Flying Green

Our Little Jet Setter

We recently took Baby A on a cross-country flight to San Diego to visit her grandparents and other family and friends on my husband’s side of the family. I was a little nervous about flying with a 4 1/2 month old, but I have to say, it wasn’t that bad. I tried to stay as eco-friendly in the air and on vacation as I do at home. Here are a few of the little lifesavers I packed:

 

 

 

  1. Aden & Anais bamboo blanket- We literally don’t leave home without one of these. They are big, soft, breathable and beautiful.
  2. Lifefactory silicone teether – Made of food-grade silicone so you don’t have to worry about BPA. This ring bends and is skinny enough that it fits in tiny hands and mouths.
  3. MAM pacifier & holder – Sucking during take-off and landing helps baby’s ears so we brought A’s favorite paci from MAM. We love it because it’s BPA free and orthodontically designed. You can attach it to the holder and clip it on so it doesn’t fall on any dirty floors. We also removed the pacifier ring and used the holder with the teething ring.
  4. Dapple Pacifier wipes – Airports and airplanes are dirty so it was nice to have these individually wrapped wipes that are all-natural, food grade, fragrance-free and preservative-free.
  5. Earth’s Best Chlorine-free wipes – I make our own wipes at home, but the container is a little too clunky for my diaper bag. So these wipes from Earth’s Best are my go-to when traveling.

 

***Please note: I am not being compensated for posting about any of these items.

Sunday Goals 9/30/12

This is the first in my series of Sunday goals for the Get Well Challenge. I’ll keep it brief and will report back next week!

  • Attend 2-3 fitness classes plus nutrition meeting and weigh-in
  • Eat a vegetable side with 4 dinners during the week
  • Drink at least 8 cups of water a day

Path to Wellness

After a nice, long maternity leave I’m ready to get back into a routine. I’ve found myself searching for a new normal when it comes to wellness. Gone are the days of walking miles around New York City and taking and teaching fitness classes regularly. Little Baby A was born on April 27th so it’s high-time I get back into the swing of things. For me, I’d like that to include staying fit and eating healthy. Thankfully, I found Ellwood Thompson’s Get Well Challenge to help me get on the right track.

I was one of the lucky 30 chosen to participate in three months of free fitness classes, nutritional counseling and weekly weigh-ins. If this doesn’t motivate me to create a lifestyle filled with healthy habits, I’m not sure anything will. I like that the program is long enough that going to classes and watching what I eat becomes routine. I’ve read that it takes an average of 66 days for a new habit to become sustainable, so it’s comforting to know I’ll have the motivation of this program to get me through that period of time.

The program started last Monday with a big meeting to get to know the generous providers around Richmond who are offering free classes, advice and encouragement to us. We were given a food journal and signed up for our initial body fat assessment & weigh-in and our initial 15-minute consult with a dietician.

We were given a BIA, or Body Impedance Assessment this week, where electrodes were hooked up to my hands and feet. I learned my body fat percentage, BMI and how much water was in my cells. Let’s just say that all of those measurements need to improve. Interestingly, I measured an inch and a half under my tallest height measurement. I attribute this to my hiatus from Pilates. I think I’ll measure taller by the end of the program, once I’m back into a fitness routine.

We were also asked to attend a goal-setting seminar. I was really inspired by the other women in the class. It motivated me to talk to them. I’ll be sharing my goals here and updating my progress. My meeting with the nutritionist is next week. In the meantime, I’m food-journaling everything on myfitnesspal.com. It’s a pretty awesome site if you’re looking to count calories.

So, here’s what I’m looking to accomplish:

Weekly:

  • Set weekly goals every Sunday and revisit last week’s goals

Short-term:

  • Lose 4 lbs. by 10/30/12 (We have a photo session scheduled that day for Baby A’s six-month birthday).
  • Incorporate more vegetables into my diet. Have a vegetable side with dinner at least 4 nights during the week.

Mid-term:

  • Lose 10 lbs. by the end of the GWC on 12/24/12.
  • Establish a routine where I am not going more than 2 days without exercising.
  • Reduce body fat by 10%.

Long-term:

  • Lose 16 lbs. by 4/22/13 – my birthday.
  • Continue a consistent exercise routine.

2012 Superfood: Chia

Photo credit: Gabriella Ruellan

One of the superfoods for 2012 that have been getting a lot of buzz are chia seeds. Yep, this is the same chia as the terra cotta pets that are popular holiday novelty gifts. Now, you can find bags of the seeds at your local health food store. I’ve been eating them for a couple years because of their amazing benefits. Nutritionist Lisa Suriano says that by weight, the seeds have more Omega 3s than salmon and more fiber than a bowl of oatmeal. The seeds are very small and expand with a gel-like coating when they get wet. They don’t have a particular taste, but add a little crunch as a topping when they are dry.

The easiest way to eat chia seeds is to sprinkle them over a salad or bowl of oatmeal. And because they will expand in your stomach, Chia seeds are sometimes used to help keep you full.

You can also expand them before eating. One of my favorite ways to eat the expanded seeds is by mixing them with low-fat coconut milk and agave syrup. You soak the seeds in the milk for at least a half hour and it creates a rice-pudding like consistency. This is a very low-glycemic snack that appeases my sweet tooth. The coconut milk adds calories and some fat, so I don’t make this too often. If you’re like me and like specific measures, here’s a link to the recipe.

Health Warrior Chia Bars

By far the most convenient way to get your chia seeds are in protein bars. Health Warrior Chia bars are only 100 calories and taste pretty good. Right now they have a peanut butter & chocolate flavored bar, with plans to add acai berry and coconut flavors soon. I found them at my local health food store and was really impressed with the non-processed ingredients.


