How to eat fluoro green!

Well I meant to make a nice coconut, Asian-style fish dish for dinner tonight.  But instead, I opened up our Thermomix to fluoro green…!  I was extra-keen with the coriander (a great herb to strip heavy metals from our body) but to my surprise the boys LOVED the green sauce and ate the meal!  Hooray for their body’s reaping the benefits.

Here is the recipe:

Fluoro green fish

This dish made enough for three of us (husband away).  I made this in our Thermomix, but please give it a go if you don’t have one.  It’s a forgiving recipe that can be made roughly to these measurements.

4 cloves garlic

1 tsp peeled ginger

1 onion

1/2 bunch coriander roughly chopped (including stems and roots)

4 zucchinis

~20g sesame or coconut oil

1 tsp turmeric powder

~100g finely sliced cabbage

5 mushrooms

(Please add in as many or as little vegetables as you like.  I got side tracked and forgot to put in other veges, like carrot or broc pieces)

~300g local, fresh white fish

~150g coconut cream

Himalayan pink rock salt, pepper to taste

Optional : fresh chilli, lime juice, fish sauce, rapadura sugar.  The boys don’t fare well with most of these foods so we leave them out.  But the dish is still tasty without them 🙂

1. Add garlic, ginger, onion, coriander and zucchinis to the Thermomix bowl.  Grate 10 secs – SP 8 until smooth.

2. Add oil and cook 100deg – 2 mins – SP 1.

3. Add turmeric powder, salt, pepper, cabbage and mushrooms.  Cook 100 deg – 7 mins – SP 1.

4. Add fish and coconut milk.  Cook 100 deg – 5 mins – SP 1.

Serve with rice, quinoa or cauliflower rice, carrot ‘noodles’ or just as is.

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So once I got my game face on and served the boys this ridiculously green dish (the photo doesn’t do it justice!), Master 4 was shovelling it before I knew it…!  Master 2 came around at the end (his usual trick, taking time to get used to the idea of what was in the bowl and after the obligatory ‘yucky’, with my response ‘say “I’m not sure about it”‘).  It was so green, they didn’t even SEE the cabbage for the greenery!  Woohoo!  It’s a winner.  I’ll be making it again before long to remind the boys of how delicious they found it the first time 🙂

So what do you think, can you fathom testing your kids on the greenery?

Why you should NEVER serve children plain carbs

[Avoiding a picky eater]
One good rule to remember : NEVER serve plain pasta (or crackers/toast)!
As a speech pathologist, I work with picky eaters (no we don’t just do speech!).  It is very common to meet children whose sensory systems prefer plain carbs.  But if you never serve it to them, they will never get a taste for it. 


How do you serve your toddlers spag bol? 

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Sometimes we combine it and other times, to encourage more cutlery use (stabbing pasta, scooping sauce), I separate them.  Not to mention it’s less messy when you don’t have the time and energy for little hands scooping in.
BUT to avoid the plain pasta, I toss it through tahini or even olive or coconut oil.  Or I toss it through the bolognaise and then put it in a ‘stabbing cup’.

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Fish nuggets, avo and sneaky coleslaw

An easy gluten-, dairy-, soy-, corn-, yeast-, grain-, additive-free, ‘Paleo’ dinner that ANYONE would love!  And introducing Master2 to coleslaw…. This is how it went.

FISH NUGGETS
Toss cut up, fresh fish pieces in egg then coat in:
– coconut flour
– turmeric
– salt/pepper

Adults can join in too!

Adults can join in too!


(Turmeric has so many superpowers including reducing inflammation, not to mention it gives the nuggets a great golden colour).

Fry in coconut oil at medium heat – to avoid processed vegetable oils or using olive oil which goes rancid at high heat (& not good for our health).  Keep your olive oil for when you’re not heating it, such as the mayo…

Our Thermomix is a saving grace at making homemade mayonnaise and coleslaw.  This way we avoid additives, sugar, gluten and other not-so-desirable ingredients in store-bought mayonnaise.  Of course, if you don’t have a Thermomix and can’t fathom making mayonnaise, compare ingredient labels to find one with few ingredients.

