How to Have a Green and Healthy Pregnancy

by Tiffany in Birth & Baby

Green and Healthy PregnancyDiscovering that you are about to have a baby is often one of the most joyous times of a woman’s life. It can also be the most nerve racking. You are now responsible for the healthy development of another human life and everything you eat, breathe, and come into contact with for the next nine months can impact that growth and development. Being pregnant is weighty enough as it is without scaring moms to be and throwing a bunch of rules around. Yet the high incidences of autism, asthma, allergies, ADHD, cancer, and so many other childhood illnesses and issues require us to give some thought to raising our children green and healthy, even before they are born. They get their start in our bellies. Are we giving them the best possible start we can? It is something we all need to think about because our choices impact them greatly and also the planet. Here are a few ways to keep it green during pregnancy:

Prenatal Vitamins – In my earlier post on the dangers of synthetic vitamins I highlight all the reasons why you want to stick to vitamins that are made from whole foods and not those that are created in a lab. Synthetic vitamins offer you much less than you think are receiving and now is not the time to skimp. There are a few whole foods prenatal vitamins on the market. Try Garden of Life Vitamin Code Raw Prenatal Multivitamins and/or Rainbow Light Just Once Prenatal One Multivitamins.

Organic Foods – Eating organic can be more expensive but there are numerous tips and tricks out there to keep it affordable. Avoiding pesticides is just too important when you are pregnant. With some menu planning, buying in bulk, and perhaps cutting back on other purchases you can find a way to opt for that USDA organic sticker in stores. At the very least you can avoid the foods that have the highest pesticides residues when grown conventionally, also called the Dirty Dozen.

Farm Fresh & Nutrient Dense Foods – When preggo is it also important to make sure your meat is raised as healthfully and ethically as possible. We don’t want to expose our unborn children to all the growth hormones and antibiotics found in conventionally raised animals products.  Go with grassfed meats, free range eggs, and pastured dairy. It is best, and usually cheaper too, if you go direct to the source…aka the farmer. Look for more nutrient dense options as well such as organ meats (liver, heart) and eggs other than chicken (like duck). For seafood you will need to look for wild caught instead of farmed and avoid canned foods as much as possible because the cans are lined with BPA. When cooking make sure you are using healthy pots and pans that are free of dangers like chemical ridden non-stick surfaces and aluminum.

Clean Water – We need to hydrate quite often when pregnant because we have to filter out impurities and toxins for two. We are re-hydrating and replenishing all that amniotic fluid all the time so it is so important to drink lots of water. Also since our unborn is essentially swimming in it all day and night we want to make sure all chemical nasties are filtered out. Use a water filter in your home for drinking and cooking water. A nice affordable option is the Zuvo system, which I have. The filter catches stuff like chlorine and lead, the UV light kills water-borne bacteria and microbes, and the puration process oxygenates the water. Also consider the harmful effects of bathing and showering in chlorinated water and get filters for those areas too. For planetary reasons and because drinking out of plastic is unhealthy for us, ditch the plastic bottles and go with a stainless reusable bottle when you need to carry drinking water with you.

Maternity Clothing & Baby Clothing – I think that our consumer society goes a bit too far with all the all the pregnancy and baby stuff it tells us we must have. When I was expecting I simply bought clothing a size bigger until I was forced to buy a couple maternity items. Once I bought them I kept them for all three of my pregnancies and if I needed to buy anything else I went the second hand route. I managed to look nice without spending money on clothing off the rack that no doubt had lots of chemicals in it. Clothing in general has a BIG environmental impact and since we wear it all day long every day it can greatly impact our health. Second hand clothing has been worn and washed enough to negate the health impacts and buying used is better for the planet than buying new.

Natural Cleaners – Wash all your clothing (and baby’s future clothing) in an eco friendly and healthy detergent. There are some really horrible ingredients in conventional detergents and green moms want nothing to do with them. Now might be the perfect time to try soap nuts, which are berries that naturally contain soap and can be used (and reused) to clean your clothes. I love them! For house cleaning go with natural ingredients such as vinegar, essential oils, baking soda, and castile soap.

