Friday, January 15, 2010

The Green Baby-Part 1- Food

So I've been reading a ton of books on parenting, mostly because I've become lazy. Most everything has been taken care of as far as major cleaning. Although I've been neglecting getting an oil change. Anyways...I borrowed another library book which is part of series. This one is called Growing up Green: baby and child care by Deirdre Imus (who studies how the environment has impacts on children with cancer).

The book goes through a series of spans of life from pre-natal care through the teenage years. It does cover being environmentally friendly, but not in the way that I thought that it would. Mostly it discusses the impact the environment has on the health of our children and briefly gives ways to "green our living." Her main focus is what we consume.

So she briefly discusses at the beginning avoiding toxins in our environment like reconstruction or paint. She also talks about ways to clean your home using non-toxic chemicals (although she has another book devoted entirely to the subject which I will have to pick up and read so I won't go into that).

Then she talks about eating organic foods and cutting out dairy and meat from our diets to detoxify our bodies. I like organic foods, but I'm poor and it's very difficult for me to justify spending twice as much on an organic apple as any plain ol' apple. I understand that organic foods use more eco-friendly pesticides instead of chemicals and that is better for our bodies. Mostly what I have heard to elevate the enormous costs is to start small with your organic purchases (which the author also recommends) and that you don't have to buy everything organic. Foods which thick skins don't need to be organic (think oranges and pineapples). And certain vegetables are more resilient to pests so they use fewer chemicals (like broccoli). She does not include this as a list, but rather includes a list of types of fruits and veggies that should be organic.

Don't have to buy organic
Sweet Peas
Sweet Corn

Better to buy organic:
Bell Peppers
Red Raspberries
Imported Grapes

As I mentioned she also prefers to use soy, rice, or coconut milk instead of regular cows milk. She explains that some cow's milk has growth hormones in it and since cows eat grass with pesticides has traces of pesticides in their milk. She says if you want to stick with cows use an organic cow milk. I looked at the label of my cow's milk. It says it doesn't use growth hormone. And soy, rice, and coconut milk is sometimes chalk full of sugars to make the milk taste good. She does say to avoid sugar.

The last is the meat, which she recommends cutting out of our diets altogether. But if you have to eat meat go organic and avoid fish with high levels of mercury. I would not recommend cutting out meat from a child's diet altogether. Meat contains vitamin B12. If you don't eat meat you have to take it as a supplement because it isn't found in fruits or veggies. I'd rather my child absorb the vitamin through the foods he eats rather than bombarding him with supplements. Some people easily over dose on supplements because they already eat foods rich with those nutrients. Vitamin supplements are supposed to give vitamins to our bodies when we lack it (like Vitamin D which is absorbed from sunlight). One of the nurses at the pre-natal classes warned the potential parents about pediatricians who give Vitamin D supplements to breast feeding babies. Because of where the pediatricians come from (colder, darker climates), they are used to giving Vitamin D because breast milk doesn't contain enough. Where we live it's sunny all the time. It's sunnier here than Florida or California so we are overdosing our children on Vitamin D if we add a supplement. Vitamin D is known to cause constipation. Just be aware.

She also talks about the hidden chemicals in baby bottles and baby pacifiers. I'm not into pacifiers. As for baby bottles, be careful to avoid clear plastic bottles and water containers that don't say that they are BPA free. It's actually easy to find one that tell you that they are. And glass bottles are making a come back. They heat more evenly too.

She also says to use a water filter to make sure that the water you are drinking doesn't contain chemicals. We have a water filter at home, but I don't really use it. Our water is tested strictly. They say that it is even safe for making baby formula (which most companies recommend buying distilled drinking water for mixing).

She also says to be careful of microwave ovens. Like anything else microwaves are fairly harmless. The microwave (the wave of a microwave oven that is) is actually a very long trough and peak cycle so it can't really get out of that giant steal box. It's like being exposed to radiation. You can be in a room with radiation (because most houses have low levels). The biggest thing for everyone to remember is time and distance. As long as you limit your exposure and stay a good bit away, you are totally fine. Microwaves are far safer than radiation.
For school children, she recommends teaching them about healthy choices and to allow them treats every once in a while. She says it is better to pack a healthy lunch for them and avoid cafeteria food which is high in fats and sugars. She says try to limit fruit juices which are high in sugar and pack water in a reusable steel container. She says to also avoid using vinyl reusable lunch boxes by use organic cotton or canvas bags.

1 comment:

  1. Have you seen the dirty dozen list? Its about what you have there though.. I use that to choose what to buy organic. We don't have a lot of money either, but using the list and hitting sales makes it more doable.

    I wouldn't cut meat either... I know some vegetarians are healthy, but... its a lot more work (and expense if you want everything you really need). We have a halal store nearby w/ good prices. Very regulated and organic so we do that a lot.. and Sun Harvest has good prices on meat too so we get as much hormone free as possible.

    I won't do soy milk... estrogen not good in that high amounts... unless you have issues that need it of course. We do spend a little more for organic milk, but... it lasts longer and is always on sale so it really evens out.

    I'm bad about using the microwave lol. I want to try to avoid using it w/ baby food this time, but like you I don't think its gonna hurt us either.

    No pie's here either (pacifiers) and we're getting BPA free bottles this time. A few anyway. Last time we thought we did and ended up throwing away our bottles. I still feel bad about that... My oops there. We didn't use them much though.

    Luckily my pedi didn't push vit D on us last time... and I knew better so would have ignored it if she had lol. I see comments on cafemom about that all the time though... so many try to push it.

    Anyways, great posts! I'm enjoying the results of your being "lazy" lol


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