From MSN.com comes this enlightening article on the 12 Foods with Super Healing Powers. With each food touting its own “super power,” these are the ones to pile up in your grocery cart the next time you head to the store. Better yet – head to the Farmer’s Market to support local farmers and find a bevy of local produce, fresh and in season!

The fabulous 12 include: Kiwi Fruit, Cherries, Guavas, Beans, Watercress, Spinach, Onions, Carrots, Cabbage, Broccoli, Kale, and Dandelion.

How many out of 12 do you eat on a regular basis?

Visit the website for the full article: http://health.msn.com/health-topics/pain-management/fibromyalgia/slideshow.aspx?cp-documentid=100256169

Today’s illuminating article is written by health professional, Marissa Oachs, the 2nd in the series featured on Tiny Green Mom. Marissa offers an engaging commentary on what mothers need to know to make informed choices on common baby products. Another HUGE thanks to Marissa for providing this article for Tiny Green Mom’s readers! Please visit Marissa’s blog for more information: http://the-hardest-job-on-earth.blogspot.com/.

What Every Mother Should Know…About the Products We Use on Our Children

So…last time I focused on the air our children are breathing in. This time I am going to focus on the products we use on our children, such as lotions, body wash, shampoo, massage oil, etc.

Our children are the most precious gifts in the world ever given to us and it is up to us to keep them safe and healthy! There are a lot of things we have to worry about as mothers, but we shouldn’t let what we put on their skin be one of them!

To help you understand the rest of this article, let’s start with listing the significant offenders that you should look for in the ingredients of your baby products:

Parabens (Propylparaben, Methylparaben, Ethylparaben, Butylparaben): These are used as preservatives in many of the baby products – lotions, washes, wipes, etc. They can cause allergic reactions, are irritating to skin/eyes, and have been shown to be harmful to human sperm. They are also a concern for reproductive problems and breast cancer. They are readily absorbed through the skin and have been detected in breast tissue and tumors.

1,4-dioxane: is harmful even in trace amounts. It is a byproduct of a chemical processing technique called ethoxylation used to make petroleum based cosmetic ingredients gentler to the skin.

Formaldehyde: this is a probable human carcinogen and is associated with gene damage, mutations, and developmental problems.

Benzethonium Chloride: This is used in some baby wipes and is highly TOXIC. Ingesting even a small amount may cause vomiting, collapse, convulsions, coma, or death

Benzyl Alcohol: moderately toxic if inhaled or absorbed through skin contact. It is a moderate skin and eye irritant and larger exposures can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, respiratory distress, and even death. It is found in some baby lotions and diaper rash cream.

PEGs: Polyethylene glycols should not be used on damaged skin due to concerns over kidney toxicity. It is also associated with cancer of the blood and lymph systems. PEGs are found in cleaning products and lotions.

Colorings: FD&C Yellow #5 is an allergen and has been associated with hyperactivity in children. It is added to some bubble baths and baby washes.

Fragrance: this is a catch all term that manufacturers can use without listing specific ingredients. Phthalates are often ingredients in fragrances. These include chemicals that are suspected carcinogens and hormone disruptors.

Here are some other ingredients of concern to keep an eye out for – talc, triethanolamine and cocamide DEA, Isopropanol, 2-phenoyxyethanol, glycerin, linoleic acid, cholecalciferol, 1,4-dioxane and triclosan.

Chemicals such as phthalates, parabens, and sodium lauryl sulfate, have turned up in shampoos, lotions, and body washes. These products may also contain harmful chemical by-products such as 1,4-dioxane and formaldehyde, which the EPA classifies as probably carcinogens!

Here is another example – in a recent study involving infants and toddlers, 81% had signs of phthalates in their wet diapers after having had some type of personal care product applied to their skin. Some experts suggest that phthlates, which is also used as softeners in plastic toys and have recently been banned from children’s toys by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, can potentially have negative impacts on the respiratory system, liver, and kidneys!

Also, keep in mind while you read all these facts – a baby’s skin is five times thinner than an adults’, making it even easier for them to absorb all these harmful products! Plus, babies have a greater ratio of skin surface to body weight, so they have a harder time flushing the chemicals out of their systems!

