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Special Edition

Healthy Ideas for Mom & Baby

The New Faith

Practicing Spirituality Outside of the Chapel

Earth Day Your Way Ideas for every shade of green

April 2012

Celebrating the Shape of a Mother1



Contents 6 Dear Kaia

Fair Trade explained, greener commutes, un-teching our kids

24 We APProve

The best app for spring!

8 Just Look Up

26 Jump Start Your Sex Drive

10 Good/Better/Best

28 High 5

An interview with Susie Lopez, creator of the Look Up! yoga series

Eco Party Options

12 Know Your Options

The Best Choices for Your Period

14 Happy Earth Day!

Find an Earth Day event in your town

16 The New Faith

“I’m spiritual but not religious.” Does any one really know what that means?

20 Family Matters with Calley Pate Dyeing Eggs Naturally

22 Spring Cleaning

A checklist for every part of the home


Columnist Billie Criswell brings natural aphrodisiacs

Learn about a natural depression remedy that is gaining exposure

32 Picnicking Made Easy

Simple picnic tips and a delectable Earth Day menu

36 Do More with Less

Great multi-taskers we love

38 Green on a Budget

Healthy, affordable meats

41 Naturally Beautiful

Unique spring picks for Mom

42 Pure Indulgence Pomegranate Cosmo


44 Flee, Flea...

Treating fleas without toxins

48 3 Easy Herbs

Expand your garden and your palate with these easy-to-grow stunners

50 Earth Day Your Way

Create your perfect celebration

53 Local Focus

My Mommy Mart of Marietta, OH

80 Cloth Diapering Basics

Learn the basics about modern cloth diapers

82 Breastfeeding Twins

One mother’s words of wisdom

84 Two Veggies at the Table

The first installment of this three-part series

86 Kaia Readers Rock

56 Special Section 58 Tree of Life

Mothers across the country share their postpartum stories


62 Great Finds Special Edition Picks for Mom and Baby

64 Sustainable Diapering Options Reduce your baby’s bumprint

68 Celebrating the Shape of a Mother Photo Essay

75 Five Ways to Lower Your Risk of a Cesarean


Healt Pract






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78 A Surprising Change

A mother learns the benefits of cloth

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On the Cover: Photo by Jacqie Q Photography




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a letter from our editors

Mother. Earth. We celebrate both in this issue that is dedicated to honoring the inherent power of women and the beauty of the planet. The ancient Greeks believed in Gaia, the earth-goddess, and Kaia gives a nod to Gaia as we strive our best to address simple ways for women to live more earth-focused every day. This issue is no exception. Earth Day is at the forefront this month! Find out how your city celebrates Earth Day on page 14 or plan your own celebration with author Meg McCoy’s guide on page 54. Honor your home environment by planting something new in your garden (page 52) or get a jump-start on eco-friendly spring cleaning with our easy checklist (page 24). We’re also pleased to bring you our special section on Mothers and Babies. JacqieQ Photography presents a gorgeous photo essay celebrating the female figure on page 72; we are so pleased to share it with you.* And you won’t want to miss the empowering postpartum testimonials in “Honoring the Tree of Life,” on page 62. We were moved to tears. Thank you to all of the incredible women who shared their stories of motherhood in words or images. We hope that this issue moves you, too. In Motherhood,

Amanda, Gretchen & Jenny

Kaia Magazine strives to empower each of us to sustain the health of our earth, our bodies, and our relationships — all with a practical, modern perspective. Editors: Amanda Hearn Gretchen Sowers Jenny Gullen Editorial Contributors: Sarah White Calley Pate Billie Criswell Pete Mason Krista Cornish Scott Sara Tetreault Brianna Inskeep Blessing Oshin Rachelle Knue Julia Clark Megan McCoy Johanna Cook Jacqueline Rizk Brianna Inskeep Jennifer Holzer Photographers: Jacqie Parsons Advertising Inquiries:

*The power of a woman’s body is something that should be celebrated across cultures. Kaia would love to include photo submissions representing the diverse female figures of this world and accounts of how you’ve come to love the strength your body has shown you. If you are a reader or photographer interested in contributing, please contact us.

Contributor Inquiries: Questions & Comments


Dear Kaia, What does “Fair Trade” mean and where can I buy products that are labeled Fair Trade? --Sharee (via email) Purchasing products certified as fair trade whenever possible is a great habit to practice. Fair trade is a label given to products that are produced using ethical working practices. Fair Trade USA is the organization that certifies these products as fair trade. Sadly, many of the goods that we purchase on a daily basis in the United States are manufactured in countries thousands of miles away. On top of the fact that it is bad for the environment for a product to travel many miles, oftentimes the workers creating these goods work in factories for long hours while earning next to nothing. Some factories even hire children. By purchasing products with the fair trade logo, you can be assured that the workers were justly compensated. In addition, Fair Trade USA works to help build sustainable business in developing countries. They strive to make a positive influence on these disadvantaged communities.


Fair Trade USA certifies items such as fresh produce, coffee, beans, apparel, body care products, and more. These products can be found at any grocery store, however, your local health food store will likely have a larger selection. All items certified as fair trade will display the Fair Trade USA logo. For more information, visit Fair Trade, USA.

How can we green our commute? --Anonymous (via email) It’s great that you’re thinking about how your commute to work impacts the environment! This often gets overlooked, but the miles add up so quickly, especially if your commute is long. The best option would be to take public transportation, if possible. This eliminates the use of your car altogether which means less exhaust from your car gets into the environment. Even if you have to pay for public transportation, the cost is usually cheaper than the amount you would pay in gas to get to work. Sometimes using this option means lengthening your commute. If this is the case, try it out just one or two days a week. Another great option for commuters is to carpool. Talk to your co-workers and find out who lives near you. This will save both of you gas money, it’s better for the environment, and talking with someone tends to make the drive go by faster! Also, if you happen to live in a state with designated ‘carpool lanes’ during rush hour, you can take advantage of those! If it’s out of the way to pick each other up, find a convenient location to meet each morning. Leave one car there,

Have a question? Ask Kaia! tion to meet each morning. Leave one car there, and then take just one in to work. Again, if this doesn’t work for you as a daily routine, try it out just a couple of days a week. If neither of these options are feasible in your situation, then changing the way you drive, and the type of car you use can reduce your negative impact on the environment as well. Did you know that driving at a steady rate burns less gas than when you are constantly speeding up and slowing down? Try to find a route to work that allows you to drive at a steady speed for as long as possible. Also, consider a more fuel-efficient car when you are in the market for a new-toyou car. Try to purchase used, but look for something that has greater gas mileage.

How can we “un-tech” our children? --via web Ah, technology. It has so many benefits, but boy, can it be a mindless time-suck. It’s such an easy form of entertainment, but it can often serve as a good learning tool, too. However, as parents it’s important to interact with our kids in the house, outdoors, and playing with friends. If your kids are young, try not to lean on technology as a daily form of entertainment from the start so that taking it away won’t be a battle you have to fight. If you’re up for a challenge, try selecting one day a week (or two!) to be completely technology free. This means no computers, televisions, or cell phones. This goes for all ages of children, and parents, too! Everyone who lives under your roof. Doing this is a great way to bond

with your children and to show them how to have good ol’, old fashioned fun. You might even be surprised just how much you can get done in a day using zero technology. Your kids will also gain respect for you since you are participating in the challenge as well.

Activity Ideas: • • • • • • • •

Go to a children’s museum Check out a local farmer’s market See a play Organize a potluck (or picnic!) with your friends and their kids Go on a hike Pick up some cheap old shirts from a thrift store and tie dye them with the kids Play a board game Go fishing

Don’t forget to check out your local community calendar to see if there are any events going on where you live. During the spring and summer, many communities hold ice cream socials and events such as music concerts in the park. While it’s probably not practical to eliminate technology completely, it’s more than possible to reduce exposure. Show your kids that you can have fun without computers, phones, and television. While implementing a tech-free day once a week might seem difficult, or even painful at first, after awhile you’ll notice it’s easier to cut down on technology the rest of the week. Remember, we are our kids biggest influence, so it’s up to us to set a good example!


An interview with Susie Lopez, creator of the Look Up! youth yoga video series and Look Up/ Pop Up! traveling yoga initiative.

After learning about yoga's myriad benefits for children, and inspired by her son's struggles with ADHD and Tourette Syndrome, Susie joined Bent on Learning which is New York City's largest supplier of yoga in Public Schools. Combining her masters studies in Art History with her passion for the liberal arts and progressive education, Look Up! is a yoga curriculum that nurtures students' minds and bodies as they learn by doing, seeing, and hearing. Susie’s newest initiative is her Look Up/Pop Up! traveling yoga program. The Look Up programs will “pop up” in a variety of eco-friendly vacation spots around the world. After completing her first set of Look Up/Pop Up classes in Tulum, Mexico, Susie sat down to answer a few questions about her experience: How did you get started with the creation of the Look Up video series?


Susie: The Look Up project was inspired by the need to provide yoga for every child. I teach for and am on the board of Bent on Learning, New York City’s largest provider of free yoga in the public school system. But we are only able to cover 3,300 children a week-drops in the bucket compared to the 1 million children who attend public school in New York City alone. Until we get a teacher in

every classroom, the Look Up project can provide yoga as curriculum in an engaging and accessible media format. Do you ever find resistance from students who have never been exposed to yoga culture or Eastern philosophies? Susie: So far I have yet to experience resistance to yoga culture or Eastern philosophies as my curriculum is completely free of dogma and accessible to all, regardless of background

or religious affiliation. How did you decide upon Tulum as your starting point for the Look Up/ Pop Up program? Susie: The Look Up /Pop Up Studios began when I visited Tulum, Mexico over Christmas break with my family and fell in love with the rich culture and emphasis on conscious health; it seemed everyone was there to do yoga! Imagine my surprise when I found out there were no children’s classes available for local kids or kids on holiday with their parents who were there--doing yoga! I immediately started to teach kids and my classes were always full and always fun. More so, the parents were really receptive; thrilled to have a positive outlet for their kids and a bit of a break for themselves. What would you say is the biggest, positive “take away” you receive from Look Up/Pop Up? Susie: The main strength of the Look Up /Pop Up studio is the happiness of the kids and the gift of yoga we are able to share with them. The parents are equally as pleased to watch the class or relax with a warm scone and some delicious chai. We also offer an art expression class which ties the yoga curriculum to something hands-on that allows the children to create a physical symbol of their experience that they may take home with them. My favorite part of the studio is obviously the spark created in each child which begins to allow yoga into their lives. My second favorite part is that our studio is offered for free with a suggested

donation to a local charity. It feels fantastic to be able to give something to the wonderful place we are visiting and leave knowing we have contributed in a small but positive way. Do you have more dates scheduled? Susie: We are currently planning a Spring Break Look Up / Pop Up in Aspen, Colorado and a Memorial Day event in Malibu, California. We have plans in this next year to visit Jamaica, Tulum, South Africa and Bali. I am deeply grateful for the success of our first effort and the bright future for the traveling Look Up / Pop Up studio! Finally, what inspired the title, Look Up? Susie: I thought of the name, Look Up, to refer to the Sun Salute, the foundation of yoga. So many kids slump over, speak into their chests. Compounding that problem is the fact that if you ask a child to look at you, often they stop hearing you. All I am asking them is to look up, project confidence to the world, and introduce oxygen into the brain...Just Look Up. To learn more, visit Susie’s website.



