In Our Kitchen

Our kitchen has been a lacklustre place of late. In the past twelve months we have been juggling a couple of new dietary requirements, due to various health reasons.

Between the five of us we have one vegetarian, one ketogenic, one dairy intolerance (narrowed down to milk and hard cheese), one better off not eating egg and one free and happy to eat anything. Prior to KB starting the ketogenic diet and realising that the Pixie had a mild dairy intolerance, we were eating mostly vegetarian, mostly plant-based foods (with me eating only vegetarian foods). I would add in a meat dish here and there for the others. Now things have changed fairly drastically and meat has been on the table more than I would like, but given the ketogenic diet is working wonders to help KB manage type one diabetes we need to figure out how to make it work for us. It is still a work in progress and meal planning is essential to ensuring everyone gets what they need, which is where I have been falling flat, as cooking two to three meals each evening is not my idea of fun – and getting in the habit of planning all those meals out is proving difficult.

So to try to get myself back in the spirit of things, yesterday I knuckled down and spent four hours in the kitchen (!). I made…

:: bread rolls

:: a big batch of popcorn (I like to pop our corn in coconut oil and sprinkle with savoury yeast flakes and a touch of organic sea salt)

:: a couple of batches of mango raspberry nicecream (frozen mango and berries whizzed with either ice or coconut yoghurt, vanilla extract and cinnamon, yum! This is best eaten immediately)

:: blueberry muffins (these are SO good, I added chia instead of flax and used wholemeal flour as that is what I had on hand)

:: raspberry coconut bliss balls

:: vegemite, pineapple and organic goat’s cheese scrolls (I actually haven’t tasted these yet, they sound bizarre but it was the combination the girls’ ordered!)

Alas, none of these options are suitable for Mr Keto but at least the girls are covered and school/kinder lunches are done for the week.

This morning I made a loaf of bread (pictured above) and am currently defrosting a batch of lentil dahl from the freezer to have with rice tonight (KB will have an omelette). Mondays are usually pretty boring in the food department here as our organic veg box and groceries arrive on a Tuesday night so we are onto the dregs now! I’m down to a couple of brown onions, two potatoes and a frozen leek in the vegetable department… hmmm… inspiring!

In other news outside the kitchen, I’ve started Yoga Teacher Training and couldn’t feel more at home. So far I’ve had one day intensive, a yoga class and a meditation class. I’m heading back to the studio for a class tonight and can’t wait to arrive. It feels indulgent doing something for myself, but every bit of me knows it’s the right choice.

I hope your Mondays are going well, wherever you may be.

P.S. These and these and these are on my list this week.

Kombucha Induced Road Rage + a Vegan Fried Rice Recipe

Coming at you from the library today. I spent the morning here getting some stuff done for the NGO I work for, and then stepped out to grab some things for dinner from the shops. I also picked up some rice paper rolls from my favourite sushi shop and a kombucha to get me over the $10 minimum eftpos line. So I jump back in my car and am

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comings and goings (+ a smoothie recipe)

I’ve been feeling pretty flat and unmotivated the last little while. It may be obvious to you when this happens as my posts slow down and I lose momentum. Part of the reason for my silence lately though has been because my grandpa was incredibly ill, and passed away towards the end of May, on my birthday. The weeks leading up to his death were intense for our family, with many hours spent by his bedside. We were all living in a little bubble, it seems strange now to be out in the light again.

A few hours after he died, my Mum and I left the hospice and we were driving to my Aunty’s place. The baby was screaming blue murder in the back seat and it was a Friday evening. We had to drive down Chapel Street, which those of you in Melbourne will know for its restaurants and good times. I’m from wayyyyy over the other side of the city so I don’t ever go there, but there we were, driving along, stricken with grief after having just watched someone we love breathe their final breaths, and there were lights, cars, traffic, people everywhere going out for dinner, smiling, laughing, and generally having a great time. It was so strange to see that life doesn’t stop for anyone or anything.

