Arsenic In Our Rice?!

In my previous post, I mentioned some benefits of avoiding rice cereal for your babies. Here is another reason: new reports show “worrisome levels” of carcinogenic arsenic — especially from rice grown in certain states. Now I really want to invest time in expanding my garden next year, but for now I will have to continue to shop smart and shop the farmer markets!

“I think a prudent position for the next few months or years … is that parents avoid rice or at least avoid any rice that comes from Texas, Louisiana or Missouri, and when in doubt go with barley or oatmeal,” Dr. Philip Landrigan, a professor of pediatrics at Mount Sinai Hospital School of Medicine, said on CBS’ “This Morning.”

As part of its rice report, Consumer Reports offered specific recommendations to reduce arsenic exposure, including:

• Limiting children to about a quarter cup of uncooked rice per week and adults to a half-cup.
• Rinsing raw rice thoroughly before cooking.
• Cooking rice in a manner similar to pasta: using six cups of water per one cup of rice and pouring off the excess water after it’s cooked. (This works better with brown rice than with white.)
• Clean vegetables, especially potato skins, thoroughly.
• Limit consumption of other foods that can contain significant arsenic, including apple and grape juice.

For the full article click here:
http://www.chicagotribune.com/health/ct-nw-arsenic-rice-advice-20120920,0,5538411.story?j&dssReturn

Baby’s First Foods – Steel Cut Oats

When beginning first foods with your baby, I recommend starting with oatmeal cereal instead of rice cereal because rice cereal is more likely to give your little one constipation.  Plus, oats are high in fiber, calcium, protein and some B vitamins. You can introduce oatmeal around 4 months, but the recommended age for introducing solids is 6 months of age.

I purchase steel cut oats because they taste better than rolled and instant oats. Rolled oats lose some of their taste, texture, and nutrients due to processing. McCann’s steel cut oats is a good brand choice.

Health benefits of oats:
1. Lower bad cholesterol
2. Control blood pressure
3. May help reduce the risk of Type 2 Diabetes
4. Prevent heart failure
5. Protect against childhood asthma

Ingredients:
1/4 cup ground steel cut oats
3/4 cup water
breast milk or formula

Directions:
1. Bring water to a boil
2. Add the oatmeal powder while stirring constantly – you don’t want it to clump
3. Simmer for about 10 minutes while whisking
4.  Mix in breast milk or formula

Baby Joke For The Day:
We brought our newborn son, Justin, to the pediatrician for his first checkup. As he finished, the doctor told us, “You have a cute baby.” Smiling, I said, “I bet you say that to all new parents.”

“No,” he replied, “just to those whose babies really are good-looking.”

“So what do you say to the others?” I asked. “He looks just like you.”

Laughing is good for the soul!
Proverbs 17:22  (NIV) “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”

Sources:
1. WHFoods.com
2. http://www.wholegrainscouncil.org/whole-grains-101/health-benefits-of-oats
3. http://health.learninginfo.org/benefits-oatmeal.htm

Goji Orange Ginger Lemonade


Picture courtesy of www.tumblr.com

Goji Orange Ginger Lemonade

Ingredients:
2 Tbsp. goji berries
Juice of one orange

1 ½ cups water

1 tsp. ginger root, freshly grated

½ lemon, juiced

Raw honey to taste

Directions:
Soak goji berries for one hour, or until soft
Place goji berry water in a blender with remaining ingredients and blend until completely mixed
Pour into a glass and add ice and lemon slices

Don’t Skimp On Fish Oil

I am a cost conscious mom, but when it comes to fish oil, I do not look for the cheapest option. Why? Cheaper brands, such as those found at Walmart do not contain all three essential fatty acids. They do contain “other” fatty acids, which is the junk at the bottom of the barrel. So while you may get 2 for the price of 1, you are getting 2 of basically nothing.

So what are the benefits of fish oil?

