The Wooly Owl

The Wooly Owl was created by owner and operator, Alissa Tarita-Havenaar from Muskoka Ontario because she believes that babies, moms and the earth deserve the best. Her company uses sustainable materials, like organic cotton and reclaimed wool fibers to create truly unique items for earth-conscientious families.

Alissa Tarita-Havenaar’s company was created from her own personal desire to live from the land and to offer reusable, biodegradable alternatives to many of the items used by moms, such as nursing pads. Her goals include keeping materials as local as possible. In her quest to be sustainable, Alissa uses 100% wool materials and organic cotton knits, organic flax seed, and biodegradable materials. She also uses recycled (aka upcycled materials) like vintage buttons. Materials, like vintage buttons add to the uniqueness of her pieces.

Alissa’s business is a one-woman enterprise and out of her creativity is born one-of-a-kind items, made by her, for moms and babies. Her business represents her commitment to the planet and helping others to live a chemical-free life. We just had to talk to Alissa about her business, her values and her future goals.

NaturalMommy: Alissa, what are some of the reasons why you use local materials in the products you create?

Alissa: There are a few reasons. First, it keeps the cost of materials low. I purchase all of my wools from local second-hand stores. Convenient since at present I can walk to the store, (saving gas money from my pocket and from added carbon emissions into the air,) and second, all donations to the stores will usually be made by the local people in the community. Thus, the materials in their own way are from the community made back into items for the community. I was purchasing organic cotton form the United States, but have since decided to go strictly with recycled materials over organic. Although there is a huge market right now for things strictly certified organic, I feel that buying used over newly organic is genuinely a greener choice. The material is already there and does not require raw materials to be processed weather organically or not. Continue reading

Apple Juice or Arsenic Juice?

As some of you might have already heard from Dr. Oz, there have been suspicions of high levels of arsenic (and lead) in fruit juice – especially apply.

Unfortunately, (released recently from ABC news, link below) these suspicions have been confirmed. Trace levels of naturally-occurring arsenic is safe, however we are not discussing trace levels of naturally occurring arsenic. We are talking about an elevated level which may result in long term illness and development delays. Levels found in many of the fruit juices on the market exceed the healthy levels for human consumption. In fact, these levels are higher than the US government allowance in water.

Many fruit juice companies are claiming that they are not responsible for regulations – instead it is the government’s job to set the threshold for arsenic levels in juice. Right now most governments have no regulations for arsenic in juices. Perhaps because until now, this has not been an apparent issue (thank you Dr. Oz!). Continue reading

Air Quality & Pollution

Having a natural home means thinking about the air quality. Adding air filtration systems does not reach the heart of the problem. To begin people need to stop bringing in the things that create poor air quality. Sadly, many products in our homes omit volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) resulting in air quality inside our homes that can be much more dangerous then the air outside our homes. VOC’s released from many house-hold items, such as furniture (especially when made with plywood or particleboard), vinyl shower curtains (possibly releasing a higher concentration of chemicals from the heat of a shower) as well as mattresses and materials covered in stain or fire retardants. Carpeting is also a very popular culprit is the VOC’s found in homes and so called “cleaning” products present a serious danger to your family’s health and the health of the eco-system.

“These toxins affect mostly children, the elderly, and people with weakened immune systems, but the combination of all these chemicals in our homes may be a factor in the development of cancer and other serious illnesses.” (Bradley, 14)

VOC’s eventually creep out of our homes and wind up in the air and consequently become a component of smog. Buying more expensive products, such as low to no VOC paint is definitely worth the investment in the long run. Just think about it as an invaluable investment in your family’s well-being. Continue reading

The Use of Acupuncture During Pregnancy

By Jessica Carfagnini, ND of Thunder Bay Naturopathic Clinic

During pregnancy women are often looking for effective ways to treat a variety of conditions in a safe manner. Since a great number of drugs are not safe to use during pregnancy many women consider other healing modalities, such as acupuncture, to relieve common conditions. Although there are certain acupuncture points that are not safe during pregnancy, a trained Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) or Naturopathic Doctor (ND) has the skills and knowledge to needle safely and effectively.

Traditional Chinese medicine is the oldest and most widely used system of medicine in the world. It has been catching on in the Western world due to its effectiveness in successfully treating a wide variety of illnesses and imbalances.

Women who are pregnant may seek acupuncture for rashes, sinusitis, urinary tract infections and other common conditions. Sometimes it’s as simple as needling a few points to gain some relief. For example, itchy rashes are considered a sign of “heat” in the body that can be released by administering as few as 6 acupuncture needles to specific points on the arms, back, ears and legs. Many acupuncture treatments do not even require that the patient remove their clothing. Simply wearing loose comfortable clothing that can be rolled up to the elbows and knees can provide access to some very powerful points. Continue reading

Making Applesauce with Kristin Urdiales

This post is was sent to NaturalMommy by Kristin Urdiales of Nature Had it First.

Two years ago when my son Keenan was five, I took him to pick apples at a friend’s orchard.

