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!