You know, I spend a lot of time wondering ways that I can go "green", wondering if I'm "green enough" and if the products that I use for my family (from toys and clothes to food and cleaning supplies) are more harmful than helpful. It's important to me to teach my kids by showing them and I truly feel they can gain a sense of caring about our earth and the products that we use if they simply see me caring and hear me talking about those things.

As much as I want to be green, I'll admit that I find myself a little lost sometimes on what all I can do, what habits I can change to make our house and our lifestyle greener.

In honor of the Seventh Generation giveaway I'm having right now on the Giveaway Page here at Lolidots, I wanted to share with y'all an interview that I was honored to have with Alexandra Zissu, the author of The Conscious Kitchen. She's got some great tips for going green in the kitchen and I was thrilled to get to pick her brain a little bit!

1) What is the most common toxic mistake that moms are making in their kitchens and what can we do to remedy the situation?

We tend to be very concerned about disinfecting in the kitchen and so people overuse conventional disinfectants. I always find it ironic that people are now going out and spending extra time and money to source something like organic chicken because it is purer and hasn’t been decontaminated with chlorine, but then they come home and prep it on a board that has been decontaminated with chlorine! Don’t undo your good deed. If you must disinfect, do it naturally. And don’t forget to wash your hands. They’re actually the germiest things in any kitchen!

I also see many people undermining good conscious choices in the kitchen in other ways. They’ll bring home lovingly purchased farmers’ market eggs and produce and then cook them in a scratched non-stick pan, or microwave them in plastic containers. The chemical used to manufacture most non-stick cookware is such a health hazard that it’s currently being phased out. And so much of it gets released in the environment during manufacture (and disposal – they cannot be recycled) that it has been found in the blood of something like 98 percent of Americans. If it is scratched, it’s also going into your food. If heated to very high temperatures, the fumes can make you sick. They have even been known to kill birds. No thanks. When you microwave plastic, its chemical components go directly into your food. Considering that we now all know about hormone disrupting chemicals in many plastics, it’s never a safe idea to microwave plastic. The term “microwave-safe” on a plastic container isn’t a regulated claim. If you microwave, do it in glass.

2) A common concern that I hear from moms is that sometimes being eco-friendly isn't very budget friendly. Do you have any green tips for the frugal moms?

Green isn’t about spending green. Really. If anything, it’s about reducing the amount of stuff in your life, which inevitably saves money. A few thoughts:

 *Switching to green cleaning products doesn’t cost more than using conventional ones and drastically reduces your indoor air pollution. Making your own cleaning products out of vinegar, lemon, baking soda, and natural dish soap is also very cost effective.

 *Taking off your shoes before you enter your home is free, and also reduces your indoor air pollution.

 *Buying a share in a local farm – a system called Community Supported Agriculture – is an inexpensive way to buy local organic food. Look up one near you on

 *Reducing the amount of packaged food you buy and buying whole foods instead will reduce your supermarket bill. So will cooking at home instead of ordering take out. As will drinking filtered tap water out of a reusable bottle instead of buying bottled water. I have many more tips like these in The Conscious Kitchen.

 *Washing your clothing at home instead of drycleaning saves money and means you’re not bringing perc, the highly toxic chemical used in most dry cleaning, into your home.

 I could go on and on and on!

3) If there was one green thing that you wish everyone would do in their homes, what would it be?
Oh I have so many wishes! But the first step to doing anything green is thinking green. So I’d like everyone to sit down and really think about why and how to go green, and about how it would make the most sense for them to go about doing it. It’s a bit like a New Year’s resolution – you can’t do all at once or you won’t stick to it. And we really all need to be sticking to at least some level of green for our safety, our neighbor’s safety, and the health of our shared earth. Once you shift your mindset and decide you’re going to think green, you’re off and running – switching cleaning products and light bulbs, buying local food, filtering your tap water. Before you know it you’ll be bringing your compost in reusable organic cotton sacks to the nursery school vegetable patch you helped set up as a community awareness outreach effort! Ok maybe not instantly but you get the point.

4) Aside from the kitchen, what are a few tips for making the entire house greener?

 I have actually touched on many whole house things in my prior answers – like the no shoes policy, avoiding drycleaning. Shifting your mindset is about the entire house and beyond. The kitchen is the hub where all systems in a house come together, and anything you green in here can be similarly greened elsewhere. You can filter your shower water to avoid volatile chemicals; green cleaning products should be used everywhere in the house; and avoiding plastic is a great idea no matter where in the home you are, especially when it comes to toys and mattress covers.

Many thanks to Alexandra Zissu! If you haven't read her book, The Conscious Kitchen, I highly recommend it! Also, if you haven't entered the giveaway for an amazing prize pack of Seventh Generation cleaning products, what are you waiting for?!

I hope everyone had an awesome weekend and that you'll all try to find one little way you can get a little greener this week!