Posts Tagged ‘Healthy Pregnancy’

Nutritional Intelligence

I’m at the age in life where I have friends having babies and the conversation around what they feed them comes up a lot. Apparently when they started reading what’s in the baby food jars they can’t believe the ‘stuff’ included so they have been making food themselves.

I came across a new book called Feeding Baby Green, by one of the country’s pre-eminent pediatricians, Dr. Alan Greene. His book posits a unique, forward-thinking 34-month guide to train your baby’s palate to appreciate the more complex flavors of healthy, unprocessed foods and I thought it would be an interesting read for those interested. Excerpt from Healthy Child Healthy World below:

Every parent is keen to find a way to engender healthy eating habits in their child. “Parents today have an unprecedented awareness and eagerness about the necessity of providing safe, wholesome, nutritious foods for their children”, says Dr. Greene. And yet today’s parents are burdened by economic constraints and severely limited time. The book reports that 80% of parents are unable to feed their children healthy foods because they are inconvenient, unavailable in their communities, or their children don’t like the taste.

What is the connection between what a pregnant woman eats and what her baby experiences? Dr. Greene explains that babies actually have a food life in utero, and the habits they establish in the first years after birth can have a lasting influence on their attitudes to food.

He refutes the claim by some  that it is impossible to get kids to eat healthy foods because they simply don’t like the taste. Dr. Greene believes that babies’ taste-buds can become easily programmed for the extra-sugar, extra-salt, extra starch that is every present in processed and take-out food. But if they are exposed to the “rainbow of flavors”, as he calls it, they can establish a preference for fruits and vegetables early on. This is his core thesis – something he calls “nutritional intelligence”.

“Baby food”, Dr. Greene reminds us, is a myth. Commercial baby food was an invention of 20th century food corporations, enforcing the theory that babies need meals separate from the fruits, vegetables and seasonings the rest of the family consume. Pointed and pervasive advertising convinced mothers that good baby food was scientific, uniform, twice boiled, and sold in jars.

Dr. Greene lays out a clear yet flexible how-to program, incorporating many techniques and angles, all of which is tailored to the baby’s current development stage. The time frames are general enough to work for most families, and allow enough wiggle room for customization.

Many of Feeding Baby Green‘s suggestions are both revolutionary and fundamental – breaking new molds yet also revisiting older traditions. He writes about engaging all of the baby’s senses when learning about food and eating. Flavor, aroma, touch, sights, sounds and language, these are all tools that help you make food a joyous experience. He also counsels on proper amounts, the right variety, and varying repetition with novelty.

Throughout the book, Dr. Greene offers a host of tempting recipes to make for baby at home: Bombay Vegetable Stew, Chickpeas and Tomatoes Provence, Baba Ganoush! There’s very little puree of this or cream of that. These recipes are meant for the culinary delight of the whole family.

Dr. Greene infuses Feeding Baby Green with a connection to the earth, to our food source, and to the truism that we are what we eat. He believes firmly that what is good for the planet is good for your family. As a Board Member of Healthy Child Healthy World, his outlook and practice are always consistent with the advice we offer parents. Much of his book is devoted to educating parents on the dangers of GMO crops, pesticides in agriculture, chemical additives in our food, and prevention of allergies and asthma. Dr. Greene is also a renowned advocate for organic foods, believing they not only keep us healthier but ensure our environment receives protection and nourishment as well.

And throughout, he draws on his wisdom as a practicing pediatrician, his first hand experience as a father of four children, and his family’s journey through his beloved wife’s battle with cancer. (She won!!!) Taking on this endeavor seems less daunting because Dr. Greene’s meticulous guide reassures the reader that they’ve got a friend in the kitchen with them.

Mom on a mission!

I’m not a mom yet but I have a huge amount of respect and admiration for women who listen to their own hearts about what’s good for their families and don’t accept status quo (see my post about labels). I follow a group called HEALTHY CHILD HEALTHY WORLD as the site provides a gold mine of information and perspective on living toxin free. As I am part of their Facebook group I saw a link pop up today which allows you to nominate any woman you know who is making a difference with the environment  for their family and friends. The program is called Mom on a Mission and I encourage you to take a read at what these women are doing in their communities. The award started in 2009 so you have plenty of time to make a difference in 2010!

I know so many women making a difference but I wanted to share one small story that is dear to my heart – I have a friend who came to me as she wants to change over the toxic cleaning products in her house to Shaklee Get Clean products. Her reason? Her cat, who is a true member of the family, has been licking the inside of the bathtub and the hardwood floors and she was worried about what the chemicals are doing to the 10lb cat. We sat down on Monday and walked through the Get Clean kit and the steps she can take to rid her home of the ‘traditional’ cleaners she’s been using. While she’s making this change for her cat, I can’t wait to hear how she and her boyfriend feel once they stop using such harsh chemicals in their environment. I’m proud of her that she’s taking the initiative to listen to her family (yes, as a cat person I consider any cat and especially our cat Georgia to be 100% part of the family!) and make decisions based on what’s best for them.

Pregnant women exposed to chemicals more likely to have aggressive girls – WHAT!

As someone thinking about getting pregnant, this article was a powerful read for me.  “Pregnant women exposed to chemical more likely to have aggressive girls: study” looks at pregnant women exposed to a common chemical found in plastics are more likely to have daughters with aggressive and hyperactive behaviors. I work my day job in an office where we have bottles of water brought in. I keep a SIGG water bottle on my desk but I’ll be the first to admit that when I get busy I’ll just reach for one of the plastic water bottles.

The study, which is from both the University of North Carolina and the Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, is the first to examine the link between exposure to bisphenol A during pregnancy and behaviour problems in kids.

I’ve done a lot of reading on the exposure of toxins during pregnancy and Bisphenol A, also known as BPA, the plastic in the study has also been linked to reproductive problems and diabetes – lovely. No more excuses for me about filling up my SIGG bottle.