inspirational parent: rebecca le harle

photo (3)

Rebecca & Huia at a Tea Farm

Quite a while ago I asked Rebecca these questions about raising her gorgeous daughter Huia.  My facebook page had a huge response as people lapped up Rebecca’s awesome tips for growing a healthy, spirited and loving child.  Enjoy reading about the inspirational Miss Le Harle

 IMG_2732

Rebecca reads to Huia, Rafael and Nannie enjoys Rebecca’s home brewed tea

How old is your child?
Huia is 2 years, 8 months.

What is your food philosophy for your child?
Food is fundamental to my daughters health, growth, immunity and mood. I am raising her vegetarian (aside from the odd bite of bakery ham & cheese bun that her father gives her!). My focus is on whole, organic plant foods, un-processed grains, plenty of healthy fats and delicious treats. Treats are whatever she is super excited over (currently: berries, raw cacao bars, coconut in all forms, eggs and an “on again off again” relationship with cheese). My bottom line in terms of her nutrition is: Purified water only and plenty of it, no cows milk, refined sugars make her crazy so I avoid them as much as possible, animal products must be organic and I abide by the “dirty dozen/clean fifteen” in terms of produce.  What she gets outside of this will not harm her as long as she is getting plenty of wholesome goodness 95% of the time! Food is a social thing so I do not want her to ever feel isolated or like she is missing out.

What inspires you to feed your child the way you do?
My mother gave me the best start in life by feeding my brother and I the most wonderful diet. We were raised on a vegetarian-wholefoods diet and I remember my meals being super delicious and wholesome. I remember feeling really good and strong as a child. Things changed when we went to school and she was working full time, but that good foundation has always stuck with me. I am glad that I returned to those ways before my daughter came along! I want to give her the best that I possibly can while following her lead in terms of what she is drawn to. She loves potato chippies one minute, the other all she wants to snack on is edible flowers and greens from the garden. I trust her eating instincts as her tastebuds are used to the good stuff.

What tips have you got for travelling families?
This is my specialty. Dried foods are wonderful, pack plenty of nuts, seeds, dates, organic dried apricots, dark chocolate, goji berries and snack bars and slices. Make up a container of scroggin before you leave if possible. I basically lived on scroggin and dark chocolate while travelling through Chile and I felt awesome. These will keep you full and nourished while you are looking for somewhere to eat and on long stretches between towns. Chocolate will keep moods high and soothe travel-worn souls. A good dose of magnesium rich, dark chocolate works a treat for Huia when she is restless on long car rides.

What are your 3 top snacks?
1. Kale chips – oh so hipster, but fricken delicious and ridiculously healthy. No-one in my family says no to a kale chip

2. Almonds + fruit (either dried or fresh) A favourite of mine! I love a good, crisp pacific rose apple and a handful of almonds, usually accompanied by a pot of green tea.

3. Raw crackers – Crackers made of almonds/flax seeds or various other nuts and seeds are wonderful! These are made in a dehydrator and are full of enzymes, minerals, protein and the flavour options are endless! We are currently loving Little Bird flax/almond crackers with either honey or nut butters.

3a. (tee hee) Parsley straight out of the garden.
How do you look after yourself as well as your child?
I drink a lot of teas (herbal and green as well as yerba mate). These keep me hydrated and nourished, I also take medicinal mushrooms, oregano oil and olive leaf to keep my immune system strong. My dietary principles are quite strong so I make sure that my diet is as clean as possible – the Mama needs to be fighting fit to keep things rolling! I also do my best to get to bed early for much needed sleep. Being a Mum is hard work so I do my best make sure I am well rested and eating enough greens.

What brings balance to your family?
Making sure that we are spending enough time together and having adventures.  Spending as much time outside being active and not too much in front of a computer = happy family.

