So you have decided to take a natural approach to life. Congrats!! Welcome to the ride. You may be asking yourself “now what?” And wondering where to start.
The truth is, you just need to start where you are. You may feel the need to just throw everything out, but don’t try to change everything all at once. It can be very overwhelming. Make a list of things you want to do more naturally. Prioritize your list. Choose an area you want to improve on the most. Here are some ideas:
toxin-free cleaning products
make healthier meals and choose healthier foods
ditch OTC medications for natural remedies
switch to non toxic bake and cookware
toxin-free soaps and shampoo, etc.
toxin-free and pollinator friendly pest control
ditch artificial scents
use clean cosmetics
safer laundry products
get away from disposable products
make some of your own natural products
If you still are unsure where to start, ask yourself why you want to start this journey? Do you want to feel better? Improve your health? Or concern for the health of a family member? Leave a smaller footprint on the planet? Get outside more? That can help you narrow your focus.
Once you know what you want to improve first, research and read as much as you can so you can make the best choices for your family. I have found there is always room for growth here, so don’t stop learning and adjusting. Science is never settled.
Next, set some realistic goals for yourself. You can get as fancy or minimal about this. Some things I actually made spreadsheets for. When I started cloth diapering my husband was more concerned with if it would save us money, given a single diaper could be $20+. So I made a spreadsheet to show how much we would be saving over 2+ years of diapering, plus potentially how much we would get back from selling the diapers once we were done with them. Other areas I was not concerned about savings as it was a health decision. For something like natural remedies, I was more concerned with effectiveness than cost.
Once you have comfortably tackled one area, move to the next one on your list. Research that and make decisions. You are the boss, so go at a pace that is sustainable for you and your family.
Next week I will share how to eat organically on a budget.
This year, rather than relying on OTC medications if your family gets sick, consider using herbs. They’re inexpensive, fairly easy to obtain, and have few to no side effects — we can’t say the same about OTC or prescription drugs!
But, if you’re new to herbal medicine, you may not know where to begin. Try these 10 herbs to help your family stay healthy this winter.
🌿 Ginger is one of our favorite herbs. You can buy it in any grocery store (seriously, Walmart carries it) and it’s really inexpensive. Even the organic is only $5/lb. and a large piece might cost $2 (that will last weeks). Ginger is anti-inflammatory, it helps colds and sinus infections, general pain, stomach upset, and more. It’s also safe for kids of all ages (even babies), and pregnant and nursing women. It’s an all-round awesome remedy.
🌿 Mullein is often a go-to remedy for us. It’s been said to help with diarrhea, asthma, bronchitis, whooping cough, colds, flu, and lots more. For any respiratory infection, use a tea or a tincture made with mullein It can also help with insomnia. It’s fairly safe, including for pregnant/nursing women and children.
🌿 Elderberry is a very popular flu remedy, and for good reason: studies show it can reduce the duration of the flu from 6 – 7 days to only 2 – 3. It’s strongly anti-viral and fights many infections. Many people find it both effective and palatable. It’s safe for kids from around 8 – 12 months
🌿 Peppermint or spearmint are known tummy-soothers. They can also help with headaches, and peppermint may soothe sore throats (peppermint has a high menthol content that can cool the throat, but spearmint doesn’t). It’s also very safe for most. Pregnant or nursing women should be cautious because large doses can present a problem in sensitive women (cause contractions or reduce milk supply), but most women will not have an issue.
🌿 Catnip is one of our favorite herbs. It can help soothe a nervous child — it’s a mild sedative. It can also treat stomach upset, and may be helpful with coughs. It’s recently been shown to be an excellent insect repellent. We use it to help teething babies with great success, and it’s also great for general insomnia.
🌿 This plant is where marshmallow, the candy, originally came from! Today, the candy is made from gelatin and corn syrup, but the marshmallow plant remains in use for humans. The plant is very high in mucilage, which means that it helps to coat the digestive system. This means it is effective for coughs, bronchitis, whooping cough, diarrhea, and more. It also may be used topically, because it is anti-inflammatory, and it may help cuts, scrapes, and infections.
🌿 Turmeric root has gained popularity lately as a strong anti-inflammatory. It’s been shown to fight colds, infections, and even cancer. It’s also been shown to help liver disease, Alzheimer’s, and other chronic illnesses.
