Friday, November 9, 2012


 Both of my boys are intact (meaning they've never been circumcised). I'm often asked by mamas how we came to that conclusion and what sorts of things they should say to their family/friends/significant others in order to make the argument for staying intact.

Here’s all the arguments you’ll ever hear and why I ruled them out. First, I’ll say, when I found out my 1st was a boy, I immediately thought we’d have him circumcised, because my husband is circ’d and that’s just what you do, right?
Then I started reading, because I can’t help myself.
I cried, for about 4 hours straight, and then whenever I thought of it again. Reading the descriptions of both methods of circumcision, reading the horror stories,  reading how this barbaric practice came to be. I don’t consider myself to be an activist about much, but when it comes to circumcision, I am. I just feel so awful for all those little baby boys, being tortured in their first moments outside of their mother’s womb. L

One of the convincing arguments I’d always read was that it was religiously called for. The thing is, it’s only called for if you are Jewish, and even then, the original practice of circumcision was NOT a complete removal of the foreskin, it was a tiny snip through the foreskin which would heal (and not affect the foreskin at all) and leave a scar, showing your covenant with God. If you feel called to have this covenant with God, I suggest you practice the original act of circumcision, not a modern one. Along the same religious lines, I’m of the opinion that we’re born perfect. If, by some odd work of nature, we’ve come to not need a part, it will eventually disappear on its’ own.

A side note, speaking of something we’re born with that is no longer necessary – ever heard of an appendix? Our appendix is completely unnecessary anymore, and actually a danger if it bursts, yet we don’t remove every newborn’s appendix. If you were to believe that newborns can’t feel pain, as many pro-circumcisers say, why wouldn’t we just remove their appendix at birth?

Uncircumcised boys are more likely to have STDs or infections, right? Nope, research has shown that to not be true. The US has the highest rates of circumcision in the world and also the highest rates of STDs and infections. I believe this mistaken impression comes from people who “clean” the penis by pulling back the foreskin and scrubbing with soap. This has the same effect as cleaning in the vagina with soap – it removes the good bacteria and allows the bad bacteria to take over. I actually suffer from horrible yeast infections if I use soap to clean my lady parts.

Cleaning it seems intimidating – I’ve never even seen an intact man, I didn’t know what to do with that extra skin. The thing is, you don’t have to do anything. It’s actually LESS care than is needed for a circumcised penis – since when a boy is circ’d it has to be kept clean & dry during a period when little boys are peeing and pooping on themselves. You wash the outside and don’t pull back on the skin at all. The very few times my boys have had poo that got into the tip of the penis, it just washed right off. Nothing a bath can’t take care of ;)

He’ll get made fun of in the locker room! I have a very short answer for this – as my husband said “if other boys are looking at his pecker, he’s got bigger problems than getting made fun of.” Most boys don’t shower naked with other boys any more in school.

He’ll be different than his daddy! Yup, in more ways than just his penis, like his nose, but I don’t plan to give him rhinoplasty. By the time he is big enough for his private parts to look similar to his daddy’s (including pubic hair and size), they really shouldn’t be naked together anymore. My husband has no idea whether his dad is circ’d or not.

The convincing statistic for my husband is that intact males are about 25% larger in size than circumcised males when fully erect. The belief is that this is because the foreskin gives the penis extra room to grow. My husband was pretty upset to learn he could have been 25% larger.

I was also strongly affected by the origins of modern circumcision – a practice started by the Catholic Church to stop boys from masturbating. It sickens me L I hope as a society we’ve come far enough along to realize that a little body exploration by kids is completely normal and even expected. 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Paleo Banana Chocolate Chip Pancakes

I've recently (30 days ago on Monday!) started the Paleo lifestyle ("diet" - though this is a change in how I eat forever, so I don't like to call it a diet). Basically, eating Paleo means you eat the items that would've been available to cavepeople back in the day. No grains, no sugar, no legumes (though I sometimes cheat there!), some also do no dairy or dairy products. You'll also strive to eat grassfed meats and only use grassfed dairy products. You strive to eat organic fruits and vegetables. When I first considered Paleo about 6 months ago, my head just about exploded thinking about it. It was beyond me to comprehend eating like this. Now, though, it is EASY. Way easier than eating conventionally and trying to be healthy. My meals look like this, for the most part:

I'd seen the recipe floating around for 1 banana + 2 eggs = pancakes. I'd tried it. It was good, but it was not pancakes. So I tweaked and altered until I came up with something that is still easy, still Paleo, and tastes/feels like pancakes. 