As you can see, I’ve provided plenty of fish, some avocado for good fats that will also fill Master2 up and THE SAMPLER of coleslaw.
As he’s never seen it before (that he can remember), I reduced expectations to even eat ANY and put out enough just for experimentation.
He wasn’t keen when it stuck to his avocado, although that was my plan.  However, we distracted him to focus on his fish.  By the time he was stabbing his avocado (with help from Dad), he unwittingly ate some.  No chance of a full scoop, but I’ll take some in the mouth a win!!!

We had ours with a pile of cherry tomatoes too.  That’s a challenge for both boys on another night!

I’m sure others are up for some yummy, easy toddler meals.  Go ahead and share your go-to one

🙂 Heidi

Coconut yoghurt

Who could say no to some coconut yoghurt?

Here are some benefits:

  • Coconut milk is a healthy and filling ‘good fat’.  Good fats are so important for brains, particularly children’s developing ones.
  • Probiotics in a food that you have fermented (unlike store bought products), are likely to have far more live cultures and are more likely to actually colonise your gut, instead of doing their job and then passing through.  My post Why your children’s gut health will determine their health both now and in the future will give you more information on why you should be looking at your family’s gut health.
  • A dairy-free option avoids the issues of dairy milk – inflammation, mucous-forming, unwanted hormones and antibiotics and not to mention the many dairy and lactose-intolerances that children are suffering from these days (many who don’t know it).  Eczema, erratic behaviour, ear infections and issues with tonsils/adenoids/sleep apnoea are just some of the signs that going dairy-free for a little bit might be a good test.
  • The price!  Make it for a fraction of the price of store-bought coconut yoghurt.

There are many, many recipes around for coconut yoghurt.  I have fine tuned this one to make it very simple.  If you have the time and resources, go for your life and make the coconut milk from scratch.  Otherwise, be sure to look for coconut cream (coconut milk or reduced fat coconut milk just has more water added) and one that has few extra ingredients.  Remember, there are so many varying factors; the quality and number of probiotics,  the source of the probiotics, the amount of coconut cream in the can and the weather.

If you treat this as a fun, tasty, cheap and healthy science experiment, you will have no worries!

tangy coconut yoghurt

Let’s get to it.

Your ingredients & equipment

  • 2 cans coconut cream.
  • 3 teaspoons dairy-free probiotic powder (we use Kids Inner Health Plus).  Make sure you get one that has at least 25 billion live cultures.  Another option might be to buy coconut yoghurt and use two ‘small’ tablespoons as your starter.
  • A clean glass jar big enough to hold the coconut cream.
  • Oven with a working light (check yours can be flicked on without the heat).  Another option might be to warm tea towels, wrap them around your glass jar and ferment in an esky.
perfect with passionfruit

perfect with passionfruit

Steps to heaven in a mouthful!

  1. Put both cans of coconut cream in your fridge (or freezer if you’re in a hurry) for an hour or so.  In winter, you may not need to do this.
  2. Scoop out the solid coconut cream into a large glass jar.  Add enough of the remaining coconut water to it to achieve your desired consistency of yoghurt, remembering it will become a bit more solid once refrigerated.  Keep the coconut water to drink, use or thin out yoghurt that might end up too thick later on.
  3. Think about whether your oven will be free for 24 hours.  If not, put your coconut cream aside until it will be.
  4. Add 3 tsp dairy-free probiotic powder or 2 tbs store-purchased coconut yoghurt.  Mix well through the coconut cream.
  5. Place the lid on the jar and put it into your oven with the door closed and with the light on and NO heat.  Trust your oven will keep your yoghurt-to-be at the right temperature even on a really cold night!
  6. Let your yoghurt develop for 24 hours.
  7. Take it out and taste.  Yum!?
  8. Refrigerate.
  9. Go out and buy more coconut milk so you are ready to make more when the first jar is polished off very quickly!
24 hours in the oven

24 hours in the oven

For your next batch…

1. Save 2 tbs yoghurt (you will need to experiment here, depending how many probiotics are in the first batch and how tangy you want the next one) and place into a clean jar.

2. Repeat above process of scooping out coconut cream and adding the coconut water you want for the correct consistency.  This time you will have a better idea of how thick or runny to make it.

