Exclusive Breast Feeding – We did it our way…

“Food, the forgotten medicine” (c) 

REAL FOOD for baby

This is a post about the benefits of exclusive breastfeeding.

That said, it’s important to point out that everybodies path is different, we couldn’t quite believe how much pressure you face after you leave the hospital with your bundle of joy.  Mums have it particularly tough of course with the realisation that you’re solely responsible for providing the energy and sustenance to grow an actual human being!   Functioning on very little sleep and bombarded with 24/7 access-all-areas internet and media coverage of how to do the right thing for your child it’s easy to reach overwhelm!

This ridiculous NHS advert is just one example – i can only assume it was conceived by a group of clueless advertising executives – the underlying message is that, not only do we expect you to single-handely breastfeed your child, but we expect you to look glamourous in the process!  (*)

An ill-conceived NHS Advert!
An ill-conceived NHS Advert circa 2010

The book ‘Breast is Best’ was written way back in 1978 and yet the World Health Organisation (WHO), together with UNICEF are still (report February 2015) raising awareness of the benefits of breastmilk as the cornerstone of child nutrition, health and development.

Breastmilk is nature’s perfect food. It is universally available. Its benefits last a lifetime, for mother as well as child…Exclusive breastfeeding – defined as the practice of only giving an infant breast-milk for the first 6 months of life (no other food or water) – has the single largest potential impact on child mortality of any preventive intervention. — WHO (2015)

It’s my personal belief and inline with current Health guidelines in the UK, US and Australia (to name a few) that babies where possible (there are certain clinical reasons where breastfeeding is not an option – HIV or taking certain medications that may be harmful to baby) should be given breast-milk and breast-milk only for the first 6months of life.

“Breastfeeding is the healthiest way to feed your baby. Exclusive breastfeeding (giving your baby breast milk only) is recommended for around the first six months of your baby’s life” NHS, UK

Introduction of complementary feedings before 6 months of age generally does not increase total caloric intake or rate of growth and only substitutes foods that lack the protective components of human milk. — Roberta J. Cohen et al. 

Our son was exclusively breast fed for the first 6 months of his life, and whilst I would never judge anyone who chooses another route, I am surprised that only 38% of infants aged 0 to 6 months being exclusively breastfed globally.

There is also an incredible amount of pressure to start weaning early for a multitude of bonkers reasons and we faced our fair share! Click here to read results of a survey that demonstrates this.

I am incredibly proud our my partner in her journey through EBF and of our baby who has been just bouncingly happy throughout the process!  Some days she really felt she was in prep to run a marathon and we ensured she had plenty of good fats, protein and fresh vegetables.

We have just started weaning working with real foods and tuning into our sense of what is right for our son Leander, after all ‘every baby is different’.  In my next post I’ll share the start of that journey with you…

You are a brilliant parent and all your baby needs that’s all you need to know!

With love for a BRILLIANT parental journey,

Manos

PS – I offer personalised nutrition plans for nursing mothers and weaning babies.  Please contact me for more information.

(*) It is not my intention to add to the already oppressive message that you MUST breastfeed…but simply advise, best where possible, but if this places mum in an unsustainable and dangerous position then she should certainly not hesitate to examine other options.

Further Reading

Introducing Solid Foods Too Soon

Is baby ready for solids?

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Bone Broth-ing with chicken in 5 simple steps

Food, the forgotten medicine (c)

You may have seen more and more articles recently about the benefits of Bone Broth!?  There’s even a cafe serving Bone Broth opened up in New York that’s going down a storm!

Bone Broth plays a huge part in healing our gut thanks to its collagen content.  Another high-value food used by many traditional cultures that’s been somewhat lost in the West, bone broth will improve digestion, allergies, immune & brain health and may even help reduce cellulite AND increase hair growth!

Miraculous!  It’s even been suggested bone broth should be one of the first foods used to wean your baby.

We drink Bone Broth EVERYDAY!

Bone broth helps you grow BIG and strong!!
Bone broth helps you grow BIG and strong!!

Here’s what you need;

  • A slow cooker (ideally, but you could also use a pan and boil on a hob)
  • 2 organic, free range chicken carcasses
  • 1/2 bulb of garlic
  • Vegetables of your choice (I usually throw in an onion & a few root veggies)
  • Salt & Pepper, herbs to taste
  • 2 tbsp Apple cider vinegar (helps break the bones down to release the good stuff!)

 

LOVE your bone broth FATS.  This is a beef stock, you can skim off the fat to use for roasting root veg!
LOVE your bone broth FATS. This is a beef stock, you can skim off the fat to use for roasting root veg!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s what to do;

  1. Put all of your ingredients into your slow cooker
  2. Add filtered water; enough to cover the ingredients
  3. Turn to high to get going
  4. Turn to low for 18+ hours (it’s ready when the bones have become soft)
  5. Strain and serve, cool pack and freeze for up to three months or keep in the fridge for up to 1 week and use a base for soups
No waste in our kitchen
No waste in our kitchen

Soaking Almonds in 5 Easy Steps

What you need to know

Almonds contain an enzyme inhibitor in their outer skin that protects the nut until it’s ready to germinate.

