Sunday, December 6, 2009

Just what is a "good night's sleep"? Hint: It starts with an organic mattress.

Aah, a good night's sleep.

This was something I certainly didn't appreciate until I welcomed my baby daughter into the world back on Earth Day (yes, she was actually born on Earth Day!). Since her birth, I've slept straight through the night a total of . . . two times.


While I'm up at all the wee hours, my daughter has been sleeping through the night (in her all-organic crib, naturally) since she was three months old. It must be the "new mom" in me that continues to wake up to check on her.

Anyway, since I've been up a lot more during the night, I've been spending many more awake hours in bed, and I've come to appreciate my organic mattress even more than I did before.

I bought mine from The Clean Bedroom last year, and I love it. That's also where I bought my daughter's eco crib, organic crib mattress, and organic bedding. The Clean Bedroom does extensive research and only recommends the best organic mattresses and eco accessories.

After reviewing all our options, Mark and I chose The Green Sleep, and we couldn't be happier with this European-designed bed and its organic cotton velour cover quilted with wool and silk, its genius dowel foundation, and its two sleeping zones (which is especially nice as I don't wake up Mark if I happen to be tossing and turning).

The Clean Bedroom's showroom is close to us, in Kittery, Maine, but the company also has a fantastic website (which often runs great sales on its organic mattresses and organic bedding). In addition, the answer to any question you might have about cleaning and greening up your own bedroom is literally just a phone call away (866-380-5892).

As we approach the holiday season, give yourself the gift of good health with an organic mattress. Sleeping without exposure to toxins, chemicals, and airborne allergens is certainly one way to guarantee 2010 will be better than 2009. At least, I hope I get more sleep in the New Year.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Are your cleaning products making you sick?

Brace yourself.

The conventional products we’ve been using to clean our homes are, themselves, rather dirty. Typical household cleaners—from laundry detergent to glass cleaner—traditionally have a number of toxic ingredients like mutagens, neurotoxins, and hormone disrupters.

Read the label and you’ll probably see red flag words like “Caution” and “Poison”; you’ll also find some products don’t disclose their ingredients, which makes you wonder what the manufacturers are hiding. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a term for the 1.6 million tons of common household product waste tossed into landfills every year: “household hazardous waste.”

We’ve always known housework wasn’t fun, but hazardous?

The EPA has a suggestion: Try alternative products when available. Green household cleaners are now easy to find. Big retailers like Target and Wal-Mart Stores sell eco supplies as do many chain grocery stores and every local health food store. In other words, there’s no excuse for adding to the household hazardous waste problem.

Here are a few of my favorite ways to clean green:

Sun & Earth Deep Cleaning Laundry Detergent
As the name implies, this product has a “deep cleaning” formula that’s tough enough to stand up to your worst stains, yet gentle enough for baby’s clothing and people with sensitive skin. It’s hypoallergenic, biodegradable, non-toxic, and free of allergens, dyes, perfumes, and petroleum-based solvents.

Seventh Generation Liquid Dish Soap
Washing dishes will never become one of life’s greatest pleasures, but it will come as close as possible with this dish soap, available in a number of delightful scents. It’s biodegradable, plant-based, packaged in recyclable bottles made partially from post-consumer plastic, and never tested on animals.

Ecover Toilet Bowl Cleaner
Cleaning the toilet isn’t enjoyable but at least you can enjoy knowing that you’re not harming Mother Earth. The process itself isn’t exactly a walk in the park, but this cleaner’s pine-fresh scent makes it somewhat like taking a hike in the woods.

Caldrea Window Spray
You can have clean, streak-free mirrors and windows without using harsh ammonia. Caldrea does a fantastic job (be sure to clean with a lint-free, reusable cloth) and comes in a number of pleasing scents that will have you almost looking forward to washing the windows.

Shaklee's H2 Organic Super Concentrated Cleaner
This nontoxic, natural, double concentrated, and biodegradable product is a super powerful and versatile cleaner. "Use a couple of drops of this, and it's amazing," Oprah Winfrey says of H2 on "You can clean the windows. You can clean the counters. You can clean everything!" Need we say more?

This list is just the beginning. You can (and should) stock your cleaning supply cabinet with all green supplies. Mother Earth, and your family, will thank you.

By the way, I was inspired to write this post when I read this article in my paper about how employees of a local company got sick simply unloading a truck carrying conventional cleaning products.

Question of the blog: How are you approaching spring cleaning?

Thursday, January 29, 2009

How is an embryo like a canary in the coal mine?

I just read this article in HealthDay News about oh-so-dangerous perfluorinated chemicals, which the article says “are pervasive in food packaging, pesticides, clothing, upholstery, [and] carpets and personal care products.”

The article continues, “These chemicals are being phased out in the United States because of their toxic effects, and are expected to be completely gone by 2010. However, they remain in the environment and in the body for decades, and have been linked to developmental problems.”

The gist of the piece is that “these widespread chemicals apparently lower the fertility in couples trying to get pregnant.”

I’m pregnant—and due on Earth Day!—and find myself continually outraged at information like this. If perfluorinated chemicals make it harder to get pregnant, just what are they doing to our bodies? I often think of an embryo as the canary in the coal mine . . . if the embryo can’t survive in a cocktail of chemicals and toxins, what makes us think we can?

Here’s some good news: I was 35 when I got pregnant (with what will be my first child) last July, and was in the “high-risk” category because of my age. In other words, my chances of conceiving were lower than that of a woman in her 20s, yet my husband and I created a baby the first month we set about trying to do so.

I say this is “good news” because I live a very earth-friendly lifestyle and I know that being green made it much easier for me to conceive. I eat all organic food. I don’t use beauty products with fragrance, parabens, or other dangerous chemicals. I sleep on a non-toxic mattress with organic cotton sheets and an organic wool duvet. I have hard wood floors, use an air purifier, wear eco clothing, and even drive a Prius.

I guess you could say I created an environment for a canary to thrive!

Now, in my 7th month of pregnancy, I feel absolutely terrific, as I have throughout my pregnancy. No headaches. No back pain. No swollen ankles. I can also still fit in most of my non-maternity clothes. I attribute this to my eco lifestyle as well.

Whether you’re trying to get pregnant, or already pregnant, or are just looking to live a healthier life for you, going green is the only way to go. Just keep paying attention to those canaries.

Question of the blog: Do articles like this outrage you enough to make changes in your lifestyle?