3.  Stir and put back in the oven!

Troubleshooting…

  • If you find that your coconut yoghurt doesn’t taste tangy enough, don’t discount the process.  It probably did work, you may just need more probiotics added next time.  Enjoy your coconut ‘yoghurt’ anyway!
  • If your coconut yoghurt is too tangy, open a new can of coconut cream, mix the coconut cream and water together and pour some coconut milk into the yoghurt to reduce the flavour.  But don’t say no to all the wonderful probiotics in your yoghurt!
  • If your coconut yoghurt, once refrigerated, is very hard, add some coconut water to it or open another can and use.
  • Remember, refrigerating your coconut yoghurt stops the fermenting process, leaving it out will allow the fermenting to continue.
  • If you are doing the warm tea towels/esky option, you might need to check it throughout the 24 hours to be sure it isn’t fermenting too quickly and thus ending up too tangy.

I’d love to hear how you go!  Did this inspire you to make your own, delicious coconut yoghurt?  Did it turn out well?

Have you thought about a dairy-free trial to help your children’s health and wellbeing?  Just as important as calcium are magnesium and zinc levels, which all parents should keep a track of for their children, not just on a dairy-free diet.  We use a kinesiologist to monitor all three levels.  The best way we achieve these minerals are through a varied, wholefood diet.

🙂 Heidi

Vegetable hide and seek

What vegetables do you hide in bolognaise or slow-cooked meals?  Do you go for the same ones each time?  Do you leave some slightly chopped (eg carrot, mushroom) so your children will just notice them or do you whizz them all?
Along with zucchini, carrot and mushroom, I have also included some grated beetroot (yes they notice the colour but the flavour isn’t dramatically affected), brussel sprouts and even kale.

Don’t be shy of trying new vegetables!  These might be the ones you completely hide or for kale/spinach, I slice finely and then chop so there aren’t big, long ‘scary’ bits.  If the boys notice it, I don’t pretend it’s not there and I don’t make a big deal.  I might say ‘oh that’s just kale…gosh you’re doing a great job eating your dinner tonight’ or if they look terribly worried….well, at first I did say ‘it’s basil!’ as I know they eat that no worries. Once they were happy to eat it, the next time I was more confident to label it kale. The dark, leafy greens have so many health benefits…

Will you buy a bunch at your next shop to try?  Or get some brussel sprouts to finely slice?

Why your childrens’ gut health will determine their health both now and in the future

Do you dread the winter germs?  Are your children constantly sick?  Do you put it down to ‘it’s good for their immune system’?  Have you ever wondered why some children get sick far less often or present with much milder symptoms?  What if a strong immunity wasn’t just about exposure to germs?

These are many of the questions I have asked since I was little.  Why do I always get sore throats?  No one else does.  In my twenties, people were still saying, ‘oh you’re working with children, it’ll build up your immunity’.  But through many periods I suffered with sore throats more than I was well.  Mum gave me cod liver oil and Echinacea until I’d almost rather put up with the sore throat.  I never continued with these supplements, as they didn’t really work.

Enter my first born son!  Master now 4, from the start, presented with many symptoms that made me sit up and look at his health.  The eczema, the ‘ADHD’ behaviour, the redness to his cheeks, the inability to sleep… I started to look into it.  And one answer has kept coming up – THE GUT.

I will say up front, I am not an expert on the gut…yet!  But through my experiences and my current study to become a children’s health coach, I plan to know far more about the gut within the next year and spread the word wide and far.  Here is what I have learnt so far:

  • gut health is a HOT topic in scientific research and is being linked to all types of diseases, allergies and cancer, not to mention annoying symptoms such as skin issues, constipation/diarrhoea, blocked sinuses, headaches, fatigue, the list goes on and on.
  • this literally explains (in fine scientific detail of how the gut functions) how food is medicine.  Give your intestines the right foods and your intestines will keep you healthy.
  • our intestines contain more immune cells than the entire rest of our body, so good gut health is related to a stronger immunity.
  • an intact gut lining (which is only one cell thick and thus easy to disturb) and gut flora (the right balance of the ‘good bacteria’) determine gut health.
  • certain foods and other ‘nasty things’ break down the gut lining, resulting in ‘leaky gut’.  Take a look at this article, Leaky Gut Syndrome – in Plain English to see how it happens and find out how your symptoms might be related to it.  You will be quite amazed!
  • many people have leaky gut, without realising it.  This goes for children too.
  • the state of the mother’s ‘gut flora’ (the bacteria living in her intestines) is passed onto the baby in utero.  This explains my mother’s migraines, my sister’s eczema/allergies and my low immunity, sore throats and fatigue, let alone my boys’ food intolerances and associated symptoms.
  • the presence of probiotics in the intestines, prevents unwanted bacteria from growing there.  Whilst we can survive with minimal gut flora, our body will present with many undesired symptoms, let alone inflammation which leads to disease and cancer.
  • we do need to reconsider our love of completely germ- and dirt-free, antibacterial soaps, chlorinated water and each use of antibiotics.  This is all stripping away the bad bacteria but also the good ones.
  • our gut is now becoming accepted as our ‘second brain’ with up to 100 million neurons (as many as in our spinal cord), about 40 million neurotransmitters (as many as we have in the brain) and 95% of the body’s serotonin is found in the gut.
  • our gut plays a major role in mood, appetite and sleep.

