Modeling and Encouraging Healthy Eating Habits and Lifestyle 

Modeling and Encouraging Healthy Eating Habits and Lifestyle 

Modeling and encouraging Paul to learn healthy eating habits and teaching him how to live a healthy lifestyle is a top priority of mine. The way we shop, the products that we buy, and the recipes that we make are all carefully considered to ensure that Paul is getting the nutrition that he needs in his daily diet primarily from products that do not contain preservatives, coloring, hormones, antibiotics, etc. If you are looking to buy products that are free of these potentially harmful components, the label to look for is organic. Other labels, such as “all natural” and “farm raised” are labels that do not necessarily mean that their products are preservative, hormone, antibiotic and color free; so it’s best to buy the regular inorganic products if you can not find the organic products.  

Paul not only watches Matt and I cook, he helps us! I usually give him a small task to do, like wash a few pieces of spinach off in the water and then place it in the pot. While we are prepping and cooking, we talk to him about the ingredients that are going in his food and why these ingredients are nutritious for our bodies. He helps us do tasks like mix the ingredients together or scoop them into bowls. Then, he watches mama and dada enjoy healthy good eats which makes him want it too. 

Along with eating healthy, Paul also watches mama make fitness a priority. We go on walks every day that it is not raining; and he sees my interest In living an active lifestyle. I try to workout during his nap time every day, but he usually wakes up before I finish so he ends up spending the last 10 minutes working out with me. He is very interested in my weights, and tries to lift them; but they weigh almost as much as he does!

Teaching relaxation is another priority of mine when teaching him how to live a healthy lifestyle. I have been working on teaching Paul how to take deep breaths in through his nose and out through his mouth (which he thinks is hilarious). Now that Paul only takes one nap a day, we take 30 minutes a day to relax together by doing breathing exercises and reading. Yoga will eventually be added on to this routine. We also work on breathing exercises when he becomes upset and emotional. 

Finally, I have been on a mission to avoid and eliminate as much toxins as possible from our home environment. This includes furniture, cookware, toys, etc.

Paul is my miracle. There are no words to describe how much I love him. I want to teach him the skills that will help him live a happy, relaxing, conscious, and healthy lifestyle. Thank you for reading, I hope you have a happy Tuesday! =D

Limiting a Baby’s Exposure to Toxins: Sharing Research on Toxins Found in Crib Mattresses

Limiting a Baby’s Exposure to Toxins: Sharing Research on Toxins Found in Crib Mattresses

Good evening and happy Wednesday! After Matt and I decided on which crib we were going to buy, our goal was to find a safe, nontoxic, and organic crib mattress with as little material as possible (an organic mattress does not mean it is non toxic). In a typical crib mattress, toxic chemicals may be added to the filling of the mattress to make it firm, and on the mattress to make it flame retardant and water proof.

Toxins Found in Crib Mattresses:

1. Mattress Filling

Many typical crib mattresses are filled with polyurethane foam to make the mattress firm. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, there is no level of safe exposure to polyurethane; and exposure to it may cause asthma, endocrine disruptions, lung damage, skin and eye irritation, and allergies to isocyanates. It is important to know that polyurethane filling may also contain other toxic chemicals, such as formaldehyde.

Also, polyurethane filling is highly flammable.

2. Flame Retardants

Flame retardants are added to crib mattresses to prevent the risk of fire. According to the United States Enviornmental Protection Agency, flame retardants may cause reduced IQ, cancer, learning disabilities, thyroid disruption and reduced fertility.

3. Water Proofing

Polyvinyl chloride is added to crib mattresses to make it water proof. According to Tox Town, polyvinyl chloride may be harmful to the reproductive system and respiratory system; cause endocrine disruptions; and cause cancer.

We chose to purchase a crib mattress that was not waterproof (instead, we use organic cotton mattress pads) and consisted of only three materials: organic wool (because it is a natural flame retardant), organic cotton, and 15.5 gauge 260 unoiled steel coils/intersprings with a 6 gauge border rod (because I was confident that the quality of the intersprings would create the firmness that I was looking for). If you choose a mattress consisting of these materials, you should ask the suppliers the following questions:

1. Are the sheep sprayed with any pesticides? If the mattress is made from wool that was cut from sheep that were sprayed with pesticides, the wool is going to be toxic whether or not it is organic.

