My Next Book!

  • April 2, 2016 2:55 pm

I’m excited to announce that I’m busily working on my next book, MODERN PERILS OF COUNTRY LIVING. Here’s the blurb on the sale from Publisher’s Marketplace. Memoir is so different than what I’m used to writing, though of course The Complete Organic Pregnancy and The Conscious Kitchen were deeply rooted in my own life. It’s slated to be released in Spring 2017. Excited to share this–funny, I think–tale with you.

THE MODERN PERILS OF COUNTRY LIVING by Alexandra Zissu
Non-fiction: Parenting
CONSCIOUS KITCHEN author Alexandra Zissu’s THE MODERN PERILS OF COUNTRY LIVING, the story of uprooting from NYC’s West Village to upstate New York seeking a more wholesome environment in which to raise kids, and how it’s not at all what she imagined, at all, to Ann Treistman at Countryman Press, by Sharon Bowers at Miller Bowers Griffin.

Recent Writing: New York Times, Moms Clean Air Force, Yahoo Style

  • December 15, 2015 9:56 pm

I have been busily writing. At the moment, given the state of the world (climate talks in Paris yielding not as much as they should, war, refugees, unreal hatred aka Trump), I have been feeling the need to just report stories that are fun to read. They’re soothing to report. Which is how I wound up writing about modern school photos for The New York Times. Gone are the ugly portraits of the past; the new look is sort of like a J.Crew catalog and very frame-able for your desk. Not everyone is a fan.

But I can’t help but write about climate, no matter how upsetting, so I typed up some musings on how climate change is linked to the food we eat day in and day out for Moms Clean Air Force. I also have a recent post for them on solar farms and why I love them.

It’s going to take a lot of innovation to fix the environmental state of affairs, which is why I was also pleased to write about eco-futuristic replacements for leather for Yahoo Style. I really like the jellyfish leather bag, just saying. We need all hands on to fix the woes of the world, including the fashion industry.

Hudson Valley Hookup aka Tick Checking in The New York Times

  • August 13, 2015 5:25 pm

I not-so-recently relocated to the Hudson Valley. Here we have a deep well and are surrounded by the farms that grow our food, among other amazing comforts. As a lifelong urban girl, my time in the woods has been hilarious, wonderful, frustrating, trying. I am such a fish out of water, but I no longer think about nature deficit disorder! There are many things–big and small–that scare me up here. Put me on a subway at 3am no problem, but show me a tick crawling across my 2-year-old and aaaaa! Tick-borne disease is on the rise. It’s terrifying. Neighbors and friends all around me are diagnosed weekly. It’s not just Lyme. It’s co-infections and more. Some of them are suffering chronically. So we all endlessly tick check. Day in and day out. Night in and night out. Searching and searching. And we wear a lot of white stuff tucked into white socks. I realize not everyone actually tick checks. So I decided to write about it — why to, how to, who else is checking (Jill Kargman from Odd Mom Out, fashion designer Cynthia Rowley, and some Kardashians, among others). The result is here, in The New York Times. Tonight make sure to check you and yours!

(Also, very pleased to have entered Hudson Valley hookup into the Times lexicon.)

Moms Clean Air Force Posts

  • July 29, 2015 1:57 pm

I’ve been doing some writing again lately for Moms Clean Air Force. So glad to be part of their impressive mission. My latest posts cover links between air pollution and autism, and an essay on why I find protecting my children from toxic chemicals to be empowering (if annoying — I’d rather the government truly protect us and I could get back to more fun parenting tasks).

If you’re not yet familiar with MCAF’s work, check them out!

Chatting Green with Marlo Thomas

  • September 5, 2013 9:53 am

Alexandra Zissu and Marlo Thomas

I had great time talking about everything green living and environmental health with Marlo Thomas a few weeks back for her Huffington Post show, Mondays with Marlo. Check it out here.

Horticultural Society Event — 9/24

  • September 5, 2013 9:06 am

I’ll be sharing my ten tips for greening a family even in an urban environment at a Horticultural Society event on 9/24. Join me?

Hey, Halle Berry! What’s In Your Perfume?

  • May 16, 2013 8:18 pm

I’ve started a petition over at Change.org asking Halle Berry to fully disclose the ingredients in her Coty, Inc. fragrances. Would you please sign and share it? Thanks!

