It’s Not Easy Being Green…Or Is It?

I’ve hesitated to write much about my journey to living a greener, healthier lifestyle, in mostly because I didn’t have it all figured out.  I then realized that this green road that I’m on is a journey, not a destination.  And that my little, everyday steps do count and make a difference.

I became obsessed interested in living an eco-friendly & natural lifestyle when I became pregnant.  I was worried about how my choices would affect the baby.  So in my research I realized that a lot of what I was eating, slathering on my skin or tossing out wasn’t great for my baby or for the earth.  I want to leave the earth a better place for my kid(s) and grandchildren.  So here are a few of the changes I’ve made in our lifestyle.

These are small steps and I have a long ways to go, but hopefully I’m on the right road.

1.  Cloth diapers.  I only do this part-time as I’m still building up my stash.  I never thought I’d cloth diaper–too complicated, too expensive, too much laundry.   But really, it’s actually very simple and I much prefer cloth.

2.  Meal Planning.  What does this have to do with going green?  Well, meal planning means less waste for us.  I buy what I need for the week and I use it.

3.  Eating whole foods.  We’ve cut down on the amount of processed foods we buy and look for fruits & veggies grown without pesticides.

4.  Making my own household cleaners with people safe ingredients such as vinegar, castile soap, hydrogen peroxide and baking soda.

5.  Using cloth rags to clean instead of paper towels.  Although I still use paper towels when cleaning the bathroom.  Can’t get past using cloth with toilets–too much oogey for me there.

6.  Using cloth bags at the grocery store.

7.  Repurposing items at home.  For example, I turned old formula cans into pencil holders.

8.  Using the Oil Cleansing Method on my face.  Not familiar with it?  Check out these posts:

Nitty Gritty on the Oil Cleansing Method

The Oil Cleansing Method

It sounds weird to clean your face with oil, but oh my my, does my skin feel sooooo soft and wonderful.  And clear.

9.  Cutting down on consumerism.  The less I buy, the less I waste.  I’ve gotten many hand-me-downs for Donut and I’ve been known to hit the thrift stores and garage sales.  And why yes, I did score a silk ankle-length dress from Banana Republic for a whopping $7.

10.  Recycling as much as possible.  We don’t have a pick-up service, but Mr. DIH will load up the car and drop off our recycling at the nearest station.  It’s worth the drive & inconvenience to us.

So that’s my green road thus far.  Have you made any green lifestyle changes?

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  1. I think it’s great that you went green!

    We recycle, use cloth bags for shopping, meal plan, try to cut down on processed foods and use cloth rags to clean. Every little helps!
    Alison@Mama Wants This recently posted..Memories Captured – April Link Up!

  2. Life As Wife says:

    Thanks for sharing! It’s nice to see how EASY some of these things are because I always catch myself thinking that becoming a little more green is hard.

    • It’s intimidating when you’re just thinking about it, but once you jump in, it’s actually really easy and it becomes second nature.

  3. I do the whole foods thing and we definitely recycle (and thank goodness we have a pickup service). Also, even though I bought it because it was cute, I drive a Prius, so in my mind, that’s major points, lol…. I have questions about the oil face wash thing. Was your skin oily before? Were you prone to breakouts? I HAVE to stop using Proactiv, because I shudder to think of what’s in it, but I’m nervous about looking like a pimply teenager again 🙂
    Sara recently posted..My Great Guiness Quest

    • Oh you could definitely do it. You just use a little more Castor oil if you have oily skin. The theory behind it is “like dissolves like” so you use oil to remove oil. And Castor oil is drying so you wouldn’t be all greasy. I actually had to use less Castor oil since it was making my face dry. And I still break out now and then and I haven’t had issues with this method. And yeah, about the Proactiv, I was told not to use it by a dermatologist when I was pregnant b/c of what the ingredients can do to a developing baby. Scary.

