The Sistah Vegan Project

Archive for the category “Baby Body and Health Care”

Black and Nursing While Hiking in Utah’s National Parks

Bryce Canyon National Park, May 2012 with Eva Luna (9 months old). She nursed 1/2 the time during the 7 mile hike.

I wanted to share this with you. It is from May 2012.

May 11, 2012

I just got back from a 7 day road trip that started in Denver CO and ended in Berkeley CA. I spent most of my time in Utah. I went to Arches National Park, Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Canyonlands National Park, and Capitol Reef National Park. My favorite was Bryce Canyon. We did the Peek a Boo Trail and it made me cry. But first:

Dammit, where are all the black folk? I mean, I know it’s Utah, but these are National Parks people! The below video from was filmed at Zion National Park.

Ok, back to the brilliance and beauty of Bryce Canon and nursing for hours while hiking.

When walking the Peek a Boo trail hike, India Arie’s song, “How I know that god is real” kept on circulating through my brain.

Peek a Boo Trail hike is 7 miles. Doesn’t seem like a lot. But add a 20lb baby strapped to your back while carrying 50oz of water in each hand, while going all the way down the canyon then walking all the way back up and you’ve got yourself quite an amazing feat. Oh, and add to that that 20lb baby sucking on you, extracting breast milk 3 hours out of that 6.5 hours it takes to complete that 7 miles because it’s so hot and arid, she is thirsty all the time. I swear, my 9 month old must have sucked out 700 calories of milk from me per day. She wasn’t used to the high elevation and the arid climate so she was thirsty all the time.

Sun, 3 years old, on Mama’s back at Zion National Park

But I loved it. I loved every minute of watching the divine that is Bryce Canyon. I loved the burning of my butt and legs as I went up and down difficult parts of the trail. I loved how my baby girl , when she wasn’t nursing or sleeping, giggled with joy and reached out to touch the rocks, the trees, and my face. At 9 months old, she knew that Bryce Canyon is a very special place.

I notice two significant things during my time in Utah’s National Parks:

(1) Just about everyone I saw commended me for going on a 7 mile hike with a baby strapped to me. I only saw one other person doing this in Bryce Canyon Peek a Boo trail.

(2) There were 2 black people that I saw during my entire 7 day road trip through 5 National Parks in Utah (hence, my video rant).

Okay, so first of all, I am getting the impression that most people think it is impossible to go hiking and or camping with infants and toddlers, without losing your damn mind…and then add that to a 7 day road trip 1/2 across the country with them strapped to the carseats for hours, you’d think that would be a recipe for disaster. But, it’s not. You just have to plan it the right way. My 3 year old and 9 month old loved the trip. My toddler loves camping. My infant doesn’t seem to care where she is as long as she can get her mama milk (what we call breast milk). I recommend an Ergo carrier. Buy an Ergo cargo pack (for food and diapers) to attach to the carrier for the infant or toddler you want to haul. I hauled Sun around at Zion National Park. You can use the Ergo Carrier for a child up to 40lb. It’s light and they can fall asleep with a headrest to cradle their heads. Some people prefer the Deuter hiking system but I think it’s overpriced, heavy, and uncomfortable. The Ergo Carrier can have them on your side, back, or front. Perfect if you are a nursing mama. Deuter can’t do that.

But I have to be up front and say you can’t just do a 7 mile hike like Bryce Canyon, in a hot and high climate, with a baby, food, and water in tow, if you haven’t been working out regularly. Before you embark on something like what I did, practice walking around in an area in your neighborhood that is hilly with your kid strapped on you. If you have access to a step aerobics machine, use it. Go biking. Swimming. Whatever you enjoy to get you ready for these types of hiking adventures.

(The below passage was added on August 14, 2013).

Many omnivores I meet are really shocked and/or impressed that I am able to nurse and burn this many calories and still get the nutrients I need without eating animals or animal products. If you’re interested in what it is that i do to feed myself and my baby so I can endure high calorie burning activities while nursing, check this out: How to eat a whole foods vegan diet during pregnancy and lactation period.

Also, the Sistah Vegan Project is having its first web conference this fall called Embodied and Critical Perspectives on Veganism by Black Women and Allies. It is September 14, 2013. One of our speakers will be discussing Black vegan parenting. Check out the speaker line-up and registration line-up here.

Want to do a Vegan Pregnancy? Sistah Vegan Can Help!

This is a pre-recorded seminar and you can listen and view the Powerpoint to it anytime, once you have registered for it.

