Chicken nuggets… (what ARE they anyhow?)

chix nugThe idea of chicken nuggets turns my stomach. I know they have (somehow) become a staple of American kids’ diets, but for my entire life, I have found them disgusting.

Recently there has been a bunch of hub-bub about what’s really in those chicken nuggets… and patties too (and I really wonder if they are worth of having “chicken” in the name at all!).

My kids, like me, consider them fairly gross.  Have you SEEN this photo? Yes, that pink stuff right there (that looks like strawberry soft-serve ice cream) IS the stuff those nuggets are made of.chix nuggs

Want to know what’s in them? It’s called “mechanically separated chicken”.  A machine actually removes all of the disgusting leftovers after the quality parts are removed… it removes the tendons, tissue, cartilage, organs, and other chicken extras, and grinds them into a fine poultry paste. An ammonia wash is used to kill the bacteria and, because it looks (and now tastes!) horrible, artificial colors and flavors need to be added to make them edible.  In reality, with all of the other additives, only about 50% is even some chicken “part”… and that doesn’t even get into the nutritional side of the story. The sodium and fat content is appalling.

I tried to show this to my kids and my daughter said, emphatically, “No… Mom! I can’t watch!” If you want your kids to break-the-habit, try to get them to take a look. (I actually have two videos… this one shows the kids rejecting the nuggets, but I will warn you… the embedded video below shows kids STILL willing to eat the grossness they saw… a testament to how we’ve allowed this “food item” to become acceptable!)

Just like any other food item, not all chicken nuggets and patties are created equal.  There are some semi-decent products out there but, buyer beware. If it says “mechanically separated chicken” on the package, throw the box and RUN! … because that icky pink stuff is what you’re buying.

Instead, pack up some healthy food (in reusable containers!) when you’re on the go… or serve up a rainbow of healthy foods in a muffin pan when you’re at home.  Just reconsider chicken nuggets.

Truly, there are so many better, healthier, nutritious options… chicken nuggets are not really chicken nuggets.

Toxic mattresses?… What you NEED to know!

mattress fillIt has long been a mission of mine to tell readers of dangers in products that we don’t typically consider potentially harmful.  Mattresses happen to be one of those products.

The reason?

Beginning July 1, 2007, Federal Fire Retardant Regulations mandated mattress manufacturers to INCREASE their levels of toxic fire retardants, but DO NOT require them to list the chemical ingredients in the contents of the mattresses!

And what do these fire retardants contain?… boric acid, melamine, antimony and formaldehyde… all chemicals linked to cancer.  Antimony alone causes heart muscle damage and (as much as I dislike testing on animals) a single dermal application has been fatal to laboratory animals.  Additional tests on Memory Foam mattresses even detected 61 chemical emissions and off-gassing from a single mattress.  Think about how many hours you spend sleeping on your mattress… every… single… night.  All the while, you are inhaling these toxic off-gassing chemicals. I find it both frightening AND infuriating, especially where our children are concerned.Nat bed matt

The ONLY answer is an organic mattress.  They’re made of pure organic wool, 100% organic cotton covers and 100% natural latex cores, providing even BETTER fire retardancy than the chemicals… naturally! The reality is that mattresses do NOT need to be sprayed with chemicals to make them fire retardant; they need to meet standards for BEING fire retardant… and that’s exactly what you get with organic mattresses.  They are chemical-free AND fire retardant!

When we purchased a new mattress for our son, we chose an organic mattress from Natural Bed Co.  They’re the real deal… helpful, reliable and honest (unlike some other mattress companies our friends have had to deal with!).

If you’re in Northeast Ohio, you can visit their showroom but, luckily for everyone, they’ll ship nationwide! They have literally everything you could need for restful, peaceful sleep, WITHOUT harsh and harmful chemicals sprayed all over your mattress.

Nat bed logoI truly suggest you bookmark this post for when you’re in the market for a new mattress and/or bedding.  But I believe in Natural Bed Co. so much, there is also a clickable link in my sidebar that has taken permanent residence.  Click and take a look… they have exactly what you need.

And by the way, you might be asking yourself if they’re affordable… well, I assure you, they are.  And afterall, considering all of the hours you and your family spend sleeping on your mattresses, can you really afford anything except the safest (and healthiest) choice?

Earth Hour 2011: The lights dimmed all over the world!

earth hr + 11I hope you participated in Earth Hour! On Saturday, March 26th, 2011, from 8:30-9:30 pm, lights did dim all over the world!

