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March 30, 2011

I’m really excited to announce that I have my first contributor to the FitMommas blog! I’d like to introduce everyone to Mandy Whitacre, aka NatureMomma! Mandy is a fellow FitMomma that I’ve known for about three years. She will be writing about the different ways you can Go Green in your life…honoring nature, reducing harmful chemicals, reusing & recycling and living healthier through Earth-friendly practices. Hopefully you’ll find some great information from our resident NatureMomma! So without further ado, here’s Mandy in her own words:

Meet our NatureMomma!

Naturemomma:  Getting Back to Nature

I remember sitting in my mom’s car as a teenager, staring at the car exhaust pipe in front of us and wondering why we couldn’t just turn off the cars at stop lights to conserve gas and put less pollutants in our environment.  We were just sitting there waiting after all. I kept my conservation/ecologically-minded mentality all through college. I biked more places than I drove, recycled, ate a vegetarian diet, and I even taught a conservation-minded course to freshman. Even post-college, I worked for the Missouri Department of Conservation hoping to continue living the conservation-minded life.  So when did I get off track….?

This year hit me like a brick….how did my relatively small size 7 shoes start leaving such a HUGE carbon footprint? It really struck me when one of my students complained that she is allergic to many chemicals in everyday cleaners and had broken out in hives the other day. I did some research on this because it struck a chord that perhaps the cleaners I use in our home were somehow related to my son Max’s weird coughing/sneezing fits when he is in the bathtub.  I started looking into chemical-free cleaners and I had this epiphany- I’ve been in full-on mommy mode for over 5 years and I haven’t had TIME to analyze what’s been happening in my home.  We all claim the “mommy-brain” syndrome for the relatively short, sleep-deprived period after our children are born, but when we stop being able to blame mommy brain for stuff….we seem to just settle into “on-the-go mommy-mobile” mode in which convenience is of the utmost.  My “mommy brain” has lasted 5 years and I still have lots of soccer/ballet/T-ball mommy-hood ahead of me!

I decided to rattle my delicate brain and make some changes!  I started looking around my house and realizing that I’m not only relying on convenient chemical-based cleaners, but I’d started using a barrage of commercially mass-produced convenience products.  The day following my chemical-free cleaning research, I was making my son’s lunch and started wondering how many plastic baggies I must have gone through that year alone.  EVERYONE uses plastic baggies, but how easy would it be to replace those with re-useable ones or even Tupperware containers.  Then I looked around my kitchen….I had started using paper towels and napkins more now that my children were able to wipe their own messes up.  It would be just as easy to use cloth napkins, and re-useable cleaning cloths!

The eco-makeover snowballed from there….I replaced my disposable Swiffer mop cloths with microfiber ones.  I switched my lotions and body care items to all nature, paraben-free choices instead.  I’ve scrutinized our food choices and am consciously making more organic and all-natural choices for the whole family.  I finally feel like I’ve gotten back to being a “Naturemomma.”  I want my children to sit in the car and yearn for the car to stop emitting so much pollution.  I want them to be conscious of their environment and make improvements when they can.  I have already seen some of these ideals in my children since I’ve initiated our eco-home makeover.  I’ve been saving Capri Suns and dried fruit snack packages (both made of food-grade safe materials) and putting Velcro in them to make re-useable snack bags.  The other day, an empty dried fruit package came home in Max’s lunch box (he knew we could re-use it)!  I was quite the proud momma!  I am relieved to have made these changes this year.  I feel like I have gotten back a part of me that was missing for years…and I know I’ve made the right choices for our family and the future.

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