As a breastfeeding mama, I try to keep an eye on my diet as best as possible. I try to limit caffeine, cut down on sugar, eat lots of fruits and vegetables because I know that whatever I eat, my son will receive. Fish contains vital nutrients such as Omega-3 fatty acids, proteins, vitamins and minerals such as iron. Those nutrients help to foster healthy development. The 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that women who are pregnant or nursing eat 8 to 12 ounces a week of a variety of low-mercury seafood.

Tuna is higher in Omega-3s and nutrients that most other fish, but the FDA advises no more than 6 ounces of canned albacore (“white” tuna) a week due to mercury concerns (canned light tuna is okay though). The American Pregnancy Associate recommends the “Safe Catch” brand of tuna as the company undergoes rigorous testing – they screen each wild tuna for their mercury levels.

I never had canned tuna growing up. To be honest, before I started breastfeeding, the most exposure I had to canned tuna was when my mom would buy it as a treat for the cats. Living on the coast and being the granddaughter of a fisherman, our seafood was always freshly caught and prepared. Spoiled, I know. But I’ve learned to enjoy canned tuna over the past few months.

Another company that I use on a regular basis for my salmon and tuna is Vital Choice. They preserve the freshness of their sustainable harvested Alaskan salmon and northwest Pacific seafood by cleaning and flash-freezing it within hours of harvest. The fisheries are certified sustainable by either MSC or the State of Alaska. Vital Choice is also a “B Corp” meaning that they have to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. Use this link and enter “LEANCHOICE” at checkout for 10% off your order!

If you’re looking for recipe inspiration on using canned tuna, you are in luck! I’ve compiled 12 ways to use canned tuna below from some of my favorite bloggers.

Ashley over at Big Flavors from a Tiny Kitchen has a super simple TABLET Sandwich (Tuna, Avocado, Bacon, Lettuce, Egg, Tomato) that she says even her 6 year old enjoys!

Looking for a healthy, gluten free dinner recipe? Check out Sharon’s Roasted Zucchini Tuna Melts at The Honour System.

As a mom of three young children, I know that Samantha of My Kitchen Love understands the need for a quick meal. Her Sustainably Caught – Spicy Tuna Tostadas are a fresh way to use canned tuna.

Denise of My Life Cookbook has an amazing and vibrant Low Carb Tuna Spring Roll Salad that is a great way to fit a rainbow of foods in your diet.

I fell in love with Amy’s Tuna and Potato Cakes. She runs Healthy Little Foodies and so many of her recipes are perfect for baby-led weaning but the whole-family can enjoy them as well.

Artichokes are rich in antioxidants which assist in detoxifying the body and helps to aid constipation and indigestion. I love artichokes but rarely include them in my diet. Patty at The PKP Way has a great way to use canned tuna and artichokes! Check out her Tuna Stuffed Grilled Artichokes.

Craving something with a bit of spice? Jenny at Honey and Birch has a recipe for Jalapeno Tuna Stuffed Tomatoes that is simple to make!

Kalyn at Kalyn’s Kitchen has a Tomato Salad with Avocado, Tuna, Cilantro and Lime that is dairy-free, gluten-free, low-glycemic, Paleo, Whole 30, and South Beach Diet friendly (whew)!

I love Mediterranean flavors. Heidy at McCallum’s Shamrock Patch recently shared a Tuna and Orzo Salad that is packed with great ingredients!

Linda and Christina are a mother and daughter team that run 2 Cookin’ Mamas. They posted a Easy Hot Tuna Dip that would be a perfect recipe when you are looking for something creamy, cheesy, and a little naughty.

This recipe roundup wouldn’t get complete with a recipe for a tuna burger or a tuna noodle casserole, now would it?

Patti from Hearth & Vine has a Tuna Noodle Casserole recipe that is made with a homemade sauce!

Also, make sure you check out Rosemary at An Italian in my Kitchen’s recipe for Healthy Delicious Best Ever Tuna Burgers.

So let’s say that you don’t like fish or are vegan. Sources of omega-3 fatty acids for vegans include:

  • flaxseed oil
  • rapeseed oil
  • soya oil and soya-based foods (like tofu)
  • WALNUTS (my personal favorite)

What is your favorite way to get those omega-3s?

Fire cider, master tonic – whatever you call it, you need to make yourself a batch today. Seriously. Don’t wait until you are already starting to feel a bit peckish as fire cider needs a bit of time for all the ingredients to come together.