So how to get on top of a leaky gut?

  • Firstly, find what is irritating your children’s intestines.  We use kinesiology which is quick, pain-free and easy to test many different foods straight up.  For my boys and I, gluten is the main one, along with soy, dairy, most corn products, food additives, sugar and yeast.  That’s how ‘not flash’ the state of our guts were!
  • Eliminate all culprits as soon as you can.  This is MUCH easier said than done and is the inspiration for my new business, coming forth in the near future.  I hope to help parents transform their pantry, menus and children’s tastes, so they can make the switch as easily as possible, and discover better health.  Whilst quick elimination would get you quick results, often times it’s ‘slow and steady wins the race’.
  • Be proactive in healing the gut.  There are several foods that are wonderful for healing the gut lining.  Turmeric is a great spice to heal the gut and reduce inflammation.  Homemade chicken broth is also a fantastic healer due to the gelatin it contains, but also it’s ability to reduce inflammation.  Even slow-cooked zucchini and squash help to heal.
  • Remember that stress and emotions also play a role in gut health.  That goes for children too.  Master4 is not only physically sensitive but also emotionally sensitive.  We have literally seen stress manifest physically for him and have now learnt to work on this before looking at external factors.

And how to build up an army of probiotics?

  • Stop removing the ‘good guys’ by throwing out any ‘antibacterial’ product and using just good old soap.
  • Don’t be so quick to wash dirt off little hands or even organic fruit and veges for that matter, as good bacteria are supposed to be ingested in ‘natural ways’.  It’s the lack of good bacteria in our systems that’s making us sick, not so much the germs we come across.
  • Look at a good probiotic.  We used Inner Health Plus probiotic powder for a few years but this was sending us broke.  I finally learnt how to ferment, which brings cheaper and better probiotics, which unlike bought probiotics, are more likely to actually colonise your child’s intestines and stick around.
  • Kombucha (fermented tea) is an easy to make, cheap and wonderful way of not only bringing good bacteria to your children’s guts but it is also a delicious, fizzy drink.
5L of kombucha tea, teeming with living probiotics, you can literally see them!!!

5L of kombucha tea, teeming with living probiotics, you can literally see them!!!

  • Rethink commercially produced yoghurt as a good source of probiotics.  Most of the time it has more sugar or artificial sweetener than it’s worth for the few probiotics you’ll find left in it.  The hormones and antibiotics from the dairy also defeats the purpose, not to mention it’s pasteurized, destroying many of the enzymes and nutrients that might have been.
  • Coconut yoghurt is easy to make and has far less additives than dairy yoghurt (assuming you use canned coconut milk and not fresh coconut, which would have no additives!) and avoids all of the issues listed above.  Otherwise look for yoghurts that are processed as little as possible, with as few ingredients as possible.
  • tangy coconut yoghurt

    tangy coconut yoghurt

  • If you can fathom making fermented vegetables and enticing your children, this would be another great source of the ‘good guys’.  My next project in the making!  Remember, slow and steady wins the race.

And after you have done all of this for your children, like me, you might actually realise that your intestines have been screaming out for some love too.  Go with your gut and if you crave it, provide it with foods that heal the lining and probiotics that assist in proper digestion and fighting off unwanted germs.

