A Freeze Pop and Go-Gurt Alternative

With summer fast approaching the ice cream trucks and other cold treat offerings become hard to ignore. Thankfully, there are simple and easy (and healthy!) ways to make refreshing summer treats at home. Zipzicles are re-closeable plastic tubes for making icee pops or on-the-go yogurt snacks. There are also several easily re-usable silicone options. siliconemolds

For on-the-go yogurt sticks, Zipzicles work the best since they seal firmly.

Yogurt, coconut milk or cream, or fresh whole milk blended with your favorite berries, fruits, and maybe a bit of honey make a delicious and filling snack that won’t spike your child’s blood sugar, or stress their liver with a fructose overload.

http://www.weedemandreap.com/10-ultimate-summer-popsicle-recipes/I love DaNelle’s Real Food Popscicle Recipes, although I am sure you can get away with less honey & maple syrup than called for. A banana can also be substituted for other more concentrated sweeteners that inherently lack fiber (which helps the body process the sweet without overburdening the liver).

Also, half a recipe will go a long way when your filling these smaller containers instead of the typical too-large-for-a-child-sized-serving popsicle molds.

Have fun and get creative by making up your own recipes with your kids! Add herbs (lemon basil?), spices (coconut chai anyone?), or try a kombucha-berry blend.

Add an extra nutritional boost with a pastured egg yolk, grass-fed gelatin, local bee pollen, or probiotic powder.

Enjoy!!

 

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Why All the Cavities in Toddlers?!

A new study finds a piece of the puzzle: maternal vitamin D levels correlate with early tooth decay.

The bad news: Tooth decay among children is rampant (in 2004 the CDC estimated the cavity rate to be 28% among 2-5 year-olds), with cavities developing at younger and younger ages, including toddlers and even babies who are being drilled and filled at increasing rates! Often dentists will even recommend putting these small children under general anesthesia for these procedures!

The good news: This upswing in pediatric dental decay is completely preventable (and even reversible.. more on that later)!

This new study, published last week in Pediatrics, confirms the role of vitamin D in preventing tooth decay through building strong enamel in-utero, before baby is even born, and long before his or her teeth erupt. The three events described below were highly correlated.

33% of mothers were vitamin D deficient during their current pregancy
22% of these infants had enamel hypoplasia
23% of the infants had dental caries at age 1

Enamel, the outermost protective layer of the teeth is not only the hardest substance in the body, it also contains the highest mineral content (96%!). We know that enamel begins forming in the third or fourth month, and that half of an infant’s bone calcium is accumulated within the last 6 weeks of gestation (1). As much as 5/6ths of an infants primary tooth enamel is formed during gestation! And vitamin D’s role in all of this: besides being largely responsible for proper mineralization during this gestational time, vitamin D also alters genetic expression to normalize calcium and phosphorus balance! (2) (In fact, hundreds of genes are known to be regulated by 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D! (3))

Progress of enamel formation for primary teeth (4)

Amount of enamel formed at birth  Enamel mineralization completed
Primary
maxillary
tooth
Central incisor 5/6 1.5 months after birth
Lateral incisor 2/3 2.5 months after birth
Canine 1/3 9 months after birth
1st molar Cusps united; occlusal completely calcified
and 1/2 to 3/4 crown height
6 months after birth
2nd molar Cusps united; occlusal incompletely calcified;
calcified tissue covers 1/5 to 1⁄4 crown height
11 months after birth
Primary
mandibular
tooth
Central incisor 3/5 2.5 months after birth
Lateral incisor 3/5 3 months after birth
Canine 1/3 9 months after birth
1st molar Cusps united; occlusal
completely calcified
5.5 months after birth
2nd molar Cusps united; occlusal
incompletely calcified
10 months after birth

How Much Vitamin D?

