New Mini Book–Want Flies With That?

Book on Back Burner for 2 Years
The idea for my new book Want Flies With That? has been sitting on the back burner for two years. Well, actually it was in the deep freeze.

Recently, a friend suggested I publish a mini-book. That’s when I actually considered pulling the information together.

My blog, “Happy Birthday to My Happy Meal” went viral in 2010. This unexpectedly revealed people’s passion about fast foods. We all know junk and fast foods have created a health crisis and obesity pandemic for our children. I was still surprised the interest for my satirical expose´of children’s fast food penetrated the blogosphese in a few days. It became clear that emotions run high and people are zealous about their fast food!

My server crashed three times, before it was all over and I was interviewed across the globe, including Canada, England, Scotland, Sweden and China. My new mini-book Want Flies With That? chronicles how “Happy Birthday to My Happy Meal” came about and the startling consequences of chemicals in our food.

Food Insights Every Parent Should Know
There are mini-chapters with helpful information for all parents, including:
Freaky Fried Food
Nonna’s Ten Worst Foods of the Decade
Not So Friendly Kid Food Products
Psychedelic Flavors
GMOs Dangerous For Kids
Wholesome Treats
What To Eat When You Eat Out

Friends 40% Discount
I’m so excited about the Want Flies With That? mini-book, I’m offering an introductory price of $6 (for the $10 book) to my friends. However, I have a little glitch with my Baby Bite’s store server, Hostway. Seems I can’t adjust the price of shipping. With a mini-book which is approximately 4 ounces, it’s just silly to charge $4 for shipping and handling.

So I Got Creative
For a limited time, as an introductory offer, Want Flies With That? can be purchased for about $8 INCLUDING shipping. The shipping charges are automatically set by the server, so you’ll see the cost of Want Flies With That? adjusted to $4 to compensate. There’s no other option to make the discounted price for the mini-book come out to $6 with a $2 shipping charge. I said I got creative, didn’t I?

When you order Want Flies With That? enter your zip code and click on “ESTIMATED TOTAL.” You’ll see the shipping charge added to the price of the book for a total close to $8.

If the shipping total is still too high (and you live in the U.S.), just mail a check for $8 to Baby Bites, PO Box 100, Parker, Colorado 80134 and I will put a copy of Want Flies With That? in the mail directly after I receive it.

To order Want Flies With That?
Go to the Baby Bites Store…Click Here. You’ll see the image for Want Flies With That? on the right of the store page. Click on the title to purchase.

2. Or place a check for $8 ($6 Friends Discount for the book and $2 for shipping) in the mail to Baby Bites, PO Box 100, Parker, Colorado 80134. I’ll send you a copy of Want Flies With That? as soon as I receive your check.


What’s in Your Chicken Nuggets?

What’s Really in Your Chicken Patty/Nugget? 

The following statement from a Facebook posting is not entirely true:

Say hello to mechanically separated chicken. It’s what fast-food chicken is made – things like chicken nuggets and patties. In addition, the processed frozen chicken in the stores is made from it. Basically, the entire chicken is smashed and pressed through a sieve — bones, eyes, guts, and all. It comes out looking like a pink python.

There’s more: because it’s crawling with bacteria, it will be washed with ammonia, soaked in it, actually. Then, because it tastes gross, it will be re-flavored artificially. Finally, since it is weirdly pink, it will be dyed with artificial color. You eat this every time you order chicken nuggets or a chicken patty sandwich.

The Truth:
*The entire chicken is not ground up to make the chicken paste as the bones are removed.

*The meat is not “soaked” in ammonia. Ammonia is no longer  approved food additive. (We’ll that’s a relief.)

Somehow this explanation doesn’t make me feel any better: According to the U.S. Food Safety and Inspection Service, “Mechanically separated meets are the real thing and are safe. Very simply, mechanical separation is a way of getting every last piece of meat from the bone of a chicken, turkey, or other food animal. Bones with edible meat attached are forced under high pressure through a device that separates the bone from the meat. It’s a process that’s been used since the 1960’s and for a variety of popular products.”

I guess we should just trust the U.S. Food Safety and Inspection Service. After all they’re looking out for the folks (or maybe not).  They say mechanically separated products are “safe, wholesome, nutritious, and useful in providing consumers with the wide variety of economical meat and poultry products.”

It’s a good thing any product containing mechanically separated chicken must be labeled as such in the ingredients statement. This ruling became effective November 4, 1996. Products which might contain mechanically separated chicken are hot dogs, sausage, fast food nuggets and chicken patties as well as frozen nuggets and chicken patties.

What About McDonalds?
Are the chicken nuggets the healthier choice on McDs menu? The Facebook posting singled out McDonalds as using mechanically separated chicken in their nuggets. McDonald’s previously used mechanically separated chicken. Today, they claim they use the white meat from chicken. Do you feel better? Do you still believe the nuggets and chicken patties are the healthier choice at McDs? If you do, then read this from The Omnivore’s Dilemma:

“Of the thirty-eight ingredients it takes to make a McNugget, I counted thirteen that can be derived from corn: the corn-fed chicken itself; modified cornstarch (to bind the pulverized chicken meat); mono-, tri-, and diglycerides (emulsifiers, which keep the fats and water from separating); dextrose; lecithin (another emulsifier); chicken broth (to restore some of the flavor that processing leeches out); yellow corn flour and more modified cornstarch (for the batter); cornstarch (a filler); vegetable shortening; partially hydrogenated corn oil; and citric acid as a preservative. A couple of other plants take part in the nugget: There’s some wheat in the batter, and on any given day the hydrogenated oil could come from soybeans, canola, or cotton rather than corn, depending on the market price and availability.

