Fruit Smoothies BAD for you!?!?!?

As many of you know, I have changed my diet drastically over the last couple years. Before kids, I would eat fast food all the time, processed boxed meals from the grocery store and soda…lots of soda. Our oldest child’s food allergies pretty much changed everything for us, especially the way we eat. We no longer could depend on quick “convenience” processed meals and I had to learn how to make most of our meals from scratch. To me, this has been a blessing in disguise as it has helped me take my health and my families health under control.

I saw and felt the effects of my bad eating habits and I didn’t want my kids to have to go through the same. During both of my pregnancies, I was considered, in medical terms, obese. While I was able to have textbook, easy pregnancies, it wasn’t until after having my children that I realized things needed to change. I noticed I would get out of breath easily just playing with my kids or walking around the block. My knees and legs would hurt if I walked a little more than usual. During my first pregnancy, I had high blood pressure for the first time in my life. Things had to change.

With my son being allergic to eggs and dairy, I was opened up to the vegan lifestyle and diet as they not only don’t consume meat, but they also do not consume any other animal products such as eggs and milk! So I found myself making veganized versions of muffins, breads, cakes, pancakes and many other foods we enjoyed in the past. This led me to explore eating more vegetables, grains, beans and fruits. While we still consume meat from time to time, exploring vegan foods has become such a big part of our lives and it has helped me get my health on track, lose weight and teach my kids good eating habits while tasting a variety of foods and flavors.

One part of eating healthier that I have really enjoyed is making smoothies. I pretty much consume a smoothie a day and have for almost a year. I gave up soda almost 3 months ago and never looked back. My headaches went away and I dropped 10 lbs in the first 2 months (although just giving up soda won’t produce the same results, I also eat a balanced diet with plenty of protein, fruits and veggies.) One argument that has come up numerous times is that the sugar content in smoothies is as high or higher than soda. Or that I shouldn’t be eating more fruit because of the sugar! It always seems that with all the fads and diets these days, one group will be opposed or disagree one way or another with the way another chooses to eat. I have read numerous articles (like this) about how consuming smoothies or fruit is as bad or worse than drinking soda or eating a candy bar and that “all sugars are the same”! *cue eye roll*

So let’s talk sugars… Yes, there is sugar in fruits. It is a naturally occurring sugar called fructose. Now before you get all worked up saying that it is the same as high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), let discuss it more. The sugar in fruit is not absorbed the same nor does it have the same effect on our body as refined sugar or HFCS. While fruit contains sugar, it also contains antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, water and fiber. Now the fiber in fruit helps determine how the sugar will be used in your body and actually slows the absorption of sugar. Fiber also is what helps you feel fuller longer. So when it comes to fruit, yes you will get sugar, however, because of our lovely friend fiber it will take a heck of a lot of fruit (about 16 cups of strawberries) to equal the same amount of sugar you get in 2 cans of soda. Plus, fiber will help keep you satisfied instead of making you hungry sooner. Plus, you are also getting a variety of vitamins and minerals that you will not find in a candy bar or soda.

Now what about high fructose corn syrup? HFCS has been linked to weight gain, inflammation, heart disease, kidney disease and causes issues to those who are diabetic. It is cheap and easy to make which is why it has become used in so many processed foods. It is quickly absorbed by your body and causes insulin spikes as opposed to slow absorption and gradual rises like the sugars in fruit. HFCS also gives many people a spike in energy, however if this fuel isn’t used up right away, your body turns it into fat. And since your body absorbs it so fast, it is in turn digested quicker causing you to be hungry sooner and more often.

So now that we understand how the sugars are absorbed by our bodies, let’s look at sugar content. I went ahead and used a nutritional tracker to check the nutritional and sugar content in some of my smoothies. The ingredients listed are the ONLY things I add. I do not add any artificial sweeteners.

The first is a green smoothie with the following ingredients:

  • almond milk
  • 100% pineapple juice
  • frozen mango chunks
  • avocado
  • kale
  • frozen banana

It has 463 calories, 13 grams of protein and 48 grams of sugar.

