It’s no secret that we spend one-third of our lives sleeping and spend a lot of time snuggling under the covers! Conventional bedding is likely made with chemical permanent-press, stain-repellent, and water-repellent finishes. Make sure to wash this bedding to rinse away any skin-irritaing residues or consider opting for organic bedding instead. Look for sheets made from untreated organic cotton, linen, hemp, or bamboo, as well as mod designs made from non-toxic dyes. Here are some favorite organic sheets for kids and babies (clockwise from left):
If your children are anything like mine, they also spend their fair share of time in your bed. Whether they’re waking in the night and need extra cuddles and comfort, or just playing with the pillows and fluffy blankets in the morning, organic bedding may be just as important to you. Thankfully, it’s getting easier and easier to find natural options at larger retail stores. Here are some bedding options we love for keeping mom and dad’s beds honestly organic:
Do you have favorite brands for eco-friendly and organic bedding? We’d love to hear your suggestions!
~ Kate Brightbill of Style Smaller
As adults, we know the value of vegetables. Yet, we find ourselves in rut when it comes to the healthy stuff. It’s a salad on Monday, sweet potato on Tuesday, broccoli on Wednesday, and repeat. And while we have dreams of rainbow colored produce, the variety just overwhelms us once we’re actually at the grocery store and we go back to the usual suspects.
So in an effort to eat better this year, especially to protect our long-term health and hearts, we decided to simplify our lives by trying out Spud.com. Spud is a free delivery service that will drop off organic, fresh, and locally grown and produced foods to your door. And it offers you the option to buy pre-selected boxes of veggies and fruits. We tried this because it took the guesswork out of it for us, saving us time, money, gas, and worry over what to pick. (It remains a mystery on how to choose the best produce!). You can find similar services in your area through community supported agriculture programs (CSAs) by visiting LocalHarvest.org.
Want to know how our quest to make small, healthy changes went? Read our stories below.
I have to admit, I do not cook much. My husband and I eat out most meals because we don’t know how to cook and we never have food in our house. Our refrigerator usually looks like it belongs on an episode of MTV’s Cribs: all beverages, no sustenance. We joke that one day we might become “real adults” with a kitchen full of fresh food. In the meanwhile, boxed pasta and a jar of tomato sauce have become the usual dinner suspects because those 2 things never go bad and anyone who can boil water can throw them together and call it a meal. It is not the healthiest or the most exciting option, but we never seem to have the energy to do anything about it.
When I learned about Spud, an organic grocery delivery service that supports local farmers and works to reduce their carbon footprint through responsible business practices, I was intrigued. Not only did I appreciate their socially responsible initiatives, but I was motivated by the idea of having a variety of locally grown fruits and vegetables hand-chosen for me. By simply arriving on my doorstep, these vegetables would be staring me in the face and daring me to try to cook them. I would have no choice but to branch out from my plain noodles and jar of Ragu sauce. Visions of my professional chef-hood danced in my head. A sautéed snow pea here and a roasted broccoli floret there – the possibilities in my head were endless.
I signed up for the “Fresh Harvest” box right then and there. An assortment of locally grown and organic fruits and vegetables were just a click away; and guaranteed to be fresh and ripe when they arrived – taking out that squeeze and sniff guessing game that usually occurs in the grocery store produce aisle. I set my taste preferences (likes and dislikes) and eagerly waited for my delivery a few days later.
That Thursday, my Fresh Harvest box arrived! The Spud delivery man hid the box on my front porch behind my hydrangea bush just like I requested – I didn’t want to worry about someone stealing my box of freshness before I got home! Inside the box was an even larger variety of produce than I could have imagined: broccoli, string beans, potatoes, onions, tomatoes, jalapenos, apples, watermelon, and so much more. I was nervous about whether I could cook and eat so much, but the food looked so fresh and amazing that I quickly forgot about that possibility. It was time to cook.
[DISCLAIMER: My chef skills did not magically appear when I opened my SPUD box. I guess that was a little too much to expect. However, my refrigerator quickly went from looking like it belonged in a college dorm to looking like it came straight out of a healthy living magazine ad. Baby steps. That is all it takes.]
