Chemicals, Kids and what we as parents butt-up against as we try to raise healthy children in a toxic world.
[Article in Nurture Magazine, Published in the Spring 2012 Issue]
By Dr Sarah Lantz
There is something intuitive about children such that they opt to play with wrapping paper and cardboard boxes instead of the plastic toys contained inside the present. Jedda, my two-year old daughter, enjoys shredding wrapping paper and running her little fingers over the silky ribbons. She likes texture. Adiva, now nearly 7, spends hours in cardboard boxes pretending she’s a cheeta. We have been known to feed the wild animal inside the box, only for her to growl back.
Play is at the heart of talking about ‘toys’. And play is important at all ages. It is literally a biological imperative. Children learn about themselves and their world through play – developing cognitive and problem-solving skills, personal and social skills, physical development. Play stimulates the senses and invigorates the mind. And yet, for the last century we have been endorsing large qualities of mass-produced, low quality, automated, plastic, disposable toys. And what’s the problem with this?
Along with the choking and stragulation hazards, massive toy recalls, excessively loud toys, projectile toys, toys that distract and over stimulate, there are a range of toxic chemicals in toys. And as a public health researcher and mama, it is these toxic chemicals that are the focus of my research and heart of this article.
Plastic – not so fantastic (Polyvinyl chloride)
Polyvinyl chloride (also known as PVC or vinyl) is a plastic chemical used in toy production. And its nasty stuff. Every stage in PVC’s life cycle involves the production, use, and release of toxic chemicals, with some of the culprits including dioxin, mercury, lead, cadmium, organotins, and phthalates. Because these chemicals are not tightly bound to the plastic, they can enter children’s bodies when the children chew or suck on the toys or the PVC packaging that the toys come in. These chemicals are all toxic to children when ingested. And there is no safe way to manufacture, use, or dispose of PVC products.
In 2008, one of the largest toy manufactures in the world, Toys R Us, made a promise to reduce the use of PVC plastic in the toys they sell and offer more safer PVC-free products. But Toys R Us have not kept their promise. A report released two years later, entitled Toxic Toys ’R’ Us, by the Centre for Health, Environment and Justice (CHEJ), found that Toys R Us continue to sell toys made with PVC – and lots of it. Almost 70 different toys, including well-known brands were tested. According to the report:
Toys that tested positive for PVC included well known toys such as Barbie, ‘Toys Story 3’ Woody and Buzz Lightyear figures, Disney Princess dolls, Zhu Zhu Pets, Nickelodeon’s Dora the Explorer and Diego figures, Club Penguin figurines, Imaginext toddler action figures and many others, from dolls and balls, to baby bath time toys and products, and even some children’s Sippy Cups.
Another report released in 2011 by the International Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) Elimination Network (IPEN) and based in the Philippines found many children’s toys have dangerously high levels of heavy metals. The international study measured toxic metals in 200 children’s products with a focus on antimony, arsenic, cadmium, chromium, lead, and mercury. Approximately 30% of the products contained at least one toxic metal above acceptable levels. 37 products (19%) contained lead at or above the Australian regulatory limit, and children’s toy cosmetics contained mercury levels 4 – 5 times higher than the regulatory limit. Given that the toy market is global, children all across the world, including Australian children, can be directly affected by these toys.
But isn’t there a regulatory agency for toys made, or imported, into Australia?
The regulation of toxic chemicals in toys in Australia is still sketchy at best. The Australian Toy Standard have been established, but these standards are voluntary, so there are no requirements for toy manufacturers and distributors to abide by them. Compliance essentially relies on voluntary testing. This is also the case for toys imported into Australia. Hazardous toys can only be detected by testing and analysing toy components, and given the large volume and range of toys imported into Australia, this prohibits Customs routinely testing all imported toys. In light of this, parents need to be diligent. And these are the reasons why…
There are no safe levels of lead and mercury for children. Lead directly attacks the nervous system and destroys brain cells. Mercury causes both chronic and acute poisoning, damages the brain and significantly disrupts hormones. Dioxin, a byproduct of PVC manufacturing (usually produced when burning chlorine), and is a group of persistent toxic chemicals. While children are not exposed to dioxin when they handle toys or toy packaging, dioxin is released into the environment during both the manufacturing and disposal of PVC materials. Dioxin then gets into our water ways and food production systems. Children consume dioxin from meat, fish, diary products and eggs. Dioxin is a potent cancer causing agent, and has reproductive (decreased fertility, endometriosis, decreased sperm counts, birth defects etc.), developmental, immunological, and endocrine health impacts.
