Wednesday, December 09, 2009

why I love opp shops


I've written about this before, but I'm so passionate about it that I can't help myself, so here I go again...

Opp shops (short for Opportunity Shops) as they are known in Australia, are second hand stores run by organizations such as the Salvation Army, the Brotherhood of St Laurence, and other local churches and charities. I love them because they fulfill so many useful functions at the same time:

1. They raise money for charities.
2. They provide affordable clothes, furniture, books, toys etc to families in need.
3. They make sure that stuff gets re-used instead of being thrown away.
4. They provide social interaction for the volunteers who work there, most of whom are elderly.
5. They are a super cool place to find funky retro fashion good for dress-up parties and generally being an uber-hipster. (Like this adorable t-shirt I found for my son yesterday - it was made in Australia and even has a "No Sweat Shop" label!)

But my favorite reason for frequenting opp shops is that they are the best way to get clothes that are not covered in nasty chemicals such as formaldehyde, which you find on most non-organic new clothes. The trick is to wash the clothes at least twice, until you can't detect any trace of the laundry detergent that the previous owner used. Then you have a nice, affordable, low-chemical wardrobe!

And sometimes you find some rather expensive, almost new, brand name clothes that you can sell on ebay and make some money :-)

Monday, November 09, 2009

How toxic is your bathroom? Part I

I visited a friend's house recently and I practically had to hold my breath to avoid inhaling toxic fumes from all the cleaning products. I can't help but wonder how many everyday household products might be impacting on our fertility. There are of course many many factors that influence fertility. I came across a good article on Dr Mercola's website recently: 10 Ways to Address Your Root Causes of Infertility -- Naturally by Swiss Naturopath Iva Keene. Iva's number one recommendation for treating infertility is to minimize your exposure to toxic chemicals. Bearing this in mind I started wondering how much trouble (and expense) it would be to do a "Non-Toxic Makeover" for my friends' house.

I'd start in the bathroom...

1. A clip-on toilet bowl freshener/cleaner. You only have to read this recent article from the New York Times about what to do if someone accidently swallows toilet bowl cleaning fluid to know that these are seriously nasty chemicals. If that's not enough to scare you off, how about this from A Guide to Less Toxic Products? "Many toilet bowl cleaners are often highly caustic and form toxic gases when mixed with water. They can contain ammonium chloride, a corrosive, 1,4-dichlorobenzine, a carcinogenic pesticide which can cause liver and kidney damage, hydrochloric acid, whose vapours can cause coughing and breathing difficulties, and sodium dichloroisocyanurate dihydrate which is a severe eye, skin and respiratory irritant, which can form carcinogenic chlorine gas. Sulfate-based products containing sodium sulfate or sodium bisulfate may cause asthmatic attacks." Enough said.

2. An aerosol room freshener with synthetic fragrance. I knew these were nasty, but I had no idea just how nasty until I read this (again from A Guide to Less Toxic Products) "Far from freshening air, chemical-based air fresheners and deodorizers add dangerous chemicals to the air we breathe. Air fresheners work by using a nerve-deadening chemical that interferes with our sense of smell, by coating nasal passage with an oily film, by masking an offending odour with a different odour, or by deactivating the odour." That's before they even go into all the toxic chemicals ingredients in air fresheners (formadehyde, a carcinogen and sensitizer, naphthalene, a suspected carcinogen, xylene, a neurotoxin and possible reproductive toxin, butane gas, a neurotoxin, cresol, ethanol, phenol and strong fragrances... etc).

3. The hand soap. Long gone are the days when soap was just soap. Most commercial hand soap dispensers come with an ingredient list a mile long, and you'll need to have your copy of The Chemical Maze handy to interpret them. Now with Swine Flu people are much more likely to buy anti-bacterial hand soap, but of course H1N1 is a virus, not a bacteria, so it won't help, and antibacterial soaps are an unhealthy choice for several reasons, which you can read about here.

Interestingly enough, The Guide to Less Toxic Products states that "The US Center for Disease Control says that anti-bacterial soaps are not necessary. They recommend that the simplest and most effective thing people can do to reduce the spread of infectious disease is to use effective handwashing, especially after using the bathroom and before preparing or eating food. Proper handwashing means rubbing hands under running water for 15 seconds." This sounds like great advice to me, but I couldn't find it anywhere on the CDC website. I did find evidence of a CDC site on hand washing that had been "retired". Presumably this was where the advice that "anti-bacterial soaps are not necessary" came from. In its place I found the CDC's new "Ounce of Prevention" campaign, which has been kindly brought to us by Reckitt Benckiser. Who on Earth is Reckitt Benckiser you might be wondering? I'd never heard of them, but I was pretty sure they had no business funding public health campaigns for the CDC. Jumping on Wikipedia confirmed my suspicions.

