It's not about perfection, it's about clearing up your house and diet as best as you can, developing healthy habits, and being Green Enough.
Just a little over a week ago, I received a review copy of a really great book that I was excited to read and share with all of you. I was especially looking forward to reading this book because it was written by another blogger who I quite like and respect, and who spends a lot of time investigating how we can lead happy, healthy lives. Pushed by the loss of her father to mesothelioma and other family members to cancer, Leah was motivated to try to prevent misfortune from happening again. It became her mission to figure out what's making us sick and to disperse the knowledge that can help keep us healthy.
The book is called Green Enough, and it's a book written by Leah Segedie of Mamavation, a healthy living blog about how to prevent disease in your home. She's also the founder of the ShiftCon social media conference that brings green and green-ish bloggers and social influencers together with companies that are fighting to make a difference in making it easier for us to live healthier, more sustainable lifestyles. What I love about Leah is that she isn't afraid to stand up for what she believes in, and she works hard to uncover the various barriers in our way to achieving those healthier lifestyles.
Are you Green Enough?
As Leah explains in the book, it's not about being perfect, as that would be impossible anyway in this day and age. It's about making little changes that will add up to big benefits for your health and that of your family. It's about realizing that there are many not-so-obvious barriers to living that healthier, more sustainable lifestyle. She points out some of those barriers and shows us how to slowly-but-surely make changes that will help keep us safer and healthier without driving our families crazy. It's all about being green enough, which will, of course, mean different things to different people.
It doesn't matter what shade of green that you're starting at. The book is detailed enough that most people are going to find new information, whether it be how to avoid overdosing on sugar or how to minimize your exposure to endocrine disruptors and other toxic chemicals (amongst other things). Some of her tips may be more obvious to those of us who've been trying to develop healthy habits for a while now, like avoiding canned goods (to avoid the BPA lining), GMO's, and artificial colorings and flavorings. The book is very thorough, though, and covers much more than that.
As you can guess, I already spend a lot of time reading about living a more toxin-free lifestyle, but even I had no idea that thermal receipt paper could be the number one source for getting BPA's in your body! (Yes, seriously!) I now know to be very careful about handling shiny paper receipts, and wash my hands immediately after touching them, when possible. I also keep a plastic baggie for storing any receipts that I need to keep within my purse, rather than have them rubbing all over the inside of my purse or pockets.
Research Based Information
I think it's also important to note that the book isn't just filled with Leah's opinions and thoughts. She links to pages of studies and other resources to back up her information. Also quite useful and interesting are the opinions of John Peterson Myers, chief scientist of Environmental Health Sciences, and Dr. Tanya Altmann, Assistant Clinical Professor at UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital. Their opinions on the many topics are interspersed in the appropriately green colored boxes throughout the book. I loved seeing the different perspectives when discussing everything from the problems of arsenic in rice to whether or not petroleum-based products are safe.
Steps to developing healthy habits
In her book, Leah has detailed actionable steps that you can take to clean up your food supply, your household items and cleaning supplies, and your personal care items.
For each area of our lives, she first points out what needs to go.
I mean, do you really need rainbow colored, artificially flavored cereal with 2,000 grams of sugar per tablespoon? (Yes, that's an exaggeration, but you know what I mean.)
So, in this first step, Leah tells us the types of ingredients, foods, and other items around our house that we should avoid. She tells us why each of these items is problematic, and how it can affect our health. She also includes lists of popular items within the book that categorize them to show us which ones are more problematic than others. (Healthy habit number one: Stop buying foods and products that can hurt you!)
Don't worry, though; she doesn't just tell you to toss half of everything in your pantry. Instead, she wants to alert you to which items are the worst, and which are the ones that you should start looking to replace as soon as you can. (No, she doesn't have you go crazy and throw everything out! She just wants you to work towards slowly phasing the most problematic items out!)
Finding healthier replacement items
Leah doesn't tell you to get rid of stuff and then leave you hanging. Instead, she helps you find something you can use in its place. She investigated numerous brands of foods and personal care items, rating them as either bad, better or best. You can choose to use one of those better options, or choose to use one of her recipes for making some of those items yourself.
If you live in the US, and perhaps Canada, her classification of products alone is enough to want the book! With me living in Spain, I can't find a lot of the named brands but was still able to consult some of the more international type foods like Heinz Organic ketchup. (Yes, I like to make my own ketchup, but my son is a fan of the store-bought stuff, so I also end up buying one. Sigh.)
Want to make it yourself?
The book doesn't stop there, though. If you'd prefer to DIY (and if you're reading my blog, I'm guessing that's you!), the book also shares a ton of recipes for everything from homemade sauces and meal plan ideas to cleaning and personal items. (Healthy habit number 2: Start using better alternatives)
Other Healthy Habits Covered
It may sound silly, but getting in the habit of dusting, airing out your house when convenient, or even leaving your shoes at your doorway upon entering can also help you live a healthier lifestyle. Even the dust in our homes and the air inside them can become toxic, so there is a helpful guide and recommended schedule with how and when to clean the various rooms of our houses.
Should you buy the book Green Enough?
Personally, I think it's a great book. It doesn't make you feel guilty nor does it push you to make radical changes overnight. It's thorough enough to cover just about anything you can think of without being too overwhelming. It guides you with the knowledge of how to do better for yourself and your family, yet allows you the time to ease your way into healthier habits and living a greener, healthier, happier life.
What could be better than that?
Note: If you are easily offended by “colorful” language, this may not be the best fit for you.
Where can you buy Green Enough?
You can find the book Green Enough on Amazon, Barnes & Noble or at other bookstores.
Loved the book, but want even more ideas?
If you've read the book, and Leah has inspired you to stop using some of the foods and products you're using now, you've come to the right place. The book gives a lot of solutions, but I'm also on a mission to give you more of them. Like Leah, I'm constantly looking for ways to help you make safer, healthier products and foods. Check out my blog for more recipes for…