Feed Your Children Real Food – Don't They Deserve It?

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It breaks my heart to see the kinds of things children eat – especially when I know what I do about the nutritional content of most of the choices they are provided with to eat.

I’m certainly not trying to criticize anyone when I say this, but it’s very apparent that many children are being done a disservice when they are fed meals and snacks. Children deserve real, whole foods as it is the foundation upon which their growth and development are constructed, and will dictate everything about their physical, mental, and spiritual worlds for the rest of their lives.

When I see children eating fast food and other items like Goldfish, Ritz Crackers with “peanut butter”, boxed cereals and other extruded grain products like pretzels, crackers, and bagels, processed pasteurized dairy products like Yoplait or Dannon Yogurt…even juices that read “100 percent juice” (which is no better than sugar water), quick-to-prepare meals like Chef-Boyaredee Beefaroni, frozen pizzas and chicken nuggets, hot dogs from industrial sources with nitrates, and fruit roll-ups, I become very concerned.

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So what’s so unhealthy about these foods? The label may tell us that they are nutritious…so they must be, right? I believe people go on feeding unhealthy foods to their children not because they don’t care. Most parents care about their children and want the best for them. I just think they lack the knowledge about what exactly their children are eating. I really believe in my heart of hearts, if they knew what their kids were eating, they might make different decisions.

And, a few fundamental changes really can be made, without a huge expense. Check out this Food Stamp Challenge article, very inspiring!

So, I’ve decided to highlight three of these commonly-eaten foods and go through the ingredients to find out exactly why they are far from healthy to eat.

1. Chef-Boyaredee Beefaroni ingredients:

Tomatoes (Water, Tomato Puree), Water, Enriched Macaroni (Semolina, Niacin, Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate [Vitamin B1], Riboflavin [Vitamin B2] and Folic Acid), Beef, contains Less than 2% of : High Fructose Corn Syrup, Salt, Modified Corn Starch, Enzyme Modified Cheese [Pasteurized Milk, Cultured, Salt, Enzymes] Flavorings, Soybean Oil.

  • All ingredients are from factory sources, including the meat. Meat comes from cattle who live in the worst conditions – are fed genetically-modified, unnatural feeds like grains, soy, corn, and silage from other toxic sources like orange peels heavily covered in pesticides. Cattle are not meant to consume grains, but grass. The consumption of grains causes an acidic environment in the digestive tract of the animal eating it, making a perfect environment for virulent bacteria like E. coli. Read this article about a girl who was sickened and probably permanently paralyzed for life because of eating an industrially-produced hamburger. The same cattle are administered hormones, steroids, and antibiotics.
  • Pasta is from genetically-modified, processed grains that are not sprouted nor soaked, and the high phytic acid content from improperly prepared grains causes mal-absorption of nutrients in the body.
  • Tomatoes used for the sauce are covered in pesticides and are from a conventional source – making the nutrient content of the tomatoes lower than an organic source.
  • Cheese comes from factory-sourced milk – containing many of the same elements as the meat – from cows pumped full of hormones, antibiotics, steroids, and fed improper feed (genetically-modified grain, soy, and/or corn).
  • This “food” has been stripped of all the natural nutrients that would be present in healthy food, from overprocessing (see bullet items above) and has been fortified to include synthetic vitamins and minerals – all of which are isolated elements which the body cannot absorb – with none of the necessary cofactors and enzymes present in real, organic food to make the food nutritious.
  • High Fructose corn syrup, modified corn starch, and soybean oil. All genetically-modified, highly processed, and too high in Omega 6s (soybean oil – too much Omega 6s are an inflammatory-causing agent in the body). High fructose corn syrup is an artificial sweetener that causes an overproduction of insulin in the body.
  • The label reads “good source of protein”, yet the ratio of carbohydrates to protein is unbalanced – 27 grams of carbs to 8 grams of protein. This is usually because the bulk of what you are getting in a container of Beefaroni is pasta, not meat.
  • 700 miligrams of sodium – and it’s processed sodium with all the minerals removed.  When you hear that sodium is bad for your health, it’s due to the overly high sodium content of processed foods. When you salt food at home, you don’t normally add this much to your home-cooked meals.
  • “Flavorings” are an excitotoxin. On a basic level, these substances cause damage to neurotransmitters in the brain, among other health problems.

2. Yoplait yogurt ingredients:

Cultured Pasteurized Grade A Lowfat Fat Milk, Sugar, Strawberries, Modified Cornstarch, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Nonfat Milk, Kosher Gelatin, Citric Acid, Tricalcium Phosphate, Natural Flavor, Pectin, Colored With Carmine, Vitamin A Acetate, Vitamin D3.