From the petition (there’s more at Change.org):

When I was pregnant with my first daughter, I started researching environmental health concerns. I’m a journalist so my research became a book, co-authored with a close friend: The Complete Organic Pregnancy. Eight years, three more books, and a new four-month-old daughter later, I’m still alarmed by how many unsafe substances my girls—and all children—are exposed to daily. It upsets me how much is unknown. It’s impossible to safeguard kids against the unknown.

If the press is to be believed, this is something the actress Halle Berry worries about, too. She’s pregnant with her second child. During her first pregnancy, it was reported that she was interested in organics and was planning an eco-friendly nursery.

That’s why I’m asking her, mom to mom, to use her considerable influence as a celebrity to help close a consumer health loophole that a lot of people don’t even know about.

Fragrances—which are in everything from perfumes to lotions to diapers to food –are considered government protected trade secrets. This means that companies don’t have to tell consumers which chemicals make up the “fragrance” on their product’s ingredient list. The word “fragrance” is a placeholder for unknown mixtures of potentially hundreds of chemicals.

The problem? Many of the undisclosed ingredients in any given fragrance have been linked in various studies to allergies, asthma, hormone disruption, and even cancer. In one study, one of Halle Berry’s perfumes was found to contain several of these toxic chemicals.

Halle Berry has five perfumes in her name. Her latest fragrance, Closer, is up for a popular fragrance of the year award. I’m asking her, as another mom who cares about children’s health and the environment, to set a trend by disclosing the individual ingredients in her perfumes. It would be great if Coty, Inc. stopped using potentially unsafe chemicals, but if they at least tell consumers what’s in the Halle Berry perfumes, it’s one less unknown for us parents. I hope it will inspire other fragrance manufacturers to be more transparent, too.

Healthy Child Healthy World

  • April 2, 2013 8:40 pm

I’m still not entirely back up to speed since having a baby in December. Such is life. That said I’m thrilled and delighted to be working with Healthy Child Healthy World. While I’m not back to posting here on my own blog, I am writing over on their blog if you’re in the mood to read something recent.

Maternity Slow Down

  • January 11, 2013 12:50 pm

As of mid-December I’m home getting to know my newborn and working, writing, and posting less (or not at all). I should be back up and running at some point in February. If you send me a question for a Q&A in the interim, I will file it for then.

Happy 2013!

Q&A: Chemical Flame Retardants?

  • December 19, 2012 9:43 am

Question:

Alexandra,

I recently sent an email to members of my family as they shop for holiday and baby gifts, including fleece footed pjs. I’m sending part of it to you below. There has been some backlash. Was this overkill? I did ask them to try not to take it personally. I just don’t want to expose the baby to harm.

Here is some info on flame retardants that I think important to share. When thinking about buying gifts, please keep in mind that if there is a label on the product that indicates that it is in accordance with California state regulation 117, or is made with any type of foam in conjunction with the product not being labeled as organic, or is labeled as “flame retardant,” please think twice before buying it.

Thanks for your thoughts.

Sarah

Answer:

Dear Sarah,

This is a real concern. The overkill part largely depends on your family.

There are flame retardants basically in all foam products (they’re made from petroleum and so are very flammable), even fleece pajamas. It is good common sense not to go out of your way to purchase and place unneeded foam around your baby, though it is unavoidable in things like car seats. It’s of course more important to have a car seat than to minimize exposure to flame retardants in foam, in terms of risk factor.

Flame retardants are in such wide use that these things are found in the blood/bodies of almost all Americans, which is why it’s a good idea to expose yourself to less of them if and when you can, especially since at the moment they’re almost impossible to avoid in couches and other upholstered furniture (though there are some indications this may get better soon). So it’s easier said than done to avoid entirely, but you can minimize. They’re in this computer I’m typing on, too, by the way.
How you speak to your own family is largely an issue of personality and pre-established relationships. I have ways of addressing these issues individually with the various members of my own family. I do know that feelings get hurt when anyone rejects a well-intentioned present. And tempers flare when gift givers are told what they bought or what they want to buy is toxic. It’s an odd thing. At this point my own family members are very careful about what they buy for us and our daughter. I know it’s a burden for them. Some let me know this more than others. Some just do what they want. I have smiled and thanked countless people, then returned or exchanged my fair share of foam-filled things and fleece everything over the years. No one noticed (that I know of), and no hard feelings. Just saying.
If you’re looking for some good reading to share, The Chicago Tribune has been working on a great investigative series on flame retardants this year. Well worth emailing around and then it’s the reporters doing the lecturing, not you. Which is a good thing.
Best,
Alexandra