Reckitt Benckiser are the makers of Lysol, among other highly toxic household chemical brands such as Finish, Vanish, Air Wick, Dettol, Cillit Bang, Harpic, Air Wick, Mortein, Mop & Glo, Mr. Sheen (etc, etc). For a full list scroll all the way down on this page.

I'm pretty pissed off at my government right now, for taking money (even if it is an "unrestricted educational grant toward the development of materials and programs") from the makers of so many toxic household chemicals, including Lysol, which is so clearly profiteering from Swine Flu Hysteria. Check out their website, it's fear-mongering at its most blatent.

But I digress. And I'm going to digress further still. I found a lovely little tidbit on wikipedia while researching Reckitt Benckiser and Lysol. Did you know that "In the US, from around 1930 to 1960, vaginal douching with a Lysol disinfectant solution was the most popular form of birth control"? If you don't believe me check out this Lysol Douche ad from 1948. I can only imagine the litany of health problems that would have been caused by regular douching with lysol?!

Ok so back to my original topic. So what do you use to replace the toxic toilet bowl cleaners, air fresheners and hand soaps?

That depends on how much money you want to spend. Most things can be kept clean and fresh with very simple and affordable items such as baking soda, vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, etc. If you don't like the smell you can make a very dilute spray with some safe, certified organic essential oils. A nice, all-purpose product is Dr Bronner's Baby Mild Liquid Soap. You can use this to wash your hands, and anything else on your body or your house.

If you prefer something a bit more conventional, but non-toxic, then I recommend the miessence certified organic, refillable foaming hand soap, the certified organic Rainforest Air Freshener, and for cleaning the toilet (and every other part of your bathroom and kitchen) BioPure Probiotic Household Cleaning Concentrate. Instead of killing all the bugs, good and bad, BioPure populates household surfaces with friendly bugs, which means that the pathogenic bugs cannot survive. This is the safest and most effective way to keep your house clean.

I'm sorry that this post was so long, it turned into a bit of a tirade. And there's more to come, watch out for Part II...

The good new is, once you have gotten pregnant, Dr Mercola has a bunch of great tips on how to have a Naturally Healthy Pregnancy and Baby.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Can you afford not to eat organic meat?


Unless you are a vegan you are probably ingesting some meat and dairy that is not certified organic or biodynamic. And maybe you'd like to eat more organic food but it's too expensive? I know that organic produce, meat and dairy can be two or three times more expensive than the pesticide, herbicide, synthetic fertilizer, hormone and antibiotic laden, factory farmed versions... but it's worth asking yourself, can you afford not to eat organic meat? The good news is that there are some tips and tricks that will help you save money without having to compromise on health, safety and the future of the planet.

1. Eat LESS meat. If organic meat is twice as expensive, then buy organic, but eat half as much. Most of us meat-eaters eat way too much per serving. Adults only need a portion of meat the size of the palm of our hand, not including our fingers. If you're eating more than that in a meal then you should be sharing it with someone else, or freezing it for later.

2. Eat meat LESS OFTEN. If you eat meat two or three times a day then substitute one or more meals with organic eggs, dairy, nuts, fish, legumes etc for protein. But beware of SOY, which needs to be fermented to be properly digested.

3. Make your meat into soups/stew with BROTH. When you eat meat that has been cooked on the bone it is more nutritious, and more easily digested, so you don't need to eat as much. Click here for more information on Why Broth is Beautiful.

4. Buy the CHEAPER cuts of meat. Lamb shanks, beef bones, chicken carcasses, etc can be bought very cheaply from most organic butchers. My favorite biodynamic butcher sells bags of organic beef bones for $2. The bags are huge, and the bones still have quite a bit of meat on them. I throw half in a stock pot (freeze the other half) and simmer for a couple of hours until the meat falls tenderly off the bone, and then I cook some diced root vegetables in the broth for 20-30 minutes, add the meat back in and I have a delicious soup that everyone in the family eats, even the toddler! The whole thing costs less than $5, including the organic vegetables! You can do the same with chicken and lamb on the bone.