Phthalates (Pronounced THA-lates) are chemicals added to plastic toys to soften them, fix scent in fragrances, and colour personal care and cosmetics, including children’s face paints. While Phthalates are no longer manufactured in Australia, around two million tons of phthalates are produced across the world each year, with more than 20 types of phthalates imported and commonly used in Australian toys. The total amount of phthalate contained in a toy product varies from about 10 to 50%, depending on the degree of softness required.
A growing body of research reveals that exposure to phthalates and their metabolites can cause a range of health impacts. Phthalates exposure has been linked to:
A 2012 study also suggested that high levels of phthalates may be connected to the current obesity epidemic in children.
Infants are exposed to phthalates from multiple sources including through the umbilical cord, breast milk, dust in the air and also from sucking or mouthing PVC plastic toys. And the cumulative impact of different phthalates leads to an exponential increase in associated harm.
The European Union (EU) introduced temporary bans on phthalates in children’s toys as far back as 1999. The EU has phased out the use of three phthalate plasticisers in toys and child-care items, and they will be permanently phased out by the EU by February 2015:
The EU further restricts three plasticisers from toys and childcare items that children can put in their mouths:
In 2010 Australia banned Diethylhexyl Phthalate (DEHP) in products used by children up to and including 36 months of age. While the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) continues to collaborate with our chemical regulatory boards to monitor international research into phthalates, and may take specific regulatory action to address risks to people associated with the use of phthalates in consumer products, Australian significantly lags behind international standards. Therefore, while phthalates all have complex chemical names, it’s important to be able to identify some of the key ones to avoid exposing your children to them.
Many kids climbing structures – with their wooden gangways, turrets, and tunnels – are still made out of pressure-treated lumber (copper chrome arsenate – CCA) which contain arsenic – a notoriously deadly poison and established human carcinogen. While in 2006 the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) restricted the use of treated timber used in ‘intimate human contact’ applications such as children’s play equipment, furniture, residential decking and handrailing, it did not recommend dismantling or removing of existing treated wood structures, so many still exist. Authorities have been remiss in not carrying out soil or wipe test in children’s playgrounds.
Toxic Free Toy Selection
It is of no surprise that an increasing number of parents are seeking more natural toys for their children. Consider what it is to makes a good toy, a toy that is suited to the age of the child, and also your own families’ philosophies and health priorities. Here are a few suggestions:
Consider also that nature is the best toy of all. Children, more than ever before, are disconnected from nature – have reduced amounts of leisure time; spend more time in front of the TV and computerized toys; are over stimulated yet live more sedentary lifestyles than ever before. Richard Louv calls this phenomenon ‘nature deficit disorder’. Consider that it is in our best interest to reconnect to nature, not only because aesthetics or justice demands it, but because our mental, physical, and spiritual health depends upon it. Exposure to nature reduces diseases, improves cognitive abilities, and resistance to stresses. The health of the earth also depends upon it as well. How children connect with nature, and how we, as parents raise our children, will shape the conditions of future cities, homes, parks and the conditions of our animals, plants and ecosystems.
As mama I watch how my children, and other children, connect with nature with such ease and grace if we give them the space to do so. It’s like breathing to them. John Muir’s quote is apt here: ‘When one tugs at a single thing in nature, (s)he finds it attached to the rest of the world’
I was wondering what to do with our beautful rosy and plump Rosella’s in our garden (jam, yes, but I did that last year) so yesterday I made a special ‘taste of the season’ Kombucha and named it Spicy Rosella. It’s amazing. Tenderly hand picked by Adiva and I, steam softened to maintain as much of the potent antioxidents as possible, and sweetened with hints of delicious cinamon quills and apple. If you are in Brizzy come down for taste at Northy St markets this weekend, or give me an email and I will put a bottle aside for you because there are only select number. I feel most happy when I am crafting and creating. Give it go. It’s good for the soul.