What you'll need:
2 eggs (organic, free range, preferably local)
1 medium banana
2 Tbs Almond Meal
2 Tbs Coconut Flour
1 Tbs Flaxseed Meal
1 Tbs *Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips (if wanted)

This recipe is pretty forgiving. If you only have coconut on hand, just use coconut. I've added a TBS of Almond Butter instead of Almond Meal and that was also really good. Also all of these flours/meals can be made at home with a food processor (or I use my Magic Bullet with the flat blades on it <<-- Magic Bullet always sounds like a vibrator to me). 

Mix everything except the chocolate chips in a blender. Add chocolate chips and stir by hand. 

These pancakes cook differently than conventional pancakes. They do not bubble and they burn more easily. I turn my burner to about a 5 (medium heat) and let the pan get hot, then turn it down to a 2 (low heat) and add coconut oil or butter. Once it is melted in there, drop batter into the pan by the heaping tablespoon. 

Let them sit until they are puffy (they will rise a litte) and looked cooked on the bottom half (ie not runny), then flip them. They will not bubble like conventional pancakes. I leave mine about 4-5 minutes on the first side. 

Leave them another 2-5 minutes on the 2nd side, and then remove from the pan to a plate. These are excellent with maple syrup, or copy me and add a little all fruit strawberry jelly to the top for a chocolate-strawberry pancake - YUM!

Even the baby likes them! 

I added these to Myfitnesspal as "Paleo banana chocolate chip pancakes". It makes 8-9 total. 4 fill me up, but even if you eat the whole batch, it's not that horrible calorie wise, which brings us to another reason I love Paleo - I don't have to track calories. I tracked for a week and it was pretty near impossible for me to get over 1300 calories a day. Good enough for me!
Here's the nutritional Info:

I'd love to hear how yours turn out, too!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Latchkey Dog

Fourteen years ago my life changed because I met you. I was a college student and working part-time as a rotating bank teller (meaning basically I worked for whichever branch needed me that week) and this particular week I was stationed off of Chapman Highway (in Knoxville, TN). There was a neato little pet store right across the highway, so during lunch and after work I'd stop by. There was this particular little brown and white Jack Russell Terrier who was just adorable and in a kennel right by the front door of the shop. Unfortunately he was some astronomical price for a poor college student, like $750 or something. He made me fall in love with Jack Russells, though, so I went home and (the equivalent of Googled, but I don't think Google existed yet, so I probably typed it into Yahoo or something) JRTs and read a LOT. After another week or so I looked up breeders in the area. I ended up finding a lady just a few more miles down Chapman Highway and set up an appointment to come and see her dogs. She told me over the phone that she bred rat terriers, JRTs, and min pins (glutton for punishment?) Her JRTs were $500, rat terriers were something like $200. I didn't really like the look of rat terriers, but I thought I would come and see if I fell in love with a puppy, since I couldn't afford JRTs, apparently. I went to visit the lady and she showed me a litter of rat terriers that really looked like a litter of rats. I wasn't so impressed, but oh- how I wanted to be a dog owner that day. I told her the story of the JRT at the Pet Store and how I love him, but he is so expensive. "OH!" she says, "Let me go get his brother!" Turns out it was her pup for sale at the Pet Store, though both of you had actually come from a neighbor breeder who was too old and had possibly somewhat neglected you pups.

