fbpx

Andrea Livingston, expert holistic chef and recipe developer shares the simplicity with which she plans anti-inflammatory meals for kids. Tune in to hear the utter ease with which Andrea approaches meals. The world of Gluten, Dairy, and even Egg-Free cooking can be as simple as we let it be.

I have a Free Ebook for you that talks about WHY Gut health is important, WHEN to address it, and HOW. It is a pretty short but actionable ebook. Click HERE to download.

 

 

Audio Transcription:

Vaish:

You’re listening to functional nutrition for kids, a short but packed always under 20 minute podcast hosted by me vice. I’m a chemist and educator TEDx speaker and functional nutrition practitioner. And of course mom to two unique kids one a little more picky than the other about her food. This is a podcast that talks about the garden and how these factors can affect conditions from anxiety to attention, and from Alzheimer’s to allergies. today’s podcast is something that listeners have been asking for a practical podcast on recipes and how to my guest is the expert chef and recipe curator. Andrea Livingston whose recipes I’ve been picking for years and I’m a huge fan of especially her fantastic gluten free whole food cookie recipes. And he has wisdom in growing and preparing plants centered foods and almost 20 years. Her broad skill set and knowledge are born from her ongoing professional experience.

As an organic farmer and gardener, holistic chef, recipe developer, food photographer, and educator. I’ve personally taken in love the course that Andrea co taught with another Andrea, my mentor, and that was your vibrant child. In fact, I’ve seen in used Andrea’s recipes. And so many of the courses that I’ve taken after Andrea is now based in Portland like me and develops wellness focused recipes and professional food photos for her clients who have included University’s functional nutrition practices, and quite the whole slew of functional medicine. So welcome. Welcome, Andrea, I’m so honored that you agreed to come on this podcast and share your wisdom.

Andrea Livingston:

Thank you so much. Thank you, I’m super happy to be here. And I hope that I can be of some help to people.

Vaish:

Yeah, and one of the reasons I was and I’m so keen on having you here is because I’ve I have spoken so much about the idea of balancing blood sugar as a tool to address focus, hyperactivity, energy and so on. However, I’m not a recipe person. I mean, I collect recipes, but I completely rely on Mega creative people like, like you to share wisdom. So I’m just going to jump into my first question is that do you? Kit recipes to be different from recipes for adults, and I’m asking this because as a child, this was not the case. For me, we all just ate the same food, but I’ve been resisting it for so long. But I feel like I have to accept that it’s a new reality. I just wanted to know what you think about that.

Andrea Livingston:

Um, I really, I do think it’s a reality. And there are I mean, I have two kids, myself, and they, they’re really different. All kids are different. And when I’m developing recipes for kids, I usually try to keep them more simple. And not too many spices.

I think at least for my kids, they’re really into how their food looks and the textures of the food. So I think our kids it seems to be, especially kids who have food restrictions, keeping it as simple as possible. And along the way, I mean, I’m really into sneaking different things into into dishes for my kids. And then in the long run because I have a teenager now I see that maybe he wasn’t as interested in things when he was little, but he developed a taste for them. So now he’s more he’s more flexible in what he eats. And the younger one is a little less flexible. And as far as developing kids recipes, I always try to mimic I’ll ask parents what their kid’s favorite foods are. And then I’ll try to mimic what that is with the restrictions that they have so that they don’t ever feel like they’re missing out on things or does that make sense?

Vaish:

Yes, absolutely. And I took down a few notes so you said you said to keep it simple and generally low on spices while possibly speak sneaking the spices in correct

Andrea Livingston:

Yeah, or you know, mild spices, keeping it simple, and making things look pretty is always fun for kids. Letting them participate as much as they’re interested in seems to help also,

Vaish:

generally kids like tend to like homogenous textures so that I’m at my in my experience at least some kids not all kids but kids that are sensitive to textures.

When you talk about leaking what um so that just brings a blender to my mind like textures and sneaking but what what do you do to sneak give us like that you do? Yeah, I mean,

Andrea Livingston:

I can give you a couple of examples because like my older son would eat oatmeal but wouldn’t eat it with nuts in it. So sometimes I would put chia seeds in which are like smaller and less crunchy. Another things I’ll do if I make like a homemade granola for them. What I’ll do is I’ll I’ll use my food processor. If I want to get more protein in, I’ll put nuts in and I’ll process the the nuts until they’re really finely ground, like almost not detectable as a nut. And then I mix it in with their granola. And so it works. Okay, awesome.

