Ever stand in front of the herb aisle,where a teensy 15g bottle costs almost $5, and say ” I should just grow my own herbs!”. Well me too. i finally put my dirt where my mouth is. All you need are some cool potting plants that you will love so you actually use them (these stacking ones were from Costco for 24.99). Some organic dirt and potted plants ( about a dollar each) then put it all together and enjoy!!! We find ourselves using those herbs more often now and we even planted a curry bush!!! No idea how that will turn out. Now get inspired and go grow something!
I AM OVERWHELMED with the amount of products aimed at parents to “practice how to snack” or making a drink “just for moms”. That is called creative target marketing. Snacking isn’t practiced, you just give them food and they do it and drinks for moms include water and a variety of other clean beverage choices, no need for flavoring, vitamins or other fancy looking ingredients. I wanted to bring to everyone’s attention the following new and popular offenders:
Organic Mum Mums (I won’t even look at the non-organic)
Ok without going too crazy lets review the main ingredients:
JAPONICA RICE: white short grain germ-removed rice
SUGAR: number 2 ingredient!
POTATO STARCH: a very refined starch extract from potatoes for thickener, tolerates higher temperatures than corn starch
SEA SALT: processed salt with no minerals intact
Now look at the vitamins, fat and calories chart – do you seen any benefit to them at all? I see some sodium and some sugar alongside almost no calories or protein. As much as they aren’t “that bad”, they are good for children in any category. Something worth considering.
Healthy Day-Stable Alternatives? (meaning you can take with you and not worry it will need go bad) Organic sprouted bread, brown rice cakes, homemade baked goods without sugar, using fruit or reduced sugar. On the fresh side, some carrot sticks will last quite nearly a whole day just fine and are great for teething, gnawing or sucking on! (at least they might suck some real vitamins out of it haha)
Next, the newest offender, that isn’t organic yet but worth talking about, is the Similac Mom Beverages. I couldn’t believe my eyes. They suggest this to PREGNANT mothers! Read it for yourself:
Again, sugar listed second. Both GM friendly soy and corn are listed multiple times. The vitamins are synthetic proven by the “dl” prefix, artificial flavor and color listed, and then there are the words you can’t pronounce. My favorite part is the mention of coconut oil as an intolerance, but not listed as an ingredient. This is me taking apart ONE ingredient. I chose the last one- cyanocobalamin because I didn’t even know what is was. Let’s learn together:
“If your vitamin label says cyanocobalamin, it is a cheap, synthetic chemical made in the laboratory that is produced with cyanide. Low-end vitamin manufacturers use this to claim that their product “contains vitamin B-12.” They won’t tell you that this form of B-12 is bound to a toxic cyanide molecule that must then be detoxified from your body by your liver.”
Also everyone is into the Omega movement, including myself. But it helps to know that the ideal ratio of Omega 6: Omega 3 is 1:1 or 2:1. We have an average intake of 10-20:1 in our American diets. This drink is 7 times to the negative of the ideal ratio. But if you didn’t know what ratio to look out for, this would look like great information! Well marketed indeed.
How else can I say “PLEASE DON’T LET FRIENDS WHO ARE PREGNANT, OR NOT, DRINK THIS!”. This also goes for most every faux beverage supplement, protein, vitamin powder mixture out there including the replacement category like Body By Vi which is made with sucralose (Splenda). Just stick to water, some fresh juices, regular treats like milkshakes once in a while and smoothies from frozen fruit. I will make it my mission to help every mother, father and child out there to eat whole foods for the rest of my life but it will only help if you become aware and share! Be sure to study the ingredients carefully before purchasing. There are clear reasons to avoid to the profit-driven poorly-constructed shelf-stable “snacks” parents are flocking to.
Any other popular scary items marketed to moms you’ve seen lately?
I’m going to call this post “ORGANIC BUM CARE 101”. Why am I posting about diapering on a health and wellness blog you ask? Because I care about everything chemical and diapers are a big one. Not only do they leach them into the baby’s skin but also into the environment and landfills which I care about deeply. And if you are reading this right now, you probably do too. Aside from where to buy organic meat and what to feed our children, the other big question I get asked almost weekly is what kind of cloth diaper to use. Now, after writing at least a dozen individual responses in the past couple months, I can amalgamate them into ONE place, filled with thorough thoughts and information.
