Friday, August 27, 2010

Best of Baby Bottles

My friend, Christina, is pregnant with twins and asked me about baby bottles. Gregory is now five and I had him off the bottle at 13 months. I can't honestly even remember the bottles I used, but I am pretty sure they were plastic and probably nowhere close to toxin-free. For #2, we used inexpensive glass bottles and could not get him off of them until almost 18 months. He just refused sippy cups. Still, a short three months later, I have to wrack my brain to remember the brands and trials I went through in terms of bottles, nipples, etc. Hopefully, this compilation will save more of you from the same laborious process (pun intended, hahaha).

Best of the glass bottles
  • Evenflo Classic Glass Nurser -- a real bargain at about $5 for three 8-oz bottles.
    MY VIEW: I used these as well as the 4-oz size and loved them. Only one ever broke and that was with force from about 4 feet above the slate floor. They can safely go in the dishwasher. The only complaint would be that the plastic ring cracked after I switched from low-flow nipples to faster ones. Also, skip the "Cozy" version with the silicone sleeve. They break and they are just a general pain; total waste of money.
  • BornFree Vented Glass Bottles -- more expensive at $45 for set of 5 bottles with extra nipples.
    MY VIEW: I have never used BornFree, but I know people who have and loved them. I'm sure they are great, but that's a high premium to pay...they are rated very highly online by parents.
  • Dr. Brown's Glass Bottles -- mid-tier at $13.50 for two 8-oz bottles
    MY VIEW: Again, I have not used Dr. Brown's but have friends who loved them. They are rated highly online as well, so I feel comfortable recommending them.
Not so great glass bottles
  • Wee Go Glass Bottles -- very expensive at $13 - $16 each.
    MY VIEW: These are great looking and a great concept but they did not hold up. They were also impossible to warm because this silicone sleeve does not come off. In general, if you go the glass route, just avoid the silicone type acoutrements. They are a pain and unnecessary to boot.
Best of the plastic bottles
  • ThinkBaby Polypropylene BPA-Free Bottles -- a palatable $11 for two 9 oz bottles.
    MY VIEW: I have never tried these, but they are worth having in your consideration set. This company focuses on nontoxic products and ergonomics. Plus, the cost is very reasonable.
  • Dr. Brown's Wide-Neck or Standard Polypropylene Bottle -- $17 for a 3-pack of 8-oz bottles.
    MY VIEW: I have never tried these either, but they are highly regarded among the green moms I follow and a few of my friends. They are BPA-free and have a special anti-air-bubble system.
SafeMama has the best cheat sheets ever and her baby bottle one is no exception. If you want the complete low-down, read it here!

The best thing to do is try a few different types and then, once you know you and your baby(ies) love it, buy a bunch more. A great place to buy baby bottles is The Safe Landing and they even sell assortments, which makes it easier to try different manufacturers.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

My Twitter Recap: April/May 2010

Gas & oil companies inject toxic petroleum distillates into 1000s of wells, threatening drinking water from PA to WY.

Want Congress to reform America's broken toxic chemical control policies? Sign EWG's petition:

From GOOD: Experiences, not products, provide happiness (it's science):

Eww. Triclosan, registered pesticide w/EPA, is in toothpaste & more; FDA allows use even though linked to harm/untested for adverse effects.

Earth City-based project makes pig manure hit the road — as asphalt.

One of my favorite companies. Not just toothbrushes & razors anymore:

Loving this reusable water bottle with built-in filter, plus it's a great-lookin' site:

From Mashable: 5 Charities for Donating Your Old Electronics -

Via @dkmommy: Tapped the Movie Inspires us to Dry Up the Bottled Water Industry

Routine pesticide exposure linked to #ADHD in kids. [via grist] Another reason to fight Monsanto's #toxic agenda!