5. Buy organic meat when it is on SALE and freeze it.

If you are sensitive to amines (ie prone to migraines, asthma etc) then don't cook your meat too long, trim the fat off first, and freeze what you don't eat right away. You should eat meat that is as fresh as possible, and not freeze it for more than a week. it also helps to wash the meat before you cook it as most of the amines form on the surface of the meat.

Finally, unless you want to develop diabetes, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's disease or cancer, do not eat processed meats or fish (even "organic" ones) that contain nitrates or nitrite preservatives. This means, bacon, ham, turkey, sausages, hotdogs, salami, pepperoni, pickled fish etc, unless it says it is nitrate and nitrite free. This is because the amines (proteins) naturally occurring in the meat combine with the nitrates and nitrates to form nitrosamines, which are known carcinogens.

Nitrosamines are also a huge problem in cosmetics and other personal care products, but that is a blog post for another day...

Sunday, September 13, 2009

how to get pregnant


For us getting pregnant was a journey that started two years before our son was born, when I bought the book The Natural Way to Better Babies: Preconception Health Care for Prospective Parents by Francesca Naish and Janette Roberts. The book was also published in America as Healthy Parents, Better Babies: A Couple's Guide to Natural Preconception Health Care. Around the same time, my Mother-in-law gave me a copy of The Chemical Maze, which is published in the USA as Eat Safe: The Truth about Additives from Aspartame to Xanthan Gum. Together these two books changed my life more than any others. I already thought I was being pretty green and healthy with my lifestyle choices, but this was my wake up call that a lot of products I was using in my house and on my body were not safe for me or the planet, especially not if I wanted to conceive and give birth to a healthy baby.

When I actually started reading all the ingredients (or tracking down the ingredients when they weren't listed) I found that I had to get rid of about 90% of what I was using. It took me a whole year to find effective replacements for all the synthetic chemicals in my life... I threw out mountains of personal care products and had to find a safe way to dispose of most of my cleaning products. It was during this year that I tried everything on offer in every health shop in Melbourne (not a cheap exercise). I found a few brands that stood up to my new criteria, ie nothing toxic. This is harder than you might think. Most of the products that claimed to be "green", "natural" or "organic" were mostly the same old chemicals dressed up with a couple of new ingredients, ie greenwashing. I had to educate myself as a consumer, and learn how to read a label and de-code all the ingredient names. I checked everything against the Chemical Maze (you can download a free excerpt of it here).

I was not being crazy, I was just a bit ahead of my time. Since then (five years ago) there have been many more books and articles published on how chemicals can decrease our fertility and increase our chances of health problems after exposure in the womb. Just this week Newsweek published an article on how exposure to chemicals (including BPA) as babies can make us fat later in life. And Gabriela Rosa has written books like The Awful Truth About Cleaning Products And Fertility Revealed and Protecting Your Fertility.

The concept of pre-conception health care has become so mainstream in the last five years that now even major pharmaceutical companies such as Bayer, which makes Elevit and Menevit, has published a booklet on how to boost your fertility. Amazingly, they have included a paragraph on "going natural" which states that naturopathy, acupuncture, traditional Chinese medicines, homeopathy, and hypnotherapy have all had reported successes in helping couples get pregnant. I can vouch for that, we did everything (except the hypnotherapy, but we used that for childbirth!) and we got pregnant the first time we tried, but of course that was after four months of detoxing, and a whole year of research and preparation before that. Normally I wouldn't recommend trying so many different tactics, but there's no harm done here (except for the cost) because all of these things (especially the detox) will help your general health and wellbeing, even if you could have gotten pregnant without doing it all.

