In my professional pursuit and research on how to get back to our fitness roots, I have studied many modalities of training, from Wildfitness to RKC or any other form of movement, to travels in various continents including Africa, where some claim we come from originally (I am not a paleontologist, so I will skip verifying the accuracy of my statement. Feel free to correct me in a comment).
I’ve also investigated the way our ancestors ate, including but not restricted to the TNT diet, the Warrior Diet as well as the Paleo Diet.
Why did it take for me to have a child and a dedicated wife to point out another obvious factor? Topic: how we train to eat! Our “civilized” modern society and the baby food corporations have conditioned us to believe that children need to eat food in stages (one ingredient mush stage 1, two ingredient slightly lumpier stage 2 etc…) and even pushed the age of trying “solids” (really, purées) to as low as 4 months, which contains its own set of developmental health hazards.
Not until the turn on the 19th Century did we start to amass data on how babies ate. Everything till then had been passed on from mother to daughter, with intuitive and instinctive approaches to feeding babies. At that time, we also introduced mushed up foods. How did people do it before? Simple: babies ate what we ate. In the same form we eat currently. No purées, no semi-solids. Real food. Real solid food.
Having the baby eat solid foods instead of the jarred food, or processed (even if by you in a food processor) helps in the development of the following:
– Hand eye coordination.
– Eating to satiety (studies show that babies who feed themselves rather than being spoon fed exercise better portion control as adults).
– Social skills (eating with the parents rather than separately).
– Greater satisfaction and reward, as the child is rewarded with interesting tastes, textures as the food is passed from hand to mouth.
– Promotion of feelings of independence. Think of the meaning of the expression “to be spoon fed”, which essentially deprives the person from exercising their decision making process.
– Faster speech development, since gumming or chewing through food exercises various muscles in the mouth, jaw, tongue etc.
That’s just a few. Essential, though, wouldn’t you think?
IS IT SAFE?
Concerned parents, worry not. Your precious bundle will often spit the food out, either by triggering a gag reflex or simply because he/she just needed to experience the taste and texture, not necessarily because hunger was the motivator. My 11-month old son decided to reject baby jarred food, home made or store bought, for the last couple of days. Coincidentally, my wife had learned of the Baby Led Weaning method through a friend in her ‘baby group” and we decided to give the little guy a shot at it today. Results: great success! Fletcher chewed his way through a few raw apple spears (while trying to emulate what I was doing by showing him how it’s done), then he devoured a sweet potato (baked and also cut into spears). He loved it, was really happy and ate a good amount, about the same amount he would have eaten if puréed. As a matter of fact, I gave him the choice of jarred food, and he rejected it for the 3rd day in a row. I even let him use his spoon if he wanted to, but it’s more fun to make a mess with your fingers.
MORAL OF THE STORY
Our bodies know. They always do. From birth. The movement stages of development are not taught. They are figured out. We don’t teach babies to push-up, crawl, pull themselves to a stand. How often do you crawl?
Way, way back when, there were no Gerber jars or food processors. Babies learned to develop their maxillary muscles on their own and that process, just like any others in the evolution of our bodies through our lifespan, sparks developmental milestones which carry over through life.
If you are interested in learning more, even if you do not have a child but are keen on being a well-rounded individual, click on the link below and read up about the book, or better yet, buy it!