Since then life really has just pushed on. It’s the baby’s first birthday this Saturday, and we had the family over last weekend to kick off her birthday week. We were meant to have a picnic, but typical Melbourne rained all day so we had everyone at our place. We were pretty unprepared given we had planned to go to a local state forest, but we pulled it off. I made this cake and it was an absolute hit. I will be repeating it this Friday when I have my mother’s group over for a little birthday celebration. I’m going to try making it gluten free for Friday though as my beautiful friend A has just been diagnosed with coeliacs and I don’t want her to miss out! Hopefully it turns out ok.

In other news as usual I have washing coming out my ears, I can never seem to get on top of it, I refuse to spend my days doing nothing but washing, but maybe if I did, maybe then it would be done? Washing is such a mystery to me, I tell myself that everyone else has it under control but perhaps I am just deluded. I hate it! I told myself this morning that I was going to clean out the girls’ clothes today and throw everything out, figuring that then I would have less to wash and put away…? I think I might be onto something… then I got overwhelmed and looked the other way.

When I’m feeling like everything is just too much, I really try to pay attention to what I’m eating. It’s times like these that I want to reach for the sugar, the cake, the chocolate, and I have to practice a lot of willpower to stop myself from doing this. I’m by no means perfect! But I do try to make sure that I’m getting some bang for my buck when I choose what goes in my mouth. The picture above is today’s lunch for the three of us – me, the Pixie and the baby. It’s probably one of my favourite meals, basically just a bowl thrown together with a combination of things we have on hand with some nuts and seeds chucked on top. This bowl includes a mint, pea and couscous salad my mother in law made on the weekend, toasted nori, fermented cabbage, pickled onions, beetroot, spinach, sweet potato, cherry tomatoes, and some sprouts. The Pixie had half an avocado (she calls it an avocado bowl), some sweet potato, toasted nori (she calls that mermaid food), and a choc pop that Birdie and I made yesterday – basically a bliss ball coated in chocolate made from coconut oil, maple syrup and raw cacao. It does have a pretty strong taste so she wasn’t a huge fan of it, but I gave some to the baby (probably shouldn’t have given cacao is a stimulant, I’ll regret that tonight) and she devoured it! She also had some sweet potato.

The smoothie pictured is a version of the basic smoothie I make everyday using up leftover cooked oats from the girls’ breakky:

+ Almond milk

+ Coconut cream

+ Avocado (because I don’t like bananas unless they are in a cake!)

+ Chia seeds

+ Pepitas

+ Cacao

+ Left over oats

+ A few dates

I have a version of that every morning and there is usually some left over. Sometimes I freeze it and have it as nicecream. Yum!

Well that is all from me for now. I’ve got a baby tapping me on the leg and a Pixie wanting me to help with a puzzle so I had best stop this ramble here.

Hope you’re all having a wonderful start to the week!

On Our Dinner Table This Week

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Another week, another meal plan… I have found that this is what works best for me. There is nothing less motivating than getting to 4pm not knowing what we are having for dinner, and trying to throw something together from the scraps in the pantry. Meal planning, for me, is essential to ensure the quality of what we eat. Some sad news this week is the price of avocados!? Someone told me this morning that there is a shortage and that the reason for the price hike… so we are unfortunately taking avos off the menu for the time being. Wah!

I usually find planning about five dinners for the seven day week works well, there are usually leftovers at some point and overflow. I used to plan for seven but would usually only end up making four or five of the dinners so I’ve changed my method to account for this.

This week I’m aiming for something like this:

// breakfasts //

porridge + yoghurt + almond milk + fruit

pancakes + fruit + yoghurt

eggs + veggies (for anyone who will eat them at this time of day… in other words probably only me)

// lunches //

winging it: see note below

// dinners //

salmon + veg

peanut brown rice patties + kale-slaw + salad (recipes from here)

steak + salad

lentil bolognese

something to do with silken tofu as I have some in the freezer (ideas?)

leftovers

// snacks //

bliss balls

chocolate “paddlepops” (also from here)

popcorn

banana bread

// the baby //

The baby is now have quinoa and brown rice (milled some brown rice into rice flour and made my own baby rice cereal). I haven’t bought any other grains yet, maybe some amaranth or millet could be next on the list. She also had a suck on a bone the other day and cried her little heart out when I took it away from her!

brown rice (or other new grain) + zucchini + coconut oil

brown rice (or other new grain) + dried fig stew

chicken stew

steamed veggie/fruit mashes

I should own up here and let you know that my millionth attempt at making my own yoghurt has once again come to a dismal end and I have yet another kilogram of milky liquid to do something with… any suggestions? I am the worst yoghurt maker ever and have not once had success. Where am I going wrong!? Another confession is that this time I actually used one of the automated recipes on my thermomix… WHO FAILS AN AUTOMATED RECIPE!?

