Preparing your body for Pregnancy 3

Part 3: To Detox or Not to Detox??

This is a question that comes up a lot.  The opinions on the answer  to this question vary widely as well.  My quick and easy answer is, it depends on your definition of detoxing.

The type of detoxing that I do not agree with:

  • Any type of extremely limited and restrictive diet.  Like a 10 day juicing only fast.
    • This limits the amount of nutrition you will take in.  So at the end of the detox you’ll be very depleted in many vitamins and minerals.
    • The human body is meant to digest, and it can be very stressful on your body to restart eating normally after doing this type of fast.
    • I do however agree that occasionally you may need to give your body a rest from eating, so consuming liquids only for 24 to 48hrs can be helpful in some instances.
  • Consuming a packaged or processed packaged “detox” program  (I would make an exception though for someone with heavy metal toxicity, in this case the course of treatment is very specific, so packaged kits would be helpful).
    • These are generally highly processed foods, which is not what your body is meant to eat.
    • Shakes, bars, special cereal or forms of “food” that are not found on a farm are not good for you, no matter what the marketers tell you.

The type of Detoxing that is healthy:

  • If you are a chocolate or sweets addict, and are overindulging, take a 14 or 30 or 90 day break from this offending food.  Taking a break from the specific food that you’re overeating will lead you to appreciate it more.  When you end the period of time you were avoiding that food, resolve to make your portions of that food very small, or kept for special occasions.
  • Commit yourself to making half of your plate fruits and vegetables each and every time you eat.
  • Eat better quality fruits, vegetables and meat.  If you are not eating organic foods, begin by switching over the worst offenders in terms of pesticide residue.  But it is best to avoid foods with genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and stick to organic foods.
  • Cut out processed foods.  If it has more than 3 ingredients, and has anything you wouldn’t find in your kitchen, don’t put it in your mouth.  It’s probably as good for you as eating Windex.

So although I wouldn’t recommend you undergo a “detox” before trying to conceive, I do believe that you should very closely examining your diet.


Daycare makes kids FAT!

On a regular morning, at 6:50am, I am in the kitchen feeding the little monsters breakfast before our oldest heads off to school.  It feels very busy just getting one child off to school. My hats off to moms rushing a bunch of kids to school and daycare!

I watch a lot of these moms, from the bus stop, strap their little charges into the minivan to drop them off to wonderful and enriching programs.

Honestly, I often feel a bit jealous of the regularly scheduled programming, the detailed menu plans and the highly organised little classrooms.  What mom would not love the toddler height sinks??  There are days when getting one load of laundry feels like it’s something to brag about, much less providing a stimulating environment for my children to learn letters, numbers and music.  My jealousy has on occasion led me to cyber stalk various preschool and daycare programs that are offered in Oakville, that my kids will never attend.

However, researchers in Montreal (University of Montreal and the CHU Sainte-Justine Hospital Research Center, published in the Journal of Pediatrics ) have found that kids attending daycare centres between the ages of 1.5 and 4 years old, had a 65% higher chance of being overweight between the ages of 4 and 10.  The same results were not found in children cared for in different settings.

The study recommended that further research should be done to find out why daycare centers increased the chance of making our kids chubby.

I propose that both daycare centers and schools are setting up our children with unhealthy habits relating to food consumption.  The two main concerns I have are frequency of eating and food that is mostly catered.

In daycare, as far as I have been informed, food is given out frequently.  Often, there are 2 morning snacks, lunch and 1 or 2 snacks in the afternoon, depending on pick up time.  Food is served promptly and eating time is generally short.  I have noticed also from my son’s school, that lunch times are very short, and there are many snack times offered throughout the day.

I believe that quick and frequent “feeding times”, are teaching our kids that eating can take place any time of day.  Our kids will end up doing more snacking and less enjoying healthy meals.

In our home, we take a French approach to feeding our family.  We have breakfast, lunch, an afternoon snack and dinner.  Each meal lasting between 20 minutes to an hour.  If the kids are hungry in between, I do not offer granola bars, or snack cakes, or crackers.  For my littlest (almost 18 months), if she is screaming I will first offer water, I may offer a quarter of an apple if she is really losing it at 9:30am, but this would happen less than once a month.  I make a point to teach our kids that “you should eat enough of the healthy meal we made for you, because you will not be getting another snack in an hour.”  Maybe this seems cruel…

However, we have seen the fruits of our labor.  My oldest was a picky eater when he was 2.  He spent a few days with his aunt and uncle, while our second baby was born.  As the story goes, he refused to eat anything except bagels.  Not toast.  Not a bun.  Not an english muffin.  Just bagels.  I believe they made a few trips to the store over the weekend.

In the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine,  it was found that preschoolers who were unable to wait for more than a few minutes for candy or a treat were significantly at higher risk to be fat by the time they were pre-teens.  In daycare centers, generally food is prepared and brought in by a catering company.  Catering means that food is served almost instantly.  Whereas in a home setting, children hear, smell and see the food being prepared.  As a side note, this is helpful because it prepares the gut for proper digestion.  In terms of helping with self control though, this is a lesson in waiting, that naturally occurs many times a day.  Children see the food being prepped in the kitchen, and they are probably getting hungry!  Mom or Grandma tell the kids day after day, to wait until it’s ready.  This becomes an ingrained pattern of eating.  You need to wait, food is not instant.  This is true even in the worst case, if you’re reheating processed food.

I don’t believe that daycare centers are doing anything wrong.  In fact, they are a great place for kids to go while mom and dad work.  However, there is an inherent vacuum when it comes to teaching food consumption habits that would happen organically in a family situation.

