Friday, April 18, 2008

What We Put In Our Bodies

First two things I wanted to mention, and then on to my post. Thanks for all your comments about my childcare delimma. It helps to hear other opinions, and that website that La Folle Maman gave has been fantastic! I'll keep you all updated as we go along, including my reaction to the Montessori school I visited (I LOVED IT!!!). Speaking of updates, I updated the Quote I Love at the bottom of the blog with one of my favorite quotes from Mark Twain. It's a good one--check it out. Now, on to today's thoughts...

I've mentioned before that I'm a bit of a hippie mom. Well, this seems to be especially true in my choices for foods and other things that my baby girl might ingest. I used to roll my eyes at people who bought organic foods or said how eating this or that could cause cancer. It seems that everything causes cancer, so that scare tactic wouldn't work on me!

Now, I'm thinking that everything DOES seem to cause (or at least contribute to) cancer. Or ADD/ADHD or autism or fertility issues or early puberty (even though as a species we are having children later, so evolutionarily we should be having puberty later) or allergies or diabeties or... Well, you get the picture. In the past, oh, 23 months or so*, I've really started paying attention to what I'm ingesting and what my child is ingesting. (I'm also paying attention to what Londo is ingesting, but I try to only encourage not control what he eats since I like being married to him.) And I'm concerned about the amount of incidental crap that is in the foods we buy and eat.

This is why cutting back on high fructose corn syrup and buying more organic foods were two of the three things I picked as part of Ask Moxie's 60 Challenge. I'm also trying to cut down on things with perservatives, food coloring, food additives (what does that even mean?), and processed foods. This doesn't mean that I don't occassionally go out and get the McDonald's cheeseburger and fries, but in general I'm trying to buy, cook and eat better. More natural.

This means that my grocery shopping trips take 2-3 times as long because I am reading the ingredients in EVERYTHING, which in turn means that I don't bring the Pumpkin with me to the grocery much. It also means I'm shopping more and more at Wholefoods and I plan to start going to the local farmers' market and Trader Joe's. It means that I'm trying to bake my own bread** and cook healthly meals more often in order to control the ingredients that goes into what we are eating.

I'm not generally an alarmist, but I see the way the world is moving and I want to get off that ride. For the convience of time, our diets have changed in ways that I'm not sure our bodies are designed to handle. I'm not saying that all the world's ills are because we are eating ready-made dinners. But if I can make time to cook things myself and pay attention to what is in the things I buy, that can't hurt. I don't always have the time, because Londo and I both work out of the home and have a lot going on. But I'm trying to make the time and do things in advance and change the way we think and the way we live, not just for our sakes but for the Pumpkin's sake especially.

There is another example of me being a hippie mom. I'm not a perfect hippie, but I aspire! I'm also buying some interesting books on these topics, and I'm sure I'll share my reviews of them after I read them. I think I'd feel a little more awkward about this concern, except I've found more and more of my friends worrying about the same things, especially those who've recently had children. And based on the comments I got about the baby-led weaning/feeding, maybe being a hippie mom is really just being a mom. Someone tell that to Londo, who still calls me his little hippie wife. ;-)

*That would be calculated as 9.5 months pregnancy plus 13 months of life for my child.
**Did you know that most whole wheat bread has high fructose corn syrup in it? And that a lot of mixes for breads and pancakes have aluminum in them?

14 comments:

La folle maman said...

We'll have to chat sometime about what your feeding plan has been for Pumpkin. We're having to rethink what we've been doing because Monkey is falling behind in weight now. He's sick this week, which doesn't help, but he just hasn't been wanting to eat the baby food out of the jar.

I'll definitely check those books out. Thanks for posting the links to them.

On a side note, I've been worried about what I put ON my body and have switched deodorants. Cancer.gov says the link between using deodorants with Aluminum-based compounds and breast cancer is inconclusive but the data they present on their site seems conclusive enough for me. You know how hard it is to find deodorant that doesn't have the Aluminum-based compounds? The only one Target had was Tom's. I bought it and as the weather warms up -- well, we'll see if it does the job. And as my sniffer isn't the greatest, let me know if I stink the next time I see you! LOL! :)

paola said...

Good for you!!. I've looked for the equivalent of HFCS on Italian labels and can't find anything(and they are very detailed due to EC laws). Don't know if this is because foods here are more 'genuine' and they don't exist or simply I haven't worked out what the Italian equivalent is, but I do think Europeans ( mediteranians in particular) eat well, and possible better than Australians/North Americans. I couldn't imagine, for example, finding OJ here with all those ingredients that Moxie described in a recent post- I was horrified, and I certainly wouldn't want any of that IN MY CHILD.

- Dana said...

Funny how children make you look at the world so much different. I do the same thing with food...also I think we should start being concerned not only what is in the food but how it's stored. Plastics and even cans (that have plastic linings) might be a problem now. I've switch cleaning supplies (no bleach). I've changed deodorants. We even put Aria in cloth diapers as much as we can. There are some "hippie" feminine products that I've tried. Ever heard of The Keeper [keeper.com]? Gross, but it makes total sense for our bodies. Since I've had a baby mine doesn't currently work, so I have to invest in a post-baby upgrade. I just recently bought organic cloth panty liners (I can just throw them in with the diapers). I think making all these changes is a really good thing. Thanks for bringing the topic up - I hope it incourages other people to think about it too.

Becoming Mommy said...

Yay for Hippie Moms!!!!
I'm right there with you on that being a hippie mom is just about being a Mom. You are trying to provide the very best home and based on what you know this is it.
Hubby thinks I'm hippie too. Sometimes it bothers him. Mostly he just goes along with it.

meggiemoo said...

