Post 5-Day Cleanse

In light of learning about some food intolerances I have, I decided to do a 5-Day Cleanse to sort of jump start my system into accepting the new way of eating. It worked, sort of. I followed Young Living’s nutritional cleanse and posted all the directions in a Facebook group for other YL members to join in.

I began the cleanse on a Friday, and was excited to start. The day before, I went grocery shopping and prepped the allowed foods so everything was ready. I told my family I was doing this, and my husband was in full support.

Day 1: I felt pretty good. I was a little hungry mid-day, but drank a lot of water and it passed.

Day 2: I woke up with a headache. Usually for me, this means I will end the day with a migraine. I read that headaches can be a part of the detox process, though, so I used M-Grain essential oil on my temples and drank water. It eased up a little, but I was pretty miserable by evening. I decided to forgo the protein shake for dinner and had a salad with tuna, no dressing. I went to bed feeling as if I was getting sick.

Day 3: I started shaking. Thinking back, it may have been withdrawal symptoms as my body was being deprived of its morning tea. However, I was also dizzy, and as I have a slight heart defect that can cause dizziness and issues with blood pressure, I decided to end the cleanse.

Since then, I have not had any gluten, diary, or eggs. I am feeling fantastic overall, and have noticed some of my gut issues have subsided a bit. I will remain gluten-free for the rest of my life, as I know it is an ongoing issue. However, I want to attempt to add back in eggs and dairy after thirty days. Especially the eggs! I can handle no dairy, even though I love cheese. There are a lot of cheese alternative products that my friends say are pretty tasty. We got chickens because I love eggs for a protein source, and I think my heart will break a little if I discover I really can’t have them.

Have you done a cleanse before? What was your experience? I would love to hear from you!

The Modern Mom And Stress

Disclaimer: This article is not meant to discount dad’s roles, single dad’s, or male father figures. This is simply the perspective of a modern mom who wants to help other modern moms!

The modern mom is stressed out and overwhelmed. It’s hard to keep up with everything and everyone all the time! Some moms work full- or part-time. Other moms do not have a partner to help share the workload. Some may even not have a sound support system in place, such as extended family members and reliable friends. There are a lot of factors contributing to the modern mom’s stress levels.

Why is this issue so common? It’s generally accepted that moms do not always prioritize self-care or “me” time. Parents usually focus on the needs of their children, which means their own needs are not being met. On top of that, the modern diet and lifestyle provide less than optimum nutrition. The body can’t healthily handle stress when it is not given proper nourishment. Finally, there are so many sources to learn from and a lot of conflicting information out there. There’s no clear direction or focus. Moms are confused and overwhelmed. 

If stress is not solved or at least reduced, moms can experience more health problems. Issues like eating disorders, depression, colds and viruses, heart problems, and more can be related to stress. Stress can also cause relationship problems as there can be breakdowns in communication, less physical affection, and more conflict.

Most modern moms have already tried to solve their problems with things like a KonMari book, shopping at a health food store, buying “green” products, or buying a new cookbook like 30 Minute MealsBut these things are just patches and do not solve the underlying problem.

By the way, not all products labeled as “green” or “eco-friendly” are actually natural. It’s called “green-washing,” which means companies are misleading consumers into thinking the products are toxin-free. Why is this a concern? Because toxins also cause stress to the body. Moms who are trying to do better for their families are deceived by the packaging. But you don’t know what you don’t know, and now you know. Check out this list of common toxins in the home, and try to avoid any products that contain them. Hint: ingredients such as “fragrance” usually include some combination of yuck.

I know about stress and using products to fix the problems temporarily. I’ve been there. I’ve done all the above and more. These things didn’t work because they weren’t sustainable or actual remedies. It was like putting a band-aid on a broken bone. So how did I actually reduce the stress in my life? I used a five-step process, which I want to share with you.

Step 1: Get Clear and Set Intention.

Journal about your worth as an individual, and in the context of your relationships. Your needs are important, too! Then take a few minutes to focus on the belief that you have the power to create the life you want, which does not include a ton of stress. You may want to create a mantra or find a motivational quote to print out and put in a visible place.

Diffuse Frankincense and Lavender to create a sacred, personal space (wherever you can get it!). Affirm your worth as an individual, then in the context of your relationships. Apply Valor to your wrists, and meditate on the belief that you have the power to create the life you want.

Step 2: Make a list of the most important priorities you want to tackle. Work on one at a time.

