Lifekind Contest: Enter to Win an Organic Throw and Neck-Roll Pillow

Here at Lifekind, we’re about coziness all year long. But Autumn brings with it a special coziness factor. It’s that layering-up, in-between time, with cool mornings and warmer days. Maybe you haven’t broken out the comforter and fuzzy slippers yet, but you may want to have a light blanket around that you can throw here or there.

We’ve got you covered either way, but this month we’re giving away an organic cotton Chenille Throw and a natural rubber Neck-Roll Pillow to one lucky winner!

Lifekind Blanket & Neck Roll GiveawayThe Chenille Throw‘s rich autumnal color – the natural color, as it grows on the organic cotton plant – is a gift from nature. It has never been bleached or dyed, minimizing its global footprint. The fact that it was grown and made in the U.S. further enriches its eco inner beauty. Our customers’ five-star reviews rave about its softness, durability, and generous size.

Our U.S.-made, versatile Neck-Roll Pillow is stuffed with shredded natural rubber, and can be customized to any preferred softness level. Great for neck support in bed or as lumbar support in a chair, it comes with a washable GOTS-certified cotton sateen drawstring pillowcase.

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Contest Terms and Conditions
Giveaway ends October 21, 2015 at 12:00 a.m. Pacific Time. Open to residents of the 48 contiguous U.S. states only, ages 18+. Products offered for  giveaway are free of charge, with no purchase necessary to enter or win. Odds of winning are based on number of entries received. Winner will be selected at random (by Random.org) and will be notified by email. Winner has 48 hours to respond before a new winner is selected. This event is in no way administered, sponsored, or endorsed by Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Google+. Lifekind will use the information provided in this form only for the purpose of contacting the winner.

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Lifekind Contest: Win four of our most popular organic laundry and cleaning products!

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Detox Your Laundry – Giveaway

Discover Lifekind‘s awesome, clean and simple Naturally Safer™ laundry products! Enter the raffle below to win a free 64-ounce bottle of Laundry Liquid, a 10-pound box of Laundry Powder (with oxygen bleach), a 2-pound tub of Oxygen Bleach, and a 32-ounce spray bottle of Stain & Odor Eliminator. Combined, these quantities will wash 164 loads of laundry! Giveaway runs 9/8-9/22/15. No purchase necessary to enter or win.

Naturally Safer™ laundry products are kind to humans, animals and the environment, and are formulated with the highest-quality ingredients, from natural sources. They rapidly biodegrade, leave no skin-irritating residues, contain no known cancer-causing ingredients or dyes, are cruelty-free, and are septic and gray-water safe.

New to nontoxic laundry cleaning? Click here for tips and tricks to prevent wearing toxins all day and sleeping in toxins all night.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms and Conditions: Giveaway ends September 22, 2015 at 12:00 a.m. Pacific Time. Open to residents of the U.S. only, age 18+. Products offered for the giveaway are free of charge, with no purchase necessary to enter or win. The odds of winning are based on the number of entries received. The winner will be selected at random (by Random.org) and will be notified by email. The winner has 48 hours to respond before a new winner is selected. This event is in no way administered, sponsored, or endorsed by Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Google+. Lifekind will use the information you provide in this form only for the purpose of contacting the winner.Cleaning-Products-Social-Media-Giveaway-1024x583

Doing Laundry The Non-Toxic Way

Switching from conventional laundry products, loaded with preservatives, artificial fragrances and a toxic soup of hazardous chemicals, to safer, natural laundry products can be confusing and frustrating. Years ago, when I was making the switch, I noticed the natural detergents would often leave my clothes, well… not as fresh-smelling as a mountain breeze. I wanted those “fresh scents” back to mask the odor. Later, I realized my laundry wasn’t even getting really clean, whether I used natural detergents or not, because I wasn’t using them right!

Three children later, I’ve found the cure for the stinky-laundry blues, using pure, biodegradable, septic- and gray-water-safe Lifekind products:

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Pre-treat

Grease Stains: For grease stains like salad dressing, apply All-Purpose Cleaner & Degreaser directly to the spot on dry fabric, vigorously rub the area together, and let it sit for 10 minutes. Then rub and rub while rinsing under hot water. (Hot water is more effective than cold at dissolving and rinsing away oil.) Next, apply more of the product to the spot, leave it in, and put in the wash. *Use hot water if the fabric’s washing instructions permit it.

