Some kids adore veggies. Others adore some veggies. And others flat out refuse all veggies. Here at The Accidental Purist headquarters, our almost-four-year-old adores bell peppers, sprouts, peas, green beans, spinach, carrots, cauliflower, onions, and turnips (and we are so happy she loves these!), but when it comes to other vegetables or a greater nutritional variety (which is necessary for optimum microbiome conditions), she is a bit more stubborn.
So, recently, we have resorted to flat out, no-shame comedy stunts to inspire our child to eat some of her less frequented vegetables. Sometimes, making veggies into a sport or game, or even a challenge riddled with absurdity is an excellent motivator. Take this video clip, for instance: preschooler meets runaway asparagus ("no no! Don't eat me!" says the asparagus), and we have instant veggie consumption.
At the end of the day, it's about knowing your kid, not stressing, and just remembering to laugh. How do you help your kids eat their veggies? We'd love to know! Happy veggie eating.
Summer is on the horizon, and so bare toes and fingernails are coming out of the woodwork. Over the last 6 months, we have been experimenting with non-toxic and eco-friendly polishes here at The Accidental Purist headquarters, and while there are many excellent choices on the market, we have fallen in love with two top brands: Zoya and Aquarella.
Aquarella - This company makes safe, non-toxic, water-based polishes. Their products are made in the U.S.A and they offer a money back guarantee. They offer a variety of polishes, removers, moisturizers and conditioners. Great for kids! Evie particularly enjoys the black polish.
Zoya: This beautiful polish eliminates toulene, camphor, formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin, and DBP from its polishes. There are dozens of shades and colors to pick from!
Other polishes that are excellent, non-toxic, and body and eco safe include
We'd love to see photos of your beautiful non-toxic, body-safe, eco-friendly pedis and manis! Happy polishing.
Finding clean, non-toxic art supplies can be challenging, as many paints, crayons, and markers are problematic with chemicals and preservatives. This past Christmas, a dear friend introduced me to Brusho paints, and not only are they non-toxic, they are absolutely gorgeous to use, and are among our almost-four-year-old's favorite art supplies.
The Brusho set features wild, exotic colors that come packaged as loose powder. An artist spreads the powder on a canvas of choice, and applies water--either in a brush or with a spray bottle or even a vinegar mix--and deep, rich colors are the result.
You can purchase these on Amazon for $76 for a set of 24 paints. And while that may seem like a heft price tag, consider you are purchasing high-quality, non-toxic product that lasts a very long time due its powder base form. Powder paint goes a long way! Less is often more.
Try them out and send us your pictures! Happy, clean, non-toxic painting!
Dyeing Easter eggs is a huge tradition at our house, and with a three-year-old at the forefront of this great adventure, it's important to us that the "dyes" she use not be dyes at all, but natural ingredients from the earth. Here at the Accidental Purist we are all about (if you haven't deduced this by now) using, consuming, or applying topically as fresh and pure of ingredients that we can find, short of becoming farmers ourselves.
Natural dyes for Easter eggs are just such an opportunity, and the colors and natural hues one can use are endless.
Some color ideas:
- Dark Blue: Dried herb Hibiscus flower (you can order on Amazon for 99 cents!) boiled WITH your eggs for 12 minutes.
- Purple/Blue: Boiled purple cabbage or boiled blueberries mixed with 1 teaspoon Apple Cider Vinegar
- Pale turqoise: Boiled green cabbage
- Pink: Boiled beets
- Brown/earth shades: Coffee or Black Tea Grounds mixed in spring water
- Light yellow: Cumin mixed in spring water
- Light orange; Ground turmeric in spring water
- Black: Activated charcoal in spring water
- Pale light lavender: Boiled blackberries
Mix these ingredients in separate boils and add 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar and have a dipping party.
Most of all, enjoy the beautiful hues and shades that only the cleanest ingredients can render. Let us know what egg colors you came up with! The possibilities are endless. Happy holidays!
