Saturday, October 24, 2009

Thanking our hosts!

Since June, our chapter has been meeting at Arlington United Methodist Church. The church is able to offset the cost for housing us in large part by its Pumpkin Patch fundraiser. The pumpkins are purchased from an Indian Reservation that harvests them sustainably. The Patch is open until October 31, after which time pumpkins are free to farmers or anyone else who wants them.

We appreciate the generosity of AUMC. HMN members contribute to the church's food pantry, which serves the homeless population of Arlington. We donated items to the bake sale for the church's Fall Festival, where we had the chance to share information with the community. Thanks to all the members who contributed delicious, healthy treats and to HMN member Michelle D. for organizing the bake sale donation. And thanks to AUMC for this wonderful opportunity!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Holistic Halloween?

We had a great evening discussion on how to have a more holistic Halloween. Thanks to member Michelle R. for going through all the emails on the national HMN listserv and putting together this great, succinct list of ideas. And thanks to everyone who came out and shared your thoughts, concerns, and ideas!

Be sure to check out

Here's Michelle's wonderful list!



Search the internet for ideas ● Shop at thrift stores for supplies ● Rent instead of buying ● Swap with friends ● Freecycle ● Donate old costumes


Chose latex masks over vinyl (unless your child has a latex allergy) ● Vinyl contains PVC and phthalates ● Latex smells like a balloon and vinyl like a shower curtain ● Create your own makeup using recipes found on the internet ● Use non-toxic makeup (Aveda, Real Purity, Logona, Lyra, Sante Kosmetics) ● Collect candy in reusable bags rather than plastic ● Decorate your own organic cotton tote ● Avoid glowsticks that cannot be recycled ● Use rechargeable flashlights ● Try beeswax candles instead of petroleum-based


Purchase organic/fair trade sweets ● Alternatives to candy include popcorn bags, snack bars, fruit leather, beverage boxes, raisins, honey sticks ● You can make your own treats, wrap creatively and include your address label to ensure safety


Distribute non-edible items like bubbles, playdoh, stickers, spider rings ● Shop at stores that promote fair trade practices ● Or save trinkets collected throughout the year, such as from party goody bags, and give those away ● Non-perishables can be saved for next year


Good old-fashioned rationing ● “You can have as many pieces as you are old” ● Donate the candy to troops overseas, nursing homes, etc. ● Invite the Switch Witch or Sugar Sprite to your house who exchanges gifts for candy while children are sleeping ● Glue the candy to cardboard and make a “gingerbread” house for Christmas ● Children can set up a candy store and use money earned from selling treats to buy other items on their wish lists


Have a harvest party instead of trick-or-treating ● Kids can trick-or-treat to each family for non-sugary treats ● Serve pumpkin pancakes or muffins, popcorn, veggie trays arranged like skeletons, hot apple cider in a crock pot ● Use Halloween cookie cutters on pita bread and bake in the oven to make little chips, or use cutters for cheese to place on whole grain crackers ● Organize fun games so parties are not just about food ● Make skeletons using Q-tips, pin the nose on the pumpkin/witch, “touch boxes” where children feel and guess what’s inside, painted pumpkins, pumpkin carving contests, bob for apples ● Organize a magical Halloween walk through the woods where children meet different characters in the forest


Trick-or-treat for UNICEF and raise money for children around the world ● Participate in Reverse Trick-or-Treating and distribute out fair trade chocolate with a handout on child slavery in the cocoa industry


Talk with your children about your family’s choices and empower them to make good decisions ● “We just don’t do that in our family” ● Tells kids that every mommy and daddy can decide for their own kids what to do


Participate in Fall activities prior to Halloween, such as visiting a pumpkin patch, going on hay rides, taking a hike and observing seasonal changes ● Make Halloween just a small part of the season and not the main point


Talk to friends and neighbors about your plans for a holistic Halloween ● Organize holistic trick-or-treating routes with other like-minded neighbors ● Learn more and join the Green Halloween movement at ● Put a “Green Halloween” logo on your door for visitors to see

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Sensational Skin Care Meeting

What a lot of information our October speakers shared on holistic approaches to skin care! It was clear to everyone who attended that skin is not just a surface issue!

Honi Borden of Holeco ® Wellness Medi Spa encouraged us to see out "toxic-free" skin care products and not assume that an "organic" label means a product is free of toxins and chemicals that should not go into our bodies. She provided a wonderful handout and encouraged us to look at the Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep database at to read Stacy Malkan's book, Not Just a Pretty Face.

