Wednesday, August 8, 2007

New Website!

Please visit us at our new website, Green Girls Guide. We are continuously updating our posts and now offer the great Envirosax reusable bags. Enjoy!

Monday, May 28, 2007

Summer Sun Protection

Now that summer is upon us (well, some days it feels like it is, and some days it feels miles away here in the NW) it is time to think about sunscreen and sun protection. The American Cancer Society recommends this motto for sun protection: Slip! Slop! Slap! Wrap! Slip on a shirt, slop on sunscreen, slap on a hat, and wrap on sunglasses.

For sunscreen, choose a broad spectrum that offeres both UVA and UVB protection. Chemical sunscreens work by being absorbed in to the skin, and physical or mineral ones protect by forming a barrier on the skin. Zinc oxide or titanium dioxide offer the best UV-spectrum coverage and are well tolerated by children. It is also the safest ingredient for the environment. You want to stay away from ingredients such as PABA, Padimate-O, or Parsol 1789 (avobenzone) because they can cause stinging or redness. Make sure to apply the sunscreen 30 minutes before going outside, and reapply every 2 hours if you are not in the water, every 30-40 minutes if you are. Also, don't be stingy with the amount of sunscreen you are slathering on. It is recommended to use one full ounce every time you apply. *Do not apply sunscreen to infants under the age of 6 months*

Here is a short list of sunscreens that have zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide as the main active ingredients, are broad spectrum, and have SPF 30 or higher:

  • All Terrain Kisdport SPF 30+

  • Badger Sunblock SPF 30+

  • Blue Lizard Australian SPF 30+

  • California Baby SPF 30+

  • Dr. Hauschka Sunscreen for Children and Sensitive Skin SPF 30

  • Earth's Best Sun Block SPF 30+

  • Jason Sunbrellas Mineral-Based Sun Block SPF 30+

  • Mustela High Protection Sun Lotion SPF 50

  • UV Natural Baby SPF 30+

In addition to sunscreen, you want to be careful about you amount of sun exposure and the timing. Dermatologists recommend staying out of the sun between 10 and 4 - I don't know about you, but for us that is not realistic. For us it is usually 12 0r 1 - 3 or so, as we need lunch and naps still. When we are out in the sun, both my kids wear wide brimmed hats that cover their neck and ears and sunglasses with UV protection. When we are in the pool or at the beach, which is a lot of the time, both kids also wear UV protective swim shirts and shorts. Lands End carries a great selection of UV and rash guard protection swimwear.

Here's wishing you a safe, happy summer, full of fun and sun!

Friday, May 25, 2007

Vegan Pizza

This is my new FAVORITE!!!

Pizza dough (I use Trader Joe's already made pizza dough you roll it out yourself, but use whatever you like)

Pizza sauce.. again whatever moves you

Lot's of veggies - I like mushrooms, zucchini, bell pepper, sun dried tomatoes, onion, and olives (I said it was a lot) LOAD 'EM on!

And the non Cheese: RAW Cashews! About a handful.

Put it all in the oven for about 10 to 15 minutes. (follow package directions for the dough you use - and check often because you don't have melted/browned cheese to be your guide.

So this is a slack recipe (my favorite) and I can whip it up while the babies are snoozing and have time to eat and clean up too! YUM!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

CFLs and Mercury...

Being the good little stewards of greenness I'm sure most of you have already heard the news that the compact fluorescent lightbulbs that everyone is touting as environmental contain mercury. I was disappointed to hear this, but did some research. There is a risk, but according to Wendy Reed, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, in the long run the CFLs produce less mercury than the coal-fired power plants.

Check out this link to NPR.

The EPA is working with the retailers that sell the bulbs to start recycling programs as well. Ikea is the only one that has stepped up to the challenge so far. Apparently in some states it is illegal to throw away the bulbs, but even in those states few make the effort to recycle them.

GE is also concerned - though the levels of mercury are small in each individual bulb if the sales explode like anticipated (thanks to the BIG GREEN push) the levels of mercury hitting the garbage cycle will be huge. GE is looking at ways to decrease the amount of mercury and come up with better ways to recycle it.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Recipe-less Soup

I found some excellent guidance on how to just 'throw together' some soup without a recipe. I'm no chef and I'm excited to try this. You can check it out at The Mommy Spot. Diane shares lots of great advice there! This soup is veggie and I love that she uses the veggies that are typically discarded after making the stock. You get all the nutrients and they stay out of the garbage or composter!

Vegan/Vegetarian Diet Considerations

The research continues. I am reading "Becoming Vegan" by Brenda Davis and Vesanto Melina and I feel that if we/I am going to promote vegetarian/vegan lifestyle I need to point out important things you need to be aware of while adopting this lifestyle.

This book is a great resource. I've enjoyed the fact that it doesn't just wax poetic about how wonderfully healthful the vegetarian/vegan diet is... it also points out the pitfalls and things you need to look out for. They also give scientific information in easy to understand terms. Nutrition and healthful lifestyle is similar to this whole 'green' thing in that it can get rather overwhelming. For me living the vegetarian/vegan lifestyle kind of dumbs it down for me. It really ends up helping me to make consistent choices - I can't really eat most processed foods when I'm staying away from animal products so the choice is made for me. :)

Two main topics of consideration when adopting a vegetarian/vegan lifestyle are B12 and Essential Fatty Acids (Omega 3 and Omega 6)


Vitamin B12 helps build genetic material and is important for cells that reproduce rapidly - such as red blood cells, it protects the sheaths around our nerve fibers and working together with other B vitamins it converts foods to energy that our body can use. In addition B12 helps rid the body of homocysteine which if built up in the body can injure the inner lining of artery walls leading to heart disease. - excerpt from Becoming Vegan.

Non-vegetarians get B12 from the flesh of animals that have eaten things containing the bacteria and fungus that create B12. Vegetarians that consume eggs and dairy don't need to worry about this as much as vegans. Vegans need to supplement with B12 either through foods high in B12 (though these sources have proved to be unreliable - such as algae, spirulina, alfalfa, various greens, and seaweeds) or fortified foods. One good option is Red Star Vegetarian Support Formula Nutritional Yeast Powder or Flakes or other nutritional yeast supplements. You are looking to get between 3 and 6 mcg a day. Check labels of soy milks and cereals as fortification levels vary.

Essential Oils

Essential Oils

When considering a vegan/vegetarian diet you must consider your intake of Essential Fatty Acids - specifically Omega 3s. Omega 6s (Linoleic Acid) are plentiful in most diets - particularly vegetarian/vegan diets - they are found in seeds, walnuts, grains, sunflower, safflower, corn and grapeseed oils. Omega 3s (alpha-linolenic acid) are found in foods that we don’t eat in large quantities such as flaxseed, hempseed, canola oil, walnuts, butternuts, greens and soy. Polyunsaturated fats are not considered essential oils because we can make them in our body from their parent fats – Omega 6 and Omega 3 – or consumed from foods. In the Omega 6 family we can either convert linoleic acid to arachindonic acid (AA) or consume it directly from animal products. In the Omega 3 family we can convert alpha-linolenic acid to eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) or consume them directly from fish or microalgae. Though polyunsaturated fats aren’t technically called essential they ARE essential and we need to be aware of them.. particularly DHA. DHA is a structural component in the brain, the retina of the eye and sperm. Low levels of DHA have been associated with neurological and behavioral disorders such as depression, schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s and ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). Plant foods provide very little if any Omega 3s with the exception of single celled ocean plants and seaweeds and I don’t know about you, but I don’t eat a lot of those.

When considering a DHA supplement you need to look at the source. Most DHA / Omega 3 supplements are derived of fish. If you are following a vegetarian/vegan diet these won’t work for you. You want to find a supplement that is derived of microalgae such as Dr. Udo's DHA.

Interesting Tid Bit about Vitamin D

Did you know that Vitamin D can be sourced from either animals or plants. I had no idea there were two basic types. Vitamin D2 is plant based (mushrooms, certain seaweeds and yeast) and Vitamin D3 is animal based (fish, sheep's wool, hides or other animal parts such as cow brains). If you choose to avoid animal products all together (and for you vegetarians out there) you need to be careful with some fortified soy milks and food products. When reading labels generally vegetarian products will specify D2, but if they don't you are looking for ergosterol or ergocalciferol on the ingredients list. If precalciferol or cholecalciferol are listed then the Vitamin D in the product is D3 or animal sourced Vitamin D. D3 is usually used in Milk so if you are vegetarian and drink milk and eat eggs, but avoid animal products you might want to check your milk label.