    • Hi!
      I’m a makeup artist and trained in skin…using oil to remove oil is one of the best ways to do it! It does sound crazy, I know, but its amazing how it works. Theres a great face wash at MAC thats basically oil and we recommended it for everyone with oil skin. It did amazing things. I’m not familiar with the Oil cleaning method (but I’m about to read up on it 🙂 But just wanted to confirm that its a great solution. Especially for people with oily skin! Looking forward to learning about the Oil Cleaning Method!
      Kelsey recently posted..Raya’s 3rd Birthday Party

  4. I was about to ask you how the cloth diapering was going…I absolutely love it! We didn’t do it to be green but for the cost savings however you know we are also eating better foods and less processed so we are on the same track as you. I’m totally with you on the chemical thing…so much stuff has ingredients that we have no idea what they do to us in our food or in our lotions…shampoos etc. We’re just so used to it!
    Natalie recently posted..The Chronicles of the House Across the Street

  5. I’m the queen of recycling. It drives people nuts…from toilet paper rolls to envelops to alluminum foil…if it goes in the box…it goes in the box 🙂
    So proud of you for going green. It is a really hard thing to do!!
    Kimberly recently posted..The Nields

    • I’m glad you are obsessive about recycling too! Really, it’s a big waste of $ and our resources to just trash things.

  6. It was my kids that definitely inspired me to do a lot of what you mention here. I confess I won’t be sorry when my toddler is toilet trained so I won’t have to wash diapers anymore, but cloth is a lot easier than I thought it would be before I started almost four years ago with my first! Also, I couldn’t agree more about how meal planning has helped us cut down on waste, although I have to keep a “leftovers list” and use it for ingredients I bought for a meal and then only used part of. All in all, great suggestions. I have to look into this oil cleansing method!
    Jessica@Team Rasler recently posted..Trading my crown for a cape

    • I really like the oil cleansing method. I was hesitant to try it, but I love the way my skin looks and feels afterwards. It’s so simple! And yes, cloth has been easier than I initially thought.

  7. I try…and I’m seeing that I’m doing better than I initially thought I would.

    Like with the cloth bags for grocery stores. I would always forget about them until it came time for checking out. Then I decided if I’d just put them in my car…they’re there when I need them.
    Carrie recently posted..Don’t assume I get high because I have a heavy twang.

    • It’s little steps. I started out very slowly and gradually got to where I am now. I’ve even surprised myself with how much I’ve done b/c it feels like so little. And yes, I had to learn to keep my bags in my car too otherwise I forgot to use them.

  8. We are working towards a green lifestyle by only buying organic, having our own garden, using all natural products, and recycling.
    Jessica recently posted..From Diaper Bag To Handbag

    • I love that you have your own garden and from your posts last year, I gather you did quite well. I’ve got one plant this year–basil–so that’s a small start, lol!

  9. I so desperately want to be green…and I try…just today I dropped off a load of lightbulbs to be recycled instead of tossing them…
    and when we buy our new place I want to garden…
    I always have these big plans…I’m just so effing lazy….
    Not a Perfect Mom recently posted..The Crotch Hole

    • I know, it’s easy to be lazy. That’s why it took me forever to start cloth diapering. But I find I enjoy making the effort. I know that makes me weird. 🙂

  10. I am so with you. We aren’t totally green by any means, but enough so that my family kind of considers us “hippies” haha! Most of your list are things that we do as well! 🙂
    Rach recently posted..Little known fact about me…

  11. Ps. Thanks for passing on the Oil Cleansing method!! I am absolutely going to try that! Did you have an adjustment period with it or did your face take to it perfectly?
    Rach recently posted..Little known fact about me…

    • I actually did not have an adjustment period, but I only use it on the days that I wear makeup, which is maybe every other day. I did have to play with the mix though–at first I used a 1:1 ratio of castor oil to almond oil, but the castor oil was too drying. Now I tried a 1:2 ratio of castor oil to almond oil and that seems to work. I don’t even need a moisturizer after I wash my face. Let me know if it works for you!

  12. Good for you! All sounds like very doable things that would help make a difference. Going to have to go read about that oil face cleaning method now.
    Emmy recently posted..Can The Wealthy Ever Understand?

