An Open Letter to The Love of My Life

An Open Letter to The Love of My Life

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I’d like to take a moment to point out how difficult it will be to summarize the immense love I have for you, but I will try my hardest.

There are a million and one ways I could begin this letter, but I think the best place to start is by saying thank you. For everything.

Thank you for loving me, even when I think I’m unworthy of it.

Thank you for being my Dwayne Johnson.

Thank you for always allowing me to speak my mind even when I cut you off, or make you feel like I don’t value your opinion.

Thank you for holding me when I feel like I have the weight of the world on my Shoulders. More importantly, thank you for being willing to carry my burdens for me.

Thank you for reminding me it’s okay to laugh at myself.

Thank you for standing in the kitchen with me every night after work and letting me unload my frustrations on you.

Thank for you wiping my tears, and for the many forehead kisses.

Thank you embarking on this amazing journey with me.

Thank you for trusting me with our son, even when I didn’t trust myself.

Thank you for not thinking I was crazy when I told you I wanted to deliver our son at home.

Thank you for always being supportive of my choices even when you don’t always agree with them.

Thank you for respecting my body when I’m too tired, you offer a back rub with no motive.

Thank you for telling me my body is beautiful, and that it’s okay to have loose skin and stretch marks because I made a person.

Thank you for being patient with me when I freaking out for literally no reason at all.

Thank you for reminding me that it’s just a panic attack and that I’m not going to die.

Thank you for remaining loyal, and faithful to me.

Thank you for always making time for me even when I don’t make time for you.

Thank you for loving Jordan as much as I do. And thank you for helping me pick up the pieces when I almost lost her forever.

Thank you for pointing out when I’m being selfish, and unreasonable.

Thank you for supporting me in raising our son differently than how we were raised.

Thank you for doing the diaper laundry.

Thank you for being an amazing father, and a fantastic role model for our son.

Thank you for rearranging your school schedule to stay home with Walter after my mom’s surgery.

Thank you for always packing my lunch for work.

Thank you for being my best friend, and loving me even when I couldn’t love myself.

Thank you for the best two years of my life. I know we have many more trials, and tribulations to go, but I wouldn’t want to be on this journey with anyone else.

I hope you never question my love for you.

xoxo

Destiny

 

12 Tips for healthy eating

12 Tips for healthy eating

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EATING CLEAN ON A BUDGET
Written by Ariana Hamidi 4/1/17

If you’re anything like me, feeding your family healthy whole foods free of chemicals is a top priority. A lot of people think that many foods are out of reach, too expensive, and I am here to tell you it’s just not true! You can nourish your family organically and frugally, so I’ve created a list below of ideas on how to do that. The first piece of advice is: be committed! You may have to give up certain conveniences or treats; you may have to offer your time and labor, but your body will be healthier and your bank account will be fuller. Write a monthly amount to what you can spend on groceries and stick to it however you can. For me, it means using cash only. Other families might fare better with apps like Mint. Budgets are very personal and only you will know what works for your family. No matter what that number looks like, these tips can help you keep costs down while improving your health and well-being by feeding your family the very best you are able to give. In the case of our children, you are helping them grow and thrive into strong human beings with healthy immune systems. It’s worth it!
1. GROW YOUR OWN FOOD
This is the best piece of advice anyone can give. It is critical in today’s society to build community and work together to become as self-sustaining as possible. It’s also the best way to know exactly what you’re putting into your body. If you’re unsure where to start, ask friends, find a workshop, check out books from the library, read blogs. Lots of cities are establishing community gardens where you can rent space. If you’re in the suburbs or rural communities, chances are you have some lawn you could turn into a garden. If you rent, building a few raised beds with cheap wood can still produce a substantial amount of vegetables and is simple to break down when you move. Apartment living? A long as you have a porch, you can have a garden using only large pots. Start small, and build from there. Plant herbs for flavor and amazing health benefits. (Did you know parsley has more iron than a serving of meat?) Once you gain experience, expand if your housing allows it. Raise chickens or ducks for eggs, goats for dairy, plant an orchard, berry bushes, or whatever excites you. There’s really nothing more satisfying than getting your hands in the earth growing food that you pick from your porch or backyard, tastes delicious and is relatively free! Be sure to buy organic and non-GMO seeds, and use local soil whenever possible. Many landscape businesses will sell an organic mushroom blend by the yard. It is also a good idea to have your soil tested for lead and other contaminants. Many states provide that service for a small fee. We had the soil at our rental home tested for $15 when we moved to RVA last year before we established a large garden.

