6 g protein
Taste: Faintly sweet. Some varieties have a slight tofu flavor.

Pros: It has almost as much protein as cow's milk, plus plant chemicals that may help inhibit absorption of cholesterol. It's often fortified, so shake the carton well—added calcium tends to settle at the bottom, says Zied. 

Cons: Some studies suggest that overconsuming soy promotes breast cancer. "A good guideline is about 25 grams of soy protein per day," says Zied. 

Best in: Creamy soups and salad dressings, sauces, casseroles, and other savory dishes. Vanilla-flavored varieties are great in coffee or tea (or by the glass!).


Friday, September 23, 2011

First Foods!

So- my little man turned 6 months old! Seems crazy how fast time flies by. Per current guidelines, he was exclusively breastfed until 6 months and then I started introducing solids, following the 4 day wait rule.

We decided to pick avocados as his first food. (We did the same with my older son- so it was an easy choice). I took half of the avocado and mashed it up and gave it to him on a spoon and left the other half in large slices for him to feed himself.

He loved it! He liked the taste and did not even make weird faces. He mostly played and explored- just as he should.

We also introduced bananas this week. I did the same- mashed some, left some whole. I also froze part of the banana and put it into a mesh feeder because the poor guy is teething something awful and he loved the cold on his gums.

Overall- it was a great experience and although I am sad that I am no longer his only food source, I am excited to introduce him to so many great new flavors and foods!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Role of Breastfeeding and Bacteria

Here is an amazing article on how breastmilk introduces good bacteria into the stomachs of newborns, thus developing and shaping their immune systems.


Good bacteria, the role of breastmilk in immune system development and that "one" bottle by Lakeshore Medical Breastfeeding Medicine Clinic

In a perfect world, a term, healthy newborn comes into the world vaginally.  Again, I want to talk about normal.  I know the process doesn't go normally all the time. (And I've talked about this here.)

The delivery of that baby close to the anus is critical for immune system development.  The healthy, term newborn's gut is sterile (without bacteria) and the bacteria that get into that pristine gut are truly important.  During a vaginal delivery, the largely harmless bacteria around the mother's anus are the bacteria getting into the newborn gut.  They increase in number, compete for food and space and help coordinate efforts to create a healthy gut for that baby.  With the exception of our skin, the gut is the largest immune system organ in our body.

Because breastfeeding is normal, what happens to healthy, term newborns who are breastfed is normal.  The newborn has a delay in their immune response to bacteria.  A delay?  To a bacteria?  Yup.  Normal.  After delivery, that newborn gut has many challenges from invaders that may not be friendly.  Doesn't seem too smart not to fight back.

We all have mechanisms in our body to fight infection.  In the gut it's called Gut Associated Lymphoid Tissue (GALT) and it's ready to roll at 19 weeks of gestation.  All of the things that make up the GALT are waiting for a specific series of events to occur after delivery, when, if it proceeds normally, will result in a functioning immune system. 

The sequence of those events is important.  For example, after the good (commensal) bacteria has set up shop in the newborn gut, something called an "isolated lymphoid follicle" in the intestine of that baby develops.  It's activated by substances in colostrum and helps with T cell development and function.

T cells are part of what is called the "innate" system.  They mature in the thymus, an immune system structure found in the neck and chest of newborns.  Human milk activates resting thymus cells, helping to shape the immune function of these cells.  Breastfed kids have a larger thymus than those that are not breastfed; the thymus of the breastfed child is up to twice the size of a child not breastfed.  The innate immune system contains cells that kill bacteria but they do it by also causing inflammation and tissue damage.