In this webinar you will learn what you need to get started on your path to an amazing and fulfilling plant-based dietary pregnancy and post-partum period. If you are at the end of your pregnancy but want to learn how a whole foods plant-based Sistah Vegan diet can help you produce optimal milk supply for an infant, then this course is also for you. In addition, post-partum hair loss is significant amongst women; many tell me that years after giving birth, they struggle with hair loss and thinning. I will teach you how a few herbs and foods can regrow and strengthen your hair.

You may be scared. You may be confused. Or maybe you do have the confidence to practice a vegan pregnancy, but do not know where to begin. The Sistah Vegan project is offering the first introductory and comprehensive seminar (a.k.a. ‘webinar’), complete with audio and powerpoint slides to address the following:

* Guaranteed plant based remedy/prevention for prenatal anemia
* Learn this simple herbal remedy to prevent hemorrhoids
* Learn what simple seed can increase hydration, energy, and calcium
* Learn the top four plant based proteins essential for pregnancy
* Constipation is NOT ‘normal’, despite the myth. Learn how to poop 2-3x a day while pregnant.
* Learn how this raw juice can prevent gestational diabetes and manage blood sugar

Cost: $19.99 (if you cannot afford this, contact me for alternative options)

How to register and pay: Click REGISTER to sign up and access the webinar immediately.

Duration: 90 minutes.

Technology requirements: a computer with a fast internet connection and a free Anymeeting.com (my webinars are hosted through Any meeting.com )

Description: 

If you are like most folk who have listened to mainstream media in the USA, you have heard of the sensationalized stories once or twice a year, of a mother who ‘killed’ her child ‘because’ she was vegan. If you have had interest in getting pregnant and/or having a vegan pregnancy, you may have been ‘attacked’ by supposedly loving family members and ‘concerned’ midwives or practitioners that such a diet is ‘dangerous’ and ‘irresponsible.’

These are all lies, as myself and a plethora of women and their children are living proof that a properly planned vegan pregnancy and lactation period will help you and your baby thrive. Don’t listen to the hype. Below is a photo of my baby daughter, Eva Luna. She was ‘built’ by a whole foods vegan diet. In addition, you are looking at a glowing and healthy baby in which over 75% of her ‘food’ sources came from my vegan-produced breast milk, the first 13 months of her life. She was 9.5lb at birth and full term. 6 hour labor.

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Eva Luna, 13 months old.

About the Instructor: Dr. A. Breeze Harper is the director and founder of the Sistah Vegan Project, a organization dedicated to critical race feminist perspectives on veganism, as seen through the collective experiences of Black North American females. Dr. Harper started the project in 2005. She holds degrees from Dartmouth College, Harvard University, and University of California-Davis. Her innovative ability to integrate the use of educational technologies to analyze Black female vegans food and health philosophies earned her the Dean’s Award from Harvard University in 2007 for her Master Thesis work: this is an honor only bestowed upon one candidate per program.

Dr. Harper’s knowledge about diversity within the field of food and wellness has marked her as a highly sought after paid consultant and speaker for many American universities. She has given many keynote addresses including at Boston University, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, University of Oregon, and Southwestern University. She teaches students, faculty, and staff how and why people have unique relationships to food and wellness and how these relationships are impacted by race, socio-economic class, gender, sexuality, and ability. She has published extensively, including Sistah Vegan: Black Female Vegans Speak on Food, Identity, Health and Society (Lantern Books 2010). She graduated summa cum-laude from University of California-Davis with a PhD in critical geographies of race and food.

If you enjoy the work I have done, if it has helped you, your organization, your students, your family, etc, and you want to see it go to the next level of a non-profit social justice organization, please contribute what you can by clicking on the GOFUNDME Link below. When Sistah Vegan becomes a well supported non-profit, I hope to offer a diversity of educational material (webinars, workshops, books, articles) that guide people through ways to raise pre-school aged children on a fun and healthy plant-based diet.  If you do not want to use this method, but prefer paypal, click on the link on the right upper corner of this blog page to donate via PAYPAL.

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Disclaimer: I am not a certified practitioner or medical doctor. Please consult with your practitioner before trying any of the foods or herbs that I recommend

Introduction to Vegan Pregnancy and Lactation Nutrition: A Sistah Vegan Exclusive Online Seminar

If you are like most folk who have listened to mainstream media in the USA, you have heard of the sensationalized stories once or twice a year, of a mother who ‘killed’ her child ‘because’ she was vegan. If you have had interest in getting pregnant and/or having a vegan pregnancy, you may have been ‘attacked’ by supposedly loving family members and ‘concerned’ midwives or practitioners that such a diet is ‘dangerous’ and ‘irresponsible.’

