Motherhood, Marriage and Other Wild Rides

Health, Happiness and the Pursuit of Mommyhood

Wash away the toxins. My picks for the best natural haircare July 28, 2009

Our well-meaning attempts to tame our locks with expensive shampoos and conditioners are, unfortunately often thwarted by the products’ own synthetic ingredients. Sadly, the culprit of dryness, itchiness and aggravated oil production are often common ingredients found in the beauty products we’ve purchased to alleviate exactly those irritations. What’s worse, many of those ingredients are also known carcinogens, toxins and neurotoxins.

We are what we eat and, essentially, so is our hair. Projecting from the epidermis, our hair sprouts from follicles deeply planted in our largest organ, our skin. What we feed it, therefore, greatly affects how it grows.

Take an eye-opening tour of your bathroom cabinet with Skin Deep,  the online cosmetics safety database created by Campaign for Safe Cosmetics partner the Environmental Working Group to help fill safety gaps left by the unregulated cosmetics industry. This searchable database matches the ingredients in more than 25,000 shampoos, makeup, deodorants, sunscreens and other personal care products with 50 toxicity and regulatory databases allowing consumers to find products free of carcinogens, synthetic fragrance or contaminants. For a quick list of worst offenders, see Chemicals to avoid in beauty products.

Shiny, beautiful, healthy hair is within reach. Click here for a comprehensive list of top selling natural and organic hair products, formulated without parabens, suates, synthetic fragrances or dyes, petro-chemicals, phthalates,GMO and triclosan.

This helpful list also includes suggestions for cleansing hair after swimming, tinting/coloring, maintaining tint/color, healing a chronically dry or itchy scalp, and giving yourself (or your beloved!) the ultimate treat: a scalp massage.

Read the article here.


ADHD meds may cause cardiac death in healthy kids July 27, 2009

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a safety warning recently about a possible association between the use of stimulant medications for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, known as ADHD, and sudden cardiac death in healthy children. 

Kids taking psychotropic drugs must get heart test

The American Heart Association and other leading groups have expressed concern regarding reports of sudden deaths of children and adolescents treated with psychotropic medications such as Ritalin, Adderall, Prozac, Paxil and others. Children taking these medications are at risk of developing serious or life threatening cardiac conditions and should have ECG screenings prior to starting on these medications.

Parents of children or teenagers who are about to take or who already take psychotropic drugs are encouraged to take their children to a pediatrician or family doctor for a screening EKG heart test, as part of CompuMed’s CardioGramKids Pediatric Screening Program. 

Read the rest of this story here.

You may be interested to read…
Caring for aging family members in a digital world
Colorblind kids: Finding the rainbow
Fun on-the-road learning games

Should I give up shampoo? July 26, 2009

Beauty draws us with a single hair.  –Alexander Pope

It’s our crowning glory. Yet, in our pursuit of conquering the unruly, straightening the tightly curled, curling the poker straight and tinting the color, our hair is repeatedly abused with countless chemicals, and stripped of its natural oils—and both are washed down the drain by gallon after gallon of water. As women begin to update beauty routines with natural and organic products, hair salons are reporting a backward shift to an approach popular during the Eisenhower administration: weekly wash and set appointments.
Jeffrey Lyle at Boston’s Emerge Spa and Salon suggests outsourcing your shampoo to a professional adds both convenience and allure; “When it’s a little dirty, it actually looks smoother and shinier.”
When Sydney-based radio host Richard Glover  interviewed Times of London columnist Matthew Parris, who hasn’t shampooed for more than a decade, “so many people called saying that they wanted to try it, too,” recalled Glover. He challenged his audience to go without shampoo for six weeks. Eighty-six percent of the over 500 participants who reported results said their hair was either better or the same. One participant, Emma Rowles, 22, blamed her former “itchy scalp” on shampoo and announced: “There’s no way I will ever let a drop of shampoo anywhere near my head again.” Rowles’s results were not uncommon. Once Glover’s listeners stopped shampooing so often, participants reported dry hair became normal, straight hair took on a flattering wave, scaly scalps were soothed, and oiliness subsided.

Click for Key reasons to wash your hair less frequently (or, for the brave few, not at all):

Green Living 101: Chemicals to avoid in beauty products
Is your bottled water safer than tap?
Walmart to revolutionize global sustainability standards

Walmart goes seriously green. July 24, 2009

The following is an excerpt from my Green Living column on

When most of us think of environmentally-friendly stores offering sustainable products made efficiently and fairly, Walmart is often not the first company coming to mind.

Never judge a seemingly endless discount warehouse by its preternatural fluorescense.

The retail giant has already committed to greening its stores, including a plan to tap into solar power, and driven an effort to create more sustainable electronics devices to reduce landfill impact. Now, Walmart is demanding all suppliers provide environmental information on every product carried in its stores. Walmart will use the data to label each item with an eco rating, designed to measure its environmental friendliness and help inform consumers. 

