April 2010


My hope with this post is that parents who have made the choice to home-school their children will feel supported, parents who are considering home-schooling will feel inspired, and that people who are unsure about home-schooling as a viable option to education will start to see its potential!

NOTE: I asked my mom, Rineke, to look this over and share her comments with me and I’ve decided to add them here. They are in red. 

As you may know, I was home-schooled as a child, and would love to add my story to the World Wide Web in support of the beautiful thing that home-schooling can be.

I loved home-schooling!

Here is my home-schooling career (as a kid!) in a rather big nutshell:

My Family in 1985

Elementary School Years:

I went to pre-school when I was 4 and had a lot of fun. When I turned 5, I started kindergarten and I walked to school every morning with my friend Jenny. I have very vivid memories of this year, and I think it is because my public school years were so few that they stand out as something special. I enjoyed parts of kindergarten, and other parts were less than the best.

My mom was not happy with sending me to school, and it was after my kindergarten graduation that she decided to keep me and my three younger siblings home to home-school us. And so I enjoyed the life of a happy home-schooled kid, full of sunlit afternoons, imagination filled hours, and rich life experience that finds me today as an adult who is still passionate about learning and growing. Rineke: I was not happy with sending you to school because the experience started to change you.  You were this very curious, fearless little girl who had huge creative energy.  That year in kindergarten I watched you start to be cautious and look at the world with a little place of fear in you that you would do things wrong.  This made me very sad.  You didn’t lose your sparkle but I was afraid for you.

I also asked my mom who her inspiration was in her home-schooling adventure. Rineke: John Holt was my inspiration.  Back in the 1960’s (I think) he wrote two books, “How Children Fail” and “How Children Learn”.  It has been a very long time but I remember that in a nutshell his theory was that children stop learning because of fear which gets instilled in them while in school, ie fear of failure, fear of being teased, fear of doing things the wrong way.  Babies and Toddlers approach the world fearlessly, and by the time they have been in school for a few years they have often lost that.  It made me very sad, especially when I started to observe this in you (when I started kindergarten.)  He eventually started a newsletter called ‘Growing Without Schooling’ which I subscribed to for a while.

Although the term “un-schooling” was not being used at that time, my brothers, sister, and I were for the most part left to play and to follow our interests, much in line with un-schooling practices being done today. Rineke: Following your interests was what guided me.  To me it was not important what you learned, what was important was that you were following your hearts.  Remember your passion to learn all about the body?  (Both my parents thought I would become a doctor. I became a health nut instead!) The beautiful wild flower books we made?  The hours we spent observing ant hills? The sewing projects?  The baking and cooking? The hours at the beach collecting crabs?  What wonderful learning that all was.

We did have quite a bit of structure during our day as well as lots of free-flow play time, but we rarely used a curriculum for our learning. There was a time when we experimented with a set curriculum created for home-schooling for about six months, but none of us, including my mom, liked it so we stopped. It was loads and loads of fill in the blanks, lots of paperwork to mail back and forth, and didn’t provide any learning opportunities that my mom and dad weren’t already creating for us.

The structure we did have included :

Meals. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner together as a family as well as two snack times between meals.

“Quiet Time” every day during the afternoon. This was a time for each of us to do something quietly on our own such as reading, drawing, or building with Lego. I loved quiet time, and still do!

Cleaning up time. We were taught to clean up after ourselves as we went, but kids are kids and so we also had a whirl-wind clean up time right before bed. We also had days when my mom would tell us that the “Madame Inspector” would be arriving to check on our rooms, so it was time to make them nice and tidy! I can remember that it felt very important to have a nice, clean room for the inspector even when I knew it was my mom behind that Madame Inspector hat, glasses, and coat.

Bed time. One of my favorite memories as a kid is being in my pajamas, cuddled up to one of my parents and all my siblings for story time before bed. My mom also sang each one of us our own special song each night, and we each got to tell her a secret before the lights went out. Bed time was never a struggle at our house and I think it was because my mom and dad made it such a special time, when they gave each one of us some special attention as they tucked us in.

I’m sure that there was more, but these are the big ones that I remember.

