Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Official Oil Drop Around The United States

Our road trip around the United States taught us a lot of humility as we passed through places of all kinds.  Some of these places have been through natural disasters that completely ripped life as we know it away from some really amazing people.  As we made quick stops in places as we traveled we tried to pick an essential oil that either emulated the place we were in, or that could represent helping that place recover somehow.  Similar to how these essential oils have helped keep our bodies strong, but when things have gotten challenging physically or emotionally there is usually an essential oil we can turn to to help rejuvinate our bodies.

This is part 1, more parts are coming.... For fun, you are welcome to comment at the bottom of this post on your favorite essential oils and what they have done for you or your favorite places and which oil you think might fit for an oil drop in that place.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Welcome to Baby #4! & News Interview: More women in utah and the nation are choosing to give birth at home

Ready or not, get set, go!

Yesterday afternoon I got an unexpected phone call from channel 5 news asking to be interviewed about my home birth experience as they were doing a story on the rising number of women in utah choosing home birth.

Apparently the number of women choosing this option here has doubled, though that does not mean much statistically since it was only 1% in 1990 and has only risen to about 2% in the last 2 decades.  They also cannot differentiate the data to know which home births were planned vs. unplanned which is a huge difference in safety.  They wanted to do the story because a report was just released by the health department stating which facts they did know about the rise in which the health department said that it just wanted women to become more educated about their decision and in choosing a qualified caretaker to prevent any risks.  This is so important no matter where you give birth as safety is most mother's number one concern.  Choosing home birth for me made sense because I came from a family that has experienced planned home births safely for generations, however my first I had in the hospital to appease friends and relatives on my husbands side of the family.  For me the hospital was a place full of fear and protocols that led one to another until I left with one very traumatic experience and a beautiful baby.  I am not against hospitals, but for me they have their time and their place.  As long as all precautions are met as well as everything is flowing just the way it should with an experienced care provider, I feel I have less risks for complications in my home births, which is why I have chosen home births for all the following kids (though I still like to see a medical doctor during and after the pregnancy on top of my midwife visits when possible).

It is quite funny that I was called because I had a dream just before, that I was on a tight deadline to put together information on birth for a large group of people.  When I awoke I thought this meant I needed to finish the short book I have been writing on "Christ Centered Hypno-Labor" that helps women who are preparing for a calm, safe and peaceful birth and who are either using or considering using hypno style methods or any other type of meditation (hypno is highly recommended by me as my 3rd was completely pain free from using these methods of working through labor).  I had just had enough time to get the kids breakfast and pull out the computer to start writing when I got the phone call asking to come in only 45 minutes!  I quickly showered, picked up the front room, got all the diapers changed, dressed the kids, threw on some eye shadow, and before I knew it the news reporter we always listen to on the radio was there... what a rush!  My voice was shaking a bit and I was so nervous.

I have not actually felt ready to talk about my fourth birth to very many people yet even though my sweet baby is over 3 months old now.  The birth was a good birth but a few things happened that I wasn't happy with and so its been hard to process.  I guess I was meant to process it in front of the world, because now its part of the news.  Since they typically only use the clips that spin things the way they want even if out of context I thought it might be time to tell my birth story in whole here, where I've been asked for it anyway.

Right on the due date, September 15th, a sunday night, I awoke in the middle of the night with some contractions.  It was a beautiful moonlit, peaceful night and I am used to having contractions before labor actually starts for at least a month before birth with all my kids.  I got up to work through them, put some relaxing essential oils on my belly and potentially go back to bed.  When I got up I realized that the waves I was working through were every 8 minutes apart regularly and there was this intense peace that just filled the air, like you could feel angels throughout the home there to await and support our little Bonnie Jane's arrival (I was told by my midwife that this feeling is very common in all the births she assists in).  I became very happy and excited to see my little baby.  As long as I stopped as I felt the contraction starting and supported my weight on the counter or some other place while doing a very low squat and rocking through them I was in no pain at all.  It was work, like an intense exercise routine that lasted a couple minutes every ten minutes, but it felt more like waves.  I felt a wave coming in, prepped my position, and then worked with my body to ride the wave until it fizzled out.  Much like a surfer catches and rides their waves through.  After a little over a half hour of timing them I woke my Hubby up to tell him I was in labor.

