There has been a lot in the news about how today’s children do not want to eat healthy food. When Michelle Obama tried to mandate healthy meals in schools, the children (even improvised children on government programs) responded by throwing the food in the trash.
DD plans to breastfeed BC until he is one year old. She began introducing him to rice cereal, vegetables and fruit when he was 5 months old. She is making most of his baby food. As she has researched, she has turned up some interesting anecdotal evidence about how what babies eat impacts how picky they may be as children.
When babies are formula fed, all of their meals taste exactly the same. Parents mix the powder with water, and it is consistent, exactly the same every time. Breast milk is different. The flavor changes slightly depending on what Mom ate the day before. Sometimes it’s a little spicier, sometimes a little sweeter.
What mothers report is that formula fed babies are often less receptive to new tastes. They are more likely to resist eating solid food. As children they tend to find a few foods they like, and resist trying new things. They get labeled as picky eaters.
Mothers who breastfeed report that their children are curious about new tastes, and more likely to eat a variety of food. BC figured out how to open a zip lock bag of lettuce the other day. DD heard him say “mmmmmm” as he tasted the lettuce. He found the taste interesting - however DD had to quickly get a piece of lettuce out of his mouth because he doesn’t have teeth to chew it yet.
DD also read that it is fine to use spices in baby food. She has put cinnamon, ginger, currie, cumin, turmeric, paprika, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves, in BC's food. She also uses ghee and olive oil.
She is not using chili powder or pepper, because they are Type A avoids. She is not using onion or salt because they are not recommended for baby food. Rosemary, cilantro and other spices that come in bigger pieces she is postponing until he is ready for chunkier food. BC liked garlic, but every time DD mixed garlic powder in his food she said he, “reeked for the rest of the day.” So for now, she’s not giving him garlic.
So far BC likes the variety. Sometimes when she gives him a plain vegetable, he will eat half of a serving and then turn his head away. If she adds a little spice, he will start eating again. She changes things up for each meal, not wanting him to always associate a food with a certain flavor.
It would be hard to do a double blind study on this theory, because it would involve some children eating bland food as babies and perhaps growing up to be picky eaters. But I will keep you updated on this one particular baby as he grows into his toddler years.
It was DD's turn to pick a recipe in the Picky Eater Challenge. She sent this link for Quinoa Stuffing
I was out of quinoa, so I went to the Health Food Store on Friday. They had three brands of quinoa - all three were more than $7 a pound.
$7 a Pound!!!!
I've bought quinoa for years, and it's never been that expensive. What has happened? Was there a quinoa crop failure? Is inflation heating up? I walked out of the store without quinoa.
When I got home I went online. Amazon's quinoa was $10 - $13 a pound. Good grief! Several other companies where I shop appeared to have less expensive quinoa, until I noticed the packages were 12 ounces - clever marketing tactic, but I wasn't fooled.
Eventually I found quinoa for $5.66 on Vitacost. I ordered four bags.
I was excited about trying DD's recipe, and I didn't want to wait for the quinoa to arrive. I had millet in the pantry, so I substituted that.
I did not add any salt, and I didn't put in pine nuts. Other than that, I made it just like the recipe.
I didn't want to stuff a chicken or turkey just for my Honorable Husband and myself. So I cooked ground turkey and put it on top of the stuffing. Sort of like a layered casserole.
I'm from Texas, and in the South, when we say "stuffing" it is mostly bread, with a few vegetables for flavor. This was mostly vegetables and fruit with enough grain to give it substance.
The combination of onions, celery and apple gave it a sweet and tangy taste. Sort of like a sweet and sour sauce - but the cumin kept it from being remotely Asian. It was a unique flavor.
HH was watching a football game, so I was in another room reading. He came to find me, holding his empty bowl, and said "That was really good."
DD you picked a winner!
There are two things you need to know before you read this recipe.
First, while pumpkin is a beneficial food for my Type A Honorable Husband, he does not like it. He has never liked pumpkin pie, and he certainly does not like pumpkin as a vegetable.