We are bringing Kombucha to Northy St Organic Markets! (in fact my post is a little late as we’ve been there for a few weeks now, sorry). We feel so grateful to be so well received in this beautiful community. It’s very satisfying to be around people equally passionate about fermented foods and health. And to be honest we’ve been struggling to keep up with the demand for our Kombucha. It’s been a sell out every week. But we hope we have it all handled now with over 1000ltrs of blissful brewing Kombucha. And we just got word from Saturday’s West End Markets and they have a spot for us too (no weekends for us anymore, but bringing kombucha to the people feels very right).
So if you are in the Brisbane area come and visit us for a sample. We have four different Kombucha varieties: i) Buchi Mama Origional (made on the SCOBY mother and that’s all); Deep Green Kombucha (yes, we use the Miessence Deep Alkalising Green mix with loads of blue green algae (spirillina), wheat grass, barley grass, kamut grass etc); Ginger Tumeric Kombucha (packs a punch for people who like that ginger kick); and Hibiscus Pine Lime Kombucha (this was made for people transitioning to Kombucha and who need a little sweetness in their drink).
And for people who are not in the area, but in Australia, you can still contribute to our crowdfunding (Pozible) for the next few weeks and we will send some delicious Buchi Kombucha your way. Check out our site http://buchi.pozible.com and make a pledge. Don’t worry about your location, we’ll be shipping Buchi all around the country to say thanks for your support.
When we asked Miessence Director Narelle Chenery to create a special product for the holiday season, we knew that she would deliver an exceptional treat – and she has! The environmental-saving Darling Salt Glow is an eco-conscious body scrub made from salt sourced from the troubled Murray-Darling Basin located in southeastern Australia. The salt in the body scrub is produced naturally from underground saline aquifers that have been lying dormant for thousands of years. By utilizing these waters the salinity problems are reduced, the environment is improved, and a unique, pure, inland salt is produced. I haven’t found a product on the market that is this environmentally conscious.
The Darling Salt Glow helps to reduce the serious salinity problem in the Murray-Darling Basin. The impact of salinity is immense, resulting in losses in fertile productive land and decreased biodiversity in the native wetlands. An area the size of a football oval is being lost to salinity every hour. So scrub up!
Exfoliation of the skin has significant benefits.
● Blended with nourishing, organic coconut oil ● Delicious organic citrus and spice essential oils ● Revitalizes skin, leaving it feeling silky soft and smooth ● Exfoliates dead, dry skin cells, revealing plump, fresh skin ● Boosts circulation and stimulates the senses ● Smooths rough, dry areas ● Leaves skin supple, glowing and nourished
And here are the certified ingredients for the Darling Salt Glow:
*Cocosnucifera (coconut) oil – Virgin coconut oil from the Pacific Islands, collected, grated, and cold-pressed within hours of opening the nut. Antiviral, antifungal, antibacterial, soothes, softens, smooths. Relieves dry, rough and wrinkled skin.
*Simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) seed oil – Cold-pressed from the bean of the desert plant in Argentina. Emollient, moisturizing, high in vitamins, skin protective, helps regulate PH, soothes inflamed skin.
*Certified Organic Ingredients
The Darling Salt Scrub is only around during the festive season so if you want to try some CLICK HERE
Happy scrubbing for your health and the environment!
I bet you have heard of them, but may not know exactly what they are and how they operate in your life. This short video by Narelle Chenery from Miessence is a gem. It explains (in just a few minutes) how we accumulate free radicals from environmental toxins and poor food choices, and how we can act to neutralise them with antioxidant-rich foods such as berries and raw cacao.
SAVE 20% off this order and all future orders by purchasing your Miessence Vitality Pack here
for your daily superfood dose of In-Liven Probiotic, Deep Green Akaliser and Berry Radical Antioxidant.
