Baby Super Foods With Christine Della Cioppa

This month Wally and I have started experimenting with solid foods.  I have been trying to keep this process simple by feeding him what I eat so I have been sharing my organic oats and lightly steamed vegetables.  This choice is mainly out of convenience and while I approach parenting in a minimalistic way with health in mind, I wanted to get some insight from a mama that I know has the same set of holistic principles.

I was fortunate to meet Christine Della Cioppa, a super mom and herbal enthusiast a few years ago while she was managing the tonic bar at Erewhon.  I consulted her when I first found out I was pregnant and she put me on a great path from the beginning.  Now six months after Wally's birth, I visited her at her home in Echo Park for some breakfast and a baby super food breakdown.  I specifically asked her about her baby food philosophy, what herbs she recommends for young children and what some of her staples are for her adorable baby boy Bodhi.

C| I believe that babies can and should eat what we eat.  As long as what you are eating is unprocessed, organic, fresh and seasonal, it's that simple.  My son loves to watch me cook and I always take bites of his food and give him bites of mine.  It's so much fun and builds such great trust.  I would never want to give him something that I wouldn't also find delicious so I prepare things for him the way that I would like to eat them.  I only would suggest that you omit adding any extra salt, instead I would suggest using a sprinkle of dulse flakes for savory items. 

I like giving a variety of healthy fats such as coconut oil, ghee and grass fed butter.  Also probiotics are important.  I gave my son small tastes (a few drops) of coconut water kefir when he was just a few weeks old.  As he got older I would give him a spoonful or add some to his bottle. I still do this. 

Although Chinese Tonic Herbs are generally safe as they are considered to be food grade herbs, I don't necessarily recommend giving them to children under one as it just isn't necessary.  Although nursing infants can receive them through their mother's milk and that is a safe way to introduce them.  Now that my son is a bit older I can add things to his bottle such as Reishi or Astragalus to help keep his immune system protected, especially during flu season.

I also give him Acerola Cherry powder which is a high form of vitamin C.  He snacks on goji berries as well and loves them.  He mostly eats loads of whole organic and seasonal produce. Fruit in the morning, avocado and tons of antioxidant rich berries. I think we tend to associate the term "super food" with food that is being from some far away exotic place but really local, organic, small farm produce where the soil is healthy and is nutrient dense are, in my opinion, super foods. Choose a variety of colors and flavors and fresh is best whenever possible! 

The recipe that I prepared is Buckwheat pancakes with Blackstrap Molasses, Reishi and Chaga Mushroom powder.  The molasses is a great source iron for my son and I, who are both vegetarians and the mushroom powders are amazing for the immune system and are chocked full of antioxidants. 

I make the recipe for the pancakes according to the packaging ( I like Bob's Red Mill) and then I add 1/2 teaspoon of molasses and about 1/4 teaspoon of each of the two mushroom powders. I cook them in a skillet using coconut oil.

The topping that I like to use for these is apple sauce with a sprinkle of chlorella powder. I try to sneak super foods like this into at least one meal a day to make sure Bodhi is getting a multitude nutrients for all of the growing that he has to do. Super simple, super delicious. I make some for myself and my husband too! 

I hope you enjoy!

See more from Christine and check out her beautiful artwork on Instagram @cdellacioppa.art