Disclaimer: I am not a doctor. I do not claim to cure any disease. Young Living Essential oils, while they may help certain individuals, also do not claim to cure any disease.
I'm about to get real transparent on myself here. I'm going to start by saying ANXIETY SUCKS A BIG TOE.
Like, seriously. I have struggled with anxiety since a teen. I'm not talking a little worry. I'm talking life altering, couldn't see a movie in a theatre, drive on a freeway for years, stopped eating for a while type of anxiety.
A big toe. Sucks. Sucks. Sucks. As a recording artist I was terrified when overseas tours came up. It meant long flights. Being in random countries alone. I was scared of what my future husband would have to "deal with". I was afraid of how I'd carry a child. Birth that child. And then raise that child. It consumed so much of me. It was ugly.
Hold tight with me, as there is a light to this story. Because that up there was pretty grim. As I've grown and altered my lifestyle I am happy to report that through God's healing and grace and the tools he's led me to, I am mostly anxiety free. It's amazing how He can bring us through some of the ugliest things in our life when we throw our hands up in surrender, drop to our knees and say "Ok, God, I LITERALLY cannot breathe without you. Take this. Take me and save me." I put my trust in the Lord, used the natural tools HE led me too and I was able to have an anxiety free pregnancy (crazy to me too! He's incredible haha), I birthed my son all natural - that crazy story is here, I drove my family and I almost all the way to Disneyland (when I could barely drive to Scottsdale a year ago) and many more stories that just prove His good good goodness.
I tried meds as a teen (made me sicker/worse) and I have had to use Xanax in the past to fly, but these past few years since praying faithfully, altering my diet and finding prayer/meditation, attending CBT therapy sessions and finding Young Living oils, I can say I am functioning so much more "normal" and joyful day in and day out.
This took me YEARS to be able to talk about. For many reasons, but I feel like if I never talk about it, what was it all for right? What good can come of it?
So, as stated above, the biggest components for me are staying connected through prayer, making sure I'm putting HEALTHY, whole food fuel in my body, staying hydrated and my oils. I started using oils for cleaning my home and immunity. It wasn't until I started diffusing some of the combos below where I'd realize DAYS would go by where I'd feel super patient, chill with my toddler and just calm to lay down at night. If it wasn't that out of the norm for me to feel that way on a consistent basis (hello anxiety and hormone issues) I wouldn't have believed that they could work this well, but it has changed my life in yet another amazing way, so I'm here to share my favorite oils and blends.
This post may contain affiliate links
Here's a question I get asked MANY times.
What can I eat when I feel under the weather now that I am... (gluten free, paleo, vegan, dairy free, etc.)
The "what can I eat now that..." questions are my most popular as a nutritionist and food blogger so I finally decided to sit down and start a product round up series. Since I believe I've tried nearly every gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan food made today (ok not all, but it feels like most) I thought it was time I put some little guides together to help you and give you a bookmark for when you're searching.
Below I've put together a gallery of products that are my personal go to's when I'm feeling crummy. They are a mix of healthy, easy to prepare and are ALL gluten and dairy free. Not all below are Paleo, but most are. I remember the first time I got a cold after changing my lifestyle and thinking, "Great! Now I can't have ginger ale or crackers or hearty soups that are easy to prepare." Over time I found my way back to comfort items that I could microwave if need be if I was home alone and needed to tend to me or the baby without much energy.
And this should go without saying, but making your diet primarily fresh fruits, vegetables, bone broths and lean meats should be your first line of defense in both fighting off and fighting during a sickness. The items below are just healthier substitutes for those "comfort foods" of your childhood, or foods that help curb nausea.
You may click on any product below to quickly purchase on Amazon.
Do you have any favorites that you'd add to this list? I'd love to hear them!
This post is part of a sponsorship with the American Dental Association. The routine and tips below are my own.
As a nutritionist, and new mama, one of the biggest routines I try to implement with my clients and in my home is an overall wellness plan that is easy to stick with day in and day out with a busy schedule.
And that begins in the kitchen.
How we structure our diet, how we plan our meals, and our choices for snacking both at home and on the go, it all plays a role in our oral health.
I’m going to share with you my daily routine when it comes to helping my teeth stay in tip top shape.
