What’s in Your Mattress?

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With so many options available now in the way of mattresses, it’s hard to know what you are really paying for or sleeping on. Below is a breakdown of materials that are commonly used in mattresses in today’s market.

  1. Polyfoam/Quiltflex: Most commonly found as the “comfort” layer in the top of the mattress or as a the firm core in the mattress. Polyurethane foam is a synthetic foam that is found in everyday applications, from car seats to mattresses to furniture. Although polyfoam has come a long way and can now be found using a plant base, it is far from being organic or non-toxic.
  2. Memory Foam: Memory foam is polyurethane with the addition of chemicals that increase it’s viscosity and density. This is why it “sinks” when you lay on it and bounces back when you are no longer on it. Without these properties, it would just be foam.
  3. Springs: There are so many options out there in the way of spring mattresses. This is the most common type of mattress. From a continuous coil to pocket coil to zoned coils, you have your options. Each offers a different sleeping and support experience. A continuous coil is the least expensive of the coil systems out there, and can be found in most retailers’ showrooms by almost every mattress manufacturer. Pocket coils are individually wrapped and operate individually providing support to your whole body regardless of your body shape, type, or weight. They also cut down on motion, so if your partner moves, you don’t feel it as much as your would with a continuous coil. Zoned coils are found in a pocket coil option. Usually the lumbar area has a higher density coil to provide further support.
  4. Latex: Do your research, as there are many different latex options out there. There is blended latex, natural latex (contains synthetic materials), and certified organic rubber. Some mattresses contain more than one of the above. We at OMI manufacture our certified organic mattresses with certified organic Dunlop and certified organic high-density latex.
  5. Wool: Wool is usually used as a comfort layer in the top of the mattress. It helps regulate body temperature by whisking moisture away and keeping you and your sleeping area dry. When doing your research, be sure to ask how much wool is being used; is it all wool or a combination of wool and other fibers/materials? OMI uses certified organic wool for comfort and as a fire retardant (wool cannot be set on fire). Our mattresses contain wool on the sides, top, and bottom.
  6. Cotton: Most fabrics that cover mattresses are a form of cotton (referred to as “ticking”). Cotton can also be used as a comfort layer in a mattress. Cotton, like wool, helps to regulate body temperature and whisk moisture away, allowing you to sleep more comfortably. We use certified organic cotton in our mattresses, also.
  7. Polyester Fill: This is probably the most common raw material used as a comfort layer in mattresses. It is soft, fluffy, and inexpensive. Polyester fill is tiny synthetic fibers woven together to create the comfort layer.
  8. Fire Retardants: If you are worried about VOCs, then watch out for which fire retardants are being used in a mattress (or furniture for that matter). Toxic sprays are used to prevent mattresses from being set on fire and to pass the flame tests needed to be able to be sold in the U.S.

As a consumer, you need to do your homework and ask the hard questions about the exact makeup of your purchase. Ask where it was produced, ask to see certifications, and ask about every component.

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Contact your local OMI Retailer for a mattress you can trust in, made in an eco-friendly factory by employees who do not smoke or wear perfumes. We sanitize our certified organic wool and certified cotton before use. Handmade with nothing but the best certified organic materials.

Creamy Chicken and Mushroom Soup

Now that the holidays are over, you might be looking for a hearty meal idea that is not only healthy, but quick and easy to make. Here is a comforting and cozy soup recipe that is deliciously creamy and will warm your bones during these cold winter months. This soup only takes 30 minutes from start to finish, and is sure to satisfy.

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INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 8 ounces boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ cup half and half, or more, as needed
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 sprig rosemary

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Heat olive oil in a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper to taste. Add chicken to the stockpot and cook until golden, about 2-3 minutes; set aside.
  2. Melt butter in the stockpot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add garlic, mushrooms, onion, carrots and celery. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 3-4 minutes. Stir in thyme until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  3. Whisk in flour until lightly browned, about 1 minute. Whisk in chicken stock, bay leaf and chicken thighs, and cook, whisking constantly, until slightly thickened, about 4-5 minutes.
  4. Stir in half and half until heated through, about 1-2 minutes; season with salt and pepper to taste. If the soup is too thick, add more half and half as needed until desired consistency is reached.
  5. Serve immediately, garnished with parsley and rosemary, if desired.