The second one contains:

Iced Mocha Green Monster

Iced Mocha Green Monster

  • decaf coffee
  • almond milk
  • kale
  • raw cacao powder
  • medjool dates
  • pure vanilla extract
  • ice

It has 256 calories, 6 grams of protein and 41 grams of sugar.

And last:

C-Green Detox Smoothie

C-Green Detox Smoothie

  • kiwi
  • fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • fresh parsley
  • kale
  • strawberries (a whole cup!)
  • coconut water
  • chia seeds

256 calories, 9 grams of protein and only 23 grams of sugar.

Now granted, I realize the first two contain more grams of sugar than a can of soda that I pictured below. But look at the other nutritional data. This soda contains 0g of protein, no fiber, no vitamins, no minerals, no antioxidants, however it does contain nasty processed chemicals such as phosphoric acid, “natural flavors” and caramel color… Plus ALL the sugar from this can of soda is high fructose corn syrup so it will be used up quicker, cause insulin and blood levels to rise quickly, most likely cause a burst of energy then a crash later on and won’t satisfy you nearly as long as any of the smoothies I listed. Not to mention this can is only 12 oz. The nutritional data I supplied for the smoothies is for the entire smoothie. All of my smoothies are anywhere between 3-4 cups per serving which equals to anywhere between 24-32 ounces! So think about that the next time you want to tell me my smoothie is worse than your can of soda!

 

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Now of course not all smoothies are created equal. I get that. When might a smoothie be not so good for you? Well when it contains any of the following:

  • ice cream…pretty self explanatory
  • dairy milk…especially commercially produced containing antibiotics and hormones
  • artificial sweeteners or syrups
  • canned fruits, especially canned in syrup

Ok, then what about our Diet Coke drinkers? Well unfortunately, just like it’s regular full calorie counterpart, diet soda has been found to cause kidney function issues. Even though the calorie count looks much better, it doesn’t help you lose weight. A study actually found that people who drink diet soda are more likely to become overweight and overeat which may be because of the artificial sweeteners that trick their body into thinking they are consuming sugar, thus causing them to crave more. And if this isn’t enough to get you to change your mind, read the rest of the ingredients or I should say chemicals…

I really hope all this information has been helpful. I enjoyed researching everything and I even learned a lot of new things I hadn’t known before. I will continue to drink my smoothies proudly and encourage many people to try giving up soda for good or even a month and see how they feel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Resources:

 

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Journey to Health…new milestone!

I am so excited to have reached a new milestone in my journey to health. I am down 50 lbs. Of course, I still believe the number on the scale isn’t all that should matter. But this is still a huge accomplishment for myself. I look back over the last several months and even back to when I first started my journey, when I was motivated but unsure if I could do it. I remembered the countless times I attempted eating healthier and getting active to only crash and fall back on old habits. I have tried so many fad diets, counting calories, depriving myself and lost motivation quickly. So what is different this time, I have wondered to myself? Why am I finally succeeding at my goals?

I still don’t think I fully know the answer. All I know is I am enjoying the foods I am eating and I am feeling great. I have really noticed a huge difference in how my body feels. I have tons of energy, my legs no longer ache after a bit of walking, I rarely get headaches anymore, I don’t get out of breath going up stairs and I am able to keep up with my kids. At this point, I feel like my whole lifestyle has changed. It is no longer a chore for me to look for and cook up healthy meals. I crave veggies and I enjoy trying new foods. I am still the first to admit that my eating habits aren’t perfect and I am sure they never will be. But I have found what works for myself and my family and that’s what I feel is most important.

Like I said back in my original post, Journey to Self Love, it doesn’t matter what the number on the scale is. That’s why I really, really am trying to teach myself not to dwell on that number or stress out over reaching a certain milestone. What has become most important is how I feel. I still have the stretch marks and baby pooch but they are a part of me that may be there forever. However, all the aches and pains I mentioned above that affected me months ago have become part of my past. I love that I can get up and run around to chase my kids. And these things alone are what keep me motivated.

