We are a family of four creative people currently residing in Brisbane, Australia. In the main we’re a well-oiled, harmonious, happy, healthy, connected team. One of our recent family mottos is ‘think less, feel more’ and when we do this, there is infinitely more connection and care with each other.
Here is a bit about our journey…
Like many parents, our journey into the life of wellness and non-toxic living came with the onset of children. The information we received about preconception care, birthing choices, and raising health babies was driven by a medical model that cared not for minimising (or eliminating) drugs and toxic substances. They said to us: ‘Some of the drugs during labour cross the placenta, but not enough to harm your baby…’, ‘Our new parent bounty bags contain a range of healthy samples for you to try, including Johnson & Johnson and Huggies…’, ‘Yes, you will need a good multi-vitamin, and eliminate some soft cheeses and shell fish, but everything else is fine…’. They gave us fragmented, inaccurate and dangerous information. With a background in child and youth research, public health, mental health and nutrition and this information really concerned me. So, soon after I birthed our first baby girl in 2005 I wrote the now bestselling book Chemical Free Kids: Raising Healthy Children in a Toxic World. Over 2500 books were sold in the first 5 weeks – an exciting achievement for an impassioned researcher, writer and mama. Nearly a year since its release, I have just birthed our second baby girl and this time Non-Tox Soapbox begins – another writing project. ‘Childbirth’, my partner points out in dismay, ‘seems to bring more than just a new baby into our lives – as if that’s not enough’
And in this instance, the universe has graciously supported this writing project with a university research and writing grant. This will bring us (my partner, the girls, and I) around the world to find out how other countries/governments/policy makers/ parents are raising healthy children in a toxic world (or not). It will be the first international comparative study of children’s environmental health policies. Fingers crossed I can pull it off!
So inevitably this blog will be about kids, chemicals and health. That’s a given! But, Non-Tox Soapbox is also about what we, as parents, butt up against as we desperately try to raise healthy children in a toxic world. In other words, how we respond to the ‘I just want to try this red drink Mama…’ or ‘Let’s buy the bubblegum smelling shampoo,’ or ‘What’s that man spraying on the playground garden Mama?’.
In a nutshell, Non-Toxic Soapbox is also about the contradictions, imperfections and messiness of parenting (and partnering) in a toxic world, and importantly, looking what we can do about it – both locally and globally. In doing so, Non-Tox Soapbox will document our family’s deliberate journey across Australia and around the world as we explore these issues. We hope this journey will uplift, expand, touch and free us in profound ways. I also hope that all those who read and interact with us along our journey, via this blog, can share in that glow (and introduce some of our discoveries in their own lives, and tell us about their own).
Here is a bit about each of us as individuals….
In an academic setting I’m known as Dr Sarah Lantz (PhD), a lecturer, researcher, writer and presenter with a background in public and environmental health, nutrition and sociology. At home I’m a mama, partner, lover, cook (or rather uncook as we are transitioning into the world of raw eating) and cleaner, amongst a whole host of other roles.
BUT, I am also happy to say that I am NONE of these roles!
I had this light bulb moment on a 10 day Vippasana silent meditation retreat (the only one I have done mind you, so don’t get too impressed). Sitting in darkness with only luminescent candles for light I realised that I felt a great heaviness with my life most of the time, and that I often carry the role of ‘the mother’ or ‘the partner’ or ‘the academic’ as a burden. I am often unable to distinguish between when I am in these roles and when I am in other roles eg. sister, playmate, daughter, friend etc. What I discovered in the darkness (painfully, and unnecessarily so mind you), and what yogis teach, is that human discontentment or ‘heaviness’, is a simply a case of mistaken identity. We’re all ‘heavy’ because we think that we are mere individuals, alone with our own individual flaws, fears, worries, confusions and resentments. We believe that the limited voice in our heads (Which voice? The one that just asked that question) constitutes who we really are. But there is an ‘I’ beyond this….if we listen closely, and practice silence, that is NONE of these roles. Something bigger and more supreme. And there is so much freedom in this discovery.
What it means is that I no longer always feel a desire to navigate down the conventional path (but sometimes I do) or write the ‘right’ stuff and avoid talking about issues that I haven’t ‘researched enough’ or completed a dissertation on. So in this blog I write whenever I feel I have something to say, sometimes spontaneously, sometimes not, whether it fits or not, or imperfect as it might be.
My partner is a kiwi and originally came from Tauranga, in New Zealand. I think it’s his ‘kiwiness’ that has allowed him to embrace natural parenting, unschooling, homebirthing, and organics, well, more organically than anyone else I know. He is a great partner, father, and human being and I feel grateful that I am travelling this life by his side. He has many talents and abilities. He is an inspiring team leader and IT professional by trade and loves his work. He’s also impassioned by sailing yachts (and wants to live on one and teach the girls how to sail and develop an understanding of the weather when the girls get a little older), trading the stock market, and competing in triathlons (his goal is always to beat his father…mind you, his father is in the 65+ age group category)
An exuberant, funny and adventurous spirit who is full of joy and so much fun to be around. She enjoys people of all ages and makes friends wherever she goes – the park, supermarket line, airplanes, art galleries….. In jest we call her a ‘park tart’, but underneath this Jason and I wish we could be more like this ourselves – open, expressive, connected to strangers. She, like other other children in our lives, are our greatest teachers.
We are engaging in the journey of homeschooling (unschooling) with her. Her education and exposure to the wonders of the world, along with a desire to deeply immerse her in other languages and cultures, has been a primary motivator for us to create alternative, multiple, non-employee forms of income. We believe in community-based education and see the world as our global community.
Still a newborn, and magic to be around as each day brings an unfolding of her nature and character. Adiva has nicknamed her ‘Smiley’ and she lives up to that name everyday. Her name comes from the 1955 movie, Jedda. It was the last movie made by Australian filmmaker Charles Chauvel and most notable for being the first to star two Aboriginal actors (radical for the time!) and also the first Australian film shot in colour. Since that time, Jedda is a name that’s been taken up by aboriginal communities. Whilst our Jedda is not aboriginal we love the strong nature of the name and what it created in Australian film making history. No doubt we will learn more who Jedda is, and her purpose in this world, as this blog continues.