All About Grass-Fed Ghee

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What is ghee?

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Ghee is clarified butter-the butter is heated and milk solids (proteins) have been removed. The protein casein found in dairy is difficult for many people to digest. Casein is a large foreign protein that can pass through the human gut easily, contributing to what is known as “leaky” or permeable gut. When these proteins pass through the gut, they contribute to inflammatory conditions in the body. Many people think they cannot digest the lactose in dairy, but may in fact actually be reacting to the protein casein. Because the casein is removed from ghee, ghee is much easier for many to digest than butter.

 

Ghee is a stable, healthy, saturated fat. Saturated fats are solid at room temperature. Contrary to what you’ve probably heard in the past, these are the most beneficial fats for our body! These fats are fully saturated with hydrogen bonds (NOT to be confused with hydrogenated oils). Saturated fats are stable, and do not easily oxidize (break down) or go rancid. They can be heated to higher temperatures, unless liquid vegetable oils that have been highly processed. Saturated fats include fats such as lard, tallow, butter, suet, ghee, duck fat, coconut oil, palm oil. Saturated fats are beneficial to the body. These fats insulate myelin in the brain (memory, mood stability, alertness), strengthen the immune system and help to regulate hormones for normal hormone function. Ghee contains short-chain fatty acids as well, that are easily metabolized by the body. What this means is that the body can digest and utilize these fatty acids efficiently, reaping benefits to the body.

 

Ghee contains omega 3 and omega 9 fatty acids, along with Vitamins A, D, E, and K.  According to Chris Kresser, “There’s a common misconception that beta-carotene found in fruits and vegetables is the same thing as vitamin A. It’s not. Beta-carotene is the precursor (inactive form) of retinol, the active form of vitamin A. While beta-carotene is converted into vitamin A in humans, only 3% gets converted in a healthy adult. And that’s assuming you’re not one of the 45% of adults that don’t convert any beta-carotene into vitamin A at all. This means that – contrary to popular wisdom – vegetables like carrots and red peppers are not adequate food sources of vitamin A. Vitamin A is found in significant amounts only in liver and grass-fed dairy. You’d have to eat a huge amount of beta-carotene from plants to meet vitamin A requirements during pregnancy. For example, 3 ounces of beef liver contains 27,000 IU of vitamin A. To get the same amount of vitamin A from plants (assuming a 3% conversion of beta-carotene to vitamin A), you’d have to eat 4.4 pounds of cooked carrots, 40 pounds of raw carrots, and 50 cups of cooked kale!” -Chris Kresser, The Healthy Baby Code.

 

Grass-fed or pastured ghee is a very high source of CLA, aka conjugated linoleic acids. CLA is  a potent cancer fighter. The digestive systems of grass-fed ruminants produce CLA. CLA is associated with superior heart health, suppression of tumors, reduced belly fat and overall increased fat loss. Pasture raised (grass-fed) cows lead to dairy CLA levels 3-5 times that of grain-fed cattle! Always look for grass-fed butter if you are making your own ghee, or grass-fed ghee if you are buying it.

 

Ghee is excellent for nerve conduction and insulation of the brain. Ghee is great for skin, eyes, and joints-it is rich with antioxidants and boosts the immune system. Ghee is high in butyric acid which has anti-viral properties and may inhibit tumor growth.

 

How do you use ghee? Ghee is great for all your cooking and baking needs. It adds amazing flavor to sauteed or roasted veggies! You can melt it and bake with it. You can serve it on top of potatoes just like butter. Grass-fed ghee is an all around healthy superfood that adds superior flavor and healthy benefits to all your dishes!

 

Pictured: Sweet potato crisps roasted in ghee

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What is my favorite ghee?

 

I LOVE and highly recommend OMghee brand ghee! The taste is superior to any other brand out there, and the texture is creamy!

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About Kathryn:

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Kathryn Kos is a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (NTP)  through The Nutritional Therapy Association, and a Certified Lactation Educator/Counselor through The University of San Diego. Her undergraduate degree is in Movement Science from Westfield State College. Her Master’s degree is in Rehabilitation Counseling from Springfield College. She specialize in healing digestion, balancing blood sugar, balancing hormones, and autoimmune conditions.

If you are interested in a free phone consultation to see how I can support your healing, contact me!

 

 

* Please note: This is a personal blog.  All data and information provided on this site is for informational/educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitution for professional medical advice.

 

 

 

Why Avoid Peanuts

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Peanut in a shell and cleared

 

I’ve had a couple recent clients mention that they eat a lot of peanut butter. They wanted to know if there is a reason to switch out of it if they were not allergic. There are many reasons why advocates of the paleo/primal/realfood lifestyle avoid peanuts, and I will try to cover all of them. Many people think that peanuts are nuts, however, they are actually legumes! What is a legume? legumes are seeds within a pod such as beans, chick peas, and beans.

 

What is the difference between a nut and a legume?

 

Nuts usually have one seed within a shell, legumes tend to have multiple seeds within a casing. The focus on this piece is peanuts which are legumes.

 

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Some people in the paleo community eat small amounts of legumes, some avoid them all together. The reason why some (including myself) choose to avoid legumes is because they contain anti-nutrients (phytates and lectins) that help protect the plant from being eaten by bugs. These anti-nutrients can contribute to inflammation in the body, digestive issues, and leaky gut. You would want to avoid legumes if you have autoimmune conditions. However, when properly soaked and sprouted many of these anti-nutrients can be removed, making legumes easier on digestion. Some legumes are also high in complex carbohydrates which is not good for those struggling with balancing their blood sugar. However, they do contain fiber to slow the absorption of sugar in the system. So legumes are not the worse thing you can eat. They are not the best source of nutrients in terms of nutrient density, but in my opinion are better than many of the processed food options out there if properly prepared (soaked, sprouted).

 

Now onto peanuts…

 

Peanuts (in my opinion) might not be a good choice even if you are keeping some legumes in the diet.