All of this being said, I am not a doctor or nutritionist (maybe some day) so take my statements for what they are... the research finds of a non-professional. I highly recommend that you do your own research and definitley recommend Becoming Vegan by Brenda Davis, RD and Vesanto Melina, MS, RD

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Conflict Free Diamonds

Getting ready to ask that special someone the BIG question? Coming up on a big anniversary and just love to buy diamonds??? Check out Brilliant Earth - they create beautiful jewelry using conflict free diamonds and they give 5% of their proceeds to African communities negatively effected by the diamond industry. You can also check out their site to learn more about these negative effects.

Another alternative to buying new diamonds is to hit your local pawn shop or estate sale for beautiful antique rings. It is rather affordable. We got my ring at A & S Jewelry in Seattle, WA. They are jewelry brokers. So my ring isn't MY grandmother's, but it's SOMEBODY's grandmother's. A great hint for recycling. :)And we couldn't beat the price!

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Portland Recycles Plastic!

The Portland Master Recycler Program, serving the Portland (OR) metro area, sponsor a "plastics round up" a few times per year, and you can bring all the plastic items that you can't recycle in your bins. Here is a list of what they will take:

  • Plastic bags (dry cleaning, store sacks)
  • Plant containers and trays (please knock dirt out ahead of time)
    Please rinse and separate plastics with numbers by each number separately (bags and plant containers go in the first two categories, no styrofoam food trays even if they have a number).
  • Miscellaneous plastics without numbers (Bottle caps, drink lids, DVD's, CD’s, CD cases, cereal liners, straws, lawn/patio furniture, kids\' toys (think slides!), pet igloos, laundry baskets, kiddy pools, & more. . .bring it, we'll try to take it)
  • Reusable Plastic Items. - We especially love buckets! Master Recyclers label and redistribute them to encourage residents to keep glass separate from other recyclables. Be sure and drop by this section to see if you might find a useful item you would like to bring home.

The next Round Up will be held Saturday, May 19, 2007, 9am to 2pm at the following locations:

  • PCC Rock Creek Campus 17705 NW Springville rd
  • PCC Sylvania 12000 SW 49th
  • Floyd Light Middle School 10800 SE Washington

This event has been sponsored 5 times before, and they have reused and recycled over 25 TONS of plastic. What a great motivator to save all that plastic that is not curbside recyclable and bring it around to be donated. This is definitely motivating me to find a way to collect all my non-recyclable plastics, instead of just throwing them in the trash and knowing they will go straight into the landfill. So, for more information on what they do with the plastic and how they recycle it, please visit I hope to see you there!

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Inspiration from a mainstream couple in Seattle

I came across this article from our good friends Todd and Julie. (thanks Todd)

Regular people are out there doing what we aspire to do... they are normal mainstreamers - meaning they aren't over the top living off the grid, they could be your neighbors! You can check out this Seattle Times article to learn more about what this Seattle family is doing to decrease their footprint.

We give you lists and talk about what you can do, but I think 'seeing' another family do it makes it seem that much more attainable. As they state in the article choose one thing you can do and once it becomes a habit either go further with that goal or establish another one.

If you want a starting point you can check your carbon emissions w/ the EPA Personal Carbon Emissions footprint calculator. Make adjustments to see what a big impact little things make.

My big struggle these days is paper towels. We never used to use them, but when the kids started eating it was just SO much easier to grab a paper towel to clean them up. I did start making some rags to use specifically for this purpose, but fell off the wagon. I need to get back to that. On a positive note I purchased some cloth napkins - now I need to find a place to store them and get to using them.

We all have our struggles, but families like the Seattle couple featured in the article give me inspiration to try a little harder! If gas gets to $4/gallon it should make it a bit easier to strap on the sneakers and hoof it to wherever I need to get.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Allison's Gourmet Vegan Cookies... THEY ARE GOOD!

I just have to share these cookies (and brownies and fudge etc). Allison's Gourmet makes fabulous fabulous fabulous vegan sweets.

Admittedly I have not had them in a long while (though I have requested them for Mother's Day) these cookies are FANTASTIC! I was introduced to them by a friend a while ago and I can't even begin to express how DELICIOUS they are, and I am a HUGE sweets fan!

Allison's Gourmet is in line w/ our global perspective and fits in here because the are vegan..
Here are the company's practices and beliefs:
  • We make vegan* desserts that taste fantastic.
  • We seek out and use only the finest organic ingredients available.
  • Our business supports a sustainable planet.
  • Health is priceless -- quality costs more, and it's worth it.

Reduce, Reuse, Freecycle!

Part of reducing your footprint, or being "green" as we call it, is really taking to heart the reduce, reuse, recycle mantra. I want to talk a little about the reuse part of that. We all need to buy things, but there are ways to get great used stuff for cheap or free! is a resource in cities all over the world. Almost anything you could want, you can get on Craigslist. I myself have bought and sold many things (including a car!) on Craigslist and have had great experiences. Furniture, baby stuff, automobiles, yard and garden, hobbies, real estate, etc. - you name it, you can find it. I even used Craisglist when I moved to Portland to network and find out about preschools for my son. Another great online resource is Everything, as the name suggests, is free. People post things they want or things they have to give away. You can sign up for the daily digest, and I find that I get sometimes 3 or 4 digests from them per day, and that is just Portland Freecycle! You have to be quick to respond though, because things go FAST.

If you want to be more extreme in your reducing/reusing goals, check out the Compact groups. Here is an excerpt from the yahoo Compact group :
We are a group of individuals committed to a 12-month flight from the consumer grid (calendar year 2007).
The Compact has several aims (more or less prioritized below):
To go beyond recycling in trying to counteract the negative global environmental and socioeconomic impacts of disposable consumer culture and to support local businesses, farms, etc. -- a step that, we hope, inherits the revolutionary impulse of the Mayflower Compact.
To reduce clutter and waste in our homes (as in trash Compact-er).
To simplify our lives (as in Calm-pact)
We've agreed to follow two principles (see exceptions etc. on our blog).
#1 Don't buy new products of any kind (from stores, web sites, etc.)
#2 Borrow, barter, or buy used.
The COMPACT PLEDGE is an agreement to not buy anything NEW for one year. Exceptions are made for toiletries, food, undergarments, medical supplies and safety equipment. This pledge should be customized according your needs. We encourage you to be honest with yourself & make this your own personal challenge with attainable goals. You choose how extreme to take it.

I am up for trying to buy clothes at consignment shops such as Buffalo Exchange, or sports equipment at Play It Again Sports, and buying toys and clothes for the kids at various sites (Craigslist, local children's consignment etc), but I don't know how diligent I could be about absolutely not buying new for one year. It would save me a lot of money for sure and help with my ecological footprint - but part of this blog is chronicling our path to greenness. In other words, it is a journey - to me, it means that I am not there yet BUT learning and trying everyday. I will, of course, continue to be a Craigslist frequenter and maybe one day I will act fast and get something FREE from Freecycle. I also think twice, or three times, about the purchases that I do make. I just bought a new puzzle for my son, but bought it at a locally owned toy store and the puzzle brand is a very small company that makes it's pieces out of recycled materials. I think if you are a mindful shopper, you can support your local economy and small businesses AND do the right thing for the environment all at the same time!

Monday, April 30, 2007

Spinach and Leek White Bean Soup

Spinach and Leek White Bean Soup


  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 4 leeks, bulb only, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 (16 ounce) cans vegetable broth
  • 2 (16 ounce) cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat couscous
  • 2 cups packed fresh spinach
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan or soup pot over medium heat. Add the leeks and garlic; saute until tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chicken broth, cannellini beans, bay leaves and cumin. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, and stir in the couscous. Cover, and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in spinach and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

Friday, April 27, 2007

How's that diaper pail smelling latley?

Green mama that I am I use cloth diapers... any of you w/ kids knows how that odor changes as the kids start to eat solid foods. WOW! I couldn't believe the difference between breast milk poops and solid food poops - maybe I would have waited well past the recommended 6 months to start solids had I known!

