What do I feed my kids?
People often ask me this question and it is something that has evolved over time, but we have some basic principles that we try to stick to;
I don’t want my children exposed to unnecessary pesticides, antibiotics or hormones. These can all disrupt the delicate balance of the bacteria in the gut which can lead to a huge number of health problems, both at a young age, and later in life.
The energy obtained from food is of a far higher quality if it hasn’t been flown half way around the world to land on your plate, (we all know how we feel after a long haul flight, there is also an effect on the vitality of food).
In addition we are trying to be conscious of living gently on this planet so if the food can be obtained locally rather than travelling hours burning fuel, then this is preferable.
There isn’t enough known yet about the long terms health impact of GM crop consumption. However, this is my view; If a crop has been genetically altered in a lab to be able to withstand chemicals in pesticides that might otherwise kill it, then surely this must have an impact on our own DNA.
We have evolved over millennia to benefit from eating foods appropriate to the season we are in. Foods grown naturally, under conditions that they favour, in my view always taste better than those that are grown in an artificial environment. In turn I believe, the density of the nutrients they contain is higher.
Prepared from scratch
The only way to avoid preservatives and other unnecessary chemicals added to your food, is to cook it from scratch, so wherever possible, this is what we do.
There is no question about it, it is time consuming, but in my view, it is time well spent. My children enjoy helping and are actively encouraged to get involved in the kitchen, and it is a lovely activity to do together.
For those who are limited on time, batch cooking is a good way to get around it, and preparing meals that are simple and not overly elaborate.
Include raw and cultured foods
Raw foods are higher in nutritional content than those which are cooked, since some of the vitamins, minerals and enzymes are destroyed by the process of heating.
We eat plenty of salad, especially in the summer months and eat other raw foods which are packed full of enzymes and healthy bacteria, such as raw honey and raw milk.
Cultured foods (fermented), such as kefir, sauerkraut and kombucha are regulars in our house. When foods are fermented, the process actually increases the vitamin and mineral content as well as providing lots of great gut building bacteria. We make our own, but you can also buy them from some supermarkets and healthfood shops – just make sure they are raw and unpasteurised, otherwise all that good bacteria is destroyed. (If it doesn’t say, then you can assume it isn’t raw).
Absolute minimum of 5 portions of vegetables per day and 1 of fruit.
As fruit contains sugar, we try to avoid eating too much of it, so we make sure that we get most of our vitamins through vegetables. The government recommends 5 portions a day, but for us this is an absolute minimum. We don’t count, we just make sure there is plenty with every meal.
This is usually high in salt, contains sugar and additives to preserve and flavour it. This type of food is usually low in real nutritional value.
The process of pasturising milk not only kills off potentially harmful bacteria, but it also destroys good bacteria and the enzymes which help to digest it. Raw milk from organic, grass fed cows is also rich in antimicrobials and a beneficial fatty acid known as CLA.
Please note that I would not advise drinking raw milk from a source that was meant to be pasteurised! The quality and hygiene standards are not the same, (they aren’t required to be) and this could make you sick! Organic farms that sell raw milk must meet extremely strict standards and test their milk regularly to ensure it is healthful.
For more information, there is useful site you can check out here on raw milk facts.
There is nothing healthful about refined sugar, it is just empty calories with a host of potential side effects.
We eat in moderation;
Wheat or gluten containing cereals
Personally I avoid gluten all together as consuming it makes my stomach feel like I have swallowed a lead weight for at least 24 hours afterwards.
Many people these days suffer with gluten intolerance which can cause among other things, bloating, constipation or diorrhea, brain fog, fatigue, headaches and a leaky gut.
To be clear, I am not talking about Celiac disease, where the person is actually allergic to gluten and can be a very serious and potentially life threatening condition.
But there is a definite rise of various levels of intolerance to gluten. My personal feeling is that gluten itself isn’t the issue, but rather the way the grains are grown and processed. Wheat is mass produced and it is cheap. In many cases it has been highly modified in a lab to make it disease resistant and then heavily sprayed with pesticides. I think over consumption if this type of wheat is what causes so many problems for people.
My children and husband tolerate wheat better than I do, but as we are aware of the issues associated with eating it, we chose to make our bread using ancient grains which have not been genetically modified.
My favourite grain to use for this is organic sprouted spelt flour. I think if you are going to eat gluten then at least this way it is the old fashioned bread flour that was used for millennia.
So what does a typical day look like?
Breakfast – I like to start the day off with a fresh juice or a smoothie. The kids have their favourites but often they prefer to opt out – I let them chose.
Then when everyone is ready we sit down together we eat. This could be eggs, grain free pancakes or porridge with seeds. We sprout our oats (more on this later).
My daughter likes organic Greek yoghurt mixed with kefir.
Lunch – This usually involves some salad, something fermented, plenty of nuts and seeds if we are at home, (not at school due to children with nut allergies), plus maybe eggs, fish or leftover chicken.
I like to give the kids something filling so they will often have a slice of grain free banana bread made with lots of healthy coconut oil.
Alternatively they might have some savoury flapjacks.
Dinner – This is often a slow cooked stew. I love making these sort of meals as they can be made ahead of time and are really easy. I use bone broth for the base of the sauce and throw in lots of herbs and some spices.
We are not perfect and I am not a super mum. My children go to school and they go to parties and playdates. They are exposed to food choices that I would prefer they weren’t but they live in the ‘real’ world. We are trying to educate our children about food so that they can make decisions for themselves. We do not eat perfectly all the time, but life isn’t perfect, its an adventure and it should be fun along the way too!
When someone is sick or shows a symptom of something out of balance – emotionally or physically, we make adjustments to help.
For example, occasionally my daughter has shown something that looks a bit like eczema. When we see this, we cut the wheat out and up probiotic rich food. Along with a Health Kinesiology treatment or some Homeopathy or Aromatherapy, this usually sorts it quickly.
We are on a journey…. Using our intuition, doing our research and observing. Doing the best we can with the information we have and continuing to learn and grow. Nobody is perfect, just do your best, make a few simple changes and see what happens!