Archive | May, 2013

Juicing With Spud!

With my focus on health and transforming the food in my kitchen with reducing processed food, I knew that a juicer would be another tool to assist with this mission. When I found out SPUD was carrying juicers, I knew they would be a great place to ask for help – their knowledge in the world of organics & now juicing is well respected. And this folks, is the difference between buying an appliance like a juicer at a department store or with a small business that specializes in education. I have received support, recipes, the Fat, Sick, & Nearly Dead DVD, and I know SPUD is invested in my juicing success. Juicing machines have really evolved over the last few years. I think older models had lots of pieces and were tough to want to use because of the cleanup. This isn’t the case anymore as my Breville Juice Fountain Elite has 5 big pieces that snap together – my kids could assemble it. Not only is it easy and a beautiful machine if you want to store it on your counter-top, but the pieces that heat up and actually create the juice, are stainless steel. For a person trying to stay clear of plastic – this is a wonderful feature.

SPUD has totally evolved since I last ordered produce. They sell two types of top rated juicers (Breville and Hurom Slow Juicer) and also offer organic juicing  boxes. The juicing boxes are easy to order and once you have a couple of favourite juicing combo recipes, figuring out box contents is easy. The SPUD Dynamic Beauty box is a great mix of produce items and provides around 20 glasses of juice a week, or around 2-3 glasses a day. The All Vegetable box would probably be more in line with Joe’s Reboot (Creator of Fat, Sick, & Nearly Dead documentary) as he is a big fan of greens. Juicing boxes were designed to be more of a supplement to healthy eating versus a complete juice cleanse, although you could always order more produce to do a cleanse. I’m working my way up to a 3 day cleanse – I think if you’ve got solid recipes to ensure proper nutrition, a system reboot is worth a try.

The key for wanting to use a juicer often is the process needs to be easy. I have a tough time staying on top of home cooked meals, healthy baked snacks, so using a juicer needs to be quick and fun. And boy is it both! The kids also love to help making juices and the rule is “if you help you have to try the finished product”. They haven’t been a huge fan of the deep green juices, but they love any of the carrot, apple, orange, celery combos.  The X-Ray Vision Juice recipe listed below is their favourite! The Hurom juicer is a masticating slow juicer which means you get a really high juice yield, and maximum nutritional value because the produce isn’t heated during the juicing process. It uses a low speed technology system so produce isn’t oxidized and each glass of juice is filled with tons of beneficial live enzymes and micro-nutrients. SPUD is also now carrying the Hurom Premium Slow Juicer & Smoothie Maker which is a great machine for families that like to both juice and create smoothies!  I was torn between these two models trying to balance my love for stainless steel and the slower processing yield of the Hurom – you just need to decide what is the most important to you in a juicer.

Why do I love the juicer? There are certain nutrients that I want to be eating but haven’t spent the time or energy to find a way to ingest them in their whole form. A few examples of this are kale, ginger, spinach, and celery. These greens and ginger are hyped for a reason. They are incredibly good for you but I really dislike the taste of kale and ginger. Yes, I’ve tried kale chips too – but nothing has permanently stuck with kale. And with all the nutritional sites I follow, you start to feel inadequate if these super foods aren’t on your list as everyday food choices. Well I can get these foods on a regular basis through juicing. And on the other hand, you also discover there are foods you would just rather eat than juice and cucumber and beets are these items for me. I love raw cucumbers and steamed beet salad – these foods have a bitter taste when juiced.

Juicing is transforming other parts of our lives as a family. I’m finally getting one of those fridges that you open and the first thing you see on every shelf is a fruit or vegetable. We always have full shelves of green or fruit and I love that. Fresh juicing of delicious produce reduces another packaged and normally unhealthy product of traditional boxed juice in your fridge. I love being that mom that can grab a handful of apples, oranges, or carrots quickly, juice them up and produce a great glass of nutritious juice for the kids when they ask for it. The largest shelf in my fridge is the top shelf – here is a picture of what it’s holding.

I’ve bookmarked many juicing recipes and will share more of these with the benefits of the green vegetables while we continue to juice. For now, I’ll forward you two favourites – the X-Ray Vision Juice because it’s amazingly tasty (and we make popsicles with the leftover juice). Also, the Deep Green Juice – I must admit I had to pull on my big girl pants to finish the green juice, but when you look at the nutrients from it – wowza!  It’s easy.

Deep Green Juice (makes 2 large glasses)
1 cucumber
4 stalks celery

1 apple
2 handfuls kale
1 lemon
1″ piece of ginger

X-Ray Vision Juice (single serving) ** Kid Friendly **
3 carrots
1 orange
1/2 apple
1 stalk celery
From popsicle leftovers to enjoying the buzz I get after drinking a big tall juice – I’m loving the lifestyle changes that happen from juicing. Most juicing pictures go onto my Instagram page so follow me there to learn more recipes and combinations for detox, migraines, most alkaline, anti constipation, anti asthma, immune, and eczema juices. Yes – there are juicing recipes for pretty much anything which makes sense because you are taking concentrated, clean, whole nutrients over eating processed, packaged ones.


