April 2008





Mom’s diet seen as factor in whether baby is boy or girl

Filed under: General
Posted by: Shawna @ 4:37 pm

Mom’s diet seen as factor in whether baby is boy or girl

Apr. 23, 2008

Provided by: The Canadian Press
Written by: Lindsey Tanner, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

CHICAGO – Snips and snails and puppydog tails … and cereal and bananas?

That could be what little boys are made of, according to surprising new research suggesting that what a woman eats before pregnancy influences the gender of her baby.

Having a hearty appetite, eating potassium-rich foods including bananas, and not skipping breakfast all seemed to raise the odds of having a boy.

The British research is billed as the first in humans to show a link between a woman’s diet and whether she has a boy or girl.

It is not proof, but it fits with evidence from test tube fertilization that male embryos thrive best with longer exposure to nutrient-rich lab cultures, said Dr. Tarun Jain. He is a fertility specialist at University of Illinois at Chicago who wasn’t involved in the study.

It just might be that it takes more nutrients to build boys than girls, he said.

University of Exeter researcher Fiona Mathews, the study’s lead author, said the findings also fit with fertility research showing that male embryos aren’t likely to survive in lab cultures with low sugar levels. Skipping meals can result in low blood sugar levels.

Jain said he was skeptical when he first heard about the research. But he said the study was well-done and merits follow-up study to see if the theory proves true.

It’s not necessarily as far-fetched as it sounds. While men’s sperm determine a baby’s gender, it could be that certain nutrients or eating patterns make women’s bodies more hospitable to sperm carrying the male chromosome, Jain said.

“It’s an interesting question. I’m not aware of anyone else looking at it in this manner,” he said.

The study was published Wednesday in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, a British medical journal.

The research involved about 700 first-time pregnant women in the United Kingdom who didn’t know the sex of their fetuses. They were asked about their eating habits in the year before getting pregnant.

Among women with the highest calorie intake before pregnancy (but still within a normal, healthy range), 56 per cent had boys, versus 45 per cent of the women with the lowest calorie intake.

Women who ate at least one bowl of breakfast cereal daily were 87 per cent more likely to have boys than those who ate no more than one bowlful per week. Cereal is a typical breakfast in Britain and in the study, eating very little cereal was considered a possible sign of skipping breakfast, Mathews said.

Compared with the women who had girls, those who had boys ate an additional 300 milligrams of potassium daily on average, “which links quite nicely with the old wives’ tale that if you eat bananas you’ll have a boy,” Mathews said.

Women who had boys also ate about 400 calories more daily than those who had girls, on average, she said.

Still, no one’s recommending pigging out if you really want a boy or starving yourself if you’d prefer a girl.

Neither style of eating is healthy, and besides all the health risks linked with excess weight, other research suggests obese women have a harder time getting pregnant.

The study results reflect women at opposite ends of a normal eating pattern, not those with extreme habits, Mathews said.

Prof. Stuart West of the University of Edinburgh said the results echo research in some animals.

And Dr. Michael Lu, an associate professor of obstetrics, gynecology and public health at the University of California at Los Angeles, said the results “are certainly plausible from an evolutionary biology perspective.” In other words, since boys tend to be bigger, it would make sense that it would take more calories to create them, Lu said.

Still, Lu said a woman’s diet before pregnancy may be a marker for other factors in their lives that could influence their baby’s gender, including timing of intercourse.

“The bottom line is, we still don’t know how to advise patients in how to make boys,” he said.

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eco friendly products

Filed under: General
Posted by: Shawna @ 11:49 am

in honour of Earth Day and in my “window shopping not real shopping” mode I bring you the following:





A handcrafted handbag made from used truck/tractor tire inner tubes,  hand dyed leather or non-leather faux trim.   Every inner tube has different markings and raised lines which come from the original manufacturer of the inner tube.  Some have blemishes & scars which occur from the wear & tear of the road.
We use the finest hardware & materials to create the Passchal line.

 Passchal bags come with a light system that illuminates the interior of the bag that shuts off automatically.

Themessenger brief is $250 USD. I’m impressed, but it’s still a bit rich for me as my birthday money has already been allocated.




CARGO is changing the face of beauty by planting the seeds (literally) for a greener tomorrow. PlantLove™ is a collection of eco-friendly lipsticks. The lipstick case is a revolutionary innovation made entirely from corn. What’s more, the box the lipstick comes in grows wildflowers when planted!

$20 each at sephora. Which isn’t as expensive as I originally thought, but Burt’s Bees gloss is $8.


