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Milk Money Mar 05 2008 11:37 AM
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by mindfulmomma

 
a coupon) but almost always hormone-free.  Thing is, depending on what store I go to (and I frequent many) there are different brands available that make my choices more complicated.

ORGANIC

I'm often tempted by store brand organic milk because it's less expensive.  But have you heard about the Horizon/Aurora Organic boycott?   The Organic Consumer's Association is leading the charge to boycott this company (owned by Dean Foods) because they have been pushing the limits on organic standards by using factory farm feedlots where the animals have little or no access to pasture.

So, if you care about maintaining organic standards, then consider passing on not only the Horizon Organic brand but the private label brands that use the same supplier.  As far as I know, these brands include:  Costco's "Kirkland Signature," Target's "Archer Farm", Walmart's "Great Value", Safeway's "O" organics brand, Publix's "High Meadows,"Giant's "Natures Promise," and Wild Oats' organic milk.

Milk3.jpgTrader Joe's and Whole Foods "365' brand of organic milk appear to be OK.  Let's hope so anyway! (and feel free to correct me if I'm wrong about any of this)

If you want to get into some heavy details, check out the Cornucopia Institute's research project on Maintaining the Integrity of Organic Milk.  If not, just enjoy their great graphic illustration of the situation!

 

rBGH-FREE

I want to keep this as simple as possible.... rBGH (recombinant bovine growth hormone) is given to cows to increase their milk production.  It is bad for:

  • COWS - because it can lead to chronic mastitis (if you've ever breast fed, you know what that means and why you don't EVER want to have it!). And because of the risk of infection, herds are treated with lots of antibiotics.
  • PEOPLE - because the resulting milk has high levels of Insulin-like Growth Hormone (IGF-1). Research has shown that elevated levels of IGF-1 is linked to an increased risk of breast, colorectal and prostrate cancer.

Use of rBGH is banned in Canada and the European Union.  It's allowed here in the U.S. but the movement to stop using it is getting bigger by the day.  All Trader Joe's milk (organic and non) is rBGH-free.  Starbucks offers rBGH-free milk in all their U.S. stores and is working toward a complete switch.  Kroger is officially rBGH-free in the West and their switch will be nationwide by Feb. 2008.   

Fortunately, rBGH-free milk is easy to find and while you do pay a premium, it is not as spendy as organic.  A good compromise if you ask me.   

OTHER OPTIONS

Most people I know buy 1% or skim.  I buy 2% because it's what I grew up with and what my family likes.  My son had a pediatrician who gave me a hard time about switching to skim.  I switched doctors instead.  I'm not an expert, but I'm not afraid of a little bit of fat.

Anyone out there a raw milk fan?  I've never tried it but I know there are people who think it is MUCH healthier than pasteurized milk.  You can learn more from the Campaign for Real Milk (a project of the Weston A. Price foundation).    

Supporting your School?  Here in Minnesota, I try to buy Kemps Select brand (rBGH-free) because saving the cap means money for Drew's school.  Just one more thing to think about in the complicated process of feeding your family... 


Homemade Cleaning Products - A Baby Step Feb 13 2008 12:30 PM
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by mindfulmomma

 
this topic.'  Aaaah, but I caught myself - and this time I'm taking baby steps. 

No, I don't have the borax or the soap flakes or the washing soda yet.  But I do have ingredients that I already have in my house:  baking soda, vinegar and some essential oils.

I whipped up a simple sink scrub that made my stainless steel kitchen sink shine and left the whole kitchen smelling fresh.  Oh, and the 'volcano' action you get when you mix the baking soda and vinegar is a fun little science experiment for the kiddos - so get them in on the action!

1/4 cup baking soda

1/4 cup white vinegar

3-5 drops of essential oil (those with antibacterial properties include lavender, lemon, lime, orange, sandalwood, cypress, chamomile, rosemary, thyme, lemongrass and others)

auracacia.jpgI used an essential oil blend from Aura Cacia.  I love their Essential Solutions blends because I don't have to buy a bunch of individual oils.  They create the blends for various effects:  Creative Juice is energizing, Pep Talk is refreshing, Chill Pill is soothing and Mellow Mix (the one that I use) is calming with lavender, lemon, sandalwood, roman chamomile, petitgrain and neroli oils.  It smells SO good! 

I also made a garbage pail freshener using the same essential oil blend.  Just fill a spray bottle with water, add 8-12 drops of essential oil and viola - you're armed and ready to overcome the stench of a stinky pail - without filling the air with toxic chemicals.

Watch out, I just might try some more!  I'll keep you posted as I work my way through the book The Naturally Clean Home by Karyn Siegel-Maier.  It's got some great tips and over 100 recipes for anyone inclined to DIY.


Reusing our Glow Mama bottles Jan 20 2008 7:00 PM
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by lucy

 
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Lets start at the simple end of the creativity scale - around the house.  Here is a picture of my little guy with his new bath accessory.  I'm sure he's not going to be happy when he discovers that his mommy plastered naked photos of him all over the internet - all for a good cause buddy! 

bowling.gifIf you're like me and you find that your flashy, colorful, expensive toys always seem to get abandoned for the phone, keys and remote control, then why not try imaginative new Glow Mama toys... rattles, instruments, even bowling!   The My Education Junction blog has some cool suggestions for bigger kids. 

Back in adult for a minute, there are the desk accessories, garden and garage storage suggestions and even plenty of ideas for the fridge/freezer.  Why not fill empty bottles with the salad dressings or sauces you make from scratch or buy in bulk?  Just be sure to rinse it well first, unless of course you are looking for a bit of kiwi flavoring.  Freeze some water in an empty bottle (don't fill it to the top) and use it in your cooler or lunch bag instead of a chill-pak.  Ok, that one might not be that appropriate for another couple of months. 

Rachel from MN wrote to me with a great suggestion... "After I've finished drinking it, my husband rubs my Glow Mama bottle up and down my aching back and legs.  There's something about me being 8 ˝ months pregnant that has turned my husband into a sweet heart." 

Then there are the extreme measures for reusing your PET drink bottles.  Check out these two boats made from old water bottles.  Anyone up for a Glow Mama canoe?

boat1.jpg

 

 

boat2.jpg