My Published Article


Here is the link to my article published in Complex Child Magazine.

It is called “Living at Natalie’s Speed” … I wrote it as a reminder to myself, and to anyone else who needs it, that one of the positive aspects of our special needs family member is the necessity of slowing down.  I normally live at Mach 10, but with Natalie, life goes much slower, and I am actually happier that way.  Life is sweeter at a slower pace.

That being said, I just started a job today.  We’ll see how that mixes in!

Beets and Beet Greens


Beets seem like the funniest little vegetables.  In our culture, we don’t really consume them often, but they have some important nutrition, especially when raw!   Here are some facts I’ve found on the internet, specifically at a website called The World’s Healthiest Foods:

Beets belong to the chenopod family which has some unique health values not readily available in other foods. Chenopods include chard, spinach, and quinoa. Here are a couple things you want to know about beets:

  1. There is a special connection between their phytonutrients and our nervous system health
  2. In a recent lab study on human tumor cells, betanin pigments from beets have been shown to lessen tumor cell growth
  3. The longer you cook beets, the more they lose the betalains’ nutrient value
  4. The phytonutrients betanin and vulgaxanthin have both been shown to provide antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and detoxification support
  5. They are a wonderful source of folate
  6. Beet greens are incredibly rich in nutrients
According to the above-referenced website, beeturia (a reddening of the urine after consumption of beets) occurs in 10 – 15% of adults.  It is not considered harmful in and of itself, but it may be a possible indicator in one particular set of circumstances involving problems with iron metabolism. Individuals with iron deficiency, iron excess, or specific problems with iron metabolism are more likely to experience beeturia than individuals with healthy iron metabolism. So if you experience beeturia, it is worth following up with a healthcare professional to verify iron status.
Two more bits of info for you…
Beets do not need to be peeled… the peels contain lots of nutrients and can be scrubbed well before use.
One or two whole medium beets per week is enough to benefit from their rich nutritional value.

Don’t Use Raw Sprouts


In the efforts to feed healthy blended foods to our g-tube fed dependents, we are always looking for “super foods” that will optimize their nutrition and give them the best opportunity to be healthy, right?  Well, raw sprouts – alfalfa, bean, chia, etc. – are NOT a good idea, according to this article I read on Medscape.com:

“Hello, I am Dr. Raj Mody. I am an internal medicine and pediatric clinician and infectious disease epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). I am glad to have the opportunity to talk with you about sprouts, and the risks they pose to health, as part of the CDC Expert Video Commentary Series on Medscape. So-called sproutbreaks have occurred every year in the United States since at least 1995 and have taught us that sprouts are a risky food to eat. Sprouts were found to be the cause of a devastating outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli infections in Europe this summer. Ultimately, this outbreak caused more than 4000 illnesses, more than 900 cases of hemolytic uremic syndrome, and 50 deaths.

Why are sprouts a risky food, you might ask? Some people think of them as the ultimate healthy food — fresh and natural. In fact, raw sprouts can be anything but safe. Lessons from outbreaks have taught us that it is a good idea for people who want to lower their risk for foodborne infection to cook raw sprouts or avoid eating them raw.

Here is what we have learned:

Lesson 1: A sprouted seed is a perfect vehicle for pathogens.” 

To read more of this article and watch the video, go here.


AIR BUBBLES!!!


One of the advantages of feeding a child via g-tube for medical reasons is the ability to control their nutrition!  I’m certain that one of the reasons my daughter rarely falls prey to colds and flu is that her diet is so healthy!

In the process of working out the little “kinks” of tube feeding, air bubbles have been a recurring issue.  Since my last post on this matter, I’ve reviewed the ideas mentioned (I think) at Lucy’s Real Food.

As I’ve reduced the amount of meat in my recipes and used more oil and nuts, the benefits have been two fold:

  1. The blended meals are not so thick, which allows for easier feeding, and
  2. The blended meals are not so thick, which allows for more air bubble removal.

Someone mentioned somewhere that after fulling blending a meal for feeding, to remove air bubbles, slow the blender down to a speed of 2 or 1 for a minute or so and IT REALLY WORKS!  It didn’t work on thick formula, but it definitely works on thinner formula.

I use a Vitamix, which I love – it should last me at least 20 years and it works superbly!  After completing the blending process, I switch from high speed to variable speed and turn the dial down to 2.  I then set my kitchen timer for 1 minute.  When the timer goes off, I turn the dial down to 1 and set the kitchen timer for 1 minute. At this point a great quantity of the air bubbles have been removed!  What a great idea!

REMEMBER:  Vitamix Corp advises AGAINST blending at variable speed for more than 2 minutes as it can damage the blender.