Being a dietitian and mom means I'm pretty passionate about poop. It's a daily conversation starter at home and work. Ryan was even inspired by a friend to build Fredrik's changing table. Starting out my intention was to use cloth diapers, but once again.... Since Fredrik's arrival we have tried several different types of diapers; here's our experiences and some info to go with it.
Disposable: You live, you learn, and then you dispose of more than 2700 diapers in the first year of a child's life. Whoa! that's a lot of diapers, and FYI, they don't decompose. But for many people Huggies, Pampers, luvs, and Costco are their go-to for diapers. We are currently using the Honest overnights because Fredrik kept leaking through his other diapers by early morning and waking himself (and us) up. So far we have been pretty happy with the results with only a couple leaks.
Benefits: Least expensive option. Available in every grocery store and drug store and even some gas stations. Only need to change about every 2-4 hours during the day.
Drawbacks: They don't decompose. There are many new natural/organic brands on the market and some boast that they use renewable resources. That's great, but if they are going in a plastic bag and heading to the dump, they will still take an extremely long time to break down. The chemicals and plastics used in typical disposable diapers may cause skin irritation for some babies.
Compostable: We currently use the Naty Compostable diapers through a local diaper service called Do Good Diapers. Once a week they drop off 2 packages of diapers and a compostable garbage bag. At the sametime they pickup the used diapers and compost them at a local facility. So far we have really liked the Naty brand. No poop blow outs! Unlike a few of the other "natural brands" we tried, these seem to be very absorbent. If you don't have a diaper service in your town, you can do a diaper subscription through Naty, but realize they do not pick up the used ones, so they are still going to your local dump.
Benefits: They decompose! Need to change about every 2-4 hours during the day.
Drawbacks: More expensive than disposable and they still use more resources than choosing cloth. Some brands are not as absorbent or do not fit as well as typical disposable diapers.
Cloth: We tried pre-folds when Fredrik was about 4-6wk old through Do Good. Unfortunately they were not absorbent enough for him, and he would fuss the minute they got wet. I literally changed a diaper every 20 minutes for 2 hours one day. Needless to say, after those 2hr were up, we went back to disposable. Thankfully, Do Good also offers Gro Via diapers which are a hybrid cloth diaper with shells and snap in soaker pads that do not require any folding. It took a little trial & error to get the perfect fit to prevent leaks, but once we did they were a great option.
Unfortunately, our day care provider requires us to send a clean insert and shell for every diaper change, which they then send home individually wrapped in a plastic bag. This was just going to be a hassle bringing bottles and 5+ diapers to and from daycare each day; which then have to be unwrapped each night. (Some people would be happy to do this, I'm just not one of them.) This is why we started with the Naty's. If I was willing to wash the cloth diapers I think we would have invested in our own Gro Via or other cloth diapers, but I really don't want to do a load of laundry every day. Since they are an investment, I would recommend buying second hand or finding a friend who has cloth diapered and try them out first. You may find you like one style (pre-fold vs. hybrid vs. all-in-one) and not another. There are many facebook groups where you can buy used shells and inserts and ask lots of questions.
Benefits: Most Eco friendly. After the initial investment, much MUCH less expensive in the long run. Especially if you have multiple children. Hard to smell poop through all that fluff.
Drawbacks: If you don't use a diaper service you will end up washing diapers daily or every other day. They are bulkier than disposable/compostable so your baby will be wearing pants and sometimes onesies that are months ahead of their actual age. Although there are people on Etsy who make pants to fit over their giant bums. They take a bit of trial and error to find the right fit, and you may have to get creative with layering soaker pads at night to prevent multiple diaper changes. Need to change more often, every 1-4 hours during the day depending on naps.
Inspired by 2-3 recipes from the Primal Cravings cookbook. This recipe is similar to a tamale pie, but with cajun flavors and a grain free biscuit topping. It could be made keto with a different topping recipe such as these, as well as omitting the carrots from the mirepoix. Need it to be vegetarian? Replace the turkey with a combination of canned beans, rice, and meat crumbles. ENJOY!!
