Nurture Your Life is the second in my series of books on natural health (the first was Culture Your Life published 2014). Children’s nutrition is a big passion of mine. As a Naturopath and Nutritional Therapist I see many children with chronic conditions like persistent illness, skin conditions, energy and growth issues and a staggering increase in children with allergies and intolerances. With two children of my own, I feel compelled to help these kids find their strength and return them to health to help prevent more serious conditions in their future.
Weaning a child onto food is a very powerful first step in a child’s relationship with food. A relationship which is of fundamental importance to health. Think of your own love/hate relationship with food. There are so many non-foods in our diets in the west, our supermarkets are sometimes almost 80% stocked with chemical, processed and unhealthy foods. Conventional avenues still persist that rice cereal (which may be hugely inflammatory to an immature digestive system) is the food we should be starting our kids on. This book does not recommend that route.
I hope you enjoy reading it and ask questions, keep reading, become informed as to how the body works. Change your own relationship to food if need be. Lets start our kids off the right way, with foods to nurture their life from the beginning.
This spicy, tart and juicy Christmas Kraut is a match made in heaven for your plate, throughout the holiday season.
Traditional Christmas foods are naturally rich in fats, nutrients and, of course, sugar! Many of us will also be enjoying a tipple or two at parties over the coming weeks. Adding a fermented aspect to these meals, this Christmas Kraut may help the body to deal with and digest all these excess foods and drinks. Hopefully lessening the fatigue, bloating, hangovers, sugar highs (and lows) and of course the noxious fumes that generally comes with turkey, sprouts et al.
Perfect on the plate at the main event or served with cheese, this Christmas Kraut will totally change some of your Christmas traditions!! It will certainly be on the menu for me for years to come.
So simple, if you are in a warmish climate you could ferment this in a week and have it ready for your Christmas table this year.
Char sui (Chinese Barbecue Pork) is one of my all time comfort foods. Growing up in Hong Kong, Char Sui is the lynch pin for so many meals. Served with rice and veggies, in noodles, in buns and just by itself as a snack, its salty sweet bbq flavour is completely addictive. However of course so are all the nasty additives, colourings and msg you can find in it nowadays- not in a good way of course.
When I first stumbled across this recipe I was not convinced it was going to taste as good. But oh boy is it on the money! Simply marinade and roast. We serve with chinese greens stir fried with garlic or we make coconut rice (or try cauli mash/parsnip rice)
Homemade Char Sui (Barbecue Pork)
A clean ingredient recipe for a classic favourite. Authentic takeaway/restaurant flavour with great ingredients.
Kombucha is a fermented Tea. It is described as a ‘delicious sour tonic beverage’ slightly sparking and a little like apple cider. The drink is made with a SCOBY( symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast). Also known as “The Mother” just like with Apple Cider Vinegar. It is a bit like a disc which floats on the surface as it ferments.
Kombucha is an aerobic process so it has to float as its where the oxygen is- if it is not floating after a few days or generate a new film- sadly it may have died. Although sometimes it will sink then rise. It is best to use a wide glass vessel (no metal) that is partially filled. Your SCOBY will generate a film that is the same size and shape as your vessel. As you make more the SCOBY will get thicker and generally grow in layers that you can peel off and use to generate other batches and to share (babies!) As they have no added benefit by being thicker you can share or why not puree it into a paste and use it for a facial?!
This is how you can make it at home
Each SCOBY and brew will be different, much like Kefir. Some will be more robust than others and some may be able to brew herbal teas and adapt to other sugars. Some people have even used fruit juice. It is best to start with a more fail safe ‘tea leaf’ brew; black, green or white tea. Then play with the herbal teas in the second fermentation.
All you need is Tea, sugar and an acidic environment. The amount of sugar is dependent on your taste. It is possible to brew a strong tea as a concentrate and then water down (also to cool it). The tea can be sweetened while still hot (as it is easier to get the sugar to dissolve) but can also be done when cold
What you will need:
Wide glass jar (I use 1.6 litre Jar)
1 litre Cooled, strong brewed tea (black, green or white tea)
1⁄2 cup sugar (I use coconut)
Acid (either 100mls brewed Kombucha saved from last batch or 2 tbs of any vinegar) Plastic tongs (to transport the mother)
Piece of cotton or muslin/rubber band to secure)
Plastic Funnel and Glass bottle to store for drinking
Glass Jar to keep mother in (with some reserved tea)
The tea needs to be at body temperature (no hotter) mix in the sugar.
Then add 100mls Kombucha about (5-10 percent so for a litre about 50-100mls)or 2 tbs of vinegar (any kind) if you have no matured Kombucha.
Add the Mother (SCOBY)
Always cover the vessel with a light porous cloth that allows air circulation but protects from bugs and dust. Kitchen towel works well too.
Leave Vessel in a warm spot away from direct sunlight.
The length of fermentation will depend on how warm it is and how acidic you want your drink to be. Taste it every few days to see if you like it, but on average it is between 7-14 days (can be months- when it’s really cold)
When it is to taste, take the mother out and place in a bowl to separate the layers or the ‘babies’
Reserve in some of the tea to store in the fridge (cool temp stop fermentation). Have another batch of tea ready to start again and drink tea (bottle as is either in tight sealed bottle or open bottle and store in the fridge) or bottle with fruit for the second fermentation.
My son is not a fan of meat- AT ALL. It doesn’t bother me too much as he has lots of stock (bone broth) on a daily basis. He also has a broad spectrum of healthy fats over the day. Animal protein is important and if he ate eggs then I would relax, but he doesn’t. If I am not careful he would just eat carbs all day (like most kids) but then I would pay the price with his behaviour (moaning, anger, weepy and destructive!).
My quest for lunchbox foods also continues- this one really fits the bill too as they are bite size and nice hot or cold. They will be perfect party food, picnic foods and travel snacks. The fact that they are easy to make is also a huge bonus!
There are just 3 steps;
Cut and soak; Soaking the chicken keeps it really moist and tender
Shake; shaking it in coconut flour and almond flour/coconut gives it a good crust
and bake (or shallow fry in butter);
He loves them and calls them popcorn! I love that they are packed full of goodness and healthy fats! Bonus is my daughter also loves them and asks for them for lunch. Wining all round! You can add a variety of spices to the chicken, personally I like curry powder in mine, it is delicious with the coconut milk.
Tumeric and Coconut Popcorn Chicken
This is a great chicken recipe, full of healthy fats and packed with flavour. Coconut and turmeric make this grain free, paleo friendly recipe delicious and nutritious.
Cut chicken meat into small bite size pieces and place in a glass container (with a lid). Pour over coconut milk and add turmeric, salt and pepper. Replace lid and shake. Leave to marinade in the fridge overnight
Put coconut/almond and flour into a ziplock bag. Pour in chicken and shake bag until all the pieces are covered. Pour contents out onto baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil.
Bake at 200 degree C for 20-25 mins until chicken is fully cooked.
Chicken can be frozen at this time if desired. To reheat, thaw completely and heat some ghee/butter in a pan and reheat chicken until hot through.
Chicken can also be fried in butter or olive oil or in an airfryer
these are great cold or hot. Serve with some fermented ketchup or mayo, sweet potato chips or a big colourful salad.