Good evening my friends! I’m so excited to share my first ever guest blogger! Remember that expert-guided detox that I did? Well, I have the pleasure of knowing that expert personally. Her name is April, and she is awesome. She continually posts relevant information that I’m able to apply in all facets of life, and I thought it would be fun to have her share about her passions over here in my community. What better place to talk about fitness and parenting?!

7 THINGS YOGA TAUGHT ME ABOUT MOTHERHOOD

by April Norris

April Norris and her daughter practicing yoga

April Norris and her daughter practicing yoga

I have proudly worn my badge of motherhood for 6 years.  I spend my days wrangling a vivacious, precocious daughter and a sensitive, headstrong son.  I have been a certified Pilates Instructor for 7 years and most recently added amateur yogi to my resume.  After struggling for many years with anxiety, depression, and chronic exhaustion, my naturopathic doctor encouraged me to start a restorative yoga practice.  I now savor my “mommy time-outs” and have also learned some invaluable lessons about motherhood along the way.

1.     LIFE IS A PROCESS

You can’t force your body to do a posture in yoga.  It’s against the very essence of the philosophy.  Occasionally, gentle nudging is fine; challenging yourself to reach the next level is healthy.  But your body will rebel with a strain or injury if you push too hard.  Children know their limits; you can’t make them to do something they don’t want to do.  Lovingly guide your kids to grow outside of their comfort zone.  Pushing, forcing, or demanding them to do things will only build resentment and anger.

2.    ALL YOU HAVE IS NOW

Our minds are constantly living in future tense:  What will I make for dinner?  What will I wear tomorrow?  Who will be at my 20-year class reunion?  If you don’t disengage your mind while practicing yoga, you’ll miss the boat on a mental vacation.  If you constantly think about your children’s future (Full-ride scholarship? Will he make the little league team?  Where will they go to high school?), you will discount who they are in this moment.  Cherish their budding, joyful personalities, because this season of life won’t last long.

3.    HONOR SUCCESSES

When you finally conquer Revolved Half Moon posture, or were able to meditate in Shavasana without getting distracted, commend yourself!  A personal achievement, no matter how big or small, deserves recognition.  Your children need to be acknowledged for their accomplishments as well.  Whether they pick up their toys without being asked, not fighting with their sibling for a record-breaking 20 minutes, or completed a stellar art project, it all deserves to be appreciated with love.

4.    RESEPCT YOUR BODY

My mental dialogue in yoga usually goes like this: “Look at my muffin top”, “Ghaw, my arms are so flabby”, “That gal has better legs”… You would never speak like that to your child!  Speak to yourself how a loving parent would.  I have noticed a mental shift after starting my yoga practice.  I am beginning to love my body as a gift, what it can do, how it moves… it is incredibly liberating.  When you speak love to yourself, you speak love to others.

5.    HAVE FUN!

Yoga should be enjoyable exercise.  Fall flat on your face from Flying Piegon pose?  Whoops!  Laugh at yourself and jump back into it.  Don’t be a poker-faced yogi that takes themselves and their practice too seriously.  That’s bad juju to share with others.  I find that too many adults approach parenthood the same way.  Don’t get me wrong, having kids is demanding, stressful, and important business.  But what does a solemn attitude about life teach our children?  All work, no play?  Take time to roll around, tickle your kids, dance wildly in the living room, make silly faces, take selfies.  It’s good for your cortisol levels and will deepen your relationship with your children.  Give them happy, joyful memories of their parents and their childhood.

6.    IT WILL BE UNCOMFORTABLE

My least favorite position in yoga is chair pose.  Sitting down in an invisible chair with your arms straight up next to your ears, knees bent, shoulders back, chest forward, eyes up, toes back, and deep breathing… Fuhgeddaboutdit.  Parenting is the same way.  Implementing discipline is not fun.  Telling your daughter for the 18,528th time THAT DAY that she needs to pay attention when you’re speaking to her will try.your.patience.  Having your 4 year old son finger paint your cupboards with almond butter will make you sprout gray hairs quicker than you can yell “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!?”.  But all these tricky situations make you a better parent.  Just as that dreaded chair pose (ugh) makes you a better yogi.

