Dear DiarySips, Sweets & Snacks

I have always loved honey. Growing up my Great Grandmother would always put a heaping spoonful into my cup of earl grey tea, and then she’d sneak a spoonful right into my mouth too if my mom wasn’t looking. Smiling at her as the honey melted on my tongue will forever remain one of my very favourite childhood memories.

Flash forward, and I still consume SO MUCH honey as an adult: in tea, on toast, and when I’m sick or have a cough a spoonful of raw honey mixed with cinnamon always does the trick. I’m always looking for new local honey companies to support with my sweet habit (it’s a LOT of support haha) and I was so excited to find The Heritage Bee Co. at the One of a Kind Show last Christmas!

The Heritage Bee Co. is owned by the most adorable couple ever, Debbie and Jeff. Together they left the world of finance in Toronto to do something good for the world instead – beekeeping! They bought a beautiful farm a couple hours outside of Toronto, studied everything they could about honeybees , and eventually launched The Heritage Bee Co.

I took an immediate liking to this sweet pair and their beautiful brand, and we became Instagram friends over the months to follow. When I returned to the Spring One of a Kind show and they met Summer Honey Rose they invited us up to their farm for dinner, a bee lesson, and a tour of their apiary!

A couple of months later we packed up the car and made our way to the bees. It’s no wonder The Heritage Bee’s Apiary Tours are almost always fully booked – Johanna and I learned SO much about the bees, and Jeff and Debbie’s passion for the industry and the environment was seriously contagious! Did you know that bees can be rented out to pollinate huge fields of mono crops en-mass, and that’s where most of the honey industry’s money comes from… not honey? This often leads to bee illness and cross-contamination, just like any other large-scale factory farming. The best way to avoid supporting this is to purchase both diverse, heirloom, local fruits and veggies, and to support small, local honey producers whose bees are free to pollinate on their own terms!

My favourite bee facts of the day were all about the hive hierarchy and the queen. Basically the boys have very little value and are often sent to the edges of the hive to die off first in case of a cold front or an attack. The queen bees are chosen when a replacement queen is needed, and fed a diet of royal jelly over a very specific time frame to become a queen (aka develop ovaries!) The new queen then takes a flight on a warm sunny day and mates with as many male bees as possible, saving the semen in her body to self inseminate over her lifetime! There are no dad bees in hive society, and the daughters essentially run the whole operation. Like Debbie said, Summer’s name including “Honey” had a lot more meaning than I had planned!

We were so inspired by our time with The Heritage Bee Co. that we went home and made a honey-sweetened popsicle recipe with their Vanilla Honey to share here. Think golden latte meets summer popsicle goodness!

Scroll down for the recipe!

Golden Vanilla Honey Popsicles //

Ingredients //
half can of full fat coconut milk
1/2 cup regular coconut milk
1 tablespoon Golden Milk latte mix, or try making your own honey chai syrup with turmeric
2 tablespoons vanilla honey

makes 6 popsicles

Blend all ingredients together in a high power blender or food processor.

Spray your popsicle mould with a non-stick spray if it is not made of silicone.

Pour into popsicle moulds and place in the freezer, set a timer for 35 minutes.

When the timer goes off, place popsicle sticks in the centre of each mould, leaving halfway out. We use this method to ensure the sticks don’t ‘bob’ out of place or sink too far into the popsicles.

Wait at least 24 hours for popsicles to fully freeze, and serve immediately!



A Pastel BabySips, Sweets & Snacks

First off, happy World Breastfeeding Week everyone!

I have so many mixed feelings about breastfeeding, something I did not expect when expecting. My mom had a horrible time trying with me and my sister, a painful anxiety-filled experience that left her riddled with guilt, disappointment, and in the end, no milk. Her milk supply never even came in, and my sister and I were on formula pretty much from day one. I’m a lot like my mom in so many ways, so I suppose I internalized her story and assumed mine would be similar. My entire pregnancy whenever someone asked if I planned to breastfeed I’d answer “if I’m lucky!” or “I hope so!”

When I ended up with a c-section a week before my baby’s due date I was so scared my breastfeeding fate was sealed. After all, I hadn’t had leaking boobs while pregnant like some of my friends had reported, and my boobs had always been so small – maybe they just weren’t built to make milk. Those first few colostrum-only days waiting for my milk to come in were absolute torture. It’s so scary to watch your baby lose those few pounds of birth weight (even if everyone assures you it’s normal!)