Daycare centers and schools could vastly improve by lengthening mealtimes, and decreasing snack times (or eliminating them altogether in children older than 6).  It would also be beneficial learning to cook on a regular basis and teaching children to appreciate meals, instead of snacks, was part of the curriculum.  I believe with these two changes we could see an improvement in long term obesity rates.


Breastfeeding Bites!


You thought you had the hang of nursing, you’ve been comfortably nursing for 9 months, then WhaM!  Baby bites!

You’re not alone.  Not all babies bite, but all of mine have.  Some were more persistent biters.  But I got all 3 to stop, and I was able to continue nursing to around 18 months for each.

With my first it was a big surprise.  With my second… it was a big surprise.  And with the third, guess what?  It was still a big surprise.

Once your baby has bitten, it feels like every time the baby wants some milk, you’re about to stick your nipple into an alligator’s mouth… or a bear trap… or a stapler… you pick the metaphor.

If this is happening, first you should congratulate yourself, very few babies are exclusively breastfed until they get their first teeth!  Between 35-40% of babies are still breastfed at 6 months according to the CDC.

The two most effective strategies I have used are startling and negative reinforcement.

The first strategy does not take a genius to figure out, as soon as the baby bites, scream!  Let it all out mama!  The baby will let go, and probably cry.  Comfort your baby, because they’re scared, but you’ve got they’re attention.

Some babies are more persistent biters, my third baby went through a longer biting phase and what worked with the other two, a couple big screams, didn’t phase her.  If anything, she thought it was funny.  After speaking with my network of longer term nursing mothers, I decided to discontinue any nursing session where biting occured.  When she bit, I would say “No” firmly, remove her and her teeth, and put her down on the ground, or to bed if it was bedtime.  I would then get up and walk away.  I would not let her nurse again for a couple of hours.  For the more persistent biter, I have found they are the babies that frequently nurse for comfort and are not necessarily for hungry.  If they are biting, they are most likely not hungry, but looking for comfort, which can be given with a hug, kisses, tickles or reading a book together.

This is a really tough stage, that can result in blood and tears.  Don’t despair.  If one nipple is damaged, apply breastmilk and allow your nipple to air dry.  Optionally, you could pump 2-3 x a day for 1 to 2 days to allow for more healing.

This too shall pass.  Your baby will learn in a day or two that biting is not tolerated, and you’ll be back to your happy nursing.

Feel free to email me if you have any more specific questions about biting or nursing at

Third week of no processed foods or sugar

Amazing things are happening around here!  We are on week 3 of eating no processed foods or sugar.  Finally, things are starting to change for the better.  Withdrawal from some of our favourite foods really took a toll on everyone.  Those cravings were really getting crazy, I even started getting horrible headaches.  Was I that addicted to sugar??

My most exciting update is that I am about 5lbs away from my pre baby weight…. not the first baby, mind you, but the last one.  But, after failing to lose all the baby weight after each of the first two, with lots of effort, I felt this was hopeless for me.   I was even able to pull out 3 pairs of pre baby jeans this morning, and actually fit and look reasonable in them!!!  I never thought this would happen 5 months after I had my third baby!

The second thing I have noticed, is that I have been able to cut down my coffee consumption a little!  Even with the lack of sleep and general craziness around here, I definitely feel I have more energy to finish the things I want to do by the end of the day.  I’m not quite ready to run a marathon tomorrow (har dee har har) … but I also don’t feel like doing a face plant into the carpet due to 4pm sleepiness.


The third big change is the kids moods and eating patterns.  My kids are hardly perfect angels.  But I am noticing that they are having way less complete meltdowns.  They seem much happier to do activities, and can entertain themselves for longer periods.  Also, they are regularly requesting fruit for snacks, and eating lots of it!!  Caleb ate 4 apples today.  During meals, they are also eating much more of what is served.

Last night, I served bean chili… and Elise dove right in.  She LOVES beans.  Caleb, is not so crazy about beans …so…. Brian told him if he ate up all the beans it would fill up his fart tank… and the next day, if his tank was full, he’d be able to fart as much as he wanted. ….so…. of course he ate two helpings.  …we should teach parenting 101.

No processed foods, and no sugar, update, second week

PPppphewww.  It has been busy the last few days.  The kids are getting over colds, we are sleep training the baby.  And on the plus side….

My sister welcomed a brand new baby boy during the weekend!!  He is just so adorable and cute!!  When we were visiting my sister though, I way under-planned how much food we would need to bring with us.

For the afternoon, which ended up turning into evening, I brought a banana bread and a bunch of granola bars.  It was all gone in minutes, and everyone was asking for dinner. … we had limited options… we ended up getting turkey avocado sandwiches on whole grain from a local pub… and sweet potato fries.  Not the healthiest in the whole world… but better than most of the options.

Besides that, the whole family has been really craving some of our old favourite junk foods.  I have had a tonne of cravings for chocolate and chocolatey cakes.  Brian’s been missing chips.  And the kids are asking for cookies daily.

For the kids and I, we’ve baked up a quadruple batch of this applesauce bread, well it’s actually a pumpkin loaf recipe, but I just swapped the pumpkin for applesauce.  It turned out delicious!!!   And YAY!  We’ve got a bunch in the freezer.20150112_190735

For Brian, who was missing more of a crunchy snack, we bought a microwave popcorn popper.  And I am looking for some other options… and will post our findings.

We are definitely going through an adjustment period at the moment.  I’m praying that our palates will change soon!!