Thursday, July 9, 2009

Green Living Tips

Before my first child was born, I didn't think a whole lot about pollution, household chemicals, preservatives and pesticides in food, etc. I mean, I may have thought about it a bit, but not enough to make any real changes in my life. But having that first baby made me worry not only about what was going into her little body, but also about what kind of world she would be living in as she grew up. So I started making some changes in the way I was living, not only to benefit Lucy's health, but to benefit the state of the world. I know that my small changes don't make a huge difference in the world, but if everyone made some small changes, what a difference that would make!

Since I first got interested in green living 8 years ago, there's been a slow but steady surge of interest in the subject in America, and now it seems like it's everywhere! We're all becoming increasingly more aware of the importance of living a "greener" lifestyle. With that in mind, I'll be posting a weekly Green Living Tip, along with a brief commentary on how well I'm doing with that particular tip. And please comment with your ideas -- I'm always looking for more.

Eat exclusively natural foods. This is a challenge in our society. It means a lot of label reading at the grocery store -- at least until you find products you know you can count on and grab every time. My grocery store trips end up being probably 95% natural. There are some things that are nearly impossible to find natural, unless you have a Whole Foods or Trader Joe's nearby, which I don't. Cereal is particularly difficult, as the preservative BHT is put into nearly every cereal. Kashi brand is all natural, and has shown up recently in my local grocery stores. Unfortunately I haven't been able to convince my kids to eat them -- yet. Packaged snacks like granola bars and crackers are also hard to find. Quaker has a new line of natural granola bars, though I can't always find them and they are more expensive. Regular Goldfish crackers are natural (not the colored kind) and the whole grain have some fiber. Kashi's TLC crackers are a good option too, but are also more expensive. Due to the expense of packaged snacks, I've been trying to make more homemade snacks. This has had mixed results with the kids, as they are addicted to crackers and granola bars.

In my mind, buying natural also means avoiding Bovine Growth Hormone. Luckily a lot of national milk brands have stopped using milk with this hormone, so it's easy to find the milk. And Kraft now makes a hormone free cheese line. Other dairy products are harder to find, at least around here.

It's also really impossible to eat only natural foods if you ever want to go out to a restaurant. We've cut down how often we eat in restaurants, but sometimes its necessary (especially on long trips.) And the occasional piece of (very) unnatural candy does find its way into my house.

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