Part 5 - Buy Organic, Healthier Food Options

Many people have the misconception that being eco-friendly is super expensive and difficult.  I really hope I've proven you wrong with Parts 12, 3 and 4, as those are all very cheap ways to help the environment and yourself on a budget.

With trying to switch to organic foods, you will definitely notice a price difference.  However, once you get into buying organic food and making a lot of things from scratch, it seems to really balance out.  My husband and I have gone though various trials of making things from scratch.  We've made bread, granola, pizza, cheesesticks, and corndogs (if you want that recipe let me know, it's delish!!) -just to name a fewAnd yes, some of these things may not be the healthiest options, but by making them from scratch not only are we saving money, but also not eating all the preservatives from frozen goods.

As for organic/non-preservative options...  We try to buy organic meats and veggies when we can, though I will admit, we don't do it all the time due to the cost, since we live in such a small town.  One thing we do try to do is buy fresh fruits and veggies, vs the canned or frozen kind.  Not only are we getting more nutrients with the fresh foods, they taste soooo much better!!  I absolutely **LOVE** when the farmer's market opens because there is so many more tasty, cheap, healthy options to eat!

Overall, our goal is to just eat less of the boxed, canned and frozen foods and eat as healthy as possible, and of course eat organic when possible, especially from our local Farmer's Market


Parts 3 and 4 - Using Secondhand and Reusable Products

So as part of this mini-series, A Simple Start to Going Green, I mentioned how using secondhand and reusable products will help to cut down on waste in landfills.  By also using secondhand and reusable products, it also helps to cut down on energy used to make additional products.

Secondhand Products

There are so many ways to buy secondhand, whether it be from Craigslist, the newspaper, hand-me-down from family, or via garage sales.  The idea is that you can buy clothes or household items and not only save money from having to buy new and full price, but again, it saves on energy from not having to make new products.  It also helps reduce waste in landfills because the other person's "waste" isn't going to trash, but instead is becoming your "treasure."  I love the idea of buying a used dresser, then refinishing or painting it to taste.  I have a project coming up with a dresser.... soon!!  I know you guys are all so excited!!! :)

Another really neat project I duplicated recently was sweater pillows, which is a great way to re-use old sweaters for a fun Wintery Project.  Unfortunately, I didn't take any pictures of my pillows, so here is a picture of the one designed at Brassy Apple.  Also, if you are interested in the DIY Tutorial, click here

Reusable Products

I know there are so many new products out there that are not very good for the environment, such as the Kleenex Hand Towels.  Are those really necessary?  To me, they seem like such a waste of money.  Using a hand towel for a few days and washing it much cheaper and more eco-friendly. 

The idea of reusable products applied to many other goods in your house, therefore I have come up with my top re-usable products at home:
-Wash rags in the kitchen VS disposable sponges and paper towels
-Washable containers VS plastic bags for lunches
-Dryer balls for static cling in clothes VS  bounce sheets
-Reusing plastic grocery bags for trash can liners VS buying trash can liners
-Microfiber cloth or socks to dust all furniture VS Pledge wipes
-Reusing old soap dispensers each and refilling VS buying new soaps for each time they run out
-The biggest impact to me: Using a water purifier or carbon filtration system at home (i.e. Brita) and refilling travel water bottles VS buying plastic water bottles

What are other products that you reuse or have obtained secondhand and made your own?


Part 2 - Homemade Cleaning Products: Better For Us And Environment

So as I mentioned in the original post, homemade cleaning products are much better for those in a household, but also much, much better for the environment than the typical store bought cleaners.

The ingredients in many cleaning products have been linked to different cancers.  Also children who are exposed to harsh cleaners are also 400% more likely to get asthma! (Is that why I have asthma?  Thanks mom!  jk!!)  So of course these are serious health concerns linked with using such harsh products in your home.  PLUS, think of the high cost of using them as well!  Not only are you taking up a top of space in your cabinet because you had to purchase 20 different products to do 20 different things, you are spending approximately $3 on each bottle!  That is $60 just for cleaning supplies in your cabinet.

Also, I mentioned that using store bought cleaners are bad for the environment because when they are washed down the drain, or put into the air, you are putting these chemicals right back into our water and dirt.  Plus, there is a ton of plastic garbage that comes along with those 20 different bottles of cleaner, and we all know how long that is going to stay in the landfill!!