According to the handout, McNuggets also contain several completely synthetic ingredients, quasi-edible substances that ultimately come not from a corn or soybean field but form a petroleum refinery or chemical plant. These chemicals are what make modern processed food possible, by keeping the organic materials in them from going bad or looking strange after months in the freezer or on the road. Listed first are the “leavening agents”: sodium aluminum phosphate, mono-calcium phosphate, sodium acid pyrophosphate, and calcium lactate. These are antioxidants added to keep the various animal and vegetable fats involved in a nugget from turning rancid. Then there are “anti-foaming agents” like dimethylpolysiloxene, added to the cooking oil to keep the starches from binding to air molecules, so as to produce foam during the fry. The problem is evidently grave enough to warrant adding a toxic chemical to the food: According to the Handbook of Food Additives, dimethylpolysiloxene is a suspected carcinogen and an established mutagen, tumorigen, and reproductive effector; it’s also flammable.

But perhaps the most alarming ingredient in a Chicken McNugget is tertiary butylhydroquinone, or TBHQ, an antioxidant derived from petroleum that is either sprayed directly on the nugget or the inside of the box it comes in to “help preserve freshness.” According to A Consumer’s Dictionary of Food Additives, TBHQ is a form of butane (i.e. lighter fluid) the FDA allows processors to use sparingly in our food: It can comprise no more than 0.02 percent of the oil in a nugget. Which is probably just as well, considering that ingesting a single gram of TBHQ can cause “nausea, vomiting, ringing in the ears, delirium, a sense of suffocation, and collapse.” Ingesting five grams of TBHQ can kill.”

“The food you eat can be either the safest and most powerful form of medicine, or the slowest form of poison.” — Dr. Ann Wigmore, ND
CLICK HERE for ordering information for
Baby Bites: Transforming a Picky Eater into a Healthy Eater
& The Forest Feast: Baby Bites Mealtime Adventures.


Taste for Fat, Salt & Sugar Formed Early

Study after study prove the same thing: Kids develop taste preferences early. We’re not surprised when we hear that a recent study finds “preschoolers prefer salt, sugar and fat and equate their taste preferences to brand-name fast-food and soda products.”

The latest confirmation is from a new study published in the journal Appetite. Their findings confirm teaching children to make smart food choices at an early age will stay with them for life.

According to the report, “Researchers at the University of Oregon and the University of Wisconsin-Madison involved developmental psychology and marketing for a two-part study. In the first experiment, 67 children ages 3 through 5 and their mothers were recruited from preschool classes in a large city. The mothers completed a 21-item survey to report on the taste preferences of their children.”

Logan loves banana French toast.

“The children responded to their perceived tastiness of 11 natural and 11 flavor-added foods. Photos of the foods were presented without labeling or packaging. Parents noted the desire for foods high in sugar, fat and salt, while their children showed preference for flavor-added foods that contained these ingredients.”

“Foods well within the preschoolers’ experience were presented in the experiment. Natural foods included apples, bananas, plain milk, fruit salad, water, green beans and tomatoes. Flavor-added foods included cheese puffs, corn chips, watermelon hard candy, jellybeans, banana soft candy, ketchup, colas and chocolate milk.”

“In the second experiment, researchers explored the association of preschoolers’ palate preferences to their emerging awareness of brands of fast foods and sugar-sweetened beverages. The study included 108 children from five urban preschools. They were shown 36 randomly sorted cards—12 related to each of two popular fast-food chains, six to each of the two leading cola companies and six depicting irrelevant products. All children were able to correctly place some of the product cards with the correct companies, indicating their differing levels of brand recognition.”

Junk Food Linked to Picky Eating
Fast food and soda brand knowledge is linked to the development of a preference for sugar, fat and salt in food. According to the findings of this recent study, “the relationships also appeared to reflect the children’s emotional experiences in a way that says the brand-named products deliver their developed taste preferences.”

Repeated exposure to foods, builds taste preferences. If you want to avoid having a picky eater exposure to whole foods from the time a baby is feeding him/herself is vital. In addition, processed and fast foods should be avoided at all times.

Already Have a Picky Eater?
It’s not too late. You can transform your picky eater into a healthy eater. Baby Bites: Transforming a Picky Eater into a Healthy Eater explains how you can turn mealtime conflict into happy multi-sensory experiences. In a short time, your picky eater will prefer whole foods: For a synopsis, Click Here.


Fast Food Equivalent to Heroin?

“Childhood Obesity Break the Habit” is a new controversial PSA by Precinct Studios. This shocking ad is getting quite the buzz on the Internet. It’s intended to bring awareness to the childhood obesity crisis.

