Book Review: It All Begins with Food by Leah Garrad-Cole

As a new Mother, I found my knowledge for baby food was quite minimal. By the time my first daughter reached four months old, I panicked. I knew she would be starting solids foods and I had no idea where to start. Thanks to Pinterest and Google we successfully fed our Lily. A year later I was walking through Chapters and came across this cookbook. I recognized the Love Child Organics logo and was intrigued. I flipped through the pages and thought, I’ll just buy it. I came home and instantly realized I needed this book a year ago!

Leah Garrade-Cole is the founder of Love Child Organics, with her Husband they created baby food products that are organic, no preservatives, additives or artificial sugar. They do not use any GMO products, and their focus is only nutritious ingredients. Well does that not sound amazing !

It became very clear to me that certain substances do not belong in children’s bodies and that they significantly interfere with learning and behaviour. Leah Garrad-Cole page 6.

Just reading the introduction to the book made me excited because Leah and I values are very much similar. I’ve used Love Child Organics products many times because of their ingredients. Making homemade food is preferable but we don’t always have time. And I’ve found myself countless times spending too much time in the grocery store reading ingredient lists. Looking up alternative names for sugar and figuring out what is best for my child.

Our children’s bodies are young, new and are in their primary developing stage. With all the studies that are out there about the negative effects of sugar, preservatives and additives have on our bodies. Why would I subject my child to eating that crap and harm their future?

Now why every new mom needs this cool book?

Let’s start with Leah’s discussion on what to look out for. You don’t know what GMO’s are? She will tell you. She makes it easy for you to understand, and to start fresh with your new healthy diet for your child. She has great substitutes for dairy and eggs if your child has a sensitivity. This book contains a “Clean Kitchen” section. Foods you should have on your grocery list and foods you shouldn’t. Leah also has some great tips on how to encourage adventurous eaters.

Then the book starts with its recipes. Which starts from 6 months of age, to toddlers, to lunch and family dinner ideas. I like that the book moves along with age. I wasn’t flipping back and forth through the pages finding recipes for my kids.

The “Purees and Mashed” chapter has a fabulous section on babies first foods. How to prepare, their nutrients and what they pair well with. If I had this chapter when first feeding Lily, I would have saved so much time searching information on the internet.

She offers a variety of substitutes and I found many of her recipes didn’t have huge ingredient lists. Other recipes I have found in books and on the internet contain a lot of ingredients. To the point where I just wouldn’t make it. And Leah’s recipes total cooking times are short. A big bonus for a mom who doesn’t have a lot of time to make healthy meals for their kids.

I’m a big fan of the smoothie chapter. Lily isn’t a fruit fan, surprisingly. She will drink smoothies though. So many of these recipes helpme make sure my daughter was getting all the nutrients she needs. Plus I loved the recipes for myself!

My favourite part of this book are her alternative recipes for Teriyaki Sauce, Tortillas, natural food colouring and ketchup! Ketchup was a big one for me because my oldest daughter is a Ketchup Addict and she doesn’t mind the alternative. I will say though if she chose between Leah’s recipe or Heinz she would pick the bottle.

The pictures are helpful but I will admit that some of my meals did not turn out as colourful as the pictures showed. But were delicious. And Lily loves all the recipes I make from that book! Sweet potato muffins are a big hit in our house !

I highly recommend this book to all families just starting their adventure with babies. It will help you get through the beginning stages of solid foods all the way through to toddler years. My Husband even likes some of the snack recipes I make, and I make extra for him to take to work. And many of the toddler meals I make for us for lunch or dinner not just for my daughter. It’s an amazing all around book! It’s a must gift for any new parent.