So things like that are putting things in smoothies always work, sneaking vegetables in smoothies, putting nut butters in smoothies.

Vaish:

If you think of a mom who’s packing her kids lunchbox day after day for possibly for years, and then it gets gets a little fatiguing, and they just want to do what their kid will eat. So lunchbox seems to be the biggest question that I often get, especially keeping it anti inflammatory. Any suggestions? I mean, could be a protocol, something to maximize nutrient density. So what are your favorite lunchbox hacks? And I keep saying blood sugar balancing with fat fiber and protein. So what do you like to do when packing lunch boxes? Or do you have any advice that they could use?

Andrea Livingston:

I mean, I’m like you I do the fat fiber protein, I tried to really emphasize like a lot of fats and my kids. Okay, lunchbox, and I pretty much it sounds weird. But I kind of had the same thing every day. Anything, I mix it up, like I’ll always have a vegetable, a seasonal vegetable, and I’ll cut up two different ones. And I’ll put it in there. I always have some kind of I’ll put like a chia pudding, or a yogurt and some fruit.

Then like a whole grain or if you I think I told you about and maybe you can link your people to the packing a healthy lunchbox, yes. And you can kind of like I’ll use that as kind of a guide. And then what I do is I’ll kind of crossings out or add things in. And then I try to do one from each category. So it’s a fruit and vegetable, a whole grain, a protein and a tree. And then and with the treat, I try to have a bat like a nice fat in there. And it makes it pretty easy. You just kind of put one from each category. Mine always ends up being really similar. I think having a visual. Yeah, like that is really helpful. And if you can add I think once people see it, they’ll understand but you can write in your different things. And then you look at the categories and you can pick from each one. can mix it up a little bit.

Vaish:

Andrea is referring to I think it was Ali’s website from my nursing life. I believe.com. But I will I will link it on my Facebook page on

Andrea Livingston:

Yeah, it’s nursing. It’s called Yeah, it’s called nursingmeals.com. She has five children. So she sort of and she does she teaches anti inflammatory cooking. So her whole

Vaish:

just for more practical examples, one of the most objections that I hear, and I’m going to list the areas in which I hear the most objections. And do you mind maybe giving parents an idea of what your favorite substitute is? So the first thing is baking. And then because now, many of the kids are also sensitive to eggs. And so we’re going gluten, dairy and egg free. So how realistic is this? And what do you do to bake stuff? What do you use

Andrea Livingston:

this is there’s so many resources online for recipes, and my older son was gluten, dairy and egg free when he was younger.

The substitutions that I usually use are brown rice flour, any milk alternative coconut milk is great for baking. And you can substitute eggs with a flax egg table tablespoon of flax, two, three tablespoons of water and you whisk that and that is an egg substitute. So any recipe can be adjusted in that way. By using the flax egg for an egg substitute, there are so many recipes online for really good. I mean it would be vegan, gluten free, right? baked goods.

Vaish:

I asked pantry a lot, but I think she uses eggs quite a bit. I’ve I’ve actually found a couple of recipes that I think you and Andrea have referenced for egg free and gluten free. I’ll find them and put them on to but I also use the same things that you said.

Andrea Livingston:

Yeah, I mean, it’s super easy now to find things that are are gluten free, vegan, and even you can almost even purchase them at the grocery store. There’s a lot of things enjoy life foods. There’s one company that’s all allergen free. That’s true. And that stuff is pretty good.

Vaish:

The old The old idea that I mean your tasting cardboard is actually no longer valid. They’re pretty

Andrea Livingston:

pretty clearly not.

Vaish:

And the the last question that I wanted to ask you in terms of these objections, were not milk and cheese Do you have I’ve actually tasted your recipe. I think it was for almond cheese and I really loved it. Do you have a favorite nutmeg that you feel like takes a lot of the boxes that there as

Andrea Livingston:

I make cashew milk myself has, I’m lazy. And it’s the easiest one to make because you don’t have to strain it through a milk bag. Okay, you can just soak it the cashews for I soak them for like four hours, and then rinse them and I have, you have to have a high speed blender, so I put them in a Vitamix. So it’s about one cup, one to four, one cup of nuts to four cups of water. And I just add a little Seefeld.

If I want some maple syrup or something and you just blend it up, and that’s it, you don’t have to strain it or anything.