What is your favourite activity to do together as a family?
I run and Olly rides his bicycle. One of my favourite things to do is a “Ride-Run” where Huia is on the back of his bike and I run alongside them.
And then sharing a tub of coconut “Nice Cream” afterwards.
Do you have a favourite inspirational quote that lights up your life?
‘Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.’ Dr Suess.
IMG_2734
Huia cuddles Rafael

5/52

2015/02/img_3193.jpg

                     A portrait of my child once a week, every week for 2015

Rafael has been whisked away while I work, and my gorgeous friend Brian snapped this fabulous portrait of Rafa showing the world just how at ease he is wherever he goes. Lucky he totally loves his aunty Prue and is happy to hang with her. Gorgeous. Made my day.

http://www.practisingsimplicity.com/2015/02/552.html#more

eat like a breast feeding mama

IMG_1795

The constant worry that plays on a new mothers mind, ‘is my baby getting enough?’.  There is so much information out there, midwives saying one thing, obstetrician saying another.  The unfortunate reality is that our medical teams are so poorly trained in nutrition, sometimes they do not even give it a second thought.

Lucky for you though, I am obsessed!  I love the ins & outs (literally) of food.  The little biochemical pathways that make up the human body, and the teeny tiny nutrients that makes every cell work.  They make our hearts beat, our lungs breathe, and our mammary glands produce milk.  Insane.  We don’t even have to tell our breasts to secrete milk, it just happens (of course you have to of had a baby for this magical process to be kick started).

It starts with the production of colostrum, liquid gold.  The first few days after a woman gives birth, this magical substance helps to nourish our baby.  The amount actually produced is so small, and it’s because the baby has the tiniest stomach.  About the size of a 5cent coin, not very big at all.  But boy is it a powerhouse of nutrients.  Completely rich with protein, carbohydrates, fat, antibodies, vitamins and minerals, it is yellowish in colour and kick-start a newborns digestive system, providing the baby with life saving properties.  It’s usually secreted for the first 72 hours until the ‘milk comes in’.  A baby can survive quite nicely on it until the milk is ready.

Then comes the milk.  The unfamiliar feeling for a first time mum of your breasts filling up, becoming swollen and feeling quite different.  Our bodies know what to do and our babies instinctively know what to do too.  It’s mind-blowing that the milk we make in our breasts, grows a small baby.  It nurtures development, grows hair and nails, repairs skin, keeps the heart beating and the feet kicking.  And it comes from us mums.  Unbelievable.  The body just does it, in the mammary tissue, without us telling it to.  I’ve read some very scientific articles about the process, but it’s really confusing and you really have to know your biology to understand it!

A babies gut is brand new, so brand new it is sterile just before a baby is born.  What helps a baby’s gut to get ready for the big wide world is being born vaginally, this way the baby comes into contact with the micro bacteria needed to colonise their gut and jump-start them into a world of ‘good gut bacteria’.  This is also helped by skin to skin contact with a newborn, from both the mama and the papa.  Mums breast milk also helps to pass beneficial bacteria to help the infants gut.

DSC_0521

So I believe what WE eat, is what our baby eats.  The food we nourish ourselves with eventually is converted to breast milk, all those nutrients, all those minerals and vitamins we don’t even realise we are consuming.  It’s obvious this is what happens as you can see certain outbreaks of intolerance in babies when mum consumes certain foods, for eg eczema on a breastfed baby can be linked to mum having dairy in her diet.

Let’s eat well then!  Let’s truly nourish ourselves to nourish our babies, helping them to not just grow, but to thrive.

What helps our milk production?

The key is food! and lots of it.  Good, wholesome, nutrient dense food.  You want to be consuming enough so that your stores are not depleted to provide your infant with the necessary nutrients.  If your intake is inadequate, then the reserves your body stores will be used.  Key nutrients to consume are iodine, selenium, folate, omega 3, vitamin D, vitamin E, and vitamins A, B1, B2, B, B5, B6, B and B12, and vitamin K

Also adequate sleep is important (yeah right, I have a newborn!).  So the old saying ‘sleep when your baby sleeps’ is gold.  It’s true.  Nothing is more important than your sanity and your baby’s food.  So give your partner the crying baby and catch some shut-eye.

