Monthly Archives: May 2009

Holle Organic Baby Milks and Baby Food – No Added Fluoride

Twice in the last month I have received enquiries from customers asking whether the Holle organic baby milks and formulas have the chemical fluoride added during their production.

I have consulted Holle’s head of quality control and nutrition and can categorically confirm that the Holle organic baby milks and formulas do NOT have fluoride added. Furthermore, none of the organic baby food produced by Holle have fluoride added.

I am aware of the possible dangers of fluoride and am against ‘mass medication’ by adding it to our drinking water (luckily not everywhere in the UK or Europe) and to our toothpastes. When I first learned about fluoride many years ago I was indeed very shocked, especially considering that the aluminium industry tells us that their by-product is good for us humans while it is used to kill rats at the same time. I would recommend any parent look into the issue of fluoride in our food and drink and take action to protect their babies – who are, after all,extremely vulnerable and deserve a pure and wholesome diet.

Holle Baby Milks – The Nutritional Breakdown

When looking at the nutritional breakdown on any of the Holle organic baby milk packaging you will though find reference to fluoride in the list of nutrients in the formulas. So, what is going on – didn’t I just categorically state that fluoride isn’t added to the baby milks? I did, and that is perfectly correct. The fluoride trace content declared on the packaging is simply what naturally occurs in the milk derived from the biodynamically/organically raised cows that supply the milk to produce the baby formula. I should point out that fresh milk naturally contains traces of fluoride, as will most foods – just like many other trace elements.

How Do the Holle Baby Formulas Compare?

One customer also mentioned in his email another well known brand of organic baby milks and formulas and his concern at the levels of fluoride in their baby milks. While I will not mention the manufacturer, I have checked the figures and can confirm a huge difference in the levels of fluoride present between their organic baby milks and those produced by Holle. The figures are as follows:

  • Holle – 0.56 µg per 100 ml made up follow-on infant formula
  • Other brand – 36.0 µg per 100 ml made up follow-on infant formula

Compared with breastmilk one of our correspondents wrote:

One statistic I looked at after I sent my earlier e-mail was how the Holle milk compares with mothers’ breast milk in terms of natural fluoride content, and I found it was broadly the same amount.

Make an Informed Choice When Choosing a Baby Milk

As a concerned parent who, for whatever reason cannot or does not breastfeed, choosing a baby milk or formula is an important decision. I would always advise parents to check ingredients lists and lists of nutrients, and if you have any doubts ask questions – ask as many questions as you need in order to satisfy yourself.

At Ulula we are always happy to receive your queries and will do our very best to give you an open and honest answer so that you can make an informed decision.

Share your experiences with the Holle organic baby milks and formulas with other parents – tell us how your baby likes the Holle range.

Read more about the Holle range of organic baby milks and formulas >>

Lavera Natural and Organic Sun Cream and Sun Protection – Replaces Weleda Edelweiss Suncream and is Now Available to Order

After last week’s article about the discontinuation of Weleda’s natural sun cream and sun protection range I am really pleased to be able to let you know that we now have the fantastic Lavera sun protection range available online.

Lavera is not only one of the leading suppliers of organic and natural cosmetics, the company is the market leader for natural sun protection and has won many awards. Lavera was the first manufacturer worldwide to produce 100% natural mineral-based sun protection.

The following three sun care products from Lavera are now available for purchase.

So, enjoy the coming sunny weather with peace of mind, and let me know how you find the Lavera suncream and sun protection range.

Weaning Your Baby With Organic Food – Pesticides in Fruit and Vegetables

Fresh fruit and vegetables - which are safe for weaning babies?

Fresh fruit and vegetables - which are safe for weaning babies?

At Ulula we always recommend parents to wean their babies with organic ingredients. Babies delicate and developing bodies do not deserve to be bombarded with the cocktail of potentially harmful chemicals used in the production of so many of our foods.

Latest research from the Environmental Working Group states (my emphasis):

“The growing consensus among scientists is that small doses of some pesticides and other chemicals can cause lasting damage to human health, especially during fetal development and early childhood. Scientists now know enough about the long-term consequences of ingesting these powerful chemicals to advise that we minimize our consumption of pesticides.”

