Monday, April 16, 2012

Tear Free but Cancer-ific!

I've recently read several articles about the "No More Tears" formulation of baby soaps and shampoos and quickly decided to stop using them! I have provided a list of key ingredients to the "No More Tears" trademark formulation with chemical information for each one.

Phthalates: Derived from the chemical phthalic acid. Phthalates are used primarily as plasticizers in plastics and in fragrances. They have been banned in some countries, and the use of the ingredient has been discontinued by most manufacturers. In 2004 the European Union [EU] prohibited the manufacture and/or sale of cosmetics containing Phthalates. Additionally, in 2005 the state of California listed DEHP and DBP as chemicals that are known to the state to cause reproductive or developmental toxicity and require label warnings when these substances are present at higher than designated amounts. In 1988, DEHP was listed as a chemical known to the state to cause cancer.

Quaternium-15: A number of studies completed in North America have indicated an increase in the frequency of sensitization among patients tested for sensitization to Quaternium-15. Because of concern about the sensitization potential of Quaternium-15 the CIR Expert Panel set a limit on its use in cosmetics and personal care products. Quaternium-15 is listed as methanamine 3-chloroallylochloride in Annex VI (preservatives which cosmetic products may contain) of the Cosmetics Directive of the European Union and is authorized for use at maximum concentrations of 0.2% in cosmetics and personal care products. If the concentration of released formaldehyde exceeds 0.05% in the finished product, the product must be labeled "contains formaldehyde."

Formaldehyde:  Formaldehyde-releasing preservatives have the ability to release Formaldehyde in very small amounts over time. In 1987 IARC, International Agency for Research on Cancer, classified Formaldehyde as 2A “probable human carcinogen” for a rare form of nasal cancer. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has similarly classified Formaldehyde as a probable human carcinogen under conditions of unusually high or prolonged exposure. In fact, formaldehyde is not typically added directly to cosmetics and personal care products, other than as a component of some nail hardening products. The Working Group voted to recommend reclassification of Formaldehyde as a known human carcinogen. The IARC Working Group based its reclassification decision on new information from studies of persons exposed to Formaldehyde, which in its view provided sufficient evidence to establish that exposure to Formaldehyde causes nasopharyngeal cancer in humans under certain circumstances. It also found strong evidence of a link between Formaldehyde and leukemia

Cocamidopropyl betaineDelayed T-cell-mediated type IV hypersensitivity reactions to CAPB have been reported, and contact sensitization prevalence is estimated at between 3.0 and 7.2%. The increasing rates of sensitization led to CAPB's being named Allergen of the Year in 2004.

PEG-80 Sorbitan Laurate Ethoxylated compounds, unless vacuum stripped, are contaminated with 1,4-dioxane.  1,4-dioxane has been identified as a probable human carcinogen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  1,4-dioxane is not listed on the ingredient list because it is a contaminant from the manufacturing process, not an ingredient.  The FDA encourages manufacturers to remove 1,4-dioxane from products, but there is no requirement that it be done.  And, testing reported by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics did find 1,4-dioxane in Johnson’s Head-to-Toe baby wash at 5.3 to 6.1 parts per million (ppm).  In fact, in its FAQ section of its website, Johnson & Johnson admits that “[s]ome of the ingredients in our products may contain 1,4-dioxane as an incidental ingredient at extremely low levels.”

And to think I've been exposing my baby to these chemicals on a daily basis! I have since decided to use purely handmade soaps with hand-picked ingredients. The soaps at Starlight Soap Company contain only beneficial ingredients to gently clean all skin types, including baby! They carry 100% pure castile soaps, bastile soaps, fragrance-free soaps and much more! They also customize lotions for individual needs, including fragrance-free and preservative-free varieties.They are a household favorite!

PubMed @
Cosmetic Info @
Johnson & Johnson @

Friday, April 6, 2012

¡Viva la RevoluciĆ³n!

I loved reading the Hunger Games. There is an extreme parallel to current economics and United States government. Hopefully, our revolution starts much sooner!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Paleo Chicken Pot Pie

I have been using Simply Living Healthy's perfect paleo biscuit recipe quite often and used it for my personal paleo chicken pot pie recipe. This is very yummy!

