• 12 Recipes for Using Canned Tuna to Get Those Omega-3s

    As a breastfeeding mama, I try to keep an eye on my diet as best as possible. I try to limit caffeine, cut down on sugar, eat lots of fruits and vegetables because I know that whatever I eat, my son will receive. Fish contains vital nutrients such as Omega-3 fatty acids, proteins, vitamins and minerals such as iron. Those nutrients help to foster healthy development. The 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that women who are pregnant or nursing eat 8 to 12 ounces a week of a variety of low-mercury seafood.

    Tuna is higher in Omega-3s and nutrients that most other fish, but the FDA advises no more than 6 ounces of canned albacore (“white” tuna) a week due to mercury concerns (canned light tuna is okay though). The American Pregnancy Associate recommends the “Safe Catch” brand of tuna as the company undergoes rigorous testing – they screen each wild tuna for their mercury levels.

    I never had canned tuna growing up. To be honest, before I started breastfeeding, the most exposure I had to canned tuna was when my mom would buy it as a treat for the cats. Living on the coast and being the granddaughter of a fisherman, our seafood was always freshly caught and prepared. Spoiled, I know. But I’ve learned to enjoy canned tuna over the past few months.

    Another company that I use on a regular basis for my salmon and tuna is Vital Choice. They preserve the freshness of their sustainable harvested Alaskan salmon and northwest Pacific seafood by cleaning and flash-freezing it within hours of harvest. The fisheries are certified sustainable by either MSC or the State of Alaska. Vital Choice is also a “B Corp” meaning that they have to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. Use this link and enter “LEANCHOICE” at checkout for 10% off your order!

    If you’re looking for recipe inspiration on using canned tuna, you are in luck! I’ve compiled 12 ways to use canned tuna below from some of my favorite bloggers.

    Ashley over at Big Flavors from a Tiny Kitchen has a super simple TABLET Sandwich (Tuna, Avocado, Bacon, Lettuce, Egg, Tomato) that she says even her 6 year old enjoys!

    Looking for a healthy, gluten free dinner recipe? Check out Sharon’s Roasted Zucchini Tuna Melts at The Honour System.

    As a mom of three young children, I know that Samantha of My Kitchen Love understands the need for a quick meal. Her Sustainably Caught – Spicy Tuna Tostadas are a fresh way to use canned tuna.

    Denise of My Life Cookbook has an amazing and vibrant Low Carb Tuna Spring Roll Salad that is a great way to fit a rainbow of foods in your diet.

    I fell in love with Amy’s Tuna and Potato Cakes. She runs Healthy Little Foodies and so many of her recipes are perfect for baby-led weaning but the whole-family can enjoy them as well.

    Artichokes are rich in antioxidants which assist in detoxifying the body and helps to aid constipation and indigestion. I love artichokes but rarely include them in my diet. Patty at The PKP Way has a great way to use canned tuna and artichokes! Check out her Tuna Stuffed Grilled Artichokes.

    Craving something with a bit of spice? Jenny at Honey and Birch has a recipe for Jalapeno Tuna Stuffed Tomatoes that is simple to make!

    Kalyn at Kalyn’s Kitchen has a Tomato Salad with Avocado, Tuna, Cilantro and Lime that is dairy-free, gluten-free, low-glycemic, Paleo, Whole 30, and South Beach Diet friendly (whew)!

    I love Mediterranean flavors. Heidy at McCallum’s Shamrock Patch recently shared a Tuna and Orzo Salad that is packed with great ingredients!

    Linda and Christina are a mother and daughter team that run 2 Cookin’ Mamas. They posted a Easy Hot Tuna Dip that would be a perfect recipe when you are looking for something creamy, cheesy, and a little naughty.

    This recipe roundup wouldn’t get complete with a recipe for a tuna burger or a tuna noodle casserole, now would it?

    Patti from Hearth & Vine has a Tuna Noodle Casserole recipe that is made with a homemade sauce!

    Also, make sure you check out Rosemary at An Italian in my Kitchen’s recipe for Healthy Delicious Best Ever Tuna Burgers.

    So let’s say that you don’t like fish or are vegan. Sources of omega-3 fatty acids for vegans include:

    • flaxseed oil
    • rapeseed oil
    • soya oil and soya-based foods (like tofu)
    • WALNUTS (my personal favorite)

    What is your favorite way to get those omega-3s?