My list looks like this:

  1. Family time
  2. Me time
  3. Family wellness
  4. Home organization + cleaning

Step 3: From that priority list, pick one new habit you can introduce weekly, once a day for 4 weeks. Here are some examples:

  1. Habit 1: Diffuse quality essential oils weekly. Diffusing helps set the mood of the home.
  2. Habit 2: Drink Ningxia Red daily.  This powerful antioxidant drink can combat the effects of stress and improve memory function. 
  3. Habit 3: Start exercising with your spouse and/or children. Bike rides, hiking, playing at the park (join in, don’t just watch!), or jumping on the trampoline are all ways you can have fun and get fit as a family.
  4. Habit 4: Switch out all those bottles of toxic cleaners for one bottle of Thieves Household Cleaner. Using toxic cleaners in the home has been shown to cause health problems. 

Step 4: Create a family task board (or Trello board!) to delegate & assign tasks, so everything isn’t on your shoulders!

Talk with your partner if you have one about sharing the mental burden. Get a support network in place. Trade babysitting services with other moms who also need a break. Chore charts for your kids are your friend! Children can begin doing simple chores around age 4. Again, Pinterest has lots of examples of age-appropriate chores and even simple charts you can print off, so you aren’t spending more time getting a system in place.

Step 5: Commit to a “treat yourself” day one time (or more) per month.

“I don’t have time for that!” I can hear you say. Trust me, you don’t have time not to make time. Your mental health is essential! If you are feeling stressed, anxious, or overwhelmed, you need to devote at least one day each month to get an emotional reset. It doesn’t have to be expensive, either! Take a bath, spend the day reading a book, meet a friend, watch a movie, go window shopping. The list is endless! Do something that makes you feel good and only serves you. Again, fill your cup.

Stress does not have to be normal, and it certainly isn’t healthy. There are ways to combat it, and even almost eliminate it. It won’t happen overnight, but you can get there! And, please, friend, if you’re feeling so miserable that you don’t see a way out, reach out to someone to get help. See a counselor, talk with a friend, call a crisis hotline. You are important!

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)This post may contain affiliate links.

Essential Oil Usage

3-How-to-use-EOs-660x400@2x

DISCLAIMER: I am not a medical professional of any kind. I cannot prescribe, diagnose, or treat diseases. All the information contained in this article is from my own research and experiences. 

Earlier we talked about how to choose a good brand of essential oils. Now, let’s talk about essential oil use and safety. Knowing how to safely use essential oils is extremely important. First, what is an essential oil?

MedicineNet defines essential oils as: “An oil derived from a natural substance, usually either for its healing properties or as a perfume. Some pharmaceuticals, and many over-the-counter or ‘holistic’ remedies, are based on or contain essential oils. For example, products containing camphor or eucalyptus essential oils can help relieve congestive coughs, and many essential oils are used in the practice of aromatherapy.”

The U.S. National Library of Medicine states that an essential oil is: “The scented liquid taken from certain plants using steam or pressure. Essential oils contain the natural chemicals that give the plant its “essence” (specific odor and flavor). Essential oils are used in perfumes, food flavorings, medicine, and aromatherapy.”

Notice both definitions indicate that essential oils are used in medicine. You wouldn’t take a cough syrup or prescription without knowing the proper dosage, and the same should apply to essential oils. When starting out with essential oils it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by all the information available. I’m going to break it down for you as simply as I can.

There are three ways to use essential oils: aromatically, topically, and internally.

Aromatic use is probably the most common and is usually done by placing the essential oil in a diffuser which then expels the scent into the air. You can also place a drop of essential oil in your palms or on a cloth and then inhale the scent. In general, this is considered to be the safest way to use essential oils. Some things to consider before aromatic use are pet safety (remember, some types of pets are more sensitive to some essential oils than others), child safety (extremely young children should not be exposed to some essential oils), and the desired result of use. Sometimes I diffuse because I want the house to smell good, other times I use it to boost my mood on gloomy rainy days.

Topical use is placing the essential oils on the skin and it includes massage therapy. When using essential oils in this way, it is very important that you follow label directions for dilution requirement. Some oils are considered “hot,” and can be irritating or even harmful if applied without being diluted first. It’s easy to dilute an essential oil. If the label indicates to dilute one drop of essential oil with one drop of carrier oil, simply put one drop of your choice of carrier oil in the palm of your hand, add the drop of essential oil and apply as needed. What are carrier oils? It is any vegetable oil derived from the fatty portion of a plant, such as olive oil, grapeseed oil, coconut oil, jojoba oil, sunflower seed oil, and many more. Most likely you have a carrier oil in your kitchen. Something else to remember when using essential oils topically is that some are considered photosensitive and should not be applied prior to going out in the sun or tanning. Mild to serious burns might result.