The rest of the day was for play, adventure, projects, play, lessons, and play!

My Family in 1988

Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic!?

In addition to my parent’s large book collection, we were big library users and would come home with boxes of books at a time. My mom read to us several times a day, and we also loved listening to story tapes and following along with the book. I was reading before I turned five, and am still the biggest reader of my siblings. My sister who is still much more inclined to practice her music or do yoga than read, didn’t start reading until she was nine. My brother went from not reading at all to reading thick, adult novels overnight at the age of eight and would floor people with his amazing vocabulary. My family is testament to the understanding that all children learn to read at a different pace, and enjoy it much more if they are left to do so.

We were encouraged to write often, and had all kinds of beautiful books, paper, pens, and pencils for writing with. I do remember sitting down and practicing the alphabet, cursive writing, and spelling. We sang the alphabet together, had alphabet art hung over our art table, and had a world full of letters and words.

Numbers came to us via math workbooks but also through baking, shopping, telling time, playing number games, and daily life. It is amazing how many things we do daily that require math and numbers, almost everything in fact! My Oma (Dutch grandmother) was trained as a scientist and felt that math was very important. She created a game with multiplication that had all of my cousins and I scrambling to learn the multiplication table by heart so that we could be tested by her to earn a mystery “prize.” My younger brother was the first to win the prize, and if memory serves, the true prize was knowing how to multiply 8×5 in an instant. I can’t tell you how often I find myself using this skill in my adult life, thank you Oma!

Other activities included drawing and geometry classes from my dad, soccer, swimming, skating, horse back, and music lessons, sewing, dying fabric and wool, spinning and weaving, nature walks, wildflower pressing, book making, carving, chopping wood, board games, cloud watching, fort building, tree house building, fishing, sailing, road trips, science experiements,

When I was 11, and in grade 6, my family moved to a village with a population of 70 people on a very remote Indian Reserve in Northern B.C. My mom went back to work for the first time since my birth, teaching in the one room school house. Our family of four made up one third of the school’s 12 children! This was my first experience with public school since kindergarten (Apart from 3 months of trying out public school in grade four. I loved it but we moved to a big city and I didn’t want to go to a big city school.)

When I was 12/13, and in grade 7, my family moved to a small island with a population of 300 people. My siblings and I attended the public school, about 50 kids in size. It was an adjustment, but moving and starting a new school would be for any child.

High School Years:

When I was 13, my family moved to a bigger island and I started high school in the public school of approximately 700 teenagers. I completed two years there, grade 8 and 9, and did well with the work and got good grades.

When I was 15, my parents took all four of us out of school, and we took a year to travel. We chose Guatemala as a destination, so instead of grade 10 in public school I was exposed to a dramatically different culture and way of life. We went to language school and became almost fluent in Spanish, volunteered at an orphanage, lived on a Finca and grew coffee, beans and corn and learned how to pat out tortillas to be baked on a clay platter over an open fire.

When I was 16, I went to grade 11 for two weeks at the same school where I had attended grade 8 and 9. It was great to see old friends again, but I was not happy sitting through hours of class. By that time I was old enough to notice that it was not many hours of learning, but mostly hours of wrangling between teachers and students, and between students and students, while the rest of us waited to learn something. So, with the support of our parents, my sister and I dropped-out of high school and went to live with our dad (my parents separated when I was 15) and spent the year building ourselves a little cabin on his land.

When I was 17/18, the year I would have graduated, my dad, sister, and I set sail in September and spent the next nine months exploring coastal USA, Mexico, the open Pacific Ocean, and French Polynesia. Words can not express how much I loved this trip! One day I hope to set sail again, with my husband and our children….

University:


My Family in 2002. All of us with high school diplomas or equivalency!

The following year, when I was 18, I moved in with my Grandmother and attended a self-paced adult education program. It took me six months to get all the credits I needed to start college, which I did the following year.

After several years of working and experimenting with different possibilities, I settled on a Bachelor of Fine Art from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada. I got straight A’s the whole way through, had a blast, and would love to go back to university some day just for the fun of learning with a community so passionate about education and growth.

