Going Organic: Food and Clothing

CLOTHING

WHY GO ORGANIC WHEN IT COMES TO CLOTHING?

Cotton is THE most heavily pesticide-intensive crop grown in the United States. ALL synthetic fabrics are manufactured from petroleum derivatives. What this all adds up to is that most fabrics used for anything today are very earth-unfriendly…if not downright dangerous! Today’s pesticides are very effective. However, to be as effective as they are, they’re extraordinarily strong, and long lived. The havoc they wreak after they do their job is daunting. They pollute the ground for years, draining it of natural nutrients, forcing the use of more and more dangerous fertilizers, eventually making it unsuitable for farming use. This is the heart of “unsustainable” agriculture. The pesticides eventually leech into and pollute the groundwater, making its way to our faucets and causing everyone a myriad of health problems. The workers that use them, most are undereducated and unaware, are at extreme risk for cancer and many other diseases. And finally, they can stick to the fabric through the manufacturing process. These are NOT short-term problems. On the contrary, Organic (untreated) Cotton is buttery-soft, and gets even softer with each washing. It’s stronger and more durable than most other fabrics. Color-grown cotton (not dyed) actually gets bolder in color over time. Organic Cotton is a better long-term value than other fabrics, and it’s an investment in our children’s future!  (originally excerpted from Mama’s Earth)

You also need to watch out for clothing that says it’s flame resistant/non flammable (many brands of children’s pajamas are) or clothing that is wrinkle free (like many adult dress shirts and pants).  Unless a piece of clothing is 100% wool, it is not naturally flame resistant, and the chemicals used to make it so are dangerous, coming into contact with your skin and also being inhaled or ingested as the fibers wear and fall off, sticking on carpets/floors and on toys that kids put their faces against and mouths on. In fact, according to the Minnesota State Health Department, two dangerous chemicals commonly used as flame retardants (deca BDE and HBCD) have been found in household dust). As far as wrinkle free clothing, it is formaldehyde that is used to make it so. Formaldehyde is a know carcinogen (causes cancer) and can also be inhaled or ingested in the same manner as the flame retardants used on clothing. See one study here: 3-D Images Show Flame Retardants Can Mimic Estrogens 

Lucky for us, more and more companies are seeing that people are concerned about these pesticides and are offering more organic clothing, especially more organic baby clothing. I have found organic lines at stores such as Babies R Us, Lord and Taylor, Kohl’s and Walmart. Though these aren’t necessarily my favorite stores to shop at, I am glad to see that people have easier access to this safer choice in clothing.

Here are some links to organic clothing brands I really like:

Baby and Kids Clothing:

Organically Grown – I have found this brand at Lord and Taylor and on Amazon as well. (I love this brand!)

Imagine Greenware – These clothes are made with 100% organic cotton and seaweed based dyes that can be worn by ANYONE, even with the most sensitive skin. They are cute and the owners really have a great thing going here!

Hanna Andersson – not all clothes are made with organic cotton, but a lot are. The clothing that is organic is clearly labeled as such and the fabrics are of great quality! (LOVE)

Hudson Baby Organic Clothing – There are great deals for this brand on Amazon! (LOVE – because it is priced so reasonably!)

i play – found online, at Amazon, and at stores such as some Babies R Us and Buy Buy Baby

Kate Quinn – online only

Koala Baby – Has a line of organic clothing found in Babies R Us stores

Positively Organic – Online Only

Sage Creek – Found online or in Boutique stores across the U.S. (you can click on their find a store link to find a retailer near you).

Skoon - Found online and in boutique type stores.

Adult Clothing:

Blue Canoe – Women’s Clothing

Gaiam – Women’s clothing

Jute and Jackfruit – Women’s clothing

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FOOD

Pass the Peas Please – the spoonful on the right that is! Why I Make Most of My Own Baby Food

I like to know exactly what goes into my children’s bodies, which you have probably figured out by now from reading some of my other posts.  I think this picture shows the reason why I make Lila’s food better than I can explain why I do it!  These are peas.  The spoonful on the left is from a jar of organic peas from Earth’s Best.  Though they are organic, and thus better than the jarred food that isn’t, you can tell by the color that my homemade peas on the right have a lot more nutrients!  I also find that the homemade food tastes so much better!  I taste everything I give to the kids and I find that the fresh food has so much more flavor (common sense I guess!).

I think the stigma with making your own baby food is that it takes too much time, but I don’t find this to be the case at all, especially since you can make a big batch and then freeze it.  Instead of opening a jar to warm up some food, you are opening a freezer tray and proceeding the same way.

