Sunday, March 30, 2008

how things have changed (for the better)

When I was pregnant with my son almost three years ago I had to search far and wide to find natural and organic products for him to wear, be bundled in, play with, eat and drink out of etc... now I get an email from Amazon today sending me a link to pages and pages of Organic Baby Products...

It's a great time to be having an organic baby! Lately I have been feeling a bit guilty about using my first child (and only child for the moment) as a bit of a guinea pig... as much research as I did the first time around, doing a full detox before conceiving, eating mostly organic food, using hypnobirthing techniques in a midwife-run birthing centre, breastfeeding him for two years, dressing him in organic cotton, etc etc etc... there are so many more things that I would do differently if I could...

I would...
- have less (or possible zero) ultrasounds (sonograms). I had three the first time... one at 10 weeks, 12 weeks and 20 weeks.
- delay immunizations longer (and maybe not get all of them?).
- not eat nuts while pregnant or breastfeeding (I ate a lot of hazelnuts and now my son is allergic to them, even though he's never eaten them!).
- use safer bottles/sippy cups.
- have a better bed for co-sleeping.
- have my soil testing before baby starts eating it!
- travel less (especially less radiation-filled airplane flights).

You get the picture... I will blog more on all of these topic later (hopefully sooner), but in the meantime if you have any comments, suggestions, questions, etc on any of the issues I've mentioned (or anything else) please feel free to leave a comment!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

I don't shower every day, and I wash my hair even less!

I can't remember the last time I had a shower... maybe it was Monday (today is Thursday). I am definitely due for one, and I'm going to have one shortly, but I doubt if I'll wash my hair... since I have discovered the best thing for my hair is something that has been sitting in my shower for years... Dr Bronner's Baby Mild certified organic liquid soap. I never would have thought to wash my hair with it, and have been busy washing my hair with the organic shampoo that I sell on my site (which is great, but costs $20/bottle), until my mom recently mentioned that she had started using dr bronners on her hair when she ran out of shampoo, and found that it worked better than shampoo, and she didn't need conditioner. Since hearing that I've tried it myself, and I've found that not only does it work better than shampoo, but I can wash my hair even less frequently, which is great, because I have lots of better ways to spend my time than washing my hair!

While I do love having a nice long, hot shower, there are a number of environmental reasons why this is not good, especially since I live in Australia, where we are in the middle of a drought, so I don't like wasting water. I find that the longer I have been using natural, organic personal care products, the less I have to shower. I think that the build-up of petrochemicals and other nasties in the lotions and potions I was using was part of what made me feel "dirty" every day. Now that I use minimal products (all organic) I feel cleaner longer. That being said, it really is time to take a shower!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

affording organic meat

In most cases organic food is more expensive than its conventional counterparts, but there are a few tricks you can use to maximize what you get for your organic dollar. One of the most expensive foods to buy organic is also one of the most important... meat. If you are vegetarian or vegan, then you'll have to wait for my organic veggies tip... coming soon.

I've noticed recently that the same organic producers sell their products under their own label, as well as under supermarket labels... I don't know if this happens in other countries, but it happens in Australia, where I live at the moment.

For example, the same organic chicken farm sells under its own name, as well as through Safeway, but the Safeway branded chicken is at least $2/kilo cheaper. This also happens for other organic products, not just meat. You can tell by looking at the producer number on the organic certification logo.

Another way to save on organic meat is to buy it when it is on sale and freeze it. Buy as much as you can afford to at the time, up to about 3 months supply (if you have enough room in your freezer) any more than that and it might start to go funny before you eat it.

You can also look for meat that is a couple of days before its due date and has been heavily discounted... but make sure that it still looks and smells fresh, and cook/eat/ freeze it straight away.

My final tip for getting the most out of your organic meat dollar is to buy a whole organic chicken and use every last bit of it...
I roast mine in the oven and then strip all the meat off to use in salads, casseroles, risottos, soups etc. Then I boil the carcass with a pinch of salt, and some veggies and herbs (if I can be bothered, just salt will do) and make a delicious homemade organic chicken stock, which I use to make soups, risottos, and drink plain as a broth.

I also use the stock for making really yummy rice (with stock instead of water) or mashed potatoes.

If my toddler is going through an anti-vegetable phase then he will usually eat a creamy soup made by cooking veggies in chicken stock and then blending it. A cooked potato or some rice added before blending will make the soup nice and creamy without adding dairy products.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

my old mantra - buy less, spend more

Thanks to my Mom for forwarding an article in The Age (my local paper, which she reads online from the other side of the world) titled "A new mantra - buy less, spend more". This is actually my old mantra... my new mantra is don't buy; borrow, freecycle, buy second hand, buy local, buy organic, etc.

The article talks about how some people are buying less things, but spending more money on experiences and quality items (how I used to be before I quit my job) and others are buying as little as possible, basically just food, toiletries and medicines... this is the direction I'm heading in... I am only buying new clothes for me and my family if they are made from organic cotton or bamboo, and mostly buying second hand clothes and using hand-me-downs. I do spend a lot of money on organic food and organic personal care and health products, but I figure all the money I save on not buying other things helps me to afford more organic things that are actually going into and on my body and my family's bodies. This also means that we are healthier and don't have to spend money on medicine! I'm still spending money supporting and enjoying the arts, and helping charities, and on things like education, travel, and books, but I'm traveling less and using the library more!

More on all this soon...