The innate immune system is different from the "adaptive" immune system, which is very specific to certain invaders.  (Never being very good at immunology, but being really great at American football, I see the innate system as the offensive line, generally protecting from guys coming at the quarterback.  The adaptive immune system is more like the wide receiver or cornerback- a player with a more specific job)

The cells of the adaptive immune system, antibodies, come in several flavors: Immunoglobulin M (IgM), which is the first type of antibody produced and isn't very specific; IgG which is transferred across the placenta and is the only immunoglobulin that the baby gets from mom and has at birth (the newborn, with only IgG is essentially immuno-compromised); IgE which isn't too relevant here; and IgA which rocks.  IgA is a "sticky" immunoglobulin that protects surface areas from infection.  A special type of IgA, secretory IgA, is found in huge numbers in human milk and protects the airway, gut and other mucous membranes from infection. Secretory IgA is special because the "secretory" part is an addition to the IgA  and importantly,  is resistant to being broken down  by the baby' stomach and GI tract.

So, we have a new baby, exposed immediately to bacteria...why no inflammation?  Well, the activity of the T-cells is delayed for about 10 days (remember, T-cells cause inflammation and tissue damage.) Well... secretory IgA helps.  It's made by mom in response to infections in her environment and passed to the baby through breastfeeding.  Moms and babies should stay together.  This is one good reason: mom can't make antibodies to things that the baby is exposed to if the baby isn't with her.

Human milk also contains special sugars, oligosaccharides, which help feed good bacteria.  In fact, they are necessary for that good bacteria to grow.  Plus, they are a type of prebiotic- something can block bad bacteria before they ever get to the surface of the gut.  They let the probiotics, the good bacteria, stay in the gut.  And because they never let the bad bacteria get to the gut surface, no innate immune system is needed, and we get no inflammation or tissue damage.  Oligosaccharides also work with certain receptors (called Toll Like Receptors).  These receptors work in the first 5 days (when are our kids getting supplemented?) and are controlled tightly, like hour by hour. 

In the time that the immune system is delayed, oligosaccharides, toll like receptors and good bacteria protect against bad bacteria and avoid the need for an inflammatory response.  Any alteration in human milk or addition of formula interferes with toll like receptor function, changes the bacteria that the baby's gut gets exposed to and can then lead to inflammation and tissue damage, the result we were trying so hard to avoid.

Just one bottle.

The lesson?  Let's make sure we know why we are supplementing. 

(I suppose that's another soap box- check out the "3b's"  birth weight, blood sugar and bilirubin)

Jenny Thomas, MD, IBCLC, FAAP, FABM

More info?  A very nice book from Dr. Lars Hanson on Breastfeeding and Human Milk.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Recipe of the Day- Carrot Cake Agave Muffins!

 Carrot Cake Agave Muffins: – Makes 36 muffins

1 cup Organic Amber Agave Nectar
4 large eggs
1 cup canola oil
3 cups shredded fresh carrots
2 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 F.
Prepare 3 – 12 cup muffin pans with liners. In a large bowl, combine agave, eggs, and oil, beat well. Stir in carrots. In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients. Blend in batter. Fill cups only half-way for proper baking. Bake 22 to 25 minutes until the center of a muffin springs back when lightly touched.


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Introducing Solids to Your Preemie

Check out this great article about introducing solid to preemies from Wholesome Baby Food:

This article has some really important information to be sure your preemie gets the proper nutrition!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Recipe of the Day- Grilled Veggies!

A GREAT idea for babies, toddlers, kids and adults! Everyone will love the selection and the sweetness added by the balsamic vinegar. Check out this great recipe from Giada and the Food Network- or come up with your own variation. Labor Day is the perfect time to grill with the family.

Grilled Vegetables


  • 3 red bell peppers, seeded and halved
  • 3 yellow squash (about 1 pound total), sliced lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick rectangles
  • 3 zucchini (about 12 ounces total), sliced lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick rectangles
  • 3 Japanese eggplant (12 ounces total), sliced lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick rectangles
  • 12 cremini mushrooms
  • 1 bunch (1-pound) asparagus, trimmed
  • 12 green onions, roots cut off
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves


Place a grill pan over medium-high heat or prepare the barbecue (medium-high heat). Brush the vegetables with 1/4 cup of the oil to coat lightly. Sprinkle the vegetables with salt and pepper. Working in batches, grill the vegetables until tender and lightly charred all over, about 8 to 10 minutes for the bell peppers; 7 minutes for the yellow squash, zucchini, eggplant, and mushrooms; 4 minutes for the asparagus and green onions. Arrange the vegetables on a platter. The key to getting those great grill marks is to not shift the vegetables too frequently once they've been placed on the hot grill.
Meanwhile, whisk the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, parsley, basil, and rosemary in a small bowl to blend. Add salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle the herb mixture over the vegetables. Serve the vegetables, warm or at room temperature.


Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Breastfeeding Moms More Aggressive?!

Turns out- it is true...

Check out this article to find out what us nursing mamas have in common with mama grizzlies!

"Why you shouldn’t challenge a breast-feeding mom to play Call of Duty"

"When you happen upon a couple of bear cubs in the woods, what's the first thing that comes to mind? If you're answer was "I wanna squeeze 'em," you're wrong. It should be "where's the mom?" And with good reason. Numerous non-human mammals are known to exhibit heightened levels of aggression in defense of their young.

But what about humans? A newly published study has revealed the first behavioral evidence for heightened aggression in nursing women. What's more, these women are not only more likely to display aggressive behavior than their formula-feeding peers, they actually exhibit lower systolic blood pressure in the process. Translation? Breast feeding can help you defend your young and help keep you de-stressed.

The researchers' hypothesis — that human mothers would display accentuated aggressiveness while breast feeding — was based on prior research in non-human mammals that shows that lactation enables heightened defensive aggression by decreasing the animal's fear response. Evolutionarily speaking, the ability to react defensively is enormously beneficial to the fitness of a mother and her offspring.
But the scientists couldn't exactly pit these women against legitimately harmful threats, so how did the researchers screen for aggression? Simple: a videogame tournament.

Well, not videogames, per se. Eighteen nursing mothers, 17 formula-feeding moms, and 20 non-mothers were recruited to participate in a computerized, competitive, reaction-time test (okay, a videogame) against a research assistant posing as an overtly confrontational study participant (try to imagine an unnecessarily hostile, pre-teen XBox Live opponent on Call of Duty).
Here's where things get awesome. If the study participant won a round of the competition, she was allowed to press a button that delivered what the researchers describe as a "punitive sound burst" to their overtly hostile opponent (the trained research assistant). For those of you wondering, the "punitive sound burst" in this instance is roughly the equivalent of "booyah, bitch," and has, in fact, been validated as a measure of physical aggression.

The paper's authors describe their findings:
Breast-feeding mothers inflicted louder and longer punitive sound bursts on unduly aggressive confederates than did formula-feeding mothers or women who had never been pregnant.
In fact, mothers who exclusively breast-fed their infants were found to be almost twice as aggressive as formula-feeding women and non-mothers. (It's worth noting that formula-feeding women did not exhibit more aggressive behavior than non-mothers.)
The researchers believe the tendency for breast-feeding mothers to dish out longer and louder punitive sound bursts is mediated by a lactation-related decrease in the body's response to stress. The researchers explain:
Exclusively breast-feeding mothers had lower [blood pressure] during the aggressive encounters relative to the other groups, and [blood pressure] correlated inversely with aggressive behavior. Together, these findings suggest that in humans, as in many other mammalian species, lactating mothers are more likely to aggress against hostile conspecifics than are non-lactating mothers or [women who have never given birth], at least in part because they experience dampened arousal in response to stressful aggressive encounters.
So what's the take home message?

"Breast-feeding mothers aren't going to go out and get into bar fights," said UCLA's Dr. Jennifer Hahn-Holebrook, lead author of the study. "But if someone is threatening them or their infant, our research suggests they may be more likely to defend themselves in an aggressive manner."

The researchers' paper, "Maternal Defense: Breast Feeding Increases Aggression by Reducing Stress" appears in the September issue of Psychological Science
Thanks to Dr. Hahn-Holebrook for the forwarded copy of the paper"


Wow! Don't mess with my kiddos, haha!