So what is fire cider really? Fire cider is basically an apple cider vinegar based health tonic that includes a bunch of ingredients with immune-boosting effects. Fire cider is also great for digestion so it’ll help keep you at your best during cold and flu season. You can buy it online but I like to make my own so I can have a better control of what goes into it (and plus, it is so super easy to make). Fire cider has a wonderful (and potent) sweet and tart taste to it that can be a little off-putting the first time you try it.

 

 

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Fire cider includes some of my favorite ingredients to help with colds:

  • Ginger – Ginger is great for nausea, bloating, gas and a whole host of other digestive issues. It has anti-inflammatory properties and is an antioxidant. Plus, it is simply delicious!
  • Garlic – I love garlic. Garlic helps to strengthen the immune system and is full of antifungal, antiviral, and antimicrobial properties.
  • Onions – Onions are naturally high in sulfur and contain antibacterial benefits along with prebiotics that help feed the existing healthy bacteria in the colon!
  • Turmeric – The health benefits of turmeric include an improved ability to digest fats, reduce gas and bloating, decreased congestion, and improved skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, and acne (another one of my favorite ways to use turmeric is in golden milk).

I think that fire cider might have a little too much of a kick to it for a lot of younger children so I recommend you check out my elderberry oxymel as an alternative. Also, if you don’t want to take fire cider straight, a delicious way to make sure you are getting your dose is by making it into a salad dressing! Simply mix 1 tablespoon of your prepared fire cider with 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, 1 tablespoon mustard and a dash of salt and pepper. Pour over your salad and enjoy!

Print Recipe
Fire Cider
This isn't so much of a recipe as a melding of ingredients. It does require a little bit of time to sit so start making it now!
Course Herbal
Servings
Ingredients
  • 1/2 c. thinly sliced fresh ginger*
  • 1/2 c. peeled and diced fresh horseradish
  • 1 tbsp. turmeric powder
  • 1 head garlic, smashed and peeled
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 2 jalapenos, sliced lengthwise**
  • 1 tsp. whole black peppercorns
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1/2 onion, sliced
  • 1 organic lemon, sliced
  • 1 organic orange, sliced
  • 4 c, raw apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 c. raw local honey
Course Herbal
Servings
Ingredients
  • 1/2 c. thinly sliced fresh ginger*
  • 1/2 c. peeled and diced fresh horseradish
  • 1 tbsp. turmeric powder
  • 1 head garlic, smashed and peeled
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 2 jalapenos, sliced lengthwise**
  • 1 tsp. whole black peppercorns
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1/2 onion, sliced
  • 1 organic lemon, sliced
  • 1 organic orange, sliced
  • 4 c, raw apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 c. raw local honey
Instructions
  1. In a clean 1/2 gallon glass jar, layer your ginger and horseradish at the bottom. Add your garlic, rosemary sprigs, jalapenos, peppercorns, cinnamon sticks, onion, and turmeric powder on top. Then place your orange and lemon slices.
  2. Using a clean spatula, press firmly on all of your ingredients to pack them down. Add your apple cider vinegar, making sure that you fully submerge your ingredients. Seal and give it a quick shake.
  3. Store your jar in a cool, dark place making sure to give it a shake every day or so. After about 6 weeks, strain out your liquid and stir in your honey.
  4. You can store your finished fire cider in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 6 months. For adults, take one or two spoonful's a day during cold/flu season to help ward off illness or when you start feeling under the weather.
Recipe Notes

* If you are using organic ginger or ginger that is harvest from the ground, then you can leave the skin on. Otherwise, peel the ginger using a spoon to scrape the skin off.

** I like to remove some of the seeds/membranes of my jalapenos. It is completely up to you if you want to remove them or leave them in for an extra bite.

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The crud has hit our home. Robb and I have both been battling a cold the past few days and with Caleb only 4 months old, we’ve been careful to try not to spread it to him. Thankfully I’ve read that breastmilk contains protective antibodies to help Caleb’s immune system fight off infection and illness. He seems to be good right now but I’ve been keeping a close eye on his health.

Cold’s suck. I’ve never liked taking medicine to begin with but now I have to take extra precautions while breastfeeding. I’ve always preferred time, rest, and a good dose of Vitamin C. Elderberries are a great source of Vitamin C (as well as being said to have anti-inflammatory, antiviral, anti-influenza, and anticancer properties) and while I usually create a hot tea with the dried berries and a bit of honey, I also like to transform the berries into an oxymel for easy consumption.