The ad is melodramatic and disturbing as it depicts a mom helping her kid shoot up drugs and likens it to feeding him a hamburger (junk foods). Click Here to view the ad.

The ad is provocative and yet thought provoking. But is it true? For sure, food is not “additive” as heroin, where one shot can be life altering or even kill.

Payton can’t believe what’s happened
to our food supply.

This ad begs the question of childhood obesity as child abuse. Obviously, if parents didn’t purchase the junk food their overweight kids ate, their children wouldn’t be obese. But is childhood obesity entirely the fault of parents or is there something else at work here?

One mom comments on the ad, “Oh give me break! Who are YOU or anybody else for that matter to tell ME what I should and should not be feeding my children? This clip is not only completely ridiculous, it’s frightening to think that any MORON would actually compare heroin to a freaking HAMBURGER.”

Another parent writes, “Why is fast food all the sudden a problem NOW? When I was a kid (80s) fast food was just as popular, but didn’t seem like it was the main staple for families as it is now. However, purely blaming fast food is naive, and well stupid. It has been around for years, why is it such a problem now?”

Actually this parent asks a very insightful question. “Why is fast food such a problem NOW?”

This is the crux of the problem; one that the ad doesn’t even attempt to approach. This question is also ignored entirely by the Food Pyramid and the First Lady in her attempt to curb child obesity in the U.S.

Fast food in itself, isn’t entirely the issue. The problem is that fast food is no longer food. What’s even more alarming is our entire food supply has dramatically been altered over the past 15 years. Monsanto leads in the adulteration of food, but they are not alone. There is a revolving door between Monsanto and the U.S. government (not just one political party either). It began with the elder Bush, continued under Clinton, younger Bush, and now the Obama administration.

Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide is highly toxic and causes cell dysfunction and provokes the first stages that lead to cancers. Ninety percent of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) belong to Monsanto. There is virtually no regulation. Decades of pollution, cancers and other illnesses have been hidden by Monsanto with the government’s assistance. Monsanto is responsible for PCBs, which are attributed to many diseases and reduction of IQ in children. Today, everyone has PCBs in their bodies. Roundup Soybean is the first GMO crop approved for the U.S. Europe has banned all GMOs.

Monsanto is responsible for the Bovine Growth Hormone (RBGH), which is actually a poison. They began selling it to dairy farmers in 1994. Monsanto has suppressed and manipulated the data. RBGH causes problems with cattle such as larger ovaries and other problems with reproduction of animals. Yet, they state it is “Completely safe for consumers.” RBGH is banned in Canada and Europe.

March 2008, a documentary was aired on French television (ARTE – French-German cultural TV channel) by French journalist and film maker Marie-Monique Robin: The World According to Monsanto. This is a documentary that you won’t see on American television. You can view it on the Internet: Click Here.

GMO corn is a government subsidized crop and is used as feed for our cattle and for High Fructose Corn Syrup found in virtually every processed food. It is no wonder that parents can no longer discern real food from the chemical counterpart. Today, it takes constant vigilance to eat unadulterated food.

If parents are their children’s fast food enablers, then the U.S. government is the pusher.

Trans Fat: Good News/Bad News

The Good News: Fast food restaurants are using less trans fats. Yes, that’s good news.

Research from the University of Minnesota’s Nutrition Coordinating Center has shown major chains significantly reducing their use of oils containing trans fat in French fries and other food during the past 10 years. Unfortunately, picky eaters love fast foods, especially French fries.

So what’s the big deal about trans fat? Trans fat is far worse than natural saturated fat ever could be. The production process of injecting liquid fats with hydrogen gas converts them into indigestible trans fatty acids. Trans fat can’t be metabolized in the human body.

In fact, trans fat has a half life of 51 days. That means three months after consuming trans fat, you’re body is still dealing with it.

Only let a kid tell you what he wants for dinner…if he’s paying.

Trans fat molecules are absorbed into your cells, compromising the cell’s metabolism. Trans fat lowers the HDL (good cholesterol) and increases the LDL (bad cholesterol), leading to heart disease. In pregnant women, trans fat, like alcohol, drugs, carbon monoxide from cigarette smoke, and pesticides, pass through the placenta to the baby, affecting the baby’s metabolism in direct proportion to the amount ingested by the mother. In addition, there’s a correlation between trans fat and Type 2 Diabetes.

To make matters worse, trans fat inhibits the absorption of vitamin K (vital for bone growth). Trans fat is a toxin interfering with all membrane function.

In a press release from the University of Minnesota, lead researcher Lisa Harnack said the center maintains a food and nutrient database that goes back to the 1970s. “We’re able to go back in time and compare the present with the past,” she said. “And we did that in looking at fast-food restaurants,” Harnack said. “We found fast-food restaurants are making big improvements in the frying oils, with trans fat going down in most of the restaurants–as well as saturated fat, either going down or staying the same.”

I always say you vote with your dollar. When enough people stop or limit purchasing a product, food producers will change. They’re in business to make a profit and when their profit begins to suffer, they will take notice. That’s capitalism at work.

