Thought you might be interested in this Washington Post article about how parents are shelling out big bucks for natural and organic baby products in an attempt to buy peace of mind given the safety concerns surrounding so many baby products. The article includes lots of interesting research and a quote from yours truly!
— LynnFiled under Baby, Blog, Marketing, Organic Prices, Parenting, Pregnancy | Wordpress Comments (5) |
Since this month’s publication in the medical journal Pediatrics of a study linking infant exposure to shampoos, powders and lotions with increased urinary concentrations of phthalates, many parents have been replacing their favorite baby brands with organic alternatives. There’s cause for concern, since phthalates have been linked to changes in male reproductive development.
But there’s a difference between replacing and throwing out. In their zeal to get rid of questionable baby products, some parents are throwing out bottles of shampoo. Talk about an eco-mistake!
Instead of throwing the packages out, why not donate them? Of course, you won’t want to donate them to children’s organizations, but there are some great options that will enable the products to be re-used by populations that won’t be at risk for reproductive damage by phthalates – and where the health benefits of a shower or bath would far outweigh any other potential risk! (And of course, you can always use them yourself. In fact, many people dismiss this study. Here’s a counterpoint.)
If you do decide to donate the products, here are some options for re-use. Consider the following:
• Check out freecycle.org You can post a message offering the products and cautioning people to use them only for adults.
• Many charitable organizations offer showers to the homeless, and are constantly in search of toiletries. A great example of this is the “Water Ministry” run by Saint Columba’s Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C. But organizations like this exist nationwide. Contact your local homeless agency to see where you can donate shampoos, soaps and lotions.
For a comprehensive list of natural baby products, check out the EWG’s research here.
Copyright OrganicMania 2008Filed under Baby, Green Ideas & Stuff, Organic Personal Care Products, Parenting, Pregnancy, Product Recommendations, Tips | Wordpress Comments (9) |
There was a time when the Greens conjured up images of anything but fashion. The original “Greens” were a political movement that rejected fashion and other bourgeois values. But today’s “Greens,” at least in the US, are primarily female and, as the New York Times pointed out, increasingly bourgeois. So of course they’re interested in fashion. Perhaps that’s why twice in the past few hours I’ve stumbled upon green fashion launches – Organic Style, a new online “green style” magazine, and today’s launch of Mimi and Motherhood Maternity’s new lines of organic cotton clothing and “eco-accessories.”
Organic Style is a brand extension of Organic Bouquet, and an adaptation of a print magazine published for several years by the venerable Rodale Press, the leading health and wellness publishing firm. Organic Style is quite highbrow, promoting items such as cruelty-free footware “custom made to your specifications” for $450 to $800 per pair, luxurious eco-friendly resorts with suites costing $1500 per night, and “the world’s tallest roses,” starting at $249.95. It’s like Town&Country for the eco-set.
At the other end of the spectrum is Motherhood Maternity, offering organic cotton maternity tops for just $17. The selection is quite small, with just fifteen items encompassing organic t-shirts, Burt’s Bees potions, and organic pregnancy and baby books. Mimi’s selection is more upscale than Motherhood’s, so you’ll pay a higher price for an organic cotton top – about $30 more than at Motherhood.
What I really want to know is – where can I find regular (non-maternity) stylish organic cotton tops for around $17?
Copyright OrganicMania 2008Filed under Baby, Eco-friendly gifts, Marketing, Organic Clothing, Organic Personal Care Products, Organic Prices, Pregnancy, Where to Buy Organics | Wordpress Comment (1) |
My loathing for Cheap Plastic Crap is well established, but there’s some plastic crap that’s rather expensive and which I’ve considered necessary. Things such as baby monitors, for example. That belief was thrown into question today when a friend from Mexico held up our baby monitor and asked, “What’s this for?”
His child is the same age as ours, his house is the same size as ours, and yet he and his British wife find they can manage quite well, thank you, without the tons of plastic crap – baby monitors included – that takes over American homes.
Something to think about.
Copyright OrganicMania 2008Filed under Baby, Cheap Plastic Crap, Parenting | Wordpress Comment (1) |
Organic Frozen Baby Food? And Bloggy GiveAways! Interview with Heather Stouffer, Founder of Mom Made Foods, LLC
Many new Moms make a list of all the things they are going to do for their baby. Making home made baby food is often near the top of that list. But a lot of these new Moms find that time gets the best of them, and they simply can’t follow-through on everything they’d like to do. So they end up like yours truly, with an unopened “frozen baby food ice cube tray” collecting dust on top of the fridge, and jars of organic baby food sitting inside the kitchen cabinets.
