Babies.. the miracle of life!
For those of you who know me, it may seem a weird choice of topic considering I don't have one nor planning to have one in the near future. Yet, it's important to talk about them, not just because they are cuties but, most importantly, the future of humanity depends on them (no pressure little fellas!).
They say there is no thing stronger than the love of a parent for a child, and mothers and fathers worldwide go to great lengths to ensure the happiness, safety and well being of their children..
BUT in today's world there are things parents are inadvertently doing that put their babies and children at risk - and the key is in the title: chemicals!
We are constantly surrounded by chemicals, they are in the air around us (yes even if you try your best to avoid them) and in the products we use. Eating local and organic, using natural beauty products are examples of things we can do to limit our chemical intake. But what about protecting our progeny?
I was shocked that the first ingredient in baby oil is 'Paraffinum liquidum' - or better, petroleum derived oil! While there are debated negative 'health' effect of using this, i wouldn't use it on a baby who is still developing! And that's not the only thing. As we know (or should know/ should keep in consideration more), many chemicals can act as endocrine disruptors, meaning (in short!) that they can mimic our hormones and bind to the enzymes occupying the space and either blocking or stimulating the production of extra hormones. A problem when you are an adult, but an even bigger problem when you are a baby and are developing (and when you are a foetus too! So mums-to-be, pay attention!), as in these stages the endocrine system (hormone system) plays a main role in growth and development. Moreover, disruption to the hormone system can render us infertile - easy to see that if this is the case in the worst case scenario we are en-route to extinct the human race (one argues that it wouldn't necessarily be a terrible thing - discuss!).
So, what items in a baby life contain endocrine disruptors ?
- Toys, particularly those which end up in babies mouth (perhaps everything): teething toys!
- Items containing fire retardants
- Diapers: they contain dioxins, sodium polycryate, fragrances and phthalates (known endocrine disruptors!) and even TBT was found in nappies (a chemical that was banned for use in the paint in the bottom of boats as it had endocrine disrupting effects on wildlife! do we want it near our babies??)
You can read more on this very interesting document from the 'World Health Organisation' .
In the meantime I urge you to think about natural solutions: reusable nappies, natural oil, plastic-free toys (I still remember my woody noise maker! why not make something yourself?!), wooden teether (look very beautiful as well!). With many online resources about raising babies naturally, I urge all of you parents and parents to be to think about this and maybe sacrifice a little bit of convenience for the health and wellbeing of your progeny and the future of humanity! And maybe if we all boycott just a little the big companies, maybe they will have some food for thought as well!
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As a natural fibres advocate, I decided to scout for some good fabric for my sporty life.
3. good fit
4. not losing shape after a few days (goes with points 1 and 3)
6. not synthetic
7. good for the skin
9. not breaking the bank!
With the heatwave hitting Northern Europe and the UK this week, a post about boating couldn't go amiss. Who wouldn't love to be on a yacht in a nice bay in the sunshine as they are reading this?
But... do you know that you can have an environmental impact even if you have the most ecofriendly of sailing boats? Hope my sailing friends are reading this!
So you left the harbour, the winds were in your favour and you have sailed all day, no engine and you finally arrive at your chosen bay to spend the evening - you prepare to drop the anchor... and here lies the problem
Veg box deliveries.. What an amazing invention!
Maybe you are not a great fan of the whole greens shenanigans.. or maybe you are an addict! Or in the middle - whichever category you identify yourself with read on!
First of all - it's super convenient. Vegetables that gets delivered to your front door (you don't even have to be waiting for them in the house if you have a safe place for them to be left in) means no trips to the grocery store (or supermarket) stuck in traffic, looking for parking, queuing, or walking back with heavy bags (for a veg addict like me - those bags can fill up quite quickly!).
Secondly - less packaging! I am always very shocked to see how much (plastic) packaging is on the fruit and vegetable aisle in supermarkets (and unfortunately even some grocery stores!). Whereas my veg box comes with as little plastic as possible, just a couple of bags (which I reuse and reuse) and the box for the strawberries (which you could reuse for plants etc..) with most ingredients loose in the box, or in paper bags. And the box is a typical wooden box that you return. Amazing!
After 4 years (time goes incredibly fast these days...) I found myself back in my first 'home away from home' town to celebrate 20+ years of Marine Biology being taught at Plymouth.
Was a pleasure to see the town again (nothing has changed, frozen in time, apart from my perspective of space and what constitute long distances...), catching up with people I have not seen in a long time and seeing the professors - whom I have to thank profusely for teaching me so well and inspiring me to be where I am now.
Sentimentalisms aside, on the Saturday of the reunion we sat in a lecture theatre and heard very inspiring talks (so inspiring I didn't even get one moment of distraction as per usual in conferences!) from Emeritus Professors such as John Davenport and current professors and staff. But to me the most inspiring where the student career talks.
