Summer Garden

 

Spent a glorious summer morning in the garden with the kids. As a first time gardener, it is so incredibly gratifying to go outside everyday and harvest these beauties. The kids love it and the amount of vegetables eaten along the way is incredible. There is something very special about watching a 3-year old and 1-year old grab kale leaves and nibble on them as we go about our morning harvest. I am absolutely hooked! How does your garden grow? #tinytotgardeners #newfamilyritual

Clean Eating

By guest author and friend, Katrina Loop. Katrina is a yoga instructor, nutritionist, physiotherapist, health & wellness expert and founder of Honey Health.Nutrition.Yoga based in Sydney, Australia.

Clean Eating – What exactly is it, and why should I eat clean? 

Chances are you have heard people throwing around the words “clean eating,” but maybe you are not really sure what it is or why you should bother eating clean. If this is you, read on. If you already know the low-down on eating clean but you would like a fresh recipe idea, just skip to Honey’s recipe section to check out the featured “Clean eating chicken salad” recipe. I cooked up this little number the other night and it went down a treat!

What exactly is “clean eating”?

Clean eating is about consuming food as close to its natural state as possible. It is not a fad diet or a quick fix and it does not require calculations of any kind. It is very easy to adopt (so you can breathe a sigh of relief!). Clean eating is a lifestyle approach to food and its preparation that if adopted will help you on your journey to improved well-being through nutrition. Read all »

Safe Sunscreen

SOME TIPS TO HELP NAVIGATE THE WORLD OF SUNSCREEN AND HOW TO AVOID TOXIC CHEMICALS

We are deep into summer now, which typically correlates to ample pool and/or beach time with the kiddos and LOTS of sunscreen. We love summer and have been spending as much time as possible outside – in the garden, going to the pool, hiking, frolicking at the beach, or just playing outdoors.

We generously slather sunscreen onto our kids’ sensitive skin with the intent of protecting it from the sun. One would think that it would be as easy as walking into a store and buying a sunscreen marketed specifically for kids and that these products are seemingly safe. Alas, we live in a day and age where food products marketed to kids are filled with high fructose corn syrup and artificial food coloring, and sunscreens marketed for kids are laden with carcinogenic chemicals. The onus falls on us, as parents, to do the CIA-like detective work and make our own educated choices about what we are feeding our kids and what products we are using on their bodies during a critical time of development for their brain and organs.

Given that skin is our largest organ and that it acts as a giant sponge to any products we apply to it, it is a good practice to avoid putting chemicals on our body that will subsequently be absorbed into our bloodstream. In your quest to protect skin from the sun, arm yourself with the knowledge of how to spot lurking toxic chemicals, which unfortunately are found in most conventional sunscreens; many of which are household names such as the ubiquitous Water Babies or Coppertone Kids Spray, both of which fall into the Hall of Shame for safe sunscreens. Read all »

A Chemical Burden Part II

By, Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families

 

CLICK HERE FOR MORE CHEMICALS

Tell retailers to stop selling products made with PFCs and other chemicals.

Image Source: Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families

Less Chlorine Absorption

 

We love taking a dip in the pool on a hot summer day, but we don’t love the all of the chlorine and chemicals in public pools. Chlorine has been associated with a number of adverse health effects, including asthma. 1A 2006 Belgian study showed that use of indoor chlorine pools especially by children younger than 7 promotes the development of childhood asthma. More disturbing still, the researchers found that the kids who swam most frequently had proteins associated with increased risk of asthma at levels similar to those found in regular smokers.” 2

Here are two EASY ways to mitigate chlorine absorption for kids, because we certainly are not going to skip the pool!

1.  Coconut oil protection: Apply a thin layer of organic coconut oil to your child’s skin (and hair) before swimming. This layer will provide a barrier between the chlorine and skin, decreasing exposure and the amount of chlorine that will be absorbed. It also acts as a natural sunscreen (SPF 4), although you should still use a non-nano zinc oxide sunscreen as well. Badger makes a great non-toxic sunscreen for kids that does not contain any hormone disruptors (often found in conventional sunscreens). Coconut oil also acts as a moisturizer for your skin. We keep a big tub of it in the kitchen for both cooking and for a pre-pool slather.
2.  Rinse before and after: Dry skin and hair are more absorbent than when wet. Rinse with non-chlorinated water prior to swimming to lessen the amount of the element that can be absorbed. Rinse off when you are done to remove the chlorinated water left on your skin.

If you have the choice, opt for an outdoor pool versus indoor swimming.

We hope you are enjoying summer!