It really hits home to me that this is serious when I see that other countries have banned them out of their products: Formaldehyde is banned from personal care products in Japan and Sweden and the European Union bans 1,4-dioxane from their personal care products at any level and have recalled products that contain the chemical. If other countries can do it, why aren’t we??!!

Here are some quick tips to fight these companies who are killing our children one bath at a time?

  1. Start to be choosy about what products you use. Read the labels on all the baby products you have in the house right now.
  2. Avoid or throw any products away that have any of the ingredients listed above.
  3. Simplify: Select products with fewer ingredients and no sythetic fragrance or dyes, and use fewer products overall
  4. Tell manufacturers that safety is important to you – write major companies that do include these harmful ingredients and tell them that safety for your children is important to you!
  5. Take action: Tell Congress you want safe cosmetics for babies, adults, and everyone in between.
  6. Buy the healthy alternatives. They may sometimes be a little more expensive, but keep in mind you will save money down the road by saving money in health and hospital bills

Marissa has listed some of her favorite alternative brands for different baby products below (some of which have also been featured on Tiny Green Mom!

  • Baby bath/wash: Shaklee, California Baby, Avalon Organics, Yes to Carrots
  • Baby oil/lotion/diaper rash ointment: Shaklee, Earth Mama Angel Baby
  • Baby shampoo/conditioner: Shaklee, Yes to Carrots, Aubrey Organics
  • Diapers: Earth’s Best, Seventh Generation, Tushies
  • Baby Wipes: Tushies, Seventh Generation, Earth’s Best

Please, for the safety of your children, the rest of your family, and the earth we live on, read the labels and choose wisely.

Today’s informative article was written by health professional Marissa Oachs. Check out Marissa’s blog for more up-to-the-minute articles on parenting at http://the-hardest-job-on-earth.blogspot.com/. A BIG thanks to Marissa for this engaging piece for families!

What Every Mother Should Know…About the Air We Breathe

By Marissa Oachs

As a health professional, healthiness has always been a priority to me. Now that I have a new baby my focus on health has really switched from my health to focusing on making my child’s life and health as healthy as possible. What I have learned over the last year as I have researched the best products for my family is that it is a very scary world. Almost all the products you buy in the store are unhealthy for you…it scares me to death and often infuriates me. WHY and HOW can industries and companies sell things to humans that they know are hurting us! When I started learning this, I knew I had to change my life and spread the word to other mothers.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) called indoor air pollution one of the nation’s top environmental health concerns. The World Health Organization (WHO) is investigating this disturbing phenomenon, too. In fact, the WHO states that 40% of all buildings pose a serious threat to health because of polluted air. A cubic foot of untreated indoor air alone can contain up to 20 million particles such as pollen, dander, and smoke. Scary, I know!

Even scarier is the fact that more than 99% can’t be seen, and many particles are small enough to enter your lungs. Pollen, ash, and dust come indoors from the outside. Pets give off dander. Dust mites, feeding on decomposing skin (gross!!), thrive in mattresses. And cigarette smoke lingers. We all know smoking is bad, but second-hand smoke has been identified as a major health risk too.

And as much as we care about our children, over the years the air has hurt us women the most. There has been a dramatic increase in rates of asthma in women in the past 10 years because of our longer exposure to household chemicals. We often work closely with toxic chemicals and research has shown that our health care costs are $12.2 billion just from environmentally associated diseases!!! Has it hit home, yet?!

So…what can we do to fight these harmful air pollutants in our homes and in our children’s lungs? The good news is there are lots of things we can do! And I can honestly tell you…once you start trying to make a difference, you will notice a difference. I did…and my conscience is clear too!

Here are some quick tips:

1) Start by cleaning up that air – Look into buying an air purifier. Look for one that attacks all three types of air pollutants – microbials, gases, and particulates

2) Ventilate your home – Run the exhaust fans in your bathroom and kitchen, open your windows, and make sure you have a good exhaust system in place for appliances and stove. Check out The American Lung Association’s recommendations for more ideas. http://www.thedailygreen.com/environmental-news/latest/indoor-air-quality-47020101#ixzz0eJQL3iPT

3) Prevention – Be careful of the products you use.

