2012 Cribsies Awards are here and ZoLi has two products that made it to the finals - BABY OHM as the best portable changing pad and SUMO as the handiest snack dispenser. We are thrilled to have been nominated but now need your help to win. We need your votes so please click here to cast your vote for BABY OHM and here for SUMO. Voting ends March 16th.
|photo from theKitchn|
This study was particularly concerning because the arsenic found was linked to organic brown rice syrup and rice products such as rice flour, rice grain, or rice flakes. These ingredients are ubiquitous in foods that are considered "healthy". Foods that opt for organic brown rice syrup in lieu of high fructose corn syrup and rice flour, rice flakes instead of wheat for those following a gluten-free diet.
How is arsenic getting into these foods? According to Environmental Health Perspective, the arsenic can be traced back to the soil where rice is grown. Much of the rice grown in the US are in fields where cotton once grew and where arsenic-based pesticides were allowed to control boll weevils. The pesticides seeped into the soil and residues of the arsenic can still be found in the soil today. Rice plants are more efficient in absorbing the arsenic from the soil than other grains and brown rice tends to have a higher concentration of arsenic than white. Not surprising given that brown rice only removes the outer husk whereas; white undergoes additional processing to remove rest of the husk and the germ. However, the level of arsenic varies depending on which region it is grown. In a 2007 study published in Environmental Science & Technology, Andrew Meharg states that rice grown in south central region (Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, Missouri, and Florida) had 1.78 times more arsenic than rice grown in California.
Arsenic is naturally present in water, air, food, and soil in small concentrations so do we really need to be worried? FDA defines the safe levels of arsenic in water (10 parts per billion) and juice (23 parts per billion) but they have yet to define the levels considered safe for rice and rice products. The levels found in the formula were 6 times the acceptable levels in water and the cereal bars were 60 times higher. There is still a lot of research that is required and until all of this is sorted out, there are things we can do to ensure the health of our children:
- switch from formulas that continue organic brown rice syrup as a main ingredient
- avoid cereal bars that lists rice products as its first 5 ingredients
- do not let rice be the primary source of nutrition for your babies
- purchase rice grown in California
- always wash rice extra well prior to cooking or even soak it for 1/2 to 1 hour in cold water and drain the water prior to cooking
- cook rice with extra water (6 parts water to 1 part rice) to lower the arsenic levels
- mix up your rice grains - no need to switch from brown rice since it has so many nutritional benefits; add either basmati rice from India or Pakistan and or jasmine rice from Thailand since both contain lowest levels of arsenic
For additional reading on this study, check out Healthy Child Healthy World, Safbaby, and
The Soft Landing.
|Love is ... a happy childhood.|
Happy Valentine's Day everyone!!!
Dr. Seuss books are a favorite in our family and is often one of the selected bedtime stories. L has been on a Dr. Seuss binge lately. We have been reading The Cat in the Hat, Green Eggs and Ham, Hop on Pop, Yertle the Turtle, and The Sneetches - our current fave. L really likes the zany illustrations, the nonsensical characters, and the rhyming scheme that Dr. Seuss stories have. I like them for all of the above but also enjoy how they touch on moral issues in a fun and engaging way. In particular, I love the message in The Sneetches - about how discrimination and prejudice is just plain silly. There are some other stories in this book with great lessons about compromise, individuality, and overcoming the fear of the unknown. All in all, a captivating read and definitely one that will remain in our repertoire of bedtime stories.