7 Mindful Shopping Practices

Twenty years ago organic food was not so popular, but I sought it out. People would ask me, a struggling single mother at the time, how I could afford organic groceries. The heart of my decision to shop organic was, and still is, the principle of it. I know I’m directly supporting the environmental movement every day, plain and simple.

Today organic groceries can be found in almost every grocery store in America. Healthier, organic food has become the norm for many, and there is more collective knowledge about what organic means.

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This message isn’t about healthy food. It’s about sustainable choices. We need to embrace change (yesterday!) and apply what we’ve learned about the food we eat to products we buy for everyday use. The chemicals used in conventional products and their manufacturing are just as dangerous as chemicals used in agriculture.

Observing the explosion of Whole Foods Market all over the map, it’s not hard to imagine a paradigm shift from “more for less” to “less is more.” Are you with me? Great! Read on for seven simple tips to help you keep your mind where your heart is while you’re shopping for everyday items.

1. Think quality, not quantity. Once you adopt a minimalist mentality, it is very difficult to go back. No more going to a dollar store for two items and ending up spending $20.

2. Support local. Read labels to find out where things are made. Unfortunately most items are made elsewhere, but it’s like striking gold when a surprise “Made in America” label is found. When you find products you love made in your region, state or country, latch on and don’t let go. Why not inform friends and neighbors, as well?

3. Disposables and planned obsolescence. Seek out longer lasting, recyclable, reusable or compostable alternatives to disposable or short-lived products you currently use, like diapers, razors, toothbrushes, feminine products, light bulbs, paper towels and napkins, paper plates, plasticware and cups, trash bags, sandwich & storage bags, and grocery bags. If you’re unsure where to find these alternatives, please leave a comment for us below.

 

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4.  Think about sources. What materials were used, using what chemicals in the process? For example, cotton fabric is made from soft plant fibers, so it’s perfect for textiles, but cotton is considered the world’s dirtiest crop involving tremendous amounts of pesticides, chemical treatments and water. Organic cotton is an excellent substitute, and as we continue buying more of it, more options will become available.

5.  Awaken your senses. Commercial household cleaning products and personal-care products are made with chemicals that are toxic to the people manufacturing them, the people using them, animals that come into contact with them, and the water systems where they end up. You can smell the pollution walking down the cleaning-products isle at conventional grocery stores. If it doesn’t smell like something from nature, don’t buy it. Tip: go to a health food store and sniff the pure essential oil samplers to get a better idea of what non-toxic scents from nature smell like.

6. Educate yourself and others. Tell people what you learn about consumerism, toxics, trash, and great alternatives. We have an opportunity to change the future for the better by educating children. To get my daughter to understand what clothes (something she has a genuine interest in) are made of, we made up a game I’ll call “animal, plant or other.” Her eyes lit up when she realized that the cotton shirt she was wearing was made from plant flowers. When I explained that rayon fabric is mostly made from wood pulp, she was like, “Whaaat?!” In a fun way, that forced her to think about material processes.

 

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7. Take it in stride. Don’t go out and replace everything all at once. I suggest you take it as it comes, which will give you time to research better options. When you need new sheets, buy organic cotton sheets. When you need new razors and toothbrushes, buy Preserve recyclables. And on and on.

 

“Change is the only constant.” –Heraclitus

 

 

 

Made in the USA

Local is the new global. When you think about it, the more energy that goes into something, the more it grows. It is inevitable that the more $$$ we spend in the US, the more it benefits our economy, and Americans in turn. Every American has heard this, and it’s time we put our money where our mouth is…and make change.

Lifekind has long adhered to these principles, and produces useful, healthy products made in the USA. Our Eco-Factory™ is located in Northern California, and produces many of the items we provide while paying workers a fair wage. Most of the other items in our catalog and web-store are also made in America!

To read more about Lifekind’s Eco-Factory™: http://bit.ly/1977uX0

 

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With Lifekind you get:

  • Better-quality products, made with your health in mind!!
  • Amazing value on truly organic mattresses!!
  • Peace of mind, knowing you’re supporting our economy!!
  • Friendly, personal customer service with real people who care!!

 

Check out this link for a fresh perspective on “stuff”: http://bit.ly/1cpjhDV

It’s a blog by Amelia Urry at Grist featuring an Annie Leonard video.

Washed Away

Imagine seeing an advertisement in the paper for a new Corvette, at the cost of a generic sedan. Pretty exciting, right? Like most people, you’d probably be tempted to go check it out. When you arrive at the car lot, however, the salesperson shows you what actually appears to be a shiny new Honda Civic. While there’s nothing wrong with a Civic, it certainly isn’t comparable to a Corvette. This particular Civic has Corvette brake lights, and is therefore being advertised as “Corvette Certified.” You, my disappointed friend, have just been a victim of carwashing.

Ok, I made that term up. Greenwashing, however, a similar concept that’s frighteningly popular in the mattress world, is very real.

As a Product Specialist, part of my job is to research and be informed about our competition so I can better assist customers who have questions about those companies and how they compare with Lifekind. I can tell you with absolute certainty that there is no one else who does what Lifekind does. There are imitators and companies that come close, along with those who blatantly lie to make themselves look like they come close, but I wouldn’t want to trust “close imitation” or “blatant lies” with my sleep.

As a consumer, it can be daunting to sift through the marketing baloney and find the real thing. There are “organic” mattress companies who post logos of trusted certifiers on their website because one of the many ingredients they use might pass that standard, even though the final product does not. Others display logos of “certifiers” that in fact do no such thing, but are merely membership organizations. (I’ve seen, for instance, companies claiming to be “National Geographic Certified,” even though National Geographic is merely the parent company for The Green Guide, a consumer organization that doesn’t certify materials, finished products, or anything else.)

I’m personally vexed by companies that make what I like to call “natural-lite” products, such as the “20% natural-core” mattress I saw advertised the other day. While it’s commendable that someone is making a product with 20% natural ingredients, what exactly is the other 80% made of?

Be cautious and ask questions. I have seen companies use a GOTS logo to infer that their manufacturing plants and products are GOTS certified, when in fact just one raw material component is able to boast GOTS certification. GOTS certification for a facility is not obtained easily; they are very, very strict about their standards, and they conduct random inspections, so there is virtually no room for error. We conduct business in accordance with their standards because we want to be able to show that we make the purest mattress, not that it’s just our opinion that we make the purest mattress.

Many companies claim to support American industry, but outsource the production of anywhere from one to all of their raw materials to other countries. This not only takes away potential green American jobs, but also risks contamination of the raw materials by fumigation when they are imported to the U.S. Add this to the uncertainty about organic standards from country to country, and there is ample room for doubt in exactly how pure outsourced materials really are.

On a similar note, beware of companies that use words like “Organic” or “Natural” in their company names to make them seem purer than they actually are. Without certification to back up the name, it’s simply the name of a company, like Bob’s Mattress Factory.

The moral of this story is to look before you leap into that new bed. Ask the tough questions of companies who want your business. Ask where their raw materials come from, who certifies them, and what has been added. Ask about their manufacturing processes and who certifies the final product.

Ask as many questions as you can, because an educated consumer base is the best defense against greenwashing.