A Quick Bite With Jessica Alba plus a chance to win an amazing gift from The Honest Company! - Sweet Potato Chronicles

A Quick Bite With Jessica Alba plus a chance to win an amazing gift from The Honest Company!

It seems a career req­ui­site now for actresses to pick up a hyphen when they have kids. You know what I mean? Actress-lifestyle guru, actress-designer, actress-cookbook author. And to me it makes sense. Don't most women you know real­ize their full multi-tasking poten­tial upon hav­ing a baby? It's when many of the women I know in dig­i­tal media started blog­ging. Yes, you want the flex­i­bil­ity of your own busi­ness, but there's also some­thing new that you care about a lot. When Jes­sica Alba and her part­ner in The Hon­est Com­pany, Christo­pher Gav­i­gan, came through Toronto to launch their brand in Canada, the pas­sion they both feel for their line and their fam­i­lies was so clear.

In fact, there was a bit­ter­sweet moment dur­ing the pre­sen­ta­tion they made to a group of par­ent­ing edi­tors and blog­gers. In intro­duc­ing The Hon­est Com­pany to Canada (ship­ping to us now!) they showed a beau­ti­fully pro­duced video explain­ing how eco-friendly line of baby, body and home clean­ing prod­ucts was cre­ated. Both Alba and Gav­i­gan appear in it along with their adorable chil­dren. At the end, Gav­i­gan announced, "And now I really need to go home!" (psst: keep read­ing to find out about the prize!)

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Alba met Gav­i­gan at the launch for his excel­lent book, Healthy Child Healthy World; Cre­at­ing a Cleaner, Greener, Safer Home. 7-months preg­nant with her first child, Alba was begin­ning to worry about what kind of envi­ron­ment she'd be bring­ing her child into — and not just the air we breathe when we're out in the world but the imme­di­ate envi­ron­ment cre­ated by our homes and the prod­ucts we use on our bod­ies. The two decided to join forces to cre­ate a line of safe prod­ucts that par­ents could feel good about using. When I asked Gav­i­gan what he thought con­sumers didn't know about prod­ucts they're buy­ing he said that there's a mis­con­cep­tion that if a prod­uct is avail­able for sale by the pub­lic that it must be okay. Or at least safe. Sadly, not so.

I've tried a few of the prod­ucts from the line and so far I've liked them all. My kids love the children's tooth­paste and the Heal­ing Balm has done won­ders for the rash that was cov­er­ing my son's tush last week. I look for­ward to try­ing more but in the mean­time maybe one of you can tell me how you like the line? Because one lovely (and lucky) Cana­dian reader is going to win a Bath Time Col­lec­tion! Made up of a sham­poo and body wash, a body lotion, a bub­ble bath and a body oil, it's a great way to get to know the line. Sign up for our newslet­ter for a chance to win!!

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We loved every­thing Alba had to say about get­ting her kids involved in the kitchen, help­ing to guide them toward more adven­tur­ous choices. But we really fell in love with her when she answered another reporter's ques­tion about how she jug­gles fam­ily and work: she shook her head and said, "It's haaaaaard." Amen.

jessica,ceri,christopher

Sweet Potato Chron­i­cles: The Hon­est Com­pany focuses on bring­ing healthy options home to par­ents. What do you think many par­ents don't real­ize about many body/cleaning prod­ucts they're using at home?

Jes­sica Alba: When I was preg­nant with my first daugh­ter Honor, I had a ter­ri­ble aller­gic reac­tion to the THE “baby-safe” deter­gent that my friends and fam­ily had used — my mom even rec­om­mended it. But I knew it couldn’t be good for my baby if it made me break out in a rash. So, I set out to edu­cate myself. I read the book Healthy Child Healthy World: Cre­at­ing a Cleaner, Greener, Safer Home by Christo­pher Gav­i­gan and scoured the Inter­net, only to dis­cover that there are toxic chem­i­cals in every­day prod­ucts like baby sham­poo, dia­pers, home fur­nish­ings, and house­hold clean­ers. Then I bought the sup­pos­edly nat­ural alter­na­tives only to get home and find out those eco­di­a­pers still had the ingre­di­ents in them I was try­ing to avoid. Need­less to say, I was shocked! And I think many par­ents find them­selves in this same sit­u­a­tion — they don’t know that the basics we use often con­tain untested or unreg­u­lated chem­i­cals or now have vastly dif­fer­ent for­mu­la­tions than the prod­ucts they remem­ber from child­hood. Why would we when these items are mar­keted as being the “best” for our homes? So, I cre­ated The Hon­est Com­pany because my mis­sion was to make healthy, non-toxic prod­ucts acces­si­ble to chil­dren and fam­i­lies every­where — all from one trusted source.

SPC: Which Hon­est Com­pany prod­uct is your daugh­ters' favourite?

