Label Lies Series: Ella’s Kitchen: Coconut Milk Nutrtional Shake

Look, I get it, you’re tired, the kids  are screaming and sometimes you just want them to hush!
Ok, sometimes they are whining so much and screaming so loud that you want to run into the closet, shut the door and imagine you are sitting poolside, drink in hand, with your perfect pre-baby body and pre-baby “no responsibilities” life! Back in reality, your only resolution is to reach for the most handy “hush tactic”…

What if these “hush tactics” are actually doing more harm than good? What if these “hush tactics” are actually what is causing these emotional breakdowns in your Littles? 

Even the most well-meaning parent can be misled by marketing! This has led me to my new series: “Label Lies“… I will break down the most well-known, yummy-licious kid (and mom) favorites and explain why they are deceiving and potentially dangerous for you Littles!

Let’s Begin…

Who has seen these on the shelf?


At first glance, I would be thrilled to find this (FYI, this was found on a shelf at Target)! Who doesn’t want NATURAL NUTRITION for their Littles?!?!

I mean, look at this label heaven:

“Natural Nutrition”

“Coconut Milk Nutritional Shake”
“To Help Little Ones Grow”

“I’m full of (insert pics of real fruit)”

“USDA Organic”
“Gluten Free”
They even added an extra bonus of coconut milk spewing from a real coconut! That, my friends, is a marketing genius! Sadly, that is all it is. Flip this beautiful cover around and here is what you will find:

Having a hard time reading that?? That isn’t photoshop… That is because these items are written so small that it is blurred when the photo is uploaded. Funny how “Natural Nutrition” was not blurred… Again, marketing genius. What busy mom, rushing through Target with an antsy, growing-ever-so- bored-with-every-stop, toddler is going to have time to stop and read this tiny print? Let me ZOOM in for you:
Ok, so now that it is actually big enough to read, at first glance, it doesn’t look so bad. You have organic milk, organic banana, organic raisin, organic expeller pressed canola oil… ummmmm, wait, canola oil??? They are putting canola oil in a toddler’s Coconut Milk Nutritional Shake? When you think about making a nutritious shake or smoothie in your blender, do you reach for the canola oil? Sounds delicious… hmpfh
What does all of this mean?
Organic Grade A Low-fat Milk: My first thought on this is the ever-growing number of people that are lactose and casein intolerant. Most people do not even realize they are intolerant of these things and think “gassy bubbles” in your stomach are just a normal part of the digestive system. However, lactose intolerant or not, WHY are they removing the fat from milk for a little? Here is a great study showing how low-fat milk actually contributes to weight gain. Aside from it doing nothing to prevent obesity, removing fat from milk is basically just removing the cream… the most nutritious element of milk! The cream is what helps keep your blood sugar stable when consuming milk. Take it out and what happens? Blood sugar spikes… and what goes up must come back down. Insert: toddler meltdown!
Organic Fruit Purees: Just like canned baby food, in general, the thought of pureeing a piece of fruit, sticking it in a cardboard box, labeling it, shipping it, stocking it and allowing it to then sit on a shelf or pantry, along with a 1-2 year (or even one month) expiration date, then proceeding to feed it to my little is enough to make me sick… Need I say more?
Canola Oil: For a parent looking to remove processed foods from their Littles diet, they should just keep pushing that cart right along and pass up this little “heart healthy” gem. The processing that Canola Oil undergoes is cringe worthy and completely removes the “heart healthy” aspect of this product. While I appreciate the fact that they are using expeller-pressed Canola Oil, it still involves an extensive heating process, then the oil is bleached and separated. What does all of this do? Causes it to stink! So, then what do they do? Deodorize it! With what, I don’t know… but… As a side note, canola oil is made from Rape Seed, which is actually toxic. Thanks to the over heating and over processing of this oil, only trace amounts of the toxic substance, eurcic acid, is left. Hooray!
Agave Syrup: Aka Sugar!
Kudos to Ella’s Kitchen for giving Agave Nectar its proper name of Agave Syrup, because that is truly what it is after the processing it undergoes. You can read a lot more about the misconception of agave in this great article.
Coconut Water: Finally! They are using some form of coconut something in their “Coconut Milk” drink. It scares me that this word is listed first in the name, yet 7th in the line of ingredients. I actually love coconut water and occasionally will give it to my Littles too… in its purest form, where “coconut water” is on the label and “coconut water” is listed as the first and only ingredient.
Soy Lecithin: We have a pretty firm rule in our house, which is that if you cannot pronounce it, you should not consume it. Aside from that, this explains how soy got in this product. Yuck. According to this article, soy lecithin has been linked to an increased risk of breast cancer, fertility problems and issues in brain development. Furthermore, it is not regulated by the FDA.
Carob Bean Gum: This is used as a stabilizer and texturizer in processed foods. Basically, when you add milk and pureed foods together and stick it on a shelf for a few months, something gross would happen inside that cardboard box. This keeps that grossness from happening. I guess…

Finally, I will close with this: This “Natural Nutrition” contains 17 grams of sugar in one tiny drink, which is the equivalent of almost one tablespoon of table sugar. To put this in perspective, there are 39 grams of sugar in a 12 ounces Coke can. These little cardboard boxed sugar drinks are 8 ounces. That is a lot of sugar in one tiny little body. And we wonder why they throw tantrums when they want more of this drug…
Grab a blender, a cup of spinach, some yummy organic fruits, along with some protein (I use pure almond butter!) and blend away!