First things first – Happy New Year!
This morning my 6 month, 3 and 5 year old kiddos woke up at 6:30am. I had intended to get up early to write about my New Year’s resolutions, so my kids are to thank for helping me follow through. Actually, my kids are to thank for much of this, including my New Year’s resolutions this year.
The past several years have been an incredible journey through the land of skincare; learning the almost magical qualities of plant ingredients for our skin, how toxics affect us and linger in our bodies, the benefits of aromatherapy…the list goes on. After being somewhat obsessed (ok, really obsessed) about the things that we put ON our bodies, I have begun to really scrutinize what goes IN our bodies. After all, you cannot help but evaluate your diet and overall nutrition when you enter the world of organics.
Throughout my 3rd pregnancy last year, my diet was high on my radar. Pregnancy does that. Knowing we have a tiny, vulnerable developing person inside of us can really help us get our acts together. Although, I have always had a love for everything related to health and wellness, this past year has been very eye opening. While contemplating and researching these past few months, I made the decision that 2012 was going to be the year that I really made my family’s diet a priority. When my husband expressed his interest in doing the same – I knew I had to run with it!
There are some things I have come across this past year that have been part of this new commitment. One of our favorite blogs, Fig+Sage, summed it up perfectly in their post, Soapbox:: Green Beauty, Hypocrisy, Food, Health And Negativity.
I’m often frustrated by this disconnect in the green beauty movement. Sure, there are many who advocate both healthy eating and healthy beauty, but there are many who don’t make the connection or maybe don’t care. Maybe it’s easier to watch what we put on your skin than it is to police what we put in our mouth…it’s all about the toxic burden on our bodies.
Additionally, my husband and I have been reading The China Study. For a great summary, read China Study Cheat Sheet: 10 Things You Need to Know by Well+Good NYC. Also inspiring was the book I finally read a few months ago, No More Dirty Looks and the infamous, Food, Inc.
The Organic Family:
About 6 months ago, I had the pleasure of connecting with Anni Daulter, author and eco-mama extraordinaire, and was introduced to her newly released cookbook; The Organic Family. Anni was so kind to send me a copy of the cookbook and the timing could not have been more perfect. First off, I am not much of a cookbook gal. I rarely follow recipes, but toss a ‘lil of this and a ‘lil of that together. I enjoy the creativity that comes with cooking, much the same way, I enjoy mixing essential oil blends. However, when I cracked open The Organic Family cookbook I knew this book was different. As I flipped through each section; Naturally Tasty Breakfasts, Simple Snacks, Wholesome Lunches, Family Favorite Dinners, Savory Sides, Refreshing Desserts and Homespun Extras – I was instantly captivated by the use of my favorite farmer’s market produce, wholesome grains and absolutely stunning photography that made each dish pop from the page.
In addition to her tasty recipes, Anni has included a really special personal touch. She includes a short bio for each of her four beautiful kids and shares the roles each of them plays in their organic family. She also offers “Growing Together”, “Greening Together” and “Cooking Together” tips throughout the book – BRILLIANT!
Anni talks about going “back to basics”, but the beauty and depth of flavor in these delicious recipes are anything but. I find myself longing for spring; for farmers markets and the rich earthy smell of the garden. For now I will enjoy our CSA box and another bowl of Anni’s Favorite French Onion or Nurturing Butternut Squash Soup. I can’t say enough about my love for this book, so I decided to ask Anni a few questions so you could hear a little from her as well:
Q: Anni, please share some of your inspiration for this book.
A: Pretty simply put, my family is my inspiration for this book. I wanted to write a cookbook that read more like a book, was interesting, helpful, fun and packed with easy delicious recipes. These are recipes that my family loves, and I think yours will too.
Q: Have you always enjoyed cooking and gardening? Please give us a glimpse into your creative process.
A: No. I came into the cooking and gardening scene a little later in life, after I had my first child. I think children inspire us to live to our fullest potential, and mine inspire me every day to do better, cook more, and live more simply. I do love it though and I am happy to say that my children have led me down the path I am on now.
Q: I am so inspired by the way your whole family enjoys cooking together. Please share some of the ways we can involve our children in the process and get them enthusiastic about cooking and creating wholesome, healthy food.
A: If your kids are like mine, they love to be a part of EVERYTHING. Because we spend so much time in the kitchen, its not wonder my oldest want to be a chef, and my 4 year old want to be a baker when he grows up. When we include our children in cooking, we pass down our food traditions, and give them valuable life lessons about how cooking and sharing food can bring whole families together.
Q: In the introduction you state, “But the truth is, the one place we cannot afford to skimp is our family’s nutrition”. I wholeheartedly agree! What are some tips for keeping our family’s nutrition a priority when we are strapped for time or on a small budget.
A: People ask this question all the time and I always same the same thing. Cooking does take time and you can’t expect it not to. We are all very busy, but when we value our family’s nutrition, we need to put in the time. You can cut time corners by planning, keeping your cabinets stocked with some basics (like I always have vegetable + chicken stock in my cupboards + onions, so I can always whip up a healthy soup if need by), and have your family help you in the kitchen. As far as cost is concerned, I would say to grow your own as much as possible, shop at co-ops, farmers markets and invest in CSA shares.
Q: If you can pick just one, what is your favorite recipe in this book?
A: Garden tacos and the flour less chocolate cake (addictive)!
Thanks so much Anni for sharing your book and tips with us!
I hope you are all inspired to make your family’s nutrition a priority (or even more of a priority) this year (and beyond)! I can’t think of a better way to spend more quality time together, learning, growing and greening your lifestyle!
I was thrilled when Anni agreed to give (2) of her cookbooks, The Organic Family, to (2) of you! So here’s how you can enter:
1. Leave a comment here telling us one way you resolve to prioritize your family’s nutrition this year.
2. Like The Organic Family on Facebook
3. For an extra entry, tweet about this post and giveaway! Please include @zoeorganics and @organicraised in your tweet (and don’t forget to leave us your twitter handle here so we know its you!).
Two winners will be selected via random.org and announced on Monday, January 9th! Winners will be posted here and contacted via email. They will have 24 hours to contact us to claim their cookbooks or new winners will be chosen.
In closing, my heart is full of appreciation for the amazing moms, like you and Anni, that I continue to connect with. You are all so inspiring with the choices you make to create a better life for your children and communities. I consider myself abundantly blessed to have crossed paths with you. I look forward to this new year and especially to Spring time when my family will plant our first real garden together and share in the miracle of life. Until then…Salude!