 

According to Dr. Mercola:

  • Peanuts are high in omega-6 fats that distort the omega 3:6 ratio. High omega 6 consumption leads to inflammation in the body.
  • Peanuts are contaminated with a carcinogenic mold called aflatoxin
  • Peanuts are one of the most pesticide-contaminated crop (unless organic)

 

My take:

In our culture we eat a very high omega 6 diet, and low omega 3. Many of us are not consuming grass-fed/pasture raised meats which have a better fatty acid profile (higher in omega 3). We also consume high omega 6 vegetable oils. Here is a piece I wrote about oils (which to avoid and why). Even when you try to avoid the “bad” oils at home, you still consume them when you go out to eat. Very few restaurants cook with healthy oils. So why eat even more omega 6 fatty acids by eating peanut butter regularly? Just something to think about.

Some experts link the mold on the shell of the peanuts to peanut allergies. Some deny the link all together. Regardless of the trigger for allergies, peanuts are still very high in aflatoxin, and that is another reason to avoid them.

 

According to the FDA:

“Aflatoxins produce acute necrosis, cirrhosis, and carcinoma of the liver in a number of animal species; no animal species is resistant to the acute toxic effects of aflatoxins; hence it is logical to assume that humans may be similarly affected. A wide variation in LD50 values has been obtained in animal species tested with single doses of aflatoxins. For most species, the LD50 value ranges from 0.5 to 10 mg/kg body weight. Animal species respond differently in their susceptibility to the chronic and acute toxicity of aflatoxins. The toxicity can be influenced by environmental factors, exposure level, and duration of exposure, age, health, and nutritional status of diet. Aflatoxin B1 is a very potent carcinogen in many species, including nonhuman primates, birds, fish, and rodents. In each species, the liver is the primary target organ of acute injury. Metabolism plays a major role in determining the toxicity of aflatoxin B1; studies show that this aflatoxion requires metabolic activation to exert its carcinogenic effect, and these effects can be modified by induction or inhibition of the mixed function oxidase system.”

 

According to Mark’s Daily Apple:

“Peanuts are high in aflatoxins. Aflatoxins are naturally occurring fungal toxins, or mycotoxins, produced by certain members of Aspergillus, a type of fungus found pretty much everywhere throughout the world. Aspergillus tends to colonize any monosaccharide and polysaccharide it comes across, as long as the conditions are right, but peanuts are particularly susceptible. Most crops are colonized after harvest and during storage, but since Aspergillus is found in the soil (among other places) and peanuts grow underground, peanut colonization often occurs well before harvest. The result is that peanuts are among the most contaminated crops, along with corn and cottonseed.”

Read more

 

My verdict:

There are alternative nut-butters such as almond butter or nut-free seed butter like sun butter (made with sunflower seeds), I use these for dipping fruit and carrots in rather than peanut butter. I also occasionally bake with them. Remember, nuts contain anti-nutrients (phytates and lectins) as well, which is why you want raw soaked/sprouted nuts and seeds to ease digestion. However, they are not heavy on the molds like peanuts. When our ancestors started consuming nuts/seeds, they knew how to prepare them properly to ease digestion. It was harder for them to forage and shell them, so they weren’t consuming massive amounts from the food industry like we are today. If you are switching to alternative nut/seed butters do so in moderation or consider making your own with soaked nuts. If you are one of those peanut butter lovers who just cannot give it up, I suggest cutting down on the amount you are consuming, or try converting to an alternative nut/seed butter. Now that I am more in tune with my body, I notice that I get very bloated after eating almonds and almond butter. However, sunbutter doesn’t bother me. Listen to the messages your body is sending you!

Get a free nutrional therapy consultation

About Kathryn:

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Kathryn Kos is a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (NTP)  through The Nutritional Therapy Association, and a Certified Lactation Educator/Counselor through The University of San Diego. Her undergraduate degree is in Movement Science from Westfield State College. Her Master’s degree is in Rehabilitation Counseling from Springfield College. Kathryn is a nutrition blogger over at Primal Bliss Nutrition, where she shares whole food recipes and articles pertaining to health and wellness. She specialize in healing digestion, balancing blood sugar, balancing hormones, autoimmune conditions, weight loss, and feeding infants and children.

“My own health struggles occurred through years of following mainstream western nutritional advice led me down this path. I was eating what I thought was a very healthy diet (following conventional medical advice). However, I was struggling with feeling good inside and out. I ended up being diagnosed with several Autoimmune Conditions. I was having horrible gall bladder attacks and living on antacids. My thyroid was enlarged, and I struggled with anxiety and insomnia. My endocrinologist wanted to wait until my thyroid stopped functioning, and put me on a medication. That was the only solution offered. Doctors wanted to put me on medications.

My philosophy is to find and heal the root cause of the problem, rather than fix the symptoms by taking a medication or removing an organ. Through my own intense research, I began my real food journey. My health changed drastically and my autoimmune markers went way down. I started to feel amazing and wanted to share my experience on a big level. I am so excited to share my knowledge with you!  I am dedicated to helping you realize what your bio-individual nutrition needs are, and giving you the tools to make positive changes in your life!”

-Kathryn Kos, NTP

Kathryn sees clients worldwide through phone, skype or google hangouts! She also sees clients locally in her Ballston Spa, NY office.

Contact Kathryn to schedule a free consultation:

(518) 260-9749

primalblissnutrition@gmail.com 

6 Paleo-isms (Things The Paleo Community Likes Alot)

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The paleo/primal community is amazing. We are changing the way people make decisions about what they are putting in their body. We are making big strides world-wide, and I am proud to be a part of this movement. However, there are some funny “paleo-isms” (things the paleo community likes to say/talk about). I’m here to explain why we say/talk about these foods all the time. There is a reason!