2. Is the cotton sprayed with any pesticides? Organic or inorganic cotton that is sprayed with pesticides is toxic.

3. How many coils does the mattress have? Are they oiled? What material are they made from? How thick is the gauge of the coils? The firmness of the mattress will depend on the thickness of the coils, how many coils are in the mattress, and the material that the coils are made from. I wanted the coils to be unoiled (to avoid any toxic oils) and to be made from steel (because steel is a good quality metal). I wanted the thickness of the gauge to be 15.5 or less; the lower the number, the thicker the coils are. I also wanted a mattress with a lot of coils, so I chose one that had 250.

This is all of the information that I have learned from researching what toxins are found in crib mattresses and how these toxins impact a baby’s cognitive and physical development. I hope that this information was insightful and will help you find a crib mattress that works best for your family.

I hope that you have a happy day!

Limiting a Baby’s Exposure to Toxins: Sharing Research on Wooden Baby Products

Limiting a Baby’s Exposure to Toxins: Sharing Research on Wooden Baby Products

Good morning and happy Saturday =D

When I found out that I was almost 3 months pregnant with my son in July 2015, I drastically changed my lifestyle after researching the impacts that environmental toxins could have on a developing fetus. Then, as his arrival was rapidly approaching, my research transitioned from learning about how toxins impact a developing fetus to how toxins impact a baby. I extended my research to products such as cribs, crib mattresses, bassinets, bassinet mattresses, diapers, wood toys, plastic toys, teethers, baby food, formula, cookware, etc. It was astonishing to learn that every item that I researched had commonly used brands that contained added toxins; too much to cover in one blog post. The purpose of this post is to share research on the toxins found in wooden baby products and how these toxins could impact a baby’s cognitive and physical development.

Wood is used to make many baby products; most often it is used to make cribs, teethers, and toys. The type of wood and how it is treated will determine whether the products are toxic. I recommend calling companies to ask the following questions to inquire about specific items:

1. Are your [cribs/teethers/toys] made from certified sustainable wood or hardwood; or pressed or engineered wood?

  • It is important that [cribs/teethers/toys] are made of certified sustainable wood or hardwood. If you see that the wood is pressed or engineered (i.e. fiberboard or plywood), it most likely contains formaldehyde as a bonding agent.

2. Do you sell wood that is unfinished; or are they finished and if so, with what? Does the finishing contain VOC’s, lead, phthalates, or polyurethane?

  • Ideally, [cribs, teethers/toys] should be purchased unfinished.
  • Most finishes contain Volatile Organic Compounds’ (VOC’s).
  • Some finishes contain lead. According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, children who have exposure to lead could develop the following complications:
    • ataxia, coma, convulsions, death, hyper irritability, stupor, neurological effects, decrement in IQ performance, ADHD, and hearing impairment.
    • The Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry also states that lead could impact the developing fetus because it crosses the placenta and as a result could negatively impact the fetus’ viability, fetal development, and early childhood development.
    • In addition, lead could also cause renal, hematological, endocrine, gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, and reproductive damage.
  • Some finishes also contain phthalates.
    • According to Tox Town, phthalates may cause cancer. The may also be endocrine disrupters and could cause harm to the human reproductive system.
  • Some finishes also contain polyurethane.

3. What do you use to bind the parts of the [crib/teethers/toys] ? Does the bind contain formaldehyde?

4. Does any part of the [crib/teethers/toys] contain formaldehyde, lead, phthalates, or polyurethane? 

This is all of the information that I have learned from researching what toxins are found in wooden baby products and how these toxins impact a baby’s cognitive and physical development. I hope that this information was insightful and will help you find wooden baby products that work best for your family.

Thank you for reading, I hope you have a happy day =D

Limiting Exposure to Toxins Found in Plastic and Cans

Good morning everyone and happy Sunday! In this post, I will share all of the information that I have learned about the toxins that are found in plastic and cans. I provided links that will direct you to the Center of Disease Control, WebMD, and Livestrong. I hope this post is helpful =D

Plastic

What are the toxins found in plastic?

