Posted by tntmck on Jun 27, 2010 in Dairy
This has been a great week for local fare. There’s just something about summertime that makes good things really good.
Both boys continue to eat really well this week and were both little piggies early in the week. A few snacks seemed to be affected by some teething the past few days, but no little boy passes up some yummy ice cream with Pappy, that’s for sure.
Eating locally wasn’t much of a process this week, but more of a fun experience.
- Grass-fed Beef I’ve recently started trying to buy grass-fed beef for our family. If you haven’t seen Food, Inc. yet, you must stop reading this and watch it now! But, as a quick summary of only a single aspect of my recent food overhaul, I’ve chosen to buy grass-fed, pastured beef when at all possible for the following reasons.
- Standard beef today is fed corn and dead chicken carcasses, resulting in poor quality of meat.
- Feeding corn causes health issues such as e-coli which causes them to give animals antibiotics and chemicals which collect in the fat.
- Most of our beef today is from cows that are factory farmed and packed together so tightly they can’t move and stuck in their own excrement. Yes, that’s right and I don’t think I even need to go into why you don’t want to eat meat from that animal.
- I choose grass-fed meats from animals allowed to roam pastures. These animals are healthy and provide healthy, nourishing meats for my family. U.S Wellness Meats is a good online source. Trader Joes, Whole Foods, and other whole food stores offer grass-fed alternatives as well as local farms. Click on the Eat Local link on the right column sidebar of this site. If you can’t find grass-fed, at least opt for organic as it is free of chemicals.
This is my purchase that I picked up at my local farmer’s market this week sitting in my trunk just before I put it in my cooler to bring home to the freezer. See below for the contents.
- Ice Cream We went with the grandparents to a local store this weekend. They just recently started selling all-natural, locally-made ice cream. Pappy bought some strawberry to share and the boys only left him a couple of bites. I’m hoping to make some homemade ice cream from real cream and honey this summer.
WHAT I LEARNED
Buying quality, locally-grown produce is becoming easier and easier every day. I was able to buy a sampler pack of grass-fed beef including a chuck roast, rump roast, 2 New York strips, a filet mignon, 3 lbs. ground beef, brisket, and stew meat with just the click of a button on a local farmer’s website and a quick trip to the farmer’s market of my choice on the day of my choosing to pay and pick it up. They even included 2 bars of their uhomemade soap in my package.
I haven’t tried any of the beef yet, but it’s safely in my freezer, just waiting for my meal planning. I can say that my reaction to the price was one of delight. As a comparison, we recently purchased grass-fed brisket from a chain store for $7.99/lb. The one in this pack was $4.99/lb. I don’t think I need to even say, but the boys loved, loved, loved some strawberry ice cream at the Nolensville Feed Mill with Pappy.
Live it up! Enjoy summer. It comes and goes so quickly and even though it’s really hot, get out. Enjoy the lake, the shade trees, the pool, the ice cream, and of course the sound of the crickets and flashing lights of the lightning bugs at night. I’m sitting out here right now in the dark and loving every minute of it!
Please share your thoughts or ideas!
Posted by tntmck on Apr 3, 2010 in Overall Diet
12%(5) Always Organic
21%(9) Never Organic
9%(4) Some Organic (based on pesticides)
17%(7) Some Organic (based on price)
39%(16) Some Organic (based on price and pesticides)
Total Votes = 41
This was very interesting to me. I am in the last category with the most people at 39%. I hadn’t really thought about why I buy what I buy until I posted this poll. I can tell you that I just went shopping yesterday and bought less organic that usual and didn’t feel as good about my produce as I unloaded my groceries. I went to a different store than I typically shop at and think that I will be returning to my usual place and usual habits. I am such a creature of habit. However, I think I see my vote trending more towards the third option of buying some organic based on pesticides. I think I would rather cut costs in other areas.
I’m leaving these results as a post so that you all can share your comments on the results.
Posted by tntmck on Mar 29, 2010 in Overall Diet
2 DAYS LEFT TO VOTE: This is getting interesting. Invite your friends and family to vote and follow the blog. The more votes, the better the results. Then, stay tuned to see the final results. I’ll post and everyone can comment with your own thoughts on the subject.
Posted by tntmck on Mar 27, 2010 in Overall Diet
I’ve added a new gadget called “Eat Local.” You can see it below, but it will live in the sidebar. Just scroll down to see it below the Archive. It’s a great way to find out what’s fresh near you.
Posted by tntmck on Mar 17, 2010 in Information
, Overall Diet
Share your buying habits. See my new poll at the top of the home page on my blog. Hurry – time will run out! Anyone can vote, so recruit your friends to share.
