Blog Posts by Ask an Organic Mom, The Daily Green

  • In Search of a Celebrity Organic Mom

    I'm not immune to the allure of celebrity. And I see how it sells green books. The ones with famous people attached to them absolutely have better Amazon ranks than those that don't. Odd but undeniable.

    So it's only natural that I wish one of the bumps People, Us Weekly, and others are constantly writing about would suddenly start carrying around a dog-eared copy of The Complete Organic Pregnancy and telling the stalking paparazzi and all reporters they speak to just how important having an organic pregnancy is.

    I see pictures of Jennifer Garner pushing a cart full of loaded cloth bags outside of a Whole Foodsand wonder (longingly) if she's the one to be our poster bump girl. I think she's a much, much more likely candidate than Ashley Simpson. And I harbor a certain fantasy that perhaps (I hope) Jessica Albaread the book. I've SEEN several reports saying she has greened her recently born babe. InStyle wrotethat she has an eco-nursery filled with organic cotton

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  • Earth's Best Formula Secretly Reformulated!? Inquiring Moms Want to Know

    I love the Internet. It really makes this whole organic mom thing a lot easier. We get a lot of questions through this blog that are more tips than questions, queries that give us greater understanding of what other trying-to-be organic moms are coming up against. Some of this information from the front lines is news to us. One such email came in recently. I have edited lightly:

    baby bottle with formulaHi,

    I am wondering if you are aware of a reformulation of Earth's Best Dairy Formula. I just bought three of the 25 oz cans (I used to buy the 13 oz) and I noticed the first ingredients listed are no longer Organic Lactose, Organic Nonfat Milk. The ingredients are as follows: Organic Reduced Minerals Whey, Organic Vegetable Oils (palm or palm olein, high oleic (safflower or sunflower), coconut, soy,) Organic Nonfat Milk, Organic Lactose, etc. Does this mean that the formula is now predominately whey and oils rather than milk? I am a bit disturbed by the reformulation without any noticeable change in

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  • Getting to the Roots of Our Food

    There is no melancholy quite like the ache of when summer turns to fall. So. Depressing. Thankfully, this is exactly when my CSAfarmer hosts a yearly farm visit. I have been a member of Stoneledge Farmin South Cairo, New York for eight years now, but (no) thanks to work, countless weddings, births, and infants (in that order), I haven't been able to make an autumn pilgrimage in seven or eight years (parenthood makes memory foggy). My daughter has had so much fun picking up our weekly veggie and fruit deliveries at the local Y this year that I was determined to show her where, exactly, her food comes from. So I cleared the calendar. And we went. My fingers are still stained with dirt and raspberry juice as I type. I didn't want to miss the opportunity to write happy -- for the first time in a long time I'm feeling elated.

    It's not an easy time to be an organic mom (or anyone else for that matter). In this pre-election frenzy, I find myself worrying about the fate of the earth my

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  • 10 cheap ways to be an organic mom

    I've been told over and over again - wrongly, I feel - that being an organic mom is only for the elite. I counteract this claim constantly, and have written here about being a frugal organic mom. The current economic situation has certainly meant I've been thinking more and more about living eco-cheaply. Still, for the most part, the audiences I've been speaking to lately haven't been requesting information on how to go green and save green at the same time.

    This week, however, I'm going to talk to some pregnant teenagers, some of them homeless or formerly homeless. This is something I have wanted to do for a long time and I'm thrilled to have the opportunity. As I prepared for the talk, I went over my general talking points and was encouraged by how little editing I had to do. True to claim, most of my top ten (which is really a top umpteen) list can be done with very little cash. Some of my most important suggestions are even free -- taking off your shoes before or just after

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  • Newly Pregnant? Here's an 8-step crash course in going green

    A friend of mind just called to tell me that she happily, but unexpectedly, just found out she s nearly three months pregnant. She wanted advice on how to get organic immediately, because even if she hasn t been all that organic up until now, she d prefer to hedge the bets of her unborn child. In this column we talk about lots of specific organic parenting ideas, but I told her that the following eight things will cover the big picture, and if she does them she ll be able to catch up quick.

