Healing Food For Babies (and you)
When you live on the go you are constantly juggling tasks; in your life, your family, and your work. Nutrition becomes less of a priority because getting food quick matters more than getting quality calories. You are missing out on a huge factor in sport performance, and your health and well-being when you are not prioritizing your nutrition.
The intestine is a huge ecosystem of good and bad bacteria. The food we eat affects whether or not the good bacteria remain dominant in our gut. This bacteria impacts both immune function and digestive health. In the early stages of life, consuming breast milk is an ideal way for babies to establish healthy gut flora. I was fortunate to have a successful breastfeeding relationship with all of my children, including the twins. Breastfeeding is conducive to my lifestyle. It requires minimal planning and preparation. At the twins 5 month check-up however, their weight gain was insufficient and my pediatrician recommended starting solids. We have begun the baby-food journey for the twins and I want to share some whole food strategies that extend beyond the first few months.
Making and feeding a child baby food does require some planning and preparation. However it is less time consuming and less expensive than you might think. And the homemade version can pay huge dividends in a child’s health.
Start With Bone Broth
Your grandmother's chicken soup can cure any sickness. Probably because she started with a real chicken broth. Bones themselves are rich in vitamins and nutrients, including calcium, magnesium, and phosphorous. Tissues and bones also contain collagen. Cooking collagen turns it to gelatin, which provides the body with amino acids; the building blocks of proteins. Using bone broth as a first food helps prime a baby's digestive system for everything that comes later.
Here are the steps to creating a fantastic broth:
Step 1: Season raw chicken (or fish, beef bones, ect.) Try thinks like paprika, onion, garlic, pepper, but stay away from salt. This can be harmful to a babies kidneys.
Step 2: Bake chicken at 350 for one hour until golden brown and juices start to release from the meat. I bake in a 4 quart pot that can transfer to the stovetop easily for step 3
Step 3: Remove from oven and fill pot with water. Add 2 Tbs Braggs ACV. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for 12 - 24 hours.
Make Some Purée
Chop any veggies you like and cover with broth. Cook until veggies are soft and then let the mixture cool. Purée in a blender or food processor. I have made baby food with cabbage, celery, onions, carrots, squash, broccoli, kale, garlic, sweet potatoes, eggplant. Pretty much any vegetable. Most commercial vegetable purées are made with water and they are harsh and bitter tasting, it's no wonder babies don't like them.
Vegetable purées that are made in bone broth allow for a new food to be introduced along with something that a baby's immature digestive system is already familiar with. Not to mention they actually taste good. This makes the introduction of new foods easier for the gut, and more manageable to digest without difficulty. For added benefits stir in a few tablespoons of Earth Fed Muscle GelatinPro, a powdered form of beef gelatin that increases the anti-inflammatory properties of bone broth.
Why Not Store Bought?
Modern baby foods are almost always sweetened to make the veggies in them more appealing to babies. What is wrong with giving your child peas and pears as a first food? Or Carrots and apple puree? The sweet fruit flavors are predominant in all mixed jars and pouches. When a child's palate is introduced to sweet things, and they will continue to rely on sweet foods as they grow. As an alternative, adding raw grass-fed butter to baby foods can make them more palatable and easily digestible. Milk and other dairy products are introduced later into a baby’s diet because their complex proteins are more difficult to breakdown. However unsalted butter is great for adding complexity to pureed veggies, and it is easily tolerated in small quantities. Vegan options would include adding coconut oil or avocado in the early stages along with vegetable purees. Starting with home-made baby foods allows a parent to have more control over a baby's palate and can prevent stressful food battles later on.
We have used the recommendations outlined in Dr. Natasha Cambell-McBride's Gut and Psychology Syndrome (GAPS diet), to introduce foods for all of our kids. This book details the methods for introducing with broths and subsequent other foods. By ten months, our older children ate small pieces of meat (grass fed beef and lamb, pastured chicken), pureed or cooked vegetables with butter, fruits, plain yogurt, some raw cheese, raw goat and cow's milk, and some homemade sourdough bread. They were also receiving breast milk a few times a day.
Here is the plan for introduction of solids with the twins.
Week 1-3: Bone Broth, Carrot, Cabbage, or Celery Pureed in Bone broth
Week 4: Gradually increase amounts from weeks 1-3. Add whey (from yogurt), kraut juice, cooked pureed veggies; carrot, squash, onion, broccoli, cauliflower, and mix with fats; coconut oil, ghee, unsalted butter.
Week 5: Add boiled meats with puree from weeks 1 and 2. Add whole milk yogurt, starting with ½ tsp
Week 6: Add raw egg yolk
Week 7: Cooked apple w/butter.
Week 8-9: Increase amounts of all foods
Weeks 10-12: Add fresh juices, raw veggies, avocado.
Weeks 12+: Cooked egg, raw apple, sourdough bread, salt in small quantities
Why This Matters For Everyone
If you are reading this then you are not new to solid food, but you might be experiencing digestive problems from a variety of foods. The GAPS diet is a very powerful way to heal the gut from the damages that comes from consuming toxic foods in our diet. At Garage Strength we are starting a partnership with P3 Nutrition https://instagram.com/p3kitchen?igshid=1q8exvt0kqb0f
so you can pick up a quality meal anytime you come in to train without sacrificing your health. If you need more guidance in selecting the right foods to heal your gut. Check out our custom nutrition plans here.