Euphoria’s Blog for Green Mamas

advice, news & freebies

A Priority List for Switching to Organic Foods September 3, 2009

Filed under: Healthy Living — Rachel @ 9:52 am
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It’s overwhelming, isn’t it?  Organic food is expensive and there are choices to make everyday.  Maybe you know in your heart that choosing organic is best, but you just can’t see how to do it. 

It doesn’t have to be all or nothing.  And, really, it never is.  All of us on this road of natural living are pushing along, changing one more thing and one more thing to make our world and our families healthier.  So, if you need somewhere to start, consider this priority list from pediatrician Dr. Alan Greene, author of Raising Baby Green.  His list answers the question, “What are the most important foods to buy organic?” considering more than just pesticides.  So, in order of first priority, here goes:

  1. Milk
  2. Potatoes
  3. Peanut Butter
  4. Baby Food
  5. Ketchup
  6. Cotton
  7. Apples
  8. Beef
  9. Soy
  10. Corn

Dr. Greene gives a thorough, well-written account of how he created this list, and what is gained by choosing organic for each product.  For more details read through Dr. Green’s Organic Rx.  I can’t say I agree with his reasoning on potatoes.  He mentions that kids eat more potatoes than any other vegetable – but in French fries.  Given that fact, I don’t see how buying organic potatoes for the home is going to translate, unless you’ll be making fries at home…

Also, I can’t recommend eating any conventional soy products, organic or not.  From what I’ve read, only traditional fermented soy products are actually healthy.  But that’s another story.

I noticed that Dr. Green listed cotton as product number 6.  For those of you as confused as I was, he’s talking about products that contain cottonseed oil or an unidentified vegetable oil (like salad dressing, peanut butter, etc).  Sure, it would also be great (and hugely beneficial to the health of our world) to buy all of our cotton fabrics, organic too.  But, unfortunately, that’s probably the most expensive realm of organic living. 

This list helped me to realize that the peanut butter we buy is not organic.  Oops.  Time to change that.

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Would you Like to Induce Labor? September 1, 2009

Filed under: Pregnancy — Rachel @ 8:07 pm
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Would you like to choose your baby’s birthday?  Would you prefer to get baby out ASAP, rather than wait that last week or two?  If you’re considering inducing, you’re not the only one. 

Last night I began reading Jennifer Block’s Pushed: The Painful Truth about Childbirth and Modern Maternity Care.  It is well-written and clear, with compelling stories about real births too.  Block cites the information she shares in detail in her book, so you can look up any studies or reports of interest.   The first chapter,”Arranged Birth” examines the subject of induction in detail, with interesting perspectives from nurses and doctors too.   

According to the CDC, the induction rate was under 10% in 2004 (Block, p. 5).  Contrast that with 40% induced into labor and 70% receiving Pitocin during labor to speed up progression in 2006, according to a study of 5500 low-risk, first-time mothers (p. 5-6).   Pitocin is a hormone-mimicking drug that stimulates contractions and is commonly used to induce labor. 

Why are doctors recommending inductions and women agreeing in such drastically increasing numbers?  There are any number of official reasons that a woman may be given when an induction is ordered.  We’ll look at these in more detail next week.  But, before we get bogged down in medical debate, take a step back and ask yourself this:  Do you think our ability to give birth, to progress in labor has drastically changed in the last 6 years?  Or, could it be, that it’s just more convenient for mothers and doctors to induce?  In America, isn’t convenience king?  We want to do the best for ourselves, for our babies, but when something is touted as pretty safe, easier, more convenient for everyone, will mom say “no”?  Judging by the popularity of fast food, obviously not. 

It is convenient, but is it safe?  Is it wise?  Here’s an excerpt from Pushed, beginning with a quote from Kathleen Rice Simpson, PHD:

“‘I firmly believe that mothers are not informed enough to know that this is not a good idea, and that any woman who has the right information would not want to have her baby induced.’ Inducing tends to create longer, more difficult, more painful labors in general, and it ups a woman’s chance of a C-section by two to three times.” (p. 14)

But who is this Simpson?  She’ s only a professor of nursing at St. Louis University School of Nursing, a labor and delivery nurse of 30 years, author of dozens of journal articles, conductor of several studies, author of safety manuals for the American Society of Healthcare Risk Management, the American Hospital Association, the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric, and Neonatal Nurses, etc.  She claims that liberal use of Pitocin to start and speed up labor often violates safety standards and is under-reported.  “Mismanagement of Pitocin, she says, is the leading cause of liability suits and damage awards” (p. 14).