7.    LISTEN

Listen to your body, it knows you best.  Listen to your inner voice, it will guide you down the proper path.  Listen to one another, you will learn something new.  Listen to your children, they impart wisdom on your soul.

April Norris is a board Certified Holistic Health Consultant (AADP), Certified Pilates Instructor (BASI), hot yoga enthusiast, dancer, artist, devoted student of natural health, and a mother of two.  April is passionate about helping clients eliminate food sensitivities and optimizing digestion, lighting the way to a life full of vitality.  She provides workshops, teleclasses, seasonal detoxes, small group programs, and individual nutrition counseling.   Look her up on www.optimalvitalitywellness.com, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

It’s been a really rough few days in my house. And since it’s incredibly cathartic for me to write, you all get to read what is going through my mind.

I’ve spent most of my life trying to be the perfect girl, wife, mom, housekeeper, cook, student, teacher, friend, dog owner, blogger, etc., and honestly, it’s REALLY hard to do even one of them right. In fact, the harder I’ve tried, the harder it gets.

I feel like I’ve been more vulnerable lately, which leads to feelings I haven’t experienced in a long time. More hurt, more pain and more joy. Sometimes altogether, sometimes separate.

What’s causing me to reflect and realize life is hard — again — is that we chose to re-home one of our dogs this week and I’m absolutely heartbroken. I’ve been complaining, praying and asking advice about my dog for the last four years since my son was born. Every time I thought I was ready to re-home him, my hubby wasn’t, and vice versa.

Ping SnuggleThis time not one incident happened that made us say “now is the time for him to go” but we both felt it was time. Ping is such a love, a cuddle bug, a happy dog with a TON of personality. Shiba Inu dogs (the type of breed that Ping is) are very smart, strong dogs who are also stubborn and think they’re in charge.

Unfortunately that personality mixed with small children was not a good combo. With his “Ping knows best” mentality, came a loathing for my kiddos. It created a hard environment for us all, leaving us to beg experts, trainers and others to help us with our dog.

Unfortunately, nothing helped.

We made a call to some family friends to ask if they still wanted him (they expressed an interest a long time ago). They did. So we took him to his new home.

I have since been devastated and conflicted at the same time.

When we first got Ping, I told my husband that I NEVER wanted to get rid of our dog, no matter what happened. Including kids. I spent our young married years volunteering at a local SPCA because I wanted to know more about dog psychology.

I also wanted to assess how Ping would be around kids. We knew he wasn’t a fan of other dogs, we couldn’t take him off-leash because he’d run away, and we knew he was sketchy around other people’s kids. Though he was deemed ok by the SPCA, I was still afraid that he would hate our kids.

And wouldn’t you know it? What I was manifesting came true.

From the second we brought our son home from the hospital Ping despised him. He was never vicious, but he avoided him. When my son started scooting, crawling, walking, etc., Ping was his first target of curiosity.

Ping would growl and warn him to not come closer, and I was constantly afraid that he would bite. And he did. (Read about that here.)

I felt like a terrible dog owner for keeping him. I feel like I am a terrible dog owner re-homing him. I failed. I did exactly what I dreaded and didn’t want to do.

I gave up my dog.

History is repeating itself. As a teenager my first dog, Maxine, was taken from me and put to sleep without me being able to say goodbye. She was my dog, and she was a cranky one (probably from some sort of inbreeding). We had a new baby in the house and Maxine was unpredictable with a history of not liking, well, anyone.

One morning I woke up and she was gone.

After that damaging situation, I vowed to never treat an animal to that demise. She was almost 10.

Ping is almost 10.Ping full

Things are better this time around though. Instead of being put to sleep, Ping is in doggy paradise with a big yard and a whole family (with older kids) who welcomed him with open arms. He has birds to chase, WAY more space in his new backyard, and a loving home.

Selfishly, I’m so sad. I keep waiting to let him out at our back door. I keep wanting him to hop up next to me to snuggle in the middle of the night. I consider him in so much of my daily activities that I feel like I’m trying to fill a void.

