Tag Archives: food

Nursing in public? Don’t mind if I do…

To cover or not?

I was on the plane after spending a few days in Arizona, dreading the return flight to New York. Our trip to Phoenix was one for the record books (read all the gory, puke-covered details here) and while I had done a ton of laundry once I got there, I failed to wash my nursing cover. A beautiful hand-made, hand-dyed nursing cover that I simply didn’t have time to hand-wash (weird, right?…. no time to wash something by hand with a baby around?).

Anyway, the cover reeked like it had been sitting in puke for four days so I didn’t even bother to bring it in my carry-on – I figured I would just use a blanket to cover up and make do. As the baby started getting hungry, I started setting up logistics in my head – I had to juggle a nursing pillow, blanket/cover, baby, and myself in the cramped airplane seat. It was already uncomfortable enough, and with the Arizona heat and poorly circulated airplane air, I was sweating and not looking forward to layering up just to feed the baby.

My thoughts turned to a few days prior at JFK when I saw a woman nursing her baby, sans cover, in the middle of the airport. If I was just a passer-by, I would never have even noticed. But I knew what she was doing, and I knew she was my people – a nursing, traveling mother who just wanted to get to her destination without anyone losing their shit. I thought if she could do it, why couldn’t I?

Want to know why nursing in public is such a big step for moms to take in our fair country? Because people react like total assholes, and the last thing a tired mom wants to do is deal with someone outside of her family giving her a hard time (is it not enough that she deals with pint-sized tyrants at home – must she deal with adult-sized idiots in public?). Look at the search results for “breastfeeding discrimination” or see how many women have “nurse-in protests”  for stupid shit like someone being asked to stop breastfeeding because she was “scaring children.”  These were news stories I never really paid attention to until they pertained to me directly – I began to wonder, as a breastfeeding mother, when I might be impacted by this type of discrimination – not if. It seems inevitable.

My rant beings

For whatever reason, we’ve gotten away from breastfeeding being the norm and it’s seen as the exception to the rule or something people do “in private.” It offends people, it makes people uncomfortable, boobs are “private” parts, the library is no places for nipples… and so on. But really, how could you justify taking offense at a mother feeding her child? It’s like, one of the most harmless, selfless acts EVER to share your nourishment with a baby. Amiright… or amiright? 

How often do people excuse themselves from an activity to go eat “in private”? Do they put blankets over their heads to eat a sandwich simply because it’s lunchtime? No, and no. So why would we expect these beautiful, tiny babies and their lactating mothers (who, quite honestly, have enough to worry about) to hightail it out of the room/restaurant/wherever when hunger strikes or literally take cover? (And before anyone jumps down my throat – I recognize that there are cultural/religious/personal views that require covering up in public. This post isn’t about that.)

I wish I knew what about breastfeeding makes normal people turn into awkward, bumbling fools because their totally unsupportive (and dare I say… selfish?) reactions to maybe seeing a nipple for 3 seconds can send a shy nursing mom into corners, under covers, and into closets. There are so many double standards going on it makes me sick. When someone gets all weird the second they see a mom expose 3 square inches of flesh to feed their baby, I hope they don’t think they’re fooling anyone into thinking they’re modest and really truly offended because in today’s day and age, I seriously doubt that they offered a blanket to cover up the scantily clad woman walking down the street, someone wearing a string bikini at the beach, the man without a shirt on playing basketball at the park, or had a hissy fit when an ad for Victoria’s Secret comes on during the commercial break of their favorite television show.

Guess what people? It’s a boob and there is nothing “scary” going on. It’s nothing sexual, or “adult,” or XXX happening. The 3-second flash of a nipple you might see if you’re looking close enough while baby latches is not going to blind you or cause any lasting damage. In fact, it’s probably going to calm the fussy, hungry baby and allow everyone to get on with whatever they were doing in the first place – shopping, taking public transportation, or enjoying the park.

But if this all isn’t sad enough, it breaks my heart that our society is so ass backward that we had to go and pass laws protecting nursing mothers – stating that they have the right to nurse their child in a place where they have the right to be. While I’m glad the laws are there – because people harass nursing mothers kind of a lot – I can’t help but think it’s pretty pathetic that breastfeeding is such a hot button issue that we spent money passing legislation to protect something that mammals have been doing since the dawn of time. Breastfeeding isn’t new. It’s not deviant. It’s not harmful. In fact, it’s healthy, normal, and natural.

How can we fix this? Do better next time!

OK, I’m done ranting. It’s time to figure out where we go from here. Maybe you’ve been a total ass to someone without even realizing it – whether it be gawking, offering a cover, leaving the room/business, or otherwise being a totally unsupportive human being/family member/friend. Maybe you thought you were making mom more comfortable by offering a cover – or whatever you did – but probably not. It’s time to do better next time.