When all is said and done.  A little bit of baking soda and vinegar can go a long way.  It's cheap and environmentally friendly, and of course it takes up much less space - in your cabinet and your wallet.  BUT if you are someone who is bothered by the smell of vinegar, even with essential oil, Mrs. Meyers has some fabulous cleaning products to try out.  They are great for the environment!  The only downside is that some of them can be a bit pricey.   To read more about Mrs. Meyers, click here, or check them out at your local Wal-Mart.


Toxins in Everyday Products

I've known for quite awhile that plastics are bad because of the BPA, which essentially causes you to ingest the plastic.  And of course I realized that by using re-usable dishes and cloths, it is much better on the environment.  However, Jillian gives some really good informatio in her post aobut Toxins in our everyday products.  There is BPA in canned goods!!  I didnt realize that!  Just another thing to stay away from! 

I'm realizing more and more each day why my grandfather who just turned 97 (HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Grandpa!!)  is in better health than a lot of people in their 60s.  It's all about his generation.  They made everything healthy and from scratch, rather than eating out, or buying food with a lot of preservatives and hormones in it.  He and my grandmother made homemade clothes, food, canned their own goods.  Really, I'm not sure if they bought anything from the store.  Then again, with 8 kids it was definitely cheaper to do it all on their own.  Plus, as a farmer, he and my grandma had nearly everything readily available to them, as long as they were willing to put some time into it.

Anyways, read below about the toxins BPA, PCB, VOC and Chlorinated goods.  You may be suprised what you find out!

From LOSING IT! With Jillian MichaelsTuesday, March 22, 2011

Banish The Toxins

In an effort to minimize our consumption of pesticides and other chemicals, we make a point of buying organic food when we can. But foods aren't the only things in your kitchen that can harbor harmful ingredients. By now, I'm sure you all know that you should steer clear of certain plastics and not use disinfectants and cleaners that contain poisonous chemicals — but do you know why these things are harmful? I know some of you may say, "We grew up with lead paint and other chemicals and we're fine." It's true that we didn't know how harmful some products were years ago, but because we didn't know, does that really mean you're fine? Do you know exactly what's going into your body these days? Here's a little list to help — these are some of the biggest hormone offenders that could be in your kitchen:
  • Bisphenol A (BPA): BPAs are chemical compounds that are added to plastics to make them more durable; they're most commonly found in the linings of food containers, beverage cans, some baby bottles, and drinking bottles, and they can leach out into foods and liquids. Harmful side effects from consuming them can include increased risk of breast and prostate cancers, infertility, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), and insulin resistance (which, in turn, can lead to type 2 diabetes). To be safe, store foods in glass containers, drink from stainless steel water bottles, and do your best to avoid canned foods.
  • Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs): These major endocrine disruptors are chlorinated chemicals that were used as coolants and lubricants in electrical equipment; they may still be found in old fluorescent light fixtures and some electrical appliances. Because of evidence that they built up in the environment and caused harmful health effects, their manufacture was banned in the United States in 1977. Because of their persistence in the environment, however, farmed salmon and certain freshwater fish have PCBs circulating in their systems. Don't take chances when you eat fish — check the Monterey Bay Aquarium's list of safe fish.
  • Volatile oranic compounds (VOCs): These are chemical compounds emitted as gases by such seemingly innocent everyday products as paints, plastics, cleansers, solvents, air fresheners, dryer sheets, dry-cleaned clothing, and cosmetics, and they can cause your endocrine system a whole mess of problems. I'm talking nausea, headaches, drowsiness, sore throat, dizziness, memory impairment, and — in the long run — possibly cancer. For kitchen-cleaning projects, switch to all-natural products, such as baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, white vinegar, and lemon juice.
  • Chlorinated products: We all grew up with them — white paper towels, white paper napkins, and white coffee filters. And most of us don't think twice about what these products mean for our endocrine systems. But it's not good: The Environmental Protection Agency found that dioxins, the by-products of many industrial processes involving chlorine, including pulp and paper bleaching, are 300,000 times more carcinogenic than DDT (a synthetic pesticide now banned in the United States). How's that for a wake-up call? Keep yourself and your family safe and stick to products labeled chlorine-free, or PCF. Your hormones will thank you.


Part 1 - Homemade Cleaning Products

As I mentioned in my last post, Simple Start to Going Green, we started using homemade cleaning products.

