Bountiful Baskets

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The fruit half of one week’s conventional Bountiful Basket.

Have you heard of Bountiful Baskets? It’s a food cooperative delivering fruit and veggie baskets, as well as add-ons like whole wheat bread and granola, to many cities in the Western US. Their website is: bountifulbaskets.org

The idea is that by pooling resources, and with some volunteer labor at the drop-off location, fresh produce can be made more affordable. All the ordering is done online, and -here’s the kicker- can ONLY be done between about noon on Monday and 10pm on Tuesday, Mountain Time. And, if you don’t show up to collect your produce within the 15 minute window, it could be donated (I did forget the first time I ordered, but the lady at the drop was kind enough to call me and Mr. Wonderful dashed out to get it for me. Phew!). So if you order, take some advice from the experienced and set yourself an alarm on your phone for the day it arrives!

The whole concept of co-oping is a great idea, and I was pleased to learn that a drop point started in my town in December. Although I hadn’t ordered that week, I ran down to the drop point on Saturday morning and snapped a few pictures of what was being handed out to those that had contributed.

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Each participant gets a basket (literally a plastic laundry basket) with fruit, and one with veggies. They then transfer those to their own bags, or some of the boxes for recycling, and take home the goodies. Above is a picture of two boxes…I’m thinking that each must be one share (having both fruit and veggies) from that day. The conventional produce basket is $15 and upgrading it to organic puts your contribution at $25.

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In addition to your basic basket, you can order add-ons, like this guacamole bag, with onions, cilantro, about 5 avocados, tomatillas, jalapenos, garlic and limes, which runs about $8.50. Also available in December was a Gingerbread House Kit; fresh baked house pieces and fresh icing included. This week, I saw a “Juicing Pack” available with a description of “hoping for apples, chard, carrots, cucumbers, celery, beets, blood orange, ginger.”

And “hoping” is part of this commitment. There aren’t any promises of what you will get. You just find out what comes when you get it. This might be frustrating for some; for others it adds some excitement to meal planning.

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Here’s a picture of the bread pack add-on. These packs of 5 loaves are generally $10; a great deal if this was on your list anyway.

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Here again is someone’s produce basket contents (fruits and veggies in there) with a Granola Pack. I believe I saw the granola listed for $10, with excellent ingredients if granola is part of your diet.

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Most of the produce seems to be standard family fare; persimmons or multicolored carrots is about the extent of the exotic produce.

So…the week after I checked out the goods, I made my first order.

Order #1 -Late December

I chose the organic basket ($25), and there is also a handling fee of $1.50 for every order, organic or not. Additionally, there is a one time fee of $3 to purchase a plastic basket for organization at the drop. Here’s what I got:

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Pineapple, baby carrots, red potatoes, celery, tomatoes, green beans, avocados, pears, 2 kinds of apples. It was late December, so you can hardly blame them that the tomatoes weren’t ripe. The avocados were on the small side, but most of the organic ones I’ve seen are. The pineapple took a couple weeks to ripen. The apples and pears were all delicious, if on the small side. You can see by the packaging on the produce that they came from national organic brands. Also, since this was the “organic box” vs. a conventional produce basket, it came shipped as a box. It was not divided out with the other produce, but shipped from Arizona as a whole box.

I think it was a good price for what you get. Not amazing: local sales on all these products could give better savings, but you’re unlikely to get them all on sale in the same week. I felt that the food was in good condition, and all delicious, or would become delicious with ripening.

Order #2 -Early January

I ordered again, and this time no organic boxes were available, so I went ahead with the conventional ($15). Thankfully I did not forget this time (I tell ya, set an alarm on your phone!) and so I headed down to my local elementary school for the pickup. It was lovely to see so many families coming out on a frosty winter morning to gather fruit and vegetable baskets. And here’s what I got:

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Veggie half of the basket.
Fruit half of the basket.
Fruit half of the basket.

