If I Can Grow A Person, I Can Grow A Veggie

The jury is still out on this one, so I probably shouldn’t get ahead of myself. There are no veggies yet, but we started a square foot garden yesterday and planted seeds and a few transplants. Now it’s Water, Watch, and Wait. A Wish probably wouldn’t hurt either.

I hate to admit that I’m somewhat of a control freak, although I’m working on NOT being one. Ironic, I know. Luckily I have an understanding and patient husband. We also communicate very well and openly and love each other despite our individual faults or maybe even because of them. Needless to say, I really hate that I can’t “control” what the seed is going to do or know what will become of it. It’s one thing trying to control life in the moment, but trying to control the future… now that takes Super Powers!

I guess I don’t have super powers…shucks.

So I bought the square foot gardening book that a friend recommended and I’m so glad I did! The author, Mel Bartholomew, makes it all seem so easy. He lays out the process in a clear and entertaining fashion and really sells you on the idea of square foot gardening. It seems to be a fool proof, guaranteed success. Great for a control freak (I hate saying that). Do I have to be a freak? Why not a control goddess or something? Since I want to control the perception of whoever is reading this, I want you to know I’m not THAT much of a control freak. It’s just a small part of me. Really though…I’m just trying to be funny. HaHa! (nervous laugh)

Anyway, my main inspiration for this garden is that I want Clara to grow up eating fresh, homegrown vegetables. I also want it to be an activity and project we share together as a family. Plus, I’m already partly a granola mommy, so I might as well take some more steps in that direction! But don’t worry honey, you can always count on a smooth underarm.

Turkey Veggie Meatloaf: Deelishus Dish

Pre-ketchup and baking

When I was a kid, meatloaf sounded like eating garbage. I did.not.like.it. But I also didn’t like chocolate. Crazy kid I was.

Anyway, I’m always trying to find yummy and healthy meals that the toddler will eat, the husband will scarf, the mom will feel good about, the freezer will freeze, and will work with substitutions.

Turkey Veggie Meatloaf does just that.

I’m not an exact measurement kind of gal, so here’s the gist:

Cook chopped garlic, onion, and green pepper (or yellow or red) in EVOO.

Toss together shredded zucchini (or squash), shredded carrots, garlic, onion, green pepper, bread crumbs, shredded parmesan cheese, one egg, and your favorite spices. *In this picture, there were some things I didn’t have on hand, so I traded some frozen broccoli(boiled first) for carrots, mozzarella for parmesan and yellow pepper for green pepper.

Mix in 1lb of ground turkey(or ground beef). You have to mix it with your hands, so be prepared to dig in!

Form into a log in an oven-safe dish or pan. Squeeze ketchup on top and spread it out to cover all surfaces.

Bake in a 400 degree oven for an hour. Mmmmmmm… makes the house smell good.

I have to thank my sister Sallie for this recipe! “Thank you Sallie!”

Ooops! Ate some already!


Diastasis Recti Rehab: Week 3 to Week 4

Something is very funny

I have been cracking up for the last half hour! In preparation for week 4, I watched the video to learn the new headlift exercises. Week 3 was pretty uneventful other than really feeling the burn in my transverse and lower back. But this week is going to take a lot of brainpower. As I listened to the instructions on the video, I realized I needed to write some things down.

This strikes me as hilarious and gives me tired-head all at the same time:

In order to engage the transverse, you must remember 5 things about this muscle…Let me teach you the 5 step headlift… There are 4 things to remember before starting the headlifts…It is important to make sure you do the first 3 steps of the headlifts correctly before lifting your head… There are 2 ways for you to know if your transverse is in or out…There are 3 places you need to hold the splint when doing the headlifts…There are 2 visualizations in the headlifts. The first 3 steps are called pelvic stabilization. These 3 steps must be done correctly before doing the last 2 steps of the headlifts.

Bhwaaaahahahahahhahahaha! My head is swimming…

I sure hope I can remember all of that!

In week 3, although I did my exercises, I got a little lazy with steps 3 and 4 of holding in my transverse and getting up and down/picking things up correctly. Also, the splint would ride up to my ribs above my belly button constantly and I would have needed to adjust it with every movement. Since I don’t sit still all day, I’m not sure how effective my splinting was this week even though I adjusted it throughout the day. I’m thinking I might need to order a smaller one. Seems like it would be easier to wear two instead of having to hold the second one for the week 4 exercises anyway.

I really hope this program is going to work for closing my diastasis! I am doing the best I can. One thing for sure is my transverse is getting stronger, my posture is much improved, and I notice my back hurts the next day if I did any slumping the day before. So, I am still building an awareness and seeing results that encourage me to keep going.

