Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Special Midweek Conundrum Issue

A few nights ago we had dinner with friends and they were heating up some hot dogs for their children. Zoe’s been off dogs for a while, but we figured we’d give it another try. She ended up eating a dog and a half. The hot dogs were a brand we’ve avoided because they contain nitrates. Here is where we run into problems. The foods that taste best seem to often contain things we’d rather not feed Zoe, it’s not just nitrates. We stopped heating her food up in plastic containers because there is a risk that Bisphenol A (BPA) is being released when the plastic is heated. We discovered that canned foods are lined with a resin containing BPA, and since most of these food items are cooked in the can, BPA has already been released into the food, so we are trying to move away from canned goods. And since BPA is in most clear, hard plastics, we worry about slow leaching even when the item is not heated up, such as in our Brita water filter. (We are aware that studies of the amounts of BPA being released and the danger levels they pose are inconclusive—which is also true of most items mentioned in this blog—but because most information available on the web is slanted toward whomever is doing the reporting we have decided on the better-safe-than-sorry approach.) We naturally avoid foods with Aspartame and Saccharin. Additives, such as tartrazine, a yellow colorant used in fizzy drinks, sweets and sauces, have shown to cause urticaria, dermatitis and asthma. Preservatives sulfur dioxide, sulfites, benzoic acid and benzoates may trigger asthma attacks or worsen eczema. These additives are found in soft drinks, burgers and sausages. Researchers believe food additives are contributing to hyperactivity and attention deficit hyperactivity disorders. And if that’s not all I have to worry about there’s environmental pollutants, damaging sun rays, chemicals in soaps and lotions, and theories of inoculation causing autism and other health issues. Playgrounds are broken bones waiting to happen, and every strange man is a threat. We have terrorists to worry about and poison spiders hiding in the woodpile. There were over six million car accidents last year and well over forty thousand deaths resulting from those accidents. It really is hard to believe that as a race we humans have survived this long. But I got off track. The point I was trying to make is that it’s hard to find a variety of food to feed Zoe that is both healthy and nutritious, and—since she has become picky recently—that she will eat. Maybe we’ll try hot dogs again. Sulfates anyone?

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