We have a new site!

25 Jan

Come and visit us at our new site: www.unprocessedmoms.com

It’s pretty much the same thing, just more user-friendly.
If you had signed up for our email, you can do so again at the new site.
We will not be posting here anymore.

We’d love to see you there!

Kate and Amber



9 Jan

I hesitated to click on the link that my friend, Genevieve, had posted on her facebook page.  Her post  had a link to trailer for Forks Over Knives, and her update simply said, “GO.SEE.THIS.FILM.”  My first impulse is to scroll right past it so as to not deal with the inner conflict that movies like Forks Over Knives will inevitably create for me.   See, I know that I am on a path to illness and disease. I know this and yet the addiction to processed  foods and sugar feels louder and bigger than I am.   Food – fatty, rich, salty, buttery, saucy, sweet food – has been my comfort and my blanky for YEARS.   So, not having food means having to learn to cope with discomfort and anxiety and loneliness and overwhelm all by myself.

I’ve scratched this surface several times in therapy and in grad school (where I studied to become a therapist to help others through this kind of addiction pattern) but it is an issue that persists.   Maybe it’s time to look at it again. I’m older now, I’ve learned a few more skills, I’ve got a few more tools in my toolbox than before.

Honestly, this is my Goliath.    This is my Mt Everest.  It feels so. damn. huge.  I’m watching my parents age, and age with a lot of pain and disease and discomfort and frustration. I’m watching them take medication after medication and see doctor after doctor.  I see them and I think, “I don’t want to be in that much pain and discomfort when I am 65.”  Yet, I know that I am on the exact path that they are, just a few years behind.

I’m going to start by watching the movie, Food Inc.  I’ve never seen it and I hear it’s a life changing film.   Exactly why I haven’t watched it.   I might also get out my Geneen Roth books that I read years ago and see what new info jumps out at me this time around.  Any recommendations from any of you former fast-food junkies for a struggling addict?


Lame video… good info.

8 Jan

This (awesome) video is San Diego specific, but this link isn’t.  Click to get connected with the Environmental Protection Agency’s website for information about your local recycling programs.

Magical Child

7 Jan

I’ve added a new tab to our blog: LOCAL. This section will be for local San Diego environmentally and ethically conscious companies that we trust.

Last night, as I looked through the beautiful toys and clothes at Magical Child, I had an opportunity to talk to Meri, the owner, about how she chooses which toys to sell. As we were talking, I laughed at one of the toys my 5 year old had been playing with; a miniature plastic recycling bin. It seemed ironic!  Meri explained why she chose, after holding out for 5 years, to start selling plastic toys in her natural toy store. She said “there are only so many wooden toys a kid can have.” (And she sells all the good ones.) “Wooden toys are wonderful, but they are expensive and kids sometimes get bored with them after a while.” So she chose to go with a couple of European companies who sell BPA-free and phalate-free plastic toys. (Bruder http://www.brudertoys.com/ and WOW http://www.wowtoys.com/)

I’m happy there are store owners like Meri who are taking the time and energy to research these things. Even though thinking hard about all of my purchases is important to me and my family, knowing that there are responsible and fair-minded local retailers is an encouragement. In many cases, buying used toys is my preference – but for new toys or clothes, it’s hard to beat Magical Child.  http://www.magicalchild.com/

More like a New Jersey Housewife than I’d like to think.

6 Jan

A few years ago, Kate sent me the link for the amazing little video called The Story Of Stuff. While its message of mindful consumerism resonated on a certain level, I wasn’t moved to change.   I liked that stuff was cheap at Target and Walmart and that I could afford to buy a new dress now and then for $14.99, even on my meager income.  In fact, I even felt as though I deserved that dress.  Of course I deserve that dress!  I’m a single mom working two jobs, one of which is for the poor and underprivileged here in San Diego!   I mean, really. It’s not like I’m freakin’ Paris Hilton, buying up closet-fulls every weekend just because I can. It’s just a dress.

It was really easy for me to put out of mind that the dress I just bought for $14.99 was made in a third world country on the other side of the planet by workers who were getting paid tiny wages.  It was easy for me to dismiss how the cotton was grown, what that did to the soil and the farmers skin and to their groundwater.  I didn’t even think about how much the women were paid to turn that cotton into fabric or under what conditions they were treated.  I didn’t consider how the children of the worker who sewed my dress together were going to forgo getting an education since their parents don’t make enough money at the factory they work at in order to pay for school.

