It really is fair to say babies are ‘born organic’. Their body is never purer than as they emerge into our world. The food they receive before birth is filtered first through their mother and if they are breast-fed, leads straight to another pure, organic source of food… but this guarantee exists only if parents’ lifestyle supports it.
What we eat ourselves and the choices we offer our children truly form the foundation of future good health.
When a baby is weaned and we start making decisions about what to feed her, we’re laying down the life-long foundations of her attitudes to food and eating. This can also be a terrific opportunity to take a fresh look at the whole family’s eating habits and perhaps make some important changes, including shifting to a more organic diet.
The amazing benefits of ‘clean food’
The pesticides and chemical fertilizers used in industrial farming, along with additives and preservatives used in food processing, are among our biggest dietary health risks today. Our preference for high fat and sugar only compounds matters, but it is the ‘treatment’ of food itself that is causing many long-term problems and reactions.
Organic food offers some of our best protection against these hazards. It is produced and monitored in ways other food options are not, and its life-enhancing qualities cannot be underestimated. You could say that organic food is our ‘cleanest’ source of nutrition; it’s the one choice we can make where we have real security about what our food contains.
Current research finds that a child’s nutritional status in the first five years determines its good health for the rest of its life. Meanwhile, the US Environmental Protection Authority has also found that “… children receive 50% of their lifetime cancer risks in the first two years of life,” and in a separate study,1 “…one of the main sources of pesticide exposure for US children comes from the food they eat.”
No matter what, it is always better to eat fresh foods and I totally encourage you to always choose plenty of fruit and vegetables, and meat and fish if you like them, rather than not!
All the same, in Australia we are exposed to the same sort of industrial farming methods as the US and I support families in choosing as much certified organic food as they can, knowing it is guaranteed pure and truly supports our lives and, as importantly, the good health of the earth as a whole.
Considering how pure a young child’s digestive system is and how fast she is growing - with a metabolic rate to match - the effects of the food she eats are felt far more quickly than in adults.
Weight for weight, babies eat two to four times more fruit and vegetables than adults! If you’re feeding your child on industrially farmed foods she is likely to be ingesting 400% more than you of the eight most commonly used chemical pesticides.
A UK government survey into the content of conventional babyfoods in 1998 found pesticide residues in 10% of commercial babyfoods. They found higher levels again in fresh fruit and vegetables used for homemade baby meals. What better reason can there be for buying organic foods that are guaranteed free of chemical substances?
Luckily, when we are all feeling very stretched for time, there is a huge variety of ready-made and convenience foods available from the supermarket shelf. Many of these now meet our wish for healthier, more balanced meals and there is an ever-growing choice of organic and additive-free food products.
Either way, it is important to read labels, become aware of what might affect fresh ingredients, and the content of pre-prepared foods. Look for the Australian Certified Organic bud logo so you can trust the integrity of what's behind the label.
Substances we adults excrete quickly, linger in a baby’s system for much longer. We depend on the liver and kidneys for filtering out toxins and our body fat also traps toxins and keeps them out of circulation. A toddler has immature organs and a lot more water than fat in her makeup. She filters and excretes toxins less efficiently and the water keeps them moving through her body for longer. It’s easy to avoid placing these extra stresses on her system by choosing pure foods to begin with. (It is also worth noting that research into tolerance levels of agricultural chemicals is conducted on adults, not little children, so results do not reflect truthfully for much smaller bodies, with their naïve digestive systems.)