Drink PLENTY of filtered water.  Guzzle it!  Have a special drink bottle constantly filled, and have it handy to your when you feed.  Of course it’s important to get the ok from your midwife that you are able to drink plenty, I had issues with bladder control and had to limit my intake to 1 glass per hour until I could manage my bladder.

Breastfeed often: the more you feed the more you will produce.

Quantities you ask?  Well considering you are burning over 600calories a day just producing milk, you are able to eat to your heart’s content.  I’m not about numbers and measures, and I don’t find you have to be too sensible when you are EATING WELL and NOURISHING yourself.  Don’t feel guilty.  Don’t let people tell you what to do.  You follow your instinct and you will feel just fine.  It is more important that you eat, less important to worry about the scales.

Accept help for cooking!  Ask  your mother to make you food, say YES to the neighbour offering to feed you!

Food to help nourish YOU & grow your baby:

Oats do the job! Good old-fashioned porridge.  Brewers yeast! A funky tasting substance that really enhances our milk production.  And some clever person has made yummy cookies that contain some awesome ingredients to help stimulate breast milk production: you can grab a recipe here http://www.bellybelly.com.au/breastfeeding/lactation-cookies#.VLnwUWSUe1Q

There is also a small selection of herbs that are beneficial to milk production, commonly used is fenugreek, chaste tree and fennel seeds.  See a qualified naturopath or herbalist to prescribe the correct dose for you.

Breakfast Recipe:

3/4 cup oats

1 cup almond milk

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp mesquite powder

1/2 cup of frozen berries

Mix the oats with the almond milk and heat in a saucepan on stove top.  Should thicken up, you can always add more milk and keep stirring until its thick and creamy.  Add cinnamon, mesquite and frozen berries.  Once mixed well take off heat.  I always add some more almond milk and a sprinkle of coconut sugar! This is totally optional!  If you want more, then add more oats and almond milk.  I usually have a massive bowl to keep me going all morning.

It’s also a good time to add a smoothie to your breakfast, and you can power pack that with green leafy veggies to boost nutrient intake, and let YOUR body benefit from the endless health bonuses greens give us.

My basic Green Smoothie Recipe:                 IMG_0218

1 Banana

1 Pear

1 handful of spinach (sometimes i slightly steam it, otherwise it can be hard on our thyroid)

1 Cup of filtered water.

Throw it all in the blender, and presto! yum yum!

You can add anything to this base…berries, powders, coconut, avocado, cucumber, lemon…tailor it to your taste!

Lunch and Dinner ideas?

Salads, slow cooked casseroles, meat loaf, potatoes, soups, sourdough, pate, bone broths, sauerkraut (add that baby to every meal), eggs (finally you can enjoy them runny again!),

Stock up on food in the house so you have plenty to grab.  Breastfeeding takes time, having a newborn takes time.  You really don’t want to be fussing around making fancy meals for yourself!

I can sing a rainbow…eat a rainbow of food to maximise your nutrients and get the benefits from coloured foods (antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, phytonutrients)

Ramp up the Red: Strawberries, tomatoes, capsicums, beetroot, raspberries,

Go Green: lettuce (cos, iceberg), rocket, spinach, kale, avocado, cucumber, capsicum,

Mellow Yellow: capsicum, lemons, corn, mango

Mix and match your food, throw in mango on a chicken salad.  Make the salad huge!  Sprinkle with nuts and seeds and always always always dress a salad with good quality olive oil…some of those nutrients need fat to be absorbed!