1 Tbs Butter/Lard/Coconut oil
1 container Mirepoix from Trader Joe (or diced onion, carrot, celery)
1.5-2# ground turkey
1 cup diced tomatoes or salsa
3 Tbs Penzey's Cajun seasoning
2 Tbs Worcestershire Sauce
2 Tbs Hot sauce (optional)
1 tsp dried thyme or 1 Tbs fresh, minced
1 Tbs Lemon Juice
Salt and Pepper to taste
For the topping:
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup arrow root or tapioca starch
2 tsp Baking Soda
1/4 cup butter at room temp
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup water or broth
4-8oz shredded cheddar cheese (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 350
2. In a large dutch oven or skillet, melt your fat of choice and sauté the mirepoix.
3. Add the ground turkey and continue to cook until it is browned and crumbly.
4. Stir in the remaining ingredients and simmer 5-10 minutes until thickened. Set aside.
5. In a medium to large bowl, combine the dry biscuit ingredients.
6. cut the butter in using a fork.
7. Stir in the egg and water.
8. Spoon the biscuit batter over the filling and spread it out to cover the dish.
** Cheddar cheese can be mixed into batter or sprinkled over the top.
8. Bake until golden brown and bubbly. About 30 minutes.
Calories: 430, Total Carb: 21g, Net Carb: 15g, Fat: 23g Protein: 32g
For the past several years Ryan has planned a fishing trip up on Lake of the Woods for him and 2-3 friends. Despite having a 5mo old I told him to cary on with his usual plans, it's good to get away and de-stress! So what does one eat while trapped in an ice house for 3 days? I'm not saying that what these guys eat for 3 days is "healthy," but compared to what other folks bring, I think they are doing pretty good. No frozen Jacks pizza for these guys! After doing this for several years we have come up with a fairly standard menu, and do all the cooking/prep ahead time to keep things simple and easy for them.
Here's the menu
Breakfasts: Eggbeaters (don't need to worry about breaking or freezing) + sausage or bacon
Lunch: Ham or turkey or PB&J sandwiches
Snacks: Goldfish crackers, trail mix, beef jerky. I also make a batch of cookies each year and put them in individual bags for each guy. In the past I have made Paula Deen's PB monster cookies. They are super tasty. This year I made a batch of plain chocolate chip cookies.
Drinks: Coffee, Zevia, Bottled water, beer (lots of beer)
If you read my post on Foods 4 Focus, you know that iron and zinc are two important minerals for brain health, and many people/kids are deficient in them. But how to get them? Add anchovies! And I don't mean to your pizza. These briny, fatty, little fish are full of nutrients.
"A portion of five anchovy fillets (canned in oil and drained; about 20g) has 42 calories, 5.8g protein, 1.9g of fat, and no carbohydrates. Anchovies are an excellent source of calcium, iron, and zinc."
If you are scared of adding these tiny fish to your diet, but enjoy eating tuna, or salmon, or other canned fish try mashing them into a tuna salad; you'll never know they are there. Personally, I buy skipjack tuna since it is lower in mercury than albacore, or yellow fin. This 'recipe' could also be done with chicken or egg salad if you are not a fan of fish. The anchovies just add a little salty flavor.
1, 5oz can tuna, drained
1, 2oz can anchovies, drained
1 Tbs Mustard
1 Tbs lemon/lime juice or apple cider vinegar
1tsp dried dill
1/4 cup diced celery
2 small dill pickles diced
Ground Black pepper
1. Combine and mash all ingredients together in a medium bowl.
2. Serve on a bed of lettuce, wrap, sandwich, crackers, cucumber slices, whatever works for you and your family. Use fresh lemon/lime wedges or vinegar for extra moisture on your salad.
Want another delicious recipe using anchovies, try my crockpot Chicken Puttanesca.
For more info on anchovies, the difference between oil packed, and salt cured, check out Precision Nutrition's post.
I recently gave a short presentation with two of my co-workers discussing how food affect focus, mood, and cognition. There were some technical difficulties so parts of it cut in and out, but I've left you with the main bullet points and links to research from my portion.
1. Artificial foods = lower IQ. More specifically artificial colorings and preservatives. Those toaster strudels and carnation instant breakfast drinks I loved as a teen; complete neurotoxins. Everything they served in the ala-cart line in my high school cafeteria, complete junk and brain poison. No wonder so many kids are being diagnosed with ADHD and other learning disabilities, our brains are fried from all the chemicals we feed them starting at breakfast.