Good thing I have some great verses saved up in my heart, because the only thing I keep repeating to myself is: My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. (2 Corinthians 12:9)

I know I am not the only pet owner that has had to re-home a dog.  I know that this is better for our family. Logically I know I’m doing the right thing for my kids, but I can’t help but wonder what he’s doing as I type this.

I miss my Ping.Ping Chalk

It’s been a few months since my diagnosis with the pituitary gland tumor, so thought I’d give an update. If you’re just joining my journey, you can start here.

Though I set out with intentions of trying to treat the sucker naturally, I was being heavily persuaded to take the medication by my one, very loving, but persistent hubby that wanted me to take the meds to help solve my problems.

brain photo

MRI of my brain showing the benign tumor.

The name of the medicine the doctor gave me was Cabergoline.

Before prescribing the medication he specifically asked me if I planned on getting pregnant again. While the answer was a resounding NO, I still questioned why he asked. He said if I did plan on another baby, I shouldn’t take that medicine. Primarily because there weren’t enough studies done on pregnant women on Cabergoline.

I was still very hesitant about taking yet another medication to *try* to solve my problems, (which, by the way, my *problems* classified me in early menopause). However the doc assured me that it was the lowest dose possible, and I only had to take it once a week…for 3-5 years.

So I conceded and ended up taking the medication. The first month was fine. The second month started my issues. It went from a tingly feeling after taking the meds to a full-blown, wake-me-up-out-of-sleep-skin-is-crawling feeling. Miserable.

The next week, same thing. Thankfully, the physician’s assistant pulled me off the meds, and I’ve now been off of them for one month.

And I couldn’t be better. My symptoms are gone; no more early menopause.

Enjoying sunny Southern California on Father's Day with my wonderful boy.

Enjoying sunny Southern California on Father’s Day with my wonderful boy.

I have only been taking Garden of Life RAW probiotics, my wonderful doTERRA supplements, and another essential oil pill blend called DDR Prime. The DDR Prime pills have anti-inflammatory and immune-stimulant properties, could potentially inhibit tumor growth, and are high in antioxidants.

My goal was to treat this naturally, and by default, that’s what I’m doing. There are no other medications the doctor is putting me on currently.  I anticipate another MRI next year, and I’m guessing this microadenoma, Rathke’s Cleft Cyst, prolactinoma, pituitary gland tumor – whatever you want to call it — will be gone. I’m actually excited to see what the next MRI will show.  I think it will be an answer to prayer.

 

G and Me

Trying to get my hubby to smile for the camera

Did you know your tongue is like a shag carpet? Who knew?! OK, so I’m sure dentists, hygienists and a whole host of other people know, but I didn’t.

Last week I went to the dentist and had the best “report card” that I’ve had in a long time. I don’t know if it was the changes in diet, the toothpaste, mouthwash or tongue scraping, but I have a feeling it’s all combined.

I got a few compliments from my hygienist on oral care; my teeth were ‘really’ white, my tongue was a healthy shade of pink. I know, it all sounds weird, but I’m telling you this because I’ve changed a few habits lately, and I thought it might be of interest to share all of my tips.

So back to tongues. That shag carpet in your mouth can hold a lot of bacteria, food particles and other junk that sticks and then roots itself in the tongue.  In fact, according to my dental hygienist, if you brush your teeth and DON’T brush your tongue, it’s a waste of your time. (If you’re a dentist, I’d love to hear if that’s true from you, too!)

I’ve always heard that oral health is an indication of what’s going on in the body, and if you Google tongue health, there are plenty of articles that will tell you what to look for if you’re wondering what ailments you might be facing.

Rather than spend this article talking about the different ailments, I wanted to arm you with good info on what you can do to change the inside of your mouth.

Here are a few key changes that I’ve made:

Brush or Scrape the Tongue.

Is your tongue white in the morning? It may be a result of a bacterial overgrowth called candida (aka yeast) or thrush. Why is this important? Well, a candida overgrowth can lead to auto-immune inflammatory diseases, or it could be a sign of a weakened immune system.

