Our societal straying from the nutrient-dense foods that have been favored by cultures for centuries extends across the entire age spectrum. The contrived call over the past 35 years to sidestep fats, calories and cholesterol has foisted health troubles onto adults and children and is becoming more and more evident with every passing year. The same situation, I just realized, also holds true for babies.
I happened upon a book, "Super Nutrition for Babies," that advocates feeding babies nutrient-dense foods such as beef marrow, beef and chicken liver, soft-boiled egg yolks, fish roe, sauerkraut and tropical fruits (i.e. mango, papaya), all nutritional powerhouses that aid in development, health, intelligence and, many think, appearance. Hold your gasps; these foods have been eaten by babies for . . . ever.
But, unfortunately, any parent wanting to provide the enzymes, fatty acids, amino acids, vitamins and minerals not available in commercial vegetable- and cereal-based baby food has to go it alone, since the days of finding organ parts and any meat other than beef and chicken in small glass jars are decades past.
The book reproduces an ad from 1942 for Gerber's Baby Food that highlights liver, beef heart and lamb, foods that are now verboten because of their fat content or some other nonsensical reason. There's also a 1932 ad for Campbell's Soup, one that lists, among other varieties, clam chowder, mutton and ox tail. Obviously, there is no concern for shellfish allergies or babies not liking certain flavors.
The more I think about it, the more I believe that our current health ills start in utero and are concretized with the very first foods we eat. Our predilection for nutrient-poor, bland foods doesn't seem so outlandish when looked at in this regard.