Monday, August 24, 2009

Rolling, rolling, rolling

Allie is 3 months old. Her latest milestone is rolling over from her back to her tummy. I was pretty surprised when I had set her down and walked out of the room and came back and found her on her tummy since she hadn't really seemed to be trying to roll over very often. I didn't think she would do it again for me, but she did. Now pretty much any time you set her down she flips over. But then she gets kind of mad because she can't get back to her back. I've been kind of surprised that she has kept doing it. Selena would always complete a physical milestone a few times and then not do it for a few weeks and then start doing it all the time. I guess Allie is a quick learner.

In the last week she has decided that she absolutely hates the car. Car rides are no fun. I feel like a baby torturer. She has also decided in the last week that 5 and 6am are good times to get up. I'm blaming the rolling over. She rolls over and then gets all mad because she keeps knocking her binky out of her mouth when she moves her head back and forth, and after she does that a few times she figures she might as well wake up. Luckily Selena's been sleeping in so after getting up for an hour we go back to bed and get to sleep in till 8:45. I did catch her sucking her thumb while sleeping last night, so I'm wondering if the thumb will supplant the binky.

Other random tidbits include that she now can ride in the backpack which is more convenient than a front pack. When she gets fussy I can load her up and still be able to get some chores done. She loves the stroller as long as its moving. We've been walking to the farmer's market, Target, the library, and out to eat. She doesn't seem too bothered by the abuse her sister dishes out. She hardly ever poops. I think she goes about 2 weeks between bowel movements. She loves baths, holding people's hands, talking to people, and being naked. She has also started to show interest in toys.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Best Salad Ever

I have always hated salads. I hardly ever would eat one. Probably because most salads have iceberg lettuce and/or light salad dressing. Yuck. About a year ago I went to my sister-in-law's bridal shower where there was a salad bar and it was really, really good. I added a few things to the salad I had there, and now I am eating one every day (and craving it if I don't) for lunch. I admit while it is super tasty it isn't completely filling. I usually have a half a sandwich or some raviolis as well.

  • Organic spinach or mixed salad greens. I get these at the farmer's market every Saturday. The mixed salad greens makes interesting salad because you get different tastes every bite. Once there were sprigs of dill in it, and that was so good. Floyd teases me and says I'm eating weeds, but I do think there are some dandelion in the mix so I guess I might be. Buying packaged lettuce at the grocery store is not very tasty, and they probably add some sort of preservative or something. Buying romaine or spinach at the grocery store is a better bet. I have mixed results with the spinach at Fred Meyer. The spinach from the farmer's market was the sweetest spinach I've ever had. This is definitely an instance where the fresher it is, the better it tastes.
  • Organic unsalted hulled sunflower seeds. I buy these in the bulk section at Fred Meyer.
  • Regular cottage cheese
  • Organic canned garbanzo beans
  • Organic berries - I've tried strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries. All are good.
  • Random organic veggies. I like green onions and carrots. Sometimes I use cucumber, broccoli, or avocado.
  • Dressing - 2 parts olive oil, 1 part balsamic vinegar (I eyeball it), a pinch of sea salt, and grind in some fresh pepper. Mix it in a bowl and sprinkle over the top.
This salad has a ton of anti-oxidants in it to flush out all the yucky stuff in you. The veggies and sunflower seeds are packed with vitamins. The cottage cheese, sunflower seeds, and olive oil give you a nice amount of fat to help you absorb the vitamins. The whole thing is delicious. Make sure you don't leave anything out, because it really isn't as good if you do.

Let me know if you try it and enjoy it.