A great way to get prepared is to start freezing meals in the weeks that lead up to birth.  Then they are there, ready to eat

EAT FAT! and lots of it.  Your baby needs the benefits from fats to grow their brains.  Fish oil, avocado, coconut oil, olive oil.  Don’t be shy.  Fat is the new skinny, and there is plenty of research out there showing us that we needn’t be scared of fat anymore, that is WHAT OUR BODIES NEED!
IMG_2129

MEAT: I love grass feed, organic meat, but I know it’s pricey.  You can get around this by buying it on special, freeze it!  The reason is what the animals eat, becomes what we eat, and what we eat our babies eat.  Try organ meats for truly boosting your B vitamin intake, and the awesome iron content.

BONE BROTH:  my all time favourite ingredient.  Ok I love sauerkraut equally.  But you can cook everything in bone broth (Stock) to boost the micronutrient content of anyfood…think rice, chicken, quinoa.  Here Bubbayumyum gives us any easy home-made broth recipe: if anyone asks you if you need anything..tell them YES make me this! http://www.bubbayumyum.com/?offset=1398682345809

SAUERKRAUT: The guts friend.  Eat it to boost your healthy gut bacteria, and improve your immune system on the way!  Good gut health is just the be all and end all of a healthy body.  http://nourishedkitchen.com/homemade-sauerkraut/

AVOID:

Processed foods.  Ever heard the rule about shopping around the perimeter of a supermarket?  This is a good rule!  It’s because it’s where all the real food, and we like real food.  The aisles are full of boxes of so-called food.  Sure you can grab your dried herbs and rice, but the nutrient dense goodies aren’t in the aisles. I’m sure I don’t need to harp on how full of sugar, salt and ingredients we can’t even pronounce the aisles are.  Just AVOID.  For your baby’s sake.

Keep track of your baby’s body, and if anything seems to be amiss, track it back to the food you are eating.  Keep a symptom and food diary to pin point any culprits.

Smoking

Excessive levels of alcohol (I’m all for the well-timed cheeky glass of vino)

So hopefully this gets you started, this makes you excited and this makes you think about nourishment.

Burger Time: http://www.goodfood.com.au/good-food/cook/pete-evans-renovates-classic-aussie-recipes-20140120-313qo.html

Extra Green Fritata: http://www.drlibby.com/recipe/extra-green-frittata/

Something Sweet, something easy: http://www.drlibby.com/recipe/brain-balls/

Quick & easy: https://www.thehealthychef.com/2012/04/chilli-con-carne/

Make your own milk: https://www.thehealthychef.com/2011/07/almond-milk/

Good health and nourishment

Renee

(please feel free to contact me for nutrient specific queries)

REFERENCES: 

Hechtman. L (2012) Clinical naturopathic medicine. Elsevier, Australia.

2/52

So I’m getting back on the photography horse.  It has been years.  I can’t even remember what aperture, ISO and shutter speed mean!  I’ve tried the step by step guide…and today I had a little play.  I must confess to ‘needing’ to take the photo as my battery life is low and I have left my battery charger in New Zealand!

So I had a play, its not perfect, but I think it captures Rafael and his cheekiness today                    DSC_0658

Welcome to Dandelion Nutrition

Dandelion Nutrition: Helping Children Flourish.
Nutrition information for all the family

Renee Holmes: paediatric nurse, budding nutritionist
Helping children flourish
Biography
For the last thirteen years I have worked as paediatric nurse, and this vocation has given me excellent exposure to varying illnesses and the many problems families face trying to fix them within the public health care system.

My passion for health and well being comes after seeking the guidance of holistic nutritionist Dr Libby Weaver, and seeing dramatic, beneficial changes in my health afte…See more
Description
In the lead up to obtaining my nutritional medicine qualification (Dec 2013) I want to jumpstart Dandelion Nutrition by reaching out to mums and dads to help educate them on not only their own health and wellbeing, but that of their children too.
Renee Holmes (BHSc Nursing)

Disclaimer: please note this page is based on my journey as a health student and is for educational and informational purposes only. For medical advice, please consult your own doctor or healthcare provider.

20130805-213812.jpg