Join me over at: -juicygreenmom.ca-

It’s been a few weeks since I officially moved over to a new wordpress-powered site. Visit me at:
www.juicygreenmom.ca

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I have moved! -juicygreenmom.ca-

It was a tough decision whether to stay on wordpress.com or move to a wordpress.org site – but I decided to move! I hope you’ll join me at my new wordpress-powered site:
www.juicygreenmom.ca

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RANT: food labelling woes

If you’re a follower of this blog, you know that I am doing my best to be green – and we all know that food is a huge concern for those who are attempting to be green. Lately there’s been a ton of talk about the fact that in Canada and the US, GMOs (genetically modified organisms) do not need to be labelled. Many organic brands choose to label their products that are GMO-free (thank God – or else how on earth could we begin to figure things out??). But many big companies are opposed to labelling of GMOs because they want consumers to be in the dark.

I think it’s pretty well known that a lot of our food has, well, a bunch of chemical and harmful crap in it. When I first started learning about certain ingredients that were bad, it overwhelmed me. I felt like every week I was learning about something else that was bad. The more you know, the more you realize you don’t know. But I started to feel like I was getting a better handle on things. My toddler daughter suddenly started going through a ham/deli meat phase (I think it was one trip to Quizno’s that did it – I’m not so green that we never eat out, maybe that’s part of my problem), so I started scouring the labels. Most cured meat has nitrites in it (if you haven’t already heard – there’s a cancer link here); Healthy Child Healthy World has a great summary about the controversy surrounding nitrites. The Healthy Shopper also has a good informational article about it.

So I thought I was doing okay when I found Maple Leaf’s Natural Selections ham – and did not read nitrite on the label. I have gotten it for several months, thinking it was better for my daughter. Well, the joke’s on me, and now I feel pretty stupid. Apparently CBC’s Marketplace did an expose on this specific product called Lousy Labels, and it turns out that it does contain nitrites, just hidden in the ingredient name “distilled celery extract”. You can read about this and more food labelling trickery in The Canadian’s article: Karen Morton – The “Food” We Eat.

This kind of news is so daunting. I know I’m not alone in my food labelling woes – so many of us are trying very hard to be well educated about what we should and should not eat, but at times it feels like an impossible task. It shouldn’t be the case that all of us have to go onto a special diet to ensure we’re not ingesting stuff that’s going to make us sick. Whole food, raw, vegan, gluten-free, Paleo (I just learned about that one a few weeks ago) – these are all great and healthy – but why do we all have to go this way? Shouldn’t our government do something about the regulations surrounding our food so that 75% of it isn’t toxic to us? If our family wants to go out for dinner for a special treat, shouldn’t we be able to do that without feeling guilty about all the possibly nasty stuff going into our bodies, and wondering if some illness that lies ahead is going to point back to it?

I’m still going to keep trying to be as green as I can, but it’s becoming harder and harder to know what’s what. Unless I make everything from scratch by myself, that is. I guess I just have to keep doing what I can – because that’s all I can do.

If you’re Canadian or American – does the nonchalance of your government piss you off too? This infographic from Healthy Child Healthy World says it all.

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Green Deal Alert: deals on green skincare and more at well.ca

Check out the weekly deals at well.ca on green stuff! Save 20% on green skincare by Kiss My Face, Goddess Garden, Cocoon Apothecary, save 25% on skincare by Live Cleansave 20% on Nutiva organic superfoods, and save 15% on Ubbi diaper pails & bags.

Sale prices valid from Mon June 17 – Sun June 23, 2013. 

Kiss My Face is a line of all-natural bath and beauty products including soaps, body washes, lotions, creams, deodorants, shampoos/conditioners, lip balms, and toothpastes. They have a kids line of products as well.

The Kiss My Face Pure Olive Oil Soap is a very clean fragrance free soap, with the ingredients list including only Saponified Olive Oil, Water, & Sodium Chloride. Good news for those who want to avoid the whole palm oil controversy – no palm oil in this soap! Also it’s very highly rated by well.ca reviewers.

Kiss My Face Bar Soap

Goddess Garden is a brand of natural and organic sunscreens for adults, kids, and babies. They’re made with pure minerals, zinc oxide, and titanium dioxide, offering natural sun protection.

Goddess Garden’s Continuous Spray was highlighted in Ecoholic Adria Vasil column, getting a 4/5 rating from her (and she’s tough to please!). I love that the spray is a very light application, and it is reef-safe (so you can go snorkelling or scuba diving with this stuff on, and not worry about it affecting the beautiful reef-life!).

Goddess Garden Sunny Body Continuous Spray Sunscreen

Cocoon Apothecary is a line of organic skin care products made with non-toxic, eco-friendly, gluten-free and vegan ingredients, with no petrochemicals, synthetic fragrance or formaldehyde.

Live Clean is an eco-friendly beauty care line that uses natural, plant based ingredients. Their products are made with a minimum of 96% replenishable, renewable and sustainable plant ingredients, and they are proudly Canadian.

