Natural Living Des Moines

Moving away from plastic – food storage by sarahtar
December 3, 2009, 10:12 pm
Filed under: Food, Personal Stories, Plastics/BPA


Thanks to some keen Black Friday sales, we replaced our plastic food storage with glass food storage.

Not all of it.

We realized in going through our plastic containers that some of them aren’t really practical to replace with glass. The big cookie tubs, for example. (That would be, the tubs where we store cookies after we’ve baked them.) Plastic’s not going to hurt the cookies, and I can’t see using up glass containers just for cookies. The small cups we use for salad dressing, or peanut butter, or any number of liquidy goodies for packed lunches seemed logical to keep, too. And last, the small bowls of Tupperware I use for storage of baby food. And that only because Miss Genna likes to feed herself and she also likes to drop things onto the floor and my tolerance for cleaning up broken glass is pretty low. The food is heated in a glass container if need be, and then transferred to the plastic if she’s going to be feeding herself.

But everything else – glass. Pyrex, actually. With plastic lids.

So far, I completely love it. It’s been nice, particularly, to be able to heat up leftovers in the same container they were in in the fridge, whether we want to microwave them or heat them in the oven.

The lids are very tight-fitting, and haven’t leaked at all in Randy’s lunchbag, which is nice, as well.

(If you’re wondering what’s in the cupboard – the bottom shelf is the glass plus the lids. The top shelf is the small baby food bowls there in the center. Next to them are the plastic cups for salad dressing etc. The taller cups go with my Magic Bullet (love), and the black and multicolored plastic parts on the far right go with them. In the back is the yogurt maker, a food grinder, and a few other kitchen-y things. And on the left is some ice cube trays and I think an egg tray that we use for snacks sometimes.)


Breech Means C-Section? Maybe Not….. by sarahtar
November 5, 2008, 6:37 pm
Filed under: Birth, Personal Stories

Article Submitted by Dr. Heather Yost from Yost Family Chiropractic

A breech birth (aka “breech presentation”) refers to the position of the baby in the uterus.  These babies will be delivered buttocks first instead of the normal head down (vertex) position.  The risk of breech presentation is small, with research showing approximately 4% of full-term (38-42 weeks) pregnancies being breech.

In the 1990’s, some breech babies were still delivered naturally.  Beginning in 2003, almost all hospitals declared a halt to delivering breech babies vaginally and began using c-section 100% of the time.  But what about the woman who doesn’t want a c-section?  Is this the only way?

Chiropractic care, using the Webster Technique, may help prevent a c-section. This is a technique where specific chiropractic adjustments allow for balance in the pregnant woman’s pelvis and reduce unnecessary stress to her uterus and supporting ligaments.  This makes it easier for a breech baby to turn naturally.

The Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics reported, in the July/August 2002 issue, an 82% success rate of babies turning vertex (head down) when doctors of chiropractic used the Webster Technique.

Currently, the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association recommends that women receive chiropractic care throughout pregnancy to create pelvic balance and optimize the room a baby has for development throughout pregnancy.  Breech presentation may be avoided altogether, resulting in easier and safer deliveries for both the mother and baby.

For more information, contact Dr. Heather at Yost Family Chiropractic.  278-YOST.  Or visit us at

Information submitted by Dr. Heather Yost, DC, FICPA, Webster-Certified.
Compiled using information from the following sources:

International Chiropractic Pediatric Association,

American Pregnancy Association, htt;://

Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, Volume 25, July/August 2002.

Breech birth – Wikipedia, htt://

Block, Jennifer. Pushed. MA: Da Capo Press, 2007


note from the editor (Sarah):

During my recent pregnancy, my head-down baby turned Frank breech (butt down, legs and head up). There was no physical reason, and I had been under chiropractic care the entire pregnancy (with Dr. Heather). My own research showed me that breech delivery is really quite safe if you are with a skilled care provider who has experience with breech. Problem? There are very few providers with breech experience these days. Those who are skilled at breech often will not do it. In Des Moines, I found one OB who would “consider” taking me as a patient and one OB who would not make me have a C/S if I showed up at the hospital in labor with a breech and refused to consent to surgery. This man was experienced and skilled at breech, and comfortable handling a breech delivery, but would not take me as a patient knowingly planning a vaginal breech delivery. Phone calls to providers – OBs and midwives – across the state and into neighboring states turned up only one OB who would take me as a patient planning a vaginal breech delivery. This was an OB in Omaha.

It is SO important for women to educate themselves about their options and not accept No for an answer unless it’s what YOU want. In the case of a breech, it’s not enough to refuse surgery. You need to make sure you’re being safe – a care provider who doesn’t know what they’re doing can really cause a bad outcome with a breech.

I know the Webster Technique is among the most proven ways to turn a breech naturally. Acupuncture is another well-studied option. Neither choice will do any damage in any way – there are no risks. There are also no guarantees – I was one of those women for whom neither technique did the trick. We ended up doing an external version (which IS risky) and went on to have a wonderful homebirth with a head-down baby.

