Friday, December 23, 2011

Living in a Sugar Driven World Especially During the Holidays

We all like to indulge once in awhile - right? Maybe a little piece of chocolate, a cookie, and heck it's the holiday season so maybe all the above, everyday! In my house we don't keep many sweets "in stock", but we have been frequenting my mother's house since we've moved back to the Midwest. To clearly paint an accurate picture of her food selection it's like visiting a mini-carnival. Treats, cupcakes, twinkies, chips, cheetos, sugary cereals,  - a sugar haven for my husband who unfortunately is stricken by grief that I refused to make sugar cookies for the holidays. Hey, my daughter still has no idea what sugar or candy is and I am going to keep it that way as long as I can.

So how do you keep your child from the sugar madness at holiday parties and gatherings? For me, I carry raisins at all times. Apples with peanut is also a great runner up and let's not forget grapes. They are sweet, shaped like round candies (like peanut m&m's) that maybe everyone else might be eating. Trickery? Why yes, for now at least.

So let's hear from you -  what do you give your kids instead of the sugary treats during the holidays?

Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Aresenic Juice, I mean Apple Juice.

Have you heard about the controversy with apple juice? I was sitting back, relaxing, putting my feet up today - just kidding I am a mother of a 17 month old and no longer know the meaning of relaxation. The truth is I squeezed in a few minutes of reading while my daughter was running around torturing the dog, but she was safe; promise.  In those few minutes I read an article in Health Magazine titled "Is Apple Juice Dangerous or Not?". My instant reaction was "shut the front door, another study resulting in more issues in our food - urg!". Plus I am a mom who gives her child apple juice frequently so my mom antenna automatically went to alert status red: danger!

To paraphrase the article, Dr. Oz did an independent analyze of 36 samples of five store-bought apple juice brands and released the results in September of this year. Roughly 27% of the the samples came back with higher concentration levels of arsenic than allowed in drinking water. Now the U.S. Food and Drug Administrations (FDA) is fighting back and saying Dr Oz's accusations are "irresponsible" and the apple juice companies are also refuting the allegations. Now the real question is - is Dr Oz's study putting a magnifying glass on an over looked issue that that FDA and juice companies are trying to sweep under the rug?

Something else that is interesting - if you didn't already know - arsenic occurs naturally in soil and frequently shows up in our food and water. The FDA regulates arsenic levels here in the U.S, but the article reported that the majority of American apple juice are made from apples from other countries such as China, who may very well still use arsenic in their pesticides. There already has been quite a bit of controversy over the last year about lax FDA regulations on foreign produce and this might just be another case of that. The jury is still out.

It is also unsure what arsenic in our food and water does to our bodies over time, even if ingested in small doses. To me, arsenic is a dangerous chemical and there is no way I would pick up a bottle and take a sip, let alone willing allow my kids to ingest it. So what can you do to ensure your children are getting safe products? Start with buying organic apple juice made from apples raised in United States. Dr Oz also recommends that, in case you are a Dr. Oz fan. Plus if you are an avid reader of my blog, you would know that apples are on the dirty dozen list so try and make it a point to buy organic apple everything - sauce, fruit, juice, etc. No pesticides (or at least less) means more natural.

To add more fuel to the fire I found another article written in March 2010 on FoodSafetyNews.com stating the very same problem and they call out the companies in question. Take a look if you have time.

Well, like I said, the jury is still out on this subject, but I am going to bet we haven't heard the last of this. What do you have to say about all this?

Recommendations:
I posted this blog yesterday and didn't give any recommendations on good apple juices - sorry about that. I have a couple, one for sure and the other one I am still investigating.

Martinelli Organic Apple Juice - this is a fabulous product; tastes great! We just started drinking this brand in the last couple of months. It's both organic and made from US grown apples - Jackpot! The best part it's sold at major grocery chains. Click on the link and select store locater and find it near you.

Santa Cruz Organic Apple Juice - My husband and I drank this for years and Ellery had been drinking a watered down version for a few months prior to our switch to Martinelli's. It is produced in California and is organic, but the origin of the apples are in question. When I spoke to the company, they told me they sourced apples in the United States and "other countries". I am still waiting to hear back from their corporate office. I will make sure to update you all. It is a great product that tastes great, but I am not sure where the apples come from. To be continued...