Sunday, March 20, 2011

What the heck am I supposed to feed my child!?

Here's the thing blog readers: I've become a little too obsessed with eating habits lately. Between Kayla's whole foods posts and Austin's sharing of an article on tooth decay and a raw foods diet based on the work of Dr. Weston Price, I am currently on the verge of collapse. I keep looking horrified in our fridge and cabinets at the boxes upon boxes of toxic grains and the ultra-pasteurized milk and the processed Annie's cheddar bunnies! Now, mind you, we are healthy eaters, and I have been since my single days. I was known to throw together some stir-fried tempeh and kale greens for dinner on a regular basis. We eat less weird stuff now but still our meals usually consist of beans, lentils, quinoa, bulgur wheat, homemade bread, and a handful of different veggies and fruits. But, we also have some processed food like crackers and cereals and the occasional frozen pizza (I have a weakness for Totino's... WHY, oh, WHY?)

I've been pondering this a lot lately because A) I'm having a hard time getting Theodore to eat much of anything that is not strawberries,  bananas, oranges, or bunny crackers.... and B) I think he may have tooth decay (scary!) He has a spot on his tooth that was recently discovered by me today after I finished reading up on childhood tooth decay. I may be overreacting, and it may be nothing, or it may be a huge divine coincidence that I caught it. He has a little bit of a hole on his front tooth near the gumline, the same tooth that has a little crack on its jagged edge. I started doing a little research, and it's not uncommon for toddlers to have tooth decay! Now, I kind of knew this already, but I thought it was usually attributed to baby bottle mouth from drinking out of bottles or drinking tons of juice. But now I'm reading that night-nursing in a toddler MAY cause tooth decay... and we night-nurse.... A LOT (of course, there are others that stand by the claim that says breastfeeding absolutely can never cause dental caries).

There are also a variety of other factors like my prenatal diet, his nutrition during tooth formation (only breast milk and the occasional bite of falafel.... oh yeah, and all the FREAKING CANDY those Egyptians gave him.... damn them!), and genetics. Now, I have awesome teeth with nary a cavity but Tim has a mouthful of cavities and crowns and root canals, oh my! But is it really genetic, or is it the fact that maybe his mother didn't have the best nutrition when she was pregnant or he didn't have the best nutrition growing up, or is it the fact that Utah doesn't flouridate its water (damn Libertarians!)?

Oh geez, I'm getting all worked up about this.

And to add to all of this, we (meaning Tim and I) had a long debate about drinking raw milk and alternative medicine and etc, etc. He's not so sure about any of it... but we'll continue to discuss the matter and figure it out. There is so much that is hard to prove but I'm a believer in chiropracty, essential oils, and an holistic approach to our bodies rather than over-medicating and over-diagnosing.

I've also learned where I can buy raw milk in Orem. I think we might switch over to raw dairy, whole sprouted grains, organic produce, grass-fed meat and eggs. Thankfully, we'll be gardening this season since we have space in our backyard, so we'll have free (or relatively cheap) produce for a good while. And I know there are a number of local farms where we can get meat or eggs.

I have a feeling our food budget will be greatly increasing next month.

That being said, Tim also raises an interesting point: should we increase the amount of money we spend on food to increase our health a little bit (like, we could stick to store-bought produce and grains and milk rather than going the extra step to get it local and organic and raw), or should we donate the money to help feed those that are without or with little, where it would do a world of difference in their lives but maybe only minimally improve ours?


  1. I so feel your pain. Despite the fact that we have an abundance of organic fruits of vegetables in the house Jones eats: graham crackers and white rice. Period. Wes isn't much better. It's killing me.

    Have you taken Theodore to a dentist?

  2. I recommend the book "Nourishing Traditions" by Sally Fallon. It is the book that Real Foods in Orem bases their practices on and it provides real, workable plans and recipes for eliminating the excess grains we all tend to have in our diets and adding back grains that have been naturally processed (usually by letting them soak overnight with some yogurt or lemon juice in them, the way that indigenous cultures do).

    When I worry that I am spending too much money on fancy food when other people have NO food, I think about the kind of food that tends to be given to low income people, and why the American diet is so badly off. Because unbridled capitalism has led to shelves and shelves full of food with no nutrition, and a system of growing produce that is completely unsustainable. If we continue to support this system by buying their food and donating the extra, we are perpetuating a downward spiral.

    Again, I love your blog posts! No part of this comment is meant in a judgmental way. We're all in this trying to live/eat/birth naturally together! And hey, Annie's cheddar bunnies are FAR less toxic than Cheez-Its. Don't forget to pat yourself on the back for all of the fantastic natural things you already eat/do.

  3. I struggle with finding healthy things to give Aidan. We eat no white rice, no white bread, he drinks organic milk and apple juice and yogurt, and i really try to limit the amount of hormones and pesticides that he ingests. I do give him goldfish and fruit snacks and those Annie`s crackers, but I constantly feel like he could eat better. I mainly just want him to eat more vegetables, which is why I started using the sneaky chef cookbook. Don`t worry yourself about his teeth. Just brush them and give him some fluoride. I know how you feel about medicine, (I feel the same way) but the fluoride does help. Our water doesn`t have it either. Let me know what good stuff you come up with for him to eat. I`m always looking for better stuff for Aidan.

  4. I decided (and I have to keep deciding over and over) that I am not going to freak out about food. Milk-wise, kids aren't supposed to drink that much milk anyway, so I buy Winder Farms and call it good. I don't drink milk, it makes me sick. Produce from your garden is awesome and will taste great.When it runs out I buy mostly frozen, sometimes organic, depending on how pesticide-laden things are. It's easier for me to avoid wheat-heavy products than to worry about how they came to pass, and anything with more than four ingredients is usually out.
    I have to draw the line somewhere, though, because we're spending a ridiculous amount of money on food. I really have to sit down and re-examine my grocery life.

  5. So, Caitlin, you can totally get a prescription for fluoride drops either from your pediatrician, or your dentist. They can do liquid drop form, or chewable tablets. Getting a fluoride VARNISH from a dentist would be optimal! Varnish lasts 6 months on the teeth. Also, it may be wise to either stop nursing at night completely, or cut it down some. Milk has a ton of sugar, and you don't want that sitting on your childs teeth all night causing bacteria to go crazy, eat the sugar, excrete it as acid, i.e. causing a cavity. If you are going to put him to bed with nursing, or nurse at night, give him some water afterwards. That will wash out most of the sugar. IF you would like to have him seen by a dentist, my office does free exams and x-rays on all new patients.

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  7. i have to agree with tim! i have been noticing that, if i let myself, and can completely occupy my entire day thinking about food choices and organic vs. inorganic and should we be vegan? and how can we use less plastic? and how can we reduce our carbon emissions and and and and... they are all good things to worry about and strive for but really the amount of energy put into them isn't really worth the output. i spend a lot of time on house and food stuff that i HAVE to do, i would rather spend more time on things that really matter like improving relationships, parenting skills, scripture study, having fun with alice and jon, etc. so i just made a decision (homemade wheat bread, homemade granola, no crackers and snacky things like that, lots of produce, basically just whole foods) and then just try not to obsess. obviously we aren't perfect eaters but we try and get better with time. also,i found a really good website about kids and food once but i have no idea what it was. i will have to look it up again.

  8. the more i think about this the more i am worried i sounded self righteous. i didn't mean it in a "we are so great and doing so much good" way, just in a "i am tired of caring about food more than the my spiritual and mental aspects of my life".
    also i was going to say that baby teeth fall out....:)