The Bad News: Americans still receive about 10 percent of their calories from fast-food restaurants. That’s unbelievable. Moms often tell me that fast food in moderation is okay. What’s moderation? Families eat fast foods on average three times a week. Is eating fast food once or twice a week moderate? Of course it isn’t. Eating fast food in moderation is cooking your own hamburgers and fries.

Typical French fries have about 40 percent trans fat. Making fries yourself, will cut down on the number of times you eat them. Peeling, cutting, and frying potatoes can take a while …because of all the work, you’ll not make fries often. That’s moderation, not several times a week at the drive-thru window.

More Bad News: The truth is that when ANY fat is heated for extended periods of time, it becomes a trans fat. (Correction: produce some trans fatty acids. See note below.) So there it is, any fried food eaten out is cooked in the same re-used, re-heated oil. They may start out with a more “healthy” fat, but in the end contains trans fat. The only way to avoid trans fat is to avoid eating fried food out altogether.

Click Here

For info about the free Baby Bites Ezine, CLICK HERE.

Land of Denial

We’re Not In Kansas Any More
After Happy Birthday to My Happy Meal blog went viral, visits to my site went through the roof. There were over 110,000 visits to Happy Birthday to My Happy Meal blog alone.

Most were new to the Baby Bites site and left their comments on that blog as well as related blogs: Joann Bruso an Urban Legend, Nonna’s Happy Meal Bog and Freaky Fried Food.

Reading their comments reveals personal bias about food. If anything can be gleaned from their remarks it’s that many are living in the Land of Denial.

Angel wants to be a princess
in the Land of Denial.

Not Science
There were some who could not get past the lack of “science” in my Happy Meal observations. They railed about “junk science” and continued to call it an “experiment” which it clearly was not. Some called it a “worthless test.” They said it was full of  “BS” and “ignorant.” One was so angered; he made fun of my name. I wondered if some read my blog at all, giving a knee-jerk reaction explaining food dehydration. Never mind the year-old hamburger and fries look like plasticized food samples in a restaurant.

Go Girl
There were those who were impressed and applauded my lighthearted look at junk foods. Their comments supported my efforts to bring attention to the dangers of fast food. They totally got my point.

Mogan left this comment, “Look, the whole spirit of the experiment was simply to open eyes to the horrendous lack of nutrition that is in our fast food. I don’t care about whether it rots or dries, there are preservatives in fast food, there is no denying that. Anyone who chooses to believe that fast food is anything short of “edible crap” is fooling themselves, which is fine. You’re totally allowed to believe whatever you want. And anyone who is upset because this is junk science is getting worked up over nothing…It’s just a fun (albeit disgusting) little anecdote. Nothing more.”

Land of Denial
What’s astonishing to me is the number of people living in the Land of Denial. I was amazed the number of people who actually defended junk food. Then I realized it’s because they may be addicted themselves and the thought of going without is too much to bear. Some have confused love with sugar. Advertisers’ message, junk food equals fun, eventually influences our thinking. Then there are others who believe they don’t have time to cook real food and are defensive. Ultimately, parents are unaware of the amount of chemicals they and their children ingest on a daily basis.

At first I thought Alexis was kidding, because her comments were so over the top. After reading it a second time, I realized Alexis was really appalled by my Happy Birthday to My Happy Meal blog. She said, “I’m throwing the BS flag on this experiment, and I’m going to continue to have my once a week double cheeseburger (I keep it to at no more than every other week for my kids). …This article is just part of the scheme to villanize junk food which obviously is having no impact on America’s obesity crisis. What people need to do is to teach their children to eat reasonable portions and treat junk food like the treat it is. I guarantee, denying them McDonalds as a kid will mean that is all they will want when they have their own money and ability to make decisions.”
or they could become health food nuts or (gasp) even vegetarians!

To my surprise, Gina agreed with Alexis. She said, “Right on, Alexis. Everything in moderation. Are these the type of individuals responsible for today’s litigious society?”
choosing whole foods for your family makes a person litigious?

YHGTBK took it one step further by stating parents who deny their children junk foods would ultimately harm them. “With most things, moderation is the key. One cookie or Happy Meal isn’t going to harm your children for life. What WILL harm them however is the parental OCD and constant nay-saying to our kids that they can’t have an occasional Happy Meal, candy or dessert because they didn’t eat the mounds of green stuff on their plates (did you eat all the green stuff on your plates?)”
why, yes I did (okay, peas not so much).

What’s Moderate?
Defining “moderation” in our diets is difficult. Both “average” and “reasonable” are definitions for moderate. Is purchasing fast food three times a week moderate? It is if you average the number of times parents purchase fast foods for their kids. How much sugar would be moderate or reasonable in a kid’s diet? The average amount of sugar a child eats in a week is 2½ pounds. How many French fries would be moderate? Twenty-two percent of our potato crop ends up fried. A toddler’s first finger food is a French fry. French fries are 40 percent trans fat. Trans fat has a half-life of 51 days, so would that mean you would purchase French fries once a month or more often for it to be moderate? Artificial colorings and flavorings are derived from petroleum. Ingesting exactly how much petroleum would you consider moderate?

In the Land of Denial “reason” goes out the window and “average” is moderate.

(If you haven’t yet read my Happy Birthday to My Happy Meal blog Click Here.)


