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Beautiful Babies: Nutrition for Fertility, Pregnancy, Breast-feeding, & Baby’s First Foods

11 Feb

We belong to a fabulous blogging community called Village Green Network. It’s a group of bloggers that focus on natural food and healthy lifestyles. On the days Joanna and I are feeling a little defeated that our non-mainstream nutrition beliefs are so far from the norm, we connect with our peeps at VGN. They are wonderfully inspirational people who are just as crazy passionate as we are about real food and living the healthiest life possible.

Recently, fellow VGN blogger Kristen from Food Renegade published a book called Beautiful Babies: Nutrition for Fertility, Pregnancy, Breastfeeding, and Baby’s First Foods. From going through the whole pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding experience myself, I wish I would have had this book then…


Beautiful Babies is a wonderful resource that explores the benefits of traditional foods as it relates to optimal fertility, a healthy pregnancy, successful breastfeeding, and thriving babies.

This is a lovely book, not to mention the moving forward by Joel Salatin, a champion in the sustainable food movement. He sheds light where most do not; that we alone are responsible for our health and wellbeing. Our babies, even before they are conceived and born into this world are dependent on what we make in our kitchens and put into our bodies. We cannot afford to wait around for our nations food marketers to lead us in the right direction and for government institutions to change the dietary guidelines. It’s up to us to challenge these mainstream recommendations.

Did you know?

  • A 2007 study conducted at Harvard University found that women who consumed skim milk and low fat dairy products had an 85% higher infertility rate than women who consumed whole fat dairy.
  • Research conducted by Dr. Weston A. Price found cultures that remained true to their traditional diets which included bone broths and fermented foods, and avoided refined grains, sugars, and vegetable oils were unaffected by dental decay and deformities.
  • Recent studies show that women with high blood serum levels of vitamin D reduced their risk of premature birth by half.
  • 80% of the food in your grocery store contains GMO (genetically modified) ingredients and that mice fed GMO corn showed abnormal structural changes to their organs. These changes resulted in a serious increase in infertility, among other health consequences. (Sources to this information can be found in Beautiful Babies)

Beautiful Babies will challenge your current thinking related to healthy eating and nutritional guidelines, but it’s good stuff! It includes great information to anyone considering conceiving within the next few years and for those with children who are looking to incorporate traditional, real food ways of eating to offer the best possible nourishment to your family. I’m hooked on this book.

I was super sick during my first trimester when I was pregnant with Lyla, so I totally soaked up the section on how to prevent morning sickness. Something in this book will surely hit home for you, whether you have already given birth to your own babies or you are preparing for your first pregnancy. Plus, Part 2 of the book includes recipes to get you off on the right track with preparing nourishing, real food meals.

Beautiful Babies will be available on Amazon on March 15, 2013, but you can pre-order the book today. Pre-ordering this book means that you will also receive the complete online E-course of the Beautiful Babies class (a $199 value), just by spending $15.51 on the book. You can read more about the Beautiful Babies E-course here.


*If you plan to order this book and wish to receive the free online E-Course of Beautiful Babies, email Kristen at with a copy of your Amazon sales receipt. She will verify your purchase and provide you with the coupon code for the free enrollment to the class.

In full disclosure, WholeGreenLove is an affiliate seller of this book (and other books published by members of Village Green Network). We earn a percentage of the book sales if they are purchased through WholeGreenLove. That said, Joanna and I only mention books and products on our blog if we are totally into them. We pass up promotional opportunities often and do it because we either don’t agree with or don’t feel the book/product is a good fit for our audience. If a book publisher comes to us with an affiliate opportunity that doesn’t fit with what we stand behind or our wellness beliefs, we are happy to pass it by even if that means we are missing out an a monetary gain.

Easy DIY Wash Cloths

31 Jan

Every now and then I go on no-waste rampages through our house. Creating garbage makes me feel guilty and sad for this beautiful earth we’ve been blessed with. In our house, we compost, recycle everything we can, and utilize reusable shopping and produce bags for our trips to the store. One major blunder I hate to admit: We use disposable diapers. I know, I KNOW! With how fanatical I am about being earth friendly and keeping our garbage production to a minimum it should be top priority to switch to cloth diapers. It’s probably easier than I think it would be, but with all of the laundry I’m already doing, having to extra loads of stinky diapers kind of freaks me out. If I was a stay at home mom, I might consider it. Not like stay at home moms have all of this extra time on their hands, but they do have a bit more access to their wash machine than I currently do. For now, we use chlorine free disposable diapers on our baby girl.

