Uhm Yum! The avocado pie I made tastes like kiwi pie!

Doesn’t this look delicious?!

It’s not mine. This is mine:

I have this problem with my food processor where I don’t know how to turn it on, so I had to mix the ingredients by hand.

You can view the recipe I followed (loosely) here.

The ingredients are pretty simple. Pie crust, 3 ripe avocados, 1/2 cup of sour cream, 1/2 cup of heavy cream, 1/4 cup of lemon juice, 1/4 cup of lime juice, a can of sweet condensed milk, and a packet of gelatin. I used low fat versions of the condensed milk and creams to lower the overall calories.

I mixed the juices and gelatin together in a small dish and let it sit while I mashed the avocados.

You can tell if an avocado is ripe by squeezing it in your hand. It should give a little to the pressure. Don’t squeeze it in your fingers, or you may bruise it. I added the condensed milk to the avocado mash, and then added the juice/gelatin mix. I mixed it all together by hand (this is where the food processor would’ve come in handy), and poured it in the pie crust. Then, I placed it in the fridge for about 2 hours to harden.

When my 2 hours were almost up, I poured the sour cream and heavy cream together and began to whip it (also by hand…I should invest in one of those whipping thingies). It was supposed to form stiff peaks. It didn’t. It just stayed liquidy. But fortunately I had some Cool Whip in the freezer, so I mixed it all together and stuck it in the freezer for about 10 minutes. Voila! Look at that!

Hubby said he wasn’t hungry (he’s rather dubious of my cooking ventures), so I scooped myself a generous portion of, er…pie:

After eating it, I announced to hubby how delicious it was and that it tasted like kiwi pie. A few seconds later it hits me, “Uhm…I think that pie crust was raw.”

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Birth rape: Is it real?

While I was expecting my son, I perused countless blogs, message boards, Web sites, and Facebook groups, trying to inform myself as much as possible about pregnancy and birth. When I first ran across the term “birth rape,” I had no mental image. What mental image do you even get out of that? I had no idea what it was or what to expect while reading up on the topic.

Birth rape isn’t easy to describe, as it differs with different women, depending on their experience. For some women, birth rape means they were forced into decisions regarding their child’s birth that they didn’t want to make. Birth rape for other mothers means that a procedure was performed upon them without their permission, sometimes blatantly against their will.

This, of course, isn’t rape by the letter of the law, but the term was coined by Janet Fraser after an emergency episiotomy was performed on her without her consent. Some people who believe women do experience traumatic childbirth but are not being purposely victimized will use the term birth trauma instead of birth rape.

Let’s talk about “natural birth” for a moment. There are a few different definitions of “natural birth,” but most sources would agree that it entails giving birth vaginally with little medical intervention. From my research, most mothers who have experienced what they call birth rape desired a natural birth. I’ve discovered that months or years later, many mothers are still traumatized by their birth experience.

As a mother whose birth plan went out the window, it’s difficult for me to understand this. I think that natural birth is a wonderful idea. I wanted my son’s birth to go as naturally as possible, but things ended up going almost opposite of what I’d planned due to complications. I will always regret that I wasn’t allowed to hold my baby boy and bond with him immediately after he was born, but I live with this regret knowing that he’s healthy and safe. That’s what is most important to me. Not my birth plan.

As a Soldier, it’s also difficult for me to understand how birth trauma exists, unless there is a death or near-death experience. Although I know in theory it is possible to suffer from PTSD without anything seriously horrifying happening to you…I’m skeptical. I can’t comprehend how childbirth could be equally horrifying to a bomb blast or being shot. But I am open to the possibility, and I’m genuinely curious and willing to learn.

What do you think? Is birth rape real? Are some women traumatized by medical intervention during childbirth? Is this trauma a symptom of postpartum depression or something of its own (PTSD)? Have you suffered from birth rape or birth trauma?

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Why choose cloth diapers over disposables?

I wish I could say that cloth diapers are easier than disposables or less disgusting. But I can’t. Yes, it is more work. And poop is gross. Always. You can wrap it up in a cute little multi-colored, polka-dotted package with a bow, and it’s still poop. But I can say that cloth diapers are cost beneficial, environmental-friendly, healthier, and absolutely adorable.

Some people have already made up their minds against cloth diapers, and this post is not intended to persuade them otherwise. Instead, I hope to inform those who are curious and considering cloth.

Let’s look at the cost benefit first:

According to Consumer Reports, parents spend on average $2,500 per child from birth to potty training. Now, we can assume that number is for your mainstream diaper brands: Pampers, Huggies, etc. By using off-brands, some parents will spend less. Some parents will choose supposedly eco-friendly disposable brands like Seventh Generation and the Honest Company and pay more. No matter the brand, each child in disposables will cost more than $1,000 by the time he or she is potty trained.

