Save Our Water Series, Vol. 2: Sustainable Agriculture and The Importance of Supporting Regenerative Practices

In our first volume of the Save Our Water Series, we spoke about rain barrel production and the benefits on small gardens to big farms.  Today’s volume will illuminate the myriad of important information gleaned when researching sustainable farming, and what it can do to really save our planet.

We will begin by understanding what Sustainable Agriculture is.  In short, this type of farming practice keeps the greater good in mind. It protects the environment, public health, animal health and habitat, and allows us the ability to produce good food without hindering the next generations ability to do so.

Well what is GOOD FOOD? Great question. “Good” food, in my opinion, is local(the further it travels, the more preservatives have to be used), truly organic (get your round up out my face) properly fed (grass fed, or true omnivore diet for chickens because chickens are NOT vegetarian), non hormone or GMO enhanced (screw you Monsanto and the three headed , genetically modified horse you rode in on), FOOD grown or grazed in soil that not only is rich in proper nutrient densities and ratios, but also maintains a pesticide and herbicide free grade.

Let’s break down the difference between Industrial Practices and Sustainable practices.

Industrial Crop and Livestock Production

So basically, Industrial crop and livestock production uses a type of monoculture. What is Monoculture, you say? Oh, let’s let the experts explain.

“Monoculture is a common practice in modern agriculture in which large acreages of land are planted with one type of crop, usually multiple years in a row. Often such techniques are used to supply goods to other regions or countries. Monocultures deplete the soil and crops grown in this manner become more susceptible to pests and disease than those grown in a diverse crop environment, thus requiring larger amounts of chemical sprays (i.e. pesticides). Monoculture on animal factory farms refers to the raising of one type of animal (generally chickens, turkeys, cattle, or pigs) confined in densely packed expanses, often treated with hormones and antibiotics to maximize growth and prevent the diseases that would otherwise spread quickly through the farm. These operations produce much more waste than the surrounding land can handle, and the farms are associated with numerous environmental hazards as well as animal cruelty. The government calls these facilities Concentrated (or Confined) Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs).”

Sounds AWESOME, right?

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This seems, to me, that they are operating under the notion that they are gonna treat everything like crap, just to “feed the world” chemically downgraded food that is low in nutrients, and high in toxic crap.

Sustainable Livestock Production

Farmers that use practices with sustainable focuses allow their animals to eat an instinctive, natural diet, to move freely on pasture, and to eliminate the stress and disease (hello no disease, no antibiotics needed…f*#%ing DUH) that a cramped environment produces.

People are led to believe that in order to feed more people, we must use genetics to produce food that can withstand drought, bugs, weeds, and weather patterns. That is just untrue in a lot of cases. Sure, the big companies take a hit in the wallet when these things happen, but to truly teach sustainable farming will impact our whole world.

“Regenerative Agriculture describes farming and grazing practices that, among other benefits, reverse climate change by rebuilding soil organic matter and restoring degraded soil biodiversity – resulting in both carbon drawdown and improving the water cycle.”

I cannot explain the benefits any better than Regeneration International can in their well researched list below.

A Global Shift to Regenerative Agriculture Can:

  • Feed the world: Small farmers already feed the world with less than a quarter of all farmland. > Read the GRAIN Report
  • Decrease GHG emissions: A new food system could be a key driver of solutions to climate change. The current industrial food system is responsible for 44 to 57% of all global greenhouse gas emissions. > Read the GRAIN Report
  • Reverse climate change: Emissions reduction alone is simply inadequate. Luckily, the science says that we can actually reverse climate change by increasing soil carbon stocks. > Read the Rodale Institute Report
  • Improve yields: In cases of extreme weather and climate change, yields on organic farms are significantly higher than conventional farms. > Read the Report by the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food
  • Create drought-resistant soil: The addition of organic matter to the soil increases the water holding capacity of the soil. Regenerative organic agriculture builds soil organic matter. > Learn More
  • Revitalize local economies: Family farming represents an opportunity to boost local economies. > Read the FAO Report
  • Preserve traditional knowledge: Understanding indigenous farming systems reveals important ecological clues for the development of regenerative organic agricultural systems. > Read the Action Aid Nepal Report
  • Nurture biodiversity: Biodiversity is fundamental to agricultural production and food security, as well as a valuable ingredient of environmental conservation. > Read the Report
  • Restore grasslands: One third of the earth’s surface is grasslands, 70% of which have been degraded. We can restore them using holistic planned grazing. > See the Evidence
  • Improve nutrition: Nutritionists now increasingly insist on the need for more diverse agro-ecosystems, in order to ensure a more diversified nutrient output of the farming systems. > Read the Report by the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food

