Tag Archives: feeding babies healthy

Why reading food labels is the first step to keeping kids healthy..

If you are not compulsively reading your food labels you should consider making it a priority.. Labels are an important way for producers like us to tell you about the characteristics of our products. Don’t let yourself be fooled by large words printed on labels that lead you to believe it’s a healthy choice. Sugar if any should NEVER be the 1st or 2nd ingredient on any food/drink you are feeding your kids.. If you look at your labels closely you will be able to catch little marketing tricks, take for example Organic Wild Blueberry jelly, here is what is disclosed on the label, which is the true attribute organic sugar, organic apple, organic blueberry, citric acid, fruit pectin etc. If you did not read the label you have just paid premium blueberry price for sugar apple jelly..

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Take time to learn what you are feeding your kids by reading your food labels (even those in fine print).  When it comes to helping our little ones grow healthy and happy, it’s worth taking the time to do it right.  After all… we only get one chance to get it right.

Baby Food Basics: Why Fresh is Best for baby.

It’s sad that we live in a period in which the food industry has figured out millions of ways to put x amount of artificial ingredients into something that is supposed to be “healthy” to make it look more appetizing and last longer. Two prime examples are sugar-filled breakfast box cereals and 2-year-old cooked baby food. The chemicals and methods used to generate these synthetic foods are not good for our kids or for us, and studies have shown that they can even be detrimental to our health at times.

We all know by now that feeding our kids a ton of overly processed food may lead to obesity and a bunch of other health concerns. When we talk about processed foods, it’s not just about all the wonderful nutrients that are lost during processing (like vitamins, the minerals, and fiber); we also have to be concerned about all the added “junk” gained during the production process – like salt, sugar, chemical additives, fillers and more. All these unnecessary supplements pose a major threat to our growing babies.

We believe fresh wholesome toxin free foods are the essence of good health..

We believe that fresh wholesome nutritional dense foods free of toxins are the essence of good health. Feeding your baby the right foods is a sure way to avoid chronic diet related illnesses in the future. There are families whom like us see the benefits of wholesome fresh food especially with the kids, given that they grow up without having to go through some common childhood ailments like ear infections, recurring colds, be susceptible to every little germ that goes by or suffer from severe allergies.
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We believe that optimal health comes from real food that is made fresh because we are living it everyday.  The food choices you make for your baby today plays a huge role for the rest of their lives.. If you can cook their food or buy freshly made. We believe in food free of all preservatives and very minimally processed. We believe in health..

Love
Proud mom to Asong, Malcolm and Jared-Zane (JZ)

Homemade Organic butternut squash pancakes- Baby and adult friendly recipe

Amazing Fall butternut squash pancakes made with our Creamy Yummy butternut squash.

1 heap cup of flour (we used Ezekiel flour made with sprouted grains)
2 happy eggs (organic pastured eggs)
¼ cup almond milk (add more or less base on your consistency)
1 cup Yummy Spoonfuls creamy yummy butternut squash (you can also use sweet potato)
1/8 aluminum free baking powder

A dash of freshly ground Nutmeg or vanilla

Grape seed oil to fry

Toping: Mixed homemade fruit slow cook in raw butter and grade B maple syrup

Medley of fresh organic summer vegetables in the finest cold pressed olive oil-

When you delicately  sautéed then steamed some of nature’s freshest bounty in the finest cold pressed organic olive oil  available  you can’t help but truly enjoy the final product, I couldn’t stop myself today from getting a plate of our freshly made just harvested organic summer vegetables (carrot, potato, peas, cauliflower, leaks) before it was pureed for our precious babies.  People tell us our food for babies taste just like real food and nothing like baby food, but this is truly how all baby food should taste like if done properly.

 There really is no reason why cooked peas for adults should taste any different than cooked peas for babies- It is such a shame that even with what we know today companies are still getting away with two year old shelf stable overly process and pasteurize baby food that taste and smell so awful- The degree to which feeding babies food older than they are annoys me cannot be articulated.