  • The Benefits of Using Flower Essences

    Have you ever heard of using flower remedies/essences to help restore the balance between the mind and body?

    Probably not. From the research that I’ve done, the use seems to be a bit more commonplace in other countries rather than here in the United States. But you may have heard of Rescue Remedy which has been touted by the likes of Dr. Oz, Martha Stewart, and Emma Watson.

    Rescue Remedy was developed by Dr. Edward Bach, an English doctor living at the turn of the century who developed an interest in homeopathy and flower remedies. It includes a mixture of flower essences that are ingested to help us relax and become focused.

    Dr. Bach believed that disease was an end product, the physical manifestation of unhappiness, fear, worry, etc. He turned to nature to find healing flowers and began to infuse the wild flowers in spring water (preserving the mixture with brandy or glycerin). Dr. Bach felt that the vibrational nature of the flower would be transmitted to the user and that each flower has its own separate, and beneficial, characteristics.

    I first discovered Rescue Remedy when I was looking for natural solutions to calm my highly anxious dog. Since then I’ve branched out into making my own personal blends using individual essences to suit my needs.

    My favorite blend is one that I created to help improve my sleep.

    It contains:

    • Agrimony – Agrimony is for those who let anxiety and worry get to them.
    • Oak – Oak is a good essence for those who feel over-work or those that tend to focus on their work when they are trying to get to sleep.
    • White Chestnut – Dr. Bach said that white chestnut is for “those who cannot prevent thoughts, ideas, arguments which they do not desire from entering their minds”.

    Other common blends include ones to help with feelings of anxiety or when things just don’t seem rightThis can be due to feelings of low self-worth (due to maybe a breakup or something), a lack of ambition, or indecision. To get the real benefit of flower essences, you have to introduce them into your day-to-day routine.

    Flower essences are not essential oils. I personally like to use both (in varying ways) in my life. Flower essences are more subtle and gentle, with no scent and you can use them as much as you need to. They can either be added to a glass of water (or other beverage) or a few drops placed directly under the tongue.

    Please contact me if you are interested in having a custom blend created just for you!

  • My C-Section Story

    This past December, I gave birth to my first child – a hefty little boy weighing 9.9 pounds.  He was a breech baby and even though my doctor gave us a few different options, he encouraged us to go with a c-section.

    We did.

    Up until that doctor’s appointment (at about 37 weeks) when we found out that Caleb was a breech baby, I had had what could be considered the world’s easiest pregnancy. Minimal weight gain (20 pounds), no real morning sickness (just a few bleehs and general nausea), no mood swings, no cravings. I did have horrible heartburn at night and bouts of restless legs, but that was it. I took every test under the sun – preclampsia to the 3-hour gestational diabetes test.

    But for some reason, Caleb seemed to have gotten himself stuck. My placenta was a bit funny in its placement and I believe even now that that, combined with my small size (and his big size), kept him from turning.

    Week 36 – The week we found out Caleb may have been breeched. It was confirmed the next week.

    The decision was ultimately left to me as my boyfriend said that since it was my body, it should be my choice. I went back on forth on my decision. Initially, I wanted a home birth (which was vetoed by my loved ones I admit). Relenting, I had planned on giving birth in the hospital without medication. I wanted to spend my last weeks before birth eating dates and drinking raspberry leaf tea. I knew that my body could handle it, that I had been made to give birth. But it wasn’t to be. Understandably, I felt like a bit of a failure at first. But then I realized that how I gave birth didn’t matter – all that mattered was delivering Caleb the safest way for the both of us. Laboring for 24-36 hours and having to have an emergency c-section just didn’t mesh with me. Once I made my decision, I found a sense of peace.

    2 1/2 days before my scheduled due-date (after a HUGE breakfast), I started not feeling well. Something was happening within my body, something that turned out to be contractions. 2 days before my scheduled due-date, my boyfriend and I toured the facility that was to be our daycare. I got a haircut that day but I couldn’t sleep that night. Things were becoming uncomfortable. The morning before my scheduled due-date, my boyfriend took me to the hospital to have pre-surgery blood work done. I found the contractions had become painful and were coming more regularly but I thought I could just distract myself until my c-section. Against his better judgement, my boyfriend dropped me back off after my blood work and went to work. When he called two hours later, I was in serious pain and under the direction of my doctor, we rushed to the hospital.