What can you do about it? Besides talking to a professional about how to treat the overgrowth, you could try tongue scraping. I use a metal one like this: Dr. Tung’s Tongue Cleaner, Stainless Steel

It’s easy to use and clean and I do it both morning and night. Bonus: It also helps with bad breath!

Floss.

How often do you floss? I know; it’s a pain. It’s an easy step to skip. But it’s better to invest now before your teeth fall out later. OK, maybe not literally, but it makes a huge difference over time, and once you’re in the routine, it doesn’t take longer than 30 seconds. Check Facebook on your phone, sing a song, watch a show. Whatever. Just do it.

Mouthwash.

My hubby loved Listerine, but personally I couldn’t leave it in my mouth for longer than 5 seconds before I wanted to cry. It was so painful! My mother-in-law gave me an awesome tip about using hydrogen peroxide instead, and I’ve never looked back.

First, it’s less than $1 for a big bottle. Listerine is upwards of $7 near me, and I look at it like I’m getting an 85 percent discount. (More money I can use to buy my favorite toothpaste, or organic fruits and veggies!)

Hydrogen peroxide naturally whitens teeth, kills bacteria and bubbles up in your mouth, so you can see what it’s cleaning. Pretty cool. And it doesn’t make me want to run around or pound my fists on the counter while I debride my teeth.

Toothpaste.

I keep seeing these articles swirling around the internet about that little colored bar on the back of toothpaste and what it means to your health. Do you remember that going around last year? (Green = the toothpaste is all natural, Blue = natural + medicine, Red + natural + chemical, Black = pure chemical.) Well, it’s a lie. Read it here if you’re interested.

OnGuard_Toothpaste

OnGuard Toothpaste by doTERRA

However, what that article DID do was prompt me to look at ingredients in toothpaste. Have you ever looked at the back of the tube you’re using? Some ingredients to watch out for are: fluoride (neurotoxins, among others), propylene glycol (allergen) and triclosan (endocrine disrupter) and now new research shows that toothpaste (along a few other things including sunscreen) could be linked to male infertility.

I have found that my favorite natural toothpaste that I’ve been using is my OnGuard toothpaste through doTERRA. I love the clean feeling it leaves in my mouth and it has proved very successful in helping to heal my mouth. (I bit down wrong on a tortilla chip one day and by the next morning my gums were already healed!)

Brush Your Teeth.

I know it sounds ridiculous. Of course you brush your teeth, but for how long? It should be at least two minutes. My hubby and I use Sonicare Toothbrushes and think it’s so easy because it times us, and after two minutes, they turn off automatically.

It also cleans gums better than a non-automatic toothbrush, and they were literally recommended by our dentist a few years ago. It’s worth the investment.

Hopefully you find these tools helpful and maybe even saves you from a cavity or two!

Had you asked me two years ago about doing a detox, a cleanse or cutting out carbs, I would have said that you were crazy and I would have never thought twice about it.

I’ve never liked watching what I ate. I did, though, because it was the right thing to do. I knew grilled chicken and broccoli had to be on the menu oncein awhile…along with a side of mac and cheese, because after all, it needed some taste!Garlic photo

I had my daughter (via a second c-section) two years ago, but I could NOT lose my extra baby weight. I gained 50 pounds during that pregnancy, and I figured it’d melt off just like it had after my first. HA! (No one gave me the memo that breastfeeding doesn’t always guarantee weight loss!)

Thankfully, I’ve always been a gal who loves to go to the gym. I always sleep better, think more clearly and appreciate the fact that a good workout would earn me the right to eat whatever I wanted.

After a few months of trace amounts of weight loss, I enlisted the help of an awesome trainer, but not for her expertise on lifting weights, it was for a meal plan. I followed that sucker for 6 weeks and thought I might die. The food was bland, boring and yes, doable, but terrible. I lost all but the last 10 pounds, but it wasn’t fun.

Life lately has taken a different turn for me. I now see a different way of life ahead of me.

Instead of wanting to just lose weight, I wanted to see the difference of how to live a truly organic, nutrition-filled – not food deprived – lifestyle.