Posted by tntmck on Mar 16, 2010 in Overall Diet
This is one of those things that I struggle with every time I grocery shop. Organic produce seems so much more expensive and hard to find on sale. Do I need to spend the money? The regular produce is right next to it and is much cheaper. I debate, go back-and-forth, question, wonder, and randomly make a decision. I get home and wonder why I bought some things organic and others not. So, I’ve decided to put together more information to gain a better understanding of what I’m buying and why. I have also downloaded the iPhone app listed at the bottom to use while I’m in the heat of buying in the store and don’t know exactly what to do. SIDE NOTE: I love my phone!
WHAT IS ORGANIC?
Farmers who grow organic produce and meat use alternative methods to fertilize, manage weeds and prevent disease. Organic farming also conserve soil and water and reduce pollution. Farmers use natural fertilizers such as manure or compost; use beneficial insects and birds, mating disruption or traps to reduce pests and disease; rotate crops, till, or mulch to manage weeds; give animals organic feed and allow them access to the outdoors using rotational grazing, balanced diets and clean housing to minimize disease.
These items have all been found to be high in pesticide residue based on statistical analysis of testing conducted by the USDA and the FDA. The following lists are put out by the Environmental Working Group (EWG).
These “Dirty Dozen” fruits and vegetables that carry the highest pesticide load. If you’re going to be buying these, make sure they’re organic:
3. Sweet Bell Pepper
10. Grapes – Imported
The “Clean 15″ are the lowest in pesticides.
3. Sweet Corn
7. Sweet Peas
15. Sweet Potato
MEATS & DAIRY
In addition to the notes in the WHY ORGANIC section above, here are some reasons to choose organic meats and dairy products.
- No bovine growth hormones (BGH) are allowed to increase milk production in cows.
- No genetic mutation or irradiation is allowed.
- No antibiotics are permitted. If an animal is treated, it will not return to the herd for a year to be sure the antibiotics are out of its system.
- Organic animals must have “access to pasture.”
- Organic milk stays fresh significantly longer than regular pasteurized milk. That is because different process is used to preserve the milk called ultra high temperature (UHT) treatment.
- No preservatives.
- Organic grass-fed beef has more Imega 3 fatty acids, higher vitamin E content, and a higher conjugated linoleic acia (CLA) content which increases metabolic rate, immunity to diseases and muscle growth.
- 100 percent organic – completely organic (can use USDA seal)
- Organic – at least 95 percent organic (can use USDA seal)
- Made with organic ingredients – contain at least 70 percent organic ingredients (can’t use USDA seal)
- Check PLU numbers at the store – a number beginning in 9 means organic, 8 means genetically modified.
- Buy produce that is in-season to ensure the highest quality.
- Go locally to the source. Buy from your local organic farmer or farmers market. (I will be exploring the option of CSAs in the future.)
- Don’t be fooled by the terms “natural” or “grain-fed.” These may be fine for what you’ve decided to buy, but don’t think that they are certified organic. There are no standards for these types of terms.
- “Free range” does not include any guidelines for the animal feed
This is a great site where you can find local farms that deliver to your local groceries, sell at farmers markets, or offer Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) near you.
This will give you all of the information you ever wanted to know about the USDA laws and regulations on organic certification.
A great iPhone app to help you choose and store produce as well pesticide levels from worst to best.
The Organic Trade Association is full of detailed information. It is geared more towards the trade, but could be just what you intellectual-researcher-types are wanting.
Do I buy all organic? No. Do I understand all of these terms and differences in what is truly good or bad for you? No. I approach it in a manner of what makes sense to the budget and what seems natural. Since I depend on others to raise, grow, and package my food for me, I must sacrifice much control. But, I want to get it as close to how it was put on this earth for my consumption.
In conclusion, I can’t say that I have a complete grasp on what types of foods to buy for my family yet, but I’m getting there step by step. The produce list above is definitely helpful, but I’m still trying to figure out meat and dairy as well as some packaged foods. I guess it will just take time to learn and understand.
Please share your thoughts, ideas, and experiences.
Posted by tntmck on Jan 22, 2010 in Uncategorized
Organic, fresh, frozen, snack, meal, soy, formula, breastmilk, instant, whole grain, processed…these are all terms that you encounter when thinking about foods for your baby or even yourself. I think that I’m fairly moderate in my food approach with my babies.
I started out breastfeeding both boys and it went ok. I was feeding both and pumping at every feeding. The pumping was wearing me down…I hate the pump! My little guy wasn’t taking too well, though and after a few visits with the lactation consultant and many efforts on my own, I decided to ween to formula. After 3 months, both boys were being formula-fed through bottles. I found that my little one still didn’t like the bottle too much, so I felt a little relieved that it wasn’t me (because, of course I blamed myself) and a little frustrated thinking that I should have kept with it. Do I wish I hadn’t stopped? The instant answer is yes, but I don’t regret feeding formula either. We have done our best and both boys are growing well. We are just now starting to transition to whole milk.
I also introduced the cup (see this post) around 6 months. I have only offered water to this point and don’t plan to introduce juice until after a year. I haven’t exactly decided what, how much, or when I will exactly do this yet, but I’m ok with them not having the sugar for now.
