The Friday Feedback Forum

February 12th, 2010 - filed under: Furthermore » Feedback

Hello to the weekend!! Here we are once again, and that means it’s time for comments, critiques, thoughts, support, and suggestions.

So let me have it! How was your week? Have you been saving your change? Or starting to prep your garden? What have YOU been doing?!

As usual, the Feedback Forum will remain here at the top of the page all weekend, so if you’ve got an idea or a question or you just want to introduce yourself and say ‘Oi!’, you can stop back by any time. This is your community, so get involved and have your say!


And if you feel so inclined, perhaps you could hop on over to the rikrak studio, and vote for Bonzai in the “thrifty-forward, sustainably-minded” category. Thanks guys, it’s much appreciated!

And have an amazing weekend, enjoying those last bits of winter!


  • April

    Looking for some Veg*n Pregnancy reading material, as we recently received news that I am gestating!!! :) Any suggestions?

    Also, I’d like to hear more about cloth diapering. What? Where? How??

  • Courtney

    Today I managed to snag two pair of pants made with over 70% organic cotton and two pairs of shoes whose soles are made from 70% recycled materials, most of which are recycled pop bottles. I love Wal-Mart so much right now!

    But one thing that I realized I hadn’t read about on here is how do you get around? Car? Bike? Walk? All three?

  • christy

    people with babies coming!!! my 11 week old uses the toilet. you must look into Elimination Communication (I think it works best in collaboration with cloth diapering,) for the most green approach. I have a whole rant about our culture’s obsession with diapering, which I will not burden you with here. Just trust me. I wasn’t hardcore about EC, but we had my now 3 year old going number 2 on the toilet only by the time she was 10 months and I think we might do even better with my new baby. As you explore the topic I STRONGLY encourage you to remember that one of the advantages to cloth diapering is that is SHOULD remain uncomfortable to pee or poop your pants. Resist the expensive options that promise to wick moisture away from the baby- if it’s comfortable to pee your pants, why learn any other way??

  • akeeyu

    I don’t know, Christy. One of my daughters has sensory issues and daily existence is frequently pretty uncomfortable as it is, so I think homemade fleece liners in her cloth diapers are a pretty good thing.

    Sayward! I had an idea for the Friday Feedback posts!

    If you put up a link in the post for previous Monday Missions, people could add their ongoing reactions/responses directly to the original post or posts, which would be great for people landing on the missions via Google.

  • christy

    akeeyu, more than anything, i think each parent needs to be responsive to the needs of each unique child. i put my comment out there because i think it is a perspective that is getting lost even in the cloth diapering world. i’m impressed that you are making your own fleece liners. A huge part of my annoyance with the “fancy brands” is that they do damage to the notion that cloth diapering is economical…

  • gingersnap

    Hey, Sayward! I Stumbled on your site a couple weeks ago, and I am completely hooked. You are doing such a fantastic job! More than anything, I appreciate the inspiration to put the “fabulous” back into my earnest, sustainable, homesteading, small-footprint, DIY, buy-nothing-new, baggy-sweater-and-clogs, rural Vermont existence. I rarely bother playing dress-up anymore because, hey, I’m going to be filthy by the end of the day anyway. But now, thanks to you, I have seen the light! Why NOT look fabulous while I clean the chicken coop?! I can put on a cute old vintage dress and pretend I’m a Depression-era farmgirl! Suddenly everything just seems much more FUN!
    I voted for you on the rikrak site, but I have to say, in my book you’re the hands-down winner.
    Many thanks!

  • jennifer

    hiya! i’ve been reading bonzai aphrodite for awhile now but have had yet to comment. so, what have i been up to? planning my vegan wedding that will happen next month! ee! my fiancé is immigrating from england and will be here in 12 days. i’ve found us an apartment, just waiting for the landlord to give us the okay, and so i’ve also been researching eco-friendly apartment living.

