health · quarantine

Supplements to take during Pandemic

Vitamin B, C and D.

Do you have these? I’ve noticed lately that these are recommended for those who test positive. I also know well before this these same vitamins were recommended to stay healthy and be taken preventatively. I take all three daily and will continue to do so.

Do you know why each of these are needed?

Vitamin C probably goes without saying, during the winter months especially.

Vitamin B is great for energy! Super B contains all the B vitamins you need.

Vitamin D is what you take in from the sun and is lacking in winter months. I read recently that 80% of those who tested positive had low vitamin D levels. Take a look at the graphs below of this correlation. Low vitamin D is also linked to depression.

I encourage you to add these to your daily supplements

essential oils · health · natural lifestyle · Uncategorized

Natural Ways to Protect, Support and Improve Memory

Several years ago, my mom was becoming more and more forgetful. I worried about her and at times I was even afraid for her. Later, she was diagnosed with dementia and the beginning stages of Alzheimers. I researched foods, essential oils and natural regimens to help my mom. Now, years after she has passed, I still use these protocols to support memory for my family, since memory-related illnesses are genetic. I hope sharing these here can help others as well.

Foods

First, I want to share some foods that you will want to make a part of your weekly and perhaps even daily diet. I began my research by reading about the benefits of coconut oil. You can find tons of research and articles on coconut oil and ways to use it. Have a tablespoon a day to boost memory.

There are so many memory boosting foods you can enjoy at breakfast time. Eat plenty of bananas and almond or peanut butter which are good for the brain, and I love these together! Greek yogurt is also excellent. I love the Chobani coconut with either ground chia or flax seeds mixed in. Flax seed and chia seed are among the top foods for brain health, and they have very little flavor, but add a nice crunch. They are excellent for smoothies as well.  Avocado toast with a sunny side up egg on top would be amazing, since avocado and eggs are both good for the brain. Add blueberries to your list (or any berry for that matter). Berries help with memory since they are high in antioxidants, and caffeine improves focus so go ahead and have that second cup of coffee.

Essential Oils

Several essential oils boost memory and brain health. Some single oils include: rosemary, frankincense, vetiver, basil, and cedarwood. Powerful essential oil blends include: Brain Power, Clarity, Common Sense and Grounding. I use Young Living Essential Oils, and they also have several other products for memory that I use regularly.

Other Products to Support Memory

Young Living offers several products to support memory. Mindwise (a tablespoon a day), Ningxia Red (a shotglass a day of this antioxidant Powerhouse), and Omegagize (an Omega 3 fish oil supplement). If you would like to learn more about Mindwise, I wrote a post on this product specifically. You can purchase Young Living Products here.

In addition to Young Living Products, I also take a turmeric supplement daily. Be sure to take one that includes black pepper, otherwise, the body cannot effectively absorb the turmeric and it just passes right through you.

Foods and Products to Avoid

It’s important to know what you can do to help with memory, but just as important to know what to avoid. Avoid exposure to aluminum. Aluminum has been linked to Alzheimer’s and other memory related illnesses. Avoid drinking from aluminum cans, and avoid deodorants containing aluminum. You would be surprised how many brands do!

Cut out artificial sweeteners, including aspartame, Splenda, Sweet and Low, and Equal. You can read so much research-based literature out there on the link between artificial sweeteners and decreased memory! It is linked to Alzheimers. This was very upsetting to me and I became very passionate about educating others on this.

Finally, avoid sugar, gluten and processed foods to stay clear-headed. This would be good advice for anyone, but especially anyone seeking clarity and a sound mind.

 

health · kids · parenting · Uncategorized

10 Aldi Upgrades for Picky Eaters

Picky eaters are not only tough customers, but it seems like the foods they will eat aren’t always the healthiest. This has been true of my six-year-old little girl.

There is a short list of foods she is willing to eat, and we have tried all kinds of strategies to encourage her to lengthen that list and try new things, often to no avail.

What has been successful is taking a look at the foods she will eat, and trying “upgrade” her the highest quality we can of those foods.

What I’m finding, and I really believe this, is that as we ramp up the nutritional value of the foods she will eat, and we have found a good pre/probiotic for her, she is now more open to trying new foods because our body craves what we feed it. When we feed it junk it craves junk. Now that she is taking in more nutrition she is craving more nutrition!

