Healthy Home

OUR Bedroom Detox (AND Latex Mattress Review)

Our struggles with starting a family have forced both my sister and I to look in detail at our lifestyles and where we can make changes to better our chances. As I've gone through my personal infertility journey, I’ve learned a lot about the hidden toxicity of a lot of the items in our homes. I have since made it my mission, as an interior stylist, to educate myself on what furniture items are the most problematic and what healthy alternatives exist.

Our Bedroom Detox

One of the biggest toxic culprits in our homes? The mattress. And we spend nearly a third of our lives sleeping on it! Learning this really opened my eyes and convinced me to do a bedroom detox. Did you know that most mattresses are made of polyurethane foam, a petroleum-based material that emits volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can cause respiratory problems and skin irritation? Formaldehyde, used to make the adhesives that hold mattresses together, has been linked to asthma, allergies, and lung, nose, and throat cancers. And then there are cotton pesticides and flame-retardant chemicals that off-gas and pollute the air of your bedroom and are linked to cancer, hormone disruptions and adverse effects on the immune system. Crazy, right?

Andrew and I didn't have a memory foam mattress but we did have a 4" foam mattress topper from Target. It helped transform our cheap mattress into something that felt a bit more luxurious. So learning about how toxic foam is, both unsettled and shocked me. Even more unsettling was finding out that a lot of foam mattress companies actually claim that their foam is non-toxic and that they are Certi-Pur certified - an accreditation created by the foam industry. Yikes! (To get unbiased information about what to look for in a mattress, check out this uber-helpful Mattress guide from EWG.)

Our Bedroom Detox

Luckily, there are more and more companies out there creating healthier mattresses using non-toxic materials, so we can all sleep better at night. I’ve learned that latex-based mattresses are a great healthy option. Latex is a renewable material made from rubber tree sap and unlike polyurethane, it is less likely to emit high levels of VOCs. Latex is also highly resistant to mold and dust mites, and is more durable than petroleum-based foam.

Natural latex mattresses are increasingly easy to find at reasonable prices. The one I narrowed in on was the Zenhaven mattress from Saatva. I love that it is handcrafted in America of 100% natural American Talalay latex and is layered with breathable 100% organic New Zealand wool - a natural fire retardant with no need for additional chemicals. It is then wrapped with a GMO-free organic cotton. Zenhaven is certified by an independent certification body and has the Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certification - the internationally accepted standard for certifying textiles and home furnishings. There is no higher measure of textile purity and safety. ZenHaven also offers a 120 home trial period, Yay!

Our Bedroom Detox

I also love that the Saatva Company is part of the growing number of companies committed to healthy, pro-planet furnishings. SFC members take immediate steps to minimize carbon emissions, waste stream pollutants, unrecyclable content, and primary materials from unsustainable sources in any product platform under its control.

I was officially on board to replace our old mattress, but convincing my husband to shell out a couple of grand for a new mattress when it wasn't previously on our priority list was a different story. So I emailed Saatva to learn a bit more and was open with them about our infertility journey, and my reasons for wanting to upgrade to the Zenhaven mattress. To my surprise, the Vice President of eCommerce emailed back right away and explained that his wife also struggled with infertility, one of the main reasons why he purchased a Zenhaven for his own home and why he now works at the company! He ended up sending us a free mattress to try, and in return, I promised to give it an honest, personal review for the LoP blog. 

Latex Mattress Review + Bedroom Detox

My review: Firstly, I was very impressed by their quick customer service and genuine concern for my husband and my story. This really seems like a company that cares. I was excited to try the mattress and after a few nights sleeping on it, even more excited that my husband loved it. He can be pretty particular about these things so getting his approval is a big win.

The mattress itself is comfortable and feels luxurious to lay on. There is no weird smell and I have peace of mind knowing that we aren't inhaling toxic chemicals while we sleep. However, we do love "sinking" into a mattress and with latex, you really don't get that feeling. Since it isn't quite as “soft" as we like, we will be adding an organic wool or feather topper at some point to give us that added sense of sinking in but all-in-all I am a huge fan of this product and would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a non-toxic, latex mattress. I will slowly be upgrading the rest of the mattresses in our home because we truly sleep better since we made the switch.

