And now on to the food!
Most of my baby food journey has been dictated by Rainbow Green Live-Food Cuisine by Gabriel Cousens, MD. This book is all about raw food, and it has a handy-dandy baby-food section in the back. I, myself, am not a completely raw foodie. In fact, it's a smaller percentage of my diet than I'd like to admit, but that is a long story that I will probably blog about another time. Let's just skip to the end where I see the health benefits of raw food and wish to incorporate those things into my children's lives as much as possible. I don't expect, nor want, them to be completely raw either. But I do want them to appreciate the value it plays in their diet and be willing to incorporate it as much as possible. Plus, raw flavors are so strong and so delicious, I don't want my children's senses so deadened by synthetic processed food that they don't appreciate natural food in its purest form.
Soap box over.
I've been following the guide in the back of Cousens's book for a few reasons:
1. I know it's a great start for my baby's digestive and immune system, and I truly believe these first foods are important to setting my kids up for health success.
2. Since I'm making small portions, the price is even more manageable than it is for me.
3. Everything tastes delicious. If my baby doesn't eat it, I will!
But it's so expensive, right? Here's a bunch of little tips to saving lots:
1. Buy organic based on the "dirty dozen." Add carrots to that list. Gardeners use carrots to clean the soil. Carrots naturally pull the toxins out of the soil--great tip for if you want to clean up your garden; the main reason you don't want to eat conventional carrots! If it's not on the dirty dozen list, then go ahead and buy conventional. Depending on where you live, places like Aldi and Trader Joe's sell produce for insanely cheap prices, making healthy eating really affordable. Also, there are tons of veggie wash recipes available online--or you can make it as simple as soaking your produce in apple cider vinegar/water, or rubbing your produce down with grapefruit extract to get it clean and pesticide free.
2. Take some time to learn your stores. I know the prices and availability of all organic and natural ingredients available from all of the stores in my area, not just the health stores. You can find a lot in Wal-mart and Target nowadays, but they aren't always the cheapest. If it's a store you don't frequent often, be sure to stock up on your favorite items when do go there. A lot of stuff is cheap on Amazon too!
3. It's summer time! Shop the farmers markets in your area. The more local, the less steps between field and your plate.
4. Coupon. Go to coupon classes, even if you don't think they'll apply to healthy eating. You'll be surprised what you can learn about making your shopping more affordable. (E.g., Whole Foods has double-flyer Wednesdays where there are basically two sales going on simultaneously. Match that with coupons off their website doubled with manufacturer coupons and buy in bulk to get their case discount, boom! That's a lot of savings. I save a lot just sticking to their bulk bins too.)
5. If you keep eating the same junk you've always eaten and just want to provide healthy stuff for your baby, you're setting yourself up for failure. First of all, stocking a healthy and junky pantry is expensive. Second, you won't stick with the healthy food because the junky food is much, much more convenient.
6. Get educated. Know what processed foods, dairy, high fructose corn syrup, artificial dyes, fragrances, heavy-meat diets, and more do to your body. When you know what you're doing to you/your baby's body, you'll think twice before you buy/eat it. If you live in intentional ignorant bliss, you will easily derail.
7. Get support. Surround yourself with other people who are committed to eating/feeding their children properly. There's strength in numbers.
More specifics on which foods I started my baby on next time.