We Can’t Afford Healthy Food

This is a legit concern as health food stores are quite pricey when it comes to organic food. Finding your local farmers market (yes, they have them in cities all the time) or finding a crop sharing organization such as Agriberry here in Virginia and Maryland, helps keeps the cost of truly organic farm fresh foods down.  It also provide the added benefit of having your family eat what is in season, which requires less industrial farming interventions.

 

In small towns, like ours here in Virginia, farmers markets supply these local farms a venue to sell the fruits of their hard labor. We utilize these markets for produce, and have a gone in for several years on purchasing a cow sharefrom a local SUSTAINABLE farm here in Orange, VA called Renewed Pastures Farms.

Farmer’s Market Setup

The owners, Jason Goforth and his wife, invited the family and I to tour the farm and see exactly what the farm does to remain sustainable. We could even see how the cows live and graze if we wanted to!

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‘Sup, Jason?!

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In the health food store, a pound of Grass-fed meat is roughly $6-$8 depending on the store and the company. Over time if you are an avid beef eater like we are, the tax, price for gas for the trip, the packaging, and price fluctuation in the market adds up quickly. So, we do a cow-share with some friends of ours. We get 1/2 a cow that is cut to order and will last us roughly 8-12 months. At less than $8 per pound, we get filets, flank steaks, London broils, and even or ground beef allotment for a STEAL compared to grocery store. And Jason delivers it right to our deep freezer!

So we have local (within 100 miles), preservative free (freezing is their only method), and true sustainably farmed meat that our family can rely on for an unbeatable price.

How can we NOT afford that?

*** Check out this PDF on Grass-fed Cow Market News.***

The simple truth is this, we have to support our farmers who work their butts off to uphold truly sustainable farms. They rely on us to purchase their products, be it produce or meats, in order to keep their higher standards up. So let’s get out there and support our local folks!

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Kristy, Au Naturale: Making Fitness Fun Wherever You Are

Alright Alright. I have waited long enough to talk about it. So let’s do it. Guess what? I Crossfit. And what’s the first rule of Crossfit?

               Always talk about Crossfit.

And boy, oh boy, did I ever uphold that rule! I’m pretty sure people ran for the hills when they saw me coming because, “She’s gonna tell us how many pull-ups she did yesterday”

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Yup….that is exactly what I would have done;) But now, I have learned the power of balance and FUN in adapting workouts to fit into the life of all that wish to have fitness be a priority in their lives.

It seems about time that I share some of my hubs’ and my favorite Crossfit Workouts. I do this so you can know that not only is Crossfit for everybody, but it can also be adapted and scaled down for every BODY. 

I’ll give y’all (that’s right I am a Virginian) two versions for these adapted workouts. The first version will be the Crossfit prescribed workout. The second will be adapted for the at home motivated fitness junkie.

You should of course only do these if you know you are medically safe to do so – if you’re not sure, ask your healthcare provider. And for Pete’s sake, use good form!!!! Not sure what good form is? Invest in a few personal training sessions or CrossFit Gym sessions (you might just get hooked like me).

Kristy’s Most Favoritest Crossfit WOD Ever

“Annie”

download (5).jpegWhat you’ll need: A jump rope and a yoga mat. Oh and some Chamois Butter  just trust me and buy it. High Reps=hello sit-up chafe. 

Oh and also if you’ve had kids……..These little life saver Poise Impressa protection things are Ah-May-ZZZING protection for those 150 reps of jumping. And yes, you will probably pee on yourself if you aren’t using them, let’s all just be real.