  1. a. Use no-VOC or low-VOC paints – Paints release trace amounts of gases for months after application — even though they appear to be fully dried and the smell is gone. These gases are called VOCs, or volatile organic compounds, and can include highly toxic chemicals such as formaldehyde and acetaldehyde. If painting indoors, open windows and use exhaust fans to remove gases. Do not store open paint containers indoors.
  2. Use non-toxic cleaning products – Most cleaning products on the market today can produce harmful air pollution indoors. Hair and nail products, cleaning products, art and hobby supplies and other common products can increase the levels of VOCs. Some of the VOCs in these products include substances linked to cancer, headaches, eye and throat irritation and worsened asthma.

Feel free to reach out to Marissa Oachs if you have any further questions! http://the-hardest-job-on-earth.blogspot.com/

Spring Cleaning Tips from Martha Stewart

There are few rites of spring more satisfying than the annual clean. For many people, however, the idea is overwhelming and the pleasure comes only after the work is finished. While spring cleaning will never become effortless, below are some suggestions from Martha Stewart to help you get started and make things a little more manageable including eight steps to perfectly clean windows.

And to make things even easier and keep you from breathing strong, harsh chemicals while cleaning, Martha and The Hain Celestial Group recently introduced Martha Stewart Clean, a new line of effective, eco-friendly cleaning products for the home. The collection includes 10 products that are available in Home Depot, Giant Eagle, Publix and A&P stores and online at Amazon.com.

Previously, consumers had to choose between reliable or natural cleaners. Martha Stewart Clean products are both trusted solutions for removing dirt, grease, and grime, and non-toxic and environmentally friendly.

Made with 99+% plant-and-mineral-based ingredients of the highest quality, Martha Stewart Clean contains no added fragrances or artificial colors, and comes in recyclable packaging making these products safe for use in homes with children and animals. Visit www.marthastewartclean.com for information about the products, helpful cleaning videos and more.

Eight Steps to Perfectly Clean Windows

1. Schedule the project Choose a time when the sun is not shining directly on windows. Its hot rays can cause the cleaning solution to dry, which will result in streaks.

2. Clean the surface With a soft-bristle brush, dust away cobwebs and loose dirt from windows and frames. Don’t forget hinges, sills, and tracks. Wear rubber gloves to protect your hands, especially if the frames are old and splintery.

3. Make the cleaning solution Mix 1 part white vinegar and 1 part hot water.

4. Prevent a mess Before cleaning the inside of each window, place an absorbent terry-cloth towel along the windowsill to catch drips.

5. Wet the glass Using a sponge, wet (but don’t drench) the windowpane with the vinegar-and-water solution, and rub away the dirt. As much as possible, keep the solution from coming into contact with the window frames.

6. Prime a squeegee Wet the rubber blade; a dry one will skip.

7. Wipe the glass Starting at an upper corner of the pane, draw the squeegee down in a straight, confident stroke. Wipe the rubber edge of the squeegee with a sponge or a lint-free cloth. Return to the top and repeat, slightly overlapping the first stroke. Finish by pulling the squeegee across the bottom of the window. Dry the sill.

8. Clean the frames Wipe surfaces using a cloth dampened with a non-ammomia all-purpose cleaner and water. Rinse them thoroughly with a clean, damp cloth to remove cleaning solution, and dry immediately by wiping with a clean, dry cloth.

For more Spring cleaning tips and ideas visit http://www.marthastewart.com/photogallery/gentle-reminders-spring-cleaning.

Today’s fabulous article written by Karen Bantuveris focuses on involving the whole family in honor of Earth Day’s 40th Anniversary by getting out and making a difference! Karen Bantuveris is the CEO and Founder of VolunteerSpot – learn more on her website at www.volunteerspot.com.