Like most nuts this makes them difficult to digest and prevents access to all of the nuts nutrients and vitamins.

Clever early humans learned that they could make nuts more digestible and nutritious by soaking or sprouting.

What you need to do

1. Purchase Raw Organic Almonds (budget permitting)
2. Place Almonds in a large bowl or similar
3. For every 1/2 cup of Almonds add 2 cups of filtered water
4. Soak overnight
5. Rinse, drain, and eat within a few days for best results

Top-tipTry a sip of the acrid brown water after soaking if you really want to know why should soak your nuts – just make sure you have somewhere to spit!

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Homemade RAW milk Kefir in 5 easy steps!

Food, the forgotten medicine (c)

We LOVE Kefir in our house!  In terms of fermented and pro-biotic wonder foods it’s an absolute WINNER with trillions, that’s right trillions of tiny GOOD bacteria to help keep your gut healthy.

Read more on the science and benefits here

Since our son was born, my partner drinks it every day and we’re confident it is strengthening his digestive system through her nursing him.

Little Milk Man
Little Milk Man

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’re planning to offer him some too once he’s old enough!

It’s one of the easiest fermented foods to make (promise) … so much so you can do it in 5 steps…

Here’s what you need…

  • Kefir grains
  • Organic whole or Raw Milk if you can get it from a trusted source.
  • A plastic sieve
  • A glass mason jar
One of my milk Kefir Grains
One of my Kefir Grains

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s what to do…

Depending on how strong you like the taste of your kefir you can choose how much milk to add to your grains.  I’m currently working with a x5 grains (*) to 1 pint of milk ratio.

  1. Rinse the grains in a little of the milk through your sieve if you’ve been ‘hibernating’ (**) them or they’ve just arrived.
  2. Add your milk to the kefir grains in a mason jar
  3. Take to your nearest warm spot (we use the airing cupboard)
  4. Leave for between 12-18 hours popping the top and shaking once
  5. Open, sieve, chill and serve!

 

If you give it a go I’d love to know how you get on… you can contact me via my facebook page. 

(*) Kefir grains will multiply the more you feed them… you can read more here

(**) You can hibernate your kefir grains in the fridge in a little milk if you need a little holiday from them.

 

 

Fermented Foods, Homemade Kombucha Tea!

Food is the Forgotten Medicine (c)

Fermented foods are an everyday part of my diet…I make homemade sauerkraut, kefir and this kombucha tea drink everyday.  I wanted to share my method with you to hopefully explain in simple terms how to make fermented wonder foods part of your every day!

 

It's ALIVE!
It’s ALIVE!

These additions to a healthy diet can be SO simple to make and blast all your pro-biotic yoghurt based drinks out of the park in terms of GOOD bacteria!

Kombucha Tea Drink

You will need;

  • Bottled mineral water – x 2 litres
  • Organic black loose leaf tea (you can use organic tea bags if you like, must be black) x 4
  • Organic sugar x 1 cup
  • X1 SCOBY (I can give you this if you’re on one of my plans or you can order from a reputable company online)
SCOBY stands for Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Yeast SORRY Scoobes!
SCOBY stands for Symbiotic Colony Of Bacteria and Yeast SORRY Scoobes!

 

How to do it;

  1. Boil half the mineral water and add to the sugar and tea in a ceramic bowl to infuse for 5 minutes.
  2. Add the rest of the cool mineral water and leave until completely cool.
  3. Strain out the tea or tea bags using a PLASTIC (BPA free) sieve. (Kombucha does’t like metal at any stage of the process).
  4. Add your Kombucha to a clean sterilised jar with your SCOBY. Do not seal completely but drape a clean tea towel or muslin cloth over it to protect from bacteria.  Store in a warm place away from direct sunlight.  Kombucha does not like cold!
  5. Your Kombucha is ready full of probiotics in 5days but in terms of your own personal taste, the longer you leave it the stronger tasting the brew will be! You can keep it on the counter or in the fridge after it’s reached your desired taste.
Your can grab these bottles from IKEA for a couple of quid - great for storing your delicious drink!
Your can grab these bottles from IKEA for a couple of quid – great for storing your delicious drink!

 

The benefits!

