Tag Archives: USDA certified organic

Is your baby’s yogurt a healthy option or candy bar?

Yogurt can be a very healthy food or candy bar depending on which you are feeding your baby. It’s packed with potassium, calcium, magnesium, zinc, vitamins B2 and B12, protein and vitamin D as well as probiotics, the healthy bacteria is beneficial to the digestive system of both adults and babies alike.
yogurt

 

 

 

 

 

 

One cup of yogurt contains 400 milligrams of calcium, more than milk, and will provide more potassium than a banana, however because off all the added stuff this ends up not being so healthy after all.
Sugar should NEVER be the 2nd ingredient in any food you are feeding your baby..

Yogurt is another example where manufacturers have taken a healthy food and made it into an unhealthy treat, by adding a ton of sugar, artificial flavors and colors, extenders and fillers and preservatives that it almost could double as a candy bar.

Yogurt can be a wonderful additional to your kids diet but it will depend on the type you provide.

My suggestion is that if you have the time try making yours at home using a starter kit from your local farmers market or co-op.  If that is not an option, here is what is important when buying mainstream commercial yogurt.  Go with plain organic yogurt with nothing else added to it, for example no sugar, fillers, preservatives, color etc

At our home we buy plain organic yogurt  (grass fed if animal base and non-GMO for plant base) and sweeten it with raw honey or 100% maple syrup, we add fresh or frozen fruits (for your baby you can add puree fruits (Yummy Spoonfuls)

Again just to reiterate my point, yogurt can be either a healthy addition to your kids everyday diet or a once in a while indulgence depending on your choices..

Here is what is on my label.. Organic pasteurized whole milk, live yogurt cultures, only TWO ingredients

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Baby’s Health

It is that time of the year again when we are all in frenzy with activities, preparing for Thanksgiving alongside Christmas shopping. It is cold outside and we have to bundle up the kid(s) from one activity to the next, while hoping they stay healthy. We turn to pay less attention to food when we are very much on the go and thus greatly increase the chances of a compromised immune system. As parents one thing we can all agree on is simply having our kids healthy at all times especially during the holiday season when families and friends all come together, we want to sit back and relax and not fret about anything else.

It is imperative that during this festive but cold season parents feed their babies food that incorporate the use of fresh herbs. Fresh organic herbs are wonderful allies for boosting the immune system.

All of Yummy Spoonfuls recipes are carefully planned by a registered pediatric dietician to provide our babies the building blocks they need at this very critical developmental stage.

Fresh organic herbs like fresh organic garlic, fresh organic ginger, fresh organic basil, fresh organic oregano etc are incorporated in all our Chunky Yummy (stages 3) meals.

Fresh organic garlic is an antibacterial, antibiotic, antifungal immune stimulant. Experts claim that adding fresh organic garlic to food helps prevent illness.

Fresh organic basil is known for its anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.

Fresh organic ginger is traditionally known for its soothing effects on an upset stomach.

Fresh organic oregano is not only a nutrient dense spice but it is also known for its potent anti-oxidant activity, as well as its anti-bacterial properties.

As childhood-obesity and childhood-diabetics rates in the United States continue to surge out of control, it is important that we take a hard look into the eating habits that we are teaching out kids. We need to start understanding the direct implication of the food we eat and the results we get and start believing in the adage that ‘you are what you eat’

As Einstein eloquently put it ‘you cannot solve a problem with the same level of thinking that existed when it was created’. Feed your babies with an intention to good health, make every tiny bite count. It is our responsibility as parents (since we are the decision makers) to feed our babies only that which is healthy, wholesome and needed to survive. Do not feed your bundle of joy ’empty nothings’

 

Why Organic is the best choice
Eating organic significantly reduces our children’s exposure to organophosphate pesticides.