Confused on which fruits and vegetables you should be buying organic? Yes, it can be a few more pennies, but studies by the Environmental Working Group show that there are some fruit and vegetables that you should always be buying organic because of the amount of pesticides used on the non-organic kind and the porousness of their skins in retaining the pesticides.

The foods on the Dirty Dozen list (see below) are foods that have very porous skins and which receive heavier doses of, sometimes multiple, pesticides. These are the fruit and vegetables that you should always be buying organic.

The Clean 15 (see below) are those fruit and vegetables that either have a skin that cannot be penetrated by the pesticides and/or those that do not receive as many pesticides. The Clean 15 are those foods that are more okay to not buy organic if organic varieties aren’t available.

The EWG research has shown that, “consumers can reduce their pesticide exposure by 80 percent by avoiding the most contaminated fruits and vegetables and eating only the cleanest”.

The Dirty Dozen
(in order from most pesticide-ridden)

  • Peaches
  • Apples
  • Peppers
  • Celery
  • Nectarines
  • Strawberries
  • Cherries
  • Kale
  • Lettuce
  • Grapes
  • Carrots
  • Pears

The Clean 15
(in order from least pesticide-ridden)

  • Onions
  • Avocados
  • Sweetcorn
  • Pineapple
  • Mangos
  • Asparagus
  • Sweet peas
  • Kiwis
  • Cabbages
  • Aubergines
  • Papayas
  • Watermelons
  • Broccoli
  • Tomatos
  • Sweet potatos

I wouldn’t advise starting weaning babies with some of the items in the above lists, but I think that this offers us a useful guide if we are serious about feeding our babies a safe and wholesome diet.

Holle Organic Baby Food – Guaranteed Pesticide Free

I know as a mother feeding a family of five that buying organic can be a few more pennies, but I really believe that such expenditure is an investment in our children’s future health.

Because buying fresh fruit and vegetables was not terribly easy or convenient when I was weaning my babies, I looked into the various organic baby food alternatives available in jars. The Holle brand clearly stood out above the rest for the quality of the food and the gentle production methods that respect the food as well as the baby they go on to feed. It was for those reasons that I wanted to stock Holle baby foods when setting up Ulula. I also found the Holle baby jars perfectly complement their huge range of organic baby porridges, so that combining different jars with different porridges during the course of a week I could feed my babies a great selection of meals.

Share your weaning experiences with other parents. How do you ensure you feed your baby organic weaning recipes?

Where Are the Weleda Edelweiss Suncream and Sun Protection Products?

UPDATE: This article about the Weleda Edelweiss Suncream and Sun Protection Products has been updated. The Weleda sun care range has not been available since 2009. At Ulula we use and recommend sun care products from Lavera and Organii (who produce an excellent natural and organic sun block for babies and children – very effective and highly recommended).

A baby’s skin is four to five times thinner than adult akin and is extremely absorptive. This is just one good reason to only use natural plant and mineral based products on their delicate and sensitive skins, rather than risking artificial chemicals.

With the mild and sunny weather, many Ulula customers who bought the Weleda Edelweiss Suncream products over the last few years have recently asked me why they couldn’t find them anymore on the Ulula website.

Many years ago, when Weleda developed the Edelweiss Suncream and their whole Suncare Range, the company developed a mineral UV filter which was the only sun screen accepted by the BDIH, the German certifying body for natural cosmetics. Weleda also used Australian standards to certify their UVA protection.

To ensure total protection for consumers, recently introduced EU regulations on sun protection filters (including extended UV-A protection), as well as generally higher expectations of sun protection products, have made it necessary for all sun care producers to incorporate a new, more effective UV-A filter in a considerably higher concentration than previously required.

These new EU regulations do not comply with the Australian standards Weleda previously used as a base and the company have said it is difficult to ensure the specified level of protection with natural mineral UV filters.

Therefore Weleda decided to take the Edelweiss Suncream and Sun Protection Range off the market from January 2009.

At Ulula we have been looking hard for an alternative suncream to the Weleda.  We only want to offer our customers suncreams and sun care products from an equally well regarded natural cosmetic manufacturer that produces high quality organic and natural skincare products.