Obviously if you’re reading this, you can tell that I’m fascinated with clean, healthy living. But I have NEVER mastered the art of completely eating the way I should. I do a fair job of it. I don’t eat dessert, I’ve cut out refined sugars, I make green drinks, but at some point during my day, I inevitably have that feeling of guilt for eating something that someone, somewhere once said “it’s not OK.”

The dialogue in my head typically goes like this:

Is that sandwich/bar/green drink/handful of nuts bad for me? The XYZ diet says this is a NO, but the ABC diet says this food is important. I need healthy fats, but did I eat too much of it? I’m still hungry, but I can’t have more than 10 nuts, so what do I eat now? Or should I just go hungry? Ugh, I’m starving. What can I eat? Does this contain dairy? How about soy? OK, so this says it’s “vital” wheat gluten for the bread. Can gluten really be that bad? This energy bar contains: soy, dairy, eggs and was processed in a plant that also processes tree nuts. Should I be allergic to nuts?…{insert brain overload here!!!}

And then I’d either eat it (whatever it was) anyway and felt super guilty, or I would have walked away and been starving.

That’s why I decided to do a 15-day detox through Optimal Vitality. I didn’t want a quick fix to losing weight. I wanted to learn about why we should or should not eat certain foods. I wanted to learn what reacted with my body, and WHY, after certain meals, I always looked like I was 6 months pregnant again (WHY?!!!).

For the program, we cut out wheat, nuts, dairy, egg, soy, corn and other toxins. I know I had a few people question why no nuts on my Instagram post, and the simple answer to that is to eliminate any possible reactors that might be causing my body harm. Smoothie photo

Pretty interesting, right? I loved every minute of it.

Yes, it was a ton of work. Yes, there were moments that I wanted to just eat something easy. Yes, I had to fix two meals for most of the detox (one for the kids, one for the hubs and me).

Here is what I did learn:

  • About the REAL taste of food. I now crave vegetables!
  • How fruits, vegetables, seeds, etc. could actually help heal my body instead of living in a constant state of inflammation.
  • That my children inevitably want a bite of whatever I’m eating and how much they loved random tastes! (Duly noted to continue to try new things with them.)
  • To be prepared. Having healthy food on hand is key to survival.
  • I could sleep better.
  • How to have more energy than I’ve ever had before. (I don’t need caffeine anymore!)

I’m still learning what is best for my body. I’ll admit, I have not been the best this last week. Life got in the way of my planning, and I didn’t add foods back in the right way. But I clearly had reactions to certain foods, and now I just have to figure out which ones caused those reactions.

I did lose about 10 pounds, and I’m thankful for that, but this wasn’t about losing weight. It was about how to feel better, eat clean, and really incorporate living an organic lifestyle.

If you want to learn the why behind what we eat, or if you’re looking to learn more about your body, I encourage you to try a detox. 

It’s so fun to learn about healthy living, and I can’t wait to learn more, and of course share with all of you.

 

 

My two little loves at Legoland

My two little loves at Legoland

It’s been a couple of weeks since I decided to deliberately take a break from posting and put my family first again. If I’m being honest, doing a blog can be overwhelming. I cannot believe how much social media has changed in four years.

There is a whole business to blogging — there are witty social posts, hashtags up the wazoo and groups dedicated to getting your readership up.  All of these things are great…if you have time. Well, I don’t have time to keep up.

I’m busy trying to raise two kids to look people in the eye instead of down at their Leap Pads. I’m busy trying to cook food for kids who prefer I put Kraft Mac and Cheese on their plates over the organic honey curry chicken I actually make them (they did eat it, by the way).

I’m also busy learning, teaching, cleaning, praying, building, growing, changing, etc…and so are you, and I don’t want to waste anyone’s time if it’s not worth a post.

I was getting discouraged with feeling like I have nothing different to offer you. And maybe I don’t. But I do want to encourage you if you’re searching for your “thing” to not give up.

This statement is in direct contradiction to a lot of things in my life. My tendency has been to always give up – sports, dance, piano, competitive swimming, and worst of all – writing. I gave up on them all. I’ve always said I wanted to write a book, but never started because I didn’t know what to write about, get shut down or be judged. How is that for an excuse?!