Our little apple-picking outing was a bit of an afterthought and we were late in the season, so all the best apples had already been picked. We bobbed around the orchard stretching as high into the trees as we could (sans ladder or stepstool, mind you) in an attempt to find apples without wormholes or other signs of vermin. Finally, we had collected about two bags worth and headed home to make applesauce.

Even making applesauce was a stretch for my domestic skills. I had to print out a recipe. Since my son was so young at the time, he couldn’t help much where sharp knives and the stove were concerned, so my afternoon was spent peeling, chopping and cooking the apples. Finally, we were able to taste the fruits of our labor, and boy, was it ever delicious! Now, I know it’s tough to mess up applesauce, but there was a great sense of accomplishment in taking a food from the tree, to our table in one afternoon. Continue reading

Cesarean Birth

Support and love from friends and family is important in every birth, regardless of the experience. Before giving birth, make sure you have support put in place. When confronted with a cesarean birth, be aware that you and your baby may need lots of extra love and support. Healing from a cesarean or any other procedure, such as an episiotomy can pose some additional challenges.

“A big drawback of cesarean sections is separation from your baby immediately after birth…once back at home, you will find it more painful to move around for a while, making caring for a new baby harder. It can take longer to bond with you baby, but be patient – it will happen…Cesarean babies are often premature, are more vulnerable to respiratory distress, and may be affected by what prompted the operation…A baby with physical problems needs extra attention, and you may need help to cope with sleeping or feeding.” (Meredith 18)

After a general anesthetic, drowsiness or lethargy can occur for you and your baby. Drugs that are absorbed through the blood stream may interfere with oxytocin (a hormone that is important for nursing and bonding), although exact side-effects of drugs is not clear. That said, breastfeeding may also pose some challenges after a cesarean. Some women notice that it takes longer for their milk to come in. It can also be more difficult to get into a comfortable position. Regardless of a cesarean, there is always the potential for challenges involved with breastfeeding, but it is well worth the effort to keep trying if breastfeeding is something you desire to do. Many Midwives have observed that given the right support, knowledge and patience, the vast majority of women are able to breastfeed. We suggest you view our page about breastfeeding [here] and ask for support, if you need some extra help getting the swing of things.

What is alarming is the rate at which women are getting c-sections. Web-sites like thestir are reporting that rates are said to go up to as much as 50% in the USA [and Canada’s rates are not much less than that]. Check out their article [here].

Cough Relief from Bananas?

Ayurvedic Natural Health Remedy: Cough Relief from Bananas. If anything, this recipe is soothing and easy to eat. The nutrients from the bananas offers much needed energy and vitamins. This is excellent for kids who need something soothing when they are under the weather.

“A quick and easy way to sooth persistent coughs with one fruit and two ingredients from your kitchen cupboard.”

Make Your Own Cough Syrup

There are many natural remedies that can be made at home which are safe and effective.

Sophie Uliano (NY Times Best Selling author of Gorgeously Green, The Gorgeously Green Diet and Do It Gorgeously) shows us how to make a natural cough remedy. You can use herbs directly from your garden or potted herbs!

Make Your Own Cough Syrup

Another favourite cough syrup recipe made with garlic and onions can be found here.

HealthArchieve – November 7, 8 & 9

“Join North America’s best and brightest health care leaders, educators and keynote speakers for three great days of inspiring ideas and innovation. The award-winning HealthAchieve – the year’s must-attend event, the largest health care conference and exhibition of its kind on the continent – is back for its 87th consecutive year.”

http://www.healthachieve.com

17 Century Midwives Were Women with Expert Knowledge

According to historians such as Doreen Evenden, research shows that “the seventeenth century [English] midwives were often women of considerable social status, both central figures in local women’s culture and representatives of the respectable part of the local population…the midwife was a ‘specialist’ whose expertise was concentrated in the area of child delivery.” (Evenden, 42, 170).”

Historical views of midwifery also illustrate a give-and-take relationship between a midwife and her community as well as a midwives’ expertise in the birthing realm. Whatever the midwives social status, all were trained through a system of apprenticeship under the supervision of an expert midwife. “A new archivally-based study of seventeenth-century London midwives has demonstrated that midwives were better trained through an ‘unofficial’ system of apprenticeship served under the supervision of senior midwives than has previously been assumed.” (Evenden, 9)

The midwife also had basic knowledge of common diseases and gynecological conditions (Evenden, 171) which, arguably, made them a threat to the economic prosperity of university trained medical men and experts in the contemporary medical profession. In addition to research from Doreen Evenden that supports midwives as experts in the medical field, the trial records themselves from seventeenth century London also demonstrate that midwives were medical experts who testified in court trails “about various forms of sexual impropriety,” (Evenden, 171), which points to the high level of respect that a community gave their midwives.

Midwifery manuals published by seventeenth century midwives themselves also act as primary sources on the subject of midwives’ involvement in birth and demonstrate seventeenth century midwives to be women with an expert knowledge in anatomy and birth during the seventeenth century.