by Diga Patel | Aug 4, 2017 | Family life, Natural living, Self care
Herbicide and Pesticide residue on fruit and vegetables has been linked to a long list of health problems including certain cancers, symptoms of ADHD, autism, and Parkinson’s.
US-based Environmental Working Group has released its annual list of those foods most (and least) affected by herbicide and pesticide residue. The lists are based on studies into American produce but illustrate the need for us to take care in choosing produce whether imported, or produced on conventional farms using toxic chemicals.
Despite claims by a spokesperson at Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) that Australia uses DIFFERENT herbicides and pesticides and that levels are strictly set, I would suggest many mamas ‘on the ground’ would attest to these chemicals causing childhood problems like rashes, allergies and asthma.
Of the few studies done into herbicide and pesticide use on Australian produce, a Friends of the Earth study found 125 pesticides on various fruits and vegetables including chlorpyrifos, fenitrothion, difocol and dimethoate which are highly toxic.
Often ‘safe’ levels of these highly toxic chemicals are discussed but when the possible problems include disrupting the endocrine system, ADHD, lowering IQ’s, learning and behavioural problems and possible increases in Lymphoblastic Leukemia in children, any mama would be wise to question whether ANY level is truly safe.
If you are committed to nourishing your family with wholesome foods but are struggling to swallow some of the prices for organic products here is a list to help you choose foods that are safer when organic and those that are OK to buy conventional.
Remember, Farmers Markets are a great place to buy produce that may not be certified organic but will likely be chemical free. Check with the market stallholder and enjoy the savings on delicious wholefoods. Home delivery fruit and veggie boxes are another way to ensure you’re getting good quality produce at reasonable prices.
(Also mentioned in recent years: Blueberries, Lettuce, Cucumber, Broccoli, Carrots, Kale and zucchini)
(Also mentioned in recent years: Watermelon, Sweet Potato, Grapefruit, Mushrooms)
Friends of the Earth: http://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/foe/legacy_url/378/TheDoseMakesThePoisonFeb2012_0.pdf?1471404362
Environmental Working Group:
Sustainable Gardening Australia:
by kerryfarriss | May 1, 2017 | Family life
Having a fussy eater in the house can affect the whole family and be an emotional issue for everyone. It’s easy for others to tell you not to stress and that it will pass but living with a fussy eater is no walk in the park.
While children’s tastes differ from adults and fussy eating will most likely NOT last forever, a study at Duke University https://www.dukeeatingdisorders.com/m-e-d-i-a
Suggests that fussy eating may be an indicator of anxiety, depression and other social issues later in life.
My own experience with fussy eating came when my son turned 2, which is the age psychologists suggest the neo-phobic (fear of new things) stage can take hold until around the age of 6 or 7 years. My son also had dreadful eczema and I decided to put him on the GAPS diet, which ended up helping enormously. It was a strict diet eliminating many foods initially. My son wasn’t terribly impressed with being offered chicken and lamb stew for breakfast, lunch and dinner but when he was hungry enough, he ate them and I have to say he’s been an awesome eater ever since. He was on the path of refusing everything except dried fruit and yoghurt so I believe GAPS benefitted his eczema AND his fussy eating.
My experience with GAPS will be the subject of another post but for now, here are my top tips for avoiding fussy eating.
- Don’t assume that your baby/toddler or child dislikes a food because they spit it out once or twice. Experts say that it can take between 10-20 exposures to a food before a child will accept it. Persist with offering but don’t force them to try it or to finish it.
- Don’t offer ‘easy’ alternatives to family meals like yoghurt or crackers for fear your child will starve. Serve a family meal but allow choices (within reason) to suit individual tastes. For instance, offer tomato OR olives, OR both, or allow the choice of condiments to give them some sense of control over what they are eating. Allow them choices within your parameters.
- Don’t bribe or threaten. Try to avoid strong emotions around food. I’ve always given my kids the choice of whether to finish their meal or not but the rule in my house has been that those who don’t finish (within reason or unless completely full) don’t eat dessert. There is never anger or pushing them to finish so they get the dessert, it’s completely their ‘choice’ to finish and eat dessert or to not finish and not eat dessert. (this may be low level bribery but as dessert is usually berries, yoghurt or a square of raw chocolate, it hasn’t seemed that brutal and has worked well in our house)!
