Tag Archives | organic

Less Is More Theory and Experiment

I’ve noticed with interest that dollar stores in my community are going out of business.  You would think in this economy where people are trying to save money that the dollar store business would be going strong.  Could it be that consumers, especially parents, are realizing that less is more?  I believe so.  Back-to-basics, sustainability, quality, craftsmanship, safety are words that parents are willing to pay more for.

From toys, to beauty products, and even our produce ~ I would rather buy organic, pesticide-free for my children.  Shopping in smaller amounts, rather than filling up my cart, without thinking through what I’ll truly need to use.  There has been much buzz about pesticides to avoid with food and mainstream press is starting to write about how toxic most personal care products are.  From organic food, to organic shampoo/soap, to safe toys made from natural or stringently tested materials come at a higher cost.  As a parent, I’m willing to pay a few extra dollars for products I know are coming from business that care and source products with the safely of my children at the forefront.  Most bios from mompreneurs include the fact they were deeply unsatisfied with answers, product selection and product knowledge from traditional stores.  I challenge anyone reading this to an experiment we’ll call the ‘Less-Is-More Theory’.  Walk into your local department store and ask the store clerk or manager questions about their toys, bath toys, personal care products, produce, water bottles, etc.  I myself started doing this when I noticed most store chains have started branding their store label on stainless steel water bottles; Old Nay, The Bay, London Drugs, Superstore, even Dollar Stores.  Not one of these retailers could tell me anything about their store branded stainless steel water bottles.  They had no idea what stainless steel grade they were or that there were different steel grades out there.  I hear about dollar stores that simply ‘dip’ the outside of water bottles to coat god-knows-what material underneath.  I’m not saying these retail stores are doing this, but from a quality issue, I’d like to know more about the grade I’m purchasing so I know how to care for it.  If you are nervous about purchasing bath products (personal care or toys), food or water containers, or plastic toys and the store cannot answer simple questions I would not purchase them.  Here are some basics that they should be able to answer:

What grade of stainless steel is this?
What type of plastic is this made from? Where is it manufactured?
Does this product contain phthalates, parabens, fragrance, BPA?
Is this toy (bath or not) PVC free?
What pesticide is used on this produce item?

If the person cannot answer your questions ~ don’t buy it.  Now finish this challenge.  Contact any of the store owners from this list of businesses and ask them the same questions.  I would bet a lot of money, they can answer your question, plus give you more than you expected:

Green Planet Parties
Healthy Kitchenware
H2Ox2
Kai Kids
Natural Pod
Nayla Natural Care
The Tickle Trunk

The list goes on, but you start here and receive top notch customer service and product knowledge.  You will never think again that getting Dollar Store bargains for these types of products is a good idea.  Dollar store priced stores have their place for certain types of products in my opinion; however, the health of your family is not an area they where they specialize and no price tag can be put on the future health of your children.

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First Visit To Local Farmers Market

My quest for local and organic food continues…today marked the kick-off as my clan descended on our local farmers market.  With the weather becoming warmer, you naturally start craving more fruit and raw veggies. All my kids turn into little lawn mowers when corn on the cob comes in season and is added to their dinner plates. 

What a wonderful, simple, relaxed atmosphere at the market.  Vendors are so friendly and helpful with questions – it was a great experience.  We left with some tomato plants and hand-made hair bands for the girls.  Unfortunately, there was only 1 vendor selling produce, because it’s been so cold locally, fruits and veggies will need a few more weeks.  But the discussions with the kids about supporting local farms is wonderful.  I know my kids are learning and embracing this new lifestyle of finding sustainable solutions. I sometimes feel like I have future little Suzuki’s budding and it makes me proud. If you are looking to increase your knowledge about eating locally, the book Eat Here is a highly recommended source: Eat Here: Homegrown Pleasures in a Global Supermarket

The fact that the average North American meal travels 2,400 km from farm to plate (as our polar bear friends are discovering), the huge impact of climate change has become significant.  The transportation of food has a significant negative impact globally and to think in my local region…we have over 5,000 farms!  Supporting our local farms is important for reducing our carbon footprint, and the food is tastier, healthier, and contributes to a more successful regional economy.  To find local, sustainable, organic food sources within a small radius of your home, use the postal code finder from the Eat Well Guide and open your options to a great selection of farms, stores, restaurants, online shopping , bakeries, etc.  So even though my farmers market didn’t have the produce I was hoping for, I’m happy to wait until it’s ready on the farms and I can try out some online shopping for organic. That is a very easy alternative and they deliver. 

Need more reasons to shop locally?  Here are 10 more reasons to buy local.

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Improving Kids Nutrition via Organic & Local Food

I’m just going to say it, and I’m fully expecting to hear your gasps from my computer chair… I don’t think I’ve ever bought organic food and I know I’ve never looked to see if a food item is produced locally.   There, I’ve said it and I feel SO much better.  

When I decided to ‘green’ up my family, I was already on a mission to educate myself and improve my kids’ nutrition.   My sons are always asking me to cook with them and my response is “mommy isn’t cooking….I’m heating things up!”   I really only make Shepard’s Pie from scratch…. everything else is heated or broiled in/on the stove.   I know changes need to come.

I’ve recently been SO inspired after listening to an amazing speaker, a nutritionist named Jen, who specializes in children’s eating habits and nutrition.  I’ve already started begging her to contribute to this site, as her message needs to be heard.  She touched on key points during her presentation of small things you can do to improve the large nutritional picture for your family.  Topics like what ingredients to look for on the packaging of brown bread, the importance of Vitamin D for kids, the top worst foods we feed our children, and when it’s important to buy organic.   I was glued to the information she was presenting and I only wish I had attended her presentation 4 years ago.  I would have done many things differently in my house….  

To kick start healthier habits for my clan, I’m excited to learn that my local Farmers Market begins in early May.  Canadians can check out their Farmers Markets via this site and Americans, click here. I am so excited to start weekly planning of fresh, local, organic, food and will be prioritizing this activity to the top of our busy list.  Weekends are pretty jammed packed with activities, birthday parties, church, but I think the kids will enjoy selecting and learning about where their food comes from.  They are already big fans of farms, so it won’t be hard to start the dialogue of why it is so important to support local farmers and reduce the carbon footprint that importing all our food increases. Local food doesn’t have to travel far, so this reduces carbon dioxide emissions and packing materials

These are the foods that Jen recommended are bought organically.  While I’m at my Farmers Market, I’ll have this list and be on the lookout for some of these local, organic products.  Thanks for this Jen!

Apples
Grapes
Nectarines
Peaches
Pears
Raspberries
Strawberries
Bell peppers
Celery
Potatoes
Spinach
Cherries

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