Our Bedroom Detox

For the completion of our bedroom detox, we also replaced the items we put on top of our mattress with healthy alternatives. 

Duvet:

We upgraded our standard duvet and replaced it with Buffy. Buffy duvets are 100% hypoallergenic and are made from eucalyptus fiber (also knowns as Lyocell) and recycled polyester microfiber. Their fabrics are OEKO TEX Standard 100 certified. They do not use any fire retardants or other chemicals in the Buffy duvet. It is very soft and fluffy and with a 30-day free trial, was impossible not to try.

Duvet Cover and Sheets: 

We chose Boll & Branch organic cotton bedding for our sheets and duvet cover. Conventionally grown cotton uses more insecticides and pesticides than any other crop in the world, using about 16% of the world’s pesticidesBoll & Branch use eco-friendly, Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS)-certified dyes—never chlorine. Another great organic option we love is Coyuchi.

Mattress Topper:

For our extra layer of softness, I am looking at various mattress toppers from Naturepedic (they also offer organic mattresses). I am not sure yet which one we will purchase but this brand is highly reputable and Certified Organic to the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS).

Our Bedroom Detox

Have you made the switch to a latex mattress? Do you have any favorite toxin-free  products in your bedroom? We love hearing what are readers are loving. 

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Saatva. The opinions and text are all mine.

A Clean Morning Routine

Transitioning towards a cleaner lifestyle and healthier home doesn’t happen overnight. In fact, the process can be overwhelming. Defining what is “clean” leads to an endless amount of information, sometimes conflicting, and usually involves memorizing a list of hard to pronounce ingredients. I am often left feeling like I’m not doing enough, and likely never will. I mean, who has the time and energy to stay on top of all of this?

April Detox: A Clean Morning Routine

I am definitely still in the midst of this transforming journey, but I have learned that simpler is usually better, and making small steps is better than not doing anything at all. It’s also less overwhelming to replace products as you go, instead of trying to replace everything all at once. I feel better knowing that the changes I have made so far have already reduced the amount of chemicals In my life.

Where to begin?  A great way to start your home detox is rethinking your morning routine. Likely, most of the products you use during and after your shower, and while getting ready for the day, involve a slew of toxic chemicals. And you use these products regularly. Scary, but true.

April Detox: A Clean Morning Routine

A great resource for vetting personal products is the Environmental Working Group (EWG): a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to protecting human health and the environment. Their database is easy to search and offers a quick look at where ingredients land on the scale of toxicity. You can type in your favorite products into their product search for a quick health rating based on the ingredients found in that product. EWG has also recently launched EWG VERIFIED™ where they have approved personal and beauty products that meet their strict guidelines.

April Detox: A Clean Morning Routine

Another easy way to start getting “clean” is to shop at companies that offer a wide variety of vetted products that are free from a lot of the chemicals and additives we should avoid. Companies like BeautyCounter and the Honest Company, while not perfect, do take out a lot of the guess work. In New York, there are several companies popping up that offer cleaner products, Credo, being one of my favorites. In Nashville, there is a natural beauty and wellness shop called Lemon Laine. Places like Target have also made great steps forward by carrying some healthier lines but it can be hard to find the best “clean” products amidst the many not so great options.

Keep in mind that there is a lot of greenwashing out there where companies use terms like "natural" on their packaging as a marketing tool when there is really nothing natural about the product. When in doubt, read the list of ingredients.

April Detox: A Clean Morning Routine

Changing your morning routine is a manageable way to start making cleaner choices that will have an impact on how many chemicals you are introducing into your home and into your body. 

The key to making this a permanent transition is to take it slowly and don’t stress about the things you cannot change. One evening I did a huge purge of the toxic products my husband and I were using. Although he is supportive of changes I want to make, there were a few products he wasn’t willing to part with. And I am okay with that. Here are some of our favorite products to help you start your day off right:

HAIR CARE:

Grown Alchemist Damask Shampoo & Conditioner: Non-toxic and vegan, this shampoo and conditioner duo is light and smells amazing.