Food and other stains: Generously spray Stain & Odor Eliminator, with live enzyme cultures, on the spot and rub-rub-rub, then rinse, using cold or warm water. Hot water kills the “live” enzymes, so don’t use hot water. Now ring out the water and spray some more Stain & Odor Eliminator on the spot, then it’s ready for the machine.


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Washing

Machine: Front loaders are more efficient, use less water, do a better job, and are gentler on fabrics than top loaders. Many front loaders have special settings that are very helpful and can save you time and energy, like “sanitize” and “hand wash.”

Detergent: Choose all-temperature Laundry Powder, which contains Oxygen Bleach, or use Laundry Liquid. Both are safe for people with sensitive skin or allergies and for HE machines, septic systems, and gray-watered plants. Both are super concentrated, saving money and resources. If you’re not sure whether to choose liquid or powder, check out Grist’s “Ask Umbra” column What kind of laundry soap is lightest on the land?

Boost: Oxygen Bleach is a non-toxic, chlorine-free, color-safe powder bleach that whitens, brightens, and softens fabrics. It can also be made into a paste by adding a bit of water to use as a pre-treatment for spots. For washables that have been tainted with unpleasant smells or mildew, I always add a healthy dose of Stain & Odor Eliminator directly to the wash cycle (remember – cold or warm, not hot water).

Please, No Fabric Softener: According to the Environmental Health Association of Ontario, fabric softener is the most toxic product produced for daily household use, and the neurostimulant/irritants and central-nervous-system toxins used in these products are known to produce an addictive-type response that may cause a user to experience a feeling of pleasure when the product is directly inhaled. Well, I’ve never been a fan of oily fabric softeners anyway, because I like my towels to actually absorb water, rather than just smear it around. But if you’re like me and you don’t like crunchy towels either, just add ½ cup of baking soda to the rinse cycle.

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Drying

No Dryer Sheets: Aside from the Amish way, hanging out to dry, the healthiest advice I can give you is DO NOT USE DRYER SHEETS! Chloroform, A-Terpineol, Benzyl Alcohol, Benzyl Acetate, Ethanol, Pentane, Ethyl Acetate, Camphor, Linalool, Phthalates, and Limonene are some of the chemicals found in dryer sheets. And people add this stuff to their already cleaned clothes! Stick to the baking-soda-in-the-washing-machine trick. And you can try wool dryer balls, found in most natural-food stores and online. Add 2 drops of pure essential oil to the dryer balls and you’ve got “fresh scent.”

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Ironing

Synthetic-Free Ironing Board Cover: Use an Ironing Board Cover that is free of synthetic and chemical flame retardants to avoid ironing chemicals into your fabrics.

No Aerosol Spray Starch: The chemicals in conventional spray starches are no better than the fabric softener’s plight. You can find natural alternatives for sale online or at your natural-foods store, or you can make it yourself for just pennies. I never iron anything. Ever. So I haven’t tried the homemade kind, but Bren did. Check out her blog post here.

Folding

Sorry, I can’t help you with that. But enter your email address above to subscribe to our blog and receive future posts, and you may see me demonstrate the magic of folding a fitted sheet.

 

Sources:

http://www.epa.gov/dfe/pubs/laundry/techfact/keychar.htm

https://www.lifekind.com/laundry-cleaning

http://saferchemicals.org/2014/08/21/is-your-laundry-clean-or-just-greenwashed/

http://www.naturalnews.com/034617_fabric_softeners_toxic_chemicals_laundry.html#

http://www.ehaontario.ca/help-with.htm

Ask Umbra reference: http://grist.org/living/what-kind-of-laundry-soap-is-lightest-on-the-land/

Bren Did blog: http://brendid.com/3-ways-make-non-toxic-spray-starch/

Summer Brings out the Bugs – How to Protect your Organic Pillow from Bed Bugs

BUGS!     Bed_Bug

Summer brings them out, and we keep them out of our organic pillows with our Certified Organic Dust-Mite and Bed-Bug Barrier PILLOW COVERS.