Nutiva is a line of organic superfoods like coconut oil and hemp seeds. They support sustainable agricultural practices and fair trade. They also donate 1% of their sales to groups that promote sustainable agriculture.

Ubbi produces eco-friendly diaper pails, and diaper pail bags for both cloth and disposable diapers! The green version of the diaper genie. (I so wish I had gotten this 3 years ago!!!) Having a convenient way to put your diaper waste away in a non-smelly way is SO IMPORTANT with a new baby! Doing it in a green way is so much better!

Those are some crazy green sales this week! I’m going to be expecting some well.ca boxes at my house in the next few weeks.

Enter juicygreenmom10 in the coupon code field at checkout and get $10 off your 1st purchase of $40 or more!

wellca-grey-nobg

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Green Deal Alert: well.ca is turning 5 with $5 deals!

It is well.ca’s 5th anniversary, and they’re celebrating this weekend with $5 deals on these items!

(Sale runs NOW until 11:59pm EST Sun June 16 only )

Dr. Bronner’s Organic Tea Tree Shikakai Liquid Body Soap – regularly $19.99! Just $5! Certified organic with castile soap base. 75% off??? YES, please!!

Dr. Bronner\'s Organic Tea Tree Shikakai Liquid Body Soap

Green Beaver Jr. Boreal Berries Bubble Bath – regularly $8.99. Now $5. Certified organic bubble bath for kids!

Green Beaver Jr. Boreal Berries Bubble Bath

SwimWays Soft Swimmies – regularly $12.98. Now $5! These swimmies have a soft fabric cover so they won’t stick to your child’s skin, and dual air chambers. Perfect for age 3-5 years.

SwimWays Soft Swimmies

Enter juicygreenmom10 in the coupon code field at checkout and get $10 off your 1st purchase of $40 or more!

wellca-grey-nobg

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Green Deal Alert: Earth Mama Angel Baby 20% off at well.ca

Earth Mama Angel Baby makes natural and organic products for mamas and babies – and they are 20% off right now at well.ca. I recently gave a pregnant friend this Mama-To-Be Tea Sampler. This brand has also gotten good reviews from the Ecoholic Adria Vasil, so you can feel good about being green.

Earth Mama Angel Baby Mama-To-Be-Tea Sampler

Enter juicygreenmom10 in the coupon code field at checkout and get $10 off your 1st purchase of $40 or more!

wellca-grey-nobg

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LIFE: getting to know my highly sensitive child

Ever since I read Parenting from Scratch‘s article “5 Things to Know About Raising Introverted Children“, I knew I had to do more reading on the topic. I’ve known that my daughter was sensitive ever since she was an infant. She cried way more than other babies when we went for playdates and I was so jealous of other moms whose babies weren’t screaming bloody murder on a regular basis. Now that she’s a toddler, I can see her sensitivity in so many other ways. So I started reading The Highly Sensitive Child by Elaine Aron (a recommended resource from the Parenting from Scratch post). I’m only about a quarter of the way through the book but so far it has been really informative. Some of the points that struck me so far:

sensitivechild

1. Being highly sensitive is not a disability. People are quick to label my daughter as shy, anxious, introverted… and these labels tend to have negative connotations. But 20% of the population is highly sensitive – this is much too big a percentage for it to be a negative personality trait, or a disorder. I have found myself occasionally saying “she’s very shy” to people who expect her to respond to their questions or greetings. But I don’t need to make an excuse for it.

2. Being highly sensitive is not something that needs to be changed about a child. I’ve gotten comments from people that I just need to expose my daughter to more things, more noisy places, more new people, etc, etc, and then she won’t be so sensitive anymore. No matter how many things I expose her to, it’s not going to beat the sensitivity out of her and suddenly make her more “normal”. Highly sensitive children are easily overwhelmed in new situations because they are taking in much more information that someone who is less sensitive. We were riding on the LRT the other day, her first time, and her eyes were wide with wonder as she looked, experienced, smelled, heard everything on the train. The sound of the signal for a stop. The lights in the train car. The way her vestibular system reacted to the start and stop. Everything that rushed past the windows. The whooshing sound as the train went fast. Her reflection in the window when we went through a tunnel. The average person probably wouldn’t notice all the details, but a highly sensitive person will. So new situations, new places, new experiences can be scary for a highly sensitive child, but they can also be super stimulating – in a good way or a bad way.

3. Being social and outgoing is not a measuring stick for how good a person someone is. My daughter does not initiate conversation with strangers. She rarely greets them when they come up and start talking to her. As a baby she used to cry if a stranger made eye contact with her. This does not mean she is a bad kid. It does not mean I am a bad parent. It just means that she does not thrive on social interaction, and does not enjoy making smalltalk. Social norms dictate that we say “hi, how are you?” to everyone so that we seem nice and polite. But do you really care how someone is when you say that? A highly sensitive person usually prefers deeper, more meaningful conversations over fluffy smalltalk. And that’s okay.