Our precious babies deserves the very best, their delicate  bodies  are in a state of growth and development, they need a constant supply of highly nutritional building blocks not only free of chemicals but equally high in protein, essential fats, complex carbohydrates, and a full complement of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients to fuel their tiny bodies- Given our hectic life style it is understandable that we all can’t grow our own grain, mill our flour and churn our own butter but we have a choice of buying freshly prepared food instead of the overly refined counterpart that have been robbed of their original nutrients.

Making your own baby food is always the best choice but again if you can’t due to time constraint you can still help your baby have a better experience with his food. NOBODY would happily eat 2 year old cooked food, not even your baby.

Below is the before (my lunch) and after (baby food)  pictures.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Homemade organic doughnuts with a healthy twist-

My goal as a mother is always to provide my family with the very best, this is getting a bit challenging with my now 6yr old son in school and meeting new friends with different eating habits than we have at home, he is getting bombarded not only from million dollar television adds glorifying food that literally have the potential to kill him but from friends he loves who eats those foods.

The good news is I know for a fact that there is always a much healthier and tastier version out there for any and every junk food.  I have been very diligent in communicating this fact to my son, he knows to come to me if he sees or is offered something that is not organic but he really wants to have it. It could be something as simple as candy which for some reason is so rampant in schools (this is a topic on its own) doughnuts or a corndog, whatever it is he knows that I will get it for him without all the harmful chemicals.  As much as I want my family to eat healthy I know not to make them feel left out and the best way is to make sure they trust and love what we eat. I see with my son that healthy wholesome foods really taste good, my son was offered white organic basmati rice, he did not like the texture nor taste and wanted brown rice which is what he is used too. We all have the opportunity to train our kids, you either train them to love wholesome food or over process junk food that have the potential to hurt them, you train them either way- it is not accidental.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is a quick recipe for doughnuts that I make at home to satisfy the doughnut craving for my son without all the unnecessary and unhealthy ingredients that comes with mainstream doughnuts.  Recipe courtesy of  Giada De Laurentiis , instead of store bought pizza dough I make our dough at home from scratch using Bob’s Mill 100% whole grain white wheat flour. Doughnuts like any other sweets are treats offered once in a while in our home not an everyday meal. Have a happy 4th .

Is your meat good for your baby?

The EPA reports that meat is contaminated with higher levels of pesticides than any plant food. Many chemical pesticides are fat-soluble and accumulate in the fatty tissue of animals. Animal feed that contains animal products compounds the accumulation, which is directly passed to the human consumer.
Antibiotics, drugs, and hormones are a standard in animal husbandry, all of which accumulate and are passed on to consumers as well.

Organic food—food grown without chemical pesticides and fertilizers—provides a trusted standard for purity and safety. Some physicians—like Alan Greene, MD, author of “Raising Baby Green: The Earth-Friendly Guide to Pregnancy, Childbirth and Baby Care”— recommend organic foods for babies and children. According to Greene, significant body and brain development takes place in early childhood, making toxins a larger threat to long term health.

While most parents want the best for their children, not all parents know the difference between organic and conventional. They choose what is readily available—foods they remember from their own childhood.

Parents face many issues, but diet and health remains a fundamental priority. After all, feeding our kids is the first, most basic thing we do to raise them right. Organic food is another step on the path to lasting health—for people and for the planet.

Buying Organic Foods

Buying Organic Foods

Source

Does anyone know how to save money on organic foods? I am very health conscious and have recently decided it was best for my two young daughters and me to make a real effort to eat foods without preservatives and hormones. Unfortunately, recent trips to local markets show how expensive it is to do just that. I had hoped Dollar Stretcher readers might have some advice on how to save money on organic/natural foods.
Jean K. in Boca Raton, FL

Grow Your Own Organic Produce

Try your local farmers’ market, where you are likely to find organic items available for considerably less than what you pay in the grocery stores. Going to the farmers’ market is a great habit to get into anyway, since you’ll find wonderful fresh foods and you will help sustain local farmers.

In my area, the farmers’ market is open year-round, and features many seasonal festivals spotlighting everything from strawberries to mudbugs (crawfish). Even when I lived in an area that required me to drive 25 minutes to the farmers’ market, I found that the money I saved on the produce I bought to make my own salads (as opposed to spending $5.95 plus tax per salad per day at work) and the quality of the produce made the effort very cost-effective.