This meal planner is also subject to change this week as I’ve borrowed a thousand recipe books from the library (I put books on hold and it’s always my luck that they arrive all at the same time). So I have these recipe books to dive into this week: Simplicious, The Green Kitchen, Plenty, and Leon: Fast Vegetarian.

The other thing that is happening this week… Bird is starting school on Thursday. OMG. School Mum alert. So I’ll be winging it this week with lunches but next week when she’s going four days I may have to plan a bit more seriously.

What are you eating this week?

Over and out. xx

summer food

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I just love it when we pick up our weekly fruit + veggie box from our local food host. A lot of people say they don’t like getting a veg box because they like to be able to choose what vegetables they want to eat. But for me, the thrill of discovering new vegetables, new recipes and the challenge of using everything in my box, along with ensuring that we are eating (mostly) local and seasonal produce makes it worth it.

On my goals list I really should have set out to use everything in my box absolutely every week… that might have to be number 31. Last year my two most troublesome vegetables to get through were kale and bok choy and unfortunately our compost bin saw more of them than they should… here’s to lots of inventive ways to use these veggies this year.

The other thing I love about getting a seasonal vegetable box is just that – it’s seasonal! I’ve been getting one for a few years now and our eating habits have completely changed now that we eat seasonally. It has also taught me a lot about what produce is in season throughout different times of the year where we live.

This week our box has carrots, potatoes, pumpkin, lettuce, kale (ugh), bok choy, spring onions, grapes, oranges, bananas, grapefruit, beetroot, cherry tomatoes, cantaloupe, broccoli and zucchini. Before that our fridge was literally devoid of fresh foods so inspiration was running low. I’m not in the swing of things with us all on holidays and keeping organised with food has been hard.

So tonight we had salmon on the bbq with a mashed potato + carrot blend and a salad of kale (ugh), fancy lettuce, grated beetroot and cherry tomatoes. The baby: she had the mash and devoured it. Us adults also had spicy kim chi on our plates.

The rest of the week will look something like this:

 

// breakfasts //

chia seed pudding + coconut cream + fruit

porridge + yoghurt + almond milk + fruit

toast and avo or nut butter

// lunches //

blackbean toasted wraps

salad

eggs + avo

// dinners //

pad thai

zucchini fritters + salad

zen bowls: roast veg, kale, chickpeas, brown rice, yeast flakes, nuts/seeds, tahini dressing

bbq veggie burgers or meat + salad

lentil dahl + quinoa

leftovers

// snacks //

bliss balls

nuts/seeds

boiled eggs

cherry tomatoes

// the baby //

We just introduced Peach’s first grain today (quinoa blended with some butter) so her meals this week will be based around getting to know quinoa combined with some fruit and veg combos she has already had along with one or two new ones (like cantaloupe and zucchini from the box). She has just started having two “meals” per day (though depending what it is she may do more playing than eating!)

mashed potato + carrot blend

baby kitchari

avocado + quinoa

banana

cantaloupe

zucchini + mash

Considering we are all eating quite different things at the moment, I think there should be enough on here to keep us all happy. We’re heading back to the beach for a few days so there will no doubt be the appearance of icecream cones and fish and chips at some point, because: summer, holidays, carefree, etc.

on the eve of food: introducing solids, again

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And just like that, it’s time to once again introduce a human baby to the wonderful world that is food.

I’ve done it before, of course. But a first time mama asked me yesterday how to go about introducing solids and I was a bit perplexed because I actually don’t remember. So time to pull out the resources and refresh my memory.

First things first, like I reiterated when introducing food to the Pixie, as a parent you must, you must, you absolutely must go with what feels right for you. If you’re dead set on giving your baby rice cereal as their first food because that is what feels comfortable for you, then go for it. However if you think that perhaps there may be more to life than rice cereal, please do read on.

