7.11.13

nourish

Soft boiled egg and soldiers - always a favourite in our house / Organising the pantry / Breakfast of natural yoghurt with mango, banana, honey and chia seed

This past fortnight, as I've tried to comfort and nurture my sick littles back to health, I've been thinking a lot about our diet. On the whole, the food we eat isn't bad, but it could be much better. Eulalie eats a good variety of foods for her age but in the last few months I've started to see good habits slipping. As I find myself suddenly preoccupied with tending to the needs of a newborn, I have less time and patience to maintain the good eating habbits of my toddler. In short, I've been giving in. At the shops, I'm giving in to requests for freddo frogs and biscuits in order to avoid tantrums. At home, I've been plonking her in front of the T.V with a shameful snack in order to buy some time with the baby. 

I've struggled my whole life with emotional eating, fluctuating weight and a sugar addiction. In the final trimester of my pregnancy with Marguerite, I couldn't control my sweet tooth, and I was buying chocolate regularly, letting Lalie have some just so I could satisfy my own cravings. I was also starting to use it as a form of bribery. What a bad example I was setting! As a result, I've noticed a real change in Lalie - she's less inclined to follow instruction (or eat healthy prepared meals) unless there is the promise of some sugary reward. She's even asked for chocolate for breakfast! As you can imagine, I really don't like where this is all going.

The other day I was standing in the kitchen watching my daughter have a meltdown at my feet because she couldn't have salt and vinegar crisps for breakfast. I decided then and there that things had to change. I had to stop giving in and bringing this rubbish into the house - I had to face the public meltdowns and stand my ground. And I had to deal with my own eating issues before I passed them on to my daughter(s).

I'm not about to go on any drastic diet or radically reform the foundations of our diet (as I do believe that our current core diet is really quite nutritious; I simply want to make small, realistic changes). I'm just getting back to basics and cutting out the small amount of processed, sugary snacks that seem to have snuck their way into our trolley into the pantry. The stuff that transforms my sweet little girl into a tyrant. The stuff that makes me feel lethargic and unmotivated. I'm still going to allow Lalie to eat sweets at birthday parties and have the occasional chocolate croissant when we're out, but I'm not bringing any of it inside our home. Instead, I'm getting a bit more creative in the kitchen and making some delicious sweet treats that are free from refined sugar and full of goodness.

A few days ago I had a serious sweet craving so I decided to make an adaptation of this raw chocolate milkshake using frozen banana, avocado, honey and raw cacao powder. My sister-in-law recommended it, you can find the full recipe here (I substituted hemp seeds with organic peanut butter). Lalie and I both really enjoyed it and I feel confident and positive about weaning her (and me!) off refined sugars and on to nourishing raw chocolate treats. It's really hard to believe something so decadent can be so good for you!

I've been doing a little bit of research online for both savoury and sweet dishes (I can't wait to try this and this... these ...and this!) but I'd love for you to share any favourite recipes or links that you have. We eat grains, meat and dairy but I'm striving to reduce wheat and refined sugars.


What about you? What's your philosophy when it comes to feeding the family? Have you made any changes to the way you buy and prepare food?

33 comments :

  1. I am the same...I try for everything to we eat inside of the house to be healthy so we are free to indulge a bit when we go to the cafe.
    I have been using a lot more spelt flour and gluten free flour. I also have been swapping sugar for maple syrup or coconut sugar. And now that is summer...I am with you and think that "chocolate" smoothies are among the best things ever!
    This is my current favourite recipe for a healthy snack...Gwyneth's cookbook is actually really good and the recipes are totally manageable.

    http://www.motherdownunder.com/2013/08/gwyneths-vegan-banana-and-date-muffins.html

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    1. coconut sugar... I will have to investigate! Thanks so much for the recipe lovely x

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  2. This week we're embracing a paleo-esque diet because I noticed such a huge difference in my energy levels in Bali (no pasta, bread or chocolate over there). How do I feel? Light and not at all bloated! I'll keep you updated.

