Stressed? Natural ways for a Green Mom to shake the blues!

CB060663Mom Goes Green is always sharing ways to try to improve the things around you… your family’s daily life, your home, your community, our planet.  But what about you? What’s a stressed-out and tired Green Mom to do?

Well, this weekend is a long holiday weekend for many of us.  Why not take time for YOU (for a change!)? Here are three simple ways (with relatively earth-friendly twists) to naturally rejuvenate and leave the stress behind (even if only for a night!):

  • Go ahead and splurge – take a bath and add some natural and organic bath salts.  Studies show that the salts increase prolactin levels by up to a third and help in relaxation!
  • Grab a cup of hot organic coffee or tea – it can actually trigger psychological warmth and pleasant feelings, even after only holding it for 10 seconds!  For a natural antidepressant, add a nice spice… cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, you choose.
  • Turn off the TV and read – stimulating your mind actually creates happiness.  To be eco-friendly, borrow books from the library or a friend, make your purchase at a used book store or, for the avid reader, buy a Kindle or Nook.

There you have it… simple steps… and what it takes for a stressed Green Mom to shake the blues!

Simple tip: Whiten your smile with baking soda

smlLately I’ve been on a coffee kick.  (Nothing jump-starts me like a nice {BIG} cup of organic java!)  But coffee can certainly dull the whiteness of our teeth in no time.

I’m not inclined to run out and buy whitening strips or invest in expensive treatments at my dentist.  And there has certainly been plenty of debate over the safety and side effects of using some of the solutions on the market.  I’ll admit that about 10 years ago I tried some whitening strips at home and they made my teeth so sensitive I tossed them in the trash.

bking sda

Enter: baking soda

Besides all of its cleaning, deodorizing and health purposes, baking soda is a great, safe alternative to whiten your teeth.

A few times a week, put your toothpaste on the brush, dip the toothpaste in baking soda and brush away.  This is a great remedy to help gently remove stains, freshen breath, dissolve plaque, and prevent decay… and then, as crazy as it sounds, you can use some baking soda to polish your chrome bathroom faucets while you’re there!

Now, it’s time to get back to that cup of organic coffee (followed up by some baking soda brushing!).

Waste: when “carry-out” food gets “carried away”!

condi pktAhh… Fridays.  The infamous Friday night “Carry-Out Food and Movie Nite” in the Mom Goes Green household.  The night when I don’t have to think about “what’s for dinner” and instead can rely on the simple question of where to get the food.

While this has become a tradition for us, it also brings the concern of all the waste that can be created when I don’t do the cookin’!  Who hasn’t experienced this with their order?: large, rustling bag; unneeded plastic utensils; mountains of paper napkins; a sea of condiment packets; towers of containers; single-use cups… the list could go on and on (and that list has a harsh consequence for landfill waste).

So, consider this when placing your next order:

  • Coffee – Americans use approximately 15 BILLION paper coffee cups per year.  If your order includes coffee, bring your own cup… they’ll fill it for you.
  • Condiments – really, if you’re taking it home, you probably have the same condiments waiting for you in your refrigerator.  Instead of thinking “Well, I PAID for them”, think “No thanks.  I have them already” and they aren’t in a dozen tiny packets, cups and containers.
  • Napkins – skip ‘em.  Tell them you don’t need any since you probably already use cloth napkins at home…. righplst frkst? 🙂 Right.
  • Utensils – goes without saying… we all DEFINITELY have those at home, so tell them you don’t need them either.
  • Containers – many restaurants provide you with some decent containers but, while it’s nearly impossible to refuse them, you can reuse them.  Clean them, reuse them and consider them the next time you reach for a Ziploc or other disposable storage container.
  • Cups – I certainly voiced my dislike of all the kids disposable cups during a dine-in meal, but many of those are also reusable, for beverages, storing craft supplies and lots of other projects.
  • Bags – walk in with your own.  Tell them you don’t need their oversized plastic version… after all, you ALWAYS keep your reusable bags in your car…. riiiight?  🙂

If you follow all of these suggestions, imagine this… you would have zero-waste…. AND you would have a nice relaxing evening, with a clear conscience and absolutely zero cooking too!

Why switch to organic coffee?… (a “greener cup of java”)

coff beansOne of my most recent “switches” was when I started to buy only organic coffee a few months ago.  I don’t really have a reason for not buying organic coffee sooner, except that (while I was worried about my to-go cup) I really hadn’t given the content of the cup much thought… no, not a good excuse, but an honest one…

There are a multitude of reasons I’m happy that I finally made this change… and they’re big reasons, so consider these facts:

  • Organic coffee is grown without herbicides, pesticides, and synthetic growth chemicals, therefore these chemicals will NOT be part of your morning java.  Avoiding these chemicals is also much safer for farmers and workers, and will prevent contamination of the soil, water sources and surrounding environment.
  • Organic coffee prohibits the use of sewage sludge as a fertilizer.  Yes, you heard that right… sewage sludge.  Every disgusting thing you can imagine that ends up in sewage can end up in the sludge that is added to coffee crops for fertilizer.
  • Organic coffee cannot contain genetically modified organisms or use ionizing radiation (both common in non-organic coffee production!).
  • Organic coffee can be shade grown, so large areas of trees do not need to be cleared for this crop, and wildlife and their habitat will also be spared.coff cup

If you think it might be easier to just give-up coffee (no, never!), remember that there are also health benefits of coffee… it actually contains powerful antioxidants and is believed to help protect a body against diabetes, liver disease, gallstones, and even the onset of dementia and/or Alzheimer’s…

I know there are times when we all think we might go a little crazy without our coffee(!), but the important thing is:  you want the benefit without the harmful “extras” and practices.

Organic coffee is the healthier, greener way to serve up a much better cup of joe.

My chemical java

So, I’ve resolved my dilemma with having to accept throwaway coffee cups for takeout coffee, however…

I was strolling through the coffee aisle at the grocery store knowing we needed more filters for the maker. As I reached for the usual brand I buy, words from the package in the next row leaped out at me. They read: Unbleached Coffee Filters. UN-bleached?

It honestly never occurred to me. I only thought about the coffee, not the filters. But when I thought about it for a moment, it seemed a little bothersome. Unless I picked up the unbleached version, I am literally filtering my morning java through a paper that has come in contact with bleach – a chemical used for household sterilization, whitening and cleansing, but not for the body’s digestive system! The natural, unbleached versions are brown. The common ones are bleached to a snowy white…maybe to make them look clean, new and prettier. But bleach?

The EPA says that chlorine in bleached coffee filters can leach into the coffee and using bleached coffee filters can result in a lifetime exposure to dioxins that “exceed acceptable levels”. Enough said. I already use sugar and cream. Hold the bleach.

photo by: www.cheftools.com