Yes, it is possible for a home-schooled, high-school drop-out to go to university and graduate with straight A’s!

Phew, you made it through my nutshell!

What Will These Kids do For Work!?

One concern that seems to come up a lot around homeschooling, especially when it is done  with out a standard curriculum  as my family did, is “What will these kids do for a living when they grow up? Who will want to hire them!?”

Well, I don’t know what any kid is going to do for a living when they grow up, but looking at the recent un-employment rates for university graduates, I would be more worried about them than kids who are home-schooling!

I do know that every kid I grew up with who was home-schooled is currently employed, as far as I know. Here are a few examples

One of them is a cellist for the Del Sol String Quartet in San Francisco (She did a Masters degree in music at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, on scholarships.)

One of them is the owner of a successful raw food cafe in Victoria, B.C. (yes, that would be my sister.)

One of them holds a Phd in math and teaches at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec.

One of them adores St. Bernards and runs her own successful dog breeding company, breeding St. Bernards.

One of them is head management in a Canada/USA wide house painting franchise, currently responsible for running the entire Boston area.

Home-schooled kids do the same things that publicly schooled kids do for a living: all kinds of things!

What about Un-Schooling?

I have been meaning to write about my homeschooling experience for quite some time, and was inspired to do this post now in part by a recent piece done by Good Morning America on Un-Schooling. You can watch the show here, and the follow up here. Rineke: Interesting family.  I am glad they did the follow up interview with the parents because the mom’s final comments helped me understand that her approach was not just a free for all, which is what it looked like in first segment.  I actually believe that children like boundaries and guidance and working as a family towards solutions to problems. (I agree about healthy boundaries and guidance!)

Unfortunately (but not surprisingly), the folks at GMA didn’t present this choice that many wise and loving parents have made for their families in a very positive light.

To tell the truth, I am not all that familiar with the philosophies and practices of un-schooling, but as far as I can tell it is just another term for one of the many ways that parents choose to home-school their children. There are so many different ways to home-school, from the family that closely follows a set curriculum in a special room created to be the classroom, to families like mine where there are lessons and workbooks fitted organically into the day, to the radical new un-schoolers!

Some Closing Thoughts on Homeschooling:

As a kid, I knew that my siblings and I were doing something different than most other kids. But it was no different to me then than the choice to take horseback riding lessons over soccer.

In other words, it wasn’t a big deal, it was just what my family and I liked to do. I was friends with both home-schooled and public-schooled kids, and we all had lots of fun together just being kids. The way I remember it, the fact that my family didn’t watch TV made me stand out amongst other kids more than the fact that I was home-schooled. My guess is that a kid attending public school in New York City and a kid attending public school on Salt Spring Island would have far and away a more different experience than a home schooled kid and a publicly schooled kid both living in the same town.

The home-schooling “gap” disappears even more in adulthood. Chances are that you have met a home-schooled adult and didn’t even know it! I certainly don’t go around introducing myself as a kid who was home-schooled!

My Family in 2003 (the most recent digital photo I have of all of us together!)

The point of all this story telling of mine is that we have to look deeper, much deeper than the titles that we give ourselves and each other such as “home-schooled.”

I think the key to a happy, healthy child growing into a happy, healthy adult (because that is what this is really all about) is to be parented by a happy, healthy parent! The distinctions between un-schooled, home-schooled, public-schooled, private-schooled, or other, become less important when we realize the magic of good parenting with its many different faces.

Just as there are kids who succeed with home-schooling, there are kids who succeed with public schooling. Just as I know plenty of glowing examples of home-school success, I know plenty of glowing examples of public school success!

When it comes right down to it, the choice to home-school is a choice that is not much different than the choice to send your kids to a private Catholic school, public school, Waldorf school, or the local alternative public school (more and more communities are coming together to create publicly funded alternatives to public school, as seen in Phoenix Elementary here on the island.)

As with any decision, you decide what works best for your children, for you, and for your family, and you do that!