4. Being cautious is not necessarily a bad thing. I worry when I see my daughter in a class being the last one to run up to get a stamp. Nowadays she will run up with the other kids, but she will hang at the back and not push forward to get her stamp, so she is usually the very last one to get one. Thankfully we have had very attentive teachers, so they always make sure she gets one, but I’m sure less attentive people would simply overlook her because she’s not clamouring for attention. I worry when I see her in the playground looking around tentatively at the bottom of a jungle gym, or the stairs for the slide. Being highly sensitive means that she takes more time to make a decision to do something – she doesn’t have the go-and-get-it trait, she has the think-first trait. This can be a really good thing when she’s in school or when she’s a teenager, because she may think twice before joining in to bully another kid, or try smoking, etc. That’s my hope.

I’m learning a lot so far, and realizing that I myself am a highly sensitive person, and my husband most likely is as well. I just hope that I can adapt my parenting style to make my daughter blossom. I don’t want her growing up thinking that being sensitive makes her bad, or weaker than other kids. My greatest fear is that she will not see the beauty and worth in herself. Because after all, isn’t that what we want for our kids? To be happy, confident, contributing members of society?

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Green Deal Alert: save 15-20% on Aura Cacia essential oils and Moby Wraps at well.ca

well.ca has these sales on from Monday to Sunday, June 10-16, 2013:

Aura Cacia is a line of essential oils and aromatherapy products. They carry a bunch of essential oils that are certified organic, which are great for things like making your own soap and skin care, bug spray, or disinfecting products!

Moby Wrap has a few styles of baby carriers, including one made of organic cotton! Perfect time to get babywearing gear – when they’re 15% off!

Moby Organic Wrap

If it’s your first purchase at well.ca, you can save $10 off a $40 purchase using my coupon code: juicygreenmom10 (enter it in the coupon code field at checkout). Enjoy!

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Palm Oil – the eco-green controversy

Oil palm plantation on the slopes of Mt. Cameroon

Oil palm plantation on the slopes of Mt. Cameroon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When I was an eco-advisor with the company Only Green, I started using these handmade bar soaps that I LOVE. When the company closed, I was really sad about giving up my soap – so I was thrilled to find out that they were actually sourced from a Canadian soapmaker, Cedar Point Soaps. I contacted the owner and was able to re-stock right away, with many more options for flavours. Very exciting! I was happy to be using soaps that were made from all-natural ingredients. Then I started reading about palm oil.

Ecoholic Adria Vasil (of whom I am a HUGE fan, I have all 3 of her books and consult them religiously) wrote about palm oil in her column. The controversy is this: palm plantations are taking over a lot of land that shouldn’t be encroached upon, like rainforest land and peatlands. There is a Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, which provides certification for palm oil that is produced in sustainable ways. But it seems that “sustainable” is semantically variable in the RSPO, so it might not mean a whole lot to be RSPO-certified. It seems fair trade organic is the closest thing to a guarantee that a product contains truly sustainable palm oil. So – Adria recommends avoiding palm oil altogether, and looking for palm-free brands.

When I contacted the owner of Cedar Point Soaps to ask her about this, she raised an interesting point. She talked about someone who bought a forest/wetland property, cut the trees down, filled in the eco-sensitive wetland, and after many years, turned it into an organic farm. Could this farm really be called organic if we considered the fact that the land used to be a forest/wetland, and this was essentially destroyed to make way for the farm? What if a palm oil plantation started that way, but then went to a replanting program? Would they forever be thought of as eco-unfriendly because of what was there before? Can a grower ever be “rehabilitated” by replanting, or will they always be known as the people who cut down the original forest? Food for thought.

The owner of Cedar Point Soaps states that her palm oil supplier is RSPO-certified and guarantees that it comes from regulated palm plantation land that was not previously rainforest land. Palm oil is an important ingredient for her soaps, as it is used to harden the soap bar and counteract the soft properties of olive oil and coconut oil. So in this case, it may not be feasible to go palm-free.

Is going palm-free a pre-requisite to being truly eco-friendly and green? I’m still not sure I can answer that question with a yes or a no. I’m still thinking that it depends. Palm oil is found in a lot of stuff, not just bar soaps, so I think it’s reasonable to avoid it in things like food or lotions. It may be tougher to avoid in a bar soap, but there are some brands out there that are palm-free. As with everything, we have to be our own judge of what we can realistically do. I do think that every little decision can help to lead a greener life.

If you really want to be sure of what’s in your bar soap, you can learn to make it yourself! ethicalDeal.com is offering 73% off 2 online video soap making classes (cold and hot process) by Karma Suds right now. You pay $24 ($90 value) for the 2 classes, and learn to make organic and vegan soaps with printable recipes, downloadable instruction videos, and email support.They have palm oil free soap recipes as well!

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Green Deal Alert: save on Father’s Day gifts and Green Beaver at well.ca

well.ca has these sales on from Monday to Sunday, June 3-9, 2013:

You’ve probably already heard my rave about Green Beaver, but I’ll say it again because it’s on sale again! The spray-on sunscreen is awesome for applying on kids, goes on easily and doesn’t leave a thick white residue.

And if it’s your 1st time buying from well.ca, you can save $10 off a $40 purchase using my coupon code: juicygreenmom10 (enter it in the coupon code field at checkout). Enjoy!

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