  • This is a highly processed “food” which contains mostly chemicals and sugar. Milk is from a factory source from cows pumped full of steroids, antibiotics, hormones, and fed genetically-modified feeds (grain, soy, corn). Milk is pasteurized, low-fat, and non-fat which renders nutrients in the milk denatured (damaged) and removes important enzymes and fat-soluble vitamins necessary for digestion.
  • When this “food” is stripped of its few nutrients from processing, the synthetic ones are added back in. Again, these elements aren’t recognized by the body and are mostly unabsorbed.
  • High fructose corn syrup and modified corn starch – see Chef Boyardee Ravioli above.
  • “Natural flavorings” are an excitotoxin – see Chef Boyardee Ravioli above.
  • Sugar – what can we say about sugar that is good? Nothing. Like other sweeteners, refined sugar is hard on the pancreas and causes insulin resistance, and eventually heart disease and diabetes. If fruit is one of the ingredients, why does this need sugar? And then it also contains high fructose corn syrup!
  • Strawberries are from a conventional source, and strawberries on the conventional market are heavily treated with chemicals and pesticides. These substances are known to cause neurological, reproductive, and endocrine damage, and birth defects.
  • Pectin – another ingredient that makes the excitotoxin list in Dr. Russell L. Blaylock’s book, Excitotoxins, The Taste that Kills
  • Carmine – an insect-based additive used for coloring and pigment color that causes allergic reactions and even anaphylactic shock in some individuals.

3. Goldfish (Pepperidge Farm) ingredients:

Unbleached Wheat Flour, Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron,  Thiamin Mononitrate, Vitamin B1, Riboflavin,Vitamin B2,  Folic Acid, Cheddar Cheese, Pasteurized Milk, Cheese Culture, Salt, Enzymes,  Water, Salt, Vegetable Oils, Canola Oil, Sunflower Oil, Soybean Oil, Salt, Yeast, Sugar, Yeast Extract, Leavening, Baking Soda, Monocalcium Phosphate,  Ammonium Bicarbonate, Spices, Annatto Color, Onion Powder.

  • This product is one of the most unnatural you can buy! Where to begin – extruded, genetically-modified grains, all the worst oils (vegetable – canola, soy, sunflower, which have too high Omega 6 content) from genetically-modified sources – plus, even though the label might read “no trans-fats”, the very method used to process these industrial oils causes them to be a trans-fat! Pasteurized milk from factory sources (see other two items listed above), about a half a dozen synthetic nutrients, sugar, and other artificial ingredients and color. Oh, and ammonium bicarbonate – an industrial ingredient used widely in the rubber and manufacturing industries and as a fertilizer, it is cheap replacement for baking soda, which contains – you guessed it – ammonia.

Back to the drawing board. What can we feed our kids that is delicious and nutritious? Here are some ideas:

  • Organic fruits and vegetables with homemade or organic salsas, almond butter, or plain, organic whole milk yogurt (made from raw milk is a plus!)
  • Grass-fed meats or pasture-raised poultry, range-raised game meats, pasture-raised pork and lamb, and eggs from pasture-raised poultry – dark and organ meats are a very important source of nutrients as well
  • Kids need real, whole fats and proteins – whole, raw dairy and meat with the skin and bones, lard from bacon, and tallow from beef. See our article about The Importance of Dietary Fats
  • Organic, whole, sprouted and soaked grains – breads, hot cereals, home made granola, and home-made, healthy desserts
  • Healthy oils – extra virgin, organic olive oil, coconut oil, palm oil, real butter

To read more about nutritional wellness for families and some snack ideas for children – read our article here.

As much as you can, eliminate the following from your kitchen (if the temptation is gone, it is much easier to make a transition effective):

  • Boxed cereals, pop tarts, and frozen breakfast items
  • Fruit roll-ups, “food bars,” packaged desserts, cookies, frozen desserts, and candies
  • Processed breads, flour, and pastas
  • Soy foods unless they are fermented like tempeh or miso soup
  • Chips, crackers, pretzels, rice cakes, packaged popcorn
  • Lunch meats and processed fake cheeses
  • Low-fat, homogenized and pasteurized dairy products like yogurt, milk, cheese, cottage cheese
  • Canned and boxed “meals” like Chef Boyardee or Kraft Macaroni and Cheese (as well as generics)
  • Frozen fast foods like pizzas, chicken nuggets, taquitos, veggie burgers, and other soy products
  • Soft drinks, juices, energy drinks, flavored waters, and other sugary beverages

Wondering how to make the transition? Here are some hints:

If all organic isn’t in your budget, buy it when you can and stop buying processed foods. Even conventional fruits, vegetables, meats, and dairy are somewhat better for your child than buying processed, packaged foods. Making everything from scratch doesn’t have to be difficult if you plan ahead, and it is so much healthier for your child. You’ll notice a difference right away if you make just a few basic changes.

Don’t assume your children won’t eat real food. If they have spent any amount of time eating a lot of processed foods from the SAD (Standard American Diet), realize the transition won’t occur overnight. My son was one of the most finicky eaters and it took some time when we converted from our SAD to traditional foods.

  • Patience and persistence is the key. Just keep exposing your child to new, nutritious foods. Sooner or later they will start to develop a taste for healthy foods that you want them to eat. I’ve talked to many parents who say, “my child would never eat that.” But the fact is, they are not giving their children enough credit, and kids need time to change and adjust.  Realize too, that you are the parent and are in control. If you make good food available to your child, and make it a fun, educational experience, he or she will start to become interested in eating healthy foods.
  • Remember, if you continue to offer special or processed meals full of salt and sugar to your child when he or she is eating, you are training your child to be a picky eater that won’t eat wholesome foods.

Keep eating out at restaurants to a minimum. Have you ever wondered why restaurants have special kid’s menus? Children are accustomed to ordering salty, processed, deep fried items that are nutrient-depleted when they go out to eat. If you give your kids junk, pretty soon all they’ll be satisfied with eating…is junk.

