Going Green/eating Organic - Need Advice

Updated on May 23, 2008
K.M. asks from Hermosa Beach, CA
15 answers

hello everyone!

i was just curious to see if anyone had any advice on how to start going green, specifically detoxing the home. i don't know where to start! i do use seventh generation wipes and diapers & Born Free bottles and of course i recycle but beyond that not sure what to do. i have a 4 year old and a 5 month old and a lot has changed since i had my son in terms of what is available. i don't want my children to be ingesting all the chemicals in the household cleaning products, etc. and as for eating organic....i try to go to the local farmers market but never seem to have time. is it really worth it? it seems so expensive to pick through the organic fruits and veggies at the supermarket. it's all a bit overwhelming.

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V.S.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi K., have you ever heard of a company called Melaleuca? They provide all the things you are looking for, with the exception of diapers. I use it mnyself and am happy with my products, because I do not have to worry about my kids and pets regarding the cleaners I use, and the food products I buy make me feel better about what they ingest. If you have any questions about the products, please do not hesitate to contact me.
-V.

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Y.B.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi K.,

As for detoxing the house - you can use seventh generation or method brand cleaning, laundry products and now Method has a baby care line. They both have everything from wipes to sprays, etc that are biodegradable.
Also, you may also check out Nature Baby (can be found at target)brand diapers, wipes, etc. as they are biodegradable. Not sure that the seventh gen are - I just know they are chlorine free.
I agree with the other posters about farmers markets but I too have a hard time getting to them. Lately I have been going to Fresh & Easy for produce. Its all organic and not nearly as expensive as Whole Foods.
Also, one pretty easy thing to change is stop using/buying small plastic beverage bottles - I try to use as much reusable containers instead of tossing so many way plastics.
I hope this helps and Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful
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M.S.

answers from Los Angeles on

It's so important to support our local farmers and it's SO affordable! I go every Thursday to the one in Bixby Knolls and my 10 month old enjoys it too. The produce is fresh off the farm and mostly organic. Even if it's not "certified" organic, it's pesticide free and on it's way to certification (which takes 3-5 years).
Also, go to Whole Foods or Henry's Market and buy all of your grains/legumes in bulk. I just got over a pound of organic dry lentils for $1.69. It's fun too. Much cheaper than even Trader Joe's because it's bulk so you cut out the packaging which in turn is better for the environment. I bought a pack of Mason Jars and store all of my grains in there to limit moths.
As far as cleaning, I got Martha Stewart's "Home Keeping" (SO informative) book and she basically cleans her whole house with Dawn dishwashing liquid, white vinegar, and bleach. That's all I've used for a year now to do my entire house and it's SO much cheaper and saves space AND I know it's all safe for my 10 month old to crawl around on.
Good for you for using eco-friendly wipes and diapers, I'm not there yet but should check it out. How is Seventh Generation working for you? The Born Free bottles are the way I'll go if I have a second child but my little one has never taken a bottle, little stinker!
Good luck. We've never lived in more convenient times to go Green! Best, M.

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J.M.

answers from Los Angeles on

You might want to check into Melaleuca products. The cleaners are all tea tree oil based. You can check up on the products on Melaleuca.com. It is supposed to be great especially for those with allergies and skin problems. The products are good and I
feel better using them because they don't harm the environment.
It is a monthly order, but that hasn't been a problem for me. I
love the laundry detergent and the spray that gets rid of wrinkles.

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T.E.

