28 September 2014
As mothers, we understand the importance of nutrition in childhood development. It’s not just important for the obvious physical development though. From the moment our child is born, food plays an integral role in the development of our young child’s brain function and behaviour.
We may know the importance and benefits of good nutrition, but it’s often an uphill battle selling nutritional food to our youngsters. It’s even more of a battle when you add in all the advertising for packaged snacks and fast food targeted at little people and busy Mums!
Well it’s time for a makeover this month. A makeover of the lunch box variety!
We’d LOVE you to join us.
Healthy, nutritional food doesn’t have to be boring. This month we are giving you the chance to win a a Yumbox Bento lunchbox and matching So Young Insulated Lunchbox Bag combo valued at $70, by inviting you to makeover your lunchbox and share how you did it ~ the successes, the things that didn't quite work and the resulting transformation for you and your family.
But you won’t be going it alone. Here’s how we will help:
We will be introducing you to two experts in the field of health, nutrition and well-being. Our experts will be sharing their tips for packing practical, healthy, lunch boxes for kids of all ages. And what’s even better is that they are busy, real life Mums just like us!
We’ve got LOADS of creative lunch box ideas from Yum Box and will be sharing these through the closed Facebook Forum, so make sure you click here to join.
We will be uploading our own real life lunch boxes on Instagram. Be sure to follow along and you can join in too by using the tag #loveyourlunchbox @sustainababy.
You can even follow our dedicated board on Pinterest.
If you are keen to be part of the Love Your Lunch Box Eco Challenge during October, then this is what you’ll need to do:
- Request to join our closed Sustainababy Monthly Eco Challenge Facebook Group here. In this group you'll meet heaps of other like-minded ecoceptional mums doing the eco challenges who can support you along the way.
- For the month of October ditch the pre-packaged food and makeover your lunch box. Fill your lunch box full of your own healthy, creative, nutritious and practical food and snacks.
- If you'd like to be in the running for the Yumbox and So Young prize pack, tell us about your Love Your Lunch Box makeover.
You can either do this by:
- Creating a video and posting the link on our Facebook page;
- Blogging about the Sustainababy October “Love Your Lunch Box” Eco Challenge on your personal or business blog (and posting the link to our Facebook page);
- Sending through a collation of photos documenting your transformation ~ you could do this through Instagram; OR
- Emailing a short summary of your journey (500 words maximum) and supporting photographs with subject line “October Eco Challenge” to email@example.com before 5pm AEST Wednesday 5th November 2014. Please ensure that your summary is grammatically correct, as the winning summary will be published word for word on the Sustainababy Blog.
- The winner will be contacted by email and their summary will be published on our blog no later than 5pm AEST on Friday 7th November 2014. Our October Eco Challenge is open to Australian and international residents.
Can’t WAIT to see your makeover results this month! Share the lunch box love.
25 September 2014
By Jo Turner, author of ‘Mealtimes without Mayhem’
Sustainable cooking is the art of planning and creating meals to save you time, effort and money.
Although sustainable cooking should be an important part of any family mealtime, it’s so often under utilised. This technique was something our grandparents understood well, but now seems to be forgotten as we opt for more convenient cooking options.
So, let’s get started – here are my top three ways sustainable cooking benefits your family:
1. Saves you money
The number one rule of sustainable cooking? Have a plan. By planning your dinner ahead of time you will be less likely to overspend the next time you’re in the grocery store.
For example: Plan meals with similar ingredients but different taste palettes to spice things up. Use a nice piece of fish in two different but flavourful ways. First, herb-crusted along side some vegetables. Second created as a scrumptious but healthy pasta dish that the whole family can enjoy. If you buy a larger portion of the core ingredient then you can make more than one meal.
2. Saves you time
Homemade sauces can take hours to make, but fixing a big batch and re-using it throughout the week cuts your prep work down, and gives you more time to do what’s important: spending time sharing meals with your family! This is also a great way to use up all your veggies so nothing goes to waste and the kids won’t even know (plus you will create some amazing flavours).
For example: Whip up tomato sauce from scratch, store in seperate containers, then add in different herbs and spices to give you pizza on one night and spaghetti on another.
