I wasn’t going to write this post but after ranting to my other half about it last night – he convinced me that maybe I should! Warning: this will be a rant, but I love a good old-fashioned moan. A friend of mine recently shared an article with me that stated we shouldn’t be giving our babies rice cakes, and limiting the amount of rice we give them. And actually as adults, we shouldn’t be eating very much rice at all. The article was totally scare-mongering and it really annoyed me.
As parents, we only want the best for our kids. A huge part of that is the food we are giving them. For those of you reading a bit of my blog, you’ll know that we’re trundling through the weaning “journey”, with some or no success at all! Your body is a temple so better give her the best food possible! It started off pretty simple. I mean, steam some carrots and butternut squash? Easy. But then it got more difficult. Emma got fussier and I had less time to be making everything for her, so you naturally turn to baby food companies for snacks, to take the pressure off slightly. Only now you’re told through that some rice products is carcinogenic and you absolutely should not give it to them.
I delved into it a bit further – mainly because Emma is crazy about rice (ladened to cheese I might add!) and the whole thing worried me. I felt like an irresponsible mother, that I had been feeding her the wrong things. Should I have tried harder when she refused to eat potato? Or maybe I should have got my thinking cap on to find pasta sauces she preferred. It only took a bit of research to find out that the FDA advise something totally different, saying that yes, there is some arsenic in rice (this is something that has been well documented in the past and usually brown rice over white) but it is minimal so the best thing to do is limit it to 4 times a week.
Big sigh of relief. But it made me think, why can’t we trust what’s in our food? Particularly with baby food, each packet has a list of ingredients and are assured that that’s everything. Except it’s not. There’s traces of other stuff that you haven’t even heard of – the names are so obscure you have to Google them. I’ve been increasingly alarmed by what’s really in food since I’ve been weaning Emma. I took it pretty seriously and didn’t want any added sugar or salt in her diet and it shocked me how everything has a bit in it. Even some loaves of brown bread have demerara sugar listed as the 3rd ingredient. Milk was another one that baffled me, Emma has a dairy intolerance so the mission of finding a dairy alternative really was that, a mission! Nut milk doesn’t have enough fat, coconut milk has rice milk mixed in (another no no) as well as other preservatives. It should be easier than this, surely.
When I took a deep breath and reminded myself that I’ve read many of these types of articles, I also reminded myself that I’m doing my best, being mindful about what Emma is eating (and the rest of our family for that matter). Don’t get me wrong I think that advice is great – it’s better to be in the know – but we mustn’t forget that it’s all about balance. We have days when Emma has yoghurt and cream crackers for lunch, and then others where it’s a more hearty meal. Sometimes she might have biscuits for dessert and other days some blueberries. We don’t go crazy and equally we don’t get too prescribed over amounts and portion sizes.
For now, I’m not going to worry too much when I read things like this. It’s a great reminder to continue being mindful and I’ll keep reading those labels and try to choose wisely. Because that’s just what those articles are intended to do, to raise eyebrows and get you to click to read more. What’s most important to focus on is that your baby is happy, healthy and growing beautifully. And for that, we all deserve an extra moment without the worry to remember what an amazing job we’ve all done so far!