Are you eating organic foods and sleeping on a chemical mattress?

Are you eating organic foods and sleeping on a chemical mattress?

Americans are aware of the benefits of choosing organic when they’re in the grocery store, but so many people I meet haven’t even thought about their bedrooms.

We spend about 1/3 of our lives in bed, so it’s important to make sure your sleep environment is as free from chemicals as possible.

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Lifekind is America’s most trusted name in organic mattresses and bedding. As you flip through the pages of this catalog, you will see that not only do we make the world’s purest mattress (backed by our Purity Promise), but we also offer a full line of organic bedding essentials and personal-care products.

And don’t forget, when you use promo code NEXT14, we’ll take 20% off your next order!

Top 10 Customer Favorites

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We’ve just wrapped up another great year here at Lifekind and we would like to take a moment to look back at the products that made our customers happiest in 2013.  So, here’s a list of last year’s Top 10 Customer Favorites (in no particular order) and a brief description of why they’re so great!

10. Certified Organic Cotton Towels

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First up, we have our lovely 100% Certified Organic Cotton Towels.  These generously sized terry towels feature a twill pattern and a 550-gram weight – making them both elegant and absorbent!  Our customers love the softness of these towels and many of them comment on how nicely the slim binding avoids puckering after being washed.  Your skin is most vulnerable after you bathe, so it is important to choose your towels carefully.  Our towels are free of dyes, chemicals and pesticides – just like all of our products – making them a great way to finish your bathing routine!

9. Pure Organic Sheet Set

Next we have our 300-thread-count sateen sheet sets.  Just like the name states, these sheets are PURE (free of all the icky things I just mentioned above).  Who would want to sleep on anything less?  These sheets are soft, durable and all-around a great value!  Each set contains one flat sheet, one fitted sheet and two pillowcases (except for the twin set, which contains one standard case and the king set, which contains two king cases).  Many customers purchase this set as the first step in their transition into an organic sleep environment.  What better place to start than with the first thing that touches your skin when you crawl into bed?

8. Organic Flannel Mattress Pad

Eighth in line is our double-layer essential Flannel Mattress Pad.  Our catalog says, “If you purchase only one accessory for you mattress, this should be it!”  And the continued popularity of this product reminds us that it’s true… think of this pad as the sponge between you and your mattress.  Your sheets keep you cool and clean and your moisture pad provides a moisture barrier, but the flannel pad soaks up any spills (and can be washed in hot water, unlike wool).  The corner straps keep the pad in place without making your mattress feel more taught.

7. Certified Organic Dust-Mite & Bed-Bug Barrier Mattress Cover

This item is a must-have for anyone with allergy concerns!  Our 100% certified organic cotton mattress barrier cover has a tight weave to keep out invaders while still allowing your mattress (and your skin) to breathe!  By skipping out on the synthetics you also skip out on the “crumpling plastic” noise you get with some other mattress covers.  The heavy-duty zipper is brass (so it won’t rust) and makes it so much easier to remove and wash the cover.  Our barrier cover is also available in different sizes and depths, so we are sure to have what you need.

6. Organic Embroidered Toddler Pillow

Our certified organic cotton toddler pillow with the included embroidered pillowcase is a best-seller online – and who could be surprised?  Not only is it totally adorable, but it is safe for the little ones who use it!  The boudoir-sized cotton pillow is just the right size for a little head, and the cotton sateen material of the pillowcase is soft to the touch.  All of the cotton in this pillow – from the batting to the cover to the pillowcase – is certified according to the Global Organic Textile Standard (one of the highest organic certifications you can find).  While this is true with all of our pillows and mattresses, it is especially comforting when it comes to caring for our precious babies!

 

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5. Naturally Safer Pure Wool and Certified Organic Cotton Pillows

All of our pillows are popular!  The certified organic cotton speaks for itself, but you may be wondering what it means to buy Naturally Safer Wool… well, here’s the deal: our wool comes from sheep that are treated humanely and live on certified organic farms.  The sheep themselves are never fed any antibiotics or any food that has been treated with pesticides.  Which means that you can feel good about your purchase while it helps you feel good, too (by helping you sleep!).  Customers appreciate the fact that our wool and cotton pillows come in multiple sizes (Boudoir, Standard, King, Euro and Body) and multiple lofts (Light, Medium and Full).