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2. EAT LOCAL
I am fortunate to live in a city that has a farmers market open almost every day of the week. The key to saving money at a farmers market is to shop around and avoid impulse buys. Compare the prices of each stand before purchasing. Make notes about how these foods compare to grocery store prices and quality. Sometimes I choose lesser quality produce from Kroger if it saves me a few dollars, other times I opt for the fresher ingredients. In the height of the spring/summer season it’s easy to find a good deal at the market, just avoid purchasing extras we often see like baked goods, hot foods, or artisan cheeses, as these items can break the bank.

Another way to eat locally is to do your own fruit picking. Last summer we went to Barry’s Berries, Pleasant Field Farms, and Newcastle Bee and Berry farm to pick blueberries, blackberries, and strawberries. The cost and quality are fantastic in comparison to any berries offered at the grocery store, and you don’t have to worry about exploiting someone’s labor with the big brands like Driscoll’s. We always pick as much as we can handle (with three kids running around) take them home and freeze them. I was lucky enough to have a family member gift us a vacuum sealer and it has allowed us to enjoy fresh picked berries all winter long for the last several years. (Investing in a deep freeze is an essential element to this money saver).

3. TASTE THE RAINBOW
Diversify your plates. Eat fruits and veggies in season, as you are more likely to find a great deal. Stock up on asparagus and peas in spring, pumpkins, and squash in fall, greens in summer. Like they say, too much of a good thing is…too much? I think life would be pretty boring if we were to eat the same meals on repeat each day, and frankly, I have no interest in living that way. I am a frugal foodie and to do that I constantly push my palate to keep things interesting, whether it’s spending a whole week figuring out how to love kohlrabi or giving offal to my baby. My goal for my kids’ meals every day is that they will get the full rainbow of colors in their meals. A typical example of that for us would include red bell pepper, sweet potato, banana, kale, blueberries, and grapes. (Purple is the hardest one for me to achieve consistently). I like to think of it as my kid’s multivitamin, but that’s another post entirely! When that’s not possible, or when you have a very picky eater, (for some of us that might even be most days), do what you can. Make smoothies. Hide veggies in meatloaf, mashed potatoes, or spaghetti. Try to acquire variety based on shopping sales or plan your meals around your CSA haul.

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4. CSA or WORK SHARE
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is an opportunity to support local farmers while enjoying the benefits of homegrown organic foods. You pay for a half or full share up front, and each week you pick up whatever crops they have harvested that week (May-November). It typically comes out to $30-50/week for a nice variety of chemical free vegetables. Many CSAs also have fruits, eggs, dairy, and fresh bread. Check the web or social media for the names of various CSAs in your area, then write emails to them asking if they are accepting new members. They should be happy to tell you about their growing practices in detail and if they’re not, move on! When my family moved to RVA last year I tried one of the delivery box services (there are several) but I was disappointed in the quantity, quality, and price so I canceled. It was not worth the convenience for me but you may find that is a good fit for your family. I did find a CSA that was Certified Naturally Grown (Victory Farms), which seems to be the new standard since it’s becoming harder to trust the safety of organic pesticides in USDA Organic food. This year I found Willow Hill Family Farm in their second year of a CSA. They also offer a work share (check them out here), five hours of farm work in exchange for the CSA share. Since we have been missing our Pennsylvania homestead so much, I chose this option. They offer a variety of seasonal no-spray, non-GMO vegetables, pastured eggs, lamb, and pork. My family enjoys connecting to our food through harvesting and building relationships with farmers so I am very excited about this season!
5. BUY IN BULK
Pretty simple. Only buy what you need and skip the extra packaging altogether. Another instance of …good for the planet, good for your wallet. Natural grocers (like Ellwood Thompsons in RVA) will typically allow you to bring your own containers to fill. An example of the savings: I can buy three times the amount of organic rolled oats in bulk as I can packaged for the same price. The same is true for dried beans, rice, and flour.

