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How Actress & Mom Bryce Dallas Howard Keeps It Eco-Friendly At Home (Without Losing Her Mind)

Emma Loewe
Author:
April 26, 2019
Emma Loewe
mbg Sustainability + Health Director
By Emma Loewe
mbg Sustainability + Health Director
Emma Loewe is the Senior Sustainability Editor at mindbodygreen and the author of "Return to Nature: The New Science of How Natural Landscapes Restore Us."
Bryce Howard talks with mindbodygreen
Image by mbg Creative x Contributor
April 26, 2019

When actress and director Bryce Dallas Howard was pregnant with her first child, she had a decision to make: keep up with her raw vegan diet or start introducing meat at the recommendation of her doctor.

"During my pregnancy, there were some significant shifts in my health, and it got to the point where my doctor said to me, 'I totally respect everything you're doing, but this is a moment you need to choose between your ethics and your future,'" Howard tells mbg from her home in Santa Monica.

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"By that time, I had learned a ton about sustainability, and especially sustainable farming, and the wildly unreasonable burden that's being put on the planet. When you learn that stuff, you can't unlearn it," explains the daughter of Ron Howard, who's appeared in blockbusters such as Jurassic World, Black Mirror, and Twilight. Her tone is warm and relatable as she recounts that time in her life, over a decade ago.

Ultimately, she did end up adding meat back into her diet. But the tug between ethics and future sent her seeking more habits that are healthy for her, her family, and the planet in the long run.

Now, with a 12-year-old son and 7-year-old-daughter in tow, Howard is still always on the hunt for opportunities to forge a more mindful home: "I'm so not perfect—not that perfect even exists—but I try to keep an eye out." Here are some of her favorite ways to practice sustainability at home with two young kids.

1. Lighten your laundry load.

First things first, Howard always tries to use natural, plant-based products around her children—especially if it's something that's eventually going to end up on their skin, like a detergent. The trick is finding ones that actually work and sticking with them.

"Early on with my son, I was getting frustrated because there are some serious stains that happen with newborns. I ended up washing and rewashing a lot of his clothes and ultimately not being able to donate them—needing to throw them out—because the stains were so bad." Luckily, she's found that these days, it's easier to find natural products that are efficacious and don't cost a fortune.

She opts for Tide purclean, Tide's first plant-based detergent that's ultra-concentrated, free of dyes, and made in a facility that uses 100% renewable wind power. Switching over to a solution like this (and making sure to use cold water instead of hot in the wash) has helped her run her machine less and majorly cut down on her water and energy footprint.

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2. Shop secondhand.

"I try to donate my clothes, and I purchase the majority of them from consignment shops," Howard says. "That way, I'm buying things that are gently used for myself, my husband, and my family, and that action can add up over time. It's way cheaper as well!"

3. Vote with your dollar.

You've heard it before, and it still holds true: As consumers, we hold a lot of power. By supporting companies that align with your sustainable values, you're sending the message to entire industries to clean up their act if they want to attract customers. "What you invest your money in makes a massive impact," Howard echoes.

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4. When it comes to kids, lead by example.

When it comes to teaching her kids about the importance of things like turning off the lights when a room isn't in use, bringing reusable bags on family grocery runs, or limiting shower time, Howard says it's a matter of leading by example and stressing the importance of every natural resource: "I tell them the same way you would handle something like a diamond is how we need to be having a relationship with nature, water, and food. Protecting these things is the most important thing in the world."

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Emma Loewe
Emma Loewe
mbg Sustainability + Health Director

Emma Loewe is the Sustainability and Health Director at mindbodygreen and the author of Return to Nature: The New Science of How Natural Landscapes Restore Us. She is also the co-author of The Spirit Almanac: A Modern Guide To Ancient Self Care, which she wrote alongside Lindsay Kellner.

Emma received her B.A. in Environmental Science & Policy with a specialty in environmental communications from Duke University. In addition to penning over 1,000 mbg articles on topics from the water crisis in California to the rise of urban beekeeping, her work has appeared on Grist, Bloomberg News, Bustle, and Forbes. She's spoken about the intersection of self-care and sustainability on podcasts and live events alongside environmental thought leaders like Marci Zaroff, Gay Browne, and Summer Rayne Oakes.