 

Here are 6 paleo-isms and my musings on them 🙂

 

1. “It’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle”:

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I’m still an advocate of this saying even if it sounds cliche, and I’ll explain why. Some of the people who preach paleo…but don’t like to admit they preach paleo tear it apart. They don’t want to be considered “paleo” because the word it’s dogmatic to them. I disagree. I still like it. It’s the truth. No, I’m not 100% paleo, and I don’t think this saying advocates that either! What this saying means to me is that by making these changes in the foods you choose to consume, you are not going on a “diet.” It’s not like the atkins diet, or south beach, or weight watchers. We don’t want it categorized that way, because it is very different. In my professional opinion, the term paleo also encompasses thinking about your emotional and physical well-being as well. It is about making conscious lifestyle choices about what you put on and in your body most of the time, and how you treat your body. It doesn’t mean you can’t make less than desirable choices and carry on. Those other choices make up most everything around us– it’s very difficult to avoid them. In the paleolithic days these choices didn’t exist, and so yes, we were all “paleo.” Those days are gone. Far gone. Even though it is still in our genes, the other choices are everywhere and engrained in our social being. So yeah, sometimes we make them. I don’t get a dogmatic vibe from this saying at all. So for those who still like this saying, I’m on board with ya. Because yes, it’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle. It’s my lifestyle. And I am proud of it. I’m also proud of the word paleo and all the lovely people in our community making positive changes.

 

2. Bacon bacon bacon:

 

Prunes in bacon

 

Paleo folks talk about bacon a lot. Why? Well, for one, it’s very tasty. Pasture raised bacon is a good source of healthy fats for your body. Bacon has been demonized in Western culture the past what? 30 something years? for no good reason, and we know the truth about it! We want you to enjoy it as well. Because it tastes really good, and provides nutrients for your body, and contrary to what you may have heard, bacon does not clog your arteries or make you sick like processed grains do. It’s just the opposite. The fats in bacon are about 50% monounsaturated fats (like olive oil), 40% saturated fats, and 10% polyunsaturated. So you don’t want to burn bacon as it does contain some PUFA’S. As long as you aren’t consuming vegetable oils, you should be fine. Why no vegetable oils?  Heat, light, and oxygen break these oils down and render them chemically unstable. The volatile chemical structure (from the process of being heat extracted releasing free-radicals) can wreak havoc on the body at a cellular level, and cause chronic inflammation…the root of modern diseases. Vegetable oils are not stable. Bacon has a small amount of PUFA’s, so again, just don’t burn it or reuse the oil over and over.

So yeah, we’re big on bacon. We’re going to wrap everything in bacon. We’re going to mix bacon with chocolate. We’re going to wear bacon t-shirts. and post bacon meme’s. and share bacon recipes. and eat bacon with every meal. Totally kidding. Just some meals.

 

3. Coconut everything:

 

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Coconut oil. Coconut flour. Coconut cream. Coconut milk. Coconuts. Coconut water. Coconut aminos. Coconut manna, shredded coconut. Why all the coconut? Yes we tend to be big on the coconuts. Coconuts are amazing, that’s why. Coconuts contain medium chained triglycerides which are metabolized quickly and are used as a quick source of fuel and aids in weight loss. Lauric acid in coconut kills bacteria and viruses. Coconut oil is a stable saturated fat so it can withstand heat without oxidizing quickly. Coconut reduces inflammation in the body. It helps the body to absorb calcium and magnesium. It is also high in vitamin E. It is great for the skin and hair as well. You can make deodorant with it. and use it to help heal superficial cuts and burns. and use it as a sunscreen, and moisturizer, and make up remover, and hair treatment. Coconut rocks!

 

5. Saturated fats/Animal fats: 

 

butter is saturated fat

 

The paleo/primal community stresses the consumption of saturated fats because, like bacon, these fats have been wrongfully demonized as artery clogging-heart attack inducing-avoid at all cost fats. This led to the overconsumption of low-fat, high carbohydrate processed foods and increased obesity and health struggles in our culture significantly. Saturated fat is necessary for so many functions in the body!

  • Saturated fats are solid at room temperature.
  • Contrary to what you’ve probably heard, saturated fats are the most beneficial fats for our body. These fats are fully saturated with hydrogen bonds (NOT to be confused with hydrogenated oils).
  • These fats are stable, and do not easily oxidize (break down) or go rancid.
  • Saturated fats include fats such as lard, tallow, butter, ghee, coconut oil, palm oil.
  • Saturated fats are beneficial to the body-these fats insulate myelin in the brain (memory, mood stability, alertness), strengthen the immune system and help regulate hormones.

I wrote a blog piece on this! 🙂

 

6. Fermented Cod Liver Oil:

 Fresh atlantic cod fish

You hear a lot about Fermented Cod Liver Oil (FCLO) in the paleo/primal community. You might wonder why anyone would want to consume fermented cod livers. FCLO is a pretty amazing superfood. It contains fat soluble Vitamins A, D, and K2 necessary for maintaining a healthy gut/immune system. It aids in gut healing to help reverse autoimmune conditions. It is great for the brain, eyes and skin. Green Pastures brand is traditionally fermented cold, and not heat treated. Therefore all nutrients and vitamins are not destroyed. The cinnamon tingle is actually very palatable. My kids even take it no problem.

According to Green Pastures:

“The gold standard in pure fish fat/oil from the liver of the cod fish extracted through fermentation rather then cold/hot temps or chemical extraction as the rest of the industry uses. Deep dark rich color equals real life giving nutrients”.

I hope you found this piece helpful!

What are some of the paleo-isms you have noticed?

Get a free nutrional therapy consultation

About Kathryn:

Kathryn is a Nutritional Therapist through The Nutritional Therapy Association, and a Certified Lactation Educator/Counselor through The University of San Diego extension. Her undergraduate degree is in Movement Science from Westfield State College. Her Master’s degree is in Rehabilitation Counseling from Springfield College. She specialize in healing digestion, balancing blood sugar, balancing hormones, autoimmune conditions, weight loss, and feeding infants and children. She sees people locally in her Ballston Spa, NY office and worldwide via phone and Skype. 

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* Please note: This is a personal blog. All data and information provided on this site is for informational/educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitution for professional medical advice.

Pork, Cabbage, and Broccoli Slaw Stir Fry

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For lunch today I made a pork tenderloin, cabbage, and broccoli slaw stir-fry!  This was extremely easy and flavorful. You could also use chicken or beef…even shrimp!

