Where do kids in your neighborhood like to play? If they’re anything like mine, it’s probably on grass. But yards and gardens can be tainted by pesticides that are dangerous to children’s health—not to mention, pets! There are about 30 different pesticides commonly used in the United States; of these 19 are considered carcinogenic, 13 have been linked to birth defects, 21 are associated with reproductive problems, 15 with neurotoxicity and 11 are hormone disruptors—and that’s just a partial list. Pesticides are linked to a host of childhood illnesses—including cancer. In 1987, the National Cancer Institute found that the risk of childhood leukemia increased more than six times when garden…
My kids are sick of healthy eating. They don’t want organic soybean butter and Farmer’s Market fig jam sandwiches, they want Lunchables: crackers, processed cheese, salty disks that pass for lunch meat and a whole lot of chemicals wrapped up in a plastic box. My younger daughter confessed she dumps the organic carrot sticks the trash (and I thought the ranch dip was decadent). My oldest has been trading her edamame for candy. Forget the veggie chips I carefully stowed in wax paper bags—heaven for these children would be to open up their lunch boxes and spy a bright-orange bag of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.
A few years ago, a friend forwarded me a picture of Alicia Silverstone. The subject line was simple: body by vegan. It got my attention. Because even though I try to exercise two or three times a week, there remains that stubborn five pounds of fat that took hold right below my belly button while I was pregnant and never came off. Now I know that I’m active and healthy, and I knock wood daily for that. But there is a vain teenager inside of every woman. And on the day that my friend sent me Alicia Silverstone’s picture, that teen spoke up. I wanted to have a body by…
Everything is better with garlic—even your health. Studies prove the herb can reduce high blood pressure and fight off infections; some even show evidence that fresh garlic can kill antibiotic-resistant staph, E. coli and salmonella bacteria. Who knew? The best way to get garlic into your diet is to keep it pre-prepared so that you don’t have to stink up your hands each time you want to cook with it.
Think “dirty dozen” and you might see a grainy picture of a gun-toting Charles Bronson in your head. Now flash-forward 40 years and update Chuck’s picture as surrounded by a cornucopia of pesticide laden fruits and vegetables. This is today’s “dirty dozen,” the 12 fruits and vegetables that contain the highest concentrations of pesticides, as identified by the Environmental Working Group. Why should you care? Because pesticides have been linked to cancer, among other things. Because, pound for pound, your kids absorb way more of them than you do.
People often ask me, “What is GMO” and “What’s so bad about GMO foods?” I’m not an expert by any means, but here’s my answer: Genetically engineered foods—also known as genetically modified organisms or GMO foods (it’s basically two ways of saying the same thing)—begin as plants that have had their DNA changed in a laboratory. That would be fine—I’m no science-phobe—except for the fact that most of these changes involve pesticides, herbicides and insecticides.
How do you raise a healthy child? Once upon a time I stumbled upon this author who was looking for eco experts to comment for a book she’s writing about parenting healthy children. And here’s what she wanted to know: How does one plant a garden for a new eater—like squash, potatoes, etc.—so that the little budding veggies would come up at the same time as the child’s little budding incisors? And I thought: What the f*&k? Has this woman even had a child?