Also, to update, Pixie has been a great eater. In my original food post I wondered if Birdie was a fluke, but Pixie has followed suit. Yes, at age three, there are some days that she simply will not eat. She doesn’t like green vegetables. She eats about three breakfasts each morning (not joking) and then slows down as the day progresses and eats like a sparrow at dinner time. Normal stuff. But overall I’d have to say she is maybe even a better eater than Bird was. Go figure.

Anyway. Here are some ideas/books/resources/schools of thought that have worked for me when introducing food (and beyond). This is where I will begin again, the third time around with Peach.

:: Learn about food. Whenever I lose my cooking mojo, particularly when it comes to kid food, the first book I consult is always Wholefood for Children* by Jude Blereau. I love her. Sometimes her recipes contain some ingredients which you may not automatically have on hand so if you’re not into winging it (like me) then you might want to plan your cooking out a little when using this book. This is definitely where I will be starting this time around. For older kids and families I really like It’s All Good* by Gwenyth Paltrow and Julia Turshen. It has great meal planners and a whole section on fun kid food. For you it might be another book or resource. Have a look around* and find what sits right with you, don’t just take the advertiser’s claims of “super food!” and run with it. Do some research of your own.

:: Avocado, bone broths and veggies is where it’s at for us. We’ll be skipping the rice cereal and heading straight for these delicious and wholesome alternatives as Peach’s first foods. Avocado mixed with breastmilk, it’s a baby’s dream, I’m sure of it. I’ll have to do some follow up reading but I’m sure sweet potato was also one of the front runners last time. Here is a little more information if you’re wondering why we would go down this route.

:: Be lead by your baby. Every time I’ve had a baby the recommended age to introduce food has changed. The ‘”rules” are constantly changing. So (within reason) go with what your baby is telling you. Watch them as they begin to stare at the food on your plate and follow it to your mouth. Watch them as they practice chomping and biting on things. Take note as they become interested in food. The signs are there, I promise.

:: No sugar. I slipped up a little on this with poor old Pix. She did have some sugar before she turned two, but it was very limited. Third time lucky: I’ll be sticking to my guns and doing my upmost to decline the sweet poison until Peach is two years old.

:: Natural, whole, actual, real, food. Basic, real food. Every day. Ignore the marketing telling you otherwise. Make real food attractive for kids and involve them in the process. The time you spend now will pay off later when your kid is munching broccoli next to their friend who will only eat refined cheese sticks out of a plastic wrapper. Since Birdie started kinder I have been using these bento boxes* (for kinder/outings) and these plates (for home) for both the older girls and they LOVE them. Kids go crazy for divided food… here is some inspiration.

:: Baby lead + mushed up = mix it up! There is so much advice out there it can be overwhelming. There is no need to stick to one method. I like to try lots of different things, your baby might too. Sometimes if you’re going out it might be easier for you to share some of your meal with your baby (amazing how long a crust of bread can keep them entertained). Other times you might mix some breastmilk through yoghurt or avocado or mashed veggies and feed it to you baby with a spoon. See what works. Each day will be different. Here is some more general advice.

:: They must try it. This one is a tip for toddlers and up, not babies. We don’t force our kids to eat everything on their plates, but they must at the very least try everything. We often hear “I don’t like [insert random food here]” when they have never had it before. The rule is they must taste everything on their plates before they are allowed to say they don’t like something… unfortunately for them they will probably still have to keep trying it in subsequent meals if it is an important food!

:: Following on from that, don’t believe them when they say they don’t like it! One taste often isn’t enough. Birdie never wanted to eat lentil dahl but now she devours it by the bowlful. Taste buds grow and develop too.

:: Take it slowly and relax. The child will eat, eventually.

I could go on and on about this topic, but you really just have to get out there and try it yourself to see what works. In a few weeks time that is exactly what I will be doing. Happy eating!

* if you purchase via my marked affiliate links I will earn a small commission.

on the menu

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Cooking, cooking, always cooking. I borrowed Supergrains: Cook Your Way to Great Health by Chrissy Freer from a friend, so that has influenced our meal planner this week.