Try this: act normal. Be yourself. Don’t turn into a bumbling idiot because ohmigod there’s a nip. Smile, make eye contact, continue your conversation, and for pete’s sake… don’t gawk. Bring that mom a glass of water or maybe a little snack because nursing is exhausting, and dehydrating, and literally sucks the nutrition out of her body for another human being (I told you it was selfless). At the same time, it’s also breathtaking, and beautiful, and amazing so let her know that, and let her know what a damn good job she is doing. Take the opportunity to teach your children, your husband, your friends that breastfeeding is how babies eat – just like kittens, puppies, and baby mammals of all kinds  – and there’s really nothing offensive or scary about a lactating human.

Basically, if I had to sum it up in a nutshell, I’d say: OFFER SUPPORT AND DON’T ACT LIKE AN ASSHOLE. It’s that easy, folks.

A Phoenix returns (oh please, I couldn’t help myself)

So I went for it on the plane – coverless. I popped my boob out of my shirt, latched the baby on, and much to my surprise, no one had a hissy fit or called the authorities (but I was ready to go all mama bear on them if I had to). It was pretty much a non-event; I switched sides, put myself back together, and the baby went right to sleep for during the red-eye back to JFK. And you know what? It felt AWESOME. I didn’t have to mess with the cover, neither of us started to overheat, and I didn’t feel like I was very publicly hiding something that I wasn’t ashamed of to begin with. We were both happier, and so were all of our seatmates on the plane. Since that moment, I’ve never looked back and nurse freely all over the place – restaurants, airports, parks, parties, while I’m walking the dog around the neighborhood, wherever. I can only hope that another mom will see me and think, “I can do that too.”

Because she can, and dammit, she should.

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The Blendtec!

One of my good friends from college started asking me questions not too long ago like, “Do you make smoothies?” and “Are you going to make your own baby food?” I didn’t think the questions were weird or out of the ordinary – he recently said he started eating a really healthy, clean diet so we chatted about food for a bit and mentioned that we should expect a package in the next few days. He told me to call when I got it so he could explain – how mysterious and exciting! He also said, being well informed about the serious case of baby brain* that I’ve been experiencing, “You’re probably going to get the package and forget that we had this conversation but just call me.”

(*Baby brain is real, people! I forget everything, lose my sunglasses every single day, misplace things that are right in front of my face, and put things away in really weird places. I have found that if I don’t write something down, it’s gone from my brain… maybe forever.)

Anyway, when a box arrived a few days later addressed to “Baby Broadbent Headquarters,” I was like, “OMG! What is this? What could it be?! Who sent it?!” I opened it up and saw that it was a Blendtec Total Blender, and my memory started working again. A-ha – it made sense, the questions about smoothies and baby food! I somehow remembered that I was supposed to call Mike and the first thing he said to me was:

ARE YOU BLENDING ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING YET? I bought a pound and a half of spinach the other day and it’s all GONE because I’ve BLENDED IT!

This is maybe one of my favorite things that he has ever said.

Now, if you don’t know anything about the Total Blender let me tell you: this thing is no regular blender; it is a beast. Check out Blendtec’s website called Will it Blend? If you don’t have time to watch any of the silly videos just know that the Blendtec CAN and WILL blend/pulverize/demolish things like an iPhone…. so that smoothie you want to make is total child’s play.

My first Blendtec experiment was hummus. It was also 9:00am on Superbowl Sunday but hey, I wanted to make sure we had some healthy eats for the evening – so I apologize to anyone in the neighborhood I disturbed. After reading through the recipe book, complete with tips on how to load this bad boy, I threw in the ingredients, hoped for the best, and hit the button. It was like magic… magical hummus in seconds!

hummus

Don’t mind the mess in the background. Hummus in the making!

Aside from being slightly afraid of the Blendtec at first, I’ve embraced its loud volume and let it do its thing when I’m using it. It truly makes our old blender look like a toy, and I can’t wait to start using this beast for baby food when the time comes! Until then, it’s healthy, yummy foods for mom and baby – one of my recent favorites (inspired by our hypnobirthing instructor, Muneeza) is a raw chocolate smoothie.

A big thank you to Mike and his fiancee Marissa for exposing us to the Blendtec!

blender-cropped

Raw cacoa, banana, coconut, flax seed smoothie before…

... and after!

… and after!

Coconut, Banana, Flax, and Raw Chocolate Smoothie

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons raw cacao powder
  • 1 banana, cut in half
  • 1 tbsp. coconut manna
  • 1 tbsp. coarsely ground flax seeds (with the Blendtec, I am not even grinding them beforehand – just throwing them in whole!)
  • 4-5 ice cubes

Directions

  1. Add ingredients to blender, liquids first. Blend and enjoy! 
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Cheesy Zucchini Bake

Quick post to share a new go-to recipe! I love zucchini… I love cheese…. so when I saw a pin for an “Easy Cheesy Zucchini Bake,” I was immediately sold. I modified the original recipe (which you can find in this post on www.kalynskitchen.com) by adding olive oil and I didn’t use basil. I think it really comes down to a matter of preference, including (or not including) EVOO or basil won’t make or break this dish. It’s a great side – I served it with baked chicken – and it held up alright overnight in the fridge.