It has become increasingly evident that our conventional advice regarding vitamin D intake (especially during pregnancy and lactation) has been insufficient. The current RDA continues to lag behind the latest scientific research, still not increasing the amounts for pregnant or lactating women (600 IU), despite the fact that much vitamin D is needed in the last trimester during rapid fetal skeletal growth, and indications that over a third of new mothers and infants have such low vitamin D levels they are undetectable! (5)

During pregnancy and breastfeeding mothers should be getting ample amounts of vitamin D along with vitamins A and K and plenty of minerals since they all work in concert for bone development and mineralization. Vitamin D does not work alone, and should always be consumed in concert with its coworkers that are naturally coexistent in real-foods (see below).

I (along with many other health professionals following the latest research) recommend 2,000 IU daily of vitamin D for pregnant and breastfeeding women. This will provide at least 400 IU of vitamin D in your milk, which is the current RDA for infants (the same amount that is often prescribed to infants via vitamin D drops since deficiency is so rampant).

How to Get Vitamin D?

The 5 best, most economical sources of vitamin D are:

#1 Cod Liver Oil: I recommend Green Pastures Fermented Cod Liver Oil (many people and children prefer the cinnamon flavor). Many people feel it is cost prohibitive, so I recommend taking as much as you can afford during your pregnancy, up to about 1.5 teaspoons/day in winter months. Less if you are including other dense sources of vitamin D in your diet.

#2 Pastured Lard, at up to 1,000 IU of vitamin D in a single tablespoon (!!!), is the second highest source for vitamin D, an excellent source in the winter months! Vitamin D requires fats for absorption, making lard an extra strong source of the good stuff! Lard is surprisingly easy to render yourself at home in a simple crockpot. Robb Wolf’s tutorial is easy to follow.

#4 Fish: Salmon and sardines are excellent sources for a host of bone-building nutrients when eaten with the bones and skin.

#5 Sunlight: free, readily available, and with the added bonus of fun outdoor activities: hiking, swimming, gardening, slow walks, or just casual basking! There is no reason to be as afraid of sunlight as we are, so don’t block it with chemical sunscreen which have their own health risks! However, as the graphic below shows, people living in northern latitudes require more food sources of vitamin D due to lower UVB exposure. (6) Remember, humans used to spend most of their time outside, and you cannot overdose on vitamin D from sunlight.

latitude-vitaminDStart early building up your vitamin D status (preconception if possible… it’s also involved in cell differentiation!); play outside and enjoy nourishing foods…. like salmon patties cooked in pastured lard along side a large green salad or dark green leafies!

Quick & Easy Salmon Patties

1 large can wild red salmon
2 pastured eggs
1/2 cup left over cooked whole grain (optional, but millet and/or quinoa works well)
dill, fresh or dried to taste
1 tsp mustard
1 lemon squeezed (opt)
finely chopped green stuff (opt): kale, collards, dandelion, chickweed, ramps, nettles, etc
salt & peppe

Form into patties and fry in lard (coconut oil works well, too) over medium-high heat. Enjoy with ketchup, mustard, or a lemon-dill sauce.

Sources:

1. American Academy of Pediatrics, Committee on Nutrition. “The prophylactic requirement and the toxicity of vitamin D,” Pediatrics, March 1963; 512-52.

2. DeLuca HF. Overview of general physiologic features and functions of vitamin D. Am J Clin Nutr. 2004;80(6 Suppl):1689S-1696S.

3. Samuel S, Sitrin MD. Vitamin D’s role in cell proliferation and differentiation. Nutr Rev. 2008;66(10 Suppl 2):S116-24.

4. Ash, Major M.; Nelson, Stanley J. (2003). Wheeler’s dental anatomy, physiology, and occlusion. Philadelphia: W.B. Saunders

5. Bishop, N. “Perinatal Vitamin D Actions.” In Feldman, D. Pike, J.W. Glorieux, F.H. eds., Vitamin D: Second Edition, Burlington: Elsevier Academic Press, 2005; 803-810.

