Saturday, April 28, 2012

Green living guides - a crash course in healthy living

This guide to safer cosmetics is one of the handy tools available to help us buy less toxic food and products.
I spend a lot of time doing green living research. I follow blogs and environmental leaders, I subscribe to healthy living newsletters and eco twitter feeds. You could say I’m up to my eyeballs in all things green.

But I still get to the grocery store and draw half a blank in the produce section, trying to remember what fruits and vegetables are on what list: the dirty dozen or the clean 15. In the personal care section I find ingredient labels confusing, mixing up the siloxanes with the glycinates (who wouldn’t?) Cleaning products are no easier, especially with all of those deceptive (unregulated) labels.
So even when you’re fairly informed, it’s tough to make the right choices. I end up with grocery store paralysis and come home empty handed or buy the wrong thing and have to return it. No wonder I’m so content using vinegar and baking soda for cleaning. The labels are easy to decipher. 
Making safe and healthy choices is hard work, but it’s getting easier thanks to a spate of printable wallet guides and mobile apps that decode labels and provide at-a-glance lists of do’s and don’ts. All the basics at your fingertips.

Here are some of my favourites:
The dirty dozen/clean15 wallet guide and mobile app. Developed by Environmental Working Group, these lists include the produce with the highest pesticide residue (that you should buy organic) and produce with the lowest (it’s okay to buy conventionally grown.) The guide keeps me sane in the produce section and helps me manage my grocery budget.

The dirty dozen of cosmetics, the David Suzuki Foundation’s shopper’s guide to personal care products. This is a great help, especially when I’m choosing products touted as “natural”, which can often be loaded with toxins along with the plant-based good stuff.  Environmental Defense has a similar guide.
The Shopper’s Guideto Cleaners is a new guide from the David Suzuki Foundation. It lists some of the most toxic (and surprisingly common) ingredients in household cleaners, and provides tips like choose fragrance-free and avoid cleaners that don’t list ingredients on the package.
Seafood Watch is a guide to choosing ocean-friendly seafood. It categorizes fish choices so you can avoid (or limit) consuming those that are fished or farmed in environmentally damaging ways. It also lists the fish that you should be wary of due to concerns about mercury or other contaminants.  Seachoice offers a similar guide.

Reading these guides is like a crash course in healthy living. It might be stressful at first (you’ll see there’s a lot to avoid) but keeping these guides handy while you shop will make it easier to make healthy choices. And there is a better chance you won’t be duped by false claims and misleading labels.


GoGreen90 said...

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0s0-Pa said...

Great green living tips. Another source I use for info & guides on green living is HouseLogic.