  1. Balance – Omega 3 fish oil supplements balance out the ratio between omega 3 and omega 6. We want our ratio to be 1:1, but most people have a ratio of 1:30. One of the main problems with our modern diet is that omega 6 is found in a lot of our food – soybean, corn, peanut, sunflower, fake butter products and grain-fed animals.
  2. Brain BoosterDocosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), which are found in fish oil are used in the formation of brain and retinal tissue and can prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, as well as vision problems, depression, bipolar disorder, ADD, ADHD and anxiety when taken on a regular basis
  3. Heart Health – EPA acid helps thin the blood and produces anti-inflammatory eicosanoids
  4. Pregnancy – Great for pregnant moms! DHA and EPA help develop the eyes, brain and nervous system of your growing baby
  5. Cancer - Omega-3 fatty acids reduce breast, colon and prostate cancer growth
  6. Inflammatory – Reduces inflammation and pain in joints and other areas of the body
  7. Improves Mood – may help in the treatment of ADHD and depression

How much should you take?

The Food and Drug Administration in the US have indicated that up to 3000 mg of DHA/EPA per day from all sources (diet + supplements) is generally considered safe for most adults (http://www.dhaomega3.org/FAQ/Can-you-overdose-on-DHA-and-EPA).

For healthy adults with no history of heart disease, the American Heart Association recommends eating fish at least two times per week. In particular, fatty fish are recommended, such as anchovies, bluefish, carp, catfish, halibut, herring, lake trout, mackerel, pompano, salmon, striped sea bass, tuna (albacore), and whitefish. It is also recommended to consume plant-derived sources of α-linolenic acid, such as tofu/soybeans, walnuts, flaxseed oil, and canola oil. The World Health Organization and governmental health agencies of several countries recommend consuming 0.3-0.5 grams of daily EPA + DHA and 0.8-1.1 grams of daily α-linolenic acid. A doctor and pharmacist should be consulted for dosing for other conditions (http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/fish-oil/NS_patient-fishoil/DSECTION=dosing)

What are some top brands?

  1. Nordic Naturals (I like this brand)
  2. Xtend Life Omega 3
  3. Zone Labs Omega Fish Oil

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Photo Credit capsules image by Pefkos from Fotolia.com

Apple Banana Hemp Protein Muffins

Yes, hemp protein comes from the marijuana plant, but don’t worry the plant seed contains no mind-altering substances. Actually, the seed is a great source of protein and healthy fat. Hemp protein contains all nine essential amino acids! It contains calcium, magnesium, vitamin E and iron. The fiber in hemp protein keeps your digestion and colon healthy. Hemp protein has omega-3 fatty acids, which help support heart health and brain development. Hemp protein is especially good for vegans, and those allergic to whey or soy and want a raw protein supplement. Experts say hemp protein is safe to consume during pregnancy. Dr. Oz has a great pregnancy shake that contains hemp protein.

I really like this recipe because you can alter it in many ways by using the same core ingredients and adding nuts, veggies, or dried fruit. You don’t need to use any oils, butter, or sugar either! In the picture, I sprinkle cinnamon on the top because I love the flavor.

Ingredients:
11/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup hemp protein powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 bananas (ripe)
3 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup organic apple juice
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts (optional)
1 cup finely grated zucchini (optional)

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and line a muffin tin with paper liners
2. Combine the flour, protein powder, cinnamon, baking powder, and baking soda in a medium bowl
3. Place the bananas, honey, apple juice, and apple cider vinegar in a blender or mixing bowl and blend until smooth.
4. Mix the wet and dry ingredients together and then fold in the zucchini, walnuts, and any other dried fruit you want.
5. Evenly distribute the mixture into the 12 lined muffin tray and bake for 20 minutes
6. Cool muffins on a wire wrack

Vitamin D For Your Baby and You

                                   
My wonderful chiropractor, Dr. Amber Moravec, DC, FICPA, gave me some great information on vitamins to help aid me in my recovery from my bones separating during my birth of Little Man. Vitamin D was one of her recommendations. After 5 visits for fixing my symphasis diastasis of the pubic bone, I feel back to my normal self thanks to Dr. Moravec’s AMAZING work. Plus, she is always willing to answer my questions, and give advice related to my body and my childrens’ bodies.