Here are 10 of our Aldi favorites that meet her seal of approval for taste, and mine for nutrition:

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  1. Whole pineapple. This is a big-time upgrade from canned pineapple since there are no preservatives and it’s not stored in an aluminum can, which is a concern in and of itself. Fresh pineapple tastes better and it will save you money. Pro-tip: You can test to see if a pineapple is ripe by pulling one of the inner-most leaves. If it comes out easily, it’s ripe. And don’t be intimidated by its spiny exterior. Watch a video or two on youtube of how to break down a pineapple. It’s easier than you think!
  2. String cheese. This is a step-up from American “cheese” which actually isn’t a cheese at all. My kiddo loves the mozzarella and Colby spiral.
  3. Ancient Grain bread. This is real bread with actual nutrition! Did you know the most popular brands of bread on the market, aka white bread, are white because the flour has been bleached? Bread should be brown, through and through. Also our wheat supply has been tampered with so even whole wheat sandwich bread can upset your tummy. They are processed to remove bran and natural oils so they will have a longer shelf life. I will be honest that we did use whole wheat sandwich bread as a transition bread and eased her into the Ancient Grain.
  4. Mandies. My daughter loves these little mandarin oranges. There are an upgrade from the fruit cups that are often packed in syrup and definitely have preservatives added. Pro-tip: When shopping for healthier food for your family, a good rule of thumb is to shop the perimeter. The greater majority of junk food and foods containing preservatives are found on the aisles. By avoiding the aisles and shopping the outermost parts of the store (dairy, meat, breads, fruits, vegetables) you are much more likely to be putting healthy items in your shopping cart.
  5. Simply Nature Unsweetened Apple Squeezes. These applesauce squeezes are not only missing the added sugar of the name brand Go-Go Squeeze, my kiddos prefer them.
  6. Rainier cherries. This is a new fruit for our picky eater. There is only a short window that you can find them available (typically June-July). She loves these as well as any other raw cherry. These are an upgrade from the bright red cherries that come in a jar and no doubt have sugar and food coloring added – two things that will ramp her hyperactivity up at lightning speed. If your child is hyperactive, try cutting back food coloring (especially red) and sugar for one week and watch the difference it makes.
  7. Edamame.  My little girl likes very few vegetables. I could definitely count on my fingers how many she will eat. Edamame is one she loves, maybe just for the novelty of shelling them. I mean really, eating them is a fun experience. Aldi doesn’t always carry them, but when they do, they are going in the cart.
  8. Simply Nature Lemonade. No GMOs and Organic. We add her prebiotic/probiotic to this lemonade, and it is delicious when combined. If your child doesn’t take one, Young Living makes an amazing one. It will help him/her to digest sugars and junk foods the body doesn’t normally or quickly break down. You can find them here and my referral number is 2183425 if you are asked for one. You’re welcome!
  9. Simply Nature White Cheddar Puffs. Not only are these non-GMO and organic, but they also are an upgrade from their bright orange name brand counterpart.
  10. Oven Roasted Turkey. This a premium one-pound pack and a step up from the name brand pack we bought previously. She loves a wrap with this turkey. In fact, she discovered today that she likes them with her mozzarella string cheese added.

These ten products are just a few ways that we have upgraded our picky eater’s diet by increasing the quality. I would love to know any of your favorites in the comments, or to know what products from this list you are excited to try.

If you would like to see more Aldi product recommendations, I have a more extensive list for picky eaters and a post for big kids as well.

essential oils · health · natural lifestyle

THROAT ROLLER AND THROAT SOOTHING PROTOCOL

What do you reach for when you need something to soothe your throat, or when you have drainage in your throat due to seasonal irritants?

We try to use natural remedies at our house, as much as possible. Also, I talk for a living so I was constantly on a search for a natural option to soothe my throat.

It has evolved over time, but we have an extremely effective natural protocol that we have used for our family for several years now. These quickly soothe the throat and let you continue your day drainage-free.


Here’s my protocol.


1. Make a roller using the infographic below, and add an additional 10 drops of Purification as well, if you have it. Purification is a blend known for soothing the throat. For children, I do half the number of drops of essential oil.

To make the kids roller, simply use half the number of drops of essential oils, but maintain the same amount of carrier drops.


2. Get your hands on Thieves Cough Drops when they are in stock or Thieves Lozenges which are in stock. They soothe on contact and have no harmful chemicals or bright red dye or food coloring. And they are yummy!


3. Make yourself some Thieves tea. A drop of Thieves, as drop of Lemon, and a tbsp of raw local honey in a mug of hot water. Or put on your big girl pants (or big boy pants) and just down those three ingredients in a tablespoon! (Hot! But it works!!)

