What would happen if you only ate organic food? To answer just that the Swedish Environmental Research Institute IVL conducted a study on the effects of eating only organics. Watch this short video, The Organic Effect, to see the results.
The decrease in the amounts of pesticides present in the body after eating only organics is astonishing. Buying organic when possible is a great way to have less exposure to chemicals and pesticides used in conventional items. “There were a whole number of chemical removed from my kids’ bodies and I don’t want them back.”
For more information on the study and the full report, click HERE.
Everyone wants their garden to be as healthy and beautiful as possible, but not everyone knows how to accomplish this without the use of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers. These harsh chemicals will contaminate your soil, plants, food, and therefore your body.
To protect your family and our planet from further exposure to harmful chemicals, an organic garden is an excellent first step. This will promote a cleaner environment for your family and pets, and healthier produce for their consumption.
There are plenty of natural ways to provide nutrients and protection for your garden. Here are some great tips for starting or maintaining an organic garden of your own!
1. Use organic fertilizers such as horse manure, bat guano, fish emulsion and kelp meal. These natural fertilizers help your soil stay moist and aerated, promote microbiotic activity, and keep roots healthy.
2. Make your own fertilizer by starting a compost pile for food scraps such as fruit peels, uneaten vegetables, egg shells, coffee grounds, or yard waste and paper items.
3. Get your soil tested by your local Cooperative Extension (a service provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture). They can let you know which natural additives will be beneficial for replenishing your garden soil.
4. Companion planting is the practice of raising different plants in pairs that encourage each other’s growth and discourage harmful insects. Do some research on what would pair well with your favorite plants, and incorporate them in your garden.
5. Plant rotation is very important for keeping your soil replenished with nutrients and for discouraging soil-borne disease. Keep track of which plants you have in a plot and grow something else in its place the following season.
6. Beneficial insects should be welcomed into your garden with open arms. Earthworms are wonderful for aerating your soil and bees are phenomenal pollinators. Predatory insects such as ladybugs and praying mantises are the perfect solution to problems with plant-consuming bugs, without the use of pesticides!
7. If you are trying to deter animals such as deer and rabbits from your garden, do not poison or kill them. There are many repellents that are made from natural ingredients — like garlic, predator urine, and pepper — which will work wonders!
8. For fungus and mildew issues there are a variety of home remedies that can be used in place of harsh anti-fungal sprays. A small amount of baking soda mixed into water can make a great anti-fungal spray for your plants.
Now there is no excuse for using toxic pesticides and synthetic fertilizers, because there are so many natural and organic options for garden care!
Warmer weather is on its way, and with it comes a whole host of pollens and other allergens! While many people may consider spring allergies to be “par for the course,” an article I read recently suggests that those allergies may be something to lose sleep over — literally! According to a survey done by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, 59 percent of nasal-allergy suffers say that their sleep is interrupted by allergies and 48 percent say that their symptoms interrupt their partner’s sleep, too! However, even with all this sleeplessness, only 35 percent of those surveyed were making a concerted effort to find a remedy!
Perhaps one of the reasons that so few people are taking the initiative to get relief is that that they are not sure what to do…as a fellow allergy sufferer, I have often found myself standing in a grocery-store aisle, staring blankly at a wall full of allergy medicine options! Here at OMI, we are pretty big advocates of getting a good night’s sleep, so I thought this would be a good time to pull up a previously posted blog to get some tips for tackling those pesky allergy symptoms. Click here to view the blog post, or read on for more great ideas!
1) Avoid Over-the-Counter Decongestants
While these may seem like the most convenient choice for clearing out your nasal passages, they have been known to cause insomnia. Furthermore, overuse can lead to resistance, which means that your symptoms will only come back with a vengeance! We prefer natural remedies, whenever possible, but if you DO take allergy medicine, stick to antihistamines without added decongestants (e.g., Claritin, Allegra, or Zyrtec).