5 Simple Tips to Inspire Earth-Friendly Volunteering With Kids

With spring fresh in the air, trees budding, and Earth Day (40th Anniversary) events getting ramped up for April 22, it’s easy to get inspired to protect and preserve our Mother Earth. Get the whole family involved! Please consider these 5 simple tips for engaging kids in earth-friendly volunteering:

Go Local! – Choose a project in your neighborhood, school, or township so kids can see the impact of their efforts in their daily lives. You may decide to plant a neighborhood garden, recycle bottles and cans at the soccer fields, or participate in a graffiti removal project at your playground.

Give Children a Voice – Involve kids in choosing their projects and initiatives to build commitment and ownership. Younger kids may simply vote for their favorite activity. Engage older children in researching needs and groups active in environmental volunteering in your area.

Plan Ahead – Be sure to think it through. What permissions and materials will you need to get started? Will you need ongoing support – for example, how many volunteers will it take to weed and water newly planted beds near the playground?

Get Help – If you’ve found a need in your community, like an abandoned lot in need of a serious clean up – invite Scout troops, sports teams, and school service-learning teams to support your efforts. (Many middle schools and high schools now have service-learning requirements where students must participate in a certain number of volunteer hours during the year.) Simple online scheduling and sign up tools like VolunteerSpot make asking for help and coordinating groups super quick and easy (http://www.VolunteerSpot.com).

Talk it Up – Volunteering with your children provides a fun and positive family bonding experience and opens the door for meaningful conversations about good earth stewardship, and the importance of giving back locally.

Today’s tip was written by Nancy Zazzaro, creator of the popular “Monster Spray” and “Storm Squasher” seen on Tiny Green Mom. Nancy uses organic lavender in her special formulation for making Monster Spray and Storm Squasher. Please visit her website for more information: http://www.etsy.com/shop/zazzaro.

The Many Benefits of Lavender

Lavender (Lavandula) has been used for centuries. It has been used for everything from food to heal people! It can treat acne, athlete’s foot, and stomach discomfort. Lavender is superlative as a disinfectant, for migraine or headache relief, to heal burns, and treat insect bites.

Lavender is exceptional as a fabric freshener and as a repellent for insects. It is often used to treat sore muscles, alleviate respiratory problems, as a relief for sunburns, and of course, to soothe nerves! Because Lavender has antiseptic properties, it makes a great household disinfectant, as well.

One of the most popular uses for Lavender essential oil is to induce sleep. The benefits of Lavender have been documented for well over 2000 years! Once you discover Lavender and its multitude of amazing uses, you will wonder how you ever lived without it!

You have heard some of them before – bring your own reusable cloth bag & bag your own groceries, buy locally grown produce – but what about these super tips for going green at the grocery store?

1. When picking out your favorite fruits and veggies in the produce aisle, do you really need to bag each item individually? The bags most likely get tossed when you get home anyway! Bring a smaller cloth bag with you for separating produce or just place inside a basket set in your cart specifically for fruits and vegetables.

2. Choose items in glass, cardboard or recyclable containers – all items that can in turn, be recycled once used. Also, choose products that are packaged in post-consumer recycled materials if possible.

3. Buy fresh! Stick to the outer edges of the grocery aisle, for cheeses & dairy products, fresh meats, fruits, vegetables, and nuts. These items are not wrapped in plastic inside a cardboard box – what you see is what you get! Minimal packaging, maximum flavor and freshness. Your body (and the Earth!) will thank you!

*Image provided by Kangaroom Storage*

Love the scent of lemons? How about using a lemon to clean your microwave? Yes, that’s right! Simply cut a lemon in half, squeeze the contents into a glass bowl, throw in the peels, and add water. Place the dish in the microwave and microwave for 1 minute. Take the bowl out of the microwave and wipe the inside with a clean, damp cloth. The bits and pieces left inside on the walls will come right off easily, and the scent of lemons will leave the air smelling fresh!

For an extra burst of lemon + cleaning power, place the rinds in the garbage disposal, and turn on! Voila! Your garbage disposal’s odors are now gone!

Visit Organic Valley’s website for new coupons each month! Each online coupon is limited to 2 prints per offer, and are valid for 30 days from the date on which they were printed. http://www.organicvalley.coop/coupons/