Upon waking I make sure to drink a room temperature 4 oz. glass of filtered water with a small squeeze of lemon to get my digestion going, as digestion also begins in the mouth. For breakfast I focus on protein to help fuel me with energy for work and mom life. This is usually a couple of eggs, fresh fruit for fiber (juice isn’t the best choice for your teeth or your sugar levels) and a gluten-free whole grain with a healthy fat, such as coconut butter or avocado oil. Well rounded and healthy are your goals for breakfast.
After breakfast I head to the powder room to complete my morning beauty routine which includes washing my face, moisturizing, flossing and brushing my teeth. I always look for the ADA seal when choosing my toothbrush and a natural fluoridated toothpaste.
As the day goes on, and energy levels dip, remember to limit your sugar intake. This applies to both snacks and beverages. It can be tempting to grab a soda or coffee, or a sugary snack to boost productivity but that can just lead to unwanted sugar crashes, weight gain over time and dental problems.
When I feel my energy waning, opting for a sparkling, ice cold water with natural fruit helps to wake me up, as does a brisk walk, a mug of green tea or, if time permits, a short cat nap.
For my lunch and snacks I turn to fresh veggies, grain bowls or nut and seed based options for protein and additional fiber to keep me satiated until dinner. And when dinner rolls around, it's a balance throughout my week. A mix of protein, vegetables, grains and the occasional splurge such as vegan pizza or homemade tacos find their way to our plates. I also believe in treats in moderation when it comes to not banning dessert from our culinary vocabulary.
Because I believe in this balance, it's important for me to have a nightly routine as well. This includes washing my makeup off from the day, taking a little time to read and wind down and making sure I clean between my teeth and brush well before turning out the lights. The ADA recommends cleaning between your teeth daily and brushing with fluoride toothpaste twice daily. This is easy to accomplish when it becomes part of your routine.
In addition, I also schedule out our families dental cleanings at the beginning of the year, so that we don't forget or let too much time pass in between visits. It's also helpful to check in with your dentist regularly if you have questions or need help creating a routine of finding the right dental products for you and your lifestyle, because every mouth is different and everyone has different needs.
Like with anything that's important to your health, implementing new routines can seem daunting. Taking it one day at a time and staying focused on the big picture (good dental health and overall body wellness), can help keep you motivated.
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of the American Dental Association.
As mentioned in my post on Spring Immunity, one of my top go to's for giving us a health boost are my Young Living oils (why I choose YL over any other brand here). I use this roller on our feet when we are going to any big family event, crowded locale, a party, when we travel or when we start to feel under the weather. So basically, anytime we leave the confines of our home, haha.
These rollers are super easy to make. I order my roller bottles from Amazon and always have some on hand so I can gift my girls when these babies when they travel too.
To make yourself an Immunity Roller, blend up the following:
2 Drops Frankincense
4 Drops Thieves
3 Drops Lemon
2 Drops Oregano
Fill the rest of the bottle with carrier oil
... and place on your roller top. Voila!
Need help getting started with oils? Visit my Oils page to read more about it.
Ready to sign up and make your roller? Join here!
Last night we threw a dinner party for some dear friends of ours. My friend Emma is a total sweetheart and fellow "crunchy" mama like myself and she brought me a batch of homemade elderberry syrup as a hostess gift.
Could someone know me any better than that? Haha.
I buy Elderberry (which is not cheap no matter where you get it, I usually get it at Sprouts or on Amazon or Thrive), regularly to keep mine and the baby's immunity up, so a whole batch for the house was scoring huge. Thanks friend.
I was lacking some creative ideas for the blog this week, #MomTired #MomBrain, and her thoughtful gift got me thinking about Spring immunity. The baby and I have both been dealing with some Spring allergy sniffles and the tail end of cold and flu season still looms throughout the U.S. so its always good to have strong go-to's to keep us well and breathing well.
I wanted to share today some of what we are currently doing naturally to keep us well today and through the Spring and Summer season.
And if you're wondering how to make Elderberry Syrup at home, Emma uses Wellness Mama's recipe, which you can find here.