I am still not quite where I want to be but I am getting closer and closer everyday. I am still working on completely loving myself and not concentrating on the scale. But I know I will get there one day. I have had ups and downs but they are part of the journey. I know I will continue to have bumps in the road. But it’s all worth it and I am loving every moment of it.

 

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I’m baaaaack

After a month or so hiatus from blogging, I will slowly be getting back into the swing of things!

We are settled in our new home and getting into a bit of a routine. I have to admit it has been a bit overwhelming moving to a bigger house (almost twice the size of our old home). It is more house we have been slowly furnishing, more house to clean and more house to keep up with. Not to mention that we went from no stairs to 3 separate flights of stairs so it has been fun getting the boys use to going up and down safely, which they have both mastered!

However, despite the overwhelming-ness, we are all incredibly happy here. We moved a bit further West than where we previously lived to an area we really were not familiar with at all. It is closer to Kyle’s job and surrounded by farms and fields of crops. This may not appeal to many, but we love it. Everyone we have met has been super friendly and we like the small town feel while still being close enough to any major shopping or attractions we may need.

We all just seem so much more relaxed and happy here. Our dog, who was born deaf, always seemed on edge or anxious at the old house. He would randomly run to the front door and bark for no apparent reason which got pretty annoying and disturbing. At the new house, he is so peaceful. He has not had any outbursts of random barking or storming the door. He still likes to be where ever we are in the house but I am sure it’s for security due to his impairment. Our cat, we rarely saw at the old house unless she wanted food. She spent her days sleeping or hiding. At the new house, she is much more social and spends time with us. I think she is enjoying the different levels of the house and all the windows that let in warm sun light that she can bask in. As for myself and the rest of the family, we just love it. The boys have a separate play room I set up, their bedroom is much bigger and they enjoy playing out on our deck. As a family, we have been trying to go for walks. We have walked to a couple parks and exploring our new neighborhood. It has been fun staying active together.

I will leave you with a few pictures but stay tuned for some new posts coming soon!

Our cat taking in the fresh air and view overlooking our deck.

Our cat taking in the fresh air and view overlooking our deck.

The boy's play room! I am so happy with how it turned out and love all the space they have.

The boy’s play room! I am so happy with how it turned out and love all the space they have.

Out on a family walk

Out on a family walk

some of the beautiful landscape we get to enjoy

some of the beautiful landscape we get to enjoy

 

 

 

 

All Images 2014©NaturallyAwesomeMama All Rights Reserved

 

 

My last couple weeks… in pictures

As most of my family and friends know, we have had a crazy, busy month! It has been the reason for my shortage of blog posts and I apologize. 😦

With the 4th of July holiday, followed by my brother getting married, family visiting, family staying with us, packing and FINALLY getting ready to move into our new house, I just have not had much time to sit and write posts. So I figured I would pop in and show a few pictures of some of the fun memories we have made during this crazy month.

 

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My brother and his beautiful bride! They had the perfect weather for a summer wedding. So happy for them both!!!

    family

To celebrate my brother’s wedding, we had family from out of state come to visit. So wonderful seeing them all (although this isn’t everyone!).

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My brother and his new wife were able to stay in town for a week after their wedding. We also had my cousin, Anna stay with us for a week. One of our outings was to Medieval Times. The boys had a blast!

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While my cousin was with us, we made sure to take the boys to new places. Especially between packing, it was nice to get out and enjoy the wonderful weather. This was at a new park we found. They had a butterfly house and this little “river” like area for the kids to cool down. Thought it was tons of fun!

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AND last but not least…. the new house! I apologize for the cell phone pics. But these are from the final walkthrough we went on yesterday. We are moving into a home that is almost twice the size we live in now! The boys (and Kyle and I) are super excited for our new home. We look forward to making tons of new memories. Today we close and we will have the keys! I will do a follow up blog of the new house once we are moved in a settled within the next week!

Thanks everyone for being patient with me! I look forward to posting much more in the coming month! This has certainly been a busy and exciting summer for us!

What have you and your family been up to this summer?? Share with me in the comments! 🙂

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All things raspberry!

