Please take a look at: Nerve Poisons Have No Place Near Our Children and in Their Food.
Carol Dansereau's article from momsrising.org explains why it is so important to feed your children well. If you can afford to do it, please make an effort to provide your little ones (and yourself!) with organic and non-processed foods. I always knew this and so when I was pregnant, I ate only organic food-- including tons of veggies and whole grains, nothing processed, nothing refined, and little to no meat or animal products (because of bio-magnification and also hormones). Do the best you can, but if you have any doubt about the difference it makes, read this piece. Remember to eat and feed your kids food that is low on the food chain (less meat and animal products)!
Don't be lured by the corporate world which wants you to believe children will only eat the packaged and processed stuff you find at the commercial supermarket. These corporate (shall I say monsters?) are masters at turning your little ones into consumers of junk food. Their packaging is aimed at grabbing kids' attention. Notice where some of the worst of the garbage is placed--right at the check out counter, where little ones are hypnotized by the bright shiny colors and fun looking shapes. Kids predictably scream out for these temptations, and they drive their poor harried and captive mothers to give in just to avoid a scene. Don't think any of this is an accident--marketers and advertisers are no dummies. Obviously, the same goes for TV--food corporations target your little one's palate and appetite there as well with their seductive food ads.
In my family, we avoided the commercial food marketing because the products we buy mostly cannot be found at standard supermarkets (the little health food they do have isn't as good and is too pricey anyway). We almost never watched commerical TV. We bought veggies from a CSA, farmer's market, or health food store, so as far as my kid knew, "junk" food, processed food, processed meat products, etc, did not exist until she was much older and her food preferences were established already. As a toddler, she would grab a piece of kale and chew on it without batting an eye. Chocolate chip cookies were unfamiliar to her, so she thought they were weird and wouldn't touch them (her pre-school teachers could not get over it)! She adored home-made pizza topped with every vegetable you can imagine. She loved tofu hot dogs, tofu cheeses, soy and rice milk, organic fruit smoothies, organic home-made fruit juice popsicles, organic salads and veggies, whole grains and more.
At some point, cutting my daughter off from the bigger food world became difficult because of social pressures. A New York suburb is very different from Portland or Berkeley. Kids here come to school with all of this prepackaged, processed sugary stuff, and her buddies thought her snacks and lunches were "disgusting." By the time my daughter was seven or eight, the teasing was intense. I eased up then, so she would feel more comfortable with her peers. Now she's a bit older, and my daughter prefers healthy stuff to what she calls "junk" processed food. My child will eat "fun" processed snacks at her friends' houses or at a party, but the main part of her diet is low on the food chain and organic. I'll be honest, she won't eat brown rice or Kale anymore, but she does love many other vegetables!
My own cancer history and fears for my daughter's health motivated me to feed her well. I know too many people (including children) with cancer or who have died from cancer. I know first hand about the poisoned world we live in.
Parents need to be defensive feeders! You cannot assume that "food" is safe.
I'm keeping my fingers crossed for my child. So far, so good. My not-so-little anymore gal is bright, focused, healthy, motivated, sharp. No disease. No learning disabilities. I hate to say it, but these days, it seems like a miracle.
My friend and activist Patti Woods believes that the way most parents feed their kids is "abusive." Children need good nutrition, and it is our obligation to provide it for them. If you do the research, you'll see that the food you feed them really does matter. If you can afford it, I beg you to heed this call! The next step on the agenda is to make it affordable to all.
When my daughter was three and four, she attended a conservative Jewish pre-school where they only allowed Kosher food into the building. That part was very confusing for her--she kept trying to distinguish the difference between both diets and it never quite made sense. Actually, it doesn't make sense to me, either, but that is another other story! While eating her morning organic oatmeal, she'd look up and ask quizzically,"We eat kosher organic, right mom?"