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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!
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!
4. Keep A Journal. By keeping a journal, I am able to share food ideas as well as my specific struggles along the way. I can reference back to how it went the last time each time I embark on a new cleanse, and it gives me hope to read about the days I felt lighter, lost weight or felt super energized!
5. Don’t Beat Yourself Up. Remember that you are doing this for YOU. For you to feel GOOD. To feel LIGHT and HEALTHY. If you mess up, it’s OK. Be kind with you
& if you havn't yet, read my Honest Girl's Guide To Surviving A Sugar Cleanse
Last year I guest posted on Around My Family Table on my Honest Girl's Guide To Surviving Sugar Cleanse. And as many of you are working hard at your resolutions, getting healthy and striving to stay healthy if you're on a good health path, I wanted to share it here in this space this year.
t’s that time of year again. When we all set out to refresh. Wipe the slate clean. Become A “New” Person, whatever that last one means. This intention is masked with words like “resolutions”, “goal setting” and “complete turnaround”, and while the effort we make is commendable, sometimes we are setting ourselves up for disappointment if our January 1st To-Do list isn’t completed by the next time the ball drops.
Today I wanted to focus on healthier goal setting, specifically one of the most popular trends on every social media feed and that is “Completing a Sugar Detox” or a “Sugar Cleanse”. If you are unfamiliar with the concept, it’s a basic whole food diet that eliminates starches, breads, pastas, starchy vegetables and sugar in any form. As someone who has personally done a sugar detox in the past, and as someone who doesn’t consume dairy, my diet looked a little something like this.
– Grass-Fed and Free-Range Organic Meats
– Organic Vegetables and Some Organic Fruits
– Nuts and/or Seeds
– Healthy Fats (Avocado, Olive Oil, Coconut Oil)
Diets rich in these foods with help to cleanse and reset your system from all the holidays treats that it had to endure over the last few months and it will help you realize what you crave, what you’re sensitive too and what you can most likely live without.
As someone who has been through this, I am here to paint the honest picture of the roller coaster that you might, er, will endure, and how to fight off your sugar dragon like a superhero.
Morning Drink: Each morning I start with a warm mug of water with either a lemon slice or 1 TBSP. of Apple Cider Vinegar. Lemon helps cleanse your system, while Apple Cider Vinegar can help with flushing bacteria or yeast out of the system. This week I'm doing ACV all the way.
Garlic & Onion Everything: While everyone's cooking pumpkin into everything this year, I am adding heaps of garlic and onion into all of our dishes when I can. Just today my poor hubs said "I didn't take my lunch to work, because we have to eat in a meeting and I can't be smelly". Garlic and onion are stars at combating viruses, reduce inflammation and are very cleansing.
Herbivore: I'm also adding spices such as oregano and thyme. Oregano cleanses the respiratory and urinary systems and cleanses out candida. Thyme aids in urine volume output which helps to detox, and is good for the respiratory system.
Get Moving: I will admit and be 100% real with you. Fatigue likes to be my best friend sometimes. Especially when my body isn't detoxing (Thanks, MTHFR) (I'm not swearing it's a condition I have...) and working out is not my favorite thing. If I could just eat healthy and be super fit, that would be aces. But alas, food is 80% of it, while 20% of it is moving. Working out also helps detoxing, it eliminates stress in the body, keeps all of our systems moving and healthy. So, I joined a new gym this past weekend and I walk, use the elliptical, light weights and do Holy Yoga.
Oil Pulling: I have a full post on oil pulling and how it's benefited me, but its so great for detoxing our bodies and keeping up our oral health.
Massage & Therapy: I get regular massages. Bi-weekly I get a variation of Swedish for the relaxing properties and deep tissue to help get out any tension I'm carrying. I also go to a Pelvic Floor Therapist which has been a life saver.
Reflexology: When I am feeling irregular (welcome to my life of TMI, haha) reflexology on my feet along my ":Intestinal" points works like a gem! Staying regular is CRUCIAL for detoxing. And while we're already on this topic, get a Squatty Potty. Enough said.
Shower Time: I start my showers with dry brushing and while in the shower I alternate hot and cold water as it cleanses the lymphatic system.
Clean Air: Make sure to get outdoors regularly and use a good air filter in your home. We have a great one in the bedroom, along with organic mattress and pillow covers.
Drink All The Water: Drinking 8 glasses of clean, filtered water is one of the most important things you can do EVERYDAY.
MIND & SOUL
When I Rise: I start every day with devotions. I read a daily devotional to set my intentions with God's word, and I read bible verses and pray with breakfast.
