Hello? January is over already? That’s right friends – one month down, one green challenge complete. The palm oil challenge was definitely a success, and it was a great challenge to start off the year with because it was easy, educational and actually, enjoyable! So what did we learn, what changes will we continue to adopt and how did this challenge make a difference? Read on!
Giving up palm oil was not very difficult. Yes, palm oil is in a majority of the products that we use, and many of the foods that we eat. Thankfully though, many of the big brands have already made a promise to themselves and to their consumers that they are dedicated to using oil that was processed legally and sustainably. Good job guys – thank you for jumping on the environmentalist bandwagon and protecting the land!
Mrs. GGC: The most difficult part of this challenge for me was how it changed the way that I shop. One day, I had to go to the grocery store to buy breakfast foods for my students who donated $50 for me to spend. Now, we are talking about a group of kids who range in age from 16-18; kids who eat candy for breakfast (for real). I spent a lot of time trying to find foods that my kids would want to eat that did not contain palm oil or that used sustainable palm oil. I found myself getting frustrated for a few minutes as I walked back and forth through the store contemplating what to buy. Luckily, I was able to find several bakery items that were safe to purchase. Then, I remembered to check the WWF website. I used the search engine to figure out which companies were reliable — and so many of them are! I even used some of the leftover money to go to Dunkin Donuts in the morning because, guess what? DD is one of those wonderful companies…Now, shopping has become much easier and even kind of fun! YES – it is fun and makes me feel good to know that I am doing my part to help preserve the environment in such a simplistic way.
Mr. GGC: This challenge was easier than I thought it would be. I think that was mostly due to the healthy diet we eat. I think the most difficult part was finding substitutes for personal hygiene products. I searched all month, but could not find a face lotion without palm oil in it. I got used to checking labels pretty quickly and I got pretty good at guessing which products had palm oil in it. Learn how we shopped palm oil friendly.
I think the biggest benefit of going palm oil free is how it changes your diet. It forces you to eat less processed food. Our diet is already healthy so I can only imagine what it would do for someone who has less healthy eating habits. After this challenge we are certainly going to keep doing our best to buy palm oil free or friendly food items. I am, going to have to go back to a face lotion with palm oil in it, my face is SOOO dry from the cold weather.
If I had to give one tip to anyone interested in taking the challenge it would be to think out side the box. Palm oil is everywhere so you have to get a little creative with your food and household products. Look for clever ways you can substitute palm oil free products for those with palm oil. Also, I would encourage more DIY. We didn’t do enough of that this month (trust us, we plan to incorporate more DIY) but I know there are some really great homemade substitutes.
Our favorite substitutions.
Photo credit: Lisa Brewster via VisualHunt / CC BY-SA
Mrs. GGC: My absolute FAVORITE discovery throughout this challenge has been that of the soap nut! I seriously love these things. They are cheap, easy to use, sustainable, functional, and EFFECTIVE. Our clothes are softer and my windows and mirrors sparkle. I can honestly say that I do not miss using traditional detergents and cleaners. I plan on using some of the old soap nuts to make an all-purpose cleaner for the kitchen and bathrooms. Check back for that recipe in the future.
Mr. GGC: I would have to agree with the Mrs.. The soap nuts were pretty cool. I had never heard of them before but I’m glad we found them. The part I like the most about them is their price. For $7 to $8 you get about 60 washes. Most name brand detergents cost $10+ and you get about 50 loads from a bottle. We also found there wasn’t any change in how clean our cloths were. I would recommend them to anyone with a newborn, they make cloths so soft and you don’t have to worry about harsh chemicals. We are going to keep using them for the foreseeable future. Learn about them in our previous post on soap nuts. SERIOUSLY, (affiliate link) give them a try.
Featured Charity: the orangutan project
We donated $55 and you should too.
Before we end the month we just want to commend the great work the folks at the orangutan project are doing. They are on the front lines fighting to save these beautiful creatures. The Going Green Couple has committed to donating 15% of the revenue from this blog to the featured charity. SOO the blog did not bring in any revenue this month (were getting our feet wet) BUT that doesn’t mean we are not donating. The Going Green Couple donated $55 this month to the orangutan project’s Palm Oil Resistance program.
So as January comes to end, we want to assure you (our beloved readers) that we are just getting started. We urge you to take part in these challenges as well and to talk to us about it! After all, we can’t save the environment on our own – we need YOU. Together we can make a difference – together we can change the world.
Are you going to take the challenge? Tell us why or share your experiences in the comments?
Download Our Palm Oil Friendly Shopping Guide