As far as preparing the food, here is a How to Guide: (Note:  It’s really just 4 easy steps!)

WHAT YOU WILL NEED

A pot, a collapsable steamer, water, the ORGANIC* veggie or fruit being prepared and something to puree it in.  I use a mini food processor and, for the first stage, a magic bullet (if this was as magical as they say, I wouldn’t need the mini food processor in addition to the bullet, but I have yet to see the real magic of this appliance).

*The last thing your beautiful newborn needs is to have chemical laden food introduced into his/her system at such an early time in his/her life when a baby’s organs, especially the brain, is still developing.  These chemicals (pesticides) pose serious health risks, including cancer, to everyone who injests them (just look at how the cancer rates have gone up with the use of pesticieds and chemically processed foods).

WHAT TO DO

1.  Put the steamer in the pot and fill with water until there is about 1/4 inch space between the water line and the steamer.  Turn the flame on high.

2. Peel and cut up the fruit or veggie (the smaller the pieces the less time it will take to cook).

3.  When the water is boiling, put the food in the pot and cover with the lid.  Check the fruit/veggie in a couple of minutes  - the food should be tender enough that a fork goes right through it, but not steamed to the point where it is too mushy, as the longer you cook it, the more nutrients are lost.

4.  Puree the fruit/veggie until it is a consistency the baby can tolerate – if it is the first time you are introducing solids, puree until liquidy.  You can start thickening the texture when the baby is around 6 or 7 months, depending on how old the baby is when you start with solids.

Helpful Hint:  Make enough to feed the baby on the day you make it, putting some aside in the refridgerator for the next day and a bit more to freeze.  I use PBA free ice cube trays.  When I make apples, I will use 4 or 5 apples at a time. When making butternut squash, I use the whole squash, which will last for a while.

The foods I make baby food with the most:

Butternut Squash (you can also roast the whole squash in the oven for 45 minutes at 400 degrees instead of peeling, cutting and steaming.  Roasting is a lot easier.)

Apples

Pears

Blueberries

Peas

Yellow Squash

Zucchini

Common Question - do I need to steam the fruit or can I just puree it as is? Because a baby’s digestive track is still developing, he/she will need the help of the cooking process to digest the food.  I would cook the fruits a bit until the child is old enough to digest the enzimes on his/her own, which you will have to test.  I would say to cook it until the baby is at least 10-12 months old.  The exceptions to this would be avocados and bananas, which don’t need to be cooked, just pureed.

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More on Artificial Food Dyes – They’re Even Used to Color the Skin of Oranges!

Yesterday I went to the grocery store looking to find the brand of rice crackers I like.  Unfortunately, King Kullen no longer carries them, so I went looking for another brand, which I found in their “Healthy Food Aisle” (on a side note, I can’t get over how supermarkets label one or two aisles as health food – are they openly saying that the rest of their food is not healthy?)  Anyway…  in this health aisle, I found another brand.  I turned the package over to read the ingredients and low and behold – it contains food dyes yellow 5 and 6!  Not sure how this is considered healthy – just because they are rice crackers?  This serves as a reminder to always read your labels – especially if you are pregnant or giving the food to your children whose body is still developing!  Just more reason to go ORGANIC!

I came across this list of food dyes today.  All of the following information is from The Center For Science in the Public Interest and can be found at: http://cspinet.org/new/pdf/food-dyes-rainbow-of-risks.pdf this article goes very in depth on each individual dye and is worth taking a look at.

Blue 1

FD&C Blue No. 1, or Brilliant Blue, is a water soluble coloring used in many baked goods, beverages, des- sert powders, candies, cereals, drugs, and other products. Blue 1 received FDA approval for general use in foods and ingested drugs in 1969. In 1982, the FDA permanently approved the color for use in externally applied drugs and general use in cosmetics excluding the area of the eye. An unpublished study suggested the possibility that Blue 1 caused kidney tumors in mice, and a preliminary in vitro study raised questions about possible effects on nerve cells. The dye can also cause hypersensitivity reactions.

Blue 2 is widely used to color beverages, candies, pet foods, and many other foods and drugs. It cannot be considered safe given the statistically significant incidence of tumors, particularly brain gliomas, in male rats. It should not be used in foods.

Citrus Red 2, which is permitted only for coloring the skins of oranges (especially Florida oranges) not used for processing, is toxic to rodents at modest levels and caused tumors of the urinary blad- der and possibly other organs. It is only used at minuscule levels and only on orange peels, but it still has no place in the food supply.

