Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Raising Baby Healthy: Teach them right from the first bite

This is what our seventeen month old gets for her 'kid's meal'... And she LOVES every last bite. 

I've touched on this before in my post here, but I just want to delve a little deeper, and I am writing this in full acceptance and understanding that I am undoubtedly going to rile some parents up. Though this is not meant to offend, it is to educate and encourage healthier kids, and I don't think anyone can argue that! 

We as parents, are given the opportunity to mold our children's eating habits from the start. Why we all aren't taking advantage of that, I just don't understand. Just as we teach our children to be polite and kind, or how to read, or to ride a bike; we should also teach them to how to live healthily. I think it starts with doing so ourselves. My eating habits are not perfect, but they're certainly on point about 95% of the time, and my daughter sees that. She is raised in a home where the fridge is plentiful of fruits and vegetables, where her protein doesn't come in dinosaur shapes in a frozen meal, but from a sea of fresh fish or lean red meats and poultry, where she watches both of her parents cook often, with real  ingredients, and when we go out to eat, we still choose healthy options. You may say she's not even two, she doesn't understand yet. I think that she does, and if you wait until they have the cognitive ability to grasp all of it, you're probably too late, as they've most likely already been exposed and accustomed to the junk. We started on day one, but it's never too late to change your lifestyle and your kid's for the better. 
Brooklynn eats all of the things that we do and enjoys them just as much. She loves everything, with the random exception of mango, though she likes the peel, and grapefruit. Excluding those two things, she eats every fruit and vegetable there is, as well as healthy grains, nuts and seeds, and lean or omega-fatty proteins. I mean honestly, the kids eats octopus tentacles. She has no barriers when it comes to healthy and delicious foods, and we couldn't be more proud! 

To this day we've successfully avoided all of the following detrimental 'foods':

It's a monster. It's sad to hear so many parents yelling "No more sweets, you're too hyper!", when it can be avoided and replaced with naturally sweet treats. If I had to use one word: fruit. It's incredibly sweet, and there's a zillion ways to incorporate it in meals and desserts to satisfy those bitty sweet tooths (without sending you to the dentist either). We have used agave nectar, fruit sugar, and a honey as much better alternatives than the despicable white granulated substance. 

Fried & Greasy:
She loves chicken, turkey, salmon, trout, sea bass, lobster, octopus, scallops, crab, tilapia, pork, lamb, and beef... All of which she enjoys grilled, seared, and baked without breading and without horrible greasy oils. Do you see the plethora of proteins your child can enjoy, without being fried? Potatoes? Loves them baked or mashed, they don't need to be fries or filled with butter. She's never had a chip, I literally cringe at toddlers and their Cheetos or what have you. There are way better alternatives for chips; they make plenty of dried veggie chips or crackers made of flax, quinoa, and other nuts and seeds. All of them are delicious, but you can rest easy knowing your child isn't consuming the dump in Doritos. 

White Wheat Flour:
Let me preface this by saying, she doesn't have any wheat or gluten allergies, nor do I find whole  grain wheat to be a problem. The issue is that so many of these products fed to kids or awful bleached (does the word BLEACHED not scare you?) white flour that is stripped of the actual nutrients that come from the original whole grain. Breads, pasta, pastries, crackers, etc... All full of this bleached crap. There are splendid substitutes; quinoa, whole grain wheat, barley, rye, brown rice, seed and nut based breads, pasta, and the like. 

Processed Junk & Chemicals:
So if I were to quiz the lot of you on half the ingredients in the foods you're giving your kids, how many of you would be able to separate real ingredients from things that are labeled on your hairspray? I'm betting not many. If you're feeding them real and fresh foods, you don't need the dextrasucralotofcrapinthisextrose in it as well. If you don't know what it is, why would you give it to your kid? Do we allow them to eat a random substance found on the ground? No way! So why is it okay just because it's written scientifically on a label? It's not. While there are real things that go by longer or more complex names, most of those you can't pronounce are garbage. Do you know there are over thirty names that sugar can go by? Let alone things that are even worse. We've definitely kept Brooklynn from unidentifiable processed junk. 