What natural remedies do you like to use for soothing your throat? Please share in the comments. And if you are in need of any of the oils or products mentioned in this post you can purchase them here.

essential oils · health · natural lifestyle

Natural Deodorants and DIY Anti-perspirant

Let’s talk DEO.

Anyone else out there who has tried several natural deodorants and even tried making their own? After many, many product tests and recipe attempts, Primal Pit Paste is my absolute favorite. Only it’s not an antiperspirant. So I took a shot at making my own spray.

The Essential Oils Desk Reference book recommended sage and Purification, and my ref guide 4 essential oils app added Endoflex to the list which my husband uses to support his thyroid. I love it!

I can’t say that I don’t sweat at all, but I don’t get wet circles under my arms and I know the body needs to sweat some to get rid of toxins. I’m just thankful not to be applying memory killer aluminum to my body anymore. I need all the brain cells I can get!

Please do your own research and you will find as I unfortunately did, that over-the-counter deodorants contain aluminum, which has been linked to breast cancer and Alzheimer’s.

To make your own anti-perspirant use any of these oils you may have on hand:

  • 2 oz spray bottle
  • 2 drops sage
  • 2 drops Endoflex
  • 2 drops Purification
  • 2 drops nutmeg
  • 2 drops petitgrain (EO that controls perspiration like no other, IMO)
  • a splash of witch hazel
  • fill rest of the way with water

If you don’t have all of these, I think just Purification or just petitgrain would work great. I’ve actually applied a drop of Purification under each arm on days I’ve left the house without using my spray. Works awesome in a pinch. 🤓

You can get started with the world leader in essential oils here.

health · quarantine

Anxiety Affects Your Immune System: Ways to Guard Yourself Against Fear and Worry

Dear friends, these days I am seeing more and more share that they are in a state of worry and fear. But that fear and worry wreaks havoc on your physical wellbeing.

During these times especially, we need to be doing all we can to keep ourselves in a mental state of ease and calm.

Here are a few things you can start doing today to guard yourself against fear and worry:

  1. Be mindful of the media you consume: watching the news, scrolling through your Facebook feed, and even binge watching dark Netflix series. The songs you listen too with the killer baselines but have negative lyrics. Limit these as much as possible for one week and experience for yourself, the difference it makes.
  2. Immerse yourself in uplifting books, watch shows that inspire, and maybe trade your fearmongering Facebook in for the lighter inspiring feelings of Pinterest or Instagram or TikTok.
  3. Do something creative. Being creative requires you to be present and it’s the most wonderful distraction from thoughts that concern you.
  4. Meditate. This probably should have been number one. If you are finding yourself in a state of fear and worry, meditation has this wonderful way of shutting those emotions down. When you quiet your mind, you block your thoughts, including those negative ones. And no thought is better than negative thought. Meditation is like hitting a reset button for your emotional state.
  5. Reach for activities and things that calm you and are satisfying: get outdoors, take a walk, take a bath, light some candles, breathe in calming essential oils like lavender or those that are grounding like frankincense. Do some gardening or baking if that’s something you enjoy.
  6. Some studies I read when I was preparing to write this post emphasized the importance of staying connected to friends and social networks. Text or FaceTime a friend. Organize a zoom call.
  7. Make positive lists. Journal. My daughters and I have been doing this more and more often. We make lists of things we would like to do, where we would like to go, places we would like to travel, meal ideas/recipes we want to try, birthday ideas, things we can do for others.
  8. Learn something new! Learning a new skill is empowering and also helps you to be more present.

Whatever you choose to do, choose something that will get yourself to a mental place that feels better. I hope that these suggestions can help point you to some ideas that will bring you more peace. ✌🏻

*Curious about how anxiety affects the body exactly? Here is a Psychology Today article that’s a bit older, but explains it pretty well. And there is this one as well.

health · introvert · kids · Uncategorized

5 Things I Did (and Do) to Overcome Social Anxiety

I was watching a series on Netflix with my kids called “The Healing Powers of Dude.” It’s about a middle school kid named Noah who has an emotional support dog named Dude…and social anxiety.

I was explaining to my almost eleven-year-old daughter that I could relate to Noah in so many ways. That I was very much like him at that age. As a young adult I wasn’t surprised when I was diagnosed with Social Anxiety Disorder. My daughter couldn’t believe it. She said, “But Mommy you seem extroverted.” I thanked her for the compliment and started sharing some ways that I overcame it.

I wondered if other young people might benefit from the wisdom I’ve gained and maybe wouldn’t have to struggle like Noah did. Like I did.