Now that I’ve written such a long post concluding that it is parenting, not homeschooling, that makes the difference, I will have to write another post about just why home-schooling can be so AMAZING, special, magical, and an absolute gift to both parents and children. But perhaps that one can wait until I have some home-schooling experience from the mothering side of things under my belt:)

Ohhh Sweet Honey! (honey at Cafe Bliss)

Something that my intuition and my body has always told me is now being confirmed by some of the very people who worked so hard to bring agave to the mainstream: agave is the worst “bandito” of all sweeteners!

I bought one bottle of agave about 4 years ago after seeing pictures on David Wolfe’s site of a beautiful young woman pouring it down her throat, straight out of the bottle! I thought, wow, a sweetener that is so good for you that you can drink it like water!?

I tried it, I didn’t like it at all. It tasted like corn syrup to me, and made me feel awful. So I went back to what I have always used and loved, honey. Over the years since then, I have had many opportunities to enjoy raw treats made with agave. While I do enjoy them in my mouth, everything after that point is a mess. Or should I say, I am a mess! Katrina + agave = basket-case. I feel edgy, anxious, hungry, grumpy, and all those unpleasant things that go along with blood sugar imbalance. So I do my best to avoid the stuff.

If you are still using agave in your household, please read the following articles and then go and pour it down the drain!

The Agave Blues by David Wolfe

This “Tequila” Sweetener is Far Worse than High Fructose Corn Syrup by Dr. Mercola

Agave Nectar, the High Fructose Health Food Fraud on Natural News

So, that brings me back to honey! I felt inspired to write a little ode to honey….. Honey is magical. Bees are magical. Flowers are magical. Eating honey makes me feel magical.

In Organic Farming and Beekeeping, it becomes a partnership between bee and honey farmer. The symbiosis is beautiful, and as a honey eater I feel tapped into a beautiful, life affirming circle. And, honey is LOCAL! We get our honey from Babe’s Honey Farm, and it is beautiful, and it gives me a pleasant, gentle buzz.

And did you know that bees will produce up to 3 times the amount that they need to survive? In ethical beekeeping practices, both the bees and the honey eaters benefit.

I love visiting honey farms and listening to the hum of the bees. See if you can find a honey farm near you and start to visit whenever you need a little sweetness.

Honey is expensive (at least compared to conventional sugar) but in my mind this is a good thing. It just means we use less of it and are more careful of our consumption. When it comes to sweetener, a little mindfulness is a very good idea! It also means we are paying the honey farmer a living wage rather than paying pennies for sugar grown by people living in abject poverty in countries miles and miles away.

Of course there are other alternatives to sweeten you treats, and honey may not be the one for you. If you are working with blood-sugar issues such as diabetes or candida, you will want to be even more aware of your sweetener choices. The above articles do a good job at listing out other sweeties to choose from.

In closing, if you needed another reason to start buying organic, this might be it. Saving the Honey Bee Through Organic Farming.

I’d love to hear your experiences with agave, and what your household’s sweetener of choice is!

Oh what a birthday I had!

On the day I turned 32, all sorts of beautiful things conspired to find me being handed a set of keys to our very own beautiful vintage AIRSTREAM!!

Do you ever get so excited about something you feel sick? Well, for me this is one of those things.

More to come on our Airstream Dreams soon…..

On my birthday, we drove up north a few hours and a ferry ride away to pick our vintage beauty up. 23 feet of adventure, a home on the road, the wind at our backs, the sun in our eyes, a dream come true. She is a 1971, 23 foot Airstream Safari. I wanted to sleep in it right away, so on the way home we stopped at Rathtrevor Provincial Park and slept amongst the towering pines and cedars. I loved being able to pull in and open the door to our cozy little home. Sophia was enchanted to wake up amongst the forest.

When we arrived back home, one of my dear friends was napping in our house. She had brought along a birthday gift: Wound Powder (and in a re-used tin that says “heaven”.) The perfect gift for a future family of road gypsies….wound powder! Who knows what cuts and scrapes await us out there on the wild strip of highway where we will sail?

Actually, this will probably come in handy more often while we are roughing it on Lasqueti Island for the summer. Life on the road is soft compared to life on the rock!

Wound Powder: Usena, Yarrow, and Turmeric. Dust into fresh cuts and scrapes for speedy recovery.

