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Greene's Organic Prescription Just For Babies
By Dr. Alan Greene
 

Picture your treasured, pristine newborn, just beginning the voyage of life—a baby who hasn’t yet picked up some of the habits or tastes you might wish you never acquired. Next consider that what you feed your baby now will help establish her habits of eating, her taste preferences and food favorites.


If I were going to pick only one time of life to eat organic, it would be from conception through age three. Our bodies and our brains grow faster during this period than at any later time. Babies eat more than adults, pound for pound, and are more vulnerable to environmental toxins.

Here are seven very important choices to keep in mind for the health of your baby and of the planet:

1. Organic milk.

The best choice by far, when practical, is for breast milk to be the exclusive milk for at least the first year. But if you are using milk-based formula for your baby, either partially or entirely (or if milk is an ingredient in other foods), consider organic.

Babies shouldn’t be given cow’s milk directly during the first year of life. Nevertheless, most American babies consume a lot of milk during their first year, in the form of infant formula. At some points, formula-fed babies take thirty-two ounces a day—more milk than older kids or adults. And later in the first year they might get milk in foods that contain yogurt or cheese.

There’s more to a bottle of conventional formula than meets the eye. You see the formula, but hidden from view is the cow where the milk came from, the dairy where the cow was raised, and all the land devoted to growing food for that cow. When you choose a bottle of conventional milk-based formula, you are buying into a whole chemical system of agriculture.

Each bottle of organic formula, however, represents a whole organic ecosystem. Rich, living soil, responsibly nurtured, produces healthy or­ganic pasture and nutritious organic feed, which leads to healthy organic cows. (Organic cows must, by regulation, be allowed to graze on pasture during the growing season.) If you give milk-based formula, choose or­ganic every time.

An astonishing two hundred million acres of farmland in the United States are devoted to growing feed for our livestock.12 By choosing organic formula, your small choice affects a big segment of our agricultural system.

2. Organic soy.


Almost all babies in the United States are fed soy in the first year, usually without their parents knowing it. Infant formula is based on three core parts: protein, carbohydrates, and fats. Most parents are surprised to learn that the fat in formulas in general, whatever the type, al­most always features soybean oil. For a variety of reasons, I prefer avoiding soy formula for most babies, especially in the first six months. But even if you don’t use soy formula, there may still be soy in your baby’s diet.

Soy turns up as an ingredient in a surprising array of products.  ....read more

 
REFERENCES :
1. Jacobson, M. F. Six Arguments for a Greener Diet. Washington, D.C.: Center for Science in the Public Interest, 2006, p. 11.

2. Ash, M., Livezey, J., and Dohlman, E. Soybean Backgrounder. Outlook Report No. OCS-200601. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service. www.ers.usda.gov/publications/OCS/apr06/OCS
200601. Apr. 2006.

3. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service. Briefing Rooms: Soybeans and Oil Crops: Background. www.ers.usda.gov/Briefing/SoybeansOilcrops/background.htm. Mar. 13, 2007.

4. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Pesticide Data Program. Annual Summary Calendar Year 2005. www.ams.usda.gov/Science/pdp/Summary2005.pdf. Nov. 2006. (This summary reports that 14.5 percent of soybeans had residues of chlorpyrifos.)

U.S. Department of Agriculture, Pesticide Data Program. Annual Summary Calendar Year 2004. www.ams.usda.gov/Science/pdp/Summary2004.pdf. Feb. 2006. (This summary reports that 28.9 percent of soybeans were contaminated with chlorpyrifos.)

5. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service. “Adoption of Genetically Engineered Crops in the U.S.: Soybeans.” [Table.] www.ers.usda.gov/Data/biotechcrops/ExtentofAdoptionTable3.htm . July 14, 2006.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service. “Adoption of Genetically Engineered Crops in the U.S.” www.ers.usda.gov/Data/biotechcrops . July 14, 2006.

Fernandez-Cornejo, J., and Caswell, M. The First Decade of Genetically Engineered Crops in the United States. USDA Economic Information Bulletin No. 11. www.ers.usda.gov/publications/EIB11 . Apr. 2006.

6. Fernandez-Cornejo and Caswell, 2006.

7. Mendoza, T. C. “Evaluating the Benefits of Organic Farming in Rice Agroecosystems in Philippines.” Journal of Sustainable Agriculture, 2004, 24(2), pp. 93–115.

8. Davis, D., Epp, M., and Riordan, H. “Changes in USDA Food Composition Data for 43 Garden Crops, 1950 to 1999.” Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 2004, 23(6), pp. 669–682.

9. Benbrook, C. M. Elevating Antioxidant Levels in Food Through Organic Farming and Food Processing. An Organic Center State of Science Review. http://organic.insightd.net/reportfiles/Antioxidant_SSR.pdf . Jan. 2005.

10. Plazier, J. C. “Feeding Forage to Prevent Rumen Acidosis in Cattle.” University of Manitoba, Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences. www.umanitoba.ca/afs/fiw/020704.html . July 4, 2002.

11. Diez-Gonzalez, F., and others. “Grain Feeding and the Dissemination of Acid-Resistant Escherichia Coli from Cattle.” Science, 1998, 281, pp. 1666–1668.

Russell, J. B., Diez-Gonzalez, F., and Jarvis, G. N. “Potential Effects of Cattle Diets on the Transmission of Pathogenic Escherichia Coli to Humans.” Microbes and Infection, 2000, 2, pp. 45–53.

Benbrook, C. M. “Published Research on the Sources and Spread of E. Coli O157.” Organic Center. www.organic-center.org/science.hot.php?action=view&report_id=61 . Sept. 2006.

12. Rule, D. C., and others. “Comparison of Muscle Fatty Acid Profiles and Cholesterol Concentrations of Bison, Beef Cattle, Elk, and Chicken.” Journal of Animal Science, 2002, 80, pp. 1202–1211.

13. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service. Briefing Rooms: Corn. www.ers.usda.gov/Briefing/Corn . Apr. 20, 2006.

14. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, 2007.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service. “U.S. Consumption of Plant Nutrients.” [Table.] www.ers.usda.gov/Data/FertilizerUse/Tables/Table1.xls . (Table indicates that total U.S. 2005 fertilizer use was 22,146,200 tons, or 44.3 billion pounds.)

15 .U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service. “Adoption of Genetically Engineered Crops in the U.S.: Corn Varieties.” [Table.] www.ers.usda.gov/Data/biotechcrops/ExtentofAdoptionTable1.htm . July 14, 2006.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service. “Adoption of Genetically Engineered Crops in the U.S.” www.ers.usda.gov/Data/biotechcrops . July 14, 2006.

Fernandez-Cornejo and Caswell, 2006.

16.‑ “Hypoxia in the Gulf of Mexico: A Growing Problem.” Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, Minneapolis, MN, 2002. http:// www.iatp.org/iatp/factsheets.cfm?accountID=258&refiD=36133 .

“Hypoxia, the Gulf of Mexico’s Summertime Foe.” Watermarks, Louisiana Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection, and Restoration News, Sept. 2004, pp. 3–5. www.lacoast.gov/watermarks/2004-09/water
marks-2004-10.pdf.

Berman, J. R., Arrigo, K. R., and Matson, P. A. “Agricultural Runoff Fuels Large Phytoplankton Blooms in Vulnerable Areas of the Ocean.” Nature, 2005, 434, pp. 211–214.
 

 

 
 
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