So here they are, five things I did (and still do) to cope with and eventually overcome social anxiety:

1. Stop nightmaring. Nightmaring is where you go “worst case scenario.” You come up with all kinds of imaginary possible outcomes in your mind, and many of them are utterly absurd and irrational. I totally had a habit of this, and still catch myself doing it from time to time. In “The Healing Powers of Dude” Noah imagines losing Dude or his schoolmates turning into Zombies. Some more common examples of nightmaring would be imagining that everyone is looking at you, or talking about you. Somehow I felt like imagining all of the possible negative outcomes would help me be prepared, but what I realized in time was that those negative things rarely ever happened – I was just imagining for nothing. The key word though is “imagining” and it’s good news because that means it isn’t real. It’s fiction. And you cut it out by staying present which is number 2.

2. Stay present. The term anxiety means that you are focusing on imaginary negative future outcomes. They are illusions only in your mind. You can eliminate them entirely by staying present. But how do you do that, you ask? When you can’t shut your thoughts off? There are several strategies I use: conscious breathing. Meditating. Yoga. Go outside and be in nature. Tap into any one of the five senses. Finding joy in what you are doing in this moment, which is also number 3.

3. Find joy. Look for things that are satisfying. Make lists of things that bring you joy. Lists of your hobbies. Create vision boards. Find a couple of safe people, like Noah did.

4. Recharge your battery daily by taking some quiet time for yourself. Chances are, if you have social anxiety, you also are an introvert. Your energy gets depleted around others and especially new social situations. You need to know when you need to withdraw and recover. In one episode of “Healing Powers” Noah realized he needed to step away from the party and be alone in a quiet room. I still to this day will withdraw from a group when I feel low energy. It’s self-care when you have social anxiety.

5. Take comfort in routine, structure and schedules. Those of us with social anxiety are often triggered by the element of surprise. The unknown. The unexpected. On the flipside, routines and structure are calming and reassuring for us. This is how I am able to teach middle school. I need structure and routine for my own well-being and it makes it very easy to create it for my students. I generally feel safe with my groups of kids, we know each other and the sequence of events from day to day is predictable. I am writing this during the 2020 quarantine and even here at home, without realizing it, I have created a very predictable routine and schedule for our family. It becomes second nature with practice. Noah enjoys going to concerts and I do too. He says he feels like he can blend in with the crowd and I totally get that. After you’ve been to a concert you know what to expect and you feel at ease with the whole show routine.

I have come to accept that I will never be an extrovert, and I don’t know that I want to or need to.

Final words of wisdom?

🐾 Practice staying present and being in the moment! Remember that life is supposed to be fun. Plan fun and exciting things for yourself.

🐾 Try as much as you can to replace your nightmaring with daydreaming. It’s great to flash forward and think about what might happen in the future – but make sure they are good things.

🐾 Give yourself space when you need it.

🐾 Remember that structure and routine are your friends. They are comforting! The whole reason anxiety exists is because it is fear of the unknown. By creating predictable routines for yourself you lower the anxiety for yourself and those around you. This does not mean you have to live in a box. Our family goes on lots of adventures! But I make sure I do lots of planning beforehand and that I am with people I trust when I do them.

🐾 And one final thought. Give yourself permission to just stay quiet. So much of my social anxiety as an adolescent came from feeling like I had to know what to say. But now as an adult I realize it’s perfectly acceptable, if not preferable, to stay quiet.

essential oils · health · natural lifestyle

DIY Thieves

DIY Thieves.

Last week, I did the unthinkable. I ran out of Thieves. 😭 And this is NOT the time to be without the king of immune system support oils!

Obviously I ordered more, but until it gets here, I had to get creative. I realized that not only do I have all of the ingredients to make my own Thieves, I realized that Young Living is giving most of these to their customers this month as promos for hitting different spending targets. They are giving us the gift of health!

How accurate this is, I’m not for sure, but all four recipes that I was able to find online generally had this ratio:

2 drops rosemary
3 drops eucalyptus
4 drops cinnamon bark
7 drops lemon
8 drops clove

I kept this ratio but multiplied each number times 5 and placed in an empty dropper bottle to make a synergy or mixture. I did not add any carrier oils. This way, I can simply add 4-6 drops of the mixture to our diffuser. And it almost smells just like our wonderful Thieves!

Notice I said “almost.” Rest assured when my bottle of Thieves arrives I will be going back to it. I’m no Gary Young over here! But if you’re ever in a pinch, this is good to know about.

I won’t be wasting this concoction. My family really likes it so it is going to be the “Thieves” for our kitchen diffuser.