Celery, multi-colored carrots, brusselsprouts, sweet peppers, avocados, tomatoes, grapefruit, bananas (small), oranges, apples, strawberries. A very good deal for $15. They were all in good condition upon arrival, except for the brusselsprouts which seemed to have encountered frost as the edges were slimy as if frozen. I had heard tales that the delivery truck encountered snow and barely got through, so chalk it up to that? The strawberries were not ripe, and after leaving them on the counter for a day, we ate them anyway, since they were going to mold soon. Strawberries aren’t a winter fruit.

In general, I try to eat what is in season. It tastes better, it’s more likely to be grown in the US (avoiding the fumigation upon arrival in the US), and I’m more likely to find organic foods at reasonable prices. Of the foods above in the conventional basket, I regularly buy avocados, brusselsprouts, bananas, oranges, and grapefruit conventional, because they have less pesticide residues. All the rest I only buy organic, as they are heavily sprayed and/or retain their pesticides after washing. You can download a free guide to the “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean Fifteen” on Enviromental Working Group’s site, or download a free app to your smart phone which will allow you to look up produce item by item while at the market.

Bountiful Baskets is for you if:

  • You buy conventional produce anyway, or if you would like to buy organic produce, but you don’t have any health food stores near you that carry it.
  • You don’t have picky eaters of specific veggie/fruit allergies in your family.
  • You can remember to order and pickup at certain times each week.
  • You aren’t gluten intolerant, so you can take advantage of all the great deals on bread, etc. which gives you more value for the time you spend ordering and picking up.
  • You have time to volunteer occasionally an hour before pick up time.
  • You enjoy the challenge of working a broad selection of produce into your weekly meals.

Bountiful Baskets is probably not for you if:

  • You want to buy mainly local, in season, or small-footprint organic.
  • You have fruit or veggie intolerances so you’re not able to eat some of what comes each week.
  • You cook “month at a time” style, or in other ways which require certain specific ingredients.
  • You can’t remember to order or pick up. 🙂

Better Butter (Cheaper)

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Switching to organic butter is such an important step in reducing our toxic exposure. But the price difference can seem daunting when you are feeding a large family. Here are some ways I’ve found to buy it for less.

Baseline price: Costco is about $3.95 a pound, Trader Joes $4.79 a pound. These are actually both great prices; at specialty stores it can be up to $9 a pound (more in Hawaii says my tropical sister). Note that I find the TJs butter to be higher quality than the Costco at certain times of the year (sweeter, more yellow).

Direct from the farm: I prefer to buy 12 pound blocks of butter directly from an organic dairy, and cut and wrap it myself. This is the BEST golden butter from grass fed cows, and is the cheapest at $3.25 a pound. But it takes some planning and coordination.

On clearance: yes, although organic butter rarely goes on sale, it does go on clearance at our local Safeway (see photo above). I’m so glad this major supermarket has made a decision to stock organic products, however their customer base continues to buy mostly conventional, so often their organic dairy products reach their expiration date before they are purchased. I will occasionally drop in to see what has been reduced to 50% off, and if it’s freezable I’ll stock up. For the butter above I paid $2.50 a pound! You could even check the expiration date on the fresher packages, and mark on your calendar for three days prior to the sell by date. Then drop in on that day; you’ll get it for less than conventional butter, help the store to cut its losses, and save butter from the fate of the dumpster.

Day Two [Diet Makeover pt. 9]

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It’s day two. I get up just after 7 and find Brother and Sister sitting at the kitchen counter, staring blankly at bowls of sliced apples their dad got for them. Oh boy, it’s day two, the hardest day.

Mr. Dad says Sister threw up a little already this morning, but there wasn’t food in it (sorry for TMI!), so he thinks the diet is already making some effect…detox? Way to go on the positive outlook, Mr. Dad!

After three fried eggs and some juice, Mr. Dad leaves for work. The kids are still staring blankly at their apples, but my eight year old is up by now and turns on the cartoons, so they stumble into the den to watch with her. Just for the record; I don’t let my kids watch movies till noon at home (or at all on schooldays) but it’s vacation with cousins, and it’s actually an excellent distraction from food cravings. OK, done justifying my mommy morals.