Baby Latch 

You were the CUTEST puppy I'd ever seen. Also the least interested in having anything at all to do with me. I normally have pretty good luck with animals loving me. Not you. You were much more interested in the rat litter, the ball of string in the corner, the pool table, some random dog biscuit - you wouldn't even look at me, much less come to me. The lady told me since you were so unsocial and neglected, she would sell you for $200. My bargain basement buddy, I was determined to make you love me. I sat in the corner and looked at the time - 1:00. I decided I'd give you two hours to come to me, and if you did, we'd go home together. I tried every trick I knew - I threw balls, I offered treats, I looked at the floor, I looked at you, I sang songs, I made funny noises, I slapped my hands on the floor, I acted indifferent, I acted in love. You just didn't care. That's actually an understatement. It was more like you were completely oblivious to my presence in the room.

I was resigned to the fact that I wasn't taking home a JRT that day when the lady said "You know, I could just take this one to the pet store and bring the other one back for you? If you'd prefer?" She was worried she was losing a sale and she needed to close the deal. I looked at my watch - 2:52. Her offer seemed promising. Your brother dog loved me already and was a very happy, nice puppy. I looked at you, ignoring me still, sniffing out some treasure near one of the legs of the pool table. "Welllll....." I said. You still had a few minutes before I was giving up on you. I stood up. Stared into space. Unsure of what to do, and being super indecisive, and completely unaccustomed to animals being indifferent to me, I wanted to win. Just then, I felt something wet on my foot. I looked down, and there you were, licking my flip-flop clad foot. "Nope!" I said, "I'll take this one!" and scooped you up to take you home.

You were a hot mess from day 1. You wanted to be close to me, but not have me touching you., unless I was crying and then you'd come lay on my lap for a cuddle. You were headstrong and crazy. You'd run into traffic, pick fights with bigger dogs, swim ANYWHERE there was water (you once jumped into a cattle trough that was a good 4 feet taller than you). That first apartment we lived in, you dug up the carpet at every door whenever I was gone. you probably ate 47 pairs of my underwear over the years :-/ I'm still a little mad about the one pair that had the beautiful matching bra..

There was another renter in the apartment complex who would dump their kitty litter outside of their apartment (GROSS), and you would try to eat it EVERY time we went for a walk. You got pretty good about acting nonchalant and hanging out close to me like there wasn't kitty litter RIGHT THERE and then waiting until we were super close and DASHING off hoping you could get there before I noticed and stopped the (retractable) leash. If you ever got loose, I could just turn and walk away, you'd come running right to me. Everybody loved you! You were a very muscular little dog and you were a little bit haughty. You never had much patience for children.  Basically, you were a completely typical Jack Russell - full of energy, full of life.

Always up for a game of catch, you could snag tennis balls out of midair

I think you were happiest when we moved to the Texas Panhandle. Full of all sorts of new dangers for a little Jack Russell Terrier, you were happy to run free and get into trouble all the time. I will never forget all of our travels, or how you were my little "crime scene" investigator. I would take you out when I had mortality signals (on radio-transmittered Rio Grande wild turkeys) and say "where is it? who did it?" and you'd follow the scent trail to a kill site, or a stash, or some other incriminating evidence.

Latch and Sierra's first meeting

I will never forget the fear in my heart when, 45 minutes from the tiny town of Clarendon, deep in the back country, you found the first rattlesnake I ever heard (but certainly not the last). I didn't see it because it was late March and he wasn't all the way awake or out of his hole. But I heard it, and I saw you jump back. I searched you and found nothing. We went on about our work. Finally I noticed that you were acting funny - walking loopy and sluggish, panting, searching out shade. I searched you again and found two tiny punctures in your nose. I called my mom and said "Tell me rattlesnakes aren't lethal to dogs!!! Look it up on the internet, I'm sure I've read that they aren't lethal to dogs!!!" She said "No, I'm pretty sure they are" and wouldn't look it up for me. This was way before Smart Phones, I was stuck. If you were going to die, I wanted to just hold you and cry with you, not rush you to town (since we were 45 minutes away). I decided to go with what I remembered and raced you to the Vet. $360 later, I had a very loopy, but just fine (except for the massive neck swelling that looked like goat balls) Jack Russell Terrier. It was that day that I first thought "this dog is going to lead a very exciting life and probably a very horrific (but quick!) death". I was sure I'd never have to put you to sleep. I was sure you'd run out into traffic, or get kicked by a horse, stomped by a bull, or get in a fight you couldn't win, or find another rattlesnake that got you in a more permanent spot (the Vet said that your nose was the best location, since nothing would swell that could end up infected or closing your airways).