I have a 10 month old daughter who we decided to use cloth diapering on from the beginning. I spent about 8 months studying, learning, touching and researching all of the brands I could find. Since then, a few people have seen my success posts and “joy of cloth diapering” if you will, so when they reach time to have a babe of their own I immediately get a message! I absolutely think everyone can do this.
I don’t think there is much need for me to review ALL OF THE MANY BENEFITS of cloth diapering but I do want to mention the lack of knowledge about the 50+ chemicals that are present in plastic diapers. They leech directly into the baby’s skin and are a cause of rashes and irritation that are covered up with more chemicals (diaper creams). Rash care should be simplified to edible organic oils like olive, almond or coconut oil and lots of fresh air, with extra changes, until cleared up. Options include taking the diaper off for nap time if they don’t move around too much, or having play time in the bath tub or outside in the grass diaperless! Baby powders have fragrance and are of no need.
The “Other” Disposable Diaper
Some people choose to get biodegradable diapers like Seventh Generation and I think they are PERFECT for travel and long outings or even overnight care, however they still have two major flaws. They are the most expensive diapers out there. Also, they aren’t environmentally perfect. Some brands dye their diapers a light brown to make it “look” like a natural fiber. Who knows what else there could be but let me make it clear – biodegradable is the next best choice!
The “perfect” cloth diaper
-no snaps(velcro preferred by most moms and snaps add bulk)
-not bulky(many kids clothes won’t fit the all-in-one sizes)
-has separate inserts(easy to carry around, smaller wet bag needed, can make them yourself inexpensively)
-has lasting outer shells (so you need fewer diapers overall)
-easy to wash
-function with minimal leaks
So without further adieu, I am happy to share my TWO favorite brands of cloth diapers I have ever come across. Keep in mind, I haven’t seen every brand in the world and anything similar to the functions of these two brands are considered equal!
G Diapers (click to read more)
This is the brand I ended up buying, on sale and even found some on clearance! Regardless of price, I love them because I only need 6 diapers of each size small, medium and large (skip the newborn unless you have premies and potty train before the xl). So the starter kit for 6 with inserts or a box of biodegradable disposables is $150. We have a 10 month old and she is still in mediums with room to spare so this year cost the average person $300 plus extra inserts in diapering. CHEAP! I highly recommend making your own inserts as their brand is sub-par for absorption. The other reason I love them – you don’t need pants in the summer! They are a stretchy cotton feeling fabric. I have so many pictures of pants-less baby:
And they often have special prints such as XO’s for around $24:
What we don’t like: sometimes the breathable plastic liner gets stinky if you can’t disinfect it in the sun. Costs $3 to replace each one as they get stained/stinky.
SoftBums (click to read more)
These are the first all-in-one system that seemed to avoid the bulky, snappy, ugly problem! They have pull strings inside to change the size of the diaper called Slide2Size and they go from TINY to 40lbs! They also have a snap in liner that is removable, which we love!
It’s not as easy to make the liners unless you forgo the snap in part or sew that on (I’m sure someone has done it!) but it’s certainly worth a look at the brand. I’ve been told the cotton liners absorb the best and the bamboo ones are the softest so you might want a few of each! Each Echo costs about $22 and the Omni shell about $25. Also with CUTE prints:
What we don’t like: has no plastic liner inside so once you wet through the liner, you have to change over the entire diaper.
What you should do: TOUCH, SHOP AROUND, ASK, BORROW and BUY USED! Don’t waste your time testing out disposables and adding to the already over-burdened landfill – just commit and join the happy life of a crunchy green earthy dirt loving life! The technology has really made it easier than ever. I promise! What brand you do love???
As with most people, our household wasn’t always organic. We certainly didn’t switch to organic overnight either. Having been through the process and watched others do it since, I am fairly certain I have some helpful advice. Do you find yourself saying “but I don’t know where to start?”. If so, you’re in the right place. If not, maybe you know somebody who has and may find yourself sharing this with them in the future. There is nothing better than FREE information!
Eventually, I’m going to cover off every excuse we can come up with as to why people aren’t organic! There are so many reasons and fears. We have touched on why, we have covered affordability and now… we cover how to do it! I’ll try and share some personal experiences along the way.
