What Are You Eating?

This post starts off with a little bit of history on myself. It’s still raw, emotional and private but somewhat necessary for the topic in this blog post. It also explains the main idea behind this blog, who and what it is about.
I had a period in my life where I was extremely unhealthy. These were in my teens years, when I was becoming more independent with food choices and was able to purchase and cook my own food. When I moved out of home as a teenager it of course got worse. I knew nothing about nutrition nor did I care about my health. I smoked a pack a day, never exercised, didn’t sleep, ate vegetables maybe twice a week and ate junk food upon junk food every single day. I suffered from anxiety and depression so severely that I was hospitalized many times over many years. I was diagnosed with every mental illness under the sun over about 10 years. This was not all down to nutrition in my case, it was also to do with being on medication that was supposed to be the answer, but in fact was half the cause  – but my story is far too big to really get into now. Perhaps one day I’ll go there (for now you should check out this doco).
A long story short, after coming off the poison (I mean, medication) I slowly cleaned up my health. I started to eat better, cut out soft drink (at one point it was 2 litres a day), quit smoking and not only did I physically improve my health but mentally I was great. I felt alive! Having been told I would never last off medication and would eventually relapse, I looked more and more into how to support myself with nutrition. The theory that mental illneses (and autism etc) can be because of lack of vitamins, minerals and general poor nutrition was a new one but made complete sense after what I’d been through personally. 
Since having a baby I’ve had a lot of questions and comments regarding the way we raise our daughter. I’ve been told I over react to what she eats and am causing her more harm than good by “denying” her of packaged process shit.
Olivia is 16 months old now and as a newborn she had “reflux” and after much investigation we discovered dairy was causing her the upset and therefore she became 100% dairy free, as did I, because I breastfed her. This is where I took a bigger dive into my healthy lifestyle. Having a baby has been wonderful for me in more ways than one!
Now my whole family tries to avoid dairy, gluten and refined sugar and we definitely stay away from colourings, preservatives, additives and all the fake stuff listed on packet food that I can’t even pronounce (a sure sign we shouldn’t be consuming it). We eat meat once a week, if not less often. We try to eat raw, and cram as many vegetables in as possible. We use superfoods on a daily basis. I make almost everything from scratch. Of course we have dairy, gluten, sugar etc on occasion. We can’t avoid it everywhere we go. Birthday parties, relatives that just don’t understand, shopping centers, it’s-a-long-car-trip food  etc. People ask “but what do you eat?” Simple answer… whole foods. 
So, what has prompted me to write this blog post? Well I read THIS ARTICLE this morning which was interesting but not surprising. It’s about the studies. by US experts, into chemicals (fluoride, pesticides etc) causing brain development disorders in infants and young children (heck, even adults) like ADHD, dyslexia and autism.
There was also recently this TED talk I watched this week about how a mother completely eliminated her daughter’s autism symptoms through diet (don’t get me started on how free glutamate is the base of all vaccines, which is furthermore food for thought [no pun intended] and again a whole new discussion). 

These days for me it is a no-brainer. But for so many others it’s a joke to them. They think it’s paranoia, or a fad, or just plain bullshit. I find the people who say that are uneducated, uninterested and scared. Don’t feel guilty, don’t be scared, because it’s never too late to change.
My point of this post is this:
We really need to think about what we are feeding our children. I feel so strongly about this since becoming a mother. I’m writing this post to raise your awareness. I can even vouch for it’s truth myself. Share the links in this post, or share the link to this blog post. Do your own research into it, educate yourselves. Become informed and aware. Make changes. Feed your family what you all deserve. Take care of your health. Without it, you are not here.