And eating local is slowly getting more exciting as spring un-folds. Fresh from a local island farm, these are the best asparagus I have ever tasted. Lightly steamed, with a drizzle of lemon juice and a pat of butter.

Basking her little bum in the sun while playing with the shoes. I love how the light makes her look like a little glow worm. We haven’t had a whole lot of sunny days yet this spring….lots of April showers….bringing May flowers we hope!

Sophia making yet another cameo appearance in one of my many smoothie photos….

And to finish:

Happy Earth Day!

Sophia celebrating with some flower pot bandit experimentation, getting down and dirty with some soil.

I love you Mother Earth. May my love and respect for you continue to inform and inspire my life and actions. May I be so blessed as to dance and sleep in your arms for many sweet days and nights to come……

That doesn’t look like a very local breakfast for you Canadians!

Going Local: Step Two;

Be realistic.

My mom asked me the other morning via Skype “So how is your local eating project going?”

“Well,” I replied “I started my day with strawberries from California, and pineapple from Hawaii.”

When Alisa Smith and J.B. MacKinnon, authors of the 100 Mile Diet, decided that early spring day to “eat local” for a year, they dove head first into a diet of potatoes, potatoes, and potatoes. At least until the gardens started to bloom and burst with succulence.

Summer. Now that sounds like a good time to go local! But for now, can I really live without cucumber? So far the foods that we have sourced locally are potatoes, kale, leeks, apples, frozen blueberries, goats cheese, sporadic salad greens, singing nettles, and eggs. That just doesn’t do it for us right now. It could if it had to, but it is hard to buckle into your local seat when the grocery stores are overflowing with imported treats like juicy celery, and don’t even get me started on the chocolate.

This morning I had green juice made with cucumbers from Mexico, celery, lettuce, parsley and bok choy from California, kale from Saltspring Island, and pineapple from Hawaii. It was GOOD! So good that I am not ready to give it up.

So, following are some loose guidelines for this family’s perhaps glacially slow (well, at least compared to Alisa and J.B.) move towards local.

#1. Continue with Banana-Free. Perhaps a token move, but an important one.

#2. When there is a local option, choose local. Often we see local kale or potatoes sitting next to kale and potatoes brought in from California. This step is easy once you remember to read the labels.

#3. Create more local options for ourselves by expanding our awareness of local farm stands, farm gates, and making friends with more farmers. This is something we already do in the summer, but surely someone has parsley growing in their garden right now that we could be eating instead of those California imports!?

#4. Learn more about wild food harvesting. Right now our repertoire isn’t too shabby and includes nettles, miner’s lettuce, salal berries, black berries, salmon berries, thimble berries, dandelion greens, sorrel, licorice root, and pine needles. Still, there are many more things to learn about, including the magical world of medicinal mushrooms, and I feel that these foods are some of the most important and vital for a local diet.

Thought Experiment: Most of these wild foods, while potent in nutrient-density and medicinal properties, do not carry very many calories, and so we have been considering : how would it feel to learn how to hunt, to fish, to collect oysters, muscles, and clams if we had to in order to survive? Interesting things to consider, and while you won’t find me donning a bow and arrow anytime soon, I do think it might be an important skill to have. (Truth be told, I do know how to fish and collect and prepare shellfish. Hunting though….can I stick to more traditional roles of Woman and tend to the hearth fire instead?)

#5. Work consistently yet flowing-ly towards a farm of our own. This has been a dream of both David and I for as long as we can remember: to work the land and live The Good Life like our self chosen Soul~Grandparents, Helen and Scott Nearing.

So for now I am sticking with my not so local green juice, with a strong intention to one day soon be writing about this juice instead:

Katrina Dreams in Local Color Juice:

Cucumber, celery, parsley, kale, apple, and blackberries, all picked fresh and warm from the sun, straight from the garden a few steps from my back door!

Sweet dreams sweet hearts! xo

Easter Sunday: local daffodils, Green Smoothie (local apple, local blueberries, local kale, non-local oranges, non-local parsley), exotic oranges, local water, and good, very local company. Locally made out of imported ingredients chocolate bunny.