Now there’s another option. Back when I posted about a sale on organic baby food, I heard from several companies making frozen organic baby food. Frozen organic baby food didn’t exist five years ago when I had my first born, and last year I left the grocery shopping to Darling Husband (DH), so I wasn’t aware of this new option until I heard about it through the OrganicMania community.
Following is an interview with Heather Stouffer, founder of Mom Made(Tm) Foods LLC and another “Organic Mommypreneur” in the spirit of Karen Gurwitz of Mothers & Menus, who was interviewed here as well. OrganicMania was curious about why a mother would choose frozen baby food, and Heather was more than happy to discuss this, along with a host of other interesting issues about organics and feeding a growing baby.
OrganicMania: We all grew up eating jarred baby foods. In fact, the icon of a happy baby was the perfect little “Gerber baby food baby.” What made you decide to look beyond the conventional, beyond jarred baby foods?
Heather Stouffer: When my son Emory, who is now nearly three, was a baby, I found it difficult to find the time each day to prepare home made baby food. I couldn’t find any freshly made, store-bought alternatives that I felt good about feeding him. So I started to think about making my own brand of frozen organic children’s foods. My brother is a professional chef, and he helped and inspired me.
OrganicMania: Why did you choose to focus on frozen baby food? What is it about frozen baby food that is special?
Heather Stouffer: My goal is to produce organic food products for children that are as close to homemade as possible. Freezing is our “preservative.” Research has shown that frozen food can be as healthy or even healthier than fresh food, depending on how long it takes fresh food to get from the farm to your table. It can be quite time intensive to go from the farm to a distributor to the store produce section.
This is in contrast to frozen food, which is picked at peak harvest and then either directly frozen or gently cooked, for example, blanched, to capture peak freshness, and then frozen. Of course, if you’re talking about locally bought produce from a farmer’s market versus frozen, the frozen food might be less fresh, but still pretty close to being on par with fresh food.
But then if you compare it to jarred food, there’s a big difference. The jarring process is very intensive. In order to jar food, you need to cook it at extreme temperatures. You can actually see the color change. The food is cooked to death, and natural nutrients are lost in this process. You see the difference in the color and the loss of texture. Jarred baby food has a “yuck factor” for parents when they feed it to their babies.
I believe babies and young children starting their journey into a lifetime of eating, should be fed the very best from the start – foods that we would welcome tasting along with them.
OrganicMania: So you’re suggesting that frozen baby food tastes better and is more nutritious than jarred baby food?
Heather Stouffer: Yes, it’s sheer delight. We freeze Mom Made products immediately after they are prepared. So it tastes like I’m biting into a fresh Bartlett pear right off the tree, and it tastes like a real sweet potato. It tastes like real food that adults eat, unlike the way jarred baby food tastes.
It sounds simple but after parents taste our food, I often hear them say something like “ooh, yum, it tastes just like a real apple!” It makes me laugh because it’s as though they expected it to taste awful. The great taste of Mom Made Foods means baby has a better experience learning to eat than is typical with jarred foods. It’s better for your baby too.
OrganicMania: You could have chosen to make conventional frozen food, which still would have been a new option for babies and would have provided the taste advantage you describe. Why did you choose to make an organic baby food?
Heather Stouffer: Your baby’s first year is the most important for growth and development. Organic food is best because your baby’s brain, immune system, and hormone system are still developing. Many non-organic fruits and vegetables contain pesticides and toxins, which can affect how our little ones grow and develop. Plus, organic food is better for the environment than conventional food, because farmers use natural methods like crop rotation and composting instead of chemicals.
OrganicMania: How much does Mom Made Foods cost as compared to jarred organic baby food?
Heather Stouffer: The retail price is $3.99 for two 3.5 ounce containers. The price difference with jarred is in the quality and care we put into making each individual serving. We use only fresh ingredients in our products and do not add any fillers, preservatives or junk.
[Editor’s note: This compares to the prices noted in this post of the non-sale price of $1.05 for a jar of Earth’s Best baby food, so this would be $3.99 versus $2.10 for roughly the same quantity of jarred organic baby food].
OrganicMania: Quite by accident, I’m starting an interview series focusing on what I call “Organic Mommypreneurs.” You’re the second interview, with more to come. Why do you think so many Moms are starting organic businesses?
Heather Stouffer: I have found that the organic message hits home with many of us moms once we are pregnant and have children. All of a sudden you’re responsible for this other little person. It’s something Moms are focused on, and so we identify the gaps in the market.
OrganicMania: How do you do it all? What advice do you have about combining motherhood and entrepreneurship?
