Broth for Vegetarians – Iron Drops for Infant? – Travel Vaccines for Baby – Coconut Oil Unsafe? – Holistic Treatment for IBS
My inbox runneth over with questions from readers wondering – What would Emily do – about Real food and holistic health topics. I’ve created this Q&A to get your questions answered and for other folks to benefit from the answers too.
Who am I to know the answers to your questions?
I’m a holistic-minded mom, a sometimes beach bum, a real food foodie, a curious health researcher, and I’ve been practicing holistic and Chinese medicine for over a decade. That said, the answers here are only my opinion, and shouldn’t be construed as medical advice.
If you read something here and have your own wisdom or opinion to add, by all means, please leave a comment so we can all benefit from your experiences and perspective.
Okey dokey! Let’s dive in…
Do you have any advice about how to create a nutrient-rich broth for vegetarians? We are not vegan, we eat milk and eggs.
Hi Amber. Vegetable broth can't provide nutrients on par with broth made from animal bones since the gelatin and glycosaminoglycans can not be derived from plant sources. You can certainly make a mineral rich vegetable broth using scraps of onion, carrot, celery, potato and other mild flavored vegetables. As for flavor, mushrooms – especially dried porcinis – add a delicious richness to any broth or sauce.
Katie wants to know…
Our pediatrician prescribed iron drops for my 6 month year old since I am not going the fortified-iron rice cereal route for my exclusively breast fed baby. So far she has just had bone broth, liked it very much, other than breast milk. I am wondering if there are any concerns with the drops that I might want to be aware of?
First of all, there is no reason to supplement your baby with iron unless a blood test shows low hemoglobin levels.
The iron in breastmilk is better absorbed than that from other sources, but even for breastfed babies, as they reach the six month mark, their solid foods diet should include foods naturally rich in iron and vitamin C (to aid absorption). The high lactose levels in breastmilk will also help with iron absorption.
For both of my kids, I grated raw beef liver over their egg yolks and they ate them happily. Other iron rich foods include black strap mollasses, tahini, and dark leafy greens (which can be lightly steamed and pureed).
I just had a baby May 31st. It was a very peaceful home water birth. We are going to Ireland the beginning of August for 12 days and taking our baby. She will be 2 months old then. My question is, what do you recommend for vaccinating or protecting against international viruses and bacteria? I really don't want to vaccinate. I don't think we need it when we are at home BUT we are traveling internationally. I'm really torn on what to do! Any suggestions are welcome.
Hi Kara. I understand your concerns. It's important to spend some time researching so that you feel empowered about your decisions either way. I recommend The Vaccine Guide for an in depth look at your options.
Many vaccines, including DTaP (diptheria, tetanus, and pertussis) need to be given several times to prevent lasting protection, so they will not be of any benefit to your daughter for this trip.
Personally, I would focus instead on making sure my child and anyone she comes in contact with is as healthy as possible. A probiotic supplement and homeopathic remedies are appropriate for a baby of your daughter's age. Adults can take a greater array of supplements to make sure they are healthy and not a risk to your little one. You can read more about how to stock your holistic travel remedy kit in this post.
Hi from Canada! There have been a ton of rumors and new studies done on how coconut oil is now considered “unsafe” to cook, bake, and use as moisturizer. Any thoughts or concerns you have, Emily?
Hi Amanda. Any negative information I've read about coconut oil has been unfounded, and often based on the fears around saturated fat.
Coconut oil is a traditional food that healthy humans have used for thousands of years. As long as the oil has been minimally processed (hydrogenation is not good) it should be not only safe, but beneficial, for most people.
Hi Emily! My 18 year old daughter has a digestive condition (IBS). I read your article on omega 3 helping with this, but are there any other holistic treatments you would recommend? Is there anything we could add to her diet to help?
Hi Staci, yes! IBS, a.k.a. Irritable Bowel Syndrome, is a digestive condition, but it involves the nervous system and immune function too. This means that stress and fatigue can exacerbate the condition, so prioritizing good sleep and stress management are of utmost importance.
Regarding diet for IBS, it's important to determine any allergenic triggers and irritants as well as eliminating junk and processed foods. Bone broth and probiotic rich foods are particularly healing to the digestive tract and immune system. Healthy fats (including fish oil, coconut oil, butter or ghee, and other fats from healthy animal sources) are essential to most body functions and help to reduce inflammation throughout the body.
Got questions about real food or holistic health and wondering W.W.E.D.?
If you have a question for me, please first use the handy dandy search bar at the top righthand corner of this site. If that doesn’t give you the answers you need, email [questions at holisticsquid dot com].
I can’t guarantee that I will get to every single question, but I will do my best (with a priority for questions that will serve the most of the Holistic Squid community).
Also, keep in mind that I cannot and will not give you medical advice over the internet. It’s inappropriate and unethical. If you want my medical opinion about a health or nutritional issue for you or your child, I take virtual patient consultations on a limited basis via phone or Skype; You can find out more about my distance consultations here.
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Hi there! Brief history: baby (now 17 months) got 2-month vaccines, after which I decided no more. At 13 months, we discovered the eczema he’d developed was due to egg, dairy, apple and grapes. (I think this is from vaccines…daddy and I have no food allergies. I have Hashimoto’s, discovered during pregnancy, which I’ve been treating successfully by changing my diet). Now we are both (because he’s still nursing) gluten, egg, dairy, apple, grape and grain free. Also no nightshades right now, or nuts and seeds. I’m trying to clean our guts and heal them so we can both eat more freely. We consume liver once or twice a week, kimchee a few times a week, kombucha once or twice a week, coconut and olive oil liberally, and plenty of organic fruit/veg and organic chicken and beef, grass-fed when we can afford it. I really want to add eggs and dairy back in! I want to reintroduce to myself first, and wait to give them to him directly until he’s two, to give his body a bit longer to adjust. We are on a TIGHT budget, but food is something I feel it is worth being sure to only get the best of – grass fed and organic, GMO-free, the works. Do you think this wise, or should I wait to reintroduce to myself until he’s at least two as well? I really want to get these wonderfully nutritious foods back into our diet. :\
Another thing about the IBS is grains. If grains are a big part of her diet, they must be properly prepared (soaked, fermented, or sprouted) to be digested properly, as improperly prepared grains can throw your digestion out of balance. I have seen this is people who eat conventionally prepared oatmeal on a regular basis (sometimes even twice a day!) having symptoms of IBS.
Brittany McCabe says
Do you recommend any pediatricians that tend to have a more naturalist over view or consideration? I am expecting my first child in November and am trying to find someone who I trust with the same kind of outlook. I live in the Los Angeles area, more specifically Sherman Oaks.
Hi Brittany – Please email support [at] holisticsquid [dot] com for my holistic recommendations for Los Angeles.