These are all lies, as myself and a plethora of women and their children are living proof that a properly planned vegan pregnancy and lactation period will help you and your baby thrive. Don’t listen to the hype. Below are photos of my baby daughter, Eva Luna. She was ‘built’ by a whole foods vegan diet. In addition, you are looking at a glowing and healthy baby in which over 85% of her ‘food’ source came from my vegan-produced breast milk, the first 13 months of her life. She was 9.5lb at birth and full term. 6 hour labor.

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You may be scared. You may be confused. Or maybe you do have the confidence to practice a vegan pregnancy, but do not know where to begin. The Sistah Vegan project is offering an on demand pre-recored webinar with powerpoint slides with the following:

* Guaranteed plant based remedy/prevention for prenatal anemia
* Learn this simple herbal remedy to prevent hemorrhoids
* Learn what simple seed can increase hydration, energy, and calcium
* Learn the top four plant based proteins essential for pregnancy
* Constipation is NOT ‘normal’, despite the myth. Learn how to poop 2-3x a day while pregnant.

You will be able to play the recordings and download notes and slides whenever you want to. In this webinar you will learn what you need to get started on your path to an amazing and fulfilling plant-based dietary pregnancy and post-partum lactation period. If you are at the end of your pregnancy but want to learn how a whole foods plant-based Sistah Vegan diet can help you produce optimal milk supply for an infant, then this webinar is also for you. In addition, post-partum hair loss is significant amongst women; many tell me that years after giving birth, they struggle with hair loss and thinning. I will teach you how a few herbs and foods can regrow and strengthen your hair.

Date: You can Download it anytime.

Cost: $25.99

How to pay and download: Click REGISTER to register, pay, and download.

Duration: 2 hours.

Technology requirements: a computer with a fast internet connection and a free Anymeeting.com (my webinars are hosted through Any meeting.com)

About the Instructor: Dr. A. Breeze Harper is a research fellow in the Dept of Human Ecology at UC Davis. She is also the director and founder of the Sistah Vegan Project, a organization dedicated to critical race feminist perspectives on veganism, as seen through the collective experiences of Black North American females. Dr. Harper started the project in 2005. She holds degrees from Dartmouth College, Harvard University, and University of California-Davis. Her innovative ability to integrate the use of educational technologies to analyze Black female vegans food and health philosophies earned her the Dean’s Award from Harvard University in 2007 for her Master Thesis work: this is an honor only bestowed upon one candidate per program.

Dr. Harper’s knowledge about diversity within the field of food and wellness has marked her as a highly sought after paid consultant and speaker for many American universities. She has given many keynote addresses including at Boston University, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, University of Oregon, and Southwestern University. She teaches students, faculty, and staff how and why people have unique relationships to food and wellness and how these relationships are impacted by race, socio-economic class, gender, sexuality, and ability. She has published extensively, including Sistah Vegan: Black Female Vegans Speak on Food, Identity, Health and Society (Lantern Books 2010). She graduated summa cum-laude from University of California-Davis with a PhD in critical geographies of race and food.

If you enjoy the work I have done, if it has helped you, your organization, your students, your family, etc, and you want to see it go to the next level of a non-profit social justice organization, please contribute what you can by clicking on the GOFUNDME Link below. When Sistah Vegan becomes a well supported non-profit, I hope to offer a diversity of educational material (webinars, workshops, books, articles) that guide people through ways to raise pre-school aged children on a fun and healthy plant-based diet.  If you do not want to use this method, but prefer paypal, click on the link on the right upper corner of this blog page to donate via PAYPAL.

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Disclaimer: I am not a certified practitioner or medical doctor. Please consult with your practitioner before trying any of the foods or herbs that I recommend

Black women: How do I get glowing skin and healthy hair growth without salons, spas, or chemicals?

Growing up, I experienced a lot of women of color telling me that Black women ‘just can’t grow hair.’ I never doubted this, as I thought that that was true, as my hair never seemed to grow. In addition, I thought us Black folk were just supposed to have not only hair growth problems , but always ‘be ashy’ and have ‘dry looking’ skin. Little did I know that this was all a myth and could be ‘easily’ remedied through change of diet and skin care products.

My name is  Dr. A. Breeze Harper of the Sistah Vegan Project. I have been complimented often about how much my hair grows and how much my skin glows. I do not go to hair salons, spas, and nor have I worn make-up for about 18 years. I have also been asked for years, to offer quick and basic classes to teach women my secrets. Well, I have finally decided that I feel comfortable enough to transition the Sistah Vegan Project into a non-profit and start offering basic interactive webinars that teach you what I have learned. Even though all are welcomed to attend, this particular course will be focused on the specific needs of Black women and girls.

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Dr. A. Breeze Harper without make-up, May 2013.

