Let medicine be thy food and let food be thy medicine – Hypocrites
The Greek physician Hypocrites was on to something when he made this statement.
Lennox McNeary and Cheri Wiggins are on to something too.
Who could have imagined that a little cookie could be that medicine for a very important segment of our population – new mothers. For these ladies necessity inspired invention – and a solution was born.
Lennox and Cheri were full-time, practicing physicians at a clinic in Roanoke, Virginia. They were also moms with nursing children.
Lennox was a new mom. Cheri was an experienced one. And as fate would have it, they lived in the same neighborhood and Cheri quickly became a mommy mentor to Lennox. They talked about everything from car seats to strollers and all things about babies, as you can well imagine.
“We started commiserating about the challenges of our busy lives and how our breast milk supply had plummeted,” said Lennox.
This was Cheri’s second child and she shared with Lennox that the herbal supplement fenugreek was shown to be effective in women who weren’t producing enough breast milk. So they tried it and it worked. But Lennox said the biggest side effect was “we started to smell like maple syrup” and it wasn’t very pleasant.
Sure there were prescription medications they could have taken like dommperidone or ragelin but those produced even worse side effects like anxiety – and more anxiety is not what a new mother needs at all.
Lennox and Cheri knew there had to be a better solution, something simple, something right in front of their noses.
Cheri was a baker and would make chocolate chip cookies for her family everyday when she when home for lunch, said Lennox. “And one day I jokingly said wouldn’t it be cool if cookies increased our breast milk supply?”
The Mommy Doctors started researching galactogogues, which are substances that help increase breast milk production. They examined the practices and traditions nursing moms used in other cultures such as what kind of foods they ate and the kinds of teas they drank. Once they complied all their data, it turned out that a cookie was a great “vehicle” and as Lennox said a lot more fun.
So the baking began with Cheri’s chocolate chip cookie as the foundation. Night after night they would adjust the ingredients, bake up a new batch and eat them. They would even take them to work and share them with their colleagues who were breast feeding moms.
“When our test moms reported that their breast milk supply increased after they ate the cookies, we said ok they really work,” said Lennox. After 35 attempts and several months of testing, they nailed down the recipe and launched their online business “milkn’ cookies.”
Lennox said the magic ingredients are nutritional yeast, wheat germ, oatmeal, flax seed and whole wheat flour. They currently have three cookie varieties: cranberry almond, oatmeal chocolate chip and dairy free cranberry almond because a lot of babies are dairy-intolerant. All of them have oatmeal.
So what has the reception been like in the medical community? Lennox said that while a few people tease them and “roll their eyes” about their cookies, overall the support in the medical community has been great from organizations like the American Society of Pediatrics, American Academy of Family Physicians, and The International Lactation Association.
“As doctors when we find something wrong one of the first things we do is look at a patient’s diet and change it,” said Lennox. “And if we look at how diets negatively impact health, it makes sense to look at how food positively impacts health.”
Lennox shares a great roasted root vegetable recipe for nursing moms which she says contains galactogogues, the substance that helps promote milk production. In addition she points out that roasting vegetables brings out their natural sweetness and makes them really tasty. This recipe is also a great way to introduce new vegetables to children and adults who don’t regularly eat them.
For more information on The Mommy Doctors and “milkn’ cookies,” visit their website at milkn-cookies.com.
Roasted Root Vegetables
1 large sweet potato
1 small butternut squash (this is easier to peel if you microwave it for a few minutes first)
kosher salt & black pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
Peel the butternut squash and then cut all of the vegetables into even cubes, approximately 1 inch each. Toss them with olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread vegetables on 2 baking sheets in a single layer. Bake for approximately 30 minutes. Check and turn all vegetables once about 15-20 minutes through the baking process. Remove from the oven and serve.