Archive for July, 2009

Roku’s Favorite Toys! Buying Organic and Safe Baby Toys

You’ve probably heard of the dangers of BPA (Bisphenol-A) and PVC that can be found in baby toys and teethers. These are dangerous chemicals that can be hazardous to the health of us and our children when ingested (and possibly even through frequent contact to our skin!). So how do we avoid these dangerous chemicals and buy safe toys? There are a few ways you can do this. You can go to the websites Safe Mama and Environmental Working Group where many toys are reviewed for their safety and chemical content. It also helps to avoid buying plastic toys and opt for wood and organic cloth toys instead.

I just ran across another website that rates toys and other items based on their impact to the environment, your health and society. They give you a rating for each of these three categories. And then for health, they go into detail what contaminants it contains, if any. Go to Good Guide and you will find out what contaminants are in specific toys by entering the toy or manufacturer’s name.

What are Baby Roku’s Favorite toys and teethers? He really likes Sassy’s Earth Brights line of wooden toys that he also uses as a teether. I think that his favorite toy right now is the toy called “Trix” by HABA. His buddy Thaddeus introduced this toy to him a few weeks ago. Hi likes this colorful, triangular grasping toy, however it appears that any toy from this brand would be great based on their name; The name HABA stands for high quality products, product reliability, age appropriate materials and environmental consciousness. He also loves his organic bunny that he got from his Aunt Sheila. He loves the floppy ears and arms for playing and chewing!

Where can you buy these toys? I happen to run across a great company on Amazon.com called Fat Brain Toys (www.FatBrainToys.com). They sell a lot of American Made toys (it seems like everything from Babies R Us is made in China!) and a wide variety of both indoor and outdoor toys. They have excellent customer service and seem to have a great corporate philosophy. I have only ordered one toy there, but it was a great experience.

Baby Roku plays with his favorite 'safe' toys

Baby Roku plays with his favorite 'safe' toys

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My Top Ten Foods while Breastfeeding

My Top Ten Food and Drink While Breastfeeding
This is my Top Ten Foods while Breastfeeding. These foods are in no specific order, however I would consider number 1 and number 10 the most important for good breastfeeding nutrition! To provide your baby with proper nutrition through breastfeeding you need to be thoroughly hydrated. And a good breastfeeding diet should consist mostly of fresh, organic, raw fruits and vegetables in a wide variety of colors.

1) Tons of water (never let yourself get thirsty)
2) Green Smoothie (Frozen Banana, Spinach or Kale, Celery, Sprouts, ice, water)
3) Organic, Raw Nuts and Sprouted Dehydrated Seeds (Sunflower and Hemp)
4) Sprouted and Dehydrated Buckwheat Groats
5) Lemonade sweetened with Stevia
6) Carrot and Celery sticks with Guacamole
7) Papaya
8) Leafy Green Salad sprinkled with nutritional yeast and olive oil
9) Cooked Grains (Brown Rice and Quinoa)
10) A wide variety of organic fruits and vegetables in an array of colors

And Frozen Banana ice cream with a raw granola never hurt anybody….

Frozen Banana Ice Cream with Raw Granola

Frozen Banana Ice Cream with Raw Granola

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Breastfeeding Diet – Your nutrition is important!


As Featured On EzineArticles

I have spent much time online trying to find the ideal breastfeeding diet and have come up empty. So I decided to document what I eat both to help other breastfeeding moms with some ideas as well as obtain feedback from any experts out there who know more about nutrition than I do! Here are some guidelines that I follow in general:

1) Plenty of fruit and vegetables
2) A whole food prenatal vitamin (I take “Super Nutrition” Simply One Prenatal)
3) Drink enough fluids so that I am never thirsty
4) Avoid caffeine and alcohol

