Cheat sheet of non-toxic tips and eco-wisdom

I asked Janelle Sorensen, the Senior Editor and Outreach Director for Healthy Child Healthy World, to help me create a round-up of great green parent bloggers and she vastly exceeded my expectations.

naked baby

Janelle lives in the mountains of Arizona with her husband, daughters, and puppy. Below, she shares her story for getting involved in non-toxic living and lists a few of her favorite go-to websites in the areas of healthy cooking, finding safe products, saving money, and having fun.

Janelle writes:
If you had asked me to draw a picture of pollution fifteen years ago, it would have been something along the lines of a factory with smokestacks billowing and litter strewn around the surrounding grounds. Pollution was outside, over there. I was not a part of it.

My awakening occurred when I was pregnant with my first daughter. I had an exquisitely vulnerable being growing inside me and I felt compelled to learn about everything I was putting in my body, on my body, and around my body. It was the beginning of an intense learning curve that I still progress further down every day.

Ask me to draw a picture of pollution today and I’ll draw a picture of the inside of a house, with brightly colored cleaners under the kitchen sink, a plug-in air freshener quietly doing its business in an outlet, and an elementary figure of a pregnant woman with a tainted womb. Pollution is inside, in our comfort zones and sacred spaces. It is in me and I am a part of creating more pollution every time I buy something or turn on a light. I recognize my role in the problem and I am empowered to be a part of the solution.

General Living Tips and Stories:
The Green Moms Carnival – a collective of 41 blogs and every month one of them hosts a carnival. They all write about the same topic and then one blogger posts a summary of all the pieces with links back to all the original posts. The monthly post is always an enlightening assemblage of a wide variety of perspectives and advice. Of course, you should also check out the individual bloggers!

Eco-Child’s Play – a blog devoted to informing and discussing “Green Parenting for Non-toxic, Healthy Homes”. It’s part of the Simple Earth Media environmental blog network in case you’re looking for other green blogs that aren’t family-related.

The Daily Green – not solely for parents, it has a wide array of tips for living greener that apply to everyone. The Daily Green features daily news, tips, seasonal recipes and community photos. They have a host of bloggers and contributors, and their features cover a variety of topics, including gardening, nutrition and food safety; saving money and energy at home, in the car and everywhere else; the latest research about global warming and the health risks of chemicals and toxic toys; as well as unique topics you’ll find nowhere else.

Safer Products:
The Soft Landing – shares eating gear reviews based on real-life experience, updates on current toxic plastic research and quick reference shopping guides. There’s also The Soft Landing Store, which is the first of its kind, offering over 45 brands of 100% BPA, PVC and Phthalate-free products in one convenient place. Their goal is to take the headache out of making the switch to safer feeding gear for busy parents.

SafeMama – a very robust resource to find information regarding safer products. With the onslaught of toy problems, lead paint, toxic chemicals and other health concerns popping up in the news, this is a site where parents can go to find what they need to make educated and informed decisions. (Be sure to check out SafeMama’s awesome supply of “cheat sheets” for finding safer options.

Inhabitots – a resource for parents, families, and anyone else interested in sustainable modern design for children (it always gets me drooling looking through all the amazing products). It also gives me hope for a better tomorrow seeing all the innovations.

Special mentions that are easy-to-use databases of safer products: Zrecs Guide to Safer Children’s Products, the Healthy Stuff database, and the Skin Deep cosmetics and personal care product database.

Non-toxic Non-profit blogs:
Healthy Child Healthy World – shameless self-promotion, maybe, but I turned to Healthy Child for help raising my girls in a healthier environment long before I began working with them. The blog keeps you up to date on the latest research and easy recommendations, but we also have printable pocket guides, a book every parent should read, an interactive Health eHome, and much more.

Enviroblog – from the staff at the Environmental Working Group has smart discussion of the latest science and news on toxins in your food, water, and air, and what government agencies should be doing to protect public health.

Natural Resources Defense Council’s Simple Steps – has great information about why it’s important to live healthy and sustainable, as well as a plethora of tools to help you – like a mobile label reading guide, fun quizzes, and more.

Crafting and DIY: (because it’s fun to do with kids and can be a very green activity)

Crafting a Green World – features do-it-yourself projects that incorporate reused, recycled, and natural materials. Find knitting, sewing, crocheting, and other project ideas for eco-friendly and fashionable clothes, crafts, gifts and more.

Recycled Crafts – part of a larger blog, Craft Gossip, where they scour the net looking for the best craft ideas and projects and review them for you. Great ideas for gifts, décor, and more.

Super Naturale – dedicated to making art out of everyday life, SuperNaturale focuses on the Do It Yourself culture in all its glorious forms.

Craftzine (green) – the online site based on Craft Magazine and the green archive has great ideas and tutorials for crafters of every skill level.

Deliciously Organic – Carrie Vitt switched to organic after enduring debilitating health problems. Within weeks she was much better, ditched the bevy of medications she was on, and switched her whole family to simple, organic foods. She says her “goal is to demystify organic cooking and make it more accessible to the home cook by providing uncomplicated recipes using only the purest ingredients.” Delicious recipes, beautiful images of food, entertaining writing. What more could you wish for?

Sustainable Pantry – The goal with Sustainable Pantry is to show that even in an urban setting with a demanding schedule, you can sustain yourself on an environmentally responsible diet that’s healthy, delicious and won’t break your budget or cause you to spend your whole life in the kitchen.

Giveaways and Discounts: (because it’s not always cheap being green)
Ecobunga! – a comprehensive directory of giveaways and deals on green products and services, including sweepstakes, contests, coupons, rebates, sales, free shipping, and bulk discounts.

I am compelled by my children’s health, but I’ve learned that without a healthy planet, we cannot have healthy kids. So, you may be interested in non-toxic, green, eco-friendly, or sustainable living – but they all essentially have the same goal of healthfulness (in a wide variety of applications). Start (or continue) your journey by drawing upon the collective wisdom of these amazing blogs.

A huge thank you to Janelle for sharing her non-toxic tips and eco-wisdom with all of us. For more Janelle, check out and the Wake-Up Story.