1. Commit. Make a personal endeavor to really think about what kind of health you strive for, and what kind of foods will reflect that health in your home. Say it out loud or share the idea with a friend/spouse who will do it with you. Sounds simple right? It’s kind of like when my sister said “I will never smoke again”, forcing her mind, body and spirit to agree so that no matter how badly she would be tempted, she won’t disappoint herself, her friends who she’s committed to and her body, which feels 1000 times better not doing it!
To keep that commitment motivated, break down each items into its ingredients and think about it on a basic health level, while keeping whatever goals you have in mind. This is how I would decipher ketchup at the grocery store:
“Tomatoes are the first ingredient. Tomatoes are a highly sprayed crop, often gassed in transportation on top of that. Do I use ketchup that often? No. Is the cost that much more? No. Will my child benefit from fewer pesticides? Yes. Is the idea of ketchup being organic worth it? Absolutely.” Reading the ingredient label is a must with this. Some ketchup companies use high fructose corn syrup and other potentially genetically modified ingredients. If you know which items you refuse to buy no matter what the cost, like MSG, colorings, corn, soy, beet sugar, anything you can’t pronounce, then that will make buying organic even easier!
This can be done for any food item you struggle to buy organically. Of course, there will be exceptions where price doesn’t justify the purchase, but always strive to stick to your commitment and seek the best item you can find.
2. Start looking. You are already in the right store, so start to become aware of the prices and availability of organic! I was at Superstore the other day and I was eying up the 5 pack of organic avocados for 3.99. As I was doing this, I saw someone my age walk past the organic ones, straight to the conventional bin and grab three avocados and carry on. The price? 1.39 each. That right you would have had two free organic avocados had you LOOKED. This week at my local neighborhood market, organic avocados are half the price of regular ones. The bananas here are 10 to 20 cents more a lb generally. How many lbs of bananas does the average home buy? Lets say 3lbs. That could be a giant increase of THIRTY CENTS to your bill. Seeing these items will get your accustomed quicker to the price differences, the options, and potentially even the feeling you get from organic food. Yes, I said FEELING! There is energy from everything and food is an extremely important fuel for our energy. I notice physical and emotional effects when I enter certain grocery stores so I learn to follow my body’s prompting to lead me to what it needs. Sounds crazy, but you’ll see! Try dipping your toes and your shopping cart into the health food aisle and organic produce sections to see where the transition is going to take you.
AND MOST IMPORTANTLY!!!!!!!!!!!
3. Do it one piece at a time. Don’t get overwhelmed, frustrated or ahead of yourself. Out of oatmeal? Replace it with better oatmeal. Out of sea salt? Now go look for celtic or himalayan salt. Need baking soda? Find some aluminum free soda next. Always wanted to try a non-wheat flour? Check the bulk section and see what is available. You need the items anyways so just decide to replace it with the new, healthier item! The cost becomes an incremental one that won’t break your bank. You might even find some killer sales and stock up on some items for your food storage (bonus!) You also aren’t wasting any food, nor are you wasting time or money shopping for a whole new kitchen. It really can take up to a full year to get through your stock – dressings, vitamins, soups, cereals, grains, condiments, frozen goods etc. and by the end of that year you will be so proud of your kitchen! I mean it, you’ll have the cleanest foods and feel amazing. Just ask anyone who has already been through the process. I love my kitchen and I have yet to have a friend buy healthier items and return back to their old ways. It noticeably changes your life for the better.
What is/was your excuse? (comment below!!!) I didn’t go organic until I learned about the pesticide use and soil degradation in conventionally grown foods.
Help other friends by sharing this information!
