Is Holle Organic Baby Formula Better?

Many American mothers and caregivers have chosen Holle, a Swedish organic infant formula brand because the US organic market falls short, pointing fingers at the FDA and weak organic certification standards. But who is Holle and why do Americans buy their infant formula from overseas instead US organic brands?

Who is Holle?

Holle is an 80 year old Swedish baby food company that operates in conjunction with a German production line.  They make formula, baby cereals and jarred baby food, which is their focus according to their site: http://holle.ch  
Their commercial (you can see the size of the boxes if you're curious to buy)
)

How do Holle Ingredients Stack Up?

First, let's start with what natural ingredients their formula *does* contain.  Their first ingredient listed is "skimmed milk", in which many other brands list oils, sugars and wheys. They list the milk as "from biodynamic farming (Demeter quality)".  What is Demeter quality?  What is biodynamic farming?

Demeter is a certified international farming standard with about 40 participating countries, like USDA organic standards but seemingly more strict, starting from processing all the way to packaging.  Biodynamic farming is an organic practice that is the root of Demeter certification that approaches organic farming in a holistic, sustainable way.  I could find only one other baby formula brand that has the Demeter quality milk which is BiobimLac 2 from http://www.joannusmolen.com so it doesn't look common that brands utilize this quality milk in their ingredients.

The second ingredient is organic whey which is typical in most formulas. These are both good signs of quality baby formula.

But does Holle pass the test of no-no ingredients?

Source

  • While Holle does claim that it does not have an added sweetener (there's a logo stating it on their site), maltodextrin is in fact a plant based sweetener. Their commercial actually states "no refined sugars".
  • Palm oil is also controversial as it has been said to create "soaps" in the baby's gut and have an adverse reaction regarding bone mass **. That said, the ingredients list has palm oil listed alongside rapeseed and sunflower oil so it does not look like the exclusive oil used.
  • One item that isn't shown is copper sulfate, which Holle does have and is a known allergen for some.*

Their claims:

  • No GMOs
  • No artificial flavors or colors
  • No preservatives
  • No refined sugars
  • Egg and gluten free
  • Made from 99% organically grown ingredients
  • Organic starch and maltodextrin derived from corn
  • The remaining 1% of ingredients are vitamins and minerals which are necessary for your baby’s development and are required by EU regulations

The full ingredient list in Stage 1 Holle Baby Formula:

Skimmed milk** (Germany), whey powder* partly demineralised, vegetable oils* (palm oil*, rapeseed oil*, sunflower oil*), maltodextrin*, calcium carbonate, potassium chloride, sodium chloride, vitamin C, vitamin E, ferrous lactate, zinc sulphate, niacin, Calcium-D-pantothenate, copper sulphate, vitamin A, vitamin B1, vitamin B6, manganese sulphate, potassium iodate, folic acid, vitamin K, sodium selenate, vitamin D

*from organic farming
**from biodynamic farming (Demeter quality)


Overall, the US baby formulas all have some sort of controversial ingredient so it seems the standout positive is the type of milk used.

Parent Testimonials of Holle Baby Formula

So is it worth the price?  Some parents with colicky babies have seen a difference based on the online reviews and swear by it.  Other parents feel that it is better quality overall considering the lax USDA organic standards compared to international or European as a rule.  Here are some comments from parents:

Note: These are taken from other retail sites and I have no affiliation with any of the reviewers

Where to Buy Holle Baby Formula

If you are convinced it's worth it, at present there are only a few online places to buy this for US delivery which can be found here.

If you cannot afford the price, some parents recommend Babys Only Organic Formula made in the US that is non GMO. The label says it's a toddler formula but it meets all standards on infant formula (they promote breastfeeding up to one year).


Sources:
* copper sulfate: http://www.inrfood.com/ingredients/1288
** Palm oil study summary (2004): http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12728082












Organic Baby Formula - Holle Swedish Brand - Where to Buy

As much as some mothers would like to breast feed their babies, in many cases it is not possible or the need for supplemental milk is required.  Below is a summary of where to buy (at present) the most natural and highly rated infant formula Holle, a Swedish brand, and have it shipped to the US.  If you have information on where to buy this from other countries, please comment and I will update the post with your links and information. You can also visit the Holle website that lists current retailers by country.

>> For details and ingredients about Holle formula, see my other post here.