Recently, someone asked if the Accidental Purist wears make-up, or if make-up is too "toxic" and not in the spirit of clean living. This is such a fantastic question, and certainly, in the early stages of my sickness I avoided all products of any kind as I did not know what was triggering my pathology and reaction. And I have to say: I really really REALLY missed my products and eyeliner in particular.
I don't need to repeat myself about the toxic qualities of many standard commercial beauty products. The EWG website does a pretty good job on educating consumers--for those who are well and unwell alike.
Fortunately, there are also wonderful products on the market that are safer options. I can personally recommend Gabriel Cosmetics for their vegan, gluten-free, toxin-free products, as well as Faerie Organic. However, these products--while incredible--are expensive.
Last year, in an attempt to save money as well as even further "clean up my beauty product usage"--even beyond the "safe" commercially available brands--I began creating my own DIY makeup.
My favorite DIY product--by far--has been fashioning my own eyeliner using spring water, activated charcoal, and a fine-tipped eyeliner brush. I had seen this DIY regimen floating around the internet for quite some time, so when I decided to try it myself, I was so pleased by the outcome and felt an incredible sense of accomplishment.
Activated charcoal is not to be confused with the charcoal used in your BBQ grill. Activated charcoal is a powerful absorbent agent (found in nature) that has been used (and I have used) to bind-up toxins, gas, or even alleviate food poisoning or stomach bugs. As the foundation for DIY eyeliner, it is a neutral natural ingredient, toxic-free, and a fantastic base.
Here's what you'll need:
- Open 4-5 capsules of the activated charcoal into your little glass jar container. Keep this jar with the rest of your makeup in a drawer.
When you want to apply eyeliner, wet your make-up brush into spring water and dip it into your charcoal jar.
Apply. This eyeliner lasts all day!
TIP: For a eyeliner that is more "thick," you can also mix coconut oil into your opened activated charcoal caps, and experiment with the spring water to adjust the texture. I find that spring water on its own works wonderfully, but for those looking for a thicker eyeliner, coconut oil is magical.
Coaxing small children into taking supplements can be a serious challenge. Babies? No problem. Maybe even after their first birthday? Sure. But when children enter into the 2-6-year-old phase of life, giving a vitamin is bound to result in turned-up noses, tantrums, purposely feeding said vitamin to the household pet, or a litany of "but it's YUCKY!" protests. Even if you are "clever" or "sneaky" and attempt to disguise a supplement in a beverage, your super sleuth kid may be onto you, "I know it's in there!" and trust can be impaired and worse yet--health is set up as a terrible event in a game of you versus them.
So what's a parent to do? As a mom of a child who is asymptomatic (thank god) but was born with a shaky metabolic thumbprint (thanks to me) and initially high markers for chronic Lyme and EBV (again, thanks to me), my husband and I have three long years of trials and victories at giving our daughter supplements. At its easiest, her protocol involved a sprinkle of probiotics in raw milk; at its most challenging, her protocol involved 6 different homeopathics, 4 herbals, 12 supplements, Epsom salt detox baths, and essential oils on the bottoms of her feet. And all this during her second and third year of life.
So how did we do it? Well, here are some success tips that saved us.
There are two general approaches: (1) psychological and morale-boosting (which is largely unique and depending on the personality and developmental stage of your child) and (2) food and beverage strategies.
Psychology and Morale Boosting
- X Before Y: If your child is interested in the park, a walk, or some other activity, the basic "let's do x first, before we do y" approach can be very effective for children who are coping well with transitions and linear cause-effect and consequence algorithms. So, in plain speaking terms, "Let's take our [enter vitamin] first, and then after we can enjoy [desired activity]." This often basic logic works great.
- Negotiation: In the moments when the above approach does not work great, then we have to get a bit more creative. Another solution may be to bargain or negotiate with your child, which gives them a sense of involvement. You can bargain with them about splitting the supplement into two parts (one in the morning, and one in the evening). The sense of control is very powerful. And motivating!
- Your Choice: If your child is NOT outright grossed out by the taste or texture of a supplement, then you can give them a sense of empowerment by providing them a choice in the method of supplement: "We have two choices today. Do you want to take your [enter supplement] on a spoon, in a paper cup, or a in a cup with a straw?"