I used a dry pail for my diapers in the beginning and I noticed a foul odor not too long after they started eating solids. This odor wasn't just the poop... it was the diaper. When the kids would have a wet diaper the diaper would STINK really bad... not just like pee, and they were causing bad rashes on both kids. I couldn't figure it out. I stripped and stripped and stripped the diapers again and that odor just HUNG ON! I was getting really frustrated because I really didn't want to give up on the cloth diapers, but I also didn't want the kids to STINK and have horrendous diaper rash (which cloth is not supposed to cause)!

While I was staying at my mom's for the month of March she was talking to me more about Shaklee and shared a list of uses for Basic H2. On that list was the recommendation to use a wet pail with 1 teaspoon of Basic G and 1/4 teaspoon of Basic H2 to cut down on odor. I thought what the heck, I'll give it a shot... and it not only eliminated (not just cut down... ELIMINATED) the diaper pail odor it solved my smelly / rashy diaper problem.

I had already been keeping the pail in the bathroom and away from babies so I don't have to worry about curious kids knocking the pail over and drowning themselves. So word of CAUTION: if you are going to try this please please please move your diaper pail to a safe location where kids won't have access to it. Having it in the bathroom makes it easier to dump the poop in the toilet anyway!

And just for fun here is the list of uses for the best cleaner in the world: Basic H2

100% Organic Non-Toxic
Biodegradable Non-Irritating
Not a Soap Non-Magnetic
Not a Detergent Non-Volatile



General Cleaning: Use ½ teaspoon to quart of warm water. It cleans kitchen doors, woodwork, walls, ceilings, etc.

Appliances and Bathroom Fixtures: Use ¼ teaspoon to pint of water. It leaves refrigerators odor-free and sanitary. Great for bathroom tile!

Windows, Mirrors, All Glass: Use 1 – 2 drops in 4oz spray bottle. Wipe dry with paper towel. Do not use a lot of Basic-H or glass will smear.

Dishes: Use ½ teaspoon in the dishpan. Fill dirty pans with water, add ½ teaspoon Basic-H2 and let stand to loosen stuck particles.

Automatic Dishwashers: Use Shaklee Dishwasher Concentrate.

Floors: Use 1 tablespoon to a gallon of cold water, wring mop and wipe up dirt. Leaves floor shining. To remove wax use Basic-I.

Dusting: Squeeze sponge out of solution of ¼ teaspoon to pint of water. With almost dry sponge, wipe of dust, fingerprints, candy spots, etc. Or use spray bottle and clean cloth. Everything disappears from furniture, leaving wax finish beautifully bright and non-magnetic, making it unnecessary to dust as often.

Fruits and Vegetables: Use ¼ teaspoon to pint of water. Wash and rinse. It removes residues of poisonous sprays and grime of handling in transportation. Also removes grit from leafy vegetables.

Woolens, Silks, Nylons, All Fin Fabrics: Use ½ teaspoon to basin of water. For spots, apply a drop or two directly on the spot and press in with thumb. Immerse garment in cold water solution of 1 teaspoon per gallon of water, let stand a few minutes, then rinse by squeezing water through and laying out to dry.

Spot Remover: Apply Basic-H2 directly on spotted area. Use a toothbrush or finger to rub Basic-H2 into area. Wipe off with damp cloth or rinse in basin of water (Coffee, lipstick, ink, grass, etc).

Frying Vats: Use ½ cup to 3 gallons of water. Boil for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. It dissipates stubborn crusts without damage to vats.

Concrete and Mortar Mix: Use ½ oz. to a gallon of water. Makes cement and mortar spread easier and smoother, set harder.

Knives: Use a few drops on cutting stone for sharpening knives. Keep moist and add as needed. Doesn’t clog stone, which is very important in sharpening tools. Stone rinses free of residue.

Phonograph Records: Use same solution as for glass. Clean with soft, dry cloth. It leaves no residual magnetism.

Wallpaper: Excellent in removing wallpaper.

Aquariums: Use 1 teaspoon per quart of water. Clean coral, rocks, entire aquarium with Basic-H2 solution. Rinse thoroughly.

Diapers: Use ¼ teaspoon of Basic-H2 and 1 teaspoon of Basic-G to pail of water. It eliminates odors in the washroom when diapers must stand.

Fish Odors: Use ½ tablespoon per quart of water. Basic-H2 cleaning solutions work wonders around boats, docks and other “fishy” places.

Boat Algae: Use ½ tablespoon to gallon of water.

Spray Snow or Poster Paint on Windows: Remove it with ¼ teaspoon to quart of warm water.


Protecting Hands: Apply at full strength to hands for lasting protection as an industrial skin guard. It is great as invisible gloves before painting.

Cleaning Hands: Put a few drops in palm. Rub thoroughly over both hands and add a little water. Continue with usual washing action. Add a touch more water as needed and rinse. Removes tobacco stains, onion and garlic odors. Variation – mix ¼ Basic-H2 and ½ water in a 4 oz squeeze bottle.

Gum: Use full strength to remove gum from skin or carpeting.

Painting and Dyeing: Apply full strength to hands before painting or dyeing. Paint or dye will wash off easily. Be careful not to get Basic-H2 in eyes.

Shoe Cleaner: Use 1 drops on a wet cloth. It will not remove wax. Shine with dry cloth.


Washing: Use ½ tablespoon to gallon of water. Wash small area at a time, and hose off. Wiping dry is not necessary. Wipe windshield, windows and chrome with paper towels after rinsing. Bugs and road grime float away.

Engines: Use ½ oz to one gallon water to clean engine. It will not affect paint, gaskets or insulating material. Best results can be achieved when the engine is hot for fastest drying of the ignition system.

Battery Terminals: Use ¼ teaspoon to pint of water. Spray on battery terminals, let soak for 2 minutes and clean with wire brush. Use full strength Basic-h on battery terminals to avoid corrosion or galvanic action.

Automobile Radiator: Use ½ tablespoon to radiator full of water or anti-freeze. This prevents rust.


Air Filters: Use ¼ teaspoon to quart of warm water. Air filters are cleaned with excellent results, leaving them free of dirt, oil, or chemical residue.

Rose Bushes: Use ½ teaspoon to gallon of water. Spraying rose bushes will protect them from red spider and other diseases, and also fertilize them.

House Plants: Use a few drops in water. Water plants and they will flourish. Use to wipe down leaves also.

Green Lawns: Use 1 tablespoon to “ortho-type” bottle applicator full of water. This should let 2 gallons of water through applicator to spray on lawn like liquid fertilizer.

Outside Windows: Use ½ teaspoon to “ortho-type” bottle applicator full of water. This should let 2 gallons of water through applicator to spray on windows and screens.

Humidifiers: Use 1 or 2 drops in water to help prevent rust and scum.

Water Soluble Gum Tape: Use 2 to 3 drops in a 16 oz spray bottle, or tape dispenser with water tank.

Ironing: A few drops in steam iron will keep the jets and interior clean.

Plumbing: Will keep pipes open and clean when used regularly. It emulsifies grease and can eliminate cleaning of grease traps.


Toilet Bowl Cleaner: Fill toilet tank dispenser with Basic-H2. Place in toilet tank. It will automatically release a measured amount of Basic-H2 when you flush, to keep toilet bowl clean for months.

Basic-G: Can also be used in toilet tank dispenser full strength or diluted. Basic-G cleans with biodegradable agents while it disinfects and is even veridical when used as directed. Basic-G will deodorize bathroom areas, garbage cans and other areas where bacterial growth can cause unpleasant odors. Basic-G is concentrated for economy.


Basic-H2 is the most economical cleaner you can buy. One quart makes 192 gallons of cleaning solution by following directions.

Do Not Use More Than Recommended. A little goes a long way! Save $$!

Basic-H2 contains no acids, no alkalis, no kerosene or solvent, and has no offensive or detergent odor.

Basic-H2 has s pH factor of 6.5, right in the range of human skin.

Basic-H2 makes water many times wetter.

Basic-H2 is a fantastically versatile cleaner. The successor is soap!

Basic-H2 does not hinder bacterial action of septic tanks or cesspools.

