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Published on Thursday, February 12, 2015 by

Everywhere we turn, experts are talking about food, household items, and human pollutants that could be contributing to the earth’s pollution and the health of our family. Here are some tips to help you enter the green movement and limit stress.

Getting Started

Contrary to popular belief, the easiest way to increase your ‘green’ is to curb consumerism and not buy more stuff! This means to scale back on what you are buying. Talk as a family about what things are really needed, use up the products you have, and when it comes time to replace shampoo, food, toys, clothing, and household items – research more earth-friendly options that are safe for your family. We don’t need to run out and buy ‘green’ products to become ‘green’. We have other options.

I always suggest going room by room to avoid that horrible feeling of being overwhelmed by research and ingredient reading.  Let’s start with the kitchen where most families can make the most impact. The kitchen may take the most work if incorporating organics and clean food into your home.

The easiest in my home was the bathroom, laundry room, and cleaners. Make life easier by consolidating household cleaners into Castile soap*, using baking soda & organic products for personal care, and discontinue using dryer sheets.

What is the Most Difficult Part of Adopting a Greener Lifestyle?

After many years of concentrating on reducing chemicals in ‘things’ that surround my children, I discovered the place that matters most – the kitchen.

The most important lifestyle change for a family is food. It sounds so simple but can be overwhelming for parents when they’ll be spending hours reading labels, trying to figure out where genetically modified ingredients, dyes, corn syrup, and preservatives are lurking.

Stick to these three rules to save you time reading:

1) Keep ingredients to under five when buying packaged foods

2) If you can’t pronounce or understand ingredients, skip the item.

3) With fresh foods, pay attention to produce and if you can’t source your food locally, buy organic.

Schedule trips to farms as an educational activity with your children. The helps them understand that food from farms doesn’t just magically appear on store shelves.

Farmer’s markets and small businesses that support local farmers typically take extra efforts to have clean food and can answer your questions. Take a few minutes to ask where food is grown and if pesticides, GMO grain/seeds were used in the production. Farmers are usually happy to answer your questions and proud to talk about the unique farming practices they use to offer locally-grown quality food.

The Benefits of a Green Living    

As a parent of four children, I found it’s important to keep the learning fun. You can find alternatives to a packaged lifestyle and the food can be just as tasty for older children. A great example is switching up packaged granola bars with a healthier, homemade version. I feel great giving them to my children and they love this tasty, organic alternative that mom makes.

Baby steps are important in this process because you want your family’s support during the transition to green living. By unleashing your inner green-ninja you will inspire, educate, and empower family and friends.

The possibilities are unlimited. For example, a group of like-minded mamas in one neighborhood might start an organic food co-op or share the cost of a food dehydrator. We are the generation trying to find our way back to the basics of healthy living without relying on all the gimmicks, health washing*, and convenience that is causing health and environmental setbacks in North America.

I discovered that when I began being empowered on my greener journey I naturally valued and appreciated the items that came into your life. There is also no better feeling than having your child appreciate and know where food and locally-crafted products come from. It’s such a critical part of our existence – it’s time we placed the proper value on where and how things are grown and produced.

*Castle soap solid and liquid forms are made with vegetable oils like palm, coconut, hemp, jojoba, and olive. Castile soap is gentle on you and the environment because it’s free of artificial foaming agents, harsh cleansers, deconstructed fatty acids from vegetable oils and chemical anti-bacterial agents.

* Health washing is a term that defines food or lifestyle marketing that leads you to believe items are healthy but in fact, often they are not. The biggest confusion is the use of the term ‘natural’ frequently overused on product labels. Look for certified organic when searching for safer products on store shelves.

Suzanne is a mom of four children and resides in Port Moody. She secretly yearns for backyard chickens and is not so secretly inspired by hand-made and West Coast treasures. She carries many of these treasures on her online shop, Mommy Footprints.

 

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