Monday, April 14, 2008

quicky on organic cotton, safe bath products and preconception detox

ok, so the results of my poll were a three-way tie, so I'll do a quicky on all three... more to come when I have time (when will that be???).

Organic Cotton: good for you, good for the environment, good for the workers in the cotton fields... it's softer... what more do you need to know???? Baby clothes, blankets, towels, wash cloths, bedding, stuffed animals, furniture, tampons, you name it, you can find an organic cotton version of it... for example, I just searched for organic cotton on Amazon and found everything from organic cotton broccoli (seriously, I've attached a picture in case you don't believe me), to organic cotton gloves.

Regarding safe bath products for baby... the safest product is water, and most babies don't need anything else for the first year... even then they really don't need much. If you absolutely must use a shampoo or bubble bath, then I recommend miessence desert flower shampoo and sunflower body wash (doubles as a bubble bath). Yes, I sell them, and I hate recommending things I sell, lest you think I am being biased, but I really, honestly, cannot think of anything else to recommend, that I would be willing to use on my son (besides just plain water).

Finally, and I am running out of steam here... pre-conception detox is a vital way to ensure that your health (and your partner's health) is in optimal condition to conceive, and that you give your baby the best start in life. It involves changing your diet (cutting out sugar, caffeine, alcohol, dairy, wheat etc) cleaning out your home environment (cleaning products, personal care products etc) and removing sources of stress and anxiety in your life. A fantastic book on this is called Natural Way to Better Babies it's also published as "Healthy Parents, Better Babies". A great starting point. More on this later, I promise!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

tell me what to blog about!

check out my poll... at the moment it's a three-way tie, so please, please, please vote for something, as I'm far too busy to write about all three topics (they're all pretty massive to begin with...)

Friday, April 11, 2008

cute site for cloth diapers

I don't have time for a proper post on this subject, but I just came across a great website for people looking at cloth diapers. It's called Green Way Baby Wear, and the owner makes really gorgeous looking cloth diapers and diaper covers from wool and bamboo... if I weren't about to start toilet training with my toddler I would get some.

I promise another time, when I have more time, I will explain about what diapers/nappies I use, which ones I have tried, and why I mainly use (shock, horror) "disposable" diapers.... before you become too outraged, please note that I live in Australia, where there is a severe, ongoing drought, and the water used to wash cloth diapers is very precious... but more on that soon, I promise :-)

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Affording organic veggies…

I have written recently about ways to save money on organic meat and on ways of convincing toddlers to eat organic fish, but I haven’t been able to think of many tips on affording organic veggies (which can be much more expensive than their conventional counterparts, although not always). Since there has been some demand for this topic, I have been wracking my brain on the subject… and this is what I have come up with…

Grow Your Own Organic Veggies!

When I was pregnant I was lucky enough to be working within walking distance of the Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne. I also had a bit of time on my hands (life before baby) and I’m a bit of a nerd, so I made a spreadsheet of the three different organic stalls at the market, what produce I regularly bought, and what their usual prices were (per kilo). I would often end up shopping from two or more different stalls to get everything I needed, but I got the best prices on my organic produce. It would take my whole lunch hour to do my shopping, which I then had to lug back to my office, store in the staff kitchen fridge, and then take home on the train… so it wasn’t exactly convenient, but it was good for the environment, good for my health, and more affordable than buying them all from an organic shop near my house.

Post-baby I have neither the time nor the inclination for making and using spreadsheets, and shopping in three different places at once… so I’m willing to pay a little more for one-stop-organic shopping. But what I am realizing more and more is that the cheapest, freshest, and most convenient organic produce comes from your own backyard (or front yard, porch, balcony, windowsill etc).

At the Sustainable Living Festival (thanks Mom for reminding me to go!) in February I was lucky enough to come across the kind souls at Permablitz, a Permaculture group, which teaches Intro to Permaculture Courses here in Melbourne. I am so glad that I connected with them, and was able to take their 2-day course this weekend at the Port Phillip EcoCentre in the St Kilda Botanic Gardens. It was a wonderful group of people (students and teachers) all passionate about growing their own food with whatever means they have available. This ranged from a country property to growing things mostly in pots in a small courtyard (me). I’m so excited about Permaculture (short for permanent (ie sustainable) agriculture) and growing my own organic food (maybe even chickens!!!) that I might have to start another blog just to talk about that!

In the meantime, if you are looking for a way to make organic food more affordable, don’t shy away from trying your (green) hand at growing your own… I’ll let you know how I go ☺

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Fun with Fishy Finger Food!

My 2 year old son LOVES the British children's books and dvds "Charlie & Lola". They really are adorable, and I don't mind reading and watching them over and over and over and over... One of the things I like about Charlie & Lola is that they live in a modest apartment, not a McMansion, and they spend lots of time outdoors, in their local park, going to the library, etc... and, unlike my son, they never watch tv!

One of the best things about Charlie & Lola is the first episode, from Charlie and Lola, Vol. 1, where Charlie (Lola's older brother) convinces Lola to eat all of the foods that she doesn't like, such as carrots (orange twiglets from Jupiter), peas (green drops from Greenland), mashed potato (cloud fluff from the top of Mt Fuji) etc. My son will therefore now eat all of these foods happily, because Lola eats them.

Most importantly, Charlie gets Lola to eat fish fingers (ocean nibbles for mermaids). I was lucky for a while because my son would eat fresh and canned fish (the bones are a great source of calcium), but more recently he has stopped eating all fish (he still eats the bones, which are a nice crunchy treat and especially good for a kid that has a dairy-free diet). Since becoming obsessed with Charlie & Lola he has been asking for fish fingers. This is a bit of a problem, since he is also gluten-free, and I haven't, as yet, found gluten-free fish fingers, and especially not organic, sustainably harvested, mercury-free (etc...) fish fingers.... at least not in Australia... maybe in America!

So as with most things, I had to make them from scratch... my first attempt was remarkably successful... I bought some white fish from the supermarket, sliced it into "fingers", crumbed it with a mixture of organic rice flour and some rice bread crumbs, and fried it lightly in rice bran oil until golden brown. They were delicious! My son loved them, and even ate them re-heated for lunch the next day!

Flush with my initial success, I tried again a few days later, but this time I felt bad about having chosen a cheap, farmed in Thailand fish, so I picked a more expensive, wild-caught in Australia, Blue Grenadier. Sadly it didn't hold its form as well as the farmed fish, and it really was more like "ocean nibbles" than fish fingers.

I ended up with a lot of crumbly fish left, so the next night I tried making it into fish patties... first time lucky with these as well, and they passed the "lunch the next day" test too... I made them by mixing the cooked fish with some leftover organic potato and leek soup, some sea salt and organic rice flour (to bind it together). I also lightly fried them in rice bran oil until golden brown...

Again the second time was not as successful... I got cocky from my previous successes and thought I could be clever and slip some brussels sprouts into the fish patties... no such luck! He picked up on it straight away... "No like it". He ended up eating a fair amount, but painstakingly picked out all the green bits...

My next project is to make them really organic. There is some fantastic organic fish available in Australia from Soul Fish. Sadly it is not widely available, and I have to head to the Prahran Markets to get it, frozen, and then transport it quickly home before it thaws, as it comes in packs of 5 filets.

I know there is a lot more organic fish available in North America, and hopefully it will catch on here... I'll let you know how I go with the organic, gluten-free, mercury-free, sustainable fish fingers!