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Environmental connections to public health >>

Feeding Baby Green: Dr. Greene tells us how - and why

Friday, December 11, 2009

My husband hates parenting books. Absolutely hates them. Which is a good thing (there. are. so. many.) and a bad thing (sometimes you just gotta get an expert outside opinion).

But there are a few parenting books I have dared bring in the house these past six years, and Raising Baby Green is one of them. It's a resource every eco-aspiring parent should read and will likely reference over and over (think: room by room info & tips, starting with the womb).

Now he's FEEDING babies green - and telling us why Of course feeding babies is part of raising them, so it's good news for parents that Dr. Greene has since expanded the 25 pages on feeding in Raising Baby Green into a whole new book, Feeding Baby Green.

While his how-to-guidance and recipes (spicy black beans!) are gold, it's his premise that we parents have everything to do with our kids' "nutritional intelligence" that really hits home. As he describes it,

At its core, Feeding Baby Green is a revolutionary approach to cultivating Nutritional Intelligence, the age-appropriate ability to recognize and enjoy healthy amounts of great food.

Pregnancy and the first two years of life are critical windows for learning Nutritional Intelligence, an important, newly described strand of development. Most American kids of the last few decades are Nutritionally Delayed. Thankfully, this is easy to remedy.

So not only are we feeding our kids healthy food so their bodies and minds will grow and they will have energy to play and learn, we're also imprinting their food preferences for life. Starting in the womb. How?

The foods we give them at critical developmental stages, Dr. Greene suggests, are the foods for which they develop a preference. Salty, fatty, fried stuff at 2, in other words, means a craving for (you got it) more salty, fatty, fried stuff at 10, 20, even later. He says it this way, the second half of the twentieth century we have unwittingly imprinted our children on the wrong tastes and textures. They will chase after junk food and kids meals, and ignore a delicious, ripe peach or tomato packed with nutrients their bodies crave.

What does Dr. Greene recommend? Not baby food! It's a recent invention, after all. And should not be what he calls "the knee-jerk centerpiece of infant nutrition" that it is today. OK, so a few jars of pureed carrots won't hurt anyone, but in Dr. Green's mind,

the best foods on which to imprint are often foods that are local, sustainably/organically grown, in season, ripe, and recently picked (or frozen when picked) -- or from animals raised in a sustainable way (without routine antibiotics, extra hormones, or feed that is foreign to that animal). These foods have the flavors and the complex nutrients on which we developed to thrive.

It turns out these same foods and methods of agriculture are often the best for the planet. Agriculture and the transportation, processing, storage, and preparation of food are a big part of our ecological impact.

Hard to argue with that. If you're going to buy one - or both - of Dr. Greene's excellent books, get them on Amazon and support EWG without spending an extra dime.

Hear it from the good doctor himself (in a mere 3 minutes!):


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