Health Power’s President, Dr. Goodwin: Hello Jen. Let me begin our discussion by introducing you, Jen Boulden, to my Health Power audience, as an author and Green Living expert. How are you today?
Jen: I am great, how are you?
Health Power: We are going to be talking today about living healthy for Earth Day, which was April 22nd. Another way of saying it is, Green is the New Black, and talking about better choices for health and for the planet.
Having appeared on such shows as Good Morning America, The Today Show, The View and Martha Stewart, you are certainly a recognized expert on living healthy.
Jen: Yes, thank you.
Health Power: Are we going to talk primarily today about indoor living in terms of air quality or outdoor living?
Jen: I would say indoor living, because we spend a lot of time in our homes. People get a little overwhelmed when they are thinking about how to go green, so why not think about the choices we are making in our homes. We spend a lot of time at home so it really affects one’s health. Thus, indoor air quality is something we need to be aware of, a key source of indoor air quality pollutants are in one’s kitchen, because of your stove. When you’re cooking, you are emitting odors, even toxins into the air that cause your indoor air quality to degrade.
People say what can I do? I say the number one thing is to focus on the range hood you are using over your stove. Is it capturing a lot of those toxins and pollutants that are being emitted? If so, it might be time to upgrade. There is a great company called Broan and they are making range hoods that are energy efficient and also very powerful. They capture a lot of indoor air pollutants, in fact 98.5% of them. Also, they are attractive and easy to install and I always appreciate that.
Health Power: Does Broan install the range hoods?
Jen: No they don’t, but they have designed it so that one can replace their old one range hood and install it right under their cabinet.
Health Power: Who would install it if you did not want to do it yourself?
Jen: I had my husband install mine, but if you don’t have someone in your home to do it, certainly a contractor would be able to do it, and it’s not high tech.
Health Power: What other indoor air quality issues would you suggest focusing on?
Jen: Well beyond air quality, I like to think about voting with your dollars, what types of products are you buying and what type of carbon footprint do they have? Carbon footprint, what does that really mean? I say try to buy local, try to buy organic, try to buy things made in the USA, so it’s not being shipped from China.
One of my most favorite recent discoveries of products that fit that bill is Red Land Cotton. You would not believe how luxurious these cotton linens feel, as they are heirloom quality. What’s beautiful about this company is that it’s a family run business in Alabama, so they are 100% made in the USA, keeping the jobs here and they are not having to ship it far and wide to get it to you. They are also practicing sustainable farming.
Health Power: Is it cotton material?
Jen: Yes, it’s just plain cotton, but they are doing it in such a sustainable way and weaving these things in such a way that they are heavier, more durable, so that they are going to last a really long time.
Health Power: And where would you use the cotton?
Jen: They make sheets, they have tea towels and napkins. It’s important to know that with the sheets, they don’t use any formaldehyde, that anti –wrinkle resin, so you don’t have to sleep next to formaldehyde. So I would say the number one place you can use it, is on your bed.
Health Power: Is there a third culprit?
Jen: A third culprit would be what you can do with a small shift in your thinking.
Right now a lot of our fabrics have shifted to synthetics and synthetics means plastic based. Plastic does not bio-degrade in nature, and so with these synthetic fabrics, like micro fleece, they are releasing little fibers into the environment, that goes slipping through your washing machine, into the rivers, into the oceans, into the fish and right back into you. This is not good.
What I recommend for this is cotton, going to a cotton product like denim is a wonderful choice, natural fibers are always going to be better than synthetic for the environment, because they are bio-degradable.
Also because denim is so durable, it lasts forever. You probably have a pair of jeans you love and can’t give up, but when you are ready to give them up, you can send them to BlueJeansGoGreen.org . They are going to turn your old jeans into housing wear for communities in need.
Health Power: They reuse and recycle denim?
Jen: They do, they turn the denim into installation for your home and they work with communities in need, like Habitat for Humanity, so that your jeans that are keeping you warm one day, can keep someone else warm the next.
Health Power: Do they sell the denim?
Jen: They do not, this is just a non- profit organization that is out to help the world.
Health Power: How do you get your family oriented to indoor air quality?
Jen: That is a great question. I teach my kids by really exposing them to the premise of what happens and exists in nature is always best. For them getting eco habits, I send them outside often, so they are exposed to nature and get inspired. We have a little garden, my kids look at a carrot and they are like wow this came from the ground and not from a store and that starts the whole engine going with them.
Health Power: So gardening would be a good way to go. By the way, what are good sources of information, like one or two websites that you think are useful?
Jen: Yes I have a website that has light green living tips of things that are really easy to do. The website is JenBTV.com.
Health Power: What kind of information do they give?
Jen: Light green living tips, such as simple things you can do that will have a big impact.
Health Power: You say Green is the New Black, what is the difference between green and light green?
Jen: Well light green, I say, is just doing what you can and not sweating the rest. So, it’s okay if you drive an SUV to your farmer’s market, we are all just trying to do something. We welcome everyone into the conversation in the light green living world.
Health Power: It has been a pleasure talking with you Jen. Are there any last thoughts or perhaps something I did not ask or you wanted me to mention?
Jen: No and thank you for your interest in Earth Day and the other 364 days a year.
Health Power: It was great talking with you.
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