When scrambled eggs were ready, I called the kids back to the kitchen, but Brother didn’t come. Found him laying on the couch, mumbling. I carried him back to his eggs but he was so tired, no amount of coaxing would get him to put a bite in his mouth. I knew he was really hungry, even if he couldn’t feel it, so I stuck a slab of butter in his mouth and told him to suck on it. After a bit he took himself back to bed and sawed logs until almost noon.

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Breakfast:
Eggs, scrambled or fried in butter
Apples, ripe bananas, mandarins as desired, or as snacks until lunch

Lunch:
Chicken veggie bone broth soup, from last night
Chicken salad on greens with balsamic and pecans, same as Day One, for adults
Peanut butter and apple slices, afternoon snack sent with Mr. Dad

Brother and sister hated having soup again, the moms enjoyed it, and baby Mac sucked it up (literally). My kids (8 and 18 months are the ones I have with me this week) gobbled it up, which is proof to me that children’s tastes can change to include savory flavors as well as sweet; it was not too long ago that my kids were kicking and screaming over soup, too.

Mrs. Mom did a great job on holding the line on no snacks if you didn’t eat your soup; Sister had earned her snacks (fruit, raisins, almonds) by mid-afternoon. Brother only ate about half his soup, so was REALLY ready for dinner.

We had quite a bit of drama all day, begging for toast, cereal, gummy vitamins, tortillas, candy (Mrs.Mom: “Really? We don’t eat candy!”). All these cravings for the exact wrong foods are confirming evidence that we’re onto something here. At one point Brother was upset about not being given bread, “not even one little crumb of bread? You’re so mean!” Oh, the drama.

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Dinner:
Fajita filling, done all day in the crockpot, over salad greens, topped with Creme Fraiche made yesterday, and guacamole
Note: if you make this, use finely shredded green cabbage tossed with chopped cilantro and lots of lime juice as the base rather than lettuce. The crunch makes it so yummy with this meal. We did not do this as Mrs. Mom was worried about grassiness in breast milk.

After dinner:
Grape jello if desired

After such a hard day food wise, it was a huge relief that the kids loved the fajita bowls and relished dipping their salad leaves in the Creme Fraiche and guacamole. Fun, and so yummy for everyone!

Task list:
Cook and serve above meals
Move completed yogurt to fridge
Start crockpot in morning with dinner fajitas
In evening, bake double batch of banana muffins for breakfast tomorrow (almond flour)
Strain kefir and refrigerate and store kefir grains or start new batch

Economical Natural Meat

Here’s a great way to buy natural meat for less; shop for natural holiday meats the day after the holiday. Yes, while others are camping out to snag electronic door busters, I secretly plot my haul of naturally raised, cage free turkeys. Oh the excitement.

Actually, my mom scouted out and bought the turkeys for me on Black Friday, as I was in bed with a new baby (lucky me) and mom was visiting to take care of my other sweeties so I could stay in bed (lucky everyone else). I have to confess that I don’t exactly remember what she paid per pound (baby amnesia) but I’m thinking it was $.79 per pound for Albertsons wild brand. This fantastic price almost has me liking Albertsons. Almost.

At any rate, my little boys loved the crispy, salt and herb crusted skin. You can see them here peeking over the turkey… Mmm, finger liking good!

Turkeys have a LOT of meat. I just roasted this one, then boned the meat and froze it again to become soups or casseroles.

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Organic Diet Step 2: Dairy

Not everyone can tolerate dairy products, but for those who can, it is a rich source of minerals, protein, and healthy saturated fats IF sourced from healthy animals. Some people groups in Africa thrive on a diet made up nearly entirely of raw milk from their herds.

