Podcast: In Search of a Greener, Groovier Lunchbox with Lori Alper

Strocel.com Podcast Better Back to School Brigade Lori Alper Non-Toxic LunchboxesDid you know that toxins may be lurking in your child’s school lunch? It’s true. While a litterless lunch is a greener way to go, not every water bottle, food container and lunchbox you buy is perfectly safe. For instance, do you remember the controversy around Sigg water bottles a number of years ago? When everyone started to become concerned about BPA in plastic water bottles, Sigg benefited big time. When it came out some time later that their water bottle linings contained BPA, many people felt betrayed. I myself owned one of the BPA-containing bottles, and I was pretty cheesed about it.

My point here is that it’s not always easy to tell what’s green, and what’s greenwashing. That’s why I’m re-sharing my interview with the fabulous Lori Popkewitz Alper of Groovy Green Livin with you again. I first met Lori in person at BlogHer 2011 in San Diego. In this photo I’m standing on the far left, and Lori is standing on the far right:

Strocel.com Podcast Lori Alper

Lori is a fellow green mom, and I have admired her for a long time. I particularly admire the work she’s done to highlight our exposure to toxins, and advocate for change. She’s started two petitions that have garnered widespread attention. The first is aimed at Proctor & Gamble, and it’s called Tide: Get Cancer-Causing Chemicals Out of Laundry Detergent. The second is aimed at Disney, and it’s called Disney: Get toxic chemicals out of Princess and Spiderman lunch boxes.

Strocel.com Podcast Lori Popkewitz AlperDuring our podcast, Lori and I discussed her own journey to greener living, and what motivates her. We discussed the petitions and why she started them, as well as the awareness that she’s raising. By pointing out the toxins our kids may be exposed to in the products they use every day, Lori is helping to ensure that people can make better decisions. When you don’t know what the dangers are, you can’t avoid them. When you know, you’re empowered, which is why I admire Lori so much. If you’d like some tips for making better choices of your own, Lori shares some of those during the podcast, as well.

Whether you’re a fellow green mom, you want to learn a little bit about how you can reduce the toxins your kids are exposed to in their school lunches, or you’d like to be inspired by someone who’s working hard to create change, you’ll want to listen to the podcast:

I’m working on some new podcasts that I’ll be recording in September. I’m really excited about some of these! Subscribe to my podcast in iTunes and you won’t miss a minute.

Podcast: Raising Sexually Intelligent Kids

strocel.com podcast marnie goldenberg sexplainer parenting sex edOne of the most awkward parts of parenting, for me, has been talking to my kids about the birds and the bees. Over more than eight years of parenting, I’ve had ample opportunity to do it. I’ve always done my best to share accurate information, in simple terms, without doing too much editorializing. But I’m mostly just making it up as I go along, and I’m not always sure I’m doing that well at it. This is why, when I had the chance to interview Vancouver blogger Marnie Goldenberg I jumped at it. On her blog, sexplainer, she makes it her mission to help parents raise sexually intelligent kids.

I had a lot of questions for Marnie, and she gave me a lot to think about during our conversation. We talked about her background, and how her passion for sexual education developed. We talked about the challenges parents face when talking to their kids about sexuality. We addressed some of the concerns that many of us face about how our increased connectivity through smart phones and social media impacts our kids, as well as issues around easy access to pornography. Marnie also shared her tips to help everyone raise savvy, smart kids, who make good choices for themselves.

If you have questions about talking to your kids about sex and sexuality, you’ll want to listen to this podcast. And really, who among us doesn’t? I think every parent feels out of their depth sometimes, whether we’re sharing lessons with our kids about sexuality or table manners. I don’t know about you, but I can always use a few more tools in my parenting toolbox, and Marnie shares many of them during our podcast.

My podcast with Marnie clocks in at just over 40 minutes, and I promise it will be 40 minutes well-spent. So choose a time when your kids aren’t around (unless you’re in a place where you want to answer any questions that come up), relax, and let the sexplainer work her magic.

If you enjoyed my conversation with Marnie, subscribe to the Strocel.com podcast in iTunes, and you won’t miss a minute of my future broadcasts. Also, if you have a podcast idea, please share it with me. I’d love to hear your suggestions!