To your health and vitality,
I presented a workshop called ‘Natural Mama and Eco-Parenting’ to a packed audience. Thankyou Sydney! Then the rest of the weekend I ate myself around the entirety of the expo – there was not a sample that I did not hit my tastebuds. And Loving Earth did have me come back quite a few times…I even had Adiva smuggle me a few of their new raw orange chocolates and hid behind another stand until she came to get me…I know, certainly not very natural parenting of me. They are just so good though!
Of course, the chicks and I also hung out with the lovely Miessence crew and handed out samples of Deep Green and the fermented InLiven probiotics.…targeting as many parents, children and toddlers as possible (See pic of Adiva and Jeddabug sharing their own stash of Deep Green and InLiven); bought some of the sensational Nui wild virgin coconut oil for cooking, eating raw and lavishly smothering on my skin; gave a cheer of gratitude to the Vitamix boys; met the owner of the organic Tetra tea tree baby bedding (we used their products when our girls were babies and just love them); spoke with the Sun Warrier (Bio-fermented raw sprouted whole grain brown rice) protein distributer to see what super deals we could strike; fed the baby animals in the children’s petting zoo lots of organic carrots; then got engaged with watching Costa and Kylie Kwong cook organic treats on stage; and was re-energised by Carla Oates (aka. the beauty chef) prepare body scrubs, face masks and spritzers for the skin from everyday food products straight from the refrigerator and pantry. Lovely to watch. I also met up with a few ladies who went to my talk at the expo last year and who are now heavy pregnant. It was a satisfying sight to behold!
These photos are of my highlights of the Sydney Organic Expo. We are happy to be back and connecting with the organic community again…but do look forward to nomadic living again next year!
So as health nuts, what do we do to maintain our health while we are travelling?
We ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS carry THREE health enhancing products when we travel. And I’m going to share them with you. You may use different ones, but these are the ones we just love! They are:
i) Probiotics – InLiven is our preference and I have written about this previously. Certified organic, fermented, and a superfood (so we don’t have to keep it in a fridge –which is very handy when travelling and fridges are not always available)
ii) Antioxidants – we try and get as many natural occurring antioxidents in our diet as we can – berries, aloe vera, raw cacao, fruits etc. but we can’t always get the full spectrum, so when we travel we bring along Berry Radical. A great cuppa in the afternoon.
But the one I want to talk about is a new product called:
iii) Alkalising superfood - ‘Deep Green’. And it’s amazing!
Now I get the opportunity to review quite a few health products, most I don’t even bother to write about. But this one is quite different…
‘Eat more leafy greens!’, was the catch cry of my grandma.
Because leafy greens (and grass juices and spirulina) are the ‘deep-greens’ of nutrition. I think about them as the pigment-rich dark green veins of the plant. It is these dark green foods that contain all the essential nutrients and precursors upon which all other life depends. Deep-green foods are concentrated sources of easily absorbed vitamins, amino acids, chlorophyll, enzymes, phyto- nutrients, and alkaline minerals. And to eat them is to optimise our health, immunity and energy levels.
The ideal balance of food intake is 80% alkaline and 20% acidic.
Alkaline-forming foods are theses deep greens (and some fruits). They are great at doing this. They neutralise toxic acids in the blood and tissues caused by eating acid foods, excess stress, excessive exercise, environmental pollutants, drugs, alcohol, coffee, and tobacco. When our bodies are acidic, bad bacteria, viruses, yeast, and other unfriendly organisms flourish. When our bodies are slightly alkaline (from eating alkaline foods like raw veggies and green food powders), bad bacteria, cancer, yeast, and viruses can’t survive. Deep-greens are good for your brain, your bones, and your heart, AND they help to prevent cancer, detoxify and alkalise your cells, boost your immune system, and give you more energy.
Acid-forming foods include just about everything else we eat – meat, poultry, milk, cheese, bread, pasta, pastries, snack food, soft drinks, and processed foods.
So this is why we should ‘Eat more leafy greens!’.