The Mom Goes Green family turned off the lights for the third year and this year was no less exciting.  We started our day with a visit to The Rainforest at our beloved Cleveland Metroparks Zoo to really kick-off a day of appreciation for our planet and the wonders of nature.  For dinner we stopped off at a local Indian restaurant to feast on cuisine from yet another part of our our world.  And when we got home our kids rushed to take nice short showers (water conservation, right?) before we got started.EH Lond

The lights went out, the soy candles were illuminated and our celebration began.

We were thrilled to once again look out at the Cleveland skyline from our backyard and see it mostly dark (Thank you, Cleveland!).  Our hour (which actually stretched to an hour and a half!) included venturing to every corner of the house and plenty of silliness along the way.  The kids’ flashlights (equipped with rechargeable batteries) were a great source for “The Shadow Puppet Show” and we snuggled under blankets on the floor to read stories from The Barefoot Book of Earth Tales.

EH EgyThis year’s Earth Hour had record participation (134 countries) and I wondered how many children from my kids’ school were participating with their families. Last week I sent home a notice with all 465 of them(!) announcing Earth Hour.  If they sign the pledge that says they participated, some of them will be randomly selected to win an eco-prize reward including BPA-free water bottles, pencils made from recycled newspapers and TerraCycle pencil bags (made from upcycled drink pouches)!

If you participated, you literally joined families from all around the globe… Kuala Lumpur, Hong Kong, Las Vegas, Singapore, Beijing, Moscow, Sydney, Athens, Jakarta, Rio de Janeiro, Toronto, Johannesburg, Hong Kong, Mexico City, Oslo, New York City, Abu Dhabi, Bucharest, Capetown, Mumbai and Cairo (just to name a few!). When else can you imagine these cities and countries banded together in a unified cause? Earth Hour brought the world together in support of our common thread… Planet Earth!

You can still experience the magnitude of this event.  Boston.com allows you to click the images and see the lights go off in locations around the world.  BuzzFeed shows you the before and after from 40 notable cities and AolNews gives you the grand tour of the entire spectacular event.EH NYC

Quite powerful, I’d say.

Now, let’s see what we can do to take this momentum and not allow this event to become just ONE hour in an entire year… what can you do to make every hour Earth Hour?

Earth Hour 2011: March 26 (can you spare the time?)

earth hr + 11I hope you’ve circled the date on your calendar! This Saturday, March 26th, 2011, from 8:30-9:30 pm is Earth Hour!

Earth Hour started in Sydney, Australia, in 2007, with 2.2 million homes and businesses turning off their lights for one hour as a “vote” FOR the earth, and a “vote” AGAINST global warming.  By 2010, this movement had grown to hundreds of millions of people, and even darkened the Sydney Opera House, Rome’s Colosseum, The Eiffel Tower in Paris, The Parthenon in Greece, San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, the Las Vegas Strip, New York City’s Times Square and landmarks around the globe.

Last year people from all around the world switched off their lights in a unified vote because, regardless of where you live, we all depend on the same planet! This is the perfect time to turn off the lights, discuss global warming and the importance of “being green” as a family.  Consider taking actions to assure that we aren’t polluting our earth and overusing resources in our everyday lives.

For more information, go to www.earthhour.org and sign-up to be “officially” counted!

Need some inspiration?

Or want to know what we did last year?… click here

now…

Will you “vote” with me this year?

Giveaway: National Geographic Kids “Human Footprint”

plastic bottleIt’s sometimes a difficult task to get kids to grasp the concept of what their daily life essentially means for our planet.

While you can try to explain what their “footprint” means, it can get lost in translation… and the impact of their impact fails to make an impression at all.

Well, what if they heard (and SAW) things like this:

  • You’ll drink 13,056 pints of milk in your lifetimeHuman Ftprnt
  • You’ll eat 14,518 candy bars in your lifetime
  • You’ll spend $52,972 on clothes in your lifetime
  • You and your fellow American throw away 694 plastic bottles each second!

Thanks to National Geographic Kids, you can now tell and SHOW them these facts. Human Footprint puts into perspective everything they will eat, use, wear, buy and THROW OUT in their lifetime, with astonishing photos to make it real.  It also shares great tips to help them lessen their impact on the planet.

I happen to have TWO copies I would love to share with you and your kids.  Interested in a fun lesson?  YES? Then just leave a comment here saying you’d like to win, or send a Twitter message that includes a reply to @momgoesgreen and a link to this blog. Facebook friends can also leave a comment to be entered. The winners will be randomly selected on March 22! (U.S. entries only… sorry!)

I’ve shared my own list of ways to raise eco-friendly kids and getting a copy of this book was just added to that list!