Learn to Get Green and Be Well with Kimberly Button

Kimberly Button headshot

From the moment I met green living expert Kimberly Button, I could sense her passion for living a lifestyle of health and environmental consciousness. What I didn't know at the time was that Kimberly's own experience with chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia sparked her interest in her personal wellness and put her on the road to green living. "When I started looking at my lifestyle in a different way, and not trying to mask symptoms with chemical drugs but actually try to fix the cause, I instantly started seeing results," she says. Today she helps others green their lifestyles, spreading the message about the power of a clean, healthy environment.
I connected with Kimberly to offer Beauty Is Wellness readers some of her fantastic tips on adopting greener habits– without major change or inconvenience. I know you'll love her lifestyle tips and her picks for natural beauty products! For more from Kim, follow her blog Get Green Be Well, or contact her for consulting services.
Tell me a little about what you do at Get Green Be Well and greenWell.
My goal is to teach everyone that their health is not just dependent on what foods you eat or how much exercise.  Your precious health can also be compromised in many ways by the products that you bring into your home or use every day. And it's not that people don't care - it's just that they honestly don't know because this stuff doesn't make the major headlines each day. Many people don't realize this until it's too late, though, and they're battling respiratory problems or skin irritations or more major illnesses. So through my website, http://getgreenbewell.com and my personal consulting business, greenWell, I educate and empower families on how they can make quick and easy switches to more non-toxic, eco-friendly alternatives that are great for your health, while also being a little kinder to the environment, too.
What does getting 'green' mean to you?
For me, "green" is a state of consciousness about what's in your products and how it affects the world around you. There are so many nit-picky ways people try to define green and then end up arguing about tiny specifics and nothing gets done. Whether it's an all natural product or an organic product, whether it saves energy or saves water or saves trees - there are so many ways to define green. The basic premise, though, is that the actions that you take and the products that you buy have an impact on the environment and other people in ways that you might not even think of. "Green" is just about acting a little kinder towards others and ourselves, and realizing that we're not the only people in this world.
What inspired your passion for adopting a green lifestyle?
I really started getting into a greener lifestyle after I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia when I was in college. I was put on every medication known to man, and nothing worked. When I started looking at my lifestyle in a different way, and not trying to mask symptoms with chemical drugs but actually try to fix the cause, I instantly started seeing results. That's not to say that I'm totally symptom free now, though, so living a non-green lifestyle can contribute to medical problems that you'll have to live with long after you start cleaning up your environment, which is why it's so important to start before you even see a problem. When friends and family started seeing the results that I had, they started referring me to friends of theirs that had mysterious medical complaints that traditional medicine just couldn't fix. It was then that I realized that I needed to help others that might not know the importance of choosing greener, healthier every day products.
What's your advice for those who want to live green but don't know where to start?
There will always be way more for you to do then you can actually get done!  Trust me, there are plenty of ways that I can still change, so don't get caught up in the details. Think about what's most important to you right now and then decide how to make one change for the better. Got a specific medical complaint that you want to address? Choose a more non-toxic way of living that might help that problem. Got a new baby in the family and worried about their future health? Then make changes specific to your needs.Every time I give a presentation, I always have several people come up to me to ask a question, and they start off with apologizing for not living a greener life. I think that's such a sad statement about the way that living green has been perceived. You don't have to apologize! Just do one thing and you're making a bigger difference than you were before!Enough ranting and raving, though.  Super simple steps that I recommend for anyone are:
1.  Open the windows. Indoor air quality is a MAJOR problem in U.S. homes that you're probably not aware of, but those nasty toxins from every day life build up in your home and you breathe them in over and over again. If you can just open the windows a few inches for an hour or two to get some fresh air inside, it's a free and easy alternative to create a healthier home.
2.  Switch your shower curtain liners.  PVC shower curtain liners off-gas a ridiculous amount of chemicals that you breathe in for a month after you install a new one. Shower curtain liners made from PEVA (a similar looking plastic) don't offgas these toxins.  PEVA liners are readily available at all major mass retailers and cost the same amount of money, or maybe a dollar more, than the PVC, but offer impressive benefits for the entire family.
In your quest to live a green lifestyle, have you found any green beauty products that you love?
Yes, I'm quite amazed at some of the beauty products that I've found that are just so much better for me, while also working so much better than conventional products.
  • I really like Desert Essence skincare products - especially the cleaners.
  • Giovanni Hair Care products work fabulously and are so easily available in Target and Ulta.
  • Tea Tree Oil works great on acne and skin cuts and irritations.
  • Gabriel Cosmetics lipstick was my last resort because my lips would always itch and peel after wearing lipsticks, and this line has great colors and doesn't make me have a reaction.  Woo hoo!
Those are just a few of the products. I could go on and on when it comes to naming my favorite products, because it's just so fun to discover the many different ways to be kind to your health and the environment and just plain look good, too!