Banner $45 from ModBlossomStudio on Etsy

Eco-Party Options

From holiday celebrations, to a Mother’s Day brunch or a child’s birthday party, details and decor make these events memorable. The difficulty arises in the realization that gatherings require STUFF and eco-friendliness can be hard to manage with a large crowd. Keep these ideas in mind when planning your next event. compostable paper plates and cutlery for your guests. Hand out party Good Purchase favors that can be consumed or enjoyed long after the party’s over. A delicious treat packaged in parchment paper or a small plant to adorn a home are classy ways to say “thank you” to your guests.

to purchasing compostable paper plates and cutlery, be sure to Better Inhaveaddition separate containers for trash, recycling, and compostables. Remember that paper napkins and most food scraps can be composted! Purchase reusable decorations, such as handmade banners, fabric tablecloths, and felt party hats. well in advance to avoid purchasing items that you Best Prepare could have reused or borrowed. Take a tip or two from Anni Daulter, author of Naturally Fun Parties for Kids ($12 Amazon): --Shop for items at thrift stores --Save glass jars and tin cans for decorating uses --Borrow items from friends --Use nature as the backdrop of your celebrations --Keep a collection of nature items (stones, shells, etc.) on hand Keep your menu local and seasonal, and get an accurate head count of guests to avoid waste.


Mix and match these tips to fit the needs of your family and create the perfect soirée for your special event!


Know Your Options

Best Choices for Your Period.

Any woman with a menstrual cycle has heard of Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS). Information about the dangerous condition is listed within the packaging of every box of tampons and warned against in puberty talks from the school nurse. Although cases of TSS have been on the rise in the U.S. (5k-10k cases annually, as common as Lyme disease),1 the illness remains low on the list of health risks for women, despite incidences of death. To reduce your risk of TSS, use tampons made of organic and unbleached cotton

(these have no known cases of TSS), such as those from brands like Maxim Hygiene, Natracare, Puristics, and Seventh Generation, which avoid the use of synthetic materials--materials proven to harbor an environment for TSS-1 toxin production.2 If you want to choose the safest option for both you and the environment, you'll ditch tradition and fall in love with a menstrual cup. A menstrual cup is a small, bell-shaped cup that is generally made from medical grade silicone and used internally like a tampon. Menstrual cups have no known instances of TSS, as they catch menstrual flow instead of absorbing it. Menstrual cups are reusable, and, with care, can be used up to 10 years. Your immediate reaction might be, “Oh, heck no! I’m eco-friendly, but not THAT eco-friendly!” After the initial concept sinks in, you’ll want to take some time to read reviews online.


Image by Irum Shahid


Many women rave about menstrual cups, and it might be just enough to give you the courage to try one. Be sure to keep in mind that there is a slight learning curve, so practice while not on your period to get the hang of it and go into your next cycle with confidence. Using a menstrual cup means no toxic chemicals and no micro-abrasions (caused by the tampons fibers) to the vaginal walls. As an added bonus, most women find that they need to change their cups only once every twelve hours, making it perfect for an active lifestyle. Cups can be worn while sleeping, swimming, exercising, or during any other activity involving a wide-range of motion (chasing a toddler, anyone?). Consider a cup from well-known brands like Diva Cup, Lunette or the MCUK Menstrual Cup.

Just not for you?

You may want to consider cloth pads, or “mama

cloth,� as they can be known. Gone are the days of plastic pads chaffing your thighs. Cloth pads are soft, they work great and stay in place. A number of online retailers exist (Try Homestead Emporium or Lunapads, for instance) or you can even make your own! Another helpful product on the market is underwear made specifically for your period, like these breathable versions from Sexy Period.

Investing in reusable menstrual products is a great way to ensure that you are practicing safe feminine hygiene while also minimizing waste. You can find more information on this topic, including some FAQs, at The Eco-Friendly Family website.


Happy Earth Day! This year’s Earth Day, on April 22, 2012, marks the 42nd Anniversary of the celebrated event. Check out some of the unique ways that cities across the country are paying tribute to Mother Earth!

Nashville’s Earth Day event will

feature a demonstration tent where visitors can learn about keeping backyard chickens, Community Supported Agriculture, how to make a rain barrel, municipal composting, and conserving energy in the home.

EarthFest, presented by Temple University, will feature fun, informative dem-

onstrations from the likes of The Philadelphia Zoo and The Franklin Institute.

The City of St. Louis’ Earth Day festivities include a contest called Green Strum Band Scramble, where participants construct recycled instruments and present a song for judges and the festival crowd.


Donation: the Highest Form of Reuse

From March 15 to May 15, individuals, organizations and businesses across Georgia can sign up to participate in the Soles4Souls recycling campaign. The shoes collected will be donated to Soles4Souls and used to help individuals in need. Any Georgia resident interested in being a collection point or dropping off shoes for recycle can visit

Forget Earth Day! The Pikes Peak region of Colorado celebrates Earth MONTH with various activities and events from 5K runs to offering free public transportation.

New York City will encourage Earth Day participants

to discover green restaurants, stores, and other sustainablyfocused destinations around the city with its Passport to Green New York, a five-borough eco-treasure hunt.

Some of the highlights of Santa Barbara’s Earth

Day Festival are the Green Car Show, which invites

drivers to take a spin in advanced-fuel vehicles, and Bike World, where riders will find valet bike parking and a bike fashion show.

If you are a parent hoping to spark change, be sure to

check out the Great Cloth Diaper Change. Held in a variety of cities, this Earth Day event aims to raise awareness about the benefits of modern cloth.

Find an Earth Day event near you!

Simply type “Earth Day 2012” and your city or state into your search engine and see what’s offered in your area.

Why not plan your own party? Check out our Earth Day ideas on page 50 and picnic menu on page 32. Share your celebrations and photos on our Facebook page!


Practicing Spirituality Outside of the Chapel

The New Faith

|by Sarah White

Mindfully Frugal Mom

While 90% of Americans profess to believe in god or a higher power, only 20% attend religious services on a regular basis.1 What about the 70% of people who profess to believe in a higher power but do not attend organized religious services? “I’m spiritual but not religious.” Does anyone know what that nebulous statement really means?

know that many Christmas traditions began 2,000 years before the birth of Christ. The ancient Mesopotamians, the Greeks, and the Romans all had celebrations around the time of the winter solstice (December 21) in order to celebrate and honor their gods.

So where does this leave traditional Western holidays?

When modern individuals and families are looking for a way to celebrate that season, a great idea would be to look at how other traditions celebrated. The Romans, for example, celebrated Saturnalia (December 15-January 1) by having all masters change places with their slaves for a day. A fun way to celebrate this would be to have parents and kids switch roles -- sort of like Freaky Friday, but without Lindsay Lohan.

For starters, it probably means that “traditional” Western holidays (Christmas and Easter being the big ones) are generally celebrated, but without much personal connection to the “reason for the season.” What is a mindful family to do when they want to celebrate somehow, but don’t necessarily buy into the doctrine surrounding a religious holiday? First, it may be a comfort to

Easter, while the centerpiece of the Christian religion, was first celebrated as the Vernal Equinox: celebrating the return of the light. From "Easter: its Story and Meaning," by Alan W. Watts is found: "The story of Easter is not simply a Christian story. Not only is the very name "Easter" the name of

According to Spiritual but Not Religious, a website devoted to helping its readers find spiritual life and meaning, “All religions contain some wisdom, but no one religion contains all wisdom.” It seems that the eternal quest for meaning continues, but many people reject that one particular branch of organized religion holds the entire truth.


an ancient and non-Christian deity; the season itself has also, from time immemorial, been the occasion of rites and observances having to do with the mystery of death and resurrection among peoples differing widely in race and religion.”3

So what does this mean for families wishing to celebrate western holidays in a way that aligns more closely to their own values and beliefs? Everything is up for interpretation. It is important to learn the origins of each holiday, and choose the aspects that resonate for you. Then create a celebration that reflects your ethics. Dale McGowan, author of Parenting Beyond Belief, has this to say about reinventing traditional holidays: “Some of these holidays may seem artificial and forced at first. I’m sure the bunny-and-egg thing crossed a few eyes at the start, too, not to mention a virgin giving birth. If you want to stick to traditional holidays, no sweat. If you want to give something else a try, as well or instead, knock yourself out. Find the right fit for your family and friends. If you find a new holiday that feels satisfying and enjoyable, do it again next year. And there’s the key to turning a new holiday into a Image Mike Fleming


beloved family tradition: Make it fun, make it meaningful, and do it twice."4 The fact that families and individuals are looking for novel and unique ways to observe traditional holidays certainly doesn’t mean that spiritual practices aren’t happening -- they just don’t necessarily happen between the pews. What does seem important, however, is having a sense of community connection, a passion for social justice, and an earnest desire for honesty. Here is a list of daily spiritual practices that apply to anyone practicing any degree of faith: • prayer (90% of Americans of all faiths cop to this!5) • reflection • yoga • meditation • community service • social activism • hospitality • kindness One way to understand spiritual practice in Unitarian Universalism comes from Sally Patton's sermon, "God Makes No Mistakes: Creat-

ing Beloved Community for All Our Children": "A spiritual practice is an action designed to make a change in our deepest selves. It is something we do to gain new understanding of ourselves and leads to growth, change, and a more loving way to be in the world. We stretch ourselves in spiritual practice. Meditation, prayer, walking mindfully, hiking, and feeding the homeless can all be forms of spiritual practice."6 Unitarian Universalist Denise Davidoff 's personal spiritual practice to means to "take time to consciously acknowledge the gift of life most every day."7 The common thread is that all these actions are done in a mindful way. They are all completed with a consciousness of how each action will change the individual, their community, or the larger world.

The bottom line? Faith, and the practice of, is just as important as it has always been. As with everything else in modern society, it has become increasingly individualized and personal. What is missing is the sense of the house of worship being the most important thread that binds a geographically-defined community together. As with everything else, faith communities have sprung up online, through social networking channels. Spirituality is practiced, then, through fellowship of any kind, whether online, or “IRL” - in real life.

Resources for Your Consideration


Parenting Beyond Belief by Dale McGowan Raising Free Thinkers by Dale McGowan Spirituality and Practice Spiritual but not Religious BeliefNet


Family Matters


Dye Eggs Naturally with


With the Easter holiday approaching, many parents will be running to their local store to reach for a box of egg dye--filled with artificial colorants, whose safety in food has become a topic for debate in children’s health in recent years. Even though only the exterior shell of the egg is colored with traditional dye, some of the dye can still seep through the shell and onto the edible part of the egg. Instead of using dye tablets this year, make natural food coloring from fruits and vegetables. Older kids will enjoy the process of making the colors just as much as dying the eggs.


To begin, you’ll need to have your kitchen fully stocked with fruits and vegetables that will produce some beautiful colors, a bottle of vinegar, several pots for boiling, and eggs. The colors will set best if you boil the eggs in the same pot as the fruits and vegetables.

