Superfoods Make Super Kids: The benefits of growing your own organic produce

Ask any nutritionist what the best foods to feed your kids are and they will say superfoods. These are foods high in protein and nutrients that have some incredible health benefits, such as helping their growth and preventing digestive problems, among many other things.

olivetoms
Olive picking home grown tomatoes

There’s no denying that a superfood-based diet is what’s best for your kids (and your health as well, obvz), but the problem is, high-quality superfoods don’t come cheap. When you’re a parent, you know that every penny counts, which can make feeding your kids high-quality foods a little tricky. After all, money doesn’t grow on trees, does it?

The good news is that even if money is somewhat tight (or even if it isn’t), there’s a simple way that you can make it easier to fill yours’ and your kids’ plates with lots of lovely superfoods, and that is by growing them yourself. Believe it or not, growing your own produce is much easier than you would think and is a great way to cut food costs and still eat healthy, superfood packed diet.

Where to start

Still not sure about growing your own produce? Are you worried that it may be a time consuming, high effort task that produces very little? You can grow many easy superfoods in your own back garden, on a patio or even a balcony from your little flat. As my nan used to say “where there’s a will, there’s a way.”

It’s an enjoyable hobby that the whole family can get involved with. Go shopping for some cheap pots and tubs. Places such as Poundland sell some fab tubs suitable for veg growing. Or keep your eyes peeled on sites such as Gumtree or Freecycle. Dad could have a go at building some easy raised beds, and the kids can have fun sowing seeds and watering their new plants.

tomato seedling

Thanks to smart technology, a lot of kids aren’t getting enough time outside. However, if you choose to create an allotment in your own back (or front!) garden, you can encourage them to spend more time outside. Kids love growing things, especially when they can eat the end result, which is why an allotment or smaller vegetable patch is guaranteed to get the little ones outside more. I hate seeing children on iPads (you can read more on that here) when there is a huge fascinating world to explore outside. Children struggle to understand where food comes from in the 21st century, when everything they eat can be found on the supermarket shelves.

morrisons fruit and veg

A lot of families struggle to find a hobby that they can enjoy together, which is why growing your own produce as a family could be a good idea. You and your little ones can team up to grow lots of delicious fruits and vegetables, building your bond and making memories that will last a lifetime. Honestly, growing produce with your kids can be a right laugh and a lot of fun. I let my 2 year old sow some Spring Onions by herself a few weeks ago. I didn’t know where she had planted them, until yesterday I spotted them sprouting under my rose bushes. Errrrrm. But she had fun, so what?!

Obviously, if you have never grown your own food before, you will need some allotment advice and to learn about the best times to plant different seeds, as well as what it takes for them to grow into healthy food-producing plants. It’s important to realise that learning can be fun, especially when you learn as a family. Start watching Gardener’s World on a Friday night (BBC1), together as a family. A lovely TV show, and I guarantee that you will all learn something new each week.

Save (a lot of) money

Above, we mentioned that growing your own produce can save you money, but a lot of people don’t realise how much money. The markup on organic fruit and vegetables (and meat too) is crazy. In fact, the markup on all food is mental.

Outside there was a veggie patch to explore.
wonderful veg patch at Gardener’s World Live 2016

As an example, a bag of organic carrots from a supermarket costs around £1 for a bag of ten carrots. That equates to 10p a carrot. You can buy a packet of 800 carrot seeds for around £2, which means that even if just half of these seeds turn into carrots, you will be making a huge saving. On average, with the cost of fertiliser included, organic fertiliser obviously, each carrot would cost less than a penny to grow, and that’s if only half of the seeds were successful. If they were all successful, each carrot would cost less than half a penny to grow. That means that the markup on supermarket carrots is around ten times the price it costs to grow them, maybe more.

Just think of how much money you would save by growing your own produce. The start-up cost of making space growable in doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg either. If you own a spade, simply dig out where you want to grow your food and off you go. Don’t waste money on weedkillers (eliminates the organic aspect too), and you’ll get a better job done by weeding with your own hands. And it’s very therapeutic too.

Your food will taste better

There’s a good reason why so many of the best chefs insist on only using organic ingredients in their cooking, that’s because they taste better. Not only are organic fruits and vegetables packed full of more vitamins and nutrients and better for you and your little ones because of it, they also taste better and have more flavour, or at least, according to the world’s top chefs they do. I agree with the chefs.

bbc gardeners world live

Of course, the reason that organic food tastes better is because of a range of factors. From well cared for soil that gets all the nourishment it needs from organic, natural fertilisers to not being grown under a grow light to help speed up growth. Organic food has the time to mature at its own rate, which helps to add flavour.

