Saturday, February 21, 2009

Secretly Going Green

Since Patrick is not really into the blogging like me and rarely even reads OUR blog, I feel that it's probably ok to reveal my secret on here. I've been gradually going green in many different around here and my husband is yet to really notice or protest. Not that going green is a Bad Thing, the only reason Patrick would protest is because we don't believe in Global Warming (we believe in God's provision and that He knows what he's doing with our earth) and that when Patrick thinks of the word "organic" all that flashes in front of his eyes are dollar signs and the word "expensive." But we do believe that God gave over much of the care of earth into the hands of man and gave us the responsibility to take care of it and the people in our lives that He put in our care. So, one of the ways that I'm trying to do these things is to be more careful of what we put in our bodies and how we take care of ourselves. And, what I've found is, that actually going green can be CHEAPER if you do it the right way and in the right areas (like cleaning products, etc.) which leaves more money available to shop at places like the co-op. Here are some of the ways we've gone green and my plans to keep going in this direction:

1. Go Energy Effecient.
This is something that was actually my husband's idea! When we moved into our house 2 years ago, we changed out all the light bulbs with energy effecient bulbs. We have an in-ground pool which costs A LOT to run in the summertime, so our hope was to save in other ways, and this is one of them. I'm happy to report that we have not yet changed a bulb AND our electricity bill is always really low.

2. Thermostat.
Our house has an energy effecient thermostat that was already here when we moved in. We love it. We tend to keep it pretty low and open windows whenever we can. LOVE FRESH AIR.

3. Cleaning Products.
As we ran out of the regular cleaning products that we were using, I've gradually switched over to green products. GreenWorks Surface Cleaner and Glass Cleaner. The next step when these run out is to experiment making my own household cleaners. Vinegar+Water as a surface and counter cleaner, etc. Also, I've come to love Seventh Generation Dish Cleaning Products (automatic dishwasher detergent and dish soap).

4. Beauty Products.
I've started using natural shampoo and conditioner (Kiss My Face) and face wash (Burt's Bees Orange Essence) instead of the ones with all the chemicals that I can't pronounce. I was very skeptical of this, as I am very serious about my beauty routine, but so far these things have been great. My skin looks better than it has in a while! I do put my foot down at organic deordorant. I'm just not ready yet to make that leap...

5. Local Products.
We get our milk and dairy products delivered from Homestead Creamery. WE. LOVE. THEIR. FOOD. It's so fresh and great. Patrick had no problem making this switch, since he's a bonefied milk lover (no pun intended). It's a little pricey, but so worth it. The milk is so good, that we've gone to not having anything else to drink in our house except milk and water. (Soft Drinks be gone!....except for the occasional luxury of course). Plus, it's like Christmas every Thursday morning when you wake up to find a delivery on your doorstep.

I've also started shopping more at the farmer's market for veggies and fruit. This year, our farmer's market is open all-year-round for the first time! Yay!

6. Bottle-Free.
We've never been people that splurge on bottled beverages. But we did get a Brita Water Filter for our wedding and it has become a staple in our house. In fact, my chore list actually reads: 1. Dishes 2. Put laundry away 3. Clean house 4. Keep Brita full. I learned that this is so much better for the environment than all those plastic bottles to throw away. We were being green and didn't even know it!

7. Grown your own food.
Though my garden was not so hot last summer (it was my first try), it is my main project this summer. My goal is to start planting in March and keep it going all year long. Produce is expensive!! Plus, I'll be more willing to eat a variety of veggies if I'm growing them (in celebration of the fruits of my labor). I am blessed to have an expert gardner for an uncle to coach me and help me with this project. I'll keep you updated on this as it gets going...

8. Toss the processed food.
This has been my latest endeavor. I've really tried to be better at using as natural products as possible to avoid things like weird chemicals, high-fructose corn syrup, artificial dyes and the like. I've just become skeptical of what these things are doing to your body. Because of this, I've been cooking more at home (I can control the ingredients), and I've stopped eating those processed frozen meals for lunch everyday. In fact, I've stopped buying them completely (didn't I say I was trying to save money!) and taking more home-cooked food for lunch at school. I don't miss the Lean Cusines at all, trust me.

9. Stop the waste.
I've really tried to be more conscious of using up things and not throwning out food. I've tried to be more aware of how much food a recipe makes and cut it in half if I know we're not going to be able to eat it all before it goes bad. And taking leftovers for lunch (see #7) has helped with this process.

10. Home remedies.
We've going to the chiropractor (Patrick is also really sold on this, since the chiropractor has relieved the pain that used to flare up from an old knee injury) and he has given us some ideas for home remedies instead of always taking cold medicine and running to the dr. for an antibiotic.
Sore Throat- Gargle with Cider Vinegar and Warm Water
Cough - Honey, Lemon, Ginger and Hot Water
Flax Seed Oil - natural anti-inflamatory

This has been working for us.

This sounds like a lot, but since I've been doing things just quietly and gradually AND it seems to be saving us money in the long-run (less groceries so no waste, not buying cleaning products, etc.) Patrick is all for it. He probably thinks his wife is turning into a hippy, but I think that's ok with me. I do feel like I'm living much more healthy than I was. It could just be the placebo effect, but if it's working and we feel better, does that really matter?


Hokie Girl said...

I LOVE this list!!! I cook every night, and since Travis works the midnight shift, I make enough for him to take for his meal as well as me to take for lunch. So, I can still use my old standby recipes (from mom) to feed 4 and we use it all up in about 2 days! I want a garden as well, but I have a very brown thumb. =( So, I think I might start with some tomatoes and a few other small plants!!! See how that goes and then hopefully expand!
I might have to try the homemade cleaning supplies...I hate spending money on those!
Keep up the good work....=)

Lizbeth said...

I love this post, Em. Greening my everyday lifestyle is something that I've been trying to do over the last year or two...sometimes successfully, sometimes not so much (I tend to go in phases w/ these things depending in various factors).

Anyhow, there is a show on TV that I love called Get Fresh with Sara Snow (comes on some specialty channels on digital and satelite TV, so I don't know what your cable set up is, but if you get channels like Fit TV or Discovery Health then you should watch it sometime...after Lent, that is!). She also has a website ( w/ recipes, tips, etc.

AND, b/c I'm a big nerd and like to do my research on these things (which you already know, being a kindred nerd spirit), I found another blog written by a TRUE hippy mom, YET she is also a Christian, so she knows what's up w/ being a good steward of the earth and not necessarily being all mother-nature-inner-light-global warming-anti traditional values-etc. Her blog is (check out her link on the sidebar about her "James Project"...I think I may try it once graduation comes and goes!).

I'm in town in a couple of weeks for spring break--we must get together! Okay, this is long enough...I'm going to stop typing now...

Emily said...

Thanks Beth! I checked out the "Speak Softly Live Wildly" site and really enjoyed reading through some of her posts! Also, I loved the James Project idea. I think I'll look into it (I'm with you though...after my thesis is done.)