As a natural mama, I want to do everything I can to support Grey's body, and ours, with ways that are natural and created by God. Elderberry, with its anti viral and anti inflammatory properties, it's high in Vitamin A, B, C, antioxidants and quercetin and enhances the immune system. I could write a whole post on Elderberry, and I may sometime soon, but it is the powerhouse player of our immune boost regimen and we take it everyday. I usually take an Elderberry gummy that also contains zinc and vitamin C as well.
Speaking of Vitamin C, I take a buffered Vitamin C powder from Seeking Health when I'm starting to feel run down, when I'm fighting allergies or when I'm sick to give me a boost. I use a buffered C as it's gentler on my stomach and bladder, which I've had issues with in my past. It's also the reason why I don't take it everyday and get my daily C from the elderberry gummy or through fruit and vegetables.
My biggest go to to keep my home purified and healthy are my oils. In addition to cleaning with and diffusing Young Living Oil's Thieves Blend, I also make a custom Immunity Roller for our feet (Grey's included!). Thieves oil is a powerhouse immunity booster and has played a vital role in shortening our past illnesses (comparing our average colds to post-oil life vs. before we used them), curbing illness when we start to feel something coming on and for general everyday support.
A daily probiotic has also been vital. We began taking them to boost our immune systems, but learned how they can support our immune systems so it became a win/win to make sure we take it with our dairy-free yogurt or smoothie in the morning.
In addition to these steps, we also drink a ton of water, eat a hearty helping of fruit and vegetables every day and get optimal rest.
How do you boost your families health naturally? Always love to chat with fellow healthy ladies on keeping their families well.
As someone who's personally been using essential oils for nearly two years, I felt it was time to move from simply using oils, to sharing what they've done for me and my family.
Authenticity means everything to me, which is why it's taken so long for me to move into the space of sharing and selling oils. As I really, whole heartedly began to believe in them and fall in love with this non-toxic lifestyle we are leading with our homes, health and bodies, I began speaking more of them and sharing them with those around me and with my clients and readers.
Many have asked how they can get started, I have all that info on my oils page.
This post, however, serves to inform on how you can best utilize the oils that come in the Premium Starter Kit. It's how I got started, it contains some of my very favorite oils that are versatile for your everyday life and it is how many of my friends and clients are starting their oily journeys as well.
Below I've outlined what's included in the Premium Starter Kit, and how each oil is best used. If you have any questions, would like to try an oil or are interested in getting started, contact me. I'd be happy to chat!
This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Natalie Hodson, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #abscorepelvicfloor http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV
I've never been one to shy away from hard topics when it comes to women's health and I'm excited that, today, I finally get to dig deeper into one of my very favorite topics that most women don't talk about.
The health of our core and pelvic floor post-baby.
I've personally suffered from Pelvic Floor Disorder and pelvic inflammation for years, even before Grey was born, and after a 29 hour natural labor, four hours of pushing and a traumatic birth, my pelvic issues have continued since his arrival and I stay diligent to do all I can to support the health of my abs, core and pelvis. Not only for my health throughout life, but for when and if I'm blessed to carry and birth another little baby.
In addition to pelvic floor therapy and massage, I have been following Natalie Hodson's Abs, Core and Pelvic Floor program to work on my pelvic floor and core health daily. Therapy and massage can be pricey, and with a one year old, hard to get in for appointments as often as I'd like. Natalie's program allows me to stay on top of my body's performance and health every day, even with a baby in the room.
Along with Dr. Monique Middlekauf, a specialist in pelvic floor dysfunction, this program is well-rounded, touching not only on exercises that can help your overall pelvic floor and core health, but it also includes nutrition help, supplement advice and encouraging self-talk affirmations.
To be honest, I actually cried a few tears of joy when I found out about this book and program. I've been searching for ways to minimize pain and improve function in between doctor visits and this has been such a blessing to me, and by extension to my family, because when I feel better and have an outlet to exercise in a safe, effective way that supports the post-partum issues we as mamas can deal with, I am a happier person overall.
The program is an easy 30-day program that can be done right in your own living room. It addresses issues such as pelvic floor dysfunction (raises hand), Diastasis Recti (a problem that plagues many of my mama friends and clients) as well as helping with overall fitness and turning our mom-bods into leaner, healthier bods we can feel good in. Natalie and Dr. Middlekauf are extremely knowledgeable and the program is written well and is easy to understand and follow along.