Growing Healthy Kids

james-9-months-028.JPGGrowing healthy kids starts in pregnancy and continues for a lifetime. When the first foods your baby receives is from the garden and you never purchase fast or processed foods, your child will naturally eat healthy foods.

Contrary to popular belief, picky eaters are not born, they’re made. While we may have a natural preference for certain foods, children eat what their parents purchase and eat.

Growing healthy kids isn’t as difficult as it may seem. What’s hard is for parents to change.

With just two teeth James takes his first tiny bite of a yummy peach!

It’s easy to feed a baby whole foods. The challenge begins with toddlers. Toddlers have minds of their own and they’re happy to express it. Their growth slows and so does their appetites. If you’re feeding your toddler chips, cookies, French fries, and crackers, don’t expect they will ask for veggies.

When dad and mom stuff themselves with junk foods, their kids will emulate what they see. They will certainly follow your lead. Fast food chains know that capturing the youth market is a sure way to get a customer for life and they market to pre-schoolers Click Here for Nonna’s Happy Meal blog.

If you want healthy kids, who love to eat fruit and veggies, then you need to stock your kitchen with fruit and veggies. There’s 3,000 chemicals added to our food supply. Leave processed food on the grocery shelves. If it’s not in your kitchen, then your kids (and you) can’t eat it. When they ask for processed junk food, just open the cupboard and tell them that we no longer have it. Then encourage them to Eat Your Colors.”

The hardest part is for you. Your picky eater will not starve. Can you manage without purchasing chips, candy, boxed cookies, fast foods, and pop? Certainly. With the tight economy, think of all the money you’ll save! Processed foods are expensive and have no nutritional value. To help you plan whole food shopping at the grocers, Click Here for a helpful grocery list. That’s where it all begins.

After you have your kitchen stocked with whole foods, then what? Keep the mood at the table happy and express your joy when eating whole foods. Click Here for ideas on how to include your kids in food preparations.

Mangiare Bene (Eat well)!

Hidden Toxin in Food

delphine2.jpgNot the First to Deceive
Initially, trans fat was touted as a healthy alternative to other fats! For years, products with trans fat, like margarine, were thought to be a healthy choice. After 30 years of pressure, the FDA finally admitted that trans fat is harmful to health. Trans fat wasn’t always identified, but lumped together on nutrition labels with other fats.

The years of controversy ended with consumers being warned of the many dangers. Today, trans fat is being replaced, primarily because the consumer is aware. Nutrition labeling must list trans fat as an ingredient (at least when it contains over a half a gram per serving).

We have a similar situation with the additive monosodium glutamate or MSG. The web is full of sites proclaiming the safety of MSG. It’s common to read statements like this one, “One food ingredient that is commonly on the receiving end of bad press is monosodium glutamate or MSG. However this is unfounded. Monosodium glutamate can be safely used to add flavor and appeal to foods, and even to reduce sodium levels in foods.”

Delphine reacts to the mere mention of MSG.

MSG the Flavor that Kills

Blaylock explains, “Excessive glutamate will not only kill the neurons with the receptors for glutamate, but it will also kill any neuron that happens to be connected to it, even if that neuron uses another type of transmitter. Both glutamate and aspartate can cause neurons to become extremely excited and if given in large enough doses, they can cause the cells to degenerate and die. It is for this reason that the nervous system carefully controls the concentration of these two amino acids in the fluid surrounding the neurons (called the extracellular space). Even small doses can damage these neurons without actually killing them. Within 15-30 minutes after being exposed to high doses of MSG, neurons suspended in tissue culture are seen to ‘swell’ like balloons. Within 3 hours those neurons are not only dead, but the body’s defense mechanism begins to haul away the debris.”

As Baylock mentions, there is another common excitotoxic substance in addition to MSG, it’s Aspartame, sold as Nutrasweet®. Aspartame has been scientifically linked to brain tumors, brain cell damage, and neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Aspartame is found in low-calorie foods and soft drinks.

Children Should NEVER Consume Aspartame or MSG
Some people immediately experience headaches, numbness, pressure in the chest, etc. after eating Chinese food (usually containing MSG) or consuming a product with MSG. It’s easy to believe this is a just a sensitivity or allergic reaction and MSG affects only a few people. It’s not true. This is a toxic reaction occurring in virtually everyone, with some people experiencing outward symptoms.

MSG a Hidden Food Ingredient
There’s a lack of government regulation concerning MSG. It can take a detective to find it in processed foods. Unlike trans fat, which now must be labeled, MSG is a hidden ingredient in various additives with numerous names.

There are some food additives which ALWAYS contain MSG: Monosodium Glutamate, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein, Hydrolyzed Protein, Hydrolyzed Plant Protein, Plant Protein Extract, Sodium Caseinate, Calcium Caseinate, Yeast Extract, Textured Protein (Including TVP), Autolyzed Yeast, Hydrolyzed Oat Flour, Corn Oil, Malt Extract, Malt Flavoring, Bouillon, Broth, Stock, Flavoring, Natural Flavors/Flavoring (may contain up to 20 percent MSG!), Natural Beef or Chicken Flavoring, Seasoning, Spices.

