People are ALWAYS asking me what foods we eat and what foods we avoid for our family! I’m going to make this short for now and add to this as things come up in conversations! Bear in mind that – as with eye color – we have the full spectrum of variations in our little family—2 vegans, 2 “mostly vegetarians”, 1 “rabid carnivore”, 1 “goat” (will eat nearly anything)!
- We eat all organic and
- As a family we avoid most animal products (although our youngest loves meat and dairy – much to his vegan father’s consternation!)
- For eggs (when we get them) we try to go with organic, free range, pasture raised (yadda yadda) – because chickens confined to traditional (or even the majority of so-called “cage-free”) high-density factory or commercial barn structures have a higher tendency to encounter and eat lead paint chips, even if they are raised “organic”!
Our “Never” or “Almost Never” List (because these things are well documented to be high in lead, some because they are naturally high in calcium and lead bio-mimics calcium and is readily taken up and concentrated via the same natural mechanisms in the plants listed here):
- Spinach (I will rarely have spinach out, but never feed it to my children).
- Himalayan Pink Salt (This has been shown to have high levels of lead by independent 3rd party testing.)
- Most Multi-Vitamins (We have not yet found any brands consistently demonstrated to be lead-free by independent third party testing. This includes specifically avoiding calcium supplements for our children.)
- Sunflower Seeds (I will very rarely have sunflower seeds and don’t feed them to my children. We avoid sunflower seed butter and instead stick with almonds, cashews, peanuts and other tree nuts!)
- Bone Broth (not hard to avoid because we keep a vegetarian home).
- Most oils (particularly seed oils, and especially if you expose them to high-heat during cooking! Unheated high-quality olive or coconut oil used sparingly are our go-to exceptions. I also love Avocado oil!
Things we limit our consumption of :
- Chocolate (because it is hard to find lead-free sources; we try to buy single ingredient, USA processed cocoa paste, cocoa nibs or cocoa powder and we make our own chocolate things.)
- Bread and flour products (because our kiddos’ digestion is messed up from being lead poisoned and too much bread has sent Avi to the hospital in the past!)
- Refined sweeteners (when absolutely needed for some deserts, we use high quality organic maple syrup, raw organic coconut sugar or raw, and sometimes minimally processed organic agave – used sparingly – as our preferred choices).
Here’s a good graph you might want to check out, from our neighbors to the north!
Click to see the full graph and search for your favorite foods and their lead content!
Things we eat on a regular basis (most or all organic)… aka -our “Yes” list!:
- Berries! (fresh, local, seasonal, organic raspberries, blackberries, marionberries, mulberries, blueberries, strawberries, etc. Last year we started growing our own organic raspberries —yum!)
- Cucumbers! (The kids love them sliced with organic red wine vinegar and dill.)
- Avocados! (usually with organic red wine vinegar filling up the spot where the pit used to be… as a favorite of the kids.)
- GREENS! (Romaine Lettuce, Collards, Kale, and especially Lacinato (“dinosaur”) Kale are favorites (usually raw as a snack or lightly steamed with a sprinkling of homemade organic lemon-tahini sauce)!
- Cherry tomatoes (any type of tomatoes actually—Charlie loves tomatoes sprinkled with Icelandic sea salt!)
- Celery sticks! (Sometimes with peanut butter, sometimes with salt, sometimes with umeboshi paste!)
- Fresh, local corn on the cob (also with umeboshi paste instead of butter!)
- Homemade bean salads. (Organic kidney beans, garbanzo beans and red wine vinegar is a favorite of our kids!)
- Homemade bean soups and stews (beans soaked overnight, soak water discarded, pressure-cooked).
- Brown Rice, Barley, Oats, Millet, Quinoa, Amaranth and other whole grains (soaked overnight, soak water discarded; pressure-cooked)
- Potatoes (little purple Peruvians, yams and sweet potatoes — they’re yummy and so much healthier!)
- Oranges, Clementines, Mandarins and other tasty little orange fruits!
- Kiwifruit! (The kids would eat a dozen of these every day if they could!)
- Washington State apples (we love Fuji and Honeycrisp in season!)
- Bubbie’s pickles (or Portand’s own MoonBrine!)
- Soymilk (Westsoy Organic, Unsweetened Plain)
- Nori seaweed (our kids LOVE both home-made sushi and also snacking on plain nori!) [& yes we do have concerns about heavy metals and radiation.]
- Sea Palm fronds (another favorite snacking seaweed!)
- Chips (we rotate brands and flavors – always organic; no added sugar, preservatives or artificial ingredients)
- Pasta (Tinkyada’ Pasta, Joy Brown Rice pastas and Lotus Foods’ Organic Jade Pearl Rice Ramen are favorites!) we try to have it less often, but with lots of boys it is hard to avoid! *see flour products above.) The thing about pasta is that the boys are less likely to “perpetually self-feed” (as they do with bread – lol!)
- “Real” bagels from time to time [our current favorite in Portland is Joel Bundy’s magnificent, authentic New York-style chewy, boiled-and-baked masterpiece of bagel goodness! (Bundy’s Bagels 1421 SE 33rd Ave., 503-880-8550, bundysbagels.com. ]
- Nuts! Pistachios, cashews, almonds, walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts. (Trader Joe’s has a good organic nut selection.)
- Edwards & Sons’ Instant Miso Soup (convenient dry packets – just add boiling water, + sometimes a little extra tofu!)
- Various dried fruit & veggies [we have a food dehydrator and this saves a TON when we dehydrate tasty delights – especially things like fresh winter Shitake Mushrooms and summer fruits and berries – for year-round availability and economy!]
- Coconut Bliss Ice Cream (Len and the kids like this, but I hate this stuff!)
As always, thank you for reading! And please let me know if you have any questions.
Unexpected Lead Expert
Mother of Four Sons