Which fruits and vegetables can you use? Anything that, when boiled, will leave some of the natural pigment in the water will work for coloring eggs. Part of the fun is experimenting with different fruits, vegetables, and even flowers!

Here is a list of some items that dye really nicely: • Yellow: lemon skins, chamomile tea, green tea, ground turmeric, ground cumin • Green: spinach • Blue: blueberries • Pink: raspberries, cranberries, beets • Violet: mix blueberries with one of the pink berries • Orange: carrots, chili powder, paprika • Brown: coffee grounds, tea, cocoa powder, onion skins

Image Zsuzsanna Kilian

Directions: 1. Select the fruit or vegetable that you would like to use and boil it in a small pot with your eggs. Adding a tablespoon of vinegar will create a much more vibrant color. 2. Boil for 10-15 minutes until your eggs are hard-boiled. 3. For deeper color, allow the eggs to sit in the dye bath for an hour or longer. You can even let them soak in the bath overnight in a refrigerator, if desired. To add a little more decoration to your eggs try sprinkling salt over the egg as soon as you remove it from the dye bath. The color will pull away from the salt crystals and create a speckled or star-like pattern on the egg. Before placing the egg in the dye you can also color on it with a white or clear crayon (or wax

pencil). The dye will resist from those areas allowing your pattern or words to show through as white. By skipping the traditional dye tablets you’ll not only be skipping on the artificial dyes; you’ll be creating less waste. No cardboard boxes to dispose of, no plastic wrappers, no stickers, and no wire egg dunkers. Any waste created will be compostable and will naturally biodegrade in your waste pile.

Happy Spring!



Spring Cleaning Checklist

Spring got an early start this year and so can we! |by Rachelle Knue

First Things First: Clean Your Cleaning TOOLS Take your vacuum cleaner apart. If it’s bagless, most come apart and can be washed in the sink or tub. The filters can also be cleaned. Make sure your re-usable sponges and brushes are sanitized. A great way to do this is to combine baking soda, vinegar, or lemon juice with 1 cup of boiling water. You can microwave the sponge in the solution for 1 minute if you prefer not to wait for water to boil!


In the House: Take a rag, boiling water and your baking soda/vinegar to the slats of the blinds, baseboards, sliding door tracks and the tops of doors. Do the same thing with heat vents and cold air return vents. If you have pets, now is the time to clean and disinfect their living spaces: dishes, crates, cages, litter boxes, toys and beds. Vacuum or wash drapes and area rugs.

Kitchen & Bathroom: Scrub the refrigerator inside and out - the drawers can be put in your dishwasher. Empty and clean the insides of drawers and cabinets. Replace shelf liners, if necessary. Vacuum appliance vents.

Soak your stove hood filter. Disinfect drains: pour ½ cup of baking soda down the drain. Follow with 2 cups of vinegar. Allow to sit for ½ hour. Pour 2 quarts of boiling water down the drain. Wait ½ hour. Repeat.

Bedrooms: Flip your mattress. You can also disinfect it by sprinkling baking soda over the entire mattress, letting the baking soda rest for a few hours, and vacuuming it up using the upholstery attachment.

Organize your closets. Pack away winter items, say hello to summer wardrobes! If any items are unwanted and in good condition, create a donation bin/bag to get the clutter OUT of your living space.

Outdoors: Power wash the deck. Apply new sealant, if needed. Wipe down the patio furniture and any outdoor grills - a rag works better than a sponge for this.

Empty the gutters. Organize the garage or garden shed. Donate unused items. Service and store winter yard equipment. Service garden tools: sharpen lawn mower blades and clippers, check hoses for leaks, recycle old fuel and batteries.


We Approve! We love our technology, and we really love when gadgets help us live healthier, happier and more sustainable lives. Check back each issue for one of our favorite apps!

Locavore by Hevva Corp.

Get local! Locavore is a great way to find local and in-season foods in your area. Great shops, farms and farmers markets - this app has it all! Eat healthy and share your finds via Facebook. With Locavore’s social aspect you might even find a new friend!

Price: FREE!

Do you have a favorite App? Let us know at



Jump start your sex drive...

Naturally! | by Billie Criswell Bossy Italian Wife

Homeopathic medicines have been used in my home since I was a child, which is why it’s no surprise that I almost always opt for the natural solutions for myself as an adult. This extends to the bedroom, quite naturally, for me. Let’s not be shy about it, many of us who have been in long-term relationships sometimes need a little pick me up in the libido department. Don’t hate--appreciate. If you’ve been in a long-term relationship, give yourself a pat on the back; you are in one of the most wild and wonderful journeys a person can have! If you are a serial monogamist, that’s okay too. We know you are getting plenty of action, and we love you for it. Either way, at one point or another, you are likely to run into a scenario wherein you might want a little fire in the bedroom the natural way. I’m here to help with a list of great natural ways to boost libido, and they aren’t all what you might think!

My father in law has this joke about oysters: “I ate a dozen oysters, and only one worked!” All it takes is one sweet and juicy oyster out of the dozen, and who’s to say which one it was? Is it just their shape, or their salty, raw taste? That is up for debate, but what I did read is that these tasty little bites are good for fertility. Whatever the case or cause for your own personal use of oysters, they are one food that might turn on your love light!


Image Jules Morgan


Basil Ever wonder why Italians are so sexual? Must be in the basil, which Italian and Italian-American cooking are so famous for! Pesto sauce happens to be one of my favorites to drizzle on all kinds of foods from brie cheese to pasta and beyond. This natural sex drive booster is especially effective in women (hint, hint), and you can even find vitamins with Holy Basil in them, which can keep you “ticking” around the clock! And let’s also give a nod to basil because it has a whole host of wonderful things that it does from immunity to antiaging properties. So eat up!

Alcoholic Beverages There is a fine line with this one, obviously, because too much can cause a man to become flaccid, which can really put a damper on things, so you want to walk the line and not go whole hog with the alcohol, but it does lower one’s inhibitions--making it a prime choice for a romantic night. When you are carefree, you, like me, might find yourself feeling a little sexy and willing to be more open with your partner. Loosen up with a glass of wine or a cocktail and let the sparks fly between you and your partner!

Naughty Reading Materials

Images Dydydada, Roger Kirby

Ylang Ylang Essential Oils This oil has an amazing floral scent that is downright sexy. In Indonesia, relatives sprinkle wedding beds with the petals of this fragrant flower to get the newly married couples into the right mood. I have used the pure Ylang Ylang essential oil on my own bed, or just placed a couple drops of oil behind my ears. It always puts me in precisely the right mood to slide between the sheets.

This one might be racy, but it doesn’t require a prescription, making it au naturel, and therefore, healthy! Trying a little eye candy with your partner might really heat things up and put you both in the mood for lovin’. Men can be very visual creatures, so where a lady might like an oyster and glass of wine to awaken her sensual senses, a ‘gent might warm more readily to a nice magazine featuring scantily-clad men or women (no judgements!) Be open to trying something you both might be into and recreate your favorite pictures for a sexy twist on a boring weeknight. Let’s face it, nothing gets a couple going more than shared interests!




Seeking Natural Relief for Chronic Depression |by Pete Mason PhanArt

Image RenĂŠ Madariaga

This past summer, beset with the loss of a job and an uncertain future, author Pete Mason developed a deep and lasting depression. Mason opted away from prescription anti-depressants because they had not been effective and he preferred not to develop a dependence on chemicals, as some may. After some research on natural remedies, he found 5-HTP, an all-natural supplement, which works by stimulating the production of specific neurotransmitters in the brain, which then help to improve mood, among other benefits. More than six months later, Mason can attest to the benefits of this highly effective and natural supplement, one that has shown more benefits than any other remedy he has tried in the past. He shares his story and some information on 5-HTP below.


I have dealt with depression before from time to time, and this past summer wasn’t the greatest summer in that regard, despite traveling to Europe, a few music festivals and Phish shows, and a trip through Canada to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Even though traveling and music are two things that are normally guaranteed to lift my spirits, they didn’t do the trick. When I arrived in Chicago for a fournight stay, my friend, Andrew, who knew that the summer had not been one for the books, mentioned a pill called 5-HTP that helped his girlfriend quit smoking, and he thought it might be a viable option for treating depression. I decided to look into it.

5-HTP is short for the neurotransmitter 5-hydroxy-tryptophan. If tryptophan sounds familiar, that is because it is the chemical found in turkey and milk--the one that can make you tired. However, 5-HTP does not put you to sleep; rather, it synthesizes into serotonin once inside the body, thus helping to naturally increase your serotonin, melatonin and tryptophan levels. Serotonin is a monoamine neurotransmitter found in the brain and also in the GI tract, the one that makes you feel good and relaxed but also plays a role in mental health and sleep. 5-HTP has been found to help raise serotonin levels, thus lessening the effects of depression where serotonin levels



may be low.1 With elevated levels of serotonin, improvements can be found in sleep, appetite, body temperature, and sexual behavior. Melatonin levels are also increased, which benefits those who cannot get out in the sun during the day for a few hours. All natural and not derived from unnaturallyoccurring chemical compounds, 5-HTP is sold over-the-counter in America. It is extracted from Griffonia seeds which come from an African tree grown mostly in Ghana and the Ivory Coast. Although it can be made synthetically in a laboratory setting, the final product is the same as the one made by the body.

Image Kyle Baptista

Among the main benefits of regularly taking 5-HTP are an increase in serotonin production, which, in turn, can decrease your appetite. There has also been evidence that 5-HTP can decrease your anxiety levels and aid in sleeping. This benefits those suffering from depression, insomnia, bulimia and anxiety disorders. There are some who are naturally deficient in serotonin and, therefore, take a supplement such as 5-HTP. While 5-HTP is a naturally occurring chemical in the brain, the pill form is new on the market. I have found very few who have heard of the compound, but once learning about it, their interest in an all-natural diet additive is piqued. Studies on the effectiveness of treatments involving 5-HTP are still forthcoming and results are not yet conclusive.2 It should be noted, however, that smaller studies of the benefits of 5-HTP have found potential benefits in the treatment of depression, fibromyalgia, insomnia, migraines and obesity, among other ailments.3,4 Although new, 5-HTP is far from a chemical created by a pharmaceutical company and can be taken once or twice a day and stopped with no ill side-effects from withdrawal.




There are, of course, some possible risks and side effects that need to be noted and considered before taking 5-HTP, especially because the benefits of 5-HTP have not been thoroughly vetted through clinical studies and trials. Side effects vary, including having a lower appetite than expected. There is also the potential for nightmares and unusual dreaming patterns, a result of the excess serotonin in the brain. With few reported side effects, and minor ones at that, the benefits far outweigh the risks. Monitored usage can be tried for those who seek a natural remedy as opposed to a chemical one. With no known risk of dependence, 5-HTP may provide an answer to certain ailments. Anti-depressents and SSRIs are chemicals created in a lab that may have various side effects. 5-HTP is found naturally and synthesized by the brain in a natural way, without the inclusion of chemicals from out-


side nature. Side-effects can potentially have less of an impact on the benefit of 5-HTP, compared to that of prescription drugs. I have experienced the benefit of 5-HTP for the past six months and write this review from personal experience, without compensation by 5-HTP manufacturers or retailers. I have shared the benefits with friends and family over the past few months and felt it was time to share with a broader audience. Note: individual experiences with 5-HTP may vary from person to person. You are encouraged to look at the possible side-effects before taking 5-HTP. This account is based on personal use and that of others who have taken it, but each person’s body chemistry is unique. Always consult your health practitioner before taking supplements.