The short list to avoid is products with these ingredients: monosodium glutamate (MSG), caseinate, hydrolyzed (anything), flavoring, or bouillon.

If you eat out, you’re most likely eating MSG. It’s in most fast food (most dipping sauces), soups, and salad dressings. It’s in Ramen noodles and instant soup mixes, Jello®, Accent®, Doritos®, Cheetos®, and items with cheese powder. This is just the tip of the iceberg of products containing MSG.  For a comprehensive list of foods containing MSG, Click Here for MSG Truth.

The best solution for avoiding harmful ingredients is to eat out infrequently and cook at home. I stopped eating fast food a long time ago. The landmine of chemicals in their food is too comprehensive. I just couldn’t keep up. If you have a baby or a toddler, don’t allow them to eat fast food. I know the play areas are fun, but they are a trap. Not only are play areas a breeding ground for germs, but they indoctrinate kids to the fast food lifestyle.


Nonna’s Happy Meal Blog

happy-meal-1.jpgEven picky eaters will eat fast food, especially French fries. A recent survey found the French fry to be baby’s first finger food. When I talk to moms, they always insist their children don’t eat that many French fries. Someone is in denial.

Researchers at Ohio State University analyzed government data on 6,500 children and teens, ages 2 to 18. They found the children were consuming an average of 2 cups of fruit, vegetables, and juice combined a day. French fries account for 25 percent of their vegetable intake. Someone consuming 2,000 calories a day should be eating 2 cups of fruit and 2½ cups of veggies a day—over TWICE the amount recorded.

Then there’s the nagging statistic that French fries compose 25 percent of children’s vegetable intake. While writing “Eat Your French Fries Vegetables,” I decided to see if the claim that a Happy Meal will last for years is true. I purchased a Happy Meal on March 3, 2009. To follow Nonna’s Happy Meal Blog, you’ll want to subscribe to the Baby Bites Ezine.


Nonna’s Happy Meal Blog:

March 3, 2009
My newly purchased Happy Meal smells yummy and it’s very colorful. I receive a PetShop virtual pet dog in a yellow plastic doggie carry-case, along with my child-size hamburger, small fries, and a soft drink. On one side of the cardboard box the meal comes in are cutouts for a pet shop window and door. What little girl wouldn’t absolutely love it? The boy’s side of the box has a Spider-Man scene. The Spider-Man side states, “Meet the spectacular Spider-Man in McWorld at and go on your own superhero adventure!” WOW what fun. As colorful as my Happy Meal is, the food is mostly colorless. French fries are made from starchy white potatoes and a hockey puck-size brown hamburger is served on a mini-white-bread bun. There’s no lettuce, cheese, or otherwise healthful topping, just a dab of ketchup and a slice of pickle.

March 4
Happy Meal greets me as I walk into my office this morning. It’s perched on a shelf behind my desk and there is a faint smell of French fries as I enter the room. My husband is concerned about the odor. I ask, “What do ya mean?” After all it smells yummy. He says, “What about when it putrefies, decomposes, and turns rancid?” I answer, “That’s the point of my experiment. It’s NOT supposed to decompose, only a natural food would do that! If it does, I’ll move it into a glass container, to control any unpleasant smell. Then, I’ll have more to report.

March 5
Day three, my cheery Happy Meal’s yummy smell is hardly noticeable as I come into my office. I can’t help but think about the hidden ingredient in much of McDonalds’ food. It’s even in their fries …MSG. MSG is an excitotoxin, which over-stimulate brain cells to the point that they die. Many people experience headaches when this occurs. MSG is an excitatory neuro-transmitter or “excitotoxin.” Excitotoxins are chemical transmitters allowing brain cells to communicate. Unfortunately, excitotoxins over-stimulate your brain cells and they die. It’s a toxic substance. As you would guess, children are most at risk from ingesting MSG in Happy Meals. It can pass the blood brain barrier and even the placental barrier, affecting unborn children. Morgan Spurlock, from the movie SuperSize Me, experienced extreme headaches on his McDonald’s diet. In his movie and book, he says his health team was at a loss for the reason. It’s a shame they missed the connection to MSG. For more information about MSG, Click Here.

March 6 AM
I now own my very own McDonalds’ Spiderman toy. Yep, I went back to McDonalds and purchased the toy alone. Now I have a toy for each side of the McDonalds’ box. A toy meant for a girl and one for a boy. I was motivated to purchase the second toy, because yesterday, Kelly wrote a comment on my Facebook page after I mention the “Nonna’s Happy Meal Blog.”Kelly observed, “Sadly, with all the marketing it seems to be more about the toy.” And then offered her solution, “I often will make them a healthy lunch at home, and then go thru the drive thru and just buy the toy!”Checking my original receipt, I found my purchase of a Happy Meal cost me $3.02 (after taxes, before taxes $2.79). The toy with the Happy Meal is listed on the receipt as zero.  When I purchased the toy alone, it cost $1.69 (of course, plus tax). Using a rule-of-thumb that the cost of an item is doubled, the toy most likely cost McDonalds about 80 cents. It would be my guess the paper products (the box, napkins, and cup) were next in expense for McDonalds. That alone speaks volumes about the quality of the food.

