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!

Exploring Food Intolerances

My family and most of my friends know about my long journey towards health. I don’t usually talk about it in public, but I don’t know why not. There are probably a million people out there who have similar questions about their health, and my experiences may help them.

Before I get into it, though, a little disclaimer: I am not a doctor, nurse, or other medical professional. The information I share is strictly my personal experience or information given to me about my own health from a medical professional. Please seek professional advice about your health condition.

In December, I decided I wanted to have a definitive answer regarding food that causes an immune response. In the past, I asked doctors to test me for food sensitivities, and they either refused or told me just to “eat healthier.” After years of frustration, I took matters into my own hands.

Last month, I ordered a food sensitivity test from Everlywell*. Note: This is not a food allergy test. A friend of mine used them and took the results to her doctor for review. She said it was helpful, and less expensive than testing through a local lab as ordered by her doctor. After some research on how Everlywell does things and reading reviews on other websites, I placed my order.

I won’t bore you with how to collect your sample for the test — that’s all on their website — so let’s jump to the results.

I had a mild to high immune response to 43 out of 204 tested foods. I expected gluten and cow’s milk to be in the top ten, and they were, but I was suprised to see chicken egg white and yolk to also be on that list. I mean, we got chickens because I love eggs for breakfast!

So what’s next? An elimination diet. It is recommended to remove at least five foods that cause the most immune response for 30 days, and then add them back in one at a time with a few days between each addition.

Just after Thanksgiving, I went completely gluten-free, but it can take up to six months for it to be fully removed from the system. I have also been drinking almond milk instead of cow’s milk, but I have still been eating cheese, yogurt, and butter.

Starting next week, I am going to completely eliminate all cow’s milk products and eggs for the next thirty days. Once I have determined what products cause the immune response, I will move to the next set of foods. I will share my journey with you, and hope that it helps you find your way to better health.


*By clicking this link, I may receive compensation for any orders placed.

Fibromyalgia To Wholeness

This is an outline of my journey from living with incredible pain due to fibromyalgia to wholeness. There wasn’t just one thing that worked. I wish I could say I found the magic solution to fibromyalgia. And I’m not “cured,” not by any means. But I am healthier and happier than I have been in a long time. This is super long so I broke it down by topic. I hope it helps! And feel free to ask me any questions. 

The timeline is a little messed up. I didn’t just do one thing and then the next. I started with one thing, added another, and then a few more. 

PAIN

It started with the prescription medications making the pain less, but the memory and brain fog issues worse. It started to become dangerous for me to drive, and since my husband worked out of town, I was the sole caregiver for our 4 children. I began researching – and keeping lots of notes! – herbal remedies. This naturally let me to the world of essential oils. 

I started with a DIY muscle relief cream. The recipe has morphed over time, based on my knowledge and needs, but the base has always been the same. 

1/2 cup coconut oil and 10 drops each of PanAway, Lavender, and Peppermint. 

Other oils that I started adding to get better results are Lemongrass and Copaiba. 

The first night, I rubbed this all over my legs just before bed and when I got up the next morning, it didn’t hurt to walk. I was amazed! I also use this after a big day, such as going to the fair, when I know my nerves and muscles will hurt afterward. 

Once it didn’t hurt to get out of bed, I started to work on my sleep. 

SLEEP

Good, quality sleep is sooo important. I think it’s even more important when you have pain that results in difficulty sleeping. I used to not be able to fall asleep and would lay in bed for HOURS, watching the clock and listening to my husband snore. Then, when I finally fell asleep around 2 am, I would be awake again at 4 am. I would lay there until around 6 am when I needed to get up to get the kids ready for school. Then, by 8 or 9 am, I was napping. I would wake up around 10 or 11, do a couple of minor chores, then go back to sleep. The kids would get home from school, and I would be awake again until 2 am. Repeat, repeat. It was terrible. 

I created a good sleep routine, started diffusing Lavender, and using Sleep Essence. 6 months later, I started falling asleep at 11 pm and staying asleep until 4 am. Now? I go to bed around 9:30-10 pm and sleep until 6 am – unless the dog wakes me up to go outside or my grandbabies are here and they wake up. I get a solid 8 hours of sleep on the regular now. 

