Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Top Foods to Buy Organic

I know as parents of young children, we're always looking into giving our child the best.  Especially during these tough economic times, it can be challenging to afford things like organic foods.  I like to refer to this list when I'm grocery shopping, so I know which foods are really worth buying organic.  This way, you can save some money and avoiding those terrible pesticides.  This list is from www.msnbc.com and the full link is at the bottom of this.

The “Dirty Dozen”: Must-buy organic foodsFruit
  • Apples
  • Cherries
  • Grapes, imported (Chili)
  • Nectarines
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
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  • Bell peppers
  • Celery
  • Potatoes
  • Spinach
The U.S. Department of Agriculture found that even after washing, some fruits and vegetables consistently carry much higher levels of pesticide residue than others. Based on an analysis of more than 100,000 U.S. government pesticide test results, researchers at the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a research and advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C., have developed the “dirty dozen” fruits and vegetables, above, that they say you should always buy organic, if possible, because their conventionally grown counterparts tend to be laden with pesticides. They cost about 50 percent more — but are well worth the money.
Other organic foods worth considering:
  • Milk
  • Beef
  • Poultry
Reduce the risk of exposure to the agent believed to cause mad cow disease and minimize exposure to other potential toxins in non-organic feed. These foods contain no hormones, and antibiotics — which have been linked to increased antibacterial resistance in humans — have not been added to the food. They often cost 100 percent more than conventional products.

No need to go organic with these foods:Fruit
  • Bananas
  • Kiwi
  • Mangos
  • Papaya
  • Pineapples
  • Asparagus
  • Avocado
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Corn
  • Onions
  • Peas
These products generally do not contain pesticide residue.
SeafoodWild or farmed fish can be labeled organic, despite the presence of contaminants such as mercury and PCBs.  No USDA organic certification standards for seafood — producers are allowed to make their own organic claims.
CosmeticsHaving “organic” or “natural” in its name doesn’t necessarily mean it’s safer. Only 11 percent of ingredients found in personal-care products, organic or not, have ever been screened for safety.
Managing the high cost of organic foods:
Why does organic cost more?
Growing the food is more labor-intensive. And even though organic food is a growing industry, it doesn't have the economies of scale or government subsidies available to conventional growers.
How to save money buying organic food:
  • Comparison shop in local grocery stores.
  • Take advantage of local farmers' markets: Many farmers do not charge a premium.
  • Order by mail: Products such as organic beef can be shipped nationally.
How to protect yourself from “non-organic” pesticides: Produce
  • Buy fresh vegetables and fruits in season. When long storage and long-distance shipping are not required, fewer pesticides are used.
  • Trim tops and the very outer portions of celery, lettuce, cabbages, and other leafy vegetables that may contain the bulk of pesticide residues.
  • Peel and cook when appropriate, even though some nutrients and fiber are lost in the process.
  • Eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. This would limit exposure to any one type of pesticide residue.
  • Purchase only fruits and vegetables that are subject to USDA regulations. Produce imported from other countries is not grown under the same regulations as enforced by the USDA. Examples are strawberries and cantaloupes from Mexico.
  • Wait until just before preparation to wash or immerse your produce in clean water. When appropriate, scrub with a brush. Experts at the University of California-Berkeley report that this removes nearly all insects and dirt, as well as bacteria and some pesticide residues.
  • Special soaps or washes are not needed and could be harmful to you, depending on their ingredients. Read the label! Cold water is perfectly fine.
  • Trim the fat from meat, and fat and skin from poultry and fish. Residues of some pesticides concentrate in animal fat.

Potty Training Tips

Quick Facts About Potty Training
By Elizabeth Pantley, Author of The No-Cry Potty Training Solution
    Potty training can be natural, easy, and peaceful. The first step is to know the facts.
  • The perfect age to begin potty training is different for every child. Your child's best starting age could be anywhere from eighteen to thirty-two months. Pre-potty training preparation can begin when a child is as young as ten months.
  • You can begin training at any age, but your child's biology, skills, and readiness will determine when he can take over his own toileting.
  • Teaching your child how to use the toilet can, and should, be as natural as teaching him to build a block tower or use a spoon.
  • No matter the age that toilet training begins, most children become physically capable of independent toileting between ages two and a half and four.
  • It takes three to twelve months from the start of training to daytime toilet independence. The more readiness skills that a child possesses, the quicker the
    process will be.
  • The age that a child masters toileting has absolutely no correlation to future abilities or intelligence.
  • There isn’t only one right way to potty train – any approach you use can work - if you are pleasant, positive and patient.
  • Nighttime dryness is achieved only when a child's physiology supports this--you can't rush it.
  • A parent's readiness to train is just as important as a child's readiness to learn.
  • Potty training need not be expensive. A potty chair, a dozen pairs of training pants and a relaxed and pleasant attitude are all that you really need. Anything else is truly optional.
  • Most toddlers urinate four to eight times each day, usually about every two hours or so.
  • Most toddlers have one or two bowel movements each day, some have three, and others skip a day or two in between movements. In general, each child has a regular pattern.

  • More than 80 percent of children experience setbacks in toilet training. This means that what we call “setbacks” are really just the usual path to mastery of toileting.
  • Ninety-eight percent of children are completely daytime independent by age four.

This article is an excerpt from The No-Cry Potty Training Solution: Gentle Ways to Help Your Child Say Good-Bye to Diapers by Elizabeth Pantley. (McGraw-Hill, 2006) 

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Green Safety at Home-Fluorescent Lights

As families turn to "green" ways to improve their household (and to save money!), many have chosen to start using fluorescent lights in their home.  But are you aware of their health consequences if they shatter?  Did you know there is some mercury inside that is toxic?  First of all, it's important to know how to dispose of them properly when they burn out.  Here in Tallahassee, we can recycle and dispose of them properly by bringing them to our city's hazardous waste center off Apalachee Pkwy. 

But secondly, it's important to clean them up properly if it breaks in your home. Today, one of ours shattered and I honestly didn't know what to do. SO, I looked it up and was surprised to learn what I found. Note: The bold is my emphasis. 

According to National Geographic, "...the greatest danger may be the broken glass.  But to minimize exposure to mercury vapor, EPA and other experts advise a few precautions.

Children and pets should stay away from the area, the agency says, and windows should be opened for at least 15 minutes so that vapors may disperse. Cleanup can be done by hand using disposable materials, the experts add.
'Use rubber disposable gloves and scoop up the materials with stiff paper or cardboard,' Bender said. 'Use sticky tape to pick up small pieces and powder, clean the area with a damp paper towel, and dispose of the materials in an outside trash can.'
'Never use a vacuum,' Hogue added. 'This, he said, will only disperse the mercury vapor and leave particles trapped inside the cleaner bag.'