If you have a baby, you surely are on the hunt to find the safest baby food. I know I was.
That’s why 17 years ago I chose an organic rice cereal brand for our family.
But studies now show that the brand I used – that brand I TRUSTED – had and still does have high arsenic levels that may have damaged the health of my babies.
So what is a parent to do?
How to Find Safe Baby Food
Unfortunately, the brand isn’t alone. Studies show many rice cereal baby food brands are high in toxic arsenic. As a result, pediatricians now warn parents not to use the old standard of rice cereal and recommend oats instead.
So, are you waiting for the other shoe to drop?
How long do you wait until researchers tell you the oats you fed your children had other toxic residues the pediatricians didn’t know about?
How do you know if the oatmeal brand you use is clean? Or if there is any safe baby food?
What is the Best Oat Brand for Baby Food?
No need to worry because we’ve got you covered—at ZEGO, we purity verify our oats to give you peace of mind. You see, we know that oats can have residue from arsenic, lead, and cadmium. They also can have glyphosate, paraquat, and mycotoxins, all of which can harm your child’s health. So we test for all these AND over 400 other toxins to verify the purity of our oats. We want to give you peace of mind that you are feeding your baby clean food.
But that’s not all. We also use the highest quality oat seeds, so you not only get the safest baby food, you also get superior nutrition – almost double the protein and 30% more fiber and more iron than typical brands.
So, yes, oats are a great first grain for your baby IF you use a brand that both purity verifies their oats AND gives you 100% transparency to see the test results like ZEGO does. Trust and verify.
Looking for a recipe? Scroll down.
Looking for more info? Keep reading!
Arsenic is a Well-known Problem in Rice and Juice
Earlier this year, ZEGO posted a report on toxic heavy metals in baby food that a Congressional oversight committee issued in February 2021. It reinforces what numerous other studies have told us: rice and fruit juice often are contaminated with arsenic. And, the contamination is far above the naturally occurring amounts found in our soil.
Worst of all, arsenic often occurs in dangerously high levels in rice cereal, one of the first foods that parents historically have introduced to their babies. And these levels are even higher in organic brown rice cereal.
How Does Arsenic End Up in Our Baby Food?
Rice plants are notoriously efficient at soaking up unwanted arsenic from the soil and water in which they’re grown. Then the plants store the toxin in the outer layer of the grain. That’s why brown rice tends to have more arsenic than white.
And if farmers flood their fields, which most do, they exacerbate the problem by pulling arsenic out of deeper layers of the soil into the flood water.
And, unfortunately, we can’t rely on organic baby foods. You see, organic standards don’t address heavy metals like arsenic at all. And organic rice cereal is usually made with brown rice because it is more nutrient-rich but contains even more arsenic than white.
Why Is Arsenic Contamination Worse in Some Farmland?
Because arsenic occurs naturally in the environment, it easily finds its way into our food supply through water, soil, and air. But naturally occurring amounts are not what we are worried about.
You see, arsenic has been extracted from the earth and used by man for fertilizer, tanning leather, preserving wood, and other industrial and military purposes. These activities and the runoff from them can contaminate soil, resulting in elevated arsenic levels in the crops grown in it.
For example, arsenic was used as a fertilizer on peaches grown in southern Oregon over a hundred years ago. And it is still in the soil in that area. In Arkansas, farmers used a fertilizer with arsenic to spray apple orchards in the first part of the 20th century. And, some also used a poultry manure fertilizer with arsenic on their fields.
So though the FDA and baby food manufacturers are correct that there’s no way to completely avoid arsenic, we can avoid high levels of it. And, we as manufacturers have a responsibility to do so.
How Does Arsenic Affect Babies?
No one benefits from arsenic. But for infants and children, it’s a much bigger danger.
Their bodies are small compared to the amount of food and drink they consume over time, so they are much more vulnerable to the levels of arsenic they ingest. And, their brains are developing at a rapid pace.