answers from Los Angeles on

I think one of the best ways to support your family, community and environment is to shop at your local farmers' market.
I feed a family of 4 (soon to be 5) nearly 100% organic food and there's no way I could do that if I only purchased items from the grocery store - both because of price and availability.
An example: I just purchased a 3-pack of fresh strawberries from my f.m. for $4; they were absolutely delicious, ripe and organic! During a visit to Vons, I saw a single pack of organic strawberries (shipped from out of the country!) for $4.50.
There is a little "plan ahead" required for shopping at fm's b.c. your local one may only be available once a week, but you quickly figure out what you'll need for the week. I rarely have wasted food any more, and we eat A LOT better.
Explore your local market and try anything that piques your interest. My family is addicted to bison, farm-raised eggs (you'll never want to eat store-bought eggs again once you've eaten a local, super-fresh, organic free-range egg!)and many other totally healthy greens, herbs, etc. that would NEVER be available at a traditional grocery store (Whole Foods might have it, but for twice the price.)
If you learn about the top-10 items to ALWAYS buy organic (b.c. of grotesque pesticide use) you'll realize that shopping in a regular store just isn't an option (my memory recalls strawberries, tomatoes, potatos, coffee...). Conventionally grown strawberries may have up to 40 different pest/herbicides on them - and the thin skin absorbs it all!
Getting started on this path to health IS overwhelming, and the more you learn, the more it can feel like "too much." Now that we have conquered food via f.m.s and a twice-monthly trip to Whole Foods or Trader Joes for organic staples like rice, beans, dairy, etc., we are working to ensure a clean, healthy, non-plastic, non-floride, non-chlorine means of aquiring water.
Being healthy is the job of the whole family. Make the f.m. a fun outting for all (they have GREAT food vendors!). Give your son a few dollars to pick out any new produce he wants to try. Get the kids involved NOW and they will live a healthier, happier, LONGER life because of it!

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L.K.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi K.,

I have a three month old and decided to go 'green' before he was born. our household products (cleaning solutions and body products such as lotions, shampoos, and cosmetics) have all been replaced; my food purchases are different; and our consumption (the way we buy and what we buy) is much different.
I did all this using two great books, both of which can be purchased at Whole Foods:

1: Safer for Your Baby (www.saferforyourbaby.com) - this book is a quick read and can help you start making easy changes pretty quickly.
2: Gorgeously Green - this book is really great, but it is much more in depth, and provides names of products, websites etc.

the other thing you may want to look at is the www.cosmeticsdatabase.com website which allows you to input a product and it provides you with a rating of toxic or harmful chemicals.

Last thing i will recommend is that you not try to accomplish all you wish overnight. once you start reading everything you become a bit overwhelmed - so i would suggest choosing things in the order of most importance to you.

Hope this helps! it has changed they way we live, and we are much happier for it!

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B.R.

answers from Los Angeles on

lots of good advice here. an easy thing we did that is both green and helps avoid chemicals from plastics is getting an on-faucet water filter instead of drinking bottled water. we bought the Brita one. we feel really good about reducing our "footprint" and the water tastes good.

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K.C.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi K.:
That is really great that you are making efforts to 'go green and eat organic.' I would say that yes, it really is worth the trouble! These days, there are a lot more choices in acquiring organic foods and produce, the farmer's market as you and the others have mentioned being one of the best sources. Sometimes we don't have the time to run around to different places each week to buy different things. I find myself at Trader Joe's often, but then needing something that they don't carry, so having to run to a chain supermarket, then Whole Foods for that specific item that they other stores don't carry, then to the farmer's market. Overwhelming is right! I'm no scientist, so take this as you will, but I learned that pesticides store in fats effectively, so if you want to go organic, a good place to start is in your foods with fat content, such as milk, eggs, meats, and cheeses. Regarding going green, shopping at the local farmer's market is important because of sustainability and freshness. Produce in regular markets in general must be transported and have to have a longer shelf life. They are bred that way and selected for us on that basis. Produce comes from all over the country and out of the country. The farmer's markets offer mostly local produce. This is important because we want to invest in an agricultural system that will last indefinitely.
Regarding housecleaning, here is one helpful site that has advice on how to clean your house with household items such as vinegar, lemons and baking soda. It was on a site like this one that gave a recipe for unclogging a drain b/c I didn't want to get one of those toxic Draino type cleaners which would then get flushed out into our 'ecosystem.' It was a basic vinegar and baking soda recipe and I had my doubts, but it worked.

http://housekeeping.about.com/cs/environment/a/alternatec...

Okay, you've got two little ones; this is enough for now. I admire your mindfulness, and every little bit you do will not be in vain, for you, your family, your community and planet.

