Book Review - Mila's Meals
by Rachel Jesson
in Blogs

It’s not often that you have the luxury of stumbling upon a wholesome, nourishing cookbook for ‘littlies’, that covers everything from weaning to toddler-hood. Perhaps if you’ve been hanging around all the right places most of the time, a little surprise like this ends up on your lap that leaves a delightful sparkle in your eyes.

Having read this well researched book from cover to cover, I can honestly say that the author Catherine Barnhoorn has done a truly terrific job. She has comprehensively busted infant food myths and discussed in detail what nutrients are essential to your baby’s health. Charts have been supplied to guide you through when to introduce particular foods that are age appropriate, and she has placed a strong emphasis on babies avoiding grains until after the age of 1 year due to the lack of the enzyme amalyse, which is responsible for aiding the digestion of these grains.

Pesticides, toxins, plastics, heavy metals, parabens and all the ‘toxic stuff’ have been brought to our attention and an urgent call, like we have rallied in our book (Wholesome Nutrition), for whole nourishing foods has been made. She looks at the good, the bad and the ugly when comparing whole, refined and processed foods. May this be an eye opener for the Mum who chooses convenience over her conscience.

She has further enlightened us on the importance of sourcing pasteur reared meats and dairy and why avoiding cheap, hormone filled meats is essential to good health. We’re cheered on further to source organic or naturally-grown fresh produce and steer clear of the negative experimental side effects of GMO foods.

With so many littlies out there with constipation, runny noses and ADHD, she has explained the importance of staying clear of gluten, dairy and sugar and supplied alternatives, which include delightful recipe suggestions. All the fun in eating is still there, promise! 

Then she has a good section on recipes, beginning from six months of age, right through to toddler-hood. She has creatively found ways to disguise vegetables in foods that are really quite tasty. Her veggie bites are a big hit with my toddler. These are loaded with lentils, sweet potato, celery and butternut! He completely devours them and does a happy dance when he gets them for a snack at play school. Even I enjoy them as a snack on the run. There are many recipes in there that adults will drool over – how about a raw chocolate mousse made with avocado? Absolutely delish! It really does taste like chocolate and not avocado!

I love the fact that she has included the traditional fermenting of foods and supplies easy recipes, where the fermenting takes the longest rather than the food preparation! These foods are cost-effective probiotics that we and our kids should be consuming every day to keep well and healthy. Another special food in there is the long lost broths and stocks so nourishing and healing to our gut health.

My personal favourite is the beautiful spiritual component she has running throughout the book. This is the first recipe book that I have seen with this link and it’s just so special. It’s a reminder to us all that everything in life is precious. That we need to be mindful and grateful of the foods we consume. That we need to show respect and gratitude for all things that come our way. The book is filled with some truly touching quotes reminding us that life is fragile and we only get one go at it, so let’s make the most of it.  

We’re constantly witnessing the health and growth of Catherine’s little star Mila by some lovely photographs and most of the recipes are captured as well to ensure you’re on the right track during your baking or cooking. It’s packed with colour, excitement and inspires you to cook from scratch using the best ingredients out there.  

Finally Catherine shows us that there is more to food than just eating it. The ingredients she has used in her book also apply to our daily living. An example would be the use of raw honey. Not only does it function as a delicious sweetener to a number of her recipes, it also is used for the treatment of wounds, as a cough remedy and it can also remedy pink eye.

It’s a tomb of a book, filled with really useful information applicable to both adults and children alike. I don’t often come across a South African written book that I really resonate with and this book makes my heart and soul sing. I am excited for all the Mum’s out there who are now able to get the opportunity to follow this honest, soulful, wholesome book that’s primary focus is on giving your precious child the best start you can in life. While you have the control, take control! Be the responsible parent. If you can train your child’s palate to enjoy real, whole foods, now the chances of them wanting that same delicious food later are greater. A life filled with processed and refined foods where sugar, unnatural and unpronounceable ingredients rule the contents of the box or packet will come with consequences if you’re not already noticing behaviour issues. We’re not saying you have to eat ‘cleanly’ at every meal, but certainly aim for that way of eating for most of the week.

Every parent should have a copy of Mila’s Meals because in our busy lives, it’s hard to be creative everyday at meal time. To get yourself a copy visit www.milasmeals.co.za