GUT

Next, I worked on my gut. I kept hearing that whole health is in the gut. I had all kinds of stomach/gut issues. Constipation, diarrhea (sometimes in the same day!), noises, heartburn, cramps… and the doctor just wanted to medicate me. I learned before, though, that sometimes the side effects are worse than the issue. 

I looked up the top culprits for gut issues and, no surprise, came up with gluten, sugar, and caffeine. There were others, but these were the ones I focused on. 

I started by doing a 10-day sugar cleanse. Some people were super serious and didn’t eat anything that had sugar in it, including fruits. I just did no processed or added sugars. For this challenge, I started drinking Ningxia Red – an antioxidant nutrient drink. It helped with the withdrawal symptoms. After the challenge, I found I have more energy and less brain fog. 

Then I started phasing out gluten. This one is hard for me because my entire family is a “meat and pasta” club. However, when I do eat gluten, I end up extremely tired within 20 minutes. I have a migraine within an hour, and all kinds of gut issues for 3 days afterward. I have not been tested for Celiac. Gluten-free products are super expensive, which was another hurdle for me. I use corn tortillas, make zucchini noodles, and chaffles, and eat a lot of real foods now. 

Caffeine…oh my dearest coffee pot. We must break up! Well, sort of. I still have coffee, and black tea, but for a while, I didn’t. I did another 10-day detox for caffeine, but by accident. I was working out every morning (more on that later) and my heart rate wasn’t dropping. The trainer told me not to drink coffee in the mornings before class. So I listened. But by the time class was over, my body didn’t feel like it needed caffeine. Now I have tea on non-workout days and coffee once a week on the weekends. 

I recently posted in my Facebook Group some more healthy eating tips and other valuable points.

I also take AllerZyme, EssentialZyme, and use DiGize essential oil. Ningxia Red helped me with gut things, too. 

EXERCISE

By this time, we were living in a small, single level home with only 2 steps instead of 3 flights. This one was probably the hardest of all to get going. When I first got sick, we lived on the third floor of an apartment building and there was no elevator. If I went grocery shopping, I would come home and have to crawl up the stairs. Literally, on my hands and knees. My dad made me a cane that helped when I had to be out for more than a few days. Yes, a 30-year-old woman walked with a cane! 

Everything I read said that exercise was important to combat fibromyalgia. But how can I when it exhausts me and makes me hurt? 

I started REALLY slow. As in, I would walk from the front door to the end of the driveway and back. Then the next week I would walk to the end of the street. Then I would walk to the end of the block. Eventually, I was able to take my dog on walks all over our little town and we walked about 3 miles every night. 

I also re-started yoga. I loved it before I got sick, and knew the focus on being present in the moment would be helpful to my journey to health. The stretching, balancing, and breathing exercises both strengthened and relaxed my muscles. 

I used a LOT of my homemade cream recipe, but now I will reach for pre-made things like Cool Azul Sports Gel, Cool Azul Pain Cream, Ortho Ease Massage Oil, Deep Relief roll-on, and CBD Muscle Rub. I basically reach for whatever is handy or what I think would work the best in the moment. 

STRESS

Stress can exacerbate fibromyalgia symptoms. I had to learn how to set clear boundaries and expectations of myself and my family. I had to learn how to say no when people asked me for help – which is really hard because I love helping others! I can’t say I’m totally stress-free (is anyone?), but I can say I manage it better. I use StressAway, Calm roll-on, time-blocking, meditation, and exercise to keep the anxiety monster at bay. I also get regular massages and chiropractic adjustments. 

Where am I now? 

I still have hard days, when it hurts to move, my husband can’t hug me, and I just want to sleep. But those days are less than they used to be. Winter is the hardest, with the cold and dark, but I can cope with it now instead of staying in bed all day. 

I work out 4-5 days a week doing kickboxing, weight training, and yoga. I also will go for walks or jogs, work in the garden, and play with my kids and grandkids. I can clean house and go grocery shopping in the same day! I write, edit, and run my business. I still have to write everything down, but now it’s just because I’m so busy and not because my mind can’t hold any information. I walked 12 miles in one day while in London. I feel stronger than I ever remember being. 

True health and wholeness is not using or doing just one thing. It’s about looking at the big picture and all the pieces, sort of like a jigsaw puzzle. What worked for me might not work for you. The products mentioned above are the ones I use most often, but there are lots of others that I use to support my body and mind. I’m happy to chat with you and work with you to discover your whole health self!

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.