27
Feb

Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega-D3

by Tiffany in Healthy Eating

There have been so many diet changes lately and so many new and wonderful products I have tried looking to prioritize my health and that of my family. One of the smaller changes we made was that we started consuming fish oils so that our diet would have an ample supply of Omega 3 essential fatty acids, EPA and DHA. I have been trying a few different brands and products but one of the front runners is Nordic Naturals and their Ultimate Omega – D3, which has fish oils obviously and 1000 I.U. of vitamin D3. Nordic Naturals has long been known as a brand that provides some of the purest and freshest fish oils. They are third party tested for environmental toxins such as heavy metals, dioxins, and PCBs. This is hugely important for moms because there are so many fish oils on the market and it can really be a crap shoot as to what is in them and how pure they are. This isn’t one of those situations where you just want to run out and buy the generic, drug store brand. You want fish oils from a place you can trust and Nordic Naturals has been on my list of trustworthy sources for years. Their lemon flavor fish oils are also very palatable. The lemony flavor comes through the gel caps even and makes it easy to take these… you even want to chew on them a little before swallowing. Sounds weird, I know.

While this particular brand isn’t my absolute favorite, it is lower in price than my preferred and makes an excellent backup when money is tight. I also like that they have so many offerings for kids. My own kids really like the Nordic Naturals Nordic Berries. The D3 in this formulation is also important to me this time of year when we don’t get a whole lot of sunlight.  D3 is a natural form of vitamin D produced by the body, and is better absorbed and utilized than other forms. It does wonders for our mood in the winter time, not to mention the helpful effects it has on immunity and sleep rhythms.

Right now the company is sponsoring a What’s Essential™ contest where they are asking people to share what is essential to them in living an extraordinary life. I didn’t enter the contest but it did give me some food for thought. What is essential to me?

It is essential that we are the healthiest we can be so that we can enjoy our lives to the fullest extent possible. So many people (adults and children) have health problems that keep them running to and from doctors. They eat foods that foster this state of poor health and they just accept the aches and pains as part of life. They get up in the morning with congestion in their chest  or a pain in the small of their back and they just say “Oh well, guess I am getting old.” Their kids get frequent cavities and allergies that seem to get worse each year but they just accept this. It was in protest of this attitude that spurred so many dietary changes of late. We were a pretty healthy bunch but there were still some nagging health issues and I do NOT accept them. I do not accept that is is normal for my children’s teeth to decay or for me to feel the aches and pains of old age in my early thirties. It is essential to me to get to the bottom of these issues and help our bodies heal as I know they can. It is essential that I always keep growing, learning, and questioning and that I teach my kids to do the same.

What about you? What is essential to you?

** Many thanks to Nordic Naturals for sending me a sampling of their products and the bottle of Ultimate Omega – D3 to review. Some were old favorites and some are now new favorites.

24
Feb

TGIF! The Lorax, Brown Rice with Arsenic, and a Birthday Weekend

by Tiffany in Tidbits

TGIF everyone! The gorgeous young miss to the right is turning eight this Saturday so my weekend is pretty busy with her birthday celebration. We don’t usually do parties so I don’t have to worry about themes, favors, and all that jazz. We like to keep it an event for family and maybe a friend of her choosing. So this weekend we have a series of special things planned for her and one friend, along with immediate family and grandparents. Because her birthday is in February we decided to do something that incorporates lots of swimming. All the kids have been itching to get some pool time so it should be very enjoyable. I will be sure to post pictures next week.

In other news, I had a visit with two doctors this past week. My thyroid levels are looking good but at this time I am still on a low dose of thyroid medication. I am so conflicted because I HATE pharma meds but I feel really awesome. I need to research ways to get weaned of the meds but this doctor and another one both tell me I should expect to be on them forever… sigh. Anyway, I saw this doc just before I went paleo/primal and was shocked to hear that I had lost 20 pounds since I was there last. Whoa… it melted off like butter after giving up grains. Cool!

I also saw an orthopedist about my arm, which I injured badly at the gym in late November (after listening to some monumentally bad weight lifting advice). I got the go ahead so start weight lifting again and he gave me a bunch of stretching exercises to do so that my arm muscles stop bunching up and hurting so much after each session at the gym. If I don’t see improvement on my own he said I will need to see a physical therapist but so far, so good.

Okay… a bit of housekeeping now. The winner of the Chobani Champions yogurt case (from 2 weeks ago) is…. Tara Sabo. Congrats Tara, I am emailing you know. Enjoy your yogurt!

Also I want to know what YOU want to read about. If there is a topic that interests you and you want me to cover it, leave me a comment below.

Interesting articles for the week…

I am sure you have heard about the arsenic/brown rice fiasco. Anna at Green talk has some great articles that address the issue, explain why rice and arsenic are such a cozy pair, and what you can do in your home to reduce exposure. Part One and Part Two. I am not surprised that no one sought to fix this issue, even though it is likely they knew about it. Without public pressure these companies have no reason to change things. Money is more important than the safety issues they hope we will never find out about. At any rate I am glad that I am grain free and don’t have to worry about this particular issue.