Latch, Sierra, mama and baby Gray

Two days ago I finally had to admit that just wasn't true. You were 14 years old and some change. I couldn't find you - normally over the last few years you spend the day sleeping in the laundry room. I found you sleeping outside and at first I thought you had passed. I hadn't seen you for many hours and that was abnormal for you. When I got close I could see you breathing, asleep. You picked your head up and perked your ears and I thought you were just tired. I've known for some time that you were getting close to your last days, and I still hoped that you would pass peacefully, on your own. You wagged your tail a bit and I said "hey Buddy" and you wagged more. I walked over to get my paintbrush (we are remodeling) and you stood up to follow. You were, unfortunately, not OK at all. You must have had some kind of stroke, or seizure. Your head was cocked to the side funny and when you walked, you flopped over sideways or got kind of tipsy, almost walking in circles. Your eyes jerked back and forth uncontrollably. I took you inside and cuddled with you. Made you a nest in the corner where you spent the night. Made you a tenderloin dinner, which you threw up, and that's when I knew for absolutely sure that I needed to let you go. You threw up water, food, anything.

Relaxing in the sun

I've cried a lot. A lot more than I expected. It's not like I didn't realize you were going to die. Sometimes I even hoped you would die, especially on your own. There were days you annoyed me to no end, like when you were incessantly barking. In these last few months, incessant barking was your MO, since you were 2/3's blind and more than 1/2 deaf - you barked when the wind blew. But we have a lot of memories together. You are the only constant in my life since my Dad died. Most of all, I just really wish I had taken you for a few last adventures in these last few months. You would've loved to go swimming at the lake, running at the Preserve, even just riding around in the truck. I let life and children get in the way of your happiness and I'm so sorry for that. I will never forget you, little buddy. I will never forget how awful I felt in those last moments, wishing I had cherished you more in these last months. You are my reminder to cherish every minute with those I love. I love you.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

I've Got a Disease

Doctors are sure that my condition is curable, with their help. My disease could be life threatening, if I were to stay home and do nothing, according to most of the Medical Community. My illness needs lots of monitoring, tests and constant Doctor supervision. My illness has already cost my insurance company thousands of dollars and will cost thousands more.

My sickness is pretty common, actually, at least in females. I've even had this condition once before and I ended up in kidney failure because of it. Almost all of my female friends have had this illness, too. Some people actually get it on purpose (me included, both times!) It's been around for millions of years and it is totally preventable. In other Countries, it's not even considered an illness, nor is it usually treated in a hospital.

My Health Practitioners want me to eat healthy and not gain weight, but my condition makes me want to eat constantly and I am gaining weight, despite my healthy eating habits (though admittedly, I'm nowhere near perfect!) My condition this time around has made me hypoglycemic, so I am also craving sugars and I actually need to eat constantly (8 times a day!) so I don't get nauseous, dizzy or potentially pass out. My doctors would like for me to exercise, but also be on bed rest. My doctors would prefer for me to stay in a hospital until my illness is cured.

I don't think I have an illness at all. I think I have a miracle, a blessing, a gift. I'm not crazy, though I may be a little hormonal. I'm growing a baby in my belly and it takes a lot out of me, but I wouldn't call my future child a parasite or a tumor. I don't think of my child as a sickness or a disease. I don't think my child needs to be surgically removed, though many Doctors would disagree. I don't even think my first child needed to be surgically removed, though obviously my first Obstetrician would completely disagree and didn't ask for or receive my consent to do a Cesarean, although the reason for my Cesarean was a non-emergency (Failure To Progress).

