My online journal.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Better Nate than lever

We're going out this morning to buy some cloth diapers for Ed. I know, seriously? The kid's most likely going to be going on the pot by the end of the summer -- not the best timing to invest in cloth diapers. But we had a guest speaker at ECFE last Wednesday and it really made me start thinking about toxins and toxic waste, and someone told me that disposable diapers are the #2 item in landfills right now, so we're heading over to Peapods in a bit, to see what we can come up with.

The speaker works for Healthy Legacy (, a coalition of organizations and individuals working toward a toxic-free Minnesota. At their website, you can find recipes for cleaning products that you can make at home that are better for the environment (meaning, also better for your body) and probably more affordable, too.

One of the main things the gal mentioned is the toxic plastics that are used in the production of all kinds of kids' toys and dishes. Any plastics with a "3," "6," or "7" symbol ought to be tossed immediately -- they contain bisphenol-A (BPA), a synthetic estrogen hormone that leaches into the food it touches.

OK I'm getting way ahead of myself and I don't want to give any wrong info -- you can do some internet searches yourself on this sort of thing. I'm just not qualified or informed enough to be giving this info out. I'm just a bit fired-up about it at the moment.

The gal did say that these same chemicals are found in the plastic lining of formula cans. There's also some nasty stuff in most soaps and lotions -- that you would never know about because in the ingredient list, they are under "fragrance." Eeesh! Apparently you can go to Skin Deep ( and find lists of safe or safer products for you and your kids. They also break out the unpronounceable ingredients you find in skin-care products and let you know which ones we should be concerned about.

Some of the other moms in my group are much more well-versed on this kind of thing; they provided some of the following links:

For alternatives to traditional bug spray, insecticide, and other pest-control products

Don't buy shrimp from China... that kind of advice. If you buy seafood.

Several people I respect have recommended this site -- though they all say to take it with a teeny grain of salt. Today's headlines are "Cell phones more dangerous than smoking" and "One sausage a day will give you bowel cancer." But apparently there is a ton of useful info here too.

I made this for book club last night and I always forget how UNBELIEVABLY GOOD it is. Joel refuses to eat it, so I make it for company.

Light Thai Chicken and Sesame Noodles

(Note: This recipe was printed in some newspaper in 2002. The original was a "question" written into a column: "How can I lighten this recipe?" and the columnist magically lightened it with her vast, glorious cooking expertise by, and I am not exaggerating, switching the dressing to fat-free and switching the peanut-butter to reduced-fat and switching the soy sauce to low-sodium, and I'm all "THIS woman has her own COOKING column? Because a HAMSTER could figure out to substitute fat-free and reduced-fat products for the regular stuff." Regardless, the recipe is fabulous.)

1 lb. chicken breast, cut up into bite-size pieces (you could also use 1# shrimp)

Marinate for one hour in 1/3 c. fat-free Italian dressing 

In a small bowl, whisk together:
2 Tb. peanut butter
1 Tb. soy sauce
1 Tb. honey
1 tsp. ginger (grated fresh is best)
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
1.5 tsp. sesame oil (NO substitutes!)
2/3 c. fat-free Italian dressing

When the chicken is almost done marinating, cook 1/2 lb. angel hair pasta per package instructions. While the pasta is cooking, heat 1.5 tsp. canola oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 medium-size shredded carrot (about 1 cup shredded) to the pan and cook for 1 minute. Add the chicken/salad dressing mixture to the pan and cook about 3-5 more minutes, then add 1 bunch chopped green onion (green and white parts) to the pan and cook until the chicken is cooked through (2ish more minutes).

Toss the cooked pasta with the hot peanut-butter-chicken mixture and garnish with a generous amount of snipped fresh cilantro (maybe 1 Tb. per person?).

I also made hummus for book club and I totally winged (wang?) it and it was so feasty I think I'll make more tonight.

Mego's Random Hummus

1 can garbanzo beans/chickpeas, drained
1/2 lemon's worth of juice
1-2 cloves garlic, minced (I go even a little heavier on the garlic)
1/4 tsp. kosher salt (you can always add more, and you may wish to)
1/4 tsp. chili powder
1 Tb. sesame oil
1 Tb. olive oil
2 Tb. parmesan or romano cheese
Maybe some black pepper? I can't remember if I added that.

Anyway, throw it all in a blender and go to town. GOLLY it was tasty.

Oh, and one more little item:

I went to go check on the kiddos after they went to bed, because I hadn't heard a peep out of them and I thought, with all the excitement of book club, they wouldn't fall asleep. Ever. But this is how I found them. Nose-to-toes, like sardines. Zonked out.

I swear, they DO have their own beds!


Heather said...

Hi Meg!
I use this website to check on the quality of the baby products I use and the chemical content in my own beauty products. I think it's really simple and informative. It also made me sad that I can't afford to buy the all natural products very often. Very frustrating that the safe shampoo costs $8 and the one full of chemicals is $2.

Alison Strobel Morrow said...

Wow, cloth diapers, you go girl!! You should check out the cloth diapering forum on GCM. TONS of moms there do it. And I know you can get the covers on ebay sometimes. I'll bet there are even some moms on GCM that make them. I've been checking a lot more often on the WAHM forum on GCM to see who I can support when I need to buy something; why give my money to a company if I can help some mom stay home with her kids, right? Can't wait to hear how the diaper thing goes!

Madwoman of Preserve Path said...

Hey, SuperMeg! As someone who used cloth diapers on the first two kids, I wish you well. See if you can find diaper liners. They're little disposable strips that make changing poopy cloth diapers a little nicer. I dunno if they make 'em anymore. I always wondered whether cloth diapers were truly more eco-friendly. Yeah, you're putting less trash into the earth, but you're also using more water and more electricity to boot. The upside, though: Less diaper rash! Really!