6. http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletters/Harvard_Womens_Health_Watch/2008/September/Time_for_more_vitamin_D

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Lead in Baby Food: Gerber, Del Monte, Beech Nut Go to Court

Yet another reason surfaces to feed babies real food made in your own kitchen.

“Gerber Products Co., Del Monte Foods, Beech-Nut Nutrition Corp. and many other makers of baby foods and juices are selling products containing lead at levels that require warning labels under California Proposition 65, the Environmental Law Foundation asserts” Read more here.

Below are some simple tips for feeding your baby foods at home. It does not need to be complicated or time consuming. Personally, I never owned a food mill or other fancy apparatus other than a blender.

1. Simply mash up food from your own plate for baby, or throw some in the blender for a thinner puree. You can also mix some breastmilk in with mashed food to thin it for younger babies.

2. Keep quick baby foods on hand for times when you have no time: avocado, banana, cooked carrots, sweet potatoes, peas, hummus or just smashed garbanzos or other beans for the young baby.

3. To plan ahead a bit, puree foods in batches, freeze them in ice cube trays, and then store them in a freezer bag. The result: perfectly portioned baby foods that can be ready super quick! Just warm them up over the stove or on a tray in the toaster oven.

Check out this books for more tips, recipes, and nutritional wisdom for feeding babies and young children:

imagesThe Nourishing Traditions Book of Baby & Child Care

Real food for mother baby

Real Food for Mother and Baby

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The Nourished Baby

 

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5 Practices to Bring Vibrant Health into Your Family in the New Year

1. Play More!

Close the laptop, turn off the TV, get down on the floor with your kids and play: wrestle, play hide & seek, tickle, play a card game, tell jokes.

When the kids aren’t listening, and there just isn’t enough time for everything that needs to get done… this is exactly the time to stop everything and play. Really. You’ll be amazed at how quickly this one small act can completely change the family perspective and allow everyone to move on from a grounded place of inner and inter-connectedness.

I like these articles on families playing together:

Playborhood – Great ideas for making your whole neighborhood play-friendly
Playful Parenting – Dr. Lawrence Cohen on the Art of Roughhousing and how to join kids in their world.
Dr. Laura Markham shares great tips for keeping it fun… even mundane daily tasks

2. Plant a Garden

Dig in the dirt together, plant flowers or veggies to put on the table. Not only are kids more likely to eat foods they grow themselves, they will learn things about the cycle of life, of personal growth, and responsibility that cannot be taught with words.

For ideas on what to plant and how to keep kids inspired in the garden, check out these excellent tips:

Earth Easy – Gardening with Children
Kids Gardening

3. Practice Random Acts of Kindness

381804_10151332674515466_339389615_nUnconditionally sharing love with the world around us keeps our hearts open to both receiving and giving the natural flow of love that wants to move through us into the world. Science agrees. A new study from the University of British Columbia and the University of California, Riverside found that “children who make an effort to perform acts of kindness are happier and experience greater acceptance from their peers”.

Check out these sites for ideas:

The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation
Dare to Be an Angel
Help Others
Spread Kindness

4. Cut Out the Sweets (this means juice, too)

Kids snacks and drinks are full, full, full of sugar which messes with kids appetites, blood sugar levels, behavior, and ability to concentrate (and predisposes them for obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and even alzheimers, which is now being called Type 3 diabetes). You would be surprised at how much sugar is in juice… a beverage that us parents grew up with believing it was a healthy part of a complete breakfast… yet it has as much sugar as soda!

Cut back on the sweet drinks this year and enjoy more water… maybe infused with a taste of freshly-squeezed berries, or lemon. Try making your own homemade sodas or kombucha (which has the added benefit of being probiotic!) – teens have been known to really get into this! Soda making can be really easy, and can be done in as little as 5 minutes with this method from The Healthy Home Economist! Or, if you have a budding chemist in your house, you can really get down and dirty making soda completely from scratch with these instructions from Mother Earth News.