Enjoy!

10 Small but Effective Ways to Take Better Care of Yourself in 2017

 

With a new year comes the typical resolutions, like eat better, exercise more and so on and so on. However statistics show that 25% of people give up on their New Year’s resolutions after just one week. Here are some small and effective ways to make sure that in 2017 you are taking care of yourself.

  1. Put the Pen to Paper

Journal, write poetry, draw, let your creativity go!   If you are not feeling creative, write out a list of things you would like to do or accomplish, as this helps you stay organized and gives you a clear picture of what you need to do.

  1. Invest in ONE Fitness-Centered Activity

If you like to run outside, then splurge and get yourself new wireless headphones to make your run more enjoyable. Do you prefer the stretch of yoga? Sign up for classes with your favorite instructor. Whatever the activity is that you like, invest in it to help encourage yourself to keep it up throughout the year.

  1. Evaluate the Foods You Eat

Dieting can be hard, especially when you eliminate entire foods or food groups. These drastic changes can make maintaining that change that much harder. Try evaluating what you eat and reflect on how it makes you feel. Does it make you feel sluggish after eating, do you feel bloated, or does it give you energy? It doesn’t have to be negative; you may find that your favorite bowl of oatmeal gives you energy to power through the day.

Journaling your foods can help you understand what you eat and how it can affect you.

  1. Make Your Home Your SanctuaryPeaceful and warm image of a open book by fireplace.

It is easier to leave your stress at the door when you step into an environment that is built for relaxation. Make your home a relaxation zone by keeping clutter to a minimum. Have your favorite book and blanket ready or turn on your favorite music. There are many ways to set up your haven.

  1. Don’t Ditch All Your Bad Habits at Once

Giving up all your vices at once can be slightly unreasonable. Instead, consider starting with one smallish habit you’d like to break – ordering takeout several nights a week, or your nightly glass of wine. Not only is this a more accomplishable goal, but itcan also make it more sustainable.

  1. Make Time to Disconnect From Technology

Schedule some time during the week when you purposely disconnect from technology, where you turn off your phone and computers and reconnect with the world. Spend a few hours each week doing an activity that you enjoy that requires no technology, such as painting, writing, crafting, reading, etc.

  1. Get Outside DailyParents Giving Children Piggyback Ride On Walk By Lake

In the winter we tend to get stay inside and forget we can get outside and enjoy nature. Even if it is only for 10 minutes, a quick stroll during your lunch or soaking up the rare ray of sunshine during the gloomy winter months can do wonders for your mood and energy.

  1. Check Those Labels

Being conscious of the chemicals that are found in the products you purchase can be an eye-opening experience. Eliminating products that contain toxic chemicals in your daily life will lead to a healthier you. If you can’t pronounce the ingredients, it’s time to find an organic alternative.

  1. Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate

Businesswoman looking at computer while drinking waterDrinking more water is a great way to cut out extra sugary drinks and ensure you stay hydrated throughout the day. There are many benefits of being hydrated, such as an increase of energy, boost to your immune system, flush of toxins from your system, promotion of weight loss, and many more. Carrying a reusable water bottle with you can help encourage you to drink more water throughout the day as it is conveniently on hand.

  1. Get Enough Sleep

Make it a point to go to bed at the same time every night. Establishing a routine is essential in ensuring you get enough hours of sleep. Catching the recommended amount of ZZZs can improve your memory, lower stress, reduce inflammation, and benefit your health in many other ways.

No Plans for New Year’s Eve?

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Whether you are with your family, with a loved one, or on your own, here are some simple ideas to ring in the new year.

Keeping it simple is always a favorite when you have a larger family. Host a dinner for friends with young ones so the adults can enjoy some adult time while the kids watch movies. Make it a pajama night so if the kids fall asleep, it’s easier to transport them home and put them to bed when the night is through.

