I absolutely love the combination of parsnip and apple together. I make cashew milk every few days and absolutely love how creamy it is. The combination of the cashews in the soup really make this creamier and also pack it full of healthy fats and protein. I soak my cashews first before I add them to help remove irritating phytic acid and cashews can be soaked for at least 30 minutes.
As you can probably tell I am very passionate about kids nutrition. It starts with pre-conception. Feeding ourselves before we have kids, while we are pregnant and then in breastfeeding and of course what we wean our kids onto; is extremely important for their health. Food provides nutrients for new cell formation and therefore supports the baby’s fast growth and development. Plus nourishing their relationship with food in a positive and fun way can provide them with a healthy understanding of what real food is and how great you can feel after eating real food.
Todays question is one that I am often asked and am happy to answer.
Can you please give me a list of foods that are great for babies to start off with.
Babies do not necessarily absorb nutrients from foods for the first year. Breastmilk is designed to do that. Formula attempts to do the same. The first 6 months of a child physically eating, is not necessarily to nourish them but to help them to acquire basic and necessary skills to eat. A relationship which is lifelong and should be encouraged. Eat for fun until they are one is very true.
The main thing to consider is that at weaning age babies may have some the enzymes to digest some proteins and fats. However until the age of 2 (or until the child’s back molars have come through) grains are not yet digestible. Baby Rice is one of the worst things you can ever give a baby as its first foods! Not only is it the by-product of industry but also the nutrients that may possibly be in it are completely unavailable. They may be full up- but they have not eaten it themselves and because it is a food that the body cannot recognise it may also ignite some inflammation. Especially if the baby is formula fed.
Fermented foods are so important at this stage and especially if the baby is formula fed. Water Kefir (see here to make it and my book Culture Your Life) is safe to use adding up to a tsp in their food a day. Please consult your naturopath if your child was a c-section, formula fed baby showing some digestive weakness (colic, reflux, intolerances, excess gas).
Gelatin is also nice to add to your baby’s food. Especially if there are any intolerances showing or skin conditions. Gelatin is anti-inflammatory but also hugely necessary for structural growth and development- so crucial for children. This is the one I like (find it at The Body Group if you are in Hong Kong) for first foods as it doesn’t set so can be sprinkled over fruit or cooled steamed veg.
Instead start with these traditional baby’s first foods-
ghee (even for those kids with a potential dairy issue- ghee is just the fat),
These foods can be fun for the kids to pick up, smear onto their trays and work out how to get it into their mouth, move it around their mouth (a babys instinct is to push food out of their mouth- at this stage it has very little to do with flavour)
I then move on to Foods that are hard enough to be picked up, but soft enough to help them start to chew.;
I also introduce chia (1tsp to 2 tsp coconut water, breastmilk or water)
(If you have to give them rice, lentils, chickpeas then ensure they are prepared traditionally; that they have been soaked before and cook it in bone broth)
I always eat in front of my kids as they learn by mimicking and copying whatever they see in front of them. I help them, I allow them to take the lead and I let them enjoy it.
With kids time is essential. Allow your child time and space to learn how to eat and enjoy their food. If it looks like they don’t like something, let them try it again and again. Encourage them to try. Give them some food off your plate and if possible be eating the same food as them. Be careful to notice how you act around foods- they will copy you. Be mindful about how you talk about them eating- they are listening!
Never ever say; you don’t like it, you won’t like it he/she won’t eat that.
The other morning I woke up starving! I also really craved a smoothie. I haven’t been drinking smoothies recently as I went off them a couple of weeks ago. I think it has something to do with the fact that since I have gone off grains (for my trademark 80% of the time!) I have not been half as hungry as before. I decided to have a smoothie and created this one with as many fats in it as possible. I cannot describe how satisfied I felt after this! At lunch I had a salad with pomello and shrimps and scallops and I was still satisfied until dinner- with my blood sugar levels for the past 15 years that is practically unheard of.
Here is what I did;
Ultimate Fat Smoothie
A smoothie designed to get a wide range of fats into your daily diet. Delicious too! Includes kefir to maximise absorption of the fats.
Who Really Uses Fats? I guess it depends on what kind of fats? Not all fats are created equal after all. The ones that cause inflammation and irritation are those so far removed from their natural starting points (margarine and corn oil for example) that the body just does not recognise them as food- they are not- they are man made.
Fats are wonderful and very much your friend. Healing, balancing, energy giving, strengthening and fat burning- fats are absolutely essential. Fats provide energy, all hormones are made from fat, brain matter is mostly fat and fat is our biggest energy source. Even if you dont believe me- take the time out to listen to this genius Barry Groves;
Fats are 50-60% of breast milk which to me is the blueprint for all growth and development. Strength and healing is all growth and development and since all human cells are made with a phospho-lipid (protein and fat blend) cell wall- every cell needs fat. We are definitely not providing these cells with this basic requirements in the standard western diet. No wonder we are generally overweight, with poor structural and organ health, full of inflammation, low on energy and with hormones all over the shop!
There is very little evidence that saturated fats have any link to coronary heart disease- in fact it is looking like they have a very opposite, preventative and healing effect. There is so much conflicting evidence out there about different fats. For me it makes sense to include fats that are consumed in their natural forms This includes;
Meat cooked on the bone and slow-cooked from grass-fed/pastured livestock,
Coconut oil and coconut butter,
Nut/seed butters and nuts/seeds that have been soaked/activated,
Fermented/raw whole milk
A range of these fats is key in the diet.
There are essential fatty acids for the brain in saturated fats from animals and there are essential fatty acids in coconuts and eggs. I leave you with the question- what is a ‘canola’ from which oil is extracted? There is no such thing as a canola! How many processes do you think there needs to be to go from a corn kernal to an oil? No wonder these fats have no nutrients and absolutely no place in a human diet.
Highly processed trans fats and liquid vegetable oils are seen to be primary contributors to the rapid growth of degenerative diseases (inflammation) in our modern culture.
These fats are incorporated in almost all processed foods so it is easy to consume a lot of them without realizing it. For example canola oil is in almost all packaged cereal and a trans fats(hydrogenated fat) are in most processed breads.
Cholesterol is a fundamental fat gracing every cell’s wall and our blood. Its jobs, which are many, include:
Insulating neurons to deliver messages from the brain and nervous system (making it essential for brain development)
Building and maintaining cell walls
Extracting and using fat soluble vitamins,
Producing bile which is essential to digestion and absorptions of fats
Kick-starting the body’s production of many hormones, including the sex /growth hormones.
The cholesterol in human milk supplies an infant with close to six times the amount most adults consume from food. Most commercial formulas are low in saturated fats. Soy formulas are completely devoid of cholesterol. You can see why there are claims that breast milk can produce children with less digestive problems (leaky gut symptoms like allergies and asthma), are seen to be more intelligent and have a better body shape and muscle development. A large part of the reason is the different types of fat in breastmilk vs formula.
The other essential factor to consider when consuming fats is do you have the right amount of gastric juices to break down the fats? A good bacterial balance to also be able to digest fats? Most importantly is your liver is not under stress to produce much needed bile? This helps to get the fatty into a substance that can be absorbed and used in the above essential ways for whole body strength and vitality.
So who really uses fats- well I do, everyday for all the family!
Here are some other great articles about healthy fats;
I always try to pack in the nutrients especially when making food for the kids to eat. I love my vanilla butter fudge and my homemade chocolate so I thought I would combine the two to give a rich, dense softer fudgy consistency to my chocolate
It is so yummy!
A rich, dark chocolaty fudge that is junk free and packed with essential fats and nutrients. Great for all ages and sweetend with coconut sugar