“We have to change how we make and sell products,” Mike Duke, President and CEO of Walmart, told about 1,500 suppliers and employees on Thursday, July 16, 2009 at the company’s Sustainability Milestone Meeting; “Sustainability has become a part of everything we do.”

Duke believes the economic crisis is leading consumers to become smarter about saving money, and expressed concern that every economic class be provided with access to quality food and environmentally responsible products. “We’re living in a world of increasing population and decreasing natural resources,” he observes. “Our use of natural resources for everything we grow, eat, drink, make, package, buy, transport and throw away–all of that is out-pacing the earth’s capacity to sustain us. Fresh food and quality products shouldn’t be available to only a privileged few, they should be available to all.”

In an effort to create a new global retail standard, Walmart is unrolling its Sustainability Index plan in three phases over the next five years:

Read the rest of this article and learn more about Duke’s 3-part sustainability program here.


Fun, Educational Road Trip Games for Kids July 23, 2009

Mother and homeschooler Jessica Parnell knows how to turn any place into a learning environment–even the back seat of the car on a road trip with her children

“We found ways to take the basic [subjects] and turn them into a game,” says Parnell. “This not only helped to pass the time, but brought out the creativity in all of us.”

For a selection of some of Jessica Parnell’s fun and educational on-the-road games on the subjects of English and Grammar, Math, and History/Science/Nature/Creativity,  read the rest of this article here.

Ready to road-trip? Check out Budgeting for the Best Family-Friendly Hotels.


Say Thanks for Choosing Organic – and WIN! July 21, 2009

The following is an excerpt from my Green Living column on

One of the most important lessons we can teach our children is gratitude. Earthbound Farm offers organic salads to feed healthy, growing bodies and protect the planet; It’s up to us to foster a sense of thankfulness for the good we receive. 

Earthbound Farm believes when people choose their organic salads, they’re helping make a difference for future generations. The company just launched a web-based contest encouraging kids (ages 17 and under) to submit messages of thanks to those who purchase organic for helping protect the future. Winning quotes will appear the inside of its 100% post-consumer recycled clamshell salad containers. If their quote is chosen, your child will win:

A $500 US Savings Bond for your child’s future education

A $500 donation in your child’s name to their choice of one of these dedicated nonprofit environmental organizations:
American Forests
Beyond Pesticides
Environmental Working Group
Healthy Child Healthy World
Natural Resources Defense Council
Organic Farming Research Foundation
Pesticide Action Network North America
Union of Concerned Scientists

Winning quotes will appear on the back of the new salad labels and on the Earthbound Farm website!
4 winners will be selected in July and then add a new winner every month through the end of 2009!


Follow me on Twitter! @RebeccaLacko


Proof of purity called for pricey bottled waters July 20, 2009

The following is an excerpt from my Green Living column on

There are a few things we consumers, er, humans need to take seriously: the first is air, the second is water. Let’s put aside a debate about the ozone for a moment, as Jennifer Aniston’s face passes by on the side of a bus. She is shushing us about Glaceau’s smartwater. Is it because consumers are given less information about bottled water than what they can drink from the tap because the two are regulated differently? Companies that produce bottled water–a $11.2 billion industry including PepsiCo Inc.’s Aquafina and Coca-Cola Co.’s Dasani–currently aren’t required to report tests that turned up contamination.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t require companies that produce bottled water to report positive tests for contaminants. However, municipal water authorities, overseen by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), must report dangerous contaminants within 24 hours. Consumer advocates testified Wednesday, July 8, before the Energy and Commerce Committee’s oversight and investigations panel that bottlers should be required to disclose more information to consumers.

As Wall Street Journal’s Jane Zhang, succinctly says, “Federal regulation hasn’t caught up with Americans’ taste for bottled water.” Ironically, taste does not seem to be a high priority for Glaceau’s smartwater; a spokesperson for the company had this to say: “To us, Jennifer truly embodies what smartwater is all about as she combines substance and style like nobody else.”

Stricter labeling urged for bottled water

Both the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a nonprofit research and advocacy organization, recommend that bottled water be labeled with the same level of information municipal water providers must disclose. The EWG recommends purifying tap water with a commercial filter;

According to Emily Fredrix, “The researchers urged Americans to make bottled water ‘a distant second choice’ to filtered tap water because there isn’t enough information about bottled water.”

The GAO said the FDA should start by requiring that bottled water labels tell consumers where to find out more. Community water systems must distribute annual reports about their water’s source, contaminants and possible health concerns. Wiles agreed:

“If the municipal tap water systems can tell their customers this information, you would think that bottled water companies that charge 1,000 times more for this water could also let consumers know the same thing.”

Read the rest of this article…