Some of The 2012 Headlines That Scared the Bejesus Out of Parents

Some of The 2012 headlines that scared the Bejesus out of parents and caused many to change their ways.

In April, consumer advocates blew the whistle on Proctor and Gamble as the toxin 1,4 dioxane was found in Tide Free and Gentle laundry detergent in laboratory tests.  If you find this unpalatable as I did, know that there is petition asking Proctor and Gamble to remove this ingredient. You can sign it here and join almost 80,000 people who have already signed. Sadly I was one of the believers that Tide actually made a cleaner detergent and was buying this product.  This story made me a convert to totally naturally laundry detergent. Why take chances?

In August Johnson & Johnson stunned parents by admitting they used harmful carcinogens in their products, AND most notably in their baby products. Yes, they vowed to clean up their mess by 2015 but baby won’t be a baby by then so really who wants to stick around and wait? Like me, many people had the fear of G*d put in them by this story and have switched to all natural care for the whole family including baby. And its good to note that J & J are the only behemoth cosmetic co. who has admitted using such carcinogens. Many other huge cosmetic co.s use these horrible ingredients as well but perhaps are counting on the fact that most don’t read product labels in detail.

In September just in time for back to school, news broke that Disney backpacks and lunchboxes contained toxic chemicals. A mom, Lori Alper is taking on Disney to get them to remove the toxins on behalf of all of our children. This woman deserves kudos from parents everywhere for her heroic efforts as she continues to work on Disney through the end of 2012.  If you admire her as I do, you can follow her on her blog Groovy Green Living.

And a story I read in September that blew my mind, focused on the findings from the work by chemist Arlene Blum. Basically if you read her story, you will find out about ‘killer couch chemicals’.  I know hard to believe a whole industry is sending poison into our homes but read her story and chances are you may find you own a ‘killer couch’. Sad thing is that it is taking years and years..a whole generation for this issue to be addressed.  Arlene Blum started her research in 1976 citing the killer chemical then found in kids pj’s as a mutagen.  It was removed from pj’s but not from couches…my kids sit on couches. what about yours?

And just the other day the Chicago Tribune ran a frightening article citing the flame retardant chemical, Chlorinated Tris is commonly found in baby crib mattresses. As a mom whose kids are now out of baby matresses, I wonder if their little bodies were subjected to the harmful chemical a few years ago? Horrible thought but what it does do is make me believe in organic bed matresses all-round especially for kids.

So as we go into 2013 knowing this info, the message is any hint of toxin in a product you use or use on your kids, is good reason for a change.  Sadly it can take a fight and/or years of research before a government or industry bans use of a killer chemical.

Here’s to a more informed and healthier 2013.

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Five Ways to Detox For A Healthier 2013!

My Top Five ways to DETOX inside and out for a healthier 2013!

1) Get your sweat on!  Whatever it is you like to do, sweat a little everyday.  My personal fave is yoga…it does wonders for stretching and strengthening AND body sculpting. And if you have never tried yoga, you may be surprised how it can work wonders for weight loss. Trust me. And if you have tried yoga and want a change, try a class in the heat or a vinyasa (power) yoga class for extra challenge.

2) Watch what you eat.  In 2013 it’s not about just losing weight, it’s about being healthy.  Watch your intake of processed sugars, grains and of course hydrogenated fats. We all know this but many of us, yours truly included, may need a little nudge to be reminded now and again. And if its weight loss you seek, of course by eating healthier, that can be a definite benefit for many. I plan to start 2013 ‘healthier’ by doing a 10 Day Detox in January. I am doing this as a way of figuring out how to eat healthier for myself and for my family.  This DETOX can be done on-line where I spend alot of my time AND comes with recipes…as a mom I love that taking part in this detox sounds so easy!

3) Choose less-industrialized foods aka the ‘back to the farm’ approach. In 2012, my family continued along the path of getting food from local farmers where we could.  Living in the centre of a massive city, we did this by buying meat from butchers who had cultivated relationships with local farmers. We liked that we could ask which farm our dinner came from and that we ate ‘natural’ meat as compared to mass factory-farmed stuff.  The bonus for us was that we were not at risk when the countless issues arose in 2012 of E.Coli in mass-processed beef. Supporting small, local farmers made us feel good as we don’t want to live to see the day where all food is mass-produced. We took the same approach with our veg and fruits getting weekly or bi-weekly local organic produce delivered to our door from Front Door Organics. Some of the best tasting veg. I have ever had.  My kids agreed, voraciously eating the organic produce. Woo Hoo!!

4) Watch what you put on your body.  Toxins are plentiful in oodles of body lotions, shampoos, deodorants, face creams and serums.  You can’t really detox inside and forget what you are putting on the outside of your body.  Think of how a nicotene patch works.  The chemicals you put on your body sink in. So best to ditch toxic preservatives such as parabens, methylisothiazolinone, and the like (read: too many to list!). And plant based skincare is always safer and works better than petroleum-based. If you are not sure what you have in your medicine cabinet, look for ingredients on labels such as cyclopentasiloxane, dimethicone, petrolatum and mineral oil to confirm if it is petroleum-based or not.  Lots of companies say they are natural and aren’t 100% natural so best to check for yourself. Consult a trusted source such as Environmental Defence Canada for ingredient no-nos. And shop at a ‘nice retailer‘ such as Sessabel.

