Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Meat of the Question

 I've never done so much research and second-guessing myself, and then more research than the first year of Miles' and Ridge's life. All I ever wanted, and all of the moms out there can raise their hand to this, is make my babies first year be the healthiest and happiest year!! To give them the abundance of all the fruits that they needed, that they deserved. To stimulate all of their senses equally, to not over stimulate them. To start them on solids at the appropriate time, but when was the appropriate time? Not to compare where my baby is at growth wise with other children, but my friend’s baby is already drinking out of a bottle by themselves and I haven't even fed my baby a bottle yet! The simplest and purest statements that go through a lot of moms’ heads, open a Pandora box of am I do everything I'm supposed to. The answer is YES!!

When I was 12 years old I decided that I was going to become a vegetarian. You might think that is quite young to make that kind of decision, and especially being raised in the Midwest with nothing but meat and potatoes and my mother's family being cattle ranchers. Yes, it was something that I felt deep inside that was true to whom I was. I did the research cause I wasn't going to be a potato chip and grilled cheese vegetarian, even though those things were welcome in my diet, I wanted to make sure what I was getting was pure and simple food. I've had to educate people when they wanted to hear what I had to say, and not judge people for what they eat. Even my family, who is the most unconditional, class act, loving and welcoming family I had to educate. My mom always thought the organic thing was a lot of smoke and mirrors, but when I explained to her that when she went out into her Nana's garden and picked the fruit and veggies out to eat, they eat all organic.

So when I was pregnant with Miles I wanted to look into raising the boys vegetarian. I got some questions and concerns from some people. Asking if I thought I was neglecting my kids of vital vitamins, proteins, irons, etc. If I was going to educate people about their concerns, I had to get my facts straight. So off to do more research I went. I found that the America Dietetic Association backs up our family’s lifestyle. I found out that vegetarian lifestyle is rising in the United States. All the resources that I apply to myself, I could apply to my babies, to my family.

When it comes to your choices involving your family, be confident. Educate yourself, educate the naysayers and educate your children and family. We are teaching our children to stand up and make choices, to educate themselves. If we don’t stand up as parents and lead by example, who do our children have to look up to? Whether you’re raising your family meat, vegetarian, or vegan, have an open nonjudgmental mind and keep the line of research open-as the world and our minds are always evolving. With moms I think our minds try to evolve about 3 things at once, but don't second guess the choices you are making for your family when it comes to their nutrition needs. If you’re putting in a loving effort, that alone should put your doubting minds to rest.

Enjoy Outside!
Courtney Washmuth
Live, Love, Eat and Grow 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Let Them Play for Miles Outside

Do you ever daydream of your childhood? Do you ever come into a scent in the air that reminds you of when you were growing up? Now think back on that memory and where it was. Most likely it was playing outside and exploring Mother Nature. Finding worms or different colored leaves, playing king of the mountain, tag or even setting up a scavenger hunt with your neighbors and friends. Now as you're sitting there with a smile on your face remembering your childhood, think about what your child does on a day-to-day basis. What memories are they going to look back on and smile? What scents are going to remind them of home?

For a newborn, the outside world shapes their brain's wiring. The outside world is experienced through the senses--seeing, hearing, smelling, touching and tasting—which enable the brain to create or modify connections. Also, with newborns relationships with other people early in life are the major source of development of emotional and social parts of the brain.

With more and more of this generation of families having both parents working, a lot of the creativity is lost inside rather than outside. Parents are relying more on their child's daycare and school to provide their outside playtime. Studies show that keeping kids outside for at least an hour a day helps with physical, mental and cognitive development of a child. Why aren't we giving this generation our wonderful memories of getting lost in their imagination outside?

My husband and I are avid backpackers and we wanted to hike part of the Appalachian Trail with our first son Miles when he was 9 months old. Being a mom I was invested in doing research on nutrition and what is lacking in the pre-made baby foods. Since we are hikers and want to be able to keep the thirst for adventure after the birth of our son Miles, we wanted to be able to have something to provide him with that was lightweight, easy to travel with, organic and convenient. So we started a dehydrated baby food that all you have to do is add breast milk, formula, or filtered water right to the pouch then stir and serve. We wanted to get a choice out on the shelves that would give the option to all parents and caregivers the chance to get their babies outside and exploring!  And to make your day easier in this hectic world and let you enjoy Mother Nature and all of your Miles Outside!