Russian physicist found a way to capture the quantum field (energy) of different objects through his GDV (gas discharge visualization technique). This photo proves that organic is far superior in energy for our bodies. Isn’t it amazing? Click on the photo to see Part 1 and 2 of the video (Warning, it has elevator music from Russia)
I used to listen to many of Jillian Michael’s podcasts (big fan of her push for organic, especially meat!) and she always repeated in her boisterous raspy I’m-going-to-get-angry-at-you-tone “it’s simple math to lose weight people, calories in need to be lower than calories out!!!”. I was first thinking “Yeah, you’re right Jillian. It’s just as easy as calorie counting and exercise. Duh.” She meant that if you eat 2000 calories and burn 2500 in a day, you will lose about 1lb a week, simple math. I was such a fan, that I programmed it into my head to suggest to future clients who want to lose weight. I should have known better than to believe the first thing I heard on the subject, especially from a celebrity who often has to generalize to the masses. Then I recalled how calorie restrictive programs like Weight Watchers with “points” for each item of food you eat, became the newest fad not too long ago. I mean, millions of dollars on their microwave-meals huge. Helps when they hire actresses and famous singers to sell it too right? This program may be my least favorite with their “eat anything you want, as long as you don’t go over your points” plan. Well played sales and marketing, well played.
Here is my positive spin. If you eat healthy and clean already, this is exactly how someone should lose or maintain healthy weight. It works for a select few. For the greater population who struggle to find their healthy path in life… this is why it will not work for you:
1. Not all calories are created equally! Many labels says “low calories” like diet soda, red licorice, synthetic sugars, jell-o, microwave popcorn, plastic puddings, ice cream sandwiches and “light” yogurts with ingredients like modified corn starch (likely GMO), artificial flavor, aspartame and skim milk that has been thrown around a centrifuge as such a high rate it separates the natural “unwanted” fat. (If only it were common knowledge that fat in dairy helps absorb the nutrients.) Some even have Yellow #5 and Red #40, both studied as hyperactive and decreased brain function triggers in children.
Even though something may only be 90 calories, I would much rather someone eat a 250 calories avocado ANY DAY over a fake sugary yogurt with artificial everything. Unless you have a solid grasp of how certain calories are beneficial based on their origin, don’t be tricked into thinking the calories matter. The NUTRIENTS MATTER! That is what you should primarily base every food decision on – the nutrients.
2. Inaccurate for 99% of the population – There’s an app for that. Put in what you are eating, let it calculate the butter, bread and jam and VOILA! you have your total at the end of the day. Lets look up that avocado I was talking about. A 200g avocado is about 320 calories. Now did you weigh your avocado? Did you take into account the larger than usual pit it had? No, me either! So your avocado could have been 50 calories larger or smaller than mine. And if every meal is estimated on this “roundabout” calorie index then you can assume you might be anywhere from very few to hundreds of calories off your count in reality. And those hundreds add up at the end of the week… and then you were no better off counting at all. If you are open to it being inaccurate, then it can be a useful tool in knowing how to get near your basal metabolic rate. (the minimum calories you need to break even each day)
3. Obsessively unnecessary for most. I remember someone saving their points (ie eating less everyday) to be able to get that piece of cheesecake on the weekend to fit into their weekly total. Does that really make for a healthy lifestyle? Eating anything you want, as long as you stay under the calories, certainly may sounds simple but they started to memorize what every food’s points were. And if they were hungry at the end of the day, but had no points left then you aren’t healthier, you are miserable! The main point I’m trying to make is that counting makes you count EVERYTHING you eat. That happens to be the one activity we do all day long, everyday. That is a lot of counting and a lot of processing in our already-super-busy day. Throw away the pen and paper, close the app down, give your child back their calculator… the counting can stop.
A better solution? Menu planning and food journaling. Both items myself, or any local nutritionist can walk you through if you don’t know where to start.
Food Journal. A local famous friend of mine is a middle-aged jet-setting business-goer who reached his goal of being under 20% fat by journaling his food and realizing EXACTLY what was going in his body. This not only gave him a good idea of the calorie quality, but made him accountable to writing down “four deep fried donuts and a large pop” if he chose to be rogue in London. Him, and countless others I know, have all appreciated the increased awareness from their food journal.
Meal Planning. You are less likely to choose fast food, or unhealthy meals if you are planning them in advance. Pinterest has great ideas for a family chalkboard meal planner, not only cute but something everyone will appreciate and look forward to doing! You may find you will be more inventive, have an easier time grocery shopping, have to make fewer last minute decisions when you are “hangry” and reach your health goals faster. You can write in your plans to take a day off, or even write in “leftovers” like our best friends do at least once a week on their board.
This is going to be a new goal of mine in the near future. As I sit here glaring at my kitchen wondering what I’m going to make with my lentil rice I just started on a whim…and all of my local meat is frozen. Veggie stir fry it is! Remember friends… NUTRIENT COUNTING ONLY!