4. Customizable Wool-Wrapped Natural Shredded Rubber Pillow

Then there’s our one-of-a-kind wool-wrapped shredded rubber pillow, which can be customized according to the loft/firmness you prefer!  The adjustments are made possible by the brass zipper, which opens into the center compartment of the pillow and allows you to remove/add the shredded rubber pieces.  The wool forms the outermost layer of cushioning and gives the pillow a uniform feel.  Our down- and feather-loving customers are thrilled that we offer a cruelty-free alternative!

3. The Wooly Pillow Top

Of the many pillow tops we offer, this one gives you the most “bang” for your buck!  Three inches of long-staple Naturally Safer pure wool creates a cloud-like sleeping surface and regulates your body temperature (which makes it a comfortable addition to your bed all year long).  Our wool and cotton fillings are always free of chemical fixatives, so the hand tufting is what keeps this pillow top fluffy.  This product boasts a GREENGAURD certification on top of its other designations, which means that it has been tested and meets low VOC-emission standards.

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2. The Euro Mattress

This is by far our most universal mattress – meaning that it is comfortable for the widest variety of people.  Whether you lean more toward a firm mattress or a cushy one, the Euro seems to do it all!  The reason for this is the natural latex core that comprises this mattress.  Natural latex (and when I say “natural” I mean 98% natural sap from a latex tree with 2% formatives, not the 20% natural latex which comprises most “natural” mattresses) provides 30% more pressure-point relief than memory foam, and none of the “sinking” feeling.  Natural latex has sort of a split personality: when you put direct pressure on it with your hand or butt, it gives, yet when your entire body weight is distributed across the mattress, the latex “pushes back” giving you the support you need.  Three firmness options give this mattress versatility!

1. The Euro Soft-Top

What do you get when you add a half-inch of med-soft rubber to the top of our best-selling Euro mattress?  The Euro Soft-Top!  This mattress is two-in-one: the rubber/wool cushion quilting gives this mattress a soft, “melty” feel on one side, while the reverse side is the traditional Euro.  This Euro Soft Top gives you a touch of luxury while boasting a more reasonable price point.  Like the Euro, this mattress is available in three firmnesses: medium, medium-firm and firm.

~  Bonus: Naturally Safer Moisturizing Lotion with MSM

We ran out of room on our top 10 list, but we just had to throw this one in because our customers love it so much!  The reason for this is in the ingredients list: methylsulfonylmethane (MSM).  This sulfur-containing therapeutic agent is derived from trees and has the natural ability to relieve pain and inflammation.  The superior moisturizing ability of this lotion will be evident from the very first use and with time it may even relieve the symptoms of arthritis and other similar conditions.  This lotion is hypoallergenic and free of cetyl alcohol, artificial preservative, animal products and parabens.  It is ideal for use on delicate skin (like the skin on your face, or your baby!).  And on top of all that, this lotion is available in “unscented” or our wonderful “lavender” option.

With our Annual White Sale going on right now, it’s an ideal time to order the products you’ve had your eye on.  Click here to check out our full selection!

7 Tips to Help You Fall Asleep

If bedtime has become a battle, read on for some helpful tips to help you get to sleep.

1. Take a bath: Few things are more relaxing than getting comfortable in your own skin, and soaking in a tub is a great way to force yourself to slow down. Adding soothing ingredients like lavender and oatmeal literally rinses away the day while releasing muscle tension and softening skin.

2. Follow a soothing routine: Planning ahead can help when developing a routine for better sleep. Try dimming the lights, changing out of your daytime clothes, and slowing things down in general. By creating a consistent routine new balance 996
, your body will become more responsive to the cues that lead up to bedtime and trigger relaxation.

3. Sip some herbal tea: Although “herbal” tea is not a true tea, these caffeine-free concoctions are warming and soothing, and help to calm your nerves before bedtime. Another benefit is that most are safe for children (always read the instructions and refer to a medical professional if you have questions regarding safety for your child). Some of the more popular teas are California poppy, valerian, kava kava, and chamomile; there are also many organic blends available at most grocery stores cheap official jordans
.

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4. Eat to sleep: Avoid caffeine, alcohol, sugar, or large amounts of protein before bed. Avoid these for at least 4 hours before bedtime to fall asleep faster and stay asleep throughout the night, keeping insomnia at bay. If that’s not enough, try adding extra (healthy) carbs, calcium, magnesium and tryptophan in the evening for natural sedative effects to promote relaxation both mentally and physically. Check this list for healthy sources of these natural sleep boosters.

5. Slip on a sleep mask: An eye mask filled with organic wool, cotton, buckwheat or herbs can help to block disturbing light and relax tense facial muscles after a long day. For sore, red, or burning eyes jordan retro cheap
, most masks can be chilled in the freezer or (my favorite) slightly warmed to relieve sinus congestion or seasonal allergies.