It's no wonder childhood obesity is at an all time high, that so many children suffer behavioral issues, and seem to always be sick with one thing or another. Think these things don't correlate? You're dead wrong. The things we put into our body affect how it functions in every way. It breaks my heart to see my Facebook newsfeed with moms posting about how sick their baby is yet again, but then I've also seen what their kids eat. I'm not saying everytime a kid gets sick, that's it's because of crappy food. However, I can say that Brooklynn has made it seventeen months without even so much as a sniffle, that wasn't related to teething. I can't stress enough how incredible true nutrients are; they build immune systems, fight sickness and even more serious disease, and build strong and durable bodies... Thus preventing you from those frequent doctor visits and sickly tots. I know that I do whatever I can to protect my child from getting ill or injured, and I would think you all would too. I'm not a doctor, but I can play connect the dots. While I do understand and am not belittling behavioral and emotional disorders, there is a link between some of these acts and what they eat. Hyper and out of control... How much sugar have they had? Extreme mood swings... Sugar levels dropping and spiking at an unhealthy rate. Difficulty concentrating and learning... Lack of nutrients that keep our brains running at 100%. Unable to keep up in gym class... Overweight and undernourished for physical activity. I reiterate, that all of these issues aren't caused by bad eating necessarily, but they can certainly be amplified by it. I also acknowledge there are tons of kids with these obstacles, that are in fact eating perfectly healthy. I'm simply saying don't underestimate the role that food plays in these things. 

Now before too many of you get upset with me, I know that there are many of you that feed your babes healthy for the majority, but do allow treats here and there. I'm not knocking you. I understand that not every parent is going to be as extremely strict as I am about it. That's fine. However, there are so many that just don't even bother and it is very apparent... And sad. 

Deprived is a word I've heard recently... I can't even take it seriously, when used in the context that some people have said it. Saying that I am depriving my kid of the good things in life? If candy and cheeseburgers are what you think bring true joy to a child... Well, I'm not even lowering to that conversation. Not being given the vast and incredible nutrients that real foods provide, that's deprivation. Give these kiddos the best so that they can be their best, both physically and mentally. I know that I can't shelter her forever, and that once she's in other children filled environments without my supervision that she will be exposed to these things. I know I can't keep her in a bubble. However, I can raise her with good habits from the start, so that she is more inclined to reach for the apple instead of the snickers. I also hope that I can reach other parents with this, the more like-minded on this topic, the less parents giving out junk. I will also continue to teach by example, by my hubby and I living a healthy lifestyle. 

I know kids see what others have and want it, I know kid's tv channels promote sugar for breakfast and fried for dinner every other commercial. I know as a mama on the go, you want convenience. I know that some kids are incredibly picky, and they may throw fits or beg. I just have to ask, is any of that truly worth getting in the way of giving your child what's best?

Do your research, shop for the right foods, check ingredients, prep things to have on the go, cook often, lead by example, and raise your children right. Don't we all want what's best for our kids? I know I certainly do. Join me in raising our babies healthy! 

ps. I will be trying to post more often on healthy recipes, specifically ones for the kiddos, that incorporate the things kids like, in a healthy alternative way.👍

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Chia Seed Pudding

Why I just discovered this, I'm unsure. I'm so glad I did though! 

These itty bitty beads are bursts of energy, protein, fiber, and healthy fats! 

Brief history lesson: the Aztec Warriors used to chow down on these for sustenance before fighting, not that I'm encouraging violence, I'm just saying they pack a punch. See what I did there?

Besides dating to the way back, (I trust things that have been around a while, meaning they haven't been created by mad scientists) chia seeds contain plenty of other types of goodness...

Omega 3s
Yeah, buddy. We like those. Many run (or a wimpish jog) from things high in fat, but these are your fat friends. Chia seeds are the highest plant form of omega 3s and have even more than salmon. In case you're wondering, these healthy fats fight inflammation, such as heart disease and arthritis. 

Weight loss.
Chia seeds absorb ten times their weight in water, thus causing you to feel fuller and in turn preventing you from over eating. The thicker gelatinous texture the create can also help keep the body hydrated, which great in itself, butalso prevents us from misreading our body's signals and eating, when really we're dehydrated, not hungry.  

Diabetic friendly.
Chia seeds slow our bodies ability to convert carbohydrates into simple sugars, which helps regulate blood sugar levels. 

So now that you're obviously sprinting to your nearest grocer, (I suggest Costco, so you can get them in bulk, because you're going to eat a ton, right? RIGHT?!)  let me tell you what you can do with them...

As previously mentioned chia seeds absorb ten times their weight in liquid, which skip all the scientific stuff, gives you pudding. Yes, pudding. You're about to indulge in the healthiest tapioca-like deliciousness ever. 

1/8c chia seeds
1/2c almond milk (or healthy milk of choice) 
-and here's the fun part, this creates a blank canvas for you to flavor (healthily, of course) how you please. Just mix all ingredients in Tupperware and stir, then set in the fridge for a few hours, or overnight if you have that self-control. And voila, pudding! 

