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An Aussie Mum's Guide To Eco Friendly Babies

An Aussie Mum's Guide To Eco Friendly Babies: June 2011

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

No Use Crying Over Low Milk Supply!

I've had so many people ask lately about low milk supply- though I've written about it before I thought I'd put it up again to make it easier to find, and provide a bit more info...

The main causes of low milk are stress, fatigue and lack of suckling (especially hard with babies in special care or after a c-section).  Getting adequate rest and trying not worry are things we tell new mums, but rarely do ourselves when it's our turn.  Even just getting someone to look after the baby for an hour in the afternoon while you lay down can help to refresh and rejuvenate you, while allowing your body to catch up on producing milk.

Nutrition is also highly important.  Caloric needs are higher when breast feeding than when pregnant, but it's at this time we find ourselves to busy to eat.  Try and have healthy, nutritionally dense snacks on hand all the time, and carry around a bottle of water- you need 2-3L every day.  Now is NOT the time to try cutting calories or carbs, or going on a low fat diet.  Making milk burns a lot of energy so you can afford the extra food- as long as it's not just 'empty' calories from refined foods and sweet drinks.

Foods to eat include pepitas (high in iron), flaxseeds (protein and good fats), lean meat (iron and protein), colourful veg (high in many vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients), brewer's yeast (you don't eat it for the taste- it's great for breastmilk though!).  There is a recipe out there called 'lactation cookies'.  I've added it to the bottom of this post- I wanted to credit the genius who came up with it, but there are a million variations on the web so I couldn't track down the original!

There are also a few herbs (listed below) that help increase breast milk quantity or quality.  Though Fenugreek seems to be the most widely known, it's not, naturopathically speaking the best.  It's a digestive tonic and as it passes through the breast milk, some babies find it causes wind and griping pains.

Natural Galactagogues:
(A Galactagogue is a substance that increases lactation)
Blessed Thistle- the number one for increasing milk! Available in 500mg capsules from Nature's Sunshine.  Take up to 6-8 per day, spaced out as much as possible. 

Fenugreek- better known as a galactagogue but may cause wind pain in baby. There are plenty of 'breastfeeding formulas' available that contain Fenugreek and Blessed Thistle together, in brands such as Herbs of Gold and Nature's Sunshine.

Marshmallow- rather than increase the quantity, marshmallow will increase the quality and nutrition of breastmilk 
Shatavari- improves lactation and helps hormone balance.  Nourishing and toning for reproductive system and may help libido 
Nettle- can be taken as a tea to boost milk supply and replenish the blood- a really good one for just after the birth 

Teas such as Weleda Nursing Tea and Holle Organic Nursing Tea can also be really beneficial. 

Here's that recipe I mentioned earlier:

Lactation Cookies
1 cup butter or coconut oil
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
4 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons flaxseed meal
2 large eggs or egg substitute
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups wholemeal flour (I substitute 1 cup flour for 1/2 cup protein powder.  You can use coconut flour the same way)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups rolled oats (you can also use rolled barley, rye or triticale)
1 cup or more pepitas, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, chia seeds, almond flakes or anything else you can think of!
2 tablespoons (or more!) of brewers yeast.  

You can play around with the recipe, but make sure you include the flaxseed and brewers yeast!  The more nutrition you can pack in, the better they will work.


Preheat oven at 190 degrees C. Mix together 2 tablespoons of flaxseed meal and water, set aside for 3-5 minutes. Cream (beat well) margarine and sugar. Add eggs one at a time, mix well. Stir flaxseed mixture and add with vanilla to the margarine mix. Beat until blended. Sift together dry ingredients, except oats and chips. Add to margarine mixture. Stir in oats then chips. Scoop or drop onto baking sheet, preferably lined with parchment or silpat. The dough is a little crumbly, so it helps to use a scoop.

Bake 8-12 minutes, depending on size of cookies.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Another great read!

Limes & Lycopene - The Blog of Kathryn Elliott
This one is by Kathryn Elliot, a Sydney based nutritionist who looks like an amazing cook! Check out her great winter soup recipes. She also has a link to her clinic on her blog, so check it out if you are a local.

