Sunday, February 14, 2010

Label Reading and Nutrition

I would not consider myself a nutrition fanatic. In fact, before I had E, I would have told you I saw nothing wrong with a diet made entirely up of cheese burgers, hot dogs and pizza. With ketchup and sauce being the vegetable, and cheese being the dairy. And well, truth be told I still think that those are awesome foods, and I wouldn't call myself a nutrition fanatic, but I do view food in an entirely different light.

As I've been dealing with these "issues" of dairy and soy I began to read labels. Not nutritional information, but ingredients. And honestly, I began to be alarmed by what is used to make up the foods that we eat today. And it's just about everything that has this "problem". If you cook from scratch it's not as big a problem, but all of the processed foods and a large portion of the convenience foods, have ingredients that just don't seem to make sense. Especially if you do know how to cook, and now darn well if you made it at home, it certainly wouldn't have half the ingredients that are listed on the label.

Take something as simple as Chicken Stock. I mean really, you'd think, chicken, salt, some herbs/spices, water, maybe some vegetables. But I dare you, go read a can of Chicken stock. If the one you pick up has primarily ingredients that would make sense in Chicken stock, GOOD JOB! If not, really, I'm not surprised. I happened to have 3 major manufacturers of chicken stock in the house at the time of this realization. College Inn, Progresso and Swanson. Progresso will be my first choice in the future. Followed by Swanson which if you pick properly isn't bad either. But - I will never buy College Inn again. MSG? Yes, in your chicken stock.

As I've mentioned just recently I'm struggling with the idea of returning to work. And because of this cooking and meals enter into the picture a bit. I don't want my family spending large amounts of time cooking when we could be spending time together. But I don't want to sacrifice healthy options for E because of convenience.

Don't get me started on salad dressings, almost all salad dressings have either the first of second ingredient of soybean oil. I've started looking up recipes for home made salad dressings. They taste better anyway, and they don't take that long to make. And I'd rather know exactly what ingredients are going into my body.

Daddy and I have discussed at great lengths how this will change our eating habits. If it were just my own body, I wouldn't care as much. But E is tiny. Do I really want to add all these unnecessary ingredients to her tiny body? Granted she isn't eating any of it right now, but before we know it, E will be eating what is on our plates.

There are things at the end of the day I may not find a substitute for, for example, mayonnaise. I'm not saying I am going to give up mayonnaise forever. But I do want to eliminate the unnecessary when and where I can, so that if I choose to eat something that I can't substitute, then I can be ok with that choice.

Because all of this, Daddy and I have already begun to plot our plan to make E's baby food. I'm not saying I'll never feed her a single jar of baby food, I probably will. But as we like to cook anyway, why shouldn't we share that passion with E? Putting as much care, thought and love into her food as we would into our own. So yes, I am now looking into organic vegetables. And searching recipes that could be turned into baby appropriate food. I've already got my eye on a recent pot pie recipe that once pureed would be darn yummy. And I can say I know every single ingredient in it.

The whole experience reminds me of a recent Bryers commercial. The commercial says something to the affect of "Can your child read the label off the ice cream you're feeding them?" And then the child tries to read the label off a competing brand, but can't get through the first word or two because they aren't something easy. And then they read the Bryers box and it says: "Milk, sugar, vanilla". You get the drift.

Anyway. Those are my thoughts for today. Again, while I wouldn't consider myself a real health nut. If I can find grass feed locally raised beef, with good quality cheese some grey poupon and homegrown tomatoes and a little organic lettuce. I see no reason E can't have this several times a week. JK

My love to the Mommies and Daddies! And who dropped the pacifier?


  1. Yeah, we're planning on making our own baby food -- what Duffy & I will be putting in our body, well, that's not going to change too much - we've been doing it forever, anyway. However, CJ (and 2.0, whenever s/he decides to join us) will get prime treatment -- investing shortly in a super-duper food processor to help with the task.

    Even now, CJ is ready to give up formula & start eating with us -- he takes special notice of anything containing lots of garlic, if I'm cooking . . .

  2. Have you checked out It has a lot of info and recipes. Making babyfood is awesome, especially since the variety is limited with jarred foods.

  3. Kim, I have been checking out a lot! That's actually what got me started. If you have more experience with making babyfood I'd love if you'd share some of your insights!