My doctors want me to be monitored constantly. I recently had to collect all my urine for 24 hours and take it to be tested for protein levels. I've had my blood drawn and tested 5 times in the last 10 weeks, and we've still got 10 weeks to go. I've had to drink glucose drinks, pee in cups, be exposed, have 3 ultrasounds and constantly take blood pressure readings. I think I need to avoid stress this pregnancy, yet my midwives completely dumped me ("transferred" because it will be easier now than later in pregnancy) at 28 weeks pregnant. I transferred to an OB who is known for having a VERY high VBAC (vaginal birth after Cesarean) rate and a very low Cesarean rate and who has a nice, fancy, well-thought-of Hospital. This OB requires that I have an IV and be constantly monitored once I go into labor. Constant fetal monitoring is known to cause more interventions than are necessary. Constant fetal monitoring leads to a higher Cesarean rate. I think I've convinced them to just do an IV lock and not a full IV - because with an IV I'd be tied to a pole and after my recent stint in the Hospital, I can say it severely limits mobility - and I was only 26 weeks along then. Not only that, but if I have a full IV running, some "savvy" nurse could slip me something without my consent. If you haven't figured it out, I don't trust the Hospital or the staff there.

I'm hiring a Doula, which I think is ridiculous - I have to hire someone to be in the room with me and protect my rights as a patient. I have to pay someone, out of pocket, to make sure unnecessary interventions aren't taken. I have to hire someone to tell me what interventions are being taken and what the pro's and con's of those interventions are - which should be the job of the nurses and obstetrician.

First do no harm: The motto of doctors. I feel pretty harmed by the birth of my first child, the curing of my condition. I hope to heal with this birth, but the US medical system is certainly making that awfully difficult.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Baby Post!

I haven't posted yet about this pregnancy because... I don't know why. Possibly because there is too much to post about and I've been so busy with work and Toddler Gray that I haven't had time to sort out all the posts I need to write. Like: How do people have a toddler and a newborn? In my mind, it is a black hole of insanity and I'm just not sure how it will work. Or: Preparing our toddler for a newborn (better title: how much our toddler is completely oblivious to the expectant arrival of a tiny, needy, precious, crying human).

Today I want to talk about how completely different this pregnancy is compared to my 1st and how everything doctors tell you about pregnancy diet is a complete sham.
The symptoms: with Gray I was sick with morning sickness from about 4 weeks until about ... 38 weeks, when he was born. It was really bad (though I did not throw up, I constantly felt like I would) until about 12 weeks when it got better for a few weeks, but anything constricting on my belly made me nauseous and motion sickness was at an all-time high for me (which, if you know me, is saying A LOT). I had no cravings the entire pregnancy, I had loads of aversions and most of the times meals were very planned and based on what was most healthy + I could stomach. I ate because I needed to, 3 times per day. I followed Brewer's Diet very closely to try and avoid preeclampsia and in spite of it, had high BP my entire pregnancy and ended up in kidney failure with pre-e. I gained at least a pound a week from about 6 weeks onward.
This pregnancy: I had very light, easy morning sickness from about 5-12 weeks, that peaked at 7 weeks and made me need to lie down a few times, but nothing too serious. I've had cravings from about 3.5 weeks onwards, everything from milkshakes to tater tots and lots and lots of pickles. I could eat all day. I could eat anything. I have eaten an entire pineapple upside-down cake. I eat chocolate covered pretzels for snack. I don't even really try to be super healthy, though I do eat organic and avoid food colorings and all the other things that I always do, I make no attempt to avoid sugar and I am perfectly happy covering my mashed potatoes in lots and lots of white gravy, thank you! In spite of this AWESOME diet, I have gained - not one single pound. In 18 weeks. I'm exactly the weight I was prior to getting pregnant, which is 10 pounds less than when I got pregnant with Gray. And my BP? So far - completely normal. I feel pretty great.

So my conclusion, based on my sample size of 2, is that pregnancy diets are BS. Your body reacts to pregnancy and that determines what you do or don't crave, how you feel, if you gain weight and how much (I may still get to gain quite a bit, I do have 22 weeks left!), whether or not you get preeclampsia. I think it is all determined before you ever even pee on a stick. I think that little blastocyst already has your body programmed and from that moment forward, your actions may help or hinder, but they aren't going to change the course. (Except of course for really dumb things like fetal alcohol syndrome and crack babies and that sort of thing). So I think women should be encouraged by their doctors to follow the signal of their body and maybe everything else will work itself out in the end, especially if we stop covering moms-to-be in guilt of diet and exercise (though you should totally exercise) and weight gain. Let a mother's body do what it was built to do!