Here’s what’s cooking at my house:

Monday // pesto pasta with slow roasted tomatoes with a few modifications

Tuesday // tofu and veg stirfry with brown rice

Wednesday // lemon, herb and oat crumbed fish with salad or veg (from the Supergrains cookbook)

Thursday // chickpea, tomato and quinoa soup with pesto toasts (also from Supergrains)

Friday // bacon, spinach and leek frittata

Saturday // leftovers and/or homemade spelt pizza with whatever is in the fridge on top

Sunday // (I’m going out for dinner!) but the rest of the family will have either roast chicken with veg or healing chicken and millet soup (surprise, from Supergrains) depending on the weather along with the state of Birdie’s cold which she woke up with this morning.

What’s on the menu at your place?

feeding a small child: what has worked for me

As we prepare to plunge into introducing food to our second child, the Pixie, I am reminiscing about Birdie’s food journey. I’ve been wondering if there is anything we need to change this time around, which foods first, prepared how and so on.

From her first ever mouthful pictured above to now, nearly 3, I have to say she has been a pretty fantastical eater. She’s good. Yes there are foods she doesn’t like. Yes sometimes she doesn’t want to eat and then complains fifteen minutes later that she’s huunggg-wwwyyy!!! But on the whole, she eats. And she eats well.

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My Mum was amazed at one point at what Birdie was eating compared to another little gal we know of the same age. I don’t have any huge tricks, and no doubt the Pixie will blow all of this out of the water as she tends to do, but here are some of the food guidelines we have stuck to which I think have helped us get to where we are today, and which I will be repeating for Pixie. If you like them, feel free to try a few yourself. If you think they suck that’s ok too! You have to do what works for you. That should be the first food rule. Actually, doing what works for you should be the first and last parenting rule!

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Here goes:

:: No sugar. We didn’t introduce sugar until Birdie was about two years old. She had her first bit of chocolate a month before she was two, at Easter. Please note that this choice is not for everyone. We copped a hell of a lot of flack and sent back a number of baby-cinos (can you believe what turns up on a baby-cino?) but I would not change this for anything. She still rarely has sugar, we save it for special occasions like family celebrations and that is usually it. People gave us a bit of stick and said we were being mean and depriving her so on, but I personally believe we have done her a huge favour. Besides, how can you be deprived of sugar if you don’t know it exists? I could go on and on here, woah Nelly.

:: Persist. They say (don’t you love “them”?) it takes at least three times for a child to try something and decide whether or not they like it. I have found this to be absolutely true. It would take me all week to list the things that Birdie has turned her nose up at, only to finally eat, chew and swallow happily after it has continually landed on her plate. It would be so, so easy to fall into the trap of avoiding putting certain things on her plate because you are pretty certain she won’t eat it. That doesn’t happen here. She gets all the things she doesn’t like over and over and over again and I don’t think there is one thing that she hasn’t eventually tried and even liked. Persist, persist!

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:: Don’t offer a back-up. By this I mean, we don’t give Birdie her meal and then when she doesn’t eat it, give her something else. What she gets is what she gets. She learnt pretty quickly that there wasn’t going to be any chasers.

:: Learn about your child’s eating habits. Birdie is a grazer, as most toddlers and small people are. Kids don’t eat like adults do. If she has a good go at her lunch or dinner and says she’s had enough, I leave her plate there for a bit. Nine times out of ten she will have a play and say she’s hungry again after 15 or 20 minutes. I learnt this one the hard way!

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:: Get the veg in! Following from the tip above, I know that Birdie eats her best and the most in the morning. So we often grate carrot or other veg along with apples or whatever is in season into her porridge. Wallah! She eats it and doesn’t know any better! I also try millions of different ways of serving/cutting/slicing veg and sure enough she might like one of them. Veggie juice is a favourite around here, and frozen veggie juice is an even bigger hit. Bless her, she’s none the wiser.

:: Serve wholesome food. Homemade, homegrown, basic, simple, real. As much as possible.

