Chemicals, Kids and what we as parents butt-up against as we try to raise healthy children in a toxic world.
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!
The mention of the ‘local food movement’ brings quizzical looks to the people in this part of New Zealand. It’s still instinctive, habitual to eat and support local growers and food artisans. At this time of the year, locals swap avocados for oranges for lemons for corn for cherries for new potatoes for jam for plum sauce. They know that watermelon season is nearly upon them, the blackberries come next, the apples will be ripe for harvest in May and the persimmons around the same time, perhaps a month later depending on how soon the frosts come. People sell their excess in abundant trundles on the side of the road, usually picked the day it is sold. Animals here are also grass fed, so this means for people who eat animal products – meat, milk and eggs – they eat less total fat and less saturated fats than the same foods from grain-fed animals. These pastured animals also contain conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a fatty acid that some recent studies indicate may help reduce weight and prevent cancer, and which is absent from feedlot animals. And perhaps most important of all are those beautiful and indispensible omega–3s, essential fatty acids created in the cells of green plants and algae that are critical to human health, and especially in the growth and health of neurons – brain cells. Pregnant women receiving omega-3’s give birth to babies with higher IQ’s; children with diets low in omega-3s exhibit are more challenged in schools; and puppies eating diets high in omega-3s are easier to train. Amazing! But the most critical thing here is not about Omega-3s but about the Omega-6s and the ratio of consumption between them. Omega-6 is produced in the seeds of plants, omega-3 in the leaves. Both, as their name suggests, are essential, but the problem arises when they fall out of balance. And indeed, that is exactly what has happened, and what Michael Pollan declares as ‘the most important, yet unnoticed change to the human diet’ and one that we may ‘come to regard as one of the most deleterious dietary changes wrought by the industralisation of our food chain’.  Consider that as our diet – and the diet of the animals we eat – has shifted from one based on green plants to one based on grain (from grass to corn), the ratio of omega-3s to omega-6s, has gone from roughly one to one (in the diet of hunter-gathers) to more than one to ten. These changes to the composition of fat have been linked to many diseases of our civilisation – diabetes, obesity, and heart disease.
So it means more than ever to consciously consider what you eat, and what your food eats. For our family, the simple green smoothie still reins supreme, even when we are travelling (we travel with a hand blender). To me there is nothing more satisfying than making my morning green smoothie from the local leafy greens we have at hand from the vege patch. At Nana’s we forage for beetroot tops, curly leaf parsley, beans, and chard. We sweeten our smoothie with oranges and mandarins in her orchard and we add in hemp oil to ensure we are getting our omegas.
Eat your greens – even when you are travelling!
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?
So Brisbane friends, whether you are already converted, simply raw curious or just want a different and healthy night out, check this place out every Monday night from 5pm. Make sure you get there early to get a seat as we arrived at 530pm and the place was already packed by then. When we were leaving at 730pm the line up was out the door and people were ordering food and eating it out on the pavement.
Preparations are underway to send the first of four shipments of high risk, hazardous chemical waste (hexachlorobenzene – HCB) from Sydney to Denmark. The waste, from the Orica site at Botany in Sydney was created by decades of production of plastics and solvents. A deal between Australia and the Danish Government means the highly toxic waste will be disposed of at an incineration site in the south of the country.
HCB is a white crystalline solid which was commonly used as a pesticide and fungicide to protect seeds of wheat and for a variety of industrial purposes. It has been banned globally under the Stockholm Convention on persistent organic pollutants.
Because HCB is persistent and bioaccumulative, it stays in our environment and contaminates our food chain. HCB can cause severe health problems for humans and other wildlife:
We are exposed to HCB via:
Dr Mariann Lloyd Smith, Senior Adviser, National Toxics Network Inc. and co-chair of the International POPs Elimination Network spoke to the media about the issue. She says: “We’ve had the capacity to deal with it in the past. For over a decade we’ve had some of the state of art technologies dealing with our hazardous waste here”. “There is simply no excuse for Orica to be doing this”.
I was privileged to meet Dr Mariann Lloyd Smith for an interview last week as part of my post-doctorate research project and her knowledge in the area of chemical research and prevention is nothing short of amazing. I would recommend you listen to the fully story.
[IMAGE: Greenpeace environmental activists climb on to containers and use paint to protest at the Orica site at Port Botany. Photo: AP/Greenpeace[
It’s summer, and here in Brisbane we are in a flux of rainy, stormy weather and hot humidity, which has caused havoc on my skin. So I went to the whole foods shop today with a friend of mine to explore options for my dry skin. And while I was in vege isle looking for kale, my friend was reading the back of a body scrub jar. She said: ‘Guess what the ‘natural’ and ‘organic’ body scrub contains? Glycol Stearate, ethylparaben, ethylene brassilate, phenoxyethanol and tetrasodium EDTA’.
‘What’s the brand called’ I asked.
Funny! I am yet to see a glycol stearate, ethylparaben, ethylene brassilate, phenoxyethanol and tetrasodium EDTA tree/scrub/flower/herb growing in my garden.
The bottom line is….our skin is living and porous! It’s the largest, living organ of the body. So why would anyone possibly put chemical ingredients on it? People often smirk in my workshops when I say, ‘If you wouldn’t put it in your mouth and eat it, than don’t put it on your skin’. And I’m serious. Nothing goes on my body, or my children, that is not packed full of living enzymes, raw, and has 100% beneficial ingredients. Many of these products we purchase, but there are also just as many that we make at home.
In the case of my dry skin, I made myself an invigorating organic salt body scrub, and I am now replenished and nourished once again (I also increased my level of oils – hemp, flaxseed and coconut in particular, seeds and nuts, and increased my water intake).
Besides replenishing the skin by removing dead skin cells, a scrub using Celtic Sea Salt or Himalayan Salt removes negative energy, improving positive ions and generally making you feel lighter and clearer. It also reconnects you to your body, renewing your physical, emotional and energetic body, and is an important act of exercising ‘extreme self care’ (I love this phrase!) in our everyday lives.
Here’s the beautiful body scrub and how to make it:
Mix all the ingredients together in a glass jar. If your salt is course, grind it in a spice grinder, or crush in a mortar and pestle till the granules are fine. Pour in both your olive oil and drops of essential oil or herbs. I use olive oil because I have access to great olive oil, but you could use most oils – apricot, jahoba, coconut, avocado oil if that better suits you. Other people may prefer not to use an oil at all, and can thus sprinkle a small teaspoon of the mixture for each major body area, rubbing briskly but gently over wet skin until dissolved.
I think this scrub works best used dry and before getting in the shower (preferably in the shower cubicle itself). Rub briskly but gently over skin – one body part at a time. When you have finished doing your whole body (not face), rinse the scrub off with a warm shower. Then pat your skin dry with a dry towel. You will feel amazing – I promise!
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