March 6 PM
YIKES, I’m becoming a regular McDonalds’ costumer! Yes, I went back there today and purchased a second tiny hamburger. Yesterday, I realized my experiment hamburger had ketchup and a slice of pickle on it. I was afraid these two toppings would alter the result, so I went back and purchased a PLAIN tiny burger. It cost me another 89 cents, plus 6 cents tax. Now, I have a control burger without toppings, albeit three days fresher. While I was there, I checked out what it would cost to purchase a small order of fries: $1, plus 7 cents tax. That means that the FOOD and PAPER portion of my original Happy Meal cost me $2.02 and the toy $1.00.

March 7
You’d think at least the ketchup your child is dipping her French fries in and the dab on the hamburger is healthy, after all it’s made of tomatoes. Tomatoes are a super food, right? Not so fast. Ketchup is usually one-third sugar (unless you purchase a healthy brand at a whole foods store).The ingredients on the McDonald’s Fancy Ketchup read: “Tomato concentrate (not whole tomatoes), distilled vinegar, High Fructose Corn Sweetener, Corn syrup, water, salt, natural flavorings.” When you add the High Fructose Corn Sweetener with the Corn syrup, most likely sugar will be the real first ingredient. Ketchup is sugar and worst kind of all.Click Here for more info on High Fructose Corn Sweetener.

March 8
It’s day five, and somehow I don’t feel consoled by McDonald’s website reassurances: “McDonald’s offers a range of menu options to help meet your family’s nutrition needs. When it comes to eating with your kids at McDonald’s, you can feel good knowing that our Happy Meals and Mighty Kids Meals contain important nutrients that growing kids need. Many of the foods we serve at McDonald’s are the same trusted brands you might purchase for your family at your local grocery store.

“My Happy Meal looks pretty much the same as the day I purchased it. The only difference I can tell is the ketchup and the pickle are being absorbed into the mini-white bun. Of course, the plain burger I purchased looks the same, so do the fries. If this were real food, there should be some decomposition. In Morgan Spurlock’s (Super Size Me) McDonald’s experiment found fries are turning black from decomposition by 2 weeks. But, McDonald’s fries never did decompose. That can’t be food, for food to nourish your body it needs to decompose.

Could the lack of decomposition be because of trans fat? I thought McDonalds said they no longer use trans fat, but according to the McDonlds website their French fries are prepared in hydrogenated soybean oil, corn oil, or canola oil. Any hydrogenated oil is a trans fat! Trans fat is created when a vegetable oil is overheated. Restaurants use their frying oil for a week. It’s heated over and over again. Trans fats can’t release any useful mediators. Their shape keeps them from being recognized by enzymes. Explains a lot, don’t you think.

March 9
How many times have I heard “It’s cheaper to eat out than cook at home“? I don’t know maybe a million! I don’t get it. A Big Mac Meal costs $5.39 and a Happy Meal, $2.79, plus tax. For a family of four that’s $16.36 or a mom and one child $8.18; not including taxes. Not a bargain when you think what that could purchase. Last Spring, I worked out a food budget for two people on food stamps. (Click Here for my Food Stamp Budget blog.) With a meager food stamp budget of $300 a month for two people, about $10 a day you can feed two people whole foods. One trip to McDonalds would cost almost as much as a day’s groceries. If you ask me, that’s NO bargain.

March 10
Today, is day 7. My Happy Meal still looks happy. The fries haven’t changed a bit, although the French fry smell is faint. The hamburger itself looks like it did on day one. The ketchup and slice of pickle have dried. The mini-white bun is now hard and has split. If you look closely at my original photo at the top of this blog, you can see a vertical crease in the bun. It looked as if it had been squished or bent before the patty was placed on it. The split is in the crease. (My second PLAIN Burger, purchased three days after is still perfect.)

March 12
What is a natural flavor, exactly? McDonald’s says their fries contain a natural flavor. A substance can be natural, but it may violate a religious or dietary restriction or it may cause allergic reactions in some people. It turns out that today, “natural” can mean just about anything. The natural flavor in McDonald’s fries is beef flavor containing hydrolyzed wheat and hydrolyzed milk as starting ingredients.

March 15
The Happy Meal was launched in 1979, by 2003 the Happy Meal accounted for 20 percent of all meals sold at McDonalds! It was pure marketing geniuswhen Ronald McDonald became their mascot. In commercials, Ronald McDonald inhabits a fantasy world called McDonaldland. He has adventures with his friends Mayor McCheese, the Hamburglar, Grimace, Birdie the Early Bird, and The Fry Kids. Our kids have been taken captive, by a clown. According to Barna Research, kids ages 2 to 7 watch an average of 25 hours of television a week and see about 40,000 television ads per year. It’s no surprise Ronald McDonald was number two on a list of the most recognizable people in the world. This, of course, relates directly to our kids’ addiction to junk food!

March 16
My Happy Meal is 12 days old. I’m taking it off my shelf, just for a little peek to see how it’s doing. Ya’d think that there would be some sort of decomposition going on by now. I don’t see any…nope none at all. My Happy Meal is still looks perky.

