Danny Seo’s magazine — “Naturally, Danny Seo” — is filled with guidance for living a “green” and healthy lifestyle including food, beauty, travel, home and entertaining tips. Now, his brand — which has been billed as “the green Martha Stewart” — is expanding to include a TV show launching on NBC this fall, and a new book, “Naturally, Delicious: 100 Recipes for Healthy Eats That Make You Happy.” Seo sees his career path as the culmination of his passions for style, sustainability and activism, “but in a way that’s not scary or preachy.” Here, he shares a few insider tips for a happy, environmentally-friendly home.
How do you define “natural”?
I love the word “naturally” because I feel like in our society everyone is shifting towards wanting to live a healthier lifestyle. We want our communities to be stronger, we want our bodies to feel healthier and more energetic and we want our families to be healthy. So instead of giving people a lot of advice and tips that feel like medicine no one wants to take but you know it’s good for you, what I’m trying to do is get people to listen to their own intuition and go with that. … You can incorporate different ideas into your everyday life that work for you without going to extremes.
Organic food can be pricey. How can we save money and still eat organic?
You know, it’s not always expensive. ... I just eat in season. In California, when there is a bumper crop of something, whether it’s strawberries or avocados whether it’s organic or conventional, produce goes bad. So farmers want to move their bumper crops because if they don’t sell it, it’s money down the drain. So I find eating in season, and then preserving or freezing, let’s say, berries, or making stocks and saving that... is always best. Also, you don’t always have to buy organic [when you’re dealing with produce that has a skin that will be peeled away and discarded]. But a fruit or vegetable where you ingest the whole thing... is something you should be really concerned about because it’s lived its entire life exposed to the elements but also absorbs chemicals… A strawberry is like a sponge. [Here’s a list of the “Dirty Dozen” fruits and vegetables said to contain the most pesticides.]
What is an easy upgrade for a greener and more sustainable home?
We are spending more and more time in our homes watching streaming movies, spending time on our digital devices etc. Focus on the big things … your refrigerator, your heating and cooling systems, the oven, the flooring, the paint … you know, the things that really encompass the majority of what your home is. For example, if you’re going to paint your house, you’ll see lots and lots of cans of low VOC paint in the stores ... [VOC stands for “volatile organic compounds,” which are solvents that are released into the air and can cause a variety of ailments.] What you want to look for is Zero VOC paint. Also, don’t overbuy your paint [which wastes money and ends up in landfills]. Use an online tool called a paint calculator.
You have a column called “Do Just One Thing”: What is one thing you do for the environment?
There was one tip that was like an “aha” moment for me: When I’m done pumping gas into my car, oftentimes a few drips of gas drop onto the ground. If you just tip up the gas pump and wait 10, 15 seconds [you prevent that spillage.] If every person did that, one: you’d actually collectively save money, and two: that’s a lot of pollutants with every single car that spills out onto the ground, evaporates and creates an unhealthy air environment.
What is your No. 1 home upgrade to help rid toxins?
I think a water filtration system. … There are so many pollutants, metals and even pharmaceutical and over-the-counter drugs now found in tap water.