Until now.

This past week the hubby and I watched Food, Inc. If you haven’t seen it, you should. I’ve been on this health food and fit lifestyle for awhile now, but it kicked into GO again after watching Food, Inc.

I’m so passionate about knowing what is in our food, how I can make it better for my kids, and how we can live to our fullest capacity. Our food supply has been cheapened, short-changed and is leaving us sick, bloated, and out-of-whack.

I am re-energized to write for you, learn from you and find others on this same journey. Yes, I want this blog to be a business someday, but first I want to make it enjoyable for you that are following me already.

I have absolutely found what I’m passionate about and I can’t get enough knowledge about this healthy lifestyle change. I have been my own worst critic in the past, and I’m shutting that down, praying for guidance and looking up in anticipation of this writing journey. I’m not exactly sure where this path will lead, but I have never been more excited about the unknown. I pray that if you haven’t found that passion already, that one day you will. It’s pretty amazing.

Image Courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net/Suat Eman

Image Courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net/Suat Eman

We’ve all heard it. Buy local. Reduce your carbon footprint. Visit farmer’s markets. Buy in season. Eat organic.

That’s great, but how does that translate if you like to eat out? Most people, including me and my family, visit major chain restaurants regularly.

It’s almost as if I have to throw out all of the rules to eating “right” when I go out to eat.

I usually would reserve my I-won’t-count-my-calories meal for when we’d go out to eat, but we have started to eat out a smidge more often, so I can’t apply that rule all of the time. However, I found that even with eating well, at the end of the night I could almost guarantee that my stomach would hurt or I’d be lethargic. (Side note: I gave up counting calories awhile ago and have never been happier and well fed, and haven’t gained any weight, which I will talk about in another post someday.)

Recently I’ve been on a mission to change that outcome. My hubby and I have decided to try new restaurants where we could have an experience, not just a meal. If we’re going to spend money on a meal out, I want to know what I’m getting rather than just a stomach ache at the end of the night. That doesn’t necessarily mean it has to involve some elaborate setting or live band, but it does mean that we like seeking out quality over quantity. Quality service, knowledgeable staff, background on the food we are eating and of course, great, high quality food.

I realized that most of the time when I’d feel awful, it was due to some sort of chain restaurant. At the same time I had my aha moment, I started noticing a lot of restaurants that are catering toward the green-minded, real food crowd.

I see more menus with gluten free options, a background on the beef selection and a lot more organic, locally grown produce. We recently went to a restaurant with their own herb garden growing out back – amazing! (In case you’re wondering, that restaurant is The Black Marlin in Tustin, CA).

I have been so excited to see this trend! Not only do I typically leave feeling full and happy, but I don’t have a stomach ache when I get home.

While most chain restaurants keep me coming back for consistency in quality of service, food and overall experience, these local restaurants are winning me over quickly. And I don’t think I’m alone in feeling this way.

These places are busy. I see more people talking about, recommending and dining in these great places. I hear the education behind the green movement. They’re talking to their customers on why they should eat certain ingredients (e.g. spinach has anti-inflammatory properties, beef is grass-fed, eggs are from cage-free chickens, etc.)

These local or smaller-chain restaurants are using better ingredients, avoiding fillers and chemicals, and produce comes from our local area instead of from across the country before it reaches our plates.

Some of our favorites are:

  • Green2Go in Brea, CA, which is casual and has local, organic produce.
  • The Ranch Restaurant in Anaheim, CA, which features organic, fresh produce from their farm in Santa Ana.
  • Paul Martin’s American Grill, because they have locally sourced, seasonal food, but are a chain throughout California.

If you’re wondering where to find good quality restaurants in your community, the best place to start is to ask like-minded people. Do you shop at a local store that carries a wide-range of healthy, organic options? Chances are someone there might have a recommendation.

Another way we find our local eateries is through Yelp. We love reading the reviews about the restaurants before we try them.

Sometimes chain restaurants are the best option, and if I know I’m going to eat at one, I either know that I will be taking my chances on how I feel later, or I try to stick to proteins, veggies and healthy fats.

