Sunday, February 22, 2009

Celebrating History

George Bernard Shaw once said about history "We are made wise not by the recollection of our past, but by the responsibility for our future." Indeed, it is those individuals and events that demonstrate forward-thinking and responsibility for the future that make history as they also inspire great change.

As we celebrate Black History Month we want to honor the first African woman Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr. Wangari Maathai, founder of the Green Belt Movement. The Green Belt Movement is "one of the most prominent women’s civil society organizations, based in Kenya, advocating for human rights and supporting good governance and peaceful democratic change through the protection of the environment. Its mission is to empower communities worldwide to protect the environment and to promote good governance and cultures of peace. " It started with the simple act of planting a tree and has evolved into a massive effort to fight deforestation and to preserve the environment.

"It is the people who must save the environment," states Dr. Maathai, "It is the people who must make their leaders change. And we cannot be intimidated. So we must stand up for what we believe in." Empowering communities to act is awe-inspiring as well as a challenge in its own right. We applaud Dr. Maathai for making history and encourage each and every person to consider how their actions impact the future. Leaders do certainly respond to the actions of the people and by addressing the need for change in our homes, our neighborhoods, and our communities we can manifest a new destiny. Remember - we are all making history!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Planet in Peril: Pay Attention!

So we've all heard about global warming and the dire state of the health of our planet but at what point are we going to start paying attention and actually do something about it?

Perhaps the new report from Reuters that the Earth is heating up dangerously fast will spur more of us to action. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the news is even worse than we had thought. Serious climate change over the next 100 years can endanger the survival of the human species. If we are going to act for our children's future, now is the time.

Are you contributing to the problem or will you be part of the solution? Find out what your carbon footprint is and then take action to reduce it.

Make a commitment to your children's future today by taking some simple steps:
  1. Pay attention to transportation. How we get from here to there has a huge impact on our carbon footprint. Drive less, walk or bike more. And watch out for flying which pollutes not only through airplane emissions but also through noise and water pollution.
  2. Buy organic. Whether purchasing food, clothing, or other products, seek items that were grown or made in eco-friendly, non-toxic ways.
  3. Green your home. Unplug appliances that are not being used, remove chemicals from your home by purchasing or making non-toxic cleaners, using low or no VOC paints, and reduce, reuse and recycle at every opportunity.
  4. Get rid of disposables. From plastic bottles to paper towels and diapers, we live in a society that loves to toss things into the trash. Switch to a safe, reusable bottle for your beverages, pick up some cloth napkins, check out cloth diapers, and stop contributing to the landfill.
  5. Take it to work. Don't stop at your doorstep - take action at work. Start a recycling program in your office, get some reusable lunch bags to tote your meals, and encourage your office to switch to LED or CFL lightbulds to reduce energy use.

We need to detox our plan-et before it's too late. Our children are counting on it!

Monday, February 9, 2009

No Wonder Parents Have Lost Trust

Parents across the country have lost trust in the powers that be - the medical establishment, the "protective" agencies of the federal government, and big business. Modern medicine is failing our children who are plagued by neurological disorders from ADHD to autism in record numbers. Big business is marketing products to our children that are unsafe, from lead-laced toys to bottles with BPA, and are cultivating creating a culture of consumerism targeted at our youth. The "protective" agencies have just hit a new low. Now the FDA is claiming that mercury is safe and pregnant women and children, previously the population most vulnerable to contamination, no longer have to avoid mercury-laden fish.

Parents are more than distrustful: they are downright disgusted. And parents are not alone. The scientists at the Environmental Working Group agree that "this is the last nail in the coffin for the FDA's credibility" and EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) officials are calling the FDA's study "scientifically flawed and inadequate." Maybe the FDA needs a few copies of Dr. Jane Hightower's Diagnosis: Mercury, Money, Politics and Poison - an investigation into mercury poisoning in modern America and the growing threat to our health.

The depth of this distrust is palpable and it is time that we parents stand up for ourselves, for our children, and for the health of the planet. Clearly, the powers that be cannot be counted on to do so.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

One Less - Time to Get Informed

We have all seen the compelling commercials of young girls who want to be "one less" victim of cervical cancer. But new reports, including one on CBS News, are pointing to some very serious flaws with the new gardasil vaccination.

Barbara Loe Fisher of the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC), a Keynote Speaker at the Holistic Moms Network's 2008 Natural Living Conference notes that reports of adverse reactions to gardasil now account for 15 to 20 percent of all adverse reports to the FDA’s Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS). The government, however, is arguing that the approximately 9,000 HPV vaccine adverse events, including 27 deaths, reported to the federal Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) are not causally related to the vaccination. The adverse reaction reports are heartbreaking.

Parents - and our young women - need to become informed about the risks associated with this vaccination before making a choice about whether or not to undergo these shots. Sadly, there are no nationwide commercials advising parents to become informed about the potential risks and so we must all work together to protect our children.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Valentine's Chocolate Here We Come!

Valentine's Day is the epitome of a commercialized holiday that could really use a "greening". The amount of trees sacrificed for the printing of Valentine's Day cards alone is staggering with more than 1 billion cards sold worldwide to celebrate the holiday.

But who doesn't love chocolate? The good news is that chocolate can be good for you. No, maybe not the kind you can pick up at the convenience store but organic, dark chocolate. In fact, because minimally-processed dark chocolate is rich in flavonoids it has even been referred to as a superfood. (Flavonoids are phytonutrients with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.) Consume healthy chocolate and you may actually reduce your risk of heart disease.

Buying organic and fair trade will also be healthier for you and for the planet. Fair trade chocolate bears a seal indicating that it is produced in accordance with the standards of respect and equality. Organic chocolate is not hard to find, is free of chemicals, and tastes oh so good!

Healthy, holistic chocolate - now that's a Valentine's Day tradition worth keeping!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Let Food Be Your Medicine

Food is a passion. A passion for so many of us, but we definitely do not all agree on what actually constitutes a healthy diet. Many holistic moms are passionate about eating a vegetarian diet and raising their kids without animal products. Dr. Joel Fuhrman was a Keynote Speaker at our 2006 Natural Living Conference and presented fascinating information about why a plant-based diet rich in raw foods can improve health and eradicate many common diseases.

On the other side of the spectrum are the Weston A. Price devotees, who believe in the value of animal-based foods including marrow broths, raw milk, and high quality proteins. Many of us are in between, marrying a variety of dietary components together to eat what feels right and cultivates our well-being as well as our personal satisfaction. In addition, we may also integrate environmental factors into our nutritional decision making and consider the distance food travels to get to us, the manner in which the food was grown (i.e. organic vs. conventional), or the point where we purchase our daily bread (such as farmers markets or health food stores).

Whatever our passions, most holistic-minded parents agree on some fundamental guidelines for health eating starting with an emphasis on whole foods. The less processing the better is a simple guideline to follow, as is freshness. Organic is a widely accepted choice as well, to reduce our own toxin body burden and that of the planet.

And we also agree that eating well means enjoying our food and celebrating what we have. Whether carnivore, omnivore or vegetarian, gluten-free or raw foodist, you can find some ideas for making great and healthy food in our Growing Healthy Families Cookbook. A surprising number of easy, kid-friendly recipes will satisfy anyone looking for healthier options, no matter what path you choose!