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Sunday, February 3rd, 2013
2 years, 2 months.
I have trust issues with major yogurt brands. They have a nasty habit of throwing in mysterious ingredients that I can’t feel good about you consuming, as your health freak dad.
Like I mentioned yesterday in “Buying The Family’s Groceries Based On Ingredients, Not Calories,” I’m a stickler for finding out what’s in food, then researching the ingredients I’m unsure of:
“When we’re buying groceries, the first thing we look for on the front of the package is ‘No artificial flavors, artificial colors, artificial sweeteners, or high fructose corn syrup.’”
This past weekend I did my homework. I went to different grocery stores comparing their yogurt brands.
Here’s what I learned:
Even aside from all the fake red food dye which is derived from their petroleum or bugs, the well-known yogurt brands put gelatin in their product.
That means that their yogurt contains a mixture of the skin, cartilage, horns, and bones from animals like pigs and cows; or fish, if it’s labeled “kosher gelatin.”
Interestingly, the more expensive organic brands of yogurt, often aimed at babies and young children, do not contain gelatin.
It’s not just because we’re vegetarians that we avoid ground up animal bi-products in our foods. The way I see it, a hundred years ago when people ate yogurt, they probably didn’t go through the efforts to sprinkle their yogurt with gelatin.
Since I’m very deliberate that our family avoids processed foods as much as possible, I feel that a non-meat food product that requires ground up animal bi-products to taste or look right is too processed for us.
What is the alternative to gelatin in yogurt? Locust bean gum, which is derived from the seeds of trees; I assume they cost more than the animal bi-products that gelatin comes from.
However, there was one brand of yogurt that met all my strict qualifications: It had to be all natural, healthy, vegetarian, kosher, and yet still as affordable as the competition.
The winner… Chobani Greek Yogurt!
So I bought you an 8 pack of their Champions Tubes, which are portable pouches of their Greek Yogurt.
You had no hesitation in trying it. In fact, your immediate response after your first taste was, “I can like it!”
Then I grabbed a tube myself and realized just how good it was. I’ve never tasted yogurt that was so pure and “unchemically,” which is a word I just made up.
You immediately got upset that I ate one of your Chobani Champions Tubes.
Jack, just realize how epic that is. You got upset with me because I took from you the only all natural, vegetarian, kosher, and yet still affordable yogurt on the mainstream market.
We both win.
My congrats to Chobani Greek Yogurt, who I’m sure have no idea who I am, for earning my trust and becoming the only yogurt brand that shares my same high standard and beliefs in what good food should be.
I can like it.
- Only natural ingredients
- No synthetic growth hormones, preservatives, or artificial sweeteners
- A good source of protein
- An excellent source of vitamin D
- A good source of bone-building calcium
- Five live and active cultures, including three strains of probiotics
- Gluten-free and Kosher certified
- Free of nut, soy, wheat, and shellfish allergens
- Available in four delicious flavors that kids will love. (Verry Berry, Honey-Nana, Orange Vanilla and Vanilla Chocolate Chunk)
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Wednesday, July 11th, 2012
“Jewish?” asks my son Jack every Saturday and Sunday morning. His pronunciation of the word “juice” is still a little off.
Be glad you’re not my kid. In the economy of food at our house, juice is just one notch down from holy and sanctified.
When can Jack have juice? Only on the weekends, in the kitchen. And it’s 100% organic juice, which we water down greatly.
(He can drink a little bit of juice when he’s sick, like right now.)
Why am I so weird about my letting my kid drink juice? At least it’s not soda, right? Or some sugary, food-dyed cocktail.
People across the world and throughout time have wondered why we’re all here; as in, what’s the meaning of life?
Similarly, everyday thousands of people are looking for an answer to help get rid of their kid’s eczema.
Well, I have an answer.
For nearly a decade, I suffered from excruciating eczema; in particular, dyshidrosis.
Mine is completely in remission now, but only because I radically changed my diet and lifestyle. About three years ago when I starting experimenting with ways to get my “Freddy Krueger hands” to stop oozing, I discovered that if I stopped drinking juice for a couple of days, my skin condition improved.
So I stopped drinking juice all together.
While my son may look nothing like me, he did inherit my sensitive skin condition and he is prone to eczema.
And sure enough, if he drinks more than one serving of juice for more than one day in a row, the back of his neck and his thighs break out.
This didn’t happen just one time. It happens every time. In fact, I’m pretty sure his eczema will bad tomorrow with how much juice I’ve let him drink since he got sick a few days ago.
But why does 100% organic juice make eczema worse?
Because it’s a processed food.
The vitamin-packed juice of the fruit is separated from the healthy fiber of the fruit. Together, the juice and fiber digest properly in our bodies.
But apart, it’s messin’ with nature and stuff.
That’s why we feed Jack actual fruits and veggies, even if we have to puree them and mix them together. So he gets all the nutrition he needs from the whole fruit or veggie.
And that’s why he thinks prunes and broccoli taste good.
Jack’s dentist, Dr. Snodgrass, even warns against giving kids juice regularly, in his brochures. The high consistency of sugar in juice, especially when the child sleeps with a sippy cup full of juice, can lead to cavities.
This is taken from the guidelines of The American Academy of Pediatrics in regards to the subject:
- Babies and toddlers should not drink fruit juice at bedtime.
- For children ages 1 to 6, intake of fruit juice should be limited to 4 to 6 ounces per day (about a half to three-quarters of a cup).
- Drinking too much juice can lead to poor nutrition, diarrhea, gas, abdominal pain, bloating, and tooth decay.
- All children should be encouraged to eat whole fruits.
So am I really that weird after all when it comes to being extremely conservative about my kid drinking juice?