The main benefits of this tasty elixir as well as it being JAM PACKED full of ANTIOXIDANTS are vast;

1. It contains TONNES of probiotics

2. It can alkalize the body to balance your internal pH

3. It detoxes the liver

4. It will increase metabolism, improve digestion and keep you regular!

5. It can rebuild connective tissue – help with arthritis, gout, asthma, rheumatism

6. Reduce blood pressure

7. Relieves headaches & migraines

8. Heal eczema – can be applied directly to the skin

9. Help clear up candida, yeast infections & group strep b in pregnancy

10. Help with healthy cell regeneration

 

Have fun real food warriors!!

 

Dairy Free – Almond Milk Recipe

Food is the Forgotten Medicine (c) 

My 28 days later programme involves cutting out dairy completely.  I advocate Almond Milk (*) and homemade is best so here’s a method I’ve found works really well..

 

HOW TO; Make your own dairy free Almond Milk 

soak, drain, whiz, strain and your'e there!
soak, drain, whiz, strain and your’e there!

 You will need;

  • Organic almonds
  • Filtered or bottled water
  • A nut bag/ muslin cloth

How to do it;

  • Pre-soak organic skin on almonds (1 cup) for 12hrs
  • Repeatedly drain and rinse at least 3 times over the 12 hours
  • Blend almonds & 1 cup water (depending how watery/strong you like it) for around 2mins in a food processor
  • Strain through muslin cloth (*)
  • Beautiful homemade Almond Milk is yours!
  • Dry almond pulp in oven  – 10-15 mins at 180’c should do it
  • Almond pulp can be used as a cereal substitute or in baking as an almond flour

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Delicious in chai tea!

(*) if you don’t have time for homemade, always buy the ‘unsweetened’ variety and check the ingredients carefully!

(*) you can buy a special nutbag online if you like.  I use this one!

Fast Forward – one mans 10 day journey without food

Sunday 25 May 2014

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Following my ignoble false-start, I had to pick myself up, dust myself down, and start Day 1 of my 10 day fast with renewed vigour!

The previous 2 days of no dairy, no meat, no processed food, was plain sailing on a sea of steamed vegetables and kale soups.

I start the day as I will do everyday for the next 10days with 500ml of water, 4 tablets of Essential Amino Acids, and 20 tabs of Cracked Cell Chlorella.

‘Essential’ means they can’t be manufactured by the body, – and there’s no calories in them so nothing to digest – so it seems sensible to include a supplement.

2 hours later I’ll have more aminos in the form of spirulina and wheat grass powder which I’ll mix into 500ml of water.

That green drink is accompanied by 15 drops of what tastes like battery acid but which I’m informed is a very concentrated mix of sea and plant minerals – largely magnesium.

Actually I’m informed that it’s ‘Supercharged activated fulvic acid; ocean and plant derived magnesium with over 72 ionic trace minerals’ but I prefer my description!

I do this water/aminos/minerals ritual 3x per day in all, and each night I have a tablespoon of powdered fibre blend – I don’t want the bacteria in my gut going hungry – they haven’t signed up for this!

And finally the cherry on top night-cap -literally- is 2 tablespoons of super concentrated sour/tart cherries in 200ml of water.

There is about 70calories in this powerful hit of antioxidants but I feel important to include for a couple of reasons…

One, the surprising levels of melatonin will give me a good nights sleep each night which may or may not be a factor when trying to sleep on an empty stomach. Two, and perhaps more importantly it will assist with uric acid metabolism – serum uric acid will has been shown to be elevated during prolonged therapeutic fasting.

We’re getting into technical waters but uric acid has a main role of protecting high-oxygen tissues such as the brain from damage (fairly important then!).

Hopefully the nitty-gritty above is useful information for anyone attempting their own fast (although it doesn’t need to be technical, plenty of people do water only fasts), but for me the important thing is remaining mindful over the 10 days.

Mindful of why I’m on this journey of self discovery and mindful of any shifts that may come my way whilst I’m on it.

Invite Yourself to Move with Purpose

Doing stuff in the gym in order to look fit is putting the cart before the horse.

Nothing wrong with wanting a body that looks like it has a purpose but just start with the purpose.

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Purposeful Movement A body built for show will look different to a body built for ‘Go’!

If you didn’t understand any of the above just consider training ‘movements’ not muscle the next time you workout. 🙂

Trying to Find Yourself…? Get Creative!

After years spent patiently waiting to ‘find myself’, it occurred to me that it would be far more prudent to actually ‘create myself’, just in case i didn’t like what i found. Not only would this mean i didn’t have to wait a day longer to start realising my potential, it would also mean i had the final say in the end product – me!

What would you attempt to become if you knew you could never fail?
What would you attempt to become if you knew you could never fail?

If your thinking about planning a similar journey then you’ll want to start with the end-product in mind – this will change a million times as you grow and level-up your shit but at least you’ll have a starting point for now. Who knows, maybe this continued metamorphosis is the real journey to finding yourself -and if not at least you’ll have had fun trying!