Holy Yoga: Yoga is extremely detoxifying. Both mentally and physically. I however, wanted to be connecting to Jesus when I went through my workout so I found a local Holy Yoga class and its been amazing.
Crack A Book: Reading calms me and learning new things invigorates and re-inspires my passions. Reading in a quiet, well lit area brings contentment.
Our Inner Child: I did a whole post on the importance of play, and its crucial to our health. Adult coloring, traveling, playing in the yard, hosting game nights. The activity doesn't matter, just have FUN.
CBT: Last year I regularly saw a therapist to work through anxiety and the loss of our little. I still check in with her for maitenence appts to keep my mind clear. She's also Christian and we pray and read God's word together.
Quality Time: Spending quality time with loved ones is a great way to detox your whole body. Endorphins are magical & wondrous.
Meditation & Breathing: Deep breathing is everything in detoxing. We often breathe so shallow, taking time to be mindful a few minutes a day to breathe in fully, connect with God and clear our mind of the day is as important as the food, herbs and water we consume.
Next On The Detox Plan:
Always looking for ways to aid my body in detoxing, I've asked Santa for a rebounder (translation: adult trampoline) which aids which also gets the lymph system moving.
The gym I joined has a dry sauna which is king in ways to detox. I plan to start slow and steady under the care of my doctor and increase my time in the sauna.
I also have more tests scheduled on my detox pathways. Always growing, learning, but most importantly praying for healing.
You may have noticed detox baths (usually a mix of warm water, Epsom salt and essential oils) are missing from my list. I found each time I did one I got sick. My doctor told me they are probably to intense for me right now (which is why everyone is different) and that a foot soak is probably a better way for me to go right now.
Anything missing that you swear by to detox this time of year? Or do you have a favorite from the list? Also, for those of you that have experience rebounding or hitting the sauna, what's been your experience?
And then I grew up, stopped touring, got a full time job in journalism that put me at a desk all day and my health took a turn that for some reason makes cardio leads to me getting sick sometimes.
But I've realized that I can excuse it away all day long, but when it comes down to it I've learned that I am good when it comes to eating healthy, I'm just not so good at working out on a regular basis.
And that's ok. The important thing is that I learn what I can work with. On days, like yesterday for example, when my energy is soaring (and I'll say I was on day 11 of the Whole 30 meal plan), that I get in a good workout. That I try to lift weights, do cardio or power yoga.
And then, on the days when I have no energy, when I'm not feeling well, when I'm experiencing my pelvic pain, or I've put in 10 hours of writing and leaving the house is the last thing I want to do, I will improvise and dedicate to doing something good for my body.
And that can be a number of things, for you as well. You all know your bodies better than anyone. The beauty about this journey is that I've learned to tune in to know when I'm just being lazy or when I know my body really does just need to rest or sleep.
I've put together a list of low-impact, easy exercises to do when your exhausted or just need to decompress or you need a good stretch session.
- Restorative or Relaxation Yoga. This is my favorite. It relaxes me and it helps me to really stretch. After the half hour or hour I put in I am refreshed, feel like I got a gentle workout and am relaxed enough that I can do it at night and not be too energized to go to sleep. Tamal Dodge is my favorite instructor on DVD, or you can find a local yoga studio that offers these classes.
- Walking. Simple as that. Getting out in fresh air, getting my blood moving and taking time to pray and connect to God changes my whole day. When I make the time to go out and take a walk I feel so much better. And one of my best girlfriends and I have started making this a way we hang out in the morning. We usually do 2 miles and walk while we catch up.
- Specified Stretches. Sometimes when I don't do a yoga class or video, I will do a specific 15-30 minute set of stretches from my physical therapist or pelvic pain book. If you have a specific pain issue or you just generally feel tight in a certain body part, shoulders, legs, etc. locate easy and effective stretches either with a book or online videos that will help you regularly stretch out. It's a fact that we hold a lot of emotions in our psoas area (the muscle that runs from under your ribs, down to your inner thigh, deep inside) and when mine is tight I feel much more anxious and irritable.
- Low Impact Cardio Machines. I adore the elliptical machine. It's low impact and you can use as much energy, or not, that you are feeling on a particular day. I used to employ the rule that if I wanted to watch FRIENDS (my favorite show of ALL time, if you know me at all) or read my latest issue of SHAPE, I had to be on an elliptical or treadmill to watch it. (I told you, I was hard core back in the day). I have decided to start using the reward system for myself again, as I know this works really well for me, only now I use new issues of Gluten Free Living or Natural Health as my sweet reward.