Picnicking Made

|by Johanna Cook

Momma Cuisine

Tis the season for outdoor activities! There is nothing I love more that spending the day outdoors with the family after a long winter spent inside. A day trip to a National Park or an afternoon at the beach always makes the family hungry. Why not pack a blanket and cooler and have a picnic? Picnicking is a long-lost art. Packing food that will remain great-tasting after hours spent inside a cooler or at room temperature can get tricky for many people. But don’t fret, it’s not as difficult as it seems. Here some tips and recipes to help you pack a fabulous picnic for your loved ones this season.


Cooler Tips:

Food Tips:

• Package food in tightly sealed re-useable containers to prevent the water from the melted ice to seep in. • If you’re unsure whether the food item should be stored in the cooler, store it in the cooler just to be safe. • Place the ice on top of the items. • Skip the juice boxes. Quench your thirst with ice-cold water from a reusable bottle or thermos on a hot day. • Store the cooler in a cool place (under the umbrella, tree, or in the trunk). • Use the melted ice water to water the plants at the park.

• Stay away from mayonnaise-based food like traditional potato salads, coleslaw dressing, etc to prevent worrying about it going bad in the heat. Substitute instead with olive oil based dressings. • Do not dress salads, or sandwiches until you’re ready to eat to prevent them from getting soggy. • Picnicking is about snacking, so bring lots of snack items like fruits, vegetables, pretzels, hummus, etc. • Make menu items that would be great at room temperature like Barley and Fresh Veggie Pasta Salad • Earth Day Picnic, (See the next page!) • Reduce waste. Use reusable containers as much as possible.

Image by Bleiceanu/Chidsey

Earth Day Picnic Barley and Fresh Vegetable Salad Ingredients • • • • • •

1 cup of barley 2 ½ cups of water 1 diced red bell pepper ½ of a English Cucumber, diced ½ cup of diced red onion 3 cups of chopped baby spinach

Dressing • • • • • •

Juice of half a lemon 1 tsp Dijon mustard 1 tsp of red wine vinegar 2 tsp of kosher salt 1 tsp of granulated sugar 2 TBL of extra virgin olive oil


Bring the water and barley up to boil in a medium sauce pot then bring down to a low, and cover. Stir occasionally until fully cooked, about 20 minutes. While the barley is cooking, whisk all the salad dressing ingredients together in a large bowl. Transfer dressing to an air-tight container and place in the cooler. Place the barley and chopped vegetables in an air-tight container and store in the cooler. At the picnic site, dress the barley and fresh veggies and serve.


This recipe is also great with the addition of chopped walnuts or slivered almonds. Add even more sweetness with dried fruits like cranberries and chopped apricots or toss in a 4 oz container of feta cheese at the picnic site.


Earth Day Picnic Ingredients

• Assorted cured meats • Assorted cheeses • Assorted fruits & vegetables



Pair the fruits, vegetables, cheeses and meats with crackers or crusty bread for a great picnic snack that easily turn into a fulfilling meal! Store all items separately in reusable containers and keep in the cooler. Cured meats can stay at room temperature away from the sun.

Ingredients • • • • • • •


1 pint of organic blackberries 1 pint of organic raspberries ½ cup of granulated sugar ¼ cup of balsamic vinegar ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract 1 tablespoon of mint - julienne 1 pound cake loaf


In a seal-tight container mix all the ingredients (excluding the cake) and store in the cooler. At the picnic site, cut the pound cake and top with balsamic berries.

Image Nicolas Raymond

Pound Cake with Balsamic Berries


Do More with Less

Green Multi-Taskers We Love |by Jacqueline Rizk The Organic Blonde

We have been tricked. Manufacturers have tricked us into believing that we need a different product for every issue in our day-to-day lives. Whether it is cleaning our homes or washing our hair, we have been fooled into believing that we need ten products to accomplish one task. Here are a few multi-tasking heavy hitters that will save time, money and valuable landfill space.

Living Luminizer

This one-of-a-kind luminizer brightens and illuminates skin as if kissed by an angel while its raw organic ingredients deeply nourish and hydrate without being sticky, greasy or glittery. It beautifully highlights cheekbones and brow bones, sends dark circles into hiding, creates a pout-worthy sheen on lips, and can be used anywhere on the body needing a little spotlight. $38 at RMS Beauty

Intellimune Oil


Leave it to Horst Rechelbacher, founder of Aveda, to come up with an antioxidant omega super supplement that fights free radicals and inflammation leaving you healthier and younger looking naturally without pesticides or chemicals. Take daily by the spoonful and drizzle over any food, raw or cooked to add a nutritious kick especially when fending off those nasty spring colds and flus. It’s great for pets with joint problems and makes a brilliant facial treatment, fending off lines and wrinkles with ease and keeping them at bay. $45 at Intelligent Nutrients

People Towels

Made of 100% organic fair trade cotton and printed with ecofriendly dyes, these eco-chic sustainable alternatives to paper towels make being green fashionable and easier than ever. They fold up super small for the teeniest of handbags and can be taken anywhere. Perfect for home, office and on the go, the lightweight material is highly absorbent and dries quickly. $7 at People Towels

MJs Herbals First Aid Salve

Replace the creams and ointments in your medicine chest with this powerful blend of antiseptic, anti-bacterial and wound healing herbs that speeds healing and prevents infections in cuts, burns, scrapes and takes the “Ouch!” out of most “boo boos”. It also is a miracle worker at spot healing blemishes, softening chapped lips and dry itchy skin. $13 at Amazon

Raw Protein

A fantastic way to curb appetite, build muscle, manage weight, and increase energy levels, this vegan-friendly, nutrient-dense, plant-based protein powder is great in smoothies, as a base for pancakes, sprinkled over salads, and even as a filler for meat or veggie burgers. Available in chocolate, vanilla and natural flavors. $27 at Sun Warrior

Hippy Elixir

Going on a spring campout, a holiday at the lake, or maybe a tropical vacation? This product should be first on your packing list. This bug repelling herbal elixir contains certified organic active essential oils that bugs can’t stand and witch hazel to soothe sun and wind burn while calming any other inflammation that can make holiday skin a nightmare. Free of toxic chemicals including DEET, parabens, synthetic fragrances and other additives, it is effective against all forms of pests yet safe for adults, little ones and pets alike. $11 at Etsy


Green on a Budget Healthy, Affordable Meats



Frugal Mom


Pink. Slime.

Two words that have shot terror into the hearts of every person who is trying to eat healthy on a budget. Apparently, a shocking 70% of that ground beef you buy at the grocery store for less than $3.00 per pound contains this ubiquitous pink slime, composed of trimmings from the slaughterhouse floor. If you’re trying (understandably) to eliminate bovine scraps that are also used as dog food from your diet, you may run up against the fact that in order to purchase meat that doesn’t contain this filler, you will have to pay more money. Makes sense. People food costs more than dog food. Here are a few ideas to trim the fat, so to speak, from your meat budget without resorting to cracking a can of Alpo.

Go whole hog -- err, whole cow. Purchase a whole cow, or half a cow, from a local farmer and have it butchered. Go to to find a farm near you that sells meat and other items that are certified grass-fed and pastured, among other qualifications. is another good source for information about local farms.


Want to know more about living Green on a Budget?

?? Local Farmer’s Markets are a great

source for not only produce, but meat as well. See if your local market has a meat vendor, and then speak to the farmer about his or her practices.

Buy in bulk, and pay in cash. When you

Image by Hotels in Eastbourne

are purchasing items from a smaller local vendor, you may get a discount if you buy a large amount -- more than 10 pounds -and pay in cash. It never hurts to ask.

At the supermarket, make friends with

Green on a Budget

it for you. Smaller supermarkets may not have a butcher on staff, but most of the larger ones do, and this is a free service. It may not be local or organic, but you’ll know exactly what you’re eating.

At Home, go nearly meatless. Purchase

quality cuts of meat, have them ground at the supermarket, and then make them stretch. One pound of ground beef can easily stretch for 2-3 meals if you use it in things like spaghetti and meat sauce, taco soup, or beef, bean & cheese quesadillas.

the folks in the butcher department: Purchase a cheaper cut of beef, like chuck roast. Then, bring the cut to the butcher in the meat section, and ask them to grind Send your questions to & you could see them here!


Simple Steps

The sun is a natural source of vitamin D. 40

Naturally Beautiful

Springtime RefresHER

Whether she’s a glowing new mama, a busy soccer mom, or a wisdom-filled grandmother, she’ll appreciate something special on Mother’s Day. Pamper her with one of these unique picks for Spring.

Consult the Skin Deep Database for in-depth information on thousands of personal care products.




Figs & Rouge Organic Coco Vanilla Balm - $9 Spirit Beauty Lounge 333 Natural Eau De Parfum - $48 Tallulah Jane Inner Glow Limited Edition Lipstick in Beige Opal - $24 Dr.Hauschka French Pink Clay 6 Wave Body Sponge - $14 Spirit Beauty Lounge Maya Water Facial Mist in Organic White Tea - $29 Spirit Beauty Lounge


Pure Indulgence VnC Pomegranate Cosmo After all of the spring cleaning you’ve been doing, you deserve a drink that requires no prep at all! We love these yummy premixed cocktails from VnC Cocktails. They use all natural fruit juices, no artificial sweeteners and premium liquors. These aren’t for the weak of heart. They are real drinks, just like you’d pick up at your favorite hot spot! Our favorite is the Pomegranate Cosmo. It is the perfect treat for the end of a long day!

Cosmos not your thing? VnC offers Mojitos, Margaritas, Daiquiris and more!




Flee, Flea!

How To Combat and Prevent Fleas Naturally |by Jenny Gullen The Crunchy Wife

Welcoming Spring means flowers are blooming, the sun is shining, and the family has more opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors. Unfortunately, this also means that your favorite family pet has a greater risk of bringing home fleas. Fleas multiply fast. Lightning fast. Spotting one on your dog usually means that your house is infested. Once fleas have taken up residence in your home, getting them to leave is a chore. Many think that the only answer to an infestation is to fumigate. Fumigation covers your house in harmful chemicals that can linger for months. If you are pregnant or have young children at home, leaving during fumigation may reduce your exposure to the chemicals, but it won’t eliminate them completely. With a little bit of patience and touch of diligence, you can successfully and naturally rid your home and pets of fleas.

Prevention Diatomaceous Earth


Diatomaceous Earth is a powder made from fossilized water plants, similar to algae. When the powder comes in contact with fleas, its microscopic razor sharp edges puncture their exoskeleton, causing them to dehydrate and die. Food grade diatomaceous earth is all-natural and completely safe if consumed by peo-

ple or pets. It is a powder, though, so caution needs to be taken when using it so that it’s not inhaled, which could be harmful to the lungs. Sprinkling a light dusting over your yard once a month can help prevent fleas from making it their home. During high flea seasons, sprinkle some at each entryway to your house. Be sure

to use the food grade version; the pool grade version is dangerous to humans and pets. You can usually find diatomaceous earth at your local farm supply store, but it’s also available online.

pet, they turn the other way. You can find nutritional yeast in the bulk section of your local health food store or online.

