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!