DO NOT put fingers or foreign matter into Basic-H2 container. Large amounts of bacteria can cause degrading action and weaken your cleaner.

If a heavy-duty cleaner is required, use Basic-I.

In extremely stubborn areas of grease or stains, use Shaklee At-Ease scouring cleaner.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Shaklee, the first company in the world to be Climate Neutral(TM) certified

Shaklee is the first company in the WORLD to become Climate Neutral certified thus making a net zero impact on the environment. Shaklee is now buying 100 percent green energy or renewable power to meet its purchased electricity needs.

Shaklee will purchase its green or renewable power from San Francisco-based 3 Phases Energy, a renewable energy supplier. Renewable power is derived from a sustainable source such as wind, solar, or geothermal energy.

You can link to the entire story HERE.

I am so happy to know that I am contributing my small part to this company by "Shaklee-izing" my home. I now use their cleaning products (GET CLEAN), their skin care (ENFUSELLE), their make up (MINERELLES) and am now looking into the NUTRITION products.

The Green Girls will start offering their products under their own site soon.... stay tuned!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Portobello and Red Pepper Quesadillas

Portobello-and-Red Pepper ‘Quesadillas’

This Candle Café specialty will wow anyone who tries it.

For the Bean Purée:
1 cup white, black, or pinto beans (or use canned)
1 1-inch piece kombu (seaweed found in Asian markets or health food stores) (I use canned so no sea weed)
1 minced garlic clove, or 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. chili or chipotle powder
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. fresh lime juice
2 Tbsp. chopped cilantro

For the Filling:
2 large portobello mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and thinly sliced
1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

2 12-inch flour tortillas
1 small red onion, very thinly sliced
2/3 cup grated soy cheese (you can obviously use REAL Cheese - I substitute the cheese for Avocado)

• First, prepare the bean purée. Pick over and rinse the beans and put them in a bowl with the piece of kombu, add enough water to cover by about 2 inches, and set aside to soak for 6 to 8 hours or overnight.
• Drain the beans, reserving the kombu, and transfer them both to a soup pot. Add 6 cups of water and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat and simmer the beans, uncovered, for 40 to 50 minutes, until just tender. Drain and set aside, reserving about a cup of cooking liquid.
• Transfer the beans to a food processor or blender. Add the garlic, chili powder, sea salt, lime juice, cilantro, and a bit of the cooking liquid and pulse until smooth. Taste and adjust the seasonings. The purée can be made up to 3 days ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator.
• Preheat the oven to 350°F.Prepare the quesadilla filling: Toss the mushrooms and pepper in olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Place on a baking sheet in a single layer and roast for 30 to 45 minutes. Set aside.
• Assemble the quesadillas and bake until warmed through, about 15 minutes, turning once. Or, for a crisper result, broil or grill the quesadillas for about 5 minutes per side. Cut into quarters and serve at once.

Makes 4 servings

From The Candle Café Cookbook
by Joy Pierson and Bart Potenza with Barbara Scott-Goodman
Get more vegetarian recipes from

Earth Day in review!!!

I'm not sure about your part of the world, but here in Midwest America we had FABULOUS Earth Day weather. The family spent a GOOD part of the day outside... to include an evening on a blanket plopped down in our front yard. The neighbors were out and we all got to spend some good time together after mostly not seeing each other over the winter.

We're all charged up by Earth Day... ready to do all of the things that Oprah recommended in her show:

From changing to energy efficient light bulbs (CFLs) to buying Shaklee's Get Clean Home Health Kit

but my question to everyone is... will this be akin to new years resolutions? As soon as the mass media stops talking about it on every channel of the tv and radio will you forget and go back to your non-green ways?

Our hope here at Green Girl's Guide is that you will check back often for your daily dose of what to do next! For your reminders and inspiration to continue on w/ your resolutions of yesterday!

We've got one planet it's up to us to keep it green!

We are thinking and working on ways that we can better support your need to be GREEN so please give us any ideas and feedback about what you need to keep you motivated. Is it product you are looking for? If so, what products would you like easy access too? Is it information? Give us some hints and we'll do our best!

Friday, April 20, 2007

Shaklee featured on Oprah

Today's Oprah called Go Green featured many different things you can do to help save your plant earth.

Oprah featured Shaklee Get Clean cleaning products and in response Shaklee is waiving the membership fee of $19.95 - You can chose to become a member to get member pricing - the cost is $19.95, but this is being waived. Now is a great time to sign up and GET CLEAN... check out this link to get your products TODAY!

Let me know if you need any help.

Earth Day 2007

Founded 37 years ago, Earth Day was the start of the modern environmental movement. Spurred by deteriorating environmental conditions, Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson, then a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin, proposed the first nationwide environmental protest "to shake up the political establishment and force this issue onto the national agenda. " "It was a gamble," he recalls, "but it worked." (Read more on the history of Earth Day HERE from Earth Day Network)

Today, with the threat of Global Warming, celebrating our earth is even more important. I have been watching the Planet Earth series on the Discovery Channel and if I didn't already think the beauty and diversity of our planet was worth fighting for and saving, I certainly do now. I highly recommend this show. The photography and video is absolutely stunning, and offers us a glimpse into worlds rarely seen.

Earth Day gives us a chance to celebrate this wondrous place we live and there are many different things we can do. Many cities have Earth Day celebrations, HERE is a link to a calendar containing events in different cities across the US. Defenders of Wildlife challenges you to "take the pledge" to take a young person out in nature. Check them out HERE. The Green Guide is a great resource for Earth Day ideas, you can find Ten Tips for Earth Day: Preserving Biodiversity HERE. They are also a great resource for all things green - you can get a subscription for as low as $12 per year (if you choose the online version), or $15 per year if you choose the paper version (made of recycled paper and printed with soy ink). Click The Green Guide if you are interested. Other simple things you can do are plant some seeds. Get some cute pots and have your kids help you. Also, be conscious of your footprint on the earth. If you haven't already done so, replace a lightbulb, make sure your tires are properly inflated (or better yet take public transportation!), visit your local farmers market and buy some scrumptious locally-grown produce. Have an Earth Day potluck - invite friends over and make it a local theme. Whatever you do, enjoy the day and really remember what Earth Day stands for and celebrate the bounty of nature.

Happy Earth Day my green friends! I will be thinking of you as I celebrate my Earth Day on the beautiful Oregon Coast.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

gDiapers and Earth day

Gdiapers is offering a 15% discount on their diaper inserts in honor of Earth Day ... you can check it out by clicking below:

30 reasons to become a vegatarian

I found this video at - it focuses more on animal cruelty/rights than it does on health and the environment, but it has a powerful message. I am WARNING YOU... this has some very graphic footage... if you are queasy or faint of heart you shouldn't watch it, but if you don't watch it b/c you don't want to see animals slaughtered and you eat meat... you might want to think about that and at least visit

Watch more videos at

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

recycle then compost

I was over at my friend Marie's and had a "DUH" moment. I walked by her crock pot and saw a bunch of frozen veggie scraps and a chicken carcass cooking away. I asked her what it was and she said that whenever they make a salad or any dish w/ veggie scraps instead of throwing them out they put them in the freezer then when they have a chicken carcass they put it all in the crock pot to make stock! Wow... DUH! How easy! I could make veggie stock instead of buying it from the store and having to throw away the container... and all from SCRAPS that I would either throw away or compost!

After you use the scraps you can compost them (veggie stuff only, unless you have a GREEN CONE... then you can toss that bird in there too!).

Thanks for the GREAT idea Marie!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Green Home items

Here are some things you can do around the house to "green up" the place.

1. Switch from your plastic food storage containers to glass (as the plastic wears out of course - don't just throw perfectly good Tupperware in the garbage - creating unneeded waste - b/c you want to replace it.) Here are some resources for glass food storage containers: Crate and Barrel,, Kitchen Etc., and Wisementrading.

BECAUSE: Not only does glass not leach harmful toxins into your food it is made with out the use of petroleum and can be recycled easily into more glass again and again and again.

2. Use cast iron (the original non-stick) instead of non-stick coated pots and pans. You can get cast iron pots and pans at any good retailer. Check out Williams Sonoma or Crate and Barrel. And for those of us that are a bit more thrifty - JC Penney also carries some really nice looking cast iron. The good news is that when cast iron is cared for properly it lasts forever. My mom has plenty of cast iron that is much older than I!

