The search for the best water filter

This is an EXTREMELY important topic, and I’m fortunate enough to have my own well out in the country, and I do not use any filters. But this is a very FAQ in my Facebook community so I thought I’d share the below info for those looking for more info. I was contacted by an organization with the following info, and I thought it was worthy of a blog post of its own vs just sharing in my closed group on Facebook. I am not able to independently verify this info, it’s up to you to do further research please! Email: “I’m reaching out because I wanted to share our in-depth research on water filters with you. For those trying to reduce plastic waste, one water pitcher filter can effectively replace as much as 300 standard 16.9-ounce bottles. But our team at Reviews.com wondered, which water filters are the most successful at removing contaminants and enhancing flavor?

We set out to answer this by spending months analyzing dozens of popular pitchers and faucet water filters to determine the top six. Our reviewers consulted with industry experts from the Water Quality Association as well as compared filter models, initial cost, and lifetime cost of filters to create a handy guide for consumers.

You can see our resource here: http://www.reviews.com/water-filter/

Because being environmentally conscious is important, we believe this guide would be a helpful resource for your readers looking to reduce their carbon footprint.”

______________________________________________

When asked for the reports on what specifically was filtered out I received this response: “We didn’t test for these contaminants, but rather only chose products who had certifications that certain chemicals will be filtered out. The first How We Found subheader breaks that down in detail, “The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) have set water treatment standards, and agencies like the NSF and the Water Quality Association (WQA) test against those standards. A filter had to be certified for NSF-42 and NSF-53 standards by one of those agencies to make our cut.”

Aquagear for example, was NSF-401 certified. So it filters microbiological and pharmaceutical contaminants like bacteria, herbicides, and ibuprofen. (This product also has a link in the review to a list of contaminants from the manufacturer.)

Thecontenders list shows which filters had which certifications. The NSF-53 certification covers a lot of chemicals so the specific chemical will be certified separately— “NSF-certified to reduce copper and cadmium,” for example. But it looks like they didn’t pull data on which specific contaminants each filter covered. “

__________________________________________

A few other resources with info I’ve gathered on this topic. This was from Sep of 2015, 1st gathering of the Berkey test results: https://ecofriendlymamausa.com/2015/09/29/berkey-fluoride-filter-test-results/

Another post from June of 2017 regarding Berkey: https://ecofriendlymamausa.com/2015/09/29/berkey-fluoride-filter-test-results/

Aquasana info: https://ecofriendlymamausa.com/2016/12/20/aquasana-finally-a-water-filter-living-up-its-claims/

__________________________________________

For those of you using water filters, I HIGHLY encourage you to do a before/after test of your water. You should 1st know what is in your water before trying to filter it out. Someone in the group assumed her city water was fluoridated, come to find out when she sent in her tap water for a before/after (using Berkey fluoride filters), there was none to begin with….. If you do test, no matter which system, please share the results with me: ecofriendlymamausa@gmail.com

Advertisements

My hunt for a safe, affordable new bed!

simple_sleep_1024x1024

The hunt for an organic yet affordable mattress is a very FAQ in my group. As with other categories I’m asked about, Greenwashing abounds. Companies use all sorts of buzz words, often stating what their mattresses are free from, while glossing over some less than desirable materials that may be in them. I had my choices narrowed down to 2 companies: My Green Mattress  (MGM) or Savvy Rest. Both offer quality, organic mattresses. I ended up choosing MGM because their prices are much lower. They’re able to do this because they sell factory direct, meaning there is no middle person in the equation. Yes, they have an affiliate program, Jolene my co-author on the page is an affiliate, meaning she earns a couple percent of each sale used via her link. But it’s nothing like the 50%+ mark-up a standard whole/sale retail agreement would entail. I strongly suggest going to their showroom in La Grange, IL if it’s at all doable for you. In hindsight I’d wished I’d made the 6hr drive myself. BUT, they do have a 100 night trial, if you’re not happy, you can send it back for a refund or exchange. So that gave me the peace of mind that if I hated it, I wasn’t stuck with it.

I went with the 9” Simple Sleep latex, and since Jolene has already shared the great reasons she made that choice as well, I’m not going to re-type that info myself, but will share her post here for you to read to begin: https://ecofriendlymamausa.com/2017/04/12/jolenes-my-green-mattress-review/