Growing your hair and having a natural (i.e. afro) is possible through holistic methods. In this webinar, I will teach you what foods and herbs you can take, as well as put on your hair and scalp, that will help your hair grow, become stronger, and healthier.  I will also focus a portion of this webinar to growing you hair back, after giving birth. Postpartum hair loss is all too common amongst women. I know women who had children 2 or 3 years ago and continue to have hair loss and thinning problems. With a few tips from me, they were able to grow their hair back.The second part of this webinar will teach you about the herbs, foods, and topical treatments I use to achieve glowing and healthy skin. I was able to cure my ‘incurable’ eczema and tackel my constantly dry and ashy skin.

Date: June 30, 2013 Time: 10:00 am PST

Cost: $30.00

Spaces Left: 28 out of 30.

Duration: 1 hour and 30 minutes (approximately)

Technology requirements: a computer with a fast internet connection and a free WebEx account (my webinars are hosted through WebEx, so if you don’t want to call a regular phone number to access it and then pay per minute, you can join the webinar with a password via a free WebEx account). You should have speakers or headphone to hear. I will be using video and audio so participants will be able to see and hear me present. The webinar will be recorded and available to access for free for you who have registered, to refer to as long as you desire. There will be Q&A at the end.

How to pay: please sent payment to my PayPal account. My email associated with that account is breezeharper (at) gmail (dot) com. In the memo field please type in “hairjune2013”

About the Instructor: Dr. A. Breeze Harper is the director and founder of the Sistah Vegan Project, a organization dedicated to critical race feminist perspectives on veganism, as seen through the collective experiences of Black North American females. Dr. Harper started the project in 2005. She holds degrees from Dartmouth College, Harvard University, and University of California-Davis. Her innovative ability to integrate the use of educational technologies to analyze Black female vegans food and health philosophies earned her the Dean’s Award from Harvard University in 2007 for her Master Thesis work: this is an honor only bestowed upon one candidate per program.

Dr. Harper’s knowledge about diversity within the field of food and wellness has marked her as a highly sought after paid consultant and speaker for many American universities. She has given many keynote addresses including at Boston University, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, University of Oregon, and Southwestern University. She teaches students, faculty, and staff how and why people have unique relationships to food and wellness and how these relationships are impacted by race, socio-economic class, gender, sexuality, and ability. She has published extensively, including Sistah Vegan: Black Female Vegans Speak on Food, Identity, Health and Society (Lantern Books 2010). She graduated summa cum-laude from University of California-Davis with a PhD in critical geographies of race and food.

Disclaimer: I am not a certified practitioner or medical doctor. Please consult with your practitioner before trying any of the foods or herbs that I recommend.

‘Vegan’ shaming pregnant women for being ‘irresponsible’ for eating a well planned vegan diet

Yesterday, I received an email from a very frustrated pregnant vegan.
She gave me permission to share it. I invite you to read it and then read my response because I know this woman is not the only one who has dealt, is dealing, or will deal with such ignorance and ‘vegan shaming’ during pregnancy.

From: “L——-
Date: Jun 14, 2013 6:44 PM
Subject: Vegan Pregnancy
To:

Cc:

Hi there –

I found your information while doing some stress-googling related to my experience of being nutrition-shamed by midwives today. I’m a long-time vegan, and I want to have a homebirth. I have never, ever been as food-shamed as today, when I interviewed midwives, and I used to weigh 100 lbs more than I do now.

I knew I was getting into trouble when I walked in the door and saw a Weston Price book on the coffee table, and should have walked out right then and there. But I live in a relatively small community, and there aren’t many options for homebirth midwives, so I went ahead, and was told I was intentionally putting myself into a high-risk category by not eating animal protein. Not just told, but grilled, accused, shamed, demeaned, patronized, ridiculed, and dismissed. Not just by the first midwife. But also by the only two others in town who do homebirths. Got the trifecta! Like I said, I used to be fat. I have been fat-shamed with the best of them. And nothing, nothing at all has made me feel worse than that did today.

If the midwives are this bad, an OB/GYN will be worse. What can I do? What can I say? How can I defend myself and my diet and my choices? Do I have to move? Do you have any tools to use against this, or am I getting sent all the way out to vegan pasture to have an unsupervised homebirth?!

Your writing has made me feel much better today, and I appreciate you eternally for it.

Many thanks,
L——

——–

Dear L——

I am very sorry for such a dreadful experience. Their response is simply a reflection of ignorance and fear. I am just wondering what the midwives based their ‘information’ on, about the ‘dangers’ of vegan pregnancy. Did they hear about that one case that makes it in the news each year, of some vegan mother’s baby ‘dying’ and therefore, they concluded that it must have been the vegan diet? I have met so many people who ‘get off’ on these stories when they hear about them, emailing me the story as if it’s ‘proof’ that you cannot successfully have a vegan pregnancy or raise a child on a plant-based diet.