BECAUSE: The use of non stick coated pots and pans has not yet been proven to cause problems for humans, but the development and application of these coatings does create perfluoroocrtanoic acid which has been shown to cause developmental problems in lab animals. Cooking in cast iron can increase the amount of iron in a food by around 80% - good news for all of us veggies out there. Plus it cooks things very evenly and can go from stove top to oven.

3. Purchase some reusable bags. Karen and I have used the following bags and REALLY like them: Envirosax, good size w/ nice handles that fit over your shoulder. They come in awesome prints (b/c you want to look good carrying your bags) and roll up nice and small. And the lady that developed them is SUPER COOL. Chico Bags, almost exactly the size of a shopping bag, hold about 20lbs, come in fun colors, stuff (I'm better at stuffing than folding) into an attached little bag for easy storage and have a hook to hook them on about anything. Cafe Press, you can get one w/ your Green Girl splashed all over it! This one is large w/ long handles that will go over your shoulder as well. It doesn't fold up as small, but it says GREEN GIRL on it! Come on! :)

BECAUSE: Decrease the amount of bags hitting the land fill by using yours over and over again!

4. Switch to non-toxic dish washing detergents such as Shaklee or Seventh Generation.

BECAUSE: Conventional detergents pollute the water supply with chlorine and phosphates.

5. As your incandescent bulbs burn out replace them with compact fluorescents - CFLs.

BECAUSE: They last longer - about 10x longer - and will cost about $30 less over the life of the bulb. Yeah, less energy therefore less money leaving your pocket! One CFL can save 450 pounds of emissions from a power plant over its lifetime.

6. Use recycled toilet paper!

BECAUSE: According to the Natural Resource Defense Council we are destroying valuable habitat to make our disposable paper products - "But if every household in the United States replaced just one roll of 70-sheet virgin-fiber paper towels with 100 percent recycled towels, 544,000 trees could be saved."

7. Change all of your household cleansers from conventional cleaners to either natural "around the house" cleaners (see below) or to a non-toxic environmental variety like Shaklee (have I beat that horse enough yet? Can't help it ... it's what I use and I believe in their products.) Some natural cleaners you could use around the house include vinegar, baking soda and good old fashioned elbow grease.

BECAUSE: Conventional cleaners contain many harmful chemicals that are not only introduced to our water system, but are released into the air in YOUR HOME while you use them.

8. Install a rain barrel to collect run off water. Here are some options: The Rain Saver: Quite a pretty option as rain barrels are concerned. Clean Air Gardening: This site has ALL KINDS of barrels.

BECAUSE: m The more water you can conserve from rain water the less fresh water you use on your lawn and the less water that has to be processed in a water treatment plant!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Prius vs. Hummer?

There have been a lot of articles recently about the "dust to dust" cost to society over the full lifetime of a car or truck with particular emphasis on the Prius, a hybrid which gets excellent gas mileage vs. the Hummer, a large to medium size SUV which gets horrible gas mileage. Most of these articles claim that the Prius actually costs our society more than the Hummer: $3.25 per mile driven over 100k miles vs. $1.95 per mile driven over 300k miles. Yesterday I read an article in the Oregonian titled "Smug Alert" where the author also talked about the nickel in the Prius' battery. Apparently the nickel is mined in Sudbury, Ontario, which is an environmental wasteland - NASA even chose that site to test drive lunar buggies because it is the one spot on earth that is most like the moon. He also talks about the distance the nickel has to travel (start to finish more than 10k miles) and tries to factor the "global emissions" caused by this travel.

I will say first of all, that while I do not own a hybrid vehicle, I love them and am a big fan. This smearing (in my opinion) prompted me to do a little research of my own. First I looked into the mining in Sudbury. Apparently the place was an evironmental wasteland LONG before Toyota started buying 1,000 tons a year. They have actually done a bit of clean up and planted some trees in the area to try and revitalize the landscape. While I don't blame Toyota for the devastation, I do think it would be a great move on Toyota's part to help with the clean-up and environmental restoration of the area. It would say a lot about Toyota's true commitment to the environment.

Second, the mileage numbers that the author used: 100k for a Prius and 300k for a Hummer? I just don't believe it. For one thing, Toyota consistently makes cars that are reliable and long lasting. For another thing, since the Pruis is a hybrid, some of the time the engine is not actually running. So while the mileage might say 100k, the engine will actually have far less usage. So far there have been Prius' that have hit the 250k mark, which is not surprising for a Toyota vehicle or a hybrid, in my opinion. However 300k miles on a Hummer would greatly surprise me. I have a hard time believing the mileage discrepancy between the two vehicles would be that large.
Another concern that people have with hybrids is the the battery, and what is going to happen to all those batteries once their life span is over. While I can't speak for other car manufacturers, Toyota's battery has an 8-10 year warranty. Toyota offers a $200 credit to return the battery, when they then dismantle it and recylce all the parts.

All in all, I believe that Pruis and other hybrid vehicles are the way to go. Also a great option are cars with traditional engines that achieve excellent gas mileage. Honda now makes a civic hybrid that runs on natural gas and is the cleanest burning car on the road. (too bad it's only available in CA and NY right now) Diesel engine cars are also a great option with biodiesel becoming more available, unfortunately there are few diesel cars to choose from in the US. Hopefully that will change as the demand for alternative-fuel vehicles grows.

You can check out the full Dust to Dust report by CNW Research HERE.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

This Moment on Earth - the Kerry's

John and Teresa Kerry were featured on This Week with George Stephanopoulos (click HERE to view the video) promoting the environment and their book This Moment on Earth about REGULAR folks impacted by toxicity in our environment and what we as REGULAR folks can do to help fix it.

According to the Kerry's we have 10 years to make this right before we have a major catastrophe. John Kerry is saying that the US needs to take a stand and be the leader and research to do better by the environment. It's expensive, but it's only going to get more and more expensive as we wait. It makes me think about visits to the dentist where I'm told I need a crown... it's expensive, but not as expensive as waiting until I have an absess and need both a root canal and a crown... hmmm.

Watching some of the highlights from the book - namely the info about Rick Dove and his experience while he was fishing (watch the video) has solidified my decision to go Vegetarian. Yes, I've decided to go that way. :) I've already been eating that way for a bit and I even feel better. Now I have to decide whether or not to take my family (well, my kids I can't make my husband change the way he eats) with me.

I plan to check the book out when it hits my local library and will share more about it then.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

San Francisco bans plastic bags!

San Francisco's board of supervisors passed the plastic bag ban in a 10-1 vote on Tuesday, March 27th. The ban will take effect in 6 months for grocery stores and 1 year for pharmacies. It will require business to offer paper bags, compostable/biodegradable bags, or reusable bags. This is the first such legislation passed in the US and is generating quite a buzz. Check out the full story HERE. Hopefully other cities will follow suit, and in fact I heard that Madison, WI (home to our Green Girl Laura) may be the next city to follow suit. You can check out that story HERE.

Sunday, March 25, 2007


Now you can share your love for the Green Girl's Guide and show your pride in green. Order your Green Girl gear here!!!! Check out our store at Cafe Press - proceeds will contribute to making this site better and better for you!

Green Girl's SHOP!

We are working on making this site better already - which is why our posting has been a bit sparse lately! Look forward for more to come!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Is there an answer?

I am reading Garbage Land and I've got to say so far it's a bit dismal. Is there no answer to the question of what to do about our mounting garbage problem? Our garbage is just piling up everywhere creating all kinds of problems. It is unlikely that we can count on the majority of the public to take up composting their own materials and it isn't cost effective for municipalities to do it so that's not likely to happen. I'm still excited about my Green Cone and the prospect of doing my small part, but this book is making me frustrated about the big picture. I'm not done w/ the book yet and am awaiting her big answer / solution to the problem - though I doubt she has one. I think the real answer is for each of us to be more conscious about our decisions and how the impact the whole. We can't eliminate our garbage, but we can decrease it. Don't buy individually packaged products, buy bulk where we can... to coin a marketing term for the recycling campaigns... reduce, recycle, reuse!

