Photo Friday … I can feed myself!

Caris is very keen on feeding herself these days, so much so, that she is refusing to let me feed her! So after taking some very reluctant mouthfuls of her usual supper, I gave her a muffin and some jarred prunes (because she loves them so much) and she very happily fed herself. Yum yum!

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Three

It is said that good things (and bad things for that matter) come in three’s.  And if you excuse the terrible three temper tantrums, whining and emotional volatility associated with being three, it certainly is a wonderful age to be!

Since turning three, I have watched Alex blossom from a baby into a little boy. Big enough to speak properly, go to the toilet by himself and dress himself; but still little enough to want hugs, cuddles and kisses from mommy to make boo-boos feel better. Sometimes I have to stop myself from getting sad, when I think about how, one day, my little boy will become a sulky teenager who thinks I am very un-cool. And I sometimes do a double-take, when I see a little boy in the place of my once tiny baby.

And what a delightful little boy he has become.

Three things about my boy:

Alex loves speed… He approaches everything he does with huge enthusiasm, and runs (instead of walking) everywhere. You will often find him zooming around on his super-fast green Y-bike, feet up in the air as he races down the drive-way. He loves cars and trains of all shapes and sizes, and will happily sit and play with his cars, or his railway by himself for ages, engrossed in his imagination. Most of the time, the cars and trains are racing! Needless to say, one of his favourite movies is Disney’s CARS, and he often recites lines from movie during his imaginary games. A while ago, he was playing outside on his bike with the dogs, and I heard him say to one of my German shepherds: “Pit-stop Fangio! but no-no-no tyres, only fuel!”

Alex loves to read… He loves listening to stories, and loves telling us his own made-up ones (encouraged by his father’s great sense of imagination). He loves his picture books by Julia Donaldson, such as The GruffaloThe Smartest Giant in Town, etc, his current favourites being A Squash and a Squeeze and The Princess and the Wizard.  He loves Dr. Seuss, and can practically recite The Cat in the Hat and The Cat in the Hat Comes Back. He has loved books since he was a tiny baby, and we would spend hours looking at picture books again and again (and again and again and again!) He has a very inquiring mind, and every sentence at the moment starts with Why, What or How. He has a great vocabulary as a result of being read to.  A few months after his second birthday, we went to the aquarium for the first time, and he loved it so much that we bought him a book on Ocean Life, and he was able to name every single creature in the book (of about 70), even the obscure ones such as Coelacanths, Anemones (correctly pronounced) and Mantis Shrimps. (Our friends thought it amazing that this little boy could recite the names of all the creatures in the book, distinguishing between Sperm Whales and Humpback Whales etc, and not just calling them Whales!)

Alex loves playing outside … He loves riding his bike, jumping on the trampoline, climbing the jungle gym and rushing down the slide on his tummy. He loves rolling on the grass, and exploring the (imaginary) jungle in the corner of the garden with his Daddy, where they spot leopards and tigers and toucans and all sorts of imaginary creatures. He loves chasing the dogs, and running through the flower beds and getting covered in mud. He loves picking flowers for me, and collecting all sorts of berries, stones and twigs and others treasures that he finds in the garden. And he loves to swim!

Sometimes I wish I could freeze time, just a little bit, to have three for a just little bit longer.

Are we feeding our kids crap?

I received this link :

(http://www.charlespoliquin.com/Lifestyle/StayHealthy/190/Protecting_Your_Child_Against_Processed_Food.aspx)

from my husband the other day (and see a copy of the article below), and it really made me think about the food I am giving my children. From when Alex was first weened on to solids, I always cooked my own baby food, and made sure that he didn’t eat chips and sweets and other processed food. (He was probably about two years old the first time he had crisps!) Despite this good start to eating, now that he is older, it is hard controlling what he eats. And he is one fussy little guy to boot, and refuses to eat just about everything. (Even his teacher tells me that he hardly eats any of the lunch at school, expect on the days they serve fish! At least he does eat the mid morning peanut-butter-on-brown-bread sandwich though.)

