Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Food Fight

Now that I've discovered the trove of parenting information that is the Ask Moxie blog, I have been reading some "back issues". I came across a post on introducing solids that really resonated with me for a couple of reasons:

1. I am stupidly anxious about feeding Pumpkin solids. Am I feeding her the right foods? The right amount? Does the fact that she fights getting into her high chair mean we are setting her up for food issues for the rest of her life? The rational part of my brain knows that it probably doesn't matter what food I feed her now, but the irrational worrying part of my brain that got such a boost when I became a Mommy still, well, worries.

2. I have just finished reading The Omnivore's Dilemma, by Michael Pollan. One of his conjectures is that Americans' food neurosis is a result of our having lost our cultural guides about what is good to eat. As omnivores, we are biologically programmed to be able to eat just about anything, so we rely on our culture to help us sort out which of the countless possibilities are safe, tasty, and good to eat. American culture doesn't really provide a uniform guide. We are currently trying to replace these missing guidelines with scientific research, which is ever-changing, leading us to fall prey to food fads and generally worry more about what we eat than most other people. I wonder if this is also the reason for the fact Moxie points out (and for which item #1 above provides evidence):

"Americans are totally neurotic about introducing food to babies"

Moxie goes on to try to say that we should introduce solids however we want. But then she references a Dutch study about the benefits of letting the baby lead the solid-introducing exercise, and giving the baby large pieces of food. This of course made me start worrying that I am doing wrong by feeding Pumpkin primarily mushed up food (commercial or homemade- she is just starting on "finger foods", and still hasn't quite got the concept). I think I need to get better at ignoring that worrying part of my brain, because it clearly isn't going anywhere.

The Omnivore's Dilemma has lots of other thought-provoking ideas in it. However, I will warn you that reading it will probably make you feel very bad about your food choices, even if you are a vegan who eats only organic food.

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