I was cherishing the calm serenity of it all and knew I had a while to go so I told my husband not to have the midwife come yet.  He wanted to call her and so I told him to just tell her she didn't need to hurry, that she could take her time and put off coming for a bit but that it may be that morning sometime.  I knew I needed more time that morning, but she had assisted another midwife at the birth of my 3rd and remembered how fast that was (I had Daisy an hour after I awoke in labor and called).  Nervous about being late to a birth she rushed over as did a doula and a secondary midwife (they work in groups so that there is extra support to keep things as calm and safe as possible).  Well, when I knew I wasn't ready for people, I was right.  Even though she was my midwife and I trusted her the distraction of having her preparing her stuff along with the quiet whisperings in the background from her helpers and the occasional tinctures between contractions was too much for me.  I needed to be going within myself to follow the waves and when assistants came it became harder to catch the waves, but also I became nervous about how I would look while I caught the waves in front of them.  I also almost felt the need to host them, though that sounds really silly since they were there to help me, not the other way around.  When the beautiful sunrise came up the contractions became further and further apart and eventually stopped, that angelic feeling also slipping away with them.

I do believe that had I insisted we wait until I actually needed my husband to help with pressure points during the waves, or even just insisted that she not set up and wait in the car until that point, I would have had Bonnie Jane on that day.  I've read many instances of labor halting like this but have never known anyone personally who experienced it, so it was interesting to experience first hand.  I also believe it would have been similar to my painless and very calm birth experience with Daisy 2 years ago.  After labor stopped I did many very empowering fear release exercises for both me and the baby that helped me come to new understandings of the spiritual nature of birth, so it isn't all bad that I had to wait two more weeks.  In a book called "Orgasmic Birth" it actually talks about how to have that calm, safe, and beautiful flow of birth that I had experienced previously in my 3rd babies birth, but also why some don't have that ability.  When my labor stopped I read a section of that book that explained the hormone progression in labor that would actually cause what had happened to me.  It was so nice to understand why.  By the way "Orgasmic Birth" is by far my favorite book on birth and preparing for birth right now (no matter where you're planning on delivering), though "Ina May's Guide to Childbirth" follows closely behind.

When I was nearly rounding out 2 weeks later I was having contractions on and off but nothing was really sticking.  Just as a hospital doctor doesn't want a birth to over-extend, my midwife didn't want me to have complications from too long a gestation period either (although she always factors in that there is many times a lapse by 2 weeks in the calendar date set and I usually am just under 2 weeks later than my due dates).  With all my stats and the babies stats the way they were we decided it may be best to kick labor into gear instead of just wait.  She gave me some homeopathics and essential oils to use together (I waited 15 minutes between the use of one to use the other so that there would be less risk of them not working, but she said these specific ones tend to work whether or not they are used at the same time).  I took them quite often for the rest of the night and nothing happened beyond me having what felt like the same old inconsequential pre-labor contractions.  The next day I kept taking it with the same result.  We skipped church as my contractions were about 10 minutes apart and we tried going for a whole bunch of walks but nothing like that angelic feeling of the baby coming soon was really kicking in.