Lifekind Organic Pillow Barrier Cover
We guarantee that our certified organic barrier covers will keep dust mites allergens and bed bugs out of your pillows, unless they’re already there, 🙁 in which case the barrier cover will cut off the dust mites’ food supply (flakes of your skin).  Without  food, the dust mites will starve and die.  The barrier cover will keep bed bugs out of your pillow, but if they are already there then it is time to get new bedding.

As an added bonus, barrier covers keep your organic pillow in pristine condition.  Which is great, because our organic pillows can’t be washed.

Use one of our certified organic barrier covers on a new organic pillow and it will protect it for its entire product life.

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My Top 10 Tips for Warming Up

Are you one of those people who gets cold easily, and has a hard time warming back up? I am! Here are my top 10 ways to warm up. Much of my advice is common sense, but my hope is that you’ll get at least one new warming idea that will enhance your autumn and winter experiences.

 

1. Get Moving: It’s simply the most effective way to warm up. Even 5 or 10 minutes does the trick.

2. Eat Something Warming: Each food ingredient has a warming, cooling or neutral quality. Chinese and Eastern Indian medicine uses this principle to help create balance in a person’s system. Spicy foods like cayenne, onion, ginger and garlic are warming–you can tell when your mouth catches fire and you break out in a sweat.

 

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But there’s also a slew of less likely foods that have warming qualities. I thought all mints were cooling until I viewed the charts. It turns out spearmint is warming and peppermint is cooling. Check out these links for more warming and cooling foods: Warming and cooling characteristics of common foods (Ping Ming Health)

Food as your Medicine (Le Shiatsu)

 

WarmingFoods by Lifekind

3. Have A Cuppa: Bring a thermos of spicy tea with you to sip, as needed, throughout the day. Coffee is on the warming list (YAY!). So is black tea, but green tea is cooling. I love chai tea, the spicier the better. In the winter I enjoy chai lattes with a shot of espresso added. Herbal teas are a delicious and healthy way to bring warmth into your body. View the food charts to find warming herbs to add to your tea collection. You can also add a tiny bit of ginger or cayenne to your favorite tea or coffee (but be careful–HOT)! If you drink chilled water, stop it! Drink room-temp water instead.

 

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4. Get In Hot Water: If you have the time, take a hot bath or hot tub. Simply washing hands in hot water is good for an instant blast of warmth. When I’m cold, I’m the first (and only) to volunteer to do the dishes. I use a sink full of hot soapy water for the washing, and rinse in fresh hot water.

5. Layer Up: Wear breathable clothes that won’t collect sweat and make you cold. Wool naturally wicks moisture and will keep you warm and dry. Wear a scarf out in the wind, and indoors, as needed.  Fingerless gloves are great because you can wear gloves, but still use your fingers for typing or work.

 

6. Be Prepared For Your Environment: Keep a throw or an extra sweater and a space heater at work, especially if you sit stationary while working.

 

7. Use Warm, Breathable Bedding: Get the synthetics out of your bed. They’re typically found in mattress pads and comforters, and don’t wick out sweat, in turn making you damp and cold. Use 100% cotton sheets and mattress pads. Add a wool mattress topper and wool comforter and Zzzzz, you’re a cozy sandwich.

 

8. Tell Yourself You’re Warm: Adding warmer colors and images to your house and work environment, via paint, decorations, etc., will offer a warmer feeling. Picture yourself on a hot sandy beach in the tropics, baking in the sun… Yeah.

 

9. Invite The Sun In: Open the curtains and position a comfy chair and a throw in a sunny spot in your house. In the winter the sun is lower in the sky and will stream further into your house.

 

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10. Choose Cinnamon Over Peppermint: Toothpaste, mouthwash, gum, breath mints, etc. have warming, cooling, or neutral qualities, just like foods. You can also avoid using personal care items with mint: lotions and shampoos, for example.

 

What’s your favorite way to warm away the winter chills?

THE 2013 WHITE SALE IS HERE!