The point: We do these repetitions on a metabolic conditioning scale. The way it works is the clock starts, and you want to get in 50 reps of double unders then sit-ups. Then, you do 40 and 40, 30 and 30, and so on…..FOR TIME.

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You said do what?

Don’t have double unders? No problem, just triple the amount of single unders (standard jumping rope) you have to do.

50-40-30-20-10 reps of

Double unders

and sit-ups

Annie at home”

What you’ll need: Your body and a yoga mat

50-40-30-20-10 repetitions of:

High Jumps

and Sit-ups

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Record your time. And repeat in a couple of months and see if you can can get a faster time!

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My Husband’s Choice

“Nancy”

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We are back into the METCON here, but this sort of run/weight training is amazingly efficient in reaching your anaerobic thresholds. Threshold meaning the point when you “feel the burn” but you keep moving through anyway, fighting the urge to quit!

5 Rounds for Time:

400-meter run (roughly a quarter mile)
15 overhead squats

Men: 95 lb (with weight plates and a barbell)
Women: 65 lb (weight plates and barbell)

Crossfit.com explains this workout of the day, or WOD, perfectly.

“This benchmark couplet is meant to be light and fast. Reduce the load on the overhead squat so you can perform all the reps unbroken and still run fast.

Intermediate Option
5 rounds for time of:
400-meter run
15 overhead squats

Men: 65 lb.
Women: 45 lb.

Beginner Option
4 rounds for time of:
400-meter run
10 overhead squats

Men: 45 lb.
Women: 35 lb.”

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“Nancy at home”

What you’ll need: A 1/2 mile route and free weights (you choose the load)

NO weights?

Find a heavy object in your house or use your baby/toddler for Mom/Dad-ercise!

5 rounds for time of:

1/2 mile run

15 air squats

OR

15 squats with free weights resting on shouldersDB-Double-Front-Squat (1).png

OR 15 baby thrusters (shown below)

These are some fun ways to “dip your toe” into the world of High Intensity Interval Training to see if it is for you. But trust me, it is.

Enjoy rocking out and sweating massive amounts of High Intensity Awesomeness!

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I mean, who can argue with that?

Friday Faves: Summer Smoothies

Summertime is coming in hot across the country right now (see what I did there, hehe) and that means breakfast and snack time need refreshing makeovers. We love smoothies all year round, but especially when it’s 80 degrees already at 9 am, ain’t nobody wanna be slaving over a splattering pan of bacon and eggs.

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Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com

Smoothies offer densely packed nutrition, portability and refreshing yum-factor, it’s a win-win-win. It helps to do a little on-the-fly prep as your week goes by. Whatever extra fruit you have lying around about to go bad, chop it up and freeze it. Bananas (obvi), melon, berries, pineapple, mango and watermelon are all great frozen additions. OJ been sitting around for a while? Toss it in an ice-cube tray for future smoothies.

Here are some faves! Fire up that blender and enjoy.

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Photo by Kaboompics .com on Pexels.com

PB&J Smoothie

This is Annie’s OG smoothie from back in medical school and is still her go-to for a filling breakfast. You can make it thicker and have it as a smoothie-bowl with some nuts and fresh berries on top also. All measurements are super-approximate, I don’t actually measure anything.

3/4 Cup Frozen Organic Mixed Berries (I usually get from Costco)
1 small frozen banana
1.5 C spinach or kale
1 C Cashew milk (or any other creamy substance you like)
1 heaping TBS cashew, almond or peanut butter
Optional 1/2 C plain whole-fat yogurt
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Photo by Oleksandr Pidvalnyi on Pexels.com

Watermelon-Cucumber Refresher

Ultimate afternoon pick-me-up right here. Not super filling – great for after workout or if you didn’t quite eat enough of your kids’ leftover dino-nuggets at lunch to get you through till dinner 😉 It’s super hydrating and also packed with great vitamins with the watermelon and cucumber combo.

This one also makes a great alcoholic slushie if you cut out the yogurt and add a shot of vodka or gin instead.