5. Eat More Nutrient-Dense Foods

Foods grown locally often have significantly higher nutrient levels and are more flavorful (and appealing to kids!) since they are more fresh, and are able to ripen naturally on the vine rather than being picked green. Visit your local farmers markets as a family and let the kids pick some things out. Find a local source for eggs, meats, and milk. The increase in taste and nutrients is very much worth the relatively small increase in price.

marrowAdd organ meats to your family’s diet. Liver, heart, and bone marrow are absolutely packed  full of brain and body building nutrients like vitamin A, CoQ10, iron, B complex vitamins, and zinc (a mineral that is easy to fall short in, but is so important for growing bodies). Keep some frozen liver or heart in the freezer to grate into chili, sauces, meatloaf, burgers, and sausage. Consider adding some finely chopped greens as well for more nutritional umph. Start small and add more as you become used to it. Chowstalker has oodles of recipes for tasty ways to incorporate organ meats into your diet.

Check out these sites for more on the benefits:

Metabolic Healing – Michael Envoy breaks down the nutrient contents of organ meats.
Real Milk – A place to find info on and local sources of fresh milk
Eat Wild – On the benefits of grass-fed meats & dairy

May 2013 bring an abundance of health, love, and peace into our hearts, homes, and communities as we open to and engage with the opportunities presented to us each day… in each moment.

In what ways will your family be welcoming abundant health and happiness into your home this year?

 

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What to Do With All That Halloween Candy (besides eat it, of course)

Halloween has got to be the most fun holiday of the year. When else do we all get to dress up,  go out in public looking absolutely and entirely goofy, letting our inner child loose with gut laughter and silliness?! As we all work hard to put the finishing touches on our Halloween costumes, we want our children to focus on the fun of being together rather than eating a bunch of sugary factory-made candies that, if eaten, could tip them over the edge into a winter season of runny noses, trips to the doctor, and rounds of gut-damaging antibiotics.

So what to do with all the junk they’ll be collecting? Here are 3 creative ideas:

1. Make an Exchange With The Toothless Fairy
Each year just before heading off to bed on Halloween night, my boys combine their candy collection and set it out on the porch for The Toothless Fairy. In the night, while they are fast asleep, The Toothless Fairy comes and trades their bucket of candy for a gift they can enjoy more long-term. I have gathered gift ideas from other parents whose homes are visited by The Candy Fairy, The Toothless Fairy, or who make the trade themselves. Here are some of their ideas:
Homemade gift certificates (to make a homemade treat together, take a trip to the park…)
Book
Jewelry (even pre-teens/teens can enjoy this)
A game to enjoy together as a family
Movie
Coloring/activity books
Homemade healthy treats
New toy (this doesn’t need to be anything big or expensive.)
Puzzle
Art supplies
A trip to the zoo

2. Do Experiments on the Candy
Check out www.CandyExperiments.com for some great ideas! Did you know that the letters on M&M’s and Skittles will float in water once the sugary shell dissolves? From acid tests to experiments with density. Here are some other interesting scientific insights from candy.
In this article, from Mothering Sept/Oct 2010,  a mom shares her experiences with candy science including specific experiments she tried with her kids.

3. Make Jewelry or Decorations With the Candy/Wrappers
Make a city landscape or gingerbread house. Check out this Pinterest collection of ideas.
Here are instructions on how to make jewelry with candy wrappers.
Here are some creative ideas of figurines to make with candies.

Check out even more fun, candy-free Halloween ideas at 100 Days of Real Food, a family blog about cutting out processed foods.

Yummy Make at Home Treats

And if you’re looking for yummy make-at-home Halloween treats that won’t leave your family with the sniffles check out these naturally-sweet recipes!

