I had a hard time sleeping last night because of something I read about. It was an article published almost two months ago that I didn't stumble upon until yesterday. It was about high levels of lead found in a long list of food and drinks for children. The most irritating part, besides the lead of course, is some of the brands implicated. Brands such as Earth's Best Organic, 365 Organic and Trader Joe's Organic. I pay more for the organic versions of juice because I want the best for my son. I know organic doesn't always mean better (i.e. processed foods, etc.) but I think it's normal to have a certain expectation with the organic label when it comes to fruits, vegetables and food that is made specifically for our little ones.
I owe my restless night specifically to Trader Joe's and their Organic Apple Juice. I have been giving Gavin this apple juice since he turned one. That's roughly two and a half years. Yeah, I know, juice isn't the best thing to give kids on a regular basis... we have always put half water half juice but he has it practically everyday. To think that I've been happily handing over a sippy cup of lead laced apple juice to my son for over two years makes me a little sick and has me considering a doctor's appointment to have his lead levels checked.
This serves as a reality check for me. First, less juice for Gavin. Second, I will not feel bad about researching and researching and researching some more the food and drink we give to our kids. Because honestly, some people look at me like I'm crazy sometimes because I won't let my kids have a Happy Meal, a Ball Park frank (or any other who knows what filled casing), a can of Spaghetti-O's, or non-organic and/or non-local produce. Peer pressure among parents is fierce and comparable to high school peer pressure - seriously. And finally, my passion to seek out and share alternatives to common items to help all of us not feel so darn helpless has been reinforced tenfold.
Now on to a related recent find. I love Jamie Oliver. My husband and I have watched him since The Naked Chef days. I'm a follower of his Food Revolution movement and recommend checking it out if you haven't already. I also follow his tweets (@jamie_oliver) and that's how I was turned on to his flavored water recipes.
I think flavored water is a great alternative to juice. I particularly like the orange and berry suggestions. I think Gavin will dig it. I pay between $3.49 and $3.99 for a gallon of juice (no extra charge for the lead). We have a Brita water pitcher and the fruit we'll need to buy weekly is likely going to be the same cost of juice. Both my husband and I have wanted to cut back on Gavin's juice consumption for a while now so I guess stumbling upon the article on lead was the push we needed to make the change.