How can you defend yourself? I don’t think you really need to, and it is unfair that you are bullied and put into that position– especially since there are enough research and published materials that prove a well planned vegan diet during pregnancy is more than adequate for mom and baby. If they still bully you and shame you, despite this data, then they are being absolutely unprofessional. I am just wondering what they would say if you showed them Reed Mangel’s Vegan Pregnancy book or research that shows well-planed vegan pregnancies are fine for most women.

I wouldn’t assume all midwives and ob/gyns would have the same reaction as your first encounter with midwives did. It just depends on what practice you go to. My midwives had no problem with me doing a vegan pregnancy. My homebirth with my daughter was six hours long and baby was 9.5 lb. Why would my holistic diet of kale, hemp seeds, spirulina, algae based DHA, nettles tea, chia seeds, avocados, legumes, soy yogurt, quinoa, tempeh, walnuts, almond butter, collard greens, coconut manna, and vegan prenatal vitamins INCREASE my risk and the baby’s risk of having problems!? Such a diet is a powerhouse of protein, vitamins, EFAs, and minerals. To need to argue this with any supposed ‘professional’ midwife or a ob/gyn  practice is fruitless. If they are unwilling to realize or understand this, despite being shown the nutritional scientific breakdown of these foods as “stellar”, then it is a waste of time. They are filtering their reception of this information through layers of ignorance, fears, and anxieties that most of us in the USA are taught about anything that strays from eating animals. As a matter of fact, most allopathic practitioners are not even trained in more than 3 hours of nutrition during their entire med school experience, so by default, I don’t even take their ‘nutritional’ opinion too seriously when it comes to my dietary philosophies. Most won’t even support alternative parenting decisions such as using herbal remedies, questioning the efficacy and safety of vaccines, or even supporting a client’s decision to do a home-birth versus a hospital birth. My first ob/gyn dumped me during my first pregnancy during my 2nd trimester. I had told her that I was seeing a midwife as well and was pretty sure I wanted to do a homebirth; that the midwife had been practicing for over 20 years with excellent results. Instead of supporting me, she just guilted me by telling me how her best friend tried a homebirth, ‘things went wrong’, and now her baby has cerebral palsy. (sigh). At least she didn’t care I was vegan, but still, she released me from her practice, unwilling to accept that I wanted to work with both she and the midwife!

What to do, you ask? Well, where do you live? You spoke of maybe needing to move to find a more supportive practice. I am not sure where you live or what your options are. I know I had it easier since my midwives supported my vegan pregnancy and I live in the Bay area of California. Could you try finding a ob/gyn practice first that supports your vegan lifestyle and then go there with ‘evidence’ (nutritional science articles, books) that show how babies and moms are okay on a well-planned vegan diet? I am not sure what else you could do if that doesn’t work, as you should NOT have to move just to find a practitioner who supports your choice. Perhaps people reading this blog post can offer some useful tips for what they did and how they successfully found the support they wanted. I don’t know where you live and if you could be ‘reported’ or get in trouble. I don’t know how far someone would go to think you are ‘endangering’ you baby and report you. 

Overall, this just sounds like something no person should go through, when choosing to practice a diet that has been shown to reduce animal suffering as well as reduce a lot of diet-related illnesses and diseases associated with the consumption of animal-products. Those women’s responses to you just reflect an overal problem in the USA (and I’m assuming you’re speaking from the USA) in which structural speciesism is the norm. Unless you were born into a vegan household that emphasized compassion for animals, most of us were raised to believe the myth that we humans can only live if we eat animal products; that animals do not really ‘feel’ pain; that when a baby cow is taken from her mama, that mama cow is ‘just a mechanical animal’ and she has no feelings and won’t miss her child. I thought that way 15 years ago. It just seemed so ‘natural’ to think this way! I thought vegans and vegetarians made no sense!

Even though I had supportive midwives, I understand what you are going through, as I constantly have to listen to people- usually people who barely know me– tell me that my alternative pre-natal nutrition regiments, natural parenting style, nursing  on a vegan diet,  home-birthing, etc are all ‘dangerous’. Yet, my babies came into the world happy, healthy, and fine. Weight was always in the 95 percentile or higher. Had full term pregnancies. Never had hemorrhoids, gestational diabetes, calcium deficiency (#2 was born with 2 teeth!!!), iron was stabilized through plant-based iron sources, never had lactation problems (I was like a fountain), never had swelling, never developed hypertension, and even nursed my son until I was 35 weeks pregnant (I was ‘warned’ I’d develop osteoporosis if I dared to nurse while pregnant, despite me explaining to a practitioner that I have about 1200 mg of plant based calcium in the diet). As a matter of fact, someone who read my posting about vegan pregnancy posted that vegan pregnancies are ‘fine’, but homebirths are ‘dangerous’… and then they sent me a link to prove how dangerous it is. Once again, pure ignorance, even though the intention behind it was supposed to ‘protect’ me.

