making the earth greener one tiny baby at a time

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

If You See Something, SEE something.

How many times have you seen something that drove you crazy, but you just kept your mouth shut?  The other day I saw someone throw a napkin out of their car window and when I pulled up beside them to berate them I just made brief eye-contact and drove away.  I guess my concern does not out-weigh my paranoia that the car will be full of ruffians that will follow me home, or whip out a gun.  And even at places where I am sure no one will beat me or shoot me, like my favorite restaurant, I don't have the guts to go up to the manager and ask him or her if they have considered doing away with their plastic utensils or cups.  I don't want to be the preachy, nagging mom.  But it's about time we found a way to communicate our concerns or educate people in a good way.  I don't want to be that person that never gets invited to a party because I will be picking thru the trash and telling people they didn't put their toothpicks in the "woods only" bin.

I'm thinking about all this right now, because it turns out that this town I am visiting DOES have a recycling program.  And they've had one for years!  The problem is, not everybody knows about it.  And the bigger problem is, you have to bring it in yourself.  This is of little issue to my sister-in-law, who lives in Montana and has to drive even their regular trash in.  But to people on vacation, I'm sure this seems like the hassle of all hassles.  Because not only do you have to drive it somewhere, but you have to separate it as well.  But what am I going to do, walk around town reminding people that after they sleep in, take a swim in the lake and enjoy a leisurely stroll down the beach they should go back to their vacation cottages and spend some quality time separating their #1 from their #2 plastics, loading it into their cars and driving it into town?

I saw this woman in the "Today" show that started a movement by putting post-it notes on public bathroom mirrors that said things like, "You are beautiful!"  And while the story made me want to gag, I also recognize that it was brilliant, because it became infectious, and people started posting positive affirmations everywhere.  It is beautiful because it is subtle and anonymous, but pervasive, and exactly the kind of thing the green movement needs.  I realize that anyone who reads this blog is probably just as passionate about the environment as I am and I need to find a way to reach the people who are apathetic about recycling, pollution or conservation, but I am at a loss...

are post-it notes terrible for the environment?

totally depressing environmental fact:
On a pristine beach on the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, a small valley in the sand collects bottle caps and plastic wrappers, and yes, way off in the distance, a plastic tampon applicator.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Vacation Reply ON

La Mom Verte is on vacation for two weeks, to a picturesque town in Northern Michigan where the sun sets over the gentle waves of Lake Michigan, and birds soar on the breeze over vineyards and cherry trees. Where you can buy roadside produce from an unattended stand with the trust that you will leave the money in the cigar box, and ride your bike thru the center of town and never find a traffic light.  And while you are vacationing here, don't bother to separate your recyclables, because there is ABSOLUTELY NO RECYCLING PROGRAM.  I will do my best to relax, and hopefully come back home with a plan to save the world.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Eat It!

I suddenly find it so hilarious that I am doling out any parental advice when I haven’t had eight hours of sleep since January 24th of this year.  I might look back on this blog in a few years and see all the signs of how truly sleep-deprived I am.  But for now, you will have to forgive any nonsense in these posts!

Pictured: A photo my friend Deanne sent me.  Not sure who this baby is, but she seems pretty happy!