- Piggyback off Recent Illness/Role-Playing: If your child has recently experienced a tough bout with an acute cold, flu, or other virus, you can "piggyback" off that recent illness by asking your child if he or she would like to "be healthy and strong, and not get a nasty virus like the last one." Surprisingly, explaining scientifically how medicine and daily supplements can help ward off or lessen the "ouchies" of a virus is extremely motivating. Even in our three-year-old daughter, this has been very effective. "Your probiotic gives you good strong bacteria! Viruses don't LIKE that bacteria!" Even impersonating the demise of said virus is VERY powerful, and can turn supplements into a victory: "'Oh no!' says the virus. 'Not healthy probiotics and Vitamin C! Oh no! I'm melting! Don't you take that supplement! Help help!'" Such role-playing can be hilarious for a small child, and spur the inner rebel in the heart of small humans.
- The Family that Supps Together, Stays Together: If a small child refuses to take a supplement, it can often be helpful if he or she sees their whole family taking supplements at the same time. Social psychology is paramount.
- Donate Empty Supplement Bottles To Your Kid's Doctor Kit: If your kid loves playing doctor, give empty supplement bottles to your child to play with. This gives your child an opportunity to dose their loveys and stuffed animals, and be in the powerful position of GIVING supplements, instead of just taking them. This can go a long way towards compliance, as they recognize the helping nature of medicine. You will earn double bonus points if you pretend to be sick, and allow your child to "make you feel healthy!" by dosing you with pretend bottles.
- Depriving Parent Game: We had a lot of fun when my husband would pretend to take my daughter's supplement and say "YUM! I love this!" which would spur our daughter to chase down my husband and say "but that's mine!" Supply and demand. It works every time.
- Believe in Magic: We use essential oils often for my daughter that need to be applied to the bottoms of her feet. We invented the idea of "fairy cream" or "sweet dream cream" to "sell" the essential oils, and it worked so well--appealing to her sense of magic--that she lets us know if we ever turn in for the night without applying this magical elixir.
- Appeal To Their Heroes: All children have heroes! Elsa, Captain America, a beloved aunt or uncle. Telling your child that they will grow up to be BIG and AWESOME like their hero if they take their supps, OR that their heroes take supps, too (!) can go a long way o the motivational side of things.
- Reward Chart: Some children are very motivated by reward and completion charts. Fashioning one out of paper with stickers to show completion of a day of supplements, or even a whiteboard where you cross out the days, can be really fun--especially if the end of each week the child can expect a special fun trip to the bookstore, or a fun treat, or something to REWARD at the end of a long excellent week of supplement taking.
- Bribery: As a last result, bribery always works, though I try to use it as a last measure.
Food and Beverage Strategies
- With all food and beverage "disguising," it is important to keep the portion size of said beverage and smoothie SMALL so that you can be assured that the taste and texture are well concealed, but that there is not too much that your child won't be able to finish it. The goal is to adjust the ratio of disguise to the ratio of realistic-finishing possibility.
- Try not to let your child SEE you mixing medicine into their food or beverage. They will begin to doubt their food, and feel you are NOT being straight with them. So, either be VERY sneaky, or outright honest. You know your child best.
- Open capsules (many supplements come in cap form only) and pour them into a VERY well-blended smoothie with fruit and a blendable fiat (milk, coconut milk, etc.). Kids are VERY attuned to the texture of supplements, and so blending powders in thick smoothies that they enjoy is HUGE. Make this breakfast, so that kids can take it out the door with them if they are slacking on finishing their beverage at home.
- Make homemade Jello and mix in fermented probiotics like kambucha. Kids will love it, and have NO clear it's there.
- Blend supplements (that will not alter their basic chemistry in cold temperatures) into juice and freeze in fun molds to make "healthy pops!"
- Get fun little Dixie cups that your child helps you pick out, and mix liquid supplementation or liquid-based herbs in juice in SMALL shot-size amounts. We calls these "kid shots."