 

Ingredients/Directions:

Take a local pork tenderloin and cut it into bite-sized pieces.

Sprinkle the meat with pink salt, pepper, and Trader Joe’s 21 spice mix.

Fry the pork in a large wok or frying pan over med/high with a 2 TBS of coconut oil until meat is no longer pink.

Add to the pan 2 cups of Trader Joe’s broccoli slaw and a bag of shredded cabbage. You can also shred a small head of cabbage, and add shredded carrot or any other veggies you enjoy. This filled the pan to the top. Turn the heat down to medium.

Add 3 cloves of thinly sliced garlic, and put a couple TBS of ghee or a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil on top of everything.

*As it cooks down stirring becomes easier.

 

Let it cook over medium heat until the slaw and cabbage are cooked down and tender.

 

At the end add  1-2 TBS fish sauce, 2-3 TBS coconut aminos, and fresh cracked pepper to taste. Fold in a bunch of chopped fresh cilantro (approx 1/4 cups) and juice from 1/2 a lime.

 

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Enjoy!

 

 

 

Primal Feeding Guide for Babies and Toddlers

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Baby and Toddler Primal Feeding Guide

I’ve had several people ask me about feeding babies and toddlers. I wanted to create a guide to help you make the best decisions for your children. This particular area is very challenging because we live in a culture where we put a great deal of trust in western medical Doctors. Western medicine can be great and there is a time and place for it. However, medical Doctors do not get real food nutrition training (well, minimal and probably based on the old high grain and low fat government recommendations). Many pediatricians are not even aware of the effect that real food (or lack thereof) has on a growing child. Proper nutrition is the core for a healthy body. It affects all other areas of our children’s lives and well-being. We want to start our children out with the best foundation possible. We want them to feel good inside and out, and establish the roots for them to have a lifetime of health.

What makes it challenging is that we as parents are undermined from day one. We are undermined by well-meaning family and friends, by hospital staff who are not properly trained to help breastfeeding mamas. We are undermined by the marketing of artificial baby milk and baby foods. Then as they get older we are undermined by pediatricians, schools, well-meaning family, friends, and marketing. We put a great deal of trust in all the wrong places, and we lose trust in ourselves and in our children. We do have the innate ability to feed our children. Our children have the innate ability to feed themselves. Somewhere along the line we were grossly misdirected. We need to start doing our own research, and making decisions that do not involve people who are not directly involved in your child’s life.

Have you heard the term “bio-individuality?” We are all different. That includes babies and children. We develop the ability to start solids at different points. We develop tastes for different things, and those tastes change. My 4 year old often says to me “mama, I don’t like it because I do not have the same taste buds as you!” He is correct, he does not. My point is that this is a guide to help you make the best decisions for your particular child, keeping in mind they are an individual. They will crave what their body needs. Trust in that.

I have a great deal of valuable information and recipes that will be included in my book about feeding babies and toddlers. However, this guide will cover some of the more common questions I hear, and hopefully give you some answers as to how to start. I incorporated some of my reader’s questions, and my answers to them. I hope this helps to answer some of your questions as well. I can’t explore everything I would like to, but I will do my best to cover some of the most common questions. If you have any that I have not answered here, feel free to drop me an e-mail anytime!

primalblissnutrition@gmail.com

A little about breastfeeding:

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I am not here to judge your decision to breastfeed or not breastfeed. I feel it is important to educate people on the benefits of breastfeeding. I understand that it doesn’t workout for everyone for a variety of reasons, and this post is not to create conflict, but to discuss some obstacles and how to overcome them.

When a baby is born, his/her stomach is the size of a small marble. It is big enough to hold that tiny bit of colostrum that coats and seals the infant gut, preventing pathogens from entering. Some refer to colostrum as baby’s first immunizations. It is rich in vitamin A giving it a dark yellow color. Many mother’s are led to believe (by misinformed people) that their child needs to be supplemented in the hospital. When a newborn baby is fed more than the size of a marble on that first day, the baby is being overstuffed, and the stomach stretches. Sometimes baby will spit it up as well. Keep in mind that if you are feeding baby early and often, you are giving your body the cues it needs to make enough milk for your baby. Removing baby from you to be cared for by nurses, getting tons of visitors, and supplementing with formula interferes with that bonding process, messes with your confidence, and sends you down a road you do not want to go down.

Breastfeeding is a learned behavior. Back when breasts were not culturally taboo, infants were fed freely everywhere. Children observed family members breastfeeding, and they were taught what to do. We had an innate ability and we had confidence. In this day and age it is important to surround yourself with supportive people, who respect your decision to breastfeed.

If you are having difficulties with breastfeeding or need help with re-lactating, you can find a Lactation Consultant here. My favorite resource for breastfeeding mamas is www.kellymom.com. You can find many answers to all your breastfeeding questions and concerns on this website. Here is a blog post I wrote about the amazing ingredients in human milk. If breastfeeding does not work out for you, the second best option is milk from either a milk bank or community milk sharing. Human milk is species specific, and easiest on the infant’s immature gut. Eats on feets is a great resource for obtaining donated breastmilk from a trusted community. There is a Chapter for most areas. The difference between milk bank milk and donated milk is that milk from a milk bank has been pasteurized, and you will have to pay for the milk. However, some people do not trust milk sharing (donated milk). This is where you have to talk with the milk donator, ask important medical questions, and go with your gut. The milk will not be pasteurized, and it will still have all the live enzymes and probiotics. If you go with milk from the milk bank which has been pasteurized, I recommend supplementing with a good human strain infant probiotic. The last option is artificial baby milk (aka formula). There are options to make your own formula with raw goat’s milk here. Goat’s milk proteins are smaller and more easily digested than cow’s milk proteins (casein). If you do decide to go with a cow’s milk pre-made formula, I highly suggest using a liquid one that has pre-digested proteins (a hypo-allergenic formula). The casein is predigested and poses less of a stress on the infant gut. I would also recommend supplementing this formula with a good human strain infant probiotic. I never recommend soy formula…ever. Soy is not a health food.