So here is my typical day. I didn’t break it down in the typical Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner because I graze all day:
Upon waking (in this order)
Tall Glass of Lemon Water (with stevia)
Fruit (usually some papaya)
Bowl of Raw Granola (Sprouted and Dehydrated Buckwheat Groats and Sunflower Seeds, almonds, walnuts, and whatever else I crushed up and threw in that batch)
About 2 hours later
Big green smoothie – frozen bananas, leafy greens (I mix this up but a combo of spinach, kale, celery, sprouts, or any leafy green), chia seed gel, stevia. Those are the standard, but sometimes I will add raw carob, dates, blueberries, or some spices)
About an hour later if I am hungry
Fruit (usually an apple or some mango) and/or some dehydrated buckwheat groats
Around Lunch Time
A Salad (I usually have some sort of chopped salad prepared; if not, a greens with carrots, celery, asparagus, tomatoes and nutritional yeast)
About 3 hours later
Another Green Smoothie or Sprouted Buckwheat with a little granola depending on my mood
Around dinner time
Something more substantial like a nori or flax wrap sandwich full of sprouts and veggies or a raw burger.
I have recently started to eat cooked grains like quinoa, brown rice, and kasha. I season them with Himalayan Sea Salt.
Dessert
I know you should eat your fruit before anything else, but I like to finish off my dinner with a sweet treat like frozen banana ice cream. If you look at one of my earlier blog posts you will see that I have a recipe for this with carob powder…YUM! Sometimes I will sprinkle granola over it with some raw agave nectar for a heavenly treat!
Snacks
YES! I eat all day so sometimes I am snacking on Raw Brazil Nuts, Frozen Grapes, a dehydrated bar that I might have made, carrot and celery sticks dipped in guacamole.

So that is pretty much it! Here is a video to show a raw food dinner that I made for Neil and I. These are during weeks when I am really ambitious and have prepared some gourmet treats for the week.

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Raw Food Dessert – Blueberry Chia Cooler

This is one of my new favorites! And it is so easy to make. Just blend the ingredients below in your vitamix or blender!

BLUEBERRY CHIA COOLER
1 cup frozen blueberries (you can use fresh blueberries; just add a couple of extra ice cubes)
1/4 banana
1/4 cup chia seed gel (instructions below)
About 4 ice cubes
Stevia to taste (or no sweetener is your blueberries and bananas are sweet!)

Power up the vitamix and pour into your favorite chilled glass!

Why Chia Seed?? They are high in Omega 3 and Omega 6, calcium and protein! They are also super hydrating which is perfect for a hot summer day. You buy the chia seeds and then make the gel because chia seeds alone absorb water. If eaten alone they can absorb water from your intestinal tract which can cause dehydration (defeating the purpose of this hydrating drink!)

How to make Chia Seed Gel
I learned this from my friend, Rene Oswald. She has a great book called “Transitioning to Living Cuisine” which gives you the instructions on making this ‘oh so healthy’ concoction!
1/4 cup chia seed
2 cups water
Put 2 cups water in container. SLOWLY pour Chia Seed into water while whisking. Let sit for 4 min and whisk again. Let sit for 10 minutes and then refrigerate!

Blueberry Chia Cooler

Blueberry Chia Cooler

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Traveling While Eating Raw – 5 tips for success!

If you want to cut to the chase and get the 5 tips, scroll down : ) But here is our story:

Neil, Roku and I have been on 2 trips since eating 100% raw. One trip was on the road for a weekend in Sarasota. The other was flying to NY for a week long trip to the Jersey Shore. We tried to be as prepared as possible with a plan and plenty of raw food snacks so that we could stick with our nutritional goals. The road trip was pretty easy. We were staying at our family beach house, so I knew we would have a refrigerator. We also easily packed the vitamix since we were traveling in the car. I made a big batch of granola, some raw burgers, flax wraps and 2 huge chopped salads. I put the salads in large baggies for easy travel. I did one beet salad and a ‘rainbow’ salad from Rene Oswald’s “Transitioning to Living Cuisine” Recipe Book. I just packed the dressings separately so that the salad did not get soggy. Sarasota was also an easy trip for us to stick with our 100% raw plan because they had both a Whole Foods AND a Raw Food Restaurant. We bought plenty of organic fruits and veggies to snack on at Whole Foods. At Ione’s (the Raw Food Restaurant), we picked up a Raw Pizza, Raw Burger, Raw Snack Crackers, and an amazing chocolate mousse pie. Between all of these treats and the items that we brought with us, we had such great variety. My sister met us in Sarasota and she pretty much adhered to our same meal plan which made it easier (we shared our goodies with her of course!). She understands this lifestyle and has dabbled with raw foods herself so she was 100% supportive.