- Mix a supplement (powder, open cap, liquid herb) in a honey and an nut butter and fashion into a little snack ball. Or, use mix the supplement in honey and nut butter and spread on toast. Again, this works better with liquid based supplements, but can work with probiotic powders as well.
What are your tactics and strategies? Would love to know your best ninja-A game strategies.
Whether you are managing chronic illnesses or looking to simplify your life from toxins in your everyday hygiene products, the quest for clean products is endless. You can easily lose an entire day poking around the Environmental Working Group website educating yourself on the often scary ingredients in your shampoo and conditioner and hair products and much more.
In the last two months, I decided on the shampoo/conditioner front, to abandon products (even ones that had a lower toxic load) for my own homemade shampoo/conditioner made from ingredients I knew were 100% clean.
The result? My hair is clean, shiny, bouncy, and I smell like a French bakery.
Here's what I did.
Stuff you will need:
- One raw egg yolk (you will need 2-3 for thick or curly hair). We get our eggs from a local farm that practices open pasture, feeds the chickens non-grain seed based diet, and upholds high standards for managing chicken excrement run-off
- 1 tsp Raw Manuka honey
- 1 tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
In one cup, mix the raw egg yolk and 1 tsp of honey together. (your shampoo!)
In another cup, mix 1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar in 1 cup of cold water. (your conditioner!)
In the shower, lather your hair with the egg yolk/honey shampoo, really working it into your roots.
Let it set for a few minutes.
Then you need to turn down the heat of your shower so that you rinse your hair in COLD water. DO NOT USE HOT WATER TO RINSE YOUR HAIR OR YOU WILL SCRAMBLE THE EGGS IN YOUR HAIR.
Then rinse your hair with the apple cider/water mix, and then rinse it out with cold water.
Then quickly turn your shower back to HOT (!!!) so you can warm up!
Proceed as normal to comb, dry, style your hair.
I have been amazed at how healthy my hair is, and how delicious it smells.
Give it a try; let me know how your French Bakery hair experience fared for you.
Spending even one minute on the Environmental Working Group website, where you will be inundated with lists of toxic ingredients in your most favorite hygiene products, will leave you with mouth ajar, eyes wide, and the feeling that there are no products anywhere that are safe to use.
Prior to becoming ill, I did not pay much attention to the soap I used. I used whatever looked appealing and that purported health benefits. Three months before I woke up ill (it really was a light switch in my case), I had been using Dove Deep Moisture Nourishing Body Wash. I loved the silky texture, and the scent, and figured, hey, it's Dove, they have healthy-looking commercials with health-looking women with gorgeous skin. Let's do this thing and rock this soap.
However, in hindsight, I was amazed to discover that this product contains several red flags that that Environmental Working Group has identified as 6-8 on a scale of 1-10 in terms of danger, with a lot of data still undetermined:
And I ingested all this topically while pregnant!!!!! Which means my daughter, now 3, has this toxic load in her body, which have been working hard to eradicate since she was born.
Am I blaming this product for the sudden crash of my health? Not directly, but over 3 decades of using products such as these--not to mention exposures through other potentially toxic sources in food, water, medicine, pollution and more--added up and was, I truly believe, a single factor in a multitude of factors.
However, now, as an immunocompromised human who is very sensitive to food, products, and even types of water, finding even a basic SOAP to use daily is tricky, as the emulsifiers used in soap contain chemicals and preservatives much like the ones listed above.
And that is why I am so grateful to have found "Kiss My Face" pure olive oil soap, which not only has a seriously adorable name, but is the purest soap I have found anywhere. It's only ingredients?
- Sodium Olivate (Saponified Olive Oil)
- Sodium Chloride (Sea Salt)
This beautiful bar of soap has a clean fragrance, lasts forever, and is only $3.
I have a bar by the kitchen sink, all bathroom sinks, one in our shower, and one for my daughter's bathing.
I cannot recommend this simply lovely green bar of awesome enough for those with heightened sensitivities, and for those looking to simplify their life with toxin-free products.