I will start out that these recommendations are researched, and not for the readily available organic, off-the-shelf brands like Earths Best, Walmart's Parent's Choice or Similac Organic.  There are reference articles and testimonials at the bottom of this post, so please educate yourselves as to what you are feeding your babies, if not to tell other mothers and caregivers what should *not* be in our infant formulas available in the US.

Where to buy Holle Infant and Toddler formula (March 2014):

Amazon seller* (ships from a German warehouse)

* Please note that the seller "wee love food" has been removed as an Amazon seller due to bad reviews 

Biologisch24.com** (ships from Germany to worldwide)

  • Stage 1-4: ~$11-$16/box + shipping rate examples below (expensive!):
    • 1-2 boxes = $33-$37 shipping
    • 3-6 boxes = $41-$44 shipping
    • 7-8 boxes = $48 shipping
    • 10 boxes = $56 shipping
    • 20 boxes = $70 shipping

** Generally the reviews from this site are positive and shipping takes about 2-3 weeks to the US

Violey (ships from Germany to worldwide)

  • Stage 1: ~$10/box + $36 to US (up to 4 boxes/2 kg)
  • Stage 2-4: ~$14/box + $36 to US (up to 3 boxes/2kg)

Shipping rates: http://www.violey.com/en/shipping.html

Ebay sellers:

  • Seller superfooduk: Stage 1-2: $16-$19 a box + ~$33 shipping, 1-2 week delivery to US 
  • Other misc sellers: there are sellers that ship from US within one week and reasonable shipping costs, but the price of the box is higher
UK

Belgium

Here are some supporting articles that might help you understand the above choices:






























Peppermint and Chamomile Tea

Late one night, as I was settling into my evening relaxation after a full day, I ventured to the tea cabinet to see what herbals we had in the cupboard.  We always have loose chamomile, but that didn't seem to be fitting for the moment, so I peeked on another shelf and saw one of Mini fLee's winter favorite, peppermint tea.  I didn't want to choose one and abandon the other, so I decided to brew them both in the same cup.  One loose, one bagged, mixing merrily.  Since I was both peckish and tired, I wasn't sure if I was just looking for comfort, or if they actually tasted good together.  It was delicious!

Months later, booltox stumbled upon a new tea brand (made in Chicago by Intelligentsia), and they had this tea blend.  They included rosehips, which I thought was a nice touch.


Since I can't drink all the tea I buy, I tend not to purchase loads, thus not going out to shop and focus on crazy blends (booltox has more time for this), I'm no connoisseur.  Have you tried this type of blend?  If not, would you?  And what other blends have you discovered on your own that would seem an odd pairing?  The world of tea is so vast, yet I am only a novice waiting to be molded.

The Bones I Stack: Sneak of Venturesome Valentines Vol 2

A sneak preview of the upcoming "Venturesome Valentines: Volume 2", a follow up to VV: vol 1, available for free download. 

Love is fickle and times are hard in this continuation of poems that are not for the faint at heart, or for the faint who need solace that their lovers are not monsters, just not into the moment as they might be.

Download Venturesome Valentines: Vol 1 for free

Add to Cart

 

 

 

VV: Vol 2 preview

Stay tuned for more previews and the full VV: Vol. 2 for Valentines Day!

Follow @QueenfLee

Canada's Stealthy Secret: Bomb Girls

Bomb Girls. It's fun.  It's serious. It has a lot of red lipstick. It has the return of Meg Tilly.  Also a hot Italian man. A lesbian. Hairnets. Jazz. I could go on, but to be honest, I was hooked from the title and I'm not looking back.

Bomb Girls, now in its second season, is a 1940's drama of female bomb factory workers who fight for the cause as if they were soldiers in battle. At least that's what shift matron Lorna Corbett says. She watches over the women like a sweet catholic mother wound as tight as swaddled baby, only as Meg Tilly can do.  Lorna struggles with life's happiness, sons at war and guilt, all the while taking a whole factory of girls under her wing.  I did wonder where she finds the time to get involved in the girls' private lives and deal with job-related house calls along with cooking for her crippled war veteran husband, but I guess this fits her character.  I've always loved Meg Tilly so it's a treat to watch her, and in a role that suits Meg's generally wholesome lifestyle.