I read an infuriating article at Cinema Blend about the new Lorax movie. A conservative panel member on Fox News actually encouraged parents to take their kids to the movie and litter all over the theater and theater property to protest the fact that “Hollywood” is trying to indoctrinate our children and turn them into something almost as bad as demon worshippers… ENVIRONMENTALISTS!! The horror! Anyway we cannot wait to see this movie. ;)

I also wanted to share this Chipotle ad just in case is you haven’t seen it yet. LOVE that this corporation sees a problem within our current food system and is doing what they can to fix it from a fast food perspective. I am a big Chipotle fan!

Have a great weekend everyone!

23
Feb

Healthy Pets, Green Pets

by Tiffany in A Green Home

Planet Friendly Ways to Keep Pups and People Healthy and Happy

One of the things I have been researching lately is green puppy care. We don’t actually have a puppy yet but hope to get one someday soon. I grew up with dogs but I never much considered green issues and I pretty much let them play with or eat what you could buy at big box stores. Now of course I know from having children that much of what mainstream America is peddling is unsafe and it is also true of products for pets. When you have pets you want to avoid harsh chemicals in your home, unhealthy “junk” dog food, and puppy toys with chemical nasties. The planet friendly pet offerings these days have increased greatly. You just have to wade through it all…

Cleaning Up After Your Pet

This is my big issue with pets and the reason why we have not had one in a very long time. I cannot stand dog hair and pet messes. So I decided that when we do get a dog it will have to be one with short hair and no undercoat. I am also putting this off until my kids are older and able to help with care and cleanup. We are getting there but at least we have the safe, green cleaning part covered. We use Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap for most cleaning, including cleaning our carpets. We use that and vinegar for our hard floors in the kitchen, along with a spray mop. When we have puppy messes using these methods will get the job done just fine without toxic cleaning products and we can sprinkle baking soda over spots so that they won’t smell.

Avoid Conventional Pet Food

This is a billion dollar industry and if we are to believe the deceptive advertising and photos on pet food bags then we might think our dogs are getting choices cuts of meat and other nutrient dense foods with every meal. In actuality the pet food industry is just an extension of the people food industry and pets get the “waste” that is unfit for human consumption. Many people are now trying to avoid anything produced within our nasty factory farming industry and yet this is what many choose to feed their pets. If we are eating that stuff we are eating the worst the industry has to offer, and our pets are eating the worst of the worst. Is it any wonder that many of the dominant pet food companies have been involved in pet food recalls that sickened and/or killed many pets? I think not.

Healthy, organic, raw pet food will help your dog with skin ailments, allergies, immunity issues, digestive disorders, and better overall health. Some good brands include Paw Naturaw, Primal Pet Foods, and the pastured raw pet foods from Tropical Traditions. Those options are all pricey but I am not sweating this because dogs do best on a primal diet like what we eat in this house already so we will likely make our own dog food. Dogs should NOT be eating dog food with grains, corn, wheat, and rice. They are carnivores, not vegetarians.

Natural Flea Control

If this becomes an issue make sure to look for a natural flea control option. Conventional flea collars and products have lots of chemical nasties in them. They are not safe for animals and not for the humans exposed to them either. Instead try cleaning and vacuuming often and launder pet bedding weekly. Use a flea comb daily and bathe them often with a natural shampoo like Cloud Star’s Buddy Wash. It has coconut oil and essential oils. You can also make your own flea collar by applying a carrier oil (like almond oil or neem) mixed with some essentials oils (cinnamon, rosemary, clove, peppermint) to their existing collar. You can make a spray by mixing some neem oil with some castile soap and spray it on their coat when fleas rear their ugly little heads. A DIY flea powder can be made using crushed herbs like rosemary, fennel, and eucalyptus. What you can make at home will likely be safer and more cost effective too. Other ideas include keeping grass cut short and buying nematodes at a pet store or garden store to reduce the flea population. There are plenty of natural options beyond the chemical ones you find at your vet’s office.

Planet Friendly Dog Toys

Just as with kids toys, lots of pet toys have BPA, PVC, lead, dyes, and other nasties. Instead of those buy toys made of natural rubber, rope, hemp, and organic cotton. The Simply Fido Bamboo Plush Rope Dog Toy is adorable and comes in many designs and colors. Also West Paw Design has many eco toys for dogs that use their Zogoflex material. It is plastic but it is also fully recyclable and built to last for as long as it is serving as a dog toy. These toys do not contain any known sources of lead, cadmium, mercury, latex, phthalates, hormones, Bisphenol A, or asbestos.

Reader Lysa submittedd this tip in regards to greener shew toys/food:

We give our dog naturally fallen deer antlers as chew toys. We’re lucky to have them available naturally but know that they can be purchased at reputable animal supply shops (feed type shops, not pet stores.) They are very nutritious and last a long time.