🌿 Acerola berries are extremely high in vitamin C. For this reason, it may be beneficial against colds, flu, whooping cough, and other common winter ailments. They’re also strongly anti-inflammatory.
🌿 For years, people have recommended Echinacea as a cold remedy — because it helps. It’s beneficial against colds, flu, bronchitis, UTIs, ear infections, candida, and more. People have used it for almost any infection. It can cause allergic reactions in some, so be careful if your family has allergies to plants/pollen.
🌿 Goldenseal root is a very expensive, rarer herb. It’s bright gold colored, and usually used topically. It’s good for cord care in a newborn baby. It can be used directly on diaper rash as a powder, including yeast or bacterial rashes. It helps get rid of both bacterial and viral infections (topically and internally) and soothes sore throats. Be warned that it’s very powerful, and it makes other herbs more powerful when taken in conjunction. https://modernalternativemama.com/2013/10/18/10-herbs-to-keep-your-family-healthy-this-winter/
This month we are going to do something really special and work through a series of 31 posts (one for each day of this month) dedicated to helping you stay healthy.
So, where are we going to begin on this 31 day journey to better health?
We think it’s important to begin with something that everybody consumes (or at least should consume) daily… WATER… but not the fluoridated kind!
But why? Why shouldn’t you consume water that has added fluoride? What’s the big deal? Don’t we need fluoride? Isn’t that what prevents our teeth from decaying?
Well, no. We don’t need it, it doesn’t prevent tooth decay AND there’s actually never been a single study that proves adding fluoride to water has been beneficial or prevented anything… what’s more is that, most other countries do not add this neurotoxin to their water supplies. It’s actually shocking that people in the US drink more fluoridated water than the entire world combined!
Now, it is said that fluoride is the reason why tooth decay has rapidly declined over the past sixty years but the fact is, that just like diseases after the invention of modern day plumbing (prior to modern day vaccination schedules), tooth decay was already declining AND in other developed countries that have still NOT added fluoride to their water (like the UK), tooth decay has still continued to decline in their countries. Explain that!
It’s unsettling that “experts” claim that adding fluoride to water has been thoroughly studied and is safe for human consumption however according to the well-known toxicologist, Dr. John Doull, who chaired the National Academy of Science’s review on fluoride, the safety of fluoridation remains “unsettled” and “we have much less information than we should, considering how long it has been going on. Shocking isn’t it?
What DO we know about fluoride? We know fluoride impacts our brain health and function, as well as fertility, and that it’s associated with Alzheimer’s disease, bladder cancer, disrupted thyroid and endocrine function; plus diabetes and other health problems.
Don’t you think that it should be more closely studied and monitored?
Furthermore, fluoride advocates aren’t assessing how much fluoride exposure is actually safe for people and particularly children and babies – over the long term. Actually, according to a recent national survey by the CDC, about 40% of American teenagers have a condition called dental fluorosis. Fluorosis is a defect of tooth enamel caused by fluoride’s interference with the tooth-forming cells.
During the 1950s, fluoride advocates claimed that fluorosis would only affect 10% of children in fluoridated areas. This prediction has proven false. Today, not only do 40% of American teenagers have fluorosis, but, in some fluoridated areas, the rate is as high as 70 to 80%, with some children suffering advanced forms of the condition…
What’s more troubling is that babies that are formula fed are often given bottled fluoridated water… then they are quickly introduced to fluoridated toothpaste. Who says that is safe? In-fact infants who consume formula made with fluoridated tap water consume up to 700 to 1,200 micrograms of fluoride, or about 100 times more than the recommended amount.
It’s not even just water and toothpaste. Fluoride can be found in teflon pans, processed beverages and foods, some teas and fluorinated pharmaceuticals… so how much exposure is too much? Are long term studies being done?
Fluoride is actually not even approved by the Food and Drug Administration (the FDA) even though fluoride is considered a “medicine” when it’s added to public drinking water…
Find this all interesting? I hope so, it’s incredibly important that we inform ourselves about these things so that we may make the best choice possible for future generations.
Supplements are easy enough to come by but unfortunately most of the common vitamins and supplements found at drug stores are synthetic, artificial, dye & sugar filled JUNK.🥴
It’s also unfortunate that the FDA does not review dietary supplements for safety and effectiveness before they are marketed, therefore it’s easy for people to get scammed.
