Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Scariest Part of Halloween

Boo! Halloween is just around the corner. If ghosts and goblins don't scare you, consider what is in your kids' treat bags. There are some pretty frightening things lurking among the colorful wrappers and packaging. Here are just a few to consider.

Top 5 scariest things about Halloween candy:

1. High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) or “Corn Sugar”. Parents are wising up to the dangers of HFCS, so the Corn Refiners Association is working hard to rename HFCS “corn sugar” as it sounds a whole lot less scary that way. Don’t be fooled. HFCS is everywhere and has been linked to obesity, rising rates of type-2 diabetes, and hypertension. Not to mention that high levels of mercury have been detected in HFCS as well!

2. TBHQ. Thanks to
Out of the Box Food for bringing this one to our attention at this week’s #holisticmoms Twitter Party! TBHQ, or tertiary butylhydroquinone, is a form of butane that is added as a preservative to a variety of foods, including popular Halloween candies Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and Nestle Crunch.

3. Artificial Colors and Flavorings. Unless you’re a carrot or a sweet potato, chances are bright Halloween orange is not your natural color. From candy corns to marshmallow pumpkins, artificial colorings such as Blues 1 and 2, Red 3, Green 3 and Yellow no. 5 are ever-present and have been banned in many countries because of their link to cancer. (
Yellow 5 is currently under review and many artificial yellows and oranges have been banned already.)

4. Hydrogenated Fats. Think you’re doing better handing out chips and crackers instead of sweets this year? You may have to think again. Hydrogenated fats in many products, including chips, crackers, and chocolate, have long been recognized as dangerous for their link to heart disease. More recent research also links these trans fats to rising cancer rates throughout the US.

5. Refined Sugar. Americans consume an average of 22 teaspoons of sugar a day, and considerably more during our spooky and scary Halloween season! What's wrong with a little sugar? It not only ruins your teeth, but strips your body of vital nutrients and
can damage your immune system. And, of course, we all know what too much sugar does to our children’s moods and behaviors!

Want to see the worst Halloween candy offenders? Check out
this list from the Daily Beast. Looking for ways to have a healthier, more holistic Halloween? Try some of our Green Mama Tips!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

October is . . .

Here at HMN, October is Holistic Living Month – a month-long celebration of natural living choices that reflect our connectedness to each other and the planet through a holistic philosophy.

While holistic has taken on many different connotations, the underlying philosophy of holistic living and parenting revolves around simple principles such as making informed choices, taking responsibility for our health, and understanding the idea of wholeness for health and well-being. Under this broad concept of holistic or natural living, lie many paths and many choices. So we were thrilled to discover that not only is October Holistic Living Month, but it is also the month chosen for Attachment Parenting Month, Fair Trade Month, and Non-GMO Month, among others. As our approach to all things involves a cooperative, integrative approach, we encourage you to celebrate all of these aspects of natural living all month long!

Attachment Parenting International, a non-profit organization “with a mission to educate and support all parents in raising secure, joyful, and empathic children in order to strengthen families and create a more compassionate world” embraces a holistic approach to living and parenting and calls on parents to celebrate play with this year’s Attachment Parenting Month. “Families at Play” encourages healthy social-emotional child development and healthy parent-child relationships for healthier communities. Through play, we can connect with our children and form the nurturing bonds so vital to parenting success.

Fair Trade is also about consciously making connections between the products we buy and fairness in our exchanges. What is fair trade? According to Fair Trade USA: “Fair Trade goods are just that. Fair. From far-away farms to your shopping cart, products that bear our logo come from farmers and workers who are justly compensated. We help farmers in developing countries build sustainable businesses that positively influence their communities.” This month you can choose to support fair trade by making simple changes, like starting your day with a cup of fair trade coffee or giving out fair trade chocolate or reverse trick-or-treating this Halloween.

Non-GMO Month was created by the Non-GMO Project in 2010 as a platform for raising awareness on the GMO issue. Citizens and organizations across North America are waking up to the failure of GMO technology, and discovering the risks GMOs pose to our health, our families, and our planet. The genetic alteration of our food supply impacts our health, wellness, and the planet on many levels. This month you can embrace non-GMO products by discovering new non-GMO certified products or attending an event to raise awareness (such as our #holisticmoms Twitter Party tonight at 10 pm with the Non-GMO Project!).