My Little Green Shop Gift Certificate Contest

Mommy Footprint and My Little Green Shop are having a contest! I’m so happy to be offering safe contest options through our trusted sponsors. We are kicking off our summer contest series with a $40 Gift Certificate from My Little Green Shop. I can’t think of a more convenient and adorable store to pickup summer essentials like sunscreen, light weight organic PJs, or sun glasses to protect babies. So many options for the lucky winner of this contest! I’ve tried to make it easy by liking Facebook pages, answering a question, following on Pinterest or Tweeting the give-away. You can complete all or only one of these entry terms – each will enable your name to be entered for this contest which is active from May 21st – midnight May 26th. North American residents only please.

a Rafflecopter giveaway



Planting Peas

If there is one thing I’ve learned is to never doubt you can inspire someone. When I feel like there is no possible way other people don’t already know the information I’m writing about, I’m always proven wrong by a lovely email or comment thanking me for the article. So while I feel like many of you probably already know how to plant peas – I’m very proud of this gardening project we’ve just completed with my sweet nine year old son and thought I’d share it. I find gardening tutorials a lot like cooking – sometimes pictures are a lot more helpful than words. So I’ve been snapping pictures through the process and the final image ending with pea shoots that are starting to come through the soil. I didn’t know that growing food was going to be this fun. At every new corner with our garden, the excitement builds and I’ve never loved my yard or house more! Here is our project with the peas and since the seeds go right into the ground (don’t have to be grown indoors first), you still have time to start your own with these easy steps!

Since peas or beans like to climb, we decided to grow our peas along the walkway of our house because it gets the most sun. We also replaced the dirt. We haven’t planted anything new since moving in and I knew the quality of the soil wasn’t great. We used potting soil with a little sea soil and refilled this area:

After the new soil was laid, we decided to soak the peas overnight to give them a little head start with germinating. We put the heirloom seeds we purchased from West Coast Seeds between paper towels and watered them. This process softened the peas before we put them into the ground.

We purchased bamboo and plastic rods and made teepees. You just tie the top with hemp string and then separate the bottom of the sticks to accommodate the space you have. We used four sticks per bundle because our walkway is narrow.

Around each of the poles we dug little holes (up to my knuckle) and placed a pea or two in each hole.

We planted these peas last week and they are already shooting up giving our walkway a beautiful contrast of green against the new, rich soil. Who knew that soil could be so beautiful? I love to see the fresh soil with only the tops of something WE grew coming through. People always told me that peas and beans are easy to grow. It’s really one of those things that until you try you just don’t know. And yes, it’s very easy to do. But more than easy it’s been really relaxing, fun, and the excitement I’ve been sharing with my younger children has been awesome!

We just planted the carrots tonight and there is more planting coming. We don’t know what we are doing – but asking questions and trying new things is always a good thing. And if there is food at the end of this rainbow – mission accomplished. And if there isn’t? Mission accomplished too because I have tried something I’ve wanted to do with my kids for years. And if I didn’t have to replace all my soil – this would have been a very budget friendly Spring project! Super excited to figure out how to plant the tomatoes we’ve been germinating inside for months! My front room is starting to look like a grow-op! Stay tuned, I hear tomato planting for this region is supposed to be this weekend.  I’ve got some grass to remove and then some of these plants can go in . . I mean really, who needs a lawn when you can grow food?



State Of The World’s Mother’s 2013

This Mother’s Day I was searching for an article with deeper meaning to me personally. I’ve really gotten to that place in life that for my birthday, Mother’s Day, and celebrations for me – I feel nothing but blessed to have my healthy children surrounding me. So when Jeremy from Save The Children Canada shared with me some of the amazing work they do with the challenges facing mothers and newborns worldwide, I knew I wanted to share them with you. Each year, Save the Children release this index of the challenges facing mothers and newborns worldwide, from Canada to the Congo.  This review looks at key indicators such as maternal mortality, child mortality, educational attainment, political status of women and country economic strength to “rank” the best and worst places for mothers and babies.  This year, we also have a special focus on the first day of a baby’s life, highlighting  how the birth day represents the most dangerous day for mothers and newborns alike, especially in developing countries.

Thank you for sharing these beautiful Global mamas and their stories. Here are two and the difference Save The Children has brought to their lives.

Photo credit: Michael Tsegaye/Save the Children A mother with her newborn child at Dessie Referral Hospital in Afar region, Ethiopia.  Save the Children staff refer girls and women with health problems from rural Amhara to the hospital and assist them in their journey there.

