Homemade Dairy-Free Formula (with Hemp Milk)

Homemade Dairy-Free Formula (with Hemp Milk)

Milk.  It does a body good. But does it do as much “good” as we think? Giving our children milk after their first birthday is a nutrition protocol that many parents follow.  And understandably so.   Milk supplies the calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B12, protein and other important nutrients that our growing children need.   However, there’s some debate on whether our little ones need to drink milk at all, and whether the benefits of dairy outweigh the costs.   For example, we believe milk equates to stronger bones, yet a large BMJ study shows that high milk consumption is associated with increased mortality and hip fractures.  This topic (to drink or not to drink milk) warrants a whole other post – I’ll save that for another day. The reason I bring this up is that some parents choose not to ‘follow the herd’, and opt not to use cow milk as the primary source of nutrition for their kids. Our milk of choice for Sienna has been a homemade dairy-free formula (made with hemp milk).  While our daughter has yet to drink cow’s milk per se, she had tried other varieties (both dairy and non-dairy) since weaning from breastmilk. When we are travelling or short on ‘formula’ ingredients, a quality sheep or goat milk has filled the void.  Last summer I also sourced biodynamic water buffalo milk from a local farmer.   Buffalo milk surfaced while searching for the most nutrient and calorically dense option for our small and slow growing daughter.  Because Sienna drank no more than a cup of milk per day, and she ate even less, that cup needed to be jam packed with goodness.  Buffalo milk contains all the nutrients found in cow milk but in higher proportions, making it was a great beverage to...

Mango, Black Bean & Avocado Salad

Kudos to all the single moms out there.  I’ve been getting a taste of what life would be like as a single mom with two kids and it is tough (HUGE understatement).   Here’s the detail that I neglected to mention for fear of being judged…I have only been alone with both of my little ones for 3 to 4 hours max, and that short window of time sends me into a tailspin.  I’m exhausted just thinking about riding solo with two kids for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Tonight was one of those nights.  My husband walked in late from work, blew a few kisses, then walked right back out for his CrossFit classes.   So I had the pleasure of preparing a toddler-friendly dinner with one child on my hip and the other tugging at my yoga pants.  My multitasking skills were challenged further trying to feed a ‘picky eater’ while nursing my ‘frequent feeder’.  Thankfully I still had a bit of fuel in my tank to bath at least one of the girls (two would be pushing it), then read a story and sing songs to my toddler with a 3 month old in tow. Now the tank is empty.  I am writing this post while running on fumes alone. My only saving grace tonight was this colourful recipe.  It takes less than 5 minutes to prep, has a mere 6 ingredients (all of which you can find in your cupboard, fridge or the nearest grocery store).   It’s perfect for a potluck, picnic, and even your picky eater’s plate.   It’s a one-stop shop meal with protein, carbohydrates and fat all in one bowl. Black Bean, Mango & Avocado Salad...

Every mom’s dilemma

I couldn’t sleep last night.  There was too much excitement knowing that our amazing nanny was back, after visiting family for 5 weeks in Indonesia.  Five weeks with a 2 year old, a newborn, and a new business was more than I could (or wanted to) handle alone.  I ended up traveling from my parents’ house, to the in-laws’, and everywhere in between for an extra hand.  As I learned during my first maternity leave, moms need to accept help whenever it is offered.  They didn’t need to ask me twice! After 5 weeks of living out of a suitcase and in a mildly disorganized state, I was SO ready to get back to a routine.   So after hugging my nanny and thanking her for coming back to us, I started the day drafting my To Do’s.  It was a comprehensive list of all the things I wanted to accomplish today, yet fully accepting that only 1 or 2 tasks would be completed. It’s now 5pm and as expected I’ve hardly made a dent in my To Dos.  That’s OK because Sienna is quietly playing and Naomi is napping.   A perfect time to get back to work. As I started to type away, Sienna read books on the floor beside me.  Something didn’t feel right.  This seemed to be a great time to get work done, but was that what I really wanted to do? Lately, I’ve had one too many older and wiser parents tell me how much they missed ‘this stage’ when their kids were kids.  How the early years go by so quickly; before they knew it, their little ones were no longer little. I put myself in their shoes, picturing my...

No-Bake Sunflower Seed Balls

As much as I adore living in Canada, our summers are much too short.  With only three months of solid summer weather, we are in our boots before we get our bathing suits on [sigh]. My husband and I try to squeeze the most out of the season, and this weekend we headed north for our first family cottage escape with our girls and friends.  Funny how things change when you have little ones.  What used to be a weekend of staying up until sunrise and waking up near noon (pre-kids), has been replaced with waking before sunrise and going to bed before the sun sets.  Nonetheless, our ‘new’ way of cottaging is just as fun, in a different kind of way. A 3 hour road trip to the cottage with kids is also different, but minus the fun-factor (at least in our car).   It requires additional distraction tactics and preparation – toys, books, Raffi, and emergency snacks.  I never know how picky my little one is going to be, so I made sure we were stocked with the options.  The usual options:  bell peppers, kale chips, nuts, grapes, and hard boiled eggs.   Of course, Sienna only ate two grapes and I ate the rest.  In hindsight, I should have made something different…and something to snack on when the craving for sugar-laden smores strikes.   Something like these sunflower seed balls. Whether you’re headed to the cottage or just down the street, this is an easy on-the-go snack.   It’s a very forgiving recipe so adjust the ingredients as you wish (i.e. more coconut oil and less coconut flour for a more moist batter). The good fats and protein in these balls will keep your little ones...

4 ways to boost your child’s appetite

I have always had a healthy appetite, so watching my daughter subsist on two blueberries was baffling and concerning.  Despite eating ‘solids’ for over 18 months, I can only recall her requesting food a handful of times. But today something rare happened.  Sienna uttered the words “num num” (translation: “I want food“).   When offering her a bite of anything edible, 99.95% of the time her response is “No num num” (translation: “I don’t want food“), so I asked her to clarify.  Turns out it wasn’t my imagination…Sienna was indeed asking for something to eat.  These words were music to my ears. In fairness to my daughter, she doesn’t experience feelings of hunger like the average person.  From what we know thus far, her appetite is significantly diminished as a result of her RSS diagnosis.  While my little one has a medical condition limiting her desire to eat and hunger sensations, children like her aren’t the only ones with a dampened appetite. Are you wondering why your little one never seems hungry?  Let’s look at a few ways to increase a child’s appetite. While a more in-depth nutritional assessment helps parents identify underlying reasons for poor eating, let me arm you with a few tips to improve appetite. 1) Avoid all-day grazing You would think that letting our children snack all day would result in them eating MORE food.  Right?  Researchers tell us the opposite is true.  If your little one is given a bite of food throughout the day, he/she won’t have the opportunity to truly experience hunger.   So his or her appetite may simply be a result of the current feeding structure (or lack thereof).  Depending on your...