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American Women's Club of Hamburg

Whole Foods for the Whole Family

Jennifer M discribes ways to introduce more whole foods into your family's diet, and decrease the junk foods.

In the last 50-60 years, our society has witnessed the breakdown of the family. With the challenges of careers, extra curricular activities and other distractions, the needs of the family as a whole have taken the backseat to the needs of the individual. The fact that familes rarely share a common meal is a major consequence of these challenges and a cause of the further familial breakdown.

Families, on the other hand, who share a common meal, prepared from fresh, organic, whole foods, teach their children many social skills, such as the art of conversation and table manners, as well as set a good nutritional example and help form a trusted and predictable routine in the lives of their children.

Is it just coincidence that the breakdown of the family correlates to the introduction of unnatural foods into our diets? Foods that have been canned, chemically preserved, frozen, irradiated and microwaved are fairly recent in the history of humanity. And what about refined foods, such as sugar and white flour, as well as artificial sweetners, preservatives, colorings, emulsifiers and other unnatural ingredients? We are hearing more and more nutritionists and doctors warn about the increasing un-healthiness of our diets and the ill effects poor nutrition has on our health and appearance. Up until about 100 years ago, our families relied on foods grown in nature to fulfill their nutritional needs. If you didn't grow it or hunt it, there was nothing to eat. The dawn of industrialization and the agribusiness not only changed the face of manufacturing and agriculture, but also the face and nature of nutrition and our diets.

Why not try to return to a more natural diet? There is no better time to start than when you have children. By setting a good nutritional example for them, you help them establish good eating habits which will bless them with good nutritional health all their lives. But where to get started?

Just what is a whole food anyway? Cynthia Lair, author of Feeding the Whole Family, asks herself the following questions when faced with a nutritional food choice:


  • Can I imagine it growing? It is easy to picture an apple tree or potato mound, but what about a field of marshmallows?

  • How many ingredients does it have? If it has more than itself, then it is not a whole food.

  • What has been done to the food since it was harvested? The less, the better. If you cannot pronounce it, do not eat it.

  • Is the product "part" of a food or the "whole" entity? Juice is only part of an orange; olive oil only part of an olive.

Check out Cynthia Lair's excellent cook book for wonderful tips and tricks for cooking delicious whole foods and reintroduce the shared common meal at your house, if it has become extinct at all.

Order Feeding the Whole Family by Cynthia Lair directly from Amazon.de by clicking on the book picture below, and you will be taken directly to the book's page at the Amazon.de site. The page will open in a new browser window. If you put the book into the "shopping basket" and order it right then, AWC will receive a 15% rebate on the price of the book (thank you!).

In Association with Amazon.deFeeding the Whole Family : Whole Foods Recipes for Babies, Young Children & Their Parents by Cynthia Lair, Annemarie Colbi; Moon Smile Press; January 1997, 2nd Edition; ISBN: 0966034619

Recipes from the book:

Nut Burgers (You'll never want beef again!)

  • 3/4 cup sunflower seeds

  • 3/4 cut walnuts

  • 1 tsp. cumin (Kreuzkümmel)

  • 1 tsp. oregano

  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne

  • salt and pepper to taste

  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

  • 1 cup cooked brown rice (see instructions following for cooking brown rice)

  • 1 small carrot, finely grated

  • 2 tbls. tomato sauce, as needed

  • 1-2 tsp. cold-pressed oil (such as olive oil)

  • whole-grain buns or eat them straight from the pan

Grind nuts and seeds to a fine meal. Pour into a bowl and add cumin, orgeano, cayenne, salt, pepper and garlic; mix well. Fold in cooked brown rice. Add tomato sauce a little at a time until you get a stiff, but workable texture. Form mixture into patties with moist hands. Refrigerate patties for a few hours if possible. Lightly coat a skillet with oil and brown patties on both sides.

Brown Rice (very different from cooking white rice)

Rice with the hull, bran and germ removed is white rice. Rice with just the hull removed is brown rice. Try basmati brown rice for a wonderful flavor.

To Boil:

  • 1 cup brown rice

  • pinch of sea salt

  • 2 cups water

Rinse and drain rice. Place rice in a pot with salt and water. Bring to a boil. Turn heat to low. Cover the pan and let the rice simmer for 45-50 minutes or until all the water is absorbed. Don't stir the rice while it is cooking.

Rosemary Red Soup

  • 3 medium carrots

  • 2 beets

  • 1 tbls. olive oil

  • 1 large onion, chopped

  • 2 tbls. fresh rosemary or 2 tsp. dried rosemary

  • 1 tbls. fresh orgeano or 1 tsp. dried oregano

  • 1 cup dried red lentils

  • 2 bay leaves (Lorbeerblätter)

  • 6 cups water or stock

  • 2-3 tbls. light miso

Scrub and chop the carrots and beets. Heat oil in soup pot; add onion and sauté until soft. Add carrots and beets; sauté a few minutes more. Finely chop rosemary and oregano leaves, if using fresh herbs. Wash and drain lentils. Add herbs, lentils, bay leaves, and water or stock to onion mix; bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 40 minutes. Remove bay leaves. Puree soup in blender or processor. Dissolve miso in 1/2 cup water and add to soup. Gently reheat before serving.

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