Tag Archives: Nutrition

Naturally healthy kids on a shoestring

8 Sep

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They say your health is your wealth and that is so true when you consider a well man has many wishes but a sick man has only one.  The world of natural, healthy food seems to have gone mad with the average price of an organic apple now matching that of a hamburger in Macdonald’s; is it any wonder more and more kids are suffering from obesity, diabetes and a plethora of other diseases which just a few generations ago were rare or even unknown in the younger generations.

Since becoming a parent and giving up pursuing a high paid career I have committed to full-time attachment parenting without any substantial added  incomes. I have had to learn first hand how to make a budget stretch whilst maintaining the health of all the family.

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Tip 1: Stop buying pre-packaged and pre-made foods, they are expensive and have poor quality nutrient content. Instead shop mainly in the outside aisles of the supermarkets where most of the fresh food is and watch your shopping budget stretch further. Swap sugary cereals for porridge oats, confectionary for naturally sweet dried fruit and crisps for salty nuts or olives.

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Tip 2: Buy foods from local markets and farms, cutting out the middle man

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Tip 3: Grow your own; maybe you have an allotment, garden, balcony or even just a window sill. Everyone can grow something. Tomatoes, salad leaves and strawberries are all easy to grow and don’t need a lot of space. THis is a great way to connect kids with where their food comes from and inspire them to eat more fresh fruit and vegetables.

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Tip 4: Forage wild food for free; go to your local woods, park or even your neighbour’s front gardens where you will be surprised at how much is growing, even in the city. Apple trees are easy to spot, also  try foods you can’t normally buy in the supermarket which are super nutrient dense: rosehips, dandelion leaves (yes weeds are good for you), wild garlic, watercress, chestnuts, hazel nuts, blackberries, and elderberries

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Tip 5: Eat more raw; it’s more nutrient dense, uses less money on the gas bill and helps to cure all sorts of ailments from allergies to diabetes. For tips on amazing child-friendly raw recipes see Raw food 4 kids book at http://www.therawfoodmum.com

Tip 6: Have vegetarian/vegan days; animal products for protein intake are so much more expensive than protein rich plant foods such as beans, lentils and legumes.

Tip 7: Breastfeed your children full-term (usually between 2 and 4 years), allowing them to wean themselves. All financially challenged countries value extended breastfeeding for ensuring optimum nutrition for the child.

Tip 8: Ensure your child gets outdoor sun exposure directly on unprotected skin, all-year-round, to boost vitamin D levels. Even when it’s cloudy and raining, the rays still come through.

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Tip 9: Learn how to get the most out of your whole foods products. Eg. One fresh coconut can provide you with at least three products; coconut milk, coconut water and desiccated coconut. You can also learn easy ways to tun simple, whole food ingredients like raisins, dates and cashews into home-made versions of popular shop bought snacks such as ‘Naked’ bars.

Tip 10: Take advantage of government initiatives to save you money; healthy start vouchers are a great way to save money on your fresh fruit and vegetables in the UK.

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My new blog about juicing for pregnancy written for this fantastic new website resource for those interested in having a more healthy and raw pregnancy

30 Apr

My new blog about juicing for pregnancy written for this fantastic new website resource for those interested in having a more healthy and raw pregnancy

A look inside the raw kid’s lunch box

4 Apr

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Looking for some healthy ideas for kid’s lunch boxes? Here is a raw, vegan and allergen free * selection of child friendly yummy delights. Enough to fuel your kid through even the most physically or mentally challenging day out and about. You needn’t include every single option, not only can a fully raw lunch box work out quite expensive but your child may not be ready for such a drastic dietary change either. Experiment and remember the more raw you can add the better for maintaining energy levels and increasing nutrients.

