There is an old saying that says, “Watch what you eat!” However, it is more important to watch the foods that our babies eat than what we do. The reason for this is simple. They can’t digest everything that we can, nor is everything suitable for them. Furthermore, they can’t withstand the harsh chemical residues of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers that are used to grow the cereals and other ingredients used in these foods.
By now, you might be confused, thinking that there is nothing left that does not contain these harmful chemicals, so what else can you feed your baby? The answer is simple. Luckily, you have “Organic Baby Food” to help you out. Now, what is organic baby food and what is the difference from regular baby foods? Here is your chance to learn….
Table of Contents
Regular Baby Foods
There are three basic ingredients of any baby food; cereal, milk, and sugar. But where do they come from? Very simple! Cereals are grown in fields, milk is obtained from the cattle who feed on the cattle feed grown in the fields, and sugar comes from the juice of sugar cane, which is also grown in fields. Therefore, we have one thing in common. Directly or indirectly, they all come from the fields. There, they use chemical fertilizers and pesticides indiscriminately to grow their crops in greater quantities and also protect them from pests.
However, these chemical residues seep in and remain in the food items discussed above, despite several stages of processing. Again, a few more chemicals in the form of preservatives, stabilizers, and emulsifiers are added during these processes. That is the first step where chemicals start entering our food.
You might be surprised to know that highly toxic chemicals like urea (whose high accumulation can ruin your kidneys) are directly mixed with cattle feed to make them taste good so the cattle eat more. This makes the milk creamier and sweeter (at the cost of the life of the cattle) which then sells for a higher price. These cattle are again injected with artificial hormone stimulating chemicals each time they are milked and also to cause untimely maturity. These injections are very dangerous and the drugs used in them can cause cancer, tumors, impotency, mental disorders, retardation, and various other genetic disorders.
Sugar is also purified using bone charcoal and a few other chemicals (predominantly sulphur compounds). That is not all, either! When these raw materials are processed into baby foods, they are again added with (as they say, “Fortified with”) various compounds of iron, phosphorus, amino acids and a few synthetic equivalents of vitamins, artificial flavours, colours etc. Therefore, hardly anything remains organic or natural in them. If anything is still left undone, then that is fulfilled by adding the fillers to them, which are nothing but highly processed starch and fats. Therefore, your regular baby foods are actually a lot of highly processed and sweetened chemicals, starch, and fats that do more harm to your baby than doing him any good. Your babies may gain weight and height feeding on them, but these foods are robbing them of their life and vitality.
Organic Baby Foods
You must be very disappointed by now. Maybe you are biting your nails and thinking that perhaps there is no way out. However, there is one – organic baby foods. The basic components of organic foods are no different from those in the regular ones, except that no chemical fertilizers, pesticides, preservatives, antibiotics, hormones, and other things are used in raising them. Ideally, the cereals that are used in these organic baby foods should be grown using organic fertilizers and organic pesticides only (and no chemical ones); the cattle from which the milk is obtained should be fed only organic cattle feed and no injections should be given to them. Every other thing used in them should be strictly organic.
Furthermore, should be added to them. They must be processed organically and packaged likewise. These foods may not be as tempting, tasty, and colourful as their counterparts; but they are far more beneficial for babies. They are all natural and organic and help your baby live a longer, healthier life full of vitality.
One more thing! There are various categories of organic baby foods, categorized according to the different needs of different age groups, special needs, activities, health conditions, and medical status, so your organic baby food should be carefully chosen. You may let your baby’s doctor prescribe one for you. Furthermore, these foods are labelled as “100% Organic”, “Organic”, and “Containing Organic Ingredients”, which means that they contain 100% organic ingredients, at least 95% organic ingredients, and at least 70% organic ingredients, respectively. Their prices also vary accordingly.
Availability of Baby Food
All major manufacturers of baby food are now venturing into production of organic baby foods as well and they are now available in almost all major cities. Some known brands include Beech Nut, Earth’s Best, H.J. Heinz, Nestle and Gerber.