Progress report AND cookware safety by sarahtar
February 20, 2008, 9:55 pm
Filed under: Personal Stories, Products

Well, this week, I added a paper recycling bin (aka paper sack) to my office in the basement. It will serve as the central paper recycling bin for the whole basement (which also includes our family office).

And – I know! How could I own a business for 4 years and NOT have a paper recycling bin in the office? I don’t know. We have one in the kitchen with the rest of the garbage. Any whole sheets of paper, I toss on Wally’s art pile. Small scraps of paper, I guess I’ve generally thrown away. Shame, shame. Large stacks, such as what are generated when cleaning out the files, have always been either shredded (then recycled) or brought up stairs to the recycle bin. But having one in my office has already proven to be quite handy…

As for plastic, not a whole lot of progress there. I dream of some day getting rid of all of our plastic food containers and replacing them with glass like this or this. or this. But, alas, new food storage is not yet in the budget.

I did get to bring home my parents’ old pots and pans last week. They are nice, heavy cast iron. I loooooove them. They are basically nonstick without the nasty nonstick coating. Our old pots are a thin stainless steel, which I guess there’s nothing actually wrong with them…I just like the cast iron better. Particularly the skillet.

Interested in reading more about which metals are safest for cooking? This is a good summary.

Guilt Items by sarahtar
February 6, 2008, 3:34 am
Filed under: Personal Stories | Tags: , ,

Guilt items. You know, those things you hang on to because you have to, not because you want to. The quilt Aunt Frankie made for you when you were 3. The small collection of statuettes that your brother’s wife has bought for you over the years. Hand me down linens that don’t match anything. Those things that sit in your closet, unused and unloved, year after year.

Getting rid of these things can be hard.

After my dad died in 1999, we kept a large number of things that we didn’t want, but we didn’t feel right getting rid of, either. Several years later, I was ready to let some of those things go, but have hung on to others. They sit in the closet next to the ugly Christmas gifts I hate but keep just in case I’m asked about them some day.

As we were going through things at my mom’s house, we gathered a sizeable collection of things my grandfather (who also passed away recently – on New Year’s Eve actually) made. He was a woodworker. These things, well, they go great with his house, which was remodeled in the 70s. They looked good at my childhood home, a 70s-era house decorated in the 80s. They looked OK in my mom’s house, which I really can’t define in terms of style other than to say that it’s completely opposite mine. The thing is, they won’t look good in my house.

And I really don’t want them in my home. I want to want them. But I don’t.

When my aunt drove down to pick up some furniture, we showed her this collection of things. She picked out one thing for herself, and two things for my other aunt. One item was already destined to go to a cousin. The rest, she didn’t want. And these were things made by her recently deceased father. And seeing her decide to keep just one meaningful item and then have no guilt about leaving the rest really helped me get over my fear of letting go of these things.

They’re just things. Keeping them out of guilt is not healthy. They may as well go to someone who will love them, who will use them, who will enjoy them and want to look at them every day.

So when we close up my mom’s house and turn the keys over to the bank, who will be taking care of the sale of the house for us as well as auctioning off what remains, a sizeable chunk of handmade woodwork will still be inside. And I’m ok with that now.

Reducing Waste: Step One by sarahtar
December 5, 2007, 8:45 pm
Filed under: Personal Stories

The first step to further reducing our waste is to take an assessment of where we are today. That’ll help us decide what steps we need to take to improve.


  • We usually have 2-3 kitchen bags of garbage per week.
  • We keep things the city will pick up curb-side until our storage bins get full.
  • We do not keep things that are recyclable but not eligible for curbside pickup.
  • We have gotten really bad at being aware of how much waste we bring in – packaging, etc.
  • We have reusable grocery bags, but it’s a crap shoot whether we remember to bring them with us.
  • However, I reuse any disposable grocery bags we have by giving them to customers to put their purchases in.

As far as Wallypop and Boulevard Designs go:

  • Wallypop/Boulevard Designs generates one contractor-size garbage bag every 6 weeks.
  • I keep all fabric scraps that are large enough to be used for something – appliques, doll diapers, etc.
  • Any fabric scraps I don’t want that are still big enough for some useful purpose are freecycled.
  • Fabric scraps that are too small are thrown away.
  • These businesses go through a lot of paper, even though I print on both sides.
  • I do funnel most used paper to Wally’s draw/paint pile.

Now, off to do some research…

2008 Environmental Goals for My Family by naturaldsm
December 4, 2007, 9:43 pm
Filed under: Personal Stories

I’ve decided to set some environmental goals for our family for this year. I think we do a good job of being environmentally conscious and making positive choices for our health and the environment, but there are clearly (as always) areas where we could do better. For 2008, I’ve chosen to specifically focus on further reducing the amount of waste we contribute to landfills and on reducing our exposure to plastics.

I’ll be doing some research over the next month or so about these topics, and will be posting what I find here. I’m hoping to provide readers with research, information, and useful links, and well as updates on our journey. Hopefully, by this time next year, our family will have made some major changes for the better!