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money and shopping

Filed under: General
Posted by: Shawna @ 7:54 pm

With phrases like this it’s not hard to wonder why fashion is labelled as frivolous:

“The British are the new Japanese, and New York is the new Italy –
the place to come to stock up on designer clothes,” says Raegan Morgan,
sales specialist at Diane von Furstenberg.
“We opened our downtown
store in May and, particularly since September, we’ve been inundated
with European visitors. The British especially really load up the
dressing rooms.”It is a bit like a United Nations effort to give
funds to a developing country, but with more of an emphasis on Ralph
Lauren and Levi’s.

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Filed under: General
Posted by: Shawna @ 1:19 pm

From the Guardian Unlimited online: 

Hoodies or goodies?


The past century has seen society shift from child labour to child consumer. It is time to rethink what we mean by ‘childhood’

Bob Reitemeier

April 2, 2008 8:30 AM | Printable version

This past week witnessed another series of articles about our youth. Time magazine’s April 7 cover story presented British youth as “Unhappy, unloved and out of control”. Fran Abrams replied by writing in the Observer that “Young people today … actually, they’re great”. I believe both articles were well presented, but these headlines are typical of many of the discussions about youth today. We are asked to take a position – either children are out of control and childhood is in crisis, or they have never had it so good and we adults are completely overreacting.

The debate on youth may be unhelpfully polarised, but at least we are talking about our young people. Why is it important? Because the way in which childhood and youth is experienced today is, in many ways, dramatically different from previous generations. We owe it to our children to understand the differences, so that we can provide children with a good childhood.

The great social reforms of the Victorian period, and the founding of national children’s charities like the Children’s Society, were felt necessary precisely because of the way children were treated. Their needs were prominent partly because of how visible children were. In 1871, 38% of the population was under 14 years. In the five generations since then (to 2007, 136 years later), the proportion of under-14s has decreased to 17%. This means that half as many people in our society are under 14 today. The population bell curve has shifted dramatically, towards the elderly and away from children.

As an economic force, childhood is now very different from past generations. The role of children used to be as workers, and at very early ages. The 1861 census shows that 51% of the workforce was aged between 7 and 14 years. Now, their role is as consumers. Children are targeted through marketing and advertising to purchase goods, either themselves or by pestering their parents. This is not insignificant, when it is estimated that the market influenced by children is several billion pounds per year.

Last week’s Byron Review showed how advanced technology and the digital world has changed the way in which children access information almost beyond recognition. In her very thorough analysis, Dr Byron explores how the internet and video games influence children and, at the same time, how ignorant many of us adults are in trying to understand this. Where we see risks in new technology, children see opportunities.

A child’s family experience has also witnessed great shifts. The total fertility rate “if all women experienced motherhood” dropped from an equivalent family size of 5.2 children in 1897, to 3.5 children in 1901 and 1.7 children in 1997. Children were transferred from being an economic necessity to being seen as a personal choice. Over the 20th century, the proportion of households with children decreased from 61% in 1911 to less than 30% by 2007.

In historic terms, these are dramatic changes over a relatively short period of time. That is why the Children’s Society established the Good Childhood Inquiry, the first independent inquiry into childhood in the UK. The biggest mistake we could make as a nation would be simply to let changes of this magnitude evolve without critical analysis. The purpose in thinking about how childhood has changed is not to then decide which side of the debate – “crisis” or “never had it so good” – we wish to support. Rather, it is to ensure that by understanding how children’s experience of childhood is changing, we are able to make it as good an experience as possible.

This concerns all children. And this marks one of the main reasons why the debate becomes polarised so quickly. If this only concerned the poor and the most disadvantaged children, or if this only concerned those children breaking the law, then we would look at this discussion from a social policy lens. We would share views on how best to improve the condition of these marginalised children and their families. It would form part of our understanding of Britain as a welfare state.

But because the changing landscape of childhood affects all children – yours, mine and our neighbours, we feel a need to conclude the debate quickly, to arrive at an answer. Why? Because the thought of not understanding how childhood is changing is worrying. It might mean that we adults, and not the youth we read about, are not in control. That we are not paying sufficient attention to one of the most vital and critical social issues of our time – our children and their experience of childhood.

An important question to ask ourselves in this context is what do we most value in a child? The World Values Survey tells us that for adults in Britain, over the 1980s and 1990s, the top priorities were good manners and tolerance and respect for others. This might explain why some people feel that the answer is to get tougher with children, to lay down the law about bad behaviour and then enforce it. Of course, establishing boundaries for children’s behaviour is important; children themselves constantly tell us this. But, as responsible adults, we need to ensure that the debate about childhood today is not diminished by our perceived need for quick fixes.


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