DIY: Nut Butter and Baby Formula (not together!)

Good afternoon 🙂

I’m teaching 8 classes and I’ve been a big slacker in researching things for friends/clients (but I’ll admit, I’ve been researching the things that interest me the most…).

Often, when I am trying to help someone improve their health, we have to find substitutions for “old” habits—without that, we’re bound to try and rely on willpower (which is a dirty word, in my book). The issue is sometimes that the substitutions sound good in theory—but they aren’t satisfactory in practical application (i.e. the person still yearns for the old habit).

Don’t get me wrong, there is effort and determination involved in making lifestyle changes. A lot of it. But we can set up the scenario in such a way that it’s not so difficult (did you know that studies have shown that people who use a restriction method for losing weight closely mimic the mind/thought patterns of people who have gone through a famine?  It takes 6 months to undo the damaging mental patterns afterwards).

Today I have a few random thoughts on how to improve the quality of the foods in your life, while saving money and not feeling deprived.

Nut butter:

I got the idea from Laura at Never Not Beautiful.

Start with quality nuts (mixed nuts or trail mix—even if it has chocolate or other non-nut ingredients in it) …The end result is that you will have homemade nut butter for significantly cheaper, and you know exactly what is in it (no weird canola oils or anything added that you don’t want).

Go to Laura's website to see the rest of the instructions!

Baby Formula:

Many babies who are not breastfeeding, are given soy formula. Every time I hear this, I cringe—soy formula sounds pretty good, right? Well, the main issue is that soy has estrogenic properties. Studies have shown female babies who drank soy formula reach puberty earlier, that there may be a link to ADD, and there is speculation (that has not been proven yet) that it can lead to a whole host of other problems. Soy’s high levels of manganese and low ability to promote nutrient absorption are also concerns. The American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend using soy formula.

Formula, in general, is highly processed with highly denatured proteins. Did you know it’s possible to make your own formula?!

Here are your choices:

1. Raw organic milk (from grass-fed Jersey or Guernsey cows that are free of tuberculosis and brucellosis)


2. Best quality pasteurized whole milk, not homogenized. Culture it for 12 hours with piima culture or kefir grains to restore enzymes lost in pasteurization.


3. Make a milk-free formula made from organic liver

Here are the step-by-step instructions for the most common ways to make formula. Remember the book, Nourishing Traditions, by Sally Fallon that I’ve mentioned before? She has great information in the book on this topic, and you can find support (plus evidence against soy formula) and the recipe for this method through the Weston A. Price Foundation.


Happy Thanksgiving, Friends! I am working this week (there’s no vacation from online education!), and I’m totally happy about it—I celebrated by buying new measuring cups and trying a new recipe for high protein bread (lots of eggs in this one!).

Measuring cups from Anthropologie. Some people splurge on shoes....


Cinnomon Protein bread from Maria Emmerich's Nutritious and Delicious book. It's really good (for someone like me, who does not eat grains for health reasons). Slightly dry on it's own, but very light and airy. The main ingredients: eggs (the beaten whites make it super fluffy) and Jay Robb Protein powder... I am going to try and make a savory version and use it for grilled cheese!

Here’s the link to Maria’s website where you can get the recipe.

Quick update on fitness and food: I decided to do the Intermittent Fasting one or two days a week instead of everyday. I stuck with it for a month, and didn’t notice much except that my body fat percent went down by 1% and I felt like I was eating more (or at least being hungrier) later in the day. Currently, I’m just going to focus on keeping my protein intake high, and I’m experimenting with some new supplements. For fitness, I’m doing cardio first thing in the morning, and sticking with my interval timer workouts for strength training (generally around lunch time).

Have you tried anything new in the kitchen or any DIY projects that save you money and improve the nutritional quality of what you’re eating?

Have you ever made formula for your baby?

How about nut butter?

If not, would you consider either one?

22 thoughts on “DIY: Nut Butter and Baby Formula (not together!)”

  1. Woah, I had no idea you could make baby formula out of liver!  And I”m loving the sounds of that nut butter.  Glad you are finding what works for you with the intermitent fasting.  Happy Thanksgiving!

  2. So interesting about the baby formula. My 6 week old nephew is on formula and now I’m curious to see which one he’s on. I know my sister would never make her own formula tho…
    I definitely want to nurse when I have kids.

    That bread looks really good! I made bread using coconut flour last night, that turned out good, but I want something fluffier next time!

  3. Question…I am 100% breastfeeding but at one point [maybe like 2 or 3 times] I had to give Ella formula early on. She can not tolerate dairy so soy was the only option, I did organic so it was No GMO. What about babies that are intolerant to milk? Also what about the whole theory about babies being fed cows dairy and their bodies looking at the protein in milk as an immune invader, and the links to type 1 diabetes???  I also heard unpasteurized milk and raw milk is extremely dangerous for other reasons? I would feel very uneasy making my own formula.

    I am seriously asking out of curiosity, not questioning you 🙂 You know a lot about nutrition so I want to hear your thoughts! I was always wondering too what the option would be for a baby that can’t breast feed and can not tolerate dairy OR soy what they can do? A breastmilk bank?

