Thursday, 11 October 2012

Raw Baby? That's Nuts!

Nuts are nutritious. Some people are allergic so extra caution in that regard is needed. In their untouched form, they need to be chewed... so use common sense!  

Ground nuts are easily added to many, many foods. Parents can begin introducing them to children 6 months and over. Definitely start with non-allergenic nuts such as almonds, walnuts and hemp. I love hemp hearts. My toddler will eat them with a spoon and I blend them into purees for the baby and in smoothies for the whole family. 

Check out these dehydrated cracker and cookie recipes!

Raw nuts and whole grains all contain varying amounts of vitamins, minerals and protein. Here is the best comparison chart I have found online:

 So how much protein does baby need?

“Ideally, between 15 and 20 percent of the daily calories an adult consumes should be in the form of protein. For babies, this amount if much higher. About 40 percent of a baby's daily calories should be in the form of protein…  Babies from birth to six months of age need 2.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. Babies between the age of six months and one year need 1 gram of protein per kilogram of body weight per day.” The source of this information is at:

Oh hempry balls

Ever wonder what to do with small quantities of nuts or leftover trailmix? Try this gluten free recipe: raw walnuts and hemp hearts are ground together to form a buttery base. Add some agave nectar, peanut butter, a touch of carob powder or cinnamon, raisins, sunflower seeds or whatever you have on hand and mix well. Then add puffed millet, rice or quinoa to give these treats their special texture. Roll into balls using your hands and store in the freezer. 

My toddler, Lucas, has discovered that when he takes them from the freezer, chances of mom letting him have another snack are better when he brings me one too! Then it is hard for me to say "no!"  

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Raw & Cooked Food for Baby (tomato gazpacho and roasted potatoes)

I made gazpacho this summer with tomatoes, onion, bell pepper and parsley from the graden then added garlic, celeri, cucumber and apple. It can be lovely with nectarines or pear and pretty much any herb or even chopped spinach. You can easily add quinoa too. Which brings me to talking about Raw & Cooked. Notice it's not Raw vs Cooked (that title is perhaps for another day).

Choose the best of all worlds for your baby! Look at what others are doing and do not judge them. Decide what you want to do and do it! Be proud of your decisions and for taking health at heart. Be grateful of the abundance of foods (and other things, people, information, ressources...) you have ACCESS TO!
Multiply your sources of information i.e. don't rely on only one.

I've just summed up my philosophy about a lot of things. So now on to the tomatoes...

I blended some leftover cold tomato soup and froze it for Guillaume to have in the Fall : )  Yes, my tomato season is officially over. Having been mixing it to carrot puree these past few times I wanted to do something different today for his lunch. Grabbed roasted potatoes from the fridge, mashed them with a fork and assistance of freshly boiled water, before removing the pieces of peel.

Pouring in gazpacho made this all very liquid so thickening with cereal was necessary. I added a baby spoonful of chia seed, stirred in well and finally, added heaping 1 Tbsp of dehydrated cooked oatmeal cereal (pablum). 

Note that I no longer keep chia gel in the fridge because my baby has moved up on the textures ladder. Also, I have begun introducing nuts which can be done - with some caution and a milling blade - after 6 months of age.

More about that in my next post! 

Enjoy your raw baby food experimenting and please share about your experiments in the comments area!

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Raw juice today, green smoothie tomorrow!

This morning we had raw juice made with 6 broccoli stems, a bell pepper finally turned red - from the garden,an apple and a lemon. It is bitter so for the babes (they were actually "fighting" over the sippy cup) water and "sun rype" juice was added to make it more palatable. Tomorrow at our workshop I will be serving a green smoothie, incorporating fruit and vegetables of all colours of the rainbow. I call it a chakra smoothie! And I know it will be a HIT at our HAPPY NOW!wellness workshop. There is still room for registrations, we are close to Ottawa but closer to nature. Details of the event are on the Healthy Active Lifestyle Facebook page.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Do you dare to be dairy?

I went to a raw green smoothie workshop last night in Ottawa. It was educational, fun, tasty and free!
Sarah Ives, founder of Oh My Raw, has an information-packed blog and website. Click on the link above to see for yourself and to read a perfect smoothie recipe for this time of year.

Sarah's workshop helped me to realize that I feel really good about doing what is right for me and for my family. The event, where I asked many questions and offered insights also made me notice how passionate I am about leading others toward choosing the best for themselves and their families.