Eating organic foods provides children with “dramatic and immediate” protection from exposure to two organophosphate pesticides that have been linked to harmful neurological effects in animals and humans. This is shown in a study funded by the US Environmental Protection Agency and published in the September 2005 issue of Environmental Health Perspective. The pesticides — malathion and chlorpyrifos — which have been restricted or banned for home use, are widely used on a variety of crops, and according to the annual survey by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Pesticides Data Program, residues of these organophosphate pesticides are still detected in common food items usually eaten by young children.  For more information please click on the link http://www.yummyspoonfuls.com/why_organic.htm

 

Why Yummy SpoonfulsÔ is your best choice
Not all baby foods are created equal — Carrots; Sweet Peas; Apple Sauce; Corn — So standard, and oh! so boring!  Yummy Spoonfuls™ offers a tremendous amount of product diversity!  With twenty-five different product offerings across three different product lines, even the most discriminating palate is bound to find something satisfying, nutritious and delicious.  Some of the flavorful product combinations include:  mashed organic mango, pureed organic papaya, mashed organic apricot and brown rice, organic lentil and carrot porridge and mashed organic butternut squash and apple, just to name a few!  With this wide range of products, consumers are able to expose their child’s palate to different tastes, textures and cultures.

 

From our CEO & CYO (Chief Yummy Officer)
We have a son.  He’s almost 4 and I almost died having him.  It’s a long story that I won’t go into, but the circumstances around his conception and birth caused me to give him a name that means “Precious Gift from God”.  As this Thanksgiving approaches it causes me to think of several of God’s gifts…our children, their health, and the bounty of the earth. 

These 3 things were the impetus for my company.  Yummy Spoonfuls is my life’s work, my expression of thanks to God. Providing every child the same access to the freshest nutritive delectable yummy foods my son eats.  We are strong believers of the adage ‘you are what you eat’ our company uses fresh organic and when available locally grown foods to make tasty, healthy baby meals.  In turn our customers have a simple option for feeding their babies organic food. This, in turn, keeps them healthy. For which we are all thankful.

Have a happy holiday and remember you can only harvest what you sow>

Agatha Achindu
CEO & CYO (Chief Yummy Officer)

How Balanced is your table?

 

There is an innate satisfaction within us as parents that we all experience when our babies reach each and every milestone. From something as simple as their very first smile to a huge challenge like being ready for table food, each step makes us proud.

We can’t wait for our babies to turn one year old and have the pediatrician tell us, “Your baby is now ready for table food and can eat what ever the rest of the family is eating”. Taking allergies into consideration, most of us feel from there on is a “free for all”.

Although your baby is ready to join the rest of the family at meals, we should always remember that the dietary needs we have as adults are not necessarily appropriate for our growing babies. For example, babies need more calories than adults to sustain the growth of muscle, tissue and bone that takes place throughout childhood.

During the first two years of life fat is needed due to the fact that it is the most concentrated source of energy and it is also important for healthy development of the brain and nervous system. Without enough fat in the diet a child would need to burn protein for energy*.  On the other hand, experts tells us that children over five should limit calorie from fat

At the early stages babies are a busy bundles of endless activity with bodies that 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 active life style.

Thus the question, HOW BALANCED IS YOUR TABLE FOOD AND IS IT APPROPRIATE FOR YOUR GROWING BABY?

Some tips to help you make the right choices:

  • Taking into consideration how tiny baby tummies are and given the fact that they can only take so many bites a day, efficiency is of the utmost importance
  • Make sure the diet includes  good calories, protein, calcium, whole grains and other complex carbohydrates, veggies and fruits 
  • Feed babies food that satisfy more than one nutritional requirement i.e. whole grain will satisfy the need for complex carbohydrates and iron
  • Do not feed babies ‘empty’ calories. Make every bite count. Whenever you want to feed something to your baby, ask yourself what nutritional role is that little bite going to play? Remember that every bite your baby takes is a nutritional opportunity for you to nourish your baby with the very best.

    Here at Yummy Spoonfuls, as always, our goal is bringing wholesome convenience to busy parents without all the added junk. Our Chunky Yummy (stage 3) is table food, made especially for babies, which parents will also enjoy. There are choices like, Organic Rice Medley and Organic Adzuki Bean Porridge.  Check out our website for a complete list and pictures of our selection.

    * Your pediatrician might advise on low fat diet if baby is overweight.