Note: The list of manufacturers given above contains names arranged randomly and not arranged in any order of popularity, market share, price, or demand. Organic Facts has not tested the products made by these brands and does not guarantee the quality of their products.
Despite the fact that they cost more than the non-organic baby foods, the demand for organic baby food is rising steadily, the reason behind this being increased awareness among people about organic foods. You can also find and read about them and their ingredients in detail on the Internet, as well as order them online. However, wherever you buy them from, please don’t forget to check three things; first, the ingredients, second, the certification of authenticity and third, the expiration date.
An essential substance like baby food is bound to sell well and an organic one will likely sell even better. There is a very good chance for the success of these organic baby foods if the companies come up with genuine products and sell them at competitive prices.
Homemade Organic Baby Foods
These days, although ready made organic baby foods are readily available, they may not be available in small towns (particularly in developing countries) and in rural areas. However, don’t be discouraged, because there is another solution. You know that these ready made baby foods were not available even a century ago and in places like India, people couldn’t even dream about it. So, what did they do then? Were the babies simply underfed and under-nourished? Not at all! They used to make baby food at home and you can too. After all, the companies are selling these home made recipes that are being produced on a large scale. All you will need are some organically grown cereals (preferably rice), some fresh milk from a trusted organic source, and a sweetening agent (honey will do the trick). Now, prepare some fine powder of the cereal, boil it thoroughly in milk, add some honey to it, and it is ready. Here’s another well-kept secret. This recipe has been used by Indian mothers to feed their babies for thousands of years and it is still preferred over the packaged baby foods in many parts of India (particularly rural places) and Bangladesh. This recipe is far better than ready-made baby foods in many respects. You can try other combinations too, such as hand-made breads soaked in milk, smashed and boiled organic potatoes, smashed organic bananas, organic vegetables or fruit puree (this is becoming popular these days as baby food) and many others. The choices are plenty, provided that the ingredients are all organic.
Some certification agencies are active in some countries, while there are none in others. There is one more thing as well; these agencies are not meant to monitor organic baby foods in particular, but they certify other organic products. In the USA, organic baby foods must have the USDA-Organic Seal to be certified as organic, but in India, this responsibility is somewhat borne by FPO and NPOP, although they are not certifying agencies.
Social and Cultural Aspects
Organic baby foods normally receive a warm welcome in places where people were more dependent on ready-made packaged baby foods, but naturally, their market is better in those places. However, in places like India and its neighbouring countries in the subcontinent, packaged baby foods are not considered good (organic or otherwise) and they are often looked down on. People prefer homemade baby foods to these marketed products. There is a common belief in these places that these packaged foods will make their babies weak and unfit for any physical labour (perhaps due to too much processing). This feeling is prevalent not only in rural areas but also in cities. The truth behind such beliefs is still a matter of research.
Apart from getting protection from diseases such as cancer, stones, tumors, untimely ageing, and impotency caused due to exposure to harmful chemical residues or metals over a long period, these baby foods are environmentally friendly too. They can even save you some money in the long run. While that sounds contradictory, since organic baby foods are costlier than normal ones, perhaps you should think about the medical expenses that they may save in the long run.
There are a few brands that use combinations of soy and other ingredients. Those based on soy should be chosen cautiously, because soy may not be suitable for all age groups or all health conditions. Furthermore, soy is not safe unless it is highly processed to remove various toxins from it (the more the processing, the lesser the chances of being organic). Some babies may even be allergenic to soy, so be careful and read all the labels!
A Final Word
Organic baby food is the best food for your baby, as long as it is truly organic. Therefore, don’t be in a hurry when you buy them. Pay attention, read everything on the product well, and read the customer and medical reviews about a brand before you pick it. Go for the famous brands as they are less likely to cheat.
The Baby in You: When your baby is not watching, you should taste a few spoonfuls of these organic baby foods. Believe me; they taste amazing…I have snacked plenty of times in the past!