Farmers’ markets are also a great way to teach kids about farming and what goes into producing the food they eat. You might also consider growing your own organic produce this spring. I once lived in a condo that had a balcony roughly the size of a refrigerator, yet I managed to grow cucumbers in hanging baskets, leaf lettuce in an old dishpan, loads of herbs, and cherry tomatoes and peppers in pots. Check your local library for books on container gardening, and ask friends if they might want to join in and split seed packages. This, too, is a great project in which to involve kids. My niece and nephew helped me plant all the seeds for my balcony garden, and then cheerfully raided the tomato and cucumber plants in our “air farm” (thus named because of the balcony location) at every visit.
Alicia

Join (or Start) an Organic Produce Co-op

A friend and I run one out of her living room. We buy from a produce wholesaler (the same one that delivers to the local health food stores). Watch for the trucks and look them up online. We have semi-annual meetings to decide what kinds of produce to order and how often. We have about 15 members who give us a standing order for every two weeks. If we have enough membership interest, we order a case of that particular produce, and when the produce comes, we sort it out. We use last time’s produce boxes, and write everyone’s names on them and sort into them, using the standing order each member has placed. It helps to have your members’ standing orders be a range (i.e. 6-10 apples), because the cases aren’t always the same quantities from week to week.

I use Excel to fill in everyone’s bill (because we don’t know the exact price until the produce comes with an invoice). We mark each item up only 10% (as opposed to the store’s 40-50%), and the extra money gets split between those who sort that week, as a credit off of their bill. I require that every member put in a deposit, which I keep in a separate checking account, just for this co-op. Then, I’m able to write a check when the produce is delivered each produce day, and the members pay for their produce upon pickup, which replenishes the bank account.

I found members using my son’s school newsletter and bulletin boards in schools and public buildings. Fifteen to twenty members is a good sized group, as everyone’s boxes fit in my friend’s living room for sorting, and it seems to be enough people to get full cases of most items we want. It does take a good bit of time organizing, but I think it’s well worth it. Every once in a while, I check at the grocery store to compare to their organic prices, and I’ve saved about 30%. I’m getting organic produce and paying conventional prices, though I admit that for a sale-watcher, conventional produce would likely be cheaper. But the long-term benefits to my family’s health make organics worth it to me. And we eat more fruits and veggies this way, because they are delivered on a regular basis, and I can do my meal planning around what’s coming on produce day. And, I’ve gotten to meet some wonderful people that I otherwise wouldn’t know.
Abbie in Michigan

Talk to the Farmers

If you go to green markets where you can actually discuss with farmers, try to find small farmers whose agricultural practices you agree with, but who may not have an organic certification and the price premium that goes with it. Certification is long and expensive, and many small producers won’t take the trouble of getting certified, even if they use ecological farming practices.
Catherine in Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Stick to Whole Foods

My husband and I eat only organic food and these are the tips that help us save money:

· Stick primarily to unprocessed foods. The price of prepared organic food (dry cereals, frozen meals, crackers, etc.) is steep, but if you eat mostly whole foods (veggies, fruits, grains, beans, meats, etc.), you will save money. You may invest a little more in prep and cooking, but you will save money and be serving healthy foods to your family. And cook simply. If you are serving the best and freshest foods, they often don’t need much adornment.

· Shop for fruits and veggies at you local farmers’ market and strive to eat only in-season produce. You will get superior produce, support your local farmers and save money. You could also look into buying a share from a local farm. How this works is for a small fee per week you receive a box of fresh produce and, depending on the farm, fruit. You must usually commit to a season (typically March through October here) and pick up your box each week from a pick up location. You don’t get to choose what you get though so you must learn how to be adventurous in the kitchen. For more information, Google “CSA farms.” Some farms are organic and some are not, so make sure you know what you are getting.

· Check out your local natural food store. In the past, I have avoided shopping at mine because I figured that it would be more expensive than buying from the big supermarket down the street (economies of scale and all), but I was wrong. Their prices are cheaper and they carry a much larger selection of organic and natural foods than the big supermarkets.

