Saturday, September 29, 2007

breastfeeding challenge

kalden and i were on the local news this evening. how cool is that? and we not only met dr. jack newman, but he held kalden and that was part of the news coverage!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

chemical free cleaning

We are moving in October and our new home will be chemical
free as much as humanly possible. I particularly like the suggestion
of getting plants to clean the air...

Eco-friendly cleaning products Keep your home -- and our Earth -- clean with natural solutions that are kind to the environment.

By Dayna Boyer

If spring cleaning conjures images of blue toilet bowl cleaner and white surface cleaners, it's time to think green. From the chemicals in standard cleaning products that are washed down the drain and into our water supply to non-reusable packaging and personal exposure to toxic solutions, there are plenty of great reasons to opt for natural cleaning products.In 1988, the government of Canada released the "Environmental Choice" Eco-Logo, a mark that brands cleaning products that improve energy efficiency, reduce hazardous by-products, or use recycled materials, among other criteria. The logo is three doves intertwined to form a green maple leaf.

Environmental Choice has approved 1,400 products for household use. The cleaning products they approve must follow strict limits and requirements for phosphates, chelating agents, aquatic toxicity and biodegradability. Look in your kitchen cupboards to find just about everything you need to make your home sparkle. Not only are these products less taxing on the environment, and helpful for people with sensitive skin, but they're also lighter on your budget.

The three best ingredients to get your home spotless without using chemicals are lemons, baking soda and vinegar. And a little elbow grease never hurts.


Nothing says spring like the refreshing scent of citrus. But there's no need to run out and buy chemical-laden lemon-scented cleaning products -- just check the produce section of your grocery store for real lemons. Because lemons are acidic, you can use them to eat away at just about any hard surface stain in your house, so they make a great chemical-free cleaner and a great way to reduce your impact on our water sources. "

Around 54,000 tonnes of general purpose cleaners are used in Canadian homes each year," says Tanya Ha, author of the book Greeniology -- a good reason to cut back. To cut back on the amount of chemicals you use to clean, create your own all-purpose cleaner.

Ha suggests the following mixture:
• one teaspoon of baking soda
• one teaspoon of soap
• a squeeze of lemon
• 1/4 litre of water

Baking soda

Spring is also the time of year to open all the windows and doors and get some fresh air into your house. Baking soda makes an excellent scrub when used with water or lemon concoctions, and it also absorbs smells instead of just masking odour. Keep a box of baking soda in fridges, shoes, closets and any place you store garbage.

Instead of using caustic soda (sodium hydroxide) to unclog drains, use baking soda to prevent your drains from clogging. The salts produced by caustic soda, says Ha, "are harmful to our freshwater ecosystem. It's much better environmentally to prevent drains from becoming clogged in the first place.

Once a week put 1/4 cup of baking soda down the drain followed by 1/2 cup of white vinegar. Allow the two to fizz for a couple of minutes, and then flush with a few litres of hot water."


While vinegar may not smell so appealing in powerful doses, it can dissolve grease and disinfect hard surfaces of your home. Plus, the smell goes away when it dries. Fill a spray bottle with half water and half vinegar to create a tough cleaning product. Always dilute vinegar because it can be too harsh on some surfaces when used on its own.

Chemicals in your cleaners

Besides saving money and the environment by using natural cleaning products, there are also many health benefits. Three of the most common chemicals used in household cleaners are: formaldehyde, ammonia and chlorine. Formaldehyde is used in many cleaners, paints, and waxes, says Amilya Antonetti, author of Why David Hated Tuesdays, and it continually releases toxic vapors into the air. This can lead to headaches, dizziness, and insomnia. A natural way to eliminate these vapours in your home is by getting an aloe vera or golden pathos plant, which will absorb the toxins, she says.

Ammonia is also found in many cleaners, and it can be extremely irritating. Inhaling it can cause headaches and nausea and burn the inside of your lungs, causing asthma, Antonetti warns. You must be cautious when cleaning with ammonia-based products not to mix them with a bleach-based product, because the combination creates mustard gas (first used in World War I), which can be fatal in high doses.