So if Pitocin is the most common mistake doctors make, why do we feel so at ease to induce labor for convenience?  If this is beginning to bother you, you’re not alone.  That’s why Jennifer Block subtitled her book “The Painful Truth about Childbirth and Modern Maternity Care.”  A mama ought to be informed.  More on induction next week!

 

And the winner is…

Filed under: Giveaways — Rachel @ 1:37 pm

Congratulations, Jeralyn, you won the Blessed Nest organic nursing pillow giveaway! 

Thanks to all of you who shared your favorite natural products.  What a fun way to spread the love.  Bethany’s comment about cleaning with baking soda came back to me next time I was scrubbing my tub :).  It’s great to see that so many of us are using cloth diapers too.  And, I loved Merissa’s comment, “I think my favorite natural product for my babies has actually been breastmilk. It doesn’t get more natural for baby and it’s super easy for mom. Plus, there’s no packaging or plastic bottles to worry about, so it’s green too.”  So true!

This month I have a few giveaways up my sleeve.  More on that soon!

 

Last Day to Enter to Win August 31, 2009

Filed under: Giveaways — Rachel @ 2:49 pm

Today is your last chance to enter to win our August giveaway. It’s easy and free!  Good luck.

Enter to Win a Blessed Nest Organic Nursing Pillow!

 

Must-Reads for Pregnancy & Birth August 27, 2009

Filed under: Pregnancy — Rachel @ 3:57 pm
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As soon as you began thinking about getting pregnant (or realized you already were!) your mind was filled with a million questions.  There’s a lot to learn about pregnancy and birth.  Here’s a book list to get you started:

Healthy Pregnancy

  • The Mother of all Pregnancy Books: The Ultimate Guide to Conception, Birth & Everything In Between by Ann Douglas.  A great introduction and resource for first pregnancies.  Lots of information on common problems of pregnancy.
  • Mothering Magazine’s Having a Baby, Naturally by Peggy O’Mara.  “We’ll inform, you choose”  Having a Baby, Naturally reflects this spirit with straightforward, uncensored information about pregnancy and childbirth, addressing common concerns and questions in a compassionate, nonjudgmental style.
  • Eating for Pregnancy: The Essential Nutrition Guide and Cookbook by Catherine Jones and Rose Ann Hudson.  A practical book from a perinatal nutritionist on proper eating and weight gain goals, with a large collection of recipes.  It’s a cookbook in its own right.  Also addressing the requirements of diabetic, vegetarian and vegan diets during pregnancy.

Safe Childbirth

  • Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin.  A classic, full of positive birth stories to prepare you mentally and physically for natural childbirth.
  • The Doula Guide to Birth: Secrets Every Pregnant Woman Should Know by Ananda Lowe & Rachel Zimmerman.  Insights from experienced doulas and real moms for birth and the welcoming a newborn.
  • The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth by Henci Goer.  A truly empowering resource covering the many procedures and tests available during pregnancy and birth.  Offering data and advice so you can make informed decisions regarding your care. 
  • The Doula Advantage by Rachel Gurevich.  Why and how to hire a doula, with interviews from more than 235 women and birth professionals.  So much good information, and real life tools to help women choose the best doula for their birth.
  • Pushed:  The Painful Truth about Childbirth and Modern Maternity Care by Jennifer Block.  “The United States has the most intense and widespread medical management of birth” in the world, and yet “ranks near the bottom among industrialized countries in maternal and infant mortality.”  This provocative, highly readable expose raises questions of great consequence for anyone planning to have a baby in U.S.

Fun, Encouraging Reads

  • Baby Catcher: Chronicles of a Modern Midwife by Peggy Vincent.  This fun, lighthearted book is chock-full with Peggy’s experiences delivering babies in Berkeley, California, including 40 birth stores from a wide-range of diverse, interesting women.  It’s the perfect prelude to your own labor, sure to leave you with realistic expectations for your own birth and some inspiration too.
  • The Girlfriend’s Guide to Prengnacy by Vicki Iovine.  Although I don’t share the perspective of the author, this book is so hilarious that I had to include it here.  The author’s sassy writing style will have you laughing at your pregnancy woes. 
  • Pregnancy Stories: Real Women Share the Joys, Fears, Thrills, and Anxieties of Pregnancy from Conception to Birth by Cecilia Cancellaro.  A collection of honest short-stories written by real mothers about the ups and downs of pregnancy and birth.  Support for the journey.
 