3. Creates less waste
With sustainable cooking you learn to utilise all of what’s been given to you. Waste is a huge problem; in NSW alone households throw away more than $2.5 billion dollars’ worth of edible food. In order to combat this, sustainable cooking is essential.
For example: Healthy weeknight dinner roasted chicken with vegetables can transform into a hearty chicken noodle soup for the next day. For extra sustainability, turn the carcass into homemade chicken stock that can be kept frozen for a variety of meals including a nice risotto.
Now that you’ve seen the benefits of sustainable cooking, it’s time to try it yourself. What recipe will you transform for your family mealtime?
Here’s to happy and healthy family mealtimes with a sustainable cooking approach!
Jo Turner is founder of Coosh Toosh Mealtime Solutions and Author of ‘Mealtimes without Mayhem’
16 September 2014
One of the things that I have been investing significant time in over the past year has been ensuring that the kids are conscious about food. We’ve been talking about where food comes from, we’ve been growing our own veggies, cooking together, and turning our scraps into chook food and compost. But I may have perhaps taken our recent food adventure a step too far …
On Saturday we went to the food markets.
Standard outing for us.
We purchased some fish at the seafood shop.
Same as usual.
But this time Master 3 was really interested in all of the produce. And when he asked if we could, “… buy a sea creature,” I must admit that I thought nothing of it.
So this time, instead of fillets, we bought ourselves a whole fish to take home and cook on the BBQ.
“Shall we have him for dinner?” I asked the kids excitedly.
“YES!” they cheered.
I should have guessed that something was amiss when Miss 2 and I were preparing the dinner.
“Fishy,” she said, pointing to our tasty delight.
“Yes,” I replied. “Fishy.”
And with that she furrowed her brow, narrowed her eyes and got down from the step she was standing on to help me at the bench. Miss 2 is fairly switched on to ‘life and stuff and things’ for such a small being. I’m often convinced that she’s an old soul and that she’s been here before. I’m fairly certain that she knew the fate of this ‘fishy’ without me having to say the words.
Nonetheless, I continued. Some lemon grass, soy sauce, honey, mirin, mint, spring onions, garlic … yum! This was going to be one great tasting meal. How exciting for the kids!!
Some 30 minutes later, and our delicious fish was baked to perfection.
“Who wants some fish?” I called out.
“Me!” the kids replied in unison, running to the table.
I unwrapped the fish and was met with silence.
The kids didn’t move a muscle. They didn’t blink. They didn’t say a word …
“What’s the matter? I asked. And here’s how the conversation with my son went …
Master 3: How he get here?
Me: What do you mean? We bought him at the shop. Remember?
M3 Yes. But how he get out of ocean?
[Bother. Make this sound as harmless as possible].
Me: A fisherman caught him and took him to the shop for us. And we bought him at the shop. Remember? You wanted to buy a sea creature.
M3: But how he get in THERE … [pointing to the foil].
Me: We cooked him up for dinner.
[Insert more silence here. The kind of silence reserved for a three-year-old reflecting on the big issues in life]. Finally …
M3: [sternly] We no eat him.
Me: Yes, we’re going to eat him. It’s a fish. You eat fish. You like eating fish.
M3: This one going to bite me with him teeth [pointing to its mouth].
M: He won’t bite you mate. He’s not alive.
M3: What you mean he not ‘alibe’?
[Eeeek! We haven't had this discussion before. Death and Dying. I haven't thought this through. Sh!t. What do I say?! I'm not prepared. I'm not ready to go here ...].
Me: Well, we cooked him up for dinner. He had a good life buddy.
[Double sh!t. Oh B, that was lame. SO LAME! That was the best you could come up with??].
M3: [tearing up]. That him eye … [pointing to the opaque, steaming hot fish's eye. Yes, maybe I should have removed that before cooking. Some people eat the eyes. I'm fairly sure that the eyes are considered to be a delicacy. I'm guessing I've lost the kids on that food adventure for this evening though …].
And through it all, Miss 2 stood frozen in time. Mouth open. Eyes wide.
I knew at this point that it was over. All bets were off for eating dinner tonight. My faux par. Why did I not think this one through more carefully?
Surely I am not the only crazed woman to try to serve up a whole baked fish to her toddlers – am I?
