I’m no Bondi Hipster (love these episodes), but I do consider myself to be a mindful eater, consumer and mother. But it’s a tough gig – eating organically is expensive and purchasing eco- and socially- supportive products can be pricey.
Like most people, we’re busy and struggling to stay on top of the cost of living which seems to have sky-rocketed this past year. Between studying for my Masters in Primary Teaching and completing more than four months of non-paid teaching rounds, I was freelancing in marketing communications in the evenings to help out. But combined with my fiancé’s modest full-time retail wage and the related costs of raising a two-year old, we find it difficult to stick to a wholly organic diet and conscious consuming. This tears my heart out because, like most people, we work long hours, study hard and know the health benefits – both for human health and the planet’s – related to organic and biodynamic eating and the advantages to developing communities in third-world countries through purchasing fair-trade and responsibly-sourced services and goods. But the reality is that it just drains us financially and isn’t possible for us right now.
So what are we doing to be more mindful? We’re taking small steps…
- We’re renting (still chipping away at the ol’ house deposit!) so we can’t change too much around the house but we did put in a vegie garden. To top up, we found a local organic and biodynamic farm and order a box from the farmers each week.
- We’re hearty, but mindful meat eaters so when we discovered a local farm which raises cattle and lamb in a natural, hormone-free and happy environment, we were only to happy to put aside a few extra bucks to support their business and enjoy premium, responsibly-raised and slaughtered meat.
- For the other stuff, we shop at ALDI. Yes, that’s right: I am a proud ALDI shopper and was surprised a few years back when I discovered the vast range of organic foods – most of which are certified by Australian organic standards. However, ALDI is not Australian-owned. (It can be so confusing picking a supermarket to purchase foods – which ones are Australian owned and not ripping off Aussie farmers? etc. I am still finding my way with this issue!)
- Cosmetics? Tricky one. I’d love to be in the position to purchase organic botanicals for my hastily ageing skin, however I’m not prepared to pay the hundreds required for some moisturisers so instead I pick up organic skincare products on sale from retailers such as Priceline, chemists and wholefoods/health food shops. Currently Trilogy is a favourite, but Sukin being Australian is preferred. I use Bare Minerals on my face and once this runs out, would like to invest in an Australian mineral make-up. For my hair, I just use an organic shampoo and conditioner from the supermarket.
- For my daughter, I use Gaia and other natural, organic, chemical-free products when needed or organic products from the supermarket. I’m not big on moisturisers and soap-free washers, I prefer on her beautiful skin to adopt the less-is- best approach with sunscreen the only exception – I currently use Invisible Zinc because it’s just that, Zinc.
- While not Australian, I do love Eco-Store and use their laundry powder and soaking products religiously. It was first recommended to me when I was using cloth nappies on my daughter. It worked brilliantly and I use it for all my clothes washes now.
- Around the house, I use Earth Choice and was mixing my own cleaners with essential oils (very expensive). But after a recent tea and coffee morning with a bunch of mummy friends, I’ve invested in Nature Direct cleaning product from Europe – I’ll keep you posted on how I find these!
So that’s just a snippet of some of the ways I try to be a more mindful mummy, eater and shopper. It’s a challenge and it’s expensive – and we’re only a ‘little bit organic!’ I think it’s fair to say, that like most things good for you and worth striving for in life, being a conscious consumer is a big challenge on a small, yet average, income. But I’m not striving to raise a perfectly organic family – just a happy and healthy one. Besides, sometimes I feel that a wholly organic ambition is an unrealistic goal, especially in our current financial and the nation’s economic situation. Instead, I like to think that just by making small changes here and there, I can help the planet and my family’s health by thinking a bit more about the purchases I make.
Love to hear you thoughts and other suggestions… x