So how did I like the new mattress? It’s very firm. I did sleep well, but after giving it a full month I decided I wanted something more pillowy. I was torn between sticking it out & getting used to it, which I have a feeling I would’ve eventually. It takes our bodies time to adapt. I really didn’t want to spend more money, but decided to go for it & get a topper. After reaching out in my group to weigh all options, I settled on the Shepherds Dream Snuggle Mate Topper from the vendor Green Mountain Organics (a Mama in our group).  About this topper: “ Add a wool filled Snuggle Mate to your mattress for additional cushion and to experience the benefits of wool.  Wool will keep you warm in the winter and cool in the summer, while also helping to relieve aches and pains.  Feel your body relax as you lie upon the cloud-like wool in the snuggle mate. Our Snuggle Mate wool mattress topper consists of 3″ of our lush USA eco wool batting, and is encased in a thick, soft cotton sateen. The sateen fabric is grown and woven in the USA. Add this topper to any bed to provide you with the comfort and breath-ability of natural wool. If you would like to add extra cushion to your existing mattress, this is the perfect item for you. Lightweight and easy to care for, we highly recommend topping your mattress with the 3” thick Snuggle Mate. Though this mattress topper will compress regular use, wool always retains its comfort and natural resilience.” The fact that it was on sale so I saved a couple hundred bucks was the cincher in me choosing this over some that were more in the $1000 range. It was waiting for me after we got back from a 3 night camping trip, I was so excited to get it in place & lay down & truly had an ahhhhhhh moment & indeed, it has made my bed perfect for my liking. Of course, the kids sleep great no matter where they are, but they liked the addition of the pillowy softness too! Jolene, who shared her thoughts on the same 9” latex mattress in her link up above, is still very happy with hers, and she is not using any sort of topper.

Topper link (you could contact Michelle to see if she has any special offers before purchasing): http://www.greenmountainorganics.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=56_2_30&products_id=1122&fref=gc

Bed platform: we used our existing, homemade support that my Hubby had made for our previous mattress. It’s a custom red cedar platform & I love it because it has storage built-in underneath.

 

Mattress protector:  I went with the Luna: http://amzn.to/2vAryjp. It might surprise you that I bought an organic mattress but opted out of a 100% natural mattress protector, but I really didn’t want to drop another $500+ on a wool barrier. Being I am bed-sharing with my 2 kids I know there will be an occasional bed-wetting, and sick nights involving puking kids. I wanted to be realllly sure that the mattress & topper were protected. And my daughter has indeed wet the bed twice in the 3 months we’ve had our new bed, and the protector did its job perfectly. It washes very easily, I was concerned a king size wool pad would not fit in my washer. Both products from Luna did have a pretty strong plastic smell out of the plastic zipper bag they came out of, but per the instructions (and as a good rule of thumb in general) I washed them twice before using them & did not notice a smell afterwards.

I also purchased 2 new shredded latex pillows from MGM. They are not made by them, I learned once they arrived that they were made in Canada, which is OK by me. They are shredded latex. I also have 2 of the solid latex (not shredded) from MGM (they no longer offer them) that were ~ 3 years old & I did feel they were starting  to get a bit deflated, I found myself wanting another small pillow. But the new ones are plenty supportive & I don’t need more than just that for my needs. My Hubby prefers a flatter pillow so is sticking with the old ones, the new are a bit too much for his liking.

I hadn’t really thought about protecting my 2 new pillows, until someone in the group mentioned she had to throw away her pillow away after her child puked on it & she just could not get it cleaned properly. So for only another $30 I felt good purchasing the Luna protectors & knowing my pillows would also be safe:  http://amzn.to/2vAT9kk.

 

My budget really needed some recovery time after this flurry of activity. So I decided to make do with the bedding we had been using (regular cotton sheets, etc). But as my budget allows & as I need new sheets, pillowcases & eventually a comforter, I will be replacing them with organic, hopefully made in USA options as well (and will share here).

So what did I spend for all of this? I did get a couple hundred off my mattress (they upgraded me to the 9” at the 7” price, as a blogger discount and for sharing my honest thoughts with you today), but here’s what you’d pay at full price: $2922.85 (I paid around $2500 with the mattress discount & topper being on sale).

Mattress: $1669

2 king size latex pillows: $178

Topper: full price $996 (got mine on sale for $717)

Luna Mattress Protector: $49.95

Luna Pillow Protectors: 2x $14.95

So yes, ~$3000 is a LOT of money. We rarely spend more than $1000 on our vehicles (my Hubby is a mechanic so puts needed work into them). So this was a huge purchase for us. BUT, I had been on my conventional, nothing special mattress for almost 17 years! I have no doubt I will be set for 2 decades. And also remember, this was all king size, so it will be cheaper for smaller sizes of course. The peace of mind that comes with providing the very safest options for my family is worth every penny. And the fact that we spend ~1/3 of our lives sleeping, means this really, truly is a very important item purchase! Thank you for taking the time to read my thoughts, and let me know if you have any questions.

Jolene’s affiliate link: http://ss1.us/a/X8Nm5hRJ

Also, you may be interested in reading how I turned a twin mattress from MGM into a couch: https://ecofriendlymamausa.com/2017/06/26/turning-my-mattress-into-a-couch/

Life and Balance Deodorant Review

18921926_1882725932008066_8412780713183885676_n

 

A very FAQ in my group is what is a safe yet effective deodorant? I’ve been making my own for 4+ years now & it fits both those criteria, but it is a cream style, meaning you apply a bit of the cream with your fingers. For some, that is not something they want to mess around with, they just want to be able to roll it on. Many times when this question is asked, I’ve seen people comment that they use liquid magnesium & nothing else, and it works… So when Nicole, a group member, contacted me asking if I’d like to try her magnesium-based deodorant I thought it would be a great time to try this simple ingredient out!I asked Nicole to describe her business in a few words and she said this: start up company, organic when possible, cruelty free (I only test on friends 😂), non-GMO, nature-based ingredients.