Flea Spray

The Simplest Solution: Giving your pets a bath twice a month can help keep fleas away.

Sprayed regularly on your pets, an all-natural flea spray will help protect your pets from attracting fleas, and kill any already there. Ingredients to look for include peppermint and neem oil, as both act as natural flea deterrents. If your pet is sensitive to being sprayed, spray a washcloth instead and rub your pet with it. Try Flea Flicker Tick Kicker by Ark Naturals ($12) as an effective solution.

Image by Vaughan Willis

Nutritional Yeast Sprinkle a teaspoon of nutritional yeast on your pet’s food at each meal and it acts as a great deterrent for fleas. Fleas do not like the taste of yeast, so when they smell it on your

Wash regularly

Tackling Infestation Bathe Pets If you have pets, immediately give them a bath with a pet shampoo that contains flea killing ingredients, like DERMagic Flea shampoo bars. This bar contains ingredients such as diatomaceous earth, neem oil, and peppermint to aid in ridding your pet of fleas. If they tolerate it, give your pets a daily bath for a week, and then once a week for three months.


Flee, Flea!

Wash Wash Wash Upon discovery of infestation, immediately $11.95 DERMa cleanse everything you gic can in a hot, soapy wash. This includes couch cushion covers, curtains, clothes, pet bedding, etc. Do this right away, and then repeat twice a month for three months.

Freeze What You Can’t Wash If you have a large enough freezer, freeze items that can’t be washed, such as couch cushions and stuffed animals. Freezing will kill the fleas and eggs.

Diatomaceous Earth and Vacuum Treatment

1. Sprinkle diatomaceous earth into your vacuum canister/bag and then thoroughly vacuum all surfaces. Repeat three times the first day. 2. The first night, sprinkle all carpeted and non-washable surfaces in your house with the diatomaceous earth. This includes couches, carpets, chairs, mattresses, etc. Leave the DE down for 24 hours, then vacuum in the morning. 3. Vacuum twice more on the second day, then repeat the diatomaceous earth treatment, this time leaving the DE in low traffic areas for a week if feasible. 4. Vacuum multiple times a day for two


5. 6.



weeks, then repeat the 24 hour diatoma ceous earth treatment. Vacuum daily for another two weeks, and then repeat the treatment again. After this first month, repeat the process once a month for three months. If the infestation is bad, you can repeat the treatment more often. In between treatments, keep about ¼ cup of diatomaceous earth in your vacuum bag so that any fleas vacuumed up will die in your vacuum. Lastly, sprinkle some of the diatomaceous earth in the corners of each room in your house to help prevent future infestations.

Cat: Annette Crimmins Pup: Bev Lloyd-Roberts

Diatomaceous earth (DE) can be used for treating an infestation, too. At first sign of fleas, follow these simple steps to rid your home and pets of those pesky buggers, and prevent a re-infestation from occurring. Note: wear a mask while applying the DE in order to minimize inhalation.

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Easy Herbs to Make Your Garden Grow

If you’d like to get started gardening, but are a novice or just a little hesitant, growing herbs is an excellent way to dip your toe into the soil, so to speak. You don’t need fancy tools nor special equipment to grow herbs. All of the following herbs can be grown in the ground but can also be grown in pots on a porch or patio if that’s all the space you have. You can start any of these from seed or pick up starter plants at your local plant nursery. Many herbs need dividing, so check with a neighbor or friend who gardens because she may be ready to divide a plant and could share!


Fresh herbs make such a nice addition when cooking at home, and if you’ve ever had to buy a small package of herbs, you know how expensive they can be. Give these a try and you’ll be adding fresh herbs to your home cooking and saving money. There’s also no plastic packaging to dispose of when you’ve grown herbs yourself!

|by Sara Tetreault Go Gingham


Hardy, super-easy to grow and can easily survive the winter. Sage has the sweetest little purple flowers that are pretty in a glass jar, too. Sage has unique flavor and is very versatile. It can be used in turkey stuffing, and when sautéed with garbanzo beans, makes a hearty entrée. Sage is especially delicious with sliced carrots sautéed in garlic and onion. If you want to be indulgent, sage leaves are also really good pan fried in a little canola oil and used as a topping for pasta or soup. To pick, just clip a branch low and pick off the leaves starting with the most tender ones at the top.


Rosemary is another herb that is easy to grow, is hearty, and will last for years. Rosemary is great for grilling and or when preparing meat or poultry. Minced, rosemary is good mixed with red pepper flakes and added to bread dough to make a savory loaf, pizza dough, or

pepper flakes and added to bread dough to make a savory loaf, pizza dough, or cornbread. Rosemary can also be dried and stored in an airtight container. It’s even been shown to help counter the carcinogenic effects of charcoal grilling. To pick, just snip a branch and run your fingers backward on the stem to pull off the little green sprigs.


Thyme is a multi-purpose herb. While it is easy to start and to grow, it has yet to survive a winter for me. I usually start thyme seeds in early summer and can harvest them in very little time. Thyme is a lovely addition to salad dressings, soups and stews, pasta, seafood, shell fish, and hummus. No need to mince your fresh thyme, either. While holding it in one hand, with your thumb and pointer finger, just pull the leaves off the stem quickly.

Extra Planting: Arugula

While technically not an herb, arugula is my go-to plant in the garden for adding a little spice to my dishes like salads, sandwiches or as a garnish when you need a bit of green. Arugula has a distinctive taste and is a peppery salad green. It’s super-easy to grow and even winters over well, at least in mild winter climates. Growing arugula in your garden saves money, too, because for some reason, buying arugula at the grocery store can be expensive. To harvest, treat like a lettuce or chard and cut leaves off before they go to seed. Whether you’re new to gardening or someone who’s an old pro, these plants will be a welcomed addition in your kitchen when you’re preparing a simple or elaborate homecooked meal.

meg, meg, meg, meg,

cooking DIYing saving money raising a green family

meg, actingout 49

Earth Day

Your Way |by Megan McCoy

Meg, Acting Out

Holidays are wonderful things. They provide us with a mental (and sometimes physical) respite from the norm and allow us to focus on the important things in life, be they religious, cultural, patriotic, familial, or simply celebratory for the sake of being celebratory. From Christmas to Easter, St. Patrick’s Day to Veteran’s Day, folks go all out enjoying the festivities at any chance they get. So, what about Earth Day? Here are some ways for making Earth Day a new holiday tradition with your friends and family, ranked by “shades” of green:

Dark Green Go camping - Get in touch with nature again

with a camping trip, inviting folks joining you to “get in touch with nature on Earth Day.” An overnight trip into the woods or to the top of a mountain provides perspective on the importance of protecting Mother Nature, and gets you away from the noises and nuisances of the hustle and bustle--as well as the electronic devices. Be sure that you treat the environment properly in the process (or, better yet, live off the land for the night; just be sure to do it safely). Not a fan of roughing it? Plan an ecovacation instead. There are countless ecotourism web sites that will help you put together the perfect, environmentally-friendly getaway.

Go “old school” for the day - Try spending


the entire day like your ancestors. Go without electricity, unplugging everything to stave off phantom power use and the urge to

turn anything on. Use candles if it gets dark, build a fire to cook (or consider grilling for the day, although the jury’s still out as to the most eco-friendly method), and spend your time playing cards or board games, going for a bike ride, or simply communicating with your family. Take it to the next level and eat nothing but locally-grown foods, if you’re not already. Whatever you do, focus on your family and your well-being, in turn showing some love for Mother Earth.

Medium Green Throw an eco-friendly party - What’s a

better way to celebrate than by having a party? You can make this a small, intimate get-together between close friends or a huge block party - just be sure that the invitations specify that it’s an eco-party (and send them online using a site like Punchbowl. With minimal

decorations and green place settings, a casual and friendly atmosphere is set. Try using cloth atmosphere is set. Try using cloth napkins and tablecloths, canning jars filled with wildflowers, and soy candles, as well as “real” dinner plates and cutlery (or recyclable/compostable plates, forks and knives if you’ve got lots of people coming). Folks can bring their favorite local micro-brew (hopefully in reusable growlers) or side dishes made from farmers’ market ingredients. Lawn games make for an enjoyable spring afternoon, or old-fashioned games such as charades will provide a fun and memorable time. It’s guaranteed to become an instant tradition!

Plant a garden - Depending on your plant-

ing zone, Earth Day is a great day to get outside and spend some time getting dirty. Whether you’re prepping your beds, planting some early-growing containers, or simply planning for what delicious fruits and veggies you’ll be eating later in the season, gardening is a wonderful way to celebrate the earth’s wonderful bounty. Invite over some friends or family members whose green thumbs you’ve always envied and pick their brains. Pull out a local winery’s best (or brew some homemade organic iced tea) and serve some cheese from a nearby farm and you’ve upped the ante from mud pies to a chic, unexpected get-together.

cleaning solutions. If you get excited enough, head outside and analyze your travel options, landscaping, and think about trying a container garden or compost pile. No matter your “level” of eco-friendliness, we can all stand to improve, or take time to give ourselves a pat on the back for a job well-done.

Take a hike! - Whether it be taking a hike

using an organized trail or simply taking the kids outside to discover some of the basic beauty in nature, any time not spent inside cooped up surrounded by power-sucking electronics is time well-spent. A hike can take a full day and include a picnic at the top of an easy trail, or take an hour round-trip. No matter the length of the walk, the only electronic device allowed is a camera to remember the scenery and to take a group shot of your “First Annual Earth Day Hike” - sure to become a yearly event.

Light Green Image by Krista Johanson

Analyze your greenness - There are plenty of fun “How Green Am I?” quizzes all over the Internet, but consider simply doing a walk-through around your house. Keep an eye out for energy wasters, trash makers, reusable items, food choices, and toxic



Local Focus

Local Focus In this issue:

Marietta, OH.

Have a favorite local artisan or shop? Let us know & they could be featured in an upcoming issue!