Heather Stouffer: Focus is critical. At any one time, there are 67 things that need to be done. You need to pick out the top three strategic projects that you are doing and focus on them. Then, at the end of the day, if you didn’t get to a task that impacts one of your strategic projects, you need to ask yourself, what did I get done today? It can be really difficult some days…some days more than others.
Also, I always advise other entrepreneurs to seek out and maximize the existing resources for small businesses. You need to be able to pick up the phone and call people, which can be scary sometimes. But you need to get the word out there about what you are doing and don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.
OrganicMania: What’s next for Mom Made Foods?
Heather Stouffer: Right now, our products are distributed in the Mid-Atlantic region, but we’re in discussions now with national retailers. We’ll be launching new products and massively expanding our distribution this year.
Update 5/29/08 — Full disclosure: Lynn’s consulting biz, Miller Strategic Marketing, is now working on an assignment for Mom Made Foods. At the time this post was written back in February, there was no relationship between us. Pretty cool, though – we met through OrganicMania and now will be working together!
And leave a comment to win Bloggy Giveaways of a Mom Made Foods rebate coupon for $3.99, a baby spoon, and for those of you who aren’t yet convinced, my two trays of unused baby food/breast milk storage cubes – a $12 value! (I’ll even wipe the dust off the $12 price label!) I have 10 coupons to give away, so leave a comment with your address (no fears, the comments don’t show up till I enable them, so I’ll delete your address before posting your comment to the blog!) . I’ll mail the coupons out to you. The winners will be contacted by email.
Photo Credit Family Picture: Wirken Photo
Copyright 2008 OrganicManiaFiled under Baby, Food, Interviews, Organic Mommypreneurs, Organic Prices, Organics vs. Conventional Foods, Parenting, Pregnancy | Wordpress Comments (17) |
Just in time for the holiday gift giving season, Healthytoys.org, a new toy safety website, launched today. Backed by The Ecology Center and a coalition of environmental groups, the site allows consumers to view toys that contain dangerous chemicals, such as lead, PVC, cadmium, chlorine, arsenic, mercury, chromium, tin, and antimony. What a list! Anyone else out there wondering how and why we’ve allowed this to go on for so long?
You can nominate a toy to be tested, with the promise that its nomination should appear on the site within a few days. Readers will vote on which toys should be tested first. The site is incredibly feature-rich, so plan to spend some time exploring it. The website has been overloaded — it was incredibly busy today — a sure sign that parents welcome the assistance in sorting out toy safety issues.
Copyright Organicmania 2007Filed under Baby, Eco-friendly gifts, Eco-friendly toys, Parenting | Wordpress Comment (1) |
Quick Interview: Organics vs. Conventional Foods – Mothers & Menus Founder, Author of The Well Rounded Pregnancy Cookbook, Karen Gurwitz
New and expectant Moms in Manhattan enjoy fresh, organic, home-delivered meals, thanks to Mothers & Menus founder Karen Gurwitz. Fresh from her recent launch of The Well Rounded Pregnancy cookbook, Karen sat down to talk with Organicmania about the organics vs. conventional food debate.
Organicmania: I recall when Mothers & Menus first launched, you positioned your service as a “healthy” meal delivery service. Now some of your promotional materials describe Mothers & Menus as an “organic” meal delivery service. Why did you make the switch to organic?
Karen Gurwitz: Actually, that evolved over time when I was able to find a more complete range of organic products. But to me, the emphasis really should be on “healthy” versus “organics.” Sometimes fresh conventional produce makes more sense than organic food.
Organicmania: So you don’t think mothers should make a point of buying only organic foods?
Karen Gurwitz: You know, it’s not all or nothing. I think mothers, especially new mothers, need to do what works for them. Moms have to do what makes sense for them and for their families. And organics can be expensive. If a Mom can afford organics, great. If not, there are good conventional alternatives available. Eating real, whole foods is what is really important for good health.
Organicmania: What exactly do you mean by “whole foods?”
Karen Gurwitz: Whole foods are foods that are minimally processed and as close to their original form as possible. Whole foods are especially helpful during and right after pregnancy as they contain fiber, water, complex-carbohydrates and minerals. Whole foods are easier to process, alleviating you of the fatigue associated with digestion, and supporting optimum energy and health.
Organicmania: What do you think is the most important aspect of organic food?
Karen Gurwitz: First and foremost, the health benefits. To me, it makes more sense to eat food that hasn’t been tampered with in terms of chemicals and pesticides. I also love the gentle effects of organic farming on the earth. And, in the final taste test, I find that food tastes better with organic ingredients.
Organicmania: Karen, you’re a busy Mom with your own business, three kids, and a new book. How do you do it all?