Source: www.rethinksimple.com

Image source: BlueOrange Studio (123RF)

Notes:

  1. http://healthychild.org/easy-steps/be-careful-about-chlorine-in-pools/
  2. http://healthychild.org/easy-steps/be-careful-about-chlorine-in-pools/

Superfood Snack

 

Easy superfood snack idea for tots: soak a cup of dried organic goji berries in hot water to soften, let cool for 2 minutes, and serve up as a finger food (you can cut them in half for babies). Goji berries can be purchased in bulk at Whole Foods or your local health food store or they can be ordered online. They are rich in powerful antioxidants and vitamin A. The goji berry is also called the wolfberry. It is a bright red berry that comes from a shrub native to China and has been eaten in Asia for generations for its health benefits. Also delicious to drop a handful into a mug of hot lemon water.

 

Image Credit: Mark Uliasz (123rf)

Houseplants & Air Quality

Invest in houseplants to improve indoor air quality at home (and/or at work). The more plants you have in your home, the healthier the air you breathe will be. Given the VOCs (volatile organic compounds) seeping from paint and carpet, and off-gassing from furniture (especially in baby’s nursery),  it helps to have plants working for you to combat these toxic gases. It doesn’t take a lot—one study found that small groups of Janet Craig (that’s actually the name of a plant) and sweet chico plants placed in indoor spaces reduced levels of certain gases up to 75 percent. 1 That seems like a no-brainer. Plus, they look nice.

Read all »

Notes:

  1. http://greenplantsforgreenbuildings.org/attachments/contentmanagers/25/PlantsCleanseIndoorAir.pdf

Anyone See A Problem Here?

Monsanto is a multinational agricultural biotechnology corporation and is the leading producer of genetically engineered (GE) seed and of the herbicide glyphosate, which it markets under the Roundup brand. They also brought us the insecticide DDT, PCBs, Agent Orange, and recombinant bovine somatotropin (rBST, the hormone we are all trying to avoid in our milk and cheese products). They have also introduced “biological patents” in which they patent their seeds (seeds that have been engineered to produce sterile plants) which is a direct conflict with customary practices of farmers to save, reuse, share and develop plant varieties. They have extremely powerful lobbyists in Washington. Monsanto controls much of the world’s food supply at the expense of food democracy worldwide; and whether you know it or not, Monsanto most likely added chemicals or GMOs to the food you ate today…and fed your children.

Anyone see a problem with the revolving door as indicated below?

Source:

http://occupy-monsanto.com

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monsanto

 

 

Cardamom Red Rice Pudding

 

Our kids love rice pudding for dessert (when we actually offer a sugary dessert) and we can feel good about the calcium boost and some extra calories after super active days. This is wholesome and delicious for the entire family.

Cardamom Spiced Red Rice Pudding

Please try to use all organic ingredients:

2 cups cooked Red Jasmine Rice (we used Whole Trade Alter Eco Coral Red Jasmine Rice)

2 cups milk (we used organic Vitamin D milk)

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup sugar (recipe calls for 1/2 cup, but I used less and it was still delicious)

2 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 tsp ground cardamom

1/2 cup raisins (optional, but we love it with raisins)

Serves 4-6

Place cooked rice in a saucepan and add milk. Heat to boiling. Lower heat to a simmer and cook, covered 20-25 minutes or until milk is mostly absorbed. Increase heat to medium, add cream, sugar, vanilla, cardamom and raisins (if desired). Continue to cook until the mixture just begins to thicken again, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer to individual serving dishes. Serve warm, chilled or at room temperature.

Recipe Source: Whole Foods

Image Source

 

A Non-Toxic Birthday Party!

 

PARTY TIME! I promise you will never buy another store bought cake again after baking this ridiculously easy, beautiful, and delicious birthday cake. People will swoon. Not a crumb will be left.

Since many genetically modified ingredients (GMOs) are found in most store-bought confectionery items, I have found that baking a cake for your child’s birthday is the perfect opportunity to try your hand at baking (or to perfect your already awesome baking skills). Here are some of the icky ingredients you will find in store-bought cakes and pastries: partially hydrogenated vegetable oil (transfats), corn syrup (GMO), corn starch (GMO), probably non-organic dairy products like milk and butter (or buttermilk), eggs, artificial coloring, and other chemical food additives. So, now you get to take control and make a “healthy” cake filled with carefully chosen ingredients (and by “healthy,” I am referring to the quality of the ingredients – organic and non-GMO – but this recipe still includes white sugar  and white flour). Not to mention, there is a lot of pride associated with baking your own cake. You can let your little one decorate it…now THAT is fun.

This yellow layer cake is divine. It’s moist, flavorful, and I’ve yet to screw it up (having made it 5+ times already this year).

 

BEST YELLOW CAKE RECIPE (please try to use all organic ingredients):

A Smitten Kitchen Recipe

Yield: Two 9-inch round, 2-inch tall cake layers, and, in theory, 22 to 24 cupcakes, two 8-inch squares or a 9×13 single-layer cake Read all »