When do I start solids?

The burning question. Your mother or mother-in-law thinks your baby is hungry and bugs you about starting him or her on cereal. Your pediatrician says “at (6 week…4 months, 6 months), you should start rice cereal” Your baby is reaching for food at the table. You are excited to take pics of that first meal! So when do you start? Here is what I was taught from my training as a general guideline. You start solids sometime around the middle of the first year. I know that sounds very general, but every baby is different. There are however, telltale signs that baby is ready to start playing with food. Remember there is nothing more nutritious, high in calories and nutrient dense than breastmilk or quality formula.

Signs that indicate readiness:

*baby can sit up on his own

*baby no longer has the tongue thrust and gag reflex. When you put something in her mouth, does she try to push it out with her tongue? If yes, she is not ready for solid foods.

*baby is still hungry after breastfeeding for a period longer than a week (normal growth spurt period)

*baby can pinch with her finger and thumb (pincer grasp)

*BIGGEST SIGN: baby is picking up pieces of food and putting it in his mouth by himself

Signs that do not necessarily indicate readiness to consume solids:

*more frequent nursing-this may simply be a growth spurt (which are temporary and last a week or so), baby nurses more frequently during growth spurts to help increase your milk supply to their demand

*size of the baby-big or small babies do not necessarily need extra food. Humans come in all different shapes and sizes. Their size does not indicate their body is ready for solid foods.

*not going straight to sleep after nursing. We always assume baby is hungry, but sometimes their sleep cycles are different from what we would like. Sometimes they are just awake during the night.

*reaching for your food on your plate or watching you eat -She is most likely just curious about what is on your plate, and want to mimic what she sees you doing. Giving her a utensil to hold or play with may suffice.

What is baby led weaning?

In my personal opinion, baby led weaning means giving your baby control over what they will eat and how much. Obviously you supply the food choices. However, the past generation spoon fed babies, shoveling in every last bite in the baby food jar or bowl of rice cereal. It is very invasive to have a spoon shoved in your face repeatedly. Babies are not good or bad eaters. They are not “good” if they eat all of the baby food forced into their mouth. We need to let go of the “good baby” and “good eater” notions from past generations. Let go of the idea that how your baby is eating tells how good of a parent you are. These instilled misconceptions only hinder your ability to trust in yourself, and trust in your baby. Provide soft little pieces of food for them to pick up. Offer purees on a spoon that is near your baby’s mouth, and allow them to open their mouth and reach for it. Do not invade baby’s mouth with a spoon over and over.

 

How much do I give my baby?

The general guideline to follow is from 0-6 months 100% breastmilk or formula. 6-12 months 75% breastmilk or formula. Start introducing solid foods sometime around 6 months. At this time, food is mainly for exploration-they want to play with it…feel it…taste it. Most of their nutrition and calories should come from breastmilk or quality formula that first year. So just give small amounts and let baby have fun with it, no stress. My son literally lived on breastmilk for like 2 years. It was what he wanted. Sure I offered what we were having at every meal, but he was not ready to wean. Keep in mind that bio-individuality. Every child is different and will be ready at a different time. Also remember, your pediatrician will most likely push rice cereal early on. Pediatricians are not trained on breastfeeding or nutrition. Let me repeat this. Pediatricians are not trained on breastfeeding. They also don’t have all the answers. They just don’t. Have some trust in yourself, and stop placing your trust elsewhere! I cannot stress this enough.

According to “Counseling The Nursing Mother, A Lactation Consultant’s Guide” by Judith Lauwers and Anna Swisher, The profession of pediatricians emerged when formula emerged. Mother’s needed a prescribed amount of formula to give their baby. The pediatric profession is still very much influenced by the infant formula and baby food industry. Many of the training pediatricians receive are funded by formula companies. I’m sure there are many great pediatricians out there. However, only you know your child. Don’t place your child’s health in someone else’s hands. No one knows your child like you do.

What are the best foods to start my baby on?

You want the most bang for your buck when it comes to feeding babies. Think nutrient-dense real foods. If you are eating these kinds of foods while breastfeeding, your baby is already exposed to the taste of them. Breastmilk taste changes based on what you are eating. I’m going to list the top 10 best foods I think are great for introducing to baby when baby is ready to start solid foods. Again, the first year is mostly experimenting and tasting different foods. Most calories and nutrients can be obtained from breastmilk or quality formula.

1. avocados-depending on baby’s ability to chew and swallow, you can puree, mash, or give soft chunks. Avocados are nutrient dense and loaded with good fats. Infants need a high fat diet for their developing brain, eyes, and neurological system. You can also make guacamole for baby!

2. egg yolk from pasture raised eggs-pediatricians might warn you about starting eggs early because of possible allergies. The egg white does contain many different proteins that pose a risk to an immature gut. However, the yolk is actually gentle on the gut and loaded with healthy saturated fat and nutrients for growing babies.

3. liver from grass-fed or pasture raised animals- you would want to give tiny pieces or puree depending on baby’s ability to chew and swallow. Liver from pasture raised animals is extremely rich sources of B vitamins, vitamin A, and iron. The iron in liver is bioavailable-meaning it will be digested and assimilated by baby’s body, unlike the iron fortified cereals and baby foods. Fish and liver can be made into pate’s for baby!

4. sweet potato- Loaded with vitamin A and good carbohydrates, palatable taste. Nice for mixing with a stronger meats like liver and fish.

5. grass-fed beef- niacin, iron, choline, high in good omega 3 fats, nutrient rich. You can make a baby bolognese sauce with ground grass-fed beef, veggies such as carrots, spices, and marinara sauce (preferably homemade or a brand with no sugar in it).

6. bone broth or bone marrow- Teething babies love to suck/chew on bones! As long as the bone does not have pieces sticking out that they can choke on, it can help them teeth and they can suck nutrients from it. I remember my younger son loved chewing on a chicken leg. Make sure the bone is from a grass-fed or pastured animal. You can scoop out the nutrient dense marrow from roasted marrow bones and serve it mixed with a little avocado or sweet potato. You can also mix some bone broth with a little meat, avocado, or sweet potato.

