Welcome to day 14 of 30 Days to a Food Revolution. Our guest blogger today is Julie from Gluten Free Vegan Family. Julie Lynn, author of The Gluten Free Vegan Family, began a journey to healthy eating as a necessity. Food allergies & sensitivities, connective tissue disorders and chronic pain in 4 of her six children forced her to search for healthy food alternatives. As she is fond of saying, the gluten-free, vegan diet chose her family, rather than them choosing it. However, the results of the dietary changes the family has made have been incredible (35 pounds of weight loss for the mama and kiddos who are energetic and virtually pain-free most of the time). Julie Lynn creates recipes and blogs with 5 of her 6 kids and even occasionally her granddaughter at Gluten Free Vegan Family, where the vast majority of the recipes are kid created.
Julie’s Recipe: Cranberry Goji Bar Cookies
Julie’s Tip: Get your kids into the kitchen!
I’ll be honest with you. Watching Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution make me hot under the collar. I was more than a little frustrated to see children who could not identify a raw tomato. What in the world? Who doesn’t know these things? Why hasn’t some one taught those poor children?
Then I stopped, took a deep breath and checked myself. Of course there are young children that have no idea where their food comes from. How would they? When food is simply delivered to children in the shape of dinosaur nuggets and French fries or some other processed product with the idea that getting them to eat “anything” is better than nothing, we can expect no more of them.
So whose fault is it? Should we blame the parents? Um, let me say here that I am the mother of 6 children. I totally understand the need to get some food on the table, into a lunch sack, or just plain into a kiddo in a hurry. There are things to be done, places to go, activities in which to participate! Nope, I am not going to blame the parents either. We’ve created a culture that says fast is better and “something” in the way of food, is better than nothing at all. We’ve all fallen into the trap of fast and easy “meals” that sacrifice quality. Been there, done it. No judgment here.
So what is the answer? Choose whole, unprocessed foods and get your kiddos into the kitchen! Yep, you are going to have to spend some time in there too. But it will be well worth it. The only way kids will ever know where their food originates and how to feed themselves well in order to gain and maintain health is for them to have hands-on experience.
You may be asking yourself where to begin. Start simply. I’m no Suzy Homemaker, yet my kids are great cooks! Just start with some basics, then you can turn them loose. Make a salad together and allow your little one to pass you ingredients as you do the preparation work. Teach your child how to wash produce and peel and cut vegetables. Knife skills, taught carefully, are invaluable. Make smoothies together. One of my two-year old granddaughter’s favorite activities is to make a smoothie with her auntie. She loves putting frozen fruit in the blender and pushing the “start” button when Auntie tells her it’s time.
Educate your children through recipe books, cooking programs, or just spending time with you in the kitchen. A little bit of your time will go a long way in helping to promote a healthy lifestyle for your child. Start with basic skills and build on them, always remembering to keep things age appropriate. (I know none of you are going to put your 5 year old in the kitchen alone with knives, pots and pans, and a hot stove and say “have at it”, but I just have to say it so that I know I said…hey guys…don’t do that.)
I started my kids out by allowing them to create their favorite foods from scratch. Most of them learned to make desserts before anything else. If it is something they love, they are more likely to care and participate.
Our 15 year old, Livy, is now our chief dessert maker. She whips up all kinds of healthy goodies for us on a regular basis. You see, you don’t have to worry that desserts are bad for your children. Not when they are made at home with whole ingredients and no funky additives. There is no need to fret when you have homemade, healthy goodies from which to choose.
Here is Livy’s recipe for raw cookies. Easy to make and simply delicious.
Livy’s Cranberry Goji Bar Cookies (makes 1, 9×13 inch pan of cookies)
- 1 1/2 cups nuts or seeds (use your favorites)
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup soaked dried goji berries (buy these at you local health food store or Asian market)
- 10 dried pitted dates
- 2 Tablespoons hemp protein powder (optional)
- 1 teaspoon cocoa powder (extra dark)
- 1 Tablespoon peanut butter (not actually raw – to be truly raw use any raw nut butter)
- 8 Tablespoons coconut oil
Combine all ingredients in food processor and process until chunky cookie dough texture is achieved. Press into 9×13″ pan and chill to firm. Cut into bars and drizzle with chocolate topping.
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder (extra dark)
- 3 teaspoons coconut oil
- 2 Tablespoons agave nectar or honey
- 1/4 cup water
Warm coconut oil to form liquid stir in other ingredients and drizzle over cookies. Enjoy!
In order to be entered to win one of 7 cookbooks, here’s what you need to do to gather entries into the drawing. The more you do, the more chances you have to win!
- Leave a comment on this blog on as many of the 30 guest food bloggers as you like. Each comment is an entry.
- Sign up for The W.H.O.L.E. Gang newsletter.
- Visit that guest blogger’s site and leave a comment there too.
- Tweet about this project using both of these in your tweet so I’ll find you #30days2 #foodrevolution
When the initial 30 days of guest posts are over on June 4th, we’ll pick the winners.