My Mommy Mart

with Molly Floding

When the economy took a dip in 2009 and Molly Floding’s husband, Jason, was having a hard time finding work after a downsizing, he suggested that she finally put their idea of starting a consignment business into action. Molly had always attended consignment sales in Alabama (where they lived at the time) and started to learn the ins and outs of huge consignment sales. So, they planned their first sale, which included a move from NW Alabama to Williamstown, WV, in less than two months. The first sale had 26 consigners. In three years’ time, Molly and Jason have built My Mommy Mart into a successful children’s consignment operation with 175 consigners expected at their next sale. “I can’t stand the thought of anything being tossed,” says Molly of her reasons for loving consignment, proving that sales such as hers are truly a way to uphold the eco-commandment: REUSE. But holding consignment sales for

kids’ items isn’t all cutesy outfits and top-of-line stroller ogling. “It’s very much a full-time job,” warns Molly, “we’re always planning, marketing, designing new flyers...and I work another fulltime job as well!” Floding starts planning her events 6-8 months in advance, as My Mommy Mart currently holds two sales a year. For those considering consignment as a business of their own, she states, “It’s a big investment. [You have to consider] materials, the necessary software, rent cost, electric bills...” The expenses can add up. But it seems that Floding truly enjoys the thrill of the hunt. “I miss [the buying] part of the sales. My sister and a friend and I would put our husbands on baby duty, go to the sales where we’d each fill up a laundry basket, then we’d sit and chat and sort through our items.” The oddest item she’s ever seen was a bunny painting on black velvet: “Horrible! And it sold for more than twenty dollars!” Despite the odd or rare


Local Focus find, Molly reveals that she is truly passionate about consignment and providing a well-loved service to her customers. During the “off-season” she works on taxes, purchases supplies for the next sale, completes budgeting, updates their website, and acquires insurance, among a host of smaller details. Floding admits that the sales don’t provide a huge income. “Even if we sell $10,000 worth of stuff, the highest amount we could make is $3,000. Now factor in the insurance, building rental, racks, software, and advertising... But we love knowing that people enjoy our events and can get some of their hard-earned money back from their gently used clothes.” Floding and her husband have considered expanding their sales to include a larger geographic area. In the meantime, Molly and Jason work hard to manage the ever-expanding number of consignors interested in participating with My Mommy Mart, as well as care for their two children, Nathan and Jolie. And what does this seasoned consignor hope to see more of at her sales? “Cloth diapers!” We couldn’t have said it better. If you are in the Mid-Ohio Valley area, be sure to visit My Mommy Mart for details of their next sale.

Interested in consignment but not sure where to start?

Investigate to search for sales in your area.


Local Focus e": aggag T l a n e io "Emot u can't figur yo g) When rice (ta p o t w u out ho s because yo l m your ite h a wonderfu ! uc have s attached to it y memor


Tackle-the-Sale Tips Top 3 Tips for Consigning 1. Presentation. Take the time to wash and iron your clothing items, secure your items to the hangers, zip the zippers, button the buttons. 2. Price your items to sell. Our average selling price on clothing is $3.50. Avoid what we call "emotional taggage" and just remember all the money you will make when you sell your items. I know a couple of families that used some of their earnings to help pay for a vacation!

Behind The Brand Molly is originally from GreenHill, Alabama. After high school, Molly moved to Auburn where she attended Auburn University and majored in Agronomy and Public Relations. My Mommy Mart’s distinguishing colors are orange and blue, in homage to her alma mater.

3. Clean out the toy box and bookshelf. We sold over 150 books and 450 toys at the last sale.

Top 3 Tips for Shopping 1. Be prepared. Take inventory of your kids’ closets. Bring a laundry basket, measure your kids’ inseams and feet before you leave the house. 2. Look for early shopping opportunities. At My Mommy Mart, we offer early shopping times for volunteers, consignors, new moms, and we have a "sneak peek" sale. Our ticket profits for the "sneak peek" sale go to a local women's shelter. 3. Be nice and be patient. Most of the workers at the sale are volunteer moms - just like you!


Want this carrier? Visit our website for your chance to win it! Sweepstakes ends April 30! $140 Retail Value


Mother & Baby 58 Honoring the Tree of Life 62 Great Finds 64 Sustainable Diapering Options 68 Celebrating the Shape of a Mother 74 Five Ways to Lower Your Risk of a Cesarean 78 A Surprising Change 80 Cloth Diapering Basics 82 Breastfeeding Twins 84 Two Veggies At the Table 86 Kaia Readers Rock


Placentophagy (n.)- the act of mammals ingesting the placenta of their young after birth.


Some women choose to eat a piece of their placenta raw, in a smoothie, cooked, or ground into pills via placenta encapsulation. The benefits include increasing the production of milk, aiding in pain relief, and decreasing or eliminating postpartum depression.1

honoring the

tree of life

Women across the country share stories of how they cherished, through saving or placentophagy, that magnificent organ, the placenta.

Image Buster Benson

I was not raised in a "crunchy" household, comparatively. My mom was a trailblazer in our neck of the woods by recycling before Reduce, Reuse, Recycle was a "thing,� but that was the extent of it. So, when I heard about digesting one's placenta, I was utterly grossed out. As with many other parenting choices that I've come to make, I thought I would never do THAT. But, I did. I did because after my first birth, I experienced extreme emotional highs and lows. When I found myself pregnant with my second baby when my first was just 6 months old, I decided to do everything I could to make the transition smooth. I was already planning a home birth, so the leap to ingesting my placenta wasn't terribly large. My research led me to placentophagy to help relieve PPD symptoms, and I was willing to try it. When my second daughter was born, I drank a smoothie my doula prepared with about a 1"x 2" piece of raw placenta in it. It tasted like a fruit smoothie, and it really seemed to help the postpartum roller coaster of emotions. The rest of the placenta is in our freezer, waiting to be planted under a tree at my parents' house.

-Jenni T., Northern Virginia

I originally never wanted to do anything with the placenta. Honestly, everything about birth kind of grossed me out. But after taking a natural birth class, we kept hearing about how everyone was doing something with the placenta. The idea that intrigued me the most was to plant a tree over the placenta and use it as a tree to honor your child. My husband and I live in our forever home on a farm, so I loved this idea. We have the placenta in our freezer right now, but will be planting a tree for her in the spring and plan to do the same thing with future children, so that each child will have their special tree.

-Kelli T., Richmond, VA

I have to admit I was a little apprehensive, but since I was planning a natural birth at home I might as well go for it and eat it raw. My husband thought it sounded like the most natural thing to do, too, and was fully on board. The morning after our little girl was born, my husband took the placenta he had portioned up shortly after the birth and blended it with frozen strawberries for us to have for breakfast. He told me the placenta was part of him, too, so why not?


Strawberries do not cover up the fact that you are eating raw placenta, but they do make a great smoothie. The chewy bits are not for the faint of heart, but I am beyond thankful for all the benefits those bits gave me. I had minimal baby blues, if any, my postpartum bleeding was very easy, and my milk came in quickly! Not only did my milk come in less than 48hrs, but I had (and still do) a more than adequate supply of milk. In fact, about 6 weeks after our daughter was born, I started donating milk to moms who were having trouble breastfeeding. To date, I have donated almost 2000 oz to five different babies!

-Sandra, New Mexico

I first heard about Placenta Encapsulation (PE) while working as a NICU nurse about 3 years ago. “Someone wants to eat their placenta?!,” the nurses were critiquing. I googled it, learning it consisted of dehydrated placenta capsules. I didn't think it was that gross in the end, but didn't think much of it. Fast forward to my

pregnancy with my second child. I battled postpartum depression so badly after my first daughter was born that I was nearly suicidal at points. Prescription antidepressants and weekly counseling helped somewhat, but it wasn't enough. Some friends of mine suggested I look into PE. I was familiar enough with it, so I read more. The idea of helping with postpartum depression was enough for me. I couldn't face that again. During this pregnancy, I was working as a labor & delivery nurse. I contacted one of the doulas who frequented our unit, and she put me in touch with a girl who was in the process of being certified to do PE. I got in touch with her and kept in touch throughout my pregnancy, and finally, after my daughter was born. She came to the hospital to pick up my placenta (after the necessary release paperwork) and brought my bottle of pills the next day, before I was discharged home. Now, 6 weeks after my daughter was born, I am free of postpartum depression. If I forget to take my “placenta pill” in the morning, I can tell a difference by the evening. It has truly changed my life for the better, and I can enjoy my time with my two beautiful daughters. I would recommend PE to anyone who has struggled with postpartum depression.

-Ashley S., Kansas City Metro, Missouri


An unexpected hospital delivery made for a humorous experience in saving my placenta. It was so funny to have nurses walk into our room and whisper, “Is that the placenta?,” as it was clear that our styrofoam cooler was a topic of conversation at the nurses’ station. We lived two hours away from where our son’s delivery occurred, so my doula would be preparing the placenta for encapsulation when we arrived home.

tree of life On the day of the encapsulation, the doula arrived toting her meat dehydrator and a box full of kitchen utensils, pots, and a sieve. She disinfected my kitchen, and explained the process to my (very intrigued) mother and mother-in-law as she began to prepare the placenta. I was so happy that I got to see my “tree of life” and examine the beautiful organ that had nurtured my son. As the placenta was boiled with lemons and spices, a scent of meat filled the air of the house, which I found ironic, as I was a vegan at the time! (I think it was at that point that the grandmothers had enough placenta experience and left, ha!) Later, the placenta was cut, dried, and then ground into 170 pills. I referred to them as “my magic pills” because they truly worked to improve my mood--in an instant. Two years later, I still have placenta pills, which I take for PMS symptoms. The water in which my placenta was boiled was used to water a tree planted in my son’s honor, and it flourishes.

-Gretchen Sowers, Kaia Magazine

Placenta encapsulation was without a doubt, one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, and I’ll definitely be doing it again. So many people don’t understand that after giving birth, the mother’s body is completely depleted of hormones, and a hormonal imbalance can take a serious toll. I gave birth to my son (via unplanned cesarean) in the dead of winter. He was admitted into NICU and was to remain there for his first week of life. Aside from all of the emotional trauma surrounding his birth, and the worries for his general health, there was also his issues with nursing, and even holding him was difficult because of the tenderness around my midsection from the incision. His first days of life were filled with more sad

“The placenta has held a place of honor throughout our history. Perhaps we should recognize the wisdom of the ancients, and see that the placenta is more than just some messy afterbirth to be discarded... An honoring ritual need not be elaborate; it could be as simple as looking over the placenta and silently thanking it for its role in bringing that beautiful baby into the light.” --Placenta Benefits tears than happy, unfortunately. And that’s of what little I can remember, even though it was barely over a year ago. In the midst of crying in my partner’s arms, and frustratingly untangling my IV from our baby’s, and trying to also manage the SNS tubes and stupid rocking glider chair (that I was too short for!), I heard the most miraculous words ever, “Liana. Your doula is here.” In came my hero. My knight in shining armor. The woman who taught me the meaning of gratitude with the gift she bestowed: my jar of encapsulated placenta. I admit that I was nervous about taking it, even though I knew it was what I wanted, it’s something else to actually do it. So, I braved it, and literally after just a few hours I felt like a real person again. I had no idea that I was so far gone from the person I recognized as myself. I was lost in a downward spiral of pain, anger, shock, and hopelessness. My encapsulated placenta brought the spark back to my eyes, and a motivation to heal, and visit my baby as often as I could, even though it was incredibly painful just to walk down the hall. It just made me feel like myself again! With my hormones in check I was then able to focus on other things, like.. bonding with my beautiful, healthy 11.3 pound baby boy!

