This is such a huge quest to start, let me tell you.  Going organic isn’t as easy as going to the local “organic” market, because let me tell you from experience, not everything in that “organic” market is truly organic.  Totally defeats the purpose,  no?  Now, don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of great organic products in an organic market that are good quality, AND organic, but what I’m talking about is dietary supplments.  I’m talking sunscreens.  I’m talking products that really matter for a mom with young children.

Let’s start with dietary supplements:  I’ve done Flintstones, Yummy Bears, Natural Factors, Nature’s Harmony, and looked at Quest and countless other children’s vitamin supplements.  The problem with most children’s viamins is this: SUGAR, and lots of it, in different fancy names–xylitol, sorbitol, glucose, fructose, sucrose, fructo-oligsaccharides, sucralose, aspertame, asulfame-K… These are all names of sweeteners.  Xylitol and sorbitol are plant-based, much like Stevia.  Fructose is naturally occuring in fruit.  Glucose.. I forget the sugar that represents.  Fructo-oligsaccharide is an artificial sweetener that actually needs a secondary sweetener to hide the nasty taste of the fake stuff. Sucrose is the fancy name for refined sugar (check your fave formula, i bet it’s in there).   Sucralose/aspertame/asulfame-K–these are all toxic chemicals that have no business in foods whatsoever.  They are carcinogenic chemicals, and I have  yet to understand why aspertame, marketed as NutraSweet back in the 90s, was banned back then but somehow managed to get re-approved for food use … ((oh wait, I bet I can venture a wild guess–pharmaceutical companies bribed FDA again. …  I mean, lobbied FDA for approval based on falsified/untrue studies. …)) 

So to find a good-for-my-children vitamin is very difficult.  Right now they are eating Nature’s Harmony gummies, but even then it has both glucose syrup (which is better then high fructose corn syrup, I suppose) and natural cane juice.  I’m sure “natural flavours” will entail some sort of hidden MSG and sugar mix that the company doesn’t have to disclose.  At least it’s mostly good for you, and that has been close enough so far.  They like the taste, and hopefully the vitamins/minerals inside that multi-vitamin is good quality.

Another thing most vitamins for children and adults alike have is artificial colours.  Why?  To make them look pretty.  Nevermind that these artificial colors are actually toxic.  I suppose the mind works that if they look pretty, they must taste pretty.  Brilliant marketing ploy, but not so brilliant if you are trying to go organic for the health of yourself and your children. 

Another trick of the trade is HVP — hydrolized vegetable proteins.  These are what you’ll find in most “healthy” meatless products.  The name implies it’s made from veggies, so why are they bad?  MSG.  HVPs are another way of hiding MSG in food, without saying that the food has MSG.  Tricky, no?  Some vitamins actually have HVP in them–whether it’s in the form of corn, rice, soy, whatever.. .hydrolized anything is bad.  Hydrolized = warning sign for MSG additive. 

So as I mentioned, dietary supplements, good quality dietary supplements for kids especially are very hard to come by.  If your kids are like my older boy–very picky fruit and veggie eater–then you need something to supplement that pickiness.  My 2nd boys loves meat, but he also loves to try new foods.  Not nearly as particular as older brother, he still needs that extra supplement, as well.  Why?  Because the foods that we eat are grown in nutrient-deficient soils, so you need more than you did 20yrs ago to get teh same amount of nutrients as 20yrs ago. 

The second thing I mentioned was sunscreens: Just TRY to find something that hasn’t got nano-sized particles of titanium oxide, or nano-sized particles of zinc oxide.  Most manufacturers don’t even tell you.  The ones that do are convinced that nano=good, totally disregarding/turning a blind eye to studies that say otherwise.  Even back in 1997, Oxford University researchers looked into the effects nano-sized particles would have on the human body, and even back then, they discoverered that nano=bad.  Why?  Because nano-sized particles penetrate the skin and can enter the bloodstream altering your DNA.  Countless other studies have supported this, but because it’s new and shiny, it has to be good, right? …  So, that Aveeno Baby, Coppertone, Hawaiian Tropics, Nutrogena that you just doused yourself and your child with??  BAD FOR YOU!!  Not only does nano-sized particles affect DNA, but the other chemicals in that sunscreen you just slathered on have been linked to the increase in skin cancer rates.  Yep, and what’s more, what these companies DON’T tell you, aside from their use of nano-particles in their creams, is that your body has the ability to combat the effects of aging and too much sun.  Yep, that’s right.  UVB, I believe, are the rays that provide D3.  20minutes of unprotected sunlight on  your hands and face is all you need to get the adequate amount that your body needs.  AND once you’ve surpassed that amount, your body has the ability to shut down the receiving of this vitamin.

Now that doens’t mean you’ll never need to use sunscreen again.  Although, from what I  understand, all you need to do is eat lots and lots of anti-oxidant rich foods.  You know the ones: blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, etc.   Mix all your favorite antioxidant-rich fruits into one yummy smoothie and drink up.  Add them to your cup of yogurt.  Add them to that bowl of cereal in the morning.  Sprinkle them on your bowl of vanilla ice cream. … Get them into your body.  I’ve read that in a recent study, the seed oil of raspberries appears to act as a natural sunscreen.  And they are soooo tasty, too! 

When you search for sunscreens, look for companies that use micro-nized particles.  These DON’T absorb through your skin, but rather reflect light.  I wouldn’t go to Environmental Working Group’s website and rely solely on their recommendations, although they have great intentions to bring to consumers better products.  Why?  Because their top-rated product for sun protection is made by  company called KEYS.  This company proudly states they use nano-zinc oxide on their product.  Yes, it was designed by skin cancer survivor, but with total disregard for the studies that state nano-sized anything is pretty much bad.   EWG also recommends the Badger brand… also a great find, except when you go the company website, you discover that yes they do use micro-nized zinc oxide, but there are also nano-zinc particles mixed in.  So, although it’s a great start, it’s just not good enough for me and my children.   Although, I do have to admit, I am impressed with an Australian brand called Soleo Organics.  They have a sunscreen that uses micronized zinc oxide and the rest of the ingredients are plant-based.  I haven’t tried it yet, but it’s on my radar! 

Right now, I am relying on anti-oxidant rich fruits and daily doses of D3 to get me through the summer.  So far, I have yet to burn.  And I also try to avoid peak sun times for the sole reason that that is when the rays are their worst.  Even when I have been out in the sun doing yardwork  between 10 and 2 peak hours, I haven’t burned.  I slathered on sunscreen once–and that was because I was intent on being out in the sun at the beach for an entire afternoon.  Sadly, and quite reluctantly, it was Aveeno Baby, but it was all I had.   So far so good with my antioxidant test.  I still am planning on getting sunscreen for my boys, as soon as I get my hands on a great product, I’ll let you know in my Product Review section. =)