6. L-Theanine: This awesome amino acid appears to elevate alpha-brain wave activity in the brain (say that five times fast), which is a sign of deep relaxation. By easing physical and emotional stress l-theanine helps you fall asleep faster and stay asleep throughout the night, and can also ease anxieties during the day. Since this soothing ingredient, typically found in green tea, is an amino acid, it is considered safe for most people and doesn’t have any significant side effects. It is available in chewable tablets that have a great fruity flavor and work extremely well for children.

7. Slow your mind and body with some relaxing yoga: Think calming with deep breaths – not sweaty, hot, “pretzel” yoga. Yoga increases blood flow to your muscles and brain, and deep breathing sends the “relax” message to your central nervous system retro kicks
. The act of simply being still with eyes closed is often enough to slow your body and mind before bedtime. If you are a beginner or tend to gravitate toward intense yoga, this blog by OMI walks you through basic poses to prep for sleeping safely. Enjoy, and sweet dreams!

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If Textiles Could Talk: “Does that color come in organic?”

In a prior blog  I wrote about the unfortunate toxicity of conventional dyes and how the textile industry historically has a devastating effect on the environment and people’s health. As populations continue to grow and eco-awareness spreads, the clothing industry will need to find viable solutions to this problem.

People have been using “natural” dyes made from plant, mineral, and animal ingredients for thousands of years. In fact, dyed flax fibers, dating back 36,000 years, were found in a cave in the Republic of Georgia. Today, cultures around the world continue the craft of natural dyeing to produce uniquely colored yarns and cloths.

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There is a huge variety of natural substances that can be used to color fabric. Having a broad chemical range, different substances require different techniques, and many require the use of a mordant. Mordants are metallic salts that bind the dye to the fabric, typically applied prior to submerging fabric into a dye bath. Many, but not all, traditionally used mordants are toxic, which presents the same problems as synthetic dyes: human exposure and wastewater disposal. Some popular natural dye extracts have a certain level of toxicity as well. Hmmm…

Though natural dyes can produce rich, complementary colors, many of the bright hues we see in stores are not available as natural dye colors. Even if consumers were to accept those limitations and switch to naturally dyed items only, we wouldn’t have enough land and water to produce all the dye material needed to color the human race’s wardrobes.

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The concept of using agricultural waste as dye material makes good sense. Let’s see where that goes in the future. Ploughboy Organics, a blooming U.S. company, is developing a line of organic dyes and textiles using organic tobacco by-products, and claims the process will use less water and energy than conventional dyeing.

Noon Design Studio in Los Angeles specializes in dyeing natural fibers using natural ingredients and non-toxic mordants.

Saco River Dyehouse claims to be the only GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) certified yarn-dyeing factory in the U.S., and is now operating in Biddeford, Maine.

DIY. Safe, natural dyeing is definitely doable. If you do it yourself you can control which substances are used. I recommend you research the effects of the chemical compounds of each individual plant, mineral or animal used, as well as for the mordant recommended for each dye material.

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Until truly sustainable dyeing systems are invented and adopted for mass production, I recommend backing the alternatives. Buy GOTS-certified organic textiles that were produced using low-impact dyes or none at all. Support colorgrown cotton, hemp, untreated wools, and recycled fabrics. Look for up-cycled items (clothes and accessories made from repurposed textiles and used clothes).

If items are certified organic to the GOTS standard, they will have the following qualities:

  • All chemical inputs (e.g., dyes, auxiliaries, and process chemicals) must be evaluated and meet basic requirements for toxicity and biodegradability/eliminability
  • Prohibition of critical inputs such as toxic heavy metals, formaldehyde, aromatic solvents, functional nano particles, and genetically modified organisms (GMO) and their enzymes
  • The use of synthetic sizing agents is restricted; knitting and weaving oils must not contain heavy metals
  • Bleaches must be based on oxygen (no chlorine bleaching)

Here at Lifekind, we only use colorgrown organic cotton, meaning the colors you see are the natural colors of the plant fibers that were used to make the product– NO DYES! More on colorgrown cotton to come…

If Textiles Could Talk: “Those colors are to dye for!”