7. salmon (wild caught sustainable only)- Excellent source of good fatty acids for brain development, also rich in vitamin D.

8. sticks of cooked vegetables- like zucchini that they can hold and chomp on- again, make sure the tongue thrust reflex is gone (usually after 6 months). Steam until tender and give them the little sticks to hold. **You never want to leave a baby unattended while feeding themselves, and use common sense. You will be able to tell if they can handle it or not, based on the readiness signs listed above

9. mashed roasted squash or pumpkin- again, high in vitamin A-great for mixing with grass-fed beef or liver

10. seasoning and spices- Get that baby use to different flavors! Play around with cinnamon, cumin, garlic, ginger, curry, dill, oregano, sage, thyme, basil, mint, lemongrass, pepper. You want them to enjoy flavorful food just as you do. Don’t assume baby food must be bland. Babies of different ethnicities can enjoy the flavor of ethnic foods just as adults do. My children love spicy foods and garlic, and have since they were infants.

Bonus! add fat and lots of it. Babies brains need fat, especially healthy, stable saturated fats. Fat insulates the brain, helps develop good eyesight, and satiates baby. Raw full fat grass-fed milk (after 1 year), full fat yogurt or kefir (after 1 year), a spoonful of ghee (the milk proteins have been removed, so it is just the fat-high in CLA, and fat soluable vitamins, great for a growing brain), and coconut oil. You can also cook baby’s veggies and meats in pastured lard and tallow. Do not give your baby, toddler, or child anything labeled low-fat or fat free.

Why would I not want to give my baby rice cereal?

The myth of rice cereal is so irritating to me. Rice cereal is digested by the body and broken down as sugar. The iron in it is not all bio-available, therefore baby might not be assimilating all the iron. The form of iron is very constipating. It is a stripped, processed food that contributes to the epidemic we now have of people not handling or processing the large amounts of grains and sugar we consume. There is not much in it in the way of nutrients. There is a longstanding misconception that baby will sleep better with rice cereal. Sure it fills their tummy, but it is filling them with a nutrient-void food like product. It is not real food. Breastmilk is far superior as are the other nutrient dense foods listed above. Don’t buy into the rice cereal nonsense. It’s just not necessary…at all.

Once baby turns one and you are no longer breastfeeding, what do you give them instead of cows milk?

Another long-standing myth in our culture is that you need to drink milk past infancy-namely conventional cows milk. Here is a blog post I wrote about conventional cows milk. I don’t think it is necessary to include in a child’s diet. In my opinion, raw goat or grass-fed cow’s milk can be a good nutrient dense alternative for toddlers. The casein is partially digested by the live enzymes, and therefore is easier on the gut. Raw dairy is completely different from processed grain-fed cow’s milk. However, some still have difficulties with the proteins even in raw milk. I don’t think it is necessary. I discuss that in the blog post as well. Did you know that from 1 to 2 years of age human milk becomes less copious and is more thick and nutrient dense? Every feeding your milk changes to accommodate your growing toddler. However, if your child has weaned, pasteurized cow’s milk is not an appropriate replacement. Stick with raw dairy or nutrient dense foods (listed above).

Should I wean my baby to cow’s milk at 1 year?

What do we believe magically happens at the first birthday that means the child has to suddenly wean? Child-led weaning happens on it’s own. Your child will not go off to college breastfeeding, I promise you that. Sure there is a stigma associated with breastfeeding past one. However, up until about 50 years ago, it was completely normal for toddlers to still breastfeed for 3 years and beyond. It is sad we have this cultural expectation, because the nutrients and benefits for your child go up as the baby becomes a toddler. Here is an informative piece on breastfeeding past infancy. If you are no longer breastfeeding at 1 year, I recommend researching raw goat or cow’s milk, kefir or yogurt or increase the nutrient dense foods you are offering. Also include a good infant human strain probiotic supplement to help with digestion and nutrient absorption. Pasteurized cows milk is not necessary in my educated opinion.

If my child is sick with a stomach bug, what should I feed them besides the typical “brat” diet (bananas, rice, apples, and toast)?

If you are breastfeeding and your infant has the stomach bug, breastmilk can help re-colonize the infant gut with beneficial bacteria, and the closeness soothes baby. However, limit to a small amount as they will most likely vomit it up again. If your child has the stomach bug and is fully weaned from breastfeeding, I do not recommend the “brat” diet, or sports drinks. I recommend slowly sipping bone broth and introducing a good probiotic once the stomach has settled enough to hold down the bone broth. Then once child is feeling better, add soup with fully cooked veggies or well-cooked tender meat, as well as a good probiotic until the stomach is recolonized with good bacteria and can handle other foods.

Which veggies can be given raw, how often do they need veggies?

Don’t over-think it…offer a variety of healthy meats and veggies plus occasional fruits. Stick with real food, not food that comes in a package. I do recommend cooking veggies until tender, especially when just starting solids. See how they handle it. Remember the first year is just for experimenting with different flavors. Always breastfeed or formula feed first during the first year of life. If they are not satiated after that, then offer small pieces of food to experiment with. There is no magic number to the amount of veggies. Just offer small pieces of what you are eating with each meal.

Does introducing meat too early put a strain on their kidneys?

I don’t believe the small amounts of meats they are eating as babies will put any sort of strain on the kidney. They are not devouring an entire beef liver on a daily basis. Their tummy is the size of their little fist. Your baby is utilizing his different senses.  He is tasting small amounts of food, and learning about eating. I do not recommend meats that are not from grass-fed or pastured animals. This piece from Mark’s Daily Apple discusses the protein and kidney myth. This piece also puts to rest some of these protein/kidney myths.

What are some healthy finger foods for toddlers?

