In February 2013, my husband John and I launched Love Child Organics, our baby and children’s food company that had been in the works for a long time. It had taken eighteen months of hard work behind the scenes to get to that point – putting together business plans, raising funds, and most importantly creating healthy, organic recipes that I would be happy to serve our growing family – and the children of our prospective customers.
Four years – and many, many recipes and experiences later, I’m about to launch the next chapter – literally in this case – by adding the job description “author” to my resume!
Even before Love Child Organics went on sale, I’d thought about writing a cookbook. My background isn’t as a chef or nutritionist, but I’ve always been a passionate home cook, and before this journey started, I was a teacher of students with special needs, and fully understood the impact of a healthy diet on a child’s growth, behaviour and development.
That’s actually the whole reason Love Child started in the first place – I wasn’t satisfied with the baby food and snack options on the shelves when we had our first baby. Perhaps more importantly, I had big concerns about the highly questionable ingredients hidden within those foods, that aren’t always obvious to those looking to grab a quick and easy food solution, myself included! My response was to create organic, clean foods for our baby girl in our own kitchen. The main staples of each dish would be organic, fresh and local, and I would then add ingredients to boost the nutritional value, making sure to use superfoods wherever possible, and definitely avoiding adding any refined sugar, salt or preservatives.
As you know if you’re a reader of our blog, have been following us on social media, or saw us on Dragon’s Den (Season 8 if you’re interested seeing the segment!) we launched with a range of purees in squeezable pouches, then we created more pouches with more flavours, and we started to make convenient snacks for busy families to take with them on the go, as well as infant cereals – it was a busy few years! We’re also currently launching our first meat protein squeezables to add alongside our plant-based options in our Savoury Baby Meal range (Mango Chicken Stew, Hearty Bolognese, and Thanksgiving Dinner), and something we’re really excited about is the upcoming launch of our brand new pediatric drink (the healthiest pediatric drink on the market by the way – just sayin’!), our Lil’ Shake, on shelves this summer. It’s been quite a ride!
Armed as I am now, with so much more information than when I started, I figured it was time to take on the challenge of writing this cookbook, and sharing the knowledge I’ve picked up, with parents and caregivers, with the kids themselves, and with anyone who simply wants to make healthier choices in their home cooking.
So here we are – just a short time away from the launch of It All Begins With Food, a cookbook that is truly a labour of love, just like my first venture, and it’s one that I hope you will enjoy.
In the book, we start where this whole adventure started – with purees and all the information you could need to start feeding your baby solids. We then move through finger foods, smoothies, breakfasts, lunches, family dinners, as well as snacks, celebration foods, and my recreations of supermarket staples you can make at home. And if you’re looking for more information about organic eating, avoiding GMOs, meal-planning, or cooking with kids, It All Begins with Food has that too. It’s a one-stop-shop of a cookbook, that will grow with you as your family grows, and support you on your family’s clean eating journey.
The saying “you are what you eat” starts right there at the beginning, so giving your baby a taste for real foods made with nutrient-rich ingredients will give them a lifetime of appreciation for fresh, unprocessed cuisine. Even if they’re a little older, and let’s include the adults in the family too – there’s no time like the present to begin walking that path together. It’s not always easy to make those healthy choices, but it’s possible, and it will be DELICIOUS!
Leah Garrad-Cole is the founder of Love Child Organics, and the author of: It All Begins With Food, published by PenguinRandomHouse and available April 25th in all good bookstores. You can order it here!
Excerpted from It All Begins With Food by Leah Garrad-Cole. Copyright © 2017 Leah Garrad-Cole. Photography copyright © 2017 Janis Nicolay. Published by Appetite by Random House®, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.