A couple weeks ago, our family went to a farm local to us to pick strawberries. You can see all about that in this post. Well this week I saw on the farm’s Facebook page that they were going to have U-Pick Raspberries! I decided we would go on the first day they announced it as they don’t have as many raspberries as they did strawberries and I thought it would be a nice outing for just the boys and myself.

Look at how pretty these berries were!

Look at how pretty these berries were!

It was a beautiful day! Sunny and about 78 degrees when we got to the farm. We had a great choice of berries as we were the only ones there for the first 15 minutes then two other families showed up. They had bright, beautiful, big raspberries. I decided we would pick 2 quarts of fresh berries since the crop was plentiful. We easily filled our bucket. Or I guess I should say, *I* filled our bucket. The boys filled their bellies! 🙂

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contemplating which one to eat first

contemplating which one to eat first

Of course when we got home I began thinking what we will do with all these berries. 2 quarts may not seem like a lot when you think of most fruits, but when it’s raspberries, that’s a lot of fruit! We will definitely eat them as is and freeze some for smoothies like we did with some of our strawberries.

Our berries!

Our berries!

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I also found this recipe for Chocolate Raspberry Brownies. Very few ingredients that most people will have in their kitchens. Of course, they are vegan. What intrigued me was that it didn’t use oil or a binding agent like a flax egg. I used coconut sugar for it’s low glycemic index and raw cacao powder (instead of cocoa powder) for it’s benefits such as iron and magnesium among many.

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These brownies turned out great. They are moist, chewy, just sweet enough and great for any chocolate cravings.

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And of course I didn’t stop there. I came across this recipe that mixes two of my favorite baked goods, cheesecake and cookies!

Raspberry Lemon Cheesecake Cookies!!!

Raspberry Lemon Cheesecake Cookies!!!

These were delicious! Such a wonderful cheesecake flavor but in cookie form. They are vegan and gluten free but can easily be made non gluten free by subbing the GF flour for regular AP flour and leaving out the xantham gum.

And last but not least, I made healthy raspberry jam! The recipe was out of the Oh She Glows Cookbook, which you should totally buy if you love good food 😉 She does have the recipe on her blog as well, so I am able to share it with you. In her book, she uses fresh berries, which is what I used. I love that there is only 4 ingredients, no refined sugar and a wonderful secret ingredient that adds a boost of health benefits: chia seeds! These wonderful little seeds are packed with omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, protein, iron, magnesium and calcium giving a healthy punch to this jam.

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Raspberry Chia Seed Jam

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I love this recipe because it is simple, it took me about 20 minutes from start to finish to make this jam. Also, it can be used for so many things: toast, muffins, pancake/ waffle topping, ice cream topping… the possibilities are endless.

Hope you will try and love some of these recipes! We definitely did. I have really been enjoying making new things from all the fresh, local produce we have been picking. This summer has really been one of the best.

Rad Raspberry Smoothie from 365 Vegan Smoothies

Rad Raspberry Smoothie from 365 Vegan Smoothies

All Images ©2014 NaturallyAwesomeMama All Rights Reserved

 

Strawberry Fields Forever

One of the best things about summer is all the fresh produce you can get that isn’t available during other times of the year. One of my favorite fruits that just scream summer are strawberries! My two boys love them too. In fact, we have been buying about 2-3 lbs of strawberries a week this summer so far because these boys just inhale them. Something fun I thought we should do is go strawberry picking! In fact, I found out about a farm local to us that grows tons of fresh produce. All of their crops are non gmo as well. We decided to check out Stade’s Farm in McHenry, Illinois. It is a beautiful farm. For about a month from the middle of June to the beginning of July, they have U-Pick strawberries. They have over 10 acres of strawberry fields! We picked a Saturday morning during the first couple weeks of their strawberry season when the crop was still plentiful.

Daddy showing Shayne how to look for and pick strawberries at Stade's Farm

Daddy showing Shayne how to look for and pick strawberries at Stade’s Farm

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I loved how the air literally smelled of strawberries while out in the fields. It was so peaceful and just beautiful.