Citrus & Ginger Sea Salt Texture Spray: Coconut and jojoba oils add texture without drying out hair.

Drop Dead Gorgeous Dry Shampoo: I love using powdered dry shampoo and this one is vegan and cruelty free. It gives limp hair volume while refreshing and extending in between hair washes. A go to product. 

CLEANSE & TONE:

Ladyganics Nova Rosa Facial Cleanser: I’m terrible at washing my face at the end of the day so I love that I can spray this cleanser onto a cotton pad and it takes my makeup right off. It's also made with organic ingredients so it feels light and isn't irritating.

Ujjayi Charcoal Sugar Scrub: This yogi-created scrub is a great exfoliatoe that softens the skin while nourishing. Oh, and the smell is what dreams are made of.

Thayer's Alcohol-Free Witch Hazel Toner: This is a no-nonsense toner perfect for everyday use and comes at an amazing price.

TREAT & MOISTURIZE:

Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask: I discovered this brand during one of the best facials of my life and this organic resurfacing mask revitalizes and refreshes skin.

Ladyganics Jupiter Under Eye Serum: I'm obsessed with the easy roller application on this serum. It reduces puffiness and dark circles and the beautiful glass packaging makes looks good on your countertop.

Aria Starr Organic Argan Oil: Made with one ingredient, there is nothing complicated about this pure organic argan oil. It moisturizes without making skin feel oily. I use it morning and night.

BEAUTY EXTRAS:

Ujjayi Citrus Thyme Charcoal Deodorant: Yes, it's a natural deodorant that actually works. And it doesn't make you smell like a hippie.

Coyuchi Organic Towels: Accentuate your morning by including these lush organic towels as a part of your daily routine. You'll feel like a queen.

April Detox: Clean Beauty Favorites

 

What are some of your favorite clean products and resources?

XO Ashley

Spring Cleaning: DETOX YOUR Home THIS APRIL

Life of Plenty Home

Unexplained infertility is something most people have heard of, but it can be hard to talk about for those who are experiencing it. It feels taboo and negative to bring up these struggles amidst pregnancy announcements and baby celebrations. It also is largely misunderstood, yet relatively common today.

Ashley and I have both struggled with unexplained fertility over the last four years. We never imagined our road to motherhood would be such a difficult path, but we have learned so much along the way and feel grateful to have had each other to talk to, although it is always a personal struggle at the end of the day.

It has been quite the learning experience going through cycles of hormone treatments and scheduled intimacy with partners, the sadness and frustration every month with the arrival of a period, digging deep for hope with the start of every new approach. It’s an emotional journey that often feels never ending. But it has also been inspiring to connect and discuss these struggles with other women who are brave enough to be open about their own unique journey through infertility. I have been shocked to discover just how many women go through this and Ashley and I both feel that it is an experience that is important to share.

Flowers.jpg

The unexplained explanation: Ashley and I are fairly health conscious so dealing with unexplained infertility has been particularly hard to understand at times. We have no family history of infertility or other major health issues. We choose organic and GMO-free products when we can. Neither of us are overweight or have other health problems. We live relatively active lives and try to stay informed.

One thing Ashley and I have talked a lot about as we have done research into possible causes of infertility, are the the toxins that surround us and how they can affect us. At this point, most people are aware of the benefits of organic and clean eating, and many of us have more or less jumped onto that bandwagon. There is also an enormous wave of clean beauty that has gained increased awareness over the last several years. But the place that is most influential to our health tends to be the last place we think of to ‘make more green’. It is the environment we spend the most time in - our homes. 

It may seem obvious but the environment of our homes plays a key role in our overall health and can often be a place we overlook as we struggle to keep up with our busy lives. As we transition into spring, and with April being our birthday month (as well as the month that celebrates Earth Day, something we have been passionate about since we were in middle school), we at LoP are making the effort this April to focus on the small steps we can take to clean up our homes and provide tips on how to create a calm and healthy environment for you and your families as well. 

To begin, Ashley and I are each sharing our Top 4 favorite home products we use on a daily basis that have helped us live cleaner lives. There is a lot we can do over time as we invest in how we live. We hope you stay tuned with us this month as we challenge ourselves to make better decisions for our home everyday.