Internal use is controversial because of the use of synthetic ingredients in some brands of essential oils. As we talked about before, many people think all essential oils are the same but they are not. The result is the improper use of essential oils. Only oils specifically labeled for internal use should be taken internally. Always follow the label’s directions. When using a dietary essential oil, you can drop it in your water (but not if the container or straw is plastic), put it in a vegetable capsule and take it, or use it in cooking to flavor your food. I just made my children blueberry lemon pancakes this morning using Young Living’s Lemon Vitality Essential Oil. If you are not sure if the essential oil can be taken internally, don’t use it that way. The label will clearly state if it is for topical and aromatic use only, or internal.

As always, do your research, ask someone knowledgeable, and follow the label directions. Consult your medical professional before using, especially if you have underlying health issues. Some essential oils can react with prescription medications.

Choosing Essential Oil Brands

whCIq2LbSeeSTXL45j37Q-e1521252391196-660x400

Please note: I am not a doctor or veterinarian and cannot give medical advice. The information contained in this article is from my personal knowledge and research. I have been using Young Living Essential Oils for four years, including around and on my children and pets, without any ill effects. I have done hours upon hours of research before using them, and I still study their uses and effects.

Lately, there have been a lot of posts on social media about the dangers of essential oils to pets. People read these, share them without another thought, and essential oils are blamed for illness and death in pets. This causes frustration on many levels because those same posts don’t always state what brand of essential oils were used. Some brands include synthetic fragrances and are not truly pure plant matter. The FDA does not regulate essential oils and states the following:

“There is no regulatory definition for “essential oils,” although people commonly use the term to refer to certain oils extracted from plants. The law treats Ingredients from plants the same as those from any other source.”

For example, “essential oils” are commonly used in so-called “aromatherapy” products. If an “aromatherapy” product is intended to treat or prevent disease, or to affect the structure or function of the body, it’s a drug. To learn more, see “Aromatherapy.”

Similarly, a “massage oil intended to lubricate the skin is a cosmetic. But if claims are made that a massage oil relieves aches or relaxes muscles, apart from the action of the massage itself, it’s a drug, or possibly both a cosmetic and a drug,” 

Wait, what?

“The law treats Ingredients from plants the same as those from any other source.”

This means that an essential oil containing only steam distilled Lavandula angustifolia (lavender) and a lab-created synthetic fragrance of lavender can both be labeled as pure essential oils.

This is why knowing where your products come from is so important. Essential oils — the real plant matter ones, not the lab-created ones — have been shown to help support overall feelings of wellness in all kinds of animals, from humans to dogs, from cats to guinea pigs, and even birds. But there are a lot of cheap, fake oils out there and people are not educated on the lack of regulation of essential oils, how they are made, or their proper use. They buy a diffuser, set it up, and start making their homes smell good without a thought to what is actually in that little bottle. How, then, do we know that it’s the Eucalyptus globulus and not eucalyptus fragrance that is causing our dear pets to have medical emergencies? We don’t, and yet essential oils, in general, are being blamed.

If you’re interested in learning how to live above the wellness line with essential oils, it is highly suggested that you seek out a reputable company and not purchase essential oils from the local grocery store. Do some research and ask some of the following questions:

1) How long has the company been in business?

2) Does the company own their farms or have partner farms?

3) Does the company control everything from planting to bottling?

4) Are the essential oils steam distilled and is the oil going into the bottle from the first distillation?

5) Are the oils tested both by the company’s quality control and by third parties?

6) How many tests are done? There are currently 20 possible tests that can be done to check an essential oil’s quality and constitution. (We will talk about these in a future article.)

7) Are they synthetic-free?

8) Are they organic?

9) Are any labeled as a dietary supplement?

Next, do your research. Lots and lots of research. Please don’t take your neighbor’s cousin’s sister’s word for how to use essential oils. Definitely ask your friends and family questions, but then follow up their answers with studying. Find out which oils might irritate the skin if used improperly. Learn about carrier oils, photosensitivity, and possible prescription drug interactions. Study the use of each oil, including what they can be used for, how to use them, and general safety information. When you start to use essential oils, start slow! Don’t set up your diffuser and add 15 drops of lemon. Instead, use 2 drops and monitor how you (and your pets) feel.

Yes, you can diffuse (real) essential oils around your pets. Place the diffuser in a main living area and make sure your pet is able to go to another room if they don’t like the smell. Never apply essential oils topically to your pet without consulting a veterinarian, and never apply undiluted essential oils. Start with ones that do not have phenols or salicylate in them. Oils that contain phenols or salicylate include, but are not limited to: Wintergreen, Basil, Oregano, and Tea Tree. Many people pick up essential oils because they smell good, and then use them similarly to candles or wax melts, but they can be so much more with the right quality and information. They can also be harmful if you are not armed with knowledge.