I'd love to know what you do when you're not feeling to hot or want to hide under the covers? Fitness first! :)
Each serving has 19 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber in addition to 1,000 grams of Omega 3's. On top of it all, it's naturally sweetened with a touch of Stevia and it tastes delicious. Available in cherry, orange and banana creme, I myself prefer the banana creme. It pairs so yummy with all natural blueberry juice, coconut milk or chocolate almond milk with an added real banana as a dessert treat that takes care of my body. Below is a listing from OrtoMolecular on the specific benefits of each herb. I've also seen many reviews on this product about how well it works, being a saving grace for a lot of patients with IBS. I myself can vouch for this product and highly recommend it to anyone struggling with inflammation problems.
Visit OrthoMolecular's official site here.
This orange-colored spice, used for thousands of years in cooking and medicine, is rich in curcumin. In numerous studies, curcumin has been shown to have strong NFkB-modulating properties. NFkB plays a crucial role in inflammation. High activity levels of NFkB are associated with cell death and tissue damage. This broad-spectrum activity makes curcumin a great choice for supporting balanced inflammation in the body.
Skullcap Root Extract
Skullcap root has been used historically in Chinese medicine to support balance in the basic inflammatory response function and healthy immune function. Studies show skullcap is a strong scavenger of oxidative radicals, and is also able to promote balanced NFkB activity and maintain normal prostaglandin synthesis.
Green Tea Extract (EGCG)
EGCG, the most well-researched catechin in green tea, has been shown to protect cells from free radical damage and positively affect inflammatory response markers.
Efficacious amount of l-glutamine and glycine, amino acids crucial for mucosal regeneration and tissue repair.
Immune System Balance
Biologically active amount of vitamin D and arabinogalactan for support of proper immune function.
Today I want to share with you my health revelation that has forever changed the way I view health and wellness- my rendezvous with Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).
Traditional Chinese Medicine is an ancient healing practice originating from Asia, mainly the Chinese Orient, which involves the application of special herbal blends, diet therapy, and exercise therapy to heal dis-ease. The first known documented material is from the Stone Age, allowing this traditional Asian healing method time to mature. I imagine I would know what I’m doing after being around a couple thousand years.
In a nutshell, TCM seeks to restore internal balance and harmony in a natural, non-invasive approach so that the body and mind can function optimally, the way they were designed to. One of the things I like most about Traditional Chinese Medicine is the recognition of individuality. It is so important for any type of doctor to realize that we humans are not created via cookie cutter; we are all unique and therefore require unique healing methods designed to compliment us.
Traditional Chinese Medicine isn’t about just poppin’ a few pills to feel better; its purpose lies in making manageable changes to one’s lifestyle in order to cultivate true, lasting health. While a great deal of attention is focused on the diet, TCM also utilizes natural remedies of Chinese herbal formulas. All the different combinations of herbs, in either teapill or raw herbal form, have been developed and refined over hundreds, some even thousands of years. These Chinese herbal formulas, because of their unique and well-thought out combinations, have the flexibility and focus to address a root problem. The healing power of these formulas is unlike any I have ever experienced; it is quite remarkable.
In order to diagnose disease, TCM focuses on identifying the root of disharmonies within the body through analyzing patterns. Patterns are descriptions of the organ systems’ environmental state, but also describe the interrelationship between organ systems. TCM draws all disease back to five main organ systems: the Spleen, the Liver, the Kidneys, the Heart and the Lungs. Each of these organ systems have specific responsibilities. In fact, they even rule other organs systems and more importantly, the understanding of how they interrelate is essential to TCM’s success.
Another reason why I like TCM is that its practice is founded in nature. All the herbs used are raw, natural, found in nature. Our diet is a natural part of our being and should also be of the earth in order to support our systems properly. You cannot deny that our planet and all its resources and living things were created to sustain and support each other in some way; it is imperative that we respect this and recognize it is essential to our health & wellbeing. This is why TCM has stood the test of time: it is of nature, and that will never change.
I have offered only a small taste of the incredible world of Traditional Chinese Medicine. I encourage you to do a little research and just read about the TCM perspective- it is a truly unique way of looking at how bodies and health operate.
Heaven and Earth Chinese Herbs offers loads of information, all broken down into various topics, making it easy to read what you are interested in. David Akrish is the TCM practitioner that I worked with through my healing journey.
TCM World Foundation offers valuable information that incorporates a more Eastern-spiritual view, but still easy to read & understand. Be sure to read through the different articles that explain the perspectives of TCM!
For more in-depth information, the Institute for Traditional Medicine offers amazingly detailed articles relating to TCM and breaks down certain perspectives.