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The Alchemy of Cooking: Our Children, Our World

by Montse Bradford(more info)

listed in food, originally published in issue 116 - October 2005

Good nutrition is a basic need of all people if they are to grow and develop properly and maintain their health. It requires the correct supply of nutrients to meet the individual's level of activity, depending on age, sex, way of life and general health.

The first seven years are the most important of our lives, and we need a balanced diet to encourage rapid growth and healthy development.

The Energetic Needs of Children

Children are small and compact; they need to expand and grow, they need lots of foods that create this effect: plenty of variety of vegetables, protein, good quality carbohydrates and minerals.

Each food creates different reactions in our body, different energetic effects.

Highly sweetened foods are quickly converted into sugar in the blood and so give a short burst of energy. This will be quickly used and then fatigue will follow as the blood sugar level drops.

If children eat these kind of foods, it will generate a shortage and deficiency of B vitamins, creating further effects:

  1. They will not be attracted to more complex forms of carbohydrates, as whole grains, good quality bread and pasta;
  2. Their blood pH will be changing into acidic condition, affecting their nervous system (irritability, depression, aggression, sleeplessness and poor appetite), also poor quality bones and teeth;
  3. Their bodies will be craving minerals to counteract the acidic reaction, so a high intake in refined salt (crisps and other salty junk snacks) will produce a great strain on the production of insulin from the pancreas and hormones from the adrenal glands which may cause long-term damage to their health;
  4. All these effects (high empty calories, excess of sodium and high intake in saturated fats (meats, dairy, processed foods) will lead very quickly to obesity, lethargy and deep fatigue. Creating the need again for quick sugars to release instant energy and feel good in a very short time. A VERY HIGH PRICE TO PAY!

Children and Vegetables

If children have lots of animal foods, saturated fats, raw salt in snacks, ready prepared meals, etc., it will make them crave ice creams, chocolate, sugar, and if they have that sort of foods, of course, they will not want to eat VEGETABLES!

The cause of children not wanting vegetables can be very easily balanced, by changing the foods that we give to them on a daily basis.

Children's needs change very quickly day by day. Sometimes they will not eat a certain vegetable on one day and then change their minds the next. So keep trying different ways of cooking and observe their reactions.

If we start from early ages, children will enjoy it as a way of life and feel grateful and healthy. Giving our children a wholesome diet is an invaluable gift for their future.

Practical Changes

  • Make changes slowly if your child has followed a conventional diet;
  • Give a wide range of foods early on;
  • Present a new food in a colourful and tasty way;
  • Introduce it to the whole family;
  • Be positive and flexible. Remember, the most important ingredient is LOVE;
  • Cook fresh food every day;
  • Children's cooking must be simple and clean. Avoid too many mixtures;
  • Play with textures, colours and shapes;
  • Flavours: Enhance the natural flavour of their vegetables by simple cooking styles (steam, quick saut├ęs, lightly short boil, simmering, oven). Small children don't like spicy food, leave that flavour for teenagers and adults;
  • Encourage them to follow their own intuition and needs. Always there is a very sound energetic reason why they like or dislike certain foods or dishes at particular time. Maybe that day they felt cold, lethargic, weak, sleepy and so rejected the cold salad, morning juice or piece of fruit. Or maybe on another day, when they feel very heavy, hot, angry, thirsty, tense they will not want to eat greasy/oily foods or heavy saturated animal protein dishes. It is common sense;
  • Ingredients to beware of: monosodium glutamate, sugar by another name (glucose, sucrose, fructose, glucose syrup...), artificial colours, high amount of sodium in salty snacks.

Encouraging your children to safely participate in the kitchen at early stages will provide self-confidence in the art of SELF-NOURISHMENT, a very important lesson to learn for everybody.

Party Fruit Kebabs with Carob Sauce


  • half small melon,
  • 1 kiwi,
  • 2 nectarines
  • 1 cup strawberries
  • 1 cup raspberries
  • 1 banana (all cut into bite size pieces)
  • wooden sticks.

Carob Sauce:

  • 2-3 Tblsp. carob spread
  • half cup of water
  • 2 tblsp. chopped roasted hazelnuts
  • a pinch of sea salt
  • 1 tblsp. of arrowroot thickener
  • pinch of cinnamon powder.
  • Place cut fruit into the wooden sticks. Do the bananas before serving, adding a few drops of lemon juice to prevent from browning;
  • Decorate the half melon with the fruit kebabs;
  • Bring the water to a boil, add the carob spread and hazelnuts. Mix well to obtain an even sauce;
  • Dilute the arrowroot with some cold water. Add to the carob sauce. Mix well till it thickens. Serve hot or cold with the dessert.


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About Montse Bradford

Montse Bradford, originally from Barcelona, Spain, has lived in England since 1978. She is a professionally qualified healer member of the two leading healing organizations in the UK and a certified transpersonal psychology counsellor. Montse has been studying natural approaches to healthy eating and cooking since 1978 and has directed several cooking schools as well as a residential centre in Sussex. She now directs and teaches at her own cooking schools in Barcelona and Bath. Montse is the author of several books, Cooking with Sea Vegetables, which has been translated into five languages, and four titles in her popular Healthy Wholefood Cooking Series: Healthy Eating /Simple Cooking; Cooking with Vegetarian Protein; Vegetarian Classics; and Cooking with Sea Vegetables. Two more books, in Spanish are now being published, The Alchemy of Cooking and In Our Lives and Cooking with Vegetarian Proteins. She can be contacted at The Natural Cookery School & Life Energetics, Tel: 01963 240 641;;

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