My son, Bryant, is a creature of habit. Included in his morning routine, that begins somewhere between 6:30-7:00 AM, is chocolate milk, fruit, and/or “eggy” pizza. These requests sometimes come with manners, but we are working on it.
This morning was chocolate milk and fruit. This simple request can go terribly wrong in most kids’ diets. The hormone, high fructose corn syrup chocolate milk and chemically sprayed fruit every morning does nothing to aid his little body in optimal growing. Instead I’ve made the decision to include organic milk, organic chocolate syrup, organic “dirty dozen”, and “clean 15” fruits for Bryant. Sure, the chocolate syrup has sugar, but I can control the amount.
In our budget we spend an extra $20 on organic meats and dairy each week. We buy fruits that aren’t heavily sprayed with pesticides. These are known as the “Clean 15.” When it comes to conventionally grown, non-organic fruits, if it has a rind we buy it. A great resource to help you make food decisions is www.foodmatters.tv.
Food Matters, created by James Colquhoun and Laurentine ten Bosch, is a great film turned informative website about all things food. In one article, 10 Tips for Buying Organic Food on a Budget, remind us:
-Organic food doesn’t contain food additives, flavor enhancers (like MSG), artificial sweeteners (like aspartame and high-fructose corn syrup), contaminants (like mercury) or preservatives (like sodium nitrate), that can cause health problems.
-Organic food doesn’t contain pesticides. More than 400 chemical pesticides are routinely used in conventional farming and residues remain on non-organic food even after washing. Children are especially vulnerable to pesticide exposure. One class of pesticides, endocrine disruptors, are likely responsible for early puberty and breast cancer. Pesticides are linked to asthma and cancer.
-Organic animals aren’t given drugs. Organic farming standards prohibit the use of antibiotics, growth hormones and genetically modified vaccines in farm animals. Hormone-laced beef and dairy consumption is correlated with increased rates of breast, testis and prostate cancers.
You don’t have to shop at Whole Foods or search out every organic product. That is a little extreme if you don’t have the budget. If I notice Bryant has really started to like certain foods, and I know the ingredients are questionable, I try to find the healthiest source. I have done this since his birth. I’m not strict with food 100% of the time. I don’t think that is necessary or even healthy. But 80% of the time he is getting balanced, healthy foods. How do I measure efficacy? Besides scheduled checkups as a newborn, Bryant has visited the doctor ONCE in 4 years for illness. His behavior and learning ability is adequate. I believe what I feed him is directly related to these things.
Now, if I can figure out how to keep him in his own bed at night, that would be perfection!