For months, I talked about juicing. I seriously liked the idea and benefits of juicing—an extra nutritional boost to jump start my days and supplement my sometimes imperfect diet. But I only knew how to make three recipes, and I truly wanted to reap the rewards of juicing smartly with veggies, other greens, and not just sweet fruits.
Like Ashley, though, I was never sure of which combination of ingredients to buy or how much I needed to create enough juice for my family of three. I would buy too little and someone would miss out on a glass. Or I would buy too much and it would go bad before I could use it all. So, I never acted on my desire to incorporate green juices into my morning routine.
I was thrilled to give the Spud Juicing Club a try. The program is designed to make juicing convenient and easy to commit to. You can select a “Juicing Box” based on your preferences and the Spud team delivers the perfect amount of produce to make juice for a week. They even include recipes to accompany the specific veggies in the box. And if I was ever in need of inspiration, I could check out the juicing videos on their site.
The juicing boxes proved perfect for our family. We spent Sunday morning chopping all the veggies and fruits for our weekly juices. My toddler really had a blast helping and thought it was fantastic to drop the produce into the machine and watch it transformed into a liquid. Even better, he thought the vibrant colors of the juices—green, deep red, and a marbled orange—made them all worth drinking. I can’t beat that!
For some, doing laundry is a great escape (didn’t Tina Fey make a joke about doing chores to find alone time as a parent?). For others, it’s a necessary evil. Either way, it’s an inevitable and possibly endless part of our daily routines because we all need clean clothes. So much so, that it adds up to the average American household doing 400 loads a year. That’s a lot of washing!
Happily, our new 4-in-1 Laundry Pods will make this job easier. Not only will you avoid exposure to a long list of harmful chemicals, but you won’t have to spend extra time or money on adding additional product to the mix—cleaning, stain fighting, brightening, and softening power are all conveniently packaged within one pod. Simply toss one pod and go. It’s all you need to effectively get the job done.
To get you started, here are some tips and tricks for making the most of our 4-in-1 Laundry Pods.
At first use, knowing exactly where and when to pop a laundry pod can sometimes leave you scratching your head because there are so many types and models of machines. Whether you have a front-loading, top-loading, or an HE machine, we recommend tossing the pod in the washing drum first, then adding the clothes. Piece of cake!
After you choose a method, follow these simple steps for dreamy clean clothes:
A note for fans of cold-water washing: If you’re having issues with the pods dissolving in cold water, this can happen for a few reasons. One, you have hard water. Two, your machine agitator isn’t working properly. Or three, you’re overfilling your machine. All of these can compromise the dissolvability of the powder, which would be the case for all laundry pods, not just Honest ones. However, we hope you use ours!
If you were previously washing your clothes in cold water using liquid detergent, you may not have been aware of the above issues because you can’t tell that the soap isn’t working—your clothing simply absorbs it and you never know the difference. With powder pods, though, you can really see when something is awry. Also try adding your clothes first, then tossing the pod on top. Or placing the pod into the powder dispenser (not the liquid one). A quick fix of the underlying problem is all you need to keep washing in cold water. Thanks for saving energy!
When to wash: While babies and toddlers create copious amounts of laundry (sorry, just stating the facts), older kids and adults leave much less to launder (thankfully!). Here are some basic rules of thumb:
One final tip: For the absolute best laundry results, get a little help from everyone to lighten the load (pun intended)! With our non-toxic laundry pods, your children can easily participate in chores and learn about responsibility—and you can breathe easy knowing they won’t come in contact with harsh chemicals or spill on the floor! Toddlers also can help match socks, fold small towels, and put some things away. Older children and adults are perfectly capable of even more. Working together means more time for everyone to have fun!
Today we honor one of the most influential grassroots organizers of all time—Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.—and we inaugurate President Obama’s second term. It’s a big day. One thing Dr. King taught us is that, “The time is always right to do the right thing.” He also showed us that non-violent, collective grassroots action changes society, educates the masses, and works to change our out-of-date laws.