Have you ever wondered about textile dyes and the effect they have on the environment? The purpose of this blog is to shed a neon light on the subject. Be forewarned: the beautiful colors in your closet may look different after reading… The textile dyeing and finishing industry has a very dirty past, and due to environmental concerns, is finally facing pressure to clean up its act. The industry uses huge amounts of chemicals and vast amounts of water (100-150 liters of water to process 1 kg of textile material) and is known for poisoning rivers by dumping mega amounts of toxic, untreated wastewater (effluent) directly into waterways. Pigments in India Azo dyes and pigments are used to color most textiles and leathers. They are dangerous to work with, giving off carcinogenic amines. The name Azo is derived from the Greek a (not) + zoe (to live). With a name like that, it’s no wonder these dyes have an adverse affect on water resources, soil fertility, and eco-system integrity. The industry also uses significant amounts of bleaches, acids, alkalis, salts, stabilizers, surfactants, fire retardants, softeners, starches, heavy metals, and an assortment of dyes (acid, basic, disperse, mordant, reactive, sulphur dye, pigment, and vat). Most of these chemicals are applied using water as a medium. With the price of water consumption and effluent disposal increasing, some companies are beginning to look at ways to reduce water usage and find viable ways to treat effluent, while many dye houses will continue to use up local water supplies and dump untreated toxic wastewater into streams and rivers until the cows come floating home. dumpnowaste Air-dyeing is a waterless dyeing system, which uses less energy and no auxiliary chemicals and is twice as fast. Nike and IKEA have invested in DyeCoo, a waterless dyeing company, and Adidas’ DryDye shirts are made using this system. Currently air-dyeing industrial machines only work on polyester and are very expensive, but carbon dioxide, the substance used, is inexpensive and is also re-used in the process, saving money and resources. While waterless dyeing may be more environmentally friendly, synthetic dyes are still used, however. Low-impact dyes have been classified as eco-friendly by the Oeko-Tex Standard 100 (an international certification process). These dyes generally do not contain toxic chemicals or mordants (used to fix dye to fiber), require less rinsing, and have a high absorption rate, saving energy and creating less wastewater than conventional methods. Fiber-reactive dyes are low-impact synthetic dyes that bond directly with fibers and don’t require mordants or use heavy metals or known toxic substances. They use lower temperatures and shorter cycles, saving water and energy, and are now available in brighter and richer colors as well as having excellent colorfast propertiesclothe Low-impact, fiber-reactive dyes are the dyes of choice in eco-fashion, and Oeko-Tex 100 certified dyes are used on organic textiles to qualify for the GOTS certification. The Global Organic Textile Standard is in place to cover all of the post-harvest production and processing of fibers. Stay tuned for If Textiles Could Talk part 2, about “natural” dyes.

Three Things To Add To Your Home Spa List

As autumn approaches and busy summer activities are quieting down, I’m beginning to feel more of a need to transition inward. Now some evenings when I get home from work, after walking the dog and cooking dinner I unplug the phone and settle into my new “spa routine”. Here are three things I find helpful:

1. Taking a hot bath can be very spa-like, and Lifekind’s Spa Gift Bag makes it even more relaxing. The Spa Gift Bag contains our oatmeal-lavender Bath Soak, lavender-geranium Body Polish, Lavender Moisturizing Lotion with MSM (8 oz.), a bar of our All-vegetable Soap in Oatmeal Lavender, and a Cotton/Hemp Cloth. And it’s packaged in a versatile organic cotton canvas bag!

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2. I am also very pleased with our new organic cotton Spa Robe. It’s plenty roomy, very soft, and washes up well  (as modeled by Lifekind friend & co-worker Cate). It will make a great addition to your home spa!

 

Organic Robe

3. I’m a big fan of music, and many studies show it has relaxation and healing benefits. I added Jami Sieber’s new CD, Timeless, to my home spa music collection. I find it very comforting & relaxing.

 

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My hope is that you’ll pamper yourself by taking the time to enjoy a hot bath, listen to relaxing music, and cozy up to a warm fire in your new organic cotton robe. You deserve it!

Cheap Is Not Always Cheap

The lesson of the week at my house is: someone is paying for everything we use. 

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It’s easy to recognize this when we teach children to turn off unneeded lights or to turn off the water when their hands are nowhere near the sink.

In addition to the obvious, I like to remind my kids that even the “cheap” items from discount stores have hidden costs to the environment and, likely, to the workers manufacturing the junk. The cheaper stuff is, the more we want to buy. So we buy more cheap stuff that is more likely to break or wear out than its quality alternative, then we do it again. This is a cycle we consumers have become too comfortable with.

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We can all be a part of the solution. Vote with your dollars. Know that you directly support the continued manufacture and distribution of every new thing you buy. Ask yourself about the integrity of the products you want to buy, how long they will last, where they are made and shipped from, what they are made of, and where they will end up when their life is over.

