real talk

Boobs and Cookies: Real talk and a real recipe

Quite the post title, right? I figured it'd grab your attention... 

As many of you may know, my lovely husband and I welcomed a new addition to our family this summer, our sweet baby girl, Edith James. (This should also explain the severe lack of activity in Sprout land). I was lucky to have a fairly uncomplicated pregnancy that allowed me to continue working out until the day before Edith was born via a fast (seriously FAST) and uncomplicated labor and delivery. 

What has been complicated?

Breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding has been the most difficult thing I've experienced, both physically and emotionally.  I wasn't expecting it to be easy, but I certainly wasn't expecting it to be the struggle that it has been. Everyone's experience is different, but I had a series of factors working against me that made exclusively breastfeeding my baby a daily fight. My milk took its sweet time to come in, we had limited nursing support at the hospital, and Edith had some anatomical issues that made nursing difficult. This negatively impacted Edith's growth and my supply. She was quickly losing weight (i.e. strength) and was burning more calories at the boob than she was ingesting. Weak baby = weak suck = low supply. 

Basically we were screwed on all fronts.

A much needed trip to the lactation consultant (i.e. miracle workers) turned everything around for us. Edie and I got the support we both needed through Kaiser's Mother Baby program. We started a fairly strict nursing/pumping/who-needs-sleep regimen right away. She supplemented with formula in addition to nursing to build strength and I began supplementing with blessed thistle, fenugreek, and Vitanica Lactation Blend. My sister also made me a batch of gluten free "Lactation Cookies," which I washed down with Mother's Milk Tea. Basically we were both like: WE WILL MAKE THIS HAPPEN. 

And we did. 

Now that Edith is 7 weeks old, growing and thriving, things have improved DRASTICALLY. My supply has solidified, Edith is a champ and we are a happy house (most of the time). 

I will tell you now that lactation cookies are a godsend.

Its two am. Your starving. Your baby is also starving and screaming and pooping and clawing at your boob. Which probably all makes you want to scream and cry and poop too.... and also probably crawl back into bed and hide under the covers or say " please hold on child, while I make a quick meal. That's cool right:?" Unless you have a wonder baby, its probably not cool. So having a quick, one-handed food, like these tasty cookies, is key to not having a hangry, sobbing breakdown. 

What makes them different from just a regular cookie? Well. They are good combination of healthy fats, proteins and carbohydrates and loaded with nutrient dense ingredients that support a healthy milk supply! 

  • Brewers yeast provides necessary B vitamins
  • Flax seed provides omega-3 fatty acids
  • Coconut oil is an easily and quickly digestible healthy fat. 
  • Dates, almonds and oats have all been linked to increasing milk supply.

Plus, like I mentioned, they are easy to grab and tasty. What more could a new mom want? Other than sleep.. 

These cookies are gluten and egg-free and the recipe is seasonably appropriate-- hey its September, bring on pumpkin spice everything! 

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Lactation Cookies

Ingredients

  • 3 cups gluten-free whole grain oats (do not use quick oats)
  • 1/2 cup blanched almond flour
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup gluten-free brewer's yeast (please note: this is different than nutritional yeast!)
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 tbls cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 heaping tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 3/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1/2 cup ground flax seed
  • 1 3/4 cup pureed pumpkin 
  • 3/4 cup chopped dates
  • 1 heaping cup coconut flakes
  • 1/2 cup pecans, roughly chopped (optional)
  • 3/4 cup bittersweet or dark chocolate chips 

Directions

Preheat oven to 350F

In a large bowl combine oats, almond flour, coconut flour, coconut sugar, brewers yeast, spices, baking soda and salt. 

In a small bowl whisk together ground flax seed and hot water until well combined. 

Add flax seed slurry, pumpkin and melted coconut oil to dry ingredients and mix well. 

Silipat is a great tool when making these cookies! 

Silipat is a great tool when making these cookies! 

Somebody ate the photo props... 

Somebody ate the photo props... 

Gently stir in coconut flakes, dates, pecans, and chocolate chips. Be sure to mix it well enough so the goodies are evenly distributed!

Line a large cookie sheet with silipat or parchment paper. Spoon heaping tablespoons of dough onto cookie sheet and gently flatten with the back of the spoon. These won't spread much, so you don't need to stress about spacing! 

Bake cookies at 350F in center of oven for 12 minutes. Allow to cool on silipat for 10 minutes before storing (whether that be in an airtight container or just straight into your mouth).

These cookies should be stored in an airtight container in the fridge! 

Guide to successful diet changes

Guide to successful diet changes

For many, this is the time of year when some big ol' diet changes come about. Boozed and sugared-out from the holidays, we race to the opposite end of the spectrum and vow that this will be the year we will we survive on kale or green smoothies or whatever the trendy veg is. Don't do that. I love kale. I love green smoothies. I love trendy veggies. But there's more to life. 

Some kick off the new year with real food challenges, like a whole30 or sugar detox. I love that. I'm all about it. But as awesome as it is to go through that process, its important to approach it in a way that is sustainable.

It's Just Offal

Today, I had the joy of participating in one of Honest Training's quarterly Honest Talks!

Honest Talks are sessions mixed with a variety of nutritional lectures, cooking demos, and tips and tricks for improving your overall health and athletic performance. It's so awesome to learn from other fitness and nutrition professionals and to share our unique perspectives on building a healthy lifestyle! 

Paisley Meekin, Owner of Honest Training, shared all the knowledge on knee pain, the importance of mobility and simple ways to strengthen your core (which will help your knees-- who knew!).  Alex McMahon of Evolve Nutritional Therapy, gave a great overview on different nutrition approaches for endurance and power athletes.  Dr. Rachel Sterry led us through a fabulous stress reduction exercise and helped us set goals to reduce stress in our own lives.

And finally, I shared why eating offal is SO important for our overall health and provided five easy ways to incorporate offal into the diet. My favorite technique for incorporating offal is to HIDE IT! Meatballs, stews, hamburgers-- anything with big hearty flavor--- masks the earthy taste.  Check out my sweet infographic below for more tips!