The Rainosheks Go Local: Step One

Goodbye Bananas.

We have now been a banana-free home for over a week! Bananas felt like an obvious first non-local food to go from our diet for both ethical and dietary reasons. If you are unfamiliar with the sad results of banana plantations, take a Google around. And the dietary part, well, I can say my blood sugar has felt a lot more stable since the counter has been emptied of imported yellow.

When I first contemplated living with out bananas it made me feel worried, and I wanted to go and eat a banana!

We were eating a LOT of bananas, and I mean a lot! (Well, not Doug Graham a lot, but trying to be aware of local food a lot) I would feel anxious if there were only four bananas left, and by the time we were down to only two, it was time to go shopping! I couldn’t imagine living without their sweet creaminess, their subtle hit of dopamine.

But I’ve really been trying to step into my pioneer woman shoes here, moving towards the soil around me as a place to sustain me and my family. I have to admit that bananas should be more like a once a year treat for a Canadian household, not a multiple times a day addiction. Remember that first Christmas orange that Laura Ingalls Wilder had? Her wonder and delight at such an exotic food stays with me years after reading her account of that orange, brought by rail to a frontier town. It is with a similar reverence and awe that I want to start treating the delectable treats from far south, rather than taking them for granted.

“What would your food be if the trucks stopped tomorrow” seems to be one of the most important questions we can be asking ourselves right now. Well, I know for sure mine wouldn’t be bananas.

I also now realize that bananas (grown on distant soil by often exploited people far far away, shipped with oil across many miles and borders, grown using industrialized agriculture methods even when organic, causing illness, infertility, and even death to plantation workers when they are not organic, and don’t the people who live where bananas grow need that land?) are far karmically worse than beef (grown on my island, by a neighboring farmer, shipped with oil less than 100 miles, from pasture feed cows who lived a happy, peaceful life, raised sustainably on land that benefits from the mineral rich, natural manure.) More to come on my thoughts about bananas and beef soon…..

For now though, I can say I feel much better without the bananas and their sugar and oily trail, because even organic, free trade bananas arrive on a trail of oil. And those oranges on our table, that chocolate bunny, well, it was Easter Sunday, and we are moving into this one step by step. Step one: stop buying bananas. Step two: …get emotionally prepared to eat less oranges…. (tee hee)

NOTE: We just got home from grocery shopping. It is absolutely baffling how little you can add to your local cart from a mainstream grocery store. We were able to get some greens (that cost a small fortune), some potatoes, and some apples. The rest of our cart, well, not so local.

David and I were remembering how much the grocery store shrank when we were eating all raw foods. All of the isles were out, the meat, dairy, bakery, deli, all out, leaving the produce section to provide the bulk of our calories along with a few nuts and seeds from the bulk bins.

Well, stocking the raw food kitchen from a grocery store was a piece of cake compared to stocking the local kitchen. There is almost nothing in the grocery store that comes from home! The grocery store didn’t just shrink, it almost became obsolete! We are realizing that the grocery store is not going to be the place where we will get most of our food if we are serious about this…I think step two should actually be finding a farm and start a garden!

Thanks for reading!

Love and local wishes, Katrina

Green Smoothie Baby!

Sophia is nine months old! Nine months in, nine months out (of the belly!) Here are some of the things my little 19lb gem has been eating:

~Lots of sweet Mama Milk, whenever she wants it. Right now she likes to nurse about every 2-3 hours, all day and all night, but will sometimes go for 4 hours between.

~Green Juice. Simple ones are best, she loves cucumber and celery with one of the following leafy greens: lettuce, parsley, kale or spinach. I let her drink her juice out of a small glass that she helps me hold, preferably when she is naked because green juice stains and she dribbles and refuses to keep her bib on.

~Green Smoothies: Sophia gets to share my green smoothie every morning and it is one of her favorite foods! We have a beautiful glass straw that she loves to use (see above photo) to drink her smoothie out of, and scrunches up her face in happiness between each sip going “mmmmmmmMMMmmmm” In her smoothie she has been getting: blueberries, strawberries, parsley, kale, lettuce, nettles, apple, orange, and pear.