2) Avoid Exercising in the Early AM
The prime time for pollen production is 5AM to 10AM… which means that your early-morning workout may leave you feeling groggy, instead of energized! Try scheduling your exercise routine for evening hours, at least during peak allergy season. Also, remember to close your windows before bed to avoid being bombarded by pollen in the morning (unless, of course, you are an early riser)!
3) Drink Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) has been praised for its digestive benefits for centuries! Some people also tout it as a natural allergy remedy, citing its ability to reduce mucous production and cleanse the lymphatic system. Although the scientific basis for this is unclear, it is certain that ACV has digestive benefits — like promoting good bacteria in the gut — and since there is a definite link between allergies and the gastrointestinal system, it is worth giving it a try!
I prefer to enjoy ACV as part of a delicious salad dressing, but some people prefer to dilute it in a glass of water or juice and simply drink it as a supplement. However you choose to ingest it, the important part is making sure you pick the right kind of ACV. The unfiltered kind (with the cloudy stuff at the bottom) offers the greatest benefit to your body. Be sure to shake it up before you pour!
4) Eat Onions
Foods like red onions, red apples, and even red wine contain a bioflavonoid known as quercetin. This naturally-occurring compound is known for its properties as an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antihistamine! Click here for a more extensive list of quercetin sources, or check your local grocery store for quercetin capsules.
5) Try Acupuncture
While it may seem a little creepy to some, acupuncture is ideal in the sense that it does not have side effects. It works by calming the overstimulation of the immune system, which makes it useful for people who are experiencing more than one type of sensitivity (e.g., seasonal allergies plus mold allergies). Click here to read more about the benefits of acupuncture.
6) Boost Your Immune System
Keep in mind that the coughing, sneezing, and itchiness are all products of your immune system’s over-response to histamines…so supporting a healthy immune system can help reduce the symptoms of allergies. All of the things that you would do for your body while fighting a cold — eating well, getting enough sleep, etc. — can help mitigate your body’s response to allergens and lessen your symptoms.
7) Grow a Beard
This is not an option for everyone, but facial hair has been shown to measurably reduce the symptoms of seasonal allergies, at least according to this article. The theory is that facial hair acts as a natural filter for pollens, dust, and other allergy-causing particles in the air. That being the case, those lucky enough to have a beard or mustache should be sure to keep them clean during allergy season!
In the end, just about any remedy that reduces allergy symptoms and improves sleep is a good one (especially if is natural)! So don’t be afraid to try something new, even if it sounds a little odd at first!
With Earth Day fast approaching, now is the time to start incorporating some eco-friendly ideas into your everyday life. In my search for fun ideas I came across several great ways to not only celebrate Earth Day, but keep the eco-friendly ideas going throughout the year.
Plant a tree
Clean up a park, lake, trail, river, beach, or other natural site
Go for a walk
Plant a garden
Start a compost pile
Make an indoor herb garden
Implement a recycling system, or ensure that your current system is the best it can be
Pay bills online
Stop paper bills and bank statements
Limit your water usage
Reduce energy consumption
Lower your water-heater temperature to save energy
Visit a farmers’ market
When shopping, bring your own reusable bags
Ditch the plastic water bottles and use a reusable bottle instead
Bring your own coffee mug when visiting a coffee shop
Check your home for water leaks
Plan a vegetarian meal once a week
Skip the baths and take a shower
Take a shorter shower
Adjust your thermostat one degree higher in the summer and one degree lower in the winter to save energy
Eliminate excess junk mail by removing yourself from unnecessary lists
Use rechargeable batteries
Unplug appliances when not in use
Wash laundry in cold or warm water
Have a picnic
However you decide to spend Earth Day, be sure to try to lessen your impact on the planet by changing one thing you do. Be sure to get outside and enjoy the beauty of nature!