Podcast: Label Lessons with Andrea Donsky

strocel.com podcast andrea donsky label lessonsWe all know the drill: Eat whole foods, mostly vegetables. Don’t eat too much sugar. Don’t eat too much fat. Don’t eat too much salt. Don’t eat things that come in packages. Don’t eat things with ingredients you can’t pronounce. There are lots of rules about what we should and shouldn’t eat, and most of us are at least somewhat familiar with them. Following them, however, is a different story. It turns out that junk food is so popular for a reason, and the reason is that it’s easy and it tastes good. So, when I had the chance to record a podcast with Andrea Donsky, founder of NaturallySavvy.com and author of Label Lessons and Unjunk your Junk Food, I was in.

Andrea is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist, but she’s also a mom of three. Through her books and website she endeavours to help us navigate the aisles of the grocery store, making healthier choices. She’s pragmatic and non-judgmental as she does so, focusing on what ingredients we should seek to avoid, and how we can decipher ingredient lists and nutrition labels. Rather than lecturing us to eat more kale, she helps us to choose a better granola bar for when we need a fast snack on the go.

strocel.com podcast andrea donsky label lessons unjunk your junk foodDuring our podcast I asked Andrea just what a Registered Holistic Nutritionist is, anyway. We talked about what ingredients are red flags, and why. We discussed how to appropriately set limits on junk food with kids. We discussed organic food and genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. We talked about where to shop, how to shop, and why you have to vigilant when you’re choosing what to buy.

If you could use some practical, judgment-free help choosing food for your family, or you’d like to hear what seven ingredients you should be on the lookout for, you’ll want to listen to my podcast with Andrea Donsky:

If you enjoyed my conversation with Andrea, subscribe to the Strocel.com podcast in iTunes, and you won’t miss a minute of my future broadcasts. Also, if you have a podcast idea, please share it with me. I’d love to hear your suggestions!

Podcast: Talking Tea for Mother’s Day

I love tea, as anyone who’s seen my annual tea stash challenge knows. I especially love buying tea. There’s something about a new tea that is so full of promise, I just can’t resist it. Because of that, it should come as no surprise that when Soko Tea House opened in my neighbourhood late last year, I was immediately smitten. As I was considering what to do on my podcast for Mother’s Day, talking about tea seemed like the perfect fit. So, I got in touch with Julie Veres, Soko’s co-owner, and luckily she agreed to connect for a chat.

strocel.com podcast soko tea house julie veres

Julie’s love for tea is so great that she’s actually spent years studying it, even going to school to become a tea sommelier. She’s currently exploring the Japanese tea ceremony in intricate detail. All of this sort of begs the question: just how much is there to know about tea?

strocel.com podcast soko tea house julie veresThe answer is a whole lot, as Julie explains in our podcast. Tea may seem like a simple beverage, but like wine, there are many nuances and variations to explore. And like wine, there’s also a lot to learn about pairing tea with food. In fact, Julie runs workshops at her tea shop most Sunday mornings, exploring topics like making matcha, preparing iced teas, the health benefits of certain teas and pairing tea with different foods. After all, tea is the most popular beverage in the world after water, and people prepare it in countless different ways.

If you’re a tea-lover, you’d like some tips on preparing and storing tea, or you’re planning a Mother’s Day Tea and need ideas, you’ll want to listen to my podcast with Julie Veres from Soko Tea House:

If you enjoyed my conversation with Julie, subscribe to the Strocel.com podcast in iTunes, and you won’t miss a minute of any future broadcasts. Also, if you have a podcast idea, please share it with me. I’d love to hear your suggestions!

Repeat: Podcast with Non-Toxic Avenger Deanna Duke

This edition of the Strocel.com podcast first ran on January 6, 2012. It’s full of good stuff, so I’m pleased to be sharing it with you again.

Deanna Duke Non-Toxic AvengerI first came across Deanna Duke on her blog, Crunchy Chicken. Her tagline is, “Putting the mental in environmental,” and I was hooked. Some time later, I joined the Green Moms Carnival, which she also belongs to, and I was even more hooked. Deanna is funny, frank and passionate. When she recently published her first book, The Non-Toxic Avenger, I requested a review copy, and I wasn’t disappointed.

The Non-Toxic Avenger chronicles Deanna’s quest to reduce the toxic load in her own body. She did blood and urine tests to determine the level of toxins she was carrying around, then did nearly everything she could to eliminate her exposure to toxins for about four months. Finally, at the end of it all she repeated the testing to see what effect, if any, she’d actually had.