  • For the most part, restaurants are not known for using healthy ingredients. If you are in a restaurant with your children, an alternative to a kid’s menu selection would be to order an adult meal and split it with he or she, or if you have more than one child you can split an adult serving between two or more people.
  • You can count on most restaurants to serve processed food. The more processed foods they eat, the more damaged their digestive tracts become. First a yeast overgrowth will take over their immune system. Then it will slowly start to invade their whole bodies. And this yeast needs to be fed. That’s where sugar cravings come in. Your kids are just giving in to the yeast that has taken over.

If your child has behavioral or mood issues, keep a journal of the foods they are currently eating for one week. Then make a switch the next week to a healthier diet. Keep track of the foods he or she has changed, and observe whether the behavior or mood issues start to improve.

  • Many disorders such as ADD, ADHD, and irritability, fatigue, lack of focus, hyperactivity and even Autism are directly related to diet. If you are seeking answers to your child’s health disorders and suspect he or she might have some of these issues, check out the following video by Donna Gates and Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride and the GAPS diet philosophy.
  • This same idea applies to children who have other health problems, too such as digestive disorders like IBS, gluten-sensitivity, celiac disease, acid reflux, headaches, frequent colds and flus, cold or canker sores, and much more. When children stick to a diet that eliminates processed, refined foods with sugar and eat a diet replete with whole, traditional foods, health problems are kept to a minimum.

My son used to get terrible canker sores fairly frequently when we were eating the SAD (Standard American Diet). I could always trace the occurrence of sores back to processed, sugary foods he had recently eaten. When he is eating healthy, he does not get canker sores, period!

I am also happy to report that in the past, by this time of year my son has come down with a stomach virus, cold/cough/sore throat combo or some other illness that keeps him down for at least several days with a high fever.  So far this season, he’s been completely healthy!

Need even more ideas?

Nutritional Wellness for Families

Soaking grains

Breakfast Makeovers

Butter, or margarine?

Proof that real food doesn’t have to cost a bundle, is nourishing, and satisfies!

How to make chicken stock for chicken soup

Home-made granola

Recipes

Fluoride in the water

School lunch topics

Resources for real food

Real Milk – where to find real, raw milk in your area

U.S. Wellness Meats – grass-fed meats (beef, pork, lamb), pasture-raised poultry, cheeses, organ meats, healthy fats like tallow,  sustainable salmon, and much more

Pure Indian Foods – family owned business selling grass-fed ghee, coconut oils, and tea

Wilderness Family Naturals – real mayonnaise, coconut oil, kitchen supplies and more

Tropical Traditions – real, organic coconut oil, grass-fed meats/dairy, sustainable fish, kitchen supplies, and more

Cultures for Health – cultures for kefir, yogurt, buttermilk, cheesemaking items, kitchen devices, and more

This article is part of Cheeseslave’s Real Food Wednesdays Carnival. Please visit her site and read all the other real food articles linked there.

18 Comments

  • November 18, 2009 - 2:27 AM | Permalink

    I just want to point out that organic foods have not been proven to be higher in nutrients, and some in fact are lower. This does not take away from their value if you eat organic to avoid pesticides, but choosing organic should not be based on mythical nutrient content. Also, raw milk is illegal to buy, so I don’t know how you would feed your child raw milk yogurt and dairy products, unless you bought a cow (or cowshares) and made it yourself. I don’t think most parents are going to go that far.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090729103728.htm
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090521200017.htm

    • Jen
      November 18, 2009 - 4:12 AM | Permalink

      Marissa, I am aware of MANY parents who absolutely “go that far”! Once a parent becomes aware, and is convinced of everything that is horrible and nasty about the SAD, it makes the extra work of procuring real food worth it! Once you’ve made the connections with the local farmers, there is nothing that far out or hard about it. Local farmers, local foods and community are the way to go.

      • Courtney Thorn
        September 1, 2010 - 5:36 AM | Permalink

        i go that far and try to bring as many of my friends and family along with me…..some people don’t know and some people know and are just lazy….local, fresh, and real is the way to go:)

    • August 31, 2010 - 11:29 AM | Permalink

      You can buy raw milk legally in Texas, you just have to get it directly from the farm. I buy it every week near Dallas.

  • Jen
    November 18, 2009 - 3:37 AM | Permalink

    This is fantastic post, Raine! I feel the same way you describe when I see children not only eating, but literally being raised on processed and fast foods day in and day out. It’s so sad, and I can only wonder what their future health, mental well being, and fertility issues will be like.

    I am so thankful I stumbled across the WAPF website when my son was only 2 months old. It’s not perfect, but better than most. I had a horrific pregnancy diet when I think about it. I sent my husband for Dunkin Donuts at least once a week, even though I never normally ate them. I totally indulged every unhealthy craving I had, out of ignorance. I tend to favor savory, salty foods, and don’t have a sweet tooth at all. However, I was a sugar addict during pregnancy. When my son was only hours old, he developed hypoglycemia, and was in the NICU for 9 days on high does of IV dextrose and no feedings while they tried to stabilize his blood sugar. Even though the doctors told me my pregnancy diet had nothing to do with it (I’ve since come to realize that doctors don’t know a fraction of what they think they do), I still wonder if he was suffering from sugar withdrawl after birth. Thankfully he came out of it ok, but due to the long hospitalization I was unable to breastfeed (though I did pump for about 6 weeks), and made a huge effort to try anyway. Sadly he was fed conventional formula for the next 10 1/2 months of his life.

