Monday, March 1, 2010

My inspiration Mondays - Living Green

My darling husband gave me Living Green for Christmas 2008 and it couldn't have been better timing. I had just fallen pregnant (although I didn't know it yet) and I spent the holidays reading Living Green and making resolutions for detoxing my life. 

Living Green is touted as the New Zealand handbook for an eco-friendly, toxin-free, sustainable life. Written by two South Auckland mothers, Annamaree Kane and Christina Neubert, it starts with ten easy steps and then carries on with detailed explanations of why those steps are good and how to put them into practice.
  • Step one - Use toxin-free personal care products
  • Step two - Live in a toxin-free home
  • Step three - Eat super foods
  • Step four - Eat unprocessed and organic food
  • Step five - Look at what you drink
  • Step six - Cook and store food safely
  • Step seven - Understand food product labels
  • Step eight - Reuse and recycle
  • Step nine - Reduce consumerism
  • Step ten - Reduce energy use
Some of ideas suggested in the book were a bit freaky for Paul (bless his non-hippy socks) and I think there were times he regretted giving it to me. However, I like to think the changes I've made and the things I've learned have benefited baby L and the world in general.

For example, I stopped colouring my hair because I learned that synthetic hair dyes have been linked to an increased risk of immune system compromise - triggering rheumatoid arthritis, miscarriage and several forms of cancer. 

I also stopped wearing deoderant with aluminum in it because it accumulates and persists in body tissue and a mother's exposure can affect the foetus; it is also linked to breast cancer and Alzheimer's disease. An alternative roll-on deoderant I've found is Crystal Essence:

I started using natural household and personal cleaners that are free of chemicals known to be harmful to people and the environment. The sort of harm I'm talking about includes irritation to eyes and skin, eczema, allergies, weakened immune system, chronic fatigue, respiratory problems, cancer, damage to internal organs and hormone-disruption. Many products also send nitrates directly into our waterways, stimulating unwanted plant growth and endangering aquatic life. 

The New Zealand brand Ecostore (sold at supermarkets) is great for toxin-free household cleaners, and offers some personal care products like soap and body wash as well. 

I've experimented with a few natural, personal care products and found Olive to be really good for shampoo, conditioner, moisturiser, face wash and body wash. Even better, it's made just 45 minutes from where I live - in the Bombay hills.

If you're looking for ideas to improve the health of your household, Living Green will give you plenty. I think it's time I read it again too. I need a good boot up the pants, because it's just so easy to get complacent and think it's not worth the effort or cost. But it so is.


  1. Thanks Emma, I am so keen to be more green! I went to a really great seminar at the Parenting Place in Greenlane about food, chemicals and the affect on the brain particularly looking at children's behaviour. It was fascinating! The lady who did the seminar said that really good guidelines to live by would be to be wary of any ingredients in food your grandmother wouldn't recognise. It was interesting learning about the worst food additives to avoid- did you know that 450 is a neuro toxin that is completely banned in Germany but we still use it here! 102 (tartrazine) is another real baddy (it's a yellow colouring. Anyway I love your blog, thanks for inspiring and encouraging us!

  2. That seminar sounds awesome. Do they run them regularly? I'd love to go to one.

  3. Hi Emma - great blog! Hayley forwarded me your link. There's a great little book you may have already seen or got, called The Chemical Maze, which tells you all about the additives and e-numbers we eat all the time. I got my copy from Hardy's in Centreplace but I've seen it in other shops including the organic supermarket in Frankton. In the end I just stopped reading it and refused to buy anything that had things in it whose names I didn't recognise/couldn't pronounce :) Lots of things that say they're "natural" still have loads of stuff in them and they just think that saying they're made with natural oils or plant extracts means they're good for you. I read everything now! The nice thing is that the more you educate yourself the less you have to read all the labels because you get to know what's good and what's not. Recommendation - purple camel soap co, made in Te Aroha, she used to work for one of the big companies like Palmolive or someone, and was appalled at what they put in their soap, so started making her own. She does lovely cremes as well, and my cousin said her honey healer was the only thing that had helped her baby's nappy rash.
    Anyway, I could go on and on! Keep up the good work and the blog and I'm going to try out some of your recipes!
    love Viv xx


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