Luckily I have been part of this test and I can happily say that I have had no more sore throats and feel so ‘strong’ without any of the above symptoms.  I will keep you in the loop at the end of our winter to hopefully announce how few sick days the boys have had too.   So far so good!  🙂

Let me know if you will consider looking into this for yourself or your kids!  The more people that get onto this, the more health the world will have 🙂  Heidi

* To be continued – with more information on how to make some of the super-gut-foods listed above as well as how to change your pantry towards better gut health.  But please don’t wait for me if you feel the need to start looking into this yourself!

 

 

10 tips to ensure your child grows to love vegetables

Yes, vegetables do play on my mind!  Here are a few things about veges and kids that I always keep in mind…

  • children need to eat a rainbow of vegetables for essential nutrients for growth and development.  Full stop!
  • exposure to a wide variety of vegetables is key.  If your child isn’t presented with vegetables, they will not stand the chance to get accustomed to them.  See I Create My Child’s Healthy Palate for more information on helping your little one to become a healthy eater
  • a child around the age of 2 years will start trying out their new found independence and say ‘no’ to a food.  This is not the time to hold back on serving up the vegetables (or any food for that matter).
  • the sooner children develop a taste for vegetables, the sooner they will have a stronger immune system, have more nutrients for their development, stay healthier for life & be more likely to come back to them…even after potentially coming off the bandwagon in teenage years!
  • education about the WHY, the importance of vegetables is crucial.  Help your child to appreciate vegetables rather than bribing them to eat their broccoli in exchange for dessert.  Even the mention of becoming a quicker runner, better dancer or growing up like their idol can be a great reason to start trying.  Moving towards talking about benefits for the body can also be started quite young.
  • it has been found that the variety of foods a child is eating at 4 years of age represents the majority of foods they will eat for the rest of their lives.  Don’t put off presenting new vegetables. 
  • you can hide vegetables but your child still needs to have the time to let their sensory system get accustomed to the different sensory properties, such as taste, texture and smell of the individual vegetable
  • a child needs the time to explore a new vegetable by looking at it, touching it and maybe even squashing it with a utensil or fingers, all with no pressure to eat.  They may need several occasions before they are ready to eat it.
  • involving children in growing or preparing vegetables is a step towards success.  See Interactive Eating – Rice Wraps
  • using different vegetables in slow-cooked meals or bolognaise can be a great way to get your child use to looking at and attempting new vegetables

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Before your next grocery shop, have a think about which vegetables you might try with your child.  Will you add some more ‘hidden’ vegetables or will you have some to present each night for the week to see how close you can get your child to trying some.

HUNGER

We take HUNGER seriously in our household. Do you know the signs of hunger your child exhibits?I know for us, there might be:
– crying at the drop of a hat
– inability to go and play properly
– asking for a hug
– erratic/silly behaviour
– inability to make a choice
– just hanging around me

For us as adults, we have learnt to recognize hunger and act on it.  But this doesn’t come automatically to young children and thus they may display all types of behaviours due to their ‘uncomfortable feeling’ and the brain’s need for fuel.
We liken it to recharging the car with petrol to ‘go’.  And when I can sense hunger, I am very quick to get food out before blood sugar levels drop any lower.  And knowing how I can’t make choices when I’m hungry, I don’t bother offering a choice for the kids, but grab something they will surely eat!


Do you take note of your child’s hunger and explain this to them?

How to add greens and more greens to fried rice

Stuff a couple of peas in fried rice as the daily greens!  Here is how I pack broccoli and kale into my boys’ dinner.
Basically the principle being – when you’re introducing a new food, you might as well dress it up well.  Not so they don’t notice it, but make it too good to knock back.
IMG_9532[1]First steps are making sure the boys accept the greens easily (they did).  Then my future aim is for cauliflower rice instead of any rice (cauliflower being more nutrient dense than rice).  Usually I go against tradition and use brown rice but didn’t have enough so I used basmati rice, next best option.
Of course you can add other veges or meat and herbs of which we had none today.

Does anyone else have some healthy and delicious ways with fried rice?

The share plate

[Improving social skills]

In order to help my boys learn how to share, particularly when it comes to table manners, I sometimes provide a share plate.  The aim is to only take one piece at a time and to still take the time to enjoy and be thankful for our food.

To help them along, I don’t provide highly desired items on the plate as this only encourages grabbing!

Here is our apple with tahini…

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