    However, once I found WAPF, I knew what I had to do. We had a freezer full of grass fed beef, pastured pork and chicken before he started solids. I found a source of raw milk, raw butter, and pastured eggs shortly after he turned a year old. I eliminated all processed foods, and switched to organic whole foods. He loves my homemade saurkraut, eats tons of fruits, veggies, and nourishing bone broth soups. He loves soaked nuts and grass fed cheese. These are the foods he eats and snacks on. He is thriving! Once we decided not to vaccinate (after 2 month shots), he has been to the doctor only once, and he is almost 2 years old. He had a fever for about a week, and I freaked and took him in, but they never did find anything wrong. He’s never had an antibiotic… YAY!!!! I am so thankful for the knowledge I found, that led me down this path.

    I think you’re right. Parents really do care, and want the best nutrition for their children. However, they are being lied to by health professionals, the government, and mostly by Big Ag (advertising). I hope and pray that they too will stumble upon the information they desperately need to provide a nourishing diet to their children, and a foundation for future health.

    Sorry this comment is so long… you hit a nerve with me. :)

  • November 18, 2009 - 6:15 AM | Permalink

    Marisa – You are entitled to your opinions, as long as you realize that’s really all they are. Organic food is more nutritious, and it is not a mythical notion. In a more recent article than the one you referenced, conducted by the French Agency for Food Safety, it declares that previous findings about organic food which had been argued about by various sources – one in particular mentioned is the study from the UK Food Standard Agency, reported to have flawed methodology that was “widely criticized by international experts” – were false. The AFSSA study was published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Agronomy for Sustainable Development, and ensures that “it has met rigorous scientific standards”.

    http://www.ecoknights.com/content/view/521/38/

    To the layperson, organic food may not seem more nutritious – but here are a few more reasons why organic is better. Not only do the pesticides and chemicals damage the nutrient content of the produce, grain, meat, legume, or whatever food you are referencing, but methods used by conventional farming actually reduce the biodiversity in the soil and growing environment, as well as strip valuable nutrients from the process of tilling – a common practice used in conventional farming. Organic farming uses cover crops and manure as well to enrich the soil, where conventional does not. And, organic farming uses manure from organic sources – not conventional – which is replete with toxins and chemicals.

    In fact, let’s have a quick lesson on how conventional food is produced – with emphasis on the least amount of growing time and maximum profit. All steps taken in conventional farming minimize the amount of time it takes to actually produce the food – just ask any cattle or pig farmer. As the Tyson chicken farmer in the film Food, Inc. (http://towardfreedom.com/home/content/view/1635/1/) asked the question, “If you can grow a chicken in forty nine days, why would you want one that takes three months?” In fact, it was reported that the chickens’ growth is abnormally accelerated. The bones and organs are rendered unable to keep up with the chickens’ external growth, and that that the birds topple over under their own weight, and into their own excrement. Why? Because the chickens are crowded together inside a chicken house where they see no sunlight. So, if you’re going for efficiency and maximum output, yep, you’ve achieved that all right. But you certainly haven’t grown a natural food containing the optimal amount of nutrients.

    Most people know that the act of processing any food removes nutrients, as in much conventional food; don’t you know from nutritional labels that many foods are “fortified” with synthetic nutrients? Those substances are added back in – milk is a great example. The milk is pasteurized and then Vitamins A & D are added back in because the natural nutrients were effectively killed during the heating process.

    As for the raw milk, it is not illegal to buy in every state – just ask California and various others where consumers may purchase it with no hassle at all. In the state where I live – Idaho – it is legal to purchase certified organic raw milk from cows if you are a farmer that obtains a license from the State Department of Agriculture. Peter and Susan Dill, who own and operate Saint John’s Organic Farm in Emmett, Idaho run their certified organic 160 acre farm cleanly and sustainable, and are licensed to sell their milk.

    I won’t argue with you that some parents won’t go that far. That may very well be the case. But if they don’t, their children will indeed be less fortunate. It is my moral obligation to disclose to consumers the misleading information propagated by mainstream health and agriculture about conventional foods and why it is harmful to allow our children to eat it (and the rest of us, for that matter). I can’t understand why people argue so vehemently against organic foods and natural ways of growing, preparing, and selling foods – when there is abundant evidence, data, and empirical observation of its destruction and toxicity to our bodies and health – especially when it comes to our children. Children are the most precious thing on earth, and don’t they deserve the very best when it comes to health and well-being? Don’t you want to consume the most natural, safe foods possible? I beseech you to ask yourself this simple question – how could chemically-laden and fundamentally altered foods possibly be safe to consume or healthy for the environment?

  • November 18, 2009 - 8:07 AM | Permalink

    Jen – I am so glad to hear about your victories with your son! Those are the best kind to have, I’m in complete agreement that you did the right thing. These are the stories we need to hear, and to tell, to everyone we meet. I had a somewhat similar experience as you with my pregnancy – but here’s what happened to me (or maybe you already read my story in another article on this site). I became pregnant and didn’t really do much to change my diet because I didn’t know any better. I have always been a small, petite person and thought I could eat anything I wanted – I ate a lot of Baskin Robbin’s ice cream when I was pregnant and also a lot of other processed foods.