1 C frozen watermelon chunks

1/2 C roughly chopped cucumber – if bitter, skin mostly removed

1/2 C plain whole milk yogurt

1 TBS fresh mint

Enough OJ or pineapple juice to be able to blend – the watermelon has a lot of water, so you won’t need much, start with 1/2 C.

Bonus Boosts

For added protein boost to any smoothie, consider throwing in a scoop of healthy protein powder.  Annie’s fave is NanoPro Vanilla Protein powder, Margo’s prefers Arbonne Vanilla Protein and Kristy’s go-to is Ascent Native Whey Protein Powder.

You can also add a super-food powder such as Youth Factor powder by Nerium or Lifeguard Greens to get a huge boost of anti-oxidant power.

Hope you all have fun getting your blend on this weekend! xoxo, Lockers To Littles crew.

Dr. Annie Answers: Summer Reading

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Anyone who knows me well will tell you I have a bit of a book obsession. My husband has dubbed my problem “binge-reading disorder”. It’s been there since childhood. I think my personality testing (ESFJ) lands me 49% introvert, 51% extrovert for the sole reason that I like books almost as much as people. Well, if we’re being honest here, more than most people.

I’m asked a lot for book recommendations and absolutely love giving them! I read all kinds of genres from non-fiction to youth dystopian to raunchy romance to historical fiction… you name it. I usually read books that come in series – trilogies or more, but know not everyone suffers from the same binge-reading disorder I have, haha… I love specific requests, but also have some all-time faves and recent finds that would be great summer reads!

Drama/Romance Singles: Best for Quick/Busy Vacations

The Scribe of Siena by Melodie Winawer

For Outlander fans like myself who were marooned with no more sequels after the last book, this one is a fabulous read. I love that the romance, drama and mystery take place in one of my favorite cities in Italy as well and features a kick-ass female lead character.

The Chemist by Stephanie Meyer

Before you roll your eyes too hard at the author here, this second work out of the Twilight author is a whole different level of maturity. Where Twilight was all teen angst and predictable plot twists (yes I read them, yes I loved them, everyone’s entitled to their own book preferences), The Chemist actually surprised me and kept me dying to get back to it when I had to put it down. Plus, again, brilliant main character chick rules.

The Love That Split The World by Emily Henry

 

This one is a young adult fiction romance that will appeal to grown-ups as well. The main character is struggling through the end of high school to college transition, teen romance and a new, supernatural ability all at once (puts ordinary life in perspective!). Beautifully written story that makes you think with new parts of your brain in a fun way.

Trilogies and Beyond: Best for Longer and More Leisurely Trips

The Atlantis Gene (Origin Mystery Series) by A. G. Riddle

This series is an absolutely riveting Dan Brown-esque mystery/thriller with romance about the origins of humans on Earth. It brings in a life-on-other-planets dimension that is very mind-stretching and so fun. Again, love the smart and capable main female character and the star-crossed romance woven through.

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

The penultimate book in this series just released in May, we will have to wait for 2019 to get the final addition. If you’re a quick reader – maybe wait because the anticipation is killing. me. This story of a dystopian alternate world where humans and Fae (think hunky super-strong and magical humanoid fairies, not little Tinkerbell types) have been separated and one strong-willed young woman’s actions will bring about a radical shift. Romance and mystery and drama abound in the beautiful set of books. I’ve already read the whole series twice and can’t get enough!

Non-fiction That is Actually Fun to Read: Best for when you want to learn something but also not be bored

The Big Fat Surprise by Nina Teicholz

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I’ve already posted about the low-fat lies that have been spread throughout western society due to lack of good science and a few big egos along with a whole lot of well-meaning people. This book breaks down in readable terms the actual history of this, the impact for nutrition science today and also how you can change your health and life with the knowledge. Backed up by meticulous footnotes full of research, this book is worth reading and sharing.

The Sleep Revolution by Arianna Huffington

This is another thing modern, western society has been getting WAY wrong. We don’t sleep enough at baseline and lots of people are sabotaging their natural sleep and then drugging themselves. This can have very serious negative health effects. I’m not talking about ‘feeling groggy’, I’m talking about car accidents, dementia and even increased risk of cancer. This goes over real, practical advice for improving your own sleep that aligns with the best research out there.

Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson

Lawson herself suffers from mental health issues and is able to be honest and raw and f*cking hilarious about them in a way that magically uplifts your own mind. I laughed so hard at this book, I had tears rolling down my face and ab cramps. I still giggle every time I pass a piece of taxidermy to this day. Do yourself a favor and get it.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

OK, ok…. I’m cutting myself off! I could go on all day.  I’ll just have to do more of these posts – have a specific request? Leave a comment and I’ll add to my list for next time!! For now, g

rab your beverage of choice and relax with one of these great reads.

Love to you all, especially our faithful followers 😉

1Dr. Annie is a married mom of 2, family doctor and self-acknowledged book addict in the Sacramento area.

Kristy, Au Naturale: Weight Loss Journey, A Hard Life Lesson in Transformation.

I am not even sure where to begin with this post. I’ve asked myself a million times whether or not it is a good idea to post about my weight loss journey. The answer is always the same. Yes. Because it ISN’T about weight.

It’s about the journey.

I was always playing sports growing up, so I never really thought about weight. Being genetically predisposed to diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and obesity never ever crossed my mind.  As I got older, and the metabolism started to decrease, I began to take notice. Then….. I had kids.

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After I had my first little one, Christiana and I decided to sign up for a half marathon. Super ambitious goals are the only goals!! “Sure I can run 13.1 miles 8 months postpartum. I’ll just train my ass off, lose all the baby weight, and feel FABULOUS, right?”

EHHHHHHHHH (cue game show buzzer noise)

So so so so wrong. All that training and I lost ZERO pounds or inches. ZERO. I also ended up hurting my hip flexor pretty badly during that race because…hello...cross training is necessary when training properly for long distance running.

It was then that my metabolism came crashing screetched to a halt. I was eating all the food and drinking all the beverages. And it was then that my body image started to wain. An increase in scale weight and clothing size caused a HUGE decrease in self worth for me.

<Depression enter stage left>

Depression set in pretty hard. It was soon after that I spent a majority of my days in tears, not feeling worthy of any kind of love. OK, I know what you’re thinking,

“weight shouldn’t have anything to do with that…. society….. diets… magazines….. women are predisposed to unhealthy mindsets due to having their bodies objectified and sexualized in our faces since we were little and it shouldn’t affect them….”

Yup….all that.  All of the yeps. But I still hated myself for letting myself get to a place that I hated myself, perpetuating a vicious negative feedback loop.

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210 lbs, size 18 my heaviest

Fast forward to my daughter being born. With little #2, I never slept. She was up every 45 minutes of her life for the entire. first. year. I cannot get back all the wasted time on social media looking at photos like the one above and seeing someone I didn’t even recognize. It became impossible to see any happiness in my life. I was being blinded by how disgusting I thought I looked. I couldn’t see the beauty in the way my daughter is looking at me in this photo. The joy radiating from her sweet little face…

<Cue second bout of depression and self loathing>

It was then that my husband, bless that sweet man, had HAD IT!

“I want you to see what the children and I see, so I used my Christmas bonus and signed you up for the on-track class at the closest Crossfit. It’s already paid for….you’re going”

<jaw drop……anxiety sweat dripping>

Walking through the doors that day in January of 2015 changed the course of the rest of my life.

Through education, HARD WORK, team commoradory, nutrition challenges and changes (we went mostly paleo), and push from my family…. I started to feel worthy of this change. The weight loss started happening slowly, then once my diet changed, my metabolism that had been seemingly dormant for 4 years decided to wake up!

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3 months after beginning Crossfit, was down 15 lbs and SO MUCH HAPPIER already.

Suddenly, I could do stuff. Pull-ups (albeit assisted but WHO F$*&ing cares I was doing PULLUPS) pushups, deadlifts, stuff I had never even thought I’d be capable of.

Pretty soon, I found myself at a 55 lbs weight loss.  FIFTY FIVE POUNDS!

