Protein-Rich Foods (and Recipes) for Vegetarian Children

Protein Options for Vegetarian Children |

Recently my nine-year-old has mentioned a desire to eat less meat. We are not a vegetarian family, but Sofie has several vegetarian friends and a soft spot for animals. As much as she loves the taste of most meats, I think she’s grappling with the realization that animals are being killed for her food. I’m all for supporting this change. A semi-vegetarian lifestyle is healthier and eco-friendly (learn why). My role now is to determine good sources of protein to replace the meat in Sofie’s meals. As the main building blocks of the body, proteins are necessary for building and maintaining our muscles, tissues and organs; fueling our brains; and aiding in specialized functions. A “complete” protein includes all nine essential amino acids that our bodies cannot produce on their own. Vegetarians often get all those amino acids through eating a varied diet. After some research, and knowing my daughter’s … Continue reading

Grow a Healing Garden with Medicinal Plants

Plants for Your Medicinal Garden |

I’m a lazy gardener. This means I plant crops that can thrive with very little attention, which is why our veggie garden typically consists of tomatoes, peas, beans, basil and lettuce. When I discovered herbs a few years ago, I was particularly fond of their perennial properties—plant once and they come back year after year. A lazy gardener’s dream! I love that herbs have multiple uses; not only do they add flavor to meals, many offer medicinal properties. Sage, for example, works in stews and also provides relief for sore throats or laryngitis when used in a tea. Since moving beyond food gardening to other plants, I try to choose those with multiple uses. Yarrow in the front yard gives us fern-like leaves and pretty pink blooms. It also stops my daughter’s nosebleeds. Lemon balm on our patio naturally deters mosquitoes, yet can also add flavor to drinks and salads. As … Continue reading

Checklist for Finding an Eco-Conscious Childcare Provider

Green Child Care Center Checklist |

Parents who return to work after a baby is born usually rely on childcare outside the home. While cost, location and availability are big factors in making such a decision, natural parents might want to consider eco-friendly factors as well. This was not something I had considered at all when, at four months old, Sofie went off to daycare. My daughter’s first childcare provider was an in-home day care, which was nice in that it was small (3-4 kids) and Sofie received lots of loving, individual attention. The provider was agreeable to changing cloth diapers, feeding Sofie with my warmed-up breast milk, and occasionally wearing her in a carrier. Her home was cozy with plenty of time spent outside. On the down side, the TV was often on, and no preference was given to green furnishings or materials. At age two, we moved Sofie to an early childhood education center. … Continue reading

Helping Kids Reduce Stress

Ways to Help Kids Manage Stress |

Already, at nine years old, my daughter has mentioned that she keeps her stress in her neck and shoulders. Stress? At nine? What’s happening? Nothing major, as it turns out. But I haven’t attributed much weight to Sofie’s everyday quarrels with friends, homework anxiety, or even how she reacts to issues within our family. Apparently, as much as we try to feather their nests, our kids still deal with stress at an earlier age than we may have thought. While we can’t relieve them of their anxieties, we can help them cope. Here are some tools your child can learn now and use for the rest of her life. Cultivate a Positive Outlook The more you focus on your child’s best parts and behaviors, the more he will learn to see the glass as half full and seek solution to his problems. The latest research shows that we can mold … Continue reading

Tips for Greening Your Child’s Bedroom or Nursery

It’s easy to get caught up in buying brand new, chain store stuff right from the start, especially when the Baby Industry woos you with their surplus of oversized cribs, cozy rocking chairs and cute monkey-adorned blankets. However, this is not a very sustainable choice and, often, not very healthy for your child either. A child’s developing body is more sensitive to environmental hazards than an adult’s, so it makes sense to pay more attention to what goes into your child’s bedroom – where they can spend up to one-half of their day. The materials and adhesives that go into furniture, flooring, bedding and décor often contain and emit VOCs (volatile organic compounds), a mixture of chemicals that can have adverse health effects. One common VOC, formaldehyde, is a known carcinogen. PBDEs (polybrominated diphenyl ethers) are endocrine-disrupting chemicals commonly used as flame retardants, and they tend to migrate from household products … Continue reading

Parenting According to Dosha

Tips for how to parent the dosha of your child |

The Indian science of Ayurveda is the art of living in harmony with nature. Everything in nature is formed from various proportions of these five elements: space, air, water, fire and earth. These elements are also present as biological energies within us, where they are called doshas: Pitta, Vata and Kapha. What is a Dosha? The three doshas, or mind-body types, reveal our personal energy patterns—sort of like the way Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® identifies our personalities (ISFJ, anyone?). While we each have a mix of all three doshas, usually one primary dosha dominates our personality and health from birth. According to Ayurvedic principles, we can achieve balance in our health and our lives by nurturing our particular dosha. Here is a brief summary of each dosha. Pitta (fire and water; summer/early fall): Hot, intense, sour energy. Pitta people tend to have a medium build, sensitive skin and strong appetites. They … Continue reading

Beauty Inside and Out: Goddess Garden Safe Sunscreen Review


This post is sponsored by Green Sisterhood but, as always, the opinion is my own. The recent beautiful New England weather has my family spending more time outdoors, which means it’s time to lather ourselves with Goddess Garden’s safe sunscreen. I learned about Goddess Garden last year, and it’s been our family’s go-to sunscreen ever since. As a forty-something woman who knows about the increased importance of skin protection, I want to avoid sun damage. I don’t want wrinkles and pigmentation to keep me from feeling beautiful on the outside. And I’ve learned how external beauty is often affected by what’s inside our personal care products. In the same way you want to fuel your body with healthy foods, you only want healthy products to soak into your skin—both have a direct impact on how you feel and how you look. Thus, over the past five years, I’ve gradually transitioned … Continue reading

WILD MINT SHOP: One-Stop Holiday Shopping for Safe, Sustainable Toys

Wild Mint Shop Toys |

This post was sponsored by Green Sisterhood. As always, all opinions are my own. Do you have a lot of extra time around the holidays? I doubt it. Do you aim to buy gifts quickly without a lot of hassle or research? Ideally. And can you trust that those gifts are not only bound to put a smile on the intended receiver, but are also safe for their health and for the planet? Ummmm…. Yeah, who thinks of that? Of course you want your kids, nieces and nephews to play with toys that won’t emit formaldehyde or lead to early puberty or cancer. But that simply isn’t front of mind when we’re shopping, is it? We have a list, we have a budget, we pick something off the shelf or online. Wrap it up. Done. And it’s not that we’re cold-hearted or careless. It’s that we kind of want to … Continue reading