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.
Basic Sauerkraut is so delicious (see my how to here). I have it with eggs, add it so my coleslaw (kraut slaw here) and try to have it with any meat dish as a side. The sour flavour works well to stimulate gastric acids too so it a great primer for any fat, protein rich foods.
Since cabbage has so many health giving properties (read here), combining it with beetroot and ginger makes so much sense. The rich, sweetness and earthiness of the beetroot goes so well with the heat of the ginger and the sourness of the kraut. It hits all of the senses on the palate and really satisfy the taste buds.
Of course the rich myriad of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and blood boosting qualities of the beetroot with the anti-inflammatory, warming and nourishing properties of ginger are made even more available to the body with the fermentation process. The presence of a well balanced symbiosis of bacteria allows the body access to these nutrients, to absorb and use them to help promote wellbeing and healing.
Start in the same way as you would with the basic sauerkraut. When the cabbage and salt have been massaged together, combine the beetroot and ginger (I have used raw and powdered ginger and both work well) before packing it all into your jar.
Beetroot and Ginger Sauerkraut
A rich nutritious flavouring of sauerkraut. Great to assist in the body's wellbeing and healing process. Really good to help digestion of fat or protein rich foods in a meal.
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.
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.
When I was 20 I went to the U.S.A to be a camp counsellor in New Haven, Connecticut. I absolutely loved it. I was there for almost 3 months, 8 weeks at camp and then almost 4 weeks traveling as south as South Carolina (I absolutely loved Charleston) and as north as Toronto. I was introduced to many new culinary species on that trip (man the American’s have rubbish cheese and chocolate- well they did in those days my blogger friends insist things have changed!) but the thing that stuck for me was waffles with maple syrup and bacon. Stuck-like-glue, I just love the salty sweet combination.
Over the years I always ordered it in a restaurant and make pancakes all the time but waffles always seemed like such a faff. NOT ANYMORE!
Blender waffles she says! My pancake making days were instantly changed when I found blender pancakes, the mix of healthy fats and protein in the eggs and almond/coconut flour, plus the natural sweetness of the banana has given my kids pancakes way more often- even on school days! Grain free too which make these perfect for me and my family. So I took this combo and played with the consistency and thus blender waffles are born!
I now make 2 different types; Chocolate Waffles (very rich chocolatey flavour with zero added sugar) and Vanilla Waffles. I have included both for you- you’re welcome!
Vanilla Blender Waffles
A gluten-free and super simple waffle recipe. All you need is a blender and 5 simple ingredients!
Here are the chocolate ones! These are nice served with cream and berries.
Chocolate Blender Waffles
Rich, bitter cacao with the natural sweetness of banana. Full of healthy fats and protein. Blender waffles are super simple and only have 7 ingredients that you probably have in your house. Grain free these are paleo friendly.