Archive | November, 2013

Baby It’s Cold Outside Contest

We’ve welcomed back some old friends with our new ‘Baby It’s Cold Outside’ contest and are excited to work with Dilly Dally Kids, Pip and Pin, and Simply Merino on this amazing contest! Imagine the snow is falling outside, you’ve are snuggling your child in their chemical free wool PJs, you are wearing a beautiful hand-knit cowl, and the kids bring out some family favourite games to play. Now you’ve got the concept for ‘Baby It’s Cold Outside’.

We are excited to introduce our new friend Simply Merino clothing company. If you are looking for chemical free sleep wear made without synthetic materials or flame retardants, you’ve got a friend in Simply Merino. These clothes are made in New Zealand from 100% Merino wool and are a wonderful barrier for children between their skin and athletic gear, to wear as sleep wear, or use as layering pieces. I know in our house, my sons are so limited with PJs this year because I’ve had a tough time finding sleep wear that isn’t made from polyester. The thought of them sleeping in a synthetic blend just isn’t how I want them spending 10+ hours. This holiday season, parents & family love to give the gift of cozy jammies. Let them know that Simply Merino is offering a 10% discount code to Mommy Footprint readers  – just enter  mommy10 at checkout after ordering.

simplymerino

Next to join the winter party is our friends Pip and Pin. We fell in love with these talented West Coast sisters two years ago after discovering their craft for making beautiful hand knit items. They are also adorable, kind, and the type of small business owners you want to support. My favourite signature Pip and Pin design are their cowls and the lucky contest winner of this contest can select a cowl with or without buttons and work with Megan and Katie with colours. Make sure to check them out at Make It Vancouver this weekend if you’re attending.

cowl

If you live in Greater Vancouver, chances are you’ve been to Commercial Drive and fallen in love with Dilly Dally Kids toy store that offers a wide variety of heirloom quality toys. I love the wooden selection at Dilly Dally Kids and they’ve done a great job with supporting local artists, sustainable toy options, along with classic favourites. They have generously allowed Mommy Footprint to select three fun family games to anchor our ‘Baby It’s Cold Outside’ contest. My family has spent hours enjoying these three games and I’m excited that another family will get to enjoy them too: Sleeping Queens Card Game, Rush Hour, and Zingo (pictured below). Visit Dilly Dally Kids in-store and enjoy the unique experience of finding holiday gifts in wide assortment and age ranges. Enter the below contest and your shopping will already be off to a great start if you win this prize basket.

dilly dally

Our ‘Baby It’s Cold Outside’ contest will run for one week November 26th – December 3rd at midnight. This contest is open to North American residents and I’m thankful to Simply Merino, Pip and Pin, and Dilly Dally Kids for working together for this amazing contest. Now close your eyes, imagine the snow falling outside, and think of how lucky you’d be to win a wool pair of kid’s PJs, cozy cowl, and family games package.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Why Is Carrageenan In Organics?

I’ve been hearing the word ‘carrageenan’ in online circles for months. It’s been listed as another ingredient to avoid, but until quite recently, my little brain was already very full so I ignored this new information. But after recently completing a Whole30 eating schedule which involves no sugar, gluten, grain, alcohol, dairy, legumes, all forms of packaged food, nitrates, MSG, and Carrageenan, I needed to figure out why I’m supposed to avoid it. One thing you instantly notice with eating Whole30 compliant food or ‘cave man’ with only meat, plants, fruit, nuts, eggs, and oils is your stomach becomes happier and flatter. I didn’t complete the Whole30 to loose weight, rather I was trying to figure out what my body is sensitive to (sugar, gluten, or dairy) when they are reintroduced after 30 days. But I have to admit – the flat stomach that only felt full, not bloated after eating was amazing.

Back to carrageenan. This preservative is specifically mentioned on the Whole30 diet to avoid. With all the ingredients in the world, why is this one listed? And why when I went to my local health food store, was it listed in every single brand of almond and coconut milk that wasn’t in a can? Carrageenan is extracted from red seaweed and is used as a thickener, stabilizer, and/or emulsifier in many dairy, dairy alternatives, and deli meat products. Why should it be avoided? Research links carrageenan to gastrointestinal inflammation, lesions, and even colon cancer in animals. Carrageenan is significantly inflammatory if it gets into the body, which can happen with increased gut permeability. The concern with carrageenan while eating very clean like Whole30 for gut health is that it can degrade into components that can cross even a healthy gut barrier. Leaky gut it not the goal with clean or organic food. So I ask again, why is this ingredient widely found in organics products and stores? And I’ve calmed down a little, because I just figured out it’s an ingredient in my Jason brand toothpaste. With so much concern and attention paid to gut health, it’s more than a little disturbing that this ingredient is in so many products. Start looking for it – you’ll be surprised.