You have to plan ahead when you go places and plan to pack real food snacks with an icepack. It’s not as easy as a boxed or packaged snack, but you will adjust!  Some ideas I have are: sliced up hard boiled eggs, steamed veggie sticks (until tender), oven roasted sweet potato fries or jicama fries, small cut up pieces of chicken or other tender slow cooked meats, avocado slices with pink salt, applegate farms deli meats rolled up, roasted cauliflower, kale chips, sea snax (roasted seaweed), and berries. Here is a post I did a while back with some “kiddo” snack ideas. As they get older and can chew more, we get grass-fed beef sticks as well.

How do you deal with the stigma of not giving pasteurized grain-fed cow’s milk to your children? What other options are there?

Be strong. Stick to your guns.  Again, here is my article on cows milk. I don’t believe a child needs to drink their nutrition. The most important drink for a child is filtered water. If the child has no issues with milk proteins, raw grass-fed dairy can be explored. No other species of animals continue to drink milk from another species after weaning. It is purely cultural (and some pushing from the dairy board and the influence they have on the government). If you feel you must give some milk yet your child cannot handle the proteins in raw milk, almond milk and coconut milk are options, but filtered water is the best form of hydration.

Is it safe to breastfeed while eating paleo/primal?

Absolutely. Paleo is a nutritious lifestyle. It is how our early ancestors ate for thousands upon thousands of years. As with any breastfeeding mama, you want to make sure you are consuming enough food for both you and your baby. Remember, your baby gets the nutrients you consume first…it all goes to the milk. Whatever is left goes to you. So baby will not be the one who suffers. You want to take care of yourself though so you have energy and feel good. Breastfeeding burns a lot of energy. Eat to hunger and drink water to thirst. Include starchy veggies as a good source of carbohydrates.

What are some good fats to give my child if he won’t eat avocados, nuts or nut butters?

If your child can handle dairy proteins raw cheeses are an option, as is goat cheese. My kids love broccoli slightly steamed and sauteed with duck fat and pink salt. Also roasted cauliflower with coconut oil is a favorite of my kids. If your child is allergic to almond butter, sunbutter is a good option. Grain free baked snacks with coconut oil are an option too. However…do keep trying avocados! It took almost a year of offering everyday with many refusals, but my 4 year old loves them now. Cook with stable saturated fats as well.

I hope this guide was helpful to you! Please don’t hesitate to e-mail me any other questions you have!

primalblissnutrition@gmail.com

Social Media:

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About me:

My name is Kathryn. I am a mama of 2 boys ages 7 and 4.  I am a Certified Lactation Educator/Counselor (CLEC) through the University of San Diego. I have an Undergraduate Degree in Health, and an M.Ed. in Rehabilitation Counselor. I am currently studying to become a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner through The Nutritional Therapy Association.

References:

1. Baby-led Weaning; Helping your baby to love good foods, Gill Rapley and Tracey Murkett, Copyright 2008

2. Counseling the Nursing Mother, A Lactation Consultant’s Guide,  Judith Lauwers and Anna Swisher, Copyright 2022 by Jones and Bartlett Learning, LLC

3.  www.kellymom.com

* Please note: This is a personal blog. I am not a Doctor. All data and information provided on this site is for informational/educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitution for professional medical advice.

Don’t Be Afraid Of Saturated Fats!

butter

This is a follow -up on my post: Side Effects From Eating a Low-Fat Diet

I discussed some side effects you may experience when you cut good fats out of your diet. However, I want to be more specific about the types of fats that are needed for your body, and the types you should avoid. Not all fats support your body’s ability to function, and some of these highly processed and manufactured fats can damage your body. There has been so much wrong information out there over the past generation, spread through the media and health-care professionals. It can be difficult to understand and navigate.

There are different types of fats depending on the number of hydrogen bonds in the fat molecule. The more hydrogen bonds, the more saturated and stable the fat is. Stable means that the fat does not oxidize easily releasing free radicals. Saturated fats are solid at room temperature and do not go rancid-or break down when exposed to elements of light, oxygen and heat as polyunsaturated fats do.

My goal here is to help you navigate the world of fats, and gain a better understanding of which fats to consume, and which to avoid. Here are the different words you might hear associated with fats, and what these words mean:

 Saturated Fats:

butter

 

  • Saturated fats are solid at room temperature.
  • Contrary to what you’ve probably heard, these are the most beneficial fats for our body. These fats are fully saturated with hydrogen bonds (NOT to be confused with hydrogenated oils).
  • These fats are stable, and do not easily oxidize (break down) or go rancid.
  • Saturated fats include fats such as lard, tallow, butter, suet, ghee, coconut oil, palm oil.
  • Saturated fats are beneficial to the body-these fats insulate myelin in the brain (memory, mood stability, alertness), strengthen the immune system and help regulate hormones.

 Monounsaturated Fats (aka MUFA’s):

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  • Monounsaturated fats have one double bond in the fatty acid chain.
  • Monounsaturated fats have a lower melting point than saturated fats, but a higher melting point than polyunsaturated fats.
  • Monounsaturated fats can go rancid/breakdown/oxidize easier than saturated fats.
  • If consumed in an oxidative state, these oils can cause inflammation in the body. Therefore you would only want to use these oils for low to no heat and cold uses, and make sure you purchase cold-pressed oils.
  • You would want to store them in a dark place.
  • Monounsaturated fats include olive oil and avocado oil.
  • Monounsaturated fats also make up part of the fats in meats (another reason not to overcook or burn meats), and are found in some nuts like macadamia nuts.

 Polyunsaturated Fats (aka PUFA’s):

vegetableoils

  • Poly (many) of the bonds are unsaturated with hydrogen.
  • Polyunsaturated oils are liquid at room temperature and in the refrigerator.
  • Polyunsaturated oils include: vegetable oils and industrial seed oils, such canola, corn, soy, sunflower, cottonseed, and safflower.
  • Polyunsaturated oils are highly processed.
  • These polyunsaturated seed oils are very high in omega 6 fatty acids and low in omega 3’s.
  • Heat, light, and oxygen break these oils down and render them chemically unstable. The volatile chemical structure (from the process of being heat extracted releasing free-radicals) can wreak havoc on the body at a cellular level, and cause chronic inflammation…the root of modern diseases.
  • These oils are not stable.
  • Contrary to what you might have heard, these oils should be avoided! It is not easy to avoid them when you go out to eat, but don’t buy them! These oils are also found in packaged processed foods like potato chips-including those you buy at the “health food” store.

