wellness and chemicals

So we kicked out plastics from our kitchen long ago. And we have been eating healthy for some time. But something that is a new realization to us is how MANY chemicals we allow into our home without even realizing it. It’s just so accepted to go to the store and get all the cleaners and soaps and lotions and such. Under eye cream – ask what is the best and just use it. Dry skin – oh this one is dermatologist recommended, grab it and go. Shower cleaner – bleaching power, yes please! Dish soap – gentle enough for animals in an oil spill, gentle enough for me!

Well, that’s over. So so so many of the things we bring into our home are filled with chemicals! These chemicals can be carcinogenic (cancer causing), endocrine disrupting (fertility? Thyroid?), allergy inducing, etc.

It’s crazy the things that we’ve just allowed into our home without blinking. I encourage everyone to download the “Think Dirty” app. Start scanning the things in your home. Even the things that you consider natural or plant-based. It is CRAZY!!!

Here’s some common home items and how they are graded:

You’ll be surprised with the grades you’ll find.  And you can click into the item and the ingredient to understand why it was graded as it was.  One of the most common offenders are things with “fragrance”.  When you click on that ingredient, you’ll see why exactly they have chosen to grade it so poorly. Look below at the “health impacts” for fragrance:

This is a huge reason why we’ve gone with Young Living! Candles, lotions, room sprays, etc.  I love the smell of a clean house and clean laundry and yummy soaps but I can get the same thing naturally!  No need to bring in possible carcinogens!  I am the gatekeeper to what comes into my home and I will not bring those things in if I don’t need to!  Why??  It’s also cheaper!!! Use wool dryer balls and pour a couple drops of essential oils on them instead of buying those awful for you dryer sheets! And I’m obsessed with my Thieves Cleaner. It’s super concentrated so that bottle will last me forever! But more importantly I can feel good about spraying it on our mattresses and clothes and carpet and shower and high chair!

The other awesome app to check out is the “EWG” app which is amazing for sunscreens, so make sure to check that one out now too! And make sure to scan your items before you buy!

We have switched out of this mindset and it can be scary and overwhelming but ultimately it is SO EMPOWERING!! I love that I’ve taken control of what comes into our home.  Replace items slowly so that the expense isn’t overwhelming, give your money to the companies that are willing to put your health before profit!

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little lunches – buses

Since we try to do homemade meals I’ve had to figure out a quick, easy, affordable and likable solutions for my kiddos.  We try to minimize processed foods especially sugar and carbs so that limits our “sandwich” intake.  I am definitely all about moderation though, so pb&j, grilled cheese, chick-fil-a, all those things are definitely still enjoyed, but I just don’t want to make them part of our regular routine.  I want to maximize our meals that are “whole foods”.

This is one of our favs because well, the plate is amazing.  We don’t do plastics, so this stainless option is nice so my kiddos can have a little fun with their meal.  I love it because those 5 slots force me to give them a diverse set of options.  We usually do:

  1. Veggie – steamed carrots, frozen peas, peppers, (or other veggies but I try to mix it up).
  2. Fruit – possibilities are endless here
  3. Protein – Deli meat, avocado, hard boiled egg, nuts. I do deli meat a lot because it so easy but it is easy to get deli meat that is less than healthy.  LOOK AT INGREDIENTS!  This one from Trader Joe’s is awesome!
  4. Cheese/Hummus
  5. Something delicious – a few crackers, a couple m&ms, more fruit.

I think this way of eating is also nice for them to feel empowered to mix and match and eat things at their pace.  My little guy tries to eat all of the fruit and delicious stuff and then ask for more of that, but I won’t do it unless the healthy things have been eaten.  This is definitely something that takes time for them to learn though, but I find that it is a little easier with this nice variety given to them at once.

I know all parents want their kids to eat more nutritious foods and I know we all do our best, so please take my suggestions as ideas, the same things don’t work for every kid!  But I do try to remember that I am the mama and I am the gatekeeper for what comes into my house.  It makes me feel strong and empowered to remember that!  My kids aren’t going to eat only pb&j if I don’t always just feed them that.  And does that mean that sometimes my kids refuse to eat lunch and just skip it?  Yup, it does.  I’ve heard before that it is our job as the parents to provide healthy meals and it is up to the kid to eat it or not.  And honestly if I could go on a hunger strike for a meal and ensure I only ate french fries for the rest of my life I would DEFINITELY consider it because OMG I love LOVE french fries.  My little guy has thrown plenty of meals into my face because he just wanted a COOKIE!!!! A COOKIE. RIGHT. NOW!!

