Becoming Green from the Inside Out (Part III)

Greening ourselves is simple. It's about being bold. Most people resist change on some level. Becoming green requires that we change as we are dictating to other people they must change. So the third part in becoming green is how we as girls decide to doll up J So we have to make some new commitments.

There was a point in my life where I had a minimum of 6 different fragrance body lotions from Victoria's Secret, and that was just body lotion. I had all sorts of products. So …

                                                                           Photo by: East Street Arts (ESA)

1) First commitment is to **Simplify** or **Use Less**.

To simplify, do this exercise it will be good Feng Shui. Make one big pile of all your products. We are going to separate the products and make them into special piles.
Take some time to go through all your products. Dollying up can also include your household as our home is an extension of how we look, so if it's not too much, take a look at your household cleaning products as well.

The first pile will be of products you do not use and probably will not use again or in the next year. Unless it is a medical staple, be honest with yourself and do yourself the favor of clearing some space. What is important though is to ask yourself why it is you bought that product to begin with. Was it an impulse buy or did you fall for some good marketing and thought you needed something you didn't? Be honest with yourself. Most likely you will not miss this product over the long term. These products will all go into recycling or proper waste disposal (see Thoughts by Janine on proper waste disposal). If for some reason you have a strange aversion to ridding yourself of a certain product as you feel you need the benefits of it, take that product and start to create a second pile of products.

The second pile of products will be those you will switch to greener products.

2) Second commitment is to **Switch to Green**

I don't believe that we should waste products. If you are currently using a product you use all the time but is not green, wait until you are almost done with it before you replace it. Why be wasteful? Many products with use both on our bodies and in our home are toxic for us but I don't think anyone is going to suddenly die from using the rest of their product they have been using for years. I would suggest not waiting until you run out of your product as you will be tempted to make an impulse purchase which doesn't always end up in our favor. Even if you make an impulse purchase and buy a greener product, it would be sad to me if you found it inferior …you would either have to return it, which would waste gas and your personal time, or you may be tempted to re-create your clutter of products and defeat our simplifying process.

This leads to our third commitment:

                                                                                               Photo by: Bukutgirl

3) **Do your homework**

Doing your homework doesn't have to be hard. You can get deeper into this the farther along on your green journey you go. For right now, I will try to make it intuitively easy for you with a couple common sense ideas to keep in mind.

Be mindful of "greenwash". Greenwash is a term describing the washing out or dilution of meaning to truly good for the environment product claims. Many terms at this time are not regulated. One term that is regulated however, is the term "organic". Organic means that the product ingredients are at minimum 95% organic. So you are doing pretty good if you buy a product that has a label "organic" this goes for food, beauty, or household products. The more we support organic products the more demand will be created to pressure these industries to convert to organic production. So as much as possible, buy organic!

Ingredients are one thing, another thing to consider on your green journey with any product purchase will be packaging. Plastic is a seriously debilitating packaging material. Plastic does not go away. It breaks down but into tinier particles of itself and basically turns into poison. Plastic leaches toxins into the ground in our landfills and contaminates groundwater supplies. In our oceans plastic is choking sealife and washing up on our shores as trash. It's hard to avoid plastic so just be mindful … look for products that use glass, or minimal amounts or paper for packaging.

Fourth commitment:

4) **Support green companies and stores**

I say have fun with your journey. Venture out and find yourself in the new green stores if you don't already frequent such places. There are the old "establishments" and there are new ones. For beauty there are Aveda, and Origin stores that carry healthier choice product lines. One of the best places to go is Whole Foods, especially at their bigger stores you can find nearly everything you want there. Investigate this new world, investigate these new companies. Some are better than others.

A GREAT guide to help you support green companies and with your homework is Greenopia. They are an online resource as well as book you can purchase in print. Although I ideally I would like to evolve out of paper, I still find books helpful. Greenopia has done a lot of the homework for you and will give you not only options to find green clothes, beauty products, restaurants, and stores that carry household products, they have also created a rating system of how green each business is.

In summary, to be green and gorgeous …breathe with awareness, eat with awareness, dress and choose products (for self and home) with awareness, and always enjoy the journey!

Learn more about Janine.

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