I was recently interviewed by the lovely Mandy Dos Santos of Little People Nutrition, and thought perhaps there were some insights into our family that our own fans may wish to hear. So this inspiring interview is with ... myself! HAHA!
You have a company, Broth of Life, where you make dehydrated broth, tell me about it and why you chose to dehydrate broth?
I’m just like you. A real person with a real family full of struggles, triumphs and tragedies. And those experiences led my partner and I down the path of making dehydrated bone broth. It can be hard to find the time to ensure every meal includes vital nutrients for the family’s health and wellbeing. The benefits of bone broth are second to none, but it can be so very time consuming and challenging to make your own, it has a short shelf life in the fridge and can be impossible to get kids to eat it. By dehydrating the bone broth, you can sprinkle it on foods at serving time as you would a seasoning, use it instead of stock cubes when cooking, mix it in with Bolognese sauce and curries, eat it straight off the spoon or of course rehydrate with water. This makes it versatile and easy to feed children, available to take when travelling and gives the product a 12 month shelf life. It’s a win / win for the whole family.
And fats, why fat? Do you use the fat from the broth, or source it separately?
It is now a proven medical fact that fats are highly important in our diet for innate bodily functions. Fat and cholesterol have had a bad name for many years, however research now shows that it is the kind of fats that contribute to disease.
We skim the fat off our bone broth preventing an “oily” taste to the drink which many people don’t like. The skimmed fat is arguably the most nutrient dense component of bone broth, so we clean and render the fat to create “Brellow”, similar to the more well known Tallow. It is a perfect healthy cooking fat that can be used at high temperatures before reaching it’s smoke point, making it brilliant for baking, frying and sautéing. Superb flavour with a huge nutrient hit!
You obviously believe in food as thy medicine “A cup a day, keeps the doctor away”, but how has this phrase been instrumental in your life, lives as a family and of your children personally?
As parents, we spend a lot of time concerned about our family’s health. It can be challenging to keep the entire family at optimal health, especially for those with special needs children or fussy eaters.
Before kids, I was living the high life. We were your typical double income no kids family, working hard and playing harder. We were no stranger to minority groups being a mixed race same sex relationship, so why not throw another one at us… my partner fell pregnant with identical twin boys, and wow, did that shake our world!
When the boys were 6 weeks old, I found Jasper face down in his cot. He was limp, lifeless, grey and not breathing. There was blood coming from his mouth and nostrils. It was the horror story no parent should experience. Paramedics brought our boy back and he was raced to hospital for multiple tests. 4 years later and we still had no answers but we certainly now had a child with behavioural issues. I don’t think I ever experienced more emotional pain, sleepless nights and self blame than during that period.
It was during those 4 years we made some massive dietary changes to try and help his behaviour, and eventually we found the right integrative doctor to heal our little boy’s gut. He is still a work in progress but I’m happy to report he is thriving in main stream school, which we didn’t believe he would be able to attend.
Food is medicine, and we learned this very quickly. One poor food choice, and we can see a massive difference in our children.
Do you ‘subscribe’ to any food philosophy, if so, why?
I am not a big fan of labelling what “diet” or food philosophy anyone should follow, including myself. Every single person is an individual and I don’t believe there is a one diet fits all approach. If I have to give our food intake a label, I would call us JERFers… Just Eat Real Food. We stand by that rather strongly. If it’s in a packet, it’s likely been created in a laboratory and made from chemicals. There are so many wonderful foods that can be found at the farmer’s markets, there really is no need to go to a main stream supermarket for food at all. Always question where your food has come from, is it natural, are there ingredients here that I don’t understand or can’t pronounce?
How do you involve your children in this food journey?
We always give our children a choice with food. If they make a “poor” choice, we sit down with them afterwards and ask how that food made them feel. Do they feel a little sick from eating that food? Has it made them feel hyper and out of control? Has it made them have a crashing “come down” and feel sad? We discuss the impact food can have on our behaviour and the way our body feels. This has been invaluable in helping them understand the impact food has on their overall wellbeing, and we are finding they are making better food choices all on their own.
What do you guys eat for breakfast on a weekday and on a weekend? And the boys?
As a family we tend to eat the same meals. Weekdays are always a little hectic and vary from smoothies (banana, berries, spinach leaves, honey, coconut milk/water, supplements) to gluten free toast with homemade nut butter. The weekends usually consist of buckwheat pancakes or bacon & eggs, homemade baked beans with mince or following the Asian heritage sometimes some steamed dumplings!
Lunchboxes, the bane of our existence, yet so important…what goes in your kid’s lunchboxes?
Being gluten free can make lunch boxes challenging when nut free must also be followed. I often cook up extra sausages, rissoles, chicken strips or meatballs to include in the lunchbox to make sure there is a solid dose of protein. That is then topped up with vegetables (carrot, cucumber, snow peas, beans, capsicum…) and a small serve of fruits. The fruit and vegetable selection is determined by what is in season. Sushi can be a nice treat, and the boys really love rice crackers.
You and your family lived on the Northern Beaches in Sydney, what are a handful of places you love to eat out at?
Our favourite place without a doubt was Rough & Bare in Mona Vale. These guys are ultimate wholefoods café! All meals are organic, gluten free and refined sugar free, and just simply delicious!
Cooh at Nth Curl Curl was another regular for smoothies, the beef “burger” and sweet potato chips. This is a favourite with our boys.
Ora at Manly is another brilliant café with an ethical and sustainable food philosophy.
Lastly The Nook Wholefoods in Elanora Heights is perfect for a snack, smoothie and juice.
And how about shopping for your groceries?
We did all our shopping at the Farmer’s Markets. We are so lucky on the Northern Beaches to have access to so many!!! Our favourite is the Beaches Market on Friday morning. We head out before school down to Warriewood/Narrabeen and browse the many fresh produce stalls for the fruits and vegetables that are in season. There are so many stalls you don’t need to shop anywhere else! Meats can be purchased along with raw honey, olives, breads… it’s endless. We have a weekly treat and eat breakfast at the market and drop the boys at school before heading home with fresh produce for the week.
There are also markets at Frenches Forest on Sunday morning that have a relaxed family feel, and mid week markets in Manly.
It’s Tuesday night, it’s raining and the kids are starving and you have the can’t be bothereds. What do you prep for dinner and why?
This would be when I whip up Bolognese sauce. There is always mince in the freezer for this exact scenario. A quick defrost in warm water and it’s so easy to cook in a Thermomix with only 6 ingredients (using Broth of Life vegetable stock for flavour), dinner is ready in 20 mins. Easy. Otherwise a simple grilled cut of meat with onion, mushrooms, peas & corn.