Vaish:

Okay, I didn’t realize that I think I’m switching to cashew milk I hate streaming.

Andrea Livingston:

And there’s lots of ways to you’re not throwing, I mean, I used to dehydrate the pulp from almonds, but I just it’s just easier. And I’ll feel like I’m wasting anything, either.

Vaish:

Yeah. And so to give you a little bit of a context, you, I think you know that my son has multiple diagnoses, I mean, Down syndrome, autism is also non speaking. Yeah. And when I was working on gut healing in the early days as able to make a lot of big changes, and now he actually eats like an adult, he could probably it’s better than most adults know better than me for anything. And I haven’t experienced this whole kid meal fiasco, though, that started coming in with my daughter, but I have clients constantly telling me about what am I talking about? I give them recipes. And they tell me my child won’t eat that. But so I’m just curious for fun.

Have you had any epic fails? When you design this completely fantastic recipe that kids want to eat?

Andrea Livingston:

A lot of times? I don’t hear about it if it is fail? Because? I think I mean, it’s a good question. Because there’s so many dynamics playing into it, when I’m working with a client whose child has specific dietary restrictions. I mean, it anxiety plays so much, like if the parent is super anxious about it, and I’ve been there myself, where I’m just like, oh, gosh, please eat this, you know, like, you’re just, I just have felt like desperate in a way. And I think the more relaxed parents can be about it, and the way and if we can be more flexible to try different things, the less reactive, we can be also to whether or not they eat it, you know, sometimes it helps in that way. And also, one other thing is that I’ve had with clients where I’ve seen when we’re working with kids, that they they switch it up too quickly, like there’ll be, they don’t give it enough time, they don’t give the, the protocol that they’re working with enough time.

Like, if they don’t see change right away, or if their kids don’t eat that food right away, and they refuse it, then they tend to give up or switch. And that can be I mean, you’re not going to fit, you know, because you’ve, you’ve done so much work with this, that you have to give things a good amount of time to be able to see if they’re working or not. So just like patience, and being relaxed around it, and giving things time seems to help and if the kids don’t like it, and put it away for a while and try it again later, you know,

Vaish:

yeah, and I’m going to summarize Andrea’s Andrea’s wisdom and her ideas in making a kid’s meal more acceptable to the child one more time. So she added the concept of time. So just be patient and keep keep up the food for a while. Keep introducing or not keep introducing but introduce it and keep it there for and don’t just get discouraged. Keep them either simple in terms of textures, and perhaps spices depending on the child and sneaking with substitutions as whatever works in especially in sauces and smoothies and soups, and try to mimic the food that the child eats with whole food and inflammatory substitutions

Andrea Livingston:

and help them to feel like they’re not missing out on anything. Yes, I think that really helps.

Vaish:

I feel like the biggest areas where where these things are the hardest to do are with in dairy, especially with cheeses. But but we’re getting there and I just tasted a I think it was a cashew cheese that’s available in New Seasons that tastes so fantastic.

Andrea Livingston:

Yeah. I love it. Yeah. And then gradients are so clean. It’s it’s pretty much the only one that I eat. Yeah. That’s my favorite. Yeah, it’s a good one. And they make a butter too. Now, that tastes great.

Vaish:

I did want to ask you a question before wrapping up and that was when you were talking about packing your child’s lunchbox. You mentioned the trip do you what are your favorite treats to pack for your children?

Andrea Livingston:

Some of the treats that my kids like are like chia pudding. And I have made homemade like energy balls or energy bars that are really good healthy cookies like like we were talking About sneaking more proteins and fats into things that are like perceived as a treat, but they’re actually really healthy, especially the homemade cookies and muffins and things like that, that go into their lunch.

Vaish:

Awesome. All right. Thank you so much, Andrea, if parents want to reach out to you, I know your website is www.Andrealivingston.com. Would you like to talk about services that you offer?

Andrea Livingston:

Yeah, currently I’m not doing I used to do a lot of personal chef work. But currently what I’m offering to individual families is consultation work, I kind of have an intake form. And we talk about what their ideas are and what they’re working with. And then I create if they want, either I give them just ideas and websites and recipes online that they can go to or I can create custom recipe packets for their family to work with.

Vaish:

Thank you for joining us on this podcast. I’m super happy to have connected with you. information here. Thank you.

Andrea Livingston:

Your Welcome,

Vaish:

functional nutrition for kids. Joining us next Thursday for another short actually.