Two weeks ago Phoebe, my husband, and I entered into the frightening world of…SOLID FOODS!  This has been perhaps the most intimidating step in our little one's life.  Most milestones a baby will reach on their own, but eating is one that you guide them thru.  The majority of books and doctors will tell you to begin solids between four and six months.  They also tell you babies will give you signs they are ready for food.  They will carefully watch you eat, reach for your food, etc.  Month four came and went and Phoebe gave no signs.  Month five had the same results.  Finally a week before her sixth-month birthday I was on the set of a commercial talking to the make-up artists about my daughter.  When I mentioned to one of them I hadn’t given her food yet, she totally flipped her lid.  Ad an aside, these women were very nice and kind to me all day, but super opinionated.   And I should mention that every other word out of their mouths was “f-in."  “Your daughter is six-months old and you haven’t given her an f-in solids?!  You better get on that.  Like, f-in right away!” Their kids were eating solids at four months.  I just couldn’t wrap my head around it.  Phoebe is almost exclusively breastfed, which makes it real easy to be lazy about her feedings.  I was used to carrying all of her food on my body!  Or at least, in my body.  So that weekend we started Phoebe on solids.  Or should I say, “We f-in started Phoebe on f-in solids!”
Everyone will tell you that your baby’s first food should be rice cereal.  This just didn’t sit well with me.  I really thought her first food should be a whole food, a real food.  I have really specific views on food.  I am almost vegan ( I have my moments of dairy weakness) and I was adamant starting out Phoebe the same.  In reality this is kind of hilarious that I am such a nazi about what she eats.  Since Phoebe’s diet is my breast milk, she eats what I eat; which is 85% veggies, fruits, whole grains, nuts and seeds…and 15% Nerds Rope and Swedish Fish.  (I have an insane sweet tooth. I really don’t want to advocate junk food, but have you tried Nerds Rope?  It’s the best!).  So I mortar and pestled some avocado and breast milk, broke out of all her new bowls and utensils  and put her in her high chair.  My husband turned on the "flip" and we got started.  With all of our preparation there was one vital element missing; Phoebe’s desire to open her mouth and eat.
She would have none of it!  She literally spit it all back out of her mouth.  I realized a few minutes into it that she still had her thrusting reflex (a reflex of pushing out the tongue that indicates your baby is not ready to eat).  I was right!  I wasn’t being lazy!  Phoebe had no interest in food.  Or at least no interest in avocado.  It was huge lesson.  Babies move at their own pace.  And trust your instincts.  They will give you indicators of everything they need.  The key is just to figure out what the indicators mean.  
It’s been a few weeks and Phoebe is finally starting to get into eating.  I didn’t want food to go away 100% because I wanted her to warm up to the idea.  So every morning I put her in her high chair and offer the food.  Sometimes she laps it up and sometimes she rejects it all together.  I let her call the shots because I don't want  her to develop a bad relationship to food or eating.  Now, a few weeks later, she eats twice a day and enjoys banana, sweet potatoes, zucchini, and multi-grain cereal.  Maybe it was just the avocado!
Here are some tips for green eating (and just some tips in general):
  1. Of course, the most Earth-friendly foods are the ones you make yourself.  It is not nearly as time-consuming as I thought, but if you can't do this Earth's Best is organic and Gerber has an organic line of solids.  Tasty Baby and Plum Organics are also great brands
  2. I heavily relied on the book “Super Foods,” by Ruth Yaron.  It is a really fantastic resource.  The cheapest place to get it is
  3. Making the food as soupy as possible was a huge help
  4. Mixing the food with breast milk or formula was imperative
  5. People will give you mixed opinions about giving your baby water.  Make up your own mind, but after Phoebe started eating food we gave her a sippy cup with water that she could drink from whenever she got the urge.  Some experts will tell you the more water they drink the less they will want breast milk or formula.  My pediatrician disagrees with this and I have not experienced that problem.  Read my last blog entry for some green H2O solutions
  6. If you are anti-dairy there have been a few scary reports that soy has damaging effects on babies and children.  When I consulted with my pediatrician she said that no study has been conclusive and in her opinion if soy was an issue for babies then all of Asia would be suffering the problems
  7. I occasionally give Phoebe formula.  I had been giving her a soy-based one until I realized that the first ingredient on soy-based formulas is CORN SYRUP SOLIDS!  Disgusting.  My friend Kim helped me do some research and she found a brand called “Baby’s Only” that makes an organic soy formula with rice syrup in stead of corn syrup
  8. Many books that teach you how to make baby food will tell you to freeze it in ice cube trays.  I would just make sure they are BPA free.  I have a few containers specially  made to freeze baby food in that I love from “Beaba”(thank you Karen!) and “Baby Cubes” that are BPA, PVC, and Phthalate free.  I dare you to pronounce that last one.
  9. Look for Farmer's Market's in your area and purchase your food there.  Everyone knows that buying local is better for the environment, but you also support your local economy, meet the people growing your food, and give your kids the chance to see all of these delicious foods beautifully displayed! can show you where to get locally grown produce in your area, and can give you a directory of farmer's markets near your home
  10. If you can afford it, make sure your baby's fruits and vegetables are organic.  There was one sentence in "Super Baby Foods" that had a profound effect on me: "Pesticides kill living things."  I went totally organic after reading that.  If you are on a tight budget, here is a list of the "dirty dozen" foods that are best to be organic:
12 Most Contaminated
  • Peaches
  • Apples
  • Sweet Bell Peppers
  • Celery
  • Nectarines
  • Strawberries
  • Cherries
  • Pears
  • Grapes (Imported)
  • Spinach
  • Lettuce
  • Potatoes
12 Least Contaminated
  • Onions
  • Avocado
  • Sweet Corn (Frozen)
  • Pineapples
  • Mango
  • Asparagus
  • Sweet Peas (Frozen)
  • Kiwi Fruit
  • Bananas
  • Cabbage
  • Broccoli
  • Papaya
happy eating!!