It”s all relative. Some women just have to do a hospital birth, due to their own unique situation and risk factors, while other women are fine with doing home birth or even unassisted birth. You just have to research everything well enough to know what is the BEST for you. And yea, that’s difficult when you don’t have the support you need from your own local community. I know you ask about resorting to an unassisted home birth. I cannot tell you what you should or should not do. However, I have an inspiring story for you. My friend is a vegan. His wife too. They both have two daughters: 2 and 3 years old. Both were not only home births, but the couple delivered their own babies at home. So, not impossible, but he and his wife researched and prepared to do this.

Here are some older blog posts from my site, and other, that may be useful:

  1. http://sistahvegan.com/2012/06/06/another-answer-to-nina-planck-reed-mangels-phenomenal-vegan-pregnancy-guide/
  2. http://sistahvegan.com/2011/06/22/part-ii-a-vegan-pregnancy-is-selfish-you-will-kill-you-baby/
  3. http://sistahvegan.com/2012/04/24/vegan-diets-can-be-risky-for-babies-and-kids-in-response-to-nina-plancks-nytimes-article/
  4. Preparing for a Vegan pregnancy: http://www.theveganwoman.com/preparing-for-another-vegan-pregnancy/
  5. The Vegan View: http://www.vegfamily.com/vegan-view/vegan-pregnancy.htm
  6. Our Vegan Pregnancy: http://ourveganpregnancy.blogspot.com/

If folk reading this article, or other work I have done, if it has helped folk, your organization, your students, your family, etc, and you want to see it go to the next level of a non-profit social justice organization, please contribute what you can by clicking on the GOFUNDME Link below. My non-profit will offer webinars and literature about reproductive health that are holistic and plant-based. If you do not want to use this method, but prefer paypal, click on the link on the right upper corner of this blog page to donate via PAYPAL.

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Disclaimer: I am not a doctor or certified practitioner of health. Please consult your practitioner before trying anything on this suggestion list.

Vegan Baby Bonnet: Body-painting with poop and other toddler adventures

Each week, I will be sharing toddler and preschool adventures. I will then end the story with some nutritional and other healing tips for pre-school aged children. My mother makes my toddler a lot of bonnets, so I decided that it was appropriate to name this special weekly series Vegan Baby Bonnet.

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Yea, this 22 month old may look innocent, but do I have a story for you.

Last week, I put my daughter down for her usual 1130am nap time. She always promptly falls asleep and doesn’t wake up for 90-120 minutes. No complaints. As a matter of fact, she starts singing the nap song I created as we drive home from the playground. Unlike most toddlers, she actually looks forward to nap time. Weird, but I’ll take it!

However, on June 3 it was a strange nap day. 10 minutes after laying her in her crib, I hear her whining about, “Mama, poop!!!” So, naturally I think she crapped out the pint of blueberries she had eaten at the playground, earlier that morning. So, here was go. Mama thinks she gets to change a blueberry sh*ts diaper.

When I open the bedroom door, in front of me is a naked Eva Luna and the smell of fresh poop. She is whining that she pooped… all over the crib. For some reason only known to herself, she took off all her clothes and her diaper and then pooped every where. She was quite upset and let me know, “Mama poop. Can’t nap.” Apparently she realized that if she wants to take a nap, maybe it’s not a good idea to take off your diaper, poop all over your bed, and then try to lay in it.

And then she got upset that her hands were dirty with poop on them. “Mama, clean hands! Mama, clean hands!” But no, she isn’t grossed out that she had taken the poop and body painted her belly and her arms with it. No, she was just disgusted that the poop was on her hands.

Yea, our parents claim we did sh*t like that when we were toddlers, but no, I refuse to believe it.

So, I gave the little booger a bath and replaced all the sheets and pillows in her crib and she finally took a nap.