Remember, cheap is not always cheap, and nothing is free. 

 

 

 

The Healing Power of a Walk

“It is the best of humanity, I think, that goes out to walk.”
— Ralph Waldo Emerson
It’s well documented that getting enough exercise is good for both body and spirit. There’s something special about a contemplative walk in nature that can’t be found anywhere else, however: a meditative or spiritual element that can help us find answers to life’s puzzles, a process described by the Latin phrase Solvitur ambuland: “It is solved by walking.”
Walking as a contemplative activity can seem…well, sort of pedestrian in our fast-paced, multitasking world. But it wasn’t always seen that way. In past centuries, books and essays with titles such as “In Praise of Walking,” “Walking as a Fine Art,” and “The Reveries of the Solitary Walker” encouraged participation in the “noble army of walkers,” a membership that was open to any able-bodied person, young or old, rich or poor.
Or, as Mr. Emerson puts it:
“It is a fine art; there are degrees of proficiency, and we distinguish the professors from the apprentices. The qualifications are endurance, plain clothes, old  shoes, an eye for nature, good-humor, vast curiosity, good speech, good silence, and nothing too much. Good observers have the manners of trees and animals,  and if they add words, it is only when words are better than silence.”

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“Plain clothes and old shoes” and “nothing too much”: How different from today, when the highest-tech equipment can practically be a requirement before heading out. I’ll take it on faith from possibly the most profound thinker America has produced and consider it good.
When I walk alone in nature, I feel the pressures of the day melt away slowly, leaving me in a quiet, meditative state focused solely on the natural world. I find that when I avoid pondering weighty matters while walking, solutions to them are more likely to come unbidden. Sometimes I’ll realize at the end of a walk that something that’s been bothering me for days has a clear solution that wouldn’t have occurred otherwise. When our busy brains are spinning the whole time, it can be difficult for that to happen.
“I am alarmed when it happens that I have walked a mile into the woods bodily without getting there in spirit. The thought of some work will run in my head, and I am not where my body is — I am out of my senses. What business have I in the woods, if I am thinking of something out of the woods?”
— Henry David Thoreau

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Good question. It sounds to me like what we might call being “in the moment.” And that’s a good thing, no matter what we’re doing.

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How to Clean your Organic Mattress and What to do if it is Exposed to Mildew

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Occasionally I receive calls from customers who are concerned that their organic natural rubber mattress may have been exposed to mildew. Even though natural rubber is one of the most mold and mildew resistant sleeping surfaces, it can still be susceptible to mold, since organic mattresses do not have any anti-fungal agents added to them like chemically treated mattresses do. Therefore it’s important to know that organic natural rubber mattresses require proper air ventilation and should not be placed on either the floor or a solid wood surface. We recommend using our upholstered wood slat foundation or box spring for a traditional-style bed frame , or with a platform-style bed frame, the slats should be placed no more then 3” apart (preferably 2 ½”).

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I always recommend using our Wool Moisture Protector Pad if one of the persons tends to sleep hot or if there is a risk of bed wetting .

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The other mattress pad we recommend is the Organic Cotton Flannel Pad  for all-purpose protection that’s machine washable and dryable.

Research shows that once mold or mildew is present in a mattress, it can be a health risk to continue to sleep on it. That’s why it’s always a good idea to not only have proper ventilation and mattress-protector pad(s), but to also follow these evaluation tips:

 

• Vacuum your latex mattress and inspect it regularly for stains or other signs of mold. Although latex is mold resistant, if there has been moisture trapped between your bedding and the mattress, there could be mold residue against the face of the mattress itself. Also check the under side of the mattress, between the slats, if using a platform-slat bed frame.

StainOdorKO• Spot-clean your mattress if you find any stains. You can use our Stain & Odor Eliminator for spot cleaning stains. Be sure to test a small inconspicuous area for color fastness before applying to a larger area.LaundryLiquid1000

• You can also mix four or five drops of natural liquid laundry detergent into one cup of cool water and use a sponge or a clean cloth to blot the mixture onto the stain. (Do not rub or scrub, because it can cause stains to spread.) Do not use chemical solvents on your mattress, as solvents are toxic and will cause the latex to break down. (If spot-cleaning, make sure that the mattress is completely dry before replacing your mattress pad and bed linens. Use a space heater or fan to circulate air to dry both sides of the mattress).  However once there is mildew, please keep in mind it may be to the point where you will need to replace the mattress entirely.