  • Valerie

    I wanted to share with you all this post on my Mother-In-Laws blog. I know this can be viewed as promotional-ism, but when I read her post I knew you would enjoy it.

    She is the one who inspired me to become a vegetarian, and has taught me much about being green. Her blog is a mix of things, most helpful to this community are the vegetarian recipes that are geared towards those that live with omnivores, but many of them could be modified to be Vegan. Every once in awhile she’ll do a great post like this and about saving money and being greener at he same time. Enjoy!

    P.S. I agree with Courtney, I would like to hear about how you get around.

    P.S.S. I am also gearing up to get some new water bottles. We have been using the big Nalgene ones from REI, which claim to be BPA free. I am looking into stainless steel, and wondering your thoughts on the different ones available, especially Klean Kanteen brand. Do you have a better suggestion? Thanks!

  • Sayward

    @ April – CONGRATULATIONS! Ooh, that’s so exciting!

    So as far as books there’s not a ton of information out there, but there is some stuff. Here’s what I’ve found:
    Pregnancy, Children, and the Vegan Diet – Okay info but poorly written. By a doctor, which is nice, and with lots of pictures and stories f vegan children, which is also nice. But it’s pretty ‘low-budget’ production and much of the nutrition info is rather elementary. It’s also about 2 decades old and the info reflects that.

    Becoming Vegan – The vegan nutrition ‘bible’, I recommend anyone read this book but especially in this case. It has a whole section on vegan pregnancy and another on vegan infants/children.

    Vive Le Vegan – This is technically a cookbook, but it’s 1) aimed at cooking for kids/families and 2) includes a whole section on raising vegan children and the authors experience. I just got this for my birthday and am loving it, especially the nutrition portion which includes a food introduction schedule.

    Disease-Proof Your Child – Again I haven’t read this one yet but I just got it and I’ve heard amazing things about it. Written by a doctor, it’s not entirely vegan but he does pretty much advocate for a vegan diet based on health research. Really excited about this one.

    Feeding Your Vegan Infant With Confidence – Haven’t read this one yet either, but it’s definitely on my list!

    As for diapering, man, there’s tons of info out there but a lot of it is by companies that make a particular kind of cloth diapers, so it can be difficult to wade through. I mostly just did my research to learn about the absolute basics (the three types of cloth diapers, etc), and then went from there. But here are a sort of all-in-one -site that may help: Diaper Pin.

    Congrats again! I’m so happy for you and please keep in touch and let me know how it all goes!!!

    @ Courtney – Yay for organic cotton and recycled materials! That’s awesome. =)

    Well these days I’m doing more driving than I’d like, but I’ve got the belly and bed rest and all. Pre-pregnant, I was an enthusiastic bike-rider. I ran almost all of my errands by bike. I also live within walking distance of the grocers and the produce stand, so I do my grocery shopping on foot (multiple times a week, usually daily in fact, so I don’t have to carry too much at once). I CAN’T WAIT to get back out there walking/biking. I miss it so much you don’t even know!

    @ christy – Awesome, thanks for the testimonial. I’ve heard really great things about EC but sort of brushed it off as one-too-many complications for a first time parent. But maybe I’ll go ahead and revisit it after all. Thanks!

    @ akeeyu – That’s a good idea, though it could get pretty long. Hmm, I’ll think about an easy way to format that. I know that people really love the MMM and newcomers to the site will revisit older missions. That would be a great way of keeping everything fresh!

    @ gingersnap – EXACTLY! That’s exactly what I’m trying to get at. Life is what you make it, so why not make it magical? It’s important to be a good person and do the right thing, but you can do it even better if you do it with *style*. =D

    Nothing puts the pleasure back in a chore like weeding, more than looking down and glimpsing your glittery nail polish through the dirt. ;-)

    @ jennifer – Oh congratulations! Yay, wedding are SO much fun. Mine was as-of-yet the very best day of my life. I hope yours is everything you want it to be, and more! And good for you for keeping it vegan! That’s AWESOME!