Healthy Nesting – Nesting is the urge to make your home ready for the new baby. Just like mama birds we want to get our nests in order before our little one arrives. Often time this means getting a nursery ready, doing some renovations, and buying items we think we will need for our little bundle, such as nursery furniture. Buy second hand when you can to avoid the offgassing associated with brand new products. This means it may be better to get a second hand crib rather than a brand new one. Just be sure to do your homework and make sure what you buy hasn’t been recalled or painted with lead based paint because it is so old.  New items might be best put outside to “air out” for a couple weeks if possible and when painting use zero VOC paints.

Clean Indoor Air – You are eating for two and breathing for two so making sure your air is clean and free and of harmful pollutants is important.  This is no time to be breathing in mold, mildew, fumes from paint, or other chemicals that cause allergies and asthma. One cheap and green solution is to get some houseplants that clean and filter the air such as spider plants, English ivy, Boston fern, and rubber plants. Open windows and let fresh air inside the house as much as possible. Takes daily walks outside in the fresh air (and get some sun while you are at it). You can also run an air purifier to be on the safe side. I have Permatech Air Cleaners in my home and as an added bonus they are also ionizers so they give me a mood boost when I run them.

Healthy Body Care – Dangerous chemicals are abundant in personal care products and now is not the time to put your faith and trust in big corporations that make the lotions and potions you see in conventional stores. These products are not well regulated and legislation does not consider the cumulative impact of all these products. Sure the deodorant might be safe in their minds but what about when you use it along with lipstick, blush, lotion, shampoo, hairspray, and toothpaste? That is a lot of chemicals (phthalates, parabens, formaldehyde, sodium lauryl sulfate) you are rubbing all over your body! Many of those components will pass through your skin into the body that is currently nourishing your unborn baby. I recommend more natural products such as Earth Mama Angel Baby, making your owns products using natural ingredients, and perhaps avoiding some entirely. Why not try going no poo?

Pregnancy is a special, magical time and I hate to give moms more stuff to be anxious over but this topic is just to important not to share. Do you have any tips and ideas to share for a greener, more natural pregnancy?


EverSave Deal for Abe’s Market!

by Tiffany in Tidbits

Just had to share this amazing Eversave deal. You pay $20 for $40 to use at Abe’s Market. They sell lots of natural and organic foods as well as all kinds of natural green products from beauty items to toys. It is very much like a Whole Foods store and I have shopped there several times. When I saw this deal I immediately bought it up and knew exactly what I would buy. I got two bags of my fave grain free cereal Nutcase Crunch, and since they are $19 a bag (yeah pricey!) I ended up getting one free with this deal. Woot! I also had $2 extra cash to spare so I got one of their sample packages that cost exactly $2. Awesome!

Visit Eversave for the deal, while they last any way…


An Organic Earth Day Feast with Cascadian Farm

by Tiffany in Healthy Eating

A few weeks back Cascadian Farm asked me to participate in an all organic Earth Day feast celebration. My mission was simply to create an Earth Day feast, or rather a feast worthy of Earth Day since I would have to do it earlier in the month, and use organic foods. To facilitate they sent me an Earth Day Celebration Kit with Cascadian Farms products and coupons. So of course I decided to incorporate Cascadian Farm foods wherever I could.

In honor of the warmer weather of late I decided to go with a backyard picnic feast. I dug out my fave yard sale quilt (only $1.00!) that we use for picnics and I made light and fresh foods. That ended up being paleo chicken tacos, homemade salsa, and blueberry coconut milk smoothies. Perfect for a mid day picnic in the back yard. All the fresh fruit and veggies just scream Earth Day.

Pretty much everything was organic and to make it a Cascadian Farm affair we used their Muir Glen fire roasted tomatoes in the salsa, frozen sweet corn as a taco topping, and frozen blueberries in the smoothies. It was delicious! We might just do the whole thing over again on Earth Day for reals. ;)

We buy organic most of the time but it is always good to have that reminder that it is better for the planet and for our health. Supporting organic is a crucial step in voting for the world we want. “Like” the Cascadian Farm Facebook page to get more information on their Earth Day celebration. Also many thanks to them for our kit, which came in that nifty canvas basket seen in the pictures.