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6. MEAT AND RAW DAIRY SHARE (Vegan friends look away!)
If you can front the cost, buying a ¼, ½ of a whole cow, lamb, or goat is a great way to eat local and save money. Although this way of purchasing is certainly more expensive than buying factory farmed meat, it is a better value for families who choose to eat grass-fed beef and other pastured livestock exclusively. This season I found someone to split a ¼ share with me from Fresh Branch Farms (they can be found on Facebook). I have bought beef from them several times and it’s simply amazing! I also feel good about supporting a young family like mine. Many farms also offer a raw dairy share, such as Avery’s Branch Farms, who deliver at various drop-off locations in RVA.

7. BARTERING
Just this week I had a friend offer to buy some pastured chickens from her neighbor in exchange for some of my homemade bone broth. I gladly accepted! Whenever I can barter labor or supplies and avoid the exchange of money I do. This is another way of building community. Ask your friends and acquaintances if they would be interested in this. Perhaps you have a neighbor who always has an abundance of tomatoes but can never find a sitter for her children, make an offer to barter! Be creative and outgoing as there’s so much to gain and really nothing to lose if they say no.

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8. START A CO-OP
Start your own co-op (or find an established one) so that your food is sourced locally and directly without the inconvenience of having to visit all the farms yourself each week. I have a friend who does this in Austin, TX with a group of parents committed to eating clean. The group was formed on Facebook and has almost 400 members. The process looks something like this: a member scopes out a food source and posts to the group to gauge interest. Once a source is voted on and chosen they negotiate with the farm to buy a large order each week. They use Google forms to manage the ordering. The food gets delivered to the main organizer’s house and she keeps it frozen, refrigerated, or in coolers until each member picks up what they bought. Some members pick up for rural members and establish secondary pickup locations. They buy everything from meat, poultry, pork products, broth, eggs, Elderberry syrup, local honey, seafood, fruits, vegetables, and certain pantry items. This is a unique way of tailoring your eating to both your budget and lifestyle. I hope to have a part in making this happen in Richmond!
9. SHOP MULTIPLE GROCERY STORES
I know I know busy parents don’t have time to shop different stores each week, so you’ll have to decide how much of a savings is worth the extra time. If you look at it over the course of a month, I’ve been able to save up to $80/month with this method. For much of the year when our CSA or garden is not producing, we do a Kroger trip once a week, and a trip to Whole Foods, Ellwood Thompsons, or Aldi 1-2 times a month. We have certain dietary restrictions and some items much be purchased at those grocers. Kroger has a great natural foods section as well as organic produce, Aldi has affordable pantry items, Whole Foods has a nice seafood counter, and Ellwood Thompsons has a great bulk section. Each place offers something. I know a lot of people enjoy Click List, the online ordering system that Kroger now offers. If you are someone who makes a lot of impulse purchases, this is a good option for you. Stick to your list for meals and avoid the budget bumps!