So throw in some cinnamon, clove, star anise, nutmeg, and a couple drops of vanilla for a horchata-like (traditional mexican drink) flavors. 

For you fitfam'ers, you'll love this. Mix in like 1/8 scoop of your favorite protein powder for an awesome post workout snack or recovery dessert. You know this creates a bevy of flavor options. And if you took my advice here (which you surely did.) and got yourself some Matcha Green Tea powder this one's for you... Just mix in 1/8 scoop vanilla whey protein powder and like a teaspoon of the matcha powder and you've got a healthy substitute for my favorite post-sushi dessert green tea ice cream. *as pictured above.

It really is a blank canvas, so be creative and make your own delicious recipes, and of course feel free to share them here! Just remember, to keep things healthy, let's avoid super sugary junk food additives. 

I know I'll be in the kitchen concocting new recipes too, I'm trying to incorporate fruit now too, as well as adding them to cookie and pancake recipes. 

Oh, oh... And if you like the crunch of the chia seeds dry, throw them on top of some oatmeal or a smoothie. 


Thursday, May 15, 2014

Nature Box: Part Three

And yet, again my monthly box of super snacks arrives, let's inside shall we? 

Black & White Granola:
So when you open the bag, music plays. Can you guess which Michael Jackson hit I'm talking about? It's "Black or White" for those of you under a pop culture rock. Picture me dancing around the house, complete with tube socks on to perfect my moonwalk on the wood floors, and this bag of chocolatey vanilla-ey goodness in hand. Munching and jamming; that's what this snack is for.(;

Citrus Chipotle Chickpeas:
Not going to lie, these weren't my favorite. I take pride in being honest in my reviews, so I'll leave it at not bad, but not something I'm ordering again. 

Bombay Curried Cashews:
This terrific mix made it in our box again;  proof positive that it's delicious! You can see my previous post here that talks about it. 

Dark Chocolate BerryTrail Mix:
This is now a staple in our boxes. When does something become a staple? I think it qualifies. It's the perfect blend of nuts, seeds, dried berries, and most importantly dark chocolate. I eat it by the handful, on oatmeal, in pancake batter, or on Greek yogurt. Tremendous no matter how you shovel it in.(:

Tropical Trail Mix:
MMM. This was delightful, and came with a vacation to the Caribbean. Okay, well, that's where I pretended to be while eating this on top of some mango Greek yogurt, and it was almost as fantastic! I love chewy texture and tropical fruit, so you throw in dried nibbles of papaya, mango, pineapple, and coconut and I'm a happy hula dancing girl.(; 

Masa Crisps:
So we didn't actually order this one, it came as an extra surprise. Greatness. One word to sum these up: Fritos. They taste just like Fritos, but didn't feel as guilty as a greasy bag of chips. We dig 'em. 

Notice: The box we've ordered for next month is actually all repeats of previous snacks, they're that good. However, I won't be writing a repeat review. I'll be happily snacking though!(:

Prayers for San Diego

As many of you know California is in a State of Emergency as there are nine different wild fires raging through Southern California right now. It has scorched over 9,000 acres, taking homes and businesses with it. It's spread throughout Carlsbad, San Marcos, Bonsall, 
Fallbrook, Santa Paula, Lompoc, North Hills, Long Beach, Anaheim, and surrounding areas. Just as soon as they contain part of one, it seems another is ignited. With extreme dry heat and gusts of wind, more danger is posed. I'm praying for rainfall, I'm praying for the safety of all, and that they successfully cease these blazes.

I grew up in San Diego and to see these fires destroying a place I grew up calling home makes my heart ache. It breaks my heart for everyone affected, and so many of my family and dearest loved ones are frightfully near them. Please be safe, everyone! 

I firmly believe in the power of prayer and also the vast audience social media can reach, so I hope to combine to the two by sending this prayer request on all my media outlets.

Let's please come together and pray for San Diego. Pray that the winds become still and the temperatures decrease, to give the firefighters a chance to contain and eliminate these horrid flames. That The Lord protect them as they selflessly fight for the safety for everyone else. That no more harm or damage be done, and The Lord help to comfort those who have lost in this tragedy. I pray these fires end with no more pain, and that disasters as such wouldn't happen!

Thank you for taking the time to read and for praying with me. 

Monday, May 12, 2014

Mother's Day

This weekend was my second Mother's Day since becoming a mommy, and we celebrated the entire weekend!

On Friday Brooklynn and I made crafts for all the mamas in our life and it was a blast for both of us. I've always been artsy fartsy, and she's just now on the edge of being able to get into it, so it was greatness. Messy paint-covered greatness! We made flower bouquets from her hand and feet prints, and each of the mom's and grandma's (though they all go by other names) absolutely loved theirs. 
and yes, she does eventually get fed up with the thousand picture photoshoots...
drama queen. hah. 