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We had such a fun time picking strawberries. In fact, we decided we would make it a family tradition and go every year. The boys had a blast picking strawberries, and eating them as they picked 😉 If you are in the area, I highly recommend Stade’s Farm. Everyone who worked there were all very nice and made it a point to say hi or talk to us. We plan on going back during the Fall for their pumpkin season.

At the farm

At the farm

We ended up with 6 lbs of fresh strawberries!

aren't they beautiful!?

aren’t they beautiful!?

We had so much fun making new strawberry dishes. I made a fresh vegan strawberry rhubarb pie. It was the first time I made one from scratch AND even tried strawberry rhubarb. I fell in love. The whole family really enjoyed the pie. I also made strawberry muffins, pop tarts, freezer jam (strawberry & strawberry peach), strawberry lemonade, froze some for smoothies and we just ate them as is. The best part: all recipes were vegan!

First time making my own freezer jam. It will be awesome cracking a jar open in the winter! Fresh strawberry all year round. It was seriously delicious and so fresh tasting. I also made Strawberry Peach jam (not pictured)

First time making my own freezer jam. It will be awesome cracking a jar open in the winter! Fresh strawberry all year round. It was seriously delicious and so fresh tasting. I also made Strawberry Peach jam (not pictured)

 

Strawberry Muffins - so moist and delicious.

Strawberry Muffins – so moist and delicious.

 

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

Strawberry Rhubarb Pie

 

Seriously my new favorite pie!

Seriously my new favorite pie!

What summer foods have you and your family been enjoying!??

 

 

Recipes:

All Images ©2014 NaturallyAwesomeMama All Rights Reserved

Vegan Challenge Update

As most of you know, I decided to do try a Vegan Challenge for the month of June. My first week started off great. I had a bunch of recipes planned out. Made a bunch of recipes and frozen things so it would be quick and easy to prepare and I would always have options on hand. I have enjoyed every new recipe I have tried and look forward to sharing them in the coming weeks as part of my “Meatless Mondays” series. However, by the end of the first week, I was feeling extremely fatigued and just not myself. My brother and his fiancé came into town for the weekend and we were out and about visiting and out to eat. So I ended up giving in and had a burger 😦 So I made it a full week vegan. And even though I did cheat, I am still eating mostly vegan and in fact most days, I eat completely vegan. Not even on purpose. I came to the conclusion that although I think being vegan is a great thing health wise and for the animals, with everything going on right now, I cannot fully commit. I do eat vegan about 80-90% of the time just because they are foods that I enjoy! I guess you can say I am a flexitarian but vegan style… flexiegan?? hehe. Anyway, I think labels are lame and I am going to continue to do what I do: enjoy delicious vegan foods, try new vegan recipes and eat shrimp or a burger every once in a while. Maybe one day I will work my way to being 100% vegan, maybe I won’t. All I know is I am doing the best I can for myself and my family. I feel good the way I am eating and have a come a LONG way from the days of eating 80-90% processed, boxed meals and fast food. The way I look at it is I have done a complete turn around in the way we eat. I enjoy cooking now and trying new things. About 80% of our food is from scratch or fresh, real ingredients. So I don’t look at this like I “failed” my challenge. I will continue to work towards a more healthier me. I will continue sharing yummy vegan recipes I discover and try. In fact, I will leave you with some of the vegan foods we enjoyed this past month and will continue enjoying from here on out. Although I am not 100% plant based, I know vegan foods will be a part of our lives for as long as I live.

Vegan Burger from VeganRicha w/ homemade vegan ranch. THE best vegan burger EVER! and it's grill-able!

Vegan Burger from VeganRicha w/ homemade vegan ranch. THE best vegan burger EVER! and it’s grill-able!

Coconut Milk Yogurt with fresh fruit and Nutty Granola Clusters from Oh She Glows. Great snack or breakfast and the boys LOVE it!

Coconut Milk Yogurt with fresh fruit and Nutty Granola Clusters from Oh She Glows. Great snack or breakfast and the boys LOVE it!

Vegan Lemon Vanilla Pound Cake from VeganRicha with coconut whipped cream and strawberries. GREAT dessert!