Now our trip to the Jersey Shore was much different. We would be traveling by plane, but that did not stop us from packing goodies and our vitamix! I just made sure to bring non-perishable items. I have attached a video below showing you how we packed these items. We brought a huge bag of granola, raw crackers, carob cookies, nori snacks, salad toppers, and some dehydrated raw snack bars. I also brought along a container of Himalayan Sea Salt, Stevia, and I put Raw Agave Nectar in a travel size shampoo bottle. When we got to the shore, we picked up some produce. Not a ton of organic stuff though so we looked up the closest Whole Foods. It was about a 30 minute drive, so we made a road trip up there with Roku (he loves Whole Foods! must be all of the colors). But even with all of the preparation and variety of snacks, it was still difficult to be 100% raw. Particularly for Neil….we were with his family (there were about 8 of us in a cute little house on the beach) and there are a lot of nostalgia in eating cooked food with them. He chose to have a few cooked items with them at dinner and felt really good about it. I ended up cooking some Kasha (roasted buckwheat) for dinner to share with everyone. The cooked grains tasted really good to me. This was the only cooked item that I had, and I decided that I would continue to incorporate some cooked grains into my diet for now. So, from our experiences, here my top 5 tips for eating raw while on the road:
5 Tips For Success!
1) Prepare snacks for your travel days. Small baggies of nuts, fruit, raw dehydrated bars, carrot sticks, are all good choices to stash in your carry on and/or glove compartment.
2) Bring your vitamix! I know it is a pain; we actually paid to bring the extra bag on the plane, but so worth it. We had at least 2 green smoothies per day
3) Bring condiments if you use them: Himalayan Sea Salt, Stevia, and make a salad topper (nutritional yeast, buckwheat groats, nori granules) so that if you have a salad on the road you can sprinkle this on top with a squeeze of lemon and olive oil
4) Check online for raw food restaurants and places to buy organic produce BEFORE your trip. Right down the address and phone number.
5) If you like granola, bring as a big a bag of it as you can manage. This might just be a ‘personal thing’ but I found that being on vacation I wanted to munch more. I bulked up my granola up with dehydrated buckwheat groats so it would not have such a high fat content.

HAPPY TRAVELS!!!

The food we packed for the plane. Neil does not show the vitamix, but it is in the bag too!!

Food that we got at the Raw Food Restaurant called Ione in Sarasota. You HAVE to see this beautiful food!!

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Johnson & Johnshon Baby Shampoo Contains Formaldehyde! Everyone needs to know this…

When I left the hospital with my beautiful newborn baby son on February 18, 2009 the hospital so graciously gave me samples of products to take home with me. Do you think they realized that the bottle of Johnson & Johnson baby shampoo that they gave me contained dangerous chemicals??? Probably not, but they should! As of the date of this article, Johnson & Johnson still contains more than 2 ingredients that have proven to be very harmful, especially when applied to our babies’ delicate, thin skin! The ingredients are 1,4-dioxane and formaldehyde. So this makes you want to read the ingredients for skincare products that you use on your children…right?? Well, to make the situation worse, you won’t find these 2 ingredients on the list. That is because 1,4 dioxane is a biproduct that is produced when certain chemicals that actually are on the ingredient list (like sodium laureth sulfate) are made to be gentler (ironic…right???). So it is not on the ingredient list because it is a contaminant that is created in the process of making this popular baby shampoo. And what about formaldehyde? Sometimes it will be listed, but not always. Usually not on the list though because it is released from common preservatives. By the way, formaldehyde has been classified as a known human carcinogen (cancer-causing substance) by the International Agency for Research on Cancer and as a probable human carcinogen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, not to mention a skin irritant. (Please see http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/risk/formaldehyde)

