Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Easy Tips for Green Living - Part One

Let's be honest, I'm not a hardcore eco-green girl.  I still drive an SUV that I love, I still buy instant macaroni & cheese for my kids, and it's been forever and a day since I've visited a farmer's market for anything other than a giant bag of kettle corn.  With that being said, I do recycle like a mad woman, limit my driving in my precious SUV, and grow a garden each year.   I think most people are like that... not necessarily living off grid, but not wanting to make a concerted effort to live a greener lifestyle.

For many people, the shift happens after they have children or even during pregnancy.  It's a common occurrence.  We suddenly find ourselves constantly thinking about the welfare and future of someone other than ourselves.  Whatever place you're at, though, there are some really simple ways to create a greener lifestyle.

1.  Learn to cook - it's surprising how many people don't know how to cook something that doesn't originate in a box, can or jar.  Doing so, though, leaves you at the mercy of food companies and all the additives, preservatives, fillers, and who knows what else they put into their foods.  If you're new to cooking from scratch, don't overwhelm yourself.  You don't have to be Julia Child, after all.

2.  Become a label reader - most of us are used to looking at the nutritional label on foods these days.  But, what about other products you use daily on your body and in your home?  What about your shampoo?  Your laundry detergent?  You'll be surprised at what you find!  In fact, you probably won't even be able to pronounce most of what is in them.  Look for natural alternatives and don't be fooled by a label that says "natural" or "organic".  There are no regulations on the labeling of these products and they are often still filled with all manner of toxic stuff!

3.  Ditch the bottled water - you hear it all the time, right? Sorry to harp on it again, but it's true.  We're only now beginning to understand some of the dangers associated with plastics and our food.  By tossing the plastic bottles, you're not only eliminating that risk but you're also keeping tons (yes, literally tons) of plastics out of our landfills.  Plus, think of the savings. You'll save tons of money by crossing it off your shopping list and replacing it with a great filter for your home faucet and a few good reusable bottles.

4.  Buy second hand - you don't have to do this for all things.  In fact, I don't recommend it for all things (like carseats!).  But, honestly, there are some amazing second hand stores out there.  And, let's face it, maternity clothes are expensive.  Baby clothes are expensive.  How long will you or your munchkin even be wearing them?  Whether it's clothing, furniture, or anything in between, you'll be saving money and reusing some fabulous items!

5.  Green your home with houseplants - they add natural beauty to your home and help cleanse your air, an especially important job during winter months when your home is closed up tight.  Not a green thumb?  No problem! There are plenty of options that require very little attention to thrive.  Try lucky bamboo or a striking bromeliad.  The bromeliad's bloom will last for months, too!

Stay tuned later in the week for five more easy green tips!  Until then, live mindfully!

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