2. You need adequate protein to make neurotransmitters for your brain. When we don’t eat enough protein, our DNA doesn’t have enough amino acids to sufficiently carry out this process. "If our cells are going to talk to one another, they need protein. If you don’t eat adequate protein at every meal, you can end up being anxious, depressed, hungry, and tired."
-Dr David Herber.
I would add irritable, irrational, unfocussed, and scatter to that list. The best, most absorbable, and bioavailable source of protein, and therefore amino acids is....meat, dairy, and eggs.
Sorry vegans, this is just how biology works.
"Meat is the single best source of protein. Fulfilling your protein requirements (60 – 90 grams or more for adults) with non-meat foods requires enormous planning and effort, more than most people can manage. You have to eat three cups of beans with 100 grams of carbs to equal the same amount of protein in 6 ounces of animal protein (that contain zero carbs).
Animal protein is our only source of vitamin B12, which is essential for life itself. It contains enzymes that we need to access nutrients, essential amino acids, and cancer-fighting antioxidants like vitamin A, which cannot be obtained directly from vegetables. Vegans often become deficient in B12, iron, zinc, vitamin A, vitamin D and more. Yes, plant foods contain many of these nutrients, but they are more bioavailable in meat."
-Dr. Mark Hyman, What the Heck Should I Eat
But you know who else also becomes deficient in these nutrients? Most kids. They start their day with bagels, toast, donuts, or nothing; and when they eat the school lunch most of what they get is CARBS! with very little protein. Dinner often doesn't look that great these days either. As families race from one activity to the next, I see a lot of fast food, pasta, and PB&J sandwiches on the menu.
3. Lack of Zinc, Iron, B12 can all lead to ADHD symptoms
B12 – Cobalamin, aka Vitamin B12 is a helper vitamin. It helps B9 produce red blood cells, and it helps iron produce hemoglobin for transporting oxygen in the blood.
If you are a Vegan, and even some vegetarians, and many picky kids who eat very little meat need to supplement. Typical doses are: 10 micrograms a day or 2000+ micrograms per week.
Zinc - Studies show it may help with hyperactivity and impulsiveness. But not as effective for inattentiveness. I recommend 20mg/Day for kids and up to 50+mg for adults as supplements.
Iron - Iron is also necessary for making dopamine. One small study1 showed ferritin levels (a measure of iron stores) to be low in 84 percent of children with ADHD compared to 18 percent of the control group. Low iron levels correlate with cognitive deficits and severe ADHD.
However, do not supplement unless you/your child has been diagnosed with a deficiency.
Want to get these nutrients from food? Then grab yourself some OYSTERS and LIVER! Or maybe just some beef and salmon. I love adding smoked oysters to a salad or eating them on a plantain chip/cracker. Braunschweiger is seriously one of my favorite foods. My grandma used to make us sandwiches on wonder bread with miracle whip and mustard. Not what I would recommend, but she didn't know what we know now. These days I simply slice and eat, top it with Hain Safflower Mayo, or even fry it in a little olive oil and eat for breakfast with eggs and greens.
4. Fish oil
Significant evidence across multiple studies show that...
How much to supplement with?
For younger kids up to about age 8, 1,000-1,500 milligrams of EPA and DHA.
(If a product has 750 mg. of EPA and 500 mg of DHA, the total would be 1,250 mg.)
For older children, 2,000-2,500 milligrams.
However, I'm in the camp that when it comes to fish oil, more is often better. You'll want to talk with your health care professional to help you decide on the right dose.
Seems like everyone has their own protein ball recipe so I figured I should too. Ryan likes to pop 2-3 of them in his mouth after a workout and eat while he's showering. As a pregnant, and now breastfeeding mom, I've found they come in handy at 2am when hunger strikes. Yes, you can eat them straight from the freezer.
Even though I make these with sunflower seed butter, you can absolutely use peanut butter, soy nut butter, macadamia butter... whatever you have on hand and works for your family. However, depending upon the type/brand of nut butter and protein powder you use, you will probably need to make adjustments to their quantities due to different oil content and absorbency of the protein powder. The mixture will be a bit crumbly, but will stick together when you pack it into balls. Sorry it's not an exact recipe, I've just learned what the approximate consistency needs to be.
