Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Tasty Tuesday - Marcie's Vegetable Soup

I finally figured it out!
My friend Marcie brought us the best vegetable soup I have ever had after we had Mary Abilene. I asked her for the recipe, but she warned me that she doesn't follow recipes to a T. I had to make this soup four times to finally figure out how she changed the recipe. I knew it was tomatoey goodness, seasoned well, and had very finely chopped veggies in it. Delicious! I don't think I got it exactly, but this is as close as I will get.

Marcie's Vegetable Soup
I usually don't cook with butter, but I really liked this soup the way it was made for me, so I splurge and use the butter

2 T Butter
2 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Onion, Chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tart apple - peeled, cored, and chopped
1 small sweet potato or regular potato, diced
2 carrots, or a handful of baby carrots, chopped
1/4 teaspoon dried basil, or to taste
3-4 cups vegetable stock
1 pinch dried thyme
1 (28 ounce) can fire roasted crushed tomatoes
1 bag of "soup mix" frozen veggies (peas, green beans, corn, okra) etc. You can just dice veggies of your choice very small if you don't use a mix.
salt and ground black pepper to taste

Melt the butter with the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the onion and garlic in the skillet until they begin to brown; add the apple, carrot, sweet potato, basil, and thyme; reduce heat to medium and continue cooking until the carrots and potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in the vegetable stock, tomatoes, and veggie mix; season with salt and pepper. Raise the heat to high and bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer, cover and cook at least 20 minutes, stirring frequently.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Tainted Breast milk - a quiz!

When comparing to nursing mothers who do not eat meat, how much more pesticide contamination do nursing mothers who eat meat have in their breast milk?

a. Twice as much

b. Thirty-five times as much

c. Ten Times as much

Answer: b. Thirty five times as much!*

To reduce pesticide contamination choose lean cuts of organic meat and low-fat organic dairy products. Or go meat free! Pesticides are stored in fatty cells, so lean and low fat will contain less.

*D. Colbert, M.D.. The Seven Pillars of Health. Siloam, 2007.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

My milk supply is a garden.

"Milk supply is not something you can just spontaneously lose, like a set of keys or a pair of glasses. It's more like a garden. Neglect it, by limiting feedings or supplementing with formula, and it will wither. Tend it, by feeding on demand, and it will flourish."

That was a great quote I found on a message board. I have no idea who the poster is, but I wanted to share it.

If you have or plan on breastfeeding it seems all the rage is "will I have enough milk?" or "is my supply dropping?" I just finished reading (probably three times) The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding. It is a beautiful, timeless book by La Leche League International. I know a lot of people think the LLL is a little weird, but maybe that is because they have not read the book. It is a beautiful description and comprehensive problem solver on all things breastfeeding. If anyone knows how to nurse, its the LLL. They stress on demand feeding for a healthy milk supply. The hormones that make milk are absolutely amazing. They respond perfectly to YOUR baby. It is supply and demand at its finest. Restrict the demand by watching the clock or substituting yourself with a pacifier and you might have supply problems. The first several months of a newborn's life are crucial to the mother's milk supply for the entire nursing relationship. The first weeks and months "set" the milk supply. Restrict feedings for whatever reason and the mother may not be able to keep up with her baby's need in the months to come. Of course there can be other reasons for a low milk supply than not nursing on demand, there is a good list here. The book covers this and has suggestions for increasing supply. One thing I found very interesting is that, according to the book, more women have an oversupply than undersupply. This is also covered, with suggestions.

The book covers so many subjects, with sections on nursing according to age, starting solids, sleep, weaning, and a pretty good problem solving chapter. But its main point centers around On Demand feeding. It seems that is the only way to keep a baby happily nursing for one, two, or more years. I loved this extremely well written book. It made me happy, it made me cry, and it made my love for my baby bubble up and spill over every time I read it. If you have nursed, are nursing, or think you might nurse, this is the only book you need.