Monday, November 22, 2010


I used to be one of those people. Probably the same as some of you. I thought organic was codeword for sucker. I thought the people who bought organic were paying for the privilege of being ripped off. Dummies, I thought. I remember when I worked in the daycare nursery, a mom got mad at me for giving her son store-bought conventional green grapes (he was 18 months old) on St. Patrick's Day. She told me most grapes were grown in foreign countries where it was legal to spray arsenic to kill bugs. I told her I'd washed the grapes and was secretly rolling my eyes because - for real, lady, freak out over nothing, ever heard of the FDA? We have REGULATIONS in this Country. I couldn't have been more stupid, and I wish I could apologize to her today.

I think I first started eating organic stuff before Gray was born, but mostly because it tasted better and, hey, I'll pay for that! Becoming Gray's mommy, though, put things into a whole new perspective. So, without further ado, here's my list of why we eat mostly organic.

1. I'm a wildlife biologist and so I'll start with the birds and the bees. Ever heard of DDT? yup, it was a pesticide. One that killed untold numbers of animals before people realized - Hey! When bugs die, something eats them and when lots of bugs die from pesticides, something bigger eats lots of them and then has lots of poison in it! I'm not saying any current pesticide is as bad as DDT - but no one is saying they aren't, either. It doesn't take long for pesticides to get approved and really we have no idea what the long term repercussions could be for a particular pesticide. It's not like they are waiting 20 years to find out, either. If you haven't heard of Colony Collapse Disorder, you should Google it, and if you are thinking SO WHAT, I don't like bees anyway! then you are stupid because bees pollinate almost everything that needs to be pollinated - the stuff we eat, the pretty plants we like to look at, THE STUFF WE EAT. Without bees, we are screwed. Our food will have to be made in labs and hand pollinated and if you think that will be cheap, think again! Plus, I REALLY like honey. Please don't kill my bees. (My son, about 3 hours ago, was stung by a bee for the first time, so that tells you just how much I like bees as a whole because at that moment, I would've been happy to kill all of them.)
2. Thin-skinned fruits and veggies: Ever heard of the dirty dozen list? You should check it out. I was shocked and disgusted by the number of pesticides used on products but more importantly, the number of pesticides that foods tested positive for containing - not the outsides, not the skin - the actual part that you eat. If you do anything at all, start eating these foods organic.
3. Genetic Modification (GM): It sounds like something out of a Sci-Fi movie, but some foods have been genetically altered to allow them to be resistant to herbicides. The biggest of these is soy, but there are many others. In and of itself, it sounds pretty harmless and Hey! says 22 year old me That is the joy of living in 2010! We can screw around with stuff to make it better! But 31 year old me knows better. Genetic modification, like pesticides, hasn't been tested for long term repercussions and some people have pretty good reason to think it could be responsible for the rising rates of food allergies - especially those to peanuts, which are very closely related to soy. (Peanuts are actually more closely related to soy than to any nut). Not to even mention that soy is a "food" that people shouldn't really eat and potentially causes long-term reproductive problems because soy acts as an estrogen-mimicker. Soy may be partially to blame for the rising rates of male infertility and the lowered age of female menstruation. (I say partially to blame because I think the hormones present in conventional cow's milk is also responsible for these population-wide changes in US health). All of this, and soy is present in just about every conventional processed food imaginable.
4. Hormones in cow's milk. Antibiotics in cow's milk. Ick in cow's milk. Cows are given hormones in order to make more milk faster, which means more money for dairies, but it also means more mastitus and infections for cows, so they are also given antibiotics and sometimes the infections aren't really caught in time (or are now resistant to antibiotics) and so there is yucky cow pus coming out with the milk. But Hey! Don' worry about it! We totally pasteurize that stuff so we're all OK! The fact is, the hormones are probably responsible for rising male infertility and reproductive cancers as well as declining ages of female menstruation (which can be as early as 6 years old now!) Not even to mention issues like in the Potomac and Alberta Rivers where male fish are turning into female fish because of the exceptionally high levels of hormones like estrogen in the water.
