First Shipment

April 4, 2008

Cloth Pads

I don’t consider myself slow in most ways, but there has been a rather steep learning curve when sewing the cloth pads for Goods4Girls.

I’ve had to rip a few seams, reinforce a couple of spots, and tweak my template more than once. All that being said, I’m ready to ship the first 5 pads!


Taking Action

April 1, 2008

Inspired by a post on another blog, I worked out a template for the Good4Girls project and sewed a few ‘dummy’ pads to see how it all worked. Why was I so shocked to find it easy and gratifying?

My goal is to sew 5 pads per month, plus a few inserts and maybe a carrying sack. I just need to figure out how the heck you purchase and attach snaps without patronizing our local Wal-Mart.

Good for All of Us

March 29, 2008

There is so much wrong in the world, and I often feel that blogging is a way to complain without having to do much else. But let’s face it, blogging is not enough (not to mention complaining ad nauseum). It’s time to take some action, even just the tiniest step, towards making the world a place in which i’d like my daughter to live. So please, spread the word about something important, something you care about, something that is changing the lives of people across the globe. Something like Goods 4 Girls.
If it were my daughter unable to attend school because she was menstruating, i’d want to know there were people who cared enough to take action.

Things I Never Thought

March 14, 2008

03-04-winter-preseason-31.jpgI’ve been (re) vegetarian for a year and ‘high’ raw for almost two months now. It’s been great saving energy, reducing waste, regaining some level of fitness and educating our family. What I didn’t expect to have happen is that I would fall in love with my dog.

9 years ago I rescued a mangey looking little pup from the local animal shelter. He was sort of a ranch dog and completely a mutt, meaning the local ranchers could not trust him with their cattle but he would need a sh*tload of exercise. At the time I was running marathons and took him in as a perfect companion.

Life changes, kids happen, marathon running takes a backseat to diapers, nursing, cleaning etc. And my little buddy sort of got the shaft.

Until I rediscovered vegetarianism. And an amazing, informative podcast called Food for Thought. Suddenly all the animal cruelty from meat consumption had a face, and the face was my rotten little dog that I had forgotten was always at my side in our younger years.

I started running again in the fall, and since going raw have been feeling so much more energetic and at peace with my food choices. I pass cows in the pasture where I live and don’t have to compartmentalize my feelings of sadness for them, because I don’t eat them or their secretions anymore.

I can look at my dog and know that i’m giving him the best life possible, that I respect who he is and the we are equals, he and I. I’m not really the master – thanks to vegan living. Veganism really is a lifestyle of expansion – one of love, self-respect and nurturing all living things. It’s a lifestyle I never expected would make me fall in love with my dog all over again.

Selling Melons for Money

February 13, 2008

photo_4528_20071220.jpgBeing frugal by nature, I struggle with the price i’m paying to be faithful to my newfound love of raw living. As I incorporate more nutrient dense foods such a bee pollen, my grocery bill skyrockets. Not only that, but since the US requires pasteurization of many raw items, i’m forced to acknowledge the oil used to bring my raw cashews from who-knows-where – presumably Canada where pasteurization is not mandatory.

I don’t live in a climate where I can wander down the street eating fresh oranges that are hanging onto the sidewalk or avocados that have rolled in to my yard as I did when I lived on Maui. I live in Colorado where the trees that I planted last fall are buried under 10 feet of snow.

It’s easy to rationalize my purchases, arguing that I do not spend money on alcohol since I don’t drink (maybe worth $20/week) and have weened myself from my daily nonfat latte habit (at least another $20/week not to mention additional savings for eliminating tortured cow’s milk from my diet) – but still, I paid $8 for a honeydew melon at Safeway yesterday, and it wasn’t even organic.

Suddenly buying a piece of dirt in a warm climate and growing my own food sounds sort of nice. That way, when the peak oil is upon is (I know, it already is upon us), I can sell my own melons for $8 and have yummy living food for my family. Somehow that came out sounding illegal, but really, it’s worth thinking about.


February 11, 2008

ocean-garbage.jpgFollowing a college trip to Taiwan, a friend of mine decided on a vegetarian lifestyle after seeing the way animals, even sea creatures were brutally handled and killed by locals to sell. Upon returning to America, she promptly bought a copy of Diet for a New America and was maniacal about the food purchased and consumed. Fast forward 15 years and you will see my friend now jokingly refer to herself as an opportunivore, meaning, if she gets the opportunity to eat meat that smells good, she does it.

While I also strayed for a while from my college vegetarian days, I have returned to that lifestyle, and now work at incorporating a raw vegan diet into my world. It saddens me that with age, my friend has forgotten the reasons for embracing vegetarianism that were so important to us long ago, especially now that we all have children, now that the secret regarding global warming is out, now that the decisions we make each and every day may have disastrous effects on the world we will leave our children.

Being vegetarian is not easy, not to mention being vegan, or god forbid, raw vegan. But I cannot pretend my choices don’t mean that down the road, someone else will pay. Are we so selfish that eating a piece of bacon is worth the suffering of the pig in the contained feedlot, the methane rising into the atmosphere, the energy required to slaughter and process the pork, the fossil fuels used to truck the meat to market, the paper purchased to wrap the food in a neat little take away bag. All because the bacon smelled good.

I’m not a perfect vegan. I eat cheddar cheese goldfish with hummus when i’m ravenous and am laboriously chopping veggies for a raw salad. But i’m not laughing about allowing myself the spontaneity to choose what to eat as it strikes me. Just because I can choose to eat animal flesh doesn’t mean I should. There are a million things available to me that I would not think of consuming, why is it so hard for people to do the same with meat?