    I went into labor in my 7th month, due to a ruptured appendix. I was told just prior to this event that I had gallstones through an ultrasound – but no reasonable, educated explanation was given as to why this happened, and I was completely ignorant. When my son was out of the NICU, he was on medication for reflux (due to his being 7 weeks premature) and sleep apnea. I was also heavily medicated both during my hospital stay – for nearly three weeks, and afterward until I finally decided to throw my antibiotics and pain meds away. I was tired of being doped up all the time, and the medication was making me sicker and sicker. My son screamed for 12 hours a day the first 4 months of his life, and I tried in vain to pump milk for him, but my poor body was so wiped out from infection and medication, I couldn’t get more than one ounce daily. So he was on formula for the first year or so of his life…this I regret so much. I was told, like most parents, that my son had colic. Little did I know that most of what I was doing – giving him formula and keeping him on medication, was making the problem worse. I even tried soy formula…but nothing worked. It’s a good thing I finally learned how toxic soy is and stopped feeding it to him. I just hope I didn’t cause any irreversible problems for his health down the road as a result.

    We moved from Spokane, WA back to Boise, ID when my son was 4 months old. This was our home and we needed to be near my family. We had moved to Spokane a year earlier because of my husband’s job and I was not yet pregnant. My pregnancy changed everything completely, as those things often do. The funny thing is, the doctors never gave us any guidance about my son being on medication and how long he’d have to continue doing it. I had thrown my medication away, and had good results…so I took a chance and threw his medication away too, without asking the doctor’s permission here in Boise once we moved. It seemed like right away, things changed and he settled down a bit. Of course, not two months later he was starting to eat food, so that probably helped. But I continued with my old ways and fed him various processed foods. He continued to be fussy, irritable, and screamed and cried a great deal. He stayed that way until he was nearly 5 years old. I remember my brother telling me that his son screamed and cried until he was about that age, and he seemed to think that was just the way some kids are…but that never seemed normal to me.

    Right around the time I started changing my son’s (and our family’s) diet – when he was just over 5 years old – I started noticing some incredible changes in his behavior. For some years, my husband, and even I occasionally, thought our son might have some autistic tendencies – fixation on specific things that he would never let go of (to the point of throwing terrible tantrums that would sometimes last for hours), perfectionism/literalism, extreme intelligence, overly developed sense of justice, and extreme highs and lows. When he was upset, the world might as well be coming to an end. But he also knew how to have a lot of fun when he was happy. But slowly, through diet and lifestyle change, these characteristics became less and less pronounced, and he was so much easier to handle and be rational with. It’s almost like he is a different child now.

    Many people might say it’s because he’s older and more mature; that’s certainly the explanation my father will hand over. He never would admit that his diet has anything to do with his moods or health – even when he goes over to Grandma and Grandpa’s house overnight and eats things he normally wouldn’t and then sometimes had adverse effects. I do believe that maturity certainly has positive effects. But I also know my son. He was like a wild animal and impossible to control when he was younger. Coincidentally, his diet contained a lot of processed foods. Now, most of what he eats is traditional, real food. Really none of our friends or family ascribe to this philosophy though, so when he leaves home – which is at least several times a week, he gets a dose of processed, industrial food. I have tried to educate my friends and family without being too forceful…I don’t know, I think it must be the case that I come across as being completely crazy because so far, none of them will listen to me. I get tired of fighting, so I just allow my son to eat what he’s going to eat when he goes to their homes. It’s difficult having so few people in my life who believe in what I do…but I keep on doing it because I know in my heart of hearts, it’s the right thing to do.

    Marisa – more on raw milk…four years ago a nutritional therapist diagnosed my son as having a dairy allergy. My husband has always had trouble with dairy, since I have known him. For some years, he avoided it altogether. Then I discovered raw milk. Even the nutritional therapist was skeptical about raw milk, and she is a WAPFer. I kept talking about it and she would say, “I don’t know about that.” But she encouraged me to use whole, organic dairy. It just made more sense to eat something that was a real, undenatured food. I talked my husband into it without much trouble. And we started buying raw milk from Organic Pastures in Fresno, CA. We couldn’t purchase it at the time in Idaho. My son and husband loved it and came to rely on it. It never made them sick and it was so delicious. Now we are fortunate enough to be able to get it locally from a neighboring town called Emmett where Saint John’s Organic Farm resides. Peter and Susan Dill are a fantastic married couple with three children they homeschool, and they run a clean, sustainable operation. My son loves the milk so much that when we thought we may have to give it up for 3 months during the winter (the cows don’t produce as much here during those months), he continually commented on how upset he was going to be that he’d have no more milk until February. But yesterday I confirmed that we could get extra portions of milk from the farm, as they are stepping up their operation and will have additional milk for us to freeze through winter. I cannot even explain how elated everyone in my family was at this news!

