Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Better than zweiback and less messy!

I discovered Organic Baby Mum-Mum Rice Rusks at BabiesRUs recently. We are on our second box, and Timmy is not the only one loving them.

I'm not a fan of zweiback because it's made by Gerber and has a long, crappy ingredient list. If you've ever tried those organic teething biscuits, though, you know what a collossal mess they make! And they can break off in hard pieces, which makes me nervous.
These rice rusks are more easily dissolved, but not as fast-dissolving as puffs. They are just the right size for little hands and little mouths, and did I mention that they don't make much of a mess!?!

Best of all, they are rice. This means they are gluten-free. They have no artificial flavors or colors. No preservatives and no cholesterol. They do have a bit of "quality New Zealand skim milk powder." I'm not sweating that, but I guess if you had a kid with a super-duper sensitivity to milk, this might present a problem.

They come wrapped in packs of two, in a box of 24. I have only seen the original variety, but according to their website, they also come in Vegetable and Carrot. Quite apparently, I am not their only fan. Their website lists only stores in Australia and New Zealand, but they appear to be widely available online, through drugstore.com, amazon.com and many others for about $2.99 a box. Try them and let me know what you think!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Product Review: Mini Chocolate Graham Snacks

I am a sweets person. I'm at peace with it. When indulged in moderation, all is well. Other than the organic agave nectar in my morning coffee, I look for (organic) cane sugar. Most of the time. Except yesterday when I was at Ollie's and saw that Pepperidge Farm came out with a very Teddy-Grahams-like version of their classic Goldfish snack cracker. In chocolate.

Naturally, I had to try it. Lo and behold, they taste exactly like Teddy Grahams, which I happen to love but I don't buy because I perceive them to be unhealthy. But these chocolate fishy grahams are made with "Whole Grain" and contain "no artificial preservatives." Indeed, these babies have a whopping 2 grams of fiber per serving. Okay, well it's better than none. They do contain some hydrogenated oil -- why? Really.

(So, now, looking into it, Teddy Grahams has the world's most annoying website, with a misspelled word in the main navigation, but I digress. They also have 2 grams of fiber, despite being made with enriched white flour, only 1g of saturated fat and 8 g of sugar. Hmmm.)

((Come to think of it, why do I trust Pepperidge Farm? I used to buy their 100% whole wheat cinnamon raisin swirl bread for Gregory until I realized it had SUCRALOSE in it! Disgusting. Why bother making a whole wheat variety if you're going to poison it with artificial sweetener? I notice also that they do not list ingredients on their site when you click for nutritional information, so you would have absolutely no way of knowing this without scouring the ingredients.))

So, here's the rub: If you want to indulge a little chocolate graham craving, they are both yummy and there are certainly worse things you can choose. The challenge is not eating the whole bag/box at once. They are equally small and sneaky like that.

NUTRITIONAL INFO (from their sites)

Pepperidge Farm®
Nabisco Chocolate
Goldfish® Grahams / Chocolate Teddy Graham Snacks
Serv size = 51 pieces (30g) / Serving size = 30g

Amount per Serving
Calories 140 / Calories 130
Sugars 10g / Sugars 8g
Total Fat 4.5g / Total Fat 4.5g
Protein 2g / Protein 2g
Sat. Fat 2g / Sat. Fat 1g
Trans Fat 0g / Trans Fat 0g

% Daily Values
Cholesterol 0mg / Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 180mg / Sodium 160mg
Total Carb. 22g / Total Carb. 22g
Dietary Fiber 2g / Dietary Fiber 2g
Iron 6% / Iron 6%
Calcium 0% / Calcium 10%

Monday, August 3, 2009

Support the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families campaign

I got an email from MomsRising, which "has joined a growing movement of workers, scientists, fertility experts, and advocates for learning and developmental disabilities in supporting comprehensive reform for America's chemical policy." As part of the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families campaign, they are "calling for updated chemical regulations so that chemicals are proven to be safe before they are out on the market and in the products our kids use every day!" According to MomsRising, "legislation soon will be introduced to reform and modernize the Toxic Substances Control Act that is failing to protect [us] from dangerous toxic chemicals. PLEASE SUPPORT THIS LEGISLATION." I could not agree more.