So let your babies get dirty!! Enjoy their belly laugh of confidence when they have found something new and love every minute of it-- for this is the time that you are letting Mother Nature help shape our next generation!!

Enjoy Outside!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Hand to Mouth

Like so many times in a mother's day you try to stop and inhale all the special growth marks going around you as your newborns are growing into babies and babies into toddlers. These developmental breakthroughs of independence! Now that I have two toddlers my mind is triggered into such different brain waves as when the boys were babies. But since we have a baby food company inspired by our amazing duo, I would love to share my favorite baby discovery- Hand to Mouth.

I breastfed both boys for a year, and actually had a lot of trouble with it, but refused to give up or supplement. I found everything under the sun to take to increase my milk supply, and I thought I was going to float away from drinking so much water! I couldn't pump enough to fill their baby cereal with milk- and water added to baby cereal was not had by Miles nor Ridge. They looked at me like "Really mom? Not so much!" This was another reason I knew we had something special with Miles Outside, because I could add the dehydrated fruit and veggies to see if they would meet the consistency that I wanted to the cereal and water. The boys would eat it without looking at me like I had four heads. Success!

Once they turned about 9 months old it was so long baby food, hello solids! My boys didn’t even blink at what I served them. They ate what we ate, and they were perfect troopers with all the crazy tastes that I threw their way. If I was by chance eating something different than they were and they wanted to try it, by all means my little men try away. This is when I feel in love with them reaching over to my plate, staring at me with their big eyes, smiling and stealing my food with their own fingers! That full hand engulfing the food to try to get as much as they could to shove in their mouth. It was love, I tell, you love! My favorite developmental stage yet! Some of you may think I was crazy giving my 9-month-old a spoon and a fork and letting them have a field day exploring what they could do. I could just stare at them for hours watching these little beings feed themselves. Their little hands wrapped around the spork, and when they got done with that, just grabbing these handfuls of food to their mouths. Neither one of my kids took a bottle, I went to the straws, which they loved and actually orthodontists say it’s better for their tongue reflex than the sippy cups. But I feel it’s totally a matter of option and its child driven.

 But I smiled every time they would walk up to their cup and grab it with both hands and feel so proud of themselves for solving the thirst problem all by themselves! I decided when they were just about a year-old, at home I would take away the straw and let them drink out of the cup with no lid. I only let them do this in the kitchen, and yes at first it made a crazy mess. Yes, actually this whole developmental stage made a crazy mess! I look back at it and I have no idea how my OCD let me just let go for a couple of months. Granted, there were some days I wanted to shave my head and beat people up with umbrellas, but that smile of them feeling their first wave of independence. Their first 'ah ha' moment of 'I can do this', was worth every dirty rag I had to wash.

Enjoy all the days-even the dirty ones! Because one day we won’t be in that moment with them anymore, just remembering it!

Monday, May 21, 2012

The Mysterious Case of the 'I can't likes"

Since Miles is now well into his toddler stages, I thought it would be fun to talk about the magical phrase "I can't like it" when it comes to sitting down and eating food. Since we are vegetarians and also started this company, Miles has been our tester for everything from the obvious dehydrated baby food to foods that have tempeh, tofu and curry. He was always a huge fan of Pad Thai when we made it and stir-frys. But for some reason a mysterious case of the "I can't like it" has come into our house.

I'm personally not one to make separate meals, nor am I one to hide vegetables in their food. So what can I do to solve this case, or at least meet at a common ground with my very confident toddler? I have tried having him take a courtesy bite, and if he didn't like it then that was fine. But that didn't solve anything but unnecessary stubbornness on both ends. So as I always do I started doing some research into the matter. I have always personally thought that my child was amazing and would never become that child that threw tantrums or said the word "No.” I gave myself a rotator cuff tear from patting myself on the back because he was always just awesome traveling, going out places and riding in the car with ease. I thought I was driving this bus just fine. Then the word “no" came out as I served him dinner one night. My jaw dropped to the ground and looked around the room hoping that I had served dinner in someone else's house, and that it was somebody else's child that had said “no.” Then he followed with the phrase "I can't like it" put his fork on the table told me it was yucky and went on his merry way to carrying on playing.