Also, if you have a favorite restaurant that you frequent, ask the manager if they’re considering including organic food. The demand for organic food is climbing dramatically, and isn’t going anywhere. You CAN make a difference in what you see in food availability!

Here are some statistics you might like:

http://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/chart-gallery/detail.aspx?chartId=35003&#.U02sGOZdXRw

http://www.agmrc.org/markets__industries/food/organic-food-trends/

 

About a month ago, my son was chasing after my dog, and he hit him on the back. My dog turned around, retaliated and bit my little guy. He immediately screamed and came running for me crying his eyes out.

Sadly, this isn’t the first time that my dog has bit anyone. He bit me a couple of years ago, and my finger immediately swelled up to the point of immobility (even after cleaning with alcohol and hydrogen peroxide). I had to make an emergency doctor appt to make sure I didn’t need a tetanus shot, especially because I was pregnant. Thankfully, I had gotten my whooping cough vaccination two months prior, and tetanus is automatically included in that shot! I was really thankful.

Fast forward to my son’s bite. It immediately started swelling, and I could not make a doctor appointment because it was already closing time for the doc’s office. Instead of hopping into the car to head to the ER, which I really didn’t want to do, I grabbed my essential oils and got him cleaned up, oiled up and protected immediately. I still cleaned it off with alcohol and hydrogen peroxide like I had done for me, but this time I had my oils! Because I had so much success with the oils I used, I thought it was a great visual to see how powerful essential oils can be, and why they’ve become a vital part of my home.

Here is what the bite looked like immediately after the incident:

Immediately after the bite

Immediately after the bite

Here is what the bite looked like within 30 minutes (after applying oils immediately):

Within 30 minutes of applying essential oils

Within 30 minutes of applying essential oils

Here is what the bite looked like the next day (about 4 applications of essential oils):

IMG_0838

Dog bite the next day

Now there is no scar, no sign of the dog biting. Maybe a little bit of an emotional scar, but no physical damage done. I can’t believe how easy it was to take care of him, and I didn’t need a doctor, co-pay, ER visit or medicine!

The oils I used are doTERRA essential oils. I applied Purify (a blend), Frankincense and Lavender. (If you want information on where to find these oils, click here. I do sell them, because I’ve fallen in love with how much they’ve helped my family!)

Oh, and if you’re wondering about the dog…he’s still here. Mainly separated from the kids, but my son also knows better than to go up and hit the dog now!

 

Image Courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image Courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The process of going green/natural has been one I’ve been on for quite some time. Started with buying organic veggies, and has sprawled to all aspects of my life. While I love it, it can be overwhelming at times. Especially if I try to take on too much at once. Reading labels in and of itself can be a time suck, let alone trying new products, variations and combos of what works just right for my family.

To put it mildly, there are times where I wish I was still blissfully ignorant about all of the millions of chemicals, compounds and constituents in our world today. But I’m not, and I have always read labels. I actually like reading about how or why something works, and what companies say about their products. Anyway, I know better now, and have seen a strikingly HUGE difference in the way we feel when we eat clean, use natural products and incorporate new habits and routines into our daily lives.

Where I notice the most contrast is when I walk down the laundry or cleaning aisle at a store (hello chemicals!). I notice it when I try to enjoy a “cheat” meal (though I don’t like to call them cheat meals). I am keenly aware of side effects from drugs, and how they affect my body. And now I notice it right away when something doesn’t work that is natural, organic, or an easy fix.

Because of this sensitivity, I decided to compile a list of a few cautions for anyone who is looking to go natural.

1. Just because it’s natural, doesn’t mean it’s without side effects. Red Yeast Rice Supplements were prescribed to me by my doctor for high cholesterol. I was so excited that my general doc prescribed a supplement instead of a drug, that I didn’t even think twice about ordering them, using them and thinking I was good to go…until an hour after having the first pill, when I broke out in hives on my arms. I still didn’t link the two until I took it the next day, and the hives got worse! I figured out what it was immediately after, but the hives took a few days to go away.  I urge you to read up on side effects or information about any type of ingredients in the products you’re using.