I learned that dairy inhibits the absorption of nutrients found in raw greens so having already reduced the amount of gluten, carbohydrates, sugar and starch we consume at home, I know too that dairy should be limited.

Since cutting out wheat and gluten for myself three weeks ago I have been relying on milk products and meat more than I did before. This has also been to see whether they have a bad influence on my gut as I do have bouts of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. I love cheese and I enjoyed my recent meat cooking experiments (baked chicken with tostitos and curcuma crisp - doesn't it look amazing??, and pork tenderloin baked with pear, tomato, onion and broccoli bits) as I seem to assimilate these non vegan friendly meals well.

Now my aim is to cut down on cheese and yogurt - again - as I have been eating 3 or 4 portions of dairy per day as of late. I feed them to the kids too but noticed Lucas, my two year old boy, developing some acne. While I was visiting my dad, freshly diagnosed celiac, a couple of weeks ago, I read a good part of Dr. William Davis' Wheat Belly. He exposes in his book (and blog) that acne is nonexistent in cultures where cow's milk is not ingested.

Lucas has just started daycare and although I drop him off with a container full of raw fruits and vegetables to complement the morning snack (usually a muffin) and lunch, I am not seeing everything he consumes any more.  I'm going to cut down his dairy intake and see what difference this makes. I will keep you posted on what is noticed!

So do you dare to be dairy?
I do, slightly!

On another note... talking about skin...
I was suffering from eczema and it is now all healed since I withdrew wheat from my diet. Coincidence? I think not! The problem was worsening since Guillaume's birth 9 months ago. Really, my skin hasn't been this soft since I was a little girl!

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Homemade Baby Cereal - Raw

Clockwise from top left, we have here milled chia seed, ground flax seed, oatmeal and hulled hemp seed also known as hemp hearts.

Hemp Hearts (Hulled Hemp Seed/ can also be called a nut)
Can be blended to anything, adding amazing nutrition. Including all omegas, protein, fat. Mom and dad, add it to your smoothies, salads, berry yogurt and cottage cheese parfaits, you deserve it!

Milled Chia Seed
Like hemp, chia is another raw superfood! This ancient seed was cultivated by the Azteks. It can be used a an egg substitute in some baked recipes and is one of the healthiest things you can feed your little one. Read an earlier blog post about how to prepare it, here.

Milled Flax Seed
Soak it for up to 3 days or simply add before or after blending when child is over 8 months. Flax is insoluble fiber and a constipation remedy especially effective combined with prune water.

To ease diarrhea, feed instead homemade brown rice cereal, banana, avocado, apple and other soluble fibers.

Eat raw oatmeal in moderation but it is do-able!

Know any others? Grateful if you would share in the comment section below!!!

To be or not to be raw baby?

Nobody said you have to choose, you can mix! That's what I do. Per instance, today I pureed raw yellow bell pepper, some tomato and will be adding mashed steamed carrots prior to freezing.

Here are some of my baby's favourite mixes:
  • plain greek yogurt & mango, pineapple, hemp hearts
  • any cooked puree & avocado
  • quinoa mix (peppers, bok choi, whatever) & tomato
  • cottage cheese & apple & berries (use mesh strainer) apples chunks are hard to see in the sauce... when feeding baby, check spoonfulls by squishing agains side of bowl
  • cooked green bean puree & banana
  • apple, mango, peach - oh wait - that's all raw!!! Bet you everyone in your house loves it ;-)
  • any puree & chia gel. chia gel is liquidy so I don't hesitate to keep the commercial cereal on hand because it is a great thickener.
  • hulled barley (one less manufacturing step than pearl) homemade cereal & apple & spaghetti sauce, ours isn't spicy, has beef
  • brown rice homemade cereal & spinach (or other raw) juice & pureed leftover zucchini boat (various veg, spices, olive oil) removing cheese and bread crumbs! ;-P
You can see now that the possibilities are endless and that it is not difficult to make your baby's healthy food while introducing a wide variety of vegetables.

Combinations are especially made easy when you have a small bullet type blender, a good knife and cutting board.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Homemade Baby Cereal - Cooked

There are many advantages to making your baby's cereal; you have the opportunity to choose the healthiest unprocessed grains, there are no unpronouncable ingredients and you save a few dollars especially when making it organic. Not to mention the pride you will feel in knowing that you are giving your child the best food available! 

The first step is grounding the cereal to a sandy powder. My photo above shows the grains in both forms. They can be economically purchased in bulk quantities.