At the end of the batch I often end up adding another 2+ Tbs of nut butter to get the leftover cereal and coconut stuck together.
If you want to make these even lower in carbs, replace the cereal with more shredded coconut and chopped nuts/seeds.
1 cup Nut butter (I use TJ unsweetened sunflower seed butter)
1 cup rice crispy cereal
1 cup protein powder (I use Olly Vanilla plant protein, but have used whey in the past)
1/2-1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut or instant oat meal
2-3 Tbs melted coconut oil
1+ Tbs honey/maple syrup/sukrin
Other add ins: Raisins, Craisins, Chocolate chips, White Chocolate Chips, M&M, candied ginger, chopped nuts, hemp seeds, chia seeds, ground flax seeds, freeze dried raspberries.
Coatings: Cocoa powder, almond flour, coconut flour, more protein powder (Used to coat balls after rolling)
Combine ingredients in a big bowl.
Portion out 1-2Tbs and roll into balls.
Place balls in a gallon ziplock bag with coating of choice.
Once all the balls are rolled out, close the bag and gently move it around until the protein balls are coated. (Keeps them from sticking together. Store in the freezer.)
While grabbing a hot drink from Lakewinds Co-op a couple weeks ago I noticed a new product on the counter. I asked the Barista what it was and if it was any good. Apparently it's a coconut butter product you add to coffee. She informed me that it was very tasty, and she really liked the vanilla but..."I'm not ready to give up sugar, so I can't use it".
I must have given her a quizzical look as she proceeded to tell me that it's for keto people and that since she still eats sugar she shouldn't use it. I responded, "do you think if you did use it, it might help with your sugar cravings?"
Barista, "Maybe, but I'm not ready to give up sugar."
As I left the counter I thought, "What you're really saying is I don't want to give up sugar." I was also reminded of the late Charles Poliquin who would have said that she is still prioritizing her taste buds over whatever physical change she wants to see by giving up sugar. To some extent I would agree. But I posed the scenario to two RD friends as well Ryan and here is what they all said.
My friend Katie of the Best You Plan would ask you, "What are you afraid of? Are you afraid of failing yet again...another diet?" She has seen this with many women. Just the mention of "giving up" a food, sugar or processed carbs in particular seems to elicit a look of terror in many of their eyes. While at a networking event, she had women refuse to take her business card after they learned what her program is about.
My friend Lucy from Well Balanced Nutrition would ask you, "What do you mean give up sugar? Are you a moderator being asked to abstain? Is this a temporary or permanent change you are trying to make? Why do you want to give it up, what is the benefit?"
My husband Ryan asked "what are you doing to be/get ready?"
So this coming year, before you make another I'm going to (lose weight, get healthy, exercise, give up _____) resolution maybe you need to ask yourself a few questions first:
1. What change do I want to make and WHY? If you're why isn't good enough, you will never be 'ready' and the changes will never stick. I have found that losing weight for the sake of weight loss is never a good enough why. Focusing on a health benefit such as less joint pain, or better digestion are typically better motivators.
2. Is this a change YOU WANT to make for YOU? Or is it something you think you SHOULD do, or feel guilted into doing? Shame is never a good motivator.
3. What is holding you back from starting now? Why have you waited?
4. What are you afraid of? Failure? Judgement? Struggling? Hunger? Being alone?
5. Are you making excuses and putting off making the change? Or is your reason for not starting valid? Excuse: it's the holiday season so it will be too hard. (Truth: there is always a holiday, birthday, vacation, or other event) Valid reason: Your parent just died, you just had a baby, your house flooded or burned down. (Truth: high stress times, especially when coupled with sleep deprivation are not the time to make a major change. Wait a few weeks or months until the clouds pass and you are sleeping to tackle your change.)
6. Who will support you vs Who will derail you? Are you willing to spend less time with those who will derail your efforts? I know many people who have given up friendships, cut ties with family, and gone through divorces in the name of health & happiness. It may seem extreme, but we only get one life, so why surround yourself with negative people. Also, the reason many people consciously or unconsciously sabotage other's efforts is because of their own fear and insecurity. "If they change, then I have to change... change is hard, and I'm scared of failing if they succeed. I'm not ready! I should buy them a box of their favorite cookies."
