Excerpt: 'Gorgeously Green'

With my newfound awareness, I couldn't ever go back to the way I lived before, but I had to find a way to make it simple, easy, and a whole lot more fun.

I wanted to be green, but I also wanted to be gorgeous. So I designed the eight-step Gorgeously Green program for reluctant woman like myself. I want to live with sustainable style — style being the operative word. I can't and won't become like the eco-nerds who stomp around in beige Velcro sandals, pontificating about the virtues of their compost toilets. I appreciate where those people are coming from, but there is a different way to do it, the Gorgeously Green way.

I thought I'd try my eight-step course on my yoga clients first. While we're practicing, we girls like to chat about everything, so it seemed only natural to throw in a few eco-tips during our discussions. I talk way too much as a teacher: I begin a diatribe once I've got my clients in an impossible pose and make them hold it until I'm done. So, as you can imagine, I held many of them hostage in a headstand while outlining the designated green changes for that week.

I also spent many hours with their long-suffering housekeepers, persuading them to part with their toxic cleaning materials and energy-guzzling habits. I remember being horrified at the sight of a dishwasher being switched on with only one cup, one glass, and one teaspoon in it. I realized that I was going to have to get quite bossy. I also discovered that while some women became terrified upon learning about the chemicals in their homes, others couldn't have cared less as long as their sheets were white and their dishes were sparkling. Moreover, everyone moved at a different pace. The great thing about the course, however, was that it had a beginning and an end, and everyone wanted to complete it.

After taking numerous women through the eight-step program with one new change each week, I began to see huge smiles. Everyone felt better about themselves and the choices they were making. One girl, Lisa, asked me to do some research to find out if her favorite designer purses were made in a sweatshop. Upon hearing that they were indeed, she ceremoniously dumped three of them in her recycling bin. I can't say I wasn't tempted to retrieve the one that looked brand new, but I managed to take a deep breath and walk away, my faux-suede purse swinging in the breeze.

My six-year-old daughter, Lola, has been skipping along the emerald path with me and never fails to delight in our every green discovery. She is passionate about recycling, gardening, and nature even though we live in a concrete jungle. She also puts up with my newfangled attempts at a no-waste lunch box and is thrilled with her new hemp backpack.

The green lifestyle takes me back to my childhood, which was completely eco-friendly. I was raised in the English countryside by parents who had lived through World War II — an era that required frugality and inspired gratitude for the small luxuries in life. My mother grew a huge organic garden and engendered in me a passion for fresh local food, cooking every recipe from scratch. Everything was reused a gazillion times. If we were cold in the winter, we were told to put on another sweater. I now have to suffer regular "Duh, I told you so!" looks from my Gorgeously Green mom.

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