In a nut shell, Deep Greens contain chlorophyll. Chlorophyll-rich greens are blood builders. They cleanse and heal, as has been heavily documented in a multitude of studies, detoxifying heavy metals from the body. Chlorophyll stimulates tissue growth and red blood cell production. (NB. Chlorophyll is almost identical to haemoglobin, the red pigment in blood – instead with magnesium at its centre instead of iron).
DeepGreen Alkalising Superfood contains ONLY certified organic blue-green algae, green grass juices and leafy green vegetables!
This is where it gets interesting. There is so much I could say here, but I am going to limit it to two main comments. Firstly, Deep Green Alkalising Superfoods are RAW, unprocessed, certified organic algae, grass juices and leafy greens which contain an abundance of natural enzymes – the body’s spark plugs – that are responsible for digestive processes, cellular energy, supporting immune function, and promoting circulation and detoxification.
Most people don’t get enough enzymes because heat destroys enzymes and most of our foods, whether cooked at home or processed, are heated and the enzymes destroyed.
But what sets it apart from any other product on the market – and this is critical – is that Deep Green is not Grass – it’s juice!
All other products I have seen on the market use pulverized dehydrated grass and leaf in their product. Pulverised grass powders are completely useless for humans! Unlike cows or horses, we cannot digest the cellulose in grasses, therefore all the nutrition remains ‘locked’ in those fibres. Deep Green uses ONLY the grass juice powders. Only grass juice powders contain easily bioavailable nutrients we can absorb.
How amazing is that!
• Extremely concentrated and dense – 1 teaspoon of powder is equivalent to over 60ml (2 fl.oz) of fresh green juices. • 100% RAW, VEGAN and CERTIFIED ORGANIC. • A concentrated source of super nutrition. • A natural source of alkalising minerals. • Formulated without fillers – no rice bran, no flax seed, no beans or legumes… just pure DeepGreens! • Great for those on low carbohydrate diets. • Perfect for convalescents or those with weak digestive systems who are unable to obtain enough green foods through their diet.
Add a teaspoon or more of DeepGreen Alkaliser to water or fresh juice. I have a heaped teaspoon every morning (sometimes more if my body wants more).It can also be added to smoothies, sprinkled over foods, and used in salad dressings. DeepGreen Alkaliser is organic food, and can be taken in larger amounts if intense cleansing and nourishment are desired.
Absolutely. If they are eating, then you can add it to their diets.
This is completely up to your child. As I have written about previously, follow their lead and never force children to eat anything they don’t feel like eating. Trust them. Eating comes as naturally to a child as breathing. Allow them to choose from a range of foods including Deep Greens. Some mornings both our chick drink a glass full of Deep Greens (about ½ tsp in water or extremely diluted fresh juice), sometimes it’s a gulp and sometimes they don’t feel like any at all. We notice when we allow them to do this, they are intune with what their bodies need. It’s beautiful to watch.
Full Ingredient list of Deep Green:
*organic spirulina (arthrospira platensis) powder, *organic wheat grass (triticum aestivum) juice powder, *organic barley grass (hordeum vulgare) juice powder, *organic alfalfa grass (medicago sativa) juice powder, *organic oat grass (avena sativa) juice powder, *organic kamut grass (triticum turanicum) juice powder, *organic spinach (spinacia oleracea) powder, *organic nettle (urtica dioica) powder, *organic collard (brassica oleracea acephala) powder, *organic kale (brassica oleracea acephala) powder, *organic parsley (petroselinum sativum) powder. *Certified Organic by USDA
…but no matter what you call it, Kombucha is amazing, and it’s been used around the world for centuries and known for its health promoting properties. One of the joys of coming to the US has been having access to commercially made, raw, organic Kombucha and lots of it! You can get it off the shelf here. And whilst I have enjoyed making it from Kefir grains myself in Australia, it’s nice to have a break for a while.
Kombucha is a living being. It is a symbiotic colony of yeast and bacteria (kefir grains) that grows in a mixture of water (or we have used coconut water at times), sweetener (like rapadura or agave) and tea. It’s essentially a fermented drink. The taste resembles something like apple cider.