totally depressing environmental fact:
a mercer island, WA study found that the urine and saliva of children eating a variety of conventional foods from area groceries contained biological markers of organophosphates, the family of pesticides spawned by the creation of nerve gas agents in World War II.
When the same children ate organic fruits, vegetables and juices, signs of pesticides were not found.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Water, Water Everywhere...

Remember when I said I would keep these posts short?  Why am I such a liar?!  This one will be to the point, I promise.

My Achilles heel of conservation is water use.  I love water.  More specifically, I love long hot showers.  I think submerging yourself in water is the cheapest form of therapy around.  There is nothing better than closing the doors and standing in the middle of the rushing of warm water after a you've had a long hard day, an illness, or just been dumped.

(Pictured: Me, my Dad and Phoebe at Malibu beach)

The first week of being a mother I took an indulgent two showers a day.  It seemed to be the only time I could get any peace and quiet; to be totally alone.  Also, after 30 hours of labor and non-stop nursing it felt like liquid Vicodin.  I think there is something hereditary about my love of water.  We grew up spending all summer at the Jersey shore (No jokes, please. And yes, my bangs were gigantic).  My dad, mom, brother and I would swim from the moment we woke up until the whole beach cleared out.  When my grandfather came home from the WWII, after surviving months at a concentration camp and POW camp, the first thing he wanted to do was go swimming in the Atlantic, to heal him.  Water is truly precious to me.  I should do more to protect it!

Here is a list of small things you can do to conserve water, or learn more about its quality:
1. It's always best to use a little baby bathtub or your kitchen sink to wash the wee ones.  Filling a shallow bath will waste more water.
2. If you can't afford a gray water system for your entire house, or you live in an apartment like I do, you can create your own gray water system.  If you shower, place an empty watering can in your shower to collect excess water to water your plants or yard with.  If you bathe, you can scoop up your used water (don't be grossed out, plants like soap!  Especially if you are using plant-based shampoos and soaps.), and if you are using a baby bathtub, drain it directly into the watering can.
3. Showers always take less water than baths.
4. Turn off the water when you are shaving.
5. Do not, DO NOT water your sidewalks.  I'm sure none of you do this, but I am always completely baffled when I see this happening.
6. Don't water your yard at peak sun hours.
7. Use a water filtration system instead of bottled water.
8. You can now recycle Brita filters!  You can deposit them at participating Whole Foods .  None in LA participate in the program yet, but you can send them in.  Just follow the instructions on this website:
9. If you are worried about the quality of your drinking water you can take a closer look at your community's water at the following two websites:  and
10. A good dishwasher saves more water than hand-washing.
11. Make sure all of your cleaners are gentle on the environment.  The best way to protect our water is to monitor what we put into it.  Never dump any pills down the drain as they will get into the water system.

Happy Watering!!

totally depressing environmental fact:
as if the oil leak wasn't depressing enough, there is a "garbage patch" floating in the atlantic ocean twice the size of texas, primarily composed of plastics, and a "dead zone" in the gulf of mexico the size of massachusetts where no life exists, due to the run off of farm fertilizers.