I had the pleasure of catching up with Delphinia Tam-Lower and Militza Maury, the founders of Green Living, a workshop designed to share the simplest tools, tips and tricks to start us all leading greener, simpler and healthier lives.
Here are snippets of our conversation. If you’re thinking about going green, read on to find out why you should get started, and how.
Q) How did you guys get started on this green project?
Del: My “green consciousness” really only started when my daughter developed eczema as a baby. That made me a lot more aware of what was going into the food, skincare and other products we use around her. My mum-in-law, who lives on a farm in S.E. Queensland in Australia, was always a natural remedies advocate and when she began making all-natural skin care products for my daughter, that was how Four Cow Farm came about.
Militza: Del was already holding natural skincare workshops at Four Cow Farm. We got to know each other through Little Green Dot, and we decided to collaborate because we shared similar ideals. We thought it’d be great to organize workshops on different green topics, and that was how Green Living was born.
Q) Why should parents take the natural route?
Del: Going natural saves money, time, keeps our families safer and saves the planet! Learning the details and science behind the conventional options makes you realise that the natural route really is best. And more studies are backing that up in many different areas, from cleaning to food to skincare.
Militza: Going natural is about ridding yourself of excesses and simplifying your life. There are thousands of products aimed at parents, shouting for our attention and half of it we don’t even really need. For me, choosing to shut out the noise has been incredibly liberating. And learning to make your own products, realising that you can make it simpler and better than most of what’s being sold out there, is incredibly empowering!
Q) Going natural seems so overwhelming. Where should I start?
Del: Household cleaning is a good place to start. It’s so key because it touches every part of your house, and yet it’s simple too. It’s about being aware and intentionally reducing the amount of chemicals that you bring into your home.
Militza: The reason why we clean is to keep our families healthy and safe. Once you get started, you really start to see the kind of things that goes into the stuff you use on a daily basis, and then you can take small steps to change the things that you use, and build new habits.
Q) There seems to be a great deal to learn and do. Is it really worth the effort?
Del: Detoxing the home is totally worth the effort. Start with one thing, and you’ll soon find that this isn’t difficult at all.
Militza: For a start, we really need to re-think the entire idea of cleaning. You don’t need a sterile environment in the home, I mean, you’re not doing surgery in the kitchen!
Take it one step at a time. For general cleaning, use vinegar. It has natural antimicrobial properties, and it basically can replace the disinfectants that you use. Once you get going, it can actually be quite fun. And you can start experimenting with different herbs, and use their natural properties to create the effects that you need. For example, lemon helps to cut grease, so lemon juice can be added to a vinegar solution to make a de-greasing solution. And for anything that you need to scrub, just mix vinegar and baking soda, which is effective for removing soap scum and stains.
The best part is, these are all food-grade items, and you no longer need to worry about what happens if your child gets in contact with them.
Q) How do we know that these natural methods work?
Del: We do a lot of research into the methods we recommend (quite a number of natural methods have actually been tested and researched by scientists) and we test these out in our own homes! There’s a science behind these natural methods that make them work, and that’s what we try to explain to those who attend our workshops.
Militza: We are about finding real and practical solutions to our everyday needs…these are not old wives’ tales! The methods and the ingredients that we talk about have been used throughout time and are shown to be effective by modern scientific testing. So we do the research, we use these methods in our own homes, and we believe in them!
Here’s a study done which tested vinegar against e-coli and found vinegar to effectively inhibit its growth. What’s interesting too is that they found that adding table salt to the solution made it even more effective for the prevention of bacterial food poisoning. We will definitely be showing parents how to clean with vinegar and table salt to maintain a healthy home.
Q) Will going natural burn a hole in my pocket?
Militza: Not really. On the contrary, it might help you save a bit in the long run. Because as you get used to DIY and using things like baking soda and vinegar (which are cheap when you buy in bulk), you might realise that you no longer need a different product for each area of your home. You also spend less time shopping. So with the money that you save, you can think about investing them in really quality products that you believe in.
Q) I’m game to try this out, but how do I convince my mum to go natural too?
Del: I think you can start with an area which she uses frequently, for example the kitchen top, and try showing her what she can use in place of her usual cleaner. Once she sees that it works, it gets easier to move on from that specific area to other areas. It all begins with simple steps!
Thanks, Militza and Del, for sharing your experience on going green with us!
If you want to find out more about going green, do check out their Green Living Facebook page for more updates on upcoming workshops. You can also read about what I learnt from their ‘Non-toxic homes’ workshop.