- Don’t buy what you don’t want them to eat. When I hear mamas cry, ‘he/she will only eat sweet biscuits’, I think, ‘why are there sweet biscuits being offered?’ If you offer junk food, they’ll learn to prefer junk food. If it’s not in the house, they won’t be able to work on you for it and YOU won’t be tempted to eat junk either!
- Get toddlers and children involved in meal preparation. Just giving them a bowl to mix some salad leaves, an avocado to cut up, jobs to fetch items from the fridge or pantry will help them feel involved and get them feeling and touching wholefoods. Kids love to have tasks to complete and love to feel helpful. If I am in a mad rush to get a meal prepared, I have given my kids a small bowl of random ingredients to mix to keep them busy which has worked to keep them entertained and me able to prepare without fingers grabbing at the real meal. Growing herbs or fruit and vegetables is an even better way to get them keen on wholesome foods.
- Limit snacks between meals especially packaged and processed foods. If kids are filling up on less nutritious, ‘fake’ foods between meals they will be less likely to have an appetite for the meal you want them to eat. Offer snacks like fruits and vegetable sticks with some cheese or nuts to keep them satisfied.
- Guide them from an early age to be aware of how different foods make them feel. After take away meals my kids know they’ll be very thirsty due to the high salt content. After a good breakfast they know they have more energy than if they hadn’t eaten well. They are also starting to admit that they also feel pretty wired after birthday parties too! It’s not about judging the food eaten just acknowledging how certain foods make them feel so as they get older food is about making themselves feel great.
- Allow them to go through their own stages of liking and disliking foods, as there may be reasons they go off a particular taste or texture. My daughter LOVED olives at 2 then disliked them for about 4 years but eats them again now. She’s just decided she can’t handle the texture of avocado so I put it in salads where it’s less obvious but don’t give it to her on its own. My son doesn’t like tomato and because it’s a nightshade, which is not beneficial to those who are prone to eczema, I don’t push him to eat it. Even though he has no signs of eczema now I figure it just may not agree with his body. Teaching them awareness of how foods make them feel will help them explain why a certain food does or doesn’t agree with them.
- Finally, kids thrive on routine and love meal times. If they become accustomed to sharing a nourishing family meal every day this will become an important part of their life growing up and will be part of their life even after they leave your home. Keep meal times relaxed and don’t intently watch your child eating.
Both of my kids are used to receiving half of their plate full of veggies at our nighttime meal so various friends and family have witnessed comments like, ‘where are the veggies?’ or ‘there aren’t enough veggies tonight’ or ‘I need more salad on my plate, mum’. They may sound strange, and I’m not trying to show off! It’s just to show that they really do learn from routine so consistency is going to pay off. Keep up the great work you do as a mama. I know feeding a family is often relentless and tedious but it’s such an important start for your kids.
“The food you eat can either be the safest and powerful form of medicine, or the slowest form of poison”. Ann Wigmore
I hope these tips can help you turn a fussy eater into an eating machine with a huge appetite for nourishing and wholesome foods!
by kerryfarriss | Sep 22, 2016 | Family life, Natural living
Before I had my babies, I didn’t give much thought to what food came in, what I cooked it in or what I ate it from. In fact I was less concerned about food in general and more worried about which champagne or wine I would drink and if I had enough (but that’s a different story)!
Having my precious angels enter the world changed me in many ways and one of these was to worry more about what I was putting into them.
We are unfortunately bombarded with unavoidable chemicals, toxins and poisons and while there are many we can’t control, in our own homes we can create a healthy living environment for our families. It’s unreasonable to think we’ll be able to totally eradicate all plastic from our lives but as mamas we can, and should make a stand to do what we can for our children. Every little helps.
Plastics (especially those used in ‘take and toss’ items like coffee cups, straws and plastic bags) have a massively detrimental impact on the environment, marine life and our own health. Just small changes can have a big impact. You will have a bunch of plastic stuff in your kitchen right now that seems wasteful to just toss but being aware for future purchases will make a big difference.
