May 13, 2009

Attachment parenting - a good blog!

Hi from the middle of boxes! We are packing like crazy and moving in a couple of weeks to California. I wanted to recommend this wonderful blog about compassionate parenting. And you know what, it turns out that the writer lives actually close to where we are about to move! Anyway, here is the link.

Compassionate Parenting

For you interested in the subject and looking for more to read, check out also my other favorites:

Unconditional parenting

Enjoy Parenting and the free Daily Groove newsletter



Apr 7, 2009

Color eggs naturally

As Easter is approaching, I read today in Mothering magazine's newsletters tips about how to dye eggs naturally instead of using those unnatural food colorings. For instance, you can use beets for pink, boiled spinach for green or tea for brown. Read more here.

In Finland when I was a child we painted the boiled eggs with brushes and ate them later. I have never dyed them like this, maybe I will try now. I bought organic eggs from sale today.

Apr 1, 2009

Ruston Farmers market opens on Saturday!

Ruston Farmers market starts the season earlier this year, April 4! This month's theme is “Come Dig into Spring” with us! Don’t forget to bring your extra seeds and plants for a seed swap this week­end. They will have some knowledgeable folks on hand to help answer questions about gardening.

Please note: The Ruston Farmers' Market will not be able to take recycling at this time. Please ask the Welcome tent for information on where to take your plastics, paper, metal, and cans.

RFM website

How exciting: New moderator for the group and the blog

Hi everyone!

We are going to move away for a year. We are moving from LA to L.A. (California) so if the blog name was Living Naturally in LA I guess I could keep posting. I am lucky to have found someone who will take over the blog though, so no worries!

The blog moderator will be Rachel. I am very glad to leave this to her, I think she will do great. I will miss this blog though so I might visit from time to time and let you know how my no-poo-experiment-that-turned-into-a-permanent-hair-washing-solution is going. You can also visit me in my Kaiku Lifestyle blog.

This still is a group blog so anyone from the Living Naturally in Louisiana group, write to livingnaturallyinla @ / to the Yahoo group if you want to start writing to the blog. It is possible to write also anonymously.

I wish the group and the blog can be a place where anyone wanting to live a more natural life in Louisiana can find support, ask questions, get answers and discuss subjects that interest them.

I wish you all the best and talk to you soon, I hope. Live naturally!

Mar 27, 2009

Bradley class series starting again in Ruston

Crystal Garcia's Bradley method birth classes are about to start again in Ruston! She has still a couple of spots available. Register for classes starting on April 16th (Thursday nights 6-8 PM) now! More info and contact information on Crystal's website.

Bradley Classes offer a comprehensive curriculum. Bradley Method® classes cover it all: nutrition, exercise, being more comfortable during pregnancy, the coaches role, introductory information about labor and birth, advanced techniques for labor and birth, complications, cesarean sections, postpartum care, breastfeeding and caring for your new baby.

Our classes cover a few topics that are rarely discussed in other classes like: how to reduce the need for an episiotomy and the likelihood of a tear, how to avoid needing a cesarean, how to make the best of it if a cesarean is necessary, and what the coach should do if the baby is accidentally born in the car.

Mar 17, 2009

Ecofriendly alternatives for tampons and pads.

20 billions menstrual pads and tampons are discarded each year - just in the USA, according to Green Living Tips. The good news is that there ARE more ecofriendly alternatives for tampons and pads! Have you ever heard of the menstrual cups and cloth pads? Someone mentioned them in the comments of the previous posting and I realized I haven't posted anything about them.

One year ago I started using a menstrual cup (in my case Diva cup, a brand name, there are different ones) instead of tampons and I am extremely happy with it. It feels comfortable, clean and secure (after I learned to use it, I have a tip though: don't choose white summer dress to wear the first few times you try it). I love it that I can use it over and over again. For me, it feels so much more comfortable than tampons or pads. It is supposed to last for up to 10-15 years. They have two models - one for women under thirty and who haven't had a baby and the other one is for women over thirty / have had a baby). Read more here and google for more info.

I have also organic cotton cloth pads and find them comfortable and easy to use too. Mine have wings with snaps so they stay quite well in place. I bought mine in Finland, but you can order them online. They are easy to wash, I usually wash them with the cloth diapers in hot water.

