GOT GOTS? The Logo to Look For on Cotton Products

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By now it’s clear to most Americans that organic food is more healthful, and organic farming practices are safer for the Earth than conventional methods. When we shop organic it’s always comforting to see third-party organic certifications, because “natural” can mean whatever the manufacturer would like it to. If a food product is labeled “organic,” however, it must contain at least 95% organic ingredients.

Soft, breathable cotton — our favorite textile to wear and wrap up in bed with — has dirty secrets that have long gone unchecked, a fact about which most of America has no idea. Cotton is considered the world’s most toxic crop. (Check out the approximately 20 million results for “toxic cotton” on Google.)

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Organic cotton, like organic food, uses less water, doesn’t poison the soil and its farmers, and isn’t treated with toxic chemical finishing agents. In the U.S., the claim “organic” on textiles is protected by the government. Only textiles labeled with a GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) logo can be claimed as organic.

Check out this simple GOTS video to learn more:

Below are some resources to help you learn about the toxic cotton industry.

Let’s start a clean cotton revolution!

How to get rid of chemicals in fabrics (Hint: trick question)

Chemical cotton 

Fact sheet on U.S. cotton subsidies and production

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

 

 

 

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!

Four Tips for a Healthy Halloween

Every year I struggle with finding the perfect balance to celebrate one of my favorite holidays, without going overboard. I like the fun, but I don’t want my kids to fill up on all of the processed candy and sugar that goes hand-in-hand with the holiday. Here are some tips to ensure your Halloween (and the days following) is full of treats, not tricks!

1- Be the change you want to see in the world. Yes, Gandhi and Halloween make a perfect match! One of the easiest changes for me to make was switching from passing out candy to filling a huge cauldron with toys for trick-or-treaters. Some other ideas are offering raisins, pretzels, pencils or temporary tattoos. The bonus is most kids don’t have to wait to tear into a cool toy; and the instant gratification cancels out any lingering disappointment of not getting more candy. I don’t feel guilty or deprive the neighborhood kids, but I still have the chance to be a good example. If you are a purist, and insist on handing out candy, look for organic alternatives that you don’t have to feel bad about passing out.

2- Have your treats on the side. Adults and kids alike are tempted to over-indulge when surrounded by nothing but candy. A family tradition my parents started is to have a bounty of food available all day, so when the sun sets and it’s candy time, everyone is already stuffed! Our favorites are apple cider, organic chili or a hearty stew simmering (yum), a wide array of fresh, seasonal organic fruit, vegetables for dipping in hummus, and chips with salsa. If you plan ahead and create a similar bounty in your own kitchen, it really sets the mood and eliminates surprise ingredients or extra sugar.

3- Keep busy! Who keeps you busier than friends and family? By turning the focus from candy to good times, memories are counted rather than calories nike flyknit air max cheap
. Play some fun games like pin the nose on the jack-o-lantern, toss a bean bag into the cauldron while blindfolded, play Pop Goes the Pumpkin, tell ghost stories, decorate Halloween treat bags, or if all else fails carve more pumpkins!

4- How to handle the aftermath? Sadly, Halloween celebrations only last one day. The candy, however, can linger well into Thanksgiving! Many dentists turn this sugary holiday around by giving rewards for donated Halloween candy. Another idea is to pay your children a set amount for every piece of candy they want to “sell” you. If the kids in your life are anything like mine, they will welcome any money that comes their way! A nice variation is to trade the candy for a special privilege or outing; 10 pieces might be worth a trip to the movies or staying up past bedtime. Instead of getting elaborate simply let your kids feed the ants. Go outside (far away from your home!) and let the little ones proceed to stomp, smash, throw and destroy the leftover candy. This option lets them burn though some sugar, doesn’t cost a thing, is fantastic entertainment for parents classic new balance shoes, and creates a great transition into sharing for Thanksgiving. (Bring a hand broom and sweep up when you’ve stomped all the candy.)

The Lifekind Crew, Halloween 2011

Have a better idea? Please post a comment below if you have ideas or tactics that have helped you with this tricky time. Hopefully with these tips, and a little creativity, this Halloween will be the happiest, healthiest yet!

Evolving Into a Locavore

I have a problem with consuming products that are more well-traveled than I am. I don’t want to be jealous of the places my lettuce has been, or the things my pillow has seen. I want to know where these products came from, and what they’ve been subjected to.  I would like very simple life stories from the things I buy, please.

I don’t know why I didn’t come to this conclusion sooner, but after reading extensively about the issues, I am now a reformed “locavore.” Local foods and other products are better for me, better for the planet, and better for my community.

I trust American organic industry, and I want to support it. I consider my dollar to be like a vote; the businesses and products people are willing to pay for will stay around, while those they don’t support will disappear. I personally want the organic farmers and producers in my community to stay, so I’m going to vote for them by buying and using their products.
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There are so many reasons to buy American-sourced products: decreased fuel consumption, a stronger economy, more support for local farmers, better personal health, a better knowledge of where and how your products were made, greater biodiversity…the list goes on. So why not?

Apparently I’m not the only person asking myself this question, as I recently read that the local farming industry in the United States has increased by 20% in the past 6 years. That, to me, is amazing news. So here’s to spending money conscientiously and shopping locally!

Yoga and Living Organic

There are many types of yoga. Ashtanga, Iyengar, Bhakti, and Anusara are just a few.

Karma yoga is the discipline of action. It is thought by many that if your actions are pure and good, then positive things will come into your life. One example of Karma yoga is buying organic food. After cooking and eating a healthy meal, we benefit from feeling pleasantly full and satisfied. Our friends and family have more peace in their lives because they are relaxed after a good meal, and the farmer that produced healthy food receives payment. Conversely, when food is heavy in empty calories or toxins, the body feels heavy and may respond to life situations in a harsh way. In such cases we may have given our hard earned money to a farmer who sprays the land with pesticides and other potentially harmful products that affect both humans and animals.

It can be said that people have free will to decide if positive or negative actions come into our lives. Home products can be applied to Karma yoga. Making the choice to buy natural cleaners, organic bedding, and of course, sustainably made mattresses allows us and those we invite into our homes the opportunity to be healthier. Because of your life choices, your guests may learn about organics from talking with you. Then, they’ll go out and buy an organic product or two, and before you know it, America will be a model of sustainability and health. Now that’s good Karma!

-Sara, Product Specialist

Teach Your Children

Before working at Lifekind® I was an Outdoor Science teacher. After settling in as a Product Specialist, I realized my job title may have changed, but my responsibilities are similar. As a science teacher I educated my students about where their food comes from, how it is processed, and the difference between conventional and organic produce. You would be surprised how many of the children had never seen a piece of food growing in a garden.

Living in America, we are blessed with the ability to make many of our own decisions. I encouraged my students to teach their families what they learned and to aid in the decision making process about what ingredients they put in their bodies.

Here at Lifekind®, I am still teaching the public about environmental issues and the importance of making educated decisions. Families have the choice whether to support corrupt chemical-laden industry or to purchase U.S.-made products that use organic and natural ingredients.

It is great that more families are conscious about eating healthfully. Now let’s teach children to support healthy practices around the home as well. It takes a lot of time and energy to educate yourself about chemicals and processes in the mattress industry. At Lifekind®, we’ve done the work for you. Our Product Specialists are extremely knowledgeable, and will assist you in making good decisions.

We would love to hear from you!

Sara, Product Specialist