Enjoy! And stay tuned for a couple new recipes that I plan on posting in the next couple of weeks that I discovered on a recent trip to Maine including a delicious black bean & corn salad and a scandalously decadent chocolate cake!

Cheesy zucchini bake!

Ingredients

  • 2 medium-sized zucchini, sliced
  • 2 medium-sized yellow squash, sliced
  • 2 T thinly sliced green onion
  • 1 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup + 1/2 cup low-fat Italian cheese mix
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.  Spray an 8″ x 8″ baking dish with non-stick spray.
  2. Combine zucchini and squash in large bowl with olive oil, green onion, thyme, garlic powder, and 1/2 cup of cheese. Mix until well-combined and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Pour into baking dish and bake for 25 minutes, or until zucchini is almost done.
  4. Remove from oven and add remaining cheese on top; return to oven for 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and zucchini cooked through.
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You are so totally what you eat

A recent RADIOLAB podcast called GUTS really got me thinking about food (as if I didn’t think about food enough already throughout the day…) but it helped me get beyond meal planning and really dig into what happens when you eat. I’m not a biology whiz, but I understand on very basic levels how the human body processes food. I know the types of foods I should embrace to reach my fitness goals, and the types of foods I should avoid. But, that’s about it. This podcast helped me take things to a higher level.

First, the RADIOLAB folks explored what goes on when your stomach digests food. Digestion is pretty basic, right? Your stomach uses what it needs from the food you eat and sends it around to different parts of the body – maybe muscles need to recover, bones need to mend, etc. But, the podcast got me thinking that in a very strange way that any given meal essentially morphs into the being who ate it. It becomes an inseparable part of the body – fueling cells and bodily functions – rather than just being the input and output of a system. This gives a new perspective on the old adage that you are what you eat.

Perhaps the most interesting terrifying part of the podcast was when a researcher, John Cryan, spoke about the thousands of species of bacteria that are alive and well in your body. You’re never alone. There is a whole world of little creatures hanging out in your gut at any given moment, and you better hope they are in balance otherwise you might experience the stomach virus from hell. But, I digress…

Cryan also spoke about some interesting experiments on mice that look at how the presence of different types of lactobacillus bacteria (same stuff in yogurt, cheese, and more) in their guts impacted their personalities and how they react to stress. Turns out, the mice have a direct link – the largest nerve in their body – between the stomach and brain. When the nerve is intact, and the lactobacillus is present, it seems that a message goes from the gut to the brain for the mice to remain calm. Sever that nerve, and the mice react with panic. Then, Jonah Lehrer, a frequent RADIOLAB contributor, came on to say that a similar experiment was done with humans: participants who ingested high levels of probiotics exhibited biological reactions similar to taking anti-anxiety meds. 

From my (non-scientific) everyday observations, it’s pretty clear to me that when I eat well, I feel good. When I don’t, not only does my body feel terrible, but I also feel an emotional impact as well. I’m sure part of it is psychological – that immediate guilt of eating something unhealthy, how it wouldn’t be so hard to have eaten a piece of fruit instead of a cookie – but it makes sense that biological reactions to the ingredients in food could compound these emotions. That’s even more reason for me to steer clear of the bad stuff – and I certainly don’t want to upset the crazy microorganisms that keep my body in balance.

There is no way that this summary has done the podcast justice so click here to listen to the GUTS episode and let me know what you think!

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Zucchini Lasagna

I love lasagna! I especially love cleaned-up takes on the tradtionally high-cal favorite. My friend Alyson passed along this zucchini lasagna recipe and I couldn’t wait to try it. I was also pretty excited to make use of another wedding gift, a mandolin slicer, to prep the zucchini.
 
I should mention here that I have a tendancy to trip, stumble, and klutz my way through each day and I was a bit worried about facing the mandolin. After sizing it up, I felt pretty confident and preemptively told myself, “You can even blog about how you mastered this new kitchen tool, accident-free!” 
 
Cut to 10 minutes later when my hand slipped, the safety fell off, and I sliced through my fingertip. Cooper jumped up to my rescue, barking in response to my reactions but there wasn’t much he could do for me. These types of things tend to happen when Chris, a firefighter and EMT, is at work (helping people who’ve had accidents… like myself). I needed his professional opinion so we had a Facetime call (thank goodness for the iPhone!) and he concluded that I was going to be just fine. At his suggestion, I got some gauze, sat down, and took a break.
 
