Teaching tools for social justice

Friendship

Friendship

Lately, I have been thinking about how to best teach young children about tolerance and social justice. Their brains are hard-wired to take notice of difference and to generalize and categorize. From what I have seen, kids start to start to pay more attention to gender around age 2 and start noticing differences in race and ethnicity around 3 or 4. It is important that we provide context for those observations. I’m on a quest to find good books that teach children about acceptance of those who are different than they are and taking care of the earth and each other.

So far, I’ve used The Lorax and The Sneetches by Dr. Seuss, and The Big Orange Splot by Manus D. Pinkwater as teaching tools at story time. When we make up stories I try to integrate characters that challenge traditional gender roles, are of different ethnicities and have special needs.  How does your family discuss race and gender? What tools or books do you use? We’d love to know.

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine’s Day

DrainWig Giveaway!

DrainWig

DrainWig

Over the years, we have tried a bunch of different solutions to prevent our shower and bathtub drains from clogging. We’ve tried all different styles of hair catchers, and none of them seem that great. If the holes are small enough to catch all the hair, then they quickly clog up with lint and soap scum. Concave designs with suctions to keep them in place never seem to stay suctioned.

No matter what the drain catcher, we periodically end up plunging the shower drain. Eventually that doesn’t do the trick, and we resort to pouring chemicals down the drain. We’ve tried “bio-enzyme” solutions that claim to be better on the environment and when those don’t work, follow it up with industrial strength Drano. Despite all these measures, the drain needs attention after just another month.

I figured we were doomed to repeat the cycle of plunge and pour, since no matter how much I searched for the right drain catcher I was never successful. It turns out there is still one we haven’t tried yet: DrainWig. It’s completely different than the other products we’ve tried, so I have high hopes!

Basically, you insert a chain with little whiskers on it into your drain. A charm at the top prevents the contraption from falling into your pipes. After a couple of months, you pull the chain out and the little whiskers have caught a ton of hair that washed down the drain. Prepare to be disgusted! At least you don’t have to touch the mess that comes out when you pull up the charm.

Just Thread It In!

Just Thread It In!

DrainWig in use-2

And Pull It Out!

In the spirit of preventing a few more gallons of chemicals from going down the drain, we’re hosting a giveaway of a 4-pack of DrainWigs (two bath and two shower) to one lucky winner! Or you can buy your own set using the Promo Code FIZZ5 and get $5 off.

You can enter our giveaway up to four times, and the last day of entry is Thursday, February 5th, 2015.

Each comment counts as a single entry:

  • Simply post a comment – any comment! – and you’re entered in our contest
  • Share any greenbabyguide.com blog post on FB and let us know which one you shared
  • Follow The Green Baby Guide on Twitter (and tell us about it in another comment)
  • Visit the DrainWig website, come back and post a comment here on The Green Baby Guide saying what you find most interesting about the DrainWig.

Remember, each comment you leave (up to four comments) is another entry! Winners will receive a four-pack of DrainWigs. Open to US residents only.

Fun With Dating

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Fun With New Years

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Milk Debate: Is raw milk really any better for you?

As fresh as it gets!

As fresh as it gets!

Last week I posted about non-homogenized milk, and it got me thinking about the raw milk movement. Advocates claim it is a sort of magical elixir that can cure aliments like allergies and asthma. It contains proteins and compounds that stop the immune system from reacting to allergens and is full of enzymes and beneficial bacteria.

There are no studies that support these claims, but there is plenty of anecdotal evidence. Some say “no one is allergic to raw milk” because of its live enzymes.  The lactase digests the lactose and the protease helps the protein and lipase digest the fat.

The CDC, on the other hand, warns against harmful bacteria, such as E. Coli and listeria, that might contaminate raw milk from the same source you’ve been using for years. They suggest that if what you are after is “good” bacteria, you could get if from fermented foods or yogurt instead.

Is raw milk truly dangerous? Well, the CDC claims that there were 2 deaths resulting from raw milk products (like milk and cheese) between 1998 and 2011. Since it is being used to “treat” sicknesses, it is possible that the two victims already had compromised immune systems. There were 2,384 illnesses and 284 hospitalizations in the same 13 year span. As risks go, I consider that to be pretty minimal. Of course, raw milk comes from farms full of animals and manure, so even the cleanliest dairies aren’t completely sanitary.

Should you drink raw milk? Perhaps if you prefer the taste and get it from a dairy that regularly tests its supply or if you truly believe it is benefiting your allergies. If you would feel devastated if your child were paralysed from raw milk tainted with campylobacter or needed a new kidney from a bad case of E. Coli, perhaps it is not worth the risk.

Where do you stand on the raw milk debate?

Merry Christmas from Latebloomer Comics

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Milk Debate: Is non-homogonized really any better for you?

My great uncle was an OBGYN and he always said that the homogenization of milk was one of the worst “advances” in science. He said the body was meant to process the small and large milk particles at different rates, and that homogenized milk had particles all the same size which meant the digestive system had to process them all at the same time. Or so it was explained to me.

To homogenize or not to homogenize?

To homogenize or not to homogenize?

Keep in mind that homogenization (making all the milk particles the same size so there is no separation) is not the same as pasteurization (heating milk in order to kill bacteria). Raw milk is non-homogenized and unpasteurized, where as non-homogenized milk has been pasteurized.

When I noticed they sell non-homogenized “Cream on Top” milk at our Trader Joe’s, I decided to give it a try on Franci in place of the more expensive Goat Milk. As Frances got a little older, I gave her homogenized milk and didn’t notice any difference in her digestion. What I did notice was a big difference in taste. I don’t drink a ton of milk myself, but I do put it in my coffee and on cereal. It could just be the fact that the non-homogenized milk is small batch and organic, but it is delicious!

It is also more expensive than homogenized organic milk. I decided it was time to do a little research and find out if I’m just paying for the delicious taste, or if it really is easier to digest.

During one double-blind test, there was no difference between symptoms when the testers drank homogenized versus non-homogenized milk. Of course, there were only 44 people in the study. I couldn’t find any better tests to report.

The homogenization process breaks the protective membrane made of proteins and other immune factors around the milk particles. Some studies suggest that this membrane has it’s own health benefits.

Other studies prove that homogenized milk is easier to digest. As much as I searched, I wasn’t able to track down these studies, despite them being referenced from time to time. There is a pretty good debate presented at ProCon.org for further reading

Since research suggests that the digestive properties of both milks are equivalent, are there reasons to choosing non-homogenized? If you are trying to eat “closer to nature”, yes. If you are not willing to risk raw (unpasteurized) milk but want milk that has gone through less processing, yes. If you are lactose intolerant or have a milk allergy, stay away from both! If you’re like me, and prefer the taste, yes. Otherwise save yourself the extra dollar (or trip to the speciality market) and stick with organic milk.

Do you splurge on non-homogenized milk?

Fun With Crafts

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Fun With Holidays

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