Raise your hand if you have Thieves or something similar in your wellness cabinet!

foodie · health · quarantine · Uncategorized

Changing Your Perspective on Food

What is your relationship with food? Do you eat to nourish your body? To bring you joy? To comfort you? To satisfy your hunger? If you’re like most people, you probably answered “yes” to all of the above. Me too!

However, as I’ve gotten older and cared more about my health and feeling good, over time I can honestly say I have shifted to eating more for these two reasons: to satisfy hunger and to nourish my body.

I think part of the reason we struggle as a culture with our food relationship, is that during phases of our life, we have placed too much focus on the other two reasons: we reach for food to bring us joy and to comfort us.

The greatest shift can happen for you when you stop (and this is the magic sentence, hence the boldface) stop choosing the foods you eat for the taste factor and choose them for how you know they will make you feel.

Those who are around me for much time at all are surprised at how easily I can say “no thanks” to a big bowl of ice cream or to donuts. It’s because I’ve learned I’m lactose intolerant and I’ve spent many a day doubled over in a ball on my bed, with the sharpest imaginable pain in my gut due to eating dairy. Same can be said for gluten. I have slowly evolved to the place where I care more able how I will feel for the rest of the day than a few brief moments of “yummy.”

When I have weak moments and give in to either my own cravings or into peer pressure of what those around me would prefer to eat, I always regret it. Physically, and sometimes also emotionally. Our physical health as you know impacts our emotional health, and vice versa. So before I choose what I want to put in my body, I try to always ask: is this the best thing I could be eating right now? Am I eating it because it is yummy? Is that the only reason? How will I feel after I eat this?

Another catalyst that helped me make the shift, was learning that the “food on the aisles” are loaded with preservatives and some of those include additives that make you crave more of that food. Some of you reading this may feel betrayed by the food industry and angry to learn this – I know I did. These are the packaged foods: boxed, canned, frozen. A good rule of thumb: if you can’t pronounce the ingredients, don’t eat it.

This is why I suggest to folks to shop the perimeter of the grocery store: meats, seafood, dairy (we do lactose free), fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts. The good stuff, the healthy stuff, is always on the perimeter, not in the aisles (this is generally true, though there are some good foods to find in the aisles.) You need to eat real food.

What I wasn’t expecting, is that once I cut out the junk food, I stopped craving it. Now I pretty much crave real fresh food. Then I read a quote that pretty much summarizes this idea: “what you eat you crave more of. ”

So if you eat junk, you crave more junk. When you eat real food, you crave that. The hard part is making the shift. When I cut out junk food, it wasn’t easy. It helped that I was pregnant, and my primary goal in life was to provide the healthiest possible environment for my baby to inhabit. I had a greater motivation and something outside myself that helped me have the willpower to make the change.

It also helped that my mom had been diagnosed with Alzheimers and my research to help her benefited my whole outlook. It was then that I learned about the terrible effects of artificial sweeteners.

And later still, when my oldest child was diagnosed with migraine headaches, my research to help her led me to my knowledge of food coloring and sugar. Both of these are migraine triggers and I would recommend cutting these two out to anyone who suffers from them. Even further research of food coloring led me to how  it effects those with ADD, and I learned sugar consumption lowers the immune system.

I realize these aren’t popular schools of thought and may even be unwanted because they don’t line up with how you would like to eat, but if you are aware, I promise your outlook on how you eat with shift and YOU WILL FEEL BETTER.

And in the face of a worldwide pandemic, as we are right now, you need to be reaching for every possible advantage that you can to increase your wellness and immune system so that you are resistant. Eat for your health, friends. You are what you eat.

 

 

essential oils · health · natural lifestyle

Starter Kit Oil Series: Lavender

Since receiving our Young Living starter kit, I’ve been most surprised by the many uses of lavender, especially with children.

I knew it smelled great and relaxing, but it has replaced so many products in our home that have blown me away!

Lavender is key at our house for seasonal support and to promote normal healing injuries for my kiddos. It’s the star ingredient in the cream I use for the girls for happy, healthy skin.

I use a drop of lavender in my mascara for longer lashes (encourages hair growth). It’s a key component of my face blend, focus blend, anxiety blend and seasonal blend, it helps us all sleep, I could go on! (By the way, many of the oils for major blends mentioned above are also in the starter kit!)

And these results were with Young Livi t therapeutic grade lavender. Not “for aromatherapy” use varieties or types say they cannot be ingested. All lavender essential oils are definitely not created equal. (Please don’t drop some random lavender oil from the store in your mascara, y’all! That’s your eyes we’re talking about.)