Agree? Disagree? Different idea than you are used to? Comments welcome.
*Note I am not implying Jillian Michaels disregards food quality, but it is often left out of her main push to count calories. She is a big fan of whole foods and healthy living. Hence why we love her.*
A simple way to increase the immune boosting nutrients little ones need! Next time you make fruit purees, add a handful of spinach and some high quality superberry vitamin C powder. During the winter you may also want to supplement a quality vitamin D3 if your children don’t see much sun. Please use the recommended intake as per the bottle instructions or health care provider. If there is extra illness in the air, or you notice it coming on I wouldn’t hesitate to throw in a drop or two of echinacea.
My personal favorite recipe for one serving:
Half an organic pear
Half an organic apple
Handful fresh organic spinach (Costco)
2 drops of liquid D3 (health store)
1/8 tsp of camu camu powder (bulk foods or health store)
Steam fruit lightly (the least amount of heat and water, just to soften). Blend all ingredients until desired consistency and serve warm or cold. Taste it! It’s awesome. At Christmas I might try beets to make a green and red dip for pancakes or french toast. HOW FUN!
from my iPhone.
I LOVE COSTCO. It’s a dream come true that my love of buying bulk is finally meshing with organic shopping. No frills, no plastic bags, no fancy displays and well treated employees. Each Costco has the ability to customize some of its products to the local market, so our Costco here in Kelowna has realized the demand for organic is huge, and continues to bring in new products every month. It’s constantly growing! There are now three kinds of organic pasta (one gluten free). A full line of silver hills sprouted bread (gluten free as well) and two kinds of organic soup stocks!
I often stop at the comment cards (near the exit) and write down what’s missing. Try it at your local location. Ideas include: flour, cane sugar, flax oil, cheese, meat, butter, chocolate (chips), fruit & more produce!
You can split large items with other families or save it for food storage. Let me help you open your eyes to the growth with mini pics from my iPhone!
The last photo is from living mint green‘s capture! I’ve even traveled to Costco in Hawaii and we were able to buy lots of excellent organic items for our vacation rental. Take a look at your local store! Maybe one day they will hire me as their organic purchaser. Until then I’m a happy customer. What’s your favorite item at your Costco?
*It’s important to mention not all items are cheaper organic here than other places, such as the organic milk & eggs. Please note that items are different store to store and that prices may vary, thus are worth comparing.
Up to one hundred times sweeter than sugar, less the calories. Where do I sign up right? If you see the amount of foods in a grocery store listing this ingredient, you are aware it’s become a big trend. Shakes, bars, snacks, baking, and even a pop named “Zevia” are demanding your attention and making the sugar fans think this might be our match made in heaven! And now a purified form called Truvia is hitting the market (purified = refined). Let me brief you on my list of concerns and then follow it up with some hard evidence.
A) The stevioside plant is green. The liquid is clear and, well, not a leaf at all so how processed is it and what else is used during the processing to get it that way? Not to mention how the crops are being treated and grown with increasing demand.
B) It tastes horrible. I enjoy being in tune with my body’s responses to food and not once has Stevia ever sat well with my body, even when I wanted it to. I have a bag of the organic green powder in my cupboard right now, collecting dust.
C) It’s very new. People thought cigarettes were safe at first. People thought microwaves were wonderful. People thought corn syrup “wasn’t that bad” and here we are processing yet another unknown substance into our everyday food system. It’s been proven safe in small amounts in Japan, but this is North America – we use sugar in everything. Chances are, you’ve tried it yourself or know someone who could be classified a “Stevia loyalist.”
D) It can be perceived as healthier, so a person trying to lose weight might use more of it or drink Stevia-sweetened soda everyday when in reality – LESS sugar is the true healthy option. No matter what kind that is.
E) The lack of benefit. Is no calories really a benefit? Pure organic cane sugar and coconut sugar leave some minerals intact, and the more whole the food it, the more ideal for our bodies. We want to follow the natural ratios found in any food for maximum absorption and digestion benefits.
F) The cost. And because companies want to maximize profit and take larger market shares, I wonder what they will do to it next. Truvia is already testing this concern by claiming it to be a purified form of the extract.