I didn’t think about it for several years.  It kinda nagged at me, occasionally.  But I deserve to have cute clothes.  Right? I deserve nice things. I’m a nice person!  I’m not out there purposefully hurting others or making life miserable for the people around me.

A few months ago, I was watching The Real Housewives of New Jersey on Bravo.   Just like every other person who watches reality TV, I watch it to feel better about myself and to diagnose all of the “stars” with various mental health disorders.   During one of the awkward moments where the housewives talk into the camera, Theresa (“Prostitution WHORE!!!” ….oh, gawwwwd, I love bad TV) was talking about her over the top spending habits, which include taking her two daughters into children’s boutiques and spending 10 grand in an hour.   She very plainly explained that she deserves these things, stating, “I’m a nice person. I’m not out there  killing anybody or anything.  And my kids are sweet girls who deserve to be spoiled.”  She didn’t flinch, didn’t seem to feel the need to justify herself, didn’t seem to think her lifestyle was at all exorbitant or unnecessary.  

I sat there judging her, feeling disgusted by her complete lack of awareness of the privilege she holds and how she so profoundly misuses it.  Or doesn’t take advantage of it, rather.  $10,000 on designer children’s clothing?  That money could change the lives of so many……

You’d think it would dawn on me right then that I’ve got a good dose of Theresa in me, but it sorta developed in my slowly.  I’m no different than her.  I make the same justifications and the same unconscious purchases because I feel like I deserve them.  It doesn’t matter how many zeros are after the number on the price tag, Theresa and I both have this sense of entitlement around our “stuff.”  Because we’re not bad people.

What does this lead me to?  Do I think that Theresa shouldn’t buy anything until everyone else has as much stuff as her?  Should she give away her money?  The more I start to go down this rabbit hole, the more of  a socialist I become.  But I do know what I want it to mean for me.  I want to start thinking of my purchases. I want my buying to be  a mindful process. I’m going to attempt to imagine the person who made the item, where they got the resources, how those were acquired, and how it got to be in my hands right now. Ideally, I’d like to feel really good about every step of that process.

So, I’ve committed the year of 2011 to doing just so.  In order to give myself a jump start, I’ve decided to no longer purchase anything retail for the year.  I’m not entirely sure to what extent I will do this (clothing, for sure…  toiletries, i don’t know yet… food, dunno???`), but it has proven to be a great way to get mindful, already.   It’s a good year to give this a shot since my income was slashed in half recently and not being employed means I have time to craft things and get creative.

I’d love for you to follow my journey.  Not only because this appeals to my narcissism, but because it helps me stay inspired and accountable to actually DO this. I’m already a little freaked out about not having stocked up on false eyelashes before the new year rung in.  It’d be too easy to dump this whole project in order to have long lashes, if I didn’t have anyone watching over my shoulder.

Feedback, advice, links, ideas, hecklers… all welcome. I vow to be as honest as possible.

-Amber, The Reluctant Environmentalist.

No plastic?! BAG IT

3 Jan

I have been totally rocked by the movie Bag It. I got the privilege of seeing it with my family in our local indie- film theatre. I wasn’t sure if my kids would be bored out of their minds sitting through a documentary. But I couldn’t have been happier with their response. As soon as we got home they asked to go through my cupboards and take everything out of the plastic bags they were in and put them into glass mason jars. Although this isn’t entirely in the spirit of not wasting I went with it to encourage their application of what they’d learned.

I’ll be writing about  the small changes we’ve been making over the next couple of weeks. But I’ll start with one example: produce bags. I’ve been taking reusable bags to the market for some time now. But I was still using their plastic bags for apples, carrots and other produce.  But I’m converted now! I take small light bags for that purpose now. So I can leave the store with very little plastic. I love it. There are places you can buy small reusable bags (www.bagitmovie.com/shop.html, ecobags.com) or you can make your own. I made one out of a small t-shirt that my son outgrew. I’ll post pictures and instructions soon.

I can’t do justice to all I learned from Bag It and all that is important about plastic reduction. So I encourage you to watch the movie. If you live local, borrow it from me. If not, you can buy it from their site. http://www.bagitmovie.com