After my doctor recommended a daily dose of vitamin D while breastfeeding, I did some research. Dr. Moravec’s advice confirmed my findings. Now, I give my kids their recommended daily amount of vitamin D. Why? Vitamin D is not produced in breast milk. And for adults, very few foods naturally contain vitamin D. Also, infants (and those who live in colder states like MN) do not usually see a lot of sun, from which we should get 60-80% of our vitamin D. We need vitamin D because it boosts the immune system, prevents autoimmune diseases, and prevents cancer. It helps absorb calcium, and treat skin conditions. So how much should you take?

Infants 400 IU/day
Kids > one 1,000 IU/day
Adults 2,000 – 4,000 IU/day Recommend 600-800 IU/day for non deficient person

I use Carlson Super Daily D, which contains 365 drops (400 IU per drop), which you can put on food or mixed in other liquids such as milk, water or juice. My two-year old, E, likes to wait for the drop to land in her mouth, but little man doesn’t keep his mouth open long enough, so I simply place a drop on my breast before feeding him. This brand is sugar-free, soy-free, corn-free, wheat-free, gluten-free and preservative free.

Sources:
1. http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-HealthProfessional/
2. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/vitamin-d/NS_patient-vitamind/METHOD=print

Dairy-Free Pizza Recipe

I am lactose intolerant and have several friends who experience side effects when they consume too much dairy in their diet. I found a cheese substitute for pizza! Vegan Gourmet makes a cheese that melts better than soy cheese or rice cheese made by other companies. Also, the Vegan Gourmet brand does not contain Casein, which is a milk protein and causes chronic sinus congestion for some people. Most soy products claim to be dairy-free, but they contain Casein, so make sure you check the ingredient list. In addition, if you choose soy cheese, make sure the soy is non-GMO. Another great brand of dairy-free cheese is Daiya. Here is a great recipe for dairy-free dough. You can freeze the dough for later too. If you do not have the time to make dough, you can purchase dairy-free dough at your local health food store or Kowalski’s Market. Bob’s Red Mill makes a Gluten Free and Dairy-Free Whole Grain Pizza Crust Mix, which will save you time. As a mom of two, I know how hectic life can be at dinner time :) You can also grill the pizza instead of baking. Follow the instructions and place the pizza on the grill instead of the oven. This gives it an amazing grilled taste.

Here is an article by Dr. Mark Hyman on 6 reasons to be dairy-free: Click Here

Toppings Ingredients:

  • Thinly sliced basil
  • 1 container of tomato sauce or 3 medium tomatoes
  • 1 cup freshly sliced pineapple
  • 1 cup thinly sliced ham or canadian bacon
  • Vegan Gourmet or Daiya mozerralla Cheese (dairy free)

Ingredients For Dough:

  • 1 tablespoon ground flax seeds
  • 2 tablespoon hot water
  • 4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 2 teaspoons white granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup warm water or more as needed, divided
  • 3 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 ½ cup white rice flour
  • 1 cup tapioca flour
  • 3/4 cup sweet rice flour
  • ½ cup arrowroot starch
  • 2 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Directions:
1. In a small bowl, mix the ground flax seeds and hot water until forming a gooey mixture. Set aside.

2. Place the dry yeast in another small bowl. Add the sugar and ½ cup of the warm water to the yeast and gently stir and agitate to dissolve the yeast. Allow the yeast to rest for 5 minutes or until foamy. (If your yeast mixture does not bubble or foam, your yeast could be “dead.” If this is the case, repeat this step using fresh yeast.) Add the olive oil to the yeast mixture and set aside.

3. In a large mixing bowl that fits into a standing kitchen mixer with a dough hook attachment, sift together the flours, arrowroot starch, xanthan gum and salt until well mixed. Add the flax seed mixture and yeast mixture, mixing on slow until combined. Add the remaining ¼ cup warm water as needed (you may need more or you may not even use it all—each yeast dough is different!) to form a soft dough. (The dough will be stickier than traditional wheat-based doughs, but it shouldn’t stick to your hands.) Knead in the bowl using the dough hook attachment for about 5 minutes on medium speed. Cover and allow the dough to rise for 1 hour in a warm place. (While the dough is rising, take this time to prepare your toppings.)