Spring is a time of renewal, when seeds bring new life, animals come out of hibernation, and the Earth reawakens after winter. Many people use this time of year to refresh or renew some things in their lives. You can do this by gardening, cleaning, or getting rid of old items and replacing them with new ones. While replacing old items, why not replenish your bedding accessories with new organic and natural options?
Organic and Natural Bedding Accessories
Bedding is one thing that can definitely use replacing periodically. Once the winter is over, you might want to replace your bedding with some lighter-weight items that can help keep you cool during the warmer nights. Here are some accessory items from OMI that will make great additions to your new spring bedding!
Our Thermal Blanket is perfect for lightweight warmth, and is a great substitute for a comforter during the warmer seasons. The pebbly textured fabric is 100% organic cotton in a crepe weave. Offered from crib to king size.
Pearl Organic Sheet Collection
Since sheets are the closest to you during sleep, it’s nice to change them out for fresh new ones periodically. This sheet collection features 300-thread-count GOTS-certified organic sateen cotton in a creamy ivory. Each set contains a flat sheet and a fitted sheet. Twin and twin XL sets include one standard pillowcase; full and queen sets include two standard/queen sized pillowcases, and E. king and Cal. king sets include two king pillowcases.
Eco-Wool™ Moisture Pad
Wool is a great natural temperature regulator, keeping the body warm in the winter and cool in the summer. As well as helping regulate temperature, it is also naturally moisture resistant (not waterproof). Use this pad to help protect your mattress from soiling due to heavy night sweats, incontinence, or other moisture-related concerns. This seamless, woven wool protector has elastic corner straps and is available in sizes crib through king (crib and puddle-pad sizes have no corner straps). This pad should be rinsed only (no detergents).
Organic Cotton Flannel Mattress Pad
The Organic Cotton Flannel Mattress Pad pairs very well with the Eco-Wool™ Moisture Pad. Together, these pads protect the surface of the mattress and keep it looking great for years. Two layers of certified organic cotton flannel have been quilted together with a tape-edge finish, and have wide elastic corner straps (crib pads are fitted). This pad is seamless and machine washable.
Organic and Natural Pillows
Getting a new pillow can make all the difference in the world for your sleep, and since pillows are in close contact with your face, it feels great to replace them with fresh new ones. OMI makes a variety of pillows using an array of organic and natural materials. It should be easy to find one that is perfect for you!
100% Certified Organic Cotton Pillow
For those seeking a firmer, flatter pillow, our cotton pillows are filled with pure, sanitized 100% certified organic cotton. As with our wool pillow, they are available in three weights: light, medium, and full. (Please note: cotton pillows compress about one-half over time.)
100% Natural Rubber Latex Pillows
Our Molded and Contour pillows are sold with double covers. The inner cover is certified organic cotton mesh fabric, designed to ensure that the pillow keeps its shape and integrity for many years. The second (removable, hand-washable) envelope case is made from our certified organic cotton mattress cover fabric. The Molded pillow is recommended for back and side sleepers; the Contour is ideal for back or stomach sleepers.
In general, wool offers a soft and springy fill, and tends to sleep cooler and compact less than cotton fill. Like our other wool products, our Eco-Wool™ pillow resists dust mites. Available in three weights: light, medium, and full. (Please note: wool pillows compress approximately one-third over time.)
Wool-Wrapped 100% Natural Shredded Rubber Pillow
This dual-chambered pillow is a best seller! It is made with a center chamber of 100%-natural shredded rubber latex surrounded by an outer chamber filled with Eco-Wool™. This pillow is made with a zipper, so sleepers can remove material and customize each pillow to their personal preference.
The Crush 100% Natural Shredded Rubber Pillow
Adjustable and supremely comfortable, our Crush pillow is made without wool for ultimate resiliency. Covered with signature OrganicPedic® knit fabric and filled with 100%-natural shredded rubber latex, the Crush has a soft yet supportive feel, and can be adjusted to any height to meet the needs of individual sleepers.