Ready? Using a food processor, blender or the milling blade in your Baby Bullet, ground either brown rice, kasha (roasted buckwheat) or hulled barley to a powder and store in an airtight container. I re-use glass jars. Note that hulled barley is less processed than pearl so contains more nutrients but you can use either form of the cereal.  

Inspired by The Wholesome Baby Food Guide Recipe Book, here are the directions I follow:
Add 1/4 cup of ground cereal to 1.5 cups boiling water, whisk constantly for 10 minutes and add water as needed, keeping the cereal at a low boil.

Let cool and serve with vegetable, fruit, raw juice or the protein puree of your choice. Cooked baby cereal can be refrigerated for up to 48 hours or frozen in batches and should be fortified using breastmilk or commercial baby formula just prior to serving -  not while it is cooking.

I prefer not to have to cook cereal every day and since I feed my baby various types of cereal, including raw cereals, I only need to prepare cooked cereal once or twice per week. When I cook a batch, I freeze half and refrigerate the rest.

For optimal smoothness, blend the cooked cereal with your puree just before serving. This is no trouble if you are used to blending partially raw meals on demand anyways! 

Even if you don't always serve homemade food, be proud of making the best choices for your family without forgetting about yourself. I didn't even consider making my first baby's cereal. We are all on this planet to learn and progress at our own pace!!! Live well ; )

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Raw Raspberries For Your Baby

My favourite month is coming to an end. There are three main reasons why I love July: summer weather (I'm in Canada), my birthday, and yes, of course, fresh RASPBERRIES!
We buy them fresh and frozen all year round for everyone to indulge (usually at breakfast or as desert with greek yogurt - wayy less caloric than ice cream!)

Baby Guillaume is almost 8 months old and has been enjoying this seedy fruit for 3 months already. I want to share some ways now to introduce fresh seedy fruit like strawberries or raspberries to your little one's palette. Watch the video above to see tools I use and for quick instructions.

The wild raspberries picked in my yard today yielded about 1/3 cup of juice. You can also use the mesh strainer method for blueberries let's say if you want to reduce your child's insoluble fibre intake and increasing their digestability (to save time, it is best to puree bigger fruits prior to straining). The resulting puree is silky smooth, seedless and antioxdantly nutritious  ; ) There are no preservetives so you'll want to consume it promptly or freeze.

And because it is very liquid, you'll need to mix it or drink are some ideas on how to use it up:
Add it to a pureed apple, banana, mango or cereal for your baby's raw breakfast or sweet treat after something more savoury. A toddler would love this too, as would likely anyone else instead of jam or in a smoothie.

Dilute with water in a sippy cup. Your baby does not need to know sugary drinks exist just yet! Let him/her discover whole food tastes firsts!

Mix in with store-bought applesauce or plain yogurt to add raw goodness to processed foods.

My eco tips today have to do with avoiding waste. Raspberries are small but packed with good stuff so you don't want to waste more than you will already be throwing in the compost bin with the seeds.
First, ensure you scrape the bottom of your strainer to catch all juice. Then, when you've transferred the puree from bowl or measuring cup to the serving or freezing recipient, rinse, pour the tinted water into a sippy cup or bottle, refrigerate and serve to your child instead of plain water or add to YOUR homemade iced green tea or lemonade.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Good Leftover Lunches

Leftovers are good because they:
  • save you money
  • save you brain power because you don't wonder all morning how you'll get through all of your e-mails today AND grab something to eat.
  • save you brain power because you don't have to ask yourself what to eat
  • give you time to do something healthy during lunch hour (or half hour) like go for a walk instead of standing in line at the cafeteria
  • are better for the environment than going to drive-thru
  • have less packaging
  • are home cooked and as healthy as you make them
  • show good example to kids about saving money and the environment
  • serve as reminders of all that fantastic family dinner conversation that took place the night before. You might even giggle.
Leftover work lunch tips
  • when microwaving, use glass or re-usable dishes that you keep at the office so you don't heat the plastic container, which saves you money and is better for your health
  • Keep cutlery at the office along with a dishtowel, dish soap and a scrubby sponge or cloth oh and perhaps a few napkins and placemat to make you feel special - take these home on weekends to wash
  • If you are eating at your desk, which is not recommended unless you are doing something to advance you personally, cover your keyboard to avoid crumbs getting in between the keys and to prevent you from working for at least 5 minutes while you scarf down your delectable meal made with love and wholesome ingredients 
Leftover Planning Inspiration
My lunch today is bbq'd salmon garnished with lemon, sundried tomatoes and herbs from my garden. I'll have it cold, on a bed of fresh picked spinach, a handful of parsley and a piece of avocado. Yes, I have the luxury of eating at home and am making it count! (Eric could have taken this delicacy to work but didn't grab it- I'll be showing him this blog post tonight!)