Getting Rid of Toxins One Step at a Time

During a recent talk about how to become a non-toxic New Yorker, I learned that we live among around 80,000 different chemicals and a good number mimic estrogen when they enter the body. This is potentially troublesome for women and their unborn daughters.

The talk was led by Penelope Jagessar Chaffer who directed the movie, “Toxic Baby.” The movie takes a look at toxicity and its affects on young children. Penny is lively and spirited and makes the somewhat dry topic of chemicals in our lives interesting.

Her advice for everyone is to start small and pick one area to detoxify. She said that indoor air tends to be up to five times more polluted than outdoor air, so starting at home is the easiest approach. Here are a few of her tips:

  • Take your shoes off when you get home. You don’t know what you’re tracking in.
  • Avoid products with parabens, fragrance and BPA
  • Limit dry cleaning. Clothes are cleaned with chemicals then wrapped in plastic. If you have an organic cleaner, ask them what they use to clean the clothes.
  • Avoid heating plastic in the microwave. The plastic breaks down and seeps into your food.

I admit, I tend to get bogged down with the huge list of ingredients to avoid in products and cleaners, but I think by taking it one item at a time this can become a manageable and healthy undertaking.

Photo credit: Sujin Jetkasettakorn

‘Tis the Season for Dry Skin

Every time I hear the heat click on, I start thinking about how important it is to keep my skin moisturized this time of year. I’m one of those people who can tell it’s winter just by my extra-dry skin. Since I try to stay natural, I was really pleased to find out that you can use pure coconut or olive oil instead of a bottled lotion. When I was on vacation in Africa a few years back, I had a massage where the therapist used pure olive oil instead of the processed oils that are used in the states. After a quick shower to remove the excess oil, my skin felt soft for days.

Using oil tends to be a little more messy than a traditional moisturizer, but can be easily applied with a cotton ball or pad. If you decide to head to the kitchen cupboard the next time you need a lotion, here are a few things to keep in mind. First, use cold pressed oil. Cold pressed oils are made using low temperatures. That means more of the nutrients and antioxidants are preserved in the oil and will make it to your skin.

The oil will absorb better if your skin is slightly damp, so try using a couple drops after you wash your hands or get out of the shower.

There are a few downsides to using oil. One is that you don’t get the mix of oils and antioxidants you’ll find in a formulated moisturizer. That means you’re not getting a range of benefits. You can combat this by mixing a few different oils together.

The other thing to remember is that pure oil doesn’t contain SPF like many lotions, so it’s important to follow the oil with an SPF before heading outdoors.

Photo credit: m_bartosch

Time to Think About Summer Produce

It seems like an odd time of year to think about where you’ll get your fruits and vegetables come summer, but it’s actually the perfect time to consider buying a share in a CSA, or Community Supported Agriculture program. Simply put, CSA members buy a share of a farm’s product and receive regular deliveries throughout the growing season. Participants pay upfront now so farmers can plan how much they will plant and buy materials. You also want to reserve your spot while there is still room available.

The benefit to consumers is farm fresh produce usually grown close to home. It’s also common receive a greater variety of foods than you would normally buy at the grocery store. Depending on the farm you choose, you might have multiple types of apples or corn delivered or even some produce you wouldn’t normally buy. The downside is figuring out how to prepare the bounty you’ll receive.

I just relocated to Virginia and here some farmers team up with one another to offer CSA members an even greater variety of options and a longer growing season. One CSA has options for a produce, share, diary share or a mushroom share to choose from.

Many farms also offer options to harvest some of your own food to keep consumer costs low. So take a few minutes and do a little research on the CSAs in your area. It could change the way you eat this summer.

Photo credit: happykanppy / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Great Deal on Organic Bedding!

For the next week Raksha Bella Organics is having a huge sale on all of their products. I scored a baby crib set I had my eyes on for 70% off today! Make sure you take a look at all of their beautiful products.

I’m back for the year of the Dragon!

It’s been awhile – but Method Wellness is back up and running. While the site hasn’t been very active, we have. Home base is now in Richmond, VA and Ray and I are eagerly awaiting the birth of our first child. That news makes living a natural life even more important for me.

Along with the life changes, you’ll notice a change to the look of the blog also. I now use a different subscription service, so take a moment and subscribe to Method Wellness, your source for the best information on natural living in a modern world.

Getting Your Manicure and Staying Non-Toxic Too

Photo credit: VampyVarnish.com

Going to the salon for a mani/pedi is one of the ways I like to relax and unwind. But worrying about toxins in the nail polish that is used can really be a buzzkill. A while back, chemicals in nail polish, specifically dibutyl phthalate (DBP), were linked to birth defects in future baby boys. Finally, the big nail polish companies have caught up and created a distinction called “3-Free.” That means that the polishes are free of DBP, toluene and formaldehyde. These chemicals have all been linked to ailments from headaches and dizziness to more serious conditions like cancer and reproductive issues.

Here’s a great article from All Lacquered Up that breaks it all down. Basically, DBP is a plasticizer that’s used to prevent chips and cracks, toluene is a solvent that makes nail polish easy to apply and formaldehyde makes the finish tough and resistant, but is usually not found in polishes so it’s less of a concern.

The author of the All Lacquered Up article says she’s not sure these chemicals are bad for you, but I say why take the chance?

Popular salon brands like CND, Essie and OPI have 3-free bottles. All the Essie polishes with a blue label are 3-free, as are green-labeled OPI bottles.

If you want to chose a polish made with even fewer chemicals, try brands like butter LONDON, Aquarella or Honeybee Gardens. There are even some brands for kids like Piggy Paint, so you and your little ones can look polished without the fumes, toxins or worry.