These are some important issues to consider when you have a family dog or plan to get one. For more ideas check out my article on Green Pet Products and Supplies. It has ideas for green bedding, bamboo collars, and eco cat condos. Enjoy and hug those puppies!

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

9 Comments on Healthy Pets, Green Pets

21
Feb

I’m Going to BlogHer12!

by Tiffany in Tidbits

I actually bought my ticket for the BlogHer 2012 conference in New York City months ago but I never announced it here. It’s not earth shattering news or anything. Then I figured that maybe I should make a little announcement just in case any readers or other bloggy friends were going so that we could arrange to meet in person. This is all part of my New Year’s Resolution to have more fun. It was a total blast to go visit Detroit earlier this year and meet up with dozens of other bloggers. In New York there will be a pool of thousands of bloggers to meet, chat up, and attend parties with. Plus, it’s the Big Apple. What could be more fun?

Well, actually I am not sure because it will be my first BlogHer but I am pretty sure it will be  blast. I made a deal with myself that I would not do any business trips or blog conferences until my kids were older. That way it wouldn’t be extremely hard on them or anyone that I enlisted to help care for them. It made me sad to pass on opportunities to travel (which I LOVE) and be more sociable with bloggers and brands but the mom part of mom blogger had to come first. Anyway I started blogging when my middle child was a newborn and now my youngest just hit lucky number six last month. It’s time to get out there and have a bit of fun.

If you are going please leave a comment on this post. I would love to know who to look out for! I would also love to hear any tips you have if you have been before.

I am also looking for a sponsor or sponsors… maybe. I say maybe because I am pretty picky about who I work with, what with all the greenwashing that goes on, but I know there has to be a potential fit out there somewhere and I am willing to chat about partnerships.

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

8 Comments on I’m Going to BlogHer12!

20
Feb

Green Baby Shower Tips and Ideas

by Tiffany in Birth & Baby

Green Baby Shower Tips and IdeasAre you a green mom to be or do you know one? Having a planet friendly baby shower will you get you or the natural mama friend and baby you are throwing one for, off to a great start. Forget the pink and blue, the color to be is green! Here are some party ideas that are low impact and helpful to the growing family.

The Invitations – In this digital age it is easier than ever to avoid paper invites if you want to. You can send online invites through a variety of places. Paperless Post is a good free one. You can also set up a Facebook group and invite people that way. For paper invites go recycled. InvitationBox offers products made using recycled, FSC or SFI certified paper. Also a portion of revenues are donated to the Conservation Fund.

Baby Registry – It is common to register for gifts but instead of doing so at a big box store why not try a local place that specializes in green and natural baby gear. Most major cities now have some of these unique stores and they offer cloth diapers, green toys, and glass baby bottles. If you have time for online shopping try The Ultimate Green Store and their gift registry where you can register for gifts and also find the registries of your friends.

Shower Decorations – One of my favorite ways to decorate for a shower is to hang a clothesline to hang baby goodies from. You could use wood clips to hang cloth diapers, a baby carrier, organic baby clothing and bibs, and natural rubber pacifiers. Once the party is over the mom can take the clothesline props home for her own greener laundry use. You could also decorate with live plants and potted herbs which can double as party favors. Beeswax or soy candles can be put inside mason jars to add a natural glow to the party. Couple those with vintage linens from the local antique store and you will have the perfect table setting.

Refreshments – For a baby shower the easiest route to go is simple and refreshing. Instead of a big store bought cake you could make nourishing, organic coconut cupcakes made with coconut flour and sprinkled with shredded coconut courtesy of Tropical Traditions. Some other ideas include raw fudge brownies, a salad bar, yogurt parfaits, and green smoothies. The color of the smoothies are perfect for the venue! Another idea might be to break out the soda stream and make some homemade sparkling juices with fresh fruit and raw honey.

Green Gifts – So what does a green mama need? Actually not that much in truth so you may want to see what you can gift from your own home or from a thrift store. This is why I love the idea of using a Facebook group to organize a shower because you can make it private and post a list of what the mom-to-be wants and needs there. Then guests can comment with what they have bought or discovered second hand and the list can be altered accordingly. Some gift ideas that you may want to buy “new” include newborn cloth diapers, glass bottles, (if the mom will bottle feed or pump), safe teethers and pacifiers, natural toys, and baby carriers or slings. Wrap gifts in recycled paper, newspaper, or even cloth. A bamboo baby blanket can make an excellent “wrapper”.

Green moms might also appreciate a weekly box from the local CSA or organic grocer, gift certificates to Whole Foods or a local green spa, and organic meals made and delivered by their mom friends. An offer to come watch the baby once every two weeks while the new moms naps might be just about the best gift ever, so get creative. If for instance, this is not a first child and the mom already has everything she needs, maybe the guests could bring a blessing to read instead of a gift.

It is important not to forget the purpose of a shower, which is to show the mom and baby all our love and support. That support doesn’t need to mean showering them with useless junk, even if it is cute.

Do you have any green baby shower ideas to share?