10 Ways to Improve Your Family’s Health Without Spending a Dime

by: Sara on 08/25/2016

In Today's blog post from Paige Wolf, the author of the just released book Spit that Out!: The Overly Informed Parent's Guide to Raising Healthy Kids in the Age of Environmental Guilt shows how going green doesn't have to cost you a dime!

From BPA in baby bottles and asbestos in crayons to misleading "natural" labels—making environmental decisions can cause despair for even the most steadfast parent.  That’s where Spit That Out! comes in. Bursting with valuable advice and hot-button topics ranging from food, toys, breast milk and diapers, clothing, the hidden toxins in schools, to how to spot greenwashing from a mile away. Paige help parents cut through the information overload, sort cloth from disposable, and make simple but impactful changes.

1)    Shop Secondhand. This is an eco triple threat (not to mention the cost savings!) You keep the used item out of the landfill, avoid the consumption of a new item, and many older items have off-gassed the worst of their volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Just be conscious of older product recalls and older furniture that may have been coated with lead-based paint.

2)    DIY Cleaning Products. Why buy giant plastic bins of laundry detergent when five cheap little soap nuts do a sparkling job? Why use toxic dryer sheets when wool dryer balls can literally lighten your load? Why spend money on harsh chemicals when baking soda and white vinegar will disinfect your counters for pennies?

3)  Eat Less Processed Foods. You likely don’t have the time or means to grow all your own veggies and make every meal from scratch. But as a friend of mine once said, “You don’t have to drink Mountain Dew.” Use tips and tricks to simplify meal planning, like buying seasonal items on sale and freezing them. Grow a few herbs on your windowsill, shop and cook in bulk, and learn to love the taste of water.

4)  Declutter.  I’m not saying you have to Konmari your whole life – but clutter literally begets dust. Having less can truly be the secret to not just “sparking joy” but enjoying more! And when you have less, you can actually find that USB cord or spare toothbrush, instead of being forced to buy yet another thing. Donate things you truly do not need or use to become a part of the growing sharing economy, utilizing resources like Yerdle and the Buy Nothing Project.

5)  Get rid of anything with a strong fragrance or chemical smell — a likely sign of endocrine-disrupting phthalates. Common culprits: plastic shower curtains, plug-in air fresheners, and most scented candles.

6)  Avoid anything labeled as “non-stick” or “stain repellent,” often a sign of PFCs. Learn how to season a cast iron pan with cooking oil and it will last forever.

7)  Don’t Replace – Repair. Don’t be lazy about sewing buttons, mending a broken clasp, or using a bit of glue for a broken mug handle. You can save money and waste by doing a few simple repairs. Recently I thought we’d need to pay $300 for a new dishwasher when we only needed to pay $50 for a replacement tray!

8)  Or Repurpose When something can’t be fully repaired, repurpose! Turn kids’ pants with ripped knees into shorts and cereal boxes into storage. There are zillions of ideas for upcycling -- just look at all these uses for old socks!

9)  Advocate for positive change. Be the change for you wish to see in a healthy world! Write letters, sign petitions, ask questions, and follow news from advocacy organizations like Safer Chemicals Healthy Families, Healthy Child Healthy World, Moms Clean Air Force, etc. Vote for candidates with strong environmental initiatives. Get things off your chest and use your voice to feel empowered.

10)  Lead by example. We can’t control the world around us, but we can control what we do in our own space.

 

 

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