Expert Interview Series: Lori Popkewiwz Alper of Groovy Green Livin on Adopting a Non-toxic Lifestyle
Lori Popkewitz Alper is a recovering attorney and the founder and editor-in-chief of Groovy Green Livin, a site dedicated to sharing simple green living tips and trends. A contributing writer for multiple blogs and websites including The Huffington Post...
Lori Popkewitz Alper is a recovering attorney and the founder and editor-in-chief of Groovy Green Livin, a site dedicated to sharing simple green living tips and trends. A contributing writer for multiple blogs and websites including The Huffington Post and Moms Clean Air Force, Lori speaks, writes and advises on a variety of issues related to creating a greener and healthier lifestyle.
We recently asked her for advice about how home cooks can go greener in the kitchen. Here's what she had to say:
Why Groovy Green Livin? How did you become so passionate about living a healthy, non-toxic lifestyle?
After practicing law for many years, I realized that I had outgrown the fast-paced and stressful lifestyle. I slowly shifted my focus towards a creating a green and clean lifestyle and began to educate myself about chemicals and other toxins that were going in and on my body. I was amazed at what I found as I continued to dig. A few years later, two of my children developed life-threatening food allergies. My commitment to living as toxin-free as possible became even stronger as a way to gain some control over their allergies. Blogging offered a venue to share information and connect with others interested in a green lifestyle. After a year of planning and creating the site, Groovy Green Livin was born!
How would you define green living when it comes to what you eat?
The age-old adage, "you are what you eat" continues to hold true. Everything that we put in and on our bodies impacts our individual health and well-being. When it comes to a green lifestyle our food choices can also impact the environment.
How has green living changed your time in the kitchen?
My husband and I do our best to provide our three growing boys with nutritious meals. We buy organic when we can, belong to a CSA and spend time reading labels before bringing food into our home. The entire cooking process is absolutely more time-consuming than before we were making this effort, but it's so worthwhile. We're far from perfect, but it's important that we know exactly what we're putting into our bodies.
How has your approach to food shopping changed as a result of your green lifestyle?
I think back to shopping when I was in school and it's a completely different experience now. I'm not only feeding myself, but have four additional people to feed. And they eat a lot! I spend much of my time in search of organic and healthy ingredients. I wish I could say I'm a meal planner, but I'm not. Thankfully there's usually something available to throw together for a healthy meal.
What has surprised you the most about adopting a non-toxic, healthier, greener lifestyle when it comes to cooking/eating?
Healthy cooking tastes great and there are so many simple recipes out there! The best part - your kids will eat it, too (at least some of the time!).
What "green" kitchen tools have you found you can't live without?
I wrote a Go-To Guide to Eco-Friendly Cooking Tools not long ago. My favorite cooking tool is my immersion blender. I use it all the time for soups. I also can't live without my Blendtec blender for smoothies. Unfortunately, the top is made of plastic, but the blender is amazing.
Are there any tools that you've stopped using since adopting a more green lifestyle?
Yes, I've swapped out most of the plastic tools in my kitchen for stainless steel or wood. All Teflon pots and pans have also been replaced. I'm a fan of cast iron at the moment.
Overhauling our diets to adopt more green practices can seem overwhelming. What advice can you offer those who are considering being more green but don't know where to start?
The best advice I received when I began this "green" journey was to start slow and only replace things on an as-needed basis. That's truly green.
If I were starting my "green" journey all over again I would start with these five simple steps:
1. Start to phase out plastics in your home, especially those that come in contact with food.
2. Make the switch to reusable bags.
3. Change over to non-toxic cleaning products.
4. Replace your personal care products with safe, non-toxic alternatives.
5. Leave your shoes at the door.