I knew you when you were an Arkansan. But I don't remember you being super into recycling and eating organic when you lived here. Has that been a change for your family since you moved? Or were you into that here and I just didn't know?
Okay, first a little background. Some of you might know Amber from her blog, Raising Rascals, but we're actually real life friends and went to church together when we lived in Arkansas.
When I was pregnant with Abbey, Amber was pregnant with her second son. She was due a week or two after me and had the nerve to have that baby BEFORE me. I haven't seen Amber since she was in Denver a couple of summers ago, but she returned to Arkansas after that trip and started a blog so now I feel like I get to keep up with her all the time. She's a great blogger and makes me laugh out loud quite often!
The reason she doesn't remember me being green when I lived there is because I wasn't. It's really only been in the last three or four years that I've moved from awareness to action.
[And can I just interrupt myself here and tell you that I believe there is a big difference between awareness and action. That whole Facebook/bra color "game" last week created awareness (more of breasts than breast cancer in my opinion) but I'd have loved to have seen it generate some action. If everyone who posted their bra color had donated $5 to breast cancer research THEN the game might have served a purpose. Same with the devastation in Haiti. We're all aware of the need, but why not let that awareness move us to action to do something about it. There is a HELP HAITI button over on my sidebar ----------------------------------> or you can click here.]
Okay, sorry, moving on.
I feel pretty strongly about being a good steward of our planet's resources. Being green for me means that we recycle everything we possibly can and I look for ways to reduce waste and re-use things before they get tossed in the trash or we buy something we don't necessarily need. I carry my own reusable grocery bags when I shop (keep them in your car so you always have them with you and write "Get Bags Out of Trunk" on your shopping list so you don't forget!) Before you toss the used spaghetti sauce jar, ask yourself if there is something you could store in it (I use lots those for craft supplies--beads, popsicle sticks, etc).
Recycling doesn't have to be hard. I have two or three cardboard boxes in my garage that I toss my recyclables in. I go out and sort everything once every couple of weeks (plastic, glass, aluminum, paper/cardboard/magazines) and load it up to drop at the recycling drop-off. I choose not to pay for curbside recycling but some companies that offer that service will give you the bins to sort it and others require no sorting at all which is super nice. You can check your yellow pages for a recycling center close to you.
Another part of being green involves using natural substances instead of harsh chemicals to clean things. This is an area I'm really trying to improve. I came across a blog several months ago that had some great green cleaning recipes. I tried the laundry detergent and didn't love it, but I absolutely LOVE the basic soft scrubber and the general all-purpose cleaner. You'll have to check out that recipe link, but if you use this almond flavored soap to make these cleaners then it will smell like you're baking cookies when you're really cleaning the bathroom.
As for eating healthy and organic. No, I haven't always been this way either.
About 25 minutes into our moving day trek from Arkansas to Colorado, our youngest child started throwing up. She continued for the two days it took us to drive here and she continued for half of the next day. It was awful.
She continued to have episodes like that when she'd get some sort of stomach virus which she seemed more prone to than my other two kiddos. After numerous trips to the ER and being hospitalized twice for dehydration when she was three and four years old, no doctor could tell me why she was getting so sick (vomiting every 15 minutes for 48 hours straight) and was unable to stop without the help of IV fluids. I took matters into my own hands and began to take a hard look at what she was eating. I couldn't figure out why it was happening, but I decided that nutrition was going to be my first line of defense.
Abbey had tubes put in her ears when she was 14 months old and until that point had numerous ear infections (like one every month) which our pediatrician treated with antibiotics. I speculated that her gut had been depleted of every ounce of healthy bacteria from antibiotic overload. I changed doctors at one point because I disagreed with the constant antibiotic treatment but I think the damage had already been done.
I got her on a good probiotic, a good multivitamin and supplements, and cut out all high fructose corn syrup and lots of other junk from her diet. That's probably when we started eating more and more organic foods because those seemed to be the ones that don't add the junk and fillers.
And you know what? It worked!!! She hasn't been super sick like that since we started all this. Hallelujah!
I started a new way of eating/living for Abbey but it spilled over into what the rest of us ate too. I really believe that nutrition and illness are related. I've told you before that sugar greatly compromises your immune system. Next time you get a cold or virus, think back over your diet the past few weeks and see if you can find a connection. With my own family, it's usually very evident.
But please don't think we're totally healthy all the time. We're not. I try very hard, but I get lazy sometimes and other times I just don't care. I know the right way to eat, but it's not always easy to get your kids to cooperate. I'm having a terrible time right now getting Abbey to eat good things. She loves junk. Craves junk. Wants junk. And throws a holy fit when I tell her no. It's been very hard getting back on track since Christmas with that kid. She's tough, but I can be tougher and she's finding that out the hard way these days.
So the very long answer to Amber's question is no, I haven't always been this way. And I've never been one for brevity either.