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!
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.
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?
There's a specific CD that I use that I love, It's a meditation CD that my CB Therapist gave me that is all led by God's word. Meditating to scripture helps connect me to what's important and let's me rest and relax for twenty minutes at the beginning or end of my day.
For a quick recharge, try this calming 2 minute video below by my friend Rachel Zeskind.
While paradise is probably at the top of all of our lists for the perfect place to relax and recharge, all you need is a quiet space to sit or lay, where you can be cool, calm and comfortable. Even an office breakroom, airplane seat or heck, a bathroom if you're a busy mom looking to grab two minutes of calm, will work for this short, but effective, video.
Share on social media with the hashtag #FitnessFriday to connect and share with others.
From time to time we are going to be sharing one of her wonderful recipes, videos or articles to help inspire a healthy and fitness driven attitude for this summer.
I've personally had a very stressful week - and needed something to help me recenter, get focused and be calm while helping to relax my muscles. Aside from my prayer time in the mornings, I like to unwind with gentle stretching, breathing techniques and Rachel's stress-reduction yoga video. The video takes just over 90 seconds and is a great way to end the day or break up a busy day.
For more - visit www.RachelZeskind.com
*always talk to your doctor before starting any new supplement or regiment.
I'm at the point to where when I don't take it, I notice. I notice in so many ways. I notice in my muscles, in my energy levels, in my regularity (ahem, sorry but it's a miracle worker when your tummy just doesn't want to do it's thing), and in my overall nervous system.
Like I said, miracle mineral.
I've comprised a list of just some of the benefits from taking magnesium. And again, speak to you doctor or naturopath because there are many different kinds. I use one that is from my doctors office that is a blend of magnesium and Vitamin C and doesn't contain any preservatives or allergens.
Aside from supplementation, I've listed above in my graphic, some of the natural sources of magnesium to regularly include in your diet. These sources include:
- Leafy Greens
The top ten benefits of maintaining adequate magnesium levels include:
- Better Sleep
- Lower Inflammation In The Body
- Ease Of Menstrual Cramps
- More Energy
- A More Relaxed Nervous System and Less Anxiety
- Less Irritability
- Improved IBS Symptoms
- Improved Reflux Symptoms
- Less Headaches
- Improved Symptoms in children with ADD and Autism
Women in their 20's and 30's generally need about 300 mg. a day. More if pregnant. While men need around 400 mg. But up to 1,000 if you are deficient (I was severely deficient and had to take quite a bit for a while.) Again, before starting a supplement, please speak with your doctor. Though magnesium is safe in natural food sources, over dosing can cause problems and drug interactions may occur.
Interactions. Magnesium supplements may not be safe for people who take diuretics, heart medicines, or antibiotics. Check with your health care provider if you are taking any medicine before taking magnesium.
Risks. People with diabetes, intestinal disease, heart disease or kidney disease should not take magnesium before speaking with their health care provider.
Overdose. Signs of a magnesium overdose can include nausea, diarrhea, low blood pressure, muscle weakness, and fatigue. At very high doses, magnesium can be fatal. - Interactions, Risks & Overdose Information Courtesy of WebMD.
Have you taken magnesium? What's been your greatest benefit?
I realized recently that I hadn't been doing this at all. When I am career focused, which I have been since I was 16 years old, I rarely take too much time to play. But recently I had been burning the proverbial candle at both ends from morning until I passed out exhausted at night, and knew I couldn't go at that pace much longer, so I simply stopped and stared infusing my days with play.
I wanted to create a fun list of ways, as an adult, you can play and get in touch with your inner child. He or She is still there, you just have to put down the phone, tablet and computer to meet him or her where he or she is and have a good time simply "being". Read on for my list of ideas and feel free to comment with how to infuse "play" into your day!
Play In A Toy Store: When was the last time you visited F.A.O or Toys R' Us, not to buy a gift for a kid, but to PLAY with the toys and test them out like you did when you were younger? It's an awesome way to spend a summer afternoon. And if you illicit any weird looks, you can still say you are there shopping for a kid. Or invite them to play, if they are being that judgmental of you they probably need to play more than you do.
An Afternoon of Game Play: Having friends over for a board game night and baking brownies or cookies is simply bliss. For the boys, having the guys over for retro video games is always a winner, or maybe a hot wheels race, or building a model plane.
Build A Fort: Pretty self explanatory. Putting up chairs and blankets and climbing inside with a movie, board games, a good book or magazines is a perfect way to laze away an afternoon or evening. Bonus points if you do it in jammies or make signs for your fort.
Color Outside The Lines: Or, if you were a perfectionist child, then you can stay inside the lines. The point is to get out the crayons, the sketchpad, the color books, the paint and canvas... any artistic medium of your choice and make a masterpiece. Or create something only your mom would post on the fridge. The point is just to create something, no judgments allowed.
Marco: Polo! Dig deep into your memory, or utilize Google, and find childhood games that you played. Hop in the pool with friends for a good game of Marco Polo, or play hide n' seek in your neighborhood. Ring toss, horseshoes, and tag are great options for the park. You can also count these as exercise too. Score!
Host A Slumber Party: Recently, my girlfriends and I had a slumber party. We played games, had dinner and stayed up late laughing. It was so fun! Prank call the boys, watch your favorite childhood movies and bake a gluten-free, dairy-free pizza to make it feel like a real Saturday night slumber party from elementary school without all the calories and toxic ingredients.
Dear Penpal: When was the last time you wrote a letter? Being a writer I do do this often. It's fun to find pretty stationary and pick a friend to write a letter too, just because. Add a child-like kick with glitter stickers or scented markers to address the envelope.
Play Dress-Up: When was the last time you went to the mall and tried on outrageous clothes, just for fun? My sister and I use to do this as teenagers for no other reason than to take photos and laugh. Trying on my moms clothes growing up was a thrill. Go through your closet and mix and match your clothes in new ways. Do your hair and make-up just because. I promise it feels exhilarating.
Play With The Kiddos: Playing with kids, like I did with my niece at her party, makes it easy to tap into your own inner child. I let her plan the day and had many adventures being "driven around the park", "visiting a princess castle", playing kickball and meeting her new birthday bunny. And it was one of the best days I've had in a while.