THE DIRTY DOZEN: PRODUCE 101

dirtydozen1Organic…non-GMO…pesticide free…free range…locally grown…who know grocery shopping could be this complicated?  My mother surely did not anticipate this.  As a young child, she would take me to the farmers markets.  “This is how you pick a “good” one,” she would say.   She chose fruits and vegetables based on how they looked or smelled and how they fit into her menu for the week.

One topic we never talked about was organic versus inorganic.  Amazingly, this question is now part of the mainstream parental consciousness.  Being one of these parents, I have reached several conclusions (for now).

One, eating fresh nutritious food is more important to me than only eating organic foods.  So if that means I am preparing non-organic green beans for dinner, I will live with that.

Two, when possible, I try to reduce the pesticide and chemical exposure whether in my food or in my environment.  I do this by reviewing the “dirty dozen” list of produce, while I am shopping.  The Environmental Working Group (www.ewg.org) has a great foldout card (included in the post) that helps me choose fruits and vegetables with lower pesticide content.

A few years ago, an apple was an apple (with or without wax/pesticides).  Fortunately, now we know better (although we have a long way to go).  Finding good resources of information is important.  Two resources of mine are http://www.ewg.org and http://www.healthychildren.org.  What resources do you use for nutrition-related information?

SKIN CARE AU NATUREL

So I am wheeling the shopping cart around Target and I groan inwardly when I hear, “Mommy, can I have the Dora shampoo?”  I mumble an excuse like, “that’s for big kids.”  Whenever I see a product with a cartoon on it, it is hard for me to trust whether it is actually “good” for my kid.  I know you can’t judge a book by the cover, but simple ingredient comparison always leads me to the non-cartoon non-fuss products.

So which skin products should we choose for the kids?  The answer is simple.  Find the products that are the most natural which means fragrance free, alcohol free, dye and color free .  I find myself using organic and hypoallergenic products for everybody at home, especially the kids.

We all love the wonderful “baby” fragrance that so many lotions and bath products have.  Umm.. sorry to tell you this but the fragrances are pretty drying and sensitizing to the skin.  I see “camomile and lavender” in baby products all the time and I find that some (not all) kids can become sensitive to them with repeated use over time.

I know that babies and kids love baths, but they don’t need baths daily.  How many babies do we see rolling around in the dirt?  Preserve their natural skin oils by not soaking them daily in the tub.  Just wipe them down with a wet towel and skip one or two days.

I know bubble baths are fun, but they are super irritating to their little behinds.  Avoid them at all costs.

A lot of the creams/lotions that say “For dry skin or eczema” actually contain alcohol in the ingredients.  So read the labels.

The skin is the largest organ system in the body.  I think the more natural non-processed products you can find, the better…and smarter.  What do you use at home for your child’s skin?