The Fact is I’m not the Weird One August 25, 2009

Health, wellness, long-life… not for the average American.  The state of human health in our country is disintegrating at an increasing rate.  As moms, we want to do something about it.  And, by golly, we will… even though it means we become the “weird” mom who refuses to buy Koolaid and rejects vinyl bath toys. 

I’ve been on this path for years now.  By now, my family is used to it.  But still, everytime I have to say “no” to an adult who offers my children food packed with high fructose corn syrup or a pthalate-fuming “scented” marker, I feel the rub.  The eyes say, “Why must you be so picky?” and “Your children are missing out!”  I want to exclaim, “Why should I be on the defensive?!?”  Here’s the facts, folks:

Asthma: incidence has more than doubled. It is the leading cause of admission of children to hospital and the leading cause of school absenteeism.
Cancer: after injuries, is the leading killer of children in the United States.
Leukemia and Brain Cancer: have increased in incidence, brain cancer by nearly 40% over the past three decades.
Developmental Disabilitiesand ADHD: Neuro-developmental dysfunction is now commonplace, with learning disabilities affecting anywhere from five to 10 percent of all children.
Birth Defects: The incidence of Hypospadias, a birth defect of the reproductive organs in baby boys, has doubled.
Autism: has jump 400 percent in the last 20 years to 1 in 150 children

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. To me, as a medical detective, the increase in the incidence of childhood cancer alone is the first clue that something is going wrong. In fact, many chemical toxicants are known to contribute to causation of these diseases. They deserve special attention because most are preventable sources of harm. Children are at risk of exposure to over 15,000 high-production-volume synthetic chemicals, nearly all of them developed in the past 50 years. These chemicals are used widely in consumer and household goods like personal care products, cleaning supplies, pesticides, paints, toys, home furnishings, carpeting, electronics, plastics and even food and water. More than half are untested for toxicity and affect on human health.

We must understand an important fact: Children are especially sensitive to environmental toxins and more vulnerable than adults.

• Pound for pound of body weight, children have greater exposure to pesticides because they drink more water, eat more food and breathe more air than adults.
• Their unique behaviors put them at higher risk. They live and play close to the floor; and they constantly put their fingers into their mouths.
• Children’s metabolic pathways, especially in the first months after birth are immature. Generally they are less well able to metabolize, detoxify, and excrete toxicants than adults and thus are more vulnerable to them.
• Children are undergoing rapid growth and development, and their developmental processes are easily disrupted. From conception and throughout fetal development, exquisitely small toxin exposures can cause permanent impacts.

For the complete post, see Chemicals in Everyday Products and Children’s Health: A Small Dose of the Facts at Healthy Child Healthy World Blog.

So, I say, “Wake up, folks!  There’s reason for concern. There’s work to be done here.  And, I’m not the weird one.”  Obviously, weirdness is not really the issue.  It’s about education.  An informed consumer changes everything.  And, that’s what I’m trying to do here – spread the word one post at a time.

 

“SafeMama Diaper Rash Cheat Sheet” August 22, 2009

Filed under: Baby & Toddler — Rachel @ 8:06 am
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Diaper rash cream – it’s got to be effective, but what about toxic?  I’ve posted before on the evils of Balmex and Desitin.  I’ve also answered one common question, “Diaper Creams: What Can You Use with Cloth Diapers?”  But, SafeMama did one better.  She created a list of safe diaper creams, even separating out those that contain zinc and those that don’t (making them safe for cloth diapers). 

So, without further ado, see if your favorite diaper rash cream makes the SafeMama Diaper Rash Cheat Sheet.  And, if it doesn’t, run – don’t’ walk – over to the Cosmetic Database on Skin Deep to see if what you’re using to treat baby’s bum is causing more problems than it’s worth.  I’ve personally used Earth Mama Angel Baby’s Angel Baby Bottom Balm, which rates a ZERO on the toxicity scale at Skin Deep, with great results.