-Liana C. - Northern California


Great Finds

Our editors know their stuff and love to share it with you. Check out some of their personal favs! Leaks Be Gone

Nursing moms everywhere know how important breastpads can be. These super thin and absorbant pads will leave you dry and the signature heart shape provides a bunch-free fit leaving them virtually invisible under clothing - most disposables can’t even do that! $40 for 6 Pair Bamboobies

Sleep Sound

Infants sleep up to 18 hours a day, so where they sleep, and what they sleep on, is of great importance. The mattresses from Lullaby Earth (from the makers of Naturpedic) are free from harmful chemicals and allergens and come at a great price point! $160 Amazon

Smooth as a Baby’s Mama

Earth Mama Body Butter combines organic Borage oil and Neroli pure essential oil with rich Shea butter in a safe-for-pregnancy blend that won't aggravate morning sickness. And it’s not just for stretching bellies; use it on all types of dry skin, during pregnancy and beyond! $11 Earth Mama Angel Baby


*Special E


Mom and baby deserve to be taken care of without added toxins and subpar materials. Enjoy a few of our favorite products! Easy Peasy!

We just love all-in-one diapers. They are easy to use and the perfect gateway diaper. No stuffing, no fuss - just put it on, take it off and toss it in the wash! These from Ones&Twos offer a super fit with a great price tag! $17 Kelly’s Closet

Hot Off The Presses!

Cloth mama’s love their diapers and any chance to share them! Who knows that better than Kim, the mom behind the awesome blog, Dirty Diaper Laundry? Do some good while giving your little one the cutest outfit on the block. Be on the lookout for new designs very soon! $18 DDL Apparel

Have a product you’d love for us to check out? Send an email to and let us know!


Sustainable Diapering

Options |by Calley Pate The Eco Chic

The average baby goes through 12 or more diapers every day of their life from birth through potty training (around 2-4 years of age). In America, most of those diapers are in the form of disposable diapers that are thrown out with the weekly garbage destined to sit in a landfill for an estimated 500 or more years.1 In addition to their environmental impact, disposable diapers contain potentially toxic chemicals.2 These toxic chemicals are placed next to your baby’s delicate skin for almost 24 hours a day. There are healthier and more sustainable options to consider; many of which can save you thousands of dollars.


Eco-Friendly Disposable Diapers

Modern Cloth Diapers

Eco-friendly disposables are slightly more sustainable than regular disposable diapers but they are still disposable. Depending on the brand, they can be free of chlorine processing (bleaching), fragrance free, or latex free but they still contain some synthetic materials. These diapers may be healthier for your baby but they will still sit in landfills for hundreds of years before they degrade (if ever). Beware of brands that say they are biodegradable or compostable because these processes only happen under specific conditions that won’t happen in a landfill.

Cloth diapers have come a long way since prefolds, pins and plastic pants. While prefolds and covers are still a very popular and economical option for parents today, the modern cloth diaper options are much more appealing. The modern cloth diapers are just as easy to use as a disposable diaper--but with Velcro or snap closures. Modern cloth diapers come in many different varieties, are available at any price range, and have a color selection larger than a rainbow. Some styles and fabrics are more sustainable than others, but they are all reusable for many years.

Image by Dirty Diaper Laundry

Elimination Communication The practice of elimination communication is not a new concept but it became popular again in 2001 with the book Diaper Free! The Gentle Wisdom of Natural Infant Hygiene by Ingrid Bauer. Elimination communication is by far the most sustainable diapering option but not always the most practical. It involves following your baby’s cues and signals to know when your baby has to relieve herself. When you learn to recognize these cues your baby can be placed on a toilet or potty chair to pee and poop. It can be combined with eco-friendly or cloth diapers for when you are away from home.

ence. The joy of being a parent is that you get to set your own standards. Some parents can be extremely committed to the environment and practice elimination communication from birth through potty training, while others use a combination of both disposables and cloth diapers. Your diapering decisions can be part-time or full-time and even if you are only changing 3 cloth diapers a day you can still reduce your baby’s environmental foot bumprint.

Cloth diapers can save a family $40-60 a month as compared to disposable diapers.

Sustainability vs. Convenience

T he Water Debate

As with some of the other choices you make when living a sustainable lifestyle, the question of convenience always comes up. Our modern society is very busy and parents like conveni-

Yes, washing cloth diapers does consume water. The average cloth diapering family washes one load of cloth diapers every 3-4 days. At 20-40 gallons of water per load (depending


on your machine) that may sound like a lot of water. While it is a legitimate concern, especially in parts of the country that suffer from droughts, you have to also look at other environmental benefits of cloth diapering in order to offset the use of water. By using cloth diapers you are saving energy, fuel, and petroleum that are used to produce disposable diapers. An independent study found that “on a per-diaper-change basis, manufacturing of single-use diapers require nearly six times the amount of energy used in manufacturing reusable diapers.” You are also preventing approximately one ton of garbage from being disposed of in the landfill (if choosing cloth diapers full time)3. To offset your water usage even more, consider a high efficiency washing machine and line dry your diapers.

Line drying your diapers will also act as a natural bleaching agent. Books:

Changing Diapers, The Hip Mom’s Guide to Modern Cloth Diapering. Diaper Free! The Gentle Wisdom of Natural Infant Hygiene by Ingrid Bauer

By Kelly Wels.


Want to learn more? Check out these great resources! Have a favorite that you don’t see here? Let us know on our Facebook wall!

Non-profit advocacy group:

The Real Diaper Association (a non-profit organization) offers a great Cloth Diaper’s User Guide.



Celebrating the Shape of a Mother


Sweet weight, in celebration of the woma

an I am...

Images by Jacqie Q Photography


and of the and of the central c


Images by Jacqie Q Photography

e soul of the woman I am creature and its delight...


I sin



ng for you. I dare to live. --Anne Sexton

Images by Jacqie Q Photography

“In Celebration of My Uterus”



Image Esther Gibbons

I don’t have a photo for this yet... I like this one but have to get permission before I can have the full size... BOO!

Five Ways to

Lower Your Risk of a Cesarean |by Krista

Cornish Scott

Education Director for ICAN, the International Cesarean Awareness Network.

Imagine you’ve just had surgery. You came through it great, but you know that for the next few weeks you’re going to need to take it easy, relax, not lift anything, and avoid bumping that scar area near your lap. And then you’re handed a newborn baby and told to take care of it, too. This is reality for about a third of mothers giving birth in the US today. And while cesareans are certainly appropriate and life-saving in some cases, the current cesarean rate is more reflective of current birth practices and beliefs than it is of true medical necessity. Keeping yourself in a low-risk category and supporting the natural birth process by choosing some of the following tips can help you not have to imagine what it would be like to take care of a newborn after having major abdominal surgery.

#1 Stay Active While most women know the importance of eating healthfully during pregnancy, many are not equally focused on how staying active and fit can help reduce your risks of complications which could lead to a cesarean. Research has also shown it can lead to a shorter labor. Who wouldn’t want to sign up for that? A multitude of studies reinforce that mothers who keep active through their entire pregnancy have lowered risks of many complications and interventions, including cesarean. Helen Varney, author of Varney’s Midwifery textbook, cites several studies on exercise during pregnancy that show a 75% reduction in the need for forceps delivery or cesarean, which each carry


risk to both mother and baby. Exercise helps you metabolize your food better, it helps keep your blood pressure stable, and it can ward off gestational diabetes, which for some women can raise your risk of interventive birth.

#2 Hire a Doula In 2011, the well-respected Cochrane Collective published a review of 21 studies that was designed to “assess the effects of continuous, one-to-one intrapartum support compared with usual care” which is precisely what doulas provide. Not only did this review find that the presence of such support lowered the cesarean rate, it also decreased other complications and interventions associated with hospital birth and showed an increase in breastfeeding rates. Some couples worry that having a doula will interfere with the role of their partner in the birth, however nothing could be further from the truth. Doulas are trained to support the birthing couple (or in some cases, be primary support if the birthing mother doesn't have a partner to be with her during the birth) and not to take charge. Hiring a doula is a great investment no matter what


the cost, because of the lifelong health benefits to you and baby from avoiding unnecessary or preventable interventions.

#3 Make Sure Your Team Knows Your Birth Plan -- Without Having a Birth Plan Birth plans can be a controversial subject. Women love them for their ability to clarify what they really want from their birth experience. Care providers (and often hospital staff) can hate them because in their view, they are a red flag that a patient may be controlling or inflexible. There is a phrase widely known in the birth community, often said by hospital staff, “The longer the birth plan, the quicker the cesarean.” There may in fact be some truth to that, since the attitude with which a mother bringing in a long birth plan may be treated can lead to her being undermined and unsupported in her birth. But knowing what your goals are is still a very useful thing. A compromise can be to make sure your birth team (including your doctor or midwife) is very clear on your wishes and preferences. If your doula or partner know your birth plan details by heart, it will be easy for them to remind you of things like waiting for baby’s first bath; or when pushing, that you don't want to be directed but push with the urge. Having a solid team who all know the “game plan” is much more useful in the long run than a piece of paper. That said, a short, one page bulleted mention of some of your top requests, especially if they are non-standard in your choice of birthplace, can be valuable if your primary provider is not on call or you have a nursing shift change.

Lower Your Risk

#4 Hire an Expert in Non-Surgical Birth In our expert-driven culture, we tend to assume that the more money one makes, or the more letters one has behind one's name, the more expertise one has in a subject. This assumption also drives maternity care, with most women choosing an OBGYN for their care provider. However an obstetrician is not just a medical professional interested in birth, they also have a specialization in surgery, and for most obstetricians, surgery is what they do about a third of the time with their clients. Make sure you know your care provider’s cesarean rate when interviewing, as this is a good indication of their beliefs about birth. Midwives, however, have a sole focus on normal birth. Their cesarean rates are typically much lower than OBs, and not just because they don't take on high-risk clients. Studies have repeatedly shown that the midwifery model of care (MMOC) lowers all forms of intervention, even with higher-risk categories of pregnant women.

#5 Consider a Change of Location

birth centers and homebirth are more widely utilized for low-risk women. The homebirth rate has been rising in the US. Advocates believe this to be a response to women being more active in seeking out patient-driven care outside of a medical model that may be less flexible than they desire. And homebirth can be a safe choice for many women; a recent Canadian study showed that planned homebirth had similar mortality rates, but much lower rates of interventions and cesareans than the planned hospital birth group. For those not quite ready for the leap to home, a birth center (frequently staffed by midwives) can be a good option. Birth centers can provide a non-hospital setting for those unable to or who prefer not to birth in their home, but who want a more patient-focused birth experience. Starting off your mothering journey can sometimes be an emotional and physical challenge, and avoiding adding major abdominal surgery to that mix is a worthwhile goal. While these steps are not a guarantee, they can help you make proactive choices towards achieving the outcome that you desire.

Although most women in the US now go to a hospital to have their baby, in other countries,


A Surprising Change How Double Diaper Duty Led to Greener Choices for a Mother of Twins |by Julia Clark

Cloth Diaper Geek

Going the natural route when it comes to parenting is a no-brainer for some families, but a more natural method of diapering your children...that decision is not always made so easily. This was definitely the case for my family. In 2006, we welcomed identical twin sons into our lives. Feeling blessed would have been an understatement. Not only were our new babes happy and healthy, they breastfed like champs and quickly adapted to the same routine as each other. They were just an absolute marvel, I couldn't take my eyes off of them. With double trouble comes double sympathy and generosity from others. We were gifted so many disposable diapers that they were stacked from floor to ceiling inside one of our closets. Because of this, shopping for diapers and having to deal with the various choices wasn't even on my radar until our diaper supply began to run out.