I was getting a little agitated around lunch time because when I'd close my eyes for a contraction the kids would get really close to me and try climbing through my legs or some other really distracting thing.  I thought I'd be maybe another 10 hours out, judging by how things had gone in my 2nd birth that was 18 hours long at home.  Well, I called my mom to ask if she'd just come play with the kids in the basement playroom while I just relaxed and tried to take a nap, because I was tired and thought I could sleep through the contractions ok if the kids would let me be.  Turns out when she took them off my hands and I tried to sleep that I couldn't sleep too well.  This was a point at which I just couldn't understand the waves that were coming (this has never happened to me in labor before and I think it was because of pushing the labor to start with herbs rather than letting it kick in on its own, similar to the way the waves change unnaturally when pitocin is taken).  Instead of a smooth wave coming in to ride it felt like an unrideable rocky mess, but I tried to work through it as I would a wave as much as was possible.  This took a lot of support from my hubby doing counter pressure on my hips and back while I rocked back and forth.

I finally thought maybe I could calm the waves with water and maybe slow the rockiness of it down a bit.  Little did I know that water can speed up labor when your body is actually in gear, to have the baby faster.  I was still 10 minutes apart on the dot when I got in the tub.  I really wasn't trying to have the baby right then as it didn't feel like she'd be coming for a long time still, but we called the midwife anyway to update her as to what was happening.  As soon as she heard I was getting in the tub she started getting her tools together and jumped in her car.  Honestly I felt like the birth was only 10 minutes long because time feels different during a birth, however that is not how long it really was.  I was in the tub for maybe 10 minutes before my water broke and my contractions quickly became only 3 minutes apart and then on top of each other.  Then we let the water out of the tub and I very reluctantly got out of the tub where I had great counter pressure on my back and we made our way to the front room where I had a plastic sheet with towels and pads on top, my exercise ball for me to kneel against while rocking with the waves of pushing, and of course the blinds shut for the dimmer lighting effect.  She was crowning with the midwife in the car and on the phone with us 10 to 20 minutes after getting out of the bath. All in all I think the point when it became true labor to when she came was around 40 minutes start to end, feeling like only 10.

I think the part that made this part difficult for me was the fear.  Fear is what causes pain as well as most complications.  Fear causes you to work against your body, so your muscles are pushing against each other instead of working together as well as tightening areas that are meant to be loosening, and naturally loosen easily when fear is eliminated.  My midwife told my hubby over the phone to try not to have the baby till she got there so that we could make sure I was fully dilated before pushing.  She is an amazing midwife, but I do wish she had just said "good.  You're doing great.  Just remember to breathe that baby down.  Don't push.  Just breathe and trust your body and your baby."  Or maybe I just wish that is what my husband had said, since I never actually talked to the midwife directly; either way, that's what I really wanted and needed to hear.  Those words would have helped me more than anything because I needed to trust all of my experience and research and just trust myself, but in that super vulnerable state of birth where every woman is so susceptible to comments and guidance I couldn't do that after being told to try to hold her in, even though in the hubby's defense he did also tell me to breath her down (problem is you can't breath the baby down at the same time as trying to hold them in so it didn't do much for me to hear both).

My hubby was a little frantic checking the door quite often for the midwife when I wanted him right there and I relieved much of the intensity of it all through low animal like groans.  I told my Hubby that she was coming and trying to help my skin smoothly slip around her head, though the fear of tearing and the midwife not there yet was making it tighter than I wanted.  Before I knew it she slipped out right into his strong arms and belched out a beautiful loud cry with some very strong lungs.

The midwife pulled up to the house just after that and then I finished the after birth and fed my new angel while getting checked out and waiting for another midwife that specializes in stitches to come.  Even though this birth was a bit rockier than the last one, those stitches were far more painful than the birth itself.  My preparation paid off by making the skin and previous birth scars more elasticized for this birth and stitches, so the tears were not as extensive.  The tearing this time was less extensive, but where it did tear was quite deep still making recovery difficult.  The recovery has been even more difficult because of the NICU stay for high biliruben levels due to an unexpected blood incompatibility 2 days after her birth for a week along with trying to move and sell our home shortly after that, which is a whole other story.  One word of caution to those out there who are expecting, try to move before having your baby if you have to move.  Moving while pregnant is hard but doesn't mess with the hormones and recovery nearly as much as moving shortly after.  Give it 3-6 months before any big changes if at all possible for the sake of your health.  She is happy and healthy today and is as cute as a button.