    We arrived to the hospital by 11:30 am and at 1:32 pm, we heard our son’s first cry. That is how quickly everything went. There was no time to panic, no time to worry. I could only be present in that moment. The whole time I was pregnant, I knew that should Caleb be born on December 5th and he agreed. He didn’t want to wait until the next day.

    I’m glad that I had a c-section but I hope that the next time (if there is a next time), I’m able to delivery naturally. There is no right or wrong way to give birth though. Giving birth is tough no matter how you do it! Women everywhere should give themselves a pat on the back. They’ve nurtured this creature, this human, and have brought something special and unique into this world. It’s not easy.

    For a more in-depth version of Caleb’s birth story, head over to my personal blog. You can also scroll through my ‘Pregnancy‘ tag for a look into how my first pregnancy went.

  • What is a Postpartum Doula?

    One of the questions that I get asked most often is ‘What does a postpartum doula do?’. A postpartum doula is a trained professional helps out a family when they bring home their newborn. It is as simple as that. We “mother the mother” and help the family as they transition into this new life.

    It’s often said that it takes a village to raise a child and I believe that. It’s hard to go at it alone but so often in today’s society, we are seen as weak if we ask for assistance. It used to be commonplace that everyone would rally around the new mom and baby, helping her out when needed and providing her with most mental and physical support. I say we go back to that. A society where we are truly there for one another. It’s why I became a doula in the first place.

    Every doula may offer something different so it is important to find the best postpartum doula to fit your needs. We typically help out the family for a few days after they arrive home to a few weeks, coming several times a week.

    Some of the duties that a postpartum doula will perform include:

    • Breastfeeding encouragement
    • Help with the emotional and physical recovery after birth
    • Light housekeeping (laundry, sweeping, dishes)
    • Running errands
    • Assistance with newborn care such as diapering, bathing, feeding and comforting
    • Light meal preparation
    • Baby soothing techniques
    • Sibling care
    • Referrals to local resources such as parenting classes, pediatricians, lactation support and support groups
  • DIY Elderberry Oxymel [for Colds]

    The crud has hit our home. Robb and I have both been battling a cold the past few days and with Caleb only 4 months old, we’ve been careful to try not to spread it to him. Thankfully I’ve read that breastmilk contains protective antibodies to help Caleb’s immune system fight off infection and illness. He seems to be good right now but I’ve been keeping a close eye on his health.

    Cold’s suck. I’ve never liked taking medicine to begin with but now I have to take extra precautions while breastfeeding. I’ve always preferred time, rest, and a good dose of Vitamin C. Elderberries are a great source of Vitamin C (as well as being said to have anti-inflammatory, antiviral, anti-influenza, and anticancer properties) and while I usually create a hot tea with the dried berries and a bit of honey, I also like to transform the berries into an oxymel for easy consumption.

    A oxymel is basically a syrup with apple cider vinegar added to give it a sweet and sour taste. This is definitely an acquired taste. I actually like it, it is very reminiscent to a shrub. When I’m starting to feel a bit under the weather, I take about a tablespoon full every 4 or 5 hours. For Robb, I mixed a bit of the oxymel with some tonic water – though I admit, he did not like it one bit. I highly recommend stocking up on dried elderberries BEFORE cold and flu season arrives as they become harder to find and a lot of shops sell out. This recipe also needs to sit for a few weeks so make it early on during cold and flu season to make sure that you have it on hand. Once it’s prepared, it’ll last for about 6 months in the refrigerator.

    I’ve also been taking Zarbee’s Naturals Baby Cough Syrup + Mucus. Since it’s safe for infants 2+ months, I figured that it would be safe for me to consume. It has a delicious grape flavor and helps to clear mucus and soothe irritated throats. There are no artificial flavors/sweeteners/drugs/alcohol/dyes, only organic agave syrup, English ivy leaf extract and a few other items.

    Elderberry Oxymel

    • Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
    • Dried Elderberries
    • Raw Local Honey

    Fill a quart or pint sized mason jar 1/3 full with your dried elderberries.

    Add an equal amount of honey and apple cider vinegar. Stir well and cover with a plastic lid (the vinegar will cause a metal lid to corrode).

    Let this mixture sit for about 4 weeks, shaking the jar a few times a week. When it’s done, strain it through cheesecloth, taking care to squeeze the cheesecloth to get out any extra bits of liquid.

    I like to store my finished oxymel in a glass amber bottle but you can use any container. It’ll last for about 6 months in the fridge.

    Now that I’m over this cold… it’s time to prepare for allergy season~…