Those early days I was LOADING up on all things lactation – I drank Mother’s Milk Tea constantly (a lot of people hate the taste, but if you like licorice like I do it’s delicious!) with a side of Booby Boons cookies, and smoothies with a healthy scoop of Majka’s protein powder. I even enjoyed a beer or two, though the jury is still out on that one (TBH, I just love beer.)

On the second day home Johanna made me homemade Salted Caramel Oat Mylk after reading oats are a great lactation stimulant, and I drank the whole massive jar as quickly as I could. Now there is no science here and I’m not a medical/lactation expert by any means, but the very next day, sure enough…

MY MILK CAME IN!

Theoretically I had yearned for this moment so badly, but HOLY MOLY there are no words for this experience and how weird/painful/alien it felt when it happened. My boobs were seriously like big, veiny, grotesque basketballs and I was SO endlessly leaky and sore. I actually ended up having to pump a bit every time I fed Summer because my boobs were so full and rock hard she couldn’t get her tiny mouth to latch onto them haha! And then there was the emotional side: I had been on such a high since Summer’s birth, but when the milk came I was an absolute mess, with unexpected bouts of crying hysterically set off by just about anything. Oh and my nipples… I don’t even want to talk about the state of my nipples those days, but needless to say I could barely put on a shirt, never mind a bra.

In the end it only took 3 days for my milk to come in, which is pretty good for an early c-section with no labour, and in part I thank all of the lactation boosting products (and the oat mylk, made with love) that I loaded up on!

Now that I’m over six months in, things have mostly evened out in the boob department. I’m no longer a total emotional wreck, but it definitely took me awhile to get past the unexpected rush of anxiety I felt every time Summer latched on for a feed. I also now fully understand that people mean when they say breastfeeding leaves you feeling “touched out”, and I’m sort of glad I don’t have a partner relying on me for intimacy right now because I have never ever experienced so little sexual desire (TMI?) When there are tiny hands on me all day, every day, I don’t really want anyone else getting handsy with my body!

I definitely feel torn at times, so much more than I had anticipated; on one hand I’m so grateful for this experience, for how much milk I make and how easy it has been to feed my daughter using just the magic of my body. Milk making is seriously a superpower, but it isn’t without its downfalls. On the other hand I miss having my autonomy and being able to call my body my own, and honestly breastfeeding takes SO much more time and energy than I ever could have guessed. It’s like a full time job in itself! I’m trying to appreciate this moment without wishing it away, to savour the connection I have with my daughter and the wonder of my body… but I won’t lie, I also look forward to wearing what I want (hello high necks and dresses) and being free to eat and drink (and maybe even smoke? I’ve missed out on this whole cannabis renaissance so far!) whatever without stressing about how it will effect my baby.

Supply-wise I’m still overproducing and constantly leaking, but I’ve made peace with simply being a milky mess (often leading to very hilarious see-through nipple incidents in my all-pastel outfits). Breasts and nipples are so far from a sexual object to me at this point, and if men can walk around all sweaty and hairy with their nipples out all summer long, you best believe I’m not shy about showing mine!

Scroll down for more //

Some of my breast friends in the boob and baby feeding department //

Majka // pretty much everything they make is golden. Their plant-based protein powder is the best formulation I’ve ever seen (it covers absolutely everything) and their lactation bites are delicious!

Booby Boons cookies // I’ll never turn down an excuse to eat more cookies!

Elvie Breast Pump // Being hands and chord free while pumping was super high on my priority list because I am TERRIBLE at sitting still, and I’m so thankful Elvie launched their pump just in time for me to become a mom and need one! This pump sits right in your bra and works while you get other work done.

Playtex Nurser with Drop in Liner // I’ve mentioned this before, but so far these are the only bottles Summer will take (apparently I was the exact same 28 years ago!)

Beaba Bottle Warmer // do your baby’s care person (dad, grandma, friend, nanny, whatever) a favour and get this handy appliance. It heats up milk SO quick, so your baby doesn’t have to wait 20 minutes for water to boil etc. while having a hangry meltdown

Bamboobies Washable Nursing Pads // When my nipples were so chapped, scabbed and bleeding I couldn’t handle wearing even a soft tee-shirt without wincing in pain, and these were the only thing I found that gave me some relief! They’re super soft and they work! The only downside – MORE laundry.

Things I didn’t use // Milkies Milk Saver (I was never organized enough to get it to my boob in time to catch the let down), Proper nursing bra (I don’t mind my full boob hanging out, and I can’t be bothered with the clips etc. I spent my entire pregnancy and postpartum in Knix bras), over the counter nipple creams (the only thing that got me through was an prescription cream my midwives ordered for me – it was seriously magic and everyone should ask for it!)