But we don’t cave, because I know that what goes into their bodies will become them.  Look how fast they grow!!!  Where does that mass come from? It doesn’t magic itself there, they are growing from the things that are going into their bodies!  So if all they eat are carbs and sugar, what is that creating? I just don’t see those cells having all the good stuff to be as strong as I want them to be.  Our brains need healthy fats to function correctly. So we don’t avoid fats – no lean, fat-free here, we just aim for whole foods 80% of the time.  The other 20% is delicious carby, sugary goodness!  We do lollipops at the grocery store, chick-fil-a dates with friends, dessert after dinner, and chocolate (as bribery especially!).  So don’t misunderstand my post, we definitely enjoy all the things, it is just not a primary source of food around here.

I tell my big little that my job is to keep her healthy and safe.  And to be healthy we need the right foods to power our bodies.  I tell her veggies make us healthy and meats/avocado/nuts (insert appropriate protein) makes us strong, and the rest is just yummy.  I don’t want her to associate food with body image but as what powers her body.

homemade-ish frozen chocolate covered banana mocha

I love me a good milkshake or a good frappe, they’re basically the same, except one has caffeine and the other doesn’t.  But I’m not going to go get a milkshake and then tell the kids they can’t have one…and I don’t really want to pay $6 for a frappe.  I also don’t like all the crazy sugar and crazy ingredients. I mean, why are there so many chemicals in something that’s pretty straightforward?

So instead I make this, and it’s fantastic!! I adore this Chocolate Covered Banana Mocha and I don’t feel guilty when I know exactly what is going in it.  So here is my homemade-ish frozen mocha recipe!

Ingredients:

  • Iced coffee concentrate
  • Milk (or water)
  • Banana
  • Chocolate syrup (1 tablespoon is what I like)
  • Ice

I use the Trader Joe’s Iced Coffee concentrate that you see in the picture and it calls for 1 part coffee to 2 parts milk or water.  I follow that and usually use 1/3 cup concentrate and 2/3 cup milk and dump in a banana and a squirt of chocolate syrup.  I add in about 2 cups of ice and away goes the Vitamix!  That’s it and I’m done.  It’s easier than going to the coffee shop.  I don’t need to buckle anyone into car seats.  Force them to hold my hand while crossing the street or end up buying them something with sugar that I don’t actually want them to eat. Win!

grace

My goal for 2018 has been to grow in giving grace.  I remember when I acted up as a kid, my mom gave me grace.  It made me feel like she believed in me when I didn’t have the energy/strength/understanding to believe in myself.  That is what I’d like to do.  I am blessed with amazing kids and I think giving grace is going to be important in making them feel loved and making them feel like the strong wonderful people they are.

Giving grace is hard, it means taking a breath and not reacting, looking at the situation from a more removed perspective.  Doesn’t that sound lovely?  But it isn’t easy.  It is sometimes, but not always and when I can manage it, it is wonderful!  So that’s what this year (and likely the rest of my life) is focused on.  Growing in grace. I don’t know how my mom did it, but I hope I can follow in her example.

This also means that I need to forgive myself and give myself grace.  Be proud of when I do things well and give grace when I struggle.  This doesn’t mean giving myself permission to not get better, it means accepting the moments for what they are and not dwelling on them so I can focus on self improvement.

healthy mama lunches – riced cauliflower bowls

Okay, you don’t have to be a mama for these but I’ve found it so much harder to be willing to put in the time on my own healthy lunch since I’ve had kids. I cook a healthy breakfast, prep the kids a healthy lunch, cook a healthy dinner – and in the middle I don’t want to make myself something healthy because I’m tired and don’t want to…What?  It’s so much easier to grab the kids leftovers and shovel something into my mouth that I don’t want them to eat once they are napping.  I know I’m not alone in this so don’t pretend to judge!

I love me a good salad but…I don’t love salads all the time.  They’re cold and I tend to like something warm, especially during the winter!  Well, my frozen veggies are there for the rescue! I can make a rice bowl within 3 minutes using my microwave.  And I try to ramp up the healthy by skipping rice and using riced cauliflower.  This is one of my favorite go to Whole30 meals.  As usual, I buy it frozen so it’s always waiting for me in the freezer.

Ingredients:

  • Frozen riced cauliflower
  • Frozen peppers
  • Avocado
  • Salsa
  • Tomatoes
  • Leftover chicken or deli meat turkey just chopped up (optional)
  • Frozen corn (omit if Whole30)
  • Black beans (omit if Whole30)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion Powder
  • Paprika
  • Small dash cumin
  • Green Goddess dressing from Trader Joe’s (Whole30 compliant!)

Take everything you want warm and throw it in a bowl and stick in in the microwave for 3 minutes.  Stir.  Make sure it is warm enough and then add whatever else you’d like on top. I know, not an exact recipe, but that’s the beauty – it’ll be good almost anyway you want to make it.