How to Be an Organic Romantic

Organic-minded & natural gift ideas for Valentine's Day.

By Leah Zerbe

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ideas for an organic valentine's dayHere are some ideas for Valentine's Day—from simple to grandiose—that won't break the bank or taint the planet. They'll be sure to keep your organic romantic happy.

• Organic-ify conventional ideas for Valentine's Day.

As the organic market continues to grow, so do your Valentine's Day gift options. Here are more earth-friendly, organic takes on the classics.

Flowers: If you live in a warmer climate, pick flowers and make your own arrangement. If your locale is still encrusted with snow and ice, you can order sustainably raised flower arrangements or plants from Organic Bouquet. Just heed this warning if your plan involves petals: "The organic flowers are especially important if you're using rose petals in the bath or on the bed," Maya notes. Pesticides aren't sexy.

For an earthy twist, you could also give the gift of organic seeds or a gift certificate from your local native plant nursery and commit to grow a garden together once spring arrives.

Chocolate: Organic chocolates are easily available now, and to help you pick out the best, Rodale.com recently orchestrated an organic-chocolate taste test. Check out the results to help match your mate's taste preferences to the bars we tested.

Dinner: Many restaurants are making a real effort to bring organic farm food to the table for customers; in fact, it's a top chef's trend. (Check out Maria Rodale's Top 10 Farm-to-Table lists for suggestions.) Using organic ingredients to cook your own meal adds a personal touch. "In addition to organic food, try organic wine, like Bonterra," Maya suggests. If you're lighting candles for ambience, be sure to choose beeswax candles—they actually help clean your air, not pollute it.

Lingerie: Finding organic lingerie in the United States can be a bit of a challenge, but it's worth the hunt. Non-organic cotton is grown using heavy doses of pesticides, and the crop is often grown from genetically engineered seeds. Online lingerie shoppers can find an organic oasis at Perfectly Imperfect, a company that offers sexy lingerie made from organic cotton. If skimpy lingerie isn't your lover's thing but you still want to give a gift from the intimates department, go for the comfortable-in-a-playful-yet-cozy-way PACT underwear, also made from organic cotton. The company donates 10 percent of underwear sales to organizations that help protect the planet.

• Opt for high-quality free gifts.

"Valentine's Day is only overrun by consumerism if you think that you have to buy something to show someone you care," Tony says. He's made this a guiding principle for trying to impress a professional romantic. "With Maya, it's more about showing her how important she is to me. You can do that better with your time and thought than with your wallet."

The point is, don't feel like a cheapskate if you don't dig deep into your wallet to celebrate your sweetheart on Valentine's Day. The gift of service could be more meaningful than a plastic box of chocolates, according to our organic-romantic expert. "If you're on a budget, refuse to pony up for commercial holidays, or don't need more stuff and you still want to show you care, try little gestures like making the coffee first, cooking breakfast, walking the dog, or giving an extra-long kiss before you leave for the day," Maya suggests.

Here's another idea. If your coffee table looks like a dirty dish bin at a restaurant, avoid bringing added clutter into the home via bouquets or heart-shaped chocolate boxes. Instead, give your lover the gift of a tidy, organized space—it's been proven to relieve stress. "It's hard to think about romance when there are dishes in the sink and the house is a mess," Maya says. "If you are the messy one in your relationship, taking an hour to straighten up will be the best gift ever. Add candles. Violà, romance."

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