Clean Starts

  • Change from conventional milk to organic milk. Skim, 1% and 2% milks have thickeners added to them; opt out by choosing whole milk. Homogenization has been linked to arterial plaque; opt out by choosing unhomogenized. Your choice to skim the cream for your coffee, or shake the whole jug before pouring. Raw milk (unpasteurized) from pastured (grassfed) animals is the BEST milk, as it is richest in minerals, enzymes and probiotics. Dungeness Valley Creamery supplies this delicious cow milk to WA state; if you prefer goat milk, search for a local source.
  • Change from conventional yogurt, cottage cheese, and kefir, to organic products, or make your own from raw/organic/pastured milk.
  • Change from conventional butter, sour cream, and cream to organic butter, sour cream, and cream. Conventional butter was listed on a recent “top ten most toxic foods” list, which is not surprising since so many of todays petrochemical toxins settle in the fats of animals. Yet organic butters and cream have been highly revered by healthy indigenous people groups for their health giving properties.
  • Change from conventional cheese to raw, organic cheese, if you can find it (see notes about raw milk below).
  • Change from “soy dairy” products (soy milk, soy protein) to almond, hemp, hazelnut, or rice milks (hemp having the best nutrition, and it’s delicious) if cow/goat dairy is not tolerated. Organic coconut oil can be used in place of butter for those with a dairy allergy. See note below on why I avoid soy.
  • If lactose intolerance is the reason you avoid dairy products, try culturing your own yogurt from organic milk. When you use a 24 hours process to culture the yogurt (or kefir if desired), nearly no lactose is present at the end of the process. Making yogurt and kefir is not difficult; find directions here. The long culturing process yields a very sour “European” flavor, which can be sweetened if you desire with jams, maple syrup, or honey. I have found that fresh goat milk loses its “goaty” aftertaste when cultured this long. The same process for 24 hour yogurt can be done with whipping cream for amazingly delicious Creme Fraiche.

Some people find that they can tolerate goat and sheep milk products if cow products bother them. Others find that raw milk (unpasturized) is tolerated as it has all the enzymes and probiotics intact to aid in digestion. In addition, high heat pasteurization appears to damage the protein molecule in milk. (The stable saturated fats in cream/butter seem to hold up better to heat than the protein in the milk, making pasteurized butter/cream still a great choice.)

Worried about contamination? Studies which purposefully introduced pathogenic bacteria into raw milk (still “living” with enzymes, probiotics, and immune factors) show that the milk protects itself by destroying pathogenic bacteria. Conversely, pasturized (“dead”) milk no longer carries this protection; hundreds are made sick on pasturized milk annually in the US. Once milk is cultured (into cheese, yogurt, cottage cheese, etc.) this risk is lowered by the competing bacteria of the culture. Certified Raw dairies undergo far stricter testing of products than conventional dairies.

Buying Tips

Trader Joes has the best prices around (by far) for a full range of organic dairy products. I buy butter, cream, sour cream, and cottage cheese there. They also have a stunning selection of cheeses, most at fabulous prices. I sometimes buy the Grassfed Cheddar (New Zealand), and sometimes the Raw Cheddar. We also love the Cotswold cheese from England (which is neither organic, or raw, but you can taste the richness of the milk which makes me confident the cows are grazing grass). The Shredded Parmesan cheese (in a bag) is a raw cheese (and high in absorbable calcium); and excellent choice.

I make my own kefir from Dungeness Valley raw milk, which we drink on occasion as well, when I’m not making it into pudding, ice cream, etc.

Goat milk is best fresh (for flavor), so I don’t really recommend buying it from Trader Joes, although if that is your only option (say for a toddler who can’t tolerate cow milk) I would certainly recommend it over any “milk substitute”. Best to find a local dairy for raw milk (as I have), or if you are inclined, buy a goat as a pet which actually contributes to the family table!

If you have to use dairy substitutes, hemp milk is cheaper when you buy a case through a co-op; this option may be available at your health food store. You can make your own rice milk really cheap (and pretty easy) using this Rice Milk Recipe.

The Why

Conventional dairy products in the US come from “factory farmed” cows, which may or may not ever see a pasture, but most certainly dine on soy and corn based feed laced with pesticides, antibiotics, and by-products from slaughter houses. In some states, farms are allowed to inject the cows with growth hormones with cause them to produce more milk, which wears out the cow and results in fewer productive years (but at heavier production) before going to the slaughterhouse herself. (This is not allowed in OR or WA.) Since the food she receives (grain based) is such a poor diet for her, she is likely to be sick often, and treated with antibiotics. You can bet that all the toxins going into her make their way into her milk, and the butter, cheese, yogurt, and other products made from it.

