My wife and I are always looking for new organic treats for our girls. Each and every time we take a trip to the doctor, the bank or a number of other places we are confronted with the infamous lollipop.  These hand held treats are full of, well, crap.  Most lollipops are full of three things, high fructose corn syrup, artificial colors, and artificial flavors.   The last thing we want to do is give our kids these awful excuses for treats so we took matters into our own hands.  We scoured local stores, whole foods and the internet and found the best replacement for lollipops…lollipops!
Yummy Earth Organic Lollipops are a great product. We buy the large 30 ounce container packed full of about 125 lollipops.  They have great flavors like pomegranate pucker, mango tango and very, very cherry that the kids love. And with a little slight of hand, we can make those doctors office lollipops disappear.

Yummy Earth Organic Lollipops contain Organic Evaporated Cane Juice, Organic Tapioca Syrup, Non-gmo Citric Acid, Organic and Natural Flavors (Watermelon, Lemon Oils, Pomegranate, Raspberry, Orange Oils), Organic and Natural Colors, Red Cabbage, Purple Carrots.

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Organic formula for babies

 

There is nothing like getting the ball rolling young.  My wife and I have twin daughters and while we had hoped not to use formula, there was no avoiding it. They were little eating machines and my wife couldn’t keep up.  The phrase “I feel like a cow” was repeated numerous times.  When we did have to turn to formula as a supplement we looked high and low for an organic formula that was affordable.  We eventually found a similac product that was labelled USDA Organic and at a great price.  But just as the world turns, there is always a catch to natural and organic foods.

Have no fear, we are here to keep you on the right path.

Similac, Earth’s Best and Nature’s One are the top and most respected organic baby formulas but each has a dark little secret.  Each one of these companies adds DHA and ARA omega fatty acids to their formulas.  Hold on a minute, I thought those were good for baby.  THEY ARE but…… how they get the DHA and ARA is a little bit shady.  Apparently, they use the chemical hexane, acid and even bleach to extract the omega fatty acids from the sources.  similac and Earth’s Best openly acknowledge that they use the process (which is FDA approved:() but all stated that there are no trace of these chemicals in the finished product.  Nature’s One said they do not use chemicals to extract the fatty acids but rather a water based process.  One point for Nature’s One.

Then we began looking at the containers.  With all the BPA warnings with bottles and plastic food supplies, we were curious about the packaging that these formulas were kept.  Low and behold Similac and Earth’s Best have inner coatings with BPA while, as of May 2010, Nature’s One has BPA free containers.  Two points for Nature’s One.

Verdict:  It’s a no brainer.  If you are using formula in any way, you need to go organic and your safest bet is Natures One baby’s only Formula.  Visit http://www.naturesone.com/ for more information an coupons.

Let’s talk Organic food!

According to the USDA, Organic food is the integration of “ cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity. ”  So, what does that mean?  Well, it means that organic food is grown, raised, or produced in as natural a manner as possible.  In order for something to be considered “Organic” there are a number of steps that must be taken and regulations that must be followed to ensure a reputable and safe product.

Let’s take a look at an organic apple.  In order for this apple to be considered “organic” it would have been planned well before any harvest.  Organic produce is not an overnight product.  Farmers cannot simply decide not to put pesticides on a crop and label it organic.  There is a process to this whole organic thing.  In order for said apple to be organic it would have to have grown on an organic apple tree.  In order for the apple tree to be organic, it would have had to come from an organic apple seed.  In order for that organic apple seed to grow into an organic apple tree, it needed to be planted in organic soil.  In order for the soil to be considered organic, it would have had to lay fallow (unused) and untreated for usually 3+  years.  Once the organic soil and the organic apple seed grew a tree, the soil and the tree could not be treated or nourished with any pesticides, herbicides, chemicals, etc.  So, that little organic apple was planned long before it ever grew into its crisp, tart deliciousness.

So, what is organic food? It is food that has been treated or rather untreated as nature intended.  Next time you or your kids bite into an organic apple, that is what they are getting, an apple.  It’s a beautiful thing.  Everything you want and need; nothing you don’t.

Visit www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/nop for more information on organic regulations from the USDA.

3WX2PRQUGRUE

Organic Fruits and Vegetables during the Fall Season

An important part of organic living is eating locally and seasonally.  Seeing as how the internet allows people from all over to share information, it does not make much sense to focus on local, seasonal fruits and vegetables in my area only.  So, I am focusing on organic fruit and vegetables typical of most climates in the fall.

What you should be eating this fall:

Here is a list of a few fall favorites to enjoy. Remember buy Organic and.or local whenever possible.

Apples: The best of the best are naturally ready in the fall months.

Artichokes:  Smaller but still delicious second crops pop up in the fall.

Beets: Deep red and delicious fall crop.

Carrots:  Their natural harvest is in the fall and they are fantastic.

Dates: Get them while you can.

Figs:  The best time of year to get these ancient fruit.

Greens:  Spinach, kale, collards to name a few are best in the fall.