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:: What’s good for the goose… Once we had introduced all foods into Birdie’s diet, there was no longer a need to present her with a different meal. Ever since her gut and digestive system have been ready, she has eaten whatever we eat. As a result, she eats normal food, not special kiddie food. And I make and prepare one meal only. Of course if we want to eat something really spicy for example, I will take some out for her before I add the spices.

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:: Take your own food. I always pack Birdie morning tea/lunch/afternoon tea when we are going out. This way I don’t have to buy anything, she’s happy and always has something good to eat, and I’m happy watching her eat good things.

:: Give yourself a break. The 80/20 rule people! I don’t beat myself up if I give her packaged food when we are camping, or if I haven’t done a food shop and I need to buy her something when we are out. This doesn’t happen often so when it does, I enjoy the break and she enjoys a treat.

:: Involve your child. Birdie helps with every meal, be it in the preparation or collecting various items for me from around the kitchen. She has also recently begun setting the table, which is now her “job” each meal. When given the choice she will always opt to help in the kitchen instead of play with her toys or read or do anything else. She loves cooking and she loves trying different things while helping out. Just the other week I turned around in the kitchen only to find her chomping on a whole mushroom that was on the chopping board ready to be chopped. It’s a great way for her to experiment and try different foods without one of us thrusting a spoon in her face.

:: Eat as a family and lead by example! As often as we can we all sit down together for mealtimes. If Birdie is having trouble eating something or doesn’t like the look of something, we try it all together from our own plates. Without making a fuss, just seeing us eating all our veg and enjoying our food is helping her develop a positive relationship with food.

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There are probably many other things that have become habits for us over our kid-feeding path that I can’t think of right now. Instead I will share with you some of the resources that I have found invaluable when trying to get my head around everything from introducing food to feeding a small person to transporting food to packaging and so on:

BOOKS

:: Wholefood for Children, by Jude Blereau.

Recipes from introducing food to age 7. And so much food information. Sometimes I don’t have all the ingredients on hand but this book has been by far my most used resource on this topic. I totally love it.

:: Well Adjusted Babies, by Dr Jennifer Bargam-Floreani.

Information about which foods to introduce and when and why.

:: Baby Love, by Robin Barker.

Information about which foods to introduce and when and why as well as some basic recipes.

WEBSITES

:: This Whole Family

Great kid friendly recipes.

:: Little Eco Footprints

Lots of information about packaging, food and snack ideas and as the title suggests, decreasing our eco footprints in the process.

Enjoy!

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eating animals // some thoughts

I had the book Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer on hold at the library. It’s a very popular book and I was on hold for a long time. While I was waiting I wrote this post about my food journey and read this review of the book which was featured on Freshly Pressed. I was even more interested in getting my hands on the book after reading this.

I have read In Defence of Animals and watched Food Inc among other books, resources and videos. Sometimes I feel disgruntled by the aggression or patronising tone that some people use to express their opinions about eating animals which is what made me stop reading In Defence of Animals. One of the main reasons I don’t eat meat is because of the cruelty inflicted upon animals, particularly in the manner in which we ‘produce’ meat these days in factory ‘farms’. I have always seen vegetarianism as a personal choice and perhaps because I am the type of person that has strong opinions on a number of topics I get tired of myself and prefer not to have to continually justify or talk about my choices. I don’t believe that handing out fake blood stained happy meals with axe-yielding Ronald McDonalds’ to children is the right thing to do, although things like this appear to have achieved various results for certain advocacy groups. I do want to be informed… just on my own level.

Two weeks ago, I got the book. I guess you could say I had high expectations of this one, and I had heard a number of people say it was ‘different’ to the other books of a similar nature.

They were right!

The main difference for me was that Safran Foer wrote from the perspective of someone like me. Someone who has had a baby, has got to a point where they have to feed the baby, and has begun to ask some serious questions about the food that is on the baby’s plate. I can relate to that. The book follows Safran Foer’s careful dissection of our childhoods, our stories, cultural truths and myths. Although it is an American book, from previous reading I know our situation in Australia is sadly not far behind.

While ads on television were flashing in my lounge room about the hero dog who lost an eye, I was reading about billions of chickens being crammed into artificially lit sheds for the 6-8 weeks of their miserable lives. While my family were throwing steaks on the barbie, I was reading about the hormones and antibiotics pumped into the animals we eat. While my daughter was offered a lamb bone to chew, I was reading about predictions that the world’s next pandemic will be caused by disease that runs rampant in factory farmed poultry.