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10. STOP EATING OUT!
Seems obvious, but for some, this might be a tough sell. Dining out, even at casual restaurants, is expensive. As someone who has worked in the service industry for many years, I always tip at least 20% (as everyone should) and that really adds to the cost. Because my family is living on a strict budget, we almost never eat out. We limit ourselves to special occasions maybe 3-4 times a year. Additionally, restaurant food has a lot of added sugar and salt and even if you choose a spot that sources locally, you really can’t be sure where all the ingredients are coming from. If you have to eat out, limit yourself to one drink and skip the appetizers and desserts. Look for lunch specials or nightly happy hour deals.
11. AVOID PROCESSED FOOD
(As much as possible) Let’s get real, everyone loves junk food…. at least in theory. Momentary pleasures of salty or sweet are something most folks can relate to, not to mention the convenience factor packaged foods provide when you have kids! But in reality, these foods are not helping your body or your budget, even if they are “Organic junk food.” I’m not here to judge anyone’s choices in any way because I definitely indulge plenty, but you may need to make a few rules for yourself in order to keep the spending in check. I give myself a rule that if I decide to buy the kids some kind of convenience food; it has to be on sale. When I see a great deal on a processed food like organic rice cakes, I buy a few extras for my pantry. Today at the grocery store I avoided all of it because I did not see a good deal and these foods are not necessary to any of us.

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12. HOMEMADE IS BETTER
I grew up on junk food, but later taught myself how to cook and now I make everything from scratch. I like to experiment, take risks, and rarely use recipes. If you’re a novice cook, check some books out at the library or look online for ideas. You really don’t need every ingredient listed in a recipe. Cooking and baking at home not only tastes far superior to anything store-bought, but you can control the ingredients. No fillers, preservatives, stabilizers, or other things you can’t pronounce. Worried about time? Use the crockpot; get an InstaPot, freeze dishes, or do a little meal prep on the weekend. Find a few go-to dishes that you can whip up in 30 minutes or less. Cooking homemade is a major money saver. My favorite way to make meat stretch is with soup. I can feed my family of five plus several lunch leftovers with one pound of meat. I use bones and wilted veggies (I collect both in my freezer over time) to make my own broth, fill it with cheap nutritious vegetables like cabbage, kale, carrot, and potato, and I have 3 meals for under $15.
I hope some of these ideas help your family on the path to both wellness and financial freedom!

I’d like to give a very special thanks to Ariana Hamidi for writing this incredible post today 🙂 I’ve had family visiting so I wasn’t able to write a full post this week ( Prioritize what’s important to you my friends) If you’d like to check out what I’ve been up to this weekend follow me on Instagram I make new post there daily. If you haven’t subscribed yet make sure you enter you email so you never miss a post.

xoxo

Destiny

Essential Oils 101

Essential Oils 101

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Essential oils are a big deal in the natural community right now. I’m sure you’ve all heard someone talking about them recently. I know most of us crunchy mamas have a set at home. And for good reason. They are a fantastic tool to have in your arsenal.

I couldn’t go a day without my oils! I never leave the house without them in my bag. I use them for supporting my immune system, calming my anxiety and much more! They’re an amazing, natural way to manage your family’s health. If you’re interested in taking charge of your health as well as your family’s this post is for you!

I AM NOT AN AROMATHERAPIST OF DOCTOR. I’M JUST A MOM WHO HAS DONE HER OWN RESEARCH. PLEASE DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH OR CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR BEFORE USING OILS ESPECIALLY ON CHILDREN!

WHAT ARE ESSENTIAL OILS?

Essential oils are often called the “life blood” of a plant. They are aromatic, volatile liquids that are found in most shrubs, flowers, trees, roots, seeds, and bushes. They have been used for thousands of years, some say they date back to 3,500 B.C.

Today people use essential oils in three main ways

  1. Aromatically
  2. Topically
  3. Ingestion

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HOW TO USE ESSENTIAL OILS: AROMATICALLY 

Recently there have been a number of studies published linking the benefits of essential oils both physically, and emotionally. You’ve probably noticed the link between scent and emotions. When we smell something When we smell something, we first process the input via the olfactory bulb, which is at the base of our brain and connected to the amygdala and hippocampus, the parts of our brain associated with emotion and memory.

