“Certified Organic” vs. “Organic Ingredients”: the difference

organic slProduct labels can be tricky… in fact, they can be a bit deceptive.

My recent post about knowing the difference between “Unscented and Fragrance-Free” got some surprised comments.  I hadn’t even known the difference until I uncovered that tidbit and got a little schooling of my own!

Another label that can often cause confusion is the organic label.  It’s easy to be misled about what’s contained in the product and tricky labeling doesn’t help.

Here is one thing you should know… the difference between Certified Organic and Organic Ingredients.  These are the facts:

  • “Certified Organic” – this means that all ingredients contained are 100% organic.  Simple as that. This is the label you WANT to see.org unsure
  • “Organic Ingredients” – this actually means that only 70% of the ingredients are actually organic.  The other 30% is not.  Even a label saying “100% Organic Ingredients” is misleading. While that 70% is 100% organic, you still have that 30% that is not organic at all.
  • (By the way, if it says “Contains Organic Ingredients” that means less than 70% is organic, and you have no idea what that organic percentage might be!)

Tricky, tricky labels.  But if you know what the labels mean, you’ll never be misled.

The “beauty” and benefit of fabulous bamboo!

bmboo III’m excited (and a bit relieved) to see more and more products popping up that use that fabulous, sustainable grass… bamboo! (Yes! It’s actually a grass!)

It no longer takes a trip to a specialty shop or expensive eco-boutique to find much of what you’re looking for.  In fact, even my local grocery store carries a line of bamboo kitchen towels.

And why do I think bamboo is so fabulous? Well, it just so happens bamboo is the fastest growing plant on the planet and its uses are vast.  It’s naturally anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and hypo-allergenic, can be grown without herbicides and pesticides and is a critical element in the production of oxygen. (See why I have “the love”?!?)

Bamboo products include: fabrics/clothing, furniture, building materials, flooring, housewares/tableware & utensils, medicine, paper, food… on and on!  Now is the time to start reading product labels closer than ever and make a fabulous, sustainable choice.bmboo III

Oh, and one other thing… this fact: “It is believed, if bamboo were planted on a mass basis, it could completely reverse the effects of global warming in just six years and provide a renewable source of food, building materials and erosion prevention.”

You just fell in love too, didn’t you?

Do you know what’s on your new mattress?

mttrssWhenever my husband is away on business my kids also “relocate”… into our bed, that is.  Each night I find myself planted in the middle of our king-sized bed snuggled between my “hot water bottle” kids.

During his recent trip, I could feel myself sleeping on what has become a hump in the middle of the bed and literally worried about rolling onto one of the kids.  It became quite obvious that our mattress has seen better days since we’ve both apparently made our “impression”.

The choice of a new mattress is a simple one for me, especially after researching the purchase of our son’s mattress not so long ago, but I realized it’s also an opportunity to again share some pretty serious information.

Here is the concern:  Beginning July 1, 2007, Federal Fire Retardant Regulations mandated mattress manufacturers to INCREASE the levels of toxic fire retardants, but DO NOT require them to list the ingredients in the contents!toxc

And what do these fire retardants contain?… boric acid, melamine, antimony and formaldehyde… all chemicals linked to cancer.  Antimony alone causes heart muscle damage and a single dermal application has killed rabbits in laboratory tests.  Additional tests on Memory Foam mattresses even detected 61 chemical emissions and off-gassing from a single mattress.  Think about how many hours you spend sleeping on your mattress… every … single … night.  All the while, you are inhaling these toxic off-gassing chemicals. I find it frightening, AND infuriating, especially where our children are concerned.

If you’d like to take a look at my original post and view a supporting news report, you can find it here.  Or maybe you’d just like to know to answer…

mattress fillFor us, the ONLY answer is an organic mattress.  They’re made of pure organic wool, 100% organic cotton covers and 100% natural latex cores, providing even better fire retardancy than the chemicals… naturally! For our son, we selected a Savvy Rest mattress from Healthy Home Sleep Gallery (and we DIDN’T need a prescription!… more on that here).  Was it more than the common mattress store brands?  Sure, it was… (the cheapest method to comply with the fire retardant regulations is to simply spray on the chemicals!), but was it worth it when we made a new mattress purchase for our son?… without a doubt.