Although a lot of the book confirmed things I had read in the past, the vibrant way in which it is written is welcoming and enticing to all readers. Reading this book not only confirmed my decision not to eat meat, but it also made me feel quite guilty about the nonchalant manner in which I eat fish, somehow making excuses for how it is ‘different’.

My main problem stems from the way in which food is mass (MASS) produced, at great cost to the environment, to our health and to the quality of life of the animals we eat. I still have more to learn, and need to think more about what my feelings mean for my family and our food choices. But I think everyone knows, deep down, when something just isn’t right.

* * * * *

For more information about our local state of affairs here in Australia, you might like to visit Animals Australia.

Food, Food, Glorious Food

But where does it come from?

This is the question that has been burning in my mind for a long time now.

It’s been around 10 months since Baby tasted her first mouthful of food other than breastmilk. The responsibility to feed and nourish a baby, well, it’s been one of the biggest challenges. A fun challenge, but a challenge that has certainly taught me a lot about the food that all of us, Prince Charming and I included, eat. I was always suspicious of packaged food, and the more I have been spooning home cooked food into my baby’s little rosebud mouth, the more I have wanted to know more about each ingredient, each place where the food is made, each animal that has died to be on her plate.

I’m quite sure most of my family and my mother think I am mad. What is wrong with a little piece of chocolate here, a little bit of drugged chicken there, a few teeny tiny preservatives, colours, flavours? I mean, we all ate it when we were kids, and we turned out fine… right?

The more I read about the food industry, the more I realise just how much it has changed over my lifetime. According to many, food production has changed more in the last 50 years than in the last 10,000. Isn’t that just unbelievable?

There have been a few very recent things that I have seen and read that have sparked the issue of food and my relationship with it…

This episode of Australian show Four Corners exposed the treatment of cattle exported from Australia to Indonesia. It featured horrific images of this live cattle trade. This was a turning point for me. I was a vegetarian for a little while prior to getting pregnant. When I was pregnant, being my first pregnancy, when my mum convinced me to eat some meat I did, and have been eating meat ever since. It’s not something I regret. But I realise now it’s just a habit.

A few days later I watched this documentary called HOME, the link to which I found here. It was a real eye opener as to how we humans have removed ourselves from the delicate lifecycle that is Earth. It also showed that because we eat SO MUCH meat and the demand is so high – over 50% of the world’s grains are fed to cattle! Common sense tells me this just isn’t healthy for anyone involved.

Then just the other day I read this article that was featured on Freshly Pressed, reviewing Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer which I just happen to have on hold at the library.

The issues of globalisation, factory farming, mass production, global warming… they are all swimming around my mind and I don’t quite know how to process it or what to do with all this information.

image from green bristol

One of the things I have decided to do is to stop eating meat. Despite the cliche, it really was like a weight lifted from my shoulders. That is how I knew it was the right decision for me, at this time. Prince Charming has also jumped on the band wagon. It’s really nice to be doing something like this together. We are still eating fish once a week, but using the Sustainable Seafood website to make better decisions about which fish we select.

Another is to put more effort into our veggie garden. We are not the best gardeners around, and we did promise ourselves we’d fix our patch and put a winter veggie garden in but we have been sick and have not got around to it. Any veggie gardeners out there – is it too late in this crisp Melbourne winter to start? I have to find out and get onto this!

We will continue to use real, whole foods as the bulk of our diet.

I will go back to sourcing more organic foods and making it a priority in our budget to do this as much as possible. As Baby got older I became more blasé about it. It’s time to tighten the reins!

The last thing I am now trying to find out is what my options are to buy meat for Baby that is produced locally, treated well, organic, etc. At the moment she is still going to eat meat. I don’t feel qualified enough to make those decisions about her diet. Before Prince Charming and I stopped eating meat we rarely ate it anyway so things won’t change much for her.

cannot for the life of me rotate this photo…

I also have the Food, Inc. DVD on hold at the library…

It will be interesting to see where all this takes us.