Here is that news story and interview I told you about.  Its short and simple but changed my entire day yesterday.  Enjoy!  ksl news story : home-births-in-utah-doubled-since-1990-health-department-says

Monday, April 14, 2014

We're Raising a Family of 5 (almost 6) on a Teacher Salary?

Have you ever wondered how teachers can have so many kids at home when it is so well known that they don't get paid enough, or even what they're actually worth?
I would even argue the point that teacher's families get more "income" while in school through grants, loans and a part time job than they do once starting their actual career.  So how do we families of public school teachers make it all work?

The History & Why:

When I was younger my Dad always talked about the career of teaching as if it were one of the best because it was stable.  In public school it is funded by the state, meaning that there will never be a mass firing due to inadequate funds from an economy flop.  This sounded cool to me so I always kept an open mind about it.  My list of experiences and jobs I wanted to pursue was long and sometimes felt endless though.  I wanted to learn and experience so much and placing all my eggs into simply teaching was never really in the cards for me I guess.

I met my husband while we were still both going to college and we were not one of those couples to wait till events finished in order to start new turns in life.  So, we got married.  We also believe that "God will provide a way" as many others believe about having children.  I think my children are up to the Lord's timing, not my own.  I do have preferences, but would rather focus on what the Lord would give me, and when, then my own plans.  His plans seem to pan out better for me than my own ever did.  So, you guessed it, we had our first baby.  Yes, while we were both still in college.

I was unable to continue my education or my job nearing the end of the pregnancy and after the baby was born.  That was ok though.  It was a big transition and felt like a huge job to take care of a new life instead of focusing on those other things.  This left my husband to both work and go to the University full time.  Together we had grown dreams of creating art through video and photography.  Opening a digital media center and then expanding into other business opportunities, like running a reception center and art gallery.  They were big dreams and we had started the first classes to get a degree toward that purpose.  After I couldn't go with him anymore, he decided he needed to switch from where we had been going to school, back to the University we met at, and go into some type of stable degree like teaching.  We decided the most stable and most enjoyable degree for him would be the generalist art teaching degree because that degree allowed for him to teach any type of art.  It could be drawing, painting, printmaking, video, photo, ceramics... all the fun stuff.  Specializing felt like it would be limiting his potential for getting that future teaching job, so we veered away from that, although he did get a bunch of extra certifications in his favorite topics, like video editing.

Ok, so we had our first baby in college... well, by the time he switched programs he had 5 years of additional schooling he would need to do.  About a semester of that his old credits counted towards, but this decision basically started him over.  We also had him do summers and squeeze in the max limit of class credits to finish in around 4 years instead.  I've had a baby every 2 years so far.  Our second baby was born during one of his busiest semesters.  He'd wake up early to work at an elementary, go straight to class, do homework at the campus, and make it home most nights by 2am.  Thank heaven this wasn't every night, and thank heaven his work was flexible with his school schedule.  Our third baby arrived just a couple months after he graduated.  He was called with his job acceptance to teach video, photo, and drawing at a high school in a very nice east side neighborhood while we were in the hospital with our 2 day old little one.  He is in his second year of teaching now and we are expecting another little spirit at the beginning of next school year.  Wow that is coming up fast now.

The Finances:

Ok, so that is the history behind why and how we got here.  Now for the nitty gritty finances.  We have 3 kids ages 5 and under.  We love entrepreneurial projects so we like to do those, but we did much more of those while my husband was still attending college courses.  Time is a hard commodity to come by for a good teacher, and when he does have time our kids love and need him so much that those other things are hard to get to.  Our personal video business used to do about $10,000 a year, and then what we needed to live beyond that in school we budgeted per semester for and used grants, scholarships, and student loans to pull off.  We felt tight, but in control.  When I was pregnant I was able to get the government assistance program called medicaid to help pay for anything that went wrong (I barely used it though, because 2 of my 3 were home births).  Food assistance was also offered to us.  We felt very blessed, but wanted to be self sufficient as soon as possible.  We couldn't wait for my hubby to graduate and get into his career so that we could have enough extra income that we wouldn't need to ask for help anymore.

