Last week, I traveled to MNN’s bat cave in Atlanta to finally meet face to face with all of the über-cool staff who I connect with online every day. While there, I also had the good fortune of meeting several of my green blogging peers from MNN, namely, food blogger Robin Shreeves and business blogger Melissa Hincha-Ownby. It was a great opportunity to collaborate with fellow greenies, and since Robin and Melissa are both moms as well as green bloggers, I got to take a peek behind their MNN personas as we talked about how our families affect and are affected by our efforts to go green.
And, of course, I just couldn't resist the opportunity to pass it on to our readers here in a blog post. I'll have the scoop on what's going on behind the scenes at the Hincha-Ownby house in an upcoming post. Today, I want to share a sneak peek at my chat with food blogger Robin Shreeves as she dishes about global warming, food dyes, and her beauty regime.
“I always knew that there was something more that I should be doing.”
That’s what Robin told me when I asked her why she started going green. Her real efforts down the green path began when her eldest son was in the first grade, and Robin and her husband gave him his first encyclopedia. He read the whole thing cover to cover and when he got to the section on global warming, Robin says, “he came to us, and he was pissed.” Robin’s son was worried about global warming, and the actions his family was taking to contribute to it. According to Robin, “he said it was our fault because we drive a Jeep.”
Shortly after this discovery, Robin’s husband was offered an incentive via work to trade in the family gas guzzler for a car that got better gas mileage. They jumped at the opportunity and bought a Prius. She continued looking for greener solutions to her day to day life, but says she was struggling to reconcile her strong conservative Christian background with her desire to go green.
Enter How to Rescue the Earth without Worshiping Nature, a book by Tony Compolo that Robin says made it clear to her how important it was as a Christian to protect the planet. Robin and her family started working on going green, minimizing waste whenever possible. Then she read Animal, Vegetable, Mineral by Barbara Kingsolver, and Robin had another epiphany. “Before that I was concentrating on waste, but I hadn’t realized how much food played a part in going green,” she said. This epiphany lead to Robin's intense efforts to learn more about greening her food.
Advice for parents
As our resident food blogger, I know Robin’s got the scoop on healthy food for kids. And no one knows better than she does how difficult it can be to make sure that every morsel that our kids eat is healthy, safe and green. So I asked her, as a mom, where we as parents should focus our energy? Her response: snacks and food dyes.
Robin suggests having lots of healthy snacks (like whole fruits and veggies) available to kids throughout the day, and especially when they first get home from school. These are the times when they are hungry and most likely to reach for whatever is in front of them, whether it’s a cookie or a bowl of organic air-popped popcorn.
And Robin warned parents to keep a close eye on the ingredients in foods to be sure they don't contain unnecessary dyes. "Those things are in everything," she says. It's true. Don't be fooled into thinking it's just foods like Fruit Loops that contain the nasty ingredients. On a recent trip to the grocery store, I found artificial dyes in everything from bread to pasta.
Biggest food concern
As a mom, I know all too well what Robin is referring to here. There are so many labels out there for foods … organic, natural, fair trade, and these new “Smart Labels.” It gets very confusing for consumers to figure it all out. Robin’s advice? “I tell folks all the time that a box of food has six sides and you have to look at all of them to know what’s really in it.” In other words, labels are all well and good, but you still need to check the ingredient list to make sure you know what you're bringing home.
So, what’s the least green thing going on in the Shreeves household?
“That would be my beauty regime … the hair dyes, the mousse, the styling products. And that’s all me.”
As you can probably guess from her caricature and the pic above, Robin has awesome, long, auburn hair, so it’s no wonder that she’s so particular about her locks. But I think this would make a fun challenge for Siel Ju, MNN’s Lifestyle blogger. Let’s see if she can recommend an eco-beauty regimen for Robin (and all of us green moms) who need great hair on the go. What do you think, Siel ... can you help Robin green her beautiful red hair?
Photo of Robin Shreeves courtesy of Robin Shreeves