According to the Kresser Institute for Functional and Evolutionary Medicine, “Nearly one-third (31 percent) of the U.S. population is at risk for at least one vitamin deficiency or anemia. 23 percent, 6.3 percent, and 1.7 percent of Americans are at risk of anemia or deficiency of one, two, or three to five vitamins, respectively.”
In-fact a recent study conducted as part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) indicates that U.S. children and adults have high rates of deficiency of vitamins A, B6, B12, C, D, E, and folate, as well as the mineral iron. 😔 ❌💊
Every vitamin and mineral has an ‘agonist’ and an ‘antagonist’ in the body — usually several. When someone takes a regular mega-dose of one nutrient (such as the synthetic junk we just talked about), it causes the body to have high levels of that nutrient, PLUS all of the agonists. It causes deficiencies in all of the antagonists – meaning it doesn’t help our bodies.
For example, calcium and magnesium compete for absorption in the body. Take way too much calcium and it will lead to a magnesium deficiency.
What we really need is balance. That’s the holistic view. No nutrient is more important than another (generally speaking); we need all of them, in the right amounts, to be healthy.🌿🌿
We trust nature, and our own instincts, for this balance. Healthy foods and herbs have what we need, in the right amounts. Mega-dose pills don’t. (Ever notice that your pee turns bright yellow after taking a supplement? That’s all the vitamins you didn’t absorb.)
Do you have a cast iron pan? 🍳 How do you clean yours?
First rule of cast iron pans is to not use soap. A mild soap is ok for occasional use (like Castile soap or something), but I don’t recommend this as it can mess with the seasoning, and some have said it makes food taste soapy.
This is how I maintain mine.
1. I pour salt into my pan and gently scrub.
2. Then rinse well, scrubbing with salt again if needed.
3. Dry gently and slightly with a towel.
4. Then heat on the stove until completely dry.
5. Next I coat with an oil that has a high smoke point. (I use olive oil or coconut oil.) I leave the pan on low heat for 5-10 minutes.
6. Then turn off the heat, carefully and gently wipe any excess oil with a paper towel and allow to cool.
7. I store my cast iron in the oven, even when I use the oven to bake something else.
When I am diligent, my eggs don’t even stick. But I’ve found the key to food not sticking is to heat the pan well before adding the food. If I do have food that sticks and won’t wipe off, I add a little water and boil on the stove for a couple minutes to loosen the food. Then rinse and add the salt to scrub. However, do not allow water to sit in the pan to soak, it will rust the pan quickly. This happened to me when my parents cleaned my kitchen years ago.
I love using my cast iron, but they can just be a pain to clean sometimes, compared to just tossing my stainless cookware into the dishwasher. 😉 They are worth the investment though. Bonus is the benefit of getting added iron in your diet which is great if you are deficient. If you have too high of iron levels, you may want to consult your doctor before cooking with cast iron.
I am about to give birth to our third child, thus have been reading a lot more about pregnancy, birth and babies. Kinda goes with the territory.
I will say I am saddened by what I read. Birth has become such a medical procedure. What happened to the beauty of birth designed by God? I am not saying all medical interventions are completely unnecessary, as they have saved lives, but are they overused? And are we doing ourselves a favor to embrace them or should we avoid them?
Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional, nor am I giving medical advice. I am just a mama sharing evidence-based articles so other mamas and mamas-to-be may also learn and make educated decisions of their own.
2. Consumer Reports even chimed in. They have a list of 10 pregnancy/birth procedures to avoid, as well as a list of 10 things to do when you are pregnant. One of those things includes considering a midwife. So excited to see such a list from a more mainstream media. The fact of the matter is of all developed countries, the US has the highest infant mortality rate. While no one is sure why, it is true that the US has the highest medical interventions of these countries. Poor diet, obesity are other factors that have been tossed around.
3. Delayed cord clamping. Did you know that 1/3 of the baby’s blood volume resides in the placenta at the time of birth? That blood is the baby’s, so should have the rights to it, but immediate cord clamping has become common practice. Here is a great article debunking common myths about cord clamping. Even the World Health Organization recommends delaying cord clamping. Some recommend delaying 3-5 minutes, others recommend waiting until the cord stops pulsating, usually 10-15 minutes. Others decide on a Lotus Birth where the placenta stays attached until the cord and all fall off on its own. Now, I personally can’t see toting around a placenta and a baby for that long, but this is a common practice in some countries.
I will be posting more articles, but right now, this mama is too tired to think anymore!