Letters to Liv #1

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Your Pa takes many beautiful photos of you, and you LOVE the camera.
Dear Olivia,
It’s now the new year – 2014. I officially can’t say “I had a baby last year”. That kinda makes me sad!
You’ll be TWO this year (okay, that’s 10 months away…). Time is flying and you are growing so quick. The last year of your life has been mind blowing. Watching you learn and grow is such a blessing. The feeling of pride in my heart is so over whelming when you work out a new puzzle or realize that you pressed that button and it did something. Cause and effect. You are very clever for your age, I believe. I love watching you do the simplest of tasks. Lately you’ve been climbing on the couch and sitting all slouched, playing with your legs absent-mindedly while you watch whatever I’ve left the TV on. 
Yes, you watch TV. Bad parenting, I know 😉 I’m selective about what you watch though. 
Educational shows: Yes. 
Grand Theft Auto 5: No.
Your Dad learnt that lesson pretty quick. Violent video games are to played when you’re in bed!
You mainly watch shows for dancing and singing and animal recognition. You love The Wiggles and Giggle and Hoot. You dance non stop to The Wiggles. You have some amazing moves, and it’s all natural, baby! You also like the theme for Charlie and Lola but your obsession with Peppa Pig was short lived. You really like the animals in Mama Mirabelle’s Home Movies.
Speaking of animals you are still obsessed with cats. You love Meeka and the poor thing has put up with a lot from you. You’ve tipped water on her, ripped chunks of hair out, and twisted her tail. You share her cat biscuits with her and you smack your lips, mimicking me when I call for her. You love to offer her all your food as you walk around the backyard – watermelon, strawberries, egg, and drinks. Sadly Penny hasn’t been the same since the bushfires and you never get to play with her any more.
You are such a hilarious kid. You’re unlike any baby I’ve ever met or heard of. You make me laugh so much every day. You sing and dance and have no shame! When we go shopping you talk to at least 3 people every time! You’re rarely shy. I love that about you as I have always been the opposite. You do things to make everyone laugh and you’re just a year old! You make yourself laugh too which is a great trait kid, don’t lose it!
Last year we didn’t really celebrate Christmas. On one hand I felt like a failed parent for that. You poor child, missing out on Christmas! But we just didn’t have the finances or the heart for it this year. It’s been a hectic year, lots going on Liv… one day you’ll understand that Christmas is sometimes just at the bottom of your priority list. Luckily you are young enough to not care. You didn’t even know it was Christmas. You did enjoy ripping paper off the presents that you got. The year before last you were only 12 weeks old on Christmas day so didn’t care about presents, only the wrapping paper. This time you were able to rip that paper off and ooh and ahh over the gift inside. Then you’d walk away and get over it!
This year your Daddy and I gave you a big wooden toy cube that has different activities on it. You also got a shirt for summer and 2 wooden puzzles. One has fruit on it that have been halved and you stick them together with velcro and pretend to cut them with a wooden knife. You recognize all the fruits (watermelon, banana, strawberry and pear). We also got you a new charm for your bracelet or whatever you decide to do with them when you’re older. It’s a promise we made for every Christmas – a new charm with a story behind it. This time it was a pussy cat. You’re just so obsessed!
You might care to know that I (your mumma) had a pussy cat charm on my bracelet when I was a teenager. 
I promise this year will be a magnificent Christmas. I just don’t want it to be all about presents though.
You have also been a pain in Mumma’s bottom over the last year. You’ve hurt my back and neck so badly that I take way too much pain relief and have to get pain relief treatments all the time. You need to feed to sleep still, while I’m standing and swaying. It’s not ideal but I know it’s not forever. You don’t realize that you’re almost 11 kilos! One day I will miss it, so for now I try to cherish having you fall asleep in my arms and snuggle me all night.
I feel so complete with you in my life. I know Daddy feels the same. For this year, I’d like you to start eating more foods. More variety and more often. I worry you’re going to vanish into thin air when you have days where all you will eat is 4 strawberries. I also want you to sleep better for your sake (okay and mine). I want you to feel refreshed and awake when you get up! I also want you to KEEP YOUR DAY NAP this year. Oh Lord, please!
Everything else will fall into place. I will let you be your own little person. You’ll develop your personality more and more. You’ll experience new emotions and situations. There will be plenty of tears, plenty of tantrums I’m sure. But you can bet your teddy bear there’ll also be plenty of love, hugs, laughter and kisses (something else you love to do – kiss people!). You are so dearly loved and I can’t wait to live 2014 with you by my side, little one.
Much love,
Mumma xx

*I could write so much more in this letter, but it would go on for hundreds of pages.

Becoming Adult

You know what’s scaring the crap out of me?
This one:

She’s growing up so quickly. It seems she has gone through a massive developmental milestone in the last couple of weeks. She seems so much more… adult like. She understands more (I’ve been waiting to communicate for so long!) and has picked up new skills that I don’t even know where she learnt them from Her personality shines through more and more with each Wonder Week. I love watching her learn and explore, play and grow. It’s a shame we don’t have memories of this age.