Soon enough, I got back up and running with my newly bandaged finger. I adapted this recipe a bit on the fly, adding chopped spinach in the cottage cheese mixture for an added health boost. Tip: to prevent a soupy lasagna, dry out the zucchini before baking by salting them and waiting for 10 minutes. You will see the moisture “sweat” out. Once you soak up the extra water, you’re good to go!

Zucchini Lasagna

Zucchini Lasagna

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 medium zucchini, sliced into ¼” thick pieces
  • 10 oz. ground chicken
  • 1 24 oz. jar of low-fat, low-sodium tomato sauce
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups low-fat, low-sodium cottage cheese
  • 1 tsp. whole wheat flour
  • 1 package of chopped spinach, thawed and drained
  • ½ cup finely shredded 2%, low-sodium mozzarella cheese

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. In a large frying pan or dutch oven, saute onion and garlic in olive oil over medium heat until tender.
  3. Add tomato sauce and ground meat, and bring all ingredients to consistent heat for 10 minutes (or until browned). Season with salt & pepper, to taste. Remove from heat.

  4. While meat sauce is cooking, salt the zucchini to remove excess moisture. Soak up excess beads of moisture after 10 minutes.

    Salted zucchini "sweating" out beads of mositure

  5. In a small bowl, slightly beat the egg. Stir in cottage cheese, flour, spinach, and ¼ cup mozzarella cheese.
  6. Pour ½ tomato sauce into a 13×9 baking dish. Top with a layer of zucchini slices, followed by a layer of cottage cheese mixture.
  7. Cover with the remaining tomato sauce and top with zucchini.
  8. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes.

  9. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese and bake 10 minutes longer.
  10. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

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Party Spread Defense

No matter what the occasion, I get a little anxious when I go to a party without knowing what kind of food I’ll find in the party spread. I hate eating for the sake of being polite, especially when it’s something outside of my diet, but also don’t want to offend my family or friends by passing on something that they prepared. With the Superbowl coming up, that means lots of tempting party spreads, so I thought I’d share some defense tips from my own game plan and recipes to help keep your Superbowl experience clean and lean: buffalo chicken chili and Greek yogurt veggie dip!
  1. Contribute a clean, healthy dish. Not only will contributing a dish mean less work for the host, but it also helps assuage some of my anxiety since I know that there will be at least one thing I will eat without guilt. 
  2. Extra Workouts. It’s hard to say no to everything, so throwing an extra workout into the mix helps me offset some of the calories and makes me feel a little better about sneaking a couple extra pigs-in-a-blanket (which can pack a whopping 70 calories and 5g of fat in ONE BITE!).
  3. Sharing My Goals. When I’m vocal about my health and fitness goals and tell family and friends how hard I’ve been working, it helps to keep my health top of mind (and politely lets them know that I won’t be upset if I miss all the cheesy dip).
  4. Pre-Eating. Going to a party on an empty stomach is more dangerous for me than going grocery shopping hungry. I try to fill up on clean standards like veggies and grilled chicken or an egg white omelette  before I leave the house.

Enjoy the recipes below!

Buffalo Chicken Chili

Chicken wings are one of my biggest weaknesses in life. To me, the best ones are the least healthy: fried, covered in blue cheese, and served with a beer. Since beginning my clean eating journey, I’ve been on a mission to find a suitable alternative to the bar menu standard and I think I’ve found it in this buffalo chicken chili – it’s easy, healthy, AND delicious.

Topped with greek yogurt and voila - a lean, healthy, hearty chili!

Ingredients
1 T. olive oil
2 lbs. ground chicken breast
3 large carrots, peeled and finely chopped
1 large onion, chopped
4 ribs celery, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 T. paprika
1 bay leaf
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
1/2 cup hot sauce
15 oz. tomato sauce (no salt added)
15 oz. diced, fire roasted, crushed or stewed tomatoes (no salt added)
Greek yogurt
 
Directions
  1. Heat the oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook, breaking it up, until no longer pink.
  2. Add the carrots, onion, celery, garlic, paprika, bay leaf, and salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until vegetables are soft.
  3. Add the chicken stock, hot sauce, tomato sauce, and diced tomatoes.
  4. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes (or longer).
  5. Remove bay leaf and serve.
  6. Top each serving with Greek yogurt to give your dish a protein boost.

Many thanks to The Well-Fed Newlyweds blog, where I originally found the chili recipe via Pintrest.

Greek Yogurt Veggie Dip

Ingredients
12 oz. plain Greek yogurt
Low-sodium onion dip mix (I recommend Goodman’s)

Directions

  1. Mix together Greek yogurt and a couple pinches of onion dip mix.

That’s it. No, seriously… you don’t have to do anything else. A little bit of dip mix will go a long way – if you want to ramp up the flavor, add more mix a little at a time so you don’t overdo it.

Happy cooking and… go team!

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