So as U.S. lawmakers start the 113th Congress, a big question lies before us: Will Congress take steps to protect our families from toxic chemicals? All signs point to yes! But first, we’ll need your help…
The Honest Company invited me to guest blog on our broken our federal laws on toxic chemicals, and the negative health trends that could be prevented by changing the system. The lack of oversight on toxic chemicals is astounding and needs to change. By taking action together we can make a difference!
What would the Safe Chemicals Act do?
The Safe Chemicals Act is a bill that is championed by Sen. Frank Lautenberg (NJ), a long time public health hero. He is the same Senator who took on Big Tobacco and banned smoking on airplanes (can you believe we ever allowed smoking on airplanes?!). Now, Sen. Lautenberg is pushing to pass a bill that would ensure chemicals are safe, before they end up on the market.
The bill would:
For more information on the bill, you can read the Safe Chemicals Act fact sheet.
Do my phone calls and e-mails really matter?
What happens when you call your Senator’s office?
You can find the number to call your Senators here.
Each phone call, e-mail, tweet, and in person meeting brings us one step closer to passing the Safe Chemicals Act.
Honest Company co-founders Jessica Alba and Christopher Gavigan traveled to Washington, D.C. to talk directly with Senators and the White House about the importance of passing the Safe Chemicals Act. It was an incredible two days, and Jessica and Christopher met with dozens of Senators and key leaders in Washington, speaking up for strong laws on toxic chemicals.
Jessica was six months pregnant at the time, a total trooper, and was determined as ever to speak up for the Safe Chemicals Act. She has continued to be a supportive and passionate spokesperson for our campaign and Senator Lautenberg’s bill.
It’s hard to find the time, or know when to call, or what to say. I understand completely. The good news is our coalition is here to help make it as easy as possible to contact your Senators. Join us and take action today! Let Dr. King be a source of inspiration for the urgent need to speak up about the issues you care most about.
Follow Safer Chemicals on Twitter: @SaferChemicals.
~ Lindsay Dahl, Deputy Director of Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families
I think one thing we can agree on is that good health is precious and we need to do everything we can to protect it. Many parents and health professionals are worried about the rise in certain types of cancer, learning disabilities, early puberty, and more. The good news is we know we can prevent some of these cases by addressing unregulated toxic chemicals in our homes, products, and environment.
Science over the last few decades shows that some chronic diseases have links to toxic chemicals and leading scientists and physicians have flagged this as a big opportunity for prevention.
So what adverse health trends are we talking about? (For more information, you can read our full report on chemicals and our health.)
So what’s the good news amidst all of these sobering facts? We know we can prevent some of these adverse health problems by regulating toxic chemicals that are creeping into our homes and environment. We also know we can drastically reduce the levels of some of these chemicals in our bodies by reducing exposure. Take for example the study that shows how American families reduced their BPA exposure by 60% in three days.
Another example about the opportunity to reduce exposure to harmful chemicals comes from regulating lead in gasoline, which drastically reduced the blood lead levels in Americans.
After Congress passed laws requiring the removal of lead from gasoline, paint, food containers, children’s toys, and municipal drinking water systems, there was an 80% decline from the 1970s to the 1990s in human exposure to the heavy metal.
In addition, the improvement in cognitive ability associated with decreased lead exposure is predicted to result in increased worker productivity, with an estimated economic benefit to the U.S. of between $110 and $319 billion dollars each year.
Removing lead from gasoline, paint, and other sources continues to be one of the most successful efforts to prevent disease and disability in the U.S.
Last week I tackled the question, why are there toxic chemicals in our consumer products in the first place? We learned that due to lax federal laws, many toxic chemicals are ending up in our homes through household cleaners, building materials, and personal care products.
So what happens when our laws do very little to protect our health from toxics? We work together to make sure our federal laws on toxic chemicals work for us!
At Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families we are proud to have the Honest Company as one of our coalition members. Together, with your help, we can show Congress that there is moral urgency to addressing toxic chemicals. Will you join us in our quest to protect the health of our loved ones?
Please join Jessica Alba, The Honest Company, and our coalition in asking Congress to get tough on toxic chemicals. Take action today and ask your friends and family to do the same!
Follow Safer Chemicals on Twitter: @SaferChemicals.
~ Lindsay Dahl, Deputy Director of Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families