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J.K.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi Kristin,

Would you be interested in saving lots of money and at the same time creating a healthier, greener, home for your family using Shaklee products? Shaklee has been selling nontoxic cleaners since 1960, long before it was the hip thing to do, and their products are fantastic. Let me know!

J.
wwws.shaklee.net/healthyfriends/prodHou

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T.A.

answers from Los Angeles on

K., it is so much better all around to shop for produce at the farmer's market. It saves gas and pollution because the products do not need to be transported very far, the cost is usually far cheaper than the grocery store, organic and pesticide-free produce is more readily available, and much of it tastes better because it is picked ripe - not green and "ripening" in the truck and on store shelves. Not to mention we are supporting our local farmers, which is benefits everyone. There are farmer's markets nearly every day somewhere in the south bay, so finding time to visit one shouldn't be too hard. It's well worth the effort!

Also, a good way to reduce waste is to buy a reusable water bottle (Kleen Kanteen is one brand, there are others as well but I can't think of the brand names) and refill it from a filtered water dispenser at home. While water bottles can be recycled, it is still waste and takes energy to recycle them.

You can make cleaning products that work just as well as the chemical-laden commercial products, but won't harm you, your children, or any pets you may have. Vinegar is a good disinfectant (cut it with water) and glass cleaner. You can use a couple of ounces of Dr Bronner's to 15-20 ounces of water for a nice all-purpose cleaner. I use lemon juice and baking soda to scour the tub and sink, but you can also use a safe commercial product called Bon Ami.

For us, thinking of new ways to be "green" and doing our part to help the planet is a fun challenge. I hope you enjoy your journey - at the end of the day you'll feel really good about yourself and you're also modeling responsible values to your children!

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A.T.

answers from Los Angeles on

You can start by getting some white vinegar and some baking soda. Those two things will go a long way for cleaning! The baking soda is great for scrubbing, and the vinegar cuts through grease etc. Clean windows with it and old newspaper.

Simple green is a good cleaner, too. Also, the Mrs. Meyers line is really good. Finally, for wood, etc., get some Murphy's oil soap. And you are good to go!

Good luck!

Regarding eating organic, I believe that it is really worth the expense and effort. Why not try to minimize the toxic insults on your children. What's more is, organic farming has been shown to tread much more lightly on the earth. A double bonus!

healthy happy eating!

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M.A.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi K.,
First of all, Kudos!! Bravo!! You're an awesome mother and wife for taking the time to responsibly care for your family and their surroundings!! Everyone gave such awesome advice~ I only wanted to suggest 1 book, it is my 'Bible in the Kitchen' ... loaded with hundreds of health promoting recipes, from salad dressings to homemade baby formula (should someone need it), an endless wealth of knowledge concerning the health of you and your family, kitchen tools and tips for economical reality, etc. It's pretty much the only cookbook I ever need! Anywho, NOURISHING TRADITIONS by SALLY FALLON... can be found on Amazon for a deal, hope you'll give it a looksie!
All the Best, M. in Redondo Beach

PS.. When I can I take a monthly trip to 'Vitamin City' in Long Beach for grass fed, organic beef and my shampoos, soaps etc at a much better price than Whole Foods! Don't know where you are but it is not their only location...

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P.G.

answers from Los Angeles on

K.,
Your local farmer's market is a great source for organic products. I usually find that the Farmer's Market is cheaper than the grocery store and the fruit tastes better. My sister works at the Farmer's Market in Tustin and she really got me interested in shopping for my fruits and veggies there.
Hope you make it to your local f.m.
P.

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L.H.

answers from Los Angeles on

K.~

Hi, a few months ago I had the same problem. I came across a compnay called Melaleuca that sells all natural, "green" products at wholesale prices. Since using these products I have saved a lot of money, since they are less expensive than going to the store, and my home and health are much safer and better!

Melaleuca is a wholesale club that you are a member of to get the great prices and products! Please contact me if you are interested in becoming a member...###-###-#### or email me at [email protected]____.com

You can look at the products at www.melaleuca.com

I hope to hear from you soon!
L. Higgins

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