    So yes, raw milk is illegal in some states. But is the law really just and fair? I believe it isn’t. It isn’t fair to penalize every farmer who wants to deliver clean, fresh, raw milk to those who want to drink it. I think it should be up to the individual to decide if he or she wants to drink raw milk. It’s been consumed by people for millennia, and it’s only been until recent years that it became illegal for milk not to be pasteurized due to the filth and irresponsibility of the large, commercial dairies. We’ve been drinking raw milk for nearly three years, and have not once been sickened or made ill by it. That’s more than you can say for pasteurized dairy – which if you check in the historical accounts – almost every instance of people becoming ill due to drinking raw milk (and there are fewer cases than pasteurized) was due to the uncleanliness of the dairy or farm. The CDC reports that illness from pasteurized milk normally comes from “inadequately pasteurized” milk. But if you have harmful bacteria in milk, it’s normally from filthy conditions in the cow’s environment – either their internal digestive tract or their living quarters. Raw milk leaves the beneficial bacteria intact, so that if any harmful bacteria were present the beneficial are strong due to not being subjected to the heating process of pasteurization, and will outnumber the unfriendly variety. Diversity in organisms and bacteria are after all, the key to health. It’s only been in the last recent 50 years or so with the proliferation of over-sterilization, anti-bacterial substances, antibiotics, and other similar practices that micro-organisms have reduced and mutated into microbes that have the ability to make us all sicker than we’ve ever been in the historical past. These superbugs will likely wipe out a large majority of people on the planet before too much more time passes. But as long as we can still obtain real foods like raw milk, we just might have a fighting chance.

  • November 18, 2009 - 8:48 AM | Permalink

    I almost forgot, here is another article I wrote just a few months ago, which received heavy commentary and is directly related to this topic of organic foods being more nutritious – and with more references – The American Dietetic Association Refuses to Acknowledge the Benefits of Organic Food:

    http://agriculturesociety.wordpress.com/2009/08/11/american-dietetic-association-refuses-to-acknowledge-benefits-of-organic-food/

  • November 18, 2009 - 12:13 PM | Permalink

    I fear for our future when I go to a conventional grocery store and see the carts going through the lines. Small children next to carts full of chips, diet sodas, frozen pizzas and various other boxed, bagged, canned atrocities. Every time I go the local Walmart (small town – no choice), the cashier asks me about one of the items in my cart. After all, I buy foreign products like avocados, ginger root, jicama, elephant garlic, celeriac, romaine lettuce, poblano peppers and beets. I’m not kidding, either. We are entering a new world where most adults will not even know how to wash or prepare real vegetables or even recognize them. This leads me to point out a related topic: we must teach our kids how to shop and cook from a young age. My two teenagers help me cook almost every meal and are becoming very good cooks. I am a member of several message boards about corn allergies and you would be shocked how many young adults find themselves in the unenviable spot of having a new corn allergy diagnosis which requires them to cook everything from scratch but not knowing how to cook anything but mac and cheese from a box.

    Thanks for posting about this topic. It is just so disturbing when you have friends or relatives with small children and you have to watch them feed the children pseudo-foods and toxins. I try to “mention things” to my younger SIL, but she is so busy with school that she doesn’t think she has time for any of the traditional foods. She doesn’t realize how much this matters because she is inundated with ads proclaiming the health benefits of corn syrup yogurts, “fortified” breakfast cereals, bottled water with “minerals added for flavor”, etc. while shopping at stores that feature frozen peanut butter and jelly on white bread sandwiches, frozen peeled and cooked potatoes for making into mashed potatoes, washed and bagged salad greens from across the country, already fried bacon, and shredded plastic cheese food in a plastic bag. And as if all this wasn’t bad enough, schools and nursing homes no longer employee cafeteria cooks because all they need is someone to thaw out all the frozen crap and place it on the plate. Prisoners in Illinois are being slowly poisoned with high soy diets and we are feeding our soldiers MRE’s full of msg and other excitotoxins and diet soft drinks. Just how long do we think we can remain a “superpower” when most of our citizens will be too ill to even hold down a regular job, much less be healthy enough to protect our country.

    Well, sorry for the long comment but it seems that this hit a nerve for me, too. Great site. Keep up the good work.

  • November 18, 2009 - 11:31 PM | Permalink

    Excellent article.
    We are a family willing to ‘go that far’. We do have a cowshare. We have 6 chickens running around our yard, 5 of which give us wonderful pastured eggs. We buy pastured chicken, turkey and ducks from a hobby farmer. Every month we get a CSA for beef. And I do buy organic vegetables (not 100% but for the dirty dozen and more when I can) or even better from the farmer’s market or begged off of friends who garden. Most of our meals are cooked from scratch. I can’t remember the last box of cereal we had. We still have a long ways to go to get our diet as ‘clean’ as my husband and I would like but the changes have been huge. I do notice a difference in the way my teenage girls act depending on what they eat. And previous digestive issues that most of us suffered from are gone (unless we make the mistake of going out to eat after church- ugh). I do wish more people knew about this and didn’t just buy into the low fat, high cholesterol, “SMART” choices propaganda which is everywhere.

  • Avivah
    November 19, 2009 - 6:10 PM | Permalink

    Raine, great post! You have literally echoed the thoughts I’ve had many, many times. This is my first time visiting and after reading the comments I feel like I’ve found a society of like minded friends. :)

    We, too, are a family willing to go that far. We live in a state where raw milk sales are illegal, and travel once a month to a neighboring state to buy milk. People have often expressed surprise that we’d do this, but it’s been a regular part of our lives for three years now. I feel lucky that only two hours away we can get it! We don’t routinely buy organics because of budgetary limitations, but I still believe that eating whole foods prepared in a wholesome way make a huge difference.

    I’m dismayed when those who take the time and effort to learn about nutrition and prepare foods from scratch are dismissed as ‘fanatics’ and ‘health nuts’. When you know so much about the difference good food makes to their development, it’s not about wanting to be radical, it just becomes impossible to ignore their health and keep giving them Twinkies every day!