His staple diet consists of fish (in any form), peas, mealies, chicken, plain spaghetti, noodles with cheese, yoghurt, milk, eggy-bread, cheese sandwiches and bolognaise sauce (without spaghetti). He also loves chips with tomato sauce, which are not exactly health food, but are ok for an occassional treat at a restaurant, or a pizza that he can make himself. And from one day to the next he will suddenly think his favourite food is yucky. I try really hard to give him healthy snacks such as blue-berries and other fruit, raisins and nuts etc, but he is not always willing to eat them. Like any other 3 year old, however, he is more than willing to eat chips, sweets and chocolates, which we do allow him to have every now and again, but the ruling is “only after you have finished lunch / dinner”. I have started getting tough with him at dinner time, if he refuses to eat what I have made him, I tell him that he cannot have anything else and that he must not waste food. He typically eats the food eventually. (After a good old fashioned toddler-tantrum sometimes.)

Right now, Caris is willing to eat anything, and once again I make all her baby food, having bought a few “meals for babies and toddlers” type recipe books. So I will try very hard to make sure that she doesn’t eat any rubbish just yet. It amazes me that some moms give their six month old babies flings and cheese curls. Yes, they are easy to eat and all kids love them, but they really are full of salt, fat and preservatives. (Ok, I realise that sounds judgemental, but by the same token, I am horrified that some parents allow their toddlers to stand on the front seat of the car while they are driving, with their own seat belt on nonetheless!) And I know that it is sometimes easier to give your child something easy for a snack or lunch and not have to put up with their refusal to eat “real food”, but it should really be the exception and not the norm.

Although Alex’s diet is not perfect, he has never even been into a McDonald’s or a Wimpy or the like, and it is unlikely that he will in the near future. (Until he starts getting invited to parties at said establishments, but hopefully that is a long time away still.) So, for now, I will try and keep the food he eats as healthy as possible. Everything in moderation is key. I do not believe in banning sweets and chips etc, as that often creates a situation where your child ends up eating those things behind your back anywway. It is hard, but as the old saying goes, “healthy body, healthy mind!”

Protecting Your Child Against Processed Food
by Charles Poliquin

Source : http://www.charlespoliquin.com/Lifestyle/StayHealthy/190/Protecting_Your_Child_Against_Processed_Food.aspx