The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding by Diane Wiessinger, La Leche League International, Diana West, Teresa Pitman

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Milk does a body.. uh, not so good.

I often say that I haven't come to terms with dairy products, cow's milk in particular. My herbalist recommends consuming NO cow's milk products because of its high levels of hormones, antibiotics, and pesticide residue. Even organic dairy products contain high levels of estrogen since the cow is a girl. A female cow has over 100 different estrogens, while a female human has 3 types of estrogen. The cow has many estrogens that humans do not need. I did not consume any cow's milk products at all while we were trying to conceive.

Then there is the health movement that the only milk worth drinking is raw milk. Pasteurization denatures milk enzymes and changes the protein structure, so some say unpasteurized milk is the way to go.

There are a plethora of other health problem's associated with cow's milk besides the hormonal issues. If you have children, especially take the time to think, pray, and do your research as to whether you want to feed your children copious amounts of whole cow's milk as has become the American custom.

The following is from the book "The Seven Pillars of Health" by Don Colbert, M.D. "Many people eat dairy products with great abandon because they associate milk with health, robustness, and wholesomeness. But from a physician's point of view, I'm highly aware of the problems caused by dairy products. Most children I see in my practice with chronic ear infections and sinus infections have dairy sensitivities. Other doctors I know of say that eliminating dairy products is often the only thing they need to do to stop recurrent ear problems in children. One doctor reported that, of all the children he saw who required tubes to be put into their eardrums for drainage purposes, three out of four did not need the tubes when they stopped eating dairy products.
Dairy products and cow's milk in particular, are also linked to all kinds of allergies and sensitivities, including, skin rashes, eczema, fatigue, spastic colon, excessive mucus production, nasal allergies, and chronic acne." (pp. 106) Stopping all dairy products for a week will show improvement in symptoms.

Of the world over, American's are one of the only cultures who eat cow's milk products to such a degree. The rest of the world eats goat's and sheep milk products. Here at home, we do not drink cow milk at all, but do consume organic cheese and yogurt from cow's milk. My herbalist, as well as the author of the book I quoted recommend goat's milk products. Goat milk is compositionally similar to human milk. Goat milk products are expensive, so it is hard to switch. But it is important; I think I will look for more goat milk products as Mary Abilene readies to eat yogurt and cheese.

D. Colbert, M.D.. The Seven Pillars of Health. Siloam, 2007.

More of my posts on milk:

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Tasty Wednesday - Creamy Greens Smoothie

Its been awhile since I've featured a recipe, so I thought we could use one, even on a Wednesday! I've added this shake for snacks lately because I have been trying to consume more calories since nursing burns calories like crazy.

This recipe is from the book "The Vegetarian Mother's Cookbook" by Cathe Olson. She says "This smoothie surprises everyone because it tastes so good." It truly does. You can not taste the kale, I promise. Coconut milk and pineapple juice is very refreshing! It is good for nursing and pregnant mothers for the Vitamin K and chlorophyll, the nutritional yeast adds protein. This also might be something a pregnant woman can choke down during times of morning sickness, though cold foods can make nausea worse, something to think about.

Creamy Greens Smoothie

1/2 cup pineapple juice
1/2 cup light coconut milk
1 banana, sliced and frozen (I usually only use half)
2 to 3 kale leaves (the kale in the picture is purple)
2 teaspoons nutritional yeast flake (optional)

Place ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth.

Calories: 292, Protein: 6g, Carb: 51g, Fat 9g, Fiber 5g
High in Vitamin A, Folate, B6 and B12.

I usually do not advise drinking fruit juice because it is so high in sugar and it is much better to eat the fruit than drink the juice. Pretty much all 51g of carbs are from sugar in this smoothie. That is cut down if you only use 1/2 a banana. However, its a good way to get greens, so I'll let this one slide. Just don't sneak glasses of pineapple juice otherwise!