At the Natural and Organic Show in London in April, we had a chat with the ladies from the Lavera stand about their suncream and sun care range. I already knew Lavera products from Germany and it is one of the few cosmetic an skin care ranges I am prepared to use myelf. Lavera is not only one of the leading suppliers of organic and natural cosmetics, Lavera is the market leader for natural sun protection and has won many awards. Lavera was the first manufacturer worldwide to produce 100% natural mineral-based sun protection.

UPDATE: We have also recently introduced a total sunblock for babies and children by Organii – another natural and certified organic alternative that is very effective and highly recommended.

Protecting Your Baby – With Natural Suncreams

We all love the sunshine but it is so important to keep your baby safe, even on less sunny days during the summer. Therefore sun protection is very important for the whole family.

Some guidelines to consider:

  • Babies under six months should never be exposed to the sun – always keep them in the shade;
    Keep babies and children out of direct sunlight between 11am and 3pm;
  • Make sure they always wear a hat, preferably one that covers the top of the neck too;
    Keep babies and children well hydrated with lots of water;
  • Make sure they wear loose clothing made from close-weave fabric to prevent sun rays from penetrating;
  • Use natural sunscreens designed for children and apply frequently and in sufficient quantity;
    Explain to your little ones why you are protecting them.

We are delighted to announce that we will soon be taking delivery of some of the Lavera Sun Cream and Sun Protection Range so you can be well prepared to naturally protect your baby and your whole family for the coming summer. Lets hope we get some sun!

Fats and Sugars in Organic Baby Biscuits and Snacks – Some Thoughts

Baby waiting for his food - sent in by a customer

Baby waiting for his food - sent in by a customer

Following recent news headlines relating to the levels of fats and sugars in common brands of baby foods such as finger foods, biscuits and snacks, I thought I would give my initial reactions followed by some nutritional information on the Holle range of organic finger foods for babies.

I strongly believe that babies and young children deserve to be given wholesome foods that nurture both their body and soul. Because of the age of babies and children we are talking about here, it is imcumbent on their parents to provide such foods – young babies are entirely dependent on us for all their needs.

The Ulula Ethos

The Ulula ethos regarding the baby foods we chose to sell is only to supply foods that:

  • Are certified to high organic or Demeter standards;
  • Are guaranteed to contain no genetically modified ingredients;
  • Have no added processed sugar;
  • Have no added salt (unless absolutely essential for a baking process)
  • Contain no hydrogenated/trans fats;
  • Contain no added flavourings;
  • Contain no added colourings;
  • Contain no added preservatives.
  • Are produced using the gentlest cooking methods available for that food type

We only want to supply foods that have a place in helping parents feed their babies wholesome and nurturing foods.

Not All Organic Baby Foods Are Equal

With many things in life, not everything we buy is of an equally high standard – baby food is no exception. Disappointingly, not even all organically certified baby foods are of the same standard. I don’t believe it is good business practice for me to identify individual companies here but I am so confident in the Holle baby foods that I recommend you  just compare the contents and quality with anything else you can buy.

So, What About the Fats?

The Children’s Food Campaign report identified a number of baby biscuits and snacks that contain high amounts of  fats. Some baby finger foods have been reported as having a higher proportion of fats and saturated fats than many ‘junk foods’.

While there are recommended maximum nutritional guidelines for dietary saturated fat content for men (30g), women (20g) and children aged 5 to 10 (also 20g), there is actually no maximum recommended level for infants – they naturally need more fat in their diet than adults because they are growing and need a higher intake of energy.

Foods though are said to be high in saturated fat if they contain more than 5g of saturates per 100g. Foods containing 1.5g or less per 100g are said to be low in saturated fat.

How Holle Baby Snacks and Finger Foods Compare

A number of other brands of  popular baby biscuits were mentioned by the Children’s Food Campaign. The report itself did not mention the Holle range, but I am very happy to provide the nutritional information:

As for the sugar content of each, that is as follows:

Holle Organic Baby Spelt Biscuit

Holle Organic Baby Spelt Biscuit

So, What Do These Figures Mean?

On the face of it, the Holle biscuits could be seen as a high fat, high sugar snack. But the issue really is not as simple as this and we need to put these figures into context.