Before we processed all the life out of food, the human diet was abundant with enzymes, nutrients, and microflora (good bacteria). Now we need a lot more help – and this is where Kombucha can come in handy (as well as other fermented foods such as like traditionally made yogurt, Kiamichi, sauerkraut or our InLiven).
One of the major health benefits of Kombucha is its detoxifying properties. The drink is rich in bacterial acids and enzymes that the body uses to cleanse and detoxify itself, thus helping reduce the stress on the pancreas and easing the load on one’s liver. Kombucha is also rich in Glucaric acid which has been reported to help prevent some cancers.
Aside from Glucaric acid, Kombucha is also fortified with glucosamine’s. These are substances needed by the joints to stay strong and limber. In particular, glucosamine’s help promote the production of hyaluronic acid which helps reduce arthritis-related pain and preserves cartilages. Hyaluronic acid also allows for the body’s connective tissues to bind more moisture, maintaining healthy tissues, flexibility, and lubrication in the joints.
Kombucha is rich in antioxidants which helps strengthen the immune system by suppressing the harmful activities of free radicals. And with a stronger immune system, one becomes less susceptible to illnesses and infections. Another health benefit is its ability to improve metabolism and the digestive process.
Whilst we’re reveling in locally made Kombucha, you can of course make it yourself which is very satisfying. Give it a try!
Peppermint magazine is an amazing magazine. Edition 9 has just been released! And it seems like each edition it grows, now boasting over 90 pages (100% post-consumer recycled, naturally!) and is bursting with the freshest green fashion on the planet.
I remember Friday mornings at our playgroup at Brisbane’s Northey St City Farm, Kelley, the editor (and creator) of Peppermint Magazine and I would agonise over ways to get our missions out there in the world – how to grow businesses and balance being mums at the same time (actually we still talk about this!); where to draw the line in product endorsements ie. only certified organic products or naturally derived products or low to no toxicity products; managing and supporting staff; being paid correctly for what we love to do. We haven’t sorted these all out (and more questions continually arise), but its a joy to watch Kelley publish her dream and with such determination and gusto!
This Peppermint edition features a good deal of the indie design scene in Australia, with loads of articles about handmade culture, eco-clothing, and support for lots of local designer-makers. It also features a fabulous chat with Skye Craig from Master Chef who has taken on creating divine, predominately raw desserts and world renowned environmental activist ‘Captain Planet’ David Suzuki. The mag also provides inside information about the new underground economies where consumers are shunning malls for markets.
I was happy to don my hat as the official ‘Ingredient Inspector’ in this edition and write a tid-bit on Mineral Oil, with more chemicals in future editions on the way.
Peppermint Magazine is available for AUD $10.95 from good bookshops and selected newsagents across Australia and online at Leeloo. If you are already a big fan of Peppermint why not subscribe now, and receive 4 issues delivered to your door with free postage! Subscriptions are AUD $44 for Australians, $60 for New Zealanders, and $80 for folk from the rest of the world.
Whilst we did not have to evacuate our inner city sanctuary (flood waters reached the end of our street) we were cut off from other suburbs and services, and were without electricity for days. Sitting in our leafy green courtyard contemplating our low supplies of fresh food, Jase and I marveled at our fortune at having spirulina and vital greens (barley/wheat/chlorella) in our cupboard. We could all live for week…months on our supply (and avoid the frenetic panic buying in the supermarkets). As long as we had enough fresh food for our chicks (and spirulina) we were set! So let me tell you about this greeny-blue, slightly sweet, intense algae…
Japanese scientists look towards spirulina as the solution to the world’s hunger and health problem. NASA considers it a vital and compact space food for astronauts. The World Health Organisation has called it one of the greatest super foods on earth. And New Agers all over the world are rediscovering the wonders of spirulina, adding it to their diets, and for many living, just on the nutrients of this super-food alone.
From origin to content: 1 kg of good spirulina is the equivalent of 1,000 kg of assorted vegetables; 10 gm of spirulina contain 6.6 gm of protein (milk has 0.32 gm). It has no bad cholesterol, contains 18 of the 22 amino acids the body needs, and is the richest source of beta-carotene, an antioxidant which combats free radicals.