5) Be aware of toxins in your environment and try to reduce where you can. If you didn’t read newspaper headlines in 2012 about toxins in everyday items such as cosmetics, clothes, carscouches and crib mattresses, be sure to. I know that its not easy to make changes in all cases  as toxins have become ubiquitous in so many industries. But even a few changes in the right direction will help. The more people who know the scoop and make informed decisions by speaking with their wallets, the better.  Hopefully we collectively change the culprit industries for the better someday soon.

Here’s to a Healthy (and Happy) 2013!

Retailers: Naughty or Nice?

I read a post today which made me think.  And when something provokes thought I like to share.

Yesterday in the Safer Chemicals Healthy Families blog, a study was posted where retailers were ranked in terms of their commitment to cosmetic safety. To me it is not important whether you necessarily shop these particular retailers or not but that we all understand that some retailers are diligent and care about what they stock and some are not.

In this particular study, Whole Foods came out on top.  No surprise as they have a long list of substances they won’t allow in their products and suppliers must comply or go elsewhere.  They even make this list public so consumers like you and I can check it out and know their policies. Kudos!

If you don’t shop any of the retailers noted in the study…not important.  There are retailers making a difference everywhere. Our job as concerned consumers is to find our own local best options. Take for instance Terra20 in Ottawa.  They have adopted the Whole Foods style list of ingredients they will not stock. This includes such dastardly ingredients as dibutyl phthalate (so none of this), BHA/BHT (so no Desitin baby cream), formaldehyde-releasing preservatives ( so no Johnson and Johnson Baby shampoo), parabens (so no Philosophy), and no Sodium Laureth Sulfate (so definitely no Kiehl’s Gentle Baby Wash or Aveeno Baby). Terra20 provides a great model for other retailers to follow.

So this Season you can determine yourself if your retailer is naughty or nice and make an informed decision as to whether or not you want to shop there. Essentially you need to be a warrior for your own health.  And don’t forget you are the customer so if you are not happy with something that is being stocked at your local retailer, don’t be shy TELL THEM.  If enough of us remind retailers that consumers care about the ingredients they are putting on their bodies, the more of them will take note and offer cleaner products.

And take a look at this petition The Campaign for Safe cosmetics has put together asking retailers to take their customers health seriously. You can sign it here if you wish.

Happy conscious shopping!

Ten Years of Happiness-Celebrated with Good Food, Good Company and Geddy Lee’s Wine

Who would ever argue that part of living a healthy life is being a happy, contentedAnniversary wine individual consistently enjoying whatever it is that floats your boat?

Yesterday, Mr. Canning and I celebrated our 10th anniversary.  Our gift to one another  was  a dinner at a fancy resto and a B.Y.O.B. wine to match. Our history of food and wine goes back to the beginning. When we first met, it seemed a perfect match.  He a wine enthusiast and me, a foodie.  Needless to say, we have enjoyed many a great meal with a well-matched bottle together over the last decade.  And of course, our tenth anniversary dinner celebration was no different.

Dinner last night was enjoyed at a Toronto institution. A culinary mecca where quality and service are second-to-none. And a reservation made 6 weeks in advance, assured us a great view from our table’s unique hillside vantage point, high atop the city on Benvenuto Place.  It was a fab evening indeed.

One of the most special parts of the evening came in the bottle of wine we brought to the resto.  Ten years ago, after polling my girlfriends as to what to get my new mate for our first Christmas together, I bought Mr. Canning some fabulous bottles of Burgundy.

At the time, I knew nothing about wine but did know my usual plonk would not do. These particular fancy bottles came from a friend’s bro who as a wine agent, clearly knew just what make wine enthusiast swoon.

The gift wine arrived on that day 10 years ago, in a box strangely marked ‘Geddy Lee’.  A quick check on Wikipedia confirmed that the famous Geddy Lee enjoys fine burgundies.  And a little more digging confirmed that the Subdivisons singer buys wine from the same broker I bought the gift bottles from.

I am not sure why I might have received wine originally destined for the famous singer but feel grateful I was the recipient of this particular bottle of 1999 Pommard.  It may have been the gift that set the foundation for the years of great wine-centered meals at Casa Canning and most certainly it was a fabulous addition to our anniversary dinner.

And having just passed the decade mark, I reminisce. It has been a very happy decade with Mr. C.  I am definitely a true believer that part of a happy, healthy life is to savour the simple pleasures in life with the one you love. And Mr. Lee, thank you, your wine was fabulous!  I think that we too, can now confidently claim to like fine wines from Burgundy as well.