My journey towards veganism and a healthy, sustainable, and holistic lifestyle has been a long and twisty one. The more I learn and live, the deeper I fall in love with living life cleanly for myself and my family. It may sound silly simple, but what it all boils down to for me is that it feels good to feel good! The cleaner I eat, the more I work out, the deeper I sleep, each of my experiences feels a bit more fulfilling, and even a bit more spiritual.
And while my children are not yet old enough to understand the depth of those decisions or feelings, I’m doing my best to start them off in a place where they can only experience that fullness of life, never having the opportunity to be dulled down by processed foods, excess sugars, and chemical preservatives. I want my children to be able to taste the gorgeous sweetness of strawberries instead of deciding that they’re inferior to the gummy versions they come across in candy stores. I want them to stretch their legs and twist their bodies on a regular basis to know what it feels like to have the strength and flexibility to play hard and long. I want them to be free of any additives or sugars that will keep them antsy and up at night. I want them to sleep deeply (and long;)) so that their tiny bodies get the opportunity to heal and repair themselves each night for the coming day.
The most significant way I can affect these outcomes is by making sure the foods my children eat on a daily basis are whole, rounded, and fresh. So from day one I knew that I wanted to make as much of their food as possible. It’s a serious challenge. Although as they get older it becomes more complicated, when they were babies it took little more than diligence, a creativity, and a couple of hours each week.
So many of my friends have come to me for baby food recipes over the years. It’s so easy to get caught in the plain Jane smashed peas and pureed carrots routine. I was always curious about why people wanted to give their babies bland foods. I wanted to expose my children to new flavors and spices, to get them used to eating foods from around the world, and to allow them to experience the healing effects of botanicals, spices, and veggies.
Here are a few recipes for baby foods packed with flavor, protein, antioxidants, and so much other good stuff:
Green Lentils with Carrots and Onions
• In a heavy-bottomed pot sauté 1 chopped onion and 2 carrots in 2 tablespoons of coconut oil.
• Once the vegetables are soft, add the cinnamon and turmeric and cook together for about a minute.
• Add 4 cups of water and 1 cup of green lentils.
• Bring it to a boil and then down to a simmer.
• Cook uncovered for 30-45 minutes, or until the lentils are starting to disintegrate.
• Blend with an immersion blender to the desired consistency. If you have the time, you can let it cook for a couple hours. As it cooks, the lentils will break down into a dahl consistency which I find perfect for baby food.
• In a pot bring the following to a boil: o 1 can of garbanzo beans (always use organic beans in bpa free cans. I like Eden brand), 2 carrots, 1 teaspoon sea salt, enough water to cover.
• Once the carrots are a bit soft (10-15 minutes) drain and set aside to cool
• Once cool, place all of the ingredients into a blender or food processor and blend with enough olive oil to move the contents through the blade.
• Blend to desired consistency.
Green Mashed Everything
• Steam together sweet green peas, edamame, broccoli, asparagus for 2-4 minutes until soft, but still bright.
• Stop the cooking in an ice bath and strain.
• Place all the veggies in a blender with enough olive oil to move the veggies through the blade and add sea salt to taste.