-------REVIEW WITH SPOLIERS BELOW * SKIP TO WHERE TO WATCH----

Admittedly, when I saw the first episode, I knew there was something unique about this show.  Sort of un-sparkly, but in a good, humanistic way.  I couldn't put my finger on it until someone said "soooorry", it hit me.  It's Canadian!  So this is what good costumes look like, non-hollywood leads (not counting Meg Tilly who hasn't been seen on the screen for almost 20 years), and sets that are styled realistically instead of over the top?  Without the LA sparkle, it makes Bomb Girls a more genuine show to me.  Many of the working girl dresses are muted as many 1940's dresses were. Even the rich girls outfit, well-placed in her father's mansion, look new yet authentic, instead of in-your-face showy.  This is not to say she doesn't pull out the fox fur or big hat, it just makes it more humanistic instead of tricking the audience by showing caricatures of an era, rather than the era itself.

If you've never seen it before, here's an intro to the main characters which should get you booted up to watch the series:

  • Meg Tilly as Lorna Corbett, Shift Matron at Victory Munitions
  • Jodi Balfour as Gladys Witham, priveliged daughter of a rich grocery store chain
  • Charlotte Hegele as Kate (a.k.a Marion) Andrews, Preacher's daughter escaping his abuse
  • Ali Liebert as Betty McRae, working girl who lives in the same boarding house as Kate
  • Antonio Cupo as Marco Moretti, Italian-Canadian working at Victory Munitions
  • Sebastian Pigott as James Dunn, fiancé of Gladys
  • Anastasia Phillips as Vera, working girl at Victory Munitions
  • Peter Outerbridge as Bob Corbett, Lorna's crippled veteran husband

I do love this show, but it's not without it's flaws.  At first, I was annoyed with the fiancé James but I don't think he was given a good opening scene.  He's slowly becoming one of the most believable characters as the war progresses.  Gladys has something about her speech that seems off, until I found out she's played by a South African actress.  It was the intonations or more proper english pronounciations that could lend to the character's upper crust status, but then I realized it was too much on the snooty side.  I'm hoping as the series matures, Jodi Balfor softens her speech a bit more.  Her mother, who we almost never see in the promo videos, does snooty and rich in such a perfect way. Kate Hennig is Adele Witham, who delivers her character's rapture like she was born with millions. While she's not a trophy wife, she works her pin curls, pale eyes and red lipstick with evil charm. My eyes are on her whenever she is in a scene. I don't know what else she's been in, but I want to see more of her.

For the ladies who like ladies out there, we have Betty McRae. I'm sure has already been tumblred to high heaven with girl on girl animated gifs.  Good for Ali Liebert who plays her character in such a way it's almost as if she's the girl in school you knew was gay and fine with it, so much so that you never thought of it as anything abnormal.  She's got the friendly sneer, the swagger and the tomboy qualities that may be a bit stereotypical, but it's endearing.  We know she's struggling with her sexuality which seems only to scratch the surface, so I wonder if we will get to see more of her challenges in preferring women over men.  She's definitely a likable character so lets hope the writers take it further.  She also seems to be the literal poster girl for the show, as you see her flexing her muscles in a "Rosie the Riveter" pose in many promo shots.

As for a leading man, there's pretty tasty eye candy, as Antonio a.k.a. Marco delivers another complicated character in series.  Men who weren't in uniform were frowned upon, considering there were over 1 million people enlisted in Canada's armed forces for World War 2, which was 1/10th the population.  Initially he's the stereotypical Italian character; cocky, forward with the ladies and jokey.  While I know the writers had to set up the series for some intrigue, it disappointed me.  Later Marco shows more depth, which is great, but then what happened to his happy-go-lucky attitude? He'd been working the factory for a while so the turn of events don't seem to justify a complete shift in nature. His buddy Archie, played by Billy MacLellan, seems to follow through with his crass ways even when put in the hospital.  Archie wouldn't have looked as good in a cupid outfit as Marco, but that's me being biased.

Overall there are a few inexperienced players and although she has the face and the voice for her character, Charlotte Hegele as Kate doesn't cut it for me.  I want her to improve but as her character grows, I see her overacting in a new and annoying way.  She's frightened and demure as an abused child at first, then demands to see a man who wants a "favor" in an exchange for some legal papers.  When she meets up with her father again and starts street preaching, she's full-force "down with sin and the devil" like she hadn't ever run away.  There's no struggle for her character at those moments except for what's in the script, and it's a very shallow reading.  Somebody make this woman act better! She's clearly talented and beautiful but can't deliver the angst this character deserves.