1 Perfect Paleo Biscuit dough recipe
4 egg yolks (of the 6 remaining from the biscuit recipe; adding the rest will simply make it taste more like a quiche)
1 can coconut milk, full fat (separate water to use elsewhere)
4 Tbs butter (1/2 cube)
1/2 golden onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 celery stalks, sliced
1 1/2 cups broccoli
1/3 cup bacon, diced
2 Tbs almond meal
1 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken
Sea salt, garlic salt, pepper as desired
 (feel free to add any other veggies that sound yummy...this is all I had at the time)

Preheat oven to 400F. Grease loaf pan with butter. Squish half the biscuit dough into the pan.

Whip coconut milk in mixer to thicken. As coconut milk thickens, saute onions and garlic in 1 Tbs butter over medium heat. Add veggies to saute pan (I steamed mine first just to speed things up). Add onion/veggie mixture to coconut milk, stir. Add in almond flour, bacon, egg yolks and remaining butter. Stir in chicken. Season with sea salt, garlic salt and pepper. Pour over biscuit dough in pan.

Flatten remaining biscuit dough over chicken mixture. Bake for 20-30 minutes.


Paleo Baby "Num-Nums"

I've looked everywhere for a cracker-type snack for my little one to eat when we're on the go. He loves meats, veggies and fruits, but they are a little more difficult to travel with since they need to be refrigerated. Also, I'm a little leery of giving him too many dehydrated fruits. I have inspected the ingredient panel of almost every box of snackies and have found the leading ingredients to be rice, corn or wheat flour. So, I set out to make some using coconut flour instead.

2 Tbs coconut flour
4-5 Tbs sweet potato puree
1 Tbs bacon fat

Preheat oven to 375F. Grease baking sheet with bacon fat.
Measure out coconut flour into mixing bowl. Melt bacon fat in saucepan over low heat, add in sweet potato. Once combined, add mixture to coconut flour. Stir until dough forms. 
Press dough into greased baking sheet and bake for approximately 10 minutes depending on desired thickness of crackers.

Cut crackers into desired length or crumble into bite-size pieces.

These taste great and dissolve quickly!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Paleo Cookies!

My husband and I have recently taken up the paleo diet and primal lifestyle after reading Mark Sisson's Primal Blueprint. My husband has since lost 30 lbs and I weigh 10 lbs (ok, 7) less than I did pre-baby! The only difficulty we've had is with desserts. I have a major sweet tooth, and it's genetic. I can't fight it! So, I came up with this pretty yummy recipe for cookies. My mother-in-law even likes them!

1 banana
1 egg
1 Tbs coconut oil
4-5 Tbs honey
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup coconut flour
2 Tbs unsweetened coconut flakes
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
4 pitted dates, diced
1/4 cup crushed walnuts
1/4 cup cranberries

Preheat oven to 350.

Mash banana in large mixing bowl. Mix in egg, coconut oil, vanilla and honey. Add in coconut flour and flakes, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Add in dates, walnuts and cranberries.

Roll dough into cookie-size balls and flatten out with hand slightly. Place on cookie sheet; bake for 10-15 minutes, or until edges brown.

Drizzle with honey to make them extra scrumptious! Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Europe...With a Baby?! Yes, You Can!

One of my most recent adventures was daring to travel to Europe (from the west coast) for two weeks with my husband and 6-month-old son. Yep, there...and back! As I'd imagined, there were some difficulties, but the struggles were worth the experience. In preparation for our trip I tried to do some online research for tips on traveling overseas with an infant. For the most part, I came up empty-handed. So, here's my attempt to share tips with other mommas!

Passports: Your baby will need a passport! Yes, your infant will need a real, $100+ passport, chubby face forward picture and all. To take your own picture (as opposed to paying for one) place a white sheet on the ground and lay your baby on his or her back, taking photo from above. If you can't get him to keep his head straight (photo requirement), there are simple rotating tools in many photo editors you can use.