Book Review: Baby-Led Weaning By Rapley and Murkett

Eating a Steamed Carrot at 6 months

Baby-Led Weaning: The Essential Guide to Introducing Solid Foods and Helping Your Baby to Grow Up a Happy and Confident Eater. I read this book when Clara was about 5 months old. I had heard so much mixed information on introducing solids and wanted to make an informed choice on how to do this with Clara.

Say No to Purees:

The idea behind BLW, while relatively new in our “modern” society, is actually a very “old” concept. In a nutshell, it’s a no-puree, non-spoon feeding method. Your baby is ready to explore food when she can sit up on her own, reaches for food on your plate and can bring it to her mouth. Readiness is important both developmentally and for their digestive systems. Your baby knows intuitively what they are ready for.

Babies are born with a “leaky gut” so that milk can move freely through the digestive track. Introducing solids, especially grains like cereal, before this gut has closed can lead to health problems such as digestive issues and allergies. It’s hard to resist when people give well-meaning advice to give your baby cereal so they will “sleep” longer. Not only does “filler” take away from nutrition their body needs from milk, but research has found that cereal does not help your baby sleep longer. If someone has found it to help with sleeping in their own experience, it is usually a coincidence.

Spoon-feeding VS. Self-feeding

A self-feeding baby learns to be in control of her food and learns to judge what and how much her body needs. You have to allow time with a self feeding baby. It’s easy to be in a hurry to fill up your baby when spoon feeding, shoveling it in to make sure baby gets enough. Spoon feeding by nature is much faster because there is no chewing, tasting, savoring or exploring. It takes time for your body to feel full. Eating fast can lead to a habit of overeating, not something we want to teach our kids. Also, milk is the most important source of calories and nourishment for the first year of life. When a baby fills up on solids, they are taking in less milk. Solid foods are really not needed until much later, but there is always that pressure to move on to the next stage.

After all, the tooth is the original food processor and an important part in the digestive process! Blenders are obviously a modern invention. Many babies don’t even have molars after the first year of life. Are we meant to eat “solids” so early?

What did I do?

At the same time I ordered BLW, I also ordered Super Baby Food by Yaron which is like a pureed-food encyclopedia. Completely Opposite. Can we just say, this indecisive mama was even more conflicted about how to proceed. I decided to give BLW a try first and hoped to not even go the pureed route. I tend to be drawn toward the road less traveled anyway. However, during my BLW experiment, a few things came up that led to me going the other direction after a few weeks.

I was afraid of choking. Rapley provides safe guidelines regarding this. She also argues that choking is less of a problem with BLW than spoon feeding because babies develop the chewing skill much sooner. She explains the difference between choking and gagging. Gagging is not harmful and the baby learns sooner how to handle food. However, when you see your baby gag for the first time, it’s a scary thing. It really just made me anxious and I didn’t want to have that kind of energy around Clara when she was eating. I started to question this route I was taking.

I was concerned about not implementing the 4-day wait rule for food allergies. According to Rapley, the 4-day wait rule really applies to babies younger than 6 months. But, nevertheless I had also heard that waiting to introduce certain things could keep a child from developing food allergies. If she had a reaction or sensitivity, I wanted to be able to pinpoint the offending food.

I was cooking things separately from our meals. One of the stated pros of BLW is that you can let them eat off of your plate. I eat healthily, but not perfect and I wanted her first foods to be in their purest form with no salt or sugar or processed ingredients. I wanted her to have just steamed veggies and fresh fruits. Although I cook a lot now, I still wasn’t cooking much yet and it was just a pain. It seemed easier and faster to puree my own foods in bulk and freeze them.

In the end, I think I’ll chalk up these 3 concerns I had when doing BLW to being an inexperienced first time mom. My instincts tell me that this way is best, but I didn’t know anyone else at the time who did BLW, so I doubted myself. It’s funny how looking back, I treated so many decisions I made as ridiculously significant that now seem rather insignificant. I know myself pretty well and that probably won’t change much. But, at 16 months, Clara is extremely healthy and eats well. So it all worked out!

Gumming an apple at 6 months

Getting Creative With Buckwheat

Have you heard the saying, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade”?

Of course.

Have you heard the saying, “When life gives you buckwheat, make pancakes“?…

Of course…               not.

Buckwheat pancakes taste like grainy cardboard. Syrup helps. But, I haven’t put syrup on Clara’s pancakes before. If I did, she’d probably just dip her finger in the syrup and suck on her finger. Then she’d have a squish fest with the pancake, shaking out milk from her cup on top to make a soggy mess that would end up on the floor and not her tummy.

