Wishing you a Happy and Healthy Earth Day from OMI!
This Friday will mark the 46th year of the Earth Day movement! Earth Day continues to inspire and ignite passion to motivate people into action to help protect our planet. There are many ways we can start incorporating eco-friendly ideas into our lives to lessen our impact on the globe. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Volunteer to pick up litter at your neighborhood park, beach, hiking trail, etc.
- Help evaluate the recycling system in your home and office to ensure you are using the best system possible.
- Be conscious of your energy and water usage. Turn off lights and unplug appliances when not in use, shorten showers, wash laundry in cold water, etc.
- Evaluate your home’s efficiency, ensure you have energy-efficient light bulbs, lower water temperature, and adjust your thermostat at least one degree lower during cold days and one degree higher on hotter days to help conserve energy.
- Use reusable water bottles and coffee mugs rather than paper to-go cups or plastic bottles.
- Bring your own reusable shopping bags for groceries.
- Plan an unplugged night – turn off the TV, computers, laptops, cell phones,and tablets, hang out with family or friends, play games, talk, laugh, and enjoy an electronic-free night.
- Get outside and enjoy our planet: have a picnic, play games, garden, etc.
These simple ideas may not seem like they will make a big impact, but if we all incorporate them in our lives they can add up to big changes.
What changes are you planning on implementing in your life this Earth Day? Tell us in the comments below.
Now that cold season is upon us, it is important to figure out ways that we can help limit our chances of being struck by cold germs. An easy way to decrease your risk of catching a cold or other common infections is to ensure you are getting enough sleep.
Life Science reported the results of a national sleep survey in which researchers analyzed information from more than 22,000 Americans between 2005 and 2012. The participants answered questions about their sleeping habits, as well as whether they’d had a cold, pneumonia, or an ear infection in the past month.
The participants who slept for 5 hours or less on average weeknights were 28 percent more likely to report having a cold in the past month and 82 percent more likely to report having the flu, pneumonia, or an ear infection compared with those who slept 7 to 8 hours on weeknights.
The study did not find a link between sleeping 9 hours or more and the risk of catching a cold or an infection.
So be sure to catch 7 to 8 hours of zzz’s a night to help increase your chances of fighting off the cold bug this spring.
If those in your home still happen to catch a cold or the flu this season, there are many helpful at-home remedies to help them get through it. Visit our previous blog, Natural Remedies to Fight the Flu and Seasonal Colds, for a great list of natural options!
Spring is here! The sun is bright, the flowers are blooming, and I finally feel like I can venture outside again as the winter chill subsides. Then it happens…my eyes start to water, my nose starts to itch, and all of sudden, I sneeze. Spring is definitely here and with all the beautiful blooms and lush greenery, it ushers in allergy season. Allergies are like the awkward photobomber in the background of a perfect “besties, night-on-the-town” selfie. They are just so disappointing. My days should be full of long hikes in the woods, picnics at the park, and I should not be afraid to take a long, deep breath of fresh air each time I walk outside.
There are many ways to control your spring allergy symptoms. It usually entails going to the drugstore and perusing aisles and aisles of medications in search of the one pill or syrup that will soothe your symptoms without breaking the bank or transforming you into a character straight out of The Walking Dead. Fortunately, there are many natural ways to get relief from spring allergy symptoms, many of which have the added benefits of boosting your energy and your immune system.
Saline solution is an affordable and easily attainable natural option to combat nasal allergy symptoms. Most saline sprays are isotonic, which means the solution is the same saline concentration as in your body. It can help clear the nasal passages of mucus without harming the cilia (the little hairs in your nose that humidify air entering your lungs), trap bacteria to prevent them from entering cells, and aid your sense of smell. Using a saline spray or flushing your nasal passages with a neti pot on a regular basis can reduce inflammation and the risk of infection.
Steam is another great natural solution to spring allergy symptoms. A hot shower is probably the quickest way to clear your sinuses. You can also add a few drops of peppermint or eucalyptus oil to a bowl of hot water, cover the back of your neck and head with a towel, and breathe in the vapors. The steam helps moisturize dry nasal passages while the essential oils alleviate sinus congestion and respiratory symptoms.
Diet can play a big role in controlling and/or eliminating allergy symptoms, as well. There are many foods with properties that can help your body rid itself of histamines. The body reacts to an allergy stimulus by releasing histamines, which can cause inflammation of the nasal tissue, runny nose and eyes, and an itchy nose or mouth. Vitamin C is a natural and gentle antihistamine. It is found in leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables, and most fruit. Flavinoids, especially Quercetin, are a group of plant pigments that give many fruits, vegetables, and flowers their colors. They work to block the production of histamines and eliminate them in the body. Great sources of flavinoids are citrus fruits, onions, garlic, apples, parsley, tea, tomatoes, broccoli, lettuce, legumes, berries, and wine. Bromelain is found in pineapples and is another great anti-inflammatory. Spicy foods, especially those with cayenne pepper or chili powder, help to reduce nasal congestion and stuffiness. Lastly, omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon, grass-fed meat, flax seed oil, hemp seeds, and canola oil have many anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce allergic reactions, too.
Tea, specifically green tea, rooibos, and those containing yerba mate are good choices for allergy sufferers. A recent study in Japan showed in lab tests that EGCG, a in green tea, helped prevent allergic reactions. Rooibos tea is a naturally caffeine-free herbal tea that contains two flavinoids, rutin and quercetin, that block histamine production. Yerba mate is a South American herbal bush or tree that stimulates the adrenal glands to produce corticosteroids, which suppress autoimmune reactions in the body, decrease inflammation, and open respiratory passages. Make sure to avoid chamomile tea if you suffer from hay fever, as its properties can increase the severity of your symptoms.