    You might also want to read my sis-in-laws post on paleo (my brother just lost 10kg in 26days but eating strictly paleo - oh my goodness!). - http://themiddlemim.blogspot.com.au/2013/10/shes-carb-lover.html

    PS. Isn't Petite Kitchen brilliant! x

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    1. I can't wait to hear how it goes - although you want to be careful not to lose 10kg! I'm sure the clean eating will do wonders for your energy levels. Thanks for the links lovely x

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  3. ooh thanks for the petite kitchen links - they look beautiful. It can be so overwhelming researching food - I think that the best thing to do is, like you say, stop shopping for convenient items, know what's in your food, and I'm also a strong believer in listening to my cravings as I think that's my body telling me what it needs. But then again I don't have a sweet tooth, and often forget to eat ... I'm sure you will notice a difference just being aware of what you're eating... I have a friend who was a real sugar fiend, and he spent two weeks living with another friend completely off the grid and was convinced to cut down his sugar intake. He said the less he had, the less he needed, and he was very surprised by that! x

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    1. absolutely! the less you have, the less you crave!

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  4. I'm a chocolate addict from way back but trying to kick it at the moment. I have a huge stash of fresh dates in the fridge and find one of them when I'm craving something sweet is just enough. My girls are also big fans of our homemade natural yoghurt with a spoonful of stewed rhubarb or frozen berries. They'd probably prefer a Freddo frog... I need to get a new blender so I can start making healthy milkshakes and smoothies! x

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    1. Dates are the ultimate guilt free sweet indulgence!

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  5. This is where I see Eve's allergies and intolerances as a blessing. She just can't have those things so thankfully we haven't been able to fall in to that trap.
    Good luck with the changes they'll be worth the transition.

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    1. haha - yes, consider them a blessing for sure! I need something to pull me into line other than my own will power which is seriously lacking! ;) x

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  6. I've totally jumped on the green smoothie bandwagon (such a foodie trend tragic!) - but I find I'm craving lots of fresh fruit at the moment (unusual for me). I can't get enough red papaya and berries...K is on a bit of a health kick at the moment so I've been making a few salads at once and we've been eating them over a few days with some sort of protein (eggs, cheese, tofu, etc). I've found some goodies on the 101 Cookbooks site - I'm sure you've seen it though. It's very pretty - but the recipes are lovely, fresh and simple. There's a great almond soba noodle dish - and some other delicious salads (we're trying out one this weekend with a creamy miso sauce)...I totally hear you re the freddo frog bribery approach! I've been thinking of making a batch of bliss balls lately - I stopped making them after we OD'ed on them - but Sassy loved them (such a sweet tooth). The lovely Jess at Little Wild Moose has a great recipe x

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    1. Oh I'm such a foodie wannabe too (note the chia seeds!). Thanks for the links lovely, will be sure to check them out - LOVE the sounds of that almond soba noodle dish x

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  7. I am exactly in the same boat!!
    Just like you were, I'm ADDICTED to sugar now that I'm in my third trimester. I'd been pretty good up until 27 weeks, then bam. I can't get enough sugar! (just check the box of lollies that was meant for halloween kids and has been entirely consumed by... me). And same as Lalie, it's affecting Gus. We're always out having a coffee/babycino and piece of cake, and he's way less interested in his lunch or dinner. Sigh.
    I did test some recipes out from here a while back and everything I tried was really good:

    http://www.thehealthychef.com/category/recipes/

    Best of luck - it's a tough habit to kick!

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    1. Hi Claire - congratulations on your pregnancy! Pregnancy is so demanding on your body... energy levels are at such a low - hence the sugar cravings... as Natalie says below, listen to your body! Can't wait to hear your news! x

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  8. Beautiful photos, as always Claire.

    I've been struggling with exactly the same problem. I think tiredness and isolation lead to me craving sweet things. Slowly but surely bad habits have been taking over – creating a short term gain (of time or obedience) but leading to longer term behaviour problems. Honestly, I think too much sugar makes me just as grumpy as Oscar, I just simply control my temper a little better.