A great resource if you want more information on Carrageenan  and how it can be potentially toxic to health is Cornucopia site. And it’s very interesting to look at their Shopping Guide to Avoiding Organic Foods with Carrageenan. Because I guess we’ve been lulled into a false sense of security when purchasing certified organic foods. I have to saw – my heart sank at many of the brands listed in this shopping guide. Especially local Avalon Dairy with their chocolate milk and yes, even a few of the Trader Joe and Whole Food brands.

Interesting to note that alcoholic beverages may contain carrageenan (e.g. to clarify beer) and ingredients don’t have to be listed for alcohol. Did you know that certain beer brands contain GMOs (corn and/or corn syrup)? Worth mentioning if you are trying to reduce tummy issues – beer is not going to do you any favours with a long list of ingredients that is filled with harmful ingredients.

I’ve checked my the milk my children consume and have found an almond milk brand for myself that is delicious and made without carrageenan, but making my own almond milk is on the list. It always give me so much satisfaction to make something that is expensive and in this case is a bit of a mystery.

C-A-R-R-A-G-E-E-N-A-N …it’s your new ingredient to look for.

carrageenan article

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West Coast Natural Toy Magic

My love of Waldorf, naturally handcrafted toys is more than just admiration of a person’s craft. When you see a toy that has tenderness infused into the stitches and wooden seams, you absorb the love that was given to make this special toy. Being a West Coaster that is connected to two of the leaders in the Waldorf play and education fields, I’m super honored to be hosting a contest with Bamboletta Dolls and Natural Pod.

I’ll start with Bamboletta. If you haven’t read their story, please click over and be ready to fall in love. The heart of Bamboletta is the founder Christina who has developed a business model that creates a better world. She has perfected a craft, taught others, and along the many years of hard work, never sold out with how the dolls are manufactured and what materials are used to make them.  Christina and her busy helpers have stayed where the dolls were created – right here on the West Coast making her magic bloom. What is new with Bamboletta since we last checked in? Over to Christina.

We’ve introduced 2 new styles last year that have been extremely popular. They are different then the traditional type of Waldorf doll as they are sewn to have more flexible limbs. Great for having a snuggle or a tea party! We will continue to do what we do, which is to create high quality dolls made with the best ‘ingredients’ we can find. I’m working hard to find more and more local sources my materials and have started working with a mill in Nova Scotia to get our yarn hair from. All our dolls are made right here in the Cowichan Valley by local moms creating a strong community of women working together with a lot of love hand crafting these dolls. They are infused with love in the stitches and will be an item that your child will eventually pass on to their child when they get older.

We are so excited to have our own Little Buddy doll from Bamboletta for this contest (her picture is in the contest box at the bottom of this article). She is so sweet and the beautiful touch at the front of her hair is a handspun yarn made by a local weaver from Cowichan Valley. Details are never left out with the Bamboletta ladies. Here is a picture of the Bamboletta shop. Doesn’t it look like Santa’s Workshop with magic and creativity bursting out the doors?

bamboletta doll shop

Over we go to Natural Pod who I’ve known for many years. They were one of the leaders in the naturally made toy movement 9 years ago and they haven’t slowed down with earth stewardship. With more of a global focus now, Natural Pod has shifted their expertise to help design and build beautiful, sustainable natural play spaces, furniture and open-ended play items that foster different learning environments for children. Their mission to foster how children can develop and learn from their environment when the focus is play is so important. They continue to inspire and ignite passion for teaching with the beautiful environments they create. I invite you to check out their Fan Page and look at the pictures of open-ended play spaces they’ve dreamed and delivered over the years. Very inspiring! More words from owner Bridgitte.

