I’m a green Mommy, but my family doesn’t live off the grid, and my kids still beg for fries and ice pops like everyone else’s! Still, I’ve worked hard to put together my most important tips to turn your household more sustainable, for everyone from newbies to pros!
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So you’d like your family to go green. I meet way too many people who say, “I’m interested in going green but the kids aren’t”, or “I’ve just started eating an organic vegan diet, but my kids are never going to dump their chicken nuggets”. So here’s my favorite tips for that; I was raised in an Orthodox Jewish Home. I was raised Kosher and I didn’t know anything else because that is what my family taught me, and those were the doctrines and the ethics that I was raised with.
Well, my children were raised with my doctrine and my green ethics, and it’s totally natural and safe for you to have opinions or have a religion that you subscribe to or have something that you care about, that’s how you raise your children because that’s how you were raised. When you bring on something into the household like green living, or vegan eating, or sustainable practices, it’s completely normal to involve your children and make it a challenge, make it something fun. I want you to raise solutionary minded children, children who see the big picture, children who know about hunger, homelessness, global warming. It’s beautiful to bring your children into those experiences and to let them in on your journey, on your green journey.
There are some basic ways to start getting your family to go green. The first one is diet. I know it’s hard to handle to make big changes, but I promise, I have a vegan family of four. We choose no GMO, we choose local and available, we choose sustainable foods, CSA shares, choosing plant-based. These are simple things that can make massive differences.
In this day and age, everyone has a natural food store within, I’d say, 50 miles of their home. It’s so simple to choose to shop there instead of shopping at a traditional supermarket. But let’s just say hypothetically, you don’t have anything near you that resembles a natural foods markets. I know what you do have: you have farmers, you have a CSA, you have healthy plant-based foods just based on greens, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and buying in bulk it saves the family fortunes of money. it’s healthier, it’s better for everybody, the animals, the earth, your body, even the Grand Prix of Epidemiology, The China Study; which is a book by these unbelievable doctors that prove that plant-based eating is optable.
Even the American Academy of Pediatrics has deemed vegan diets, plant-based diets for children and pregnant women highly, highly acceptable if not optimal ways of eating. I have two vegan little boys, my husband’s vegan, I’m vegan, it’s totally do-able. It’s just about a mindset. It’s just about saying, “I can still eat meat, I just have to choose vegan meat”. There’s unreal delicious vegan meats on the market, it’s just about knowing which ones to choose.
There’s vegan cheeses made from unbelievable things like cashews that are cleaner and better for your body that won’t clog you up like dairy does or give you bad skin or give you the host of other serious issues that are attached to dairy like breast cancer. So going plant-based is my favorite tip for the family to go green, and there’s beautiful, fun ways to go even further with it, like planting a garden with your family, how awesome!
I have little windowsill planters in my apartment and my son loves to pick off little pieces of greens that I grow on my windowsill and say, “Mommy we made this!” because we’re so detached from our food right now as people, especially us living in urban environments, that it really can be disconnecting. If you don’t know what’s on the box, and you don’t understand the ingredients, I don’t want you to buy it, and if you haven’t been to the farm yourself and seen exactly what things go down and how they go down and what antibiotics the animals are eating, I don’t want you to touch it.
I think that this is really absolutely crucial, and even leading scientists agree, we cannot keep up with our demand for meat. Really, the most frightening bit is that a vegan in a hummer has less of a footprint than a meat eater on a bicycle. These are really eye-opening statistics that make anybody go, “Okay, maybe it’s time to make a change.” Also, I want you to always consider something big, lentils are cheaper than beef, so you’re really saving money for your family too.
Now, let’s get into recycling. At first, you might find a little bit of resistance from your kids about putting the right things in the right bins. Let’s make it fun, make it a challenge. Let’s say, “Let’s learn our numbers, one goes in this bin and, uh-oh, why is [inaudible 00:04:19] plastic in this bin? What a silly billy. This is the paper bin. Let’s get this out, because this is not recyclable, but this is, and wait a second, this is packing, we could re-use this for something, what could we re-use it for? Who has a great idea?”
And my son might say something like, “Well, mommy, we can put my Lego in this,” and then mommy might say, “Well, Lego might slip through this, but we can re-use it for packaging. So it’s really about getting the kids involved and making cleaner choices. Also, when you’re buying, use your buying power. Say, “Okay, here’s the deal. I’m buying my kid a new toy. Let’s choose wooden toys. Let’s choose clothes made from organic microbial bamboo”. If we’re buying things for a party, let’s choose sustainable plates that can bio-degrade, that are compostable. If we’re buying candy for our kids, let’s choose candy that’s organic. Let’s choose candy where we know what’s in it and we now it’s not going to make our kid go bonkers.
Also, another tip I love, if you’re packing lunches is to choose things like squeezy bottles that are re-usable, that are BPA-free rather than just tossing, although many of them are recyclable from the organic brands, it doesn’t matter, this is the greenest way to be. It’s optimal to just keep re-using.
I also happen to adore these zip-locks, fabric zip-locks, which have a water-proof lining. You save so much money in the long run. I use these, we have them in every size. I also use some of the traditional Tupperware that your mom used to use, but I use the glass version, so those are really great in the house and a great way to avoid plastic usage, and if you are going to choose plastic toys, please make sure they’re safe plastics, there’s some great plastic toy companies now that are only using bio-plastics, which are corn-based or plant-based plastics which are much safer for your family.
Or even things like silicon which these great teething necklaces are made out of. These are super-safe for your baby and they’re made with silicon rather than any BPA-laden plastics which are a complete ecological nightmare plus a health disaster for your children. Also, when considering your child’s bedding, resist the urge to buy the super hero character sheets that they really want and instead look on places maybe like Etsy where you can get the same superhero print but on organic sheet.
Just because our kids spend so much time on bed, we want what’s next to their skin to be as soft, healthy, and chemical-free as possible.
HOST: Chloé Jo Davis
Jewelry by Adina Mills
Dress by Claire Farwell London
Hair/ Make up GlamSquad NYC
- Kicky Pants (my favorite bamboo baby pjs & clothes)
- Roux Roo (wonderful organic bibs and burpees with an educational message)
- Yummy Earth (yummy organic candy)
- Squeez’Ems (reusable food pouches for any pureed food that are easy to fill, clean and store)
- Tiny and I (soft, non-toxic, baby-friendly teething necklaces for Mama)
- Dwell Studio (gorgeous and chic wooden toys and much more)
- Bumkins Nixi Bags (reusable ziplocks made from waterpoof fabric)
- Verterra (simple and elegant biodegradable dinnerware made from fallen leaves)