Now that Lyla is feeding herself, meal time is super messy! Whether she’s using her fork and spoon or feeding herself with her fingers, she’s usually covered in food when she is done. Paper towels with some warm water have been our go-to for getting Lyla cleaned up. What a waste! I don’t like using paper towel in the first place, but I wanted to avoid cleaning my daughters face with wash clothes that have been used to scrub the counter top or dirty dishes. Ick. That’s why we’ve been using paper towel.

On a recent trip to Joann Fabrics (I’ve been there a lot lately!), I picked up a 5-pack of flannel fabric squares from a random bin for $5 (yay for coupons!). Using pinking shears (those zig zaggy cutting scissors), my Mom (thanks, Mom!) cut each fabric square into 4 smaller squares that measure just a bit smaller than a standard wash cloth.

DIY Wash Cloths WholeGreenLove

Side note: Be sure to cut all sides of the fabric with the pinking shears! First time through, we did just the raw edges, thinking that the selvage edges would hold up to washing without fraying. Not so much. After they came out of the washer and dryer a little frayed up, I went back through and cut the selvage ends as well. Lesson learned.

Little known fact about me: I won the Family Living Award in high school. What does that actually mean, you ask? It means I took all of the cooking and sewing classes my high school offered and I know how to cook and sew. Okay honestly, the food classes…I was pretty good at. Sewing, not so much. But I tried. Aaaaaand haven’t touched a sewing machine since. So when my mom told me that surging the edges of the fabric would be the best way to prevent fraying, I made a scared looking face and opted for using the pinking shears instead. If you are comfortable with sewing, do it up with the surge machine! I’m a chicken.

Now we have soft and adorable pieces of flannel that are perfect for cleaning up even the messiest baby face. Unlike paper towel, I can rinse and re-wipe  Lyla’s face with the same cloth instead of reaching for more paper towel. Plus, they are gentler on her dry, wintery skin.

If you can, purchase organic fabric. Cotton is a crop that is sprayed heavily with pesticides! If you can’t find organic cotton, consider adding a cup of white vinegar to the water in your wash machine when you clean the pieces of fabric for the first time. This will remove some of the chemicals used in growing the cotton and producing the fabric.

Happy baby face, happy environment, happy mama!

What do you do in your home to cut down on paper waste?


February 8, 2013 Update

Sooo…the first few washes of these cloths turned out fine. Now that they’ve been run through the wash machine a few more times, they are starting to fray and leave little shreds of thread on the rest of my laundry. No bueno. Because of this, I recommend surging the edges of these cloths so they stay intact. Does anyone know of a better alternative to solving this problem?

5 reasons your daily shower could be HAZARDOUS to your health

21 Nov

There is no better way to start my day than with a hot, relaxing shower. Just to sniff in the fresh scents and deep breath the wonderful steamy air is calming, yet still invigorating enough to psych myself up for the day. As I was lathering up the other morning, I thought to myself just how many decisions we make that impact the health of our shower experience.

A lot of times it’s hard to know how to prioritize the non-toxic/sustainable/eco-friendly changes to make in your life. Since you can’t do it all, sometimes it’s best to start with the things that can impact your life the most. The things that affect your body every day. So, let’s start with this: Is your shower dangerous to your health? Let’s assess the situation!

1.  Does your shampoo, conditioner, and face wash contain toxic chemicals? What types of products are you using on your kids?

Look for products that are free of parabens, mineral oil, dye, fragrance (essential oils are okay), phthalates, sodium lauryl sulfate, and sodium laureth sulfate. We could talk all day about the problems these chemicals cause, so I won’t get into the details, but some chemicals in our body products are known carcinogens and endocrine disruptors. Not good to be slathering on your skin and breathing in each morning!

It’s best to skip products that are promoted as being anti-bacterial. In general, it’s best to choose bar soap over liquid soap because bar soap is usually made with fewer chemicals. Instead of using a traditional shaving cream when I shave my legs, I use the same conditioner I use on my hair and just smear it on my legs. It’s already passed my test of being free from chemicals is is just the right consistency for shaving.