    • November 19, 2009 - 7:35 PM | Permalink

      I absolutely am treated like a fanatic or extremist even though we started eating this way because of a corn allergy. (I always hear the same thing when I say I am allergic to corn: “I hardly ever eat corn anyway, so that isn’t so bad”, but I always ask if they eat table salt, white rice, flour, ketchup, pickles, beef, chicken, or canned vegetables – they are shocked) My family is appalled that my kids and I don’t eat fast or processed foods as if I am depriving them of something. You have to realize that my kids are 14 and 16 and they wouldn’t eat that stuff on a dare. I’m accused of brainwashing them but they have felt the difference in their health and don’t want to feel bad anymore. It isn’t hard to convert an intelligent person when they experience the improved health from a whole foods diet. Once I started paying attention to labels, it seemed crazy that we are the only ones avoiding additives. How can it be crazy to eat only foods that are instantly recognizable in the natural state instead of crosscarmellose sodium, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, methylcellulose, or propylene glycol monostearate (all corn, by the way)?

  • November 19, 2009 - 8:15 PM | Permalink

    People often ask me how I get my kids to eat what I serve, as if healthy food is a punishment! But we eat lots of really good food! When the kids have friends over, generally their friends like our food, too. My older kids (13, 15, 16) like feeling good and they can all tell a difference when they eat something that isn’t typical fare for us.

  • November 20, 2009 - 12:50 AM | Permalink

    KC and Avivah -

    It’s true – a hundred years ago, eating toxic garbage would have been unacceptable. But since the Industrial Revolution, people have gradually made a fundamental shift in the way food is grown, sold, and prepared. I have to admit, when I first started paying attention to labels, I even didn’t “see” some of the ingredients KC mentioned on the list about corn – and many others. As time went on, I began to realize that if it was unrecognizable and I couldn’t pronounce it, it was unhealthy to consume.

    In the same way many people regard us as fanatics and weirdos because we eat real food (I mean, really, can you believe it?), I just cannot understand how anyone could possibly submit to eating all the processed food that people now eat without even questioning this activity, and think is “just fine. ” Is it just fine to have an obesity epidemic that far surpasses many other nations? Is it just fine to now have Type 1 Diabetes as a prevalent childhood disease? Is it just fine to place a 10 year old child on cholesterol medication? And why is it that people automatically blame fats, oils, meats and proteins for so many of these problems? Just because a doctor tells you this, don’t you even want to find out if maybe he or she could be wrong and do some research? Or are you just going to blindly, without question assume everything you are told by conventional medical opinion is the gospel? I find it difficult to believe also, that so many people think all the chemicals, toxins, pesticides, and alterations (such as feeding cattle grains, corn and soy or genetically-modified seeds) made to the natural course of growing and procuring food doesn’t affect our health and planet in an adverse way.

    So, we just have to lead by example and continue to spread the word. It is my sincere hope that everyone can discover the joy of real food and the inspiration of good health through lifestyle change and traditional foods.

  • LJ
    January 26, 2010 - 3:38 AM | Permalink

    Amen, amen, amen…..

    Why do parents and schools feed kids garbage? Because they CONTROL kids with SUGAR.

    Good nutrition is important to me. My mother died young of intestinal cancer. But our public schools serve such Garbage that we are forced to homeschool.

    The school stinks from the deep fat fryers. Teachers rely on parents to bring snacks. During the one year my kid was there, he was fed crap on a daily basis. And it’s somebody’s birthday every week. More garbage.

    When it was my turn to bring a snack, I brought a fruit salad and a veggie tray. Some kids had never eaten pineapple before!! One kid spit his out and gave me a dirty look. One dad urged his kid to “try some of those green things” — the green things were green peppers. Sheesh!!

    All the hard work I did to teach my kids to eat well was undone the minute he walked into that school.

  • January 26, 2010 - 7:32 AM | Permalink

    LJ – yes, because of the nutritional neglect on the part of the school system – along with other factors such as my son was just not connecting with the children in his class (and the whole point of sending him in the first place was so that he could make friends with children in our neighborhood since he had not done so already)- I also felt I had no choice but to home-school as well.

    I served on a committee of parents from our district for a year that met with the school board monthly, and our committee’s mission was to clean up school lunches and breakfasts. We brought ‘Two Angry Moms’ to our city, had a marginal showing of 60 people, and then the school district essentially did nothing. This was almost a year and a half ago.

    Now, I’m not saying that no one should continue doing anything with the district and that the schools should be allowed to continue serving that garbage to children…but the fact is, the system is so rigid and closed to what the parents want, it becomes very exhausting and discouraging. I have spent a lot of my time organizing and planning events for various efforts, and I just realized I simply don’t have the energy to fight and that it is too much stress for me. So, this web site is my outlet and my way of trying to make a difference. Hopefully more and more people will listen!

    • jenny
      February 13, 2010 - 9:59 AM | Permalink

      Hi Raine,

      The article was very interesting, and I would love to be able to feed my family healthy meals. But I just don’t see how it is possible for me.

      I grew up with a mother feeding us Dinty Moore and Mac and Cheese for dinner – and there aren’t many things I really know how to make. (my kids have pb&j for lunch, cereal or toast/jelly for breakfast and sometimes even mac&cheese w/hot-dogs for dinner)

      I have two small children (1 & 5) and I am going to school full time while their father works full time. We are also on food stamps (this is why I am going to school).

