Meet Anastasia Borisyuk, an eco-blogger and married mom of two living near Boston, Massachusetts. Before she moved to the U.S. at age 11, Anastasia lived with her family in Latvia. There, her mother’s artistic influence led her to visit countless museums, take art lessons, and eventually choose a career in interior design.
After working for a firm specializing in high-end residential spaces she “could only dream of living in,” Anastasia now freelances from home and takes care of her young, growing family. She also authors her Eco-Babyz blog, and writes for Today’s Mama (Boston Chapter), Thanks Mama, and has written for SocialMoms.
We’re a nation of immigrants — some just more recent than others! Tell us what it’s like to immigrate to America. What was challenging about it? What was exciting about it?
“At age 11 it was very exciting, even though it was sad to leave friends behind. I’m very glad I moved when I was young, but old enough to remember my language and culture. Moving to America was the envy of all my classmates—people thought money grows on trees here. To some extent they still do, but now I am here and I know that is not the case! Learning the language was challenging, but [only] for a short time since I was young—it was and still is a lot harder for my parents. They came to the States for us, for a better future. I have since grown to believe that no matter where you live, your Self is usually the biggest stumbling block to any opportunity and to being ‘happy’ in general.”
How did you become interested in eco-living issues?
“I was always the ‘opt for natural,’ outdoorsy type person. But then I got pregnant with my first baby and discovered to my dismay that so many things I thought are ‘natural’ are far from it when it comes to food and household items. The first year after marriage we bought processed frozen lunches for work, I knew nothing about genetic modification, and very little about pesticides. Slowly I learned how these things affect my health and that of our unborn baby and we changed our lifestyle. Not overnight, but more quick than slow. We are still in the process every day as we educate ourselves more and find simple solutions to things that ail us without drugs or chemicals.”
What eco-tips would you offer the SocialMoms community that aren’t well-known?
“I would like to tell moms that there are simple things they can do to lessen the amount of toxic chemicals their children are exposed to. We need to stop worrying about things we can’t change and focus on what we can do. Starting with water, food, and air – most importantly. Filtering water, buying nutritious, wholesome foods, and being conscious of what we put into our indoor air (household cleaners, finishes, materials). I have a hard time thinking of something that isn’t well known! I think one important tip is: stop using your non-stick/teflon cookware! It is highly toxic, you don’t want your food in contact with that. Instead opt for nano-ceramic, stainless steel, or cast iron. I love my nano-ceramic pan and use it daily, I also like my stainless steel pans. The food even tastes so much better in these!”
Why do you think the FDA refused to ban BPA in food packaging? Why should parents know/care about this?
“I think the FDA refused because it would hurt the BPA industry’s bottom line. That’s a lot of money there, and it is understandable that they want to protect that. My dismay is over the fact that the FDA is supposed to protect us, the consumer, not some industry’s pocketbook. It isn’t a surprise though, since the FDA is mostly comprised of people who work or used to work for these same industries (food corporations and drug companies). I think parents should care about this because as a whole they do have power to demand that something is done right. The amount of unregulated chemicals in our food supply is astonishing – it shouldn’t be that way. Parenting is hard enough – we shouldn’t need a degree in chemistry just to read the ingredients on our kids’ box of snacks. On a related note, I think if more parents took the time to learn to make real food at home, we wouldn’t rely so much on someone to do the processing for us and feed us ‘food-like’ chemicals for the sake of convenience.”
What are you passionate about?
“So many things! It’s hard to pinpoint just one. My faith for sure, something that is steadfast no matter what life brings. I’m also passionate about my kids, watching them grow, learn, and become incredible little people. I am passionate about homemaking – but not in the ‘I have a perfect, clean, organized home’ sense, more so in making it a place that is enjoyable to be and one that my husband looks forward coming home to. I am also very passionate about sharing what I learn with other moms – in terms of kids’ health, how the food we eat affects us, how we can make tangible changes in our lifestyle for better health of our family.”
What drives you crazy?
“Honestly, a lot of things. It drives me crazy when moms put more thought into their wardrobe than what they are feeding their children. It drives me crazy when people say ‘Well we ate that, did this, etc. and turned out okay’ or ‘Well, everyone does it.’ It is clearly a lame argument for anything, whether you’re defending chemicals in food or the overuse of drugs. It drives me crazy when grandparents express their love to grandchildren with yet another cheap plastic toy or worse, toxic artificial treats. Lucky for them, they had real food when they were kids!”
What fun things do you like doing with your family?
“We like to explore our local area. With little kids we don’t go very far, but there is so much to do outdoors right where we are! Beaches, trails, quaint towns, biking, new playgrounds, parks, forests, farms. We’re very frugal and rarely go anywhere that involves paying for entertainment. We prefer things off-the-beaten-path!”
Describe your perfect Saturday.
“My perfect Saturday would be one where we do not go anywhere and spend the day at home together as a family. I like to check my email in the morning, then unplug from all online work for the rest of the day. Usually my husband works Saturdays, but he is home for early evening and we eat homemade pizza that my toddler helps me make – she loves making and playing with the dough. A perfect Saturday always involves some baking! We make cookies or a cake, something simple. If the weather is great, a perfect Saturday does include a few hours of being outdoors — local hike or playground.”