Scroll down for the our Lactation Boosting Oat Mylk (two ways) recipe below!

Hurom Slow Juicer Salted Caramel Oat Mylk //
1 1/2 cups organic large rolled oats
3 cups water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon cacao powder
2 tablespoons coconut sugar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

*To make the Golden Mylk we made the oat mylk plain following the recipe below, and then added Majka’s Vanilla Chai Lactation Booster (SO good in everything!)

Soak oats in 3 cups cold water for 30 mins to soften them, drain and rinse the oats.

Pour the oats and 3 cups cold water to the Slow Juicer, or a high powered blender with the vanilla extract.

Add cocoa powder, coconut sugar and sea salt and blend on high for 3 minutes.

If you’re using a slow juicer, simply turn it on! The mylk will not need to be strained.

If you used a blender, pour the mixture over cheesecloth or nut milk bag into a bowl. You can keep the oat pulp for baking!

Stores in fridge for 3-5 days.

Sips, Sweets & Snacks

I can’t believe how quickly and naturally my priorities have changed since baby Summer came into the world – more time and effort goes into her outfits than mine (though hers usually only stay on her about an hour before a messy disaster strikes), and the idea of a once coveted sick day now seems like an absolute nightmare. I’m trying to focus on keeping myself as healthy as I can so I can be the best mama I can be, but with such limited time between breastfeeding and diaper changes it’s a challenge that’s often easier said than done.

Once the queen of sleeping in, mornings are now my favourite time because Summer loves to chill out with me in the kitchen, awake but calm, and I can take a moment to take care of myself. This usually means taking all of my Jamieson vitamins and whipping up a smoothie with as many nutrients packed into it as humanly possible. I was never all that good at remembering to take supplements or eating a healthy breakfast (hello Cinnamon Toast Crunch!), but vitamins are now the easiest and quickest way to get all of the nutrients I need into my system, both for myself and the milk I make for Summer

My vitamin pick of the moment? Jamieson Vitamin C Chewable tabs! These tangy little guys bring me right back to childhood vitamins, and come in three tasty flavours (soon to be more! Find out how YOU can choose the next flavour below). Not only does Vitamin C help boost your immune system during the cold and flu-filled winter months, but it also helps maintain healthy blood vessels and is a great source of antioxidants – especially the Jamieson blueberry flavour! The list goes on and on – did you know that Vitamin C is also an integral part of effective iron absorption? This is especially important if you’re a vegetarian or vegan like me and your iron intake is more limited, during postpartum healing when your body is recovering from blood loss, or during your monthly cycle! It’s suggested to always take a bit of vitamin C, whether it’s a squeeze or lemon juice, a handful of strawberries, or a Vitamin C Chewable. Some veggies even come packed with both iron and vitamin C all in one, like Kale and Broccoli!

Inspired by the way iron and vitamin C interact, and the fun flavours of Jamieson Vitamin C Chewables, we created a simple morning smoothie to serve alongside your vitamin lineup on these chilly winter mornings!

Scroll down for the recipe, and details for how you can invent the next Jamieson Vitamin C Chewable flavour and win one of three $1000 prizes, plus a $5000 grand prize to the winner!

Vitamin C for Summer and Me Smoothie

Ingredients //
1/2 cup orange juice
handful of spinach
1 banana
1/4 cup blueberries
handful fresh mango slices
several naval orange segments (no pulp)
mandarin orange slices (optional)
1/2 teaspoon Spirulina powder

Recipe //

Blend all ingredients and serve immediately with your morning Jamieson vitamins! Feel free to add ice if you’d rather a more chilled smoothie.

Contest Details //

Jamieson is giving YOU the opportunity to help create a new chewable vitamin C flavour! Simply submit your flavour idea here between March 1, 2019 to March 31, 2019 and you’ll be entered to win. The top three flavours picked by Jamieson will each be rewarded $1,000, and then it’s up to vitamin consumers to vote for their favourite in September! Not only will the winner get to see their vitamin flavour launch on shop shelves, but they’ll also be rewarded $5,000! I’ll be over here coming up with as many pink coloured flavours as I can dream up…

A Pastel BabySips, Sweets & Snacks

They say diamonds are a girl’s best friend, but these days as the third trimester ticks on and my baby’s birth day creeps closer, you might catch me arguing a good doula is a pregnant girl’s best friend!

