Sandra Bullock talks about her childhood.

Actress Sandra Bullock isn't new to the environmental movement. Growing up, Sandra says her mother raised her and her sister on macrobiotic foods and taught them to be wary of chemicals and pesticides.

"It wasn't fun as a kid. We went to the neighbors for our Cheetos and the good stuff. ... I hated it then, [but] I love it now," she says. "She recycled everything—nothing was bought and disposed of. It's astounding to me now more than it ever was when I was a kid."

When Sandra was a little girl, she says health food stores like Whole Foods didn't exist. Instead, her family shopped in small stores that sold vitamins, pesticide-free fruits and vegetables and clothing made without dyes or chemicals.

"[My mother] engrained it in us pretty much," Sandra says.
Sandra Bullock at Bess Bistro

Sandra continues to use the lessons her mother passed on in her personal and professional life. Before she brings anything into her home, Sandra says she takes the time to read labels and see what ingredients have been added. "If you can't pronounce it, you probably shouldn't be putting it in your body or in your environment," she says.

When Sandra opened her first restaurant, Bess Bistro, in Austin in 2006, she insisted that the same standards apply. Instead of sending customers home with plastic utensils and cups, Sandra says she buys biodegradable materials. For instance, the takeout containers may look Styrofoam, but they are actually made from sugar cane. 

Tour Sandra's eco-friendly Austin eatery.

"It's just a few cents," she says. "I think we're absolutely worth it—those few extra pennies [help] to make sure that we have a beautiful earth."
Sandra Bullock's homemade window cleaner

At home, Sandra says she like to keep everything organic, including her household cleaners.

Though there are many "green" cleaners on the market, Sandra says you can get the same effect—and save money—by using items found in your cupboard. "An easy window cleaner is just a cabinet away," she says.

To get streak-free windows, Sandra mixes three tablespoons of vinegar, a third of a teaspoon of pure liquid vegetable soap, like castile soap, and two cups of water in a recycled spray bottle. "It cleans your windows like crazy," she says. "Oddly, the vinegar smell doesn't linger."
Lemon, an all-natural disinfectant

Another all-natural cleaner that many people keep in their kitchen is a lemon. "Lemons clean everything," Sandra says. "It's the greatest disinfectant."

Instead of spraying a chemical solution on your cooking surfaces, Sandra suggests squirting a little lemon juice on the counter. "When we smell a lemon, we know something's clean," she says. "It lifts your spirit too."
Clean kitchen surfaces with baking soda.

For years, people have brushed their teeth with pure baking soda. Now, Sandra says you can use this common ingredient to clean everything from your stovetop to your outdoor grill.

"We clean the grill at Bess with [baking soda] and vinegar," she says.
Sandra Bullock's Bessence candle

A lifelong commitment to healthy living inspired Sandra to start her own line of soy wax candles called Bessence. "They're soy-based. They're hand-poured. Everything, even the boxes, are recycled," she says. "Even the black spray that goes on the outside of [the box] is organic."

Sandra's candles are made with essential oils from plants and flowers, inspiring names like Black Cassis and Midnight Garden.
FROM: Oprah's Earth Day Event
Published on January 01, 2006


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