At the end of all this global warming, trash heaps mounting, fossil fuels dwindling state is just one person, making a decision many times each day, each hour, each minute, that will forever leave a mark on this planet. What choices will you make today that aren’t the easiest, fastest or yummiest, but will give our children a chance at a world of green lush forests and fresh air. A place where were animals are reverred, not beaten.

Whatever you choose, let’s not pretend it is no big deal. This is a huge deal, and may be the last deal whose ending we get to choose.

In the Raw

February 8, 2008

Of all the things we have done as a family to lessen our impact on the environment, the most important and dramatic has been changing our diet. Initially, I switched our home to a vegetarian diet after watching the meet you meat video and started to incorporate more organic and locally grown produce whenever possible (not entirely easy in the Colorado Rocky Mountains). The change was seemless and while it did not reduce our grocery bill, I felt good about our efforts.

Recently, following a NY Times article reiterating some of the things I knew about the effects of cattle rearing on our planet, I began looking deeper into my food consumption habits. Christmas, of course, was a time of indulgence and I awoke in January feeling as if Santa had actually run me over with his sleigh. Poking around the internet let me to the raw food movement.

The theory behind raw or living foods is that the cooking process destroys the beneficial enzymes that live in the food, and since our bodies have a limited supply of these essential enzymes, we must obtain them from living food. There is a wealth of knowledge about the living food world available but I have found Raw Reform to be inspirational, educational and actually humorous.

Currently I make breakfast and lunch my raw meals, and chose a healthy, whole grain dinner that I am able to fix for the whole family. So far it is working out, however, I have struggled with feeling cold and hungry more than I am accustomed to. I do attribute this to the 30 feet of snow that has fallen in my town this season though, and know that my mind is adjusting to eating less just as much as my body.

It’s a fascinating journey and I hope the way my daughter will look at food as she grows into her own decision making years will be forever changed by the lessons she is learning in our home.

Waste and More Waste

December 26, 2007

smallcreditcard.jpgThere is nothing green about Christmas.

Of course, the tree, the wreaths, the lights, I get it, but as far as consuming less goes, it’s almost the antithesis of Christmas spirit.

We tried to do what we could: opted for the handed down fake tree, warned the rellies to scale back on purchases, suggested that one gift per person was more than enough, even asked my brother-in-law to buy ‘family’ gifts instead of individually.

We skipped the traditional feast in light of our vegetarianism and enjoyed Christmas Eve fondue with tofu and dipping sauces. We had a simple Christmas breakfast with lots of organic fruit and fake sausage. But at the end of it all, it’s just over-the-top, indulgent, gotta have just one more piece, rubbish.

Piles of cardboard boxes, packing peanuts and plastic bags are clogging the foyer. Junky little trinkets litter the coffee table. And the toys? I can’t even begin to list the things that were purchased for my two year old, but i’ll mention for the sake of clarification, a laptop. It seems the best solution to global warming is to not be wasteful. A brand new, plastic shelled computer is certainly not part of that paradigm.

Is it fair to my daughter to prohibit our family from buying her Christmas gifts because we don’t believe in the consumerism? Or is it unfair to let our daughter believe that on this one occasion we can behave as if we are not facing an environmental apocalypse?

When will we stop thinking the measure of love is in the material things we give and receive?

Greening the Tree

December 5, 2007

smallchristmasangel.jpgWe have a family tradition at Christmas time that entails hiking into National Forest Service land and cutting down our own special tree. Then, when the tree has dropped all it’s needles onto my living room carpet, we tie it to the roof of the car and drop it off for the city to grind up and make fertilizer in the spring.

Well, this year, in light of my born-again environmentalism, cutting down a tree just doesn’t seem appropriate. My husband lobbied hard for ‘the tradition’, claiming there were plenty of trees here in Colorado etc., but for me it felt hypocritical and just plain wrong.

I searched the internet for a recycled aluminum tree and had absolutely no luck. I cannot believe with the amount of tin cans that go to the recycling center every day, nobody has thought to make a christmas tree out of them.

On our weekly video call with my dad, he mentioned that he had a fake tree in a box sitting in the basement. With all the kids grown, he didn’t want to bother putting it up, and since he had already spent the money buying it and getting it from China, I considered this the most ‘green’ option for our family.

I’ve never been a fan of fake trees, and in my 20’s would have scoffed at the notion. But as my dad recently said in an email, the person who leaves the biggest footprint is no longer the winner.

A new tradition is born.

Garden Harvest

October 1, 2007

smallsunflower.jpgI thought my first year as an organic farmer was a total flop only weeks after planting when my then 1-1/2 year old pulled all the starter plants out of pots that were sitting near our window. Things got slightly worst when I finally put the salvaged seedlings into the raised garden only to receive an inch of snow that very weekend.

Believe it or not, a few plants survived and flourished. Nothing remarkable: some squash, corn and a beautiful sunflower that my daughter planted for me for mother’s day. Unfortunately, just as a the squash started to bear offspring, the frost came again and my garden was instantly a tangled web of black.

I decided to help the decomposition along this weekend and as I was pulling dead vines from the dirt, I uncovered a ridiculous bounty of potatoes. Obviously, I was ecstatic and brought the whole family out to watch my treasure hunt.

smallpotatoes.jpgOddly, I never planted any potatoes and assume they grew from the compost that I put on the soil, but still, it made all the effort worth it. I learned so much about gardening and will make several changes before diving in again next spring, but mostly I loved the experience of digging around and watching seeds turn into food for my family. It’s truly a miracle the way it all works, even more reason to protect our precious soil as if its gold.