A healthy home doesn't need to be boring. Here are our favorite healthy home products that make life worth living:

Products for a Healthier Home | Life of Plenty

Carly's Favorites:

  • Berkey water filter: Our bodies need water to survive so improving the quality of the water we drink on a regular basis is a must. Berkey uses charcoal filters to remove 99.5% of water's contaminants and hundreds of toxins including the chlorine and flouride found in our local water treatment plant. I love that I can do a red food dye test to make sure the filters are working properly.
  • Zen Haven Mattress: As I have been dealing with infertility, I took a close look at the environment in my bedroom - the place my husband and I spend so much of our time. I was shocked to find out how many chemicals are in the products we sleep on. (As we dig into this month - I will go into further detail of how we are detoxing our bedroom.) So when we decided it was time to upgrade our mattress we chose the 100% natural American Talalay latex Zenhaven mattress made by Saatva. It is layered with breathable 100% organic wool (a natural fire retardant) and wrapped in organic cotton. I can honestly say we sleep better and I have peace of mind knowing we did our part to eliminate the biggest source of toxins in our bedroom.
  • Shower head water filter: Until I can afford a whole-house water filtration system, I've made sure we have a water filter in our shower. I chose the PureAction all-in-one shower filter and shower head. The filter removes chlorine and I love that the shower head is made out of metal and not plastic. This shower head is truly high pressure which is something my husband is very picky about. We really have enjoyed our showers more since changing over and I have noticed a huge improvement in my skin.
  • Tennen Wandering Moss Incense: Ashley actually introduced me to Tennen and their Wandering Moss incense and I am officially obsessed. I love pleasing all of the senses and this scent is so luxurious and it is made from organic essential oils. Unless your candles are made from 100% beeswax or vegetable oil, it is likely they are mixed with paraffin - which releases carcinogenic soot when burned - and synthetic oils that release microscopic particles that can cause cancer and other health problems when inhaled. So make sure your aromatherapy uses organic essential oils!

Ashley's Favorites:

  • Coyuchi Organic Bed Linens: I am a big fan of cozy bedding, and knew I wanted to purchase quality linens for our guest bedroom at our cabin upstate. I stumbled upon Coyuchi bedding at a home goods store in the Catskills, and was immediately impressed by how gorgeous the linens look and feel. Their bedding is made from natural fibers using nontoxic dyes and treatments and they follow the strictest environmental standards when making their products, from start to finish. I have bought linen bedding from several companies over the last several years, and this bedding is by far my favorite. Beautiful and oh so comfortable - I also feel good knowing this bedding is safe and clean to use on a nightly basis.
  • Able Brewing Kone Coffee Filter: Making coffee is a large part of my husband and my morning routine. We typically use a Chemex and have used the unbleached coffee filters for years. The Chemex is great because it is made of wood and glass (no leaching from plastic!) and looks great sitting on the countertop. When we recently ran out of paper filters, I discovered Able Brewing's Kone Koffee Filter. Made from stainless steel, it is reusable, easy to clean, and helps reduce paper use and waste.
  • Vitruvi Stone Diffuser: New York winters can be especially harsh and dry, and cold season seems to last forever. Early this year, I purchased the Vitruvi Stone Diffuser to help bring some moisture to the air in our bedroom, while also allowing us to detox using essential oils as we sleep. I love the ritual it has created for our bedtime routine. This diffuser is made of ceramic and handcrafted in Taiwan, so it is also pleasing to the eye.
  • Fresh garden cut flowers: Nothing says spring like fresh flowers in the house. Unfortunately, the flower industry is one of the heaviest users of agricultural chemicals, including toxic pesticides. It is possible to have the natural beauty without the toxins, however. This spring I have focused on finding local florists that use chemical free and organic practices in growing their flowers. Better yet, I also plan to include a cutting garden in my spring planting to provide fresh flowers regularly from my own backyard, so I will know first-hand that no chemicals or other pesticides are used.

What are your favorite healthy home products? 

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Saatva. The opinions and text are all mine.