What are you willing/wanting/ready to change?
A co-worker asked me recently, "What are you doing for yourself?" That's a big loaded question for a new mom. But here it is.
I finally grabbed my kettle bell and got back into the swing of things. I used to love going to my kettle bell class several years ago, until my instructor left for a different position. Since then, I've been lifting and swinging on my own at our local Snap Fitness. Now, as a mom, I wanted to get a membership to a gym with child care (LA Fitness), but they will not feed Fredrik if he gets hungry, they won't change a diaper, and if he fusses for more than 5 minutes, they will come get me. Not sure I'd ever get a workout in at that rate...
Instead, I've started following these workouts in the morning from Noelle Tar at Coconuts & Kettlebells. Either before Fredrik wakes up (after coffee of course), or after he is up and fed, I grab my bell and pray Samoa our cat doesn't walk in-front of me. I figure Fredrik will learn to count to 10 before any other babies with all the rep counting. My bell isn't very heavy; only 15#, but it's getting me moving in a way I haven't for at least 4 months. I tried to do a few things when I was 2 months postpartum, but found that many activities still aggravated my C-section, and just didn't feel good. I also didn't have the energy since November was a terrible month of sleep. So I stuck with walking.
My goal is 3 x/week, but I'm not holding myself to any strict schedule or standard. I know there is the possible 4mo sleep regression and teething in our future, but when I'm mostly rested and feeling good I plan to swing my bell and get a little sweaty. Wondering when I shower? I was too for a while... Since Fredrik is still so young he takes fairly predictable naps; and his first one lasts about 45-60 minutes, which is just enough time for me to shower and dry my hair. TADA! clean mom. I can honestly say that making these two activities (exercise & showering) back into my schedule has made me a better mom. I feel more patient and sane knowing I did something for me.
Even if you aren't a new mom, what are you doing for yourself that makes you feel good physically and mentally.
After 8.7yr of marriage I have learned that when we travel Ryan will ask me at least 3 times what we are doing, where we are going, and what he should pack. Even if I just gave him the itinerary information the day before. I finally got smart two years ago and started making a packing list. Not only has this reduced my frustration from the "Didn't I already tell you this?" and has actually made it easier for me to pack too. Ryan also started doing this for his annual ice fishing trip; and now that we have Fredrik, it's going to be indispensable. I've found it helps keep me from overpacking (as much), as well as prevents the inevitable forgotten item.
How do I do it?
1. List off the days you will be gone and what activities you will be doing.
Thursday - Drive to Grandmas (Lunch at rest stop - chicken salad wraps + Veggies & Dip)
Friday - Help with yard work
Saturday - Bake Pies, Brewery Tour, Christmas Caroling
Sunday - Drive Home (Lunch at rest stop - sandwich + veggies)
2. Begin to list what and how many of EVERY clothing item you will need. If anyone in your family/group needs a special item just for them make sure it's listed. Example:
Socks - 3
Underware - 3
3. List your toiletries. If you are staying in a hotel or going camping you probably don't need a hair dryer, shampoo, conditioner... But if you are staying at your brothers apartment, you might want to bring your own.
4 -6. Don't forget road trip snacks or other random items. This might include your gear list when camping/backpacking. If you are cooking meals you might want to include each days meal plan and ingredients needed. Or this might be included in your itinerary at the top of your list. (See above) During our recent trip to my hometown for Thanksgiving it included my spectra breast pump, milk bags, the charging cord, hush machine and charging cord, 4moms playard, etc... and the pumpkin pies!
7. If you have a pet(s) you may also want to list who is taking care of them, and if they have any special items besides food that you need to leave out or bring with to the boarding facility.
As you pack and load up your vehicle, cross off items or put a check mark next to them. Whatever works for you and your brain. After being printed, reviewed by Ryan, and actually used, the list ends up looking like this:
Even though it's an extra step, it's so worth it! If you save your list, you can always reuse or easily amend an old list for a new trip. What travel and packing tips do you have?
I'm a dietitian with a passion for good nutrition, bold flavors, playing in the dirt, and being with my family.