Yea, I was irritated, but I also realized that I think I’m pretty lucky that Eva Luna poops about 2 times a day. Lucky because at the playground, I hear parents talk about how their babies and toddlers won’t poop for days. I have trained Eva Luna to eat a plant-based diet that is not only high in nutritious foods, but these foods ensure that she won’t ever have constipation problems. I know everyone is unique in their situation and food access, but I get asked all the time, what I feed her and why she does poop so much. So, here is what I do with her:

  1. Water, water, water. We go to the playground and she only gets water. Lots of it. No soda, no high sugary juice, no hot cocoa.
  2. Kale. Eva Luna eats kale in any form. She loves kale chips and my raw kale smoothie. I highly recommend it. If you’re asking yourself, “How the hell do I get my kid to eat kale”, click here.
  3. Hemp seeds. I make ice cream out of hemp seeds and it’s packed with vitamins and fiber and protein and EFAs. I blend hempseed, water, and banana in the Vitamix blender and then put it in a popsicle mold or throw it in the ice cream maker. My favorite is the Nutiva brand. Here is recipe I used from when my son was a toddler.
  4. Spirulina. I mix 1/3 tsp of Spirulina in a watered down apple juice. The ratio is 1 part water, 1 part apple juice. I only use Hawaiian Pacfica brand. Organic and seems like they aren’t “toxic” like so many others out there. Here is a link to my post about Spirulina.
  5. Pumpkin seeds. She devours raw pumpkin seeds. High in fiber but I also learned that pumpkin seeds are great intestinal cleansers for parasites. Which is essential when she is interacting with toddlers and preschoolers who like to dig in their butthole at the playground and then share the love by touching mouths and eye, toys, etc. Let’s spread the pinworm love! Ewwww.
  6. I minimize Luna’s consumption of refined flour products. And I say no to refined sugar products. These are just recipes for jacked up flora, bloated belly, and constipation.
  7. Speaking of flora, I make sure she gets her probiotics. Soy yogurt seems to be a good idea. Raw fermented pickled veggies are a good idea too.
  8. Exercise. Running around the playground 2 hours or more a day seems to shake things up and make things digest better. I guess it’s like “runners trots”.
  9. Tofu. Well, this is important. Her vegan source of protein is usually tofu. However, I have noticed that most commercially produced tofu has 0% fiber in it. That’s a no no. I have heard plenty of people tell me that tofu constipates them. I am careful with what we buy. I choose Hodo Tofu, an artisanal and organic brand that is local to the Bay area. She gets 20% of the fiber she needs in 1/3 of the Braised Tofu brand… but she can easily eat a half of a package.
  10. Avocado. She eats half large one almost every day.
  11. Luna gets Alvarado sprouted breads. I prefer that for her. We don’t use fake vegan butter. What we do use as ‘butter’ is olive oil. I lather it all over her toasted bread. I think Olive Oil is excellent in lubricating the intestines!

Well, I hope this was helpful.

Remember, please consult you physician or holistic practitioner before making changes to your kids diet. What works for Luna may not work for your kids. Everyone is unique.

If you enjoy the work I have done, if it has helped you, your organization, your students, your family, etc, and you want to see it go to the next level of a non-profit social justice organization, please contribute what you can by clicking on the GOFUNDME Link below. When Sistah Vegan becomes a well supported non-profit, I hope to offer a diversity of educational material (webinars, workshops, books, articles) that guide people through ways to raise pre-school aged children on a fun and healthy plant-based diet.  If you do not want to use this method, but prefer paypal, click on the link on the right upper corner of this blog page to donate via PAYPAL.

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“Spirulina helps me poop”: Raising my babies on a decolonizing diet inspired by Queen Afua

I am teaching Eva Luna some Queen Afua inspired nutrition for her womb-health now. She is 14 months old.

I tell her every morning that kale is the food of the goddess. I tell her that I try to decolonize my womb with raw green smoothies. She doesn’t know what I mean, but she will soon.

I am hoping that she will appreciate the Afrowomanist healing knowledge I give her. Similarly to when Sun was a baby (he is 3 now), I make herbal teas while holding her.  I tell her how gifts like nettles help make breastmilk that is nutrient rich for her and is high in calcium and great for her skin and hair health.

The other day, we bought vegan organic ice cream scoop in San Francisco. After a few tiny spoonfuls, Sun decided to stop eating it. He said, “Mama, I don’t want anymore. I don’t want my teeth to get boo boos (what we call cavities) and fall out.” He then ran away to play at the slide on the playground. I always tell him that if it’s sweet, there is usually sugar in it and we have to be careful not to eat too much ‘sweet’ ( even fruit sweetened things) because it gives us “boo boos” in our teeth. This morning, Sun had his apples and spirulina and my homemade banana hempseed oat bars. He said, “Spirulina helps me poop!”

Eva Luna is drinking a green smoothie made from 3-4 big leaves of dino kale, 1.5 tsp of spirulina, 1 tsp of chlorella, 1 avocado, 1 .5 tsp of maca powder, 1.5 sq inch of fresh ginger, 1-2 tsp of apple cider vinegar, 1 pitted date in about 30 oz of water. I drank most of it, but she drinks about 4 or 5 oz. It is imperative that you add ginger and apple cider vinegar for digestion of raw kale. A lot of people can’t handle the raw kale without a digestive aid.

