Yet another thing we’ve done wrong (because they told us it was right!)

I read an article today about a new campaign that Dr. Greene, a prominent pediatrician in the States, has launched. It’s called the ‘WhiteOut’ campaign. He is saying that feeding babies rice cereal is probably one of the reasons childhood obesity is on the rise.

When I had S I started him on rice cereal at 4 months old. He could barely sit up, but that was what I was told to do. He had rice cereal on its own for a while then I introduced other foods mixed in with the rice. When J was born they had just recommended that parents wait till 6 months before giving babies solids, I made it to 5 months then when my extended family caught on that I hadn’t fed her yet they fed her for me! so then I started J on rice cereal, as one does. When B was born I was determined to wait till 6 months before feeding him. He developed eczema so that made it even more important to wait the full 6 months (since babies with eczema tend to have food allergies). When he was 6 months I gave him… you guessed it, rice cereal.

A few days after B started solids, I met an amazing woman who has been a maternity nanny for years and is in the process of writing a book about her method. She asked me why I was giving him baby rice? and why I didn’t just give him proper food? vegetables, fruits? I said “mixed with baby rice?” all confused and stuff. She said “No! Just food”. Come to think of it, my sister gave her daughters porridge I think and never rice cereal.

You see, in hind sight it all makes sense! Obviously whole grain is better for kids than white anything. Baby rice has nearly no nutritional value, and yet it is all we give our kids when they start eating. We get them used to having high starch high fructose foods right from the start that all basically just turn to sugar in the stomach!

I am having a flash back of this woman my mother used to know who was into macrobiotics. And every time she would visit something would be banned from our house…Oh how we hated her.

And now… as we say in arabic “سخرية القدر” I am going to make my kids eat brown everything as much as possible. I used to do this before, then I became lax. I feel like it’s stupid not to really, because this is the time where I do have control over what they eat so if I start them on it now they might get used to it and see no difference. And if they don’t get used to it at least for the few years that I have them I can try and keep them as healthy as possible.

A nutritionalist  told me once that she lives her life by the 80-20 rule which is if you do 80% of the things right, your body can cope with the 20% you’re doing wrong. That make sense to me because God knows I hate healthy anything. I’m gonna have to go brown as well :( at least when I’m with the kids…

S is going to freak out big time… will keep you updated.


  1. I remember back in the US there was the huge Atkins diet in the late 90s and no one wanted to eat carbohydrates evil carbs make you fat blah blah… then I moved to China for a year and everyone there eats at least 3 cups of white rice a day, one for each meal. White rice is the staple. And there are no fat Chinese people, practically. They walk, ride their bikes and live an active lifestyle where activity is built into the day. After my time there I realized that a lot of what I hear from so-called nutritionists is kind of alarmist, culturally relativistic crap with questionable research methodologies.

    For example his key statement: “He is concerned that babies are getting hooked on the taste of highly processed white rice and flour, which could set them up for a lifetime of bad habits, such as a weakness for cakes and cookies.” Is not backed up with any objectifiable proof, its just conjecture. Chinese in general do not have sweet tooths… so, um, explain that for one billion people doctor…

    I think feeding your child rice as opposed to baby “Formula” (chock full of processed oils and dehydrated cows milk and added atrtificial vitamins… scary stuff) is A OK.

    I think as mothers and parents everyone wants the absolute best for their baby but sometines I wonder if we are taken advantage of by doctors who use fear mongering to make a name for themselves.

    In short, I think if we stick to food as close to its natural state as possible, eat lots of veggies, fruits, move around in our bodies and stay away from processed franken foods most of us turn out ok. :)

    • Jenna I totally agree. The closest it is to what it started out as the better. Therefore, trying to change to wholewheat. What you said about the Chinese is so true! We live on a diet of rice here and no movement at all so you can imagine how that is working out for us. But what I thought he meant was to avoid processed food in general. Or at least that’s how I interpreted it.
      Also, some baby formula had MSG… Yes… I’m shocked! What the hell!

  2. Natural, varied, I think is the key. Sometimes I say laughingly (but truthfully) it is wise to avoid white powdery substances. :-) Of course, not too fanatically as that might have the effect of the attraction of the forbidden.

    • Lol so true! My method is to keep the house junk free so when they go out on the weekends I don’t have to police them. And before a birthday party I give them a proper meal at home. Again, so I’m not going crazy when they are filling up on ice cream.

  3. for some reason my daughter hated the iron fortified rice cereal wholeheartedly which made us delay the matter for a later stage,though she started chewing some cheerios when she got her little teeth erupted.
    my wife then suddenly decided she doesn’t want her to have any kind of baby food,but rather fed her from our home made lunch and dinner,she made sure they are within chewable limits for a toddler and she started feeding her,and surprisingly it went very well, the sight of her eating molo5iyya with minced bread cannot be more joyful.

    she does feed her rice,but we are not big on having rice every meal.
    mommy has a strict no sweets,no ready juices,we try to avoid giving her sweet stuff as much as we can,as her pediatrician strongly recommended that we avoid giving the kids sweet stuff,cos it will only let them want sweet thing and cannot tolerate things that doesnt taste less sweet.
    i believe she is developing good habits,she loves broccoli,Bamiya,and zucchini,the three things i didnt eat as a kid but i forcefully taught my self to as an adult.

    • That is the best way to go if you can. Have everything home made. That way you control how much salt and sugar is going into your little ones body and keep preservatives away! Mashallah I have yet to get to know a zucchini.

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