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Most towns offer some kind of outdoor party to ring in the new year. From live music to fireworks at midnight, it can be fun for the whole family or just you and your significant other.

If you’re kidless, make it a pot luck so everyone can enjoy a little bit of something while playing cards or games or watching TV for the ball to drop. A nice dinner out with your significant other followed by a walk in the park can be romantic.

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Enjoy a family activity like bowling, skiing, going to the movies, or going for a midnight (late-night) hike. There is nothing like being outdoors enjoying the air to start a new year. Not a nighthawk? Then get up early to see the sunrise in the new year.

Regardless of how you spend your New Year’s Eve, we wish you a safe and happy new beginning to 2017.

Holiday Green Gift Ideas

Not sure what to get for your friends and family this year and you want your gift to be clever and unique? How about a gift that is safe for the environment. Help lower your carbon footprint and show your friends and family that you’re environmentally conscious with these great green gift ideas.

  1. Conservation gifts – Adopt a animal or buy gifts that benefit an organization of your choice. The Sierra Club, World Wildlife Fund, and National Wildlife Federation are a few great organizations to choose from.184111_10150276836305270_6448691_n.jpg

  2. The gift of an experience – A bike tour, wine tasting, cooking class, movie tickets, sporting event or comedy show. A lot of people prefer these types of gifts because of the experience they get out of it.

  3. Gifts that cut down on waste – Water filter, dish towels, compost pail, bamboo utensil set, reusable water bottle and coffee thermos are some great waste-free ideas.

  4. Useful energy-saving gifts – Water- or energy-saving gadgets like a new thermostat or smart light switches for people who love tech gadgets.

  5. Make-it-yourself gifts – Use your creative talents with homemade candles, paper, lip balm, jewelry, photo prints, or a hand-knitted scarf. A personal touch is usually the best gift to give.

  6. Food gifts – Edible gifts like homemade jams or preserves, syrups, local honey, homemade candy & breads, or a subscription to a local meat or cheese club can also be tasty.Image-1.jpg

  7. Gifts that keep on growing – Herb plants, tree-planting kit, seedlings, or seed paper are all fun ideas. When giving a plant gift, it’s always helpful to include care instructions.

  8. Gifts for the outdoor lover – Ski lift ticket or season pass, rock-climbing lessons, sailing club, or fishing trip.AdobeStock_28806899.jpeg

For more information on green gift ideas click: HERE

Don’t Light Those Scented Candles!

Still life with candle and a stick of cranberry

As the holiday season is in full swing, many people pull out their wonderful holiday decorations of candelabras, votives and candles in wreaths. But many of those candles are scented to smell like cinnamon spice, apple, or even pine tree or more. As tempting as burning those scented candles may be, they may be causing more harm than good.

Many candles are made from paraffin wax, and when this wax is heated, the toxic chemicals benzene and toluene are released – the same chemicals that can be found in diesel fumes! These toxins are also known as phthalates , which can cause major health effects if inhaled and have been linked to cancer, asthma and common allergies.

The wicks of the candles can also contain heavy metals, most commonly lead. Inhaling lead can cause hormone disruption and behavior problems.

Not all candles are harmful. Be sure to read all labels fully to see what materials are used in the creation of the candle.

There are many alternatives to achieving the beautiful aromas of the season without the use of candles, such as:

  • Soy-based candles with wooden wicks
  • Essential oils
  • Beeswax candles with wooden wicks
  • Cinnamon sticks
  • A small live tree in a pot
  • Wreaths made from fresh branches

My favorite solution for a natural holiday scent is this Holiday Stove-top Potpourri:

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 orange (sliced)
  • 2 teaspoons nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons cloves
  • 1 cup cranberries
  • 1 sprig of rosemary (optional)

DIRECTIONS

Fill a saucepan with 2 to 3 cups of water and toss in all ingredients. Simmer on low. Add water as needed to freshen up.