This is part of my What I am Eating series.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Cereal Bad, Eggs Good

So my New Years resolution this year was to eat less processed food. The number one processed food I ate was cereal. I love cereal and I would eat it every morning for breakfast. But in my effort to fulfill my resolution I decided to switch to eggs and peanut butter toast in the morning. The switch has almost been life changing. I have always had to eat often. If I didn't eat every 2-3 hours I would get seriously grumpy, and feel like I was going to pass out. I always got angry when I went to someone's house around lunch time and there was no food. I didn't understand why most people had no problems delaying or skipping meals, but I did. The symptoms became even worse in the past few years because I've been pregnant or nursing. My grandmother once mentioned that I might be hypoglycemic, but when I looked it up the symptoms had nothing to do with me. But after I stopped eating cereal I read something about carbs causing spikes and drops in blood sugar and cereal being one of the biggest culprits. I read up on hypoglycemia again and found a link about REACTIVE hypoglycemia, and the symptoms of that fit fairly well - fatigue, dizziness, sweaty, light-headedness, irritability, increased appetite, craving sweets, runny nose, usually 2 -3 hours after eating a high carb meal. The treatment is to exercise, eat often, avoid sugars, carbs, alcohol, and caffeine, and increase protein. I have always instinctively did all those things except avoiding the carbs and increasing protein. By changing what I ate for breakfast I was fulfilling the last two things and I have felt a remarkable difference. I still get hungry sometimes, but it isn't as soon, and I don't feel like I am going to die if I don't get food immediately. Sometimes I have wondered if it is in my head, but when we run out of eggs I will eat cereal for breakfast, and a few hours later I feel like I am going to pass out. I am much better off eating whole grain toast with peanut butter or even nothing at all.

I'm not sure if I'm being a hypochondriac. Reactive hypglycemia is hard to diagnose because you have to get your blood sugar taken 2 - 3 hours after you have eaten and are in the middle of a "crash", which is hard to time. It is supposedly pretty rare, but I've talked to many people who seem to have some of the same problems. So I'm not sure if I really have it, but I know that I feel so much better if I act like I do.

Since I've been eating eggs every morning I now have a very discerning palette as to good and bad tasting eggs. For a while I was getting fresh eggs from my egg lady, but she lives about 30 minutes away and I can't make an hour long trip every week with 2 kids to go and get eggs. But they do taste the best. The next best are Naturally Organic eggs (not Naturally Nested though the packages look similar). I get them at Fred Meyer, but I've seen them at QFC as well. They are free range (which is better than cage free),organic, and come from Everett, so they are local. They taste almost as good the eggs from my egg lady and are worth the extra money. Some people worry about the cholesterol in eggs, but your body needs cholesterol. If you don't eat it, then your liver will manufacture it for you, which isn't a good thing (but I can't remember why).

I also get Dave's Killer Bread for my toast. This bread is at Fred Meyer and Costco. It is expensive (but it is a better deal at Costco) but it is so good. Whenever I have guests over and I make them a sandwich they always comment on how good the bread is. It is organic and doesn't have HFCS or hydrogenated oils. It also has lots of seeds and grains, but it isn't dry at all.

For peanut butter I get freshly squished peanut butter at Fred Meyer. There is a machine that chops up your peanuts and pours it into a container for you. It is much better than commercial all natural peanut butter, like Adams, because for the most part the oil doesn't separate, and it is easy to spread. You make it on the spot so you know it is only peanuts.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Nutritional Philosophy

So I haven't been able to find much time to sew. I get a couple hours kid free late at night, but I'm usually tired, and sewing while tired is not a good thing. So, while I haven't been able to make anything crafty lately, I still have been able to make food, since we need to eat. I am not a good cook (I have a strange aversion to following recipes), but I've been getting better, so I'd like to share what I've been eating.

In the past I've never really cared about what I ate. I was a multi-sport athlete through high school and college so I required a lot of calories and I ate whatever was convenient. I mostly ate carbs and not very many vegetables. I took a class in college my senior year called Body Image, and nutrition was discussed a bit and that was pretty much the first time I really ever thought about nutrition. Basically what I took out of the class was that the closer a food looked like its original form, the better it was for you. But since I was an athlete and carbs provide instant energy I still ate very carb heavy. Once Selena was born and I was not anywhere near as active as I used to be and had gained a bit of baby weight I started thinking more about what I ate and reading more about nutrition.

