I first became familiar with Sara Snow when I was pregnant and on bed-rest. Between reading baby books and eating I watched her Discovery show Get Fresh with Sara Snow and enjoyed her ease and playful approach to environmentalism. I love how Sara always mixes stories of her childhood into her day-to-day recipes for green living. This adds a personalized touch to her passion for all things green.
Growing up the daughter of Tim Redmond, co-founder of Eden Foods, informed Sara’s life as a green foodie and all around eco-advocate. In her new book, Fresh Living: The Essential Room-By-Room Guide to a Greener, Healthier Family and Home, Sara traverses the modern home, discussing every aspect of our lives and what we can do to connect more with nature and minimize wasteful practices. This unpretentious guide is an easy read that is full of useful information. Sara discusses everything from how to maintain a green lawn naturally (or better yet, how to plant wildflowers and indigenous greens that attract butterflies and deter mosquitoes,) to how to decorate a toxin-free baby nursery.
Sara gives detailed lists of what ingredients to avoid in beauty products, toys, household cleaners, and pretty much anything else one may have in their home or garden. Comprehensive definitions explain the origins of chemicals, how they are used and what is most harmful. These days many products, including purported “organic” or “natural” items, contain dubious ingredients. The explanations of scientific terms really help one to weed through the ambiguous marketing language of greenwashing. There are also recipes for how to make your own cleaners and home products that are totally natural and inexpensive.
A small part of the book I really enjoyed was the simple reminder that house plants are good. They bring the outside in, clean our air, and promote healthy chi. Sara shares a list of the top fifteen plants to have indoors to remove various pollutants from the air. These days people spend hundreds, even thousands on air fresheners and purifiers. Plants!
The description of composting is user friendly. Sometimes composting can seem detailed or labour-intensive, but Sara keeps it simple with a description of what we need and what ingredients can assist in maintaining a healthy compost, even for those living in urban areas.
An important theme reiterated throughout the guide is that there are real dangers in our environment, but we can be empowered by educating ourselves and creating an atmosphere that is fresh, vital and thriving. This book would make a sweet gift but is also an excellent resource to just have handy around the house.