As I mentioned in Balancing Baby’s Nutrition, Part I, I’ve come to a crossroads with Noah’s nutrition needs. At age one, he’s an unpredictable, finicky eater who will only regularly accept edamame and whole-milk yogurt. I became especially concerned when Noah’s blood test results came back indicating anemia. This was a big surprise to me; not only is he breastfed, but I consume enough vegetables every day to feed a small village, in addition to lean, organic proteins.
Yogurt in and of itself makes a wonderful baby-food. Whole milk yogurt contains necessary calories, brain-building fat, and nutrients. But most importantly, it contains conjugated linoleic acid, which has antioxidant and antitumor properties (the lowfat variety does not). According to blogger Spinach and Honey “while lowfat yogurt has less calories, whole milk yogurt contains fatty acids that help trim fat—specifically in the abdominal area! Most new mommies, who are carrying around a few extra pounds, love this.”
Considering the limitations little Noah has when it comes to food selection, I supplement his yogurt occasionally, just to be sure he’s getting enough greens in his diet. My answer? Spirulina. An interesting study published in 1995 (Author: Sevulla) showed an 81% improvement in the academic scores of children who took one gram of spirulina daily for six months.
According to Mike Adams, author of Superfoods For Optimum Health: Chlorella and Spirulina, “Certainly the GLA content of spirulina is another important factor. Nerve tissues in the brain need “healthy” fats in order to function properly, and GLA is one of the healthiest fats you can consume. That’s why human breast milk contains high quantities of GLA. In fact, breast milk is the number one source of GLA on the planet, and spirulina is number two.”
Spirulina is richly supplied with the blue pigment phycocyanin, which is a major biliprotein of the blue-green algae and has been shown to inhibit cancer-colony formation. Predominant blue pigmentation in food is rare. In Healing With Whole Foods, Paul Pitchford reports how phycocyanin helps draw together amino acids for neurotransmitter formation, which increases mental capacity.
When Noah refused his prescribed iron supplement, I was relieved to discover a study published in Nutrition Research (Vol 6, 85-94, 1986), where P. Johnson and E. Shubert reported, “Spirulina contains a highly available form of of iron. It is unusual to find plant-derived iron that is highly available,” and continues to give evidence that when test subjects received a supplement of ferrous sulfate, it was only half as effective as spirulina.
I’ve also learned that in Seattle there is a history walk along Alki Beach with brass markers which tell the story of early settlers in the area. One particular story tells of how some settlers couldn’t breastfeed their children because of breast infections, and were worried their children would get sick or worse. The natives took clams and seaweed, ground them up to a pulp and made a warm drink for the babies. Not only did they not reject it, but they thrived and were able to nurse this until the mothers got well.
This website has a long list of excellent home-made infant formula recipes. Every last one contains some kind of green, be it spirulina or otherwise. Most of the recipes call for maple syrup as a sweetener; It is important to remember that honey and Karo syrup are big no-no’s for babies under age one.