I also firmly believe that when you have sown a seed, cared for it, watched it grow and harvested the food yourself, you can taste your own hard work. And it tastes bloody amazing.

Your kids will be more willing to eat their greens

Then there’s the fact that if your little ones have helped to grow their greens, they will be more willing to eat them. A lot of kids are fussy when it comes to what they will and won’t eat, especially when it comes to healthy foods, but usually, if they’ve grown it themselves they are much happier to eat it. After all, what kid would miss out on tasting their handy work? They helped grow it, so they are going to want to eat it.

More and more parents are turning to growing their own food to encourage their kids to eat their greens and be healthier in general. As well as fruits and vegetables, a lot of parents are also starting to produce other foods themselves, such as free range eggs, to encourage their kids to eat a healthier diet. Often, if a child has helped grow the carrots, collected the eggs and taken care of the chickens, or seen the honey being collected, they are more open to trying it. We would never be without our hens now, and the kids love collecting their eggs daily!

Protect yourselves from pesticides

There is no doubt about it; pesticides are bad for our health. Study after study has linked them to all sorts of problems, from behavioural problems in kids to conditions like allergies and cancers. A lot of people don’t realise it but the majority of pesticides were registered for use before research into their link to cancer was performed, and many of which were shown to be carcinogenic.

The only way you can control what does and doesn’t go into your food is if you grow it yourself, which is why so many people are opting to grow their own fruits and vegetables. Growing organic food isn’t just about the pesticides but also about the soil and fertilisers used. There’s a lot more to it than meets the eye, that being said once you have got to grips with what’s involved, it’s fairly easy to grow organic food.

By growing most of your food yourself and buying the rest from local suppliers, you can ensure that you have fewer chemicals on your plate at mealtimes.

Have a go at making your own compost too. 4 pallets knocked together makes a fab compost bin, any food scraps/peelings, paper and cardboard, egg shells, chicken manure, garden waste such as grass cuttings can all be added and after a few months you shall be rewarded with  beautiful home made compost. Just leave out meat scraps, animal poop from carnivores, fire ash, dairy and fats.

You can sell any extra

If you are wondering what you can do with any surplus produce that you have left over, you can sell it. A lot of people who grow their own produce put a table outside their homes with an honesty box where they can sell any extra bits and bobs. This is a great way to make sure that nothing goes to waste and to earn a little extra money at the same time. Our chickens often produce more eggs than we can eat or bake with, so my hubby takes them into work for his colleagues.

Why not swap food? I created a Facebook page where our local townsfolk can swap an item for something else. One regular user swaps spare chicken and duck eggs for frozen veg as a treat for his chickens. If I get any gluts from our allotment, I shall swap it for items that I use lost of such as flour or sugar.

As well as selling your produce in its raw form, you could also opt to turn it into preserves like chutneys and jams. Organic, local chutneys and jams tend to sell well, so this could be a nice way to make a little extra money from your vegetable patch. Or, how about making wine with some of your leftover fruit? Homemade wine can be made with a range of fruits and tastes delicious, plus it can make a great hobby and will certainly save you a few bob too.

My homemade rhubarb jam, on warm toast.
My homemade rhubarb jam, on warm toast.

The fact is that as the experts say, superfoods make super kids. There’s no getting away from the fact that kids who eat plenty of superfoods are much healthier and much less prone to illness, which is why it’s so important to make eating organic superfoods more affordable by growing them yourself. Teach your kids a wonderful lesson in life and teach them to be healthy, and happiness shall follow. Step away from the chicken nuggets!

Take Off Your Make-up The Natural Way

I don’t wear a lot of make-up, but I still wear enough that warrants a good scrub at the end of the night. BUT, I have scrapped a lot of nasty chemicals from my life. I no longer buy tampons or sanitary towels and made the switch to cloth alternatives, we even stopped buying baby wipes and toilet paper. Instead we now use reusable cloth versions. But what about reusable make-up wipes? Now, I might be willing to ditch the tampons (I don’t fancy putting bleach up my vagina) but no way am I ready to give up mascara… not yet anyway. I’m far too fair haired for that!

Make-up removers and wipes contain lots of nasty sh*t that can cause more harm than good. And while a decent remover keeps the smudges off of our pillows, it can instead create some tricky skin situations. Dry skin patches, sore areas or even greasy outbreaks can all be to blame for our makeup removing habits. It’s also worth remembering that while we may wash our faces after using wipes, some of the ingredients are still left on our skin overnight, becoming absorbed and causing problems.