Cloth diapering is undeniably cheaper than disposables. There are several different types of cloth diapers, and a plethora of brands. The very basic prefold with one-size cover system can cost under $200, depending on the brands and how many waterproof covers you buy.

Many cloth diaper stores, like Diaper Junction, sell cloth diaper packages between $350-500 that include popular brands and styles of diapers and accessories like cloth wipes, wet bags, or pail liners. These packages will diaper a child from birth to potty training. If you use the same system with multiple children, your savings keep rising.

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Many cloth diapers can be purchased previously owned, lowering your costs even further. After your child has been potty trained, you can sell your diapers on Ebay, Craigslist, or sites like Diaper Swapper and gain back some of the money you spent.

There are laundry costs associated with cloth diapers, of course, but these costs should be less than $200 a year, depending on the type of washing machine and the wash routine. If you line dry all or most of your cloth diapers, you will also save on electricity.

All in all, using the same cloth diapers, you can diaper several children from birth to potty training for under $1,000.

Now the environmental benefits:

Most parents never read the instructions on disposable diaper packaging, but all fecal matter should be flushed down the toilet. However, the majority of it ends up in our landfills. This means there’s a possibility that fecal matter can seep into our ground water. Although it’s still yet unknown how long it takes for a disposable diaper to decompose, it has been estimated to be at least 250 years per diaper. They are the third largest single consumer item in landfills. As well, “eco-friendly” brands of disposable diapers are not much better than regular disposables in terms of biodegradability and chemical properties.

If you were diapered in disposables, your poop-filled diapers are still sitting in a landfill somewhere.

Also, to make a diaper, manufacturers use wood, petroleum, and chlorine. One year of diapering a baby in disposables uses over 300 pounds of wood! These are just a few of the known negative environmental impacts of disposable diapers.

At this point, some of you are probably saying, “Well, what about cloth? What about the water and energy used to make and wash a cloth diaper?”

Those in the cloth diapering community will argue in return that water is used in the manufacturing process of disposable diapers.

Yes, it is true that water and energy is used to make and launder cloth diapers. Many CD users reduce the energy they use by washing in warm or cold temperatures instead of hot, and hanging cloth diapers to dry, like I do. Keep in mind that cloth diapers are biodegradable. In ideal conditions, this will happen as quickly as six months.

To determine which is better in this case -cloth or disposable- you need to decide what is more important to you: filling up landfills with human excrement and diapers that may never decompose or using water. If you live in an area prone to droughts, then disposable diapers may appeal to you over cloth.

The health benefits:

I’m not going to cite studies linking low male sperm counts and childhood asthma to disposable diapers, although there are several by reputable organizations. Skeptics will argue that a study can be made to say whatever the researcher wants. What I will do is talk about what is in a disposable diaper, and let you make your own decision regarding possible health problems associated with a disposable.

The super absorbent gel in disposable diapers is sodium polyacrylate, which was outlawed from being used in tampons in 1985 after being linked to toxic shock syndrome. However, it has not been proven that sodium polyacrylate in feminine napkins or diapers (outerwear) causes TSS.

The chlorine used to bleach disposable diapers produces a byproduct called dioxin. This extremely dangerous toxin causes cancer, birth defects, liver disease, and immune system suppression. However, the U.S. government considers exposure to dioxins from diapers extremely low.

You say, “I thought you were supposed to convince me that disposables are bad for your health??”

I’m giving you both sides, so you can make your own decision. I was diapered in disposables, and other than a bout of varicella pneumonia caused by childhood chickenpox, I have never had serious or chronic health problems. I’m rarely ever ill.

Quite a few cloth diaper users insist their children have less diaper rash in cloth diapers. On the other hand, some experts say disposables cause less diaper rash since the sodium polyacrylate draws the moisture away from the baby’s skin. But this absorbency and moisture-wicking property may result in parents leaving a disposable diaper on their child for several hours before changing it. When this happens, the child’s skin is exposed to ammonia for a long period of time, which in turn can cause diaper rash and other adverse affects.

The cuteness:

I have to talk about the cuteness! Warning: “fluff” (cloth diapers) is addictive! Cloth diapers come in a myriad of colors and patterns. Since it’s warm outside, I usually take my son in public with just a shirt, no shorts, to show off his cutsie diaper!

Finally, when I first held an organic cotton cloth diaper, I knew that I never wanted to put a disposable on my son again. No matter how much disposable diaper companies try to make their products feel like “cloth,” they don’t. I wanted my son to be comfortable; I didn’t want any chemical-filled product against his skin; and I didn’t want to contribute to our already overflowing landfills. That was the decision that I made.

If you’re curious about cloth diapers, Diaper Junction has a 30-day trial program. Buy the diaper; try it out for 30 days. If you don’t like it, return for a full refund.

Questions?

Note: This post contains affiliate links.

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