How could this wonderful eater and Miles Outside taster go from everything to nothing? What is happening? Control is happening parents, control. They now have a voice and are using it to their advantage, which they should as we are raising them to "Use your words.” I just never thought it would turn against me and tell me this meal I have been slaving over for the last two hours was yucky. So I started to do some research to see how I can tame this problem- or at least calm it down a little bit.

1. Let your kids help pick out dinner ideas for the week, which really sometimes helps me because some days I'm at a loss of what to cook.

2. Have theme nights or meals that coordinate with what they are learning in school or what they show interest in outside of school. When I want to make something that is not normally on their diet, I turn it into picnic night. They love picnics and seem more comfortable trying different foods in that environment.

3. Let them cook with you, and help you read the cookbook. My kids love bellying up to the bar to see what’s going on top of the counter.

4. Put veggies on their plate every time. Just a small amount, even if they don’t eat all of them, they get used to the idea of this is what is on their plate. Research shows they will make better decisions later in life with their eating habits if they were shown what to eat. So parents that means you to need to eat right! Lead by example!!

5. Be excited about the little things they do. If they made a choice to eat their sandwich before chips, tell them "That was a great decision eating your sandwich first." If they have one small bit of veggies tell them "Good job for trying that!!"

Parents you have the control of putting everything on the kids plate, the kids have the control of eating it. Meet them in the middle and make them think they have all of the control. This way you win, they win and everyone is healthy and happy!! We still sometimes get a case of the "I can't like it" but now at least he will try it.

We hope we make your days easier in this hectic world, and let you enjoy Mother Nature with many more Miles Outside!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Evolution of Miles Outside

Who would have thought three years ago after our birth of our first son, Miles, that we would be setting a path for our future? We would be envisioning something we needed, perhaps something other families needed, and driving this vision and this dream to a reality!

Just three years ago we were on our way to our first camping trip. We were driving six hours north of where we lived to go camping so that my husband and his family could sign up for an Ironman race. Sounds a little crazy, yes, but I guess that’s a great adjective to describe us—crazy (in a good way) haha! We knew that we were going to backpack part of the Appalachian Trail with Miles when he was 9-months-old. So we started thinking about all of the things we were going to need on the trip. All the things backpackers think of, but now plus a baby backpacker! We knew that we would be feeding him solids, but we knew we couldn’t bring glass jars on the trip. And since I planned on making all of his baby food at home, we didn’t bring that because it would need to be refrigerated and it would be in a glass jar.

Right then, I had the “ah ha!” moment. Dehydrated baby food! I mean it went hand-and-hand. What do backpackers eat? Dehydrated food. So what should a baby backpacker eat? Dehydrated baby food of course!

So I researched everything (as all mothers do!) I made sure there wasn’t anyone else doing dehydrated baby food, even though I knew there wasn’t. I made sure that you could feed babies dehydrated baby food. So I started dehydrating my homemade baby food in my own kitchen. I would feed it to Miles, and three other of my girlfriends’ babies that were the same age. I got positive and negative feedback with the different textures and the tastes of what each baby liked and disliked. After I got my first few recipes, we debuted at our local farmers market. And funny thing is it was almost a year to the day that we thought of the idea! We got great feedback and it was picked up by a couple of stores locally.

The minute we came up with the idea, I knew it was something special! Something different, something revolutionary! But as we grow into our parenting role, we realize (or at least I have realized) it is not the parents that change the life of our little ones… they are the ones who change our lives completely! 

On this blog, you can follow our day-to-day journey as a company, and as a family, as we grow and try to reach as many little tummies as we can!

Enjoy Outside!
Courtney Washmuth
Live, Love, Eat and Grow