Friday, December 27, 2013

The Importance of Good Nutrition

We all know that breast milk is the best nourishment for babies (and don't forget toddlers!), but did you know not all breast milk is created equal? Everyone knows how important good nutrition is while pregnant, but what about while nursing? Eating right and putting the most nutritious things in your body will produce the best milk for your baby, full of all the antibodies and nutrients needed.

I follow a traditional style of eating, based on the teachings of Weston A Price. While I don't follow the recommendations to a tee, I do like to use it as a guideline for making sure I'm truly providing the best for my baby and myself. While WAPF recommends following every aspect of the protocol for pregnant and nursing mothers, I realize it isn't practical for everyone. Here are the WAPF recommendations, with notes on what I eat to make sure my nursling gets the best.

Cod Liver Oil to supply 20,000 IU vitamin A and 2000 IU vitamin D per day - I do take CLO, but please keep the warning at the bottom of this post in mind when supplementing with it. My favorite is from Green Pastures, which you can find here.

1 quart (or 32 ounces) whole milk daily, preferably raw and from pasture-fed cows (learn more about raw milk on our website, A Campaign for Real Milk, - I'm lactose intolerant, but I'm able to drink raw milk and all raw milk products from our dairy herd association with no problems. I'm not always able to drink a quart a day, due to production from our cow share. In the spring and summer, we get at least 6 quarts each week so it isn't a problem. In the late fall and winter months, we only get 1 1/2 or 2 quarts a week, so I do the best I can.

4 tablespoons butter daily, preferably from pasture-fed cows - This is an easy one for me! I LOVE butter. Seriously, don't tell my husband about the affair we have going. We use Organic Valley's pasture butter. It is the most delicious flavor and is packed with good levels of vitamins, CLA, and balances omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. I put butter in and on everything I possibly can.

2 or more eggs daily, preferably from pastured chickens - This is another easy one for me. I loved eggs during my pregnancy. More than I ever have before. I'm fortunate to get wonderful eggs from happy, pastured hens that my parents lovingly raise. Eggs from the grocery store just don't have the proper nutrition that pastured eggs do, so it is important to try to find a good source for high quality eggs. When my parents are out of eggs (they only have 6 hens), we buy them from a local health food store that sources them from a local farmer.

Additional egg yolks daily, added to smoothies, salad dressings, scrambled eggs, etc. - This one is hit or miss, but I always try to add in the nutrition of extra eggs whenever possible.

3-4 ounces fresh liver, once or twice per week (If you have been told to avoid liver for fear of getting "too much Vitamin A," be sure to read Vitamin A Saga) - I finally found a good source for liver, but I still couldn't bring myself to do it. I'm hoping to cross this bridge soon because I know the health benefits are worth it. Hey, I consider it a crime if my chicken stock doesn't have feet floating in it now, so I'm sure I can figure out the liver situation ;)

Fresh seafood, 2-4 times per week, particularly wild salmon, shellfish and fish eggs - Living in the Midwest, I don't have great access to fresh seafood. I'm also still a bit concerned about contamination in seafood, but I do enjoy sustainably sourced seafood (say that five times fast!) when I can find it and when it fits in our budget.

Fresh beef or lamb daily, always consumed with the fat - We have great access to the most delicious, locally raised, heritage breed meats! Boy was I glad when I found Grass is Greener Farms. They raise heritage breed cows, pigs, turkeys, chickens, sheep, ducks, and lambs. The bacon and sausage have the most fabulous, buttery flavor, and they melt in your mouth. The chicken and beef are so tender and packed full of healthy nutrients. We eat meat almost every day and always source it from our local farmer. Meat from the grocery store can be loaded with hormones and antibiotics which you don't want to pass on to your baby.

Oily fish or lard daily, for vitamin D - I use lard or bacon grease to cook everything. When made from properly raised pigs that are able to root and roam freely, these fats are superior to anything you can buy at the store and provide good levels of Vitamin D. I cook everything from eggs to vegetables in lard or bacon grease. If you've never cooked eggs in bacon grease, you are missing out!

2 tablespoons coconut oil daily, used in cooking or smoothies, etc. - I really love finding new ways to get more coconut oil into myself and my family. This stuff is like gold! Lately, I've been enjoying homemade hot cocoa with some coconut oil melted in. I use my immersion blender to make it frothy and creamy. I also love it in fudge, coconut flour muffins, and even straight off the spoon. My favorite coconut oil is from Tropical Traditions and can be purchased here. I order this stuff by the gallon.

Lacto-fermented condiments and beverages - I just started making my own fermented veggies this year. It was a little confusing at first, but a friend helped me out and now I've got the hang of it. The benefits of lacto-fermentation include everything from helping make food more digestible to providing you with plenty of healthy and beneficial bacteria. It's also known to increase vitamin levels.

Bone broths used in soups, stews and sauces - I can't say enough good things about bone broth!  It's always a staple in my house, but especially around the time of year when germs are rampant and everyone is getting sick. It's so simple and cost effective to make your own bone broth, and you'll never get the same goodness from a can or carton of broth. I started using this recipe and have since adapted it by trying different things. I always add chicken feet to my stock to give it extra collagen and gelatin. Yum!

Soaked whole grains - Soaking grains is really important for proper digestion and maximum nutrition. Soaking grains prior to consuming them helps break down and pre-digest the grains, making it easier for your body to absorb the nutrients.

Fresh vegetables and fruits - I think this one is pretty obvious and needs no explanation!

Of course we all indulge and splurge sometimes (my sweet tooth can get quite convincing, sometimes) but eating healthy overall is best for you and baby. Many people follow the 80/20 rule, eating healthy 80% of the time and not worrying about the other 20%. Do you eat healthy while nursing? Do you try to stick to good habits most of the time?

Read more details on fats here.

This post contains an affiliate link. If you purchase coconut oil from Tropical Traditions using my link, I may get a gift certificate for referring you. Your price will remain the same and you will get the same great quality product that I use everyday.

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