  • Many removers can block pores, causing spots.
  • Harsh chemicals can cause irritations.
  • Skin can be dried out, creating stubborn dry patches.
  • Many removers when used to take off mascara can give you red puffy eyes that sting.
  • You run the risk of an allergic reaction.
  • You’re throwing away money, on a disposable item.
  • It will be something that you need to buy and buy again for as long as you wear make-up.
  • Alcohol removers can be especially harsh, causing redness, dry skin and stinging sensations.
  • Wipes end up in landfill (or worse, in sewerage system!) and are causing some serious damage to our planet.
  • You’re adding more chemicals to your life that could other wise be avoided.
  • Depending where you are in the world, your wipes and it’s ingredients may have been tested on animals.

A Fresh Faced Alternative!

cheekywipesmakeupstack

I am a huge fan of Cheeky Wipes who are a superb brand bringing us gorgeous reusable options. Cheeky Wipes feature in my bathroom cabinet a lot. They are the brand behind my baby wipes, my sanitary protection, my reusable toilet paper and now my make up wipes!

Cheeky Wipes have designed a gorgeous kit for makeup removal featuring a super soft set of remover pads (with pretty patterns) a handy storage tub, and a pot of yummy all natural organic virgin coconut oil. It’s all so girly and fluffy and soft and pretty… sqweeee!


I’ve been using the wipes for a couple of weeks now, and I wanted to put the kit through the ultimate test. I was going to do something I would never do. A FULL FACE OF MAKEUP USING EVERYTHING IN MY MAKEUP BAG. Ugh. I have no idea how to apply half of it. I’m pretty sure some of it is dangerously out of date.

But it would be a seriously good test to see just how well these simple bamboo pads and just plain old-favourite coconut oil would remove it all. I expect to use a LOT of pads and a lot of oil!

The Test

So I applied the make-up. I caked it on thick. I wasn’t going for ‘pretty’, I was going for ‘pretty-damn-gross’. It worked… I think. Ugh. I could hardly move my face. How do some women do this daily?

slap

To remove, I started by rubbing a thumbnail size dollop of coconut oil into my face. I could actually see my makeup sliding away with the movements of my fingers. My mascara just melted off! No weird stinging sensations or harsh scrubbing. So far so good.

I took a wipe and soaked it under a hot tap. Not too hot though, but warm enough to open my pores for a deep clean. Wipe all of that coconut oil/ make-up mix away.

Take another wet clean wipe and wipe away some more. No need to use soap, as this can also irritate your skin. Just water and wipes will do the job. Pat face dry and put your dirty wipes in the wash to be used again and again!

namakeup

Don’t I look all fresh faced and clean?! *hides from embarrassment!* I found the wipes were very soft, and no heavy scrubbing was needed. My skin felt so soft afterwards, and there was no greasy residue. I felt very clean indeed.

I only used 3 wipes in total and they removed ALL traces of make up!

cheekywipesmakeup

The Wipes

Made from soft and cuddly minky material (that’s the patterned side) and soft bamboo. They are a good size (palm of my hand) and well sewn. There are quite a few gorgeous patterns to choose from such as owls, apples, rainbows, penguins and flowers.

cheekywipes me

The wipes can even double up as breast pads for pregnant or nursing mums. Simply put the bamboo (white) side to your skin and the minky material (patterned side) will act as a waterproof layer to stop soggy clothes! They are a good size as breast pads and I will certainly be using them for that reason.

The coconut oil

Just a simple organic virgin coconut oil comes with the kit. Cococnut oil can be widely purchased in most supermarkets and health shops, so when you run out of the 50ml tub you can easily source more!

cheekywipescoconutoil

Cheeky Wipes also stock more oil on their website, if you choose to buy more from them.I did eat some (I can’t resist!) and it’s a good quality oil. very coconut-y!

The Dirty Box

Once you’ve cleaned your face and you’re done with your wipes, simply pop them into the ‘dirty’ box. The box has a handy catch on the lid to stop small fingers getting into them easily, and the tub does have a waterproof seal- I think this feature is on the dirty baby wipes for if you choose to soak your dirty wipes and the box gets knocked over, to avoid spills. I’m loving the bright pink box, and looks fab with our blue box (for baby wipes). The box is large and hold more wipes than you would ever need to store before wash day. I just throw my make-up wipes in with my normal laundry, so no extra special wash load is needed 🙂

cheekywipesboxWhere to buy

You can purchase your own Cheeky Wipes Makeup Remover set here on the Cheeky Wipes online shop.

The set costs just £16.95 and you shall receive 10 of the bamboo wipes, a 50ml pot of extra virgin, raw and organic coconut oil, the dirty box (choice of pink or blue). You can add extra wipes, or larger pots of coconut oil if you want to.

Don’t forget to have a look around the whole Cheeky Wipes shop where you can find gorgeous baby wipes, sanitary towels, changing mats, breast pads, wet bags and more!