However, one of the most dangerous chemicals (often found in bleach) is chlorine. This chemical has been linked to cancer, miscarriages and birth defects, says Antonetti. It was also one of the main ingredients in Agent Orange, used to defoliate forests during the Vietnam War. Partly due to the many household chemicals being used to clean the home, the Environmental Protection Agency says that the quality of indoor air is often worse than outdoor air. There are many indoor plants you can buy that help absorb toxins, such as the spider plant, which absorbs carbon monoxide.

So, load up on baking soda, lemons, and vinegar in bulk on your next trip to the grocery store and spring-clean your way to an environmentally friendly home.

Monday, September 24, 2007

loblaws marketing infant formula with freebies

i have to express my disappointment with loblaws. this weekend i saw a coupon in their flyer for FREE pc organics baby cereal and i started to tear it out. then i read the small print.
"FREE with this coupon & the purchase of Similac Step 2 formula with Omega 3&6, 1020g...."
and so i'm mad and annoyed and irritated. luckily so are my friends.
i know a lot of people don't understand what is wrong with this. "it's just another freebie offer" right?
well there is something called the "International Code of Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes" as set by the World Health Organization.
The code is available to read here.
Loblaws is in direct violation of this code and to quote a wonderfully intelligent lady from the local boards "Until formula feeding is no longer then "norm" in our society there will be a need to regulate the aggressive marketing tactics of the formula companies. As a market leader Loblaws could lead the way in enforcing the Code and helping babies to receive optimal nutrition through breastfeeding."

Saturday, September 22, 2007

breastfeeding clinic fundraiser - please come!

this is just a reminder that next saturday at the Dr. Jack Newman breastfeeding clinic, we will be holding a fundraising indoor yard sale. there will be lots of baby stuff to choose from - some great baby clothes (i should know, i donated a bunch!).

Location: Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine
1255 Sheppard Ave. East (at Leslie, near the Ikea)

Saturday September 29, 2007 10:00am-2:00pm

If you're in the Toronto area, come over and check it out!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

another breastfeeding post...

another reason to be outraged.  not only was this woman harassed for nursing her baby while watching her kids in the pool at the scarboro YMCA, but then a COMPLETELY misinformed employee at the Ontario Human Rights Commission told her that she didn't have the right to breastfeed in public!

all i can say is WTF?!?!?!  this blog is her way of documenting the story.

please pass this along to everyone you know.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

finally! facebook and breastfeeding discrimination

my friends and i have all had photos deleted by facebook.  it's about time this hits the mainstream.


Karen Speed, with Jezek, almost two, says Facebook closed her account when she asked why photos were deleted.More than 10,000 so-called `lactivists' have signed an online petition protesting the website's policy

Sep 12, 2007 04:30 AM

Andrea Gordon
Family issues reporter

Facebook is getting an online scolding after the social networking site deleted pictures of nursing babies it considered "obscene content" and closed the account of at least one Canadian mom.

Breastfeeding activists are emailing, posting and instant messaging their outrage. A new Facebook group set up to petition for a change in site policy – called "Hey Facebook, breastfeeding is not obscene!" – has swelled from 7,000 members to more than 10,200 in the past few days.

"I was really ticked off," said Karen Speed, 33, an Edmonton mother of three boys, ages 9, 4 and 20 months, after five of her photos were deleted last month and her account shut down.

But she added in a phone interview the reaction from the online community has been gratifying.

"People seem to be coming out of the woodwork in support of this. I had no idea there was so much support for breastfeeding and I'm really encouraged by that."

Earlier this year, MySpace also came under fire for deleting photos of a Tacoma, Wa., woman breastfeeding her baby. But the latest incident on Facebook has sparked a much broader groundswell, from as far away as Australia.

It is being voiced in Toronto by mothers like Sarah Kaplan, owner of the new Evymama breastfeeding and maternity wear shop in the Bloor West neighbourhood. A self-described "lactivist," Kaplan founded her store "to glamorize breastfeeding." She has been spreading the word and encouraging moms in her online mothers' groups to join the chorus of objections.