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    1. It's so hard to slow down and make conscious healthy choices when you're exhausted. I'm always reaching for the easiest, sugariest thing I can easily grab with one hand! x

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  9. I make "raw" chocolate truffles every now and then that are so delicious...it's difficult to believe they are actually quite nourishing! I don't really have a recipe but they seem pretty similar to those fudge squares :) It's basically cocoa powder, coconut oil, dates for sweetness and maybe a dash of raw honey, maybe some nuts...blended together in a blender and rolled into little balls, and then rolled in coconut or cocoa powder. Yum! These photos are gorgeous as always, Claire!!!! <3

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    1. Love the idea of rolling it coconut! Thanks lovely :) x

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  10. Same thing over here ~ we just emptied our entire fridge and pantry of junky foods and are trying to cook daily (eating out was a problem lately). Lots of fresh veggies and lean protein. Cutting sugar and carbs is really difficult for me right now because I can't break those bad craving habits from my past pregnancy... it will take time, I'm sure. Getting the whole family involved is so important! I'm anxious to read more about your journey x

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    1. I hear you! Pregnancy habits are so hard to kick because you suddenly find yourself exhausted and time poor with a new baby and a toddler - not the best scenario for trying to break habits! Hang in there and go gently... it will happen I'm sure x

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  11. It is great that you listened to your body during pregnancy - did you know that the developing embryo thrives on fructose?!

    Although it is very fashionable to remove refined sugars from the diet - ironically pure white cane sugar is (after the sugars in raw honey and tropical fruits) in fact the best kind of sugar. The problem with sugar is more what you are consuming the sugar with - usually PUFAs - wheat flours, soy fours, additives, nuts, carrageenan etc etc

    You may like to read my thoughts on sugar (after I did remove it from my diet) here - http://digestiblekitchen.com/2013/10/confused-about-sugar-one-year-since-i-brought-sugar-back/
    Worst thing you can do especially when you are breastfeeding in my opinion. Removing the processed foods and wheat on the other hand, wonderful!!

    Food should be easily digestible and delicious! I have learnt to listen to my cravings :)

    Beautiful photos x

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    1. Hi Natalie, I just love your approach to eating. I'm not looking to cut anything out completely... just looking to reduce the sugars (mostly found in the processed snacks we've been buying).
      Some great information you've shared here, I will be sure to have a read - thanks!

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  12. I hear you! I've allowed Gus to slip into the same bad habits over the last three months.

    With food intolerances there is already so much I have to avoid, so I refuse to cut out anything that I know I don't need to. I'm a big believer in not depriving yourself, the old everything in moderation. I'm very conscious of what we eat, mealtimes are always wholesome and nutritious. It's the snacking in between that's the problem. The damn convenience of a packet of Tiny Teddy's, muesli bars and Cheesymite Scrolls has been getting me too often lately and as a result I have a toddler who now expects these as part of his everyday diet. Fail!

    Have you downloaded the Whole Pantry app yet?

    x

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    1. Yes... it's the snacking that brings us down! I've recently started buying the woolies macro packs of organic popcorn from woolies (comes in packs of 10, 3 different flavours) to replace the old tiny teddy habit!

      Must look in to that app, I'm intrigued x

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  13. Where have I been?! My first time here via Maxabella. Your blog is beautiful! I love this post, it is a topic very close to my heart. Your honesty is wonderful, the tiredness and giving in is something we can all relate to and you are right that it can quickly spin into a downward spiral. I write a blog called the wholefood mama and while whole food is my passion and the foundation of our family's diet we are not 100% perfect and don't strive to be. I spent twenty years of my life with issues around food and body image and the last thing I want to do now that I am in a happier place with all of that is add guilt or shame to my plate! My boys had baked beans on toast for dinner last night and today we went to a christening where they ate chocolate cake and jelly. I agree with you about not having junky food in the house and to eat it at parties and yes to be aware of what we are modelling to our children through our own emotional relationship to food. Above and beyond all else, we mamas must be kind to ourselves and patient with the changes we want to make to our family's diet, we are all doing a very big and important job one that can be tiring and is relentless. Wishing you well on your wholefood journey and if I can be of any help please feel free to email me x

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  14. I really like this post - I have a real sweet tooth too (I'd choose chocolate over crisps or cheese on any given night infront of the telly), and I've noticed how frequently I've been buying something processed lately.
    I don't believe in cutting major food groups out of my diet, just as you say, so I've resolved to just ensure that things I eat go through a minimal amount of processing.
    I'm confused about sugar though - much of what I read says to avoid fruit sugars and dried fruits, but I figure fruit of all things can't be bad? I know that dried fruit has a far higher concentration of sugar, but I think a handful of dried mixed fruit on top of greek yoghurt has to be better for me than a bowl of coco pops? My favourite breakfast at the moment is weetabix, greek yoghurt, lime honey and mixed seeds. With a banana. Big breakfast, but delicious!