Entirely breastfed infants take more than 50% of their energy from fat, since mother’s milk is very rich in fat. The fat composition of a mother’s milk is special – about 52% of the fats are saturated fatty acids. Breastfed babies are not in danger of having a raised cholesterol level or even at risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Following this natural ideal of mother’s milk, is the reason why Holle infant formulas and some other infant products are also rich in fat as well as being rich in saturated fatty acids. It is also recommended to enrich nearly fat free infant foods, such as vegetable and fruit meals as well as milk free grain based meals, with small amounts of oil or butter.

The Holle Organic Baby Spelt Biscuits contain pure butter from biodynamically raised cows as a fat source. Butter has a spectrum of fatty acids similar to a mother’s milk fat, and contains very easily digestible short and medium chain fatty acids. Butter in infant nutrition is not a bad ingredient – It is easily digested and has the right fat composition.

As for the sources of sugar, Holle uses only molasses of rice and banana as mild natural sweeteners in their baby biscuits. This way they avoid the need for processed, crystallised sugars that have been stripped of essential micro-nutrients.

Consider Your Baby’s Overall Diet

It is important to consider a baby’s overall daily diet. Babies from six months are either breastfed or having a baby milk or formula and are generally weaning. Such snacks as the baby biscuits or the baby rusks should be seen by parents as one part of this increasingly varied food mix.  A weaning baby that is fed on Holle organic baby foods will receive a diet that is well balanced and is nutritionally based on the developmental needs of infants of this age.

Of course, if parents choose to feed their baby excessive amounts of any one food the nutritional intake of the baby may become unbalanced. As with so much in parenting, we need to listen to our intuition and tune ino our baby’s needs.

Ulula Recommends

As usual, I recommend you use your common sense when thinking about the issues raised. Carry on feeding and weaning your baby according to your existing plan and let your common sense guide you as to how you supplement that with both the rusks and biscuits.

Gluten Free Foods – Customer Feedback and a New Menu For People with Gluten Intolerance

As existing customers will already know, I try to make sure I personalise the service I offer and always write a little note with every order. Many customers email or write back and tell me more about their babies and families.

When H. placed an order recently I assumed she was buying for her baby, but it seems the gluten free food she was buying was really for herself. This isn’t actually that unusual, because although Ulula is a online shop for organic baby food, we do sell many food items that are suitable for older children as well as adult members of the family with gluten intolerance.

Hi Sabine
Thankyou for your note with my recent order.
the items are i’m ordering are actually for myself (a rather overgrown child!) not my baby.
since finding out i have a severe gluten intolerance i’ve really really missed wheat based crispbreads – ricecakes are for me a rather poor substitute, but having found your products, i now don’t feel i’m missing out at all.they are fantastic and have given me such a boost as i’m now feeliing so healthy without gluten, but am also loving everything i’m eating which is important!
also thankyou for your quick and reliable service. i’ve been very impressed al round.
very best wishes
H.

A New Gluten Free Menu Structure

After receiving H.’s email we had another look at our gluten free menu item and quickly realised that the gluten free category page was rather unwieldly, with currently over 70 items on one page!

We, therefore, had a rethink about how we present the gluten free foods and have restructured the menu item to make it more user friendly. The menu now resembles the following structure:

So, thanks to H. for the kind comments and for the idea to improve how we present our gluten free products. Hopefully we have made it easier for everyone with a gluten intolerance to quickly find the foods they are looking for.

Do you or a baby or child you buy food for have a gluten intolerance? If so, how do you find our new ‘gluten free’ menu structure? Let us know.

Proud to Support Breastfeeding – Holle Organic Nursing Tea

I was really pleased to have been able to have breastfed all three of my children, and having done so I have some appreciation of some of the potential difficulties new mums can face when trying to breastfeed newborns as well as older babies. I do, though, also know the pleasures, the rewards and the sheer joy this close and intimate experience can bring to a relationship with a newborn baby.

I am then proud to be selling the Holle Organic Nursing Teas to help support mums at this vital time. This herbal infusion is formulated to naturally encourage lactation in breastfeeding mums. This tasty tea is a comforting drink created to enhance the nursing experience and comes in easy to brew tea bags.

To provide more information on breastfeeding within the Ulula site I plan to write several introductory pages over the coming weeks. The first has just been uploaded and is all about the Organic Nursing Tea, it benefits and uses.

What have your experiences of breastfeeding been? If you tried the Holle Organic Nursing Tea, how did you find it? Let us know.