    @ Valerie – Thanks for sharing the link, I look forward to checking it out.

    I use a stainless steel water bottle but it’s not the Kleen Kanteen brand. I would definitely choose steel over nalgene, even if it claims to be BPA free. I haven’t really kept current on the water bottle debacle (which seems to change every week, who can keep up?), so all I can recommend is steel over plastic. Luck! (and if you find out anything particularly surprising, I’d love to know)

  • Jen Ballentine

    Hi Bonzai!
    I am new to your site, and I am so in awe of all you know and do! I am a late bloomer, hungry for the knowledge you possess, and time is of the essence because my hubby Ken and I are leaving NC April 1st to ride trikes (the pedal kind) 7000 miles around the US! We are riding to raise awareness for organ donation (I am a donor mother) and also to spread the word about simplified living and being green. We realize we will be talking to TONS of people and we really want to make use of that energy to impact people in the best possible way. That means using the right kind of products, wearing the right kinds of clothes, and being able to point people in helpful directions so they can grow and learn too. Will you help us with this? We can only take a few things with us, but we want those things to be perfect. Maybe we could provide you with free nationwide advertising in exchange for your knowledge, your services and your products. Whatcha think?

  • Minna

    I voted! I checked out the tons of amazing websites and blogs they’ve got there but I couldn’t find anything that diverse as Bonzai. Maybe it’s just that I’m so used to this community and feel like home browsing it :)

    But there most definitely are a lot of great blogs out there, I really enjoyed staring at those crazy handicraft masterpieces some people have created. Tiny figures and clothes and so on.. They’re awesome! I’m terrible at knitting and sewing, but I hope that one day, when the time is ready, I’ll be a super mom who cooks, cleans, bakes and sews every day. Hahah. :D

  • Sayward

    @ Jen Ballentine – WOW! What an awesome, amazing endeavor you’re undertaking. That is going to be the adventure of a lifetime, for sure! Huge, huge kudos to you for getting out there and *doing it*!!!

    I would love to collaborate and help in any way I can. What kinds of things, specifically, are you looking for? You can feel free to email me anytime, at I have tons of tips and ideas and advice, but it just depends on what direction your wanting to go or what sort of support you hope to provide. But I’m more than happy to help!

    Remember that the absolute biggest thing you can do to cut your carbon footprint, is to go vegetarian. Cutting out meat will save more energy and resources than selling your car, taking short showers, or buying energy efficient lights ever will! So that’s my biggest piece of advice. But I got tons more! Email me! =)

    @ Minna – Yeah, there is some truly *amazing* stuff on there! I am in awe of people who can make such amazing things at home. And I, too, aspire to be a super domestic, crafty mama! Practice, practice, practice!

  • April

    @ Sayward

    Thanks for the recommendations. We are totally excited. This is actually baby#4, but the first since I went vegetarian 4.5 years ago. (I’m newly veg*n.) I have three strapping boys (ages 14, 12 and 8.5) who are stoked about having a new sibling.

    Question: What sources have you used to ensure you are getting the recommended amount of calcium?

  • Sayward

    @ April – Oh awesome, well welcome to #4 then! =) Is the whole family veg*n now?

    I have found that calcium is one of the harder minerals for me to get. Here’s my multi-pronged approach:
    - I take a tablespoon of straight Blackstrap Molasses every day. A good hit of calcium, and iron too!
    - I try to drink calcium fortified OJ (watch out for D3 fortified, which is not veg*n), a glass a day
    - I eat a TON of beans, because they’re a great source of non-soy protein and they also pack a calcium punch. Navy and black beans are highest
    - Tofu is actually insanely high in calcium when it’s made with calcium sulfate (which is the standard)
    - soy beans in general are high in calcium, so tempeh and edamame and stuff are also good
    - Hummus! Both chickpeas and tahini are really high in calcium.
    - Of course the dark leafy greens, all of them, are super calcium rich

    Hope that helps! I also take a vegan calcium supplement just to be on the safe side. =)