Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A Slice of Organic Life

Well friends, I had no school or work today and I'm sick. This means I spent most of the day going through the book I got Jeffry for Christmas A Slice of the Organic Life edited by Sheherazade Goldsmith. Actually, I started last night by doing a basic breeze through most of the book to get a feel for it. Then this morning I started going through with little pieces of post-it notes marking things I found of interest (yes I miss school research). Jeff and I first encountered this book over a year ago at the embarcadero down in SF. Since then, this book seemed to follow us and would pop up at little book stores we visited. We'd always thumb through it but walk away for some reason. I final decided to end the chase and ordered it off amazon for him for Christmas.

This book isn't exactly what I thought it would be, odd considering how much I had already looked through it. Instead of being in depth into any one thing, it is exactly what it's title says, a little slice of everything you need to know to start living a more organic responsible lifestyle. For this review I think a simple pro and con list will be helpful.

- Beautiful pictures and presentation.
- Good general overview about ways to rethink your lifestyle. Covers everything from shopping to child rearing to pest control to gardening and animal husbandry to construction projects.
-Promotes reusable diapers!!! (I don't know why I'm so into that)
-Provides some good recipes for each section whether it's bath time or herbal flea collars
-Contains a great index and list of resources related to topics discussed in the book, especially websites that go into more depth on specific issues or provide links to community organizations.

-Layout doesn't follow logic, you can find information about organic bathing products in at least four different places. I have not idea why they aren't grouped together.
-Can feel a little preachy and make the reader feel guilty at times.
-Doesn't go into great detail. Will not work for a real how-to guide, but it does point you in the right direction.

In short, I think that this is a great book for a young family that wants to rethink their lifestyle and try to make some little changes here and there that will improve both their lives and the environment. This is not a good book however, if you lean to the Right (note the preachy con). I'm generally somewhere in the midlands between Right and Left but there were a few sections even I skipped more because I got the point already. This book also isn't very useful if you are already fairly knowledgeable in the subject. It is a fun read however, so I definitely think it's worth a look. It sort of feels like reading a string of Sunset articles (that's suppose to be a compliment).

Here are a few tips I learned:
1) If you are adding essential oils to a bath, first mix it with one tablespoon of milk. The fats in the milk act as a carrier to distribute the oil evenly.
2)Using reusable diapers is safer for babies skin because disposables are so absorbent that parents often leave them on longer than they should because they feel dry. This results in extra diaper rash.
3) Instead of paying $14 a bottle for face lotion or if you misplace your bottle, go into the kitchen and grab the olive oil. Wet your hands and then put a few drops of oil on them and rub it on your face. It doesn't feel greasy at all. I will enjoy saving that extra cash! Other good oils to consider are emu, jojoba, avocado, coconut and almond oil.
4) Store clothing made of natural fibers with a lavender sachet to keep bugs away.
5) Ants don't like herbs such as sage, mint, thyme or bay so if you crush them in their path or rub them on the area where they enter your home it will act as a deterrent.
6) Both flea collars and fly paper can be made from simple ingredients you might even have around the house. If you want the recipes let me know or by the book!

1 comment:

Theresa said...

I would like to caution anyone thinking of following an "organic" recipe for something like a flea collar. There are a lot of perfectly natural substances that can be toxic to dogs and I have found that you really have to research those "homemade flea collar" type suggestions to make absolutely sure they are safe. A book like this, if it is indeed a lite-intro to the subject probably does not contain the kind of in depth knowledge required to make 100% safe suggestions for products designed to kill or repell insects off an animal....which means to be safe, I would thoroughly research ANY suggested concoction (other than the benign ones like home made bath oil or using olive oil on your face) proir to giving it a try!

Just my two cents based on experience!