The biggest change we made was by simply using a mixture of baking soda and vinegar for cleaning.  Baking soda and vinegar are both very gentle cleaners that do not harm most surfaces (I believe granite is the exception).  The one really great thing about baking soda and vinegar is that both are super cheap, especially compared to standard cleaning products!  We buy a 13.5 lb bag of baking soda at our local wholesale store, for around $5 and it lasts forever.  We buy whatever off-brand of vinegar is at the store we're shopping at.  It's all the same, and if it's just being used for cleaning, who cares what brand it is.  I know the kitchen sink doesn't care! 

There are many areas of your home that this combination can be used.  Just to name a few that we use:
  • Sprinkle baking soda in sink and spray with vinegar to react, then scrub sink
  • This can also be used for the shower as well, or a higher concentration of baking soda to make it more like a Soft Scrub
  • Baking soda can be sprinkled in toilet and then sprayed with vinegar to react/fizz then clean 
  • A tablespoon or two of vinegar added to a spray bottle of water is a great floor cleaner.
  • A cup of baking soda added to laundry will help get clothes cleaner, get smells and stains out, as well as fight static -- don't get me started on how bad dryer sheets are!!
  • Baking soda is also really good for deodorizing in general.  You can sprinkle your carpet and vaccuum it up.  Much safer than those fancy smelly ones that they sell these days.  
  • One of my other favs is using baking soda for cleaning my teeth.   I keep a small container in the bathroom from time to time and use it as a natural, gentle whitening for my teeth.  And I *hope* it is also a breath freshener, since it's a deodorizer! ha!

Also, any of these homemade cleaning combinations can have essential oils added to them for a better smell, if the vinegar smell bothers you.

There are many other types of household items that can be made, such as homemade hand soaps and laundry soaps, but I haven't ventured that direction yet.  When I do... you guys will be the first to know.

So have any of you tried using homemade cleaning products? 


Simple Start to Going Green

Many people think that "going green" is such a hard lifestyle to adapt to, because they think it is going to be so much more work to find green products and food, however it's quite the opposite.  My husband and I have recently began the process of switching many of our products over to more greener options.  We are slowly fading out the bad chemicals for homemade cleaning supplies, and trying to make better choices when buying new goods for our home and ourselves.

My Personal Reasons for Going Green:
1 - By using homemade cleaning products, we no longer have hazardous chemical smells in our house, which are high-risk to our health, as well as our dog (and children, if we had them).
2 - Homemade cleaning products are not only easier on the wallet, but also more environmentally friendly, as they don't contaminate our water.
3 - By purchasing goods secondhand, I am not only saving money by purchasing something old, but I am also saving landfills from even more waste.  This also saves energy, since additional products are not being made.
4 - Speaking of waste, we have also switched over to using as many re-usable products.  For example, instead of using sponges for cleaning and dishes, we now use rags which can be thrown in the washing machine.  This again, helps control our waste output.
5 - Buy foods that are organic, or at least have fewer preservatives in them.  I also try to buy fresh goods as often as possible, rather than frozen, boxed or canned;  Also make as many homemade goods as possible, as it is also much cheaper and healthier.

Overall, my goal is to contribute less to landfills, reduce materials, and reuse when possible.

Be sure to read the upcoming blog posts, as I will go more in depth as to why I have these reasons, and provide with numerous reasons why you too should also make the transition... and not just because I told you so :)


Finally Part of the Blog World

Here I am Blog World!!  I have finally made my transition into blogging after reading other blogs and having a strong desire to blog myself.

Let's get to know each other.  I'm a mid-20s, newly married, city girl that's currently stuck in the midwest.  I have a huge passion for photography, fashion, and home decor, as you will see throughout these posts.  I am also in the process of turning our household into a more green and frugal way of life.  C'mon everyone should try and save the planet, and if we can save some money in the process, fabulous!!!

As I said before, I have a huge passion for photography.  I recently purchased a "new" (to me) DSLR camera.  I'm still in the learning stages so far, but you guys will still be able to see pictures periodically - or possibly quite often.

I also am big into organizing and finance.  How do the two go hand in hand, you ask?  Excel!!  Oh, how I love excel!!  Ask anyone that knows me, and they will tell you how much I truly love Excel!  You can do absolutely anything with it!  As far as my finance background, I worked as a Credit Manager as well as in the Mortgage dept.  I love to get my hands dirty with some number crunching!  And as for organizing... if you ask me, everything is much easier when it's organized.  And there is always plenty of organizing to be done, too.

Did I mention I also love to travel?  This picture is of the hubbs and I on our Jamaican Honeymoon.  *love it*

Well thanks again for stopping by!!  Why don't you tell me a little bit about yourself?