Vegan Lemon Vanilla Pound Cake from VeganRicha with coconut whipped cream and strawberries. GREAT dessert!

Olive Angel Hair Pasta with Brussel Sprouts. Delicious, whole family loved this one! Recipe out of Isa Does It cookbook

Olive Angel Hair Pasta with Brussel Sprouts. Delicious, whole family loved this one! Recipe out of Isa Does It cookbook

(bad cell phone pic) Falafel from Isa Does It with salad and fresh fruit

(bad cell phone pic)
Falafel from Isa Does It with salad and fresh fruit

Cauli-power Alfredo with broccoli from OSG. Served with homemade biscuits.

Cauli-power Alfredo with broccoli from OSG. Served with homemade biscuits.

Brussel Sprout Fried Rice from theppk.com

Brussel Sprout Fried Rice from theppk.com

One of the many smoothies I tried. This was made using Green Matcha Tea. So good!! From 365 Vegan Smoothies

One of the many smoothies I tried. This was made using Green Matcha Tea. So good!! From 365 Vegan Smoothies

Apple Sandwiches

Apple Sandwiches

Spaghetti and Beanballs

Spaghetti and Beanballs

Resources for Recipes

 

All Images ©2014 NaturallyAwesomeMama All Rights Reserved

Fresh Squeezed Strawberry Lemonade

I am sorry I have been MIA for a bit. Real life has been hectic, lots of changes and new beginnings coming soon in the next month so I have had virtually no time for blog writing. Aside from the craziness of life, we have been enjoying the summer weather and getting out and about with the boys. This past weekend we went to Strawberry Fest in a town nearby. Every year they have this fest with everything strawberry! And of course we can’t leave without picking up some locally grown strawberries!

I decided to try some new things using these sweet, super juicy berries that we can’t get all year round. One recipe, at the request of my 3 year old, was fresh strawberry lemonade. So refreshing and everything about it says summer! Plus, it uses all real ingredients so it is much healthier and better tasting than the syrupy, heavy strawberry lemonade you may be able to purchase at the grocery store.

Delicious, refreshing strawberry lemonade!!

Delicious, refreshing strawberry lemonade!!

It got two thumbs up from the boys and myself!

Fresh Strawberry Lemonade

Yields: 4 cups

  • 1 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (can also use store bought in a pinch)
  • 2 1/2 cups cold water
  • 2-4 tablespoons natural/ organic sugar *see note below
  • 1/2 cup fresh strawberries *see note below
  • 1/2 cup ice

Note: I like my lemonade to still have some tartness to it so I only used 2 T of sugar. Adjust accordingly to your taste. For the strawberries, if you would like a bit of a frostier consistency, use frozen strawberries, can also freeze your fresh strawberries before using!

1. Blend all ingredients in blender until smooth! Enjoy!!

Easy peasy!!

 

 

 

 

 

All Images ©2014 NaturallyAwesomeMama All Rights Reserved

3 Year Breastfeeding Milestone: Busting Common Myths *PART 2*

This is part 2 of a series I am doing in celebration of me reaching the 3 year milestone of breastfeeding one of my children. You can see Part 1 here if you missed it. I am busting common breastfeeding myths and setting the facts straight. I compiled this list from things I have either been told or heard at one point or another. There are also a few that friends of mine wanted me to touch on. Enjoy!

Nursing Braydon (2 1/2 mos old) at local 4th of July Parade

Nursing Braydon (2 1/2 mos old) at local 4th of July Parade

 

Help! I am not producing enough because my baby nurses a lot / or when I pump I only get a couple ounces”

These are probably two of the most common concerns/ myths I hear. There are MANY reasons a breast fed baby could be nursing more often. ie: growth spurt, building supply, mother is on her period (some women report a dip in supply due to hormones during her cycle), baby is just hungry, nursing for comfort.