Now that it’s nearing time to replace our own mattress, I can’t imagine choosing anything other than organic for our own health…  but also because it’s only a matter of time before my two precious “hot water bottles” plan another sleepover too, and I want ALL of us to rest and breath easy (and healthy)!

Chemicals in deodorants are really the “pits!”

Most of us never give much thought to the deodorant we apply daily… after all, don’t all moms naturally smell like roses?… yea, I know, not always but dare to dream!

toms deod lineThere is a problem though… common commercial deodorants contain all sorts of frightening chemicals, including Aluminum Chlorohydrate (linked to brain disorders), Parabens (linked to breast cancer), Propylene Glycol (commonly used in manufacturing antifreeze!), Triclosan (linked to the development of antibiotic resistance) and Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (a known carcinogen!).  Who wouldn’t want to avoid these chemicals?!?

Lately, I’ve been using Tom’s of Maine.  Those of us entrenched in the “green world” have probably heard of their products since they are easily found in major retailers, but it wasn’t as easy when I realized that it was probably time for our 8-year old daughter to consider some deodorant of her own.jv Nat deodor

Luckily I finally discovered Junior Varsity Naturals and honestly, I never imagined it would be so easy to convince my little lady to take-on this armpit task each day!  Their products are made of only safe, chemical-free botanicals, so I don’t have to worry about her putting toxic ingredients on her body just for the sake of hygiene.  And she looooves the smell… they have a Cherry Blast for girls and Citrus Sport for boys (all natural scents), so as soon as my little athlete is ready for some pit-assistance, I know he’s covered too.

If I can convince you of nothing else, please just avoid anti-perspirants. These are the products that contain dangerous Aluminum Chorohydrate to seal our pores and prevent sweat, but it’s being absorbed into our bodies every day!

There is nothing glamorous in the discussion of underarms, but even less attractive is the reality of the dangerous chemicals that enter our body as a result of wanting to smell more pleasant… now that’s really, REALLY the pits!

Natural home remedies for “that time of year”…

wsh hndsSo, have you heard?  It’s flu season!!! Yea, I know. If you haven’t, you’ve been inhabiting another planet!  This year it’s especially “shoved in our faces” and it’s starting to make me a little crazy.

There’s no better preventative measure than washing your hands.  Soap and water, and plenty of it.  I used to hassle our kids about making sure they used the warmest water they could stand but, in reality, hot or warm water doesn’t cleanse a pair of hands any better than cold water… “it’s all about the friction, baby!”  So (when you have access) soap and a good scrubbing at any temperature does wonders.surya hnd sanit

I’ve also armed myself with some of Surya Brasil’s new Organic Hand Sanitizer while away from home.  It’s made of moisturizing botanicals, proteins and minerals instead of harsh chemicals and synthetic ingredients.  This happens to be one of the few, true organic hand sanitizers… not “greenwashed” like far too many others.

But, if all else fails and you do need to find a remedy for what ails you, I found a great post from Simple Mom.  Here is just a snippet of some great natural home remedies:

  • Ginger – for congestion, throat irritation and nausea
  • Garlic – for antibiotic and antioxidant properties, and cholesterol controlgingr
  • Honey – for an energizing immunity boost, coughs and colds
  • Turmeric – for antibiotic and antiseptic uses
  • Pepper – for improved digestion
  • Cloves – for antimicrobial, antifungal, antiseptic, antiviral and aphrodisiac properties (woohoo!)

(For more details, check out her original post.)

If you’re like me, you have a very empty medicine cabinet.  I don’t like to take antibiotics, medicines or any prescriptions… for anythingever.   I’m the crazy woman that rejected any painkillers less than 24 hours after my c-sections… both times. (You should have seen the nurses’ faces… their mouths dropped open and they all said “honey, are you suuuure?!?” Yes, I was sure!)

So, if the “bug of the season” gets your down, or you want to do a little preventative maintenance, STOP before you grab your car keys… and turn to your cupboards before your local pharmacy.