Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A Green Family's Gift Guide

Have you seen the piece that Fox did this week on the 7 foods you should never eat? These are things green moms have been talking about for a while, so I'm glad to see it getting some mainstream attention! Seeing lists like this can be overwhelming, though. I mean, how do you live without canned tomatoes?! (ps I have an answer).  If you have a green family on your list who is interested in cleaning up their family's food act, these might be some great presents to consider giving (or putting on your own list for Santa!).

What: A Pressure Canner (and canning supplies)
Why? Commercially canned foods almost universally contain the hormone-disrupting chemical, BPA. High acid foods like tomatoes, cause even more BPA to leach into food than with lower acid ones. BUT you can can your own tomatoes, beans and more at home. In glass jars. This severely reduces the amount of  BPA that your family is exposed to - especailly if you are big on canned food items like diced tomatoes and tomato sauce.

Where to get it: This pressure canner from Presto  is affordable and basic. For a little bit more you can get a canning starter set that includes everything you need except for jars. You'll want to make sure you get a pressure canner that comes with a pressure gauge. You can pick up jars in varying sizes at your local grocery store.

What: A Glass Popcorn Popper
Why? Chemicals that line bags of microwave popcorn like PFOA are linked to human infertility and certain types of cancer. Manufacturers are promising to phase these chemicals out by 2015. But let's be honest. That's a long ways away. In the meantime, do microwave popcorn the non-toxic way with this rad popcorn popper  (which on my personal Christmas list this year). There are a variety of air poppers on the market, too. But this one won't blow a fuse and it can also go in the dishwasher.

Where to get it: This is pretty much the only glass popcorn popper I've seen on the market. Pair it with a sampler of different kinds of popping corn. You can pick up fun popcorns at Whole Foods or Target, or get a ready-made sampler from Etsy Seller DellCoveSpices.

What: A CSA Membership
Why? Many kinds of non-Organic produce like apples and potatoes still retain traces of the pesticides used to grow them on or even in the fruit or veggie itself. Plus when the fruits and veggies at your corner store had to fly halfway across the globe to get there, the carbon footprint is high and their nutritional value is reduced. Enter the CSA: CSA stands for "Community Supported Agriculture." You pre-pay a local farmer for a share of the harvest and every week you get a box full of locally grown (many times organic) produce and sometimes eggs or milk, too!

Where to get it? Check out Local Harvest for more information about CSAs and for help locating a CSA program in your neck of the woods.

What: Glass Food Storage Containers
Why? Even if you use BPA-free plastic containers for your leftovers, other hormone disrupting chemicals called phthalates can still be lurking. In fact, some BPA-free plastics have even higher levels of phthalates than those that kept BPA in the mix (read: bad news). In a world of green-washing and marketing hype, go with glass. Know for sure that you're keeping crazy chemicals out of your leftovers and use pretty containers that can also go in the freezer, microwave, oven and dishwasher.

Where to get it? The Pyrex set above is available online and at most department and home stores like Target or Bed, Bath and Beyond. Other brands make similar products but Pyrex is the one we use and love in our home.

What: Non-Toxic Nail Polish
Why? Most nail polishes contain a long list of highly toxic ingredients like formaldehyde, phthalates, actone and more (read more about it here). These chemicals don't just go on your nails - they get into your lungs even long after the polish is dry as the chemicals continue to off-gas for days. Keep toxic chemicals off your hands and out of your lungs by using non-toxic polishes like the ones from Piggy Paint or Gaiam.

Where to get it? Amazon sells lots of colors and gift sets from the Piggy Paint line. Also check naturals stores like Whole Foods or your local cloth diaper store (the Cotton Babies store in Vancouver carries these!). Hint: "Like" Piggy Paint on Facebook as they frequently post promo codes for discounts on certain colors or sets.

I hope I've given you some great ideas as you shop for loved ones or put together your own wish lists. If you're a green mom or dad, leave a comment and share what you're jonesing for this year!

This is a non-sponsored post. All opinions are 100% mine. No free products or compensation were given by the companies mentioned above for including their products or naming them in this guide. Some of the links above are my affiliate links. See my affiliate links note in the sidebar.

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