Do other kids eat whole fish? I’m pretty sure that some of them would eat the eyes …
And how on Earth was I meant to broach the topic of death and dying, and the circle of life over my steaming hot, deliciously smelling fishy? When exactly is the right time to have this conversation??
What about you? I would love to hear your stories about how you broach the topics of food, the cycle of life and other mealtime misadventures with your little ones. Join the conversation in the comments section below. Or why not join this month's Sustainababy Sustainable Family Mealtimes Eco Challenge for your chance to WIN! with Toosh Coosh Mealtime Solutions?
About the author: Bel Doyle is a self-professed former eco assailant turned ecoceptionalTM mum. Bel is stay-at-home Mum to Paddy (3) and Frankie (2). She has spent the past year transforming the life of her family by doing 101 small things to help the environment. You can read more here.
11 September 2014
If your life is anything similar to mine, balancing time to clean dirty toilets, bathrooms, showers, and kitchens is a juggling act. Top this magic trick with picking up dirty laundry, as well as, washing, sorting, folding and the dreaded putting clean clothes away, and you truly steal the show. In fact, you are my superhero if you pull this all off in the midst of kids and work.
One of my favorite infrequent moments in my momma circus life, is when for some strange cosmic reason, my house is entirely clean. That is, all the rooms, laundry and floors. That very precious moment when I realize the mess and dirt is all gone. Clean. Healthy. Done.
Well, maybe clean and done, but let’s question healthy.
You see, we typically equate a clean home to a healthy safe place for our children. And, the amount of work and magic that goes into making sure our homes are clean and safe for our children deserves superhero awards. However, if we use toxic chemicals to clean our homes, we actually are leaving behind unhealthy hazardous residues both on our home’s surfaces and in the indoor air that are extremely harmful to our family. Yikes.
Imagine. All that effort and craze to get our houses clean, yet we fail to keep our children healthy when we use the wrong cleaning products. Insane, right?
Let’s dig into this deeper…
Through much of my research over the years, I have found that toxins in the home, food and environment are linked to creating health problems such as asthma, eczema, childhood and breast cancer and neurological problems such as behavior, learning and Autism Spectrum Disorders.
The Children’s Cancer Recovery Foundation’s (CCRF), Toxic-Free Kids program encourages parents to use safe cleaning alternatives to lessen their children’s exposure to hazardous and potentially cancer-causing products that contain carcinogens such as kerosene, hydrochloric acid, ammonia and chlorine bleach. According to the EPA, indoor air pollution within our homes is a serious health concern.
Children are at a higher risk to the harmful effects of toxic chemicals because their immune systems, organs, tissues and nervous systems are growing and developing rapidly each and every day. Also, children tend to crawl, play in dirty areas, and use their hands and mouth to explore and learn about their world. Even as children get older, their play, behavior and lack of awareness to hygiene continues to make them more vulnerable. Adding harmful toxins for them to breathe in or lather onto their skin and hair only increases risks of health problems.
Household products such as bleach, ammonia, window, wood, oven, bath and toilet cleaners, dish and laundry detergents, and air fresheners can be dangerous to a child’s health.
The Children’s Environmental Health Center (CEHC) has developed a list of ten chemicals found in consumer products that are suspected to have a link to autism and learning disabilities. The top ten chemicals are lead, methylmercury, PCBs, organophosphate pesticides, organochlorine pesticides, endocrine disruptors, automotive exhaust, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, brominated flame retardants, and perfluorinated compounds.
At this time, two papers were published by researchers from University of California – Davis suggesting the need for more studies. One stated a correlation that PCBs disrupt early brain development and another advised the exploration of the link between pesticide exposure and autism.
It is true; a CLEAN house can be a harmful to our children. Ugh.
What You Can Do to Create a Healthy Clean Home
Our goal is to build a family and home that is safe, healthy and clean for our children. In order to do so, you must be aware and avoid the following common household cleaning chemicals. They are reported to be toxic and create diseases such as breast and childhood cancer, asthma, eczema and neurological problems.
Common Toxic Cleaning Chemicals
Alkylphenols are chemicals used in detergents and other cleaning products. They're also found in personal care products, especially hair products. These chemicals interact with cellular estrogen receptors in the body, capable of creating estrogen displacement and havoc.