Our biggest, most anticipated sale of the year is finally here.  Our 16th Annual White Sale will not disappoint, with up to 60% OFF select items plus free shipping on orders over $99.

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Don’t wait till the end of January to take advantage of these great deals!

This year’s White Sale catalog introduces several new products at huge discounts.

LifekindJacquard

Our new Organic Cotton Jacquard Bedding Collection has a delicate diamond white-on-white pattern.  The diamonds seem to shimmer in the light, adding a touch of beauty to the silky-soft material. Made from 100% GOTS-certified organic cotton, they’re free of dyes or synthetic components. The collection contains sheets, pillowcases, and duvets.  Each piece is sold individually for your convenience. The pillowcases and flat sheet have a 7″ attached hem, and the fitted sheet is elasticized all the way around with 15″ pockets. These sheets are imported from India. The major reason I love them is because there’s no guess work when it comes to which direction to put the sheets on after I wash them. During the White Sale, the whole collection is 50% OFF.

We are also pleased to introduce two new items in our Baby Department.

Lifekind Dot Organic Crib Skirt

The first is our new Organic Swiss Dot Crib Skirt.  This dappled organic cotton percale bed skirt finishes the crib on a sweet and simple note. Fits standard cribs, with a 16″ ruffle. (Imported from India). I love this cute crib skirt because I can hide all my baby supplies under the crib and no one is the wiser!  During the White Sale, the Organic Swiss Dot Crib Skirt is 50% OFF.

 

 

Lifekind Organic Cotton Fleece BlanketThe second new baby item is the Organic Cotton Fleece Baby Blanket. Super-soft fleece makes this the perfect snuggling blanket, lightweight enough for swaddling. This snowy-white crib-size blanket is sure to become baby’s (and your) favorite, made in the USA from GOTS-certified 100% organic cotton. During the White Sale, the Organic Cotton Fleece Baby Blanket is 50% OFF.  (I recommend stocking up on these blankets – in my experience, you can never have enough swaddling blankets). Swaddling can help your baby stay calm and sleep better.  Here’s a great refresher, or if you’re learning for the first time, check out Babycenter.com on how to swaddle a baby.

I could write a whole blog on how helpful swaddling is. Warning: Don’t watch the swaddling video too many times, or it will make your biological clock tick:)

Along with these great new items, we also have awesome staple items on sale.  Here is a list of just a few of our customer favorites:

 

Don’t forget:  Mattresses are on sale too!  Now is the perfect time to order the organic mattress you’ve always dreamed of. During our White Sale, you can purchase a top-of-the-line organic mattress for 20% off plus free shipping.  So what are you waiting for? Order online or call 1-800-284-4983 today!

 

I Love My Dog

Dog Picture 2I love my dog; a sentiment felt by most pet owners, I’m sure. He stinks, snores and chews pillows if he’s left alone too long, but he’s also loyal, trusting, and a great running buddy. He’s always there to listen to my problems, and he never talks back. My dog makes me feel special just for coming home at the end of the day.

Because I love my dog, my world was rocked when I took him to the vet for what looked very much like a tumor. It turned out to be an allergic reaction to a vaccine, but it caused me to spend a good amount of time researching cancer in dogs. Rocky is a Boxer, and as I found out, Boxers are particularly susceptible to cancer and stomach diseases. Since I would prefer he didn’t get either of these unpleasant conditions, I need to be very careful about the products I give him.

It turns out that cancer is rapidly increasing in dogs, and is now responsible for 46% of disease-related deaths. Prevention seems pretty straightforward; good, wholesome food and natural products…much like for people.

Lifekind has wonderful pet beds that are made from the same organic materials that our “people” mattresses and bedding are made from. I hadn’t realized how important this is until I came home one day to a yard full of a substance I later titled “radioactive fluff.” Honestly, that’s the best way to describe the mystery material that had been inside the pet bed Rocky had decided that day was a chew toy. It was blue, had the consistency of fiberglass, and I’m pretty sure it could glow in the dark. Whatever the stuff was, it wasn’t healthy, and it put me in the market for an organic pet bed.