October is filled with great opportunities to celebrate the many choices we make as parents to live healthier, more sustainable lifestyles. Join us all month long for great opportunities and information – visit for details and actions!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Conquering Holistic Moms Myths

It has been a busy few weeks here at the Holistic Moms Network, culminating in the Natural Living Conference held on October 1st in Irvine, CA.The day was amazing. There is absolutely nothing like connecting and sharing, personally and collectively, to inspire and empower parents to choose a natural living path. And this year's event and speakers really helped to highlight some of the myths that we often encounter here at HMN. So, for the record, let's address a few of these:

  • Holistic Moms are too granola/crunchy/hippie. If you visit any Holistic Moms Network Chapter across the country, you will find a diverse group of moms and dads. The stereotype of the eco-conscious/holistic moms as "granola" is far too narrow for our group. So many of us are "the mom next door". We are regular moms, professional moms, at-home moms, fashionistas, farmers, soccer moms, and everything else under the sun. We come together because we are on a path to choose natural living options for ourselves and our families. Some of us have been on this journey for many years, some of us are brand new to making green and natural changes for our family. We are here to support the journey, whatever that is and wherever you are on it.

  • Holistic Moms are "perfect" green moms. What is perfect? We don't know. We've never seen it. Our moms have virtues and vices. They are green, and not so much. They eat healthy and indulge. We drink wheatgrass juice and too much coffee. We practice positive parenting but sometimes yell at our kids. There is no perfection here. We are all trying to do the best we can with what we have. Keynote Speaker Robyn O'Brien was a fabulous example of this. She was feeding her kids blue tubes of yogurt until her daughter had a dangerous allergic reaction. Then she started a whole new path of living that included natural foods. She doesn't consider herself a holistic mom, and yet she is passionate about real food and educating parents.

  • If you do X, Y, or Z you can't be a Holistic Mom. Really? Does one single choice opt you out of an entire lifestyle? We don't think so. And we're not here to judge. Every person has their own journey. Some will embrace green and holistic changes, others will pick and choose what works for them. We're not here to judge. We don't know your personal story or the circumstances that have led up to any of your choices or experiences. Holistic Moms is about support, community, and education. Making an informed choice doesn't mean the same thing to everyone. Know your options and do what works best for your family, for your lifestyle, for the planet.

HMN Celebrity Spokesmama and Keynote Speaker Mayim Bialik (pictured with HMN Conference Director Nina DeSanto) really hit it home during her talk when she talked about not judging each when we have not walked in another mom's shoes. We do not know the circumstances that lead to any choices of another mom, so it's not our place to judge. It is our place to offer compassionate support and encouragement. We all know that parenting is hard work. We also know that being connected makes it easier. Support can make all the difference and that's what the Holistic Moms Network is all about at its core.

Don't let myths prevent you from connecting with our growing community. Especially this month,
Holistic Living Month, you can join and celebrate with us all month long. Take advantage of our special membership rate in October (save $10 with promo code HLM11) and discover other parents who are sharing the natural living journey!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Mom Energy

Hey Holistic Moms! Want Energy???

Today, whether it’s food, supplements, or holistic practices, moms everywhere are clamoring for more energy to get done what they need to in a day. But is this pursuit one that will help achieve optimal health? No.

Behold, Mom Energy:A Simple Plan to Live Fully Charged (Hay House 9/2011), which seeks to explore the differences between more energy and better energy (the latter providing the path to optimal health). Like the airplane safety speech, we have to put on our own oxygen masks before putting on anyone else’s and Mom Energy is your oxygen mask.

Join Ashley Koff on the Holistic Mom’s Network Facebook wall Monday night 10/3 at 8pm EST to answer your Mom Energy questions.

Comment below about your need for energy before, during or after the chat on the Holistic Moms Network Facebook Page wall ( on Monday night. Two winners will be announced on Tuesday to receive Mom Energy!

Congratulations to Chakra angel and Kase's Mom - you are our winners! Please email us your name and mailing address so that we can send you each a copy of Mom Energy. Email info[at]holisticmoms[dot]org.