I get a lot of questions about this from readers and have also wondered myself…how do you rehydrate your sick child without succumbing to the artificial ingredients found in Pedialyte? Just ask any pediatrician across the country and they’ll likely say this is the beverage of choice when it comes to children recovering from the stomach bug…
I am not saying this drink won’t provide your sick child with some much needed nutrients (we’ve used it before ourselves years ago), but what about the unnecessary extras it comes with like artificial flavors, sweeteners, and color (yellow 6)? We’ve already discussed some disturbing facts about the artificial dyes that require a warning label in many countries outside of the US, but as far as I can tell there aren’t many acceptable rehydration alternatives that don’t contain them. And when I asked our pediatrician’s office if they could please recommend another option, since I wanted to avoid the questionable artificial ingredients in Pedialyte, they had no idea what I was talking about. I am honestly not sure why I was surprised.
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This is a guest post from my husband, Jason Leake, and is part of his interview series for the blog. To learn more about Jason check out our team page.
Is your child one of the 33% who suffer from asthma, allergies, ADHD, or autism? If so, you will not want to miss this post today. Robyn O’Brien, a.k.a. “the Erin Brockovich of the food industry,” believes that our kids are the “canaries in the coal mine” and that the sudden rise of these childhood ailments, especially food allergies, might be a warning sign to all of us that something in our food system is very wrong.
In her book The Unhealthy Truth, Robyn takes you along for the ride as her extensive research reveals “One Mother’s Shocking Investigation into the Dangers of America’s Food Supply – and What Every Family Can Do to Protect Itself.” I was on a flight when I hit chapter 3, which is when the pages really started flying (no pun intended, I swear). At one point my jaw dropped; later I let out an audible gasp. I found myself writing interview notes even though at that point in time I had no interview gig. Fast-forward to now, and here I am talking to Robyn O’Brien. Who knew?
The Unhealthy Truth speaks to you on two levels:
1) If your child suffers from asthma, allergies, ADHD, or autism (1 in 3 American children does) or even other less severe ailments like ear infections, runny nose, or eczema, you’ll gain insight into how our food system could be affecting them and how cutting out processed foods – or specific food groups – may help. It’s a little painful to read along as Robyn discovers the food she was feeding her children was literally putting one in danger and causing very uncomfortable symptoms and behavioral changes in another.
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Gone are the days of iceberg lettuce topped with limp veggies and bottled, processed dressings. No wonder I didn’t really enjoy salads until recently…I thought that’s what they were all about! It’s amazing how incorporating fresh greens, roasted nuts or seeds, distinctive cheeses, fresh fruit, and homemade dressings can change everything. And I know I am late getting on this bandwagon, but I’ve recently discovered what a real gem dried fruit is as a salad topping as well. I wish I would’ve figured that one out much sooner!
So today I am taking the idea of a fresh, tasty salad a step further with one of our sponsors, NatureBox. Their company delivers attractively packaged whole food snacks to your door that include everything from nuts to seeds to dried fruit to trail mixes. Their offerings are more than enough to keep things interesting especially if you use their snacks to create a “make your own salad bar.” Who knows, maybe you could even pique the interest of your previously skeptical child? Seriously, who wouldn’t like to prepare their very own dish? Even if they end up with just 2 pieces of lettuce and loads of dried fruit, seeds, and cheese, don’t judge…everyone has to start somewhere. I can tell you my daughter was (not so patiently) waiting for me to finish these pictures just so she could dig in to all this deliciousness herself. Presentation can make all the difference even for a our little ones.