5. Food Dyes: In some countries, like Britain, companies like M&M Mars, Coco-Cola, Kraft and Willy Wonka voluntarily removed artificial food dyes from their food products. Yup, that's right, no Federal mandates made them do it, they voluntarily took those food dyes out of their products and started using other, natural food dyes. Why? because the general public in these other countries started to realize that artificial food dyes weren't just unnecessary, they were unsafe and these companies realized that the best way to avoid federal mandates and make the public happy was to just go ahead and make the change. So why haven't they done it here? because there is no public outcry and it is cheaper. What are the consequences of food dyes? Hyperactivity & inability to control behavior (sound a lot like ADHD which has only in recent years become a diagnosis and has been steadily on the rise ever since?) are the worst offenders, but some parents have seen links to allergies and autism as well. In fact, one of the first rules to an autistic child's diet is to remove artificial food dyes. I try to avoid food dyes with Gray, but his Daddy swears other mac&cheeses don't taste the same and only eats Kraft. I don't make Kraft mac&cheese for Gray, but sometimes Daddy gives him some of his and seriously, it would make a believer out of anyone. An out-of-control 16 month old is totally for the birds.
6. High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS): I hate this product. It isn't really food, but it is in almost every conventional processed food product on the shelves, not even to mention every bottled drink. I was happy to notice in the last couple of months Gatorade has switched to sugar in their drinks! HFCS first off probably comes from genetically-modified corn crops, though there's no way to know for sure because manufacturers aren't required to tell you AT ALL if they use GM crops. HFCS tastes like sugar and has calories like sugar, but it doesn't act like sugar in your body and it is oh-so-much-cheaper than sugar, that the manufacturing companies love it. HFCS, although it tastes sweet, sends a signal to your brain that you are still hungry. Sugar, by contrast, signals your brain that you are getting some very sweet food. This is why you can eat more food with HFCS, because your brain doesn't realize you are full. You eat until you explode. I don't like this trait of HFCS, or that it may contain mercury, a known neurotoxin, but the thing I really hate about HFCS is that it isn't a real food. I can't grow some HFCS in my backyard. I can't go down to the Farmer's Market and pick some up when I run out. I can't even buy the right products and make some HFCS in my kitchen, like a cake. This worries me. Just like
7. Artificial sweeteners: I'm not going into too much detail, but for real, these things taste like chemicals, they are chemicals, your body treats them like chemicals and they probably cause cancer. Not for me! Thanks anyway! I'd rather eat stuff that isn't sweetened!
8. Organic tastes better. You may think this is a myth, but it really does. Go to your grocery store (or better yet, Farmer's Market) and buy an organic something and a conventional something. The only thing I've ever had organic that was awful was a peach from Whole Foods and I'm pretty sure that is because I live in peach country so I can get some mouth-watering running-down-your-chin juicy peaches just up the road a ways and I'm thinking Whole Foods' organic peaches were probably shipped in and maybe not harvested at their peak.

In Summary, I like organic because:
It tastes better! No cancer in my food! It is real! It wasn't produced in a lab! My kid isn't hyper, allergic to food or autistic because of it! It doesn't make my kids' junk broken! It doesn't ruin the environment, kill bees and other insects or make songbirds have 6 eyeballs! and lastly, it is the Color of Food, exactly what color my food should be, not neon orange cheese or blue drinks or rainbow candy!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Review: Rockin Green Soap ROCKS