When the Happy Mama wash first arrived from Earth Mama Angel Baby, I was not sure I liked the smell (but read on… :). I think I was expecting something similar to the baby wash (a vanilla-orange scent – oh so yummy!). The Happy Mama wash is a ginger-grapefruit scent.
The next morning I gave it a whirl. Now, I do not know if my sniffer was having a moment when the Happy Mama wash first arrived, or if the hot steam in the shower had anything to do with it, but the scent was awesome!!! I truly felt like I was at a spa. The ginger scent is supposed to be great for those with morning sickness and since the EMAB products are rated zero (0) on the EWG’s database, it’s completely safe during pregnancy and beyond. Good to know because I had horrible morning sickness with both my kids – just in case the Lord blesses us with a third. Being non-toxic is so important as chemicals can be absorbed into your skin. So this wash is safe for the entire family!
The Mama Wash is made of essential oils and comes in a foam pump, which I really love. The soap is hydrating, so does not dry out my sensitive skin like some soaps. The packaging is really sweet and the ingredients are spelled out clearly and you can pronounce them, which is a must in my book.
The only negative I have is that the suds do not last long, but admit that could more so be because we have hard water. I use a loofa and have to reload with a few pumps of the wash several times during the cleansing process. While my son’s wash has lasted 3-4 months, I don’t think this bottle will last this long, maybe half that. Being on a tight budget, I will probably keep this as a special treat one or twice a week, and use my olive oil soap in between. It smells so wonderful though, I fully expect I will cheat….
From EMAB Happy Mama Wash
NEW for mamas and the whole family! USDA Certified Made With Organic Ingredients
Rated All Zeros on the Skin Deep toxin database, the best rating a product can receive
With fresh Ginger to combat queasiness, and organic Pink Grapefruit essential oils to give spirits a lift
Naturally safe organic olive oil castile soap base
No harsh detergents and zero toxins mean that it’s safe enough for pregnant women, so it’s safe enough for the whole family!
A morning sickness busting companion with Happy Mama Spray
Certified vegan and cruelty‐free
The Mamas at EMAB are also amazing! They really know their stuff and have an amazing product line. And customer service is top notch.
Win some Happy Mama Wash for yourself.
OK, here are the rules. Contest is open to US and Canadian Mama’s only.
Ways to enter
1. Go to the EMAB website and tell us which product you would love to try (or which is your favorite if you are already a fan).
2. Follow @greenparenting on twitter and leave a comment here
3. Follow @earthmamahq on twitter and leave a comment here
4. Sign up for the EMAB newsletter and leave a comment here
5. RT this giveaway and leave a comment. One tweet per day allowed. Earth Mama Angel Baby Happy Mama Wash review and #giveaway will make your sniffer happy! via @greenparenting http://bit.ly/aRSlK6
There are so many different brand of cloth diapers out there now, it is hard to keep up. It seems I hear of a new brand of diapers every other week lately. A couple months ago I came across Snaps and Snails YoYoo bamboo pocket diapers. YoYoo pocket diapers are mom-invented, which I love!
I purchased 2 of these diapers and they arrived promptly. The colors are very bright and vivid, the bamboo was very soft. They were easy enough to prep – wash and then rinse several times.
I had never used bamboo diapers and I am happy to report they performed as well as my BumGenius and FuzziBunz diapers.
About YoYoo pocket diapers (from Snaps & Snails website) Yo-Yoo one size pocket diapers are a beautiful product. Each diaper is made up of certified organic bamboo. The bamboo micro-fiber is soft and luxurious, as well as hypoallergenic, keeping your baby comfy and happy. The outer layer of the diaper is made of polyurethane laminate, which is waterproof and durable, extending the life of the diaper while keeping your babies clothes dry. Each diaper comes with a 4-layer, plush and absorbent bamboo fleece insert which snaps into the diaper, holding it in place. They are made with snap closures to allow for easy adjustment and a snug fit as your baby grows and develops. These one size diapers are easily adjusted to fit any baby from 5lbs – 35lbs and are available in 5 bright and playful colors.
My son is 22 months, so snaps are a must. The Velcro on my BumGenius (BG) diapers leaves too much freedom for a little boy to riiipppp off the diaper and hose down my house – so no Velcro unless he’s also wearing pants (two can play at this game). The Velcro also tends to come loose in the wash and create a long line of BG diapers – frustrating. The YoYoo diaper has snaps and is one size – perfect combo for our house. We are on the largest setting for the stride, but not the side snaps that actually secure the diaper. The waist is very roomy, in fact, so roomy, that I am not sure if a thin newborn would fit in this diaper, but I can’t say for sure, since my son is 22 months and 25 pounds.