Women are able to start the program as early as 6 weeks post-partum (or as advised by your doctor) and on. It's never to late to start taking care of your core and pelvic floor, and even women who haven't gone through childbirth but who suffer from pelvic or abdominal muscle conditions, can benefit from this program. Issues ranging from incontinence to chronic tightness (my personal ailment) to painful intercourse and urinary problems (also mine), can be improved by putting effort into supporting such an important part of our bodies.
As mamas who are looking to get back in shape, I know a lot of us jump right back into our old routine - crunches, planks, vigorous workouts - when in reality, as a personal sufferer of pelvic floor disorder, and with fellow moms struggling with Diastastis Recti, these are big no-no's in getting yourself back on track and they can actually increase your pain and underlying issues.
Abs, Core & Pelvic Floor addresses all of these key points and gives us women alternative, beneficial exercises that can not only help us get back into shape, but that support our issues, helping to heal, restore and strengthen.
The entire program is available in a printable PDF, as well as a series of videos, to further assist in understanding how to do each exercise, how to engage your muscles and how to use the right form to prevent injury. There's also bonus information on nutrition, which, as a nutritionist, I found exciting to see included because it is such an important piece of the health puzzle.
Taking steps to improve my pelvic health, is HONESTLY, one of the BEST decisions I ever made for myself. It personally changed MY life, which is why I am SO passionate about it, and why I don't shy away from the topic when other women want me to share my story or ask for advice.
Personally, from one mama friend to another, I would suggest you speak to your doctor or a pelvic floor therapist in your area to assess and diagnose your specific issues.
To learn more about this amazing 30-day program, read more on Abs, Core & Pelvic Floor on Natalie's website!
And when you do start the program, reach out! I'd love to cheer you on and do it along with you! Find more on the program and follow along my journey on Instagram as well with the #AbsCorePelvicFloor hashtag.
Although it's a 30-day program, I plan to integrate their exercises, stretches and tips in to my day to day workouts. Take the step, you won't regret. I feel so much stronger, healthier and so many issues have improved since I've implemented my game plan to better pelvic health. There is so much valuable information to gain from this program, in addition to what I was already doing, that I can use for life and am so thankful for it, and for them.
I have a big announcement that I've been waiting to share with you all!
As of this month, I am the newest Nourishment Instructor at the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine for their Thrive Community Program!
Being able to teach even MORE people how to cook, bake and eat gluten-free and dairy-free is a dream and I love this journey more and more everyday.
If you're local to Arizona, come join me April-June, where I am scheduled once a month to teach the basics of GF/DF cooking and baking. I will be focusing on how to create the perfect Italian Dinner, a delicious Weekend Brunch and a special class on integrating Anti-Inflammatory cooking into your day to day menus.
You'll get to learn how to make the dishes seen here on Nosh and Nurture, a few surprise treats and of course, you'll get to taste ALLLL the deliciousness first hand in a state-of-the-art kitchen facility at one of my FAVORITE schools in the country!
Located in the new building on the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine Campus in Tempe, Arizona, my class schedule is as follows:
You can get more information of the classes offered, pricing details and register here:
Pairing up with the Aetna Foundation for the Healthiest Cities Challenge inspired me to share with you some ways that me and my family infuse health and wellness into our everyday. Implement one of these each day, or each week, for a couple of months and they will become a healthy habit!
01. Start Your Mornings Slow -
Each morning I take my time to get ready for my day. Prayer, devotionals, cuddles with the puppies and a nice breakfast are key to centering me and setting me up for my best day working from my home office or heading out for events or meetings with clients.
02. Connect With Your Inner Child -
Playtime isn't just for elementary school and recess. Even as adults we need to take the time to connect to our inner child and play. For my full post on ways you can play as an adult, click here.
03. Drinking Water & Meal Planning -
Make sure that you’re getting the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables and water each day. Planning your meals ahead of time can help you incorporate healthier food options for your snacks and meals. (credit Aetna Foundation) For assistance in healthy, effortless meal planning, contact me.
04. Make Playtime Count -
When it comes to playing with the kids, opt out of video games and TV time and do something that will stimulate you all mentally or physically. Whether this is a craft project or getting outside for some old fashioned sports and sunshine, it will benefit you all more if activities such as these become part of your regular routine.
