The Wellberries blog looks sweet like a candy store, complete with a myriad of pretty pictures of mermaid smoothies and nice creams. In addition to the visually appeasing presentation, the nutritious recipes are packed with benefits, and suitable for adults and little ones alike. We asked Tuulia Järvinen, holistic health coach behind Wellberries, about the secrets of her family's well-being and radiance.
Words: Meri Frig
The Wellberries blog focuses on tasty and nutritious, mostly plant-based, gluten and dairy free recipes. In addition to being good for the body, the meals you present on the blog are also colourful and beautiful. Are the recipes in the blog good for adults and little ones alike?
Yes, they are! Before I got pregnant, I actually used more superfoods than I do now, some of which are not the best for little ones, or at least should be used with care. Nowadays, however, almost all of the ingredients and recipes are family-approved and suitable for many. In addition to being free from many allergens, my nutritious recipes are always prepared without refined sugar. So in that way they’re are a great choice for families.
What are some of your favourite recipes for small children? What are your little girl’s favourites?
The best thing my girl knows are dried mulberries. They’re her candies: anything with them on top would be her choice. My favourites for her are porridges made from nutritious, gluten-free grains, seeds or nuts and wild berries. Now, in summertime, it’s the season for dairy-free nice creams, so we always have frozen bananas, mango and berries in hand. It’s a great way to replace traditional ice cream. One of my whole family’s favourite recipe is chickpea lucuma blondies that are sweetened with dates. You feel like you’re eating a delicious cake, but at the same time you’re having legumes and sweet potato, too. It’s almost like a proper meal, I’ve been told, haha.
You have written about the importance of lactic acid bacteria for children, as well as about BPA-free products. What are some of the essential items that help you take good care of your girl’s wellness?
In addition to nutritious, organic food, we use a quality probiotic designed for small children that has many strains and is strong enough. This goes hand in hand with eating fermented products, enough fibre and prebiotics. Avoiding refined or added sugar would be the next thing to mention: we are trying our best to maintain a stable blood sugar for the whole family. Keeping toxic, possibly endocrine disrupting products out of her reach is very important as well. This means glass or wood in the kitchen instead of plastic, and using only eco-certifed hygiene products, to name a few tips.
In addition to quality food and eating together, which is important, we also believe in going out for walks in the forest. We try to take our girl to nature as often as we can, many times a week, that is. Along with good microbes that she gets from the nature, forest has some great benefits for the mind. According to research, even 20 minutes spent in forest lowers your blood pressure, helps to relieve stress and makes you happier - whether you believe in the magic of the forest or not. Even though we live close to the city, we have the central forest close to us, and we love it. We try to keep the nature close, both inside and outside. We have lots of plants at home, too. Especially in the bedroom, as these plants are not only pretty but very good for the inside air.
"Even 20 minutes spent in forest lowers your blood pressure, helps to relieve stress and makes you happier - whether you believe in the magic of the forest or not."
Wellberries: Tuulia Järvinen #Savant
You have dedicated an entire book to porridge love. What is your favourite porridge recipe?
Yes, I wrote the porridge book with my dear colleague Tiina Strandberg. It’s always hard to answer the question about favourite porridge, since it depends on the time of the day. In the evenings, I love to eat my oats with pumpkin seeds and bananas to get lots of tryptophan that helps me to relax and calms me down. In the morning, I want something zesty and refreshing, yet filling, like grain-free whipped chia porridge with lingonberries and coconut cream. During the day, I love to prepare a savoury porridge for lunch, with beets, legumes and nutritional yeast. As a porridge fan, I have different favourite porridges, depending on the time of the day. That is one thing I love about porridges: they’re so versatile.
"We just go outside with the whole family and wander around, play with stones and pine cones, pick some flowers, or do whatever playful comes in our mind. We simply enjoy the nature and being outdoors together."
You have also co-authored a book about breastfeeding diets. What nutrition advice would you give to breastfeeding mothers?
My advice would be that, even though breastfeeding can be challenging in many ways, even without infant allergies or food sensitivities, it’s totally worth all the struggles. In the end, it’s not really about the mother, it’s about giving the best start for your baby. It only happens through you. I think that the decision not to breastfeed should not be made lightly. There’s a lot of research about its positive long-term effects on the health. For example, it helps your baby fight viruses and bacteria, and the milk is adjusted to the needs of the baby. It really makes a difference, if your baby is ill, for example. On top of this, it’s ecological, cheap and it has lots of heath benefits for the breastfeeding mother too: a real win-win.
But, of course, sometimes it’s not possible to breastfeed. In that case, it’s important not to stress about it, and give probiotics to the baby. Being a good mother is much more than just breastfeeding. The allergies or food sensitivities should not be on your way when you want to offer the best nutrition to your baby. That is why the book Best for Babies (available also on Amazon) was created. To support mothers, who are willing to change their own diet, in order to offer the best nutrition for their little one. The book makes the diet change easy and guides families through possible difficulties. The book was co-authored with my friend Piia Heinonen and paediatrician Tiina Tuomela, who also contributed her expertise to our book.
What are your favourite things to do together with your little one?
We love to cook or bake together: as soon as she learned how to stand, she has had her own chair in the kitchen. I used to give her her own bowl and some dry ingredients that she can mix together herself next to me. Sometimes she’s more into washing dishes, but either way, we love to share some kitchen moments together. When we're not cooking, we love to go and explore in the forest and nature. It doesn’t have to be anything special: we just go outside with the whole family and wander around, play with stones and pine cones, pick some flowers, or do whatever playful comes in our mind. We simply enjoy the nature and being outdoors together. The fact is does so much good to us is a great bonus.
How did you became interested in healthy and nutritious food, in the first place?
I chose to make diet changes to conquer my own health issues many years ago. I was stunned by the positive impact that nutritious, gut-friendly food and supplements had on my wellbeing. It was also the first time in my life when I actually started to cook myself. At the same time, I ditched refined sugar, gluten and most dairy products. Soon after, I noticed that I was actually quite creative in the kitchen. I really loved cooking healthy food and creating nutritious choices of my old favourite foods. I wanted to show how easy it is to eat healthy and have a balanced diet with no blood sugar rollercoaster. That is how my blog Wellberries was born, already four years ago. Later, Wellberries became my business, too. I left my job in food retail and started doing what I love: helping people to eat in a better way every day.