    • They are very doable, especially if you just take them one step at a time. I think you’ll like the oil cleansing method. It seemed weird at first, but I can’t tell you how wonderful my skin looks and feels.

  13. I grew up in Germany and we were brought up to live pretty green. You should see the way they recycle… 3 to 4 different containers, compost, etc. It’s not as easy here but I try very hard to keep up with some of it. We recycle, use cloth bags for groceries and if I do get plastic it’s to use for dog clean up when walking (eek, I know.), water conservation, definitely meal planning … no more diapers, phew. 🙂
    Susi recently posted..Time to join the party…#UBP12

    • I wish they would make it easier here for people to recycle. That’s really neat that in Germany you had that system!

  14. I love going green!!!
    Thankfully Thrifty recently posted..Menu Planning for the Week of 4/15/12

  15. Going green is never easy in the beginning, especially when you are transitioning your family over to a new lifestyle. It’s nice seeing others be honest about their journey since it’s not the type of decision you can make overnight. Going green is something you do one day at a time and takes a certain mindset. Out of curiosity, how has cloth diapers worked for you? I planning on getting pregnant soon and have had people like at me as if I have two heads for even considering the idea.
    Susan Bewley@Budget Earth recently posted..Best Ideas for Family Friendly Vegetarian Meals

    • I’m really liking cloth, more than I thought I would. It’s a little complicated figuring out the different types, but I’m learning through trial and error. I’m glad my child is being cooperative in that area!

  16. I’ve tried to make household cleaners, and that went ok. Recycling is doable.

    But I drive an SUV, and always will, and therefore can never be green unless I’ve got an upset stomach. 🙁
    Julie recently posted..Maybe it’s time

    • Hope you don’t mind me making a comment, but you can get a diesel SUV from Volkswagen and there are suppose to be more of these models coming to the US and Canada in the next few years from other auto makers. They get twice the mileage of gas vehicles and you can run them with biodiesel (used vegetable oil and such). It’s on my wish list of things to eventually get 🙂 They are a bit too expensive now but I expect they will be getting better soon 🙂
      Susan Bewley@Budget Earth recently posted..Recipe For Squash Boats

    • Don’t get down on yourself Julie! I think people do what they can. You don’t have to be all or nothing when it comes to saving the planet. Anything helps. 🙂
      Jen Has A Pen recently posted..Survival, Sweat Beads, and Summertime

    • Well, we do what we can, you know?

  17. I think it’s great that you’re doing as much as you are! It’s not as easy as it seems, you know? Good for you, Rach!
    Missy | Literal Mom recently posted..Spring Party Season – The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

  18. Yes!! We do much of the same things…except the cloth diapering thing. I wish I would have started with my first, and now my last will be out of diapers soon. It really IS easy being green! (and now I feel like Kermit 😉
    Runnermom-jen recently posted..Scavenger Hunt Sunday

    • It gets easier little by little. I was so intimidated by cloth diapers but I love them now. And they’re so fun with all the cute little prints out there!

  19. I didn’t know you were a part-time clother! When we have a baby, I REALLY want to go that route, but fear that in a tiny NYC apartment WITHOUT a washer and dryer, it may be really complicated. When the time comes, I’ll have to tickle your brain about it.
    Jen Has A Pen recently posted..Survival, Sweat Beads, and Summertime

    • I just started the cloth but it was something I’ve been wanting to do for a while & I’m so glad I did. It’s not as gross as I thought it would be either–of course nothing grosses me out much these days. It might be hard w/o a washer of your own since you have to wash them every 2 or 3 days–but it can be done!

  20. Going green for me is also a process. Although I believe in leaving the world a better place, simplicity and convenience gets me every time.

    But having a kid and trying to be frugal is really changing things for me. My favourite smell in the WORLD is fresh laundry – especially when washed in a scented detergent. But Cam’s skin is so sensitive that I have changed our entire laundry system and we now use gentle, scent free detergent. Just recently in order to save money on detergent, I have invested in soap nuts.

