Since my pregnancy, what we eat has become a very important subject in our lives. Before Sydney I was avoiding foods that had additives, food coloring, high-fructose corn syrup, sugars, and anything that I could not pronounce. But now that Sydney is in our lives, I’m even more willing to spend extra on organic food.
While the pesticides that are used on a lot of our fruits and vegetables might not be very harmful to the average adult, it is quite dangerous to a little growing human.
Babies also eat a lot more fruits and vegetables than adults do. Babies get fuller faster and since they don’t have all their teeth until about age two, it is easier to feed them soft foods like bananas, apple sauce, mango, avocado, and steamed veggies. Because every inch of their bodies and their organs are growing, they need lots and lots of nutrient-rich foods to make sure that their brains, lungs, hearts, blood cells, eyes, muscles, and everything else grows healthy and “correct.” To ensure that they get all their nutrition, we need to provide babies with the healthiest of foods. If the foods have chemicals in them, things can go wrong in the growing process.
Food dyes are known to cause ADHD, HFCS is suggested to cause diabetes, and some preservatives can encourage cancerous cell growth. If dyes, HFCS and preservatives can “invade” the body of an adult, imagine the damage it can cause to the developing child.
To ensure that I’m not giving Sydney anything harmful so that his body, organs and brain can grow healthy, eating chemical-free food has become a priority. Since I’m still breastfeeding him, I need to eat healthy and since he eats with us, he needs to see that his dad is eating healthy as well.
Buying organic has become a priority for us when we buy fruits and veggies as well as when we buy meat. We try to buy organic produce that has thin skin and that grows in the ground, like potatoes, carrots, lettuce, berries, etc. And I’m also trying my hand in gardening and hopefully we will see our first crop this summer and fall. We planted some tomatoes, blueberries, blackberries as well as watermelons, and we are looking forward to planting fruit trees before the end of the year. Not only will we have organic food right from our garden, but we will also save lots of money by growing our own food. Watering a lawn seems pretty senseless to me, especially since the lawn is not edible either by us, nor do we have goats. So the next best thing is growing something that is worth watering.
Barbara Cole, also a mother, actress and activist, founded Lean And Green Kids many years ago, which has the mission to teach kids (and grown ups) about the life-changing, planet-saving power of eating whole, organic, plant-based meals. When I met Barbara many years ago, I didn’t know that we would reconnect outside of acting, I’m grateful that we did and I’m grateful for her work. As Sydney is growing into a healthy little toddler, I’m finding myself going back to basics and I’m in a constant search for inspiration to be the healthiest influence on my son that I can be.
This article appeared in the on-line magazine for actors The Networker, in May 2013.