I’ve come here to list some things that stick out about her at the moment:

  • She laughs at the blender, vacuum cleaner and loud noises in general.
  • She likes to fall backwards. It took a few times for her to realize she can’t do it on the floorboards – it’s an activity best reserved for the bed or couch.
  • She walks around with her hand to her ear (sometimes holding an object, even a phone) pretending to be on the phone. If the phone rings, she says “eh” “EH” “EH” “eh” “eh” while touching her ear and makes any conversation with the caller fairly difficult for me.
  • She is still obsessed with popcorn. I pop it at home, add a drizzle of good quality oil and some nutritional/savoury yeast.
  • Her love affair with The Wiggles has begun. She loves that “Do The Propeller” song and “Big Red Car”. 
  • She is completely inconsistent with her naps. Yesterday she did a solid 4 hour block. Today was not even 1 hour. She’s killin’ me.
  • She’s always getting into trouble for biting. She bites everything – the couch, the pillow case, my arm, the remote, herself, her drink bottle, the bean bag, iPhone cables… you name it. And not a typical baby suck and dribble… no this is a damn good bite. Sometimes she even clamps down and then pulls, until the object (god forbid, my nipple) slides through her teeth under extreme duress. I can’t even blame teething.
  • She is damn fast. She started walking at 10 months. These days she runs everywhere. So fast that sometimes I lose her. She’s a sneaky little thing.
  • She thinks farts are funny. As in, her own farts. She’s starting to become more bodily aware. And bodily function aware. The fun begins!
  • She already gets bored inside when it rains. Don’t we all!

Babble Box – A Review

I came across Babble Box on Instagram at first, and followed them up on their website. I fell in love with the idea behind it – once a month your child received a box full of goodies, suitable for him or her and they look forward every month to opening it and the contents are a surprise every month! They can do boxes from 0-4 years and you can choose to have it as a month-to-month set up or a 3, 6 or 12 month subscription.
And the best part about Babble Box? For every box sent each month, they give back by making a donation to a charity such as Bravehearts and Barnardos. Isn’t that lovely?

I think it’d make a great gift especially.  Imagine if you were far away from a little one, perhaps a niece or nephew, or a godchild or even a grandchild. How beautiful would it for them to receive a box every month from you? And you don’t have to worry about it every month, it’s sent out for you. Or perhaps you could order a box in advance as a birthday gift. Heck, it could be your own child that you spend 24 hours a day with and it’s still a cool idea.
So what was in the September box I received? 
Well let’s start with the packaging. Oh my! Pretty darn cute if I do say so. Not to mention it was addressed to O, not to me. I’m sure for kids who can recognize their name, this would be a thrill! O was more into the cute bear logo on the box.
After unwrapping it all and then rescuing the paper from O’s tightly clenched fists that were shoveling it into her mouth (kids are really like puppies sometimes) I found the following items inside my Babble Box. Sorry, O’s Babble Box!
Also included was the tray pictured at the top of this post, along with a toy for O:
She moves way too fast these days to capture a decent
quality pic, sorry!
I thought I’d escaped this toy for awhile… surely 11 months is too young to know how to blow into a toy trumpet? Wrong. Fucksticks. Thankfully, at 11 months her attention span is very short and therefore she only has a couple of blows into it before throwing it over her shoulder and moving on to chewing a DVD (or the lounge, or her bib, or the glass coffee table…).
My favourite item in the box was probably the pig tray. Just because it’s really cute and made from bamboo. O’s favourite item was the trumpet. She goes from being enthralled with it to being petrified of it!
Check out Babble Box and surprise a child in your life.

Jack & Jill Competition Winner!

The competition has ended for the Jack And Jill prize pack. With 12 entries, and extra points for sharing the Instagram photo, a winner was chosen today…

Becc V.
I’ve emailed the winner, and hopefully you enjoy your pack of natural toothpaste and brushes for your little one! 
Thank you for entering the competition, and thank you to Jack And Jill for the giveaway. Check out the full Jack & Jill range on their website.

Jack N’ Jill – Review & Competition!