Read more from Green Living Tips article too.

Mar 16, 2009

Home made laundry detergent and soap nuts.

Do you make your own laundry detergent? I am almost out and I want to start making my own. Do you have a good recipe? I have been looking for one online. The recipes often contain borax and I am somehow suspicious about it, is it safe to use?

I have been using from time to time the ultimate natural laundry detergent, soap nuts, instead of detergent. The soap nuts are little nuts that you put a little bit crushed in a mesh bag to the laundry machine. You can use them twice. They don't leave really any smell to the laundry but if you are allergic to nuts beware.

I don't think they have worked that well for REALLY dirty laundry though. I use them for laundry that is only a little bit dirty and doesn't have bad stains. I guess then stains need to be treated well before (gall soap for instance is a good natural stain treatment, but it definitively isn't vegan). My friend told me that some of the soap nuts are better than the others, so maybe I just had bad ones. Google "soap nuts" if you want to try them or read more.

From soap nuts you can boil also a soap liquid to clean your hair for instance, I guess it can work for other things too. I tried it but I think I am sticking in my baking soda and vinegar.

But yes, to my original question, can anyone help me with a good natural laundry detergent recipe? Liquid or powder, doesn't matter.

Mar 9, 2009

Five months without shampoo!

I started the no poo experiment when I started this blog. I am still no poo, haven't used shampoo. I wash my hair with baking soda and rinse with apple cider vinegar (read more from earlier no poo postings) about twice a week. In the beginning I washed more often and I have tried to reduce the amount of BS/ACV washes but my hair gets greasy after 3 days approximately. But it seems fine with the washing, it hasn't gotten dry yet or anything so I am quite happy. If anyone has good tips how to continue from here and become really shampoo free (without my hair being greasy ;)), let me know.

Mar 6, 2009

Buy these organic (produce with most pesticides)

Here is a list from Environmental Working Group of produce that has the most pesticides.

Top 10 (highest pesticide load)

1. Peach
2. Apple
3. Sweet Bell Pepper
4. Celery
5. Nectarine
6. Strawberries
7. Cherries
8. Kale
9. Lettuce
10. Grapes - Imported

Mar 5, 2009

My Kaiku Lifestyle shop and other good news

I have been a little lazy in writing recently because I have had my hands full with other things. Among other things I started my own business, Kaiku Lifestyle, in making stuff out of mainly recycled materials. Check out my blog and my Etsy shop!

I got today a link to this interesting news release.

Doctors Endorse Vegan and Vegetarian Diets for Healthy Pregnancies

Nutrition Experts Available for Comment in Response to
NIH Study About B12

WASHINGTON—Well-planned vegetarian and vegan diets are healthful choices for pregnant women and their children, and vitamin B12 needs can be easily met with fortified foods or any common multivitamin, say doctors and dietitians with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM). PCRM nutrition experts are available for comment in response to a new Pediatrics study showing that low levels of vitamin B12 may increase the risk for neural tube defects. Read more

Feb 2, 2009

Dishwasher soap, RFM and sidewalks

I have heard now very good reviews from friends who tried the homemade dishwashing soap, read the earlier posting and recipe from here. You can use this soap for washing dishes by hand or in the machine. My friend from Finland had made it and she wrote to me today that it works well and that the cups and plates even feel more gentle than before. She made the liquid castile soap required in the recipe by melting castile soap bars in water.

I am so excited to hear that Ruston Farmers market will open this spring again (maybe already in the end of March!). They need volunteers so if you live in Ruston, come to a meeting on Sunday February 15th at 2 pm at the Lincoln Parish Public Library meeting room. Everyone who volunteers for at least one market day gets a Ruston Farmers' Market yellow tote bag. Read more from the RFM forum. Check out also the RFM website at

I was interviewed for the Ruston Daily Leader about going green and I mentioned there that I dream of better sidewalks in Ruston so that it would be easier to walk and bike everywhere instead of always driving. I was donated a bike recently by a friend (thanks!) and I bought a seat for it for my son. It has been really fun to bike around but it feels a bit scary to bike among the cars especially with a child on the bike. If you live in Ruston and miss proper sidewalks too, write to the city and tell them! They have now a Ruston 21 project and they take ideas to improve the city on their website, just click here and choose "online participation". I also wrote them about recycling.

