No doubt you’ve been hearing for at least half your life how good whole grains are for you. If you happen to live in the woodwork and missed nutrition 101, let me explain. A whole grain is literally medicine for your heart, your organs, your waist line and your mood. Yep, you heard me correctly. Real whole grains are literally that fantastical. Without getting all science-y on you, whole grains: (1) lower your bad (LDL) AND total cholesterol while raising your good (HDL) cholesterol; (2) have fiber to fill you up (so you’ll eat less); (3) are low on the glycemic index, keeping your blood sugar (and moods) stabilized; and (4) have been implicated in LOWERING risk for diet-based western diseases (think heart, cancer and diabetes). That’s a mouthful. Now open up your mouth and eat some.
This all sounds great, you say, but what the heck are whole grains!? Let me illuminate: Grains in their whole form come as steel cut or rolled oats, brown/wild/brown basmati rice, barley, bulgur, quinoa and popcorn. Aim for 1 cup/day of the whole stuff. When I say “whole” I don’t mean PROCESSED whole grains. Notice how even “whole grain” breads and pastas don’t make the cut on my list. (Those whole grains are first milled down into flour; also good for you, but not a superfood like their whole grain ancestors).
So, go ahead. Have some whole grains today and start feeling (and looking!) better.
Here are a few recipes to get your whole grain party started:
Middle-eastern Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad
Wheat Berry Salad with Arugula, Goat Cheese & Green Olives
Mediterranean Quinoa Salad
Spring Quinoa with Asparagus & Feta
Butternut Squash Barley Risotto
Ten Minute Asparagus & Rrown Rice
Vegan Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
As any nursing mama knows, damaged nipples are no fun. Trying to heal while continuing to breast feed is a challenge and lanolin is one of the tried-and-true remedies for cracked nipples. But which lanolin to choose? There are big differences between the two most popular brands – Medela and Lansinoh. One is not better than the other: It’s a matter of personal preference and your current needs. Here’s the lowdown.
Medela lanolin is thinner and easier to spread, similar to vaseline. This can be particularly advantageous for those with seriously cracked nipples because any amount of touching can be extremely painful. Easier to apply = less pressure. You’ll need to reapply Medela several times a day: Since it’s a thinner formula it doesn’t stay on through each feeding/ pumping session. Some people notice an unpleasant smell from Medela’s lanolin, which you may or may not be offended by. I have never been too bothered by the scent, but we all have different preferences so know that you aren’t alone if you can’t stand the smell.
Lansinoh lanolin is much thicker. While it’s a little more of a challenge to spread, it feels like a waterproof barrier and stays on for most of the day. It feels more therapeutic than Medela’s lanolin so it’s great for when you need serious moisture that will last. Although it’s a thicker formula, the tube never seems to last as long as the other lanolin brands, but that might be because I tend to use it more often. One downside is that is it can be difficult to wash off, even in the shower, because it is so thick and a bit sticky.
Do you have a favorite brand of lanolin? I know there are others out there.
Wishing all you nursing mamas healthy nipples!
The easiest way to get baby to eat (and love) healthy cruciferous veggies, like cauliflower and broccoli, is to roast them. The high temperature used to roast veggies makes the natural sugars caramelize and taste delicious.
Here’s how to roast cauliflower (pictured): Preheat your oven to 425 degrees and line a baking sheet with tin foil and coat with nonstick cooking spray, then set aside. Cut washed cauliflower or broccoli into small florets and place on prepared baking sheet. Toss with a little olive oil (about 2 Tbs. oil for a head of cauliflower) and toss to coat. Spread the florets out, leaving some room between the pieces so they roast rather than steam in the oven. Place in preheated oven for 20-30 minutes, or until browed on the edges and slightly crispy. Cool and bread the florets into even smaller, bite-size pieces for baby. Store in the fridge for up to 5 days.
This is a great way to make a veggie that the whole family will love. Serve it with spice rubbed roasted chicken or marinated yogurt chicken breasts (I’ll post the recipes for these in the future) and you have a complete meal that yields great leftovers. My girls loves this cauliflower so much that we literally have to hide the large container from her if we want to have any left for another meal – otherwise she keeps asking for more. We’re not complaining; just happy to be serving something we don’t have to push.
Introducing baby to animal protein can be daunting, so here’s a basic recipe for making chicken for an infant. While many people steam chicken for baby food, steamed meat doesn’t appeal to me so I like to cook the chicken in a skillet. This recipe is simple, takes very little time and can be made in a large batch and frozen. Note: if you plan to freeze some of the chicken be sure to use fresh (not frozen) chicken.
For some added flavor, I like to add a little spice to the chicken. Cumin, coriander and cinnamon are all warm and flavorful spices, yet mild enough for baby. Oregano, dill, black pepper or thyme would also go well with chicken. Once cooked, mix the chicken into sweet potatoes or any other purée that your baby enjoys (carrots, potato and broccoli, parsnips, etc).
Baby’s First Chicken
1 chicken breast (use organic or hormone-free)
Pinch of each: cumin, coriander and cinnamon (optional)
Nonstick or cast iron skillet
Food processor (such as Cuisinart mini prep)
Cut 1 chicken breast into 1″ chunks. Heat skillet over medium- low heat. Place chicken in pan, flipping pieces after 5-7 minutes, or until the under side is white and slightly golden brown. Cook on other side until chicken is white in the center and the juices run clear when the meat is pierced with a fork.
Cool slightly, then transfer to food processor. Purée until chicken looks like the pieces are about the size of a small grain, like quinoa.
The Discovery Channel is currently running a seven part series entitled Frozen Planet, which is all about exploring the Earth’s polar regions and wildlife. The episodes air on Sunday nights at 8 pm, which is too late for my kiddies, so we just DVR it and watch it another day. We missed the first episode, but caught the second and plan on taping the remainder of the series. The cinematography is breathtaking. The time lapse films are amazing, truly a wonder to watch. The kids and I thoroughly enjoyed it. In our house, the polar bears and penguins were a big hit. And, it is narrated by the one and only Alec Baldwin. I recommend tuning in this weekend. It’s really good TV that the whole family can enjoy.