A oxymel is basically a syrup with apple cider vinegar added to give it a sweet and sour taste. This is definitely an acquired taste. I actually like it, it is very reminiscent to a shrub. When I’m starting to feel a bit under the weather, I take about a tablespoon full every 4 or 5 hours. For Robb, I mixed a bit of the oxymel with some tonic water – though I admit, he did not like it one bit. I highly recommend stocking up on dried elderberries BEFORE cold and flu season arrives as they become harder to find and a lot of shops sell out. This recipe also needs to sit for a few weeks so make it early on during cold and flu season to make sure that you have it on hand. Once it’s prepared, it’ll last for about 6 months in the refrigerator.

I’ve also been taking Zarbee’s Naturals Baby Cough Syrup + Mucus. Since it’s safe for infants 2+ months, I figured that it would be safe for me to consume. It has a delicious grape flavor and helps to clear mucus and soothe irritated throats. There are no artificial flavors/sweeteners/drugs/alcohol/dyes, only organic agave syrup, English ivy leaf extract and a few other items.

Now that I’m over this cold… it’s time to prepare for allergy season~…

Print Recipe
Elderberry Oxymel
Course Herbal
Servings
Ingredients
  • raw apple cider vinegar
  • dried elderberries (purchase here)
  • raw local honey
Course Herbal
Servings
Ingredients
  • raw apple cider vinegar
  • dried elderberries (purchase here)
  • raw local honey
Instructions
  1. Fill a quart or pint sized mason jar 1/3 full with your dried elderberries.
  2. Add an equal amount of honey and apple cider vinegar. Stir well and cover with a plastic lid (the vinegar will cause a metal lid to corrode).
  3. Let this mixture sit for about 4 weeks, shaking the jar a few times a week. When it's done, strain it through cheesecloth, taking care to squeeze the cheesecloth to get out any extra bits of liquid.
Recipe Notes

I like to store my finished oxymel in a glass amber bottle but you can use any container. It'll last for about 6 months in the fridge.

Share this Recipe

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Sleep.

It’s amazing how valuable sleep becomes when you are pregnant. It never seems like you are able to get enough of it, at least for me. Over the course of my pregnancy, I’ve discovered a few items that have helped sleep come a little bit easier. Hopefully some of these items will help you as well.

 

• Belly Butter – I apply a moisturizing belly butter to my skin every evening after my shower. This not only helps to reduce stretch marks but is a very relaxing ritual that helps to relax my body for bed. I have a recipe coming soon for my belly butter, but in the meantime, you can purchase it at my Etsy shop! I typically like to use an unscented belly butter but you can add a calming essential oil, such as lavender, to help relieve stress and reduce anxious feelings [check out my Lavender Linen Spray DIY as well].

 

PinkBlush Maternity Pants – I LOVE these pants. The fabric feels so soft against my skin and they are cozy enough for both the warm nights of summer all the way through a crisp winter evening. Though they have plenty of room for my expanding belly, they don’t look like maternity pajama pants so I also am planning to wear them post-pregnancy. PinkBlush Maternity is a dangerous website for me to visit as I love pretty much everything that they have to offer. A lot of the clothes, even if they say “Maternity” are styled in a way that you can wear them even after you give birth.

 

Tums – Before I became pregnant, I would get bad heartburn on occasion. Since becoming pregnant, I have experienced horrible heartburn during my second and third trimesters as I was trying to get to sleep. Some nights it would get to the point where I have to stuff so many pillows behind my head that I was basically sitting upright – and that is no way to catch some zzzz’s. After suffering through it for way too long, I finally broke down and picked some Tums up. It’s amazing the difference those chalky little tablets made.

 

Belle – Don’t laugh. A lot of pregnant women tend to use a body pillow of some sort to help support their hips, back, and stomach (like this one) when they are trying to get to sleep. I just use my dog. She is the perfect size and has this amazing ability to know exactly how I need her to lay. As the weather starts to cool off, she generates enough heat to keep me comfortable and provides the right amount of support for my body. Plus, I think it helps her to be so close to Lil Bean and feel him move around.

 

Hot Tea – Even before I found myself pregnant, I enjoyed a nice cup of hot herbal tea before bed. Now that I am pregnant, I have to be careful about what sort of herbs I’m ingesting as not all are pregnancy-friendly. I like to create my own blends but in a pinch, I enjoy the Peaceful Mama Tea from Earth Mama Angel Baby Organics. It contains lemon balm, calcium rich oat straw, calming Chamomile, red raspberry leaf and orange peel herbs traditionally used to help calm and relax during pregnancy.

What are/were some of your pregnancy nighttime essentials?