One solution that is being discussed in the book are Anaerobic food digesters. These are enclosed vertical tanks that take up far less space than a landfill. The tanks are hooked up to dewatering and gas collection systems. Food and waste is 'cooked' in the cylinder until it is about 90% decomposed then it is moved to an aerobic system (I believe just in open air) for it to be converted to compost. This compost is made up of about 40 percent carbon dioxide and 60 percent methane. This can then be converted to energy.

Nantucket, Mass. came up against some real problems with their unlined landfill in the late 80s and was in the position to make a change. They hired Waste Options to implement an anaerobic food digester and have been able to divert about 86 percent of their garbage from the landfill into the digester and are going a step further and taking the old landfill and putting it in the digester to convert it to compost. You can check HERE for the full story!

I'm not sure that this is the answer for ALL locations, but it shows a great amount of promise. Now I need to research to see if others are looking into this as an option... surely the success of Nantucket's operation is no secret! I read about it..

So I think the NOW answer is for each of us to REDUCE, recycle and reuse wherever we can... while the long term answer is being worked on. I know there are bigger things we can do ... like lobby our local governments etc... the squeaky wheel gets the oil.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

San Francisco to ban plastic bags?

Mayor Gavin Newsom is backing the proposed ban on plastic bags. The city tried to impose a 17-cent per bag tax in 2005, which resulted in a voluntary agreement to use less bags, thereby avoiding the tax. Now the SF environmental council wants to ban bags altogether, charging the grocery stores have not done enough to reduce plastic bag use. The Environmental Council proposes offering recyclable paper, compostable plastic, or reusable cloth bags instead. If the ordinance passes, stores that do $2 million and up in sales would be affected. Grocery store chains are (of course) against the ban. Peter Larkin, president of the grocers association, has this to say: "Compelling more than 50 grocery stores to make the switch would also cause more environmental harm as baffled consumers mix biodegradable bags with regular plastic bags in recycling bins, contaminating recycled plastic, Larkin argued.
"You would end up with a situation where non-grocery stores are using regular plastic bags and the consumers will never be able to tell the difference or segregate the waste stream," he said. "We think it is going to confuse consumers and do damage to our efforts to recycle more." (

Ok...let me get this straight. They think that people won't be smart enough to tell the difference between a recyclable/compostable bag and a regular plastic bag, thereby jeopardizing the TINY portion of plastic grocery bags that are currently recycled? Oy. Personally, I am all for getting rid of plastic bags. I think that people who take the time to bring their bags back to the store will know the difference AND since SF has a curbside food compost program, consumers could even use the compostable grocery bags to store food until pick-up. Although San Francisco may be the first US city to propose such a (radical) thing, bans on plastic grocery bags are already in effect in other parts of the world.

Go San Francisco! Go Mayor Newsom!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Vegetable Ragu

What's this got to do w/ the environment? Well, in line with the discussion about vegetarianism I've been looking for good recipes and found this one and thought it would be fun to share some recipes as I go... try if you wish!

This particular recipe is modified from Rachel Ray's 2,4,6,8 Great Meals for Couples or Crowds.

Polenta w/ Vegetable Ragu
1 large head of cauliflower, cut into bite sized florets
3 T EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
Salt and Pepper
6 cups vegetable stock
1 large fennel bulb, cored and thinly sliced
1 large onion, thinly sliced
4 large garlic cloves, chopped
2 red bell peppers, seeded and sliced
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 cup raisins
1 head of escarole, washed and coarsely chopped (they didn't have this so I used mustard greens)
Parmigiano-reggiano cheese
Polenta (I used the kind that comes in a tube that you slice and prepare according to package directions)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Arrange cauliflower on a rimmed baking sheet, drizzle generously with EVOO, then season with salt and pepper, tossing around to coat. Roast the cauliflower for 15 minutes, or until it is lightly browned and tender.

Place large skillet over medium-high heat with 3 tablespoons of EVOO. Add the fennel, onions, garlic, bell peppers and red pepper flakes and season with a little salt and black pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes, or until the veggies are approaching being tender. Add 2 cups of veggie stock and bring up to a simmer, then continue cooking for 4 - 5 minutes.

While that is cooking slice your polenta and either pan fry it or bake it for about 15 minutes. (follow the directions on the package for desired results.)

Add the roasted cauliflower, greens (mustard, chard, escarole or whatever you prefer) and the raisins to the skillet of veggies, toss to combine and continue to cook for about 4 minutes, or until the liquid is reduced by half.

To serve place 2 or 3 slices of polenta in a bowl and cover with the veggie ragu then sprinkle with Parmigiano-Reggiano. Serves about 6.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007


Okay… so I’m 31 now.. (ouch) and you know we are always supposed to listen to our mom b/c ‘mommy knows best’, but we also know that deep down inside we want to disagree w/ mom… just because. Well, MY mom has been selling Shaklee products for some time now and I’ve always kind of let it all go in one ear and out the other… 1. Not a big fan of cleaning so any cleaning talk was useless to me (ha) and 2. I’m my own woman and didn’t need my mom telling me how to do things…. Ha ha

Fast forward: I’m a wife, mom, home owner and let’s face it I’ve got to start cleaning this house!!! I’ll summarize the story as to how I got to using Shaklee products. Post birth of my babies my skin was a wreck… even more of a wreck than it had been previously… now in addition to my lovely acne I had I now had a not so attractive RIDUCULOUSLY dry patch on my face. Mom and I traveled together and she went on and on about Shaklee and finally I said, “okay.. I’ll try your stuff while we’re on this trip.” (in my mind thinking this SO isn’t going to work) Well, IT DID! The dry spot cleared up in less than a week and I was sold. Mom had talked about the environmental aspects of Shaklee all along, but I hadn’t done the research on my own. Now that I was going to order my own Enfuselle (another post to be done in the future RE: skin care, but if you are looking for info now click here to be directed to the website.) I was going to do my own research. WOW Shaklee is one environmentally conscious operation. This led me to look into their cleaning products.. Mom had sung their praises as well, but I was leary about the shipping cost. After what I read about Shaklee and their environmentally conscious business practices I felt it might be worth it. Not only is it worth it… it’s cost effective because the products are so concentrated. I’m not paying for them to ship a bunch of water. I don’t’ have to have a bunch of different cleaners. Basic H works on almost everything.

They have named their cleaning product campaign Get Clean – meaning not only get your house clean, but get our planet clean.

The products are safe for you to use.. no harmful chemicals and therefore no horrible odors… no more having to turn on the fan in the bathroom just to do the job. No more rubber gloves or worrying about your kids being close by or following behind and touching before everything has dried and gassed off.

Quoted from the Shaklee website: “Go to your cupboard right now. Pick a cleaner, any cleaner. Does it contain chlorine, phenol, ammonia, or formaldehyde? These—and more—may be toxic. Toxic as in dangerous, as in hurtful, as in not very clean at all.”

Shaklee cleaning products have:

* No napthalene
* No kerosene
* No formaldehyde
* No phenol
* No cresol
* No lye
* No hydrochloric acid
* No sulfuric acid
* No petroleum distillates
* No benzene
* No ammonia
* No paradichlorobenzene
* No sodium hydroxide
* No butyl cellosolve
* No phosphoric acid

There products are also good for the planet.

Quoted from the Shalkee website: “Get Clean™ products use biodegradable cleaning agents, which means they break down easily instead of hanging out in the ground for hundreds of years. They also have no phosphates, borates, nitrates, or other stuff the planet doesn't appreciate. And by making them superconcentrated, we leave you to add water so we can subtract waste. This has tons of implications. Literally. Less weight to ship. Less product to use. Less packaging to throw away. So you can get that clean feeling about your house, knowing you're keeping the planet clean, too.”

Shaklee cleaning products have:

* Sustainably sourced natural ingredients
* Biodegradable
* No chlorine
* No phosphates
* No nitrates
* No borates
* No animal testing
* Recyclable packaging
* Recyclable wipes
* Recyclable dryer sheets

Some statistics from the website convinced me that purchasing the products on line and paying to have them shipped was worth the cost – and was actually a wash – because it helped me to achieve some of my personal goals for 2007: decreasing the amount of waste the I send to the landfill and decrease my environmental footprint. Here are the statistics that I found astonishing:

“108lbs of packaging waste stays out of landfills when you buy the Get Clean Starter Kit versus conventional ready-to-use cleaners.”

