Activist Mommy

baby bottleLast night I was watching the news when a story came on about baby bottles and a chemical called bisphenol A. A short story on the chemical found in plastics is here. Honestly, it seems a bit redundent that it needs to be said. We alrady know that bottled water is unhealthy and that is in part to the plastic bottle itself. The chemicals in the plastic bottles are leached out into the water you drink. And, obviously, the same thing happens to your baby’s formula in that plastic bottle. Bisphenol A has been linked in tests to “problems such as obesity, early puberty, hyperactivity, and abnormal sexual behavior and reproductive cycles”. That is a pretty scary list of issues that could come using a baby bottle. I especially wonder about the hyperactivity link with the number of children diagnosed with hyperactivity rising.

I hate to get on my high horse, but this is just one more reason I am so glad that I made the choice to breastfeed. I sat on the couch watching women on the news making comments about not knowing what to do and all I could think of was how ingrained the “baby bottle” mentality is in most Americans. Because obviously breasts are for selling cars and pleasing men. I wonder if the ones who say “Ewww” to the thought of breastfeeding thinks that exposing kids to 10 times the safe amount of an artificial sex hormone is less “disgusting”?

Edited to add that I was sent a link to a great article on this that also contains a rebuttal from the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA). You can read it here. They of course say that bottles are completely safe and that there is no concern from bisphenol A. Call me cynical, but isn’t that about like asking the fox if it’s safe to let him guard the henhouse? I mean the European Council of Vinyl Manufacturers says that toys with PVC are safe, because saying otherwise loses them money. So what of the JPMA?

The Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association, Inc. (JPMA) is a national trade organization representing 95% of the $7.3 billion industry.

Does anyone else smell a hint of money in their denial of health risks from bisphenol A? I know I would sure like to see what studies they have done, how it was researched, and who funded it.

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FruitAn article on Yahoo is telling me that Fruits, veggies don’t stop cancer return. It’s a short article without much detail on the study. If anyone has a link to a more detailed article I would love to read it. I have a few questions. First, how were the foods grown? Are we talking organic, chemical -free fruits and veggies. Or were the foods grown with the typical chemicals sprayed on them? And in what way were the foods served? The article points out that foods such as french fries and lettuce did not count. But there is a difference between fresh, raw peas and the mush that comes in a can. I would love to know if these kinds of differences had any effect. To me, I would assume that fresh foods grown without chemicals and served in as natural a state as possible would have a better effect on one’s health than the typical canned mush most of us are used to. A salad full of raw leafy spinach is certainly more healthy, and tastier, than the overcooked slime that most people associate with spinach.

One thing from the article that makes me wonder is this:

But they may not have been so honest about the calories they ate. The super-veggie group gained 1.3 pounds and the comparison group gained 0.88 pound, on average.

I’ll certainly come back later and add more to this.

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Living Without Meat is giving away the book The United States of Arugula: The Sun-Dried, Cold-Pressed, Dark-Roasted, Extra Virgin Story of the American Food Revolution by David Kamp. All you have to do is email her a great vegetarian recipe. I’ve already got my recipe ready to go so you better get yours in too.

{July 11, 2007}   Nestle = BAD!!!

boycott NestleMy post yesterday on water bottles lead to a great comemnt and a link to a post of 13 news stories worth checking out. Scroll down to #8, a great piece on Nestle yet again making money at the expense of others.

Many people don’t know that there is a boycott on Nestle and their products going on. One that has been in effect since 1977. The reasons for boycotting Nestle make a pretty long list. Check out What’s Wrong With Nestlé? to see for yourself. Irresponsible marketing, exploiting employees, supporting brutal / repressive regimes , and abusing animals are a few of the ways Nestle gets its kicks. Doing a full boycott of Nestle can be difficult for some, especially since they own everything under the sun. As the company grows and grows one almost has to stop going to the store at all in order to avoid the stretch of Nestle. In the future the world will be owned by Nestle and sold by Wal-Mart. *shudders*

 If you want to know more you can check out the Boycott Nestle blog, which has an interesting post up right now about the Boycott Nestle week and mothers in the Philippines being misled into think that processed formula is better than their own milk. Much in the same way women here in the US were told the same lies. There is a great post here about the according to the World Health Organization, some 16,000 Filipino children die as a result of “inappropriate feeding practices” every year.

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bottled waterCan I say “duh”?

It was on my front page this morning, that bottled water is bad for the earth. I’m a bit confused that more people haven’t figured this out, but sometimes I forget that not everyone cares where the stuff they buy comes from or goes to. Before I go on I’ll admit that I do have a small collection of water bottles in my fridge. I use them when I take my sons to the park so that I don’t have to buy drinks from the machine or let them drink out of the rusted fountain. Or for long car rides I’ll grab a couple bottles out of the fridge rather than stopping and buying something along the way. I have about 6 bottles, most of them at least 2 years old. Several of my friends have actually went to using glass bottles instead of plastic, in fact a lot of them use glass everything instead of plastic. However I can’t get this image out of my head of my boys breaking them over each other’s head. I know I should look into some of the better reusable bottles for drinks, I just haven’t got to it yet. I will, I promise!

 The news really isn’t anything new. Back in 2005 ABC News did a report on whether bottled water was healthier and tasted better than tap. The results came back that tap water and bottled water really aren’t that different. Except for, you know, the fuel used transporting the bottles of water, the pollution made by the factories making the bottles, the trash that piles up from all the bottles being tossed, and the chemicals leeching out of the bottles into your body. Or as the New York Times puts it The Unintended Consequences of Hyperhydration.

