Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Bug Off

     As I made my way to the garden for my morning harvest, I was greeted by swarms of mosquitoes (they are much worse than usual this year). I ran back towards the house and applied my Burts Bees All Natural Insect Repellent. 
     I'm sort of on the fence on the topic of DEET, but since I'm taking the "why chance it" approach to our new lifestyle I've decided to abstain from using it. DEET is the same chemical used in nerve gas, and could possibly damage the human nervous system. Chances are low if it's applied correctly (apply to clothing and not directly onto your skin). The EPA is planning to do a more extensive study on the chemical in 2012. Until then, I'll err on the side of cation.

More Information:

Monday, August 30, 2010

Environmental Toxins Firmly Linked to Autism Epidemic

An article published today firmly links environmental toxins to childhood autism epidemic (link to article below). Sadly, there is no resolution and they have not narrowed down which toxins are responsible. 

People, this is why I BEG you to decrease your exposure to all toxins

My child's body care products were what set off the red flag for all this change in the first place. I will address that issue in a separate blog. In the mean time, please take the time to read and reflect on this article. Then you decide if it is worth taking the risk.

Saturday, August 28, 2010


I debated addressing the issue of Bisphenol A (BPA). However, yet another study came out today suggesting that BPA may be raising testosterone in men (CNN). There is enough evidence on this topic that I have made a few simple changes in our home. While I do not think it's possible to totally eliminate our BPA from our lives, I do believe that we can drastically reduce our exposure to this potential evil endocrine disruptor.

What is BPA?:
"Bisphenol A, more commonly known as BPA, is a chemical that has been used for more than 40 years in the manufacture of many hard plastic food containers such as baby bottles and reusable cups and the lining of metal food and beverage cans, including canned liquid infant formula.  Trace amounts of BPA can be found in some foods packaged in these containers.
In 2008, the Food and Drug Administration conducted a review of toxicology research and information on BPA, and, at that time, judged food-related materials containing BPA on the market to be safe.
But recent studies have reported subtle effects of low doses of BPA in laboratory animals.  While BPA is not proven to harm children or adults, these newer studies have led federal health officials to express some concern about the safety of BPA. "
- US Dept of Health and Human Services

Why is it potentially "bad" for me?
There have been so many studies done regarding the effects of BPA. Here are just a few of the findings:

  • High levels of it have been linked to heart disease, diabetes, and liver failure in humans 
  • National Toxicology Program warns that BPA may cause babies to develop abnormally.
  • Could Raise Risk of Asthma 
  • Fertility Problems
  • Sexual Dysfunction (who wants to risk that??:) 

And that's only a few of the studies out there. Regardless of what the government stance is on this chemical, I do not want to take more risks than necessary when it comes to exposure.
 For further information on the above list of findings, click on the first link below and scroll down for list of  studies

Changes I've Made:

  • BPA Free Water bottles, kids dishes/bottles 
  • Use glass as much as possible 
  • NEVER heat plastic in the microwave (the heat is what can really leech the BPA into your food)
  • Reduce use of Tomato products in cans (BPA is in the lining of canned goods-highly acidic foods increase the amount that gets into your food- thankfully I found out when freezing garden tomatoes that Ziplock brand food storage bags do NOT contain BPA)
  • Avoid purchasing food/drinks/plastic storage that contains #7 on the recycling label (found on bottom of product)

I tried to keep this as short as possible. Hopefully I provided you with enough information to ponder the next time you reach for your plastic.

Useful Resources:



U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: http://www.hhs.gov

U.S. Food and Drug Administration: http://www.fda.gov/

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: http://www.cdc.gov/

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: http://www.epa.gov/

Consumer Product Safety Commission: http://www.cpsc.gov/

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences: http://www.niehs.nih.gov

National Toxicology Program: http://ntp.niehs.nih.gov

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Dinner Dilemma

Some days cooking a dinner that's healthy, cheap, AND appealing to a toddler can be a challenge. Today is one of those days. After burning my finger on my skillet I came up with Brown Rice/Black Bean Mex Casserole.  Here's what I came up with:

Brown Rice/Black Bean Mexican Casserole

Cooked 1 1/2 Cups Brown Rice in my dutch oven (still need to give her a proper name:)
Meanwhile heat EVOO in skillet. Once warm, add clove of garlic and sauté about a minute
Add some chopped onion, red bell pepper, few dashes of cumin & salt
sauté until transparent.
Throw the onion mix into the dutch oven
Open a can of black beans and add to the mix
Stir everything together.
Pour a bit of Chicken Broth over the top (I used Pacific Organic. Omit this step for a vegetarian version)
Next Sprinkle Cheese over top
Bake @ 350 about 20 minutes.
Garnish with Cilantro or Green Onion and Sour Cream.

Bon Apetite! In a future blog we'll discuss using safe ingredients and cookware in your kitchen so stay tuned.

Why the Change?

A few months ago I came to the realization that I was either reading or watching far too many stories about all the toxins that are going into or onto our bodies. Having all this information, how could I NOT do something about it. As a mother of two small children I couldn't take the risk of carrying on with our lives the way they were. The changes I've made are not because of my love for the environment but to create the best possible environment for myself and my family.
I'm not a hippie in every sense of the word, but I'm striving to make all the changes I can based on the information provided to me. This blog is about my journey on this attempt to "detoxify."
Stay tuned for more specific stories of my modern-day-metamorphosis.