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My stories about local food, fermentation, and formerly organic baby food
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Keeping Kids Healthy in a Toxic World – Tips from Dr. Julia Getzelman

For the last several months, I have been looking to partner with a pediatrician that shares my (somewhat untraditional) philosophies around baby food, infant nutrition, and introducing solids.  As soon as I read about GetzWell Pediatrics, I knew that Dr. Julia Getzelman was the one for me!  She’s the only board certified, primary care, integrative pediatrician based in San Francisco, and she’s agreed to be an occasional guest blogger to share some great tips with all of us.

For more information on GetzWell Pediatrics, check out their website here.  And stay tuned for a workshop on infant nutrition and making your own baby food hosted by GetzWell and Little City Kitchen Co. in early April.

Feel free to ask questions or post comments below, and Dr. Getzelman will be happy to respond.

Keeping Kids Healthy in a Toxic World
By: Dr. Julia Getzelman, MD

Jill Epner, founder of Little City Kitchen Co., and I met last November at the San Francisco Birth and Baby Fair.  I became enamored with Jill’s baby food not only when I understood that it was an organic, locally produced alternative for busy mothers who want to feed their babies healthy, tasty, whole foods but also as soon as I tasted her delicious creations (though I don’t routinely eat baby food)!

I believe and teach my families that baby food should taste good and feeding your baby (once she is ready to eat) can be a fun experience.  I feel really good about Jill’s food in terms of its nutritional content and yummy flavors and also its contribution to lowering “toxic load,” the amount of unnatural (and often poisonous) substances we are exposed to in today’s world.

As an integrative pediatrician with hundreds of babies and young children as my patients, I’m concerned about the increasingly toxic world in which we live.  In particular, young children are at the greatest risk due to exposure to toxins because their brains and other organs are rapidly developing.  Pound for pound young kids eat more food, breathe more air, drink more fluids and spend more time on the floor/ground (where there is an accumulation of dust, chemicals, metals and other environmental toxins) compared to older children and adults.

There are many things as individuals we cannot control about our environment, but we can and must take important actions to significantly reduce unhealthy and toxic exposures.  Here are a few ways to make a big difference for you and your family:


Personal Care Products

Household Cleaners

Use green cleaning solutions: investigate less toxic alternatives like using vinegar in place of bleach, baking soda to scrub your tiles and hydrogen peroxide to remove stains


  • Eliminate Teflon pans
  • Don’t microwave in plastic and store foods/left-overs in glass (e.g., Pyrex) whenever possible
  • Use wax paper instead of plastic wrap whenever possible

Special thanks to Dr. Getzelman for sharing her tips on reducing toxins.  Stay tuned next week for an update on what I’m coming to call my “Great California Farmers Market Tour”…  Happy week everyone!

Permit me…to Sell-abrate!

At the time when I made the switch from personal chef/caterer to baby food producer, I had no idea what would be involved.  I didn’t know about the permits, or what to look for in a kitchen, or that it would eventually take me six months to sell…and it’s probably good that I didn’t know these things, because in my case, ignorance was bliss!

So on that note, it’s with great excitement that I share my recent news with you all: I got my final permit to sell at farmers markets! Had you asked me six months ago if this would be such a milestone, I would have told you that it was just another step in the process…but that was before I knew it would take me three months to navigate the system and get the darn thing.

Next step: picking the right farmers markets…

Location, location, location

My intention is to start selling weekly at 2 farmers markets:  one during the week and one on the weekends.  I’ve received some great information about the surrounding markets in Alameda County, and plan to spend the next two weeks talking to the market managers in the area.  I’m hopeful that I can generate enough interest at several farmers market and be able to choose which ones best attracts the “ideal” Little City Kitchen Co. customer: with kids age 5-12 months, prioritizes healthy eating, values organic, etc…

I’m sticking to Alameda Co. markets at this stage in the game (sorry San Francisco people – you’re gonna need to make the trek across the Bay Bridge to start!).  However, once I’m up and running, I will look into at least one market in the city.

Spring Cooking Class Schedule

I just posted the spring cooking class schedule…I expect to be pretty busy with the farmers markets initially and have therefore decided to only offer 1-2 classes a month.

Interested in making your own organic baby food? The next class is scheduled for Sunday, February 27 from 2:30-4:30pm and will be focused on starting solids.  It’s hands-on and you get to take home everything you make.  All the details are here.

If a hands-on class isn’t your thing, then join me for a baby food cooking demo at Tot Tank in Alameda on Sunday, March 6, from 1-2pm.  Click here for more details.

Private Orders

Although private orders of baby food are not my long-term strategy, several people have contacted me about food deliveries before the baby food is available at the farmers market.  If you (and/or a group of your friends) are interested, just contact me for more information.

Introducing Kindercycle

Attn: Bay Area parents!  A new friend of mine just launched a company called Kindercycle which allows you to buy/swap kids clothing, toys, books, etc…  They have an upcoming Swap on Saturday, March 5, from 10:30am – 1:30pm at the Rockridge Branch of the Oakland Public Library.  Check out the details on their website, or click “Like” on their Facebook page.

So overall…a pretty big week for me!  Stay tuned next week for a recap of my farmers market conversations.  I hope they’ll be excited at the prospect of adding a LCKC booth to their existing markets!

The Ebb and Flow of Progress…

I’m finding that progress comes in waves.  There are weeks (in my case, the last three) where I feel like I don’t make any forward movement and am constantly fighting the current.  You guys know what I mean…  You work and work but can’t seem to get any traction, and nothing really seems to get done.  As you can imagine, it’s a little hard to stay motivated after a few weeks of that!

Then all of a sudden, you have one killer week and – whamo – everything comes together beautifully. And you celebrate!  This has been one of those weeks…

Permit me…to sell!

I’m INCHES away from getting my final approval from the health department that will allow me to sell the baby food at farmers markets.  Hopefully by noon next Monday it will be official.  What a process…  I’ve spoken with three different people, received three different answers on how to get my permit, and each had their own forms to fill out.  The good news is that I’m nearly there.  Woo-hoo!

Getting down with GetzWell

This week I sat down with Dr. Julia Getzelman, the founder of GetzWell Pediatrics to talk baby food and nutrition.  GetzWell takes a holistic approach to healing by combining western medicine with alternative modalities, a concept she’s dubbed “Whole Kid Care”.  Not surprisingly, we shared many of the same philosophies on what kiddos should be eating…

We have a few things in the works, including an April joint workshop on nutrition and making your own baby food.  I may have even convinced her to be a guest blogger (Julia – consider this your first official “nudge”).  Stay tuned for more on that…and a special shout out to her great team members, Emily, Nicole, and the rest of the gang.

The tide keeps coming in

I had a great meeting this week with my business coach where we tweaked my baby food production strategy.  <thanks Anni!  Feeling much better after our talk>.  I’m chatting later today with an online retailer about testing online sales of the baby food…Little City Kitchen Co. may be coming to the East coast sooner than I had expected! Opportunities seem to be popping up everywhere.

A few other cool things have happened.  I’ve reconnected with an adorable eco-friendly children’s store and we’re trying to figure out how best to work together.  She’s remaining nameless for now, but stay tuned for the scoop later.  I’ve been on the phone with packaging people, label companies, crunching my numbers, and much more.

Whew!  As I said…much progress.

So next on my agenda is to secure my spot at farmers markets and start selling.  I’ve had some great recommendations from you guys about which markets to start, but the best one just came from the gentleman helping me at the health department – selling at the Oakland Children’s Hospital farmers market on Tuesdays.

All I can say is…duh, Jill!  Sometimes even I overlook the obvious. Happy weekend everyone.