Not gonna happen!

I’ll put it off as long as possible anyway, for the same reason I haven’t given her apple juice. Why would she ever want to drink water if her cup could be filled with something sweet? I’ve always been anti-juice, even before having a kid. There is no good reason to drink the stuff and there are many good reasons not too. That’s another post though.

Food Coma

So when she tried a buttered buckwheat pancake with no syrup, she slowly pushed it back out with her tongue as if to say “bleck!”. I don’t blame her. I enjoy eating almost anything and have an open mind when trying new foods. But, grainy cardboard? Really? Nah.

Committed to my non-syrup pancakes, I got creative to make a nutritious topping for them. I grabbed some organic applesauce, plain yogurt, and cinnamon. She loved it, buckwheat and all. This picture should speak for itself.

Diastasis Recti Rehab: Week 2 Conclusion

My diastasis is as wide as my guitar neck

I am impatient. I want my diastasis to close NOW.

I checked my diastasis this week and it is still 3 fingers wide. I told myself not to check it this early so as not to get discouraged. It’s probably too soon for there to be any noticeable change. But it was like thinking,”I’m not going to eat that reeses peanut butter cup”, which of course makes it much more enticing. Man I love those things. Mmmmm…

I did get discouraged when I checked it yesterday.

However, I have enough insight about myself to realize that maybe I wanted it to still be 3 fingers wide. It would give me a reason to say, “this is not working. I quit”. I pouted for a day, skipped my evening exercises, had glass of wine and melted into the recliner to catch up on American Idol…WITHOUT the splint. Don’t tell Julie Tupler I took the night off.

After the enthusiasm of starting a new work out or resolution wears off, I have to find motivation to keep me going. My tummy’s appearance after the diastasis closes is not enough. In fact, my mummy tummy will never be the same because of how my skin stretched with my pregnancy. This is not about making my tummy look better. At this point in my life, it doesn’t really bother me. I have a beautiful child to show for it and I will have more.

Why is it important to close my diastasis?

Closing my diastasis is about supporting my back to eliminate pain, supporting my organs for proper digestion, getting rid of my umbilical hernia, and strengthening my core for my structural health and future. And most importantly for me, it’s for comfort and positioning during my next pregnancy and labor. If I don’t close my diastasis before my next pregnancy, I could have more back pain and it could affect the positioning of the baby. Also, my 3-finger diastasis could turn into an entire hand or two hands wide if I don’t take steps to close it now. YIKES!

Here’s to week 3! Perseverance, patience, and posture.

Book Review: ‘Breastfeeding Made Simple’ by Mohrbacher

Love Love Love Love Love Love this book. I’m convinced this is the best breastfeeding book out there. One of my best friends gave it to me and I’m so thankful she did. It answered so many questions and gave me confidence.

I didn’t receive this book until Clara was a month old. I wish I had read it before she was born. It would have helped me immensely in the first few weeks. Luckily my doula is a breastfeeding specialist and guided me in the beginning. I would have been lost without her. The lactation consultants at Harris were also wonderful. But it really makes a difference for me to have things in writing that I can regularly refer to.

Not only does it give you encouragement and tell you what to expect in the early days, it also tells you how to meet your long term goals. It addresses issues that arise and how to fix them, such as latch and milk production. It discusses expressing and storing milk and weaning your child naturally.

My favorite chapter is The Power of Touch: Why Holding Your Baby Matters. In a society where books like Babywise are popular, which are responsible for failure to thrive babies and lowering milk production, not to mention the barriers in bonding and possible psychological damage it creates, we need to hear the research that supports how important it is to hold your baby and be close to them all the time. I could go on a tangent about how it drives me crazy when I hear people say “put that baby down or you’ll spoil it!” Uggghh! That is so old fashioned and ridiculous and completely against research. But that is another post.

Anyway… back to the book review.  It is organized very well, easy to read, comprehensive, and provides a historical and cultural context. It truly is a wonderful book and I highly recommend it to anyone who is about to have a baby.



Diastasis Recti Rehab: Week 1 Conclusion

The Flying Splint

I’ve squeezed my transverse muscle 4,480 times this week! And that my friends is without doing any crunches… because apparently they are THE DEVIL. According to Julie Tupler, they will make your diastasis larger and possibly create one if you don’t already have one. I’ve never been a crunch fan (a crunchy mama, maybe), but not a crunchy exerciser. I’m not too upset that I’ll never have to do a crunch again.