Conventional soy is one of the most pesticide laden crops in the US, and even organic soy can hardly boast a health claim as soy is an endocrine disruptor (mimics estrogen in the body). There are tons of “studies” done to show the “health benefits” of soy. Guess who pays for these studies, and their publicity? The Soy Industry. Lesser known studies link soy formulas to early puberty in girls, delayed or decreased fertility in boys, and doubling of diabetes risk for all children. I avoid it like the plague (except fermented soy products used in traditionally small amounts, such as Tamari).

Is Organic Certification Necessary?

Although USDA Organic certification brings with it peace of mind for the consumer, there is a cost to the farmer (passed on to the consumer) for this rubber stamp. You may be able to find a local dairy which can demonstrate to you the health and humane treatment of their animals, and quality of their product so that you don’t need the label to feel good about using their products. Especially important is to inquire about the feed of their animals; even a cow fed 100% organic grain but kept in the feedlot will not be as healthy as the cow allowed to graze on green grasses.

Finding Local Organic Food

Local farms across the US, as illustrated on localharvest.com

Having a hard time finding local

produce, dairy, and meat?

Try these sites:

www.localharvest.org

www.realmilk.com

www.eatwellguide.org

www.localdirt.com

www.rodaleinstitute.org/farm_locator

www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/farmersmarkets

Once you find a local farm on one of these sites, visit it, and get to know the owners. Ask about their growing practices to see if you ar comfortable with eating the food. Even if they regularly sell at Farmers Markets, you may be able to negotiate a better deal directly at the farm, especially if you offer to pick up your produce at a time during the week which helps out their harvest production, or if you’re willing to take the “ugly” produce.

AND . . . Keep your eyes pealed as you drive through the rural areas of your county. In my area, there are many people with large gardens/small farms who sell their excess at the roadside for several weeks or months of the year. This is truly how I’ve discovered most of my farms. Most of them don’t advertise on the internet for fear of too much traffic.

In the map above, you can see that farms follow population. If you live in Nebraska, you may have a hard time finding a local farm, and you will have to grow your favorite varieties of vegetables yourself if you want them fresh and organic (ready made greenhouses can extend the growing season for colder climates).

Local food is seasonal. You can’t expect to get raspberries from a farm in January (at least not in the Northwest!), and you might not even be able to get chicken eggs at that time of year.

So freeze the produce you can in season, and when it’s not in season and/or you run low, look for large bags of organic frozen veggies at places like Costco and Grocery Outlet. Trader Joes has small bags of frozen veggies for prices that compete with the bulk prices of the warehouses. This is a great way to find organic spinach, green beans, broccoli, corn, and more year round.

Affording Organic Food

In a comment on another post, a reader stated: “As much as I try to buy organic, it is so expensive and not widely available.”

This is so true, but we can be glad to see organic food becoming more available, and there are ways to save with organic food. My top five recommendations:

  1. Bulk up your diet with veggies; organic or conventional veggies which are low on the pesticide list (see my Consumer Wallet Guides). Veggies, whether cooked or raw/salads, are naturally cheap fillers, and good for you! Buy in season when available (super cheap from local farmers/big gardeners), and frozen when not in season.
  2. Stop buying expensive, unhealthy snacks, deserts, and sodas, and instead choose smaller portion snacks of organic or natural yogurt, nuts, fruit, homemade muffins. When your grocery cart is a quarter full of crackers, chips, cookies, ice cream, and sweet drinks, you can bet about 1/3-1/2 of your grocery budget is going to these items, which aren’t even part of your meals! Choose filtered water with lemon or lime over sweet drinks, and then “treat” yourself occasionally to an Italian Soda made from Mineral Water and a 100% juice from a trusted brand (like Knudsons). Keep deserts for special times, like birthdays, and then make or get something REALLY good from the best ingredients.
  3. With the grocery money freed up by eating more veggies and buying less snacks, deserts, and drinks, invest in better meat and dairy products. Grassfed meats are best, and it is possible to buy a half or quarter beef, lamb, or hog for your freezer directly from a farmer for a great price per pound. If you can’t buy grassfed, look for free range chickens, and organic or natural beef at Trader Joes which has good prices. Always buy seafood wild caught; watch for sales.As far as dairy: always buy rBST free, and try to find grassfed or organic. Many artisan cheeses, some from Europe, are superior even to organic US dairy in that they are grassfed. Again, the Trader Joes prices are amazing for both cheeses and milk/cream/butter/sour cream, etc. One good option, if you have the ability, is to buy good milk/cream and culture your own yogurt/kefir/sour cream. Since we are a big smoothie family, we save about $15 each week because I culture 2 gallons of milk into kefir and yogurt, rather than buying those products ready made.
  4. The best diet for most people is heavy in veggies, meats, fruits, with some dairy and nuts (if you have no allergies to those foods). Grains and legumes can be good additions/fillers if they are properly prepared, however, most Westerners have far too much of these bulking complex carbs in our diets, and our waistlines are proof. However, they can be good fillers if you find you are too hungry without them. If you buy them in bulk (dry) and prepare them from scratch at home they should be super cheap even when organic.
  5. Shop Smart:
  • Buy directly from a farm or grow your own. This is often cheaper, and you’ll know where (and who) your food comes from.
  • Shop at Trader Joes: they often have the best prices around.
  • Compare prices on the internet (research sources), and with Co-Op buying.
  • Check out Grocery Outlet for clearance prices on natural dairy, organic olive oil and some other shelf items, as well as personal care products (always read lables!!). Conventional stores (Safeway and Fred Meyer in my area) often have organic items on clearance in the bins near the back of the store/warehouse door, and clearance stickers on refrigerated items in the cold cases (near to expiration date items should be used immediately or frozen). Pair with a coupon for a great deal (see below).
  • Become acquainted with Couponing Strategy, as shared/taught/blogged in many blogs. My favorite is frugallivingnw.com. The basic idea is to use a coupon on a product which is on sale to get a great deal. Although most of the deals are for conventional products, there are coupons and deals to be had for organic products. Many organic coupons are for items in the snacks/crakers/prepared foods category, so these coupons aren’t the best way to save (just stop buying those expensive foods, as discussed in point 2). But even still, there are valuable coupons to be had, and steal-of-a-deals to be scored. Hint: go to organicvalley.coop to register for dairy coupons, and to seventhgeneration.com to register for household product coupons. Then hang on to your coupons until a great sale comes up, and stock up for a few months. (No, I am not advocating extreme couponing, and neither do the blog sites.)

Organic Grassfed Hot Dogs

It’s hot dog season, so I was thrilled to find the delicious Applegate Farms Uncured Organic Grassfed Hot Dogs at my local Trader Joes for the great price of $4.99. Sign up for their newsletter, and then you can print off the coupon for $1 off 2 packages of hot dogs, making it $4.49 apiece when you buy two.

The ingredients are: organic grass-fed beef, water, sea salt, celery powder, organic onion powder, organic spices, organic paprika.

Giveaway: 50% Coupon for T-Tapp Video

Teresa Tapp ~ photo credit: t-tapp.com

To celebrate the end of my first T-Tapp challenge, I am giving away a coupon good for 50% off any T-Tapp workout DVD/VHS!

I love T-Tapp; I’m losing inches and feeling more energized (see my blog about that here). So of course I wanted to sign up for the 30 day challenge, which began January 27th, and ends in just a few days on February 27th. Now, as I T-Tapp my way to the finish line, I’ve decided to give away this great coupon so one of you can begin this wonderful, effective, and time-saving exercise program with a great deal.

To enter for this giveaway:

  • leave a comment on this blog post by midnight on Feb 27th (Sunday night)
  • for extra entries, subscribe to this blog (right side of the page)

On Monday, the 28th, a winner will be randomly chosen to receive the coupon; I’ll email the winner. The winner of the coupon will have 5 days to redeem the coupon from the T-Tapp store by calling their store (the coupon will expire on 3-4-11). The coupon can be used for any video in their store; I highly recommend starting with the 15 minute exercise routine Basic Workout Plus, list price of $39.99, which would make it $19.99 when using this coupon!