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I think I owe it to my dog to take the best care of him that I can. He trusts me, after all, to not knowingly have him eating chemicals and sleeping on radioactive fluff beds. It’s hard sifting through all the marketing claims and mystery ingredients put into modern pet food, toys, etc., but I think it’s worth it because, not to sound repetitive, I love my dog.

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.

The Shasta: Our New Arrival

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The reviews are in, and it’s official: Customers love our new Shasta mattress!

We created the Shasta so we could offer customers a more affordable twin-size all-natural-rubber mattress made from the same certified materials we use in all our mattresses. It’s designed specifically for young children transitioning to their first adult-size mattress, and you’ll see it in our catalog offered in twin and twin extra-long sizes only.

The Shasta is filled with shredded 100%-natural rubber, utilizing remnants shaved from larger mattress cores and shredded into small pieces, helping us achieve our goal of making our Eco-Factory a waste-free facility. The shredded-rubber core is surrounded by our Naturally Safer wool, then hand-tufted with U.S.-grown certified organic cotton.

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The Shasta has a feel that’s unlike anything we’ve ever made – soft yet supportive, springy and buoyant, comforting, classic, and timeless.

You’ll love it, too!   🙂

Dad’s Tofu Tacos

Growing up, I was fortunate enough to have parents who not only believed in an organic and holistic lifestyle, but lived one as well. My sister and I grew up without jarred baby food or baby formula. My parents would use a hand grinder wherever they went, and we would eat straight from their plates. Goat’s milk and kefir were staples, as well as tofu and homemade bread. My parents shopped for organic produce at the local co-op or grew it themselves. We hand-raised pigs, and bought a steer from a local farmer each year. It was a healthy, sustainable childhood.

My upbringing taught me to believe in a natural and organic lifestyle. I eat organically, use natural remedies, and always recycle. One area I never thought about until I started working at Lifekind, however, was my bedroom. I never knew the potential hazards of something so seemingly trustworthy as a mattress. I’ve learned so much at Lifekind, and have unearthed a new dimension in my strive for purity.

My goal is to have an organic mattress made without chemicals as soon as possible, but in the meantime I’ll work my way up through pillows and mattress toppers till the money tree can shake a branch free. This in turn has prompted me to start trying harder in the areas of my life I already consider to be organic, and where better to start then to re-create some of my parents’ dinnertime dishes from when I was growing up?

One of my father’s most notorious and loved dinner recipes is for Tofu Tacos. Not only is it a great option for vegetarians (a.k.a. my sister Ashley), but it’s also a much leaner choice than typical beef tacos. Hopefully sharing this recipe will show how easy it is to make a small change to a healthier lifestyle.

Ingredients:
1 or 2 packages of firm tofu (I like to use two for leftover taco salad)
1 small yellow onion
Salt and pepper
Chili powder
Garlic powder
Paprika
Grated Pepper jack and/or cheddar cheese
Sliced olives
Chopped tomatoes
Cilantro
Chopped lettuce (Romaine is best)
Avocado
Sour cream
Corn tortillas

Drain tofu and squeeze out excess moisture, then chop into roughly 1/4-inch squares. Coat a large non-stick skillet with olive oil and turn the heat to med-high; add tofu. Meanwhile, dice the onion and add it to the tofu. Once the tofu begins to brown, you can add the seasoning: a healthy dose of garlic powder and chili powder, then a lighter dusting of paprika. Add salt and pepper to taste. Turn down the heat and continue cooking until the tofu is crispy on the outside.

While the tofu and onions are cooking, prep the rest of the fixings: Chop the lettuce, dice the tomatoes, pick the cilantro leaves, peel and slice the avocado, drain the olives, and grate the cheese. Fill a small skillet with about ½” of vegetable oil; turn to med-high heat until the oil is hot. Place corn tortillas one at a time in the oil for 10-15 seconds, then using tongs, fold in half into a taco shape. Cook on each side about 30 seconds, or until the shell turns golden brown, and place on a plate lined with paper towels to drain.

For extra “yum” factor, dust the tortilla shells with parmesan cheese while they’re still hot. Build your taco with all the fixings you prefer, and you’ll have Dad’s Tofu Tacos.

Enjoy!