The Green Mama’s 8 Secrets for Growing Healthy Kids and a Greener World

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  1. No guilt. I don’t believe in trying to guilt parents into going green. Everyone wants what is best for their children’s health and once parents realize that what is the healthiest for their child is also healthier for the planet, it becomes simpler to navigate a reasonable path forward. From that place, I recommend a person starts with what sounds fun or interesting. Yes, cloth diapers are the greenest choice, but if you can’t in a million years imagine yourself doing it, then start with something that sounds fun. There is plenty to do.

 

  1. There is no better time and no one more motivated than new parents.New parents actually grow new brain and lay down millions of new neurological pathways—that’s the groundwork for changing habits—overnight. These changes help parents develop new habits and new parenting smarts. It is why I get so many people interested in green as soon as they get pregnant or have children: they may not have considered themselves environmentalists before, or even now, but they suddenly see the connection between the health of the world and their child. They want help and they are making big changes fast. One day a parent finds herself surviving with only two hour chunks of sleep, talking—with real interest—about someone else’s poop, and willingly mopping up another person’s spit-up routinely. Compared to that, figuring out how to read labels, learning to wash diapers, or foregoing a toxic crib are pretty easy. Indeed, it feels exciting and empowering to enact these changes in a home: constructive habits to give their children the best chance possible.

 

  1. Small changes can have big, beneficial impacts if you know where to start. I encourage parents to look at the space where their child sleeps (whether that is a nursery or a closet), food, beauty products, diapers, and play.

 

  1. In the nursery beware of most baby furniture which can off-gas enough toxins, particularly formaldehyde to pollute the nursery and the rest of the house. Instead, look for real wood cribs, changing tables, and shelves. You can finish these pieces yourself with tongue oil or food-grade finishes. Or, many of these items you can forego altogether. Most furniture gets better over time so used furniture can be better for air quality and easier on the budget. This is not the case for mattresses. A truly natural mattress, without chemical flame retardants, for your child’s crib, co-sleeper, or bed is one item worth the extra money.

 

  1. You are what you eat.Unfortunately, while parents are more educated than ever, our food choices don’t reflect that. Get back to the basics and start early. This includes prioritizing getting your baby breastmilk. If you aren’t able to breastfeed, there are still ways to get your baby breastmilk or to empower yourself to feed your baby healthier options. When it comes to feeding yourself and your children, prioritize organic foods, in particular when it comes to all meats and dairy, the “dirty dozen” most contaminated fruits and vegetables, baby food and other concentrated foods, and any foods of which you eat a lot. As well, beware of food additives that go largely unregulated and can be particularly challenging to a child’s developing body such as artificial food coloring, nitrates, and sugar substitutes. The experts will tell you the same thing your grandmother will: children learn eating habits. Toddlers aren’t by nature picky eaters but they sure can become picky eaters if you let them. Some kids are easier to work with than others (I know!), but every kid can be a healthy eater.

 

  1. What goes on your skin ends up in your body: particularly in children whose skin is even more porous than an adults. Pick up that bottle of sunscreen, baby shampoo, or bum cream and read the ingredients. Would you feed that list of unpronounceable chemicals to your child? Probably not, so don’t put it on their skin either. For young children especially, you need very little to help keep them clean and what you do buy or make should contain only a few, simple, food-grade ingredients.

 

  1. Lots of parents are giving cloth diapers a try these days—you can too! I once met a mom of six children aged four and under and she was cloth diapering them all! She said it was easier to do a load of diapers everyday than it was to shop and dispose of that many disposables. Some parents are even trying something called elimination communication, which is often referred to as baby potty training. The idea, at its simplest, is that babies will learn to use the potty if you just give them a chance routinely. Either way, the current trend of keeping children in disposable diapers until almost four years of age has caused a number of counter trends. Despite how beautiful and high-tech the new cloth diapers and the popularity of internet support groups for E.C. and potty training, they are both reminiscent of a time not so long ago when almost all children were out of diapers by 18 months to 2 years.

 

  1. Play is more important than any toy, more educational than any Learning App, and better at creating successful kids than any after school activity. When talking about play it is easy to discuss toys at length: what types, toy recalls, and the problems of little kids chewing on plastic or lead-coated choo-choos. I interviewed so many experts on this topic for my book, and the overall message is simple: kids have far too many toys, way too much exposure to media, and virtually no opportunity for imaginative, free play. The research suggests that free play—from letting a baby wiggle her hands and kick her legs on the floor to the more advanced imagining stories and acting out roles done by older children—is what children need to do well in school and become successful adults. Indeed, free play better prepares them for this than any toy, any educational computer game, or any extracurricular class.