    I am also planning to cloth diaper this next baby. I did part time with Cameron until he went to daycare, but I am hoping to soon build up more of a stash. Again, I am getting frustrated with how much we are spending on diapers and pull-ups (seriously, I should really just find the energy to potty train Cameron). Check out Hipkiddo Cloth Diapers – they are so much cheaper than many of the other brands:

    We’re also partaking in Community Supported Agriculture. I love picking up fresh fruit and veggies each week with Cameron in tow and teaching him about eating a little more naturally and sustainably. Hopefully sometime this summer we’ll take him to the farm. This is only the third week we’ve done it, and although I did great the first week, I haven’t had the energy to figure out what to do with all the unique veggies these past two weeks… I need to take the time to look up recipes and be creative, which is both a fun adventure but also a chore.

    And again, for cost reasons, I’ve started making my own cleaner as well. It makes me feel so much better about cleaning while pregnant. I really hate breathing in chemicals while pregnant.
    Laura recently posted..Pregnancy Plateau

    • I can’t wait to hear how cloth diapering goes and how using soap nuts will work out for you. And that’s really cool about the CSA group too. Good for you! We can journey together.

  21. #2 is a big one for us… it just kills me how much food we waste in this country!!
    Branson recently posted..Leap Into Spring Photo Challenge {Blossom/Trees}

  22. I need to try so much harder to get on board with whole foods. Not only is it better for you, it is less waste in the landfills. Win-win.
    Angie Nelson recently posted..Infographic: Frugal Grocery Shopping Hints for Avoiding Spending Traps

  23. You have a lovely blog. Good tips on becoming more green. Well done, and happy SITSday!
    Susan in the Boonies recently posted..My Big Night(s) Out at Mangia Nashville

  24. I’ve been doing the Oil Cleansing Method for a few months now and I totally love it. It’s still weird to think that oil doesn’t equal more breakouts but somehow it totally works.
    Ms. Adams recently posted..Charlottesville Anniversary Trip: Our Wedding Anniversary Part 1

  25. Hi there! No kids yet (just a cat and a dog) but my husband and I have started our journey on the less-trodden road of green-living too… A bit hard but with support from each other, we know we’ll make it… 🙂
    Cham Cuartero recently posted..7 Tips & Tricks on Recipe-Hunting

  26. LOVE these ideas….so easy and definitely do able! I need to try eco friendly cleaners (I’m a bleach freak!)….and the oil cleansing for the face sounds interesting!
    Rachael~Tutus and Tantrums recently posted..Summer Bucket List: The San Diego Zoo

    • The oil cleansing method was definitely a surprise for me at how well it’s worked out. And I used to love bleach too, but since making my own cleaners, I can hardly stand the smell of it!

  27. Good Morning! Stopping by from SITS. I’m always trying to be greener. I try to use safer cleaning products and only whole loads of laundry. I’ve also started doing most of the loads on the short cycle. My husband and I both have desk jobs how dirty do our clothes get, come on. My teenage son though, that’s a full cycle!
    Colleeng recently posted..Song of the Week – Payphone/Maroon 5

  28. By sharing your journey you give others ideas on simple changes to make. Thanks for sharing.
    misssrobin recently posted..The Kindness Project — 6 Months In

  29. I am on the same fun journey! I’m exclusively cloth diapering, cloth wiping and making my own wipes solution for my 3rd child. It’s actually easy once you get the hang of it. My childcare provider is even on board.

    I shop consignment getting all new stuff or at least it looks new! My latest ‘strange’ green adventure is the Moon Cup (reusable menstrual cup) and reusable pads. At first I scoffed at the idea but now I’m hooked. Money, convenience and health. A review on my experience is coming soon on my blog. Stop by!

    Elle @SeeMomWorkBlog — All work and no play makes mommy a dull chick.

  30. Congratulations! It sounds like you’re well on your way to being green. If you need any tips, please check out my blog – Life The Green Way. I’m stopping by from SITS.
    Elena recently posted..The Greenest College Campuses – Does Yours Make The Cut?

