Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Great Diaper Debate

Cloth or disposable? Which should it be?!

There are pros and cons to both options. With disposables, you can go for a "change it and forget it" approach. They are definitely affordable for most of us as well. The main drawback for many is that they are one of the largest contributors to landfills in the country, taking hundreds of years to even begin to break down. This made them "not so hot" in my book. Cloth diapers are 100% reusable, leaving nothing behind in the landfills. However, they are definitely NOT a "change it and forget it" option. You must chose how you will store them once they are soiled. I have yet to come across anyone that washes each diaper after every change, but the fact remains that serious sanitation is a MUST! They are also not the most convenient when it comes to "dirty" pants, especially when the family is out and about. Many a mother has found herself rinsing out a cloth diapers in the mall restroom toilet. The thought of this was all I needed to walk away from this option. My hand in a public toilet? Yeah. Not gonna happen.

In true "Jade" fashion, we embarked upon the journey to find a diaper that would satisfy both me and my husband. Needless to say, it was very long and arduous. We each had different non-negotiables. I wanted an eco-friendly option that didn't call for toilet dipping and my husband wanted a simple diaper that could be tossed when it was dirty. It took lots of digging,  but JACKPOT, I've found two options we can both handle!

 gDiapers came into our lives at the perfect time! This small, but fast-growing, company was started by a husband and wife team that saw the need for an option of diapering for our every-changing lifestyles.  gDiapers describe themselves as a hybrid between cloth and disposable. The diaper consists of an outer cloth gPant (which are very fashionable, might I add), an inner removable plastic liner, and a disposable insert. They allow you the option of changing a diaper and throwing it away when you finish, knowing that it won't sit at the city dump for years to come. The inserts actually breaks down in as little as 60 days. They can be flushed if you want them to dissolve immediately. The wet inserts can also be composted. As far as cons go, from time to time, you'll have a "stinky situation" when you baby has a stinky diaper. If the stool is soft, it can spill into the plastic liner, which will then need to be washed and changed. But fixing this issue takes all of sixty seconds, and you're back in business. Honestly, I've had a few "stinky situations" with traditional disposables, so this wasn't a major con for me. One other issue is that they are a bit more of an initial investment to have enough to use them full-time. But they've developed a few packages and programs to get you started without breaking your budget. It's my favorite diaper we've found, hands down, and the one we use full-time.

Our other staple is a brand called Nature Babycare. These diapers were developed in Sweden by a mom who, simply, cares about the environment. She started her small company and it continues to grow, reaching all across the world. This option was appealing because at first glance, it looks and functions exactly like the disposables we've all come to know. The difference is that they are made from natural and biodegradable materials. They are also continuously evaluating their design and materials to be sure they are moving closer and closer to being 100% biodegradable and natural. For our family, this has been a great alternative to the traditional disposable. I can breath a little easier when we are traveling, at church, or anywhere else where we need to toss and forget it. Nature Babycare also has a wonderful line of eco-friendly baby wipes, and as we approach potty training time, they have flushable wipes and pull-ups. A great find!

In my search over the years, these have been the best options I have come across in the US. I hope that both gDiapers and Nature Babycare can help you breath a bit easier, knowing that we aren't making a mess of our earth. Every little bit helps! And as you can see from the picture, our guy doesn't mind one bit!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Mmmm....GRANOLA!

So lately, I've been looking for ways to eat yummy things that are both tasty and healthy. I stumbled across this recipe online and have been changing it up for my family. It's been a hit! Here it is for you.

4 cups oats (can be oatmeal or any combination of grains)
1/3 cup flax seed or flax seed mill (optional, but recommended)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup honey or agave nectar
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
4 tbsp butter
4 tsp vanilla

*Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
*Combine oats/grains, flax, sugar, nutmeg, and cinnamon in a large bowl. Mix thoroughly.
*In a small saucepan, melt butter and honey or agave nectar. (Tip, if you spray your measuring cup with oil before pouring honey, it will slide out) Once melted, remove from heat and immediately add vanilla to liquid mixture.
*Combine wet and dry mixture, mixing thoroughly, making sure all is coated well. Spread on an oiled cookie sheet.
*Bake approximately 20-25 minutes, until golden. Allow to cool and enjoy! Store uneaten portion in a sealed container.

The complete recipe can be found at http://www.grouprecipes.com/423/oatmeal-cookie-granola.html.

My family LOVES it! You can add dried fruit, nuts, etc. Our favorite way to enjoy it is to eat it with yogurt and blueberries. Yummy!
 

Friday, February 5, 2010

let's get started...

Where do I begin? Well, I have been a woman that is interested in living a healthy life that offers the least amount of impact on the earth. Over the past years, however, I've become more aware that the choices that are most easily available to us aren't always the best choices for us. Two years ago, my husband and I welcomed our first child into the family. This triggered a need within me for better understanding of the products we were using in our home. I have always been mindful of the food that we eat as a family. Having gained the responsibility to now shape the world of someone, I realized that I could do so much more to be sure I wasn't exposing him to harmful chemicals in our food, soap, lotion, and other household products.

Here's where it gets interesting. After the birth of our son, I started feeling guilty about the amount of disposable diapers that we were using. I knew that they do nothing but sit in our landfills, literally sinking up the place. I, previously, found soaps and lotions that were natural and contained no harmful chemicals and really felt a since of relief, knowing I was beginning an effort to keep my baby healthy and our water supply clean. So I decided to look into what other products that were out there. I wasn't going to fool myself. My husband is a wonderful man, but eco-friendly living isn't something that's ever been on his radar. He isn't one who really thinks about nature or the earth. His only concern on the topic is that we keep our home free of any "roommates" that were meant to live outside. So as I begun my search, I automatically knew that cloth diapers would not be an option. If I ever wanted help with changing diapers, I needed to have something more creative. I also came upon information that there are chemicals in the most popular soaps and lotions that can be harmful to our bodies, potentially causing a number of health concerns in the future for our baby. I had already started the process of transitioning our family to a diet that included no processed foods, full of whole grains, and that would nourish our bodies in their most natural state.

As I dug deeper into the process, I struggled to find products that were easily attainable and would allow us to come together as parents to feel we were both making the best choices for our little guy. I must say, this was a difficult process! As I discovered some new products, some were "over the top" in my husband's eyes and others weren't natural and gentle enough for my comfort. As I discussed our situation with my girlfriends, no one was able to relate to my need to be creative with my approach to green living. Most of the people I spoke to either has full support of the effort from their spouse or they simply didn't have green living on their list of things to do.

So here I am. I've come to find an alternative approach that allows for simplistic changes in a household that allow for the same lifestyle that we all have come accustom to. I totally understand that each of us finds passion in different areas, but when it comes to being gentle to ourselves and our earth, we either choose to make changes, or we choose to ignore it. I've chosen to make creative additions to our household in all areas and I continue to search high and low for ways to maintain a green lifestyle with a twist of our traditional conveniences. The best part is that, generally, my husband hasn't even noticed a difference!

And thus, A Hint of Jade. It's not our traditional method of green living. We are developing an alternative approach to creating a eco-friendly household when to traditional approach doesn't fit our family. I've started this blog because I'm sure I'm not alone on this journey. I hope to offer an outlet, open discussions, and create a community where we can come together and share our great finds. In the end, I hope for a peaceful, healthy household and a flourishing earth. We can do this! Who's with me?!