It was the nurturer in Hyderabad-based Reena George, founder of the research organization brhat, that led her to find a way to live consciously — from what she ate to what she chose to wipe the surfaces of the house
What led you to live a sustainable lifestyle?
It was one specific incident in 2009 — the birth of my daughter Sahithi. After she was born, I started looking out for safe products for her and in that quest I stumbled upon several articles that spoke about availability of chemicals in various stuff infants use — from food to personal hygiene. That led me to opt for a sustainable lifestyle for her and eventually for us as a family.
Following the moment of awakening, what various sustainable activities you took up?
I began with my focus on food. In addition to breast milk, I fed Sahithi with nature-given food. I followed my mother, as she had brought up a lot of kids without using food bought from outside. I made mixes and porridges at home. One porridge recipe that comes to my mind is mixing millets with milk. It’s a nice alternative to Cerelac and similar kinds of packaged food.
Along the way, I began to read a lot about conscious food. It is rightly said that we are what we eat and what we digest. Since I fed my baby, I also got my diet in place. Having embarked on the journey, I reworked my husband’s food menu as well.
What other activities besides eating right?
Besides eating right, I also contributed to how people ate. I did so in my capacity as the former co-founder of The Bartan Company that advocated the use of sustainable cutlery during social gatherings– say biodegradable or steel cutlery. Then, I also commenced making bio-enzymes that worked as safe cleaning agents.
Would you share a quick recipe for making bio-enzyme?
Take 3 parts of lemon or orange peels (rotten lemons/oranges will also do) and 1 part of unbleached jaggery in a bowl. Add 10 bowls (same bowl) of water. Transfer the mix to a plastic air-tight container and allow the preparation to ferment for three months. Open the container for about 2 minutes every day for the first ten days to release gaseous elements. After three months, the peels would have settled down and the liquid on top is your cleaning agent.
To prepare the enzyme next time, you could take a bit from the previous batch, add water to it, and allow the liquid to ferment only for one month.
Okay, I have a situation. I have a pile of ink-written notebooks. Would you have a suggestion as to how best to dispose these notebooks?
There are many ways. One that comes to my mind, is to make crafts out of them. There are DIY videos available on the web. Other than that, these papers could also be composted if the nature of the paper and ink permits. So, find out about the paper and ink used to fill up these papers.
Great to make natural food recipes at home and devise one’s own chemical-free safe cleaning agent — but isn’t all this time consuming?
In a way, it is. Especially, in the initial phase of making the switch. It was so for me because I was customizing the processes according to my family’s needs. But again, time consumption is a relative term. If this way of life is bringing me health, hygiene, and saving me hospital bills; it’s worth it.