To be honest, I was totally in the dark about what a Doula was before becoming pregnant. I’d heard the word in passing, a sort of spiritual coach that gets you through big life moments like birth, but from what I could understand the whole concept was a bit too hippie for me. It was only when I started really paying attention to other women’s birth stories this year in anticipation of my own pregnancy, eager to hear what it’s really all about, the word kept coming up again and again. So many strong, smart women I respected in my community seemed to give birth with a doula by their side, and so I started to consider I might be into having one on my team too.

I shopped around online for a bit, but none of the websites or Instagram pages I came across really spoke my language – they were all a bit too woodsy or granola feeling, and though I absolutely respect that sort of thing, I know it isn’t the kind of vibe I respond to best. When my friends at Good Space (best yoga in the city FYI) sent me Birth Boss’ profile with the note “You NEED this Doula!” I knew she was the woman I had been waiting for. We almost immediately connected over DM and made a date to talk through if we might be a good match – a sort of two way interview. After many hours of excited chatting in a coffee shop, the rest very quickly became history!

So who is Rhiannon when it comes to my birth team, and what exactly does she do? While I’ve heard she’s SUPER amazing at leading and coaching partners on birthing day, in my case she’s sort of a full-on partner/support person stand in. She’s my main advocate, helping me figure out all of my preferences ahead of time and committed to enforcing them in the moment. She’s my number one cheer leader, director of any friends and family I chose to include, and soft touch expert (pressure and soft touch can really help with labour pains when done correctly!) There have already been so many moments in my pregnancy when I have felt endlessly thankful to have her on my side, and I seriously can’t recommend her enough if you need support with pretty much anything fertility, birth and postpartum related.

But enough from me, let’s hear from the Birth Boss herself:
We’ve also included a nourishing third trimester smoothie recipe too! Scroll down to the bottom for all of the details

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What even IS a modern day doula? //

Basically, a doula is like a BFF / life coach / wise sage / maid of honour for all things birth & postpartum. They support and empower you to make the best choices for you and your family, and leave the medical side of things to the folks wearing scrubs. As a maternity care specialist, I’m a trained doula in all aspects of the journey to parenthood, starting from fertility all the way to the first year after baby.

Why do you need a midwife and a doula? //

While a midwife is your primary medical care provider, a doula provides support in a different way, supporting the birthing person emotionally, informationally (by providing answers to all your questions), and physically (by offering comfort measures in labour). I like to think of it as your midwife focusing on the waist down, whereas a doula focuses on the waist up in birth.

How can a Doula help if you’re a single parent? //

Every birthing person deserves to have someone who is entirely focused on you & your comfort in labour. A doula can provide comfort measures, talk you through the scary bits, and help you advocate for your preferences to your care providers. You’ll never be alone (unless you want to be).

How can a Doula help if you’re partnered? //

I love working with partners to help them feel involved in labour too! For example, a partner can physically support the birthing person by slow dancing/swaying together during a contraction, while the doula applies pressure to the birther’s hips from behind, allowing the pelvis to open for a smooth descent for baby.

Otherwise, it can be nice to have an extra hand on deck so that your partner can sleep, text updates to the fam, get a bite to eat, or go to the bathroom without worrying about leaving you alone. You’ll always have one person supporting you when it’s a team effort!

Do you think physical atmosphere affects birthing? Explain. //

Absolutely! When you’re uncomfortable or feeling afraid, your body reacts in a way that can definitely effect your birth. It’s called the fight or flight response, which causes all the blood to rush to your limbs so you can run away from the danger in your environment, actually causing the blood flow to stop going to your uterus, causing a slower and more painful birth. Science is crazy, right? So feeling safe & comfortable in your environment is pretty much essential to make sure your labour progresses in a positive way.

-What are some of your favourite things to bring to a birth day? What’s in your kit?! //

– Essential Oils
– Massage Oil
– Reflex balls (great to hold on to or apply pressure on the lower back)
– Rebozo (traditionally a Mexican shawl, used for many purposes, including carrying babies, as well as being used to help support women during the birthing process. Traditionally Midwives, Mothers and Doulas around the world use the Rebozo to wrap around the pregnant mother in a way that serves as a support to her during labour.)
– Snacks (for mama, partner, & me!)
– A fan (for when things get hot & heavy!)
– Crystals
– Chapstick
– Water Bottle
– Face cloth (a cold cloth behind the neck or forehead feels amaaaazze)

If you had to use one word to describe birth, what would it be? //

Powerful.

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Third Trimester Strength Smoothie Cubes

We developed this smoothie cube recipe with Birth Boss for the perfect boost of winter nourishment. The ingredients are tailored for birthing body wellness, but it’s safe and delicious for just about anyone, whether you’re just starting to think about fertility or caring for your newborn. We recommend making a bunch of these cubes early on in pregnancy to help get you through the exhausting days at the end where extra easy nourishment can make all the difference, and they’re great for the postpartum period too!