I remember pointing out to my husband that we were down to about a package or two of diapers. The boys were almost 4 months old at that point. The realization began to set in: what would have probably provided a year’s worth of diapers to one child, we had just torn through in about four months. It was eye-opening to say the least. Surprisingly, my husband’s reaction was to say "What about cloth diapers?" This absolutely blew me away. I had recently come across the existence of modern cloth diapers online, but never bothered to mention them to him because I assumed he would never go for it. What once would have never crossed my mind as an option was now looking like a viable way of diapering my babies. I researched cloth diapers and ended up beginning our "cloth diaper stash" with a handful of gently-used, one-size pocket diapers and inserts. (For more infor-

mation on cloth diaper types, check out Cloth Diaper Basics when you turn the page!) To my delight, I found using cloth diapers easier than I imagined. My sons looked much more comfortable than they did in disposables, I knew they were chemical and carcinogen free, and aside from beginning to save money, I felt much better about reducing the amount of waste our family was producing. It had gotten to a point with disposables that I couldn't even lift the garbage bag out of the can to empty it because it was so heavy with soiled diapers. My cloth diapering journey began with disposables and led to full-time cloth diapering, including the use of traditional cotton prefolds and diaper covers, just like our grandmothers used. You might think that cloth diapering twins cannot be easier, but in reality, by eliminating the

financial burden on my family with having to diaper twins in disposables full time, it made a big impact. That was one less thing to worry about and, as a mother of multiples, the less you have to worry about, the easier your life is! Our decision to use cloth diapers led to recycling, composting, gardening and more. In our eyes, it only made sense to continue "greening" our lifestyle since it felt so good to have chosen cloth diapers over disposables. Julia Clark is the mama behind the Cloth Diaper Geek blog. Her twins are now 5 years old and although she no longer gets to use cloth diapers, she advocates for them whenever she can.


A Surprising Change

Cloth Diapering Basics

Considering cloth? You should know that cloth diapers and accessories are very versatile! While there are some basics you should know, the most important and most obvious components of successful cloth diapers are: • A waterproof exterior • An absorbent interior

Image by AppleCheeks Diapers

Modern cloth diapers come in all sorts of shapes, sizes and styles. The most popular modern cloth diaper is known as a "pocket diaper" because it has a pocket opening built into its waterproof exterior. This means you stuff it with the absorbent inserts of your choice. Another popular option, and a very convenient one, is an All-In-One diaper, or AIO. All-In-Ones are very similar to pocket diapers but the absorbent materials are usually sewn into the diaper and they do not require stuffing or unstuffing. They work like disposables, one diaper per diaper change, but you wash them instead of toss them. Additional styles of cloth diapers are fitteds, which look like

Gone are the days of plastic pants and sharp pin s. Today’s diapers are functio nal, adorable and inno vative. a diaper and are absorbent, but are not waterproof and do require a cover. Prefolds, just like the original cloth diapers our grandmothers used, need to be folded and fastened and also require a waterproof cover. Modern cloth diapers and covers fasten with the help of either snaps or velcro, and even come in one-size options so that families do not have to worry about constantly having to invest in the next size up. Choose your diapers wisely and you'll have enough to save for future children which will make the cost of diapering those children nothing. Cloth diaper washing can be the trickiest part about choosing cloth, but thanks to the internet, you can learn from others and easily find a washing routine that will work for your family.

Have a favorite cloth diaper resource or retailer? Head over to our Facebook page and let us know!



Breastfeeding Twins

one mother’s words of wisdom |by Jennifer Holzer

This piece first appeared on Once Upon a Baby on June 3, 2010. Jennifer’s twins are now two years old. I talk to so many people that find it absolutely amazing that I am able to nurse two babies, and a lot of expectant twin mommies I've talked to are very skeptical in their abilities to do it themselves. I have worked hard, through trial and error, to find a good nursing system that works for me. Granted, it may not work for you, but I hope that in some way it helps and encourages you to nurse your twins (or singleton). I will admit that I didn’t figure this out all on my own. I've talked to a couple different lactation consultants, my La Leche League leaders, many mamas in online forums, and most significantly, another local mama of twins that has become a great friend and mentor.


First of all, I find it immensely helpful to gather anything that I might need ahead of time, because once I get the babies latched on, I am not getting up for anything. On my list of things to keep near me while nursing are a glass of water, a small snack, and my pillows. Notice that I did not include remote controls or the phone. I actually try to remember to turn off my phones while I nurse, as I find it incredibly distracting to myself and the babies. I don't watch t.v. while I nurse because it is also distracting and I like to limit the noise level. I have also gotten in the habit of putting a sign on the front door when I am nursing them or when they are napping, that says "Shh, babies are sleeping. Please do not knock, ring, or call. Try us again later."

Once Upon a Baby

Now I am ready to nurse. I have four pillows that I use: three shapeable pillows (such as those filled with buckwheat hulls) and one throw pillow that goes behind my back. I grab both babies and hold them against myself as I plop down on the couch. Hugging both of them against me with one arm, I wedge the throw pillow behind me in a way that gives me comfortable back support. Next, I place one shapeable pillow on my right side and one on the left slightly over lapping in the center. I find it more comfortable to keep their heads elevated, so I shove a small, shapeable pillow underneath both pillows, where they overlap. I recommend pillows filled with buckwheat hulls because you can adjust them to get the firmness where you want it (think: bean bag chair). I usually make it firmer under their heads and arrange for less hulls near their bum, which puts them in a great position. Jennifer used pillows from The Blessed Nest: two “Nesting” pillows ($87) and one “Nest Egg” ($42). Buckwheat hull pillows from other manufacturers can be found at various homeware stores. Once my pillows are in place I put one baby on my right side and adjust him to a comfy position, playing with the firmness of the pillows until he seems to be in a good place. I latch him on. I repeat this with the other baby on the left side. They are head to head, kind of

separately and it seemed like all I had time for was nursing.

like two football holds, only supported with pillows. This position works best for us and keeps both babies happy. I have tried having them overlap or lie in the same direction against each other, but as they are got older and more aware, they seemed to become more easily bothered and distracted by each other. In my position, they do grab at each others’ hands, but at least they aren't kicking each other. If you have problems with them grabbing at each other, I've heard the swaddling them so that their arms are tight against their bodies will help. My boys are seven months old now and are still nursing every two to three hours. When one twin is hungry, I feed them both, whether or not the other twin was acting hungry. I have a better let down this way and can give my "failure to thrive twin" a little boost of easy-flowing milk. Another benefit of nursing them at the same time is that it takes a lot less time overall. For months, I was nursing them

One other thing that I want to mention is that I have gotten myself used to nursing in public. I realized that if I want to be able to leave the house, I have to be able to nurse the babies. I bought a used ring sling from a friend of mine and take it with me everywhere. If you run into me out and about, you are likely to see me carrying or nursing one baby in the sling. To do this, I loosen the sling, and put in on with the rings on the opposite side from the breast I want to nurse on. Next, place the baby in the sling so that his bottom is cradled in the sling. Lean the baby so that his head is near your breast and tighten the sling. Then I latch him on. His feet stick out the other side and really the only thing the sling is holding are his bum and thighs. I never do this handsfree. Baby's head is cradled by my arm and we are tummy to tummy. Consider trying a ring sling, like one from Maya Wrap. Good luck with nursing. You can do it, and it is so beneficial for your baby(ies). Remember that what works for me may not be the right arrangement for you. Play around with it and see what works for you and your babies. I hope that you are inspired to nurse away!


Two Veggies at the Table

(and I’m not talking about broccoli and carrots…) |by Brianna Inskeep


a. Ethical reasons – Most importantly for me is my ethical standpoint. I do not want to eat animals – I love animals, animals have feelings, animals feel pain and torment and discomfort. Yes, throughout history, humans

in many areas of the world had an urgent and real need to eat meat-- but not now, in the 21st century. In fact, we must concede that the only reason most people in industrialized countries eat meat is because they want to eat meat. Fortunately, I’ve never let my own convictions overshadow other people’s convictions. I believe this and you believe that – but let’s hear each other out. b. Environmental reasons – I am passionate about the earth and environment to the extent of it being like a second religion. I feel physically ill when I see a student toss a plastic bottle in the trash at the college where I teach. There are alternative positions and arguments on the question of whether or not it is more environmentally hazardous to raise animals for meat over a vegetable-based diet, and there are many factors to consider: conventional farming versus free- range or organic, location of production, local farms versus food shipped via trucks, etc. However, for the sake of being succinct, I have come to the conclusion that,

Image by Zsuzsanna Kilian

A long time ago I began my own personal journey towards becoming a vegetarian. I was sixteen and eating a bologna sandwich (I wonder how many times have I told this story?) when an ethical realization washed over me from absolutely nowhere and I became disgusted with my food. I became a vegetarian, and a decade later, when I was about to become a mother for the first time to my daughter, Bella, I knew my child would be raised a vegetarian. This all begs the question, “Why?” and if I had a peapod for every time someone has asked me that, I’d have a farm. My argument has become streamlined over the years (it’s quicker and easier) and the “Why?” of it is answered, for me, by three points that may seem unrelated, but that actually all relate to one another:

for me, eating the way I do (local and organic as often as possible), a vegetarian diet is more environmentally sound. c. Health reasons – I believe in the old adage “the body is a temple” and try to treat mine well – I try to keep all those “icky things” out of my body and off of my body. Beef is well known to be higher in cholesterol-raising fats and is generally accepted as unhealthy, and mass-produced products such as fast food chicken nuggets and beef patties are of highly questionable contents (e.g. ammonia-bathed pink slime, to name just one “icky thing”). Major food chains and other retailers are making pitifully slow steps towards better-quality food, and it just isn’t quickly enough for me. With all my beliefs, I admit that I continue to learn and shape these beliefs as I grow older. Continual learning, in my opinion, is one of the greatest gifts a person can give themselves – the open-mindedness to understand that we

never know everything, and we must constantly read, research, and challenge our understanding of things to truly move forward in life. My journey with food has been eye-opening, deeply personal, and richly fulfilling as a forward-thinking woman and mother. Even if you think you could never be a vegetarian, you may find yourself surprised at how easy it is to understand the “why” of it. And Bella and I can attest to one thing – there are enough delicious vegetarian dishes out there that when someone asks “Where’s the beef?”, you’ll reply, “Who cares?”

In our next issue:

Two Veggies at the Table How to Start 85

Kaia Readers Rock! You submitted your photos and we couldn’t be more thrilled to share them. From raising chickens to kick-ass DIY projects, Kaia readers do it all!

Ashley from Missouri is rockin' that sling!

Katie of Kentucky shares a special moment with her baby boy. Look at that mama smile!


Andrew of Oakland, CA enjoys pickled peppers, spic carrots and Persian cucumbers from his garden.


Jennifer, of North Carolina, and her husband made this clothesline out of locally sourced wood. We just love how they added the baby swing - Genius!

Check out this awesome recycling set up from Stacy in Florida!

In Ohio, Megan and her family raise chickens to harvest and enjoy their eggs.

Submit photos of how you live healthy and green & you could be in an upcoming issue of Kaia Magazine!


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Kaia Magazine April 2012