Aromatherapy is basically inhaling essential oils. The easiest way to do this is with a diffuser. You can find links to the ones I use here and here. The diffuser works by breaking the oil into tiny molecules dispersing them throughout the air. An essential oil diffuser is a much healthier option compared to toxic air fresheners and candles.

HOW TO USE ESSENTIAL OILS: TOPICALLY 

Applying essential oils topically is another way to get all the amazing benefits essential oils have to offer. Because of their molecular structure, essential oils are rapidly absorbed by the skin. When applied topically, it takes about 20 minutes for an oil to affect every cell in the body. The oil is then metabolized within a few hours.

The safest place to apply essential oils is the bottom of the feet because they contain thicker less sensitive skin. Most essential oils are too strong to be applied to the skin neat. Make sure you are always dilute them with a carrier oil such as coconut oil, or sweet almond oil. Dilution doesn’t make them less effective it just helps them spread over a larger surface area. I can not stress this enough! Always make sure you are following essential oil safety guidelines, especially when it comes to children.

Although diluting ratios vary depending on age and medical conditions the general rule of thumb is as follows:

  • Add 1-2 drops of essential oil per 1 teaspoon of carrier oil for adult
  • Add 1-2 drops of essential oil per 1 tablespoon of carrier oil for children over 2 years of age.( Never apply a “hot” oil such are oregano, cinnamon bark, or wintergreen to children. I also recommend to keep peppermint oil away from anyone under the age of 10)

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HOW TO USE ESSENTIAL OILS: INGESTING

 This should only be done with a health care professional with experience and essential oil education! Please remember essential oils are VERY potent. One drop of peppermint essential oil is equal to twenty-six cups of tea! You should educate yourself, and do what you’re comfortable with. Always make sure you are working with someone who is knowledgeable in using essential oils internally before you ingest them. DO NOT GIVE ESSENTIAL OILS INTERNALLY TO CHILDREN!

With all that being said I have used essential oils in my water from time to time, just to give it a little bit of flavor.

WHAT BRAND TO USE

There are hundreds of brands out there, I won’t go into too much detail but I will tell you to stay way from the oils sold in places like Wal-mart or even some health food stores. Do your research and compare different brands until you find the one you like. I personally use Doterra oils and LOVE them! You can purchase them here.

If you’d like more information on essential oils, check out the book modern essentials. It’s a fantastic source of information and can answer any question you have regarding essential oils. You can find it here.

xoxo

Destiny

 

 

SCREEN TIME

SCREEN TIME

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It’s safe to say We all know screen time in excess can be harmful to infants and toddlers. And I’m sure we all know it’s not great for older kids either. So, why is it that so many young kids are getting so much screen time? Well, because parents are tired and it’s often easier to plant your kid in front of a TV.

Quality caregiving requires so much of our time and energy. It’s understandable why you would want a few minutes to yourself.

I’m not here to tell you how much screen time your kids should be getting, ultimately that’s up to you. I’m also not trying to make you believe a few minutes of TV is going to damage your kid forever. I’m simply sharing the reasons my partner and I have decided to limit our little guys time in front of the TV.

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The AAP suggest TV for children under two, and no more that 1-2 hours a day for older children. For my family these recommendations ably to anything with a screen, not just TV. We don’t allow our son to play with phones, tablets, or watch television right now (he’s six months), and when he’s older his screen time will be limited. If you’d like some information about how to break your family’s TV habit, this article is extremely helpful.

So at this point, I’m sure you’re all wondering why we don’t let our little man have screen time.  Well, if I’m perfectly honest we weren’t always this way. In the beginning, we were like most parents and believed it was perfectly fine for out newborn to watch TV with us. It wasn’t until a few month in that we changed our minds. I started to notice how focused Walter was when we would watch TV together. He was always perfectly still, and quiet. At first, I thought this was great because I was able to do the things I wanted while Walter was watching TV. However, the more I observed him, the more worried I became. Whenever he was in front of the TV he became a zombie. It was almost like he was in a trance, and that really freaked me out.

