When I was pregnant with my son more than six years ago, the green baby movement was just beginning. I had no idea about the dangers of plastic, so I stocked up on plastic baby bottles and plastic breast milk storage bottles. Eventually I switched most of them out for the newer BPA-free options that began to come out, but now that I’m pregnant again and much wiser, I’m using glass all the way!
I was strolling through Lowe’s, checking out their gardening supplies, looking for a new spray nozzle for my garden hose. I picked one up to examine it more closely and noticed a warning with words like “birth defects” and “cancer.” Being 27 weeks pregnant, I almost threw the thing across the store. It turns out that this seemingly harmless nozzle was full of lead. And it wasn’t the only one. Every single nozzle in the entire gardening department had the same lead warning. As did the hoses and soakers and brass fittings and who knows what else. I was shocked. I have spent tons of money and time putting together the perfect organic garden and here I am watering my plants with lead, phthalates and BPA.
I’m lucky. My son is a vegetable lover. He will happily munch on fresh cherry tomatoes or red bell peppers. And his lunch of choice is a fresh spinach salad with herb vinaigrette. But like most children, there are times when Monster doesn’t eat enough vegetables. So I have gotten into the habit of adding veggies into other foods whenever I can. I do it for myself and my husband as much as I do it for my son.
When I was growing up, my mom packed my lunch every day. Most of the other kids envied me because my lunchbox was packed with yummy treats like fruit roll-ups and Hostess cakes. Typically, I skipped the sandwich and went right to the sugar-packed goodies. I love my mom for putting things in my lunch that she knew would make me happy. But it probably has a lot to do with my current weakness for sugar and for the urgent pull I feel every time I pass a spongy cake filled with cream. Fortunately, parents today do have other options. Check out the following three ways to pack a school lunch.
One of the best parts of summer is being able to eat freshly-picked fruits and vegetables from my garden. For some reason, the tomatoes taste sweeter, the cucumbers are crisper and the melons are juicier. Maybe it’s because they are so fresh or maybe I am just tasting the delicious reward of all of my hard work.
When you are a parent trying to help your children lead a green and healthy lifestyle, the most important thing you can do is to change the way your family eats. That means choosing whole, natural, organic (and preferably local) foods. That also means you will need to do a lot of cooking at home.
My husband and I have been having a disagreement over spreadable butter. He doesn’t like the taste of butter (sometimes I wonder how I married him!) and he doesn’t like how hard it is to spread when it comes out of the refrigerator. I, on the other hand, love butter and have no problem waiting for the butter to soften or even popping it in the microwave for 10 seconds. And then it hit me. I can make my own butter spread!
We are in a new house and have a beautiful 1,800 square foot piece of land available for the organic garden of our dreams. My last and only other garden consisted of two 4×8 raised beds, so I obviously have quite a bit of planning to do to prepare for such a large amount of space. And I don’t have much time to do it. The time to plant things like onions and lettuce is coming up in just a week or two. Here is my plan for this year’s garden.
I went for years wishing that I could make homemade bread, but never tried it because it seemed too hard and time-consuming. Then, I finally broke down and bought a bread maker. But every loaf I made came out tough and flavorless. So the bread machine sat in my cupboard for another couple of years before I finally tried to do it by hand.