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155lbs

But….was I truly happy? Well, I went from hating my body, to becoming OBSESSED with it. I spent every moment I had thinking about workouts and how I needed to get there and see the people that had become my friends, my lifeline. I would get anxiety about every workout everyday.  And if I missed one, I’d have anxiety that I’d lost all the fitness I had worked so hard to get. Every day I’d miss dinner, and homework, and family time to work on this new body of mine. I looked for my self worth and validation for missing those things in every “you look amazing!”, from people that I heard. I found physical validation in others finding me attractive, since I had spent so long feeling hideous. In other words, my mental health battle had just begun.

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Thinnest here at 152 lbs size 8

I kept getting thinner and thinner. Skipping breakfast, drinking protein shakes instead of lunch (mainly because the anxiety for the workout that day would leave me nauseated), and only having an appetite for dinner after the workout. My coaches even noticed and talked to me about my weight. They weren’t happy.

It was shortly after this that I started having panic attacks. Undiagnosed depression and anxiety had gotten the best of me. With the up and down extremes, using weight loss and working out as the only escape, it became hard to even notice that I had lost myself and the person I was. I was no longer the carefree woman my husband married. The thing that made me happiest at that point, was now my greatest source of angst and pain.

Life threw us a giant kick in the ass when my son started losing interest in school. We started having emails and notes home from his teacher that he was way behind and not able to focus in school. Essentially, we took him to the gym and came home and put him in front of his homework or the television and talked about crossfit in the kitchen.

ROCK….BOTTOM…..PARENTING………FAIL……..<cue more self loathing>

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That woke me up to just how bad my mental state had gotten. I looked for validation at the expense of everyone but me.

My supportive (you know who you beauties are) friends and family took me aside, and told me that they loved me, but it had been as if they’d lost me to crossfit and crossfit people for two years at this point. So I changed….

I refocused my awareness on healthily eating, (whatever I wanted…not following a specific limited diet) being okay with skipping workouts and only going three days a week and NEVER in the evenings. We reinstalled family dinner around the table, and no television during the weekdays. And the biggest factor was that I asked for help. That help saved my sanity, just as Crossfit had saved my health two years earlier.

This is yesterday

The scale went up, but guess what….so did my performance in the gym. I still crossfit and I still think it’s the greatest exercise for me. My husband does it now, too!

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holla at yo boy

I ended up pulling away from the obsession, and have maintained a healthier weight for my body, mind, and life balance ever since. Anxiety is something I still struggle with daily, but the self awareness actualizes true coping, instead of filling and fueling it with old habits and relationships.

My point in writing this story is to show that, while I may have felt skinny and awesome in some ways, I hadn’t truly healed myself. I live a life nowwhere I am so much happier, showing my daughter that I have a little weight to me, but it comes with greater strength. She can see all that Mommy can do. I can balance now. And I hope to inspire her to adopt this motto: Strong is the new skinny.  Strength, balance,  SELF LOVE, and happiness have been the end goals to this journey and will continue to be. For now, when you ask me what my weight is in the above photos, I will answer this way,

” 155# deadlift for 100 reps, 75# on the barbel for the rest of the 200 reps. And guess what, I threw that damn scale out the window……..”

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Dr. Yoni Freedhoff

18835945_10103938084553859_8628446883750688728_n Kristy is a married mom of 2, doula, massage therapist, and dedicated crossfitter with a passion of healing the human body and mind in Virginia.

Dr. Annie Answers: Kid Vitamin Basics

Mother’s Day is this weekend which has me thinking about all the things moms have to worry about… one of the most common being the nutrition and health of our precious little ones. Almost every day at my clinic, I get some sort of question about vitamins – What’s safe? What’s necessary? Where do I get good ones? The answer, of course, varies by your particular health needs and should be discussed with your own medical provider. A few things are pretty generalizable though and I’ll delve into them here by age. This post is about kiddos – coming up next will be an adult version, so make sure you FOLLOW US to get that update!

Breastfed Babies, Birth through 12 months: 400 units Vitamin DScreen Shot 2018-03-09 at 2.08.17 PM

Vitamin D is needed for all babies who are breastfed half or more of their milk intake. I nearly always recommend Baby Ddrops for those who can afford the $10/month averaged cost. These are concentrated drops so, instead of getting your tiny baby to choke down a whole milliliter of vitamin D like the generic ones at the pharmacy, you only have to put 1 drop on your clean finger and put on baby’s tongue before a feeding. If your baby is formula fed, no vitamins needed, they’re already in there – see below for details.