Overall, lots of great acting, sets, storyline, and lots of potential for this series.  I will enjoy the ride however soap opera-y it gets and will probably re-watch this because it's lively and inspiring.  There's a great foundation to take this through so many more complexities. I'm hoping it will continue and mature as historical as possible, following the ladies when the soldiers come home and their jobs are taken away.  It sounds depressing but I think it's a natural progression of the feminist fight and shows how our grandmothers paved the way for the 60's women's movement.

Where to Watch

Canada: full episodes on Gobal TV

: http://www.globaltv.com/bombgirls/video/full+episodes/the+quickening/video.ht...+episodes (in Canada only)

US:

Reelz channel: 

  • Dish Network channel 299 
  • Direct TV channel 238
  • Verizon 233

Or put in your zip code on this page: http://www.reelz.com/bombgirls/

    UK: ITV3 Saturdays at 10pm

    DVD?:  It was released on DVD in Canada last October (2012), but it appears to be sold out! I saw only 2 ebay listings of an "official Dutch release" of $40+ but I can't imagine that's trustworthy.  Hopefully they will make it easier to find and watch besides torrents and unofficial streaming.

    Bomb Girls in Social Media

    Twitter: @BombGirls  hash #bombgirls

    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BombGirls

    Actors

    Meg Tilly (Lorna): @meggamonstah

    Ali Leibert (Betty): @AliLiebert, https://www.facebook.com/AliLiebertPage  

    Jodi Balfour (Gladys): @JodiAnneBalfour

    Charlotte Hegele (Kate): @charlottehegele

    Antonio Cupo (Marco): @antoniocupo, https://www.facebook.com/pages/Antonio-Cupo

     

     

    3 Simple Recipes for Greener Cleaning

    I've been trying to, over the years, remove harsh chemicals out of my house for the green principal, but also because I have a kid and a ton of pets that would appreciate the concern for their health, if only animals could talk.

    The simplest question overall is and should be, "Why would I want to put this hazardous shite in my body?"  And being the head of household, my health and being able to work is crucial to protecting my family and my furry, feathery, and fishie friends. Plus I do most of the shopping.

    So what to do? Research. And what do you do with your findings? Buy or make the less hazardous, more natural alternative cleaners, personal hygiene and home improvement products. Then what? Pass it on!

    We as women who make our lives more green, choose to take a stand against the homemaker stereotype of buying whatever has the best commercial or coupon, and show our purchase power to the Proctor & Gambles of the world.  Purchase power is just that, power. And the big companies listen when their sales are down, so lets see where this knowledge of going green takes us and hopefully we will find it improves our own healthy habits, while giving less money to corporations who are already rich. 

    Here are a few notes from my research that you can find simple and inexpensive alternatives to:

    1. GLASS CLEANERS: We all love spotless, no-streak glass and mirrors but something called Butyl Cellosolve is a synthetic solvent and is a known neurotoxin (can cause brain damage), can also cause eye, nose, throat and lung tissue irritation. Bottom line: It's a shitty chemical that we can easily replace with this simple, NATURAL GLASS CLEANER RECIPE:

    - 1 part vinegar
    - 2 parts water

    Easy enough, right? Just make sure to buy a vat of vinegar because it can be used for a ton of other cleaning tasks.

    2. OVEN & DRAIN CLEANERS:  Also known as lye or Sodium Hydroxide, it is a toxic chemical and...well, there's not much more I feel the need to say except THIS SHIT IS TOXIC!  There's a reason why it will melt the 4 year old crust of food and oil that's caked inside your oven, because it will also melt your cat.  But seriously, it has been known to blind animals with minimal exposure.

    OVEN CLEANER RECIPE: Create a paste with these ingredients, slather on and leave overnight. Wipe with damp cloth.

    - 3/4 cup of baking soda
    - 1/4 cup of salt
    - 1/4 cup of water

    3. ANTI-BACTERIAL LOTIONS are for suckers:  These purse-sized squeezie bottles of clear goo contain pesticides that may be contributing to the rise in bacteria that is resistant to our general hygiene practices. What was wrong with soap and water anyway? Nothing. I guess the big corps have been praying on our fear of germs.  So what's the anti-bacterial alternative?

    SOAP & WATER.  Avoid using anything else for washing your hands unless you are stuck in an area without clean water like a camping trip. In the far future we will be able to eradicate bacteria with a laser gun, but for now stick to the tried and true.


