Not a new parent? Share this someone in Austin who you care about… you can change a kid’s life!
When my son was born, I was still following some conventional advice about food. And so his first real food was rice cereal, followed shortly by Earth’s Best organic baby food. I thought I was feeding him the very best the world had to offer. Little did I know.
What’s wrong with all that?
So much is wrong with rice. For starters:
- Arsenic.It’s in all rice. Think brown rice is better? Turns out it contains more arsenic than white rice because this heavy metal is absorbed by the germ and hull which are removed in white rice. Even organic is affected. It’s likely due to soil contaminated by pesticides containing arsenic and chicken manure, also containing arsenic that chicken has been fed. The FDA does not regulate the amount of arsenic in rice, so you’re on your own trying to figure out what is safe. Read this Consumer Reports study on arsenic.
- Phytic acid. Rice (along with many other grains and legumes) contains anti-nutrients which are part of the plants natural defenses against pests. This acid blocks the absorption of vital minerals like calcium, zinc, and copper and inhibits enzymes, like pepsin, that we need to digest food properly. Traditional cultures have soaked grains to neutralize these effects, but the industrial food machine does not.
- Digestive enzymes. Babies do not produce pancreatic amylase, which is the enzyme needed to digest grains properly, until molars appear between ages 1-2. They do get some amylase—from breast milk, from their own saliva, and from their gut lining. But health experts (that I trust) say it’s not enough. Undigested grains can damage the gut, leading to digestive, auto immune, and behavioral issues.
- Low in fat. Fat makes up 10% of a baby’s weight and 60% of his brain. Essential fatty acids are critical for optimal brain development. Breastmilk—a food designed to provide exactly what a baby needs— is about 50% saturated fat. A cup of rice has less than a gram of total fat.
- Not nutrient dense. The most nutrient dense foods are animal protein and vegetables. These foods support the development of healthy bones and brains. Whatever vitamins and minerals rice provides can be found in greater abundance elsewhere.
Here’s what babies really need:
- Mother’s milk. Breastfeed if you can—the benefits are too numerous to list.
- High fat, nutrient dense, iron-rich food like soft-boiled egg yolk, liver (grind it!), bone broth, cod liver oil, and fermented foods.
- All kinds of vegetables, followed by fruits. This will help babies acclimate to a wide range of flavors and textures, preparing them to be better eaters later on. Taste buds are developed between the ages of 4 months and 2 years, so that’s a critical time period—use it well!
- No sugar except what naturally occurs in fruit (and breastmilk), and don’t overdo the fruit.
- No juice. Sugar is sugar and fruit juice is loaded with sugar minus the fiber that slows its absorption into the bloodstream. And most fruit juice is cooked, destroying valuable nutrients.
- No processed carbs. Almost all modern processed foods are problematic; even when quality ingredients are used, the processing often degrades them.
Read more about what babies really need from one of my most trusted resources, the Weston A. Price Foundation.
No time, need good food!
I hear you. Wouldn’t it be great to find someone who does have time? Someone who has devoted years of time to developing recipes for babies’ tiny, growing palates. Someone who is as determined as I am to fighting the fight against toxins in our food supply and the processing that destroys nutrition?
Well, I found her, and her name is Brooke.
Brooke Cobourn owns Rooted Baby. We crossed paths at Mueller’s Farmers Market in Austin while I was running around in my green superhero costume trying to galvanize support for my cause. At first I was reluctant to try her samples—most baby food is not exactly scrumptious—but I needed to taste them to vet her products. They were unexpectedly delicious! If I ever must have my (mind-blowingly gigantic) tonsils out, this is what I’m going to eat! Brooke believes that it’s easy to get kids to eat meat—it’s available everywhere. Her mission is to introduce veggies to babies early on so they will grow to appreciate a huge range of subtle and unique flavors and will benefit from the unmatched nutrition that they provide.
Brooke whips up yummy combinations of power foods like: squash-spinach-coconut milk-turmeric and zucchini-pea-mint. She also does simple starter flavors of one ingredient only, like yellow squash, available in a package with four lovingly made frozen 1-ounce cubes. Her concoctions come in jars, pouches, and small containers.
What else is great about Rooted Baby?
- all organic produce
- mostly locally sourced
- immediately frozen to lock in flavor, nutrients and color. Freezing is “nature’s pause button” and eliminates any degradation.
- small batches cooked in a local commercial kitchen
- focus on low fruit sugars
- opportunity to introduce kids to unique flavor combos using herbs and spices
- weekly delivery (to Austin, Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio). Also available at Mueller Farmers’ Market
- jars are glass and can be returned for free food
Where do I get it?
You can find Rooted Baby online at Farmhouse Delivery, which delivers to Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio. They’re also at the Mueller Farmers Market in Austin and have plans to expand to other markets so check the website periodically to see where it’s available. They hope to ship in the future.
I wish that I could do it all again. Eleven years ago, a new mother in a new state with no family and few resources, I opened up bottles of pre-made factory food and spooned it into my son.
You get a chance to do a better.
Good luck, and please share with new parents everywhere!
To see the article, “Best and Worst Baby Foods, which reviews major brands, click here.
Note: Good Food Fighter is not a third party affiliate for Rooted Baby or any other company and receives no direct financial benefit or kickback for providing this recommendation.
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