“248 pounds of greenhouse gas are eliminated when you buy the Get Clean Starter Kit versus conventional ready-to-use cleaners.”

I ordered the starter kit and I’ve gotta say I LOVE IT! Not only is it well packaged – hey come on .. I know it’s just cleaning stuff, but the fact that it looks good makes me feel good.. I don’t know why – it gets the job done and only drops of it are needed to perform hard tasks. Basic H rocks my cleaning world. You mix it in different degrees to clean different things… like windows vs. bathroom (all-purpose cleaners). I got my stuff in mid October and am no where near going through the Laundry detergent, Basic H, dish soap, hand soap, Nature Bright, fabric softener or scour off paste (love this stuff for hard to clean stuff... the sink, caked on cooked on stuff on pots and pans) . I did order more dish detergent, but for some reason we run the dishwasher a lot.. how does a family of 2 (+ 2 9 month olds) go through so many dishes?

I will stop going on and just direct you to the place to go for all info about Getting Clean and staying Green!!!! It even comes w/ a cute little caddy and cleaning rags… LOVE IT! Click HERE.

So here I am saying it for the world to see... Mom, you were RIGHT! AGAIN!

Friday, March 9, 2007

The Hundred-Year Lie

The first time I tried to read this book, I got so depressed I had to put it down. But, the with the library due date looming, I decided to give it another shot. Randall Fitzgerald writes a book detailing the history of the food and drug industry and the rise of health care costs and diseases. His argument, while a bit alarmist (which is why I had to put it down the first time) seems sound, and even though there was a lot of technical information, it was easy for the layperson (me) to read. Here are some excerpts from his book:

"Did you know that there are over 100,000 chemicals in use today? Most of them have not been tested for toxicity in humans, either alone or in combination with other chemicals.
What's even more disturbing is that in order to test all existing chemicals for synergistic effects on human health, it would take nearly 200 million different experiments which, with current technology, would take up to 1,000 years to complete. Safety is a of many myths exposed in The Hundred-Year Lie."

"Some general and common sense truths emerged in this book:
NOT all synthetics, at least as far as we know, are toxic to us.
NOT all naturally occurring substances from Nature are benign.
However, broadly speaking, the evidence indicates that most naturally occurring foods and medicines are healthy for us, as they have been for our species for thousands of years, while many if not most synthetic chemicals in foods and medicines pose some health risk."

Doctors and scientists seem to treat synthetic chemicals as innocent until proven guilty - take the Vioxx example. Vioxx was prescribed for arthritis and was finally taken off the market in 2004 after thousands of people experienced heart attacks and strokes as a result of taking the drug. The FDA had evidence 4 years earlier that the drug caused major problems based on the negative results of twenty-nine clinical trials.

A common theme that Fitzgerald touches on is the synergistic effects of synthetic chemicals in our bodies. Doctors and Scientists have no idea what the chemical load that we all carry around may be doing to our bodies. Scary! The book does end well, as the author tells us that it is up to us to do something about it. That means limit our exposure to chemicals and processed foods. Eat organic, fast often, and eat a raw foods diet that includes wheat grass juice as often as you can. Try alternative medicine (Ayurvedic, Chinese Medicine, Acupuncture, etc.) for general wellness, as those tend to focus on prevention of illness rather that just treatment of illness after the fact.

We can take control of our toxicity and we cannot rely on the FDA and drug manufacturers to tell us what is good for us. After all, the FDA relies on the drug companies to test their own products for safety and efficacy. In other words, the drug companies are left to police themselves. Hmmm...

I do recommend this book. It is very enlightening, well researched and well written. Ultimately I feel better after reading this book and knowing what I know, because now I can make informed decisions and take steps to become healthier for myself and my family.

Check out The Hundred-Year Lie blog HERE.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Organic flower delivery

If you are like me, you probably never thought about where your bouquet of flowers came from. I had no idea until I discovered organic flower delievery. It made me think - if these flowers were organic, what about all those other flowers? This is what I learned. The flowers in question were most likely imported from Columbia or Ecuador (over 70% of our imported flowers come from Latin America), where farm workers (many of them children) worked for very low wages in a pesticide ridden environment, and suffered from health issues including pesticide related poisoning. "In Ecuador, nearly 60 percent of floral workers surveyed showed poisoning symptoms, including headaches, dizziness, hand-trembling and blurred vision." (Environmental Health Perspectives 2002). Gerald Prolman, founder of is addressing this issue by working directly with farmers to protect the workers and the environment. "Organic Bouquet offers the finest floral gifts sourced from growers that are committed to the highest social and environmental standards. Our flowers are grown and harvested using practices that aim to improve the quality of farm working conditions, minimize damage to ecosystems, conserve biodiversity, and enhance environmental quality for future generations." ( website). The standards that OrganicBouquet uses for the farms and flowers are Organic, Veraflora, Biodynamic, Fair Trade, and Transitional. I highly recommend checking them out. They also offer organic chocolates, organic flowering teas, gift baskets, and all their packaging is 100% recyclable or biodegradable. This would make a wonderful gift for anyone, and, by buying from this company you are not only receiving beautiful, pesticide-free flowers and gifts, but you are also showing your support for fair trade and better labor conditions for thousands in Latin America. Happy flower shopping!

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Another reason to choose natural and organic bath and body products!

A recent study finds the presence of 1,4-Dioxane in various children's bath products like Hello Kitty Bubble Bath, Huggies Baby Wash, Johnson’s Baby Wash, Scooby-Doo Bubble Bath and Sesame Street Bubble Bath. It has also been found in adult personal care products. Here is what the EPA says about 1,4 Dioxane:

1,4-Dioxane is a petroleum-derived contaminant considered a probable human carcinogen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and a clear-cut
animal carcinogen by the National Toxicology Program...Because
it is a contaminant produced during manufacturing, the FDA does not require it to be listed as an ingredient on product labels.

Check out the full article HERE

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Campaign for Safe Cosmetics

I recently read The Hundred-Year Lie (book review coming soon) and it really opened my eyes to the levels of chemicals pervading our everyday lives. Synthetic chemicals are in everything - shampoo, conditioner, lotion, deodorant, toothpaste, cosmetics, household cleaners, medicine, food, etc. After running out of my favorite make-up, Bare Escentuals, I decided to do a little research before buying anymore. Bare Escentuals is supposed to be so pure that you can sleep in it, and "Made with pure, crushed minerals from the earth" (taken from the Bare Escentuals website). I checked the Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep database and the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics for the facts on the ingredients listed on my BE Mineral Veil powder foundation: Zea Mays (corn) Starch, Aluminum Starch Octenylsuccinate, Magnesium Stearate, Zinc Stearate, Methylparaben, Proplyparaben, MAY CONTAIN: Iron Oxides (CI 77499). EWG Skin Deep database gives each ingredient a rating of Green (low concern) Yellow (moderate concern) or Red (higher concern). All of the ingredients EXCEPT Aluminum Starch Ocyenylsuccinate, Methylparaben and Proplyparaben received the green rating. The 3 afore mentioned ingredients received a yellow rating, and this is what I found out about Parabens from the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics website:

Parabens are a group of compounds widely used as anti-microbial preservatives
in food, pharmaceutical and cosmetics products, including underarm
deodorants. Parabens are absorbed through intact skin and from the
gastrointestinal tract and blood. U.K. researchers found measurable
concentrations of six different parabens in 20 human breast tumors. The
study highlights the need for more research on the potential link between
products containing parabens and increased breast cancer risk.

Many companies, including Compact signers, have begun phasing out parabens
from their lines by marking their products as “paraben-free.” Parabens are
commonly listed on product ingredient labels as methylparaben,
propylparaben, ethylparaben and butylparaben.

In a nutshell, recent research links Parabens to cancer as they are a hormone disruptor and mimic estrogen. Personally, that is enough reason for me to seek out Paraben-free products, and unfortunately that means that my Bare Escentuals has to go! The Skin Deep database lists many companies who get a completely green rating, and I chose two cosmetics companies - Afterglow and The Alchemist's Apprentice. Both make a powder mineral foundation like BE, and both are paraben-free. I was able to order samples of both, so now am awaiting (eagerly, as I don't have any more BE to use even if I was desperate!) their arrival. I will give you all an update as soon as I can.