Plastic food packaging
a) Use your own shopping bags when buying groceries
b) Shop at farmers markets for produce and butchers for organic, ethically raised, grass fed meat.
c) Purchase dried goods from bulk bin shops (they have them now in some grocery stores).
d) Try to eat more wholefoods and less processed and packaged foods.
Food storage at home
a) Recycle jars and bottles or use Pyrex containers (even though the lids are plastic) for leftovers and storage. Make sure to leave about 2.5cm of space at the top of jars and Pyrex if freezing.
b) Invest in a stainless steel ice cube tray as they’re great for ice and for freezing stock in small batches to use in cooking.
c) Try to cut down on plastic film and plastic sandwich bags by using glass storage for leftovers. Keep leafy greens fresh by wrapping in a damp tea towel to store in veggie compartment.
Cooking and food prep
a) Ditch Teflon coated pans and bakeware. While there is debate about whether chemicals are released from Teflon while cooking, the fact that the chemical in Teflon has been linked to cancer is enough for me to avoid this kitchen item. There are green/eco companies making non-stick pans or try cast iron and enamel lined cast iron like Le Creuset.
b) For baking in the oven you can use glass bakeware, ceramic, stoneware and stainless steel trays and dishes.
Leaving the house
a) Use glass or stainless steel water bottles for you and your family.
b) Send the kids off with any of the green/eco options available for lunchboxes, snack and sandwich bags.
c) Take your own lunch in a stainless steel thermos, Pyrex container or pinch one of the kids’ lunch boxes.
What you eat from
a) If your babies and kids are eating from plastic bowls, plates and cutlery replace all of these items with stainless steel or bamboo alternatives. There are so many beautiful products available these days.
a) Opt for natural, chemical free cleaners or better yet, make your own. The best ingredients are often the simplest. Try vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice and essential oils.
b) Replace toxic dishwashing liquid, dishwasher tabs, powders or gels with chemical free alternatives. If you’re washing the items you eat your food from in chemicals, you’re also consuming the chemicals with your next meal!
Sources: lowtoxlife.com, mygreenaustralia.com, abc.net.au, mnn.com, drfranklipman.com
by kerryfarriss | Jun 13, 2016 | Family life, Self care
We are so dedicated to keeping our babies and kids’ sleep routines but we often neglect our poor tired selves! Here are some ideas to help you customize a nightly routine that works into your lifestyle. You’ll be sleeping like a baby in no time (well, hopefully better than a baby)!!
1. Listen to your body and learn your rhythm/cycle to determine the ideal time for you to go to bed and wake up each day. Ideally you will go to bed at the same time and wake naturally feeling refreshed at the same time every day. If this is impossible ensure you have a routine at each sleep time (no matter how short, to ‘train’ yourself to know when to switch off and sleep).
2. Endeavour to slow things down so you’re not rushing to finish work/chores just before bedtime. Just 15 minutes to an hour of unwinding time will benefit your sleep patterns.
3. Avoid screen time for an hour before sleep. TV’s, computers and tablets emit EMF’s (Electromagnetic Fields) and blue light which stimulates the brain and messes with your internal body clock by suppressing melatonin.
4. Avoid caffeine, alcohol and sugary drinks. Alcohol may feel like it puts you to sleep faster but the quality of your sleep will be affected. Enjoy a herbal tea instead. Additionally, don’t go to sleep on a full tummy or an empty tummy. Eat your evening meal early.
5. Incorporate relaxing rituals to train your body to sleep well. These may include a bath, hot towel rub, reading a real book or deep breathing exercises.
6. Spend a few minutes writing any thoughts/worries that may be playing on your mind or write a list of things you need to do the next day so you don’t spend precious sleeping time worrying about the day gone by or the one coming up.
7. Use calming oils in your bath or on the inside of your wrists. Oils like lavender, rose, sandalwood, chamomile, juniper and marjoram are known for their soothing effects.
8. Make sure regular exercise is part of your day. Exercise and/or lots of movement every day will promote better sleep.
9. Avoid napping too late in the day or it might affect your falling asleep at night.
10. If you find you are lying awake for longer than 15-30 minutes, get up and read a book until you feel tired.
by Diga Patel | Feb 5, 2016 | Family life, Mama Health, Natural living, Self care
Photo Credit: Pic Jumbo
Are you doomed to slower reflexes and poor memory as you age?