"The fact is, breastfeeding is supposed to be anywhere, anytime," she said, while nursing her son, 7-month-old Remy, in her shop yesterday. Kaplan says with Canadian physicians and the World Health Organization recommending breastfeeding to 2 years of age, mothers need encouragement, not to be treated as if nursing is offensive.

Speed, who runs breastfeeding support groups for new mothers, decided last April to start an online version on Facebook, inviting women to ask questions, discuss breastfeeding problems and make contact with other moms. Soon afterward, she decided to post photos that had been on the website of her other breastfeeding support group, BLISS. "I always think seeing moms breastfeeding, and especially older kids, is important," she said in a phone interview yesterday. It's not uncommon for new moms to encounter difficulties and give up in frustration without extra support or tips, she said.

This summer, she was one of several mothers who received a standard notice from Facebook that a picture had been deleted because it was considered "obscene." She wasn't told which one, but later realized a photo of her "tandem breastfeeding" her two youngest sons was gone, even though her breasts were not visible.

Within days, she received messages that four more images had been removed.

After responding in an email and asking for clarification of what Facebook considered obscene, Speed says, she could no longer log on to her account.

All discussion threads, details of an upcoming Breastfeeding Challenge event in Edmonton, questions from mothers seeking help and contacts were gone.

"After reviewing your situation, we have determined you violated our Terms of Use," a Facebook customer support representative named Anthony wrote Speed in an email on Aug. 27.

"Please note, nudity, drug use, or other obscene content is not allowed on the website." He informed Speed that "We will not be able to reactivate your account for any reason."

In the meantime, there are still many pictures of breastfeeding mothers throughout Facebook in groups like La Leche League, Canadian Breastfeeding Mommies and particularly the "Hey Facebook" petition site set up since Speed was shut down.

Facebook spokesperson Meredith Chin has reportedly said Facebook did not prevent mothers from uploading photos of themselves breastfeeding their babies, but removed content that was reported as violating Facebook's terms of use.

"Photos containing an exposed breast do violate our terms and are removed," Chin said, according to a recent report in The Sydney Morning Herald.

Kelli Roman, a 22-year-old mother of two from Fallbrook, Calif., started the petition group in the summer after Facebook deleted several of the breastfeeding photos on her personal profile.

"It offended me," she said over the phone from California. "I can't see how anything about breastfeeding could be considered obscene, especially with the other things you see on Facebook ... like scantily clad women and so much sexualized stuff."

In fact, one of the top discussion threads in the "Hey Facebook" group is one that contains links to ``offensive" material on Facebook.

In Toronto, the issue of rights of breastfeeding mothers has had a high profile over the past couple of years, following incidents in which mothers were told to cover up or leave public places while nursing.

In June, the city approved a policy introduced by Toronto Public Health that allows mothers to breastfeed in any public place controlled by the city, including its agencies, boards and commissions.

Monday, September 10, 2007

the hidden MSG in our food

thanks to a new friend who sent me some links, i've finally found a good list of all the different ways that MSG can be listed in the ingredients of our food.  take a look and see for yourself here

in case you are wondering why MSG is bad, here's a brief description found on Channing McKinley Chiropractic's blog

"It is a neurotoxin that excites brain cells and then kills them. All this so that foods have more intense flavor (to replace flavor that is lost because they are processed and preserved)."

i feel constantly bombarded with "new" information about things that are harming me and my children, but i also feel empowered every time i make an informed choice about our food, our healthcare and our lives in general. 

so today's lesson?  read the labels on your food

Monday, September 3, 2007

lobby groups and infant formula


the u.s. department of health and human services was going to launch a provocative breastfeeding promotion campaign.  lobbyists for the formula companies had them changed...

did you know some u.s. states have breastfeeding rates lower than 5%???  the formula companies have a lot invested in NOT encouraging women to breastfeed.

click to see larger image...