Halloween Apple Bites

Halloween Carrot Cake Balls

Gingersnap Truffle Bites

Batty Beet Brownies

Pumpkin Butter Cups

 

Check out DessertStalker where you’ll find an amazing variety of naturally sweetened, gluten-free, grain-free, treats from cakes to avocado ice candy!

How does your family deal with Halloween candy? Do your kids have a favorite homemade Halloween treat?

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Teach Your Child to Trust Herself

Sprout, age 2, making pancakes for breakfast.

As much as we want to trust our children, how much we know we should, sometimes there’s a block: a lack of trust in ourselves…. a pattern, a lie really, we learned in our own childhood. However, as we remind ourselves that we are indeed trustworthy, a well fills up within us. A deep reservoir of inner-wisdom from which we can bestow genuine trust to our children…. letting them know that they are worthy of our support when they try new things, and that when they mess up they are worthy of second chances. This will help them create their own inner-well of self-trust as a resource for when they fall down and we are not there to help pick them back up on their feet.

In fact, what fills their own well is not so much the words we may tell them, but the deep wisdom emanating from us as we live our own lives connected to our own still small voice of inner-guidance. Our children are then able to feel through us what self-trust feels like and how it is acted on. They see us respond confidently, wisely, and lovingly as we extend trust to them as they try new things, ultimately showing them through our example how to do the same for themselves and others. What an empowering gift both for ourselves and our children!

It is beautiful to watch as their own reservoir of self-trust develops and shows itself as they put themselves out into the world, ask for help and guidance when they feel they need it (trusting that we are there to guide them and keep them safe), and extend their trust to others as they share toys or cheer a friend on as they conquer the slide for the first time or do well on a project they’ve worked hard on.

“To trust children, we must first learn to trust ourselves… and most of us were taught as children that we could not be trusted.” John Holt. Let’s look that one right in the eye! It’s never too late to start a new pattern of self-trust.

Here is John Holt’s classic book, How Children Learn. Check out our virtual bookshelf to search for other books on topics spanning all things parenting: from pregnancy to nutrition to education to discipline.

 

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Kids & Pre-hypertension: It’s Not All Salt’s Fault

15% of children may have pre-hypertension according to a recent CDC study of 6200 kids. On average, the kids studied were taking in 1000 mg over the recommended 2300 mg/day limit. That sounds like a lot of salt, but it’s the amount in just 10 pretzels, an 8 ounce bag of potato chips, or 1 cup of packaged macaroni and cheese. Packaged and processed foods contribute significantly to this problem of excess sodium. And obviously, consuming a full 1000 mg above the Tolerable Upper Intake Level is a big problem!

Yet, another major contributing factor here is severely low potassium intake. (If you’re feeling like totally geeking out on the roles of potassium in blood pressure regulation, this study should do the trick.) Recommendations for children are 3000-3800 mg/day. However, even for adults, it is estimated that only 5% of Americans get enough potassium. Probably the foods that kids eat most regularly with the most potassium are bananas and raisins, but one banana only contains about 400 mg. Such a low potassium intake, coupled with extreme sodium intake is going to result in high blood pressure. There must be proper potassium/sodium balance to maintain healthy blood pressure. The goal should be to eat at least twice as much potassium as sodium, which means eating more fruits and veggies as well as eating less processed stuff.

And it’s not just fast food that’s contributing to this ridiculously high sodium intake. To the left you can see a graph comparing sodium/potassium content of canned store-brand beef stew to homemade beef stew. The canned stuff has over 3 times more sodium than potassium!! No wonder we have hypertension issues in our children…. and these amounts are for one serving, which was only 1 cups worth. Teenagers could easily eat 3 times that much, which would put their sodium intake more than 600 mg above the Tolerable Upper Intake Level! And that’s just for one dish at one meal!