The other things which have become more mainstream (and are recommended by Bayer) are to stop not just smoking, but to also give up alcohol and caffeine before you start trying. They point out that high caffeine intake can stop a fertilized egg implanting. It's not just women who have to cut out the bad stuff, it goes for men too, caffeine can increase sperm DNA damage and smoking and alcohol also reduce sperm quality. This is not some crazy health-nut idea, this is a major multi-national pharmaceutical company telling you this: if you're thinking about getting pregnant, or having trouble getting pregnant, then try cutting out alcohol, cigarettes and caffeine. I would add to that to replace all of your household and personal products with safe, natural, certified organic versions, such as miessence and Seventh Generation. It also helps to eat fresh, local, organic whole foods, sleep well, get plenty of exercise, fresh air and good sleep. Stress can actually play as big a part in (not) getting pregnant as anything else I've mentioned. So make some big changes, but try not to stress about them :-) Your body, your baby and the planet will thank you!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Formaldehyde: unwanted guest at baby showers


I just got back from a baby shower for one of my dearest friends. It was a wonderful afternoon filled with yummy food, good company, and adorable baby presents. I didn't want to spoil the special day, but I couldn't help but politely point out that my friend might want to wash all of the new baby clothes and blankets at least 2-3 times before her baby actually comes into contact with them. Why? Because, whether we like it or not (why on earth would we like it?) most new clothes and household fabrics come to us covered in a cocktail of toxic ingredients, such as formaldehyde, which is used to prevent them from developing mildew when they are being shipped from China. Formaldehyde also is used for many other functions in the manufacture of clothes, for example it helps to set the dyes, and to reduce wrinkling and shrinkage. Other lovely chemicals that are used in fabric finishing processes include VOCs, heavy metals, benzene, sulfuric acid, bromines, urea resins, sulfonamides, halogens, bromines and organochlorides. I'll spare you the ugly details, but for more info check out this scary blog post by the Organic Consumers Association.

I'm a bit of a naff numbnut, so I managed to leave my carefully selected basket of organic goodies by the front door as I walked out to go to the shower. When I see her next my dear friend will be getting a gorgeous, japanese inspired organic cotton onesie from purebaby, a divine bamboo with vintage kimono-trimming onesie from Sahara Bloom, a selection of certified organic baby lotions and potions from miessence, including a handy, diaper-bag-sized, talc-free organic baby powder, a gentle baby bottom cleansing gel that can be used with tissues or cloths, avoiding the need for eco-unfriendly-disposable-wipes, and the innovative baby bottom mist that allows you to protect against diaper rash without having to rub anything directly onto the sore bits. I also threw in a gorgeous little (organic cotton of course) singlet from Nature's Child that says: "I am Nature's Child".

Can you tell that I went a bit overboard at the Organic Expo??? What can I say? When it comes to babies, and organics, I have a double weak spot. I also threw in a sobering tome called "Chemical Free Kids" which is the book that I would have written if I had time to write a book. The author Dr Sarah Lantz has done a great job of pulling together easy-to-read info about the insidious nature of toxic chemicals in our lives and how it affects our children. You can order the book from my online shop if you're in Australia, or from here if you need it shipped elsewhere. It's depressing stuff, but we can't all just go around with our heads buried in the sand now can we?

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

It's not all bad news... there's Sophie la girafe...


I lot of my posts lately have been negative things, like how bad BPA is, how bad Johnson & Johnson baby products are, etc... so I thought I better tell you the good news... there are some nice companies out there who are making safe products for kids :-)

A few weeks ago I took my son to visit our friend Katie from We Heart Books (a fantastic blog and online shop that reviews and recommends books for kids) who had a stall at the Magnolia Square Market when it was in Melbourne. He fell in love with Sophie la girafe aka Sophie the Giraffe. Sophie is a french childhood icon. According to the lovely ladies from Les Folies (the Australian distributors of Sophie) she is the only teething toy in the world made from 100% natural rubber and non toxic paint. Sophie is hand made in France today exactly as she was when first produced back in 1961.

You can get Sophie in Australia from Les Folies. The rest of the world can order Sophie the Giraffe on Amazon, where she is the #1 top selling item for babies!

There was lots of other cool stuff at Magnolia Square, I especially loved the recycled designs of Y Knot? and the divinely cute baby clothes (organic cotton and bamboo of course) from Green Bean a New Zealand-based company.

We Heart Books and Y Knot? are at the Magnolia Square event in Sydney that's on now at the teahouse at Randwick Racecourse Friday 3 July 10am-5pm and Saturday 4 July 10am - 4pm ... the first 500 guests each day will receive a goodie bag. Sophie the Giraffe will be back in Melbourne from 6-8 August at the Magnolia Square event at the Malvern Town Hall.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

while I fry an organic egg...


So we started the official 6 month pre-conception detox on Monday, and I've been wanting to blog about it but feeling overwhelmed about where to start and therefore have been doing nothing... so I thought I'd do a super-fast, while I fry an egg post to get started. It's all about baby-steps. I might end up doing a bunch of mini-posts, since I seem to be much better at micro-blogging on twitter these days at the expense of my real blog...
so here's my tip-of-the-day.