Once I started doing more research about the effects of screen time on little ones, we just swore it off. Don’t get me wrong here, there are times Walter catches a glimpse of a screen every now and then. Media is everywhere, it’s impossible to keep him away from screens completely and I’m okay with that. I don’t see any harm in a few seconds ( or minutes) of screen time once in a while. The problems start when young kids spend hours in front of a screen.

Recent studies have shown excessive screen time can lead to delayed language development, connotative issues, and some have even linked it to ADHD. In fact, Dr. Ari Brown, the lead author on the American Academy of Pediatrics said, “The concern for risk is that some kids who watch a lot of media actually have poor language skills, so there’s a deficit in their language development. We also have concerns about other developmental issues because they’re basically missing out on other developmentally appropriate activities,”. Countless other studies have show that children don’t understand what they’re watching on TV until around age two.

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I do want to take a moment to touch on the difference between passive and active screen time. Passive screen time is just plopping your kid in front of a screen and expecting it to babysit them. Whereas active screen time is something like a Skype call or face-timing with a relative. There is a HUGE difference between the two! Georgene Troseth, a Vanderbilt University developmental psychologist conducts some of the country’s leading research on children and screens. She says, “We’re finding pretty consistently — in fact, two recent studies with actual Skype [calls] — that children do seem to learn better when there is social interaction from a person on video. So it’s kind of encouraging with FaceTime or Skype for parents and grandparents to know that [with] that interaction, the children might actually be willing to learn from a person on a screen because of the social interaction showing them what’s on the screen is connected to their lives,”.

If you’d like more information about raising a child without screen time, Mama natural has a fantastic blog post discussing the topic. You can find that here.

I’d like to stress how important it is to do what works best for your family. If you choose to use interactive media with your child make sure you find a healthy balance. Actually take the time to sit down with them, and get involved, that’s going to be more valuable than anything else.

xoxo

Destiny

Self care Sunday

Self care Sunday

 

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Hello my sweet sweet friends! I hope all is well in your world.

If you couldn’t tell from last weeks post I’m pretty big on self-love. For those of you who don’t know me personally, I’ll go ahead and let you know this is a relatively new idea for me. I’ve spent most of my life putting myself on the back burner, but not anymore my friends!

Basically, I started with the idea of taking a little time for myself. I usually do this on Sunday when I make a new post, but you can choose any day that works for you. In the future, I’d like to take a little time every day, but for now, Sundays are working just fine 😉

I can’t stress how important it is to create a routine of self-care for yourself, especially for us mothers. We spend so much time taking care of other people we forget about ourselves. Take some tips from my self-care routine below, and make sure you’re giving yourself some love on a daily basis!

Sleep in

You’ll be surprised when you see what sleeping in just one day a week can do for your health. Both physically as well as mentally. Sleep is when our body heals and recuperates from our stressful lives. If you have small children pass them off on Dad for a little bit, so you can sleep in.

Meditate 

Meditation is something I feel very strongly about, and it’s a huge part of my life. Take a least 10 minutes to just sit, and be present. Make sure you ditch your phone, and any negative thoughts.

You’ll walk away much more relaxed, and ready to take on your day.

Pamper yourself 

I want to start by saying that I’m not talking about “retail therapy” here. I personally believe that kind of “papering” is just a distraction, and incredibly self-destructive.

What I mean is run yourself a hot bath, diffuse some essential oils and drift away.

Get outside 

This is so important to me! If I spend to much time indoors, I feel stressed and overwhelmed with life.

Take a walk, ride a bike, just get outside and breathe the fresh air. I find this incredibly grounding, it connects back to life and just makes my day that much better.