JA: Both Honor and Haven love play­ing dress up, so there is noth­ing bet­ter than Honest’s lip balm. They feel like they’re using lip­stick, and I rest easy know­ing they are using some­thing that is com­pletely safe for kids.  We cre­ated this nat­ural, non-toxic, and cer­ti­fied organic for­mula because any­thing that goes on your mouth is often ingested.

SPC: What's your ear­li­est food memory?

JA: Since child­hood, the kitchen has always been a hub for my fam­ily. I can still smell the deli­cious car­ni­tas my grand­mother would sim­mer all day in a slow cooker for yummy tacos we’d enjoy together that night. And my mom’s famous lasagna was always in high demand. The sense of com­fort their food brought is what I remem­ber best.

SPC: How did you learn to cook? 

JA: When I was young, I’d help out my mom and grand­mother in the kitchen. But I really learned to cook as a young teenager when I decided to go vegan. Because my fam­ily con­tin­ued to eat meat and dairy, I had to pre­pare my meals and started exper­i­ment­ing with fruits, veg­gies, nuts, whole grains, and spices that I’d never tried before. While I didn’t remain a vegan (I do eat organic meats and dairy now), the expe­ri­ence inspired an over­all health­ier lifestyle and my cre­ative approach to cooking.
SPC: Do you still cook any fam­ily recipes?
JA: I con­sider myself an ama­teur chef, so cook­ing is a pas­time that I truly enjoy and find relax­ing. It’s really restora­tive to pre­pare a meal for your fam­ily and friends that you know they’ll love. And some of my favorite recipes to share have been passed down from my grand­mother and mom. You can find many of them in my book The Hon­est Lifeand on our Hon­est blog.
SPC: Do your girls cook with you? 
JA: Honor is an excel­lent sous chef. She often helps me prep things for din­ner, whether it’s pick­ing herbs from our wall gar­den, shuck­ing green beans, or mak­ing a sim­ple avo­cado salad. Like most kids, she loves to help bake treats too. For a fun sur­prise, Honor dec­o­rated Haven’s sec­ond birth­day cake with orange frost­ing, a fon­dant owl, and gummy worms! By shar­ing this time together, I’ve found that it teaches Honor where food comes from, how much effort goes into grow­ing and prepar­ing it, and the impor­tance of try­ing fresh ingredients.

SPC: How do you deal with pick­i­ness in your daughters?

JA: Although it’s impos­si­ble to avoid picky eat­ing when you have young chil­dren, I tried to influ­ence the girls’ palettes from an early age so they devel­oped a taste for more savory foods. I’d often incor­po­rate spices or fla­vors that adults typ­i­cally eat in their baby foods, so they didn’t grav­i­tate toward sweeter things. My trick was blend­ing things like squash, cau­li­flower, and banana or green lentils and broc­coli. Now that they’re older, I pre­pare them the same meals that my hus­band Cash and I eat for din­ner. Giv­ing them appro­pri­ate ver­sions of our meals has encour­aged them to try new foods.

 SPC: You work in an indus­try that places a pre­mium on appear­ances. How do you deal with those issues in your own home? (Laura and I are ex-fashion mag­a­zine edi­tors and have had to look at some of our own body/beauty assump­tions now that we're Moms.) 

JA: We focus on mak­ing healthy choices as a fam­ily. By empha­siz­ing that healthy eat­ing is fun and tak­ing classes like karate and yoga, I think the girls learn about strength and well-being instead of inter­nal­iz­ing mes­sages about appearances.

 SPC: What's your go-to busy week­night dinner?
JA: Even if it’s a busy day, I’ve been known to roast Cor­nish game hens and but­ter­nut squash for din­ner. All I need is a great playlist and a glass of wine and the time in the kitchen flies by. Plus, the meal is one of my go-to dishes so I have mak­ing it down to a sci­ence. Oth­er­wise, I’m really keen on roast­ing what­ever veg­gie we have in the fridge. Sim­ply driz­zle it with olive oil, sea­son it with salt and paper to taste, pop it in the oven and — voila! — you have a fla­vor­ful side that enhances any dish.

SPC: What do your kids turn their noses up at that you wish they'd eat?

 JA: I wish Honor would eat her zuc­chini and egg­plant (she doesn’t like the squishy tex­ture), and Haven now refuses to eat the peas she once loved.

 

 

  

3 Comments

  1. Denise says:

    Some­one just told me of your blog and also "Cook­ing With Mr. C." on Face­book. (also a blog) I just "Liked" his Face­book page and came to your blog. It's won­der­ful. I love when peo­ple share blogs with each other. Denise

  2. Laura Keogh says:

    Thanks so much for your note, Denise. Wel­come! We like shar­ing too. Hope you enjoy SPC. Stay in touch.

  3. I vis­ited var­i­ous blogs except the audio qual­ity for audio songs
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