· Try the bulk bins. Many regular supermarkets have started carrying bulk organic items and your natural food store will probably have an even better selection. Rice, pasta, oatmeal, nuts, etc. are all there and at rock bottom prices.

· Check out Trader Joes. If you can find what you are looking for, you will almost always get the best price here. Go with a list and stick to it. Trader Joes is temptation city and it is easy to pick a few extra items that look good and end up spending more than you budgeted for.

· Another place to get rock bottom prices is your local Costco or Sams Club. The big warehouse stores are carrying more and more organic products and you can often get a great deal. In our area, eggs, canned tomatoes, milk, dog food (yes, our dog even eats organic food!) and environmentally friendly laundry soap are cheaper here than anywhere else.

· If you have the time, space, and desire, grow your own. Even a row of green beans or a couple of cherry tomato plants on your balcony can provide a lot of food for just a few dollar investment in a packet of seeds. If you can’t find organic seed in your area, just look on the Internet and you will find plenty of companies who sell at least some organic seed. You can also check out many great organic gardening books at your local library or check the Internet of organic growing tips.

· Look into joining a natural food co-op in your area. Members take advantage of the idea of bulk buying to get better prices on items. Google “food co-ops” for more information.

Chris

Go Direct

Try to link up with local farmers who grow organic food and buy directly from them. They are often families who are trying to get by just like you are and would be happy to help out like-minded folks, maybe even bartering for your purchases. The organic items you buy in the store cost more because of the packaging, shipping and so on. If you can buy local, you avoid all that unnecessary cost.
A

Find a Local CSA

Try to join a food co-operative or buy a “share” of a farm through community supported agriculture (CSA). You get delicious, healthy, organic food at a reasonable cost and help local farmers as well! Find a local CSA at www.localharvest.org/csa/
Denise

Shop Online

eBay has many sellers who offer organic. http://www.netrition.com/ is another invaluable source. I suggest Googling whatever product you’re searching for (no dairy or perishable products of course) to find your best price.

Is Organic Better? Making Sense of Organic Choices

Is organic better? Making sense of organic choices
By Julie Deardorff
Chicagoo Tribune, March 23, 2010

Source

Some consumers are more than willing to pay higher prices for organically grown food. But are organic strawberries worth the extra dollar?

The health benefits of organic food are one of the most intensely debated issues in the food industry. By definition, organically grown foods are produced without most conventional pesticides, fertilizers made with synthetic ingredients or sewage sludge. Livestock aren’t given antibiotics and growth hormones. And organic farmers emphasize renewable resources and conservation of soil and water.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture, which runs the National Organic Program, says that organic is a “production philosophy” and an organic label should does not imply that a product is superior. Moreover, some say there’s no need to eat organic to be healthy: Simply choose less processed food and more fruits and vegetables.

The crux of the argument often comes down to the nutritional benefits of organic foods, something that’s hard to measure. To compare the nutrient density between organically and conventionally grown grapes, for example, researchers would have to have matched pairs of fields, including using the same soil, the same irrigation system, the same level of nitrogen fertilizer and the same stage of ripeness at harvest, said Charles Benbrook, chief scientist at The Organic Center, a pro-organics research institution.

Last summer, the debate came to a head after the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published a comprehensive systemic review that concluded organic and conventional food had comparable nutrient levels.

The outraged organic community criticized the study for not addressing pesticide residues, a major reason people choose organic. The study also did not address the impact of farming practices on the environment and personal health.

Maria Rodale, a third-generation advocate for organic farming, urges consumers to look beyond nutrition to the chemicals going into our soil, our food and our bodies. “What we do to our environment, we are also doing to ourselves,” said Rodale, chairwoman and CEO of Rodale Inc., which publishes health and wellness content.

Some experts also suggest consumers focus on the producers rather than the product itself. For example, Vicki Westerhoff, 54, owner of Genesis Growers in St. Anne, Ill., uses organic procedures but calls her food “natural” and “chemical-free” because she hasn’t gone through the expensive certification process.

Here’s a closer look at some of the factors that may influence your decision whether to buy organic products.

