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Easy, affordable recipes for baby and toddler food

Never mind the intro, take me to the recipes! If you are what you eat, then the developing years are surely the most important time to eat well. As a parent, you may not be able to give your baby or toddler fresh, homemade foods every day -- but there are real benefits when you do. Her face and your floor will enjoy homemade food too. Homemade food is more nutritious than commercially prepared baby foods: it retains more nutrients, especially vitamin A and B; it doesn't contain additives like food dyes and thickening agents like cornstarch, flour, chemically modified …

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A handy health checklist for pregnancy

Talk about a double whammy. It's challenging enough to be green when you're solo, and then pregnancy comes along and gives you twice the eco-angst (not to mention more hormones than you know what to do with). Photo: iStockphoto The cause for alarm is real: pregnancy is the most critical time for establishing your baby's well being. It's also the time when you're vulnerable to the alphabet stew of harmful chemicals in the world, which are increasingly making their way into women's bodies, wombs, and breast milk. But there is good news: Simple measures like eating organic, nutrient-rich foods before …

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Pesticides up to no good, says new research

A decrease in pesticide availability led to an associated decrease in suicide rates in Sri Lanka, researchers publishing in the International Journal of Epidemiology have concluded. In 1995 and 1998, restrictions were put into place on importation and sales of highly toxic pesticides in Sri Lanka; in 2005, the country's suicide rate was half what it had been in 1995. "Changes in the availability of a commonly used method of suicide may influence not only method-specific but also overall suicide rates," says researcher David Gunnell. "Pesticides are readily available in most rural households in low-income countries and are commonly used …

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Mercury contamination in fish declines when emissions go down

Mercury contamination of waterways and marine life doesn't have to be an ongoing problem -- all we have to do is limit industrial mercury emissions. Easy! After a seven-year experiment in a Canada lake, researchers publishing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences concluded that mercury concentrations in fish would decline relatively quickly if their ecosystem was no longer contaminated. So someday, if we all lobby hard enough against mercury-spewing (and otherwise evil) coal plants, you may be able to eat your sushi without fear of being poisoned. But we'd still watch out for the Kool-Aid.

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PETA VP argues vegetarianism is the best way to help the planet

This is a guest essay from Bruce Friedrich, vice president for campaigns at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). It was written in response to Alex Roth's essay "PETA's dogma is all bark and no bite." Friedrich has been an environmental activist for more than 20 years. In 1987, I read Diet for a Small Planet by Frances Moore Lappé and -- primarily for human rights and environmental reasons -- went vegan. Two decades later, I still believe that -- even leaving aside all the animal welfare issues -- a vegan diet is the only reasonable diet for …

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Looking at an industrial-meat giant’s China deal

While PETA roils Gristmill and other greenie sites by brandishing climate change to promote vegetarianism, Smithfield Foods just keeps cranking out industrial meat. As I noted in last week's Victual Reality, the company recently announced a deal to sell 60 million pounds of pork to China. Since then, Smithfield has revealed details about how it will fill that order: by ramping up production at a slaughter facility in Sioux City, Iowa, hometown of one of the nation's most ambitious local-food initiatives. Reports Reuters: The [Sioux City] plant will begin processing an additional 3,200 hogs a day next week, or about …

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Umbra on meat eating and global warming

Dear Umbra, I see that PETA's latest campaign says that meat eating is the No. 1 cause of global warming, not SUVs. This statement may be manipulative and political, but -- is it true? J.Helena, Mont. Dearest J., I'll bite. Shallow digging on one People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals site quickly uncovered their excitement at a 2006 report by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, "Livestock's Long Shadow: Environmental Issues and Options." Over 300 pages on livestock and the environment. It's riveting and you too can download and read it. Apocalypse chow? Photo: iStockphoto The …

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Veganism: All or nothing?

The average American weighs about 170 pounds, eats about 180 pounds of meat, gets about 24 mpg, has about two kids, owns about one-third of a cat or dog, and lives in a 2,350-square-foot home. There are lots of ways to alter your carbon footprint. Depending on your personal proclivities, some ways are "easier" than others. You get to pick what is "easiest" for you. For some, the "easiest" thing to do is not have kids. For others it is to go car-free. Not having cats and dogs is easy for many. Choosing a small, energy-efficient home, condo, or apartment …

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On PETA’s latest campaign

Just 'cause I love poking the hornet's nest, I thought I'd weigh in on this brouhaha about PETA, vegetarianism, and environmentalism. As I see it, there are three core questions: 1. Should citizens of conscience become vegetarians? To me, the answer to this question is pretty obviously yes. I don't see how it can be seriously argued. Depending on your inclinations, you can heed the health arguments, the moral arguments, or the environmental arguments (regardless whether you agree with the UN study that meat production is the No. 1 contributor to global warming, it is obviously a very large contributor, …

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The subjects of PETA and vegetarianism …

... have clearly driven you people insane.

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