05. Physical Care -
Aside from your daily workouts, activities like getting regular massage, joining a sports team, or yes, even regular sex with your spouse can greatly boost your endorphins, pumping the feel good chemical through your body, thereby lowering stress levels naturally.
06. Get Involved -
Volunteering, meeting new people and staying connected to your friends and families is shown to improve health outcomes. With a strong support system, you can also help each other make healthier choices and organize ways to stay on course. Websites like Volunteer Match or Big Brothers, Big Sisters are great places to start to connect to new people and help your community in the process.
07. Micro-Breaks -
Life can get busy and overwhelming, but simple acts like taking a few deep breaths, standing and stretching or taking a walk can help calm the mind and relieve stress. Remember to take breaks even on busy days, not just the slow ones and if you work from home, having animals is great because it helps force you to take mini-breaks. (credit Aetna Foundation)
08. Daily Workouts -
Of course one of the most important aspects of daily wellness is exercise. Aetna shares some great tips to making working out fun: Break it up throughout the day! Watching TV? Have a competition with your family members during commercials: Who can get the most steps up and down the stairs? Or who can do the most push ups or sit ups? Another way to make it fun is to put on music and dance! Me and Mr. Charming also turn up our iPods when we clean the house so we can clean and dance around, burning extra calories and making chores fun. Taking an after dinner walk as a family is also a great way to get in your fitness while bonding.
09. Power Down -
Hearing this one at the Aetna Foundation event reminded me that this is a weakness for me and something I want to implement in our home.
Put your smart phone and yourself in sleep mode. Try to create a relaxing bedtime routine or develop a sleep schedule to help you get the best night’s rest possible. This includes unplugging from electronics an hour or more before bed time. Remember that you can turn off notifications when you go to sleep. It keeps you from waking up when your phone receives messages throughout the night. Also remember to shut down the Wi-Fi! It forces everyone to have quiet time and it can have a positive impact on the morning routine. (credit: Aetna Foundation)
10. Help Your City! -
Help your city become the healthiest it can be by joining the #HealthiestCitiesChallenge. For more information read my blog post on ways to increase health and wellness citywide in your area.
Going completely gluten-free in 2011, (and doing it cold turkey), was both one of the hardest things, and most rewarding things I've ever done. Food, for many of us, is more than just a means of survival. Even if we have a healthy relationship with food. It can be a social aspect of our lives, or a true lifestyle if it's a career for us or if we spend time in the kitchen baking or cooking for our families or guests on a regular basis.
So when you have to make a major diet change, of any kind for any reason, whether it be medical or for diet, it's going to take some getting used to.
It was hard for me in the sense that, in the beginning, I had no idea what was safe. What I could and couldn't eat. I did a lot of research and learned quickly, but those early months brought upon a lot of panic and uneasiness about shopping, dining out, attending events and travel.
If you have any questions, I'm always here to help. However, this post isn't going to be focusing on the how or the what's of what to eat, it's to focus on some of the mistakes or challenges that many new gluten-free foodies and clients of mine face that I wanted to address today. (P.S. I dislike the word mistake, as all of this advice comes out of love and we are all navigating these waters one day at a time, in our own way.) This is just here to serve as a helper along the journey.
Mistake #1 - The Processed Food Trap
This one is number one because it is the one I see most often when I am helping my readers through the gluten and wheat removal process. They find comfort in the boxes emblazoned with a "now gluten-free" label on it. Now while some of these items are fine, most boxed and processed foods lack real nutrition of any kind. Developing an intolerance to gluten can come about for many reasons, but for me and many of my clients, it was a breakdown in our gut health. Gut health cannot be restored through processed grains from another family, or through nutrient-lacking, sugar laden products that are so readily available today.
The best thing you can do when making your transition, is stick to whole, natural, healthy foods such as tolerated vegetables, fruit, healthy meats and fish, opting for gluten-free packaged goods in very low moderation so that you don't feel deprived.
Mistake #2 - The In-Home Contamination Issue
Many of my readers and clients say, "I have to go gluten-free, but my (husband, parents, kids, etc.) don't want to or don't have too. How can we co-exist?" Or the unfortunate instance to where they say they've gone gluten-free but continuously feel sick after eating at home with family members who aren't gluten-free.