Other exciting things about spirilina…
It is a wonderful tonic for our body and helps to strengthen our immune system in general.
The dark blue green colour shows Spirulina is rich in Phycocyanin, helping to build blood and healthy red and white blood cells.
It’s high in chlorophyll.
It’s high with GLA essential fatty acid.
It’s low in fat.
It’s low in calories.
It increases your energy levels and puts your body in a great position to be the best it can be, for as long as it can.
And Spirulina can also be added to your home made face and body masks, albeit it does look a little ‘hulkish’ on the body.
So while other people have been scrambling to gather groceries from an ever-dwindling shortage of fresh food supplies, I feel grateful for our spirulina and supergreens. Jase and I breath a sigh of relief that even if we were cut off from services for weeks and months we would probably come out of the floods in better health than before the waters were rising.
NOTE: Kids and Spirilina. Yes, our chicks eat spirulina. Adiva eats it straight from the jar sometimes when her body feels like she needs it (and then she’ll go for days without it as well). Sometimes we add it to her smoothie, and sometimes we put it in what she calls her ‘honey herbs medicine’ (a concoction of naturopathy herbs to boost her immune system if she is developing a cold or cough, added to a generous scoop of spirilina, InLiven (certified organic, fermented, probiotic), cinnamon, ginger and mashed together with manuka honey).
I received an email today from Farah-Lee, owner and operator of KindtoKidz.
‘Dr Lantz, I came across your book Chemical Free Kids in the local library when researching a university project I did on immunisation. I’ve always had a natural bent so I decided to borrow it. It was quite eye opening for me and educational as I didn’t even realise I myself have a chemical sensitivity. I always just thought I was sensitive to most things in general, like the smell of strong household cleaners, perfumes, etc. I never looked much into it – and then your book seemed to explain it all. I also never knew how to read ingredient labels and that was very helpful for me. I subsequently started feeling more confident when choosing organic care products for my kids and household and used some information in your book to test products that I know sell in my business’.
Farah-Lee decided to combine her drive for educating consumers about safe choices for their children with her desire to establish a family business that would make a difference in some way. And hence, KindtoKidz was born.
Check out KindtoKids. It’s always great to support local and ethical businesses, organised and operated by passionate, conscious mama’s!
And thankyou Farrah-Lee for your kind words! We look forward to working with you.
[Photo of Farah-Lee and bubs from KindtoKids website]
David Wolf has certainly been at the heart of our journey into raw food, and I have frequently drawn on his knowledge about toxicity of the body, superfoods, and natural beauty in my Chemical Free Kids presentations across Australia. And he’s back in Australia next month! Exciting!
People have frequently asked me why I, in the main, have boundless energy, a strong focus and drive, a great metabolism, and a positive, proactive attitude to life – particularly given that I had a baby last year, still breast feeding, and spend much of my time travelling Australia speaking to communities or doing research on chemical and kids. And I would say that the single most beneficial thing I have done over the past few years is to incorporate plenty of raw foods and superfoods into my (and my family’s) diet. David’s work has certainly been at the core of this change.
He’s a nutritionist by trade and presents a down-to-earth and simple approach to making new choices about lifestyle and taking our health back into the power of our own hands.
I find his workshops uplifting and transformational. I hope you can attend with me. The details of his tour across Australia are on his website: CLICK HERE
Check it out and let me know if you are coming!
WARNING: He’s the man who got me into raw cacao. Just ask him about chocolate and he won’t be shy to tell you why chocolate is the greatest, most prosperous, nutritious, mood-elevating, highest energizing, and top weight loss aphrodisiac food on the planet! His book Naked Chocolate is on our bookshelf and the girls and I have been to known to eat chocolate naked in our lush garden during full moons. Jason thinks its a girl thing…but it could happen to you too!
We ordered a kids meal for Adiva on our flight over to New Zealand for Christmas. We were initially reluctant given the notoriously bad quality of food on planes, and usually opt to bring our own food (or Jase and I often fast for the duration of the trip), but Adiva wanted to order a meal and have the experience of eating a meal on the plane ‘just like everyone else’. So we ordered her a meal.