(And in case you’re wondering, I plan on using Lemongrass essential oil instead. If you want more information about it, click here.)

2. Don’t overload. If you are an all-in type of person, and you’ve cleared out all of the toxic ingredients in your home, and replaced with all new items, that’s great! But beware…with changes come reactions. If you do too much, or all at once, you might not be able to pinpoint if you do have a reaction to something. I don’t know as if I would have been able to pinpoint the cause of my hives as easily if I had just added five, ten or 100 new items to my house.

3. Not all organic ingredients are created equal. I am starting to believe we need a new label designation for “beyond organic” products. Instead of having five to ten symbols to let us know something is GMO free, Sustainably Grown, Grass-fed, Cruelty Free, etc., I think it would be easier to just have one nice little seal to let us know that there isn’t one ounce of bad stuff in the product. Since there is a huge surge in availability of organic stuff, and we’ve all been taught to look for that organic logo, there is a lot of bending of rules that has been happening. Know the companies you like to purchase from. Use apps like Buycott to scan items at the store you’re unsure of, etc. Lead and mercury are organic ingredients, but it doesn’t mean they’re good for you!

4. Be open to new standards. Some products work amazingly well without all of the extra chemicals, and some just don’t. It doesn’t mean they’re bad, it just means that you’ll have to decide what’s more important – a stain that’s a little tougher to get out, a shower a little harder to clean, or taking a little more time to rub that sunscreen in vs. chemicals that work the first time, but we have yet to know side effects, or worse, some that we know are bad and yet are still allowable in the U.S.

5. Stuff doesn’t last as long. Just know it, own it, and USE it before it goes bad!

I’m still trying new products in our house and slowly phasing out a lot of chemicals. I would love to know what products in your home that you can’t live without. For me, organic food is a must. Essential oils are a must. Organic soaps, shampoos, etc are a must. Cleaning products, laundry detergent and dishwasher liquid are on my “to switch” list. Have any recommendations that you can’t live without? Leave a comment!

 

Screen Shot 2014-03-27 at 9.22.57 PMWell, the results from the MRI are in, and I do indeed have a microadenoma in my pituitary gland. (If this is the first you’re reading of this, you can see the first article here.) The endocrinologist believes I have something called a Rathke’s Cleft Cyst.

Ever heard of it? Neither had I.

It’s a benign, tiny cyst that forms in the space between your pituitary gland and the anterior pituitary gland. The pressure from this cyst causes an increase in prolactin levels in the blood, which messes with my hormone levels.

If I still wanted to have babies, which I don’t, this would be a more pressing issue for me. But as of right now, I just feel a little “off.” The doctor asked me a series of questions, one of which included him drawing the conclusion that I also have diabetes insipidus, but more testing needs to be done on that too.

Finding out the results from the MRI test this week taught me a lot about myself.

First, I had no idea how much I still need someone by my side for test results.

I for sure thought I was going to be fine, so I went in to get the results by myself. Immediately I realized that was the wrong decision. I should have had someone with me, if nothing else than for just sheer note taking. It was a ton of information to absorb.

I realize now that I will never outgrow the need to have someone by my side, and at that moment, the only person I wanted next to me was my husband.

Second, always tell your doctor everything you’re experiencing.

Even if you feel crazy for mentioning it, do it. Your body is one whole unit. I never in a million years would have related some of my symptoms, but low and behold, my waking up umpteen million times a night to go to the bathroom is a symptom of this sucker. Tell your doctor. Please.

Third, I don’t see this as a set back or a woe-is-me diagnosis.

I’ve learned that knowing what it is that I have is 3/4 of the battle. It’s almost as if I can now gather my thoughts, get a game plan together and overcome this and be thankful for the process.

I truly believe this is yet another gift from God, and I look forward to seeing all of the beauty that comes from this, and how I can share it all with you.

For now, I’ve been placed on medication I take once a week…indefinitely. The list of side effects is long, so I really want to research all options and hopefully be able to supplement with some alternative medicinal options as well, including dietary supplements and essential oils. I will keep you all updated as I know more.