Photo credit: Alfonso Daniels/Save the Children.  In Sierra Leone, one of the worst places in the world to be a mother: Fatmara, 21,  lost a baby a few years ago after giving birth in the floor of her shack.  She recently gave birth successfully at the clinic opened by Save the Children in Susan’s Bay slum in April 2012.  She also benefits from free healthcare for mothers and children under 5 introduced by the government two years ago, thanks in part to lobbying from Save the Children and other organizations.

It’s an incredibly powerful campaign Surviving The First Day. Imagine becoming a Mother and this is your greatest worry – your child surviving the first day and then month of life because of low cost solutions . Click here to find out what Save The Children is doing to help – even Canada (ranked 22) and the US (ranked 30) could be doing better. Find out how.



Factory Clothing Tragedy in Bangladesh

There are times when my passion for wanting to write about global problems shouldn’t happen immediately, without research first and the recent tragedy involving factory workers in Bangladesh is the perfect example. Like so many people, I was very upset to learn that more than 300 factory employees making brand name clothing died in a building collapse in Bangladesh. My immediate reaction was not to boycott Bangladesh clothing, but I must admit to wanting to scream “only support locally made clothing” to anyone that would listen. I was steaming mad. All I could think of was the people being paid $38 month to make the big name labels that for all these years I’ve avoided because I get so frustrated knowing the huge profits these companies make. What else could be the driving force for sub-letting the American clothing industry overseas for all these years? I also wonder why we can’t pay people in 3rd world countries more money to make our products? Are we really that greedy? Well, if you are paying someone just over $1 a day to make clothing for 10 hours, I’d say profit margins are pretty high and maybe we’ve become too far removed as North Americans from what it actually costs to make something.

I’m different from a lot of people. When I hear people talking about how cheap they just picked up items a, b, and c, I actually cringe. I feel like there is something very wrong with our world when I can go to a big box store that is having a clothing sale, and buy clothing for less than I can find it 2nd hand or make it myself. When I close my eyes, this isn’t the kind of world I want for myself. And so I try hard to vote with my consumer dollars. Because we are not wealthy and it really does cost a lot more to only purchase locally made clothing, I’ve really embraced shopping 2nd hand in the last few years. My kids really like the feel of already worn clothing and I love the recycled aspect to buying clothing this way.

So shopping local and 2nd hand is really my thing. But I would enjoy the freedom of knowing which big brands are doing their part to support factory employees in other countries by paying them a fair wage and giving them safe working conditions. Why don’t we know this? A wonderful blogger who has actually visited Bangladesh with Save The Children Canada has been able to share her experiences from understanding what kind of impact the factory clothing industry has in Bangladesh.  Her points about why your shouldn’t boycott Bangladesh made clothing really made me think and realize this isn’t going to help people suffering in countries that experience such poverty. I learned from PhD In Parenting’s article that some larger brands have been working to try and improve safety in their factories.  And brands that made a decision to opt out of any improvement to garment factory safety in 2011? Walmart, The Gap, Old Navy to name a few. Large brands that are proactively trying to help? Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein. I still find the issue of what large brands opting in for safety regulations confusing and if I did all my shopping solely at big box stores this information would only help me so far navigating within a Mall. So it comes down to asking questions. And after recently listening to one of Michael Pollan speeches to university students, he said something that I think is relevant to this issue of clothing and wanting to know more behind how it’s made. He said that if a question is asked more than 25 times at McDonalds, they have to raise the question with superiors. (I can’t remember the exact quote but it might be board of directors or shareholders). So if McDonalds has this policy – maybe the clothing stores do too? If I walk into Old Navy and ask the Manager if they support safety agreements for the factory workers that make their clothing – will it lead to change? If the clothes are made in Bangladesh, quoting this safety agreement might be helpful. If a retailers clothing is manufactured in China, India, etc. the question is still relative. “Does your clothing support safe working conditions and pay for factory workers?”

And maybe as a society we need to really understand the true cost of cheap things. Our focus needs to go back to knowing where the origin of clothing, food, and housewares comes from. Our grandparents knew. And along the way we stopped caring and listening to where the products that enter our lives come from or how they were made. It’s a problem that can be fixed. The true cost of that pair of jeans for $4.99 on sale at Walmart is much, much greater. The environmental toll and human face needs to reemerge before I want to buy them. If I know there is human cost behind a product I’m good to pass until I can trust another big name is caring about the woman sitting behind a machine in the garment factory for 12 hours a day. I want her to work, be a leader in her family with income, but I also want to know she’s not locked in a building with cracks in the foundation making me that pair of pants. So no, definitely not boycotting Bangladesh, but yes, wanting to know a safety agreement has been signed to protect these worker. Yes.



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