    Mother with BabyMother with Baby

    1. Food

    Start eating whole foods (as close to how it came out of the earth as possible), paying attention to which items are more and less toxic. Meat is high on the food chain and therefore more toxic; vegetables are lower. For information on joining a community-supported farm check out Local Harvest. Avoid packaged foods and try to eat a varied diet that includes plenty of protein, calcium, whole grains and folic acid. (Take a daily vitamin with folic acid as well to be sure you re

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  • (Gently) Greening The Family Beach House

    Ah the last days of summer. So bittersweet. And I'm not talking about saying goodbye to the weather. I'm referring to spending a few weeks at the decidedly ungreen family beach house. I've been coming to this shore house since I first met the babe's father, over a decade ago. It's owned collectively by his father, aunt, and uncle, and rented out for most of the season. But the end of August is family time, and they - we - descend in droves. There are highlights, for sure. But over the years as I have grown greener, I find it harder and harder to relax and have fun as I witness the insane amount of towels that get washed daily, the piles of paper plates and napkins that get trashed nightly, and toss and turn on the heavily fragranced sheets. Constant upkeep includes new (off-gassing!) wall to wall carpets, regular (VOC-heavy) paint jobs, and the worst conventional cleaning products on the market. Another sore spot: a passel of heavily scratched Teflon pots and pans. Ack!


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  • Just what are Calico Critters made from?

    Calico CrittersCalico CrittersLike most parents these days, I'm very concerned about the toys I bring into my home, and even more concerned about the toys other people bring us as well-intentioned gifts. We don't actually have very many toys (less is more...) but I try to mainly buy wood, largely unpainted, and from small companies that disclose where they manufacture their goods. If I'm in the market for something only available from a new-to-us brand, I always research it on as well as Consumer Reports before I shop. And I never, ever go into a toy store with an I-want-it-all-now toddler. If I happen to have her with me when I'm toy shopping, I explain very carefully that we're only in there for something specific, usually a gift for someone else. But, as with all of my best laid plans, they're just plans. We live in the world. Not everything is controllable.

    The fact that my daughter has fallen madly in love with Calico Critters falls squarely in this realm. Haven't seen them? Likely you

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  • The Truth About Vanilla

    Taking care of small children doesn't exactly tax the brain. Most days involve a variety of repetitive activities that are far from stimulating, if almost totally mind numbing. Recently I was at a friend's whose parents live with her so they can be around her kids. Her parents are child psychologists and there are no two more dedicated people when it comes to the face time, but for the mind numbing stuff like laundry, toy sorting and meals, her mother straps on a fanny pack and walks around listening to books on tape. I was pretty impressed when she told me how many books she'd "read" so far this summer because it takes me weeks to creep through page-turning novels. But then on Tuesday I opened up the Science section of The New York Timesto find a storymaking a case for my totally disengaged brain. The idea of the piece was that boredom's kind of a good thing because "falling into a numbed trance allows the brain to recast the outside world in ways that can be productive and

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  • The Power of an Hour: What We Gain When We Turn Out the Light

    light switchlight switchWhen I was growing up, my mother was always after family members to turn off lights in rooms they weren't using. It's a common sense policy I'm pleased she nagged into me; now it's second nature. Last week I was having (IrvingFarm) coffee with a green leaning architect, JulieTorres Moskowitz , who contributed an essay about building a nontoxic nursery to The Complete Organic Pregnancyat one of my favorite green leaning local spots, The City Bakery. As we caught each other up on our latest projects, and chatted about the overabundance of greenwashing, especially in the building supply arena, a bakery worker with a tray full of votive candles walked around the space, placing one on every table. It was seriously odd - not only have I never seen candles at The City Bakery, it was 10:30 in the morning. We half-joked about the economy being so bad that they had to resort to flames instead of electricity. Our conversation shifted for a while, and I forgot about the candles until suddenly

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