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We are so excited to share Debbie's story with you as our first CHEWBAR blog post! Why have we interviewed Debbie? She is a mom to three kiddos who has a passion for all things organic, healthy and natural. Her 3 kids were also one of the first ChewBar "quality control testers" and they helped us come to a final decision on what flavours of ChewBar kids loved.

Debbie, tell us who you are?

"I’m known as mom to Clayden, Ryler & Brea, wife to Theran, daughter, sister and friend to many. Lucky me.

Daily, I am ensuring there are 5 food groups and an array of colours on my families’ lunch and dinner plates, watering homegrown plants, listening to ‘African Treehouse’ in the car (over and over and ooooover), trying to get outside for a run, kissing owies, refereeing sibling squabbles and picking up Lego.

Our family is beautiful but real, flawed and hopeful.

I am very much on a journey in becoming greener and am certainly not getting this right most of the time." 

 

You play the hero of many roles, but one of these important jobs is as the Public relations manager for a brand we all know and love - Pure Beginnings - where did your passion for all things natural start?

During my third pregnancy, I partnered up with Pure Beginnings as one of their ambassadors. I used my own experiences to share with new and expecting mums. Having had both my boys in Vancouver, I was not new to pregnancy but somehow this South African pregnancy seemed new to me. Which prenatal vitamins and supplements should I take? Who would my midwife be? How would I find a doula? Where would I birth? How would I birth? It all seemed so different. My immediate thought was to run back to Canada, but alas, that wasn’t a viable option. In Canada, we lived a very green lifestyle and celebrated all things organic. This was very much a way of life we had adopted from when my firstborn was very little.

Over the years in which I have been thinking, researching and getting my hands really dirty (more like oily) in the ‘natural world’, and as I’ve blogged my findings, I’ve become more and more aware (and at times terrified) of how much is going on around us or within us that we simply don’t know or question. Slowly, and (more importantly) consistently, my choice of skincare has changed. Having read an alarming article on the horrific number of chemicals found in a baby’s umbilical cord compared to generations ago, I wanted to share with South African moms that all-natural skin products are available and by having lived this green lifestyle easily in Canada, I wanted to assist others on this journey locally. Studies have shown that the average woman directly applies more than 200 chemicals to her skin via personal care products every day. Ermmm… that is terrifying… because we have no idea what these chemicals are or what they do.

So what did this change look like for me? Well regarding my pregnancy, my prenatals didn't need to be coated in sugar, coloured pink and look like over-sized smarties. I’ve done enough research to know to take folate over folic acid and I had upped my number of magnesium baths and probiotics (to avoid GBS). I didn't bring aluminium anywhere near my ever-growing breasts (did you know your off-the-counter deo most likely contains aluminium) and the nasties such as parabens, SLS (Sodium Lauryl Sulfate), Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES), Ammonium Laurel Sulfate (ALS) and other hard-to-pronounce, no-one-really-knows-what-they-are ingredients didn't come near my skin (as much as I could control).

When my little girl was born, the Pure Beginnings range was obviously my product of choice. I used their products not only on my little one but my whole family.

South Africa has become more aware of the importance of natural skincare and Pure Beginnings has been providing this high quality, effective, organic skincare since 2007

How do you go about eating and supplying natural & sustainable food for your family? 

While living in Canada where they are very eco concisous and it was easy for us to adopt this whole lifestyle, we could simply pop into a Wholefoods or a Natural Food Market and it was as easy as buying wholesome food from the shelf. We ate really well and bought local produce from farmers. We informed ourselves by reading Michael Pollan books and joined a dinner club where we actually souced these good foods and made conscious efforts to meet the grocer and understand where your food comes from. When we returned home we wanted to mimic as many of the best practices we had adopted and loved - this was hard and challenging as South Africa was still quite far behind where we had come from. Which is when I become involved in the Good Food Club. Essentially it is a farm to table style eating club, based on examples seen in Europe - a community of buyers have formed relationships with local farmers to support and buy directly from them. Essentially buying better, hormone and chemical-free meat, locally and sustainably sourced produce. We essentially want to encourage people to buy better, be more thoughtful when buying, shop more inconveniently to help move the buying purchasing power away from the bigger retailers and really support the smaller local farmers. We as a family are human and still have the odd snack or meal here and there. We go to birthday parties and will enjoy the food, but on a bigger scale, we are really conscious about good organic food just trying to give our kids the best start to life that we can. 

 Your three kids were a big part of the ChewBar decision-making process where we gave kids options of the final products to help us make the right decision on what flavours to eventually launch, let's have a look at a video clip you sent us of all 3 kids trying ChewBar Apple & Baobab...

 

Lastly, why are you happy to let your kiddo's snack on ChewBar?

 In this really fast and busy culture, having someting easy and convienient to give your kids that contains no nasties, which is good for them and something that you know they will eat is such a win in my books. In our fast snacking culture it is easy to go a day without giving your kids something really healthy and nutritious if you are not very intentional about it. It is so important for me to fill my kids bodies with the best food that I can for them to grow, flourish and be as healthy as they can be. Realistically I want to give them food that is not only good for them, but food that has come from places where people are trying to produce food better and use fewer hormones, antibiotics and harmful preservatives.  

 

Have you seen the awesome competition we are running on Instagram with Pure Beginnings? Head over to our Instagram page, look for this post and stand a chance to win our awesome hamper