Actually dealing with finances once we didn't have semester by semester loans coming in, and instead had a monthly income, has been tough.  It is far easier to budget 4 or 6 months out at a time and just stick to that than it is to budget per month.  We thought our income would feel like much more, so we bought a house at the very tip top of our qualifying range within a mile or so of where my hubby was working.  Its a cute little house (small for having a fourth one on the way, but it'll work somehow).

Now, I know teachers in each area make different amounts of money and then that changes according to how many extra pet projects they do for the school, as well as extra certifications, and extra years of teaching experience within a district.  My husband does a lot of random projects, and took on an extra class period, so he is barely above base pay right now.  I tried to calculate what his take home pay was after all the deductions that they make for both taxes and for medical.  Take home pay is just over $28k a year.  No wonder I feel more poor now than I did while we were in school.  No one is helping us with food or co pay expenses anymore, we have almost double the housing costs (a little more than $1350 in mortgage a month with a little less than $250 in utilities), we have bigger stomachs to feed as the kids grow, and there is no more income now than there was with all those loans coming in.  We are on a repayment plan that allows us to not pay anything toward our student loans unless we want to, thankfully.  With this as our primary income and only maybe $400 coming in from our side projects a year now, its interesting to try to find a happy financial medium for raising kids.

What we're doing to survive:

We try to buy everything we can in cash, this includes small and big things alike, from books to cars.

We try to cut medical expenses by prevention.  Eating healthy, taking vitamins, using natural solutions and remedies to help with anything that comes up.  For example, it is much less expensive to use a drop of Lavender essential oil on a cut than it is to use something like Neosporin.  Though I have used both. Essential oils and natural solutions have taken care of most of the problems with health, first aid or hygiene my family has faced and has been much less expensive and usually is more quickly effective than the co-pays and doctor prescribed remedies I also tried many times.  This has saved our family hundreds, if not thousands of dollars (not to mention the saved time).  When we have a little bit more income, like we did in school, I like to go to a chiropractor that specializes in pregnancy and children once a month for each member of the family.  This keeps the nerves properly aligned so there is better behavior along with better health and immune function.  It also helps the kids recover faster when they do get sick or when they fall.  We have to live without this chiropractic perk for a bit but will continue it once we get a small raise or find time to do more entrepreneurial work (hard to come by lately).

We have never purchased a new car with car payments.  We usually purchase cheap used cars that seem like they would be reliable.  Some have been more reliable than others, but it has been cheaper to fix up a $2,300 van and spend $2,500 to fix it up that year, than it ever would have been to purchase a new van and make payments for both principle and interest.  We plan to purchase new one day, but only when we have the cash.  We will never have a car payment.

There have been moments where we have to use credit cards, but we try to pay these off within the month that we use them so that no interest is able to accrue on our purchase.  We try to avoid ever having a balance or even spending on our credit lines when possible though.

As of now our only debt is the student loans and our mortgage.  The mortgage is close to what we'd pay in rent for the same size home, so I think of it more as investing in a rental to ourselves.  A forced savings account for the equity is how my husband puts it.  Even if we built no equity, we've been able to stay here without a landlord looking over our shoulder, and paying the same price for our size in this area.  So the mortgage was worth its title of debt for me.