Also on Monday you can read about my experience this month doing the T-Tapp challenge, and more details on how to begin.

Good luck to everyone on this giveaway!

Cloth Diapering Myths Debunked


My first two children spent all their diaper years in paper diapers, and even though I felt small bursts of guilt when I thought of our contribution to landfills, I didn’t consider cloth diapers an option. I mean, cloth is so yukky and hard to do, right?

Wrong. But it took two cloth diapering friends to debunk my myths.

Myth 1. Washing Cloth Diapers is a lot of work.

It’s work, but not a lot of work. Like 2-3 small loads a week, and I don’t even fold, I pile. It’s also a little work to keep up a stash of paper diapers, and this is eliminated.

Myth 2. Cloth Diapers are uncomfortable to the baby/ aren’t as healthy as paper.

Maybe vinyl pants are uncomfortable, but not the new laminated or fleece cloth covers (which there are dozens of choices on). Paper diapers do tend to wick away better, keeping baby dry, but then mommies tend to rely on that and not change the paper diapers as often as they should (this was me!) and that paper diaper can heat up. Some people think hot paper diapers are associated in male infertility when those baby boys grow up. Whether or not this is true, I’m just glad to avoid those clear bead things (chemical absorbants) which are use in the paper diapers and the bleach in the paper which is a known carcinogen.

Myth 3. Cloth Diapers are ugly.

Oh, they are so cute, with colors, patterns . . . whatever your flair. What’s ugly is a plastic bag of cartoon printed paper diapers, and later a pile of soiled paper diapers.

Myth 4. Cloth Diapers and hard to put on.

There are several methods of diapering (inserts, all in ones, prefold plus cover, etc.) but each is pretty easy to learn. With the new Snappi fasteners, it’s easy to secure the cloth diaper without pins, and most covers velcro on like a paper diaper.

Myth 5. It’s better to throw away the mess.

A (non-stinking) diaper pail which is dumped into the wash is so much nicer than a trash can of diapers stinking up the garage every week. And, ever thought of all the poop entombed in the landfill forever? That seems like a ecological nightmare.

Myth 6. Paper Diapers are a pretty cheap luxury.

Huggies from Costco was costing us about $40/mo. That’s times 30 months or so (if they potty train early). I think I can get more fun out of $1200 than buying diapers. 🙂

Myth 7. It’s All or Nothin’.

Even doing cloth diapers, I still use paper when we travel. And now on my 2 year old who is potty training (fingers crossed) and keeps the paper one dry a lot (Seventh Generation: no bleach in the paper diapers).

How To Start Cloth Diapers

There may be better ways to start cloth diapers, but I gave myself a challenge to spend about $80 and try it for 2 months. That way, if I hated it I could resell the diapers on diaperswappers.com and still be ahead money-wise.

I started reading some diaper websites, and was amazed at all the options (it can be overwhelming). What I finally settled on is the most simple, cost effective, and easiest method I know.

Cotton prefold from greenmountaindiapers.com because they are extra wide so they fit better. (Started with 12, at the end of my trial added another 12.)

Snappi from babyworks.com for fastening. (Started with 1, got another as a spare.)

Thirsties cover from babyworks.com to cover; reuse all day long unless a blowout. Fits well, few leaks, cute, good price. (Started with 3, but quickly had to buy 3 more so I could get through at least 2 days.)

Read about using Cloth Wipes here.

5 Gallon Bucket with lid which I had on hand; for throwing the soiled/wet diapers in (breastfed baby; but for baby eating food, the poop gets flushed down the toilet first). No solution in the bucket, I just dry bucket. When the bucket is full, I do laundry.

Laundering: dump bucket into washer, rinse bucket with 1 cup white vinegar which I then pour into wash. Rinse cycle on cold with vinegar. Wash cycle on hot with tiny bit of Bioclean soap and scoop Oxyclean. Second rinse in warm, no soap. Line dry the covers, send cloths through drier on hot (or line dry in summer).

That’s it.

It’s doable, cheap, and soft on my baby’s bum. What’s not to love?