We serve educators and children in childcare, home-day, preschool, kindergarten, elementary and middle schools along with hospice and special needs students around the world. Raw materials for our products are sourced as close as the forests near our office on Vancouver Island and the wood we use is Forestry Stewardship Certified (FSC), supporting responsible forestry practices. Our other products are made of natural wood, wool or silk and finished in plant-based dyes, harmonic beeswax or in some cases are left naturally unfinished. The bulk of our product line is not only recyclable, but even 100% naturally compostable. Since our beginning, we have worked with over 500+ different learning organizations and have successfully delivered more than 27,000 products to our customers.

Check out how lovely this newly created classroom space is from Natural Pod.

newnaturalpod

Now over to the fun part of this feature – a contest!  Can you imagine winning a Bamboletta Little Buddy and Natural Pod Wooden Rocker? You could pretty much call Christmas shopping a wrap if you are the lucky winner! My thanks to Bamboletta and Natural Pod who are waiting to ship the lucky contest winner these two items. The contest runs from November 13, 2013 – November 20, 2013 – closing at midnight. This contest is open to North America. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Navigating GMO Food

The word GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) has become mainstream, which is great news for health advocates looking to ban or label modified food ingredients. But even label reading junkies like myself get schooled with GMO ingredients. A recent example of this was me trying to buy a pack of cinnamon quickly in the local supermarket. Cinnamon is one of those spices where the only ingredient should be cinnamon . . . right? Well the first package I grabbed told a different story and still has me scratching my head with why cottonseed and soy oil need to be added to cinnamon. Needless to say I purchased another brand  that only listed cinnamon as the sole ingredient but it proves the point that until GMO labelling is done properly in North America, consumers are left with the big task of checking ingredients on every packaged item that goes into the shopping cart. And how is this managed if you shop for food items like spices in bulk?

cinn2

The journey to avoid GMOs is one you’ve probably started. If not, here is why green living experts or green consumers want to have them labeled and eventually banned from Canada.  And whether you agree that GMO food is good/bad to ingest – experts worry that it will soon be a problem of choice because widespread use of GMOs becomes a contamination issue for organic or conventional food. And for the consumers that love organics and clean food – this is pretty scary.

Why am I on a journey to avoid GMOs? I simply don’t trust where GMO seed originated.  The company that created weed killer Roundup to act as a time saver for farmers, then created a seed that could withstand the effects of Roundup. In a nutshell – this is what GMO food is grown from: seeds that are to withstand direct application of herbicide and to produce an insecticide. But it’s been proven that these seeds are not high yielding, have horrible effects on insects and the environment, and we can only guess without enough scientific data what the effects have been on human health.

How are we going to navigate the food isles to avoid GMO ingredients? Think positively – you are able to make new friends! Your local famers and grocery store managers are about to become your BFF. Also understand that this journey will cost more. But North America spends the least amount of their total earning % on food compared to anywhere else in the world. We have shopped for so long based on cost and saving a few dollars. When you pay for quality – you will get clean food.

7 Tips for Avoiding GMOs:

–       Take baby steps. If you overhaul your enter kitchen overnight, the stress will be too much. Start in your pantry and work your way towards the fridge. Chances are the food inside your fridge is much healthier than dry stock, convenience items.

–       The next time you go into a traditional grocery store, only shop the perimeter. The foods with the highest number of GMO ingredients are in the isles.  By shopping the outside you concentrate on ‘real food’.

–       If you are looking for a cob of corn to be the poster child for GMOs you need to realize that GMO corn is actually hidden as corn ingredients inside processed food.

–       Limit processed foods. But if you are a busy parent and need some convenience, you’ll need to read ingredients. Look for any ingredients listed with soy, corn, refined sugar, and canola oil.

–       Be thankful that our BC farmers are dedicated to high farming standards. Visit your local famers markets and talk to them about pesticides and GMOs. You’ll find your favourites and enjoy shaking hands with the hand that feeds you.

–       Remember that some food sources for GMOs are invisible, without an ingredient list. Meat is a great example of this. Ask your local butcher what your meat is actually fed. GMO grain and corn is a possibility with cattle, chicken, or pork feed. Sourcing grass-fed meat might be a long-term goal for your family.

–       Look for the Non-GMO Project label. This is verification that the product you are purchasing is GMO-free. Most organic food is also free of GMOs.

Keep smiling through this process to get back to clean food. It will take work, but the benefits for a family are wonderful! Children grow up connected to their food source and the entire family will enjoy learning the term ‘farm to plate’ and loving the journey.

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