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‘Going green’ is easier than you think. Here’s how

  • January 17, 2018
  • By Bronwyn Mulrooney
‘Going green’ is easier than you think. Here’s how

If the new year has got you all fired up to make healthier choices for your family, including introducing more natural products to your home, you’re in good company.

This is a subject that’s really close to my heart. I probably spend as much time pursuing this as I do yelling at my toddler to get his hands out the toilet.

For me, the hardest part of turning my home into an eco-friendly zone has been the schlep.

Where to find the time to ‘go green’?

We moms are busy. We have kids to fetch and carry, meals to make, pets to care for, work to do, businesses to run, homes to manage, and schedules to organise (and ensure, by pain of death, that everybody sticks to).

In between all that, who has time to ‘go green’?

Who has free hours on their hands to research products, investigate their ingredients and interrogate their efficacy? I mean, if it’s there on the shelf and promises to wash tomato sauce out of your pristine white shirt, you’re going to buy it, right?

Commercial products are tried, tested, quick and easy, and they’re brands we – and the mothers before us – have used for ever.

But at what cost?

Long-term effects of an unsustainable lifestyle

Well, it could be something small like mild skin irritation from the chemicals in a product.

Or a full-blown allergic reaction to the colourants, additives and preservatives in a food.

Or it could be the unrecyclable plastic it’s packaged in that will never EVER decompose. Yes, every piece of plastic ever made that wasn’t recycled, still exists on this earth somewhere. That includes the packaging from the products used by those mothers before us.

We modern moms know we need to do things differently; we know that the previous generations didn’t face the same challenges we do today. But it’s so difficult! It’s so difficult to know what products to choose, what’s right, what’s wrong, what will work and what won’t.

Is BPA in plastic really bad, are all additives nasties and what on earth is a paraben anyway? What’s the difference between natural and organic, how do you know if an ingredient is harmful, and can coconut oil really save the world?

It’s more daunting than waking up on Cake Sale Friday and remembering that you forgot to get a cake.

I know. I’ve been there. A few years ago, I didn’t know my diethanolamine from my elbow. I wanted so desperately to run an eco-friendly home but I was, well, green. A newbie. I had no idea how to replace the harmful chemicals in my home with sustainable alternatives. And I didn’t understand half the ingredients in the food I was buying, nor could I find suitable replacements.

Then I discovered Faithful-to-Nature.

*cue harps and cherubs floating on clouds*

I was in mom heaven.


Faithful-to-Nature’s current home page.

Mom’s little helper

Faithful-to-Nature (FTN) is a wholly South African, organic and natural online store that stocks literally everything you could possibly need to turn your home into an eco-zone.

It covers products for moms, dads, kids, pets, the garden and your entire home, from detergents to décor. Your average health store has nothing on FTN; there are hundreds of products here, so you’re truly spoilt for choice.



A screengrab from the store’s mobi site of the available shopping categories.


Last year the store overhauled its filter function and you can now search for products based on:

  • Their ethical status (i.e. if they are animal cruelty free)
  • If they’re vegetarian or vegan
  • Their organic status (some products are certified natural, some are certified organic and some are just natural and/or organic)
  • Whether or not they contain palm oil (palm oil is linked to deforestation and threatened orangutan habitats around the world)
  • If they’re produced locally, in SA

But the absolute best part of the revamped FTN shopping experience is its brand new plastic-free approach.

*cue harps with cherubs with chocolate on top* (yes, it’s that good)

By now you’ll know I have a serious aversion to plastic (did I mention we had a plastic-free Christmas in 2017? Another post for another day!). I truly detest the stuff. So it was with absolute delight that I tipped my hat to FTN last year when I saw the store had managed to go plastic-free.

That means delivery boxes are now sealed with paper tape and padded with paper; delicate items are wrapped in cardboard; and there is an ever-growing range of plastic-free items to buy in the store – denoted by the ‘P’ icon (which guarantees you that the product is 100% plastic free).


I had to test drive the store’s new capabilities, and so immediately placed a special summer box order towards the end of last year.

I’ll be reviewing and comparing all the products in the coming months, but for now, based on the new filter functionality and my overall shopping experience, I’ve put together my top 5 reasons to start your family’s green journey with Faithful-to-Nature:

1. FTN has done the homework for you

Beginning your green journey is going to feel daunting, and you’re not going to know where to start. FTN has not only sourced all the best natural and organic products for you, and put them in one place, but their site offers up a glut of useful information. Check out their very handy FAQ page here to answer all your newbie questions, and take a look here to find out more about all those chemicals in your regular products (you know, the ones whose names you can’t pronounce).

2. The FTN promise

In our home, FTN has become a trusted brand. For me personally, it has integrity, puts its money where its mouth is, and lives up to its promise:

‘We have chosen to source organic and natural products for you that we believe are earth, animal and people friendly. This means we personally check the ingredient lists of every product sold to ensure that there are no harmful synthetic ingredients in them. We believe organic and natural should be good for you and we take this principle very seriously. We also provide full ingredient lists for every single product sold on our website, so that you can be sure of what you are buying.’

3. Honest reviews

Ever stood in a shop, looked at a shelf laden with products and just wished you could ask other moms if the products did all they promised? At FTN you can! I love the honest reviews from other moms just like me – I can see which products live up to their claims and which don’t, and even how other moms adapted their use of the products to suit their families. I actually base my purchases of new products of which I’m not familiar, on the reviews other shoppers have given those items.

4. It’s so easy!

Online shopping can be tedious, especially when sites don’t work properly, you can’t find what you’re looking for, products are out of stock, and then you get to the end to place your order and see it’s going to take 10 days to arrive. I have only ever had one glitch in placing my FTN order – and that was on Black Friday, so all was forgiven! There are always products on promotion, shopping and checkout is really easy, and orders valued at more than R350 qualify for free delivery. Plus delivery is very prompt; I live out in the sticks and always receive my deliveries within 3 days.

5. The free samples

When it comes to replacing the products you have grown to love with new ones, it can all become a little scary. For one, you don’t want to waste your money on products that don’t work or that you simply don’t like. There’s a handy little checklist at bottom of your FTN order that allows you to select the product categories that most interest you, like food or beauty. Most orders then come with a little sample or two of products from those categories, helping you explore new brands and new innovations on your green journey.

My 3 free samples with my summer box order.

Going green doesn’t have to be difficult, and you don’t have to get it right the first time around. Taking it slow and referring to an authority on green living like FTN makes the process that much easier.

What’s more important is that you take that first step.

That you make a start.

It’s never been easier than it is right now to be the change you want to see in the world, so give it a whirl.

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By Bronwyn Mulrooney, January 17, 2018
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Welcome to Muddy Boots, a little escape from your everyday world that features my personal experiences with family-friendly travel, leisure and lifestyle activities in South Africa. I’m a fulltime writer, editor and author; wife to a long-suffering husband; mom to 3 young boys (aged 10, 4 and 1); and pack leader to 2 mutts and 1 thieving Weimaraner who steals (and eats) everything he sees. We all live together in a little village at the foothills of the Outeniqua Mountains in the southern Cape, where the weather is wild and traffic jams usually involve waiting for herds of lazy bovines to cross the road. BRONWYN MULROONEY
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