As far as getting a small amount of milk when pumping. A breast pump will never be as efficient at getting milk from the breast as a baby. So while you may only pump 2 ounces, there could really be 4, 5 or 6 ounces in your breasts. It could be the type of pump (manual or electric) or just your body. My body does not react well to electric pumps. I can have engorged breasts and get maybe an ounce or two out with my electric pump. Now when I use my manual pump, I have gotten as much as 10 ounces out in one pumping session. If you are a mother who has recently gone back to work and is noticing a decrease in the amount of milk you are pumping, it could very well be the start of a supply issue as like I said, a pump will never completely drain a breast the way a baby will. You would want to look into ways of increasing your supply.

 

“I  just found out I am pregnant, now I need to stop breastfeeding my first child”

This one is something I even hear women say that their doctors told them. It can be true depending on circumstances but in MOST cases, a woman can breastfeed throughout a subsequent pregnancy no problem. The main concern with this is that breastfeeding releases a hormone called oxytocin which is the same hormone that causes contractions during labor. So if you are a woman with a history of preterm labor, you will want to discuss this with your doctor. If you have no history of this, you are most likely just fine to nurse on! I personally have breastfed for 5 months of my second pregnancy with out any concerns or problems arising. In fact, my midwife encouraged me to continue nursing while I was pregnant.

 

“You can’t get pregnant while breastfeeding”

While many still believe this to be true, it is false. It is still very possible to get pregnant while breast feeding. Been there, done that 😉 While some women notice that their period is slow to return, not all women are so lucky and will have their first post partum cycle return within the first 6 months to a year. Even if you are not getting a regular cycle yet, you can still get pregnant! So if you are wanting to avoid pregnancy while nursing you will want to talk to your care provider about which contraception is best for you or use natural family planning (NFP).

 

“Breast milk is only good for the first year, once a child turns one, you must wean because there is no nutritional value”

This is another one that I just shake my head at. I think this one is more or less because of society’s view on breastfeeding past infancy. Many people think it is unnecessary, inappropriate or selfish of the mother. There is NO expiration on a mother’s breast milk. In fact:

In the second year (12-23 months), 448 mL of breastmilk provides:

  • 29% of energy requirements
  • 43% of protein requirements
  • 36% of calcium requirements
  • 75% of vitamin A requirements
  • 76% of folate requirements
  • 94% of vitamin B12 requirements
  • 60% of vitamin C requirements

– Dewey 2001

I actually have great peace of mind since I continue to nurse my kids past 1 year because we all know toddlers can be picky eaters. But knowing that they are also getting breast milk makes me feel better knowing they are getting complete nutrition on their pickiest days.

Shayne (18 mos) in his breastfeeding "gymnurstics" shirt after we participated in the Big Latch On

Shayne (18 mos) in his breastfeeding “gymnurstics” shirt after we participated in the Big Latch On

 

“If you breastfeed, your child will be a picky eater”

It is actually quite the opposite. While toddlers in general are picky eaters, breast fed toddlers tend to be less picky because the taste and flavor of breast milk changes depending on what the mother eats. So while they are nursing, they are getting an assortment of flavors before they even start solids.

 

“I am sick (or taking a medication) so I have to stop breastfeeding”

I get asked this one by every mother who comes to me for help. What bugs me even more is when she tells me her doctor said she should probably stop for this reason. I have breast fed through sinus infections, the flu, colds etc. The good thing about the time we live in is that there has been lots of research on medications that are safe for a breastfeeding mother to take through out many illnesses. If you are sick and needing medication, be sure to talk to your doctor about prescribing a safe medication. There are also many resources online, my favorite being KellyMom, who has charts and lists of medications that are safe. And as I mentioned in part 1, it is actually good to continue nursing a baby through sickness because your body will be busy creating antibodies that your baby will receive via breast milk and so he may not even get sick or may have a toned down version or shortened length of illness. A mother can still continue nursing if she ends up with mastitis. I have not ever had this personally, but have heard many women successful in continuing their breastfeeding journey through clogged ducts and mastitis. I have heard it can be very painful but very possible.