I have prepared my own organic baby purees and my boys have eaten these homemade foods about 90% of the time. There are times when we are traveling or out of the house that they receive organic baby food from a jar.
I have offered organic puffs for a while now trying to get them use to finger foods and feeding themselves.
Another thing I try to do is to offer the rainbow (which I will post about in the future) or at least provide a variety of foods, so they aren’t eating only sweet potatoes all day long.
They consistently feed themselves finger foods now such as cooked sweet potatoes, whole wheat pasta, cheese, turkey, tofu, and cooked egg yolk. There have been some others here and there, but these are the main ones for now. I have a little trouble with the cooked fruits and vegetables as making sure they are cooked soft enough and offered in the correct size (big enough to pick up, but small enough to handle chewing and not choking).
I have learned alot from Ruth Yaron’s book Super Baby Food and have added tahini and wheat germ to cereal and a little behind, but planning to work on more of these healthy additives and legumes very soon! None of these are things I ever knew anything about or even considered before this book, so I think I’m making progress by having introduced even a few so far.
I, myself have never been the moth healthy eater. I try to eat fruits and vegetables along with lean protein each day, but I sure do love carbs!! I have never prepared only fresh or organic foods at home for myself or my husband, but I am learning lots about our eating habits while trying to feed the best to our children. I do buy mostly organic produce, but I also look for healthy options on sale. I don’t avoid all processed snacks as I think there is a place for these (anything in moderation, right?). That is why I have bought the puffs, biter biscuits, and cheerios. The boys do like these and I have found them to be a helpful tool in allowing them to learn to pick up food.
So, I don’t have a clear philosophy on my food choices, but I go with what I’m learning as a I go and try to offer a variety of healthy foods. I use organic as much as possible to avoid the synthetic chemicals. There’s lots to learn about organic and I’m certainly no expert. This also leads to me to an area that I’m not much familiar with, but would love to learn more about buying meat and crops from a local organic farmer. I know there are some in my area and that’s on my list of things to research.
Posted by tntmck on Jan 8, 2010 in Uncategorized
Well, I’m beginning to think about my boys getting older and have recently started making their pureed food a little thicker and chunkier. At 10.5 months old, neither of my boys has refused a food. Yes, they have made some faces and yes, they’ve been slow going on a few things. But, after a few bites, it’s always a go. This has been one of my main goals with feeding and making their food. So, with that in mind, I’m ready to add some new items to the menu. Before we do that, though, I’d like to give a summary of what I’ve made and introduced so far.
Listed generally in order of introduction. Keep in mind that I am not a doctor, nutritionist, or a food expert and you should always consult your pediatrician when choosing food for your baby.
With so many foods in just over 4 months, I can truly say that we have been busy. It has also been hard to make sure they are getting a good variety and keep tasting all of these foods. It is very easy to get through an introduction and forget about it for a few weeks or a month. As I’m typing this, I can’t remember the last time I bought a kiwi or plum.
Now, with each weekly post, I plan to describe the food made as well as the process briefly. Then, I will mention anything I learned as well as the reaction from the boys. I will summarize with any notes and how much they’re eating.
We continued with existing foods this week including rice cereal, oatmeal, tahini, sweet potatoes, green beans, broccoli, apples, yogurt, carrots, avocado, and kiwi.
I have been using the Earth’s Best Rice Cereal Rice since the boys were 5 months old. I tried making my own by grinding organic brown rice, but it always came out super pasty. Like I mentioned at the opening of this blog, I’m not a super cook. For me, the instant organic from the box works just great! I also use the Earth’s Best Oatmeal Cereal and it is great as well.
WHAT I LEARNED
I didn’t learn anything new about making foods this week as we did not introduce anything new. I have realized that it is time to go to my resources and find some new foods to add to the list.
Both boys still love the baby cereals. I know many babies refuse it at this point, but they love it plain, sticky, mushy, mixed with fruits, or any way it’s given to them. One thing to note is that I mixed the avocado and kiwi this week. It sounds like a strange combination, but kiwi is one of the few things that both boys have kind of wrinkled their noses at when fed alone. So, I used what I had and just mixed it with avocado. They ate it all. All of the other foods this week were still a hit and nothing new was introduced.
I still had plenty of pre-made frozen food this week from my bulk preparation before Christmas. We were having family in town and I wanted to make sure that I didn’t have to worry about preparing any baby foods. I was able to simply defrost anything I wanted overnight in the refrigerator and was good to go the next day. For days that we were out of the house, I took jarred organic foods like Earth’s Best Organic Jars or Gerber Organics. This is what I have typically done, unless I’ve been going somewhere where I knew I could travel with my bowls of food in an insulated bag with ice packs. I just find it easier to travel with the jars. That being said, we typically eat meals at home.
Please share your thoughts or ideas.