Fruits and vegetables

Farmers using conventional practices treat crops with pesticides that protect them from mold, insects and disease but can leave residues. Organic fruits and vegetables have fewer pesticide residues and lower nitrate levels than do conventional fruits and vegetables, according to a 2006 scientific summary report by the Institute of Food Technologists.

The bottom line: Experts say pesticide residues pose only a small health risk. But fetuses and children are more vulnerable to the effects of the synthetic chemicals, which are toxic to the brain and nervous system, said Dr. Philip Landrigan, director of the Children’s Environmental Health Center at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City. The Environmental Working Group recommends buying organically grown peaches, apples, bell peppers, celery, nectarines, strawberries, cherries, kale, lettuce, imported grapes and pears because they are the most heavily sprayed. Onions, avocado, sweet corn and pineapple have some of the lowest levels of pesticides, according to the EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides.

As for nutrition, one French study found that, in some cases, organic plant products have more minerals such as iron and magnesium and more antioxidant polyphenols. But although mounting evidence suggests that soil rich in organic matter produces more nutritious food, “we are never going to be able to say organic is always more nutrient dense; that’s going beyond the science,” said Benbrook of The Organic Center.

Dairy and meat Organic dairy and meat products come from animals not treated with antibiotics or genetically engineered bovine growth hormones, which are used to stop the spread of disease and to boost milk production. Past rules on “access to pasture” were vague and didn’t require that the animals actually venture into it. But a new regulation requires that animals graze for a minimum of 120 days. In addition, 30 percent of their dietary needs must come from pasture.

The bottom line: The dairy cow’s diet is key. Organic milk has more vitamins, antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acid because the cows eat high levels of fresh grass, clover pasture and grass clover silage. Research published in the British Journal of Nutrition found organic milk can improve the quality of breast milk and may protect young children against asthma and eczema.

Though the FDA says milk from cows treated with bovine growth hormone is safe and indistinguishable from other milk, consumers are spooked. Dean Foods, the nation’s largest dairy producer, no longer sells milk from those cows, and Krogers, Wal-mart, Costco, Starbucks, Dannon, Yoplait and several other companies have pledged not to use it.

As with dairy, organic meat has higher levels of omega-3’s because of the higher forage content in their diet. It also has lower fat overall than animals fed a high-corn diet, said Benbrook. Eating organic dairy or meat also can help with another issue: The use of antibiotics on farms has contributed to an increase in antibiotic-resistant genes in bacteria.

“Pushing animals to grow really fast has a cascade of effects on the environment and the health of the animal,” said Benbrook. “We need to back off the accelerator and focus on the health of the plant, the health of the animal, as well as the nutrient composition of the food.”

Cosmetics, personal care Chemicals in personal care products have been linked to both environmental pollution and human health concerns. Of particular concern are phthalates, which have been linked to endocrine disruption. Environmental concerns also are rising about the tiny nanoparticles now being added to cosmetics, sunscreens and other products. Notably, organic personal care products can be labeled “organic” but still contain synthetic ingredients.

The bottom line: Of the 3,000 chemicals used in high volume in personal care products, only half have been put through basic toxicity testing, according to Landrigan. You may be paying more for “organic” products that aren’t actually organic; the USDA regulates organic personal care products only if they’re made of agricultural ingredients. Look for the USDA logo rather than the word “organic” on the label.

For more details Source

The Dirty Dozen- FDA and USDA list of the most highly contaminated foods.

— Eating organically grown food is a clear, intelligent, delicious choice. Finding and affording only organic food could be a challenge  but certain foods are worth the extra effort, or worth simply avoiding when organic is not available. The “dirty dozen” are the most commonly and highly contaminated foods with pesticides and chemicals, even after washing and peeling.

The research used to compile this list is from extensive independent tests run by the FDA and the USDA from more than 100,000 samples of food. The chemical pesticides detected in these studies are known to cause cancer, birth defects, nervous system and brain damage, and developmental problems in children. In other words, panic if it isn’t organic.

12 Contaminated Foods

1. Beef, Pork and Poultry The EPA reports that meat is contaminated with higher levels of pesticides than any plant food. Many chemical pesticides are fat-soluble and accumulate in the fatty tissue of animals. Animal feed that contains animal products compounds the accumulation, which is directly passed to the human consumer.