  • Always cook extra quinoa, pasta, rice or couscous that you can later transform into a new dish
  • Grill extra veggies to make amazing sandwiches
  • Have salad fixings (grated zucchini and carrot, fresh herbs, raw nuts, homemade vinaigrette) ready to go the night before
  • keep extra cut fruit (melons, kiwi) which you served as desert, as snacks for the lunchbox
More tips here:

Be proud of your leftover lunches, it takes creativity and discipline to take on good leftover habits!

Friday, 29 June 2012

Cooked Food For Raw Baby

I have posted on how to incorporate raw foods to your baby's diet.

Today, I offer a word of caution. It is not safe for your baby's sensitive body to have only raw foods. Some foods like onions and berries per instance can be more allogenic than when cooked and raw vegetables can be harsh on a newly developing digestive system.
I also feel the need to mention that our family isn't all raw, we aren't even vegetarian but we think it important to have something raw at each meal, we have many meatless dishes throughout the week, limit our dairy and carbs intake and recently have decided to eat more fresh fish. Health changes don't need to be made all at the same time. Be gentle with yourself! To know more about our approach to eating healthy, please read this article on our website.

Eventhough documentation or raw food for babies is scarce, I believe we should follow the medical system and researched "normal" dietery guidelines in food introduction calendars for babies but also add raw goodness to their diets daily by juicing greens, mixing milled chia and flax seed gels with cereal, making fresh organic fruit purees (banana, avocado, orange, very ripe pear, mango, etc) .

For optimal nutrition when cooking veggies, whether boiling or steaming, save the vitamin packed water for your next puree batch (raw or cooked), mixing it in cereal or serving it cooled instead of juice. Babies need water, why not give them their own Vitamin Water?

I used the water from cooking the carrots and turnip seen in this video for blending raw spinach puree prepared later that same day. Which brings me to mention that raw foods oxidize rapidly especially once chopped or juiced.

Idealy, thaw baby food the same day you will use it, not at room temperature though, to avoid the spread of bacteria. Don't use the microwave either (to prevent hot spots that can burn baby's mouth and keep your raw food, raw!) I usually take one day's rations out of the freezer the night before and let the cubes thaw in the fridge. You can also use hot water for quicker thawing.

Here's another informative video from YouTube with tips:

This video did spark a question for me; I don't know when it is a good idea to stop offering store bought instant baby cereal preparation but I will research this. Lisa demonstrates her constipation relieving recipe, mine was posted last week. She stresses that breastmilk or formula must consist of baby's main source of nutrition during the first year.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

1- Summer 2- Heat 3- Wave!

WHOA! is it just me or is it hot in here?

Some ways to keep you and your kiddies cool and well hydrated:

  • keep pitchers in the fridge so you remember to drink plenty of cool water, iced herbal tea, diluted juice; avoiding sugars and caffeine
  • put on a dampened t-shirt; this is great for young children or toddlers when you don't have AC (people in the desert do this) you can even try wearing wet socks to bed
  • clothes blinds on South side of your home or office and avoid that solar thermal effect
  • stay in the coolest place of your home i.e. basement
  • stick a bottle of skin lotion in the fridge and after at least half an hour, moisturize!
  • wear ligh coloured flowing clothing - specifically avoiding black, dark blue and red if you will be out in the sun
  • take a cool foot bath
  • place a bucket of ice or ice packs by your fan
  • avoid using the kitchen oven, clothes dryer, plug-in kettle or any other heat source
  • turn off electronics
  • eat watermelon, cucumber, tomatoes, oranges and other thirst quenching raw fruits and vegetables
  • avoid constipating foods like dairy or bananas
  • if you really can't stand the heat in your appartment go to a mall or cafe where the air is cooled
  • kids complaining? make paper fans!
  • once the sun sets go for a stroll barefoot in the grass
  • imagine yourself making snow angels naked

PRUNE Water to Ease Baby's Constipation

"Prunes — or dried plums — are considered one of the healthiest foods there is, but exactly why are prunes good for you? And why are prunes good for constipation? This article discusses the health benefits of eating prunes, including their ability to relieve constipation, provide antioxidant protection, prevent pre-mature aging, promote cardiovascular health, and reduce the risk of cancer and osteoporosis."

