Everyday Love recently won high acclaim at the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards held recently in Yantai, China and was declared the Best Family Cookbook in the World for 2018. The other top 3 winners were from Sweden, Argentina, and China.
THE AUTHOR SHARES HER STORY
A little over five years ago I started a journey that changed my life and that of my family. I had recently given up my full-time job as a rural development professional. My youngest son, Nikhil, was hardly eating any vegetables and no fruit and had a cold every other week (My older two sons had frequent bouts of asthma and other allergies). Until then I had been a busy working traveling mum who planned regular dal chawal subzi or dosa sambar dinners… but I really wasn’t paying attention to what the kids were eating for school lunches or snacks. Those were dictated by convenience rather than by nutrition. If the kids liked something, like Oreo cookies, I bought them – not to intentionally feed them junk food, but indulgently and with love. I hadn’t read a single label.
And so when the realization hit, I started to read about what was good to feed my kids (and did some online courses in nutrition to learn more), I knew I needed to go back to the basics. So I decided to dejunk my household and cook most food from scratch. Slowly, I stopped buying most processed or packaged food. We made our own peanut butter, mayonnaise, jams, cold drinks, cookies, granola bars, muesli, breads, pizzas etc. I started to cook lots of vegetables and whole grains in new and interesting ways.
The results were tremendous. Over 2-3 years, Nikhil was eating close to 30 vegetables, all 3 boys were much healthier and their asthmatic attacks were down to a minimum. Our medical bills dropped drastically too J. I documented our journey and the recipes I developed in my book Everyday Love – A Mother’s Guide to Healthy Cooking for Kids. It’s the story of going back to the basics, of realizing the value of ‘homemade’ and cooking from scratch, about conscious cooking and green living.
And it wasn’t that difficult, I wasn’t cooking all the time… one just needed to be organized. I made weekly meal plans (breakfast, school snacks, lunch, after school, dinner) so that I could plan for healthy eating and get a variety of coloured fruits and vegetables into our diet. I prepped over the weekend and made healthy dips, spreads, sauces and baked goodies.
The whole process took a few years, but you know once our kids develop a taste for real good wholesome food, there is no looking back. They can’t eat the junk anymore. Food preferences are almost entirely learned. If you offer your kids wholewheat bread rather than white and fruit as a snack, they will choose similar options when they are older. Healthy cooking for our families is Everyday Love and I hope my book helps show the way.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Sharmila Ribeiro has an MS degree in agricultural economics from Rutgers University, USA and is the co-founder for 2 non-profit organizations in the Himalayas that produce products based on local natural resources such as organic honey, silk, and spices. Building on her depth of experience and knowledge of agriculture, practical nutrition, and organic food, and being a mother to 3 every-hungry boys, she authored her book Everyday Love – A Mother’s Guide to Healthy Cooking for Kids.
Sharmila self-published Everyday Love since she wanted a really beautiful high-quality book that parents and kids would be inspired to cook from. Every recipe has been tried and tested over years and has been adapted to include whole grains, nuts, and seeds and use less sugar and fat. The book has 177 recipes that are easy, family-friendly and nutritious and one saves time from navigating the thousands of recipes online to find the healthy and tasty ones.
Since the book was launched, Sharmila has been spreading the message of healthy eating and saying No to Junk food to parents and kids all over. She has been a guest speaker at various Motherhood and Parenting group events as well as at Parent-Teacher meetings in several schools. She writes a regular monthly column in JFW magazine called Kitchen Corner.