Friday night, Travis took Brooklynn and I to my favorite Mexican restaurant Cantina Laredo and we enjoyed a delicious dinner and I got him to watch "The Holiday" with me. You know it's love when he sits through a total chick flick for you... Still working on 'Notebooking' him though...

Saturday morning started with a venti iced Skinny Caramel Macchiato; my drug of choice, and any day that starts with my drink is going to be fantastic. He also stayed home to play with Brooklynn so I could go get a good workout in at the gym, which always makes me feel like Wonder Woman. Mamas know how hard it can be to fit workouts in with a little one. (Spoiler: something fabulous on that coming soon!) and then when I got home and out of the shower, I walked out to yet another Skinny Caramel Macchiato. He truly knows the way to my heart

We then took about an hour mini road trip out to visit Travis' dad and step mom (Pops and Gogo) at his step-mom's mom's house (say that ten times fast), where we spent time with her family with good ole fashion BBQ, swimming, and swinging in the hammock. 

That evening we drove to my mom and her fiancé's house (Grammie and Tompa) and they got some play time with B and we all went to a yummy Mexican dinner. 

Sunday morning started with... You guessed it; more Starbucks and some sweet gifts from hubby and baby; a delicious oil burner with tons of amazing scents, a sweet coffee tumbler that I can put Brooklynn's hand and feet prints in (we did that today), and some shopping for this mama.(; Those things are wonderful, but the greatest gifts I have are Travis and Brooklynn. We then went to brunch with Gogo, Pops, and Travis' two little sisters Olivia and Vivian at Le Bilboquet in Dallas. It was a beautiful little French spot on the corner and just so perfectly fitting for Mother's Day, and obviously delicious. I specifically recall Peach Bellinis and Dark Chocolate Mousse.

That afternoon, we went to Travis' mom and step-dad's (Gaga and Pappy) and little brother Kieran's house for some more swimming and play time. Then we all went to dinner at our favorite Greek spot Platia Kouzina, and loved every bit of the time together and of course the food. 

It was an incredible weekend, spent with family and celebrating all of the beautiful mothers within it. We're so blessed to have so many! I'm so grateful for the quality time with each and every one. And at the end of the day, when I rest my head, I am lucky enough to lay beside my wonderful hubby and perfect baby girl, and life is complete. I hope all of you had a terrific Mother's Day as well!💕

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Sixteen Months!


Sixteen months. I always feel like she's as tiny as when we brought her home, until someone walks by with a newborn and I'm just like dude, slowwwww down!


She weighs 20lbs 8oz (11%), she's 29in tall (7%), and her head is 47cm (76%.  So she's just an itty bitty with a big smart brain! She now has 12 teeth, including 4 molars. 

Favorite foods:

She eats everything we do, if it's healthy, real food; she eats it. I'm seriously so proud of her eating habits. I know I say it every time, but it's important to us. We're given the opportunity to shape their habits now, so it's vital to instill healthy behaviors, which is exactly what we're doing. You can see previous posts about what she enjoys here and here. She's also still nursing every three hours or so, which is probably much more comfort than anything. 

Least favorite foods:

Not a thing. She even loves spice as much as I do... We recently went to our favorite Thai restaurant and I ordered my dish at spicy level 8 (which they only say goes up to 5 on the menu) which is generally only liked by the insane 'strong paletted', and before I could stop her she reached onto my plate and ate some of the chicken that was drenched in spicy sauce. I immediately thought "OH S#*@! this is going to be bad!"... but then she reached back for more... And more. Obviously, I intervened and fed it to her via fork so said sauce wouldn't be on her hands and then inevitably in her eyes, because I don't care how strong your tongue is no one's eyes are meant for it. So she pretty much ate half my plate and loved every fire breathing bit. And yes, I know some of you are thinking that's going to hurt her tummy later and cause miserable diapers... but she was perfectly fine! I'd say the only thing she dislikes about food, is not getting it fast enough. Kid likes to stuff her face, sometime to a point that we have to physically stop her from stuffing all five grapes into her mouth at once. And yes, she's still that petite, despite her eating.