Although the stevia.com website boasts it’s “all natural” marketing focus, even their evidence based research says this:
“Based on the availability of scientific data, two indications are discussed in this review: hypertension and hyperglycemia. Evaluation of two long-term studies (1 and 2 years in length, respectively) indicates that stevia may be effective in lowering blood pressure in hypertensive patients, although data from shorter studies (1-3 months) did not support these findings. A pair of small studies also report positive results with respect to glucose tolerance and response, although the relatively low methodological rigor of these experiments limits the strength of these findings. Further investigation is warranted in both indications.” (1)
Other countries were also concerned and the US and Canada previously banned it numerous times:
“The Scientific Committee on Food for the European Commission concluded that “there are no satisfactory data to support the safe use of these products [stevia plants and leaves],” in a five-page opinion dated June 17, 1999″
But the real concern is from the testing on rats that has been emerging recently:
REPRODUCTIVE: Stevioside “seems to affect the male reproductive organ system,” European scientists concluded last year. When male rats were fed high doses of stevioside for 22 months, sperm production was reduced, the weight of seminal vesicles (which produce seminal fluid) declined, and there was an increase in cell proliferation in their testicles, which could cause infertility or other problems.1 And when female hamsters were fed large amounts of a derivative of stevioside called steviol, they had fewer and smaller offspring (2)
CANCER: In the laboratory, steviol can be converted into a mutagenic compound, which may promote cancer by causing mutations in the cells’ genetic material (DNA) (3)
ENERGY METABOLISM: Very large amounts of stevioside can interfere with the absorption of carbohydrates in animals and disrupt the conversion of food into energy within cells. “This may be of particular concern for children” says toxicologist Ryan Huxtable of the University of Arizona in Tucson.
HORMONAL: The majority of in vitro studies showed that non-nutritive sweeteners can elicit secretion of gut hormones such as glucagon-like peptide 1 and glucose-dependent insulinotropic peptide in enteroendocrine or islet cell. In humans, few studies have examined the hormonal effects of non-nutritive sweeteners, and inconsistent results have been reported, with the majority not recapitulating in vitro data. Further research is needed to determine whether non-nutritive sweeteners have physiologically significant biological activity in humans. (3)
So all I can say is proceed with caution. Or just plain avoid it if you share any of these concerns. Your absolute best bet is to stick with the most wholesome, time tested products. If only we could live without sugar.
(1)An Evidence-Based Systematic Review of Stevia by the Natural Standard Research Collaboration
C. Ulbricht, R. Isaac, T. Milkin, E.A. Poole, E. Rusie, J.M.G. Serrano, W. Weissner, R.C. Windsor and J. Woods
Cardiovasc Hematol Agents Med Chem. 2010 Apr;8(2):113-27
(2) J. Food Hyg. Soc. Japan 26: 169, 1985. Drug Chem. Toxicol. 21: 207, 1998.
(4) Non-nutritive sweeteners and their role in the gastrointestinal tract. Brown RJ, Rother KI.
I am so excited to team with one of my FAVORITE organic gems in Kelowna – Urban Harvest!!! If you haven’t heard of them you are missing out on a fantastic home delivery service with optional warehouse sales each Saturday. In recognition of the FIRST open warehouse sale of 2013 this Saturday January, 12th, we are giving away free organic produce. The winner can choose to have a customized box delivered, or use the certificate towards a vast selection of discounted produce between 9am-1pm any Saturday at their store. Visit their their website to see all of the options yourself! Click on the facebook links to ENTER and see the RULES, both below. Good luck!
1. Anyone in the world may enter, but the prize must be given to someone (friend or family) or won by someone who permanently resides in West Kelowna, Kelowna or Winfield BC.
2. Urban Harvest and OIA reserve the right to change or withdraw any offer at any time.
3. One entry per person, with one bonus entry for everyone completing the 15 day Sugar Free Challenge.
4. Contest starts Monday Jan 7, 2013 and closes Friday Jan 11, 2013 at noon. Winner chosen randomly and announced within 24 hours of closure.
5. Must complete all 4 steps to be eligible. Commenting below picture after sharing is optional, but will ensure names are tallied if your sharing function fails.
Like OIA’s facebook page in the upper right hand corner for all the organic giveaways and information in the Okanagan!