Antibiotics, drugs, and hormones are a standard in animal husbandry, all of which accumulate and are passed on to consumers as well. Ocean fish carry a higher risk for heavy metals than pesticides, though many freshwater fish are exposed to high levels of pesticides from contaminated water.

2. Milk, Cheese and Butter For reasons similar to those for meat, the fat in dairy products poses a high risk for contamination by pesticides. Animals concentrate pesticides and chemicals in their milk and meat. Growth hormones and antibiotics are also serious concerns and are invariably found in commercial milk, cheese, and butter.

3. Strawberries, Raspberries and Cherries Strawberries are the crop that is most heavily dosed with pesticides in America. On average, 300 pounds of pesticides are applied to every acre of strawberries (compared to an average of 25 pounds per acre for other foods). Thirty-six different pesticides are commonly used on strawberries, and 90% of strawberries tested register pesticide contamination above safe levels.

Raspberries trump strawberries with the application of 39 chemicals: 58% of the raspberries tested registered positive for contamination.

Cherries are almost as dodgy with 25 pesticides and 91% contamination.

4. Apples and Pears With 36 different chemicals detected in FDA testing, half of which are neurotoxins (meaning they cause brain damage), apples are almost as contaminated as strawberries.

Ninety-one percent of apples tested positive for pesticide residue. Peeling nonorganic apples reduces but does not eliminate the danger of ingesting these chemicals. Pears rank hazardously near apples with 35 pesticides and 94% contamination.

5. Tomatoes It’s standard practice for more than 30 pesticides to be sprayed on conventionally grown tomatoes. The thin skin does not stop chemicals from infiltrating the whole tomato, so peeling won’t help you here.

6. Potatoes Potatoes are one of the most popular vegetables, but they also rank among the most contaminated with pesticides and fungicides. Twenty-nine pesticides are commonly used, and 79% of potatoes tested exceed safe levels of multiple pesticides.

7. Spinach and Other Greens The FDA found spinach to be the vegetable most frequently contaminated with the most potent pesticides used on food. Eighty-three percent of the conventionally grown spinach tested was found to be contaminated with dangerous levels of at least some of the 36 chemical pesticides commonly used to grow it.

8. Coffee Most coffee is grown in countries where there are little to no standards regulating the use of chemicals and pesticides on food. The United States produces and exports millions of tons of pesticides, some of which are so dangerous that they are illegal to use on American farmland.

Foreign countries import these chemicals to cultivate food, which is sold back to the United States. Coffee is an unfortunate culprit in this vicious cycle of malevolent agriculture. Purchasing “Fair Trade” coffee provides insurance that the premium price paid for this treasured beverage supports farms and workers with more equanimity and reward.

9. Peaches and Nectarines Forty-five different pesticides are regularly applied to succulent, delicious peaches and nectarines in conventional orchards. The thin skin does not protect the fruit from the dangers of these poisons. Ninety-seven percent of nectarines and 95% of peaches tested for pesticide residue show contamination from multiple chemicals.

10. Grapes Because grapes are a delicate fruit, they are sprayed multiple times during different stages of growth. The thin skin does not offer much protection from the 35 different pesticides used as a standard in conventional vineyards.

Imported grapes are even more heavily treated than grapes grown in the United States. Several of the most poisonous pesticides banned in the United States are still used on grapes grown abroad. Eighty-six percent of grapes test positive for pesticide contamination; samples from Chile showed the highest concentration of the most poisonous chemicals.

11. Celery Conventionally grown celery is subjected to at least 29 different chemicals, which cannot be washed off because, of course, celery does not have any protective skin. Ninety-four percent of celery tested was found to have pesticide residues in violation of safe levels.

12. Red and Green Bell Peppers Bell peppers are one of the most heavily sprayed foods, with standard use of 39 pesticides. Sixty-eight percent of bell peppers tested had high levels of chemical pesticide residues. The thin skin of peppers does not offer much protection from spraying and is often waxed with harmful substances.

Copyright (c) Rodale, Inc.