Organic flavours and calendula, no fluoride, SLS, preservatives or colours.
Awhile ago I wrote a blog post about looking into some natural and organic toothpaste for O to use now that she is nearing 1 and has almost 6(!) teeth. I wrote about the brand Jack And Jill. I did purchase some Jack and Jill toothpaste and brushes, and I also bought some gift kits, a genius idea for kid’s birthday gifts. 
I was worried how O would take it as she thinks my hands going near her mouth is cause enough for a tantrum on the best of days. In a way I don’t blame her, because usually I’m trying to feel her gums for teeth and often I find one almost through. Of course it’d hurt when I’m touching it, the poor thing.
My mum helped me with Operation Brush Your Teeth on the first go, and we used the Silicone Finger Brush with some Raspberry Natural Toothpaste. You wouldn’t believe it (because I sure didn’t) but the little terror liked it. She didn’t seem to mind the brush or the flavour of toothpaste. Win! Next we tried the Bio Toothbrush (it’s made from corn starch and is biodegradable and compostable) which wasn’t as easy. We let her hold it and for a few moments she held it in her own mouth, moving it around her gums (and the few teeny tiny teeth). Then she spotted the cat and that was the end of Operation Brush Your Teeth.
I’d call it a success. We don’t brush her teeth every day at this point, more like once a week. But we are making it a fun game and she now laughs when she watches us brush our teeth. She isn’t sure of the banana flavour but loved the blueberry one last night. I love that its safe if they swallow it (which at this age, she is). I’ll probably stick to the Silicone Finger Brush for the moment, or even try the Tooth and Gum Brush. She loves the little hippo picture on the products too, it’s pretty cute!
I’m glad I found these products, because I do buy into the whole fluoride debate – meaning, I think it’s a slow poison. Okay poison might be a bit dramatic but I really don’t think its necessary to add to our waters. But let’s not open up that can of worms. Let’s just be grateful for companies like Jack And Jill that give us options for our children.
Jack And Jill (an Aussie company, by the way) are giving all Hippie Mumma readers the chance to win the products I reviewed (2 toothpastes, a bio toothbrush and a silicone finger brush). How awesome is that! And I’ve made it really easy to enter the competition, just use the form below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Father’s Day Reflection

Tomorrow is Father’s Day in Australia. It’ll be my husband’s first Father’s Day and that’s pretty special! The highest source of wisdom on the internet (I kid, it’s just Wikipedia.) says the day is about honouring dads, paternal bonds and the influence of fatherhood in society. Honouring dads. I think that’s a really important thing to do. Male parenting is not often talked about, recognized or thought of as much as motherhood is. I’ve seen male parenting Facebook pages every now and then but compared to the mothering pages out there, there’s barely any! Support for Dads is really important in my opinion. Dads not only have a child to learn but also a new partner… one who is a mother more often than she is a wife on some days. That’s a shitty part of parenting but it’s true – Mark gets swept to the side sometimes and he is left going “hey, what about me!” It’s tough.
O is very lucky to have Mark as a father. He has been nothing but amazing, starting with the day he pulled her out. Yeah, he saw everything! Once her head was out he rolled his sleeves up (literally), and with my next push he lifted her from me and onto my chest. What a magical thing, to be able to say he was the first to hold her (even if it was only for 3 seconds before she was skin to skin with me!). The way Olivia lights up when her father walks in the room is beautiful. 
Dad’s have this weird role where they do the scary (dangerous?) activities with their kids that Mum’s just don’t do. Today was a good example; Mark clipped* a peg onto O’s hand while she was playing with the basket full of them. I would never do that! They do the things they find funny to the poor child! Remember that photo going around Facebook of the dad squishing the child’s face so it looked like a Pug dog? It’s just the Dad’s role. And I’ll never forget the day I first saw him holding O upside down and I freaked out, but she was all smiles, dangling and swinging inverted in the air by the ankles!
My own father is just as special and without him I wouldn’t be half the person I am today. He has done amazing things for me and literally saved my life. So happy Father’s Day to Mark, my father, and all the dads out there, especially the ones who will be waking up to their very first Father’s Day.
I wanted to post a picture of Mark’s gift from O, but in case he reads this post I’ll have to wait and instead share a photo of a drawer holding the wrapped goodies 😉

*Of course it didn’t hurt her