Second, back in the 1960s, someone had the bright idea to treat acne with x-rays. HH was one of the teenagers given this treatment. The good news was it cleared up the acne. The bad news was that too much x-ray was found to cause cancer. For years HH has felt like his face was a ticking time bomb.
He had his first basal cell cancer removed about six years ago. This year’s visit to the dermatologist, discovered a second basal cell cancer. This time it was on his lip, so he was sent to a Mohs specialist in the city. If you are not familiar with the Mohs technique, I’ll explain in in non-scientific terms.
Instead of gouging out a cancer and hoping they get it all, the doctor has a pathology lab in his office. He removes a layer of cells and sends them immediately to the lab, while you read a book in the waiting room. If there are no cancer cells in the boundaries, they stitch you up and send you home. If they find cancer cells near the edges of the removed tissue, they take off another layer of cells and send it to the lab. In this way they take out the least amount of tissue necessary, yet are confident that they got all of the cancer cells associated with that spot.
HH was fortunate. The lab results after the first cut showed no cancer cells near the edges. However, since they had cut into his lip and stitched it up, he had to eat soft food for several days. I put his food through the blender, just like DD does when she makes baby food.
He really liked drinking his breakfast (granola, almond milk, and fruit) through a straw. Lunch and supper weren’t quite as appetizing, but certainly better than pain.
So, when I started looking for a recipe for the Picky Eater Challenge, it had to be something that I could put through the blender, but also be something with a texture that SIL, DD, and I would enjoy. I had some chicken already cooked, so I began reading through recipes in the BTD Recipe Database.
I stopped when I got to a recipe called Curried Chicken, when I saw pumpkin as an ingredient. The recipe says that the pumpkin is used to thicken the sauce. I hadn’t intended to be sneaky, but I knew that HH would never know he was eating beneficial pumpkin.
I made the recipe almost like it was written, except that I cut it in half. I used real garlic. I didn’t use salt, but I doubled the curry powder.
The pumpkin did indeed give a nice thick sauce without wheat or cornstarch! The orange color wasn’t particularly noticeable, because the curry powder would have made it orange anyway.
He ate Curried Chicken for one meal liquefied in the blender. He ate it for another meal over quinoa the day he got to take the bulky part of the bandage off. On a scale of 1-10, the highest score HH has ever given an entrée is an 8. He gave Curried Chicken a 7. I can’t wait to hear how SIL likes this recipe!
It was DD’s turn in the Picky Eater Challenge, and she chose a recipe on an interesting website called GNOWFGLINS — “God’s natural, organic, whole foods, grown locally, in season”
I’m going to post the two original links, then I’ll tell you how this recipe worked at my house.
My husband loves soup, but generally I do not. Because of that, I often choose the line of least resistance, and buy the healthiest canned soup I can find. Even the healthiest is high sodium, especially for someone on blood pressure medication.
I had read on the BTD website about bone broth, but had never tried it. I thought it might be a way to make low sodium soup, but I wasn’t sure how to start. I was intrigued that this recipe relied on bone broth to supplement the broth from the chicken.
My crockpot is an old 4 quart, and I bought one large 8 pound chicken. It was a tight fit. When I lifted the chicken out, the whole thing fell apart. The meat fell off the bones, the bones separated from each other. It was the tenderest chicken imaginable. The only problem was that when I debone a chicken, I anticipate where the small bones (like from the drumsticks) will be. I had to be extra careful since everything came apart so quickly.
I put the meat of the chicken in a bowl in the refrigerator. I threw away the skin - perhaps it would have helped the broth, but I didn’t want extra fat. I put the bones back in the crockpot and followed the directions for bone broth.
The recipe called for traditional vegetables. Onion, garlic, celery and carrots were good. But HH does not like English peas, and corn is an avoid food. I left those two out, and added fresh green beans instead. I decided to use brown rice instead of noodles.