 

 

Manda Aufochs Gillespie is the author of Green Mama: Giving your child a healthy start and a greener future. In her 20 years as an ecological designer she has helped green a large midwestern daycare, an orphanage in Guatemala, and one of the world’s only urban ecovillages. She lives in Vancouver, British Columbia. Visit her website at thegreenmama.com.

The Big 5: Harmful & Unnecessary Medical Procedures for Women

Ladies, it is a well known fact that we are more complicated than our male counterparts, both physically and mentally. And while it is fun to laugh at their simplicity, it is important to realize that our complexity can lead to vulnerability- especially when it comes to our health. Women are much more likely to see a Doctor and follow his recommendations, but more and more often this leads to harmful, unnecessary, traumatic medical experiences that further damage women’s health. Recent studies report that women take 36% more drugs than men, especially statins and narcotic pain relievers. Women are also more likely to have one or more unnecessary surgeries- especially in their child bearing years. So let’s take a look at the most common drugs and surgeries, and the possible alternatives for all you super-women reading and getting educated!

  1. C-Section

This topic is discussed extensively in Baby Designed by God, but a quick recap can’t hurt. C-Section, the surgical process whereby an incision is made in the abdomen and the baby is snatched out of the womb, is the most common surgery performed on women today. This surgery has life long consequences! Those abdominal muscles will never fully recover! This can also affect fertility and sex drive, restricting your ability to have more adorable, precious babies! To avoid a C-Section, do your research and form your birth plan. Get regular Chiropractic adjustments so your pelvis is in alignment and the baby is able to turn. Avoid medical interventions like epidurals and Pitocin- they slow labor and increase the risk of fetal distress! Remember, your body was built to house and birth that baby, so have faith in yourself!

  1. Hysterectomy

Do you know anyone who has had a hysterectomy? My mom did after my sister was born and it is one of her biggest regrets. You see, my mom wanted more kids. Lots more. A hysterectomy is the surgical procedure wherein a woman’s uterus and fallopian tubes are removed. That’s right. Removed. Gone. Forever. This surgery is discussed in Woman Designed by God, and my mom’s story is a major part of the chapter- get your hands on this information before you or someone you care about is robbed of the opportunity to have more babies! This surgery, like C-Sections, severs the abdominal muscles, causing the stomach to protrude no matter how many crunches you do and how well you eat. Because the organ has been removed, the hormonal processes associated with it are interrupted, causing menopausal like symptoms that NEVER go away. And this surgery is avoidable! Chiropractic care removes the nerve interference that causes the female organs to malfunction, restoring their ability to regulate themselves! There are also numerous herbal options to decrease discomfort from Endometriosis and other conditions the medical community cites as cause for a hysterectomy.

  1. Pap Smears and Mammograms

Most women dread reaching the age at which these screenings become “necessary.” Nobody wants to take off their clothes in a cold exam room and have a doctor poking around their lady parts. But we are taught to expect this, taught that our bodies will one day turn on us and ruin our lives, so we accept these “preventative measures.” But screening isn’t prevention. Its detection. And in most cases, these detecting procedures are done too often, causing false positives and anxiety, as well as unnecessary treatments. In most women aged 30-65, a pap smear every THREE years is enough! If you want to spread those icky tests out, it is perfectly safe to do so.

Mammograms. This is a controversial topic, I know. But here’s the thing. A mammogram exposes sensitive breast tissue to radiation- which we all know can cause cancer. There are other, less invasive, options that carry much less risk. We need to be less focused on finding cancer and more focused on preventing cancer. “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” as my grandma (89 years old and still going strong) would say.

  1. Mastectomy

While we are on the topic of breast cancer, let’s talk mastectomies. Remember Angelina Jolie having a double mastectomy because she has a gene that might be linked to breast cancer? We all thought that was crazy, right? But most women diagnosed with breast cancer, even in its early, very treatable forms, have the mastectomy even though it does not increase their chances of survival or remission, nor does it eliminate the risk of future cancer or the first cancer spreading. Actually, women who don’t have a mastectomy have higher survival rates! Think about it, your body is already fighting something, so if you have this major surgery, your body has to fight the cancer and heal from the surgery! Once again, prevention is the key. Preventing cancer has the highest survival rate!

  1. Drugs- Statins, Anti-Depressants, Osteoporosis and Pain Killers

Imagine your check engine light coming on, and instead of taking it to a maintenance shop, you cover the light with duct tape and keep driving. Then a few weeks later, your car shuts down in the middle of the road. Are you surprised? Probably not, because you know you should have taken it to

Alyssa pretends to adjust Dr. Amanda Hess

the shop. So why are we surprised when our bodies don’t function properly? Drugs just cover up the symptom; they don’t get to the cause of our health concerns. Ladies, you are 30% more likely to take a drug then your husband! And a lot of these drugs have side effects worse than the symptom they cover up. Research states that women on osteoporosis drugs have a HIGHER risk of fractures than those not on the medication, and women taking statins for cholesterol are MORE likely to die of heart disease! We have to start standing up for ourselves! Let’s get to the cause of health concerns and remove it. It’s so easy!