  31. I like that you include meal planning as a green action! I hadn’t thought about it that way. My kids are growing much more conscious about “hurting the earth” than I was. We’re going green slowly but surely! Good luck with your toilets.
    Katy @ Experienced Bad Mom recently posted..Poop Sandwich 2012

    • Yeah, when you think about it, meal planning means less waste, less trips to the store, less fast food. It’s a win all around!

  32. These are great tips. I also do many of these. I really should look into making my own cleaning supplies. It’s one of those things that is so simple, I just need to do it!
    Happy SITS Day!
    another jennifer recently posted..Thanks for Voting another jennifer as a Top 25 Mommy Blog on SkinnyScoop!

  33. I like that you made this greener gig seem realistic and practical. With 3 teenagers, I look at those cloth bags at the grocery store and think: How many would I need? 50??? Good to remind folks like me that small changes do matter. It’s not just the big things.
    Melinda Thompson recently posted..True Confessions: Long-Term Love Affairs With Books

    • I was the same way–thinking I had to take big giant steps. But little steps count too. And all my bags have been free so far so just use whatever you have.

  34. Wow we do better than I thought! You’ve got some great tips there!
    DaNelle recently posted..Dancing and Skipping to the Surgeon

    • When I made my list I realized that we were doing pretty well too! If you stop and think about it, you really are doing better than you know.

  35. It occurred to me recently that some of the things that I di that I consider being thrifty are also very green… like generally cutting down on consumption and using kitchen-creation cleaners and hygenic products rather than buying pre-purposed things.
    Classic NYer recently posted..Music Monday: Time After Time

  36. Kudos! I’m not always the greenest person on the planet, but I do try sometimes. I have placed a bucket in the shower so that I can collect water for my plants. I will also use said bucket to collect the water from the shower faucet while I’m waiting for it to heat up. However, I am intrigued by the oil cleansing method. Having searched for years to find the right cleanser for my skin (one that keeps break outs at bay), I’m hesitant to try the oil. I would like to hear from some folks who have skin that is prone to break outs … did this method work for you?

  37. You have a beautiful blog and I love your going green tips. I have also experimented with a few DIY and eco-friendly things like re-purposing old furniture etc and making my own home spa facials and body scrubs. One of my favorites is this Chocolate Facial:
    LushFabGlam recently posted..Stylish and Affordable Prescription Sunglasses For Summer.

  38. Trying to cut back on processed foods as well… would love to figure out how to properly plan a weekly grocery purchase. I’m such a grocery disaster, but at least I bring my own bags! 🙂
    Meagan recently posted..other people’s kids

  39. Hi, Rach. First of all: Happy SITS Day! Congratulations. Your blog is lovely!
    I also challenge myself to go a little bit more green as time goes by. So far, we’ve successfully managed to get our food from an organic farm. We’ve cut down on processed foods immensely in the last three years of marriage, however, I must admit that the sweets are the hardest to curb! We also use basics like vinegar, baking soda and lemon for our cleaning, and we don’t use aerosols or air fresheners that come in a can. We definitely have cut down on paper consumption, which I’m grateful for. And, we shop for furniture in thrift stores — repurposing is fun!
    Martine | Work at Home Mom Writer recently posted..2 Years of Freelance Work-at-Home Mom-ing… and Still Counting.

    • Cutting out sweets is hard for us too! But baby steps! I’d love to get food from an organic farm one of these days.

  40. I’ve been trying to do some of those things as well. Still working on it though. Great job!
    krystle recently posted..Free Blogger Opportunity: Organize Yo’ Recipes Sign Ups

  41. I have really gone off the deep end with paper towel. Thank you for the reminder to use rags! And meal planning – so simple but effective. Happy SITS day!
    Ilene recently posted..Love Letters

  42. Okay, I’m *fascinated* by the oil method. Seriously. I’ll report back. (Happiest of SITS days!)


  1. […] on my face which doesn’t need extra oil.  Plus, since we’ve made more of an effort to go green I wanted to avoid most of the sunscreens I’d seen in the […]

  2. […] had a bad chemical peel and felt like I’d taken a cheese grater to my cheeks. My girlfriends, Rach and Meredith, who don’t know each other, both recommended I try the oil cleansing method. […]