*(except macadamia nuts, tomatoes, miso/tamari (soya based)

Here’s a list of what’s in the raw kid’s lunch box:

  • Pizza flavoured dehydrated kale chips made with Inspiral’s ‘pizzeria’ seasoning available from Infinity Foods, Brighton
  • Trail mix: banana chips, coconut, hemp seeds, goji berries, mulberries, sunflower seeds, currants
  • Cheezy dip made with macadamia nuts, miso, pepper, onion, tomato, garlic and paprika
  • Raw onion dehydrated cracker breads with flax seeds and tamari
  • Olives, vegetable sticks: celery, cucumber and celery. Other options include broccoli/cauliflower florets and slices of pepper
  • Apple (always try to put fresh fruit in that does not need to be pre-cut to avoid nutrient loss)
  • Vanoffee raw cacao bar from The Raw Chocolate Company available in Infinity Foods, Brighton
  • Vita Coco coconut water available from Waitrose

Word of caution: for children prone to dryness in the skin, especially those of a slim constitution; limit the amount of dehydrated and dried raw foods or counter the effect of the drying effect of these foods by adding fat/oily foods alongside them. E.g. avocado or creamy dips with cracker breads and dried chips. You can make the trail mix more hydrating by soaking for at least 30 minutes in water and then draining the dried fruit, nuts and seeds before mixing the ingredients together.

For more information on full recipes of raw food snacks for kids, see the book’ Evie’s Kitchen’ by Shazzie

 

Eat Naturally

2 Feb

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When a baby grows inside its mum it begins life as a liquidarian. Everything the mum eats  is first processed by the adult body before being delivered via the placenta as a complete liquid meal, in the form of blood. The meal is served direct to the baby at the optimum active enzyme temperature  of around 37 degrees.

Following birth and a short period of fasting to deal with the trauma of entering a foreign world, your baby is then designed to begin a diet of mother’s breast milk. Breast milk is much like the blood which baby received whilst in the womb, a whole food in liquid state with a full complement of nutrients and active enzymes alongside an optimum serving temperature of around 37 degrees, body temperature.

This way of delivering food is how your body gets the most nourishment. When people eat a solid food diet, fibre is also necessary to aid in sweeping the gut but essentially your body can only absorb and use the liquid component of food, this is why proper chewing is so important to good digestion. Furthermore, if you have consumed foods that are not in their natural state or devoid of their accompanying live digestive enzymes then the body will react in defence. This is to say the body will have to  use it’s stored nutrient supplies to construct its own digestive enzymes in order to be able to process the food. Scientific studies have shown an increase in white blood cell count after consuming cooked food in to the body, therefore indicating an immune attack towards food delivered in an altered state, devoid of enzymes, or some may say life. (www.rawfoodinfo.com/articles/art_leukocytosisandcooked.html)

Most health care practitioners agree that a baby should not receive anything other than breast milk for at least the first 4-6 months of life. This recommendation used to be a minimum of six months, correlating with the appearance of most babies first teeth.

Now for the feeding topics the experts can’t all agree on…..

1. Should babies be weaned at around 4-6 months, or is the appearance of the first few teeth to be taken as a sign that the immune system is ready for solid food?

2. What age should animal products be introduced, if at all?

3. Should it be the parents or the child itself (baby-led weaning) who decide when to introduce solid food?

4. What is the healthiest diet for a child; meat, dairy, vegetarian, vegan or raw?

Firstly you must consider whether your baby is getting what they need from your milk. I met a woman in Australia whose daughter did not move on to solid foods until 18 months old, she was developing quite healthily with the breast milk she had been given on demand.

An important question to ask yourself is ‘Do they seem healthy?’  Assessed not only by weight charts representing the general bottle fed population but also recognised by the glow of their skin and eyes and level of general contentment.

Secondly, when considering animal products in the diet you may wish to consider what you feel your baby will gain from these foods. Harvard university has now published a long-term study indicating that dairy is a unnecessary and detrimental part of our human diet. (www.nutritionmd.org/nutrition_tips_understand_foods/dairy.html)

Dairy has been linked with many diseases such as osteoporosis and coronary heart failure. We humans remain the only species unweaned from other animals breast milk which is simply not designed for humans. Calcium is abundantly supplied in many leafy green vegetables such as collards and also legumes, nuts and seeds.