When preparing for conception, and during pregnancy and breastfeeding it is essential to maintain good supplies of iron. A lot of iron supplements aren't easily absorbed and/or make you constipated... thankfully I've found one that works beautifully, it's called Spatone, and it's simply spa water from Wales (from the spa in the picture) that's naturally very high in iron. One small sachet can be taken in water or juice, and is safe for kids over 2 years old. Pregnant women can get enough iron by taking two sachets a day. I love that it is so simple and natural, and it comes from a company that I have used and trusted for a long time, Martin & Pleasance, which also makes Rescue Remedy, a wonderful combination of Bach Flower Remedies that helped me through my law exams and helped my husband with his fear of flying!

Iron is essential to the body for many reasons, not least of which is that it helps carry oxygen around your body! Pregnant women need at least twice as much iron as the rest of us, and growing children need a lot of iron too. I would not hesitate to recommend Spatone to anyone and everyone! Stay tuned for more info on what supplements I'm using to support my body during my mindful period of pre-conception health optimization!

p.s. I actually fried an egg, ate it, fried another egg, ate that too, and I'm still going... so much for short posts...

p.p.s I have no association with Spatone or Martin and Pleasance whatsover, however if they want to send me some free stuff to review I won't complain! ;-)

Friday, June 05, 2009

One Angry Organic Mama!


My husband said to me last night, you don't sound like yourself in your blogposts, you sound so angry! I'm generally a very peaceful, calm, loving person. But the things that have been coming through my inbox over the last few days have got me pretty fired up! The latest is a story that was broken by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) when they were sent a leaked memo from a meeting that suggested that Coke, Del Monte, and other food and chemical lobbyist were plotting to deceive the American public about the safety of Bisphenol A (BPA).

For more info, read EWG's article: "Coca-Cola and Del Monte Caught in Plot to Deceive Moms and Minorities Over Dangers of BPA" or read the actual BPA Joint Trade Association Minutes from Meeting on Communications Strategy. This is smoking-gun kinda stuff reminiscent of some of the memos that came out in litigation against Tobacco companies... they know that they have no chance of getting a real scientist to stand-up and support the "benefits" of BPA, so they are looking for a "pregnant young mother who would be willing to speak around the country about the benefits of BPA.” They also want to target minorities and the poor, who can't afford to buy fresh food that doesn't use BPA in it's packaging, and they want to befriend "people that are able to manipulate the legislative process." Seriously. If you are half as outraged as I am, let's tell Coke and Del Monte that the world will not stand by and let them pull the wool over our eyes.

P.S. Great work Lyndsey Layton of the Washington Post for bring this to the attention of the world's mass media, and Nena Baker from the Huffington Post for bringing it to the Attention of the blogosphere. EWG has a great blog called Enviroblog, which posts regularly on environmental connections to public health... check it out :-)

Thursday, June 04, 2009

No More Tears... until baby grows up and gets cancer!


I have a whole stack of new posts in the works, but in the meantime, I'm going to "borrow" this one below from The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, which is a fantastic non-profit. See the original post for more links and footnotes, and a chance to tell Johnson & Johnson what you think!

"Last month the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and partner organizations released a report revealing that dozens of popular bath products for babies and kids contain at least two hazardous contaminants: 1,4-dioxane and formaldehyde.

Both of these chemicals cause cancer in animals, and formaldehyde is also known to cause skin rashes in people who are sensitive to the chemical. Parents around the world were particularly infuriated that Johnson’s Baby Shampoo, the iconic brand that many hospitals send home with new babies, contained both of these contaminants – neither of which are listed on ingredient labels.

The story was covered across the United States, around the world and online. Concerned moms called Johnson & Johnson – and then blogged about the company’s dismissive response.

Of the report, J&J said, “The trace levels of certain compounds found by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics can result from processes that make our products gentle for babies and safe from bacteria growth,”2 and the Campaign should stop “alarming” parents.

We think parents have a right to know if the products they buy for their babies contain hazardous chemicals linked to cancer and skin rashes. Other companies are making safe and gentle baby products without hazardous chemicals.3 Instead of playing defense, J&J should live up to its promises of purity and be the safest, most responsible company it can be."

