Mihai, my second baby, had no gas in the first three months of his life because I drank almond milk instead of cow milk. I thought it was a rule for babies to have gas or colics.
I was raised with cow and goat milk as all of my friends. Mother always told me if I ate a bowl of milk for breakfast, my bones will be strong and I'll grow tall.
I also grew with almond trees in my grandparents yard, not far from my house, but, until a couple of years ago, it never occurred to me you can make almond milk.
Fortunately for me, I had no lactose intolerance. I don't know what my mother would do if I couldn't drink milk. We had a cow and a couple of goats back then. Almond milk is an excellent replacement for those who have lactase deficiency.
Almonds are also rich in vitamins and minerals, so almond milk doesn't need to be fortified. They contain vitamin E, manganese, selenium, magnesium, potassium, zinc, iron, fiber, phosphorous and calcium.
When I breastfeed my first daughter, Roxana, I knew I needed more calcium, both for me and for my baby. The only food with calcium I knew was milk, so I drank milk and ate yogurt regularly.
Unfortunately at about 5-6 months old, Roxana's pediatrician told me that she didn't gain enough weight and also her legs didn't have enough strength. She recommended to switch to formula because my milk wasn't nutritious enough. As for the bones, she prescribed injectable D3 vitamin. D3 is needed for better calcium absorption.
Later, after a couple of years, I found that cow milk is quite controversial. It is connected to allergies, juvenile acne, auto-immune diseases, breast cancer and ovary cancer. Marius also has respiratory issues and stopped drinking milk and yogurt because we found dairy produce mucus.
This was the end of my first experience with breastfeeding and calcium from cow's milk.
After a couple of years, Marius tried his first vegan recipe: almond milk. My parents picked the almonds themselves, from the same almond trees from my childhood. I found the milk quite delicious. Roxana rejected it every time, even tough Marius tried to trick her into believing it was regular milk. He even added honey, carob and cinnamon to make "cocoa" milk, but she felt immediately it wasn't the real thing.
We alternate it with sesame milk. Both recipes are the same:
- Soak a hand of almonds or 3 tablespoons of sesame in water for a couple of hours or overnight.
- The next day, strain the seeds and put them in the blender.
- Add a cup of water and power the blender for 1-2 minutes.
- Add 2 more cups of water, honey or figs.
If you like the milk without the hulls, you can power the blender now for a couple of seconds, and then strain the milk through a cheese cloth or you can buy a special bag. Marius recycled a leg from one of my stockings (he washed it thoroughly).
At this point you can drink the milk as is, or you can put it back in the blender and add bananas, cinnamon and carob (a healthier cocoa replacement for children).
We drink the milk with the hulls. They don't seem so odd after you get used to them. Moreover, a great part of the calcium is in the hulls.
As it turns out, 100 g of almond contain 250 mg of calcium, almost as a cup of milk. At the same time, only 30 g of sesame contain 280 g of calcium, the equivalent of a cup of milk.
Vegetable milk is healthy, provided you have a reliable source for raw organic almonds and sesame seeds. It doesn't contain growth hormones, antibiotics as cow milk does these days.
We get raw almonds from my parents' garden. It is important to use raw almonds because they have all the nutrients intact. The pasteurized almonds are dead and have little nutritious value. I read in one of Steve Pavlina's posts that all almonds grown in USA are pasteurized, even tough they are being labeled as raw.
When I was breastfeeding Roxana, one of the primary questions was what I could eat and what I couldn't. Some foods I liked or herbal remedies I used could stop lactation or give the baby colic.
This year, I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy, Mihai, and I worried about my diet again. I searched healthy foods to stimulate lactation when I discovered something I didn't knew about almond milk and sesame milk.
Besides being good for grownups, almond milk also stimulates lactation and has a couple of important "good" side-effects for the breastfeed baby. He might get rid of colic, belly swelling and farts.
Some mothers reported that their babies have colic after they (the mothers) drink milk. When I replaced regular UHT milk with almond milk or sesame milk I thought twice about losing an important source of calcium. There is not need to worry because almonds and sesame contain plenty of calcium and it is absorbed in greater amount because they contain vitamin D.
After I arrived home with Mihai, my husband made me vegetable milk and muesli or just almond milk with carob, cinnamon and figs or honey for breakfast. After 2-3 weeks, the baby seemed pretty quiet.
Mihai had no gas because I drank almond milk instead of cow milk. I thought it was a rule for babies to have gas.
After the first month I went to my parents in the country. We had 3 goats, so naturally I drank goat's milk. Mihai started farting immediately. So it was not just a coincidence.
Nuts in general have an incalculable benefit in maintaining heart health and therefore we need to give them the attention they deserve.
Remember the story of how FDA forced a company that sold walnuts to delete the claim "nuts are good for your health" from their website? They did so in spite scientific evidence and seem to think only drugs are good for your health.
Almonds are high in calcium and magnesium, vitamin E and antioxidants, with capability to fight cancer.
Only 12 almonds per day lower cholesterol visible.
Remember that, in addition to protein and important minerals like magnesium, phosphorus and zinc, we get a superb serving of calcium. 20 almonds / day are equivalent to a quarter cup of milk.
* Making almond milk is a bit inconvenient because you need to soak the almonds for a couple of hours or overnight. After that it takes about 10 minutes to prepare the milk and wash the blender.
This is why I put Marius in charge of making the milk every morning :) It's a really simple recipe and Marius feels "fulfilled" every day because he makes us breakfast.
* You can store the milk up to 24 hours in the refrigerator.
* 1 liter of sesame milk costs the same as 1 liter of fresh cow milk.
* 1 liter of almond milk costs the same as 1 liter of UHT milk from an expensive brand.
The benefits of vegetable milk for the breastfed baby were a pleasant surprise. I don't forget that they are a bonus to other more known benefits like the energy they gave you, or reducing cellulite, and recover the figure after birth.
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