Wool Wrapped Organic Buckwheat- Hull Pillow
In this dual-chambered pillow, the outside chamber, filled with Eco-Wool™, cushions both the feel and the sound associated with buckwheat pillows. The inner chamber is filled with organic buckwheat hulls. This pillow is made with a zipper, so sleepers can remove material and customize each pillow to their personal preference.
So this spring, while you’re taking out the old and bringing in the new, remember these wonderful organic and natural bedding accessories!
Easter is a holiday of colorful decorations, sweet snacks, increasingly warm weather, and wonderful outdoor activities for the whole family. It is also a holiday that can create a lot of waste because of one-time-use decorations, toys, and wrappers. If you and your family are looking to have a greener Easter, here are some organic and environmentally friendly ideas.
Prepare a delicious organic Easter breakfast, like this recipe for Artichoke-Scrambled Eggs Benedict. It replaces the English muffin with artichoke bottoms for a low-carbohydrate alternative.
3 teaspoons chopped fresh organic oregano, divided, plus garnish
Preheat oven to 425°F.
Toss artichoke bottoms with 2 teaspoons oil and 2 teaspoons oregano. Place artichoke bottoms on half of a large baking sheet, topside down. Spread 1/3 cup chopped pancetta evenly on the other half of the baking sheet. Roast until the artichokes begin to brown and the pancetta is crispy (about 12 minutes).
While the pancetta and artichokes are roasting, whisk lemon juice, water, yogurt, and mayonnaise in a bowl until smooth.
In a large nonstick skillet, heat 2 teaspoons of extra-virgin olive oil on medium-high. Add the eggs, stirring and folding constantly with spatula for about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and fold in cream cheese, salt, and 1 teaspoon oregano.
Divide artichoke bottoms among 4 plates, topping each with scrambled egg, pancetta, and lemon sauce. Garnish with oregano and enjoy!
Instead of buying new Easter baskets, reuse baskets from previous years and revamp them with new decorations. If you don’t have any from last year, purchase them from a garage sale or resale store. Or, even better, make your own unique baskets from scrap fabric or any other materials you might have around the house.
Don’t use plastic grass in your Easter egg baskets. Not only does it go to the landfill after one day of use, but it’s also toxic, and many young children end up ingesting it. Instead, shred some colorful paper from the office or home that was headed to recycling, or use some fabric from old clothing.
Instead of using plastic Easter eggs, use real organic eggs, round stones, paper mache, or even felt. There are all sorts of creative alternatives to boring, toxic, plastic eggs.
Rather than using artificial dyes for decorating your eggs, use natural alternatives. A variety of fruit juices can be used to get different colors, or you can try using saffron, coffee, or red wine.
Use any leftover hardboiled eggs for a delicious Easter snack of potato salad, deviled eggs, or egg salad sandwiches. This way you are not wasting any unused eggs.
Purchase organic chocolate bunnies and candies. Or for even more Easter fun, make your own organic fruit snacks with this easy recipe!
Organic Fruit Snacks
1 cup organic fruit puree
5 tablespoons raw organic honey
6 tablespoons organic gelatin
Puree your fruit of choice in a blender or food processor and measure out one cup of puree (about one and a half cups of chopped fruit should make one cup of puree).
Warm puree on the stove at medium heat in a medium-sized pot until the puree is warm, but not too hot to touch.
Mix in the raw honey and then slowly stir in the gelatin until it becomes an even consistency.
Pour the mixture into fun shaped silicone molds, or line a baking sheet with parchment paper and make a sheet that can be cut into shapes with a cookie cutter.
Place in freezer for 5 to 10 minutes to set, and they are ready to be enjoyed!
Easter is the perfect time to plant a garden. This activity is perfect for kids, who can learn to plant seeds and water them until they grow. It is educational and eco-friendly!
Adopt a bunny from your local animal shelter. The kids will love it, you will be helping an animal in need, and you will have natural fertilizer for your yard!