Friday, 09 July 2010 15:14

Getting off on the wrong foot: a look at the standard American baby diet

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I've been babysitting since I was about 12 years old because I love children and it's a great way to make extra money; I still do it from time to time for those reasons. Today, I looked after one of my favorite families in Los Angeles, but made some interesting observations about their lifestyles.

Let me begin by saying that my feelings and thoughts on this matter are not meant to come across as a judgement, especially on this family. Mainly, I am frustrated with mass production of some baby products, which are marketed as healthy and nutritious but are far from it. Families purchase these items because they are inexpensive and have familiar brand names, and it saddens me that there is so much ignorance.
 
My mind started racing as I was feeding their 1 year old daughters some baby food in a jar. I looked down at the container and was pleased to see that it was Earth's Best, an organic product. The ingredients were very basic: apples, raisins, oats, cinnamon, vitamin C, ferrous sulfate, and citric acid. However, when they finished the jar I had to open up a plastic Gerber container with non-organic ingredients. I looked around and realized that Earth's Best was completely out of place - it was the only organic food in the entire kitchen, so it occurred to me that it could have been a gift or a sample.
 
Take a look at some of the ingredients in these food products:
  • In the puffed snacks, sugar is the second ingredient. This product also contains soy, corn, and wheat. 
  • The biscuits also had sugar pretty high on the list, followed by multiple types of oils, whey, and natural butter flavor.
  • I was most grossed out by the Gerber Macaroni and Cheese "nutritious dinner". Gerber calls this "NatureSelect", even though there's nothing about it, except that they claim there are "no artificial flavors". Their tagline is "ingredients carefully selected to meet GERBER high quality standards" - right. This product is basically macaroni and cheese blended together, which contains egg white solids, cheddar cheese, whey,  annatto extract color.
No wonder adults have such a hard time changing their diet - they've been eating unhealthy food from the get-go! These products are over processed, over salted, full of sugar, and loaded with wheat, corn, and soy. 
 
To make matters worse, almost everything baby-related in the house is made from plastic: food containers, bottles, nooks, toys, etc.
 
Here's the catch - most of us grew up this way, including myself. In fact, I didn't start eating organic food until about 5 years ago, so most of my life has been full of pesticides and chemicals. Does that mean I'm doomed, or am I proof that people can change and become healthy?
Read 2929 times Last modified on Monday, 14 May 2012 09:30