The funny thing about nutrition is that it is very complicated so there are lots of conflicting studies, and advice. The U.S. Dept of Agriculture has changed their recommendations multiple times over the years. There are various diets that recommend low fat, or low carb, or low calorie. There are vegetarians who say meat is unnecessary or vegans who say we don't need to eat anything animal related, or people who think we should eat a lot of meat. Then there are the food producers who spend lots of money trying to market their various concoctions as healthy. It is very hard to know what is really healthy and what is not. I find it funny that if you take a few people who are conscientious about what they eat there will probably be some stuff that one person goes out of their way to eat but that another person absolutely will not touch. Based on my research and readings I try to aim for whole, unprocessed foods. The less processed it is, the better it is for you. I believe in eating when you are hungry and stopping when you are full. I think its better to listen to your body than try to count or measure your intake. I believe in making changes to eating habits slowly so your body can get used to it.

Here are my opinions on:

Meat: I am sympathetic to vegetarian and vegan arguments against the unethical treatment of animals as source of food for us, but I do think that meat is important nutritionally for humans. I do not believe that red meat and/or saturated fat is bad for you. Meat provides lots of proteins, amino-acids, and fats that are body requires. You can get most, but not all, from other food sources, but not in the quantities and ratios necessary. However I think the way we raise animals does not provide us with that best nutrition. In general chickens and cows are fed food they are not meant to eat and thus we have less nutritious meat. They should be allowed to graze on green grass and eat what they are meant to eat. When possible I try to get grass fed and/or free range meat, if not available I try to get organic, and/or supplemental hormone free.

Fish: I think fish is a very important, most specifically for the Omega-3 DHA it provides. There are tons of well conducted studies that show eating fish causes vast improvements to your health. I do not eat enough of it and have been taking a fish oil supplement instead, and it causes dramatic and noticeable differences in my mood, and energy levels. If I forget to take it I am a very grumpy person. I would rather eat more fish than use a supplement, but have not got to that point yet. There are large problems with fish being polluted and environmental concerns about overfishing.

Dairy: I think dairy offers a lot nutritionally. I think we should be eating it in its most unprocessed state. The pasteurization and homogenization of milk kills lots of the beneficial bacteria that make milk healthy. I do not drink raw milk, but if I had a convenient source I think I would. I do drink organic whole milk, or eat whole milk yogurt. I try to get pasteurized versus ultra-pasteurized when I can. I eat free range local organic eggs.

Oils and Fats: I think hydrogenated oils are very bad for you and try to avoid anything with hydrogenated oils. (This guy has a great idea to boycott hydrogenated oils and high fructose corn syrup.) I think vegetable oils are ok when not cooked. Cooking vegetable oils causes free radicals to form, so I try to cook with butter instead. I would use lard if I could find it. I try to avoid all soybean oil as well as other processed soy products as the chemical structure of soy is very similar to estrogen and the body sometimes acts as if it is estrogen and I would rather not mess with my hormones. I do not believe that fats make you fat.

Sweeteners: I prefer maple syrup, honey, or plain sugar. I think not eating any sweeteners would probably be the best, but I'm not ready to make that leap. I avoid high fructose corn syrup as well as corn syrup, but I think plain corn syrup is better than HFCS.

Nuts and Seeds: Nuts are shown in many well conducted studies to improve health dramatically. Nuts are packed with vitamins in amounts you can't find in any other foods. Some people avoid them because they are high in fat, but once again I don't think fat is bad, and I think you should eat as many nuts as you are hungry for.

Grains: I think these should be eaten as sparingly as possible due to the fact that they cause spikes in blood sugar which is stressful for your heart. Also many baked goods have aluminum in them and I don't think that is good for you either. I do eat whole grain bread daily. This one is really hard for me, but I try to avoid crackers, chips, cereal and non-whole grain bread.

Fruits and Vegetables: Eat as much as you want of these. Some say to eat less fruit, or not potatoes, but I say eat away. Eat organic, local, fresh and in season for the best nutrition and the best tasting food.

Vitamin Supplements: I haven't really found any research that supports my opinion, but I don't think vitamin supplements should be necessary if you eat a wide variety of whole foods. Apparently it is impossible to get all your daily vitamins without a supplement or eating fortified foods. I think that means the daily recommendations are not correct. Many argue that our food production is so pitiful that we have removed all the nutrients from our food and that is why vitamin supplementation and fortification is needed. I don't know it seems wrong to me. I do however take a fish oil and vitamin D supplement daily. I also take a prenatal vitamin when I feel like I haven't eaten very nutritious.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Favorite Toddler Books for the Month

She'll be Coming Around the Mountain - Level 1 Bank Street Ready-To-Read - Cute book with new verses to the song, and fun pictures.

