As I walked into my home after leaving my daughter at college for her first year I had a flash of nostalgia and even regret when my eye fell on the dining room table. It is the one I grew up with, and it has carried the emotional life of my family in its essence. My regret is that I didnít set it for family meals more often, instead so often eating dinner on the couch together, or worse, on the fly. Wouldnít we have discussed current events more? Processed our days together more? Probably, and I wish we had. So headsup, younger parents, studies even show that kids who eat with their families get much better grades. But there is more to setting a table than just togetherness, there are also ways that protect your familyís health and wellness by making eco-friendly choices to avoid lead and other poisons. Find out how, here:
Before I talk about lead candlesticks, one more point to recommend family dinners: The Columbia University study mentioned above found that teens having family dinners five or more times a week were 42 percent less likely to drink alcohol, 59 percent less likely to smoke cigarettes, and 66 percent less likely to try marijuana.
Here are a few ideas for having a healthy and natural dinner hour by way of taking care of and setting the table:
Centerpieces provide a perfect opportunity to connect your family to nature. Some examples incude forced bulbs, dried plants, pinecones, seedpods, organic flowers, and stones. One of my favorite centerpieces to make in the fall is a bowl filled with water and floating pumpkins:
Make Floating Pumpkin Candles
Table Polishes and Finishes
Given that most furniture polishes and finishes contain neurotoxic ingredients derived from petroleum, unless you choose your products carefully you may be contaminating the air at the dinner table with ingredients that can make a person feel jumpy, depressed, and even lose concentration.
Solution: Use only water-based urethanes and stains if refinishing the table using products such as those provided by AFM Safecoat
Make your own furniture polish and dusting cloths.
Setting the table with candles is a special way to set a restful and quiet mood for a meal. Pure beeswax candles are the best choice for a table because they are not only the least polluting but they also are natural air cleaners. Read more about beeswax candles, here:
and read more about the hazards of other types of candles, here:
Reduce Lead Risk with Safe Tableware
Reduce your lead risk by choosing your tableware very carefully. Here are some guidelines:
Handmade ceramic-ware can contain lead; be especially wary of colorful dishes.
Avoid serving food in ceramics with raised areas with decorative paint.
Avoid any ceramics that have been chipped, even if it is the finest china.
Avoid crystal decanters, they are made with “lead” crystal.
Donít store food (or use in a microwave) in any container that is glazed ceramic.
Visit the Environmental Defense Fund for china patterns that contain lead.
Start a cloth napkin collection! Not to sound self-congratulatory, but I truly did stop buying paper napkins about 15 years ago and the change has brought so much pleasure to me and my family. We are all so attached to our array of napkins: the ritual of bringing out more fancy ones for festive holidays, finding everyday napkins to match our dťcor, and remembering those who gave us napkins as gifts. I canít imagine how much money we have saved over so long a time, and because I toss them into miscellaneous laundry loads, I canít believe the washing of them has cost us much either; they take so little room in the washer.
By Annie B. Bond