Studies show that prolonged exposure to arsenic from food – even at low levels – can cause many health problems like these.
- impaired brain development resulting in lower IQ,
- growth problems,
- immune system deficiencies, and, later on in life,
Will ZEGO Double Protein Oats Help Protect Your Baby’s Health?
If you are looking for the safest baby food grain option for your baby, Yes! you needn’t look further than our Double Protein Oats. Our oats are easier to digest and higher in fiber, protein, and iron than other brands. And best of all, we purity verify them at 3rd party labs for over 400 pesticides, herbicides, and heavy metals – including arsenic. Our oats are also glyphosate-free and have no measurable amount of gluten cross-contact.
And you don’t have to take our word for it, you can see all our test results anytime by scanning the QR code on our packages.
Who Else Recommends ZEGO Oats for Purity?
We have a host of health care practitioners–nutritionists, MDs, NPs, and other holistic health care providers who recommend ZEGO oats for their purity and nutrition.
One of our favorites is Dr. Christian Gonzalez, a naturopathic doctor, and host of the well-revered podcast “Heal Thy Self with Dr. G.” He has researched the purity of thousands of products.
Recently, Dr. G highlighted us on his Instagram, calling our oats the “best one” and the “purest out there.” You can follow him on IG @doctor.gonzalez (and look for his IG Reel showing a cylindrical package of oats bearing the name of a familiar manufacturer).
More Easy Steps to Ensure Your Baby’s Food Isn’t an Arsenic Risk
If you can’t find a brand of rice cereal that tests for heavy metals and shares the testing with you, you likely want to move away from rice cereal. But there is more you can do. Here are some tips.
- If you do serve rice, use white basmati or sushi rice that was NOT grown in the Arkansas or Louisiana area.
- Always rinse your rice beforehand, several times if possible. Cook the rice as you would pasta and drain in a strainer when done.
- If you do choose rice cereal, choose one made from white rice, not brown.
- Avoid fruit juices, which can contain heavy metals. Plus, they’re really bad for your teeth and can contribute to the onset of Type II Diabetes.
- Be sure to wash all your fruits and veggies to remove soil as it may be tainted with arsenic.
- Make your own baby food using softened or blended foods, like mashed sweet potatoes, steamed and puréed vegetables, and finely chopped meats. (Tip: Pour a homemade purée into an ice cube tray and freeze. Then warm the cubes as you need them.)
- Create a “naturally colorful plate” for each meal. The nutrients will help the body process toxins like arsenic.
Homemade Oatmeal Cereal for Babies
1. Pulse ZEGO Double Protein Oats in a food processor until finely ground, about 30-45 seconds.
2. Store the oat powder in a sealed container in the refrigerator or freezer.
To make 4 baby-sized servings.
- Bring 1+ cup of water to a boil with a pinch of salt (optional)
- Sprinkle in ¼ cup of the ground oats while you whisk the water.
- Whisk continuously for 30 seconds, turn down the heat to a slow simmer, and then stir or whisk occasionally until the mixture is thick and creamy, about 5 minutes.
- Optional: add breast milk or formula to add nutrition and familiarity with flavor. You can also use them to thin the cereal if needed.
To add healthy fats and iron and to expand their pallet to more flavors, both to support their growth and to help them process toxins found on food and in the environment
1 to 2 tablespoons of purées (like the ones listed here) and/or ½ to 1 teaspoon of ground flaxseed to each serving of oatmeal. Store ground flax in the refrigerator as it has a short shelf life. Do not use whole flax seeds as babies cannot digest them (you’ll find evidence in the next diaper =).
Try these great mix-ins for added flavor and nutrition:
- Banana purée
- Peach purée
- Mango purée
- Avocado purée
- Peanut Butter (if appropriate)
- Sweet Potato purée
- Butternut Squash purée
- Ground flaxseed
Written by Colleen Kavanagh, ZEGO’s founder, with support from Sarah McCourt
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