If you're as infuriated as I am about all this, then don't forget to click here to tell Johnson & Johnson that it is not ok to put carcinogens and irritants in baby products!

Monday, April 27, 2009

ok, so here's the deal...

The reason why I have an organic baby blog, and an organic personal care products online shop is because I am passionate about creating a non-toxic world right now. Not just for future generations, but right now, for all of us, today. It's not that hard really, we all just have to stop buying so much toxic stuff. Stop buying toxic stuff altogether actually. Even the non-toxic stuff usually creates toxins in the packaging, shipping, consuming, disposing cycle... so stop buying so much stuff.

Is now a good time for me to plug my business?

We've recently acquired some baby chickens. We are raising them so that they will make organic free range eggs for us, and amuse us with their chicken shenanigans... anyway, I have been spending a lot of time thinking and researching what to feed them so that they will be nice healthy, happy organic chicks... so for a little while this might become Annie's Organic Baby (Chicken) Blog...

But I digress. I've been thinking about my chicks and thinking about how people sometimes put more effort into keeping their pets healthy than keeping their children (or for that matter themselves) healthy... would you feed your cat a caffeinated cola beverage? would you feed your puppy chocolate milk? I sat next to a couple on an international flight recently who gave their two year old some pepsi and then had to drug him with an antihistamine (which has been banned in a number of countries by the way!) to get him to sleep during the 14 hour flight! (Still digressing, well, just plain ranting now.)

Here's the thing. If you are going to spend your hard-earned money on products for your baby's skin (most of which they don't need anyway) then
please do not fall for the mass-marketing machinery of evil multinational companies who will make you feel good about products that use words like "gentle" "calming" soothing" "natural" and "organic" so that you will pay twice as much
as necessary for the same old petroleum-based, preservative-laden, unnecessarily-fragranced items. Really.

Read the labels really really carefully. if you wouldn't eat any of the ingredients then don't buy them. Buy nothing. Use water. use olive oil. They don't need much more. If you want more, then look for a product that is certified organic to food grade standards. There will be a logo from an independent certifying body, such as the USDA. Look for a product that does not contain any essential oils, even if they are organic, most of them are not safe for little babies.

Look for a product that does not contain nut oils (they may be contributing to the increase in nut allergies). There is only one line of baby products that I know of that is certified organic, and has no essential oils or nut oils. That's miessence (which is why that's the only thing that I sell in my online shop). If you know of another line that meets those three essential criteria, then please leave a comment or email me, as I'd love to let people know about them.

xxx
Annie

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

do I really want a girl?


So I got bored with all the cervical mucus and basal body temperature stuff (I will go back and read it, after I finish reading the juicy bits) and skipped ahead to the "How to have a girl" chapter of How to Choose the Sex of Your Baby: Fully revised and updated. Basically, it's harder to make girls than boys, unless your husband is really toxic and your vagina is really acidic. The science behind this is real, but more than I feel like explaining right now, other than to say that the "girl sperm" are much hardier than the "boy sperm" so they survive better under hostile conditions, such as hot, cramped tighty whities, men who spend lots of time underwater (scuba divers) or in the air (pilots and astronauts) or men with toxic jobs, such as anesthesiologists apparently. So basically, if we want to have a girl, DH can try to kill off all the "boy sperm" by being rather hot and toxic, or I can try to kill them off by being acidic...

Friday, February 27, 2009

top 10 things I am doing differently this time around...

As many of you know, my husband and I did a four month detox before getting pregnant with our son, almost four years ago! Something must have worked because we got pregnant right away :-) It's time to start preparing for #2, so we are gearing up for another detox. This time it's going to be SIX LONG MONTHS of no caffeine, no alcohol, no dairy, no wheat, etc etc. Why the longer detox? The theory we used for the first one is that
it takes roughly four months for eggs and sperm to "mature" before conception,
so you want your body to be in peak condition during those four months.

The fatal flaw in our plan was that we STARTED the detox four months before conception, but that doesn't mean we were detoxed for four months... it takes a while... in fact, we can never be truly detoxed in modern society... even Indigenous Peoples living in the Arctic have a body burden of PCBs, VOCs, and other POPs (Persistent Organic Pollutants - the wrong kind of organic), that are in our air and water and fish that no one can avoid unless we move to another planet, in which case we will receive a mega dose of cosmic radiation. (Another thing I am doing differently this time is that I am not going to fly while pregnant).