Now you have a good list of natural ways to fight spring allergies! Don’t be afraid to enjoy the blooming trees and flowers and breathe in all the beautifully-scented air you would like. Happy Spring!
Celebrate this St. Patrick’s Day with fun and delicious dinner and dessert!
Beer-Glazed Sausage and Apples
Start to Finish: 35 minutes
- 1 12-ounce bottle stout beer
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1 14-16-ounce package smoked sausage, such as kielbasa, cut in 3-inch pieces
- 1/2 pound fresh green beans
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 medium cooking apples, cored and thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon finely shredded orange peel
- 8 small sage leaves
1. In a large saucepan, combine 1/2 of the beer and the crushed red pepper; bring to boiling. Add sausage and green beans. Return to a simmer, cover and cook 5 to 8 minutes or until beans are tender. Drain. Set aside.
2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, melt 1 tablespoon butter; add apples. Cook, turning occasionally, until apples are just tender. Transfer to a platter.
3. Add sausage to skillet. Cook, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides. Add to platter; cover. Drain fat from skillet.
4. Carefully add remaining beer to skillet (mixture may foam); stir to scrape up browned bits. Add remaining 1 tablespoon butter, brown sugar, cider vinegar, and orange peel. Bring to boiling; reduce heat and boil gently, uncovered, 5 to 6 minutes or until slightly thickened. Return sausage and green beans to skillet to coat in glaze. Fold in apples. Return to serving platter. Sprinkle with sage.
Total Time: Prep: 25 min. + rising
Bake: 15 min.
Yields: 24 servings
- 1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
- 1/4 cup warm water (110° to 115°)
- 1 cup warm 2% milk (110° to 115°)
- 1/4 cup shortening
- 1/2 cup warm mashed potatoes
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1-1/4 teaspoons salt
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
1. In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Add milk, shortening, potatoes, egg, sugar, salt, and 2 cups flour. Beat until smooth. Add enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.
2. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
3. Punch dough down and divide in half. Divide each half into 36 pieces; shape into balls. Place three balls each into greased muffin cups. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 30 minutes.
4. Bake at 400° for 12-15 minutes or until golden. Remove to wire racks. Serve warm.
Chocolate Stout Shake
Start to Finish: 25 minutes
- 1/8 cup chocolate stout beer or stout beer
- 1/4 cup prepared chocolate fudge ice cream topping
- 1/4 gallon vanilla bean ice cream
- 1/2 cup milk
- 3 purchased chocolate-and-nut-covered pretzel rods (optional)
1. In a small saucepan, heat beer and chocolate topping until warm and combined. Cool slightly.
2. Meanwhile, in a blender combine ice cream and milk, half at a time. Cover and blend until combined. Divide ice cream mixture among 4 glasses. Drizzle with chocolate sauce and, if desired, serve with chocolate-covered pretzel rods.
Why is wool becoming such a popular material in the mattress and bedding industry? Wool has many beneficial properties, many of which contribute to restful sleep.
One of the most well-known benefits of using wool in bedding and mattresses is its natural tendency to regulate body temperature. No more sleeping with one leg out of your covers or stealing your partner’s covers to stay warm.
Wool is also hypoallergenic. It is resistant to bacteria, mold, and mildew because the wool fibers naturally wick away moisture. No moisture means no dust mites! Dust mites love warm, moist areas. Wool is dry and not always warm.
Wool is naturally flame-resistant. It difficult to ignite, it does not melt, and flames are easily extinguished. For this reason, OMI uses certified organic wool as the natural flame barrier on our mattresses so that we do not have to use harmful chemical flame retardants.
Wool is also easy to clean and keep clean. Its fibers generate very little static electricity, so it repels dirt, lint, and dust, and stays cleaner longer. Dirt that accumulates sits on the surface of the fiber, and is therefore easily removed.
Lastly, wool is eco-friendly, biodegradable, and sustainable. Sheep produce wool yearly. As long as there are sheep, we’ll have wool. Wool is 100% biodegradable as well, so it is a great choice for the Earth!
It’s 6 am and you are startled awake out of a deep sleep by a horrific beeping noise. You groggily open your eyes and try to find the source of that annoying noise. Then your brain catches up and you realize it is your alarm clock.
Vast majorities of people use alarm clocks almost daily. They are hard to live without, as they ensure that we wake up early for work, school or other functions. But are alarm clocks really helpful?
The answer is YES! Natural light is better to wake up to than an alarm clock.
According to research by the National Institute of Industrial Health in Japan, although using an alarm clock maybe the most popular choice, waking up to a jolting noise can be bad for your heart. Waking up abruptly can cause higher blood pressure and heart rate. Besides increasing your blood pressure, an alarm can also increase stress levels by getting your adrenaline rushing.
There is another option for waking up to the shrilling of an alarm clock: letting your body wake naturally to light.
Here are a few simple tips to try:
- Crack your blinds/curtains so natural light can enter your room.
- Position your bed so the sun strikes it at an appropriate time of day.
- Try to wake up at the same time every day, including weekends, so your body can become accustomed to a new sleep schedule.
- If you need to wake up before the sun rises, try using a timer for your bedroom lights.
Try implementing these tips into your routine for a better and healthier start to the day!