~Baby Puddings: I usually use 1-3 different ingredients for these. Sophia gets to practice using a spoon with these and I can really tell when she likes something or not because she will open her little mouth like a bird, or clamp it shut and push the spoon away. Here are some examples:

  • avocado and pear
  • avocado and cucumber
  • apple, cucumber, and blueberry
  • apple and blueberry
  • pear and strawberry

~Baby Chewies: These are excellent for “toothie” moments, and because babies love to chew and suck on just about everything. Well, at least this baby does! I always make sure to keep a close eye on her when she is having these finger foods because she can get off some nice big pieces with her two bottom teeth. Although she seems quite good at gumming the little bits as chewing practice with out actually trying to swallow them (they usually end up on her face and all over her belly!) I like to scoop the bigger pieces out. NOTE: Every baby is different with this one, I have a friend with a daughter who will try to swallow all the little bits and they make her cough and choke. If your baby does this, best leave these out!

  • cucumber slices (thicker is better)
  • apple slices (pealed)
  • dried mango slices
  • whole carrot
  • frozen strawberry

Sophia was almost exclusively breastfeed until she was six months old. When she was around five months old, her first taste of anything besides breast milk, known as ‘nana’ in our house, was strawberry. One evening when her teeth seemed to be bothering her more than usual, I got a frozen strawberry from the freezer and held if for her to suck and chew on.  She loved it!

We talked about starting to give her solid food more regularly around the time of that first strawberry and it made me cry! I’m not sure why exactly, but I think it was just because it is such a clear indication of how fast she is growing up. Solid food, already!?

We did wait until she was six months, when her digestion was stronger, to start introducing regular solids. Until then, Sophia dabbled in green smoothies, sitting in our laps and sucking on our fingers dipped in green smoothies. All told she was probably getting about 1/4 of a teaspoon at a time, and often she didn’t seem interested at all so we would skip it.

She is still quite a dabbler in solids, some days she has only nana, other days she has a little something at breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

At the moment, she is not enjoying anything with avocado, but it has also been an obvious favorite at times. If I make her something and she doesn’t go for it, I am always happy to eat it myself, a few spoonfuls of goodness!

I have also started giving her egg yolk in the past few days and she love this too! Steamed sweet potato and brown rice congee are also things she has tried once or twice and liked both. There is a claim that raw foodists love to make that the first time babies have any cooked food they get runny noses, but I have not found this to be true for Sophia. She is happy and healthy as ever!

There you have it, the menu of a nine month old! Everything organic, made at home with love, for one happy little baby.

POSTSCRIPT: Some of you who may know me from my role in promoting Juice Feasting may be wondering about the egg and the cooked food in my daughter’s diet. I’d like to write more about this soon, and about how my orientation to food has evolved and changed over the past 18 months.

In a nut shell, LOCAL is my new food passion. I want to start eating from the soil that I live on and keep my farmers in the same country, if not the same province. I am going to give myself time to make this shift, but slowly, surely, I plan on becoming more “Locovore” than anything else.

I have just finished reading “The 100 Mile Diet” by Alisa Smith and J.B. MacKinnon, “The Vegetarian Myth” by Lierre Kieth, and am dipping into “Nourishing Traditions” by Sally Fallon.

Phew. Talk about a re-orientation for this tropical fruit loving girl! I can’t avoid it though, if I am living here, I should be eating from here. And I have a feeling that eating from my home soil will feel just as deep and meaningful as eating raw did, if not more so.

That is all I’ll say about that for now, but please know that I still fully endorse the practice of Juice Feasting and raw foods as amazing healing and cleansing technologies! My health and well-being continue to benefit from all of the beautiful, vibrant raw foods that I now know to access, and I will never leave that behind.

I actually feel like I am standing on the shoulders of my raw food self, looking out over the horizon of the next adventure in dietary evolution, the Local Adventure!

If you have read any of the three books mentioned above, I would love to hear your thoughts! You can leave a comment or email me at katrinarainoshek@gmail.com.

With love and banana-free green smoothies,

Katrina