Okay, so now you know this info. What do you do now? Well you have taken the most important first step which is educating yourself on what is best for your little one (and YOU)! As an owner of a skincare business, I have done quite a bit of research on this topic. I do not make shampoo, but after reviewing many products my favorite line is California Baby. They don’t contain the chemicals listed above, nor do they contain other harmful ingredients such as pthalates, parabens, and fragrance (yes, fragrance is not good!) If California Baby’s products are scented, they are with organic essential oils. There are actually a lot of great product lines out there, but don’t just assume by the name that they are the best. For example, Burt’s Bees is a ‘natural’ product line, but their baby shampoo, lotion, etc contain fragrance. Many studies have been done that show ‘fragrance’ as being toxic (http://www.cosmeticsdatabase.com/ingredient.php?ingred06=702512).

Now if you are like me, you probably scoured your bathroom to find which products contain these chemicals. It is very likely that almost all of them do! But don’t freak out…even small, gradual changes can make a huge difference. It is also so important to have a healthy diet to keep your immune system strong so gradual changes in that department are very helpful too!

Fortunately, there are many articles such as this emerging on the dangers of the products we use on ourselves and our children. So much so that even Johnson & Johnson is launching a ‘green’ campaign with a website dedicated to their efforts (http://www.activenaturalsinstitute.com/anri/) and have even hired a famous ‘health-minded’ mom as their spokesperson. But have they removed the toxic chemicals in their products? NO! Not yet anyway…

Okay, I hope I have not overwhelmed you with TMI. There is so much to know and this is just the tip of the iceberg. I will continue to post important topics such as these to make your adventure in motherhood easier and stress-free! In the meantime, a great resource to determine which products are safe is http://www.cosmeticsdatabase.org.

Roku loves California Baby and other TRULY Natural Skincare Products

Roku loves California Baby and other TRULY Natural Skincare Products

Take Johnson & Johnson off your grocery list until they clean up their act!

Take Johnson & Johnson off your grocery list until they clean up their act!

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Sweet Sunday! Raw ‘Chocolate Milk’

Today I had an odd craving for milk. I have only made raw nut milk a couple of times to pour over my granola, but this time I wanted something a little different…Chocolate milk! I did not have all of the ingredients, so I just kind of made this up. It turned out so delectable and sweet! since I was just using what I had in the pantry, it ended up being an almond and cashew milk combo. I usually use about 3 dates, but I only had one. So I used some raw agave nectar to sweeten it up a bit. Definitely a special weekend treat (in addition to our special chai smoothie which I will share with you later). And Neil and I deserved it after the ‘scare’ we had with Dylan this morning. We went to a new church and put Roku in their daycare. We knew he would not last the whole service and, sure enough, in an hour we were called back to the nursery (via a number that flashes on a screen in front of the church). We thought it was the typical ‘I’m ready to sleep’ cry, but he had actually had an accident! He was sitting up (which he is not very good at yet) and fell over onto a leggo! Poor baby has a big bump on his head. He doesn’t seem to notice it though. I just iced it a bit and it seems to be going down. This is his first bump and I am sure there will be MANY MANY more. I had to take a photo to document this first (below). Anyway, you have GOT to try this recipe! Here it is:

Raw ‘Chocolate Milk’
1 cup almonds (soaked and dehydrated)
1/4 cup cashews
1 Date
2 tablespoons raw carob powder
1 tablespoon agave nectar
3 cups water
5 ice cubes (I like it COLD)
Blend in vitamix just as you would a smoothie!
You can strain the milk in a nut bag or sieve, however I just drank it ‘as is’.

Raw "Chocolate Milk" Made with Raw Carob Powder

Baby Roku's first bump

Roku's first bump

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