    I don't know...small changes I suppose! But I really admire you for how you consider the way your daughters will learn about food and their relationship with food. it's close to teaching children how we feel about our bodies, and I massively admire my mum for not making negative comments about her body when I was young or a teenager. Even if she didn't even believe what she was saying about herself, it's really helped me. You sound like an awesome mum, much like mine.

    With regards for tips for your family: we love cake A LOT in my house, and bread, but my mum baked it from scratch every.single.day - so that she could keep an eye on the sugar, salt and saturated fat. Her philosophy is that if you're going to eat cakes and bread, you should never eat the shop variety. Unless you're out in town in a cafe - then a chocolate croissant never killed anybody ...! ;)!
    Flora
    www.twowithseven.blogspot.co.uk

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  15. Love this post Claire - since starting freelancing a few bad habits have sneaked in our routine too (anything to keep Josephine entertained/on side when I have a deadline looming). It's the same with allowing her to watch the odd thing on TV. Both of which I need to get a handle on when I finish working at the end of next week.
    I've found that the best substitute for Phiney (which she actually gets more excited about that chocolate) is grapes. She can't get enough of them, and they're so clean (not like oranges, another favourite!) and easy to divvy out. Plus they don't have the same sugar-induced tantrums I've noticed recently...
    I absolutely hear you on the idea of passing on bad habits to our daughters though, it's something I've been thinking about. I'm terrible and have always struggled with body confidence/fluctuating weight, and i'd hate to pass any bad habits on. As for me though, I'm trying to be healthy, but listening to my body about what it's craving right now.
    I think I'm going to try smooties, but would love to hear some of your suggestions and how they work out Claire xx

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  16. Loved this post Claire - it's so easy for these little habits to take over, and we all need reminding every now and then! I just wanted to say, and I know it's going to be an unfashionable thing to say because raw cacao is the new best thing, but please be careful of it with your little Lalie - the theobromine in it can cause hallucinations and tummy upsets in lots of people, and the claim that it is higher in antioxidants than cocoa is a furphy - the opposite is actually true! There's nothing inherently wrong with cocoa powder - it's simply roasted and ground - and there's evidence to suggest that roasting it makes it more digestible with fewer toxic compounds than eating it raw. Just because it's raw doesn't mean it's perfect, and just because it's roasted/processed doesn't meant it's bad! Like most things, it's not a case of being simply better for everyone, nor is it toxic to everyone - just something to be aware of :)
    Love your blog, good to see your little girl is getting better, hope your M is on the way up too.xx

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  17. Just found your blog and I abseloutely love your photos, love the feelingin them. Beautiful children you have. And a beautiful home as well. Very inspiring!

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  18. Great post Claire, It is always great when we learn something and think to change life for betterment. And nothing would be better than to change life from bad to good. I know it was quite hard to quit but you had shown your character. You have done something out of your skin. Great work, I will definitely apply this food recipe.

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  19. I'm not married but it's really great to hear personal experiences like that and pick up a tip or two from them. You are a great mom :)

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  20. Oh the food, lol! This is one of the areas in which we're extremely strict. Only at certain time, no meat (not even fish), good cheese, organic, etc. We get SO many negative comments about our diet and the strictness of it, but our kids happily choose vegetables for their snacks and drink only water by choice. Food is one of the most important issues for our little house and our choice work well for us.

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  21. Hi there, I know this is a very old post, but I really wanted to recommend Jude Blereau's book "Wholefood for Children". I swear by it. I was lucky enough to meet Jude last year and she signed my copy. I couldn't live without it. She doesn't beat around the bush in terms of what we should and shouldn't be giving our kids to eat (she makes a great case for unpasturised milk!) but she has endless recipes for snacks, treats and full blown meals that have seen me through the difficult days when I'm just about to reach for the junk food. Check it out! Ally

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Thank you so much for taking the time to comment - it really means so much. I will try to reply where I can! xx