Cutting out processed foods drastically reduces sodium intake by up to 75%! Take a look at the labels, you’ll be surprised how much is in foods that you wouldn’t even consider salty. As for salting food at home, the best source in the form of natural sea salt which also contains important trace minerals. Also try flavoring dishes with fresh herbs, spices, and dulse or other seaweeds for an added boost of minerals and vitamins. Good sources of potassium include potatoes with skin, molasses, prunes, acorn squash, and spinach (which can be chopped up finely and hidden in all kinds of things from soups and sauces to burgers). Also check out the USDA’s Food Composition Database where you can search for foods your kids frequently eat to get an estimate of how much potassium your family is getting.

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How Your Lifestyle Choices Have Mindblowing Consequences for Your Grandchildren: Discoveries in the New World of Epigenetics

This video is absolutely fascinating! The implications are so astounding and far reaching: the fact that stressful events, diet, and environmental factors we as mothers were exposed to in our own mothers’ wombs can effect the genetic expression, stress responses, and a whole host of disease predisposure for generations to come. (Mild Warning: The narrator’s tone feels a bit overly dramatic… I guess in hopes to capture the audience. Personally I think this stuff is plenty astonishing on its own.. no need for added effects!)

This leaves me wondering if the current epidemic of obesity, diabetes, cancers, and heart disease has at least as much to do with the crazy chemicals our parents were exposed to or food scarcity during the Great Depression as it does about our current diet. And how on earth is our current diet and lifestyle going to effect our grandchildren?!

I have always (literally, always) been interested in everything relating to pregnancy & babies and how they grow. But my innate fascination with pregnancy and child development went from spark to flame on a 4th grade field trip to Chicago’s Museum of Science & Industry where I stood mesmerized in front of the Prenatal Development exhibit, completely in awe of human creation. Then, in college, while on a cross-country flight, I read a book called Prenatal Parenting: The Complete Psychological and Spiritual Guide to Loving Your Unborn Child. As a psychology major, I was fascinated, and began devouring everything I could on the subject of perinatal psychology. Years later, after my youngest son was born with craniosynostosis, I again dove into the subject of prenatal development; this time into  the rapidly expanding world of nutrition and epigenetics.

Throughout my years of study, I am increasingly struck by the awesome responsibility we carry for the physical and emotional health of future generations in the decisions we make everyday about what we put into our physical bodies, and how we respond to what arises in our emotional bodies.

As Marcus Pembrey states at the end of the video, we are the caretakers of our genes. Our lifestyle decisions not only affect our own health, but the health of our grandchildren and great-grandchildren. When a daughter is forming in her mother’s womb, her eggs, which won’t even be used for a couple decades or more, are being imprinted by her mother’s nutritional, emotional, and environmental experiences with results that won’t show up until those eggs are used to form a grandchild!

In Francis Pottenger’s groundbreaking cat studies it took four generations to reverse the damage, namely infertility in this case, of poor diet that can take place within only one generation. So not only do our decisions have far reaching effects, it could take the work of multiple generations to undo the damage we are able to cause so quickly.

As depressing as this may sound, it actually gives us an amazing amount of freedom and control over our destiny! We are not mere victims of an arbitrary genetic code… we are the masters of our (and our grandchildren’s) fate. Just because your family is predisposed to develop diabetes, cancer, or another disease does not mean it needs to stay that way for future generations! Although it may take some work and time, we are able to reverse the mistakes of the past (and present), making the future a place of abundant health and vitality.

Below are some fascinating places to read about how epigenetics can strengthen and change our DNA towards increased wellness. More about that to come!

Deep Nutrition by Dr. Catherine Shanahan

 

Spontaneous Evolution by Dr. Bruce Lipton

 

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Welcome to The Nourished Sprout!

 

We are currently building a resource guide of websites, organizations, books, articles, and videos that share the vision of nourishing our children: body, mind & soul. Check out our Nationwide Calendar where you can search for all types of nourishing events across the United States!

If you have a resource you would like to recommend, or an event you’d like to add to our calender, please send us an email including a brief description of the organization, site, or event.

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