Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Why Home Cooked Meals Are Best for Babies and What to Do If You Just Dont Have the Time


Our second guest blog post is by Kerstin Kühn, an internationally acclaimed food writer and journalist, and obsessive foodie. Inspired by her daughter, Maxine, for whom she created a magical range of homemade baby purées, Kerstin took the plunge into mompreneurship and launched Little Foodie Club to teach more babies about healthy, adventurous eating. She has made it her life's work to help other moms (and dads) to feed their babies the freshest, tastiest and healthiest food possible even if they don't have the time or inspiration to cook it themselves. Her curated meal plans, developed in conjunction with leading pediatricians, expose babies to an evolving range of delicious flavors and organic ingredients from the very first mouthful. 


As adults, we care about what we eat. We buy organic vegetables, pasture-raised meats and generally aim to eat freshly cooked meals over store-bought ready meals, not only because it tastes better but because we understand that processed foods aren’t good for us. They’re full of additives, preservatives, sugar and salt and excess consumption of processed foods, we know, can lead to all sorts of health problems. 

So why do so many of us not apply the same logic when it comes to feeding our babies? 

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

EWG's 2018 Guide to Pesticides in Produce: What You Should be Buying Organic and Where You Can Save Some Money!


Every year, The Environmental Working group publishes their 'Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce'.  They publish two lists.  One list, the Dirty Dozen, lists the fruits and vegetables that absorb the highest levels of pesticides, and which they highly recommend you buy organic. The second list, 'The Clean 15" lists the 'cleanest' fruits and vegetables; where few, if any, pesticide residues were detected and which you can feel comfortable buying conventional.


What are some of the dangers of exposure to pesticides ( especially during pregnancy and early childhood?) 

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Guess Who Has The Highest Levels of Flame Retardant Chemicals?


Some good news and some bad news regarding children and flame retardant chemicals.  


The good news? 

A new study  by researchers at the Columbia Center for Children's Environmental Health at Columbia's Mailman School of Public Health found that levels of one of the most toxic, and previously most used, flame retardant chemical classes- PBDE-  declined in children between the years 1998 and 2013.   PBDE's have been associated with, among other things,  attention problems and lower scores on tests of mental and physical development in children.  These chemicals used to be the primary flame retardant chemical in furniture between 1975 and 2004 to comply with fire safety standards, but due to their health risks and persistence in the environment, pentaBDE, a specific technical mixture of PBDEs was phased out of use in couches, mattresses, carpet padding, and other upholstered products  in 2004.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Eating Out Exposes You To A Lot More Harmful Pthalates




What am I going to cook tonight?   That is a question that haunts many a parent every single night.  At our house, truthfully I actually enjoy cooking and put things together last minute (usually some veggies and a protein and then maybe I will add a noodle, tortilla, polenta or quinoa into the mix), experimenting with mediums (stovetop, roasted etc) and sauces / or no sauces.   But, even though I  love cooking, I also need a break from time to time (hello weekends!!!)- and so our family usually eats out or orders take in on the weekends.

A new study, however, might make you and us more likely to cook a home cooked meal- at least a couple of times a week.   Turns out that eating outside the home—at restaurants, fast-food joints, and cafeterias, including delivery and take-out—is correlated with higher body levels of phthalates.

What are Phthalates and how do they get into our food?

Monday, March 26, 2018

Does the Bottle Water You Drink From Contain Plastic Particles? New Study Says Probably


Many of my client's (for non-toxic living home consulting) rely on plastic water bottles for their family's water needs.   Some have an in- home (or in office) delivery service, while many other buy single use water bottles in bulk at their local supermarket.  This  practice is becoming increasingly common around the world.  In fact,  1 million plastic water bottles are sold every single minute in the world (that is 20,000 per second!!) .   480 billion were sold in 2016! 


The environmental impact of so many single use water bottles is pretty astronomical: Of the 480 billion sold in 2016, less than 50% were collected for recycling. The remaining plastic water bottles will be littering our planet (many in our oceans) for thousands of years to come.


But, what - if any- are the long term health impacts of drinking from plastic water bottles?

Monday, March 19, 2018

Could Lavender and Tea Tree Oil in Shampoos, Soaps and Ointments Lead to Abnormal Breast Growth in Young Boys?

New research questions the safety of beloved lavender and tea tree essential oils

Many moms and dads know that lavender can help relax and help babies sleep (and adults!).  This is the reason so many natural and conventional baby shampoo, bath soaps and other products contain the popular essential oil.  Similarly, tea tree oil has well known and pretty amazing antiseptic properties and is often used as a natural alternative to antibacterial chemicals.   

Within the 'natural' / 'non-toxic' living community, however, there have been murmurs about lavender potentially having endocrine disrupting properties- but not a lot of follow up, nor large scale studies have been conducted to back up these claims.   That is, until now.    A new study is adding  further evidence to the potential hormone disruptive properties that both lavender and tea tree oils had been suspected of having in the past.  This study found that the essential oils are somehow competing with or hindering the hormones that control male characteristics, resulting in abnormal breast growth in young boys—called prepubertal gynecomastia—. 

Monday, March 12, 2018

What's That Smelly (and Toxic) New Rug Smell and How to Avoid It

Kids love playing on the floor- given them
 direct contact to your rugs and any chemical
 being given off by them


Such a common scenario: Excited parents decorating their baby's nursery or child's bedroom or playroom and pick out the perfect accent rug that helps the entire room come together...... only to realized when they get home that a very strong odor is suddenly present. A REALLY. STRONG. ODOR. As I have said a couple of times in this blog, it is always smart to follow your nose when it comes to chemicals... if it smells strong, it usually involves a chemical... and with carpets and rugs this is usually the case.

As a parent, you might have worried about the chemicals in the mattress you kids are sleeping on, or about the chemicals in the food they eat and/or the chemicals in the toys they play with and/or place in their mouths. Equally important, and sometimes overlooked, are the chemicals in the carpets and rugs we choose for our homes- especially since Carpet accounts for 51% of the total U.S. flooring market.

Given the amount of time small children spend on or around carpets and their vulnerability to chemical exposure – small children are more susceptible to