  • Phthalates

http://www.cdc.gov/biomonitoring/phthalates_factsheet.html

http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/cookware-plastics-shoppers-guide-to-food-safety?page=1

  • Benzene

http://www.bt.cdc.gov/agent/benzene/basics/facts.asp

http://www.livestrong.com/article/101892-harmful-effects-benzene/

  • Styrene

http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/PHS/PHS.asp?id=419&tid=74

  • Bisphenol A

http://www.webmd.com/children/environmental-exposure-head2toe/bpa?page=1

http://www.cdc.gov/biomonitoring/BisphenolA_FactSheet.html

http://www.livestrong.com/article/478451-disposable-food-containers-cancer-risk/

http://www.livestrong.com/article/255205-plastic-everywhere-side-effects/

Vinyl Chloride

http://www.livestrong.com/article/530191-clear-plastic-wrap-food-safety/

http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxfaqs/tf.asp?id=281&tid=51

There are seven types of plastic that we come into contact with. If you look on the bottom of any water bottle, you will notice the number 1 (which is toxic) engraved into it. If you look at the bottom of a gallon of milk, you will notice the number 2 (which is safe) engraved into it.  Here are two links that will explain each type of plastic.

http://www.livestrong.com/article/158674-which-plastic-containers-can-i-safely-use/

http://blogs.webmd.com/health-ehome/2009/02/know-your-plastics.html

Cans

What toxins are found in cans?

  • Bisphenol A

http://www.cdc.gov/biomonitoring/BisphenolA_FactSheet.html

http://www.livestrong.com/article/259503-the-disadvantages-of-aluminum-cans/

http://www.livestrong.com/slideshow/1009710-12-dangerous-chemicals-avoid-everyday-products/#slide=2

What have I done to limit my exposure to toxins found in plastic and cans?

To avoid exposure to toxins, I discontinued eating food that is stored in cans and I limit my exposure to plastic. I try to only drink out of glass bottles, and I store food in glass containers.

I hope this post was helpful! I hope you have a happy Sunday =D

My Cute Little Kitties and My Toxoplasmosis Scare

Good Evening and happy Friday!

I have three zany, quirky, and lovable kitties that are super lovable and super cute. Each of these kitties put a smile on my face on a daily basis. So how can these cats be dangerous to me and my baby? In this post, I will introduce you to my kitties, provide a description about them, and explain how they cause a serious danger to me an my baby. If you are not interested in reading about my kitties, skip to the bottom of the post where I introduce the topic of importance: Toxoplasmosis

Meet Boo Boo  

IMG_0419

Boo Boo came into our lives in March 2012. He is officially my first pet ever. He was a crazy kitten, but after a year, became the cuddly little Boo Boo Bear that he is today. Boo Boo is the quirkiest kitty of the three of our cats. When he is upset, he will drop down and start kicking the floor with his feet to warn us that he is not in a good mood. It is the cutest thing ever. His favorite past times are to chirp at birds from a window, chase flies (with no success) around our apartment, crawl into dark confined spaces, and drink running water from the faucet. He truly is an interesting and eccentric cat.

Meet Baby Jesus

IMG_3258

This kitty will break your heart. He came into our lives in June 2012. From the moment we brought him home, he was always the most gentle, kind, and lovable kitty. For the first year, we thought Boo Boo was a girl, so we originally decided to get Baby Jesus to mate with him. It was not until a few months later that I saw a pink thing come out of Boo Boo’s vagina–only to discover that he never had a vagina. We were wondering why Boo Boo was always trying to dominate Baby Jesus, usually, it is the male cat who tries to dominate the female. Well, not only was Boo Boo actually a male, but he over asserted his alpha maleness by dominating Baby Jesus, and unfortunately defiled him for about a year. This stopped when we got them neutered, which was a blessing. However, as a result to Boo Boo’s harassment, Baby Jesus developed severe kitty anxiety. When he is not anxious, his favorite past time is to lay on our chest and snuggle with us. He literally does not have any other hobbies besides staring at us. He developed such an attachment to us that he cries and scratches at our bedroom door at night until we let him in–the happiness that this cat expresses when we open the door is super cute. This cat wants nothing but our love.

Meet Owen

IMG_5695

This kitty was the best mistake ever. We brought this cat home in April 2015, and everyday since he has demonstrated his appreciation for us. Unlike Baby Jesus who wants our love, all this kitty cares about is giving us love. He does not stop cuddling with us! Everywhere we go, Owen follows and spreads his love everywhere. This cat is truly grateful to have a home and to not be in a cage.