Need some non toxic DIY shower product ideas? Try our recipes for an oatmeal and sea salt scrub, hair conditioner made with baobab oil, olive oil body scrub, and lavender honey body scrub.

2.  How do you keep your shower clean?

If you are using the any traditional cleaning sprays, you could be coating your shower walls and blasting your bathroom air with toxic chemicals. Did you know that in 2000, cleaning products accounted for 10% of all toxic chemical exposures reported to U.S. Poison Control Centers?

Even if you use a non-toxic cleaning product to shine up your shower, be sure to give it a rinse off with water when you are done. If the next time you use the tub is to run a bath for your little one, you want the surface as clean as possible, without any product residue. Visit our posts on homemade shower spray.

 3.  Do you use toxic chemicals to clean out the shower drain?

If you are pouring chemicals down the drain to clear a clog, know that the fumes will enter the air in your bathroom to haunt you and it will likely also bubble up into your tub. Do your kids play by the drain? Lyla does. She loves spending time near the faucet to feel the water coming out. The last thing I want is her cute little butt cheeks to be covered in toxic chemicals! Check out our post on how to make your own drain cleaner or better yet, get your hubby to fish the dreadlock of hair that formed in the pipe exiting your shower. Sick! Not my hair…

 4.  Do you need to have your water tested?

Sure, you’re not supposed to take swigs of soapy water while you’re in the shower or bath, but I have caught my daughter taking little sips out of the cups she plays with in the bathtub. Yuck. The risk is not just in drinking the water, but also in the steamy air that comes out of the hot faucet. If there are chemicals in your water, you’ll breathe them in.

I’m certainly not an expert on water testing, but here are some items that we have tested our well water for recently: coliform bacteria, nitrate, VOCs, fluoride, lead, chlorine, and arsenic. The water-testing lab we went through gave us the option to test for a whole panel of heavy metals.

Ask your local health department what are common problems in your area, at least for a place to start. Based on what you find you can decide to take the next step of a filtration system, if necessary.

5.  Is your shower curtain bad for your health?

If your shower curtain is made of PVC, replace it today. That PVC shower curtain is emitting toxic chemicals and VOCs into the air in your home.  VOCs can affect your nervous system, respiratory system, lead to kidney and liver problems, promote allergic skin reactions, and induce nausea, among other awful things. On Dr. Weil’s website, he mentions that over the course of seven days, one new PVC shower curtain releases VOCs that exceed the guidelines for indoor air quality established by the U.S. Green Building Council. Imagine if you move into a new home and throw up more than one of those toxic shower curtains?!

PVC-free shower curtains are easy to find, just be sure you are reading labels. I found a great shower curtain at Home Goods. When it gets grimy and is in need of a good cleaning, I throw it in the washing machine with a cup of vinegar, laundry detergent, and a big bath towel. Does the trick every time!

What have you changed in your shower to reduce yours and your family’s exposure to toxins and harmful chemicals?


These tips were shared on Whole Foods Wednesdays, and Real Food Wednesday.


WGL Link Love: October

4 Nov

Want to know what caught our eye in the month of October? Here is a little reflection and a beautiful photo that we thought screams October…

Thank you to Sheets Studios for this beautiful picture.

  • I love cooking butternut squash, but sometimes roasting it in the over is a pain and it heats up my kitchen. I like the idea of throwing together crockpot butternut squash.
  • I love seeing recipes that call for using the ENTIRE chicken! On my meal planning menu this week is Honey Glazed Chicken. I love the idea of garlic, Dijon mustard, honey, and balsamic flavoring delicious pieces of chicken.
  • I love kefir. And do you know what I love even more? The idea of making it myself, so I can’t wait to make homemade kefir soon.
  • I have plans to make elderberry syrup this month to boost the immune system during this cold and flu season. I’m also adding fermented cod liver oil as a cure for the common cold in case we come down with something.
  • There is nothing better than a beautiful egg dish. I love the idea of a frittata with cauliflower and bacon.
  • I love the idea of a savory sweet potato casserole, whether its for breakfast or on the Thanksgiving table.
  • Something I need to try when I have some time off over the holidays – How to make a sourdough starter
  • You know we can’t get enough of those fall flavors, so why not make another roasted butternut squash recipe?
  • I made this natural homemade bleach and love it! Homemade non-toxic bleach + sun dried clothes on the line = Love.
  • I have a week and a half off of work over the Christmas holiday this year and we aren’t going anywhere, besides visiting our families to celebrate the holiday. Vacation Goal: Culture fruits and vegetables at home. I’ve been wanting to start fermenting foods for a while now. And make kombucha. It’s time.
  • I always love a good article that encourages breast feeding, offers practical advice, and gives great breast feeding tips.
  • I neeeed to make homemade mascara! So cool.