 

Step 1: Find a local, principled Chiropractor.

Step 2: Have your spine and nervous system checked for interference.

Step 3: Follow the Chiropractor’s recommendations for removing that interference through gentle, specific Chiropractic adjustments.

Step 4: Enjoy your health and vitality!

I would like to leave you with one of my favorite quotes, author unknown.

“God doesn’t make Junk. Just sayin’.”

 

Body Baby Connection

Baby Designed by God taught us all about healthy pregnancies and natural births, ways to raise your baby naturally and tons of tips on how to have a healthy family from the beginning. Baby was a phenomenal resource for parents to be, and now the Drs. Hess are back with an eye opening book Woman Designed by God. This book talks about everything from the menstrual cycle to weight loss to cosmetics and fills in the gaps about women’s health before and after baby. Dr. Amanda marvels at the special abilities a woman’s body has that make her perfect for Motherhood, these being menstruation, pregnancy and lactation.

I have been privileged enough to hear Dr. Amanda speak about pregnancy and birth many times. I am always awed by her passion and confidence in the woman’s body. If all of us believed in the innate potential of our bodies to carry a baby and give birth, I believe we would see less medical intervention, more healthy pregnancies and more healthy women. If women believed that their body could carry the baby, wouldn’t they be less afraid? If they believed they could birth the baby, wouldn’t they do it without help from a doctor? Ladies, it is time to believe this! Our bodies were perfectly designed to give life.

How can you decrease fear and increase confidence in your body?

  1. Educate yourself about what your body is capable of and natural, non-surgical methods to maximize its capability.

There are so many different ways! The biggest two in my opinion, based on my experiences and the information I have discovered not only in Woman but in countless articles and studies, are scientific chiropractic care and birth positions.

Chiropractic care is proven to reduce labor time and pain, because it keeps the spine and most importantly the pelvis, in alignment. An aligned pelvis will widen during labor much easier than a misaligned one! Another big one is the position you give birth in. In a hospital bed with your feet in stirrups, your pelvis isn’t able to expand as much as it does when you squat or stand, and you are fighting gravity to push your baby out. On the flip side, if you squat or are on your hands and knees, the pelvis can expand and gravity can assist the baby out.

Dr. Amanda Squats

(Dr. Amanda Hess demonstrates a squatted birth position)

  1. Take action.

-Write your birth plan, stick to it.

-Seek out Chiropractic care.

-Believe that you can give birth naturally and you will.

Nobody knows your body better than you, so don’t let someone else make those vital decisions for you and your baby. You know your body is capable of pushing that baby out no matter how big he is, because your body grew him that big. You know that when the right time comes, the baby will be born- not a minute sooner or later. And most of all you know that your body is capable of healing itself, of functioning at optimal levels. It was designed by God, a masterpiece, not a piece of junk. Treat it like you would treat a priceless piece of art and you will feel like a million bucks!

Coconut Oil… In the Kitchen and Beyond!

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By far, Coconut oil is one of the most used [food] items in my home. Although it has had such a bad wrap for so many years, it is one of the greatest oils there is for its many natural, healing, and health benefits.

“The tree of life,” has been used to describe the coconut tree for centuries, since virtually every part of its fruit can be consumed or used. But coconut oil goes beyond the kitchen or cooking, its benefits are almost endless!

Years ago, I was an avid label reader, and although reading labels is important for the most part, it can be very limiting and turn people away from some of the healthiest foods on the planet, such as coconut oil, unrefined, unprocessed, organic extra virgin coconut oil, to be direct. 12 out of the 14 grams per tablespoon are saturated. That used to stop me in my tracks, but did you know our bodies NEED fat and saturated fat? That’s right, our bodies not only need it they crave it! 60 % of our brains alone, are made of fat. Can you imagine what happens when we starve our brains from those essential fatty acids (EFA’s)? Or what happens when we feed it? Not only do our brains need fat for proper brain function, we also need it for many other essential functions.

We NEED Fat For these essentials:

  • Growth
  • Energy
  • Brain and other vital organ function
  • Metabolism
  • Hormone health
  • Healthy skin, eyes, and bones
  • Reproductive health

When we choose to not provide our bodies with the natural, God made fats (EFA’s), like coconut oil, those things above will suffer! So ask yourself are you eating healthy and all natural fats in your diet? Coconut oil is a great addition, along with real grass-fed butter, cold pressed olive oil, flax oil, avocado oil, avocados, nuts, seeds, grass-fed meats, whole eggs and raw milk.