Not because I, myself, got to explain where I am now and how I got here through endless volunteering and internship positions....
This is mostly a women-specific post but men, if you are here, please continue to read on!
Yes, you are guessing right - I am going to speak about what happens monthly to most women: periods!
Something so natural and so normal yet so little spoken about.
During this 'plastic challenge June' I would like to particularly put periods within the plastic issue.
You can call me a modern life witch if you wish...
To the point where I just dreamt of a secret ingredient to help climbers climb better...Oh I wish!
While not all dreams come true, if you read on I can try help with some of your ailments, help you make some beauty potions or just make you smell pretty if that's what you are looking for.
I am just going to get my oil bag and I will show you how it's done.
As this post gets published, I am likely getting ready to run my 9th parkrun - on a beach!
Yes, I am being a 'tourist' today and making the most of my weekend by being up the north coast of Ireland and running the Portrush parkrun before a surf (finally some swell!)!
But what is parkrun? And why do I love it so much?
Let me give you some background on my running - let's just say it dates back to...hmm... just a few months ago! Yes, one day in February I decided to start running. No particular reasons apart from the fact that I always hated the idea of running, and I decided it was time to face the hate and trying to see if I could understand why so many people love it ( I know I know I sound mental...).
My first running attempt was a 5 Km of mixed walk and run which lasted a whole 45 minutes and left me exhausted. Exhausted but also happy. And so I gave it a couple more attempts, getting slowly better, until the walk and run became continuous run for 15 then 20 then 25 and eventually a whole 30 minutes..
Some of my surfing friends were talking about parkruns and one day I decided to challenge myself and join them in their local 'Ormeau parkrun'. I remember that Saturday morning, so worried that I wasn't going to be able to finish the 5Km, let alone finish them in a reasonable amount of time. Worried I will come last. Worried people would have to wait for me. Planning my escape route just in case. And yet there I was, at the start line, surrounded by at least 2-300 people who looked like runners. 3,2,1 GO - first loop, 2 Km, done. Second loop, harder, pushing through, tired and yet surrounded by others like me, encouraging smiles. One of my surfing friends next to me running at a similar pace, faces that I recognise in the crowds. Volunteers at every corners, telling you where to go, clapping, smiling, 'nearly there' one says. People ahead (many), people behind (some). Finally crossed the finish line, a chip gets handed to me, my barcode scanned - my time will be online soon. A few hours later, my time is online. 29:45 - I am proud to have done it, let alone done it sub 30.
8 Park runs later I have a personal best of 24:25 (hopefully to be closer to 24:00 soon), and the faces in the crowd have become more and more recognisable. I find myself smiling as I overtake, challenging the person just next to me as we continuously overtake each other, and smiling at that tall dad pushing twins that manages every week without a doubt to zoom past me.
I have been taking other running challenges since, signed up for races and take up running alone in my own time, yet the 9.30 saturday morning run is my favourite. There is something about familiarity, community, encouragement, smiling faces, everyone being on the same boat - up early on a saturday to run.
I love that this run is run entirely by volunteers - many of them. From the ones organising 'behind the scenes', via the ones at corners telling you where to go and clapping as you go past, to the ones recording and organising the times. I owe them a huge thank you - they transformed my hate in love!
I guess I didn't answer the 'what is parkrun' question:
An extract from their site : parkrun organise free, weekly, 5km timed runs around the world. They are open to everyone, free, and are safe and easy to take part in. These events take place in pleasant parkland surroundings and we encourage people of every ability to take part; from those taking their first steps in running to Olympians; from juniors to those with more experience; we welcome you all.
As you can see is very inclusive. Through the map you can easily find the running circuits closer to your home, or to your current location. After you sign up and get your personal barcode you can also be a 'tourist' (as they call them at my local parkrun) and attend other runs, maybe for convenience or for a change of scenery and path. I am really excited about my beachrun this weekend, and hope it goes well. I am super thankful to the organisers who quickly responded to my facebook enquiry about beach running shoes vs barefoot for providing me with great info in a super quick time (and remember they are volunteers!).
I love this kind of community efforts, I believe they are so important - so let's keep them going!
As promised, I am keeping you all up to date on my progress with the plastic challenge.
It is incredibly hard already, everything comes in plastic!
Supermarket shopping in terms of vegetables is impossible, so I went to the market to get a few more vegetables and some local meat (i brought my own bags and the veg counter has paper bags!).
As we are going away surfing and camping tonight I also prepared some meals in advance for tonight and tomorrow, taking things away in Tupperware containers and glass jars. Healthy and plastic free!!
On the menu:
- Dinner: aubergine and tuna puree (with lots of oregano and red onion!)
- Breakfast tomorrow: Some protein power put in a jar to be shaken with water tomorrow morning
- Lunch: boiled eggs and lettuce
Also as always we will take away any plastic we find on the beach and surroundings :)
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