So the problem is that doing a four month detox is not enough, because you spend the first few weeks/months being MORE TOXIC than usual, as your body flushes everything from your system... so you need a buffer period to get out as many of the toxins as you can so that you can have four months of being as clean as possible.

So, off the top of my head (but with years of thought and research put into it), these are the things that we are doing differently in the lead up to making baby #2:

1. I will start detoxing six months before conception instead of four.
2. I will not fly on an airplane for six months before conception (or during pregnancy - I flew from Australia to America, across America four times and then back to Australia while I was pregnant with #1- that's a lot of cosmic radiation!)
3. I have had my mercury amalgam fillings removed well before starting the detox for #2 (I had two such toxic fillings during #1's conception and pregnancy).
4. I am not going to drive in a new car during my detox or pregnancy (we bought a new car just before #1 was born, so he spent his first few years inhaling a cocktail of VOCs and other nasty off-gassings).
5. I'm not working in a job that stresses me out, or with people that stress me out. Stress hormones are not good for babies (or mothers-to-be).
6. I'm getting bioresonance therapy with a Bicom2000 machine from the lovely Michele at Recharge Life in Melbourne. Bioresonance therapy is one of the few modalities that can help eliminate allergies and food intolerances.
7. I'm cutting way down on the naturally-occurring food chemicals in my diet, such as amines and salicylates, that I now know I am sensitive to.
8. I'm going to get a filter for my shower and bath so that I am not inhaling and absorbing so much chlorine when I bathe... if anyone can recommend some good filters then please leave a comment!
9. I'm not going to get any ultrasounds/sonograms during my pregnancy. I know I can have a healthy baby, I don't care if it's a boy or a girl (see previous post) and if it's twins the midwives will be able to tell soon enough.
10. I'm going to spend more time in the sun. Baby and me need our vitamin D!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

is it possible to choose the sex of your baby?


According to Dr Landrum Shettles and David Rorvik, the authors of How to Choose the Sex of Your Baby: Fully revised and updated you can give yourself a 75-80% chance of having a girl, and a 80-90% chance of having a boy. We must have been unwittingly using the "boy method" when we first got pregnant. I don't actually know, since I've only read the first 12 pages of the book. I borrowed it from a friend (who was trying to have a boy... she tried for a year without getting pregnant, then gave up and got pregnant right away with another girl). I'm not really going to enter into the whole ethical debate about whether or not it's a good thing for people to be able to choose the sex of their babies. I think the short answer is that it's probably good/bad/indifferent depending on the situation. In our situation we're pretty sure we only want to have two kids. We already have a boy, we'd be thrilled to have another healthy baby no matter what the gender (I know everyone says that, but we really mean it ), but I'm kinda intrigued by the idea of trying out this method, and since we already know we can make boys, we're going to try to make a girl. The only comment I'll make on the ethics of sex selection is to quote from the first chapter of the book to say that the late, great anthropologist '
Dr Margaret Mead "strongly favored the use of sex selection because, she argued, 'for the first time in human history, girls would be as wanted as boys.'
What she meant was that if a girl was the product of sex selection she could grow up secure in the knowledge that she had truly been wanted and was not simply the child her parents had 'settled for' when they failed to have a son."

So we'll give it a go, but only because we'll be trying for a girl... apparently trying for a boy involves the man having two strong cups of coffee just before having sex, and that won't really go well with our preconception detox...

Friday, February 13, 2009

I have to post this to claim my blog on Technorati

All I wanted to do was leave a comment on my friend Rebecca's Blog. But she uses coComment, so I thought I'd better sign up for that. Then they asked if I have a twitter account, which I do, but barely use it, so I had to remember my password for that. Then coComment said I had to join Technorati to "claim my blog"... so I did that, but then they didn't recognize my blog, so I had to do this silly post linking to my Technorati Profile.

Sometimes the internet drives me mad. I'm already a little bit ADD, so I get distracted very very easily... I wasn't even coming online to check Rebecca's blog, or comment on it, I was supposed to my posting on my own blog, which I have in the end, but not on the topic I meant to (which was, by the way, going to be titled "I have to stop performing such scientifically useless experiments" or something like that... it had to do with having my mercury fillings removed and detoxing etc, but it will have to wait for another day!).

While I'm doing this ridiculous post, I might as well shamelessly plug my latest newsletter.