4. Preheat the oven 500 F. Lightly oil a pizza pan or baking sheet and set aside.

5. Punch down the dough and shape it into a disc. Place the disc between two sheets of parchment paper and roll it into a circle about 16” in diameter or to your desired thickness (if you like super thin crusted pizzas, you might want to just use half of the dough and save the other half or make two pizzas). Remove the top sheet of parchment paper and use the other piece to help transfer the dough to the prepared sheet, flipping the dough over and peeling the parchment from the dough. Use your fingers to tuck, fold and pinch a crust around the edge of the dough.

6. Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake for about 6-8 minutes or until golden. Remove the pizza from the oven. Top your pizza crust with the tomatoes, pineapple, ham and cheese. Return to the oven to bake for about 6 minutes more, or until your toppings and the crust are golden brown. Sprinkle with basil. Serve hot.

*Dairy-free pizza dough recipe courtesy of about.com and picture courtesy of recipe.com

Goat Milk Shampoo and Soap

I learn something new everyday. Last week in my MBA class, I was talking to a classmate about ingredients in baby products. His wife is due in a couple months, and they were looking for a shampoo that was 100% natural. He said he found a product made with goat milk that contained only natural ingredients! Since I am always looking for great products for my kiddos, I did some research on goat milk. Thank you V from Financial Management :)

Whole Foods Market carries a number of shampoo and soaps made with goat milk. Alaffia Shea and Rooibos Antioxidant Goat Milk Soap contains Saponified Unrefined Shea Butter and Virgin Coconut Oil, Raw Goat Milk, Rooibos Tea, Moroccan Red Clay, Shea Nut Powder, and Essential Oils. Sounds like you can eat it right?

EveryDay Shea Butter Shampoo and Body Wash For Babies and Up

What Ingredients Are In Your Sunscreen?

Be smart in the sun! Ingredients not only matter in the food you eat, but also in the products you use on your body. Most sunscreens have chemically based ingredients and are absorbed into the skin. Physical blockers are usually mineral-based and sit on the surface of the skin, scattering radiation.

What to look for in your sunscreen:

  • Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, natural ingredients that block UVA and UVB rays
  • Vitamins E and C and green tea polyphenols are antioxidants that may decrease UV damage
  • Avoid the chemical oxybenzone since it is a hormone disruptor and skin allergen
  • Avoid sunscreens with retinyl palmitate since research suggests a connection between retinyl palmitate and skin cancer 
  • Look for the words “Broad Spectrum” because this means the product is FDA-regulated and protects against UVA and UVB rays
  • SPF 30 (there isn’t a significant amount of higher protection in anything above 30) 

My favorite sunscreen, especially for kids, Episencial’s sunny Sunscreen (episencial.com). Unlike other organic and natural sunscreens, this one does not leave white residue on the skin. It absorbs great and smells good too!

4 New Ways To Eat Your Spinach

Spinach is sometimes a hard food for children to consume, mainly because it does not look that exciting to eat. However, this super food is full of phytonutrients and flavinoids that provide powerful antioxidant protection! In addition, Spinach is full of vitamins. One cup cooked provides (daily value):

Vitamin K 1110.6%
Vitamin A 377.3%
Manganese 84%
Folate 65.7%
Magnesium 39.1%
Iron 35.7%

Here are some ways I incorporate spinach into our meals:

1. Bright Green Confetti: Chop spinach leaves and sprinkle over pasta, soup or pizza

2. Mini Spinach Rolls: slice veggies and place in the middle of large spinach leaves. Add a teaspoon of
hummus, roll up and eat

3. Green Eggs: in my previous Toddler Scrambled Eggs post, I used zucchini. But, you can substitute spinach. Puree the spinach with a few drops of water and scramble in with the eggs

4. Green Machine Smoothie: place a quarter cup of baby spinach into your fruit smoothie. Your kids will like the green color. Plus, the spinach doesn’t change the taste! Amazing right?

For more health benefits visit Meals Matter