Triclosan is an antibacterial and antifungal chemical used in cleaning products and household items such as soaps, detergents, toothpastes, mouthwash and cleaning supplies. The pesticide chemical can affect the body’s hormone systems, such as thyroid hormones, and consequently, may disrupt normal breast development.
Aldehydes, such as glutaraldehyde, are chemicals that may cause when the are breathed in or come in contact with the skin. They can cause permanent damage to the eyes, ears, nose , throat and lungs. Formaldehyde is a lung and respiratory irritant and is also classified as a category 3 carcinogen. Formaldehyde is commonly used as a preservative in cleaning products.
Benzalkonium Chloride is a sensitizer especially dangerous for people with asthma or skin conditions such as eczema and chronic dermatitis. There is also a stated correlation between an increase in childhood asthma and the exposure to this chemical through household disinfectants, sanitizers, and personal care products.
Sodium Hypochlorite is a strong oxidizer that can burn skin and cause eye damage. Mixing bleach with other household products can be extremely dangerous. According to the American Association of Poison Control Center’s annual reports, sodium hypochlorite has been implicated in many household accidents and/or deaths.
Phthalates are endocrine-disrupting chemicals commonly used to render plastics soft and flexible. They are found in plastics, cosmetics, fragrances especially in cosmetics and household cleaners, baby care products, building material, modeling clay, cars and insecticides. They enter the body by skin, ingestion, inhalation and medical injection. They are found in the air and dust in homes.
Ammonia Hydroxide is a common sanitizer used in the home, and according to the World Health Organization and the United States Environmental Protection Agency, is considered carcinogenic. It also had been linked with creating health problems with skin, liver, kidneys, lungs and eyes. The Environmental Working Group has stated a correlation with asthma, respiratory and skin issues as well.
Dyes in Cleaning Products
Dyes in cleaning products are often unlabeled on the products' ingredient lists, but are often comprised of several different chemicals, some of which are known carcinogens. Dyes in food and cleaning products have been linked to cancer and neurological problems, such as behavior, attention, learning problems.
Citrus Red 2, Red 3, Red 40, Yellow 5, Yellow 6, Blue 1, Blue 2, and Green 3 are derived from coal tar and petroleum, and according to the Center of Science in Public Interest (CSPI) have or have been contaminated with cancer-causing chemicals. The British Food Standards Agency in 2001 concluded after a study that 6 dyes/colorants and sodium benzoate were linked to increasing hyperactivity and ADD in children. As a result, the European Union Law required all beverages with these 6 dyes to have warning labels that consumption can lead to hyperactivity. We must be aware that our children are not ingesting dyes through foods or inhaling it the air as well.
How to Detox and Create a Toxic-Free Home
You are a supermom. Your hard work and love does not go unnoticed. Simply yield here and allow this as an opportunity to learn and grow.
First, start by making an effort to use nontoxic products. Use natural products for cleaning agents such as baking soda and vinegar. There is a variety of nontoxic products that you can buy in local stores and supermarkets, but check the labels carefully and research each ingredient. Sometime what you think is a clean green eco product really is not, and they are pricey to boot, so make sure they are in fact, clean.
The healthiest and most affordable means to creating a toxic-free healthy home is to learn how to make your own clean non-toxic cleaning products. Once you tackle each room and stock up on safe clean ingredients, you will be a true superhero with the ability to tackle health problems that once were caused by a toxic home.
Join the Ultimate Home-Detox Boot Camp
My friend and environmental engineer Laura Trotta has just opened the virtual doors to her new online program, the Home- Detox Boot Camp, where she shares her framework for a cleaner, greener, healthier home. I am jumping on board to fine tune my home.
I love how Laura will be my personal guide on how to remove toxins, step-by-step. She removes the overwhelming feeling of not knowing if I am doing this right or if I forgot something, but most of all, she is the leader in creating a healthy home for my children, especially my son who is on the Autism Spectrum.
Remember, toxins can create neurological problems in the body. Thus, having a toxin-free home helps our children regulate their nervous systems and overcome challenges related to asthma, allergies, sensory processing, ADD/ADHD and Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Clean. Safe. Healthy.
I now feel like a real Super Mom.
Will you join me?