The fit was great! The elastic does not seem to give as much as my BGs or FuzziBunz (FB), however, I did not notice any difference in performance. Here are some comparison pictures of the BG one size, the FB medium perfect fit and the YoYoo one size diapers.
Bamboo is supposed to be really absorbent, and I will have to say from experience, that I find this to be accurate. We only had one leak and really that was my fault because he needed changing and I was trying to beat the system thinking “Surely we can make it home – it’s only 10 minutes!” Of course, he went and we had a leak, but he was so wet, I’m certain the FB and BGs would have also sprung a leak. It also contained the BMs very well.
Pocket/Insert This is my favorite part of the diaper. The pocket opening is in the front of the diaper, which is awesome because then poo does not get into the pocket and directly onto the insert (which is my biggest beef with my BGs, well, maybe 2nd after the Velcro). The opening is a little small, so it may be a little difficult for someone with large hands to stuff, but this is a feature I like because there is not a bunch of excess fabric that can stick out and cause a leak (which is my least favorite thing about the FB).
Another neat thing about the insert is that it snaps into the diaper minimizing any shifting of the insert. I am sure it works fine without snapping it in since unsnapping it could cause a little wetness to get on your hands, but I hold the back and front just so, so I can unsnap without touching the insert or inner lining. Yes, I am a little OCD and I am OK with that.
Bulkiness I do not find this diaper bulky, at least not any more so than my BGs. Here are all 3 diapers lined up showing their “wingspan.”
Staining So far, I have not seen any staining on the cover or insert. Both clean very well, and so far no stink either! I rinse even the wet diapers and this has been my best offense against the horrid ammonia smell cloth diapers sometimes get.
Care I wash mine with Rockin Green Soap along with my other diapers. I occasionally use bleach (once a month or less). The YoYoo bamboo diapers are not to be bleached, so I am careful to ensure they skip the bleach load. My system is: cold rinse, long hot wash, 2 rinses. I hang the covers and dry the inserts in the dryer.
Overall Overall, I think this is a great diaper and because of the snaps and roomy fit, it’s a favorite even over my BGs (I think we’ve established the fact that I am not a Velcro fan) and FBs right now (medium perfect fits are getting to snug on baby’s chunky legs)! There are several great colors to choose from.
As stated, my only concern is not sure how this would fit on a petite baby, or tiny newborn, but since I did not try this on a newborn, I can’t say for sure, just would advise you to order 1-2 diapers to try before ordering a whole stash – something I recommend before ordering a stash of ANY diaper.
Want to get 25% off the Snaps & Snails diapers? Go to the Snaps & Snails website, then email firstname.lastname@example.org with your order – be sure to use amomsblog as the subject line – and receive 25% off your order! Like all good deals, it does end, so snag up this deal before it expires on October 23rd.
The fine print: I received these diapers at a discount price in exchange for an honest review. The opinions here are completely my own and was influenced by nothing other than my own experience.
My son had several bouts of cradle cap as an infant. I really didn’t want to have to buy a special shampoo, as the natural ones are very expensive. My cousin’s daughter also had a bad case and her pediatrician recommended Head and Shoulders (eek!) and no way was I using that on myself, let alone my child. So did a little research and discovered something I already had in my pantry would clear it up – extra virgin olive oil.
1. Rub a small amount of EVOO on the affected area. Should saturate the area, but should not be dripping.
2. Let sit for about 30 minutes to let the EVOO soften the scales. If it is a severe case, you can even let on overnight.
3. Gently comb out the flakes with a fine tooth comb. Be very careful if you have a young infant since their skin is so tender. If you have a newborn, you can use the soft comb from the hospital to gently soften and brush away the flakes. You may want to have a washcloth handy to wipe the flakes off of the comb as you go.
4. Shampoo as normal.
I am surprised at how effective this is, and so inexpensive. Typically one application got it all. On some occasions where his cradle cap was bad and I didn’t let it sit long enough, I had to repeat the process the next night.
Alternative: try organic virgin coconut oil instead. Worked just as well and smelled great! The last time he had a patch I used coconut oil and it has not been back since. Not sure if it was related, but it was not as bad as it had previously been either.