Dr. Marie Rodriguez, ND, explained that skin conditions are manifestations of internal issues. If the body is not able to excrete toxins effectively through more typical elimination routes, it has to use the skin. She provided great handouts on some typical conditions and what kinds of nutritional deficiencies or other issues they often point to. She also addressed body pH and discussed how acid/alkaline imbalance or an overgrowth of yeast can cause skin symptoms. The emphasis was on the fact that skin issues are symptoms that can give us clues about what is going on in our bodies. Skin problems are not issues we treat by themselves, lest we pump more toxins into our bodies.

Both speakers were kind enough to address in detail the questions members had submitted prior to the meeting. They also stayed long after the meeting to talk with attendees. Thanks to Honi and Dr. Marie for the wonderful presentations and for the great giveaways!

Handouts are available to members on our chapter email group.

Friday, October 9, 2009

October Meeting: Holistic Skin Care -- Nourishing Your Body's Largest Organ

Join us on October 15 for a presentation on how toxins and chemicals in our skin care products affect our bodies. We'll also address how overall health and wellness on the inside translate into skin health on the outside.

Honi Borden is the founder of Holeco® Wellness Medi Spa, the 1st Holistic/Non-Toxic Medi Spa in the US that has gotten the recognition of being a socially responsible green company by Green America. Honi has also developed holeco® life, a line of eco-conscious personal care, mineral cosmetics and super foods mindfully chosen to honor one's health, respect the environment and help families in developing countries of Uganda, Tanzania, Sudan & Kenya via its donation to International Lifeline Fund's project of "clean water" and "fuel efficient stoves". Holeco® Wellness Medi Spa has just relocated to share space with one of our sponsors (and the home of the new DC chapter of Holistic Moms), National Integrated Health Associates. Learn more at Holeco ®'s grand re-opening on October 20.

As a naturopathic physician, Dr. Marie Rodriguez uses medicines and therapies that treat the whole person. She incorporates a variety of treatment modalities in her practice: nutrition and detoxification, botanical medicine, homeopathy, biotherapeutic drainage, and lifestyle counseling. Dr. Rodriguez creates personalized care plans to address her patient’s immediate health goals with a focus on disease prevention. Through education, she encourages her patients to be active in their own healing process. In her practice, Dr. Rodriguez also uses craniosacral therapy (the topic of our September meeting). Dr. Rodriguez recognizes that healing occurs at physical, emotional, and spiritual levels, and strives to meet each of her patients at their stage of healing.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Consuming Kids: The Commercialization of Childhood

Come see this film and join in a discussion. This screening is free and open to the public and is sponsored by the Arlington/Alexandria chapter of Holistic Moms Network, the Family and Home Network and Arlington Unitarian Cooperative Preschool.
Date: Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Time: 10:00 a.m.
Location: Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington, 4444 Arlington Blvd. (Rt. 50 at George Mason Drive), Arlington, VA 22204
RSVP to film (at) familyandhome (dot) org
For more information on the film, see

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Holistic Halloween Discussion Night!

Our first non-meeting member evening! This discussion evening will be on October 22 in Alexandria (near Fairlington) and is open to HMN members (any chapter). If you haven't yet joined but plan to and want to attend, please email holisticmomsarlalex (at) gmail (dot) com.

Here's more info:
Are you a mom feeling haunted by Halloween? Interested in finding ways to make Halloween a little more holistic? Then join the Arlington/Alexandria chapter of HMN for a special discussion night devoted to Halloween. We'll talk about various ideas suggested on the national listserve, and you're also invited to share any of your own.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

September Meeting: Craniosacral Therapy

On September 17, we welcomed Nishanka Lahr (NCTMB, LMT), who spoke on the topic of "Craniosacral Therapy: An Alternative Health Care Option for Your Infant or Toddler." Craniosacral Therapy (CST) is a gentle hands-on technique that can address most any emotional or physical condition by supporting the central nervous system.

Nishanka spoke to the concerns of the attendees and even worked on a member and a member's son so we could all see what CST looked like! It was a hands-on and highly personalized meeting! Nishanka explained how she approaches her work with children and how it can benefit them -- and adults! -- in various ways: physically, developmentally, emotionally.

Nishanka's practice is family-focused. She works closely with mothers, infants, and todlers and has been practicing for over 21 years. Her work strives to support each client's innate wisdom. She is certified in CST, Myfascial Release, Somato-Emotional Release and Bio-Energetics. She is trained to work with issues of pediatric sensory integration and has experience with a wide array of conditions, from acute and trauma-related to chronic and complex.

For more information on Craniosacral Therapy, visit The Upledger Institute at