Spend time doing something you love 

For me, this means watching my son. Literally, I just sit there and watch him sleep sometimes. I know this probably sounds really weird, but it’s the truth. I find myself becoming preoccupied with so many things that I often forget just how fast my son is growing. Whenever I find that happening, I stop what I’m doing and focus on being present in his life. Whether that means watching him sleep, or sitting on the floor and playing with him. It’s important to me to take that time for him, no matter what because I know in twenty years I’m never going to look back and wish I would have spent more time putting the dishes away.

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Life is busy, and I’m sure a lot of you are thinking there is no way you have time to find one of these activities into your day. If you don’t have time for self-care what does that say about the relationship you have with yourself?

Life is about love and joy, not negativity and judgment. Just breathe and embrace life!

xoxo

Destiny

Zero Waste Lifestyle

Zero Waste Lifestyle

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I’ve gotten so many questions about my zero waste lifestyle, I figured I write a post about it. The most common question I get asked is why do I do it? Well, I do it because I’m a tree-hugging hippie of course. Well at least that what everyone things when I tell them I try (Try being a key work here) to life a life without producing trash. Honestly, I do it because I want to create a better world for my son. I want to inspire him as well as others to live a more sustainable life. Wow, I guess they’re right, I am a tree -hugging hippie.

So what is zero waste?

There are a ton of different ways to interpret what a “zero waste lifestyle” is. To make it easy I’m going to define it as living a sustainable lifestyle, as well as being conscious of the impact you have on the environment.

I want to stress that it’s impossible to live completely zero waste. This lifestyle isn’t all of nothing. If you’re interested in transitioning to a zero waste lifestyle it’s important to take baby steps and to not be too hard on yourself. I’m including a list of a few things you can do to start transitioning to a more sustainable life.

Is zero waste difficult?

People are constantly telling me they couldn’t possibly be zero waste simply because it’s too hard. The truth is that this lifestyle is incredibly easy and simple. It just requires a little more planning ahead. I’ve found that living this was really helped minimize my stress, as well as save me money. Since I try to avoid things in packaging, I save a ton of money because I’m not paying the markups companies charge. I encourage everyone to try living zero waste of five days. I’m sure you’ll be surprised by how easy it is.

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5 Things you can do right now towards zero waste

If you’re ready to dive deeper into the rabbit hole here are a few more things you can do 😉

I’ve including links to all of my favorite zero waste products! If you’re interested in this lifestyle and would like to learn more check out trash is for tossers. This site is run my Lauren Singer. She’s absolutely amazing, and one of my biggest inspirations.

If you haven’t already please make sure you subscribe. When you enter your email you’ll be notified every time I make a new post!

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Also, shoot me an email or leave a comment below letting me know a way you’ve tried cutting down your waste!

xoxo

Destiny

 

 

Starting Baby on Solids

Starting Baby on Solids

I often get asked why my son hasn’t started solids yet, or what foods I want to start him on. So in this post, I’ll be going over why we haven’t started solids, when we plan to, and what foods we’ll start with. Enjoy!

WHY WE WAITED

My partner and I decided before Walter was even born that we were going to wait until he showed true signs of food readiness before we gave him anything other than breast milk. There are a thousand and one reasons why parents delay introducing solid into their babies diet. The most simple being babies only need breast milk ( or formula) to thrive. I know, it’s shocking! I’m sure someone’s mother in law just fell out of her seat. Unfortunately today it’s not uncommon for mothers and fathers to be encouraged by their doctor, or family to start solid food long before baby’s digestive system is ready. Introducing solids before baby is ready (especially grains) has been linked to food allergies later on in life. If you have a history of allergies in your family, the longer you wait the better.