    - SLSF/ Sodium Laureth Sulfate: found in body washes, shampoos, is toxic to humans & is a suspected carcinogen
    - DEA & TEA: Diethananolamines & Triethanolamines are a) synthetic, b) carcinogenic, c) skin & eye irritants and d) are slow to biodegrade. Found in cleaners, dish washing liquids detergents, stain removers and other hygiene products.
    - FRAGRANCE: Causes allergic reactions and irritation, plus companies in the US don't have to say what's in the "fragrance" ingredients, making it suspicious and unpredictable. Found in pretty much every kind of household product, but mostly I see these in cheap shampoos, body washes and pretty much every product in Bath & Bodyworks.

    These practices take effort to change, so if you don't have the time to stand and read labels in the store like all the slow-pokes at Whole Foods, then you might want to start with getting the no frills, they-are-what-they-are products at the store.

    Your shopping list of natural ingredients for green cleaning:
    - Baking soda
    - White vinegar
    - Tea tree oil and/or lavender oil
    - Borax
    - Castile soap (ex: Dr. Bronner's)

    So if you or a friend uses some products that have the chemicals I mentioned, yet feel "just fine" then please think about all the stuff you/they pour down the drain and gets into your recycled water.  Because when you go to a restaurant, fast food place or the mall, they are not using fancy filtered water for their ice cube machine, they are using whatever comes through the faucet. So the more we use these products, the more it gets into our water, soil and our air, making an unpredictable combination of who-knows-what-chemicals that ends up in our food.  Just saying.

    Hopefully you're reading this because you want to find out how to be more green and healthy so kudos to you. This is by no means a complete list, it only scratches the surface so I encourage you to research more as you uncover these, and I expect to see a gallon of vinegar under your sink by weeks end ;)

    FREE Absomuffinlutely STICKER SALE ! 1 week only

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    $1.00 USD   |   €0.70 EUR (approx)   |    £0.60 GBP (approx)   FREE* W/SHIPPING


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    FIRST CHICKIE EGG! And yes, it's a little green.

    OMG! Our first chickie egg has been laid!!!  Was it Diamond Sparkle Rainbow Gold, Yolkahontas or maybe Repecca who laid it?  We have a clue, because its pale GREEN!

    How do we know? Because certain chicken breeds lay different color eggs.  Let's revisit our breeds:

     

    Americaunas/Easter Eggers: "Diamond", "Repecca", "Rosetta"

    Feathers: Reddish brown, grayish, some patterned yellow and blackish (varies greatly)

    Feet: Blue/Gray/Green

    Egg color: pale blue or green

    GREEN LEGS!

     

    Golden Laced Wyandotte: "Yolkahontas"

    Egg color: brown

    Feathers: Black laced with brownish red (golden)

    Feet: yellow

    ISN'T SHE PURTY?

     

    More eggs to come! Backyard chickens are the best!

    ------

    Credits:
    All photos by Queen fLee
    Graphic Letter O from Drop Cap series by Jessica Hische

    Mini fLee demo song - Sky So Bright

    Most of the time Mini fLee is deferring her bedtime with crafts, Star Trek discussions or wish lists of what toys she wants for the next 8 birthdays and Christmases. We do our best to hypnotise her to sleep but with the Chicago Teacher strike and kids being out of school for a week and a half, its been a tough sell to convince to pass out on command.

    During this "I'm-not-tired-but-its-time-to-go-to-bed" burst of energy, I've seen her create whole villages from sculpty clay, elaborate traps for the chickens with duct tape and yarn, and my favorite, a fairy catcher game you can see on her Tumblr.

    Tonight, it was, "Momma, I'm going to play the guitar."  Ok. Since I failed at learning it properly, she might as well have a go at it. She began to strum and sing, so I took out my iPhone (because there's an app for that) and started recording.  While it's too much to edit down right now for a complete melody of planetary hymns about Uranus, craters and volcanos, I'll give you a sample of her warm up intro, " Sky So Bright". 

    Hope you enjoy it, and I hope I'll have some time to edit the 30 minutes of original happy music making of this very creative first grader.

    If you want to listen to more of her silliness, there's always her rant on Mario Galaxy. It's a cute bit of insight to her effervescence, and a sense of innocence I long to keep in my heart forever.

     

    ------------

    Credits:
    Audio recording by Queen fLee, performance by Mini fLee
    Graphic Letter M from Drop Cap series by Jessica Hische