by Robin K.
Robin Barrie Kaiden, MS, RD, CDN is renowned for helping people of all ages embrace a healthier lifestyle through nutrition and fitness counseling. As a Licensed Registered Dietitian and Personal Trainer, her smart and sensible approach to pediatrics, weight loss, sports nutrition, allergies, cardiovascular health, pre/post natal, and other areas of clinical and lifestyle nutrition has resonated with hundreds of people across the United States. Robin received her B.S. and M.S. degrees in Nutrition and Exercise Science from Cornell and Columbia Universities.
Else Toddler Formula Alternative's 3 Main Ingredients and Benefits
Three main ingredients make up 92% of Else toddler formula alternative: almonds, buckwheat and tapioca. All three of these are organic, non-GMO, with zero added hormones, pesticides (glyphosate-free), antibiotics or preservatives. The nutrition drink is plant-based, gluten-free, dairy-free and soy-free. Nutrients from the almonds and buckwheat come directly from the whole plants, NOT from highly processed extracts and derivatives of these plants. The proteins (amino acids) are NOT extracted using chemicals. There are no added purified oil blends NOR any corn syrup solids. It has less sugar than traditional toddler formulas on the market, and is easy to digest, due to the lack of inflammatory ingredients and processed items (gums, additives etc.). In addition, it is a sustainable product and has a formulation process with a small ecological footprint, meaning it’s safe for our environment as well as for little, growing bodies.
Plant-Based Formula Ingredient #1: Almonds
Almonds are the seed of the fruit of almond trees, medium-sized trees that bear pink and white flowers. The ones we eat are of the sweet almond variety. They are very good sources of biotin, Vitamin E (an antioxidant), copper, and manganese. They also provide good amounts of Vitamin B2 (riboflavin), phosphorus, magnesium, and molybdenum. They are a great source of protein and heart-healthy monounsaturated fat.
These nuts can help lower bad (LDL) cholesterol, decrease risk of heart disease, increases blood antioxidant levels, while decreasing blood glucose and insulin, helping prevent diabetes. The flavonoid compounds and vitamin E are what contribute to the high antioxidant power of almonds. Almonds are one of the richest food sources of vitamin E. Research has shown, as part of a healthy diet, they can help reduce inflammation and cholesterol as much as prescription statin drugs This article details all the additional health benefits of almonds.
Plant-Based Formula Ingredient #2: Buckwheat
Buckwheat is the fruit seed of another fragrant flowering tree. It is NOT a grain AND it is gluten-free, despite the word “wheat” being in its name. It is a very good source of manganese and a good source of copper, magnesium, phosphorus and fiber. Its protein is of high quality since it contains all 8 essential amino acids (protein building blocks that the body can’t make and we must get from diet), including lysine.
The flavonoid (phytonutrient that has antioxidant properties) and magnesium content of buckwheat make it a heart-healthy food. Studies show that increased intake is associated with lower LDL (bad) and total cholesterol, higher HDL (good) cholesterol and lower blood pressure. Consumption can help control blood sugar and decrease the risk for, and manage, diabetes. As a whole grain, it is rich in insoluble fiber, which is great for digestion (quickens the movement of food through the GI tract) and can prevent gallstones. Lignan, a phytonutrient found in buckwheat, promotes healthy bacteria formation in the gut, and thus improved digestion, as well as decreased risk for heart disease and cancer. Diets rich in whole grains like buckwheat also can decrease the risk of childhood asthma. An in depth discussion of the nutrition benefits of buckwheat can be seen in this journal article.
Plant-Based Formula Ingredient #3: Tapioca
Tapioca is a gluten-free carbohydrate extracted from cassava, also called yuca. Cassava is a starchy root vegetable (like a potato). Tapioca maltodextrin is an easy to digest form of carbohydrate and is free of taste, smell and flavor, lending to the mild flavor of Else formula. It is made using water and all-natural enzymes. (Note: traditional maltodextrin is often produced using chemicals and GMO corn. Wheat maltodextrin contains gluten.)
Toddler Formula Alternative that uses Whole Foods
Else’s powder-based toddler formula alternative is from real, WHOLE FOODS. Whole foods contain more benefits than their broken down, isolated components. Phytonutrients, fiber, vitamins and minerals are more abundant and demonstrate increased health benefits when consumed as part of an intact food. Due to the almonds and buckwheat, Else formula contains 1.5 grams of fiber per 8 oz fluid cup, while most toddler formulas have less than 1 gram. Toddlers aged 1 to 3-years-old require 19 grams of fiber per day. Else contains 1 gram of saturated fat and 0 mg cholesterol and contains ingredients that help lower cholesterol. Elevated cholesterol can begin to occur in children as early as age 2.
In addition to all of the health benefits mentioned above, Else’s organic toddler nutritional drink, importantly mimics the nutritional composition values of breastmilk, which we all agree is the gold standard. Else ensures that its toddler formula alternative matches year two of breast milk. In the second year of a baby’s life, breast milk composition contains increased protein and lower levels of calcium and zinc, as shown in this study on second year breast milk. Else plant-based toddler nutrition drink does as well.
The content and advice provided in this article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical diagnosis, treatment, advice for specific medical conditions. Always consult a pediatrician to understand the individual needs of your child.