Make Your Own Salad Bar: Lettuce, Roasted Garlic Pumpkin Seeds, Parmesan Cheese, Zingy Currants, Almonds, Dried Apricots, Goat Cheese, Apples, and Homemade Dressing
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I am not one to count calories, fat grams or anything of the like, but that’s because the one thing I do try to stay mindful of is portion size (and only eating enough to feel full). But in today’s “super-sized” society (i.e. the United States) it’s harder than ever to determine if your portion size is even on par or not. Check this out:
According to French Kids Eat Everything, there was “A scientific study in which two researchers (one French, one American) weighed servings of identical meals at McDonald’s restaurants in Paris and Philadelphia. The serving sizes were wildly different: a medium-size serving of fries at McDonald’s in Philadelphia was 72 percent bigger than at McDonald’s in Paris.”
Let’s hope they aren’t charging the same price, ha ha ha. All kidding aside though, what’s up with that? And there’s more:
According to the CDC, over the last 50 years right here in America “The size of a hamburger has tripled, a basket of fries more than doubled, and the average soda has grown from a modest 7 ounces to a jumbo 42 ounces.” And some wonder why “The average American is 26 pounds heavier than in 1950. [And] about one-third of us are overweight or obese and that number is projected to hit nearly 50% by 2030.”
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There are a lot of these “foods to avoid” lists floating around the internet I so was inspired to make a list of my own.
Highly Processed Foods and Ingredients to Avoid:
- Artificial ingredients
This includes both synthetic dyes (like FD&C Red No. 40, Tartrazine, or Blue No. 1) and artificial sweeteners (like saccharin, aspartame, or sucralose). When you look at the history of food artificial ingredients haven’t been around all that long, and I don’t know about you, but I am not interested in being the guinea pig here. Plus the fact that artificial dyes require a warning label in many countries outside of the U.S. is enough of a deal breaker for me.
Instead: Look for dyes that come from natural sources (like paprika, saffron, or annatto) or forget the coloring all together (it’s only for aesthetics). When it comes to sweeteners pick those that come from natural sources (like honey, maple syrup, and even sugar) over the artificial stuff, but always consume them in moderation (see #2).
- Refined sweeteners
It’s not that refined sweeteners themselves (like sugar) are the devil, but the quantity in which sweeteners are consumed these days is honestly the scary part. Sugar (or corn syrup or cane juice or brown rice syrup or whatever creative name is on the label) is no longer reserved for truly special occasions anymore, and instead is lurking in yogurts, breads, crackers, flavored oatmeal, beverages, and even innocent-looking salad dressings.
Instead: Rely on natural sweeteners like honey and maple syrup since they are mostly “processed” in nature and at least contain some trace nutrients. BUT it’s important to remember that “sugar is sugar” no matter what you choose. So even if you go the more natural route (which is recommended!) that by no means gives you the green light to turn up the bottle. It’s also helpful to buy foods “plain” (like yogurt, oatmeal, etc.) and sparingly sweeten them yourself to make sure things don’t get out of hand.
- Refined grains
This includes products made from white flour (usually labeled as enriched “wheat” flour), white rice, corn meal, etc. When grains are refined the most nutritional part of the grain (the bran and germ) is removed. This prolongs shelf life among other things, but remember…real food should (and does!) rot so avoid the science experiment and stick to the whole grains provided to us by nature.
Instead: Give up the white stuff and rely on nutritious whole-grains like whole-wheat flour, oats, brown rice, quinoa, and others. Continue Reading »
If you have no cake decorating skills like me then you’ll love the idea of a homemade whole-wheat cookie cake for the next birthday in your family. It takes very little – if any – talent to squirt some freshly whipped cream into the shape of a circle and your child’s first initial or age. I do want to warn you up front though this recipe calls for a little bit of refined sugar, which is not technically “real” but I think totally appropriate in GREAT moderation. One of the biggest problems with sugar today is the quantity in which it is consumed. And as I’ve shared before I think homemade treats are completely acceptable for occasions that truly are special and rare, although you’d be hard pressed to find me condoning factory-made, chemically-filled, artificial dye-laden treats any day of the year. So please forget that cookie cake place in the mall and instead spend a half hour making your very own cake from scratch…it’s easier than it looks!
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