Ingredients //

3 bananas – high in potassium + magnesium (helps with those third trimester leg cramps)

1 cup pitted dates (depending on how sweet you like it, chop and soak overnight If you don’t have a high power blender) – high in potassium, magnesium & fibre (prevents pregnancy constipation). Recent studies found that women who consumed dates showed a “reduced the need for induction and augmentation of labor, and produced a more favourable delivery outcome” Source here.

¼ cup almond butter – high in healthy fats that help fetal growth, energy source

⅓ cup Vegan Protein powder – the protein requirement for pregnant people goes up as pregnancy advances, so protein powder is the easiest way to supplement! Plant-based protein powders avoid the bovine growth hormone found in some dairy-based powders that could affect fetal development.

2 teaspoon Moodbeli Bliss Booster or similar cacao / maca powder – a traditional Mexican fertility enhancer; adaptogenic (improves energy, hormone balancing)

Tablespoon milled chia, plus a tablespoon to sprinkle on top – omega-3 fatty acid (good for fetal development); protein (for labour energy!)

Water, just enough to get the mixture blending (1/4 cup)

Glass of Almond Mylk – 50% more calcium than regular milk, calcium stores needed for milk production

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Recipe //

Blend everything until completely smooth, use a spoon to add mixture to an ice cube tray. We used a silicone one which makes getting the cubes out extra easy!

Hit the ice cube tray against the counter once or twice to remove air bubbles and freeze!

Enjoy 2-3 cubes blended with your choice of milk.

Recipe makes 12 to 15 cubes. Make sure you take them out of the ice cube tray within a couple days to prevent “freezer taste”. Store cubes in a Tupperware or freezer bags for up to 6 months.

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Sips, Sweets & Snacks

I’ve mentioned before that I’m not much of a salad fan, and though my general feelings on the matter haven’t necessarily changed I did find myself craving cold, crunchy veggies more than ever over this humid, hot summer. It’s pretty hard to imagine eating lasagna, soup, or other hot savoury foods when you step outside and break into a sweat!

When I went to Calgary earlier this year on my Subway Ambassador trip we got to learn a handful of recipes on the grill with their head chef, and my absolute favourite part was learning how to marinate and grill romaine lettuce. It’s shockingly simple, quick, and makes a massive taste difference to your salad. I was instantly hooked.

When I got my Lil’ Tex Pellet Grill this past August, trying my romaine tricks at home was at the top of my list, and I had a feeling Traeger’s Blackened Saskatchewan Rub would make the creation even more delicious. With grilled romaine lettuce as my jumping off point I made a list of other ingredients to incorporate – I’ve been experimenting with making the perfect vegan caesar dressing for what feels like years, and I think I finally managed to perfect it over the past month. Paired with smoky chickpeas and cashew nut cheese crumble, this salad might just be so good that it has the power to change a salad hater’s mind!

Scroll down for the recipe!

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ROASTED CHICKPEAS

Ingredients //

Can of organic chickpeas
Blackened Saskatchewan Rub
Smoked paprika
Olive oil
Salt & pepper

Recipe //

Strain and rinse one can of organic chickpeas, toss with olive oil, Blackened Saskatchewan Rub, smoked paprika and salt and pepper. Spread evenly across a bed of aluminum foil or bbq safe cooking sheeting and cook on medium-high heat for 30 mins.

NUT CHEESE

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Ingredients //

1/2 cup Soaked cashews
1 garlic clove
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
pinch of salt and pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil

Recipe //

Pulse all ingredients together in a food processor until it reaches a crumbly texture.

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VEGAN CEASER DRESSING

Ingredients //

1/2 cup soaked cashews
Juice of one small lemon
1 garlic clove
1/4 cup tahini
1 tsp dijon
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup water
Salt and pepper

Recipe //

Blend all ingredients in a food processor or high powder blender until completely smooth.

Wash the romaine lettuce well and allow to throughly dry. Cut each Romaine heart in half length-wide, cutting off the stocky part at the bottom. Use a brush to lightly coat the cut surface with olive oil and season with Blackened Saskatchewan Rub. Place face down on the grill on high heat for 10-15 mins until grill marks appear. Place grilled romaine on a bed of finely chopped kale and top with roasted chickpeas, crumbled nut cheese and vegan caesar dressing. Garnish with a lemon wedge and enjoy!

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Blush dinnerware from Ikea Canada