She found it a very funny meal.
‘Hey, its all kind of the same colour’, she said of first impressions, ‘Kind of grey whitish’.
‘And mum, what is this?’ she said picking up a chicken nugget that was immersed in the mashed potato and cauliflower puree.
She ate the cheese and crackers and the chocolate.
I must admit, I am still confounded by the western model of ‘kids meals’. Not just on airlines, but in restaurants and café’s. Somehow being a kid means that you qualify for more processed, low nutrient, high sugar and fat, less diverse, meals than if you are an adult. Why do we think that children will eat a chicken nugget instead of chicken? Fish-fingers instead of fish? Boxed cereal instead of Bircher muesli? Chips instead of potatoes? Syrupy fruit cups instead of fruit?
Historically, children have usually been the first ones to select from the choicest part of the meal. This practice acknowledged their growing bodies and need for special nutrients. Where did that tradition go? What happened that children now get the least choicest meals?
Sure we may need to cater for palates that are mild, might eat more frequently and with smaller portions, but we surely can do better than this.
‘But I don’t see that it is the restaurants responsibility’ a friend of mine argues. ‘It’s a business after all, and the return has to be worth the time and money invested in offering any product. Typical kids menus have evolved to what they are today as a result of what sells’.
So who’s responsibility is it? And surely there is an ethical issue about food being less about making profits and more about nutrition and growing the next generation of healthy kids?
Sorbolene usually contains liquid paraffin and white soft paraffin, both petroleum by-products that coat the skin like plastic, clogging the pores. They interfere with skin’s ability to eliminate toxins, promoting acne and other disorders. They also slow down skin function and cell development, resulting in premature aging. Any mineral oil derivative can be contaminated with cancer causing PAH’s (Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons). Manufacturers use paraffin because it is very inexpensive.
From the National Toxicology Program Chemical Health and Safety Data on mineral oil:
‘A human carcinogen by inhalation that produces gastrointestinal tumors.’
‘A human teratogen by inhalation that causes testicular tumors in the fetus. Inhalation of vapor or particulates can cause aspiration pneumonia.’
Sorbolene creams also do not contain any vitamins or essential fatty acids and disturb or even prohibit the skin from absorbing fat-soluble vitamins. They appear to hydrate and moisturise but in reality they can suppress the skins ability to function normally, and do very little to nourish and hydrate the dermis.
The skin then develops a dependency on constant applications of mineral oils which, in turn, results in a deterioration of the skin’s character and overall health. Long-term usage of these products may block the pores resulting in acne and blackheads; they strip the skin of its natural oils and can create fluid retention, resulting in irritation, sensitivities and allergies.
What are all those chemicals in your shampoo? your lipstick? your aftershave? And what do they have to do with asthma, cancer and learning disabilities? Get to the ugly truth with The Story of Cosmetics, a new short film from the Story of Stuff Project.
The Story of Cosmetics, examines the pervasive use of toxic chemicals in our everyday personal care products, from lipstick to baby shampoo. Produced by Free Range Studios and hosted by Annie Leonard, the 7-minute film reveals the implications for consumer and worker health and the environment, and outlines ways we can move the industry away from hazardous chemicals and towards safer alternatives.
The film was made in close partnership with our friends from the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. We will be interviewing these fabulous people next year as part of our research for our new book. Until then, enjoy the film!
Join our elist to receive a FREE BOOK CHAPTER from our best-selling book Chemical Free Kids: Raising Healthy Children in a Toxic World. Additionally you will occassionally receive special offers to assist you to make healthier consumer choices for you, your kids and your family.
My resume looks something like this: mama, university lecturer and researcher [currently at the University of Queensland], nutritionist, writer, author, presenter, health coach, ethical business consultant, and all round chemical conscious parenting nut.
Along with our research grants, our Certified Organic Business allows us to expand Chemical Free Kids, conduct research, and explore conscious parenting, deliberate, non-toxic living. The products are raw, certified organic, potent and made fresh!
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