I have had a lot of people ask me why I am so crazy about making sure that I make Cubby’s baby food with organic fruits, vegetables and meats. They have said that we all grew up eating regular food and we turned out fine. I know that it is still healthy to eat fruits and vegetables, whether organic or not; however, I prefer to eat organic and I will explain why. I also think that whether you choose to feed your child organic food for the rest of his or her life, the first year is the most crucial. It may not always be feasible due to financial constraints or certain foods not being in season, but I usually follow the rule of thumb that I buy organic (where possible) for foods where I am eating the skin or if the vegetable grows in the ground. I also try to buy organic for the “dirty dozen” fruits and vegetables that are the most heavily sprayed with pesticides: apples, celery, strawberries, peaches, spinach, nectarines, grapes, sweet bell peppers, potatoes, blueberries, lettuce, kale/collard greens (www.thedailygreen.com/healthy-eating/eat-safe/dirty-dozen-foods).
In terms of feeding babies solids from 6 months onwards, there are many reasons to make their food from scratch using organic fruits and vegetables. I ordered a recipe book online before Cubby was born called the Organic Baby and Toddler Cookbook by Lizzie Vann. She has a great chapter called “Why Organic?” where she discusses in detail the reasons why organic food is best for babies. I will highlight some of her main points:
+ Foods today are highly genetically modified and a large amount of pesticides are used.
+ “Existing regulations are based on ‘acceptable’ levels for adult consumption and may not protect children from toxins” (p. 10).
+ Babies are at risk because of their immature organs and body systems; they are more vulnerable to toxins (p.10). Their digestive system is more efficient than an adult at absorbing nutrients, but also toxins. Their kidneys cannot excrete harmful substances like an adult so they circulate longer in the body (p.11).
+ “Children also receive higher exposure to pesticides from the limited types of foods they eat” (p.10).
+ Research has shown that pesticides have been found in breast milk (p.11).
+ The nervous system grows fast during the first year until age 18; development can be “disrupted by exposure to toxins” (p.11).
+ “Organic food is grown without artificial pesticides. Unnecessary farming and processing chemicals are not used. There are careful rules about the way ingredients can be processed and additives such as flavourings and colourings are not allowed. In organic food production, strict standards will have been followed and monitored. Animals will not have been given hormones or antibiotics, which means that you will never find residues or these in the meat, a concern for some as there have been fears that years of consumption of low levels of antibiotics can have a detrimental effect on the immune system” (p.14).
(Vann, 2000, 2006).
If these are not good enough reasons to invest a little more money and buy organic fruits, vegetables and meats, I don’t know what is. I have been shopping mostly at Loblaws and Whole Foods Market. It has really not been that expensive. If you think of baby food, one organic sweet potato or one organic pear can be steamed, pureed and make up to 4 or 5 servings. The organic meat is probably the most expensive when compared to regular meat, but you can buy a small cut of lamb or turkey and boil it and puree it and again make 5 or 6 servings. I have also been cheating and buying Mother Hen pureed meats as they are frozen and easy to defrost (www.lamerepoule.ca/en/baby/categories.aspx).
I have been having fun making my own food. When I am in a rush, I keep bottles of organic food by brands such as PC Organics, Earth’s Best (www.earthsbest.ca), and Baby Gourmet (babygourmet.com). I really like the Baby Gourmet brand as they come in green pouches with a spout that can be resealed. They are great to take when you are on the go. Walmart usually has them 4 for $5, which is reasonable for organic baby food. When the PC Organics are on sale, you can get the jarred baby food for $0.69 a jar. In terms of giving brown rice cereal or oats, I have been using the brand Healthy Times (www.healthytimes.com). Cubby really likes her cereal and I usually mix in some coconut milk and fruits such as bananas, blueberries or apricots.
I would never judge other moms who choose not to feed their babies organic produce, but I know that some may not know how modified or pesticide ridden our produce is. I personally try to eat as much organic food as I can, but even I’m not perfect. I like to eat out, or lately I have been eating on the go and using drive thru’s when Cubby is sleeping in the car, so what can you do? I make a conscious effort to eat clean and green, but I love my sugar, chocolate, and junk food. I am not made of steel! Also, I know the word “organic” has been a buzz word lately when it comes to advertising and marketing, but if you research certain brands, who have always prided themselves on producing organic food, you will see that they are not just main stream companies trying to jump on the “organic” band wagon. They actually care about the quality of their food.
Ok, I’m off of my soap box. LOL! Hopefully this helped shed some light on why I have only been feeding Cubby organic food for the past 4 months. Feel free to comment or ask me any questions and I can try to answer them to the best of my knowledge.
Happy feeding times!