Yours in Health and Happiness,
Dr. Lisa DeRogatis Sulsenti
Dr. Lisa DeRogatis Suslenti received a Bachelor Degree in Nutrition and Dietetics from the University of Delaware and her Doctorate Degree in Chiropractic from Life West Chiropractic College in 1996. She currently owns Atlantic Coast Chiropractic, a wellness center with her husband in Brick, NJ. Dr Lisa is a well-known chiropractor and nutritionist in her community. She has helped thousands of patients reach amazing healing potential in body, mind and spirit. Over the past 17 years, she has adjusted and coached patients with various health problems such as heart disease, high blood pressure, digestive problems, allergies, ear and sinus infections, back and joint pain, headaches, Autism Spectrum Disorders, Sensory Processing Disorders, ADD/ADHD and weight gain. Dr. Lisa is a member of the Association of New Jersey Chiropractors. She is also creator of DrLisaSulsneti.com, a website dedicated to creating healthy and thriving families with Autism Spectrum Disorders. She is a nutrition and educational advocate coach for families with ASD, SPD and ADD/ADHD needs. Dr. Lisa has a son with ASD, SPD and ADD which has taught her how to create successful academic classrooms and also, advocate for him. In doing so, she is experienced in advocating for families with special needs children. Her journey also led her to writing her book, The Overtilted Child: Creating a Sensational Classroom for Kids with Autism Spectrum Disorders, Sensory Processing Disorders and ADD/ADHD. This ultimate parent and teacher guide propelled her to create DrLisaSulsenti.com with a mission to help as many families as possible.
8 September 2014
For the month of August, we asked our Eco Challenge community to be ‘Eco Inspirational’: to tell us about their eco inspirations and what this means in their everyday lives. Sharyn Williams is our winner of the Be Eco Inspirational Eco Challenge and her winning entry is published below.
My Eco Inspiration
I have always been a bit “eco”, but what really started it for me was about 15 years ago when I got diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (an autoimmune condition). This made me start to question why my body was attacking itself. I started researching everything about the food we eat to the environment we live in.
Once I had children the love of my family and nature made me want to become even more “eco/sustainable” in the way we lived. Having children with asthma and allergies has made me even more determined.
Being Eco Inspirational - Everyday
Our vegie/herb/fruit patch, fruit trees and chook house - everyone should try to grow a little something.
We have our own chickens, which free range and get fed our food scraps. We have fruit trees and a vegetable/herb patch to grow as much of our own food as possible (free of chemicals) - nothing tastes better than freshly picked and eaten the way nature intended! This reduces the food mileage, as a lot of our fresh food travels directly from our garden to our plate.
Over time our goal is to keep increasing the amount we grow so that we eat more of our own. We also collect our relative’s food scraps to compost.
Salad made from produce from our garden - No food miles + fresh as can be = perfect.
Even though for years I have been making a lot of my own food from scratch, I have started doing even more in the past 12 months (i.e. sour dough bread, stocks, sauces and jams). I will continue to increase this so that “packet food” (even organic) is used for “backups” only.
My home made sour dough bread (no packaging!)
I am in the process of researching prices on bulk organic foodstuffs and getting friends together to purchase in bulk so that organic produce is affordable for us all. I am sourcing direct from farmers where I can.
I am researching and creating a list of sustainable options for when renovations and repairs need to be done on our house such as using eco paints.
I have decided that “eco living, sustainability and health” (they are all related) are my greatest passions, so I am working on a business idea that allows me to work in this field.
I have started giving “eco” advice to friends and family on ways to be more sustainable in their everyday lives. Even if they take just one piece of advice it is better than nothing!
To us, life is about living and enjoying the simple things in life and being environmentally responsible is an important part of that for us – we are just doing as nature intended. I make my children and others aware that we are part of a whole system, which includes every other living organism and nature – we cannot function as individuals or separately as everything we do affects something else. Having that in the back of your mind can influence the decisions we make.
Being “sustainable” does not mean that you go without, in fact it means that life is lived the way it should be lived both for our own and others’ health and happiness, and for Mother Earth.
Congratulations Sharyn! It’s great to hear about how you have applied your eco inspiration into your everyday life, and that’s the best kind of eco inspiration of all. For your efforts you have earned a $150 gift voucher from Sustainababy. Enjoy spending it in the online store!
If you would like to sponsor future Sustainababy Eco Challenges and introduce your product or brand to our large following of eco parents, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org