We cloth diaper and for a while I used my own homemade laundry soap for everything, including Gray's diapers (though it was a different laundry soap, one that didn't include actual soap). It worked pretty well, especially considering how hard our water is (everything gets residue on it, yuck!) Though after a while, my diapers would start getting stinky. They wouldn't really stink when they came out of the dryer, but as soon as they got wet, WHEW! It was like an Elementary School's Boy's Bathroom in Gray's pants (or maybe High School? I think High School boys purposefully pee on the walls, whereas little boys accidentally do). It was pretty gross, not to mention embarrassing (I don't want people to think I don't change Gray frequently, or that his diapers aren't clean!) I'd end up stripping diapers every 2 weeks, which was a lengthy and time-consuming process of -
Cold rinse (to remove pees/poop residue)
HOT wash & soak (at least 4 hours) with blue Dawn and as many pots of boiling water as I could manage before the washer filled up (usually 3-6)
Hot washes/rinses until the water was no longer bubbly - sometimes as many as 6!
--so my washing machine would be tied up for at least 24 hours and then - even then!- sometimes I'd still get the stinkies. (Plus I didn't want to put anything PUL in there, or GroBaby shells because the velcro gets weak in super hot water, so I'd have to wash those items separately!)

BUT NOT ANYMORE! -and here's where I go all infomercial on you. (not really!) I heard about this detergent Rockin Green and wanted to try it but was a little worried about cost, especially if it didn't really work because I'm Frugal! (maybe this blog should be the Frugal Green Housewife... hmmmm). And then I heard that she was doing this whole new marketing thing and changing stuff and getting new scents (another thing I was worried about because I'm very sensitive to strong smells) so I held off - and tried to win my own bag - and waited... then she came out with the new stuff, which is 100% natural and organic and I bit the bullet! (I also learned that she is out of San Antonio and so I liked that I could get it LOCAL, too!) I ordered a sample of each scent (excluding orangevana and lavender mint revival b/c I thought I wouldn't be a big fan) and a full bag of the scent I thought I'd like the best - Motley Clean. First off, the scents are MARVELOUS! (I have since been to the store in San Antonio and smelled them all - and amazingly loved all of them!) Motley Clean & Plain Green T's are my two favorites - they smell clean and slightly sweet like grapefruit and linen. I also love Rage Against the Raspberries and Smashing Watermelons but they smell like Kool Aid to me so I feel like I might mistakenly mix them with water and drink.

BUT on to the important stuff - my fluff! I took 6 tablespoons of Rockin Green and threw it in the washer with my rinsed diapers, turned it on hot/heavy duty then soak and left it overnight. The next morning, I was disappointed to open the washer and see clear looking water! Argh! Then I turned the washer ON and Voila! yuck water! It was dingy in there - gray-brown water that I couldn't even see through. Apparently it had all sunk to the bottom. I rinsed the diapers 3 times, dried, and since that day, I have not had any stinkies. We LOVE Rockin Green so much, I've stopped making my own detergent and started using RnG on everything! I even use this detergent to clean - the kitchen, the floors, the carpets, the couch! It is magic! (I used it to clean my toilets this last weekend - it's awesome, great srubbing ability, all natural, organic and it smells nice!) My kitchen sink was disgusting - stains from foods (we have a white ceramic sink) and stains from tea and marks from pots and pans. I mixed RNG with enough water to make a paste and scrubbed the paste into the sink, then left until it dried and srubbed it back off - and ended up with a shiny, sparkley and most importantly, WHITE, sink.

My regular wash routine now is 2 tablespoons RnG into the washer on hot with my rinsed diapers, leave it to soak overnight and rinse in the morning. It works like a charm, and only using 2 tablespoons per load means one bag lasts for 45 loads! If you have an HE machine, you can cut the use in half (1 tbs per load) and get 90 loads from one bag. It is amazing stuff!

WIN YOUR OWN BAG of RnG! I'm keeping things simple because I hate those blog contests where you have to do 15 different things. So, please, if you haven't before, check out RNG's website, read about it. Find them on facebook and "like" them (you can get great hints from other mama's and find out fast about RnG giveaways and discounts!) and if you feel like it, find me, Squeaky Green Housewife, on facebook and friend me, too! Leave a comment below letting me know the scent you'd like to try and if you have hard, soft or regular water in your home. One comment per person, please! Giveaway ends September 17!