Book Review: Real Food for Mother and Baby

The other night we were visiting with relatives and one of the other guests brought a dessert along. As she was raving about how healthy it was I was burning up inside! Why? Because she thought she had made the dessert better for us by making it with low-fat, sugar-free, imitation food products. It absolutely drives me crazy how pervasive the myth is that FAT is bad for you! I’ve been seriously thinking about hand-painting a sign in our kitchen that reads, “Viva la fat” but my husband apparently doesn’t think it’s as brilliant as I do.

With all of the low-fat propaganda going around I find it refreshing whenever I find a book that shines the spotlight on the truth… that stands up for good fats like butter, coconut oil and lard and says “no-way” to margarine, refined vegetable oils and “new-fangled fats” (as Sally Fallon calls them). I’ve recently read two books that do just that. “Eat Fat, Lose Fat” by Dr. Mary Enig and Sally Fallon is one of them and the second is, “Real Food for Mother and Baby” by Nina Planck.

image Nina conveys important nutritional concepts in a conversational style that makes it easy to read. While I still love “Nourishing Traditions” by Sally Fallon it can tend to sound more like a textbook than Nina’s book. She’s also written “Real Food: What to eat and why” but I haven’t had a chance to read it yet. In “Real Food for Mother and Baby” she not only lays the foundation for sound nutrition but she gives important information relating to fertility and what to feed infants. What we eat BEFORE pregnancy has a profound affect on the health of our future babies. So many health problems that arise during pregnancy and birth can be prevented with good nutrition coupled with an active lifestyle. So, even if you’re only thinking about getting pregnant get this book before you try to conceive!

As far as baby’s first foods there is a lot of misinformation being propagated by medical professionals. My understanding is that doctors and nurses receive very little training in nutrition. In fact, our own family doctor (who knows I pursue alternative health) asked me what I had found were the best first foods for my youngest daughter. She voluntarily admitted that “we (medical professionals) really don’t have much information about that.” Nina clears that all up and gives evidence-based advice on what is best for baby to eat. This is one of those books that I wish I could give every couple planning on raising a family.

Vaccine Safety Manual

image Vaccines… are they good or bad? That’s an issue we hear debated a lot but it can be hard to get any concrete info on it. There are so many books out there on the subject and everyone seems to have their opinion. Since having another daughter my husband and I were forced to make a decision about the issue. After reading several books and websites I was leaning one way but wasn’t totally SURE about it. This all changed when I read the “Vaccine Safety Manual for Concerned Families and Health Practitioners” by Neil Z. Miller.

This book is FULL of research and statistics on vaccines. It describes each disease and how dangerous it is, explains the vaccines used and their effectiveness and gives the history of how the disease has been treated through time. This is absolutely the BEST book I have read on the issue of vaccines! It supplied all the information I was looking for and enabled me to make a well informed decision that I can feel confident about. I absolutely recommend this book to EVERY parent! This is a must read that you can’t afford to miss!

Book Review: The Little House

image Here is an excellent, classic book for both children and adults. Virginia Lee Burton tells the story of a cute little house who lives out in the country and is quite happy there. As the story goes, the city is built closer and closer to the little house until it is completely surrounded and falls into disrepair. The sad little house longs to be lived in again and ends up being rescued. This book is well written and the pictures engaging. I love how it portrays the different seasons and shows how the landscape changes with “progress.” Despite having read this story to my daughter several times I still tear up at the end. It’s just that good!

Book Review: Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child

image Getting your baby into a healthy sleeping pattern is important not only for your sanity and rest but for the health of your baby as well. Studies have shown a strong correlation between the quality & quantity of sleep that children get and their ability to learn and adapt. In his book, “Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child” Doctor Marc Weissbluth gives us guidelines in helping our children to get the right kind of sleep. It is well known that poor sleep makes children irritable but he goes further and shows how it can actually lead to labels like ADD and hyperactivity. He explains that while children may have hereditary blocks to sleeping well, parents can have a huge impact in helping our children sleep properly. He first gives us a picture of what healthy sleep and healthy awake time looks like and then gives guidelines for establishing healthy sleep at each stage of a child’s development from infancy to adolescence. While he focuses on prevention of sleep problems, he also gives an age-appropriate action plan for correcting them. For families with two careers, multiples or other obstacles to establishing good sleeping routines he gives practical tips to help.

This book is full of helpful information. With that being said, I will say that not all of his recommendations work. According to his book my daughter should have been sleeping through the night at 9 months old. It wasn’t until she was 13 months old though before that became a reality. Until this happened my daughter would wake up a couple times a night and was obviously very hungry. She definitely has a fast metabolism and I think that contributed to it. She would go to sleep right after eating even if she wasn’t asleep when I laid her down. My recommendation is to take the info in the book and combine it with your parental instincts to create the best situation for your child.

While he does mention SIDS, he doesn’t explain what causes it. I would recommend reading my earlier article on that, ”SIDS Prevention.”

Book Review: I Love Dirt

imageMost of us (adults as well as children) don’t spend the time outdoors that our ancestors did in the past. Because of this we’ve grown rather disconnected from the wonders of nature. Research has demonstrated how beneficial being outdoors is for children’s mental & emotional well-being and yet we may still neglect this part of our lives.
Jennifer Ward has put together a marvelous little book that gives all sorts of creative ways to interact with and explore our environment. Most of her suggestions are simply ways to open our eyes to the details around us. She alerts us to things we may not have noticed before. I know I especially need this. I want to spend time outdoors with my daughter but I oftentimes don’t know what I should be doing out there with her. After reading her book I now have lots of options! Most of her ideas do not require any special equipment other than the five senses. While reading, several art/craft projects did come to my mind that would compliment nicely the activities she mentions. I appreciate how the book is organized by the seasons, so you can just turn to the section that applies to you at the time. In my efforts to live a more simple yet deep life, this book will be most helpful. I plan on purchasing this as one of my primary resources for Emma’s home-school Kindergarten this year. 

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