I love the idea of executive compensation tied to making sustainability targets.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Cooking with Ghee is Pure Glee

Years ago, when I was avoiding many many types of food as part of immunotherapy treatment for my migraines, I discovered ghee. The naturopath had it on his list of acceptable foods and I had no idea what it was. Turns out, ghee is clarified butter — butter that's had the water and milk solids (caseins) removed. It's hugely popular in Indian cooking and Martha Stewart sings its praises.

I used it back then, but only lately have come to appreciate it anew. For some unknown reason on our beach trip, I picked up a new jar at the local health food store. The brand I bought is Purity Farms, which is an organic ghee. It's soft, buttery and silky smooth. You use it just like you'd use butter, unless you want to brown it. Ghee will never brown or burn. This works out wonderfully for sautéing or pan searing. We use it for eggs and pancakes, both which cook and taste great.

Need more convincing? Here are some great resources and articles about cooking with ghee:
From Martha
Alton on how to make homemade ghee
From the Nourished Kitchen, including recipes
Wikipedia's listing

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Organic Milk Comparison

Think all organic products are made to the same standards? Sadly this is not the case. Not even with dairy, which seems like it would be fairly easy to regulate. Fortunately, I found a great resource, Cornucopia Institute, that maintains a rating site for organic milk and dairy items. I'm sure it's not perfect, they are, after all, out to protect family farmers, but it's hard to argue with the methodology of measuring operations to "true" organic intentions.

If you're in Central PA, where I am, your best options are: Organic Valley or Wegmans' organic milk and Stonyfield yogurt. These all rate a "4" on a scale where "5" is highest. The worst choices, rated as "0" on the scale, include: Horizon, Organic Cow and Aurora Organic. Nature's Promise (Giant), Kirkland Signature (Costco), BJ's and Archer Farms (Target) are also all scraping bottom with a "1" rating.

If you are closer to Philly, try to get dairy from one of the small farms with a "5" rating in Phoenixville and Oxford. Find them on the ratings chart.

What brands do you buy? I am very loyal to Organic Valley, partially because they also have a Lactose-Free 1% variety that sits well with Gregory. If they are sold out, I will buy Stonyfield (which scores a solid "3"). For yogurt, I buy Stonyfield most of the time. I've found that the quarts are the best deal and they keep pretty well once opened.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

From PAN: Ecuador bans hazardous pesticides

One of the newsletters I like to peruse is from Pesticide Action Network North America. They lead the crusade against persistent bioaccumulative chemicals and neurotoxins and other nasty pesticidical chemicals that harm humans, animals and the planet. I noticed this article, which immediately made me think: Cool, I will buy stuff from Ecuador now if I see it. Truth is, I haven't seen much produce from Ecuador at my grocery stores, but good to keep an eye out for safe imported foods.
Ecuador categorically bans hazardous pesticides
Announced as an act of support for its constitutional commitment to food sovereignty, the Ecuadorian Congress banned an entire category of highly toxic pesticides, slated to take effect September 30, 2010. Ecuador cancelled the registration of all pesticides assessed by the World Health Organization to be extremely or highly hazardous (classes 1a and 1b), including many familiar and controversial pesticides that continue to be used in the U.S. such as the organophosphates and carbamates. These pesticides have recently been linked to increased rates of ADHD in levels found in the average diet of an American child, and have long been concerns of farmworkers and children's health advocates. As of September 2010, Ecuador will prohibits the manufacture, formulation, import, commercialization and use of these pesticides. The decision impacts pesticides used in agriculture; agents used for human disease control are exempt. Dr. Monserrathe Bejarano, Executive Director of AGROCALIDAD, the federal Ecuadorian agency that oversees food and agriculture, signed the public statement and official record of decision.

Ecuador's constitution establishes food sovereignty (in U.S. terms, food democracy) as a strategic objective of their nation - legal language plainly states that it is the obligation of the government to guarantee people and communities ongoing self-sufficiency through access to nutritious and culturally appropriate foods. Impervious to industry claims that industrial agriculture is needed to "feed the world," Ecuador sees the elimination of highly hazardous pesticides as key to secure and safe access to healthy, good food for the nation.