  4. I’ve always wanted to have a go at making my own nut butter, but never think of it when we have nuts in the house.  Gonna bookmark this and try to remember for next time =)

  5. I was pretty surprised when I first read about this topic—and I had the same feeling, like how could a new mother feel comfortable enough that she was “doing this right” and not going to give her baby something dangerous or wrong? Commercial formulas do give the feeling that they are more safe—in terms of being a standard composition and not being contaminated with bacteria, etc. After I read more and more from the Weston A. Price foundation and Sally Fallon (Nourishing Traditions), it just started to make more sense (as far as the content/nutrients and lack of processed junky stuff).
    Raw milk is very controversial—it’s something the government would have no one consume for so-called safety reasons. Without going into super duper detail (I could go on for days on this…), I just think they’re wrong–pasteurization actually causes the fat globules in the milk to be redistributed in a less than optimal way (messed up and less digestible) plus it kills the beneficial digestive enzymes. The cows (in the case of homemade formula) would HAVE to be jersey or guernsey (for the desirable milk composition—holsteins are not) and the mother would need to make sure the cows were pasture-fed and not given hormones or antibiotics. Additionally, the formula recipes have additions to the cow’s milk because human milk is richer in whey, lactose, vitamin C, niacin, and long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids compared to cow’s milk but leaner in casein (milk protein). The addition of gelatin to cow’s milk formula also makes it more digestible for the infant. The quality of the ingredients is so
    important because it brings the cow’s milk up to par with the
    nutritional content of breast milk….that being said, for a non-milk
    drinking baby, there is actually a recipe for formula out of liver!
    Giving a baby standard pasteurized grocery store milk is definitely
    a bad idea—but raw unpasteurized milk can be a good base for making
    formula. I don’t, however, know how likely it is for people to feel
    confident enough to do this or that they’d have access to raw milk (In
    NY where I am it’s legal but in many states it’s not).
    On Tue 22/11/11 15:28 , “Disqus”

  6. I blinked at the liver formula.  Never would have thought about that, and it provides an option for babies with dairy sensitivities.  I’d steer clear of soy formula if I had a baby and I needed to supplement. 

    I’ve always wanted to make nut butter, but my food processor isn’t strong enough.  Time to go daydream (again) about a vitamix.

    Good to see you posting, friend!

  7. happy thanksgiving week, lisa!
    i love LOVE those measuring cups! at first glance i thought they were bowls – they’re so pretty and unique! definitely worth the splurge.
    i have not made nut butter on my own but it intrigues me. the clean up after does not interest me so i likely will stick with buying my all-natural kraft!
    thanks for the info on formula – not something that affects me, but i love learning new info.
    great to read your updates, too – that bread recipe does interest me!

  8. Gina (Candid RD)

    I love to make my own nut butter, especially walnut butter.  Now, baby formula is one that I’ve never done before.  I think I’ll just stick to breast milk once that time comes 🙂  Baby food, however, is something I’d like to know how to make!

    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!

  9. Wow, that is shocking about baby formula!  As consumers we really need to educate ourselves…thanks for sharing!  By the way, LOVE the measuring cups.  🙂

    Wishing you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving, Lisa!

  10. omgggg cutest measuring cups ever!!! I’ll get you something cute for christmas. Or make you something. We shall see. Next time I come to visit, I want a grilled cheese on that bread, you hear?!

  11. Breast is best!!  I love how much research you do girl — it’s just awesome!
    I breastfed all 3 of mine… 2 years each for the boys and my daughter decided she was done at 14 months…
    I’m so glad I didn’t have to make my own formula… not sure I would have felt comfortable with that but if I needed to go that route I would have because I don’t like formula.
    Happy Thanksgiving!!

  12. i must try making nut butter at home. we go through it so quickly!  

    very interesting about making formula at home.  will have to remember that.

    happy thanksgiving 🙂

  13. Great info. on making your own formula! I am all about breastfeeding, but if I couldn’t for some reason I would definitely look into making my own formula. I think I would feel more comfortable about that then worrying if my baby’s formula had jet fuel or beetle parts mixed in it!

  14. I am late replying to this post, but I’ve been meaning to comment on the restriction/famine side note you wrote.

    When I lost weight 35 lbs in 2008 counting calories, I probably cut my calories too severely because I did not account for the fact that I was still nursing my toddler (breastfeeding burns calories!)  When I stopped counting calories and upped my calorie intake to “maintenance mode”, I definitely went through a period of time where I felt like I had an eating disorder.  Obsessing about food, overeating at parties, compensating with lots of exercise the next day… these were things I never ever struggled with in my entire life!  This makes a lot of sense to me now, my body was coming out of a famine!!  It probably did take 6 months for things to “normalize” for me.  (The book Intuitive Eating was what finally snapped me out of it!)

  15. Thanks for sharing that with me, Alison. When I first read about the famine/restriction phenomenon, it really clicked with me (based on reflections of my past experiences and my clients’ run-ins with calorie restriction. Now, it’s so much more enjoyable to take the strategic eating approach and working out “smarter” not harder! It’s funny, though, with many clients—they can’t seem to shake the old bad info about having a low fat calorie restricted diet. I understand why it’s hard to let that go!

  16. I would love to learn how to make the nut butter! But unfortunately, the link you gave us for Laura’s blog is open by invitation only, and I was denied access.  🙁

    Could you give us the recipe here, or either give us access to her blog?

    Thanks — can’t wait to try it!

  17. Thanks for letting me know! Laura changed her blog after I wrote this… I’ll update the post, but just so you know, the recipe is so wonderful and easy—just buy trail mix (added bits of raisins or chocolate are what make it interesting!), and throw it in the food processor for quite a long time. You’ll have to scrape the sides most likely. It will eventually turn into nut butter…It’s wonderful—and in fact, some brands sell stuff like this for more than $10 a jar so it’s a big savings too!
    If you try it, let me know!

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