Organic Provedore came into being following a life-changing experience with my son – a child who was born with a dire health forecast, due to his diagnosis of Down syndrome. Pictured here at 12 years old, Gryffin is extraordinarily fit and healthy – despite what we were told to expect, and whilst I could go on and list all the things we did to help him defy the odds, my purpose here is to outline some of the dietary decisions we made to help him – decisions which have allowed him to thrive, beyond our wildest dreams!
Children with Down syndrome are born with a weak immune system, an underdeveloped nervous system and they also arrive malnourished, and whilst initially I had no clue how to help him with the first 2, I figured that malnourishment was an issue I could actually do something about, by providing him with a supercharged diet, so this was a major focus. After an initially pessimistic consultation with our paediatrician when Gryff was just a few weeks old, we returned at 12 months and the Dr marvelled at his ‘rude good health’, describing him as ‘disgustingly robust’… and after the initial warnings that he would ‘fail to thrive’, I figured we were on the right track – so I kept going with what I’d begun!
Honestly, this child has hardly been sick his whole life – apart from the odd cold, he has been really sick only once – a pretty remarkable effort for any child, let alone one who was expected to spend half his childhood unwell. And what I realised through everything I learned about nutrition to help him, was that this same approach is actually ideal for anyone, of any age, as a baseline healthy eating protocol to optimise wellness.
My early research in year one set me on a path of organic food, free from preservatives and additives, made from scratch using seasonal produce and clean, lean protein. However, when Gryff was 2, I travelled overseas and studied a ‘neurodevelopmental’ apporoach to helping children with neurological issues – training which informed not only the approach for the rest of Gryffin’s childhood, but also gave me the tools with which I created the Organic Provedore philosophy – centred around food which enables our bodies to thrive to their greatest potential – as opposed to food which puts pressure on our bodies by requiring too much effort in the digestion and filtration of everything we consume; the idea being that if a small child’s body is working hard to grow, to heal and to build the best brain it can, that same little body needs the best possible fuel with which to build it, and the least number of chemicals – which essentially just create extra workload. (And chemicals in our environment are just as much to blame here too – no more toxic cleaning products in our house!)
By the time Gryffin was 3, I was cooking him a prescriptive diet consisting of a set ratio of vegetables, complex carbohydrates, clean protein and good fats; I kept a rigorous food diary and his meals were planned on a rotation basis – he was not to eat the same vegetable / fruit / meat within a 4 day period, so we could watch for any reactions within those 4 days. But the common thread through all of these meals was:
I’ll admit this was overwhelming to begin with, and I did battle with my advisors on the matter of frozen food – because with 4 other mouths to feed, I just couldn’t make every one of these meals from scratch x 3 daily within the 4 day rotation plan, so my freezer was stocked with tiny jars of pureed organic vegetables, in meal-sized portions, and thrive he most certainly did.
I could write a book about this period in our lives, and the modifications I made to this protocol, and the recipes I created to make this work (and I probably will write that book!), but essentially this got me thinking, on so many levels, and through twists and turns in the years which followed, eventually Organic Provedore was born… and we arrive in the present with this beautiful brand-new commercial kitchen, churning out Gryffin-style meals by the dozen… delivering them to health-conscious souls throughout Victoria… who would have thought!
We use less salt than some food companies because our intention is to offer the best possible nourishment through food – and sometimes too much salt can cause its own issues… we’d rather let you add more if you feel the need!
This plus the fact that we aim to create food which suits the whole family – and kids often don’t like too much salt in their food – we just err on the side of ‘less is more’ when it comes to adding salt.
According to Naturopath Jules Galloway:
“A high salt diet can cause dehydration and increase blood pressure. Too much salt in the diet may also deplete other important minerals in the body, including potassium and calcium. If you’re going to add salt to your food, do so sparingly, and use a form that’s unprocessed and full of minerals, like Celtic sea salt”
At home and at Organic Provedore, we only ever use Celtic sea salt or pink salt in our cooking (Himalayan or Murray River), also because in this unprocessed form, salt can have an alkalising effect on the body.
And besides, unprocessed salts are so much more beautiful than boring, white table salt, don’t you think?!