Deanna Duke Non-Toxic AvengerYou’d think a book about toxins and de-toxifying would be either dry, or terrifying, or both, but Deanna managed to avoid both fates. Don’t get me wrong – the number of toxins we’re exposed to in our daily lives really is alarming, and reading The Non-Toxic Avenger prompted me to go on a one-woman anti-PVC crusade in my own home. If you want a beach read, this isn’t it. But if you want an informative, readable, funny book that will help you to make some tangible changes of your own, I would absolutely recommend it. This is the first book I have actually finished in months, which tells you that I really enjoyed it.

I had the chance to catch up with Deanna for a chat. We talked about her attempts to remove toxins, and what did and didn’t work. I asked her about the testing she underwent to determine the toxin levels in her body, including what that cost and what challenges she faced in getting it done. I also asked what she’s continued now that the project was over, and what she hasn’t. And I asked my biggest question of all: how did everyone else (including her husband and children) react when she swore off all non-organic food and started examining every object in her home for potential toxicity.

It was great talking to Deanna, and you can really get a sense of her chatty, approachable style from our interview. Listen to it here:

Subscribe to the Strocel.com podcast in iTunes to stay up-to-date with the podcasts. Also, if you have a podcast idea, please share it with me. I’d love to hear your suggestions!

Podcast: Arting and Crafting Your Life

When I was creating the Crafting my Life online class, I wanted to interview someone about embracing your inner artist. I got in touch with my friend Amanda, who you may know better as PoMo Mama. Amanda is an in-real-life friend – we escaped for a weekend away together last year. She’s also a mother, writer, student, suburbanite and artist. Plus, she’s just generally awesome.

Amanda and I on the ferry

Amanda has actually been featured on this podcast before, in my discussion on family size. I love speaking with her, because she’s straightforward and no-nonsense. If you imagine someone who embraces a second career in the arts as prone to wearing flouncy skirts and making woo-woo pronouncements, you’re not imagining Amanda. In my mind, she’s setting a great example of someone who pursues her own interests in, around and in spite of her family, on her own terms.

If you’d like to get in touch with your creative side; if you wonder what it’s like to have your artwork no display; if you wonder how you can make that work as a mother, you’ll want to listen to my conversation with Amanda. You’ll find both inspiration and practical help. I’m pleased to be sharing it with you now as a podcast:

I’m still working out what I’ll be running next week on the Strocel.com podcast. I have a couple of great interviews in the works, but I’m not ready to make any promises. However, what I can tell you is that it will be worth listening to. Subscribe to the Strocel.com podcast in iTunes, and you won’t miss a minute! Also, if you have a podcast idea, please share it with me. I’d love to hear your suggestions!

Podcast: Talking Work at Home and More with Jennifer Forest

strocel.com podcast work women want jennifer forestI’ve become a little more choosy, recently, when it comes to inviting guests to be on my podcast. I’m 80 episodes in, now, and I suspect that I’m feeling a little more confident than I was two years ago when I started. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve enjoyed each and every interview I’ve done, and I’ve learned something by doing each one. However, in the beginning I was so thrilled that anyone would speak to me that I jumped on every opportunity without asking too many questions. Now I’m getting more pitches, and I’m taking more time to consider each one. When I recently got the opportunity to interview Jennifer Forest, the author of the new book Work Women Want, I knew that was one worth jumping for.

strocel.com podcast work women want jennifer forestJennifer’s book is a guide to women who want more family-friendly work arrangements. If you’ve ever thought you’d like to work from home, work part-time, or work in a different field so that you can have better work-life balance and spend more time with your kids, Jennifer wrote this book for you. She’s not promising that if you read her book you’ll become a millionaire overnight, and she’s also not promising that it will be easy. Rather, she is sharing practical tips from real moms who have been there, done that, and found ways to make living incomes from home, or on reduced work schedules.

During our podcast Jennifer shares her own story, and discusses what inspired her to write the book. She shares tips for starting a business, talks about negotiating a part-time schedule, and covers some of the nitty-gritty details you’ll encounter if you decide to start a business while you have small children. If you’d like to shift the way you work, you’ll want to take the time to listen to the podcast:

I’m still deciding what I’ll be sharing next week on the podcast, but I can promise you that you’ll want to tune in. Subscribe to the Strocel.com podcast in iTunes, and you won’t miss a minute! Also, if you have a podcast idea, please share it with me. I’d love to hear your suggestions!

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