Science says, “Not necessarily!”
Every person’s brain, like their body, is uniquely different. Not everyone is subject to the slowing down of mental faculties that tends to come with aging.
The Benefits of Brain Exercises
Like every muscle, the brain needs stimulation and exercise to sustain its function. Exercising the brain has as many benefits as exercising the body: You’ll be able to remember things later on in life, you won’t forget as many details about other people, and you won’t have as many ‘senior moments’ as perhaps you may fear.
But brain training isn’t limited to those who are approaching their golden years. Experiments with multiple sclerosis patients with cognitive damage have shown that doing activities specifically tied to brain training can help the brain develop stronger connections. Their brains literally became stronger through the power of exercise. There’s also a suggestion that doing brain exercises early in life can expand the amount of cognitive reserve you have later in life (i.e. how much your brain can bounce back as you age).
Some Brain Exercises You Can Complete On Your Own
Not all brain exercises need a machine or website to provide benefits to their users. Neuronation and Lumosity have become popular in recent years, and have proven very popular but these activities still help give your brain a boost:
1. Reading. What’s the last full book you read? The more you stimulate your brain by learning, the harder and longer your brain will be able to work.
2. Protecting your head. Wear a helmet when riding and take proper precautions if you think you may have a risk of a concussion. This endangers your brain health more than anything else.
3. Staying in touch with friends. Maintaining social ties is extremely important. Having people around to talk to and challenge you keeps your brain working in a way that it wouldn’t ever work when you’re by yourself.
4. Talk about problems. Holding on to problems is much more troublesome to your health than just annoying you in the moment. It can lead to serious stress, and can even impair your brain’s abilities later in life. So, if you’re feeling depressed or have a mental problem you want to address, bring it up sooner rather than later. You’ll save yourself a lot of stress and potential harm to your brain.
5. Try new things. Force your brain to be creative, whether by building something in your backyard, learning a language or playing a game of squash for the first time. It’ll do your brain good!
6. Quit smoking. This decision benefits many parts of your body, but the fact that your brain will potentially reverse deterioration is a very good benefit!
7. Sleep more. Sleep doesn’t just restore your body. Your mind also benefits from having enough time to rest through the night.
Do you do brain exercises? If so, what have you found benefits you most?
Share your story in the comments!
by Diga Patel | Jan 21, 2016 | Family life, Natural living, Self care
Pic Credit: Pic Jumbo
Good health goes beyond just nutrition and exercise. It comes from achieving balance in every area in our lives. That includes the emotional and social parts of our lives, too!
If there is someone in your life who’s draining your energy or causing you stress, you could be dealing with a toxic relationship.
Toxic relationships can take many forms, including draining energy, causing drama, or even violating the boundaries of other people in order to get the emotional benefits they need.
Toxic people often don’t realize the destruction they cause. Interactions with these types of people can lower our self-esteem and captivate our energy in a negative way. Many people see a toxic person and feel the need to take care of them, often leading to the depletion of their own wellness. This is just as destructive as the pain of confronting or withdrawing from the behavior of a toxic person.
So, how do you navigate a relationship with a toxic person?
Ideally, we would cut off contact with anyone who doesn’t benefit our emotional wellbeing. We would simply never talk to the people who drag us down. However, there are some people that we just can’t avoid, such as parents, siblings, and bosses.
Thankfully, there are middle grounds between engaging with destructive people and completely cutting them off. You can learn and practice different communication techniques, such as Nonviolent Communication or Conscious Communication. If you must interact with a person on a personal level, you can look up support groups in your area for support and love from other people. Lots of online support options also exist.
Take care of yourself first.
For some people, this is the hardest lesson they ever have to learn. In order to serve others and be of service, you have to take care of yourself first, otherwise you won’t have the resources to share of your time and energy with others.
If avoiding a toxic person entirely is what’s necessary for you to take care of yourself, do what you need to do for your own stress levels. Stress wears upon your body, from your sleep all the way to your blood pressure.
How have you managed to deal with toxic people in your life? What relationships stress you out most in your life? Share your story in the comments!