I copied their suggested letter to be sent to elected representatives and adapted it a bit to make it more "me." I'm sharing with you so you can see what's at stake. Feel free to adapt this letter text to suit your style and send it to your Senator and U.S. Representative. Send it to everyone you know who might also send it to their reps. It's easiest to use MomsRising's form, which "knows" who your representatives are and automatically sends it along. Here is that link.

My Version of the Letter

Dear _____:

Thousands of toxic chemicals, which have not been tested for safety, have been added to common items found in homes across America: In children’s toys and bottles, in food cans and soda can linings, in our mattresses, computers, shampoos, lotions and more.

THOUSANDS OF UNTESTED TOXIC CHEMICALS, many of which are linked to cancer, reproductive issues, neurotoxicity, etc., bioaccumulate in you, in me, in my baby, in my dog, in waterfowl and fishes.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have found toxic chemicals in the blood and urine of all Americans. Babies are born with hundreds of chemicals in their blood, which increase the risks of prostate and breast cancers, diabetes, heart disease, lowered sperm counts, early puberty and other diseases and disorders.


Additionally, many of our most significant trading partners are implementing stronger chemical protection policies than we have in the U.S., putting our economy at further risk for not being able to compete in a global marketplace that is rapidly gaining awareness of the problems associated with runaway use of toxic chemicals. The law governing toxic chemicals, the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), is now 33 years old and has never been modernized. Outdated technologies and unsafe chemicals have created costs too great to bear to sustain our quality of life, with broad implications for our healthcare system and our economy.

Some 82,000 chemicals are available for use in the U.S., yet only about 200 chemicals have been assessed for safety. Even though only 5 chemicals have been removed from use based on health and safety concerns of those 200, that's 2.5% of tested chemicals that had to be removed. Do the math and you'd extrapolate that, at that rate, we're currently exposed to more than 2,000 chemicals that are slowly, softly killing us.

Translation: It's no wonder why healthcare costs are rising!

The time has come to give the federal government enough authority to require that chemicals be tested for safety before they are put into the products we use every day. As your constituent, I urge you to support legislation that will:
  1. Take immediate action to stop the use of the most dangerous toxic chemicals (yes, the EPA already knows which ones these are, as does the EU);

  2. Give the EPA the power to assess the safety of all chemicals so that the health of all people and the environment, especially the most vulnerable subpopulations, including children, workers, and pregnant women, will be protected;

  3. Improve the right to know about toxic chemicals by allowing the public, workers and the marketplace to have full access to information about the health hazards from chemicals and the way in which government safety decisions are made.
Legislation to modernize and update the Toxic Substances Control Act will be introduced soon. I urge you to support this effort to lead us into a new era of safer chemicals and healthy families.

Don't be swayed by the chemical lobby and their "it will cost more" whining. Whatever it costs in the short-term will pale in comparison to the rising cost to treat increased cases of cancers, neurological conditions, infertility and worse, not to mention the emotional toll on the victims and families--yours and mine.

Thank you for your leadership.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Product Review: Flavrz Drink Mix

I read about Flavrz Drink Mix on Zoe b Organic Blog and had to try them. I used the coupon and bought two three-packs. I received one three-pack very quickly and notified them that I had, in fact, ordered and paid for two. They apologized and sent another one out immediately, along with a handy pouring spout "for my inconvenience." Thoughtful. (These are great to have and they sell them for $4.)

The Flavrz three-pack contains Cherry Berry, Tropical and Lemon Lime flavors. I think I like them in that order. They are all delicious and convenient and definitely let you mix just the amount of flavor you want. In our household, we dilute a lot. So it's nice not to pay for water. In fact, it computes to about half the cost of other organic juices I regularly buy, with less to recycle.

What's in it, you ask? Simple stuff: fruit juice, fruit extracts, fruit flavorings, sweetened with organic agave nectar -- so you get the yummy sweetness without all the calories and cane sugar of other organic beverages. When mixed according to "normal" strength, it's got less than half the calories of juice or soda. Plus, it's free of artificial flavors, colors, preservatives and chemicals. Major plus.

We have not tried them with adult beverages, but it seems to me they would be terrific in a martini or the like. They would also be great for sno-cones. Margaritas, too. Ummm...

Anyway, I had to order them online, but they are at retail in stores from Maine to the metro DC area. If you try it, let me know what you think. Cheers!