Sleeping Naked is Green -- Review

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

I was chatting with my friend Lindsay on the weekend and I told her that I was reading a really great book. I pulled it out of my purse and showed her the cover and she said "Oh, I know Vanessa Farquharson. I read her blog". I laughed and said,
"then you probably know more about Meghan (my cooking class leader extraordinaire) than you think you do because that's Vanessa's best friend!"
"Oh, that Meghan!" she exclaimed.
We both laughed at the coincidence and Lindsay vowed to purchase the book the following day.

As I mentioned, Meghan is Vanessa's best friend and makes her first appearance in the book on page 5. The night of our first cooking class was actually the book's launch party here in Toronto and even though I was unable to attend I decided to buy it on Amazon after hearing such great things about it. I'm really glad that I did.

Sleeping Naked is Green is record of Vanessa's "green year". She began a blog a couple of years back and decided to make a green change every day that year. Yes, that's 366 changes (thanks to the Leap year) and each change had to be continued throughout the duration of the year once implemented. These changes ranged from switching to recycled paper towels and natural beauty care products, selling her car, turning off her freezer and later fridge, and "letting it mellow". The book is witty, intelligent and highly addictive (I finished it in a few days!)

Her book really helped me come to terms with something I had been thinking about a lot. With all of my food sensitivities, I was starting to beat myself up when I wasn't "perfect". If I had a banana or an apple I was suddenly slipping. Eating quinoa or beans by accident was a crime. I also started to think that I needed to go completely vegan and maybe high raw. Yes, I am feeling better as a result of my food sensitivities, I realize that I'm not going to stop eating all of the foods on my list forever. I think gluten & dairy are out for good and I'm really happy to have cut out refined sugar, but I'm going to give the other foods a shot. As for eating meat, I think I'm going to keep it in for now. I maybe eat meat once or twice a week at this point, and maybe someday I'll give it up, but for now it's okay. My body feels happy when I eat meat and I'm making a conscious effort to choose organic whenever possible. I'm also learning more about raw food and incorporating it into my diet because it's a fun, interesting technique and I know that I can benefit from the delicious health benefits of eating raw. Am I going to go completely raw? Most likely no. The choices that I'm making with my eating are so much better than they used to be. I have come so far and I'm so proud of the way I've turned my eating around and I'm so happy to be feeling so much better as a result of the foods I've eliminated (and in some cases, kept in).

Vanessa was reasonable in her green year in what she could and couldn't do, even putting off some of the tasks for as long as she possibly could (like trading in her vacuum cleaner for a good old broom and dustpan). It was really neat to see her paradigm shift over the course of the book. She ended up continuing with 271 of the changes once the year was over, which is pretty amazing. As a reader, I truly enjoyed reading about her triumphs and tribulations and in addition to re-assessing my own "challenge" it also made me think about some ways that I could be more green. While I won't be turning off my fridge any time soon, I do recycle, compost, use natural beauty care and cleaning products and I carry reusable bags in my purse at all times.

Sleeping Naked is Green is well-written, charming and hilarious. It was a great way to kick off my summer reading list. I look forward to spreading the green love to some friends by lending out my copy!


Anonymous said...

I am so happy you liked the book! I am going to send this link to Vanessa!

Also- for your decision on dairy. Great one! Have a read:

All about how icky dairy is.

CoconutGal said...

Thanks for this review! I may just have to get this book, it sounds inspiring! Ash please share with me your natural skin care routine-- I am looking into changing up what I do!
Maybe we could do a book swap when you're done with the book!?

Ashley Gibson said...

I already responded to your comment via email, but I thought I would post it here just in case anyone else was wondering!

I'm pretty lucky in that I have good skin. I was never prone to breakouts and it's pretty rare for me to have a full out pimple. I use a few different products and a few different brands! I use the Avalon Organics Vitamin C toner. I was using the lavender one for a long time but recently tried this one and I really love it. I use the Burt's Bees Soap Bark & Chammomile cleanser. I love how creamy it is and the smell is nice. It doesn't dry out my skin either. I'm a big fan of Burt's Bees in general - I can't live without their lip balm! I have 2 different moisturizers - only because I just bought another one recently. The first is the Say Yes to Carrots Night (I think) It's lovely and moisturizer and doesn't feel thick or filmy on my face. I recently got a moisturizer for daytime that has spf 30 in it and I LOVE it. I can wear it under makeup and I don't feel like I'm wearing anything at all. (I can't remember the name for the life of me)

I've also been trying to choose natural make up recently and picked up some Korres stuff and it's awesome!! I LOVE the mascara. It's so great. I found it at Sephora.

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