With regards to considering protein needs you may wish to consider the strength and vitality of the herbivore animals who consume only plant matter. These include such animals as the gorilla, elephant, cow and horse to name but a few.

Complete sources of high protein which far outweigh any animal product include spirulina, goji berries, maca, blue-green algae and hemp seed. (wwwfredericpatenaude.com/interview-wolfe.html)

You might also consider how vitamin B12 is produced before fearing its potential deficiency. Herbivore animals such as the aforementioned make B12 in their guts, aided by raw plant matter which they consume daily. Humans too have this capability to produce B12 in the gut. The only obstacle to this is an unclean gut wall. The stores of this vitamin can last up to 7 years but the long-term solution for ensuring sufficient amounts is to clean out the gut through detoxing with fresh fruit and vegetables, juices and smoothies, herbs and colonic cleanses.

Thirdly, the consideration of whether parent or child decides when to wean will be dictated by many relationship factors including trust and patience. This question no one can answer for you. In my experience, extended on-demand breastfeeding relationships lead on easily and naturally to baby-led weaning. There is a sense of trust that your baby is receiving everything they need from their liquid diet which helps to allow time to be taken for a slow transition on to solids.

It is important to recognise that whatever diet you as the mother have eaten during pregnancy and whilst breastfeeding, your baby will get a taste for. If your baby has been raised on formula milk they will then be left with a palate which craves artificially manufactured foods. This makes it difficult but not impossible to move on to a living and whole foods diet.

We parents all know it is difficult to encourage your child to do anything that we ourselves are not doing by example. We must practice what we preach with regards to a healthy diet and be the change we want to see in our children.

Health experts agree that for optimum health and well-being every person would do best to include as many fresh fruits and vegetables in our diets as possible.

Furthermore, a landmark study in the UK has recently concluded in 2011 that the optimum nutrient content, especially vitamin C levels, comes in the form of organic. There is also the added benefit of fewer harmful chemicals being ingested. (www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/07352689.2011.554417)

With regards to our food being ‘fresh’, the more local and seasonal the food the quicker the transition will be from being picked to arriving at your mouth. Also fresh signifies how long ago the food was prepared.

Lets now summarise all the factors which constitute a healthy diet:

1. As much fresh, home-made, local and seasonal produce as possible.

2. As much organic food as possible for maximum nutrition, if you live on a budget like me then you may want to consider using the following list to select your produce.

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3. As much food containing its own digestive enzymes as possible, eliminating stress on the immune system.

To sum up these three points you could conclude that the more raw and organic, local and seasonal food you can freshly prepare and get in to you and your families diet, the better your health will be.

So the next question is how do get more raw and living foods into the diet. Raw food can be as fancy as this…….

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(photos provided by Matt Allen, http://www.theyogahealthcoach.co.uk )

…or as simple as adding in daily salads and juicing or green smoothies alongside your existing diet.

Teaching you little one how to juice/blend smoothies will help create a love of fresh food for life as well as being a perfect tool for the weaning process.

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Juices made fresh in your own slow masticating juicer and smoothies fresh from the blender for optimum nutrition are very different in quality to those ‘fresh’ pasteurized (highly heated) juices and smoothies you may have been buying from your supermarket. Most of the vitamins and all of the active digestive enzymes have all been killed in these juices leaving little behind but expensive sugared water.

Next time you’re out shopping and find your little one has been drawn to one of those brightly coloured convenience food pouches remember this….it may have started off as organic fresh fruit and vegetables but what is now left after pasteurisation and storage to reach you in an edible form is simply dead fruit or vegetable matter, much like those pre-made juices and smoothies we were just talking about.

This kind of  food and drink has little nutrient quality and quantity to help your little one grow and remain healthy. The rule I like to live by when shopping, if its got a long list of ingredients and/or any obscure chemical names that sound like another language then you are probably better of making your own food from scratch.

I have raised Ulysses, pictured above now 3 years on a living, high-raw foods diet whilst transitioning myself slowly on to a high raw, vegan diet (with the exception of bee products).