Comedians often joke that most children’s cereal is so bad that it would be healthier to eat the box. They are not far off – but it’s no joke.
Obviously I’m not suggesting you have your kids eat cardboard, but the present state of food processing is creating outrageous health problems for young people today. Approximately 25 percent of American children are overweight; of those, 11 percent are obese; and of those, two thirds are expected to remain obese in adulthood. Obesity is linked to many health problems, especially diabetes and cardiovascular disease. If this trend continues, a third of the children born in the US today will develop diabetes and the majority of them will not live as long as their parents. Similar disturbing statistics are being seen in European countries.
Many fitness gurus and medical organizations have blamed the excess consumption of high-fat foods as the major problem. Not true. According to the US Department of Agriculture, between 1971 and 1997 the consumption of saturated fat decreased from 53 grams a day to 50 (and protein consumption remained unchanged). In fact, a study published in the 2010 June issue of Circulation found no association between heart disease and the consumption of red meat. Fat is not the problem.
Cause #1: Processed Carbs Although fat and protein consumption cannot be blamed for obesity in recent years, what did happen was an increase in calories. Between 1982 and 1993, the average daily calorie intake increased by 500 calories, and remained so through 1997. But the kicker is that about 90 percent of those additional calories came from carbohydrates, and most of those carbs were processed carbs. It’s not just processed carbs that are the problem, as the same study in Circulation found that eating processed meats increased the risk of heart disease by 42 percent.
One characteristic of processed carbs is that they adversely affect blood sugar levels. If you start your children’s day with a breakfast of pancakes smothered with processed syrup washed down with processed orange juice, such a combination will cause a rapid rise in blood sugar and will result in your kids bouncing off the walls. This will soon be followed by a release of the hormone insulin, which will create a sudden and prolonged drop in blood sugar that will in turn cause your children to turn into walking zombies who will crave even more carbs to raise their blood sugar. (For ideas on how to prepare a healthy breakfast, please read The Poliquin Meat and Nuts Breakfast.)
One way to avoid feeding your family processed foods is to follow the diet used by the Paleolithic people – lean meats, seafood, fresh fruits and vegetables – over the types of diets that became dominant after the Agricultural Revolution. One of my favorite mottos that describes the Paleo Diet is “If it doesn’t fly, swim, walk or isn’t green – don’t eat it!” To learn more about this type of diet, I recommend Dr. Loren Cordain books, The Paleo Diet (2002, John Wiley & Sons) and The Paleo Answer: 7 Days to Lose Weight, Feel Great, Stay Young (John Wiley & Sons, December 2011).
Besides refined carbs, there is another type of processing that you need to avoid feeding your kids. Its deadly initials are GMO.
Cause #2: GMOs GMO stands for genetically engineered organism. It is created by taking the genes of one species and inserting them into the DNA of a food or animal to introduce a new trait. As an analogy, think of the plot of the Resident Evil movies, but using plants rather than humans.
For example, inserting a soil bacterium called Bacillus thuringiensis into plants makes these plants toxic to insects, such that if they try to eat the plant, they will die. The result is higher crop yields. Another trait that can be engineered in plants is resistance to toxic herbicides – again, increasing crop yields. That’s the good news – the bad news is that GMOs, quite simply, are bad for you and your kids. Let’s look at some research.
In the 1990s Dr. Arpad Pusztai of the United Kingdom received a $3 million grant from his government to study GMOs. Pusztai found that when rats were fed genetically modified potatoes, the rats developed problems in the liver, brain and testicles – along with a compromised immune system and precancerous cell growth. But Pusztai is not the only scientist interested in the possible effects of GMOs on health.
In a study on GMOs that was published in the International Journal of Biological Sciences, researchers found that rats that had been fed genetically modified corn developed disorders of the liver, kidney, heart, adrenal glands and spleen. Likewise, in a Russian study, female rats were fed either genetically engineered soy flour or non-genetically engineered soy flour before, during and after gestating their young. Nine percent of the rats that were fed non-genetically modified soy flour died, compared to 55.6 percent of the GMO group. Of the GMO-fed rats that survived, 36 percent were underweight, compared to 6.7 percent underweight rats in the control group. As for larger animals, in 2008 a farm allowed 13 buffalo to graze on genetically engineered cotton plants, and all 13 animals died within three days.
Have you noticed, or perhaps read about the increases in allergies in the US and other countries? For example, between 1997 and 2008, the number of peanut allergies in children tripled; and from 1997 to 2002, emergency room visits for allergies doubled! One reason could be the consumption of GMOs.
There are many reasons to suspect GMOs for the increase in allergies because their modified proteins possess properties of known allergens, and because genetically modified crops have residues of toxic herbicides that can cause allergic reactions. It has also been found that genetically modified soy products can decrease the amount of digestive enzymes in the body. These enzymes affect the body’s ability to break down proteins, and this can cause allergic reactions to foods. Further, it’s been found that, across the board, foods that are genetically modified have lower nutritional quality than non-GMO foods.
Because the government considers GMOs safe, the US doesn’t require informing consumers if foods contain GMOs. This is a serious problem, as an estimated 70 percent of the foods on supermarket shelves contain GMOs. Among the products containing GMOs are soy, corn, canola and cottonseed oil, sugar beets, Hawaiian papaya, zucchini and crookneck squash.
To help you identify and avoid GMOs in foods, you can download a free guidebook from www.responsibletechnology.org. You can also start buying organic foods, looking for products that say they are non-GMO, consulting a non-GMO shopping guide and avoiding foods that are likely to contain GMOs.
Feeding the world is a problem that needs to be addressed by all world leaders. There are many solutions proposed, but one thing is for certain: Processed foods and genetically modified foods should not be the future of food.
© 2012 Poliqui