Hi friends! Long time no chat! I so very much appreciate you guys and the space you’ve given me to write– as well as the space you’ve given me to rest. I’m not saying I’m coming back to five posts a week just yet, but I certainly want to take the time to sit down to take the time to write more… again 🙂
But on a more day-to-day life post, I thought it would be good to come back here with a simple post, a favorite of a lot of you guys: What Marlowe Eats. Originally I was like, hey, let me post a few food photos and a few links and we’ll be good. But then, as I was sitting here getting the photos together, I really started thinking about how I’ve fed Marlowe through the years (so much documentation in 8 years!). A lot has changed. So I thought it would be cool to discuss that!
I really wish I had broken up the What Marlowe Eats posts by years, but when I started doing these posts 7-8 years ago, I never imagined that I would still be here doing them almost a decade later! You know, no one gets into parenting (or blogging, haha) knowing exactly what they’re going to do, year by year. I certainly didn’t. Like I mentioned, I’ve never read a parenting book in my life. The only thing I knew is that I wanted to do my best for her. Well, what I view as my best has certainly changed through the years– especially with food.
I mean, it’s pretty obvious, if you’ve followed me through my health journey, that my view on food has gone upside down and all around. We’ve tried going vegetarian, but that didn’t last more than a year and a half or so. I tried adding in loads of healthy fats, extra protein, all the things. But my digestion kept struggling. And now, well I avoid so many of the foods I once loved most (remember things on toast?!– still holding strong to the title of the #thingsontoast hashtag creator haha). So many changes for myself.
Of course, in changing my diet, my family’s diet has changed a bit too. Not as drastically as mine, but Marlowe certainly eats far less bread than she did four years ago. But hey, that’s not a bad thing! Turns out that has actually been a really good change for her. But outside of eating les gluten, there has certainly been a few more shifts and changes through the years…
Thoughts on Grains:
In general we all eat a lot less grains than we ever have before. This isn’t a huge problem for me, though it has been harder when feeding Marlowe. She doesn’t really have a problem with it, as much as I do when it comes to keeping it creative and tasty at dinner time. The downside: grains are obviously an easy and cheap calorie filler for the gut. The upside: Grains cause small bits of inflammation in the body, so avoiding or lessening them is always a good idea for the gut.
I’m sure you guys know this, but if you didn’t grains are anti-nutrients. If you research, you’ll notice the cultures with the highest grain intake, also have the worst dental problems. Since lessening the grain intake in our life, Marlowe has had MUCH better dental reports from the dentist. She went from a cavity at every visit to being sparkly clean and cavity free. We’re obviously all thrilled about this.
Now, we are by no means grain free. We still eat rice (and rice products– like rice noodles) a few times a week. But she has gone from eating grains 1-3 times a day to a few times a week. We used to eat rice all the time, now it’s rare. But the rice noodles still call to us all the time– because noodles and pasta are damn delicious. For myself, I often sub zucchini or sweet potato noodles. This hasn’t;t been a shift Marlowe has been able to fully embrace yet. And honestly, I don’t blame her.
But it’s not just rice and breads, even things like beans we eat less often. We stopped buying canned products about two years ago. Well, sometimes they end up in our cart, but it’s rare. We do buy dry beans to cook, but it doesn’t happen often. Now instead of grains being a big filler/calorie source: we go to simple things like banana, avocados, and potatoes.
If I could go back in time, I would:
- Have started this a long, long time ago.
- Never given her rice formula as a baby. I can’t call it a regret, as you live, you learn. But I would have went from breast milk to bananas and avocado, skipping grains completely. Next lifetime I’ll do better.
Like I said, ideally we’d be grain free. But as for now, I have enough other things to worry about in the food and life world, so it’s not on my list to go completely grain free immediately. But I am REALLY happy that we’ve cut back on grains and gluten for Marlowe. Not only has her dental health improved, but I’ve noticed overall her health has improved too. Other than a weird 12 hour fluke fever (with zero other symptoms) in Mexico last month, I can’t tell you the last time she’s gotten sick. It’s been years.
That girl has a strong immune system. And I know that keeping her mostly with a whole food, plant-based diet is keeping her body super alkaline and sickness free. I’m really happy about that.
Deficiency + Vitamin Concerns With Her Vegan Diet:
You know, I don’t have many concerns with feeding her a vegan diet. I feel like I know well enough about food to feel confident in most of my choices. Is our diet perfect? Nope. But it’s pretty good– and if it means anything, it’s certainly better than most other people’s diets. But of course, I am her mom and I want her to be as healthy and as happy as can be, so I do have some concerns that sometimes come in.
My biggest concern in her diet is calcium. There is definitely a fair share of calcium in plant foods. But we do avoid most packaged foods so her diet certainly isn’t being fortified with extra calcium. To lessen this concern, I do try to be sure I get as many greens in her as I can. Greens have a good deal of calcium in them!