One of the tasks I took on when I switched over, was claiming "my" safe spaces in the kitchen. Mr. Charming for the most part is gluten-free, out of support, for his health and because I cook most of the meals, haha, but he isn't 100% and does have his own snacks, occasional bread or waffles, etc.
I purchased my own toaster (this one is key because it's not cleaned like other dishes, such as pans, plates, etc are.) for starters because of waffles and other morning goods I need to heat up after a weekend of baking. I also have my own Ninja, which I know is pricey to own two, but we don't like to dishwasher clean them after each use, and it makes it easier for him to be able to use his milk-based proteins if he wants too and I don't have to worry about residual powder in my smoothie. I also have my very own shelves in the pantry. Crumbs are evasive little buggers, and those with Celiac or an allergy know they can't have even just a sprinkle of gluten, so your own shelves, preferably at the top are best. That way all of our food stays separate and his cookie crumbles don't touch my packages.
Other precautions we take are no double dipping in condiment jars. I have my own almond butter and mayonnaise. We also don't share off of plates, drink from each others glasses, etc. It may seem like a lot at first, but once it becomes a habit it will become second nature. It feels like a normal routine to us now and isn't seen as an inconvenience at all.
Mistake #3 - The Dining Out Question Conundrum
Being prepared and doing research ahead of time can make dining out a pleasurable experience. This one took some learning and trusting for me, but once I had my tools ready at my disposable I found dining out enjoyable again and actually became a professional gluten-free food reviewer nation wide.
Find Me Gluten Free is an amazing app that allows you to find gluten-free places in your area and read reviews. The reviews are number one to me when choosing a new restaurant in a new city. Also, visiting restaurants websites and reading their menus, and even calling, can be a huge help in booking.
Mistake #4 - The Unprepared Traveler
This one I see a lot, I get many people telling me they were stuck at "the airport, hotel lobby, amusement park... etc.) with NOTHING to eat. My biggest tip for you, SNACKS, SNACKS, SNACKS. Always have a snack for every two hours you'll be gone and then an extra emergency one if there is a delay or it turns out the place you planned to go doesn't have safe food.
Using the Find Me Gluten Free App is always a God send in this situation too. I always map out where the closest markets are and the closest gluten-free or vegan eateries are in the area I'll be traveling too so I can make a plan to go straight there and stock up on food. Not without a stash of protein bars, fruit, veggies or nuts in my purse, just in case.
Mistake #5 - Not Speaking Up
Having a food intolerance or allergy isn't the time to be shy. Whether it's at a restaurant or a friends or families home, it's always better to ask questions, ask for a list of ingredients or ask to bring your own dish. Asking in certain situations may be uncomfortable, but better to be uncomfortable for a few moments than sick for days, or worse.
This one was especially hard for me in the beginning because I always like to be a "good guest". So I ended up starving at most social events, haha. Then as I started to open up and take back my life as an "out of home diner" I learned that most people DO care and would RATHER you ask than starve or risk getting sick at their event.
Mistake #6 - Not Embracing The Versatility
This one took the longest for me in my process. I stayed really safe with a bland rotation of the same foods for many months. It was when I started exploring my kitchen with a fresh, healthier perspective that I got to learn about God's amazing food supply and the creations I could make that could still satisfy that "home cooked meal" desire we all have inside.
Cooking delicious GF/DF meals for family and friends is a challenge I love taking on. When I see their faces light up over my lasagna (you can't even tell there's no cheese in here!") or my banana bread french toast (best. thing. ever.) it warms my heart to know that there is purpose in this journey. There is purpose in your journey too, find the blessings in it and get creative.
All of these are learning curve moments, and I was victim to a couple of them myself in the beginning. As we grow in the change, it becomes easier to handle and we begin to learn to love to cook again. Finding new ways, new recipes and holding a new appreciation for just how powerful food can be to our bodies. Either as poison or as a life-giving, nutrient dense experience.
The question I get asked the most is, "how do you live without (insert food here)?"
I simply answer, "I live healthier, happier and easier without that in my life."
Plain and simple.