For more info on polyunsaturated fats (PUFA’s):

http://raypeat.com/articles/nutrition/oils-in-context.shtml#.UVKouM1x34A.facebook

http://chriskresser.com/how-too-much-omega-6-and-not-enough-omega-3-is-making-us-sick

http://thankyourbody.com/vegetable-oils/

http://www.marksdailyapple.com/polyunsaturated-fat/#axzz2OMW3AqGx

Hydrogenated Oils:

health risks of hydrogenated oils

  • Hydrogenated oils are chemically altered fats-these oils are high heat treated and processed to change them from a liquid state to a solid state.
  • Hydrogen is added to these oils to make them solid.
  • Examples include margarine, benecol, earth balance, “better than butter” and Crisco.
  • These chemically altered oils should be avoided.

THIS explains how hydrogenated oils are created and how they affect the body.

“Let’s take hydrogenated oils and see what this substance really is and why it’s so incredibly bad for you. Hydrogenated oils are oils that are often healthy in their natural state, but are quickly turned into poisons through the manufacturing and processing they undergo. They take these naturally healthy oils such as palm, kernel, soybean, corn oil or coconut oil and they heat it anywhere from five hundred to one thousand degrees under several atmospheres of pressure.

They then inject a catalyst into the oil for several hours. The catalyst is typically a metal such a nickel, platinum or even aluminum. As this bubbles up into the oil the molecular structure changes and increases in density and rearranges it’s molecules so that instead of a liquid at room temperature we now have either semi-solid or solid oil. This creates either partially hydrogenated or fullyhydrogenated oils.

The molecules in this new product are now closer to cellulose or plastic than to oil. In fact hydrogenated oil is only one molecule away from being plastic. When you eat anything containing this material, just as the oil is now thicker and more viscous (dense), so too does your blood become thicker and more viscous right along with it. The heart now has to work so much harder to pump blood throughout the system. This is one of the major ways that consuming hydrogenated oils contributes to high blood pressure.”

Read More: http://www.naturalnews.com/024694_oil_food_oils.html#ixzz2OPsEaGwE

Cholesterol:

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  • All of the cells in your body need cholesterol.
  • Cholesterol metabolizes all hormones and fat soluable vitamins.
  • Your body manufactures most of it’s own cholesterol and a little bit comes from food.
  • Cholesterol forms and maintains cell wall structures.
  • Cholesterol is used by the nerve cells for insulation.
  • The liver uses cholesterol to produce bile.
  • Cholesterol is also needed for your body to make Vitamin D.
  • Much of what you may think about cholesterol is wrong.
  • Cholesterol is found in the arteries, but it is mistaken as the culprit in heart disease. Cholesterol travels to arteries in order to heal the body–as a  “patch” to the lesions caused by underlying inflammation. This underlying inflammation is from a diet high in inflammatory foods likes sugars, processed grains, and oxidized oils.

For more information on the truth about cholesterol:

http://www.westonaprice.org/cardiovascular-disease/myths-a-truths-about-cholesterol

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2011/10/22/debunking-the-science-behind-lowering-cholesterol-levels.aspx

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/08/10/making-sense-of-your-cholesterol-numbers.aspx

Over the past generation we have heard plenty about “good” fats and “bad” fats. Saturated fats were (and often still are based on faulty information) placed in the “bad” fat category because it was thought to be associated with atherosclerosis (thickening of the arteries due to heart disease). This saturated fat theory is all based on an epidemiology study (a “study” that basically asks people to fill out a survey), and many factors were not taken into consideration, including the inflammatory foods present in the diet.

According to Mary Enig, PhD and Sally Fallon (The Truth About Saturated Fats Parts 1-3)

“These “experts” assure us that the lipid hypothesis is backed by incontrovertible scientific proof. Most people would be surprised to learn that there is, in fact, very little evidence to support the contention that a diet low in cholesterol and saturated fat actually reduces death from heart disease or in any way increases one’s life span. Consider the following:

Before 1920 coronary heart disease was rare in America; so rare that when a young internist named Paul Dudley White introduced the German electrocardiograph to his colleagues at Harvard University, they advised him to concentrate on a more profitable branch of medicine.

The new machine revealed the presence of arterial blockages, thus permitting early diagnosis of coronary heart disease. But in those days clogged arteries were a medical rarity, and White had to search for patients who could benefit from his new technology. During the next forty years, however, the incidence of coronary heart disease rose dramatically, so much so that by the mid fifties heart disease was the leading cause of death among Americans.

Today heart disease causes at least 40% of all US deaths. If, as we have been told, heart disease results from the consumption of saturated fats, one would expect to find a corresponding increase in animal fat in the American diet. Actually, the reverse is true. During the sixty-year period from 1910 to 1970, the proportion of traditional animal fat in the American diet declined from 83% to 62%, and butter consumption plummeted from eighteen pounds per person per year to four.

During the past eighty years, dietary cholesterol intake has increased only 1%. During the same period the percentage of dietary vegetable oils in the form of margarine, shortening and refined oils increased about 400% while the consumption of sugar and processed foods increased about 60%.”

Read more: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2002/08/17/saturated-fat1.aspx

More on the truth about saturated fats: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/saturated-fat-healthy/#axzz2OMW3AqGx

 In a nutshell:

  • Avoid vegetable oils such as corn, soy, and canola oil-these oils are also found in packaged pretzels and chips.
  • Avoid hydrogenated oils like margarine and Crisco-these oils are also found in many processed snacks.

  • Use olive oil cold or for low heat cooking.

  • Cook with stable saturated fats such as butter (from grass-fed cows is best), coconut oil, tallow, and lard-don’t be afraid of saturated fats!

 

* Please note: This is a personal blog. I am not a Doctor or a Dietician. All data and information provided on this site is for informational/educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitution for professional medical advice.