Breastfed Babies, 4 months through 12 months: Add 6-11mg Iron

Iron is recommended for breast-fed babies after the first 3 months of life. Mom’s iron from the womb keeps them going up until that 4 month mark.

Sidenote…. One of the potential benefits of delayed cord clamping at birth is increasing baby’s iron stores for that first 3-4 month period (great review on this by Dr. Raju et al here.) . This is, of course, an important thing to discuss with your own pregnancy care provider, but worth considering for this and other benefits if there is no reason not to do it.

From ~4 months through the rest of the first year, baby will start eating more and more ‘real’ foods which can supply some iron, but usually not enough. The recommended amount by the American Academy of Pediatrics for babies 7-12 months is 11mg per day. For reference, you’d have to get your baby to eat 2 cups of cooked spinach to get that much – not gonna happen.

Option 1: at this age, stop Vitamin D supplement and change to multivitamin. Poly-vi-sol with iron is the go-to recommendation for most health care providers. However, my daughters both projectile vomited it, so we had to use alternatives. Other options are Zarbees Baby Multivitamin with Iron  and Honest Company makes an easy-to-give vitamin powder: Link herepexels-photo-533360.jpeg

Option 2: continue with Ddrops and give iron-only supplement like this one or give a serving of iron-enriched cereal daily. I personally, along with a growing number of pediatric care providers, recommend the former along with introducing iron-rich foods such as pureed meats, dark leafy vegetables, beets and beans before cereals as part of a healthier early diet. Baby cereals don’t otherwise have much in the way of nutrition or “taste education” for that little one. (References here in AAP News and here from NIH)

Formula-fed Babies up to 1 year

Breast-milk is best for moms and babies that can do it in all aspects except these 2 vitamins. Formula comes conveniently stocked with both Vitamin D and Iron so you don’t have to worry about the supplements. Certainly not a reason to choose it over breastmilk, but a nice side-benefit if it ends up being the right option for you. I usually recommend Baby’s Only Organic Formula or Plum Organics Grow Well Formula. Screen Shot 2018-05-07 at 5.58.09 PMThey are well tolerated (review here), have the right amount of all important nutrients and both come out to roughly $1/ounce (compare to Similac Advance Non-GMO at $1.25/ounce). They are also organic and free of corn syrup solids and chemical additives – which, when you’re talking about the ENTIRE nutrition of your tiny rapidly growing baby is important. AND!! You can get them both on auto-ship from Amazon so no leaving the house – bonus!

After 1 year: Vitamin D 400-1000 Units Daily +/- others…pexels-photo-61129.jpeg

This now depends on how picky of an eater your kid has become. If you have that amazing, adventurous eater who loves a variety of meats, fruits, and vegetables and drinks 2+ cups of milk per day, multivitamins are unnecessary. If your child doesn’t get 400-1000 units Vitamin D from fortified milk and other foods, they will need a vitamin D supplement again. Why? What about kids before the advent of vitamins?? Well, kids were outside ALL DAY without sunscreen back then. We now know better and protect their skin – the downside of which is low vitamin D.

If you do have a picky eater  – even if you’re not sure how picky is picky – a multivitamin can fill in the gaps. Again, the above mentioned Zarbee’s and Honest options are great as is Renzo’s Picky Eater Multi. If they’re getting extra of some of those vitamins, they will pee them out.

Hang on…. I hear a question coming out of the Ether….

“Dr. Annie, are the examples you listed above the only good options?? What about Flintstone’s vitamins or Olli Chewables?” Of course those aren’t the only vitamin brand options. If you want to check out others, just read the fine print on the label on the back and make sure they have the right amounts of the recommended vitamins.

Wait…. another one coming in…. “What about probiotics??” I’m so glad you asked! YES probiotics are so important from infancy through the rest of life – so important I’m going to write a separate post all about it ;^)

94 Dr. Annie is a family physician, wife and mom of 2 picky eaters In the Sacramento Area.