I'm currently reading Barbara Kingsolver's "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle," which is about her family's quest to only eat healthy, locally grown food. It's really opened my eyes and we are now on the no-HFCS bandwagon.

I was shocked to find that my whole wheat bread contained HFCS, but found another by the same company that is made with honey instead. Scary what contains HFCS...

Kat said...

Well you know we are organic / home grown only. Here in the UK organic standards are much more strict from what I've heard which is reassuring. I've switched all beauty and washing products to organic & natural. Couldn't bear the thought of all the parabens etc. My hair isn't as nice as it once was and I am certainly more stinky (or is that just since pregnancy?) but hey, I feel a lot more relaxed about my general well being.

What do you use to clean your home...? :0)

caramama said...

I have also been worried about what I put ON my and my child's bodies. I've switched to Tom's deodorant, even though it doesn't seem as good as what I was using. Since the baby was born, I've switched to Dove's Sensitive Skin Unscented bar soap, which doesn't seem so bad overall. I've switched to Tom's toothpaste. I've stopped using body lotion, except for Aquaphor for my hands. My facial lotion is not the best, but it doesn't make me break out, and that's more important right now.

I highly recommend Skin Deep's Cosmetic Safety Database as a place to check out cosmetic products and their ingredients.

My next step towards hippie-ism is investigating natural cleaning products for the house. Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated!

meggiemoo - I wish I had realized that was what that book was about earlier today, before I placed my most recent amazon.com order. I love Barbara Kingsolver!

nutmeg96 said...

Yeah, we've been trying to do this too for a while. Steve has planted his organic garden out back, too. For the record, Trader Joe's is WAY cheaper than Whole Foods. WF ticks me off all the time with its outrageous prices, and not just on organic things. You'll find a lot of the same stuff at TJ's for as much as 40% less.

Karen said...

I'm around and around over this. Sometimes I go all healthy and other times I figure we'll all die sometime so we may as well die happy. But we've made small changes like whole wheat pasta instead of white, cutting down on sugary things, etc.

- Dana said...

Yay - Here's the stuff I've found and like:

I love Burts Bees hand soap and lotion. I use all their baby products too.

I've tried a couple different deodorants and I found the Burt's Bees spray Herbal Deodorantto work the best - thanks to my sister. The two sticks I've tried kinda makes me smell by the end of the day...and I pride myself on not being a very sweaty person, haha.

I've been buying liquid dish soap from Earth Friendly Products for a while and really like the flavors they have - almond, pear, grapefruit.

I tried Ecover floor soap and it works pretty well on our tile and vinyl.

I use the Seventh Generation wipes and detergent. We also use the diapers for night-time and now daycare, but use the cloth Fuzzi Bunz the rest of the time (for the past 10 months - yay Fuzzies).

Surprisingly I found most of the cleaning products and Burt's Bees at the Bloom around the corner. Also Diapers.com is a good place that has the Seventh Generation and Burt’s Bees baby products. There are also natural cleaning products there too. Free shipping with orders over $49 which isn't hard to do.

MommyEm said...

A good source for nutrition information is the Nutrition Action newsletter http://www.cspinet.org/nah/index.htm put out by the Center for Science in the Public Interest http://www.cspinet.org/index.html, the organization that led the push for nutrition labeling on foods.

On the same thread, if you want to take it a step further, and go organic with your lawn care and gardening, check out the radio show, You Bet Your Garden http://www.whyy.org/91FM/ybyg/. I just learned that corn gluten meal can help get rid of dandelions!

After reading everyone's responses, I think that I am going to try an aluminum free deoderant. I guess I will know it isn't working when Dorothy learns to say the word "stinky" while pointing at me.

ImpostorMom said...

it's amazing how having someone else to care for all of the sudden makes you think more about what you're putting into your own body as well as theirs.

We switched to mostly organic foods but definitely organic dairy. I even provide organic milk for Boog at daycare because I'm committed to minimizing his exposure to the hormones in some dairy products.

With my new commitment to eating better I'm doing my best to get lots of fresh organic veggies in all of us as well. It's hard though cause the bad stuff always tastes so good!

Cloud said...

I'm somewhere on this spectrum, too. It is hard to balance my need for a sane lifestyle while working (and hence the need for convenience products) and my need to feel good about what we eat and what products we use. And of course, Pumpkin didn't get the memo about eating natural food. I bake her bread, and she still prefers her graham crackers!

Some things that work well for us:

I make bread using a breadmaker. I love our breadmaker. You dump everything in and 3-4 hours later you have pretty decent bread.

For cleaning, we use some Method products (the pink grapefruit cleaning spray works really well), some Ecover (dishwasher powder and dishwashing liquids) and 7th generation products (paper products), some regular products (because you really want bleach if you're dealing with a norovirus outbreak in your house), and some old-fashioned things like baking soda (which is an excellent scouring powder on stainless steel sinks).

I also keep in mind the fact that its all in the dose for these ingredients- a lot of things do really scary things to mice at large does, but chances are they won't hurt me or Pumpkin in small amounts. So I try to limit exposure but don't stress too much. It sounds like you do something similar.

Shellie said...

I'm back and only 11 posts to catch up on. I agree with you on this one, I don't like to be all uptight, but I think we're eating too much plastic. It is nearly impossible to buy stuff without any kind of preservatives, even the freaking oatmeal has it! The more natural and fresh you eat, the better is what I shoot for. I'm working on food storage right now too and eating more whole grains which is really tricky since I also want to stay married to my husband at the same time.