We had the soup for dinner on Friday night. HH’s first impression was that it was too bland. He said he would eat it, but not to make it again. I suspected that he didn’t like this soup because it was not as salty as he was used to. On Saturday I bought Mrs. Dash No Salt Chicken Seasoning, and added more than two teaspoons to the remaining soup.
We had it again for lunch after church on Sunday. HH knew I had changed it, but he was surprised at his first taste. “On a scale of 1-10, it’s up to a 4,” he said. “I can make it a 5.” He got the tamari and added some to his soup. He smiled and said, “You can make this again.”
DD and I are looking for quick recipes. This is certainly not an impulse meal - - the crockpot ran for more than a day and a half and the pot on the stove for another hour. But my time preparing was minimal - putting the chicken in the crockpot, deboning the chicken, chopping vegetables.
I am happy to have tried bone broth and found it so easy to do in the crockpot. Straining the broth was much easier than I had imagined. I want to experiment more this winter with low sodium soups. I might even learn to enjoy them myself.
My strong son has a friend in the Marines. His mother once told me that though he had struggled in elementary and high school with ADHD, in Marine Corps Basic Training he had overcome his tendency to be distracted. She used as an example that in Basic he was not allowed to touch his face, and that it had become so ingrained that he no longer touched his face in public.
I kept wondering about why touching your face would be part of Basic Training. What I eventually decided was that it must have to do with the potential of being in a chemical or biological warfare attack. If you make it a habit never to touch your face, you eliminate getting dangerous substances into your eyes, nose or mouth where they gain entrance to the rest of your body.
In this age of Ebola and Enterovirus, I need to stop rubbing my eyes. It is a gateway. If the Marines can teach hyperactive young men to keep their hands off their faces, surely I can stop rubbing my eyes. If you pick your nose - stop. If you chew your fingernails - stop.
I am a tactile learner. (I you are not familiar with learning styles, it is well worth the time to research them, especially if you have children in school.) A tactile learner learns through their fingers. That means taking notes, doodling, tapping. My husband and I have some of our best conversations when I am washing dishes. The computer keyboard becomes an extension of my brain.
The downside of being tactile is that it is nearly impossible for me to learn if I am completely still. Long ago - when I was a teenager - I developed a habit of picking at my cuticles. It helped me pay attention when I didn't have a pencil and a piece of paper. I once joked that I knew the pastor had preached a really good sermon, if I came out of church with a mutilated cuticles.
I must break this habit. Cuts on my hands are another gateway. Other people who cough or sneeze or bite their nails are touching things all around me - door knobs, handrails, toilet flushers, menus, credit card machines... God provides enormous protection through our somewhat impermeable skin. But a paper cut or a torn cuticle is another gateway.
I was in a meeting yesterday and the topic was fascinating. I caught myself tugging at a cuticle. In this age of Ebola, I must stop this habit!
I said two things in the title of this blog, but here is a bonus. I went to fill my water bottles at the water machine yesterday. Our Hill Country water tastes delicious, but they add fluoride, so I buy water at a reverse osmosis machine. It was the end of a busy day, when I pulled up next to the machine. As I was getting my bottles out of the car, a man with a five gallon bottle jumped ahead and started filling his bottle. He didn't exactly cut in line, but I was tired and it made me irritable. I continued unloading bottles.
The man laughed - "Ha Ha Ha, did I get in front of you? Ha Ha Ha I thought you gave me a dirty look. Ha Ha Ha!" There was a shopping cart nearby, so I put my four 2-gallon bottles in the cart and waited for his bottle to fill. He walked over to my cart and said, "Ha Ha Ha, you have a lot of bottles there." Then he touched each of my bottles and counted them.
I had had enough. I said, "Don't touch my stuff! In this age of Ebola, keep your hands to yourself." He apologized, put the lid on his bottle, and left.
In a public place, keep your hands to yourself. Mind your own business. This winter you won't know who has Ebola, Enterovirus, or just an annoying cold. And they won't know whether you are infected and passing an unwelcome germ to them.