Karen Gurwitz: I have a wonderful husband who supports me. And sometimes — I don’t do it all! I think that as moms we put too many expectations on ourselves. Some days are more productive than others. But in the end, I love what I do, and I hope to inspire my children, especially my daughters, to be all that they want to be.
Organicmania: What’s next for you, Karen? When can we get Mothers & Menus outside of the Big Apple?
Karen Gurwitz: Stay tuned. Mothers & Menus has already tested in Florida and Boston and gotten great results. It’s critical for me to maintain the food quality and a high level of customer service. I plan to make some announcements about that in the second quarter of 2008 – sign up for my newsletter for more information.
— By Lynn / Copyright Organicmania 2007Filed under Baby, Food, Interviews, Organic Mommypreneurs, Organics, Organics vs. Conventional Foods, Parenting, Pregnancy | Wordpress Comments (2) |
This morning he showed Mama that in the spirit of “reduce, re-use, recycle,” there’s more than one use for an empty gallon container of organic milk. It makes a great plaything! No need to worry about toy recalls with this approach.
Seriously though, regarding the recalls – The Parent Bloggers Network is leading a great effort with Consumers Union to raise awareness. Visit Consumers Union to find out what you can do to protest the situation and hopefully make a difference.
Copyright Organicmania 2007Filed under Baby, Eco-friendly toys, Parenting | Wordpress Comments (6) |
My last post mentioned the downward pricing pressure in the organic market. I’ve never seen better evidence of this than today, when I noticed a sale on Safeway’s O Organics line of jarred baby foods. Now through Sunday, November 11th you can purchase 10 jars of organic baby food for $6. That’s just 60 cents per 4 ounce jar, or 15 cents per ounce. Sitting right down the shelf from the O Organics is conventional Gerber baby food, priced at 59 cents per jar. Yes, that’s right – this means that you can buy organic jarred baby food for just a penny more than conventional jarred baby food.
If you prefer the name brand Earth’s Best, you can grab that on sale too – 12 jars for $9.49 – that’s just 79 cents per jar, versus it’s regular price of $1.05 per jar at Safeway.
Don’t interpret this as an ad for Safeway – I have no connection to the store other than the fact that I’ve probably spent tens of thousands of dollars there over the years!
A key reason I launched this blog was to help parents make sense of their organic purchases. And what makes better sense than buying organic when it’s just a penny a jar more than conventional baby food?
Best news – I asked the customer service rep if this sale is nationwide, and she said yes. It’s a nationwide in-store only sale. So head out to Safeway and shop, shop, shop! — Lynn
Copyright 2007, OrganicmaniaFiled under Baby, Food, Marketing, Organic Prices, Organics, Parenting | Wordpress Comments (2) |
This week Tara Parker-Popes’ excellent health blog on the New York Times site listed the top five organic family foods. On her list are milk, potatoes, peanut butter, ketchup and apples. Great choices to be sure, but how can one talk about organic family foods and not include something for baby? Baby’s brain and body are growing so quickly that nutritious food is a must, and baby’s developing immune, central-nervous, and hormonal systems are highly vulnerable to environmental toxins.
Today, there are more organic choices available to parents than ever before. There have been a slew of new organic product introductions in recent years. This growing organic competition means that there is finally some downward pricing pressure in the organic market, and so good deals can be found if you shop around and compare prices on baby food. Some manufacturers even offer coupons, and Big Box retailers like Target and Walmart carry organic baby food as well. While organic baby food is still more costly than conventional food, the price difference is not as great as one might expect.
Some of the options available among jarred foods include: Earth’s Best, Gerber Organics, Healthy Times and Organic Baby. In the DC metro area, where I shop, the best prices are on Gerber Organics. However, for just a few more cents, you can get far more interesting food combinations with Organic Baby, available at Mom’s Organic Market.
A relatively new category is frozen organic baby food. Although not as widely available as jarred organic baby food, and somewhat more expensive, this is a very convenient way to provide healthy organic food for baby. Brands available include: include: Baby Cubes & More, TastyBaby and Plum Organics. Like so much else with the organic movement, there is more choice available in California, but many of these products will soon be available nationwide.
But perhaps the best – and least expensive – way to give baby a wide variety of organics is to give him pureed or steamed organic food or biodynamic foods. An easy way to do this with very young babies is to purchase small trays, similar to ice cube trays, which can be used to store small portions of pureed foods. Follow the guidelines your pediatrician provides regarding food introduction.
And remember, the habits you instill today in baby’s diet will lay the foundation for a lifetime of good health.
Copyright 2007, OrganicmaniaFiled under Baby, Food, Organics, Parenting | Wordpress Comments (3) |