Green 3 is one of the least-used dyes, but may be found in candies, beverages, dessert powders, ice cream, sorbet, and other foods, as well as ingested drugs, lipsticks, and externally applied cosmetics (FDA 1982a). It caused significant increases in bladder and testes tumors in male rats. Though the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers it safe, this little-used dye must remain suspect until further testing is conducted.

Orange B is approved for use only in sausage casings, but has not been used for many years. Limited industry testing did not reveal any problems.

Red 3 is used in maraschino cherries, sausage casings, oral drugs, baked goods, and candies. It was recognized in 1990 by the FDA as a thyroid carcinogen in animals and is banned in cosmetics and externally applied drugs. All uses of Red 3 lakes (combi- nations of dyes and salts that are insoluble and used in low-moisture foods) are also banned. However, the FDA still permits Red 3 in ingested drugs and foods, with about 200,000 pounds of the dye being used annually. The FDA needs to revoke that approval.

Red 40, is approved for use in bever- ages, bakery goods, dessert powders, candies, cereals, foods, drugs, and cosmetics and, in terms of pounds consumed, is by far the most-used dye.It  may accelerate the appearance of immune-system tumors in mice. The dye causes hypersensitivity (allergy-like) reactions in a small number of consumers and might trigger hyperactivity in children. Considering the safety questions and its non-essentiality, Red 40 should be excluded from foods unless and until new tests clearly demonstrate its safety.

Yellow 5, also known as Tartrazine, is used in numerous bakery goods, beverages, dessert pow- ders, candies, cereals, gelatin desserts, pet food, and many other foods, as well as pharmaceuticals, and cosmetics.It  may be contaminated with several cancer-causing chemicals. In addition, Yellow 5 causes sometimes-severe hypersensitivity reactions in a small number of people and might trigger hyperactivity and other behavioral effects in children. Posing some risks, while serving no nutritional or safety purpose, Yellow 5 should not be allowed in foods.

Yellow 6 is used to color bakery goods, cereals, beverages, dessert powders, candies, gelatin desserts, sausage, and numerous other foods, as well as cosmetics and drugs. In testing, caused adrenal tumors in animals, though that is disputed by industry and the FDA. It may be contaminated with cancer-causing chemicals and occasionally causes severe hypersensitivity reactions. Yellow 6 adds an unnecessary risk to the food supply.

Artificial Food Dyes – Why You NEED to avoid them!

Kids LOVE cupcakes, cookies, candy and ice cream – most people do!  I’d love to say that my kids don’t ever get this stuff, but how can I deprive them completely of the same things I sometimes splurge on?  The key is moderation AND feeding them healthy treats. Are you aware that the artificial dyes that make frostings colors such as blue and green, goldfish orange, or M&M’s an assortment of colors,  cause cancer, behavioral problems, and hyperactivity, to name a few.  Some of these same dyes that are being used in the United States were banned in Europe in 2008. (For Article:   http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504763_162-20009228-10391704.html)  I can’t imagine why these dies are allowed to be used in foods!  One can make an argument that it takes more than the amount found in one product to cause cancer, but why would you want to introduce it into the body of your child knowing it is toxic. Because these dyes are found in so many products, it is probable many Americans are ingesting enough to cause one to get sick.  Our country’s cancer rates are alarming!

Oh, FYI: caramel coloring, as referred to on many food labels, such as soft drinks, is one of these toxic food dyes!

So what can you do to avoid these artificial dyes?

1. Read your food labels!

2.  Go organic with your treats

3.  Make your own and if you want to color your food for a special occasion, like icing cupcakes, think out of the box – use blueberries or beat juice to add color!

More links to articles about the hazards of artificial food dyes:

Artificial Soda Coloring Linked to Cancer http://www.organicauthority.com/blog/organic/artificial-soda-coloring-linked-to-cancer-fda-petitioned/

The Artificial Food Dye Blues: http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0CYP/is_10_118/ai_n55861017/

5 Responses to Going Organic: Food and Clothing

  1. Amy says:

    I was amazed when I really started to read labels and find out that almost everything contains food dye. I’ve been searching for a healthier fruit snack (I love ‘em) that I would let my kids have sometimes. Motts recently came out with fruit snacks that do not contain any dyes!!

  2. Cinnamon Aston says:

    I think I will print this out and add it to my recipe book.

  3. Melanie says:

    It is sad we can’t trust what we consume and put on our bodies. I try my best and I would say my kids are 98% organic. The 2% is once in a while snacks/food in school if they serve pizza and pasta I will let it slide. My x also strays off “The Rules” here and there. Awareness is everything. Thank you for this wonderful, informative page. :)

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