Thankfully, there are many brands of safe cosmetics out there. I encourage people to do the research and make informed decisions about product choices. This post is not meant to be alarmist, or meant to discourage. Personally I am choosing to take this information and make better decisions about the products that I bring into my home, products that I can feel good about, products that I can actually read and understand the labels. My next search is for a great body lotion/cream made without the use of any synthetic chemicals or compounds, and I will keep you updated on all my product testing!

Thank you...

Thank you to everyone that has responded via comments and sent emails to both Karen and myself with both ideas and encouragement. We are both very excited about this. It would be an understatement to say that my head is spinning with ideas of what to share here. I've got some great stuff from a lot of you!

Sorry for the minor glitch ... we are trying to drop the 'blogspot' from our name and use just our domain name of greengirlsguide and I guess I did something wrong. We are back on with blogspot for now, but will hopefully get it all worked out. If you set up RSS feeds don't worry they will still work after we get moved.

Go Green,

Thursday, March 1, 2007


So I lay in bed last night contemplating the whole vegetarian thing and felt I left you hanging out there with my last post. I have eaten vegetarian in my past - for non-environmental reasons, but have since left that life behind. Current info has me considering vegetarianism again, but I wouldn't make that extreme choice lightly. We were designed to be omnivores... I am built to eat meat - granted I don't think humans were built to eat the VOLUME of meat that we eat. Is going veg the best all around taking into consideration both the environment and my health? Do I need to be so extreme to make a difference in our planet? Is just cutting back on the amount I eat enough? I think the answer is probably yes, but know that I AM looking into this and will report back any findings!

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Go Green ... eat less meat!

According to an article in Natural Awakenings Magazine (see page 20 for the article) eating less meat (or NO meat or meat products) is one of the best things you can do for the environment!

Did you know that meat consumption in America is 4 times greater than it was 40 years ago? That cows alone account for 18% of green house gases - more than ALL transportation combined. Given this information going vegetarian would make a larger impact (positive impact) on the environment than switching from a gas guzzling SUV to a hybrid mid sized car. Take it a step farther to vegan (no animal products what-so-ever) and you may as well walk or bike everywhere.

Each year each individual vegetarian saves an ACRE of trees. An ACRE!!! Wow! Forty percent of Central Americas rain forests have been destroyed to make way for cattle pastures in the last 40 years.

Sources say that you only need 2 - 10% of your daily calories from protein... and other sources of protein include nuts, soy beans, whole wheat bread, beans and lentils.

5 States come together to combat global warming

Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona, and New Mexico came together when the Governors from those states signed a compact designed to target and limit the major sources of human caused greenhouse gasses (GHG's): vehicle exhaust and industrial sources including methane. The states want to send a message to the federal government saying that if the FD isn't prepared to act, then the states will act to protect their precious natural resources. The pact has the potential to expand to include other states, and possibly even British Columbia.
Check out the 5 state pact at . Since the western states that joined together collectively produce only 11% of all carbon dioxide nationwide, experts say that there must be a bigger effort from more states to have any impact. There are already 9 eastern states that have joined together to limit emissions from power plants, so hopefully the two pacts will inspire other states to get involved, and ultimately cause the Federal Government to act and pass laws to control GHG's and help slow or stop global warming.

Reusable bags

Part of my new year's resolutions this year included (finally) using reusable bags. It is something that I have been thinking about for a really long time. I had vague ideas that I should remember to bring my paper bags back to New Seasons or Trader Joes on my next shopping trip, however it wasn't until I actually returned home, new bags full of groceries, that I remembered that I was going to try to re-use my old ones. Oops. So, as I said above, part of my resolution included using reusable bags FOR SURE! So, I went to New Seasons and forgot my paper bags (of course), but saw that they sold reusable nylon bags for $1.50. I bought one, and also bought a smaller nylon bag that fits in it's own little carrying bag. The little one is great because I can carry it in my purse so I will always have it. I think that is going to be key for me - to always have one on me. Because, a week later, I went to Trader Joes, and FORGOT MY BAG! Arrgh! But, TJ's sells reusable bags for .$99, so I bought two. As they were bagging my groceries, they filled up the two bags and were reaching for a new paper bag when I remembered! The bag in my purse! I whipped it out, and they filled that one, and I walked out of TJ's with my 3 reusable bags. Yippee! Sometimes I still forget though. I watch as they put my one item in a plastic bag, and as I am reaching for it, I remember. Oh, I say, you can keep that bag. I don't need it. Yesterday I walked out of the pet food store with an armload of stuff because I remembered to not take the plastic bag, but didn't remember that I had one in my purse. Oh well - baby steps, right? I figure I have saved dozens of plastic bags already, and I must admit, I feel very good about that. Eventually it will become second nature, but until then, if you see someone walking to her car with an armload of groceries and no bag, just please remind me about the one in my purse...

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Ikea... who knew!?

I'm so relieved to see that not only am I saving myself some coin when I shop at Ikea (which isn't as much these days... now that I'm trying not to buy new stuff), but I can feel good about my purchases in regard to their environmental and social impact.

Ikea has a code of conduct that outlines that all people they do business with must conduct fair working practices and strive to minimize their environmental impact. And if their partners can't maintain this code the relationship will end. That is inspiring. I only wish all businesses operated that way. They offer low cost items, but not at ANY cost.

Grist did an interview with Ikea's sustainability director Thomas Bergmark regarding a plastic bag promotion that Ikea is running and their environmental practices. Ikea started a program where they would charge 5cents for each plastic bag (donating the proceeds to American Forests) to discourage the use of the bags and offered the reusable blue bags you get when you shop there for just 59cents. The bigger news is that Ikea is working to make itself more environmentally friendly. It takes time in choosing a new location for it's stores taking into consideration the impact on the local biodiversity, it considers it's building materials, their facilities take care in recycling and are aiming to be 25% more energy efficient in the operation of their stores.

Kudos to you Ikea... and thank you for making me feel good about purchases I have made and will likely make in the future!

I still suggest that you HIGHLY consider buying items used, but when that won't work or you just have a hankerin' to check out Ikea (I know you get that feeling!) you can feel good about your purchases!

Getting Started - Things you CAN do!

So for those of you just getting started on your road to green-dom here are some ideas to get you started. It can be such a daunting task and we realize that it can leave you stagnant and cause you to turn away from the idea or remain paralyzed and confused... we both lived that way for some time.

Let's get started! Choose a couple of these things to implement in your life and after they become habit you can go back and add more items or take that item to the next level. Every little bit counts and you CAN make a difference!

- Reuse those grocery bags - either at the store the next time or as garbage bags (at least you aren't buying new and throwing away a perfectly good bag)
The next level: Use reusable bags when you go to the store - like these: CHICO bags
- Getting just a few apples (potatoes, etc) skip the produce bag and just toss them loose into your cart
- Buy in bulk
- purchase local produce - look for a farmer's market near you with this handy GUIDE.
- Skip the bottled water. If your tap water isn't palpable get an under counter water softener. I have a Reverse Osmosis filter. Buy yourself a NON LEACHING water bottle to refill to your hearts content. Try either SIGG or Klean Kanteen
- Wear your jeans (or whatever) twice before washing
- Wash your clothes in cold water instead of hot
- Turn lights out as you leave the room
- When your bulbs burn out replace them with the energy efficient variety
- Turn down your thermostat a few degrees
- Turn down the temperature on your hot water heater
- Unplug things when you aren't using them. Ex: phone charger, computer, etc.
- Sign up with Green Dimes to decrease the amount of junk mail you get (that goes right into your recycling or garbage) It's only $36/year!!!

More to come...

Monday, February 26, 2007


Welcome to Green Girl's Guide. Karen and I have been posting about all things environmental on our own personal blogs and we thought it would be great to collaborate and create a website together. We are hoping to provide you with one stop shopping for ideas on how to go green in your own life. We will both be posting things here that we discover... both informational and personal things we are working on to decrease our footprint and to go green.

If you have something you are curious about please submit a question, suggestion or request in the comments section and we will look into it ... give you feed back and probably tell you what we think about it (because we just can't help ourselves!)

This is a work in progress and we hope you enjoy your time here!

Go green,