Jan 6, 2009

Plastic bag and bottle recycling in Super1

Happy New Year!

I went to Ruston Super1 today and noticed that they have a recycle bin (made of recycled milk jugs) for plastic bags and plastic bottles. Maybe the other Super1 stores do the same.

Read also the earlier posting about the discount Super1 gives for using your own reusable bags.

In Living Naturally in Louisiana group's Facebook page there was some discussion about the recycling, check it out and join the group!

Dec 20, 2008

Interview: Crystal teaches natural birth

Next person to be interviewed in our Living Naturally in Louisiana series is Crystal Garcia, 22 Ruston, LA. She is a natural birth instructor, mom, photographer and Tech graduate from Child Development.

Sirpa: Crystal, how did you become interested in the natural child birth?

Crystal: I first became interested in natural childbirth a couple years ago, while I was working on my degree in Child Development. It came up in my Infant Development class and I knew two of my professors that gave birth naturally and spoke highly of it. Soon after that my husband and I became pregnant with our first child I began looking into different methods of natural childbirth and felt that The Bradley Method was the best fit for us because it was focused on husband coaching, relaxation, healthy eating and preparation.

When my husband and I started the classes he did not really want to go and felt uneasy about even being in the room when our son was born. At the end of the class series he was confident and calm about the birth process. He was amazing during my labor and knew what was going on with my body. We grew so much closer through our birth experience and I wanted my friends, family and everyone to have that same experience that takes away fear and replaces it with education and empowerment. That is why I decided to become a Bradley teacher.

Sirpa: So your children were born naturally? How was it? Didn't it hurt?

Crystal: Haha, yes, both my children were born naturally. Josiah was born in August of 2007, he came 10 days past my due date and after around 32 hours of labor, 12 of which were at the hospital. His birth was difficult because I saw the on call doctor who was not in agreement with my plans to deliver naturally. He put a lot of pressure on me to deliver within a certain time frame and constantly gave me exams and pressured me to get an epidural. Autumn was born last month and came only a day past her due date and her birth was so much better. I still labored over 24 hours, but was only at the hospital for 2 and a half hours before she was born. This time I knew both my nurses and my Doctor and I had a birth plan in my chart so that I knew we were all on the same page. My birth team was very supportive and wonderful.

It did hurt, but the pain was manageable and by the time you think you may not be able to withstand the pressure it is almost over. Surprisingly to most people the most painful part of labor is pushing the baby out, and it is actually a time of renewed energy for most women!

Sirpa: Tell me about the Bradley method!

Crystal: The Bradley Method is a method of husband coached childbirth that emphasizes relaxation, preparation, healthy eating and physical activity. The class series is very extensive. It is usually 12 weeks long and covers all three stages of labor, coaching, nutrition, pregnancy exercises, birth plans, c-sections, newborn procedures, post-partumn, breastfeeding, emergency childborth (like what to do if your child is born in the car), choosing your birth team and more.

Like I said the classes are geared towards couples planning on having a natural birth but many couples take the classes when they think they may try natural or just to prepare in case it is not possible to get an epidural and to be informed patients.

Sirpa: What are the benefits of having your baby naturally (or with the Bradley method)?

Crystal: There are so many and they vary with each birth and woman. With interventions there is something known as the domino effect where one intervention leads to another and another. For instance, when a woman gets an epidural it often slows her labor so she needs Pitocin to make her contractions harder, which may put the baby at distress, which may lead to an emergency cesarean. When you labor naturaly you are at less risk of complications and the need for a cesarean.

Women how give birth naturally always have less problems establishing breastfeeding. Babies who get drugs via their mother's epidurals have shown decreased suckling reflexes up to the third month of life in one study.

For me my favorite part is that I stay in the comfort of my home with my husband at my side comforting me in any way I need. Then when the baby is born I breastfeed her and walk out of the room to my postpartum room, where I shower and have a meal. The recovery is just amazing with a natural birth and the feeling of empowerment as a new parents was amazing.