Increase Energy with Coconut Oil

Your body LOVES coconut oil, although it is saturated fat, it is a medium chain fatty acid, which your body will use for fuel before anything else! It also raises good cholesterol, and balances blood sugar without the weight gain. My favorite ways to incorporate coconut oil in my diet:

  • Fry my eggs, nitrate free bacon or sausage
  • Sautee greens (spinach, kale, chard, beet greens)
  • Add 1 tsp. or two to my green smoothie
  • Add 1 tsp. to my coffee and let in melt
  • Coat a baking dish or pan
  • Replace canola or vegetable oil with in any recipe

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Coconut Mango Green Smoothie Recipe (Serves 2-3)

1 apple,
1 mango,
1 orange,
1.5 unsweetened almond milk
3 c spinach,
2 tbsp. coconut oil,
3 tbsp. hemp seeds

The many other uses

Coconut Oil is not just for eating. It has so many other health benefits. I literally keep a jar in my kitchen (just for cooking), my bathroom, and my twins room. Why?

Clear out the bathroom clutter, coconut oil is my face wash, eye-make-up remover, moisturizer, dark spot remover, wrinkle cream, acne healer and preventer. I cleanse my face morning and night by rubbing it into my skin then taking it off with a hot washcloth. My skin feels clean, fresh, and moisturized, not tight. If I am in need of a little extra moisture, coconut oil easily absorbs right into the skin, without leaving it greasy. I use it as body moisturizer and it can even be used to treat and prevent stretch marks, with its high vitamin E content (can I get an AMEN ladies!?)!

Coconut Oils Healing Properties

Coconut oil has antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties. It is made up of three fatty acids, Lauric Acid, caprylic acid and capric acid, which have amazing healing properties!

Because of those three Fatty acids, Coconut oil can also be used to treat athlete’s foot, yeast infections, jock itch, and yes, I have personally used it as diaper cream many times (hence keeping in my son’s room!). With its anti-bacterial properties, out went petroleum based Neosporin and in went the coconut oil, if my boys, husband or I get a cut or scrape. It is truly a miracle worker! If you have ever seen the movie, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Coconut Oil is my Windex.

It never ceases to amaze me how our God has provided us everything we need to heal ourselves. Yes, modern medicine is a blessing and has its place, but if using Gods food (also known as, Real Food), and Gods medicine first; we would all be better off from the start. His food and his ingredients are true healers.

Guest Post by: Sara Fenoglio

Blog: Loving Life… Naturally

Twitter: @lovinglifenaturally

FaceBook: https://www.facebook.com/lovelifenatural

About the Author

Sara Fenoglio is a Christ follower, Stay-At-Home Wife and Mommy to twin boys, and runs the blog Loving Life… Naturally. She started the blog, after healing her body, naturally, from Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). Her background is in health education, she formerly taught Health Science to at-risk teenagers. She now loves her role as a Real Food and Natural Health advocate for her family and is hoping to spread her passion and help change the health of others, Gods way.

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The Whys of Whining

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“Moooooooooooom!”

It’s irritating, it’s frustrating and it gets on your last nerve. Though it’s obnoxious and unacceptable, it’s actually an effective way for your child to get your attention. It’s whining!  But, like other bad habits, you can nip it in the bud early with a few simple strategies to teach your child that there are other appropriate, effective forms of communicating with you.

1. Try limiting the situations that trigger it.

2. Avoid extra errands when the kids are hungry.

3. Don’t let them get involved in a frustrating game or project prior to bedtime.

4. Pay attention when your child is talking, as sometimes whining is a reaction when a child feels you aren’t giving them your full attention.

5. Praise them for not whining and talking in a normal and an understandable voice that allows you to fully understand what they are saying to you.

When the whining begins, don’t overreact.

Keep your response simple, calm and neutral. Ask your child to repeat the request in a normal tone. When giving in seems inevitable, don’t delay. If you must finish the grocery shopping so you can put dinner on the table, for instance, and your child starts whining for a snack, offer something healthy right away.
Once a limit has been set, parents should follow through. It’s imperative that both parents are on board with this limit and fully follow through when the whining rule has been violated.

If you have an older child that’s developing a whining habit, suggest they come up with a solution to their perceived boredom or other voiced problem. If you suggest possible alternatives, it might just prolong the child’s whining.
Sometimes whining can be the result of trauma and trouble in their life. A divorce, serious family illness or problems at school may be at the root.

Additional positive attention and quality one-on-one time may be just the medicine your child needs at a time like this. Your pediatrician can also suggest alternatives to curb whining should the positive attention and disciplinary actions be ineffective.

 

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