Toddler puking because of upset tummy? Here’s an herbal remedy idea for kids and adults

Today my son didn’t feel well… He vomited 4 times and couldn’t hold even water down this morning. I tried to coax him into drinking lemon balm and peppermint tea, but he was disinterested…

…so, I went into the yard and got some lemon balm and peppermint and decided to make an herbal sorbet for him. See, the thing is, my son will eat it if it’s in the forms of: ice cream/sorbet, cookie or chips. Seems like most toddlers in the USA function this way. :-)

I went back into the kitchen and found 1/2 pint of strawberries and 2 pitted dates. I threw everything into the Vitamix blender, busted out the Cuisinart ice cream and sorbet maker, and poured it in. 15 minutes later, organic strawberry, lemon balm, peppermint sorbet was ready for him and he ate it up. It cooled him down , hydrated him and settled his stomach down. He did not puke anymore after that, felt better, was less feverish. It’s about 9 hours later and he’s been fine throughout the whole day. Lemon balm is great fo upset tummies and is also calming. But maybe you don’t know that it’s anti-viral too and that the tea and essential oil of Lemon Balm, also known as Melissa Officinalis, is used to combat herpes virus.

Recipe for Strawberry, Lemon Balm, Peppermint sorbet:

  • You will need an Ice cream/sorbet machine
  • 1/2 cup of lemon balm leaves chopped up small.
  • 1/2 pint of strawberries
  • 1/8 cup of freshly chopped up peppermint leaves
  • 2 pitted dates
  • 1 tbsp of lemon juice
  • 1/2 d of water

Blend until smooth then add to ice cream/sorbet machine. The consistency ends up being more like shaved ice then sorbet, but either way, he loved it. I know each person is different and many folk want warm or hot liquids when they have a tummy upset, but in this case, this worked well because it’s summer, a hot day, and he wasn’t interested in tea. I would have just gone for the hot tea ;-)

Disclaimer: Of course this is what works for my kids, so if your children are sick, please do contact your practitioner first before trying anything on this blog. However, I always want to spread the wisdom I have.

Baby screaming for a kale smoothie: Infants can like green raw foods!

Just another reminder that an infant in the USA can like raw greens and ‘healthy’ foods. I say USA because most people in the USA claim that kids ‘naturally’ won’t like vegetables. Just get them started early. Eva Luna is 11 months old and sees me drinking green smoothies every morning. Generally, babies want to do what their parental figures and older siblings do. She screams for it if I can’t give it to her fast enough. She is my green baby. THE RECIPE IS BELOW BUT DO NOT GIVE YOUR BABY THE ENTIRE DRINK. I DRANK MOST OF IT.

This smoothie has:

  • 1.5 c chopped Dandelion greens
  • 1 c chopped Lacinato Kale
  • 1″ cube of Fresh Ginger
  • 1/8 c chopped Fresh red peppermint
  • 1 Pinkerton Avocado
  • 1 Pitted date
  • 1.5 tsp Spirulina
  • 1.5 tsp Sol Raiz Maca Root Powder
  • 1/4 c Raw Pumpkin Seeds
  • 25 oz water

Baby girl is a green smoothie addict!

Breeze’s Boob juice recipe: Breastfeeding on a vegan diet works!

Eva Luna is in the 99th percentile for her age for a 6 month old. Solely breastfed. The video reveals my “secret.”

  1. Raw hemp Protein 50% (30g/day) (Nutiva brand): https://store.nutiva.com/hemp-protein/
  2. Spirulina (Hawaiian by Pacifica):  http://www.amazon.com/Nutrex-Hawaiian-Spirulina-Pacifica-16-Ounce/dp/B0039ITKR4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1328314901&sr=8-1
  3. Maca Root 1 tsp (Sol Raiz Organics Brand): http://www.solraizorganics.com/
  4. Coconut Manna (Nutiva Brand):  https://store.nutiva.com/coconut-manna/
  5. 1-2 Avocados.
  6. Garden of Life Raw Protein  (17g scoop serving): http://www.amazon.com/Garden-Life-Organic-Protein-Gram/dp/B0031JK96C/ref=sr_1_1?s=hpc&ie=UTF8&qid=1328314955&sr=1-1
  7. Kale Smoothies: 4-5 Lacinato Kale leaves, fresh ginger , 1-2 pitted dates, avocado , water 20-25 oz (depends on how thick you want it); 1 lemon juiced,, spirulina 1-2 tsp
  8. Herbal tea: lemon balm, rooibos , nettles.
  9. Facebook Natural Parenting/Natural Family: http://www.facebook.com/groups/102982199801246/

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