They’ve been called cave babies—miniature members of society who are going paleo even before they learn their first words.
And thanks to adult advocates for the diet, there’s a whole line of baby food just hitting the market. A paleo dieter herself, Serenity Heegel explained to Food Navigator: “I just couldn’t believe that nothing existed that would be something I would want to feed my own baby.” So Heegel co-founded Serenity Kids, and started marketing a line of liquid baby food that has the highest meat content of any pouched baby food. It hit the market this month.
Meals include liquified uncured bacon with organic kale and butternut squash, chicken with peas and carrots, even beef with kale and sweet potato. The product is sold in packs of six 4-ounce pouches for about $27.
Like many dieting fads, paleo has faced scrutiny and skepticism—including from author Michael Pollan, who discusses the diet as a decision for adults to make about themselves. According to the Nutrition Business Journal, between one and three million people prescribe to the paleo diet—most of them middle-aged, affluent, white people looking to lose weight or combat a health problem. The idea of putting a developing child on the diet is much less widespread.
As a concept, the diet is comprised of food that would have been available to Paleolithic humans‚ which includes non-processed foods that could be found by foraging or killing animals for meat. That means no dairy, no grains, and definitely no Little Debbie Oatmeal Creme Pies. The idea was popularized in 2002 when Loren Cordain published the book, “The Paleo Diet,” which proposed the idea that we should go back to our ancestral diet from about 10,000 years ago.
Designing such a diet for very young children hasn’t come without controversy. In Australia, the government in 2015 scrutinized a paleo cookbook called Bubba Yum Yum: The Paleo Way for New Mums, Babies and Toddlers that recommended feeding infants bone broth as baby formula. It’s made using chicken bones, chicken feet, and apple cider vinegar. Health officials considered it a risk because there was fear children would miss out on important nutrients during a critical stage. Complications down the road could mean poor growth and a weaker immune system, among other things.
For Heegel, the reception to her baby food has been characterized as positive so far. As of early August, the company pre-sold 1,800 pouches. As of now the company is selling the food online, and hopes to be in grocery stores within the next year.