Six Benefits of Eating Locally Grown Foods

by Tiffany in Eating Local

It is so easy to just walk into a grocery store and fill your cart with foods that look delicious.  Today’s grocery stores even have ‘organic’ and ‘natural’ foods for you to choose from.  For many the label makes it easy for them to feel that they are getting the best foods available, while still maintaining the convenience of purchasing all their food in one place.

But just because you can purchase all of your foods in one place does not necessarily mean that you should, and it is a fact that even the ‘natural’ and ‘organic’ foods in most grocery stores are not locally grown foods.  While they may be natural or organic, the benefits may be countermanded by the distance they had to travel.  Besides that, there is more to eating locally than simple freshness.

Six Benefits of Eating Locally

Local Foods Are Fresh and In Season. It’s a fact, if you purchase locally grown foods you know that they are in season.  They have to be in order to be grown and harvested. And fresher, in-season foods just taste better and they are better for you as well. Many nutritionists believe that eating with the seasons is the best way to keep our bodies healthy because nature has cycles and it knows exactly what we need to eat.

Locally Grown Foods Have Less Impact on the Environment. Shipping foods across country – even foods labeled organic – can have a negative impact on the environment.  By eating locally grown foods you are significantly lessening the carbon footprint you would otherwise leave by eating foods grown out of state or in another country. Most times you won’t even need to sacrifice organic standards either. More and more small farmers grow their food without chemicals, they just cannot afford expensive certification. Get to know your farmer and you may be pleasantly surprised.

Locally Grown Foods Maintain Farmland. Buying locally grown foods ensures not only that you keep the carbon footprint of your foods as small as possible, but ensures that there is plenty of green space and farmland maintained in your local community in order to sustain the locally grown market.  This is good for everyone who appreciates fresh air and a view of more than city streets and sidewalks.

Locally Grown Foods are Safer. By cutting out the middlemen; those individuals who process and package and ship the food, you cut down on the chance of your food getting contaminated – even inadvertently. Knowing where your food is grown and who grew it tells you something about the food itself, and knowledge, as they say, is power.

Buying Locally Grown Foods Boosts the Local Economy. You were going to buy the lettuce (or spinach or apples) anyway, why give your money to some big chain store or huge agri-business company?  Why not keep that money in the neighborhood where you know it will do some good? If I have a choice between padding the pockets of a big corporation that may use my money to lobby against environmental issues or giving my money directly to a family that needs it.. I know which I would prefer. Purchasing food locally also cuts down on the amount of taxes and red tape involved in purchasing the food; money that would probably come out of your pocket anyway due to price hikes.

Purchasing Locally Grown Foods Create a Sense of Community. When you purchase food from a local grower it connects you to that person; through their land and the attention they have given to their produce, and how many of us want a connection to some big uncaring chain store?  Making local connections instills a feeling of belonging and of community.  People get talking, they share themselves with you, and with others, and everyone is better off.

If you are interested in more healthful living, in sustainability for your local farms, and in creating a sense of true community between yourself and those with whom you share your area, eating locally grown produce is definitely the right decision to make.

Recommends Reads for Local Eating:

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life (My Review)

The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals (My Review)

The 100-Mile Diet: A Year of Local Eating


Win a $100 Whole Foods Gift Card

by Tiffany in Tidbits

TGIF! Have an awesome weekend everyone! I don’t usually link to giveaways like this but in this economy I know some people could really use an extra $100 towards healthier foods. It is all too easy to tighten your wallet and put the more expensive but healthier and organic foods on the chopping block.

As part of its “Be Good to Your Whole Body” campaign, for the month of October, Whole Foods Market has created podcasts focusing on maintaining a healthy mood.  As the seasons change, these simple, free tips, consider how conscious breathing, herbs, and eating well, can help maintain a healthy mood.

Just listen to one or all of the podcasts and leave a comment telling them what you think.  On October 30th one person will be randomly chosen to receive the gift card!

Please comment on the following podcast fields: Breathe and Meditation for Stress Relief, Herbal Approaches for Healthy Mood, or Boost your Back to School Brain Power. Good luck!