Look who's talking:

This month she said Gaga (which is Travis' mom's grandma name) and Tompa (my step dad's grandpa name), which I know melted both of their hearts! She's also started saying "ha" for hot when I tell her to wait for her food to cool down and she tries to blow on it like I do. "Ruv ruv" to mimick the dogs barking. "Waa-uhw" to say water. She's really good at saying and waving byebye! As well as "ohz" for nose, "iz" for eyes, "urz" for ears, "het" for head, and "booiez" for boobs. Yes, boobs. She also laughs when she says it. She knows where to point to all of those things on me and herself too. She's learned "sooz" for shoes and "dut" for duck, and makes the moo sound when she sees a cow or of you say cow, we can thank her Grammie for that one. Those are all In addition to her previously learned Mama, Dada, DogDog, Curr (car), teee (tree),  (woah/wow), dat (what's that/I want that), buhlnnn (balloon), ulafa (elephant), and taaauuu (thank you). 

Favorite  things:

She still loves all of the things I've mentioned before here, but we've so added the B. Toys Alphabet Puzzle, new books to her shelves, and some new stuffed animals friends have made their way into her posse. She really truly does play with everything, but if I had to choose her favorites include her raccoon, elephants; both stuffed and the rocker, mountain lion, and Sophie the giraffe. Her Parumpumpumdrum, Zany Zoo, cars, and puzzles win too. Basically anything made by the brand B. toys is a huge hit! Basketballs will obviously always a be a favorite, and anything musical or that lights up. As much as she loves playing with her toys, she loves to play clean up just as much. Which Mama really appreciates! Haven't been able to get her to put all hundred of her books back on the shelf though... Baby steps, we'll get there.

Favorite activities:
Well guys, WE OFFICIALLY HAVE A WALKER! As of April 25th, those chunky thighs have been strutting all over the place. I was lucky enough to capture it on film the first time, and it truly is as special and surreal as they say. So she now loves trotting around and continuing to get into anything she can. Definitely Curious George. Whatever activities she's into, she wants to be near us. So she helps me cook by playing with measuring cups/spoons in mixing bowls and throws socks everywhere sorts laundry with me too; quite the little helper. She LOVES to dance, especially when I pick her up in my arms out of nowhere and we just start jammin' to whatever music is playing, she'll also bob her head and lean side to side when she hears a song she likes when she's doing stuff on her own too. She loves Disney movies, with Frozen being our new favorite. Yeah, us and the rest of the world. ha. She enjoys going for walks too, and usually fingers crossed a way to fall asleep. Playing with animals and attempting to chase them, and successfully feed them her food is a definite favorite too. She gets such a kick out of animals. Specifically my dog Rusty at my Mama's. Reading stories in my lap is still a favorite too, and it's so sweet to watch her point to the pictures and words, trying to say them. She loves bath time with her toys, trying to catch the falling water, and waving/saying byebye to the water as it drains when she's done. We went swimming for the first time this year, and she's still our mermaid for sure, she loved  it and walking along the steps too. More than anything, she just likes to be near us and doing things together, which I couldn't adore more. 

Least favorite activities:

I wouldn't say she loves diaper changes, getting out of the bath, getting in her carseat, having her hands/face wiped clean, or being told no. She usually hates being left alone, and gets hysterical when I leave the room too. Can you imagine how productive I am? ha! 

Signature moves and skills:

Walking!!! Actually, as of yesterday morning she's even attempting to run, luckily only on carpet for the couple falls she's made. She's actually really good at either landing on her butt or letting her hands catch her. She waves and says byebye to people, food when it's all gone, and the bath water as it drains. She just started doing peekaboo again, and is now blowing kisses, and it's just as precious as you could

imagine. She's a little dancer, always feeling the best. She likes to have something in each hand, whether it's snacks or toys; she wants two. She loves to empty things completely and one by one, then clean it all back up. She likes to share, bringing you her toys or shoving her food in your mouth giving you bites of her food. Clapping, clapping all the time, she's always excited and proud! Her crinkled nose grin and silly giggles are still the cutest thing ever! She reaches up and makes a "uh uh" sound which means pick me up, because she wants to be held most of the time. We also love her throw her arms around our neck hugs and she gives the best kisses, going back and forth between her Daddy and I like twenty times, and it completely melts us. 

Mom & Dad's proudest moment:

I think we've successfully gone a month without any goof ups, gold star sticker for us! haha. 

Brookie Bear,

Everyday with you is an adventure that we can't wait to go on. You're seriously a ball of energy and always keeping us on our toes with your fun antics. We're constantly smiling and laughing at your comedic cuteness. You are so brilliant kiddo, and we learn from you everyday. You're accomplishing so much, and growing so fast. We're so incredibly proud of you! Though we're so excited to see all that is to come, we also want to press pause an enjoy every single second with you. You've changed our world into the most amazing place, and we love you more than I'll ever know how to blog about!