I never share photos of our breakfast here, as I feel a lot of you would be un-amused by me sharing photos of a smoothie. But every single day she has a big ole’ smoothie packed with fresh greens and powdered spirulina too (it’s packed in iron too by the way). This insures a big ole’ handful of greens every morning. She doesn’t eat salad every single day, but she definitely eats it often.
In general, we do eat a lot of dark leafy greens and green veg too. She’s a big fan of roasted broccoli and actually LOVES Brussel sprouts. Sadly, we don’t eat Brussels sprouts often though, as they don’t grow here so they’re pretty expensive. But basically any soup, stew, pasta, whatever dish I make gets another handful of leafy greens for this extra green calcium kick.
I think the extra boost of confidence I have when it comes to my calcium and dietary concerns is that we do eat less grains (than before). This also helps with our calcium absorption. I feel like we would need to supplement or eat double the amount of greens if she still ate grains in high frequency. But she doesn’t.
Outside of the calcium thing, I don’t have too many concerns. She gets more than enough protein, healthy fat, loads of vitamin C and all the vitamins she needs from the way she eats. Even b12, she gets naturally from the fermented foods she eats. But just for extra precaution, I do supplement her b12. Not every day, religiously, but she does take it often.
If you’re curious, these are the b12 supplements we’ve purchased: This sublingual b12, this spray b12, and we like this kids multivitamin that has b12M in it. Of course, do your research when it comes to your supplementing needs. I just want to list what we’ve purchased because I often get asked 🙂
The S Word (Soy):
How do you guys feel about soy? We used to eat a lot more of it. We don’t avoid it now, but it’s definitely not a staple part of our diet anymore. Years ago, extra firm tofu would come home every grocery run. Now it comes home once every few months. This wasn’t an intentional change. This is just something that has shifted without thought. But it’s not a bad change either. I’m perfectly fine with her eating (organic) soy every once in a while, but I’m happy that she’s not eating it daily either.
Marlowe really likes tofu though. She always has. Tofu scramble was once an easy go to in our home. She’d probably sit and eat and entire block (cubed) if you let her. But she’s not bummed that we don’t buy it often. She hardly mentions it, but if she asks, she typically gets it. But honestly, it’s also really nice cause it’s just one less packaged thing from the store.
Fresh Simple Food:
I think one of the biggest differences in Marlowe’s diet over the years has been the addition of more fresh and raw food. She’s always eaten a ton of vegetables. I used to put as many as I could into one soup to fill her with all the veggies. But most of her meals were once cooked. Now we’re obviously not raw vegans, but we eat a lot more raw food. Fresh fruit or fruit smoothies in the morning. Salads and slaws for lunch. (well, slaw for Marlowe, my stomach has a hard time with raw cabbage).
I also don’t focus on the quantity of veg in her meals. If a meal has 1 or 2 good quality vegetables in it, then that’s good. I’m not trying to overwhelm her gut, but rather, I just want to make sure she’s getting a few simple, nutrient dense foods in each day. We really have simplified our cooking and food prep around here.
This has definitely improved her digestion too. You can read more about that here: in this food combining post.
I mentioned it, but we buy a lot less packaged foods for sure. I mean, from time to time the tortillas, chips, granolas, do come home, but mostly she’s eating real and whole food. We used to make our slaws and salads with things like vegan mayo, but now we skip those products and go straight for real goodness like avocados. I’m a big fan of these changes.
PS. If you missed it, you can see a video of what a normal eating day looks like for us HERE.
Marlowe tried tater tots this year. Somehow they came up in discussion and she told me that she’s never had one. So we went on an adventure to buy some packaged tater tots so she could try them at home. She was a big fan (no surprise there). I told her I was very happy she liked them but don’t expect us to buy them again anytime soon. Haha.
I think this is the one thing that has stayed the same in the last 7 or so years of feeding her food.
I want to keep her diet clean and healthy most of the time. But at the same time, I don’t think it’ll cause SO MUCH damage that she can’t try the junkier foods here and there either. I mean, hell, I lived off complete garbage for most of my life and I’m still alive. Struggling, but alive, haha. So I think if she’s eating well 99% of the time– her body can handle that smaller 1% of “food” going in her gut. Ya know?
I’ve calculated her nutritional intake, and she’s always all good. So overall, I’m really happy with what Marlowe eats. I’d love for her (and us) to be raw vegans completely. But we’re not and that’s okay too. Overall I do believe she eats really well. I’m happy to see so much more fresh food in her diet. I’m happy to see a lot less gluten and a lessening of grains. I’m so happy that the girls love for kale has stayed strong through the years. Oh and I’m so so happy that the girl still loves all the ethnic food dishes as much as we do. Indian, Ethiopian, Jamaican, she loves all the foods.
Would I change things if I could? Totally. But hey, she’s a really healthy and a really happy kid. So we’re good 🙂
Alright friends! Those are my thoughts on feeding my kid the last eight years! I hope you’re well and well fed too 🙂 I’ll be back with another post soon 🙂 Cheers!