March 19
It’s too bad that even in the midst of the recession, parents are finding the financial wherewithal to keep their kids supplied with Happy Meals. February’s sales were up 5.4 percent above last year. January’s global comparable sales leaped 7.1 percent. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if parents cooked whole foods at home? No only would they save during these tight financial times, but their kids would be healthier, too.

March 30
Do you know the:
1) percentage of potatoes which end up French fried: 22
2) age when a toddler first eats a French fry: 6 mo
3) percentage of toddlers who eat French Fries everyday: 21

March 31
I’m taking my Happy Meal on its first field trip. It’s going to be my show-and-tell for tonight’s presentation to preschool moms in Littleton, Colorado. No one will believe my Happy Meal is one day shy of four week’s old! It looks as good as it did on day one.

April 10
You remember the jingle, “Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun.” What’s in the  Big Mac® special sauce: Soybean oil, pickle relish [diced pickles, high fructose corn syrup, sugar, vinegar, corn syrup, salt, calcium chloride, xanthan gum, potassium sorbate (preservative), spice extractives, polysorbate 80], distilled vinegar, water, egg yolks, high fructose corn syrup, onion powder, mustard seed, salt, spices, propylene glycol alginate, sodium benzoate (preservative), mustard bran, sugar, garlic powder, vegetable protein (hydrolyzed corn, soy and wheat), caramel color, extractives of paprika, soy lecithin, turmeric (color), calcium disodium EDTA (protect flavor). CONTAINS: WHEAT, EGG AND SOY.
Looks like sugar is the number one ingredient in the Big Mac® Sauce.  (And by the way, the Happy Meal purchased on May 3 looks as good as it did on day one.)

April 29
Since I began this blog, I’ve written another post about Monosodium Glutamate. MSG is a common ingredient in McDonald’s food. Click Here to read “Hidden Toxin in Food.” Unappetizing as it is, my Happy Meal is just as perky as the day I bought it, nearly two months ago!

June 3
How sad are Americans? Despite all the cautions about fast food, a recent poll found that 44 percent of Americans say they like the taste of fast food too much to give it up. Greg Chu, senior vice president of health care for Synovate in North America, says people in the USA have “a love-hate relationship” with fast food. “We love the convenience. We love the taste. We love the assurance that you can count on it. But we know it’s not good for us.”

December 14
I wish I could say that my Happy Meal has changed in some way. But it looks pretty much the same nine months after I purchased it. The bread is crusty. That’s all!

March 3, 2010

Read about my Happy Meal’s first birthday, CLICK HERE.


Junk Food Is, Well, Junk

966629_burger_hamburger_cheeseburger_.jpgMorgan Spurlock, producer, director, and guinea pig of Super-Size Me, shocked America by documenting his month-long fast-food binge. I had no desire to watch his movie…until recently. I thought the premise was preposterous, after all, who wouldn’t expect to gain weight after eating exclusively at McDonalds?

I couldn’t have been more wrong. Supersize-Me, actually shed light on the not-so-obvious perils of regularly eating fast foods. Spurlock became a fast-food lab rat for one month. He calls it his “month in Hell.”

A team of health advisers documented his experiment. By day 18, his whole body was in a meltdown: headaches, body aches, and lack of energy. No surprise, his cholesterol and tryglycerides skyrocketed. What’s worse, his liver began to fail. Despite this, he found himself craving the foods that he was consuming! Morgan’s health team neglected to make a couple of significant connections. They were at a loss for the cause of his headaches.

MSG is a Hidden Ingredient
In much of McDonalds’ food, including fries, there’s a hidden ingredient…MSG. MSG is an excitotoxin, which over-stimulate brain cells to the point that they die. Many people experience headaches when this occurs. It seems likely that MSG was the cause of Morgan’s headaches. It’s a shame that Morgan’s health team missed this important connection.

They were also at a loss as to why Morgan’s liver began to fail after only eighteen days. They concluded it was because of the saturated fat he was ingesting. It was a red herring! They neglected to isolate Trans Fat from natural saturated fats. Trans Fat is manmade and can’t be properly metabolized into your body. Fast foods (as are all restaurant fried foods) are loaded with trans fat.

Children Shouldn’t Eat Trans Fat
The government recommends that we, and especially children, don’t eat any trans fat. Since 2006, it became mandatory to list trans fat on nutrition labels. In fact, McDonalds website lists the trans fat in their foods. A small fry has 3½ grams; medium 5 grams, and a large fry 8 grams. Happy Meals, purchased for small children, fall somewhere between 4 and 5 grams of trans fat.

Trans fat can be found in most of McDonalds foods: salads, shakes, hamburgers, all fried foods including chicken McNuggets, sandwiches, cookies, biscuits, burritos, and of course their fries. Morgan was ingesting trans fat in just about every bite of food. No wonder his liver began to fail!

Most of us don’t eat exclusively at McDonalds,  but you should be able to eat at ANY restaurant for a month without your health failing -even if you put on a few pounds.

It DOES Matter What We Eat
Desperate parents often give in to their picky eaters, who willingly eat junk foods. The cost of eating well is measured in not only dollars, but health. CLICK HERE for Baby Bites: Transforming a Picky Eater into a Healthy Eater.