      I just don’t feel that it is possible for me to make real food, and keep up with my schedule, and stay sane. Our budget is Very Limited, and if I make a quick meal I get more time to spend with my children.

      I don’t get enough sleep as is, and I really don’t know how to have the time for food prep and cooking and storage – let alone time for shopping for things that are not ‘prepared.’

      Please tell me what someone in my situation can do (other posters: please – no judgments about my situation)

      Thank you very much,

      jenny (:

  • February 13, 2010 - 11:33 AM | Permalink

    Hi Jenny -

    Although I have never been in a situation where I have been going to school while my husband was working with two small children, we have had to live within a budget most of our married lives. I have spent most of my time as a mother to our son not working full-time, and I feel fortunate to be able to stay home, which has afforded me the time to prepare meals and take care of the home in a way that I otherwise could not have if I had been working full-time or in school.

    The key is to realize that you can make changes that will help your family’s health that are small and incremental. It’s important to realize that you shouldn’t fall into the trap of thinking that because you can’t do everything, you can’t do anything, if that makes sense.

    Suggestions would be to first, eliminate as many processed foods from your home as possible. That would be items like cereals, crackers, pretzels, meals in a can or package (like Dinty Moore Stew or Chef Boyardee, or Kraft Macaroni and Cheese and any generic relations).

    Next step is very easy – remove processed, industrial oils like shortening, fake butters, vegetable oils like canola, corn, cottonseed, soybean and replace with real butter, olive oil, and coconut oil. Only use real fats for cooking and food preparations.

    Those two steps right there will help you tremendously, for a start.

    Next, start buying the cleanest meats and fats you can afford. If all you can afford is conventional, fine, but buy real meats, eggs, and fats that don’t have anything added to them (look at the ingredient labels).

    If you are only buying conventional produce, start washing your fruits and vegetables in a home-made wash – this will save you a lot of money – http://frugalliving.about.com/od/cleaningtipsandrecipes/qt/Produce_Wash.htm

    Use olive oil, coconut oil, and real vinegars for dressings. You will save a lot of money on bottled dressings, and home-made is definitely healthier.

    Here are some ideas for remaking your breakfast into healthier meals: http://www.agriculturesociety.com/?p=1542

    When you are ready for more, put aside just one day a week, maybe in an afternoon, to make a list the things you want to accomplish that week. For instance, if you just put out some whole grains from your bulk section of the grocery store and soak overnight. This takes less than two or three minutes to do. You can soak your grains in filtered water (or tap water if that is what you are using) and a splash of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice. Here is the link to this procedure: http://www.agriculturesociety.com/?p=1597. This would be what you would do for cereal in the morning, instead of cereal from a box. You can add milk, yogurt, or whatever, real maple syrup, honey, fruit, nuts, etc. to your cereal.

    Be willing to spend a little bit of extra time – if you keep telling yourself you don’t have time, nothing will ever change. When you make meals from scratch, make extra and use for leftovers the next day or freeze. When I make a whole chicken, I always always use every last part of the chicken. I don’t throw anything away. When we are done with the meat, we use the fat from cooking for gravy and the bones for broth: http://www.agriculturesociety.com/?p=2432

    Broth can be used for other meals in place of meat because it is highly nutritious. You can put it in casseroles, rice, with vegetables, etc. and get a lot of nutrients in a relatively cheap meal.

    Definitely use web sites like this one and others linked on our front page to learn about things you want to find out about – look at recipes, resources, and articles that tell you more about what you want to know – whether it is healthy meat, milk, sustainable farming, lacto-fermenting vegetables, growing your own garden, etc.

    Definitely consider growing some of your own plants for food. Even if you don’t have a large backyard, you can grow several types of plants in pots such as tomatoes, strawberries, peppers, and herbs. Be sure to use dedicated soil whether you use a garden box in your yard or pots (such as the kind you would buy from the store and also some type of organic fertilizer). The first couple of years I tried to grow food in our garden, I didn’t use fertilizer – and last year I used one bag that cost me $20 for the whole season, and it made a HUGE difference. My plants actually produced and I had almost zero weeds – and no squash bugs eating my zucchini.

    Also, remember that many people are in your situation, and have been in the past, or will be in the future. Although we are not starving, we are having to watch every dime we spend because we just started a new business last year, and my husband has been unemployed for nearly 9 months. Except for about 4 sales last year, we have had NO income during that entire time (since May 0f 2009). We have been living off our 401K that we had saved up for our retirement, which is almost gone. It’s been hard, but we do without many things and we spend all our money on food and bills. We have our priority – feed our family healthy, and that comes first, no matter what. In January we had to miss our mortgage payment for the first time in our marriage (16 years) so we could put food on the table. You have to prioritize your necessities.

    Also, check out this article about eating healthy and saving money on your meals: http://www.agriculturesociety.com/?p=2523

    Most everything in this article used is organic, but just use as much organic as possible, if you can. Or, just use real, whole foods if you can’t buy organic – remember, back to what I was saying above about getting rid of processed foods. Use the Internet as a resource – you have those pages available at your fingertips for free if you have an Internet connection.

    If anyone else has any ideas, I would appreciate hearing them for Jenny! Thanks!

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