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Natural Awakenings Milwaukee

Letter from Publisher

One of the greatest gifts of health we can give ourselves and our children is clean, nutritious food, and and I appreciate the advice Clancy Cash Harrison provides in this month’s article, “Kids Love Veggies: How to Instill Healthy Lifelong Habits.” I’ve often been told how lucky I am that my son, Yonatan, loves vegetables and eats whatever I cook. For that and much more, I can thank the wonderful women in my life that are also experienced mothers and have helped me navigate the tricky path of 11 years of motherhood.

During my pregnancy, I dreamed of having a natural birth and was fortunate to find a hospital that included a natural birthing unit down the hall from the maternity ward. My delivery didn’t go as planned, and 24 hours after I had started labor, complications surfaced that caused distress to the baby and necessitated an emergency C-section.

When I brought my newborn home, I was determined to breast-feed him; but it was not going well, in part because he was still weak and had been mostly bottle-fed for four days in the hospital. The visiting nurse recommended that I continue supplementing with formula to get his weight up.

That’s when a good friend of mine, who’s a pediatrician and mother of five, came to visit. She strongly encouraged me not to worry or give up, but to persist, because once started on bottles, it’s tough to go back to breast-feeding. I was as nervous as any first-time mother, but her practical techniques worked, and I happily breast-fed my son for a year.

I introduced regular food when he was 6 months old and experienced the typical parental frustration over a little one’s refusals to eat—spitting out food, making faces and turning his head away. This time my dear friend Merav stepped in. Her daughter is 3 years older than my son and a good eater.

Merav asked me to taste the baby food I was trying to feed Yonatan; it was awful. Then she gave me the best counsel ever: She told me to cook food that I like to eat myself and not be afraid to use spices. Encouraged, I sautéed an onion with ground turkey, sweet potato, carrot, zucchini and tomatoes, and spiced it with salt, pepper, cumin, curry, paprika and cinnamon. Then I let it simmer until everything was soft, mashed it to smoothness with some added rice and voilà: My baby loved it.

We called our recipe “gvetch”, and Yonatan still gets excited when I make a batch for dinner. This approach has had a huge impact on our family life. I rarely cook “kid” food. Instead, I’ve always made dinner for the whole family, put it on the table and that is what we all eat. Yes, we enjoy an occasional pizza night, but if dinner is served without a salad, I hear complaints. It’s a good problem to have.

As we celebrate this women’s health issue, I extend gratitude to all the incredible women that I am blessed to call friends. This Mother’s Day, let’s bless all the nurturers in our lives.

Wishing love, health and happiness to all,

Gabriella Buchnik, Publisher

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