I read some frightening statistics this morning on the whole bottled water company. Buying the cute little bottle of water can leave a big, gaping hole in its place. There is a link there to a great article where the statisitcs come from. It is definitely worth the read. Or you can head over to No Impact Man and see how he deals with the reusable water bottle craze. He’s got some pretty shocking statistics up also.

In the end here are my ideas for reducing the bottled water problems:

  • Reuse the water bottles that you already have. Rinse them out, refill them, and pop them in the fridge or freezer until next time.
  • Recycle your bottles insteadof tossing them out.
  • If you find yourself in need of a drink buy brands that aren’t shipped from other countries.
  • Get reusable bottles that you can use for all of your drinks rather than buying packaged drinks over and over again.
  • Turn on the tap to get your drink.
  • Put a jap on your counter and put the money you would be spending on bottled water in there instead. When the jar is full, donate the money.

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I found an interesting, and frightening, post last night about the Chinese food scandal and how it affects our health. To read about how heavy doses of fertilizers, poisons, toxins, and heavy metals could be sitting in my fridge right now leaves me feeling a bit uneasy. I’ll admit to having a creeping panic attack at the thought of feeding any of that to my children. Thanks to a loophole in the laws dealing with the labeling of food sources and the FDA not testing for metals in imported foods there is almost no way to know if the food you are about to eat is contaminated or not.

Suddenly Local Foods month has a whole new meaning.  Sure, making sure the foods you eat are organic and locally grown can be a bit more work. And to some it’s even anti-feminist.  But feeling a little more safe about the products my children are eating is worth it to me. And hey, someone has to be alive and healthy to run the country in 30 years when everyone else has cancer or brain damage from heavy metal poisoning and toxic chemicals.

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I read a great article a few days ago called Experts Say Eat Local for Health, Planet and Wallet. The article hits on the points that buying food grown in other countries that has to be flown in carries a heavy ecological burden. Not only does the shipping, packaging, and chemicals needed to keep it fresh util it reaches the store shelves cost us, it also keeps us disconnected from the foods we eat. Buying local food stops all of that before it even begins. It also helps support our local farmers who are not always able to compete with the unethically low prices that farmers outside the country are paid.

The Crunchy Chicken has declared July as Local Food Month. The challenge is to increase the amount of locally grown foods you eat, and as a result reduse the amount of prepackaged, imported foods you are eating. Eating more local foods, and growing/making your own dishes not only helps the environemtn and the local farmers, it also can improve your health. No preservatives, dyes, added this or that. Just fresh, simple foods straight from your garden.

To tempt you a little more here’s a delicious recipe for homemade salsa from PickYourOwn that will make your mouth water. I made this several times last summer and it was a huge hit. I’m just waiting for my tomatoes to get to that perfect ripeness right now so I can make it again.

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{June 26, 2007}   I’m no Skinny Bitch

SkinnyBitchI read a post about the book Skinny Bitch over at Veggie Chic and immediately knew I had to buy it. Number one, with a name like that you just can’t go wrong. There are plenty of people who are the “skinny bitch”, and plenty who want to be. And even more who could care less and wish the stereotype would go away. Personally I’m pleasantly plump. During my first pregnancy I gained far too much weight, a two-hit combo of quitting smoking and morning sickness that only stayed away so long as my stomach was full. In other words I was constantly eating.

But the book is more than just a great title. It is a healthy eating book that promotes veganism. and it is written by models. I am sure that it is just the stereotype getting in the way, but when I see the words models and skinny together healthy is the last word I expect to see joining them. So I thought before i put down good money I would check out the website. SkinnyBitch: The Official Website 

Rory Freedman, a former agent for Ford Models, is a self-taught know-it-all.

Kim Barnouin is a former model who holds a Masters of Science degree in Holistic Nutrition.

OK, so they might be knowledgable in good health. And it has praise from Ingrid Newkirk, the President of PETA, and Amy Joy Lanou, Ph.D., Senior Nutrition Scientist of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.  And, well, as much as I love my round hips I wouldn’t mind losing the tummy pooch. Or at least gbetting it down to a reasonable level, as in not sticking out of my shirt. Though my sons say they love to cuddle mommy because I’m squishy, I don’t want to be the next person getting a letter from PETA like Michael Moore did.

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I saw a post over at the Consumerist about Creepy Commercials For Skin Whitening Products, and yeah they really are creepy when you watch them from a typical American veiwpoint. One product, Fair & Lovely, has the creepiest commercials. You can see the commercial here at youtube, where a beautiful woman finds that she cannot get ahead in her job because her skin is too dark. Luckily there’s a face whitening cream for that, huh? What does Fair & Lovely say?

Since 1993 until today, we have been committed to transforming and inspiring the lives of women through beauty. We also believe in the economic empowerment of women to improve standards of living and contribute positively to the quality of life of all Malaysians.


Empowerment and improving the standards of living? By feeding into the cultural stigma of dark skinned women being “less than”? I’m sorry, where is the empowerment? And apparently many of these creams contain Mercury. Which is, you know, kind of dangerous. Like deadly dangerous.

Thank goodness we don’t have that here in America. Here we have companies like Dove campaining for Real Beauty. Wait a minute. What company owns Fair & Lovely? Unilever. And what company owns Dove? Unilever. What? Unilever owns both companies? Perhaps I am a little dense here, but how can the same company promote Dove’s “Real Beauty” message in America and at the same time promote dangerous creams to whiten a woman’s skin in parts of India? Can they have it both ways?

In a world of hype and stereotypes, Dove provides a refreshingly real alternative for women who recognise that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes and isn’t simply about how you look – it’s about how you feel.

So which is it? Real beauty that isn’t about stereotypes, or rubbing mercury on your face to look whiter? Does beauty come in all shapes and sizes? Or does that only count if your skin is white enough?

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