 

“my baby is having an allergic reaction to my breast milk so the pediatrician said I need to switch to formula”

It is actually EXTREMELY rare for a baby to be allergic to his mother’s breast milk. Our milk is made for our babies. There are extreme cases of life threatening illnesses (galactosemia being the most common but still very rare) where immediate weaning is the only choice. In most cases, what is confused is that baby is reacting to food proteins that have been passed into the mother’s milk after she ate it. Most common being dairy. I talk about this in my blog post, Breastfeeding a Child With Food Allergies. If your child’s pediatrician is recommending weaning, I highly encourage the mother to start an elimination diet and contacting her local La Leche League or lactation consultant for assistance.

 

I hope this has been helpful to any mamas who are currently breast feeding and don’t have a lot of support or any woman wanting to eventually breast feed. I do believe having faith in yourself PLUS having a support system helps with having success. My husband has been 100% supportive in me breastfeeding our children and I know that has really played a huge role in our breastfeeding journey. If you have questions, please post in the comments. I am in no way a certified lactation consultant, so if you are really struggling, I urge you to contact one. Also, if you are looking for support, look for your local La Leche League group. If there is a question or myth you didn’t see in this 2 part series, please leave it in the comments and I just might make a part 3. Also, if you like what you see, please share and “like” my post at the bottom of this page!

Breast feeding is really more than just feeding your child. It is also comfort, bonding and love. It is one of the most rewarding things I have been able to do for our children as a parent and I feel extremely lucky that I have been able to do it. If you are a mama wanting to breastfeed, I urge you to prepare yourself mentally. Check out the resources I love below for more information. You can do it!

Did you miss Part 1? Check it out here.

 

Resources I Love:

 

 

 

 

*Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional. The information in this blog is my opinion and should only ever be used in place of your doctor’s advice at your own risk. As always, do your research and decide what is best for you and your family!

 

 

All Images ©2014 NaturallyAwesomeMama All Rights Reserved

PRT – Primal Pit Paste

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An important part of living naturally is using chemical free products. I have slowly switched MANY, if not almost all of our body care products to being safe and without nasty chemicals we can’t even pronounce. I have had great success with lotions, face washes, soaps, shampoos, conditioners and make up. But the one thing I have tried a few brands of with little to no success is deodorant. And of course, deodorant is probably one of the most important haha. No one wants to be the smelly person 🙂 And unfortunately, since I have not been able to find a chemical free deodorant that works, I have been forced to use conventional brands which is less than desired.

That is until one of the bloggers I follow put up a video about having the same issues as myself but she had found the product that works for her! She had a discount code so I decided to purchase a couple samples from the brand in different scents and strengths and put it to the test.

Enter Primal Pit Paste!!!

Enter Primal Pit Paste!!!

It was great timing too! We are just getting into summer and have been experiencing almost constant 80 degree weather during the day time. So I knew if I was going to test out a new deodorant, now was the time 😉

Primal Pit Paste uses natural and organic ingredients. No artificial fragrances, only essential oils. No aluminum or parabens. They are cruelty free, vegan and extremely safe for our bodies! All the ingredients are easy to pronounce and are real things such as baking soda, coconut oil and shea butter.

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They come in jars, like above (note the above pictures are sample sizes, actual product is bigger) or sticks, similar to convential deodorants. All you do is 2-3 swipes of the stick in each pit or rub a pea size amount out of the jars in each pit and you are good to go. They have 3 different strengths: light, regular and strong. The way it works will depend on your body’s chemistry, you will need to find your desired strength. The company recommends starting with regular strength and adjusting up or down as needed. I got samples in all 3 strengths and found that light is great for me for everyday use. I use regular on days I plan to spend more outside and have had NO funk whatsoever! 😉 So far, I have not had to try the strong. And a little goes a looooong way which is great. I have been using one of these little jars which are .25 oz, for 2 weeks and still have plenty. Plus, I have not had a day where I need to apply it more than once and some days, I don’t even have to use it.

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The other thing I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE is that it feels like I don’t have any deodorant on! There is no clumping or residue.

I am so excited about this product because it seems like I have searched for so long and it was really discouraging that I had to use conventional, chemical laden deodorant when I hated it. If you are looking for a safe, natural brand I highly encourage you to check out Primal Pit Paste! It really works!

 

 

 

All Images ©2014 NaturallyAwesomeMama All Rights Reserved