As long as the plums were dehydrated at temperatures below 112-118F the resulting prunes are considered raw. Now, as promised within my last post on raw baby food, I'm sharing the PRUNE WATER recipe I use to ease my baby's constipation, all you need are prunes and water:
  1. cut a prune into 3 or 4 pieces
  2. Place in empty measuring cup
  3. add 1 cup hot freshly boiled water, stir
  4. let sit for 15-20 minutes or longer
  5. filter the water and pour into glass baby bottle (idealy, as it can tint plastic) I use a tea strainer
  6. let cool or refrigerate
This is very gentle yet powerful. When your baby is eating solids and when you are experiencing hot and humid weather, it's crucial to increase his water consumption. Prune water is sweet tasting so odds are he'll drink more than just plain water.

Adults need water too and most of us don't drink enough. Non-caffeinated herbal teas can count toward the daily recommended 8 to 10 glasses and you can use the filtered prune to add flavour to your tea. Did I hear you say mmmmm healthy iced tea? ...I usually steep dried ginger and lavender flowers along with the residual strained prune and offering a slight sweetness and perhaps additional antioxidant benefits.

I want to quickly add that prune juice is also very effective in easing constipation and healthier than over-the counter medications or supositories, in my opinion, BUT any store-bought juice is previously pasteurized (cooked) and may contain chemical additives as well as unwelcome white sugar. Choose your actions wisely as they all have consequences. (I keep repeating this to my 14 year old step son as of late!)

I wish you to stay well hydrated and have a HAPPY SUMMER!!!

Monday, 18 June 2012

Raw Green Bean Puree That Isn't Stringy

Today, I'll show you how I make raw string bean puree.  For my first baby, I made his food the regular way, steaming or boiling veggies and then smoothing them with the blender. Raw foods can cause constipation and some people, including babies of course, are more sensitive. My next post will be about how to help your baby be more "regular" in a raw way. Offering daily doses of water is evidently important, once baby is introduced to solids.

String beans are often one of the first vegetables introduced. I buy frozen beans for a couple of reason: they are less coarse, have a softer texture and are more carefully pre-selected than the fresh ones in the produce section of any supermarket I've been to. Whole frozen fruits and vegetables are almost as nutritious and may even be fresher if they were flash frozen the same day they were picked at the farm. Also think of any transportation time. If you happen to have them fresh in your garden, like we will within a month or so, I think they would make excellent raw baby food but I have not yet tried this. Here's what our bean plants look like right now:

Another way to use frozen produce is once you have thawed berries in the fridge, you can pour the resulting liquid into your baby's cereal. That is pure tasty antioxidant power, without seeds and cooking!

So here's how I make frozen string bean puree, I measure 3 cups of beans, place in blender end add 1/2 cup previously boiled hot water. Blend to a liquefied state and voilĂ , it is that easy!

I quite like the baby cube system to freeze but any covered ice tray can do the job. Cover how? There's a perfect use for an empty bread bag! 

Watch the video below for another eco-baby-food-bag-re-using TIP! ; )

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Raw Chia Cereal For Baby

Mix 1 oz milled chia seed to 8 oz water, refrigerate overnight and then for up to 2 weeks. Add this nutritious seed gel to baby's cereal for raw goodness!
Here's a Canadian Living article on how to use chia seeds yourself, it is a must in vegan diets: The gel can also be used as an egg substitute in vegan baking, Morris says. In her book, she recommends replacing one egg with a mixture of two tablespoons of ground chia seed powder with 1/3 cup water or nut milk that has been left to sit for five to 10 minutes. (She notes that this mixture is an excellent binder, but unlike eggs, it will not help a recipe rise.)

Multitasking Raw Baby

Baby can have fresh or frozen whole fruit - even seedy strawberries with this net tool. Freeze it and not only does he discover new flavours and nutrition, it does wonders for his aching gums. He might not be able to hold a milk bottle or hold his spoon yet but this exercises his motor skills in a most rewarding way. These gadgets are available in retail outlets and pharmacies. I bought mine, with net refills sold separately, at Giant Tiger.

Spinach For Baby

I know you want your little one to be healthy. You eat lots of raw greens, what about him? He needs fresh vitamins and easy to assimilate minerals too...

Here's an easy way to prepare green veggies for baby. On this picture a 6 month old boy, Guillaume, is eating raw greens for the first time, I mixed spinach juice to his regular cereal and he loves it, just look at that smile!