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!

Essential Oil Usage

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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

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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.

Life With Chickens

 

6E03BC7B-7B89-4F8D-B488-A5787D2368B6-660x400@2xThere are many things that you learn both before and during the process of raising chickens. At least, I learned a lot. I researched the best breeds for our climate, and cross-checked them with the best egg-laying breeds, then cross-checked them again with the personality types. I learned what the best mixture of non-GMO food was, and approximately how much water per day each chicken needed. I figured out the minimum square foot per bird ratio, then doubled it when we built the coop. I made lists of common ailments and their remedies, just in case. I read articles about how to train your dog to not attack your birds. I thought I was prepared for a life of raising chickens and gathering eggs.

I was wrong.

My research, which took place over a period of a year before we actually got any chicks, was not as complete as I had thought. The things I didn’t know about chickens were, and probably still are, plentiful. There are more to these egg-laying machines than meets the eye.

For starters, I didn’t realize that each hen has her own very distinct personality. It wasn’t obvious at first, but as the chicks grew into pullets then full-grown hens, we noticed we could tell one from the other based on how they were acting. From there it as only a matter of time, probably days, really, that each of us became attached to individual chickens and farm animals suddenly became more like pets.

We told the children not to name them, knowing that death would occur; they named them anyway. Our girls are named things like Bob, Steve, Shadow, and Leo. My research didn’t prepare me for the simple fact that some of the hens know their names, and a very few will actually come when you call them.

I had no idea that hens will basically “yell” at you if they want something. Our girls have berated us for cleaning the coop when they want to lay eggs, called to us when they wanted to be let out in the yard, and run clucking towards us when they think we have a treat for them. If you have ever thought that chickens don’t communicate with their human caretakers, come visit us and I’ll show you otherwise.

Hours of reading and making charts never revealed the concern I would feel when we first moved the pullets from the house to the coop. I was worried they were going to be cold, scared, or hurt themselves somehow. My worries were unfounded, but I found myself going out late at night to check on them and then again first thing in the morning. I also wasn’t prepared for the heartbreak when we lost a hen, the nicest of the flock, to a stray dog and then two more to a coyote. I again worried as the rest of the flock reorganized themselves into a new pecking order, and in the process, one of the girls was sleeping outside the coop because the other hens wouldn’t let her find a place on the roost inside.

My study into the world of chickens also didn’t prepare me for the laughter as we watched them run after bugs and play “chicken tag” as they tried to snatch tasty grasshoppers from each other. I wasn’t prepared for the frustration, and sometimes anger, directed at my funny little hens scratching up my flowers when they were looking for bugs and worms, or the disgust when they ate a half-dead mouse that the cat caught.

We’ve had chickens for almost two years now. Even though we have had many experiences with them, I am sure there are more to come. Just when I think we’ve finally seen it all, our flock surprises us with something new.