I invite you to read a blog by Lisa Leake, who is not okay with juice either. Her blog is 100 Days of Real Food.
Here’s what she had to say today on her Facebook wall:
“A few readers have asked what my kids drink besides milk and water…and I hate to say it, but the answer is not much! They occasionally have juice (which is usually store-bought 1-ingredient organic apple juice) and by occasional I mean 1 – 2 cups per week on average and it’s diluted with water.”
The way I see it, a kid drinking juice is like an adult drinking alcohol. It is to be consumed in moderation.
So that’s how it’s treated in our house:
Juice is “baby booze.”
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eczema, food, fruit juice, Health, healthy, kids drinking juice, parenting, toddler, vegetarian | Categories:
Health, Must Read, The Dadabase
Monday, July 2nd, 2012
Jack associates Jill with food. He associates me with… doing weird activities, I guess.
When he whines or gets antsy, my wife’s natural reaction is to assume he wants a snack. So he gets one.
But my natural reaction is to move him to a different room or take him outside. I just change the scenery and he so quickly forgets about why he was upset.
When I am taking care of Jack, he doesn’t get snacks. He doesn’t ask for them. He doesn’t think about them.
My wife is the nurturer. I am the adventurer.
For the rare times I get home with Jack before Jill gets there, Jack and I head straight to the living room and start playing.
It’s not until Mommy arrives that Jack remembers he’s hungry and immediately runs to his high chair, moaning on account of the munchies.
With me, he only wants three meals a day; no snacks.
With my wife, he wants three meals a day, all complete with 2nd helpings; and of course, a snack or two in-between each meal.
Why? Does his appetite truly increase when Jack sees his Mommy?
Nope. But seeing her triggers him to think, “I could eat…”.
What made me think of this double standard is the routine of our family car rides on the weekends. Typically, whenever we leave the house, it’s just after a meal.
Then we load up in the car, with me in the driver’s seat and Jack and Jill in the back. Once we’re all strapped in, I start driving. Then I hear Jill getting out a snack for Jack.
Not because he’s hungry, but because he wants an activity to entertain him. And hey, if Mommy’s activity involves food, he’s not going to turn it down.
I imagine if Jill was the one driving and I was the one entertaining, Jack wouldn’t be eating at all in the car. Because I would be too busy annoying him with his toys for him to think about unnecessary snacks.
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food, healthy, kids' food, parenting, snacks, The Hunger Games, toddler | Categories:
Health, Home Life, Must Read, Story Bucket, Storytelling, The Dadabase
Sunday, January 15th, 2012
It turns out, there is a downside to having a toddler who only wants to eat Cheerios, bananas, and wheat bread: a lack of digestive movement, which causes for one uncomfortable and cranky little boy while a swollen stomach.
The solution was simple: feed him prunes. But seriously, what toddler would willingly eat prunes? I don’t even know that I’ve ever had a prune. My expectations were low; exactly where they should have been.
Simply because it was a new food, my son Jack swiped at the incoming spoon of pureed prunes. So I held down his arms as my wife delivered the stuff straight into his mouth- which was conveniently open because he was crying.
We looked for his reaction and were actually surprised. He didn’t not like it. Though there would be several days to follow of Jack pretending to fight prunes, now that he’s a week into it, he hardly ever refues the purple stuff.
Not that he really understands most of what I’m saying anyway, but instead of calling prunes by their actual name, I say, “Jack, it’s time for two bites of chocolate pudding.”
And that doesn’t even make much sense, because he’s never eaten chocolate pudding before. But either way, my kid willingly and joyfully eats pureed prunes. More importantly, “the train is now moving.”
So why resort to prunes only when he needs them? You know what they say:
A prune a day keeps the constipation away.
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Friday, January 13th, 2012
Today when I saw a headline talking about how McDonald’s will remain a sponsor of the Olympics through 2020, I thought exactly what I was supposed to think by reading that headline:
“That’s ironic- a fast food company is giving free burgers and fries to Olympic athletes and buying ads for everyone to see during a world-wide athletic event? Isn’t that sort of defeating the purpose?”
So yes, I fell for it, Mr. Headline Maker. But then I kept thinking about it. Isn’t it sort of a double standard for us to pinpoint a major contributor of America’s malnutrition when there are plenty of others doing the same thing?
I think of how Coca-Cola is typically a sponsor of middle school and high school sports. It’s common for young athletes to receive a free t-shirt with the classic logo on it, along with the school’s name. Not to mention, when I was growing up, there were soda machines conveniently placed right outside the gym doors.
In an average can of soda, there are around 39 grams of sugar. Knowing that a tablespoon of sugar translates as 12.55 grams, that means a can of soda contains about 3 tablespoons of sugar.
Really? Think about adding 3 tablespoons of sugar into any 12 ounce serving of any kind of food. Isn’t that kind of weird? Or disgusting? Maybe even unnecessary?
Yeah, I know. There are diet sodas too, if you trust forms of aspartame. I don’t, sorry.
I’ve heard that my generation (around age 30 and younger) focuses on the planning of advertisements more than any generation before. I know it’s true for me. I’m always eager to spot ironic sponsors for any event, whether it’s for something athletic or even the ads showing up here on this site. (I’m still waiting to see a “dad ad.” on Parents.com.)
But honestly, does anyone really care about ironic sponsorship? Does McDonald’s giving Olympic athletes free food really affect our lifestyle choices anyway?
I don’t think it does. It doesn’t actually change anything. It just makes us point out the irony and makes for a light-hearted, 45 second conversation.
And then the conversation turns to Beyonce’s baby or Hostess going out of business.
To me, the most ironic thing would be to see advertisements for carrots during an athletic event.
Image: Hamster with a bar, via Shutterstock.
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