Parsnips:  Use these delicious and in season root vegetables much like potatoes with a twist.

Pears: Sweet and succulent, pears are at their prime in Autumn.

Pumpkin: King of the fall.  Bright orange and ready to enjoy.

Spinach:  Rich and earthy, Spinach is a wonderful fall green.

Sweet potato:  Sweet and ready to consume.

Is Organic Juice good for kids?

There has been a lot of hoopla about juice in recent months.  The core problem with juice is that the sugar levels are very high and, with juice drinks (juice products with water added), low in nutritional value.  It is clear that sugar filled drinks are contributing to obesity and diabetes in children.  Don’t believe me, take a trip to your friendly local Walmart and check out the bear guts on the under 12 crowd.  It is disheartening to say the least.  I have found that many pediatricians recommend giving your child small amounts (1/2 to 1 cup) of 100%  juice a day if at all.    The idea is to make sure that they are getting enough nutritional value out of the drink to justify the sugar content.  Personally, I am an advocate of moderate juice use and believe that fruit juice encourages children to try fruits they normally would not try had they not tried the juice first.

Example: I tried to get a constipated two year old to eat some prunes.  No Dice.  Come hell or high water she was not going to put one of those prunes in her mouth.  Plan B.  Prune juice.  She drank it up and within minutes my wife had convinced her that the juice was made from the fruit and we had to stop her from eating to many.

What to look for:

When buying  juice there are a few things to keep in mind.

1. Try to buy organic juice whenever possible.  Fruits and vegetables are often grown with chemical fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides.  These chemicals find their way into the meat of the fruit and sit on the skin.  Sourcing an organic juice is the key to avoiding those problems.

2.  If you must purchase non-organic juice, make sure that the only ingredient is the juice of the fruit in question.  Many times you are not getting what you think.  Consider the health juggernaut  pomegranate (check out this video on the benefits of this superfruit) and the myriad of “pomegranate” juices out there.  Most label the main ingredient as water or grape juice and often times pomegranate is the fourth or fifth ingredient after purple carrot juice (usually just enough for a deep red color and little nutritional value) and other fruits to fill it up.  The point is that you are getting very little pomegranate in your “pomegranate” juice.  This is the case many times over when dealing with expensive fruits.

3.  Try to stay away from concentrates, even organic ones, as the sugar content is typically much higher and the nutrition value much lower (there are many exceptions; READ NUTRITION FACTS)

Remember.  Moderation is the key to raising healthy, organic kids.

Check out http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/fruit-juice/an01631 for professional information on juice and its effect on children.

First and foremost, if you are purchasing certified Organic products then raising organic kids and avoiding trans fat is not going to be an issue.  There are minimal trace amounts of naturally occurring trans fat in beef, lamb and full-fat dairy products (webmd.com) but not enough to be of concern to even the most health conscious consumer.  Naturally occurring trans fat is not believed to have the same harmful effects as added trans fat.   There are tricks to avoiding trans fat in many non-organic products and as we all know finding organic products for all your needs is not always an option and makes raising organic kids difficult.

So, what is trans fat?

Trans fat or trans fatty acids are the product of “hydrogenating” oil by adding hydrogen to liquid oils.  This is done for a number of reasons including shelf life, low cost, texture, solidity and fry life.  Basically, it is a process that takes perfectly good oil and makes it more solid and bad for you and your organic kids.

What to avoid and look for in products?

First off, stay away from fast food and most fried foods in restaurants.  I have years of experience as a chef, a caterer and a sales manager for a major food service distributor, and more often than not, the deep fryer has a trans fat based oil in it.

Second, read labels.  This is the key to raising organic kids, READ THE LABELS!  The FDA is not on your side, they are not interested in guaranteeing food is safe (only “reasonably safe”).  Look for the words “hydrogenated”, “partially hydrogenated”, and “shortening” on the ingredients label.  This is the only way to guarantee you will be getting a trans fat free product (unless you are buying organic, which I recommend).

Labels can be deceiving…

“Zero grams trans fat per serving”, “no trans fat”, and ‘trans fat free” are a sampling of the deceiving and down right criminal practice of lying about trans fat.  According to the FDA, there is an allowable amount of trans fat in food, to be exact .5 grams per serving.  So, in the eyes of the FDA, a box of cereal could have 28 grams of trans fat but so long as the serving size only has .5 grams of trans fat it is considered trans fat free and can be labeled accordingly.  Apparently .5+.5=0.  Raising Organic Kids is not mathematically challenging.

Read the Labels and buy organic when available.

KidGanics is your one stop guide for raising organic kids. The decision to raise your children “organically’ is not a simple task or a cheap one.  Organic products tend to be higher priced and at times hard to obtain.  For parents it is an experiment in patience and a new set of rules for food and life.  The fact is that there is a whole lot of crap out there and manufacturers will use every trick in the book to hide the bad stuff and promote the “so-called” good stuff.   Use the KidGanics blog as your guide to raise healthy and happy kids.  Enjoy.

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