Friday, February 18, 2011


If you know me, you're aware -- possibly painfully aware -- of my journey of going green.  I'd puttered on the path for years, but when I turned 40 I put both feet firmly on the edge and took a big leap.  I feel as though I have come a long ways -- I have made a lot of changes that I feel good about.  I know that I cannot change the world, but I can change my little postage stamp square of it, and I can live by example. 

Many of the choices I make require very little effort on my part:  Not eating meat?  Super easy.  I think it's mean.  Recycling?  Why wouldn't you?  It's so easy today. 

In some areas, I may be green only 80% of the time: 

Organic foods and produce, for example.  Overall I buy organic, and I try to only eat/buy foods whose ingredients I can spell and identify.  I carry the "Dirty Dozen/Clean 15" ( in my wallet and you'll see me take it out for reference in the grocery store. Sometimes, though, I fall off the wagon.  Look closely and you'll probably find a box of the old favorite Kraft Macaroni and Cheese in my pantry.  Sure, the macaroni is whole wheat, but that little foil packet...

I do eat fish and eggs.  Admittedly I cannot think about either one very much or I can't do it.  And I do always buy free range, cage free, hormone free eggs.  Sometimes the carton even proclaims that the chickens are happy.  Are they?  Who knows.  It's a lot of printing on that small egg carton surface, but I want it all to be on there.  Fish, I try hard to only buy/eat wild caught, but you know, sometimes when I'm eating out and I really want fish, I purposely do not ask the waiter if it is wild caught, because farm raised fish gives me the heebie jeebies.  And over all I do believe that eating them is mean.  I know, I know, it's the cycle of life -- whatever.

And then some things are still a flat out struggle for me:  Like eating cheese.  I don't like how we get it -- the same reason that I quit eating yogurt last year (I accidentally hard part of a radio interview about the cows) but I'll just say, I love cheese.  It's creamy and good and makes everything it's paired with tastes divine.  It doesn't like me.  I don't like how we get it.  And yet?  About once every two or three weeks I still knowingly eat it.  But I pay for it with feeling gross, physically and mentally.  I'm getting more disciplined about it, but it's a battle for me.

Cleaning products?  I am 98% organic and chemical free, but every now and then that jug of bleach creeps out from the back of my cabinet.  Just a drop or two... I know it's bad, and I do honestly feel bad when I use it.  But sometimes a little bit of bleach is just what the task calls for.  What can I say?

So all of this blathering on brings me to my hair cut and color yesterday.  Hello chemicals!  I know.  And I pretty much have my stylist trained to not put product in my hair.  But last time I got my hair cut he was too fast and I was in that post-scalp massage haze, and he applied a dollop of a hair smoothing tonic.  Doh!

And sure, I liked it what it did.  Blissfully they were out of stock, so even if I had wanted some, I couldn't buy any.  Last night?  I actually asked him to put it on.  I wanted to try it one more time, to see if it really was a fab as I had recalled.  I liked it.  It didn't make a huge difference, but it did make some, but you know, you can't ever recreate at home what the stylist does in the salon.  Products or not. 

But I bought some anyway.  I was weak.  I bought into the idea of products... Then this morning came, and I showered and combed out my wet hair, and picked up the tonic.  Read the label.  Somehow I had been able to tell myself that most of the products my little local salon sells are natural.  And really, I didn't want to find out differently by actually looking closely.  But when push came to shove this morning, I read the label, and -- three types of parabens.  THREE.  I just can't do it.  And then at work I looked the product up on EWG's cosmetic list -- it's an 8 out of 10 on the hazards list -- that's categorized as a high hazard.  Here's the link:

And the amusing part?  I already have an organic de-frizzer that I use in my cabinet.  It's by Giovanni's and it's a 3 on the EWG hazard scale:   But the idea of something new suckered me in.  New must be better, right?  More must be better right?  Ack!  No!   The pretty little red tube is in my car -- to be returned on the way home today.  My house will remain paraben free... and my hair a little bit more less than perfect.  I'll blame that on "convertible hair."

Parabens, bad.
No parabens, good.

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