The Flight:
Well, it sucks. Just plain ol' crap. I wouldn't dare medicate my son for convenience, so on the flight out (3 flights, actually) I had one of the worst days of my life. He became over-stimulated, over-tired and uncomfortable. He cried the majority of the way and was very difficult to nurse discreetly because of his restlessness. I spent a large chunk of time in the lavatory to either nurse him or give the other passengers a break from his crying. Most international flights have bassinet attachments at the bulk head seating, but you do have to ask for it in advance! Even having the space of bulkhead seating is a huge plus. My son, even at 6 months, was too long for the bassinet, so he was on my lap the entire way. We wised up and gave him baby Benadryl on the way back....he slept like a champ! I realized that it was so much better for him, having been medicated, experiencing less stress and anxiety! (Especially since it ended up taking us 36 hours to get back home!) Be sure to carry on plenty of diapers, wipes, nursing pads, extra clothes and a plastic bag for the dirties!

What to pack:  
Bring plenty of diapers for the first few days! There are no Targets in Europe, so it may take you some time to find which stores sell diapers and wipes. Keep in mind many places are closed on Sunday! We learned that the hard way. Luckily, we came across a gas station with Pull-Ups!
If you plan on sight-seeing (why else would you be in Europe?) bring a stroller (os a sling depending on the age of your baby). We took a $20 umbrella stroller and it worked out perfectly. It was super light and portable and was great on the flights (gate check), in the rental car (those tiny European cars), on the metro (perfect baby buffer), in restaurants (good luck even fitting a full-size stroller in any European establishment!), etc.
If you're a germaphobe like me, take some sort of changing pad liner/surface. There are few, if any, European bathrooms with changing tables. You will have to improvise! These work great on the flights too.
If you're planning on driving take your own car seat. They are very easy to check on your flight with your other luggage. We bought a bag from BuyBuyBaby, but any sturdy, recognizable bag would do. Some rental car places have car seats, but you can never be sure of who's used them, who's maintained them, and if they've ever been broken and repaired, etc. The last thing you want is to be unfamiliar with your baby's safety harness (use and quality) in a foreign country!
Find a good, lightweight backpack (we found this one on clearance for $10 and LOVED it) that can serve as your carry-on, purse, diaper bag, etc. Walking through Europe is hard enough without carrying a ridiculous amount of luggage.

Sleeping Arrangements:
Most European beds are two twins pushed together with a wooden slat in the middle...not ideal for bed sharing with baby. If you can share a twin with your baby, more power to you, but if you can't ask the concierge if they have a crib available (you might need ask for a baby "cot"), most hotels have them. If not, ask for extra blankets and improvise!

Other Good Things to Have:
It's a good idea to bring your own first aid/medicine kit with you. There are pharmacies on every corner in Europe, but most medications are available by prescription only! (pack Aspirin, Tums, Benadryl, etc.)
You should carry an In Case of Emergency sheet with you at all times. There are forms online that are easy to print and fill out.
You can also print out a list of the embassies in your area with contact information (address, telephone) from within the area of travel.
Provide your family/friends with a detailed itinerary (dates, hotel address/telephone, etc) as well as embassy information (there is different contact information if calling from the US) in case they need to contact you.

I hope this helps you adventurous, world-traveling mommas out there! The extra preparation is definitely worth the memories! If you have any questions, please let me know, I'll do my best to answer them!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Changing Table DIY

I knew I needed a changing table, but I couldn't imagine spending more than $100 on a piece of furniture with only one use. So, I decided to make my own. I was able to snag a free nightstand-type piece from some neighbors who moved. It was the perfect height for changing diapers and had a drawer, a basket slot and a cupboard below. There were only a few things I had to add to make it into the perfect changing table. 

First I bought a plank of wood (about $5) that I could cut down into shelves. I used a handsaw to cut them into the desired size (they can also do this for you at the hardware store) and then rounded the edges with a small hand sander. I made two foot-long shelves and two 6" shelves. I painted the top of the piece, the shelves, and the drawer pulls to match.  I purchased 8 "L" brackets ($8)  because that's all they had at our mountain hardware store, and secured the shelves to the piece (making sure to leave space between the shelves for my wipey warmer to open). The brackets haven't held up like I hoped, so I'm going to change them out and go with some shelf brackets.  Live and learn.
I purchased 3 baskets from the 99 cent store and they fit perfectly in the open slot. I use two to hold diapers and one for knick-knacks (diaper cream, pacifiers, whatever). The cupboard section works great for hiding extra diapers and wipes.

It was really easy to make and was a heck-of-a-lot cheaper than store bought! I love it, and it works great!