Sirpa: That sounds great. You must be concerned about how medicalized the birth has become these days?

I am because I know how beautiful and intimate birth can be for a woman and for a family. I also know that many of the "necessary c-sections" that put women and babies at risk are caused my interventions and women who didn't have the information they needed to make the right choices.

Sirpa: How could the situation be improved?

Crystal: One of the biggest ways for things to improve is for women to become informed consumers of obstetric services. This means that you should interview your OB before choosing one. Also avoid inductions unless medically necessary. Women are at a much higher rate of cesarean when they go in for inductions, and I feel like if more women knew this thety would avoid it. You must understand that birth is a business and if lots of women changed doctors and hospitals to find mother friendly maternity care, eventually things would change.

And lastly, go to The Birth Survey website fill out the information regarding your birth experience and join the Coalition for Improving Maternity Care in making information about providers and birth places available to women everywhere so that they can make informed choices. There is also an organization called The Birth Network that just opened a chapter in the Bossier area that people can get involved with to support birthing options locally.

Sirpa: What can parents interested in natural child birth do to prepare for their birth in Louisiana?

Crystal: Take a QUALITY birthing preparation class. Not a short class that gives you a hospital tour and shows a video, but a good informative class that will really make you prepared. There is a Bradley teacher in Shreveport, I teach in Ruston, and there is a new teacher that just started teaching in Monroe. If you are interested there also doulas around our area. Get a good physician. If you are in the southern part of the start you also have the option of using midwives in a birth center or at home. Look into all your options and do not settle for a practitioner who is nice that your coworker sees.

Sirpa: What kind of response have you received from your students so far?

Crystal: Well I have taught three 12 weeks class series so far and the response has been great. 80% of the couples from my classes who have given birth vaginally did so without pain medications and all students reported having learned so much from the classes. Most tell their friends what a great class it is whther or not your plan to give birth naturally. I have had the priviledge to attend some of the births, and they were all beautiful and even got to I photograph a couple of them. That is the great part about attending a Bradley birth; I can be there for support and to give the coach a break if he needs one, but mostly I watch the couple do what they were trained to do, which is work together to give birth to their babies. In the process I have captured some beautiful moments.

Sirpa: I had a possibly unnecessary c-section with my baby. What if you have already had a c-section, can you have another one naturally with the Bradley method?

Crystal: Ah yes! That would be called a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean) and yes you can. I actually have had one couple in my classes planning a VBAC and on of my previous students is pregnant with her second planning a VBAC as well. The Bradley Method classes can help you find the right practitioner and birth place for you special circumstances, teach you poses and pregnancy exercises to help your baby get into the optimal birthing position and all of the other natural techiniques for labor.

Sirpa: So when will you teach your next class series now that your baby has arrived?

Crystal: My next class series starts the first week in January and I take only 5 or 6 couples per class so that everyone gets the individual attention they need. You can visit my website for more information on my classes and for my contact info!

If you know someone who you think should be interviewed for this series (or if you think YOU should be!), send e-mail to livingnaturallyinla @

Dec 18, 2008

Make your own dish washing detergent

I told you earlier about a natural dish washing detergent recipe that you could use also in the automatic dish washers. I tried it today in our dishwasher and it worked great. I think even better than my store bought earth friendly detergent. The recipe is here) if you want to try it.

Dec 16, 2008

More in Ruston Daily Leader

Monica wrote another interesting column about veganism where she mentions our group too again. Read it online from here. Last time she mentioned the Living Naturally in Louisiana group, we got some new members and new readers to the blog. Thanks Monica! Read the previous posting and column from here.

I need to add one thing though. As Monica says, you can get the protein, minerals and vitamins you need from vegetarian food too. But in a vegan diet there is one thing you can't get from just vegetables and that is vitamin B12. Vegan needs to supplement that. (Ovo-)lacto-vegetarian gets it from (eggs and) dairy. Check this link from Vegetarian Society, it says "However, the present consensus is that any B12 present in plant foods is likely to be unavailable to humans and so these foods should not be relied upon as safe sources":

And just to be clear, the Living Naturally group is not a vegetarian group. All vegetarians and non-vegetarians interested in living a more natural life in Louisiana are welcome!