WHY WE’LL NEVER GIVE OUR SON BABY CEREAL 

We chose not to give our son baby cereals for two main reasons. Number one being that babies can’t digest grains before the age of one, and two because rice cereal has been known to contain arsenic! Parents are often encouraged to give their baby cereal to held them sleep better. There is no scientific evidence that supports that theory, in fact, many recent studies have disproved it altogether. The reason people think it helps babies sleep is because it binds their tummies. The main reason babies wake up at night is to poop. If you give them a bottle filled with cereal, they’ll theoretically sleep longer. Not because their tummy is full, and they’re satisfied but because they’re constipated. As for the arsenic, I won’t go into too much detail about why I don’t want my son eating that. I’m sure most people will agree we shouldn’t be feeding our children a deadly poison. If you’d like to read more about it on your own here is a link to the FDA website.baby semolina isolated on white background

 

WHEN WILL WE FEED OUR SON SOLIDS 

The short answer is when he’s ready. I know that’s not the answer you guys are looking for so I’ll elaborate. I believe no baby should receive solid food before the age of six months. the AAP even states for optimal health and wellness babies should be breastfed for the first six months of their life. With that being said we obviously weren’t going to feed our son anything other than breast milk before he was six months old. Along with that, we chose to wait until he showed other signs of food readiness. For example:

  • A desire for something other than milk. Babies often show a desire to play with food before they are actually ready to eat it. I’ll just take a second to mention my usual disclaimer, of course, every baby is different, use your intuition when it comes to feeding your baby. Your little on may show signs of food readiness long another. Always do what YOU think is best.
  • An ability to pick up small objects. I believe it’s important to allow our little ones to feed themselves, in order for them to do so they’ll need to have developed their pincher grasp. This is when baby uses his thumb and forefinger to pick things up.
  • The ability to sit on their own. This is extremely important because this skill is needed to allow baby to swallow properly. Wait until your little one can sit on his own for several minutes before introducing solids.
  • Last but not least baby should have lost his tongue thrust reflex. This is the reflex that causes a baby to immediately push anything thicker than milk out of their mouth. I’m sure you’ve all seen a mom feeding their baby a jar of baby food and the little one immediately pushes it out of their mouth and mom scoops it up with a spoon and shoves it back in. All for the baby to spit it right back out again. If your little one does this, it may be a sign he isn’t ready for solids yet.

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WHAT FOODS WILL WE START WITH

Mostly likely we will start with avocado. Mainly because when it’s ripe is soft enough for Walter to chew without it having to be cooked first. Plus it’s high in fat which is fantastic for brain development. We plan on offering him other soft ripe fruits such as bananas, mango, and peaches. I often hear parents talk about how they are afraid of offering their baby too many sweet fruits, fearing they will only eat sugary foods and no crave the savory taste of vegetables. I’m not worried about this but to debunk this theory let discuss the natural craving for sugar. We are by nature fruit eaters. I know this comes as a surprise to most but just stick with me. Breast milk is naturally sweet, whereas cow’s milk isn’t. This is because humans are designed to have a diet high in sugars (natural sugars of course). Humans thrive in the tropics, where natural tree ripened fruit is the most abundant source of calories. In our natural environment, we would be drawn to fruits because it’s much easier to sit under a mango tree and eat until your heart’s delight than it is the hunt, kill, skin, and eat an animal.

whatever food your choose to start with is up to you. However, I do want to stress the importance of seeking out the highest quality, organic food possible. It is incredibly important to feed our little one’s food free of pesticides and chemicals, not only is it better for their bodies it’s also better for our environment. Shop at farmers markets whenever you can. This is the best way to get organic, nutrient dense foods. Plus you’ll be supporting a local small business 😉

I do want to stress that before the age of one breast milk should be your child’s primary source of calories. I’m sure we’ve all heard the saying “food before one is just for fun.”

However, you choose to feed your child always remember they are a reflection of ourselves. If you want your child to love fruits and vegetables YOU have to love them! One of my favorite bloggers once said “If you are a mom or dad who is trying to feed your kids healthy whole plant foods, and are surrounded by negativity and discouragement to do so, I encourage you to press forward. You are not alone. You will never influence the world by trying to be like it.” -Ellen Fisher.

 

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xoxo

Destiny.