Doing the Garden - Sarah Garland's books are really simple and just tell a short story of basic things moms and kids do. The illustrations are great and add to the story. It is very easy for us to relate to the mom, her two kids, and the dog.

Abiyoyo - When my mom taught preschool, her preschoolers loved it. My sister recently taught at a daycare/preschool and the kids loved it there too. Selena of course loves it as well.

The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig - Cute twist on the three little pigs.

Friday, August 14, 2009

27 months

Selena is still being a handful. She is lucky she is so dang cute. Her toddler logic is really funny. For instance:
  • She told me she is a little adult. I told her that she wasn't an adult she was a kid. She said kids are little adults and big people are big adults.
  • She was playing dress up and she put on a princess costume and then told me that she wasn't a human anymore she was a princess.
  • I told her that she was too cute and she said that she was a big girl she wasn't cute anymore she was lovely.
  • She likes to say, "And that's the truth."
  • We were out at a restaurant and she needed to go potty and she says, "This is a nice potty"
  • She likes to attempt to look under the bathroom stalls and ask what people are doing. This has been especially embarrassing for Floyd.
  • I wasn't feeling well and she didn't want to go play with Floyd so I told her that she should go down and pick up her toys, and she said, "I know. (and this is always said with really cute emphasis) I'll make you some toast so that you'll feel better." So I told her that was a good idea. So she runs out of the room saying, "I'm going to make toast, not go pick up my toys."
If I had wrote this post four or five days ago I would have said potty training was going really well. We were consistently down to about 1 accident a day and that was usually during nap time when she was wearing a pair of thick undies with a diaper cover so no mess, 100% poop in the potty, and we even had some days with no accidents. It seemed like if we reminded her, and put her on the potty often we had good success. We went to the zoo and she wore regular underwear with no waterproof cover and was good the whole entire day. But the last few days have not been so great, lots of pee accidents and even some poop ones. She is even having accidents 5 minutes after we put her on the potty. I don't know. It is really frustrating because I think she is doing it on purpose. She says she doesn't want to wear diapers, and she doesn't want to go on the potty. Grrr.

She really seems to enjoy being obstinate and doing exactly the opposite of what you ask. She thinks time-outs are fun, "Am I done yet? Am I done yet". She has started hitting a bit. She will only take a nap about two or three times a week, but at least now she is sleeping longer at night so she is at least getting closer to the number of hours she needs to sleep in order to be a more pleasant person. But sometimes she'll crash at inconvenient times. I'm trying to institute having quiet time in her room, but am having a hard time keeping her in there. She keeps coming out and asking "is it time yet?" Basically she is a lot harder to parent and I'm wondering what happened. It seems pretty sudden. Well I guess its probably the fact that Allie is here. She does love Allie, but I guess it is hard sharing her parents.

She absolutely loves the garlic mozzarella raviolis from Costco. Its funny because she is kind of a picky eater, and doesn't usually like her food to be mixed, but she loves the raviolis. She also ate chicken the other day for the first time in a year. We were pretty surprised. We always offer her everything we are eating, but there are some things we really don't think she'll actually eat and chicken is one of them. When she was a baby she would eat anything, but she has become more picky. Another thing she really likes is ketchup. The other day I asked her if we should make homemade french fries and she got really excited and her eyes got all big and she kind of stuttered and said, "yes, yes, yes, and with ketchup?" and then proceeded to run into the kitchen and get the ketchup out of the fridge and go on about how she would help me make french fries with ketchup.

There really isn't anything she is into at the moment. I keep trying to find something, but I've kind of run out of ideas. We've done drawing, play-dough, puzzles, cutting, painting, blocks, alphabet, numbers, shapes. It seems like books and TV (ugh) are the only thing that consistently hold her interest. She actually seems to trying to figure out how to read. We sometimes do the clips on Starfall's website, when I want to be on the computer and she wants to be entertained. So she knows the sounds of some letters and pretends, sometimes kind of successfully, to sound out words. She's a precocious little one.