This is the first cat we actually purchased (we picked up the other two cats from owners through craigslist). He was intended to be a gift for my wonderful mother. Matt and I spent a lot of time with kittens trying to find the perfect companion for her, and when they brought Owen and his two brothers to us, Owen instantaneously gave us so much love. He would not stop rubbing on us or sitting on us. This kitty was the winner; the perfect companion. We decided to participate in the foster to adopt program, which allowed us 30 days to return him if we were unsatisfied. My mom was never a pet owner, and though she loved him, she decided she was unhappy with owning a cat and wanted us to give him back. Matt and I had grown attached to this little guy, so we brought him to our apartment. Owen’s favorite past times are to give love to us and our other cats, snuggle with us, rub on us, chirp at birds with big brother Boo Boo, wrestle with Baby Jesus, chase flies around our apartment (successfully), and the cutest of all of our cats past times: collect bottle caps. We recently found a stash of the bottle caps that he has collected over the last few months–17 to be exact. When his stash was exposed, he had to move them to a new place. This cat is the perfect kitten.

Owen is very sickly; the people we were fostering him from took care of all medical bills during the foster period, so we brought him to the vet. It turned out that he was infected with eye herpes, and he had some parasites in his tummy. We were going to return him, but I just couldn’t do it!! There is nothing we could do for his eye herpes, and our other cats were already exposed (though they are up to date on their shots so it decreases the probability of them contracting the virus). And no, feline herpes can not be passed to humans. We actually took him to our own vet prior to taking him to the vet who has been handling him since he was a baby. Our vet ended up misdiagnosing him and giving us medications that caused him to have uncontrollable bowel movements. Thats when we took him to his original vet who gave us the proper diagnosis and it took about three weeks for Owen’s bowel movements to become somewhat regular.

This is where the toxoplasmosis scare came in.

Toxoplasmosis

I first researched Toxoplasmosis at http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/toxoplasmosis/gen_info/pregnant.html

Please visit the site above for more details!

Toxoplasmosis is a parasite that is found in undercooked meat. The reason cats pose a threat is because if they eat a rodent, bird, or other animal that is infected with the parasite, they too will become infected. The parasite sheds through their feces, and is highly contagious.

How does this impact me and my child during pregnancy?

If a woman becomes infected with Toxoplasmosis 6 months prior to becoming pregnant through anytime throughout the pregnancy, the child is at high risk for developing brain damage.

My Toxoplasmosis Scare

When we brought Owen home, there was a three week period where he had uncontrollable bowel movements. This caused me to clean up after him multiple times a day. I conceived in May, and found out I was pregnant in July. When I found out that I was pregnant, I was deeply concerned I contracted Toxoplasmosis from this cat while he was sick. For the first week of my pregnancy, I was incredibly anxious; fearful that I harmed my baby. We took Owen to the vet, got him tested for Toxoplasmosis, and after what seemed to be the longest week ever, we found out that he was negative! I was so excited because I knew at that point if I did have it, I would have contracted it a long time ago from my other cats. A week later, I got tested for Toxoplasmosis at my gynecologist’s office and the results came back negative =D I was so relieved after getting my results back! =D We are now in the process of testing our other two kitties.

I am so afraid of this parasite that I am probably going to get tested a few more times throughout this pregnancy.

I hope that this post was helpful =D I hope that you have a wonderful night! <3

Week 8: The Decision to Change My Lifestyle =D

Good afternoon and happy Friday =D This post is about the hours following my appointment.  I hope that you enjoy =D

I had to be gone for about 2 hours before arriving home to my apartment where my partner was awaiting my return. I will never forgot the big smile on his face when he greeted me at the door. We both smiled at each other for a few seconds, and then I said, “I’m pregnant.” The upcoming hours after telling him was a very happy and loving experience that I will never forget. We spent the entire day planning the next steps in our lives.  There is so much to look forward to =D

For about the last year, Matt and I have been doing extensive research on which environmental factors are toxic to our bodies. Personally, I started this research when I was diagnosed with Phyllodes Tumors of the breast in July 2014. Once we found out I was pregnant, we made drastic changes to both of out lifestyles. I just want to reinforce that there are no right or wrong lifestyle choices during pregnancy; my lifestyle choices are not the right way, rather they are the ones that work best for me. I want to share my lifestyle choices with you and the reasonings behind my choices. =D

In a matter of hours, the following was decided:

  1. To throw away all of our plastic tupperware and to not to drink from plastic bottles
  2. To throw away all of our nonstick pans
  3. To only have Matt clean the litter box
  4. To discontinue the use of toxic cleaning supplies
  5. To try to eat organically
  6. To discontinue eating products from cans
  7. To avoid food additives

My next few posts will explain why each of these choices were made and what we did to accommodate these changes. I hope that you find them helpful! <3