It has definitely taken some discipline to do the elevator and contracting exercises 3 times a day. I’ll admit, I’ve procrastinated and doubled up a couple of times. The splint is still not my best friend, but I’m figuring out how to wear it and adjust it so that it stays in place better. I’ve taken it off a couple of times this week when I wasn’t supposed to for a short time…

Well actually, I ripped it off, threw it across the room, and did a happy dance. I’m a rebel I know.

However, I’m going to make a commitment to be an even better diastasis student this week. Do you want to know why? Of course you do. Well first of all, since I’m blogging about it I can’t give up now and look like a complete failure. But honestly, I can tell a big improvement already! This is really working! My waistline is smaller, despite the fact that my silly husband has brought home ice cream and reeses peanut butter eggs all week. I know that my core is much stronger because it’s easier for me to sit with good posture and I can feel the muscles working more each day. Also, my umbilical hernia which came back after my fallopian tube surgery is getting smaller. This tells me the connective tissue must be healing.

There are a couple of things I need to work through yet. I get this cramp in my left side quite often when doing the exercises that hurts. I’m also holding in my tummy muscles so much that I find my breathing is rather shallow at times. I have to remember to belly breathe more often and squeeze to the 5th floor when I exhale. I spent so many months practicing to relax every muscle in my body for childbirth through breathing, that I stopped using my abs altogether. Now it’s time to find a balance.

Here’s hoping for a week of patience with the splint and continued healing!

Broccoli Grilled Cheese Sandwich? Yes, please!

Ready for the grill

Mmmmmm… this recipe is easy, cheesy, and breezy (if broccoli makes your baby toot that is). Clara used to love plain steamed green veggies like kale, broccoli, spinach, and zucchini. I was so excited about my little veggie eater. But at some point, I couldn’t keep “other” foods away from her, like things that are NOT green, which she believes are more tasty. Oh well. I figure as long as she gets mostly home cooked/non-processed or minimally processes foods, I’ll be building a healthy foundation for her.

Although I continue to introduce whole veggies to her so she can at least grow up seeing them on her plate, I’ve learned to sneak some in her tummy by hiding green stuff in things I know she loves… like CHEESE! She loves this sandwich because it’s cheesy and buttery (no I’m not afraid of butter as long as it’s REAL butter!). This is not exactly low fat, but whateva! She devours this every time I make it, so here is my version of this recipe I found on the food renegade blog. I call it the “eyeball” version since I don’t have exact measurements and it will change depending on how many sandwiches you make. It’s not rocket science.

Mix together shredded cheese, finely chopped cooked broccoli, and a dollop or two of mayonnaise. (For extra protein, you can grind up some cooked chicken to mix in too.)

Spread between 2 slices of bread (I love fresh nine grain and honey from Central Market) and generously butter the outside of the slices.

Grill sandwich in a George Foreman grill or do it the old fashioned way on a stove until melty and toasted. And Wallah! Satiating for momma and baby! Added some fresh apple slices and it’s a meal!

Diastasis Recti Rehab: Day 1

It’s just the first day. I’m not going to give up. But to be honest, this splint is kind of driving me nuts. It keeps riding up. I’ve taken it off to adjust it about 15 times today. Taking care of a toddler does not make it any easier. Sleeping with it on tonight is going to be interesting. The instructions are to have it on at ALL times until your diastasis is closed and only to remove it when bathing.

If I’m just sitting, the splint stays in place. But no matter how tight it is, the second I move, it starts to have a mind of its own. I do a lot of bending over type movements during the day from laundry, to changing diapers, to cleaning up, cooking, and teaching early childhood music classes that involve getting up and down off of the floor. I try to get up and down correctly with a straight back as per the Tupler Technique instructions, but it still moves. I’ve tried it in different positions to see if it stays in place better higher or lower and I’m just not having any luck

I’ve watched the DVD, Lose Your Mummy Tummy, a few times and I’ve taken notes because there are a lot of details and points to remember. I feel like I’m building an awareness of my transverse muscle. I’m not sure if I’m doing the exercises exactly right and breathing or moving how I’m supposed to throughout the day. The perfectionist in me is struggling with this.

Basically the first 3 weeks of the exercises involve sitting and squeezing your abs to strengthen your transverse before moving on to any other exercises. Crunches are a big “no no” because they will cause your diastasis to get worse. That’s OK by me though! I mean, who likes to do crunches?!! I never have. Tupler mentions on the DVD that any kind of “jack knife” type of movement is like fingernails down a chalkboard or chewing on aluminum foil to her. What? I don’t think I’ve ever heard of anyone chewing on aluminum foil. But, I get the point. LOL

I’m sure the 4 steps to the technique will become second nature… hopefully sooner that later!