Quick find...

I saw this book in QBD yesterday and noticed it mentioned a blog. I had a look and here it is! Not only some great advice on getting fussy kids to eat their greens (and oranges, purples, black, whites, yellows and blues) but some great recipes for the grown ups too. It also spotlights some more unusual produce like Black Garlic, which I'm now itching to try!

I haven't read through it all yet but have decided I may just go buy the book. Though the blog is no longer active, it's highly worth a look.

Bon apetit!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Gluten Free Diets- the How, the Why and the What The Heck Is Gluten Anyway?

Gluten free foods are increasing in popularity- once consigned to specialty health food stores, now supermarkets have entire aisle dedicated to gluten free foods. Still the gluten jungle can be pretty scary to those who are new to it.

Gluten intolerance usually causes gut discomfort which can range from mild bloating to severe coeliac disease.  Before starting a gluten free diet, it's a good idea to be tested for coeliac disease- you need to have ingested gluten for this test to work.  Coelic disease is an autoimmune condition where the body attacks it's own intestinal villi, the tiny hair like projections in the small intestine that are responsible to absorption of nutrients.  If you have CD, you must avoid ALL gluten at all times- very challenging indeed.  For simple gluten intolerance, some people can tolerate small amounts of gluten as long as they don't go over board.  Gluten intolerance often goes hand in hand with IBS and other gut conditions and often gluten avoidance is used to help manage disorders like Autism.

Gluten and wheat are not the same thing- though if a product has wheat in it, it also has gluten.  Wheat sensitivity can occur when you react negatively to wheat proteins other than gluten, but it can be hard to pinpoint which is causing the problem.  Most wheat-free products are also gluten free though, so it's often just as easy to avoid both anyway.

Gluten is found in Wheat, Barley and Rye grains.  Oats are a little contentious- they can be cross contaminated (for example, if they are planted next to a wheat field) and therefore contain small amounts of added gluten.  Many US/Canadian associations say that pure uncontaminated oat products are fine to have, but the Coeliac Australia released this statement saying they do not recommend you have oats if you have coeliac disease.

Gluten can also be present in products that have ingredients such as thickening agents, stabilisers, vegetable gums, starch or flavouring.

The popularity of gluten free products and much clearer product labelling in recent years has made it easier to shop gluten free.  Flours made from rice, potato, soy, quinoa, buckwheat and chickpeas (known as besan flour) are getting easier to obtain and brands like Orgran and Freedom Foods  are everywhere you look.  Gluten free breads have come a long way too- though many are quite different from wheat bread (they are a lot heavier and denser though still yummy), some varieties like Zehnder's Potato Loaf are light and fluffy enough to appeal to everyone.  Schar have gone to a great effort 'copying' popular products like Oreo's and KitKat's, giving you a range of gluten free comfort foods that you are familiar with.  When shopping, always look for foods labelled Gluten Free as you will know there are no hidden nasties in there.

Changing to a gluten free diet can be challanging and you need to make sure you are replacing, not excluding- though it may seem easier to eliminate all grain, they are an essential source of fibre, carbohydrates and several very important vitamins and minerals.  Gluten free doesn't mean taste free- it takes time and practise but with some effort you can eat most of your favourite foods without compromising your gluten free lifestyle.

Healing Foods Cookbook, courtesy of
There are numerous books available and a dazzling array of websites and online recipes to play with.  One such book is Healing Foods, a beautifully illustrated cookbook that is based on the principles of the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (this is an eating plan developed for bowel disorders and food intolerances and is also great for kids with Autism).

Janella Purcell of 'Good Chef, Bad Chef' on channel Ten tailors most of her recipes to the gluten free sector. Her recipes are full of wholefoods and superfood ingredients that pack a huge punch, nutritionally speaking.  As a qualified Nutritionist and Naturopath,  she has a 'food as medicine' approach to her clinic and has several books and DVD's on the topic.

If you want to try an elimination diet to see if removing gluten helps your digestive discomfort, or if you have been diagnosed with a gluten condition, it's best to see a Naturopath or Nutritionist who can help you plan a healthy diet that isn't lacking in essential components.  Do your research and don't be afraid to experiment!