I’m happy to report the deodorant has worked well for both myself & my Husband, we’ve both used it for a full month & went through just about 3/4 a bottle. I LOVE that it comes in a glass bottle! Also, there is a refill available!!! The refill is a glass bottle that will refill the roll on bottle four times!! The roll on is $5 and should last you 6-8 weeks of daily use ($3 shipping) and the refill is only $12 and should last you 6-8 months! ($4 shipping).

It goes on very easily & smoothly, and soaks in quickly. I also love the lemon scent as it’s refreshing, uplifting, and has beneficial properties itself. But also, as I’ve mentioned I’ve been using natural deodorant for many years, so had no detox period which is a very real thing for most who are switching from a more conventional deodorant. We were on vacation a good deal of the time we tried it, and often ended up swimming mid-day in a lake, and sometimes re-applying afterwards, sometimes not. But also while home, my Hubby was doing a lot of work around the house, preparing for winter by splitting wood, etc. And he was happy with its effectiveness (he also uses mine otherwise).

Ingredients: magnesium hydroxide, purified water, organic corn starch, organic lemon essential oil. That’s it!! I did a bit of reading on different types of magnesium as Milk of Magnesium was the 1st thing that came to my mind, here’s an article if you want to read up on the differences: http://www.livestrong.com/article/472107-magnesium-hydroxide-vs-magnesium-oxide/. She also currently offers lavender as a scent, and has friends testing out more manly scents presently.

 

You can order via the “shop” button here on her FB page: https://www.facebook.com/LifeAndBalanceLAB/. Or email: LifeandBalanceLAB@gmail.com

Great news to add: Life and Balance will be a new addition to my Eco-friendly One-Stop Shop (AKA buying club) order, and she’s offering us an introductory special offer: her deodorant at $1 off meaning it’s only $4/glass jar! She also has lip balms which she’ll offer us for $2. That order isn’t until 9/11-9/26, with delivery ~2 weeks later in Oct. If you don’t want to wait that long, I urge you to order from Nicole now, try it out, and then stock up with your buying club order if works well for you! For more info on that, I have a tab on my website with this note, which constantly gets updated with new details for each order: https://ecofriendlymamausa.com/buying-clubdeomy-poofy-organics/eco-friendly-usa-buying-club-2/

 

YES! An organic, edible, FUN slime recipe does exist!!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

If you’re like me, you’ve been on the hunt for that perfect slime recipe. Borax is a no-go in my home for any reason, so I was excited when my Mom made slime with my kids that did not include Borax. But it did still include shaving cream, contact solution, glue, ingredients I don’t consider ideal either. So when it cam up again in my group & someone shared THIS RECIPE, and commented that she had made it & it worked well, I was SO EXCITED to test it myself: http://www.kidsplaybox.com/sensory-activities-for-kids-1-ingredient-edible-slime-recipe/

 

The main ingredient is psyllium, a type of fiber supplement. The above recipe calls for psyllium husk powder. I realized I had some on hand that I’d received as free samples from Nature’s Flavors, where I get my flavor oils & also my natural food colors! The fun thing about these is they are scented, so the slime smelled like the  peach or raspberry flavors in the sample packs, adding to the sensory experience! I just checked & for some reason the product is not currently offered on Nature’s Flavors site.  Psyllium comes in other forms, someone reported making this successfully with whole flakes as well. If you have it on hand in some form, try it! I used up my samples, and ordered this from Amazon. My most recent batch was made with it, and it turned out perfectly, and it’s organic! http://amzn.to/2vjXNEP. You only need a little bit, so this bag will make a LOT of slime!

How I amended the original recipe: we don’t have a microwave, which is what the recipe called for. It mentioned success on the stove top, but didn’t give many details as to how hard of a boil, how long, etc. So my 1st few batches were a bit sticky on the hands. It was perfect in the glass bowl that I let it cool in, did not stick one bit, but did to our hands. Still tolerable, kids had fun with it. But the recipe mentioned it not sticking to the hands. So I let it cook longer & higher temp & bingo, a non-sticking to the hands, organic, edible even, SLIME!!!! My kids love being part of the process and this recipe could not be any easier!

 

STOVETOP INSTRUCTIONS:

1 CUP WATER

1T-2T PSYLLIUM. 1T WILL MAKE IT MORE STRINGY, 2T MORE GLOBBY

FOOD COLORING OF YOUR CHOICE, IF DESIRED

— combine all ingredients in a sauce pan, bring to a boil on med-high heat on your stovetop. Simmer for 5min, just gently boiling & bubbling up those ingredients. Transfer to a glass bowl & let cool & ENJOY!

 

There are several options for all-natural coloring, I’ve gone with Nature’s Flavors options most recently, mainly because I was ordering other ingredients from them as well. https://www.naturesflavors.com/search?controller=search&orderby=position&orderway=desc&search_query=food+color&submit_search=