Can you believe it’s November already?!

Baa-Ma Milk

4 Sep

If you’ve been reading this blog, you know that I have been obsessively breast feeding/pumping/doing anything I can to produce enough breast milk for my lovely Lyla. Well, we’ve made it. We finally made it to the day that I could start weaning Lyla on to a little something else and I could start to back off on the pumping every two hour schedule I’d been doing. I let myself stop drinking barley water, inhaling fenugreek and lactation cookies, and eating oatmeal like it’s going out of style. Am I sad my days of nursing are coming to an end? Sure. But, I also feel like a new, free woman. And that my friends, feels good.

About a week before Lyla turned one, Nic and I decided that it was time to start transitioning her over to regular milk. After doing a decent amount of research on the topic, we decided that goat milk was a good option for the initial transition from drinking breast milk exclusively. We decided on goat milk versus cow milk for a few reasons. Visit Dr. Sear’s website for more great information.

  1. The fat in goat milk is easier to digest. It contains more short and medium chain fatty acids which are much easier on the stomach to digest. The longer chains of fatty acids, which are more present in cow milk, give our gut a little bit more work to do.
  2. The protein in goat milk is easier to digest. I thought of Nic and when he makes cheese when I read about the protein differences in cow and goat milk. When Nic is making his cheese, there is a point in the process when he waits for the milk to start clumping together. This is a crucial step in cheese making; the formation of the curd, but weirdly enough, it’s also something that takes place in our stomach when we drink milk. The protein clumps that form in our stomach when we drink cow milk are harder than the softer clumps that form when we drink goat milk. These softer clumps created when we drink goat milk are easier for our body to digest. Also, goat milk only contains trace amounts of the highly allergenic protein called casein, which is found in cow milk.
  3. There is less lactose in goat milk. My family is lactose intolerant. As I’ve gotten older, I have found that I’m able to tolerate it better, but a chocolate malt still does not do awesome things for my digestive system. No details needed. So because of this family history situation, I wanted to start slowly with Lyla to see if she had any sensitivity. The difference in lactose isn’t significant when comparing the two types of milk. But hey, it’s something.

Pit falls? Goat milk is lower in vitamin B12 and is lacking in folic acid. Some goat milk is fortified with folic acid, but some is not. Definitely talk to your pediatrician before doing any kind of switcheroo with your child to be sure they are getting all of the nutrients their growing baby bodies need.

So up until this nice, long, holiday weekend, Lyla has been drinking what Nic calls Baa-Ma milk. Baa=goat and Ma=mama=breast milk. We haven’t eliminated breast milk completely yet. Now, with the addition of some cow milk to her sippy cup, Lyla is drinking Ma-Moo-Baa milk. That Nic is a funny guy…the things he comes up with. Lyla is doing great with the switch! She never seemed to notice the difference in taste when I started adding goat milk to her cup. When we added the cow milk, she didn’t seem to notice that either. At no point did she seem fussy with an upset stomach or gas from a sensitivity.

Follow your pediatrician’s recommendations for transitioning your little one. We found that a slow change worked great for Lyla. The first week we added goat milk to her diet, we did a ¼ goat milk and ¾ breast milk mixture in her cups. At the beginning of the second week, we went to half and half, and so on. When we reached the forth week, we planned to have her drinking all goat milk, but I’m slowly stopping breast feeding and we are still using up our freezer stockpile. In time she will get no more mama milk.

I’d love to hear other moms and dads share their experience in transitioning their babes over from breast milk or formula! What worked? What didn’t?