The student loans however, I do regret.  We needed them to get through school, but they are hanging over our heads now and we do not make enough income to even touch them.  So they are just there accruing interest until we get a raise in a couple years or we come up with some other inventive income stream.  They also have made it so we qualify for a much smaller home than we would have without them.  Even though we could earn a substantial equity by selling our house now, because of the student loans we don't qualify for the type of home we feel would best suit our kids.  Without those loans we would be able to qualify easily, and ironically our payments would go down drastically even though we'd be moving up.  Too bad the decision to take these loans gets in the way.  It does help us with getting more inventive every day to make life comfortable for adding a fourth to the home we are in now.

I laugh when people want to sell us things on a payment plan (big or little).  Really, we can't afford the extra payment for anything.  If we could, it would just come out of our food money, and I would rather eat.

For food it is easiest to stay in budget when we use a meal plan and buy our vegetables and fruit in bulk.  Meats are best bought on sale.  We love the bulk case lot sales and the year round case discounts we can get.  Buying bulk looks more expensive up front, but is cheaper in the end.  Produce can be cheaper at local farmer's markets as well as through co-ops too.

For the kids clothes it is rare that we buy them new clothes.  Instead we accept hand me downs from friends and family, gifts of clothing in every size, and if we need something that no one gave us (which happens occassionally), we make a trip to a local thrift store and find it for only a couple of dollars.  Even my oldest is in gifts and hand me downs regularly.

When the kids have outgrown their clothes I do not get rid of them.  Instead I have a system of bins, labeled by size.  When the next kid gets to that size I have clothes for them.  So we are always cycling through clothes.  Some clothes get more worn than others and aren't useable anymore, but luckily we can either replace those cheap at the thrift store or someone jumps in to give us more hand me downs.

One of our key values as a family is to be close in proximity to everything we need to be doing.  This helps us in many ways.  One way is it saves us when the car is broken or we want to not waste gas money.  My husband rides the mile bike ride to work in these times and most days that works out great.  There is a grocery store just down the hill from our home, about a block away, that we have used our bikes to shop at as well.  The kids ride in a bike trailer and we put the food in the back of the trailer to bring it home.  Another reason I value this centralized life is laughed at by many, but it is important to me.  I love knowing that if there were some major calamity, like an earthquake (which we are supposed to get here), then it would not be far for us to reunite as a family.

We started to do public school for our oldest, but due to a very long story of experiences and a very difficult transition of decisions in prayer we have turned to homeschooling.  This year we were enrolled in an online public school since I didn't really know where to start as I had never considered this for our family.  For our homeschool lessons I created a couple fun things along with finding materials that can be used and re-used for each child as they grow into needing the material.  I don't do the programs that I have to buy each year, but save money by buying entire programs that will last me multiple years at a time.  I regretted a few purchases, but was able to return those easily.  My lessons have to be next to no pre-planning (I just don't have time) and they have to be very interesting to keep my kids attention.  Most of it is literature based, as my daughter learns best that way, but my son learns best with kinesthetic learning styles, so for him we read it and then have to have an activity to reinforce what we learned.  Life has become much easier with teaching them at home.  I learn right along with them from their curriculum and it is just fun and easy to do school as time to learn & play together.  Without the right program in place both public and home schooling is challenging, but when you find what your family needs, no matter where that is, things just start to flow better.  It costs a couple hundred dollars a year for me to homeschool with my own choices of curriculum, but that is not per child, that is per family because the curriculum is reused for future kids.  There are lots of fees associated with public school, so I figure its not too big of a price difference, just a lifestyle difference.


We have made a lot of mistakes and have a long way to go, but I still believe that when you have kids in the Lords timing he somehow makes the finances work, even if it feels really challenging to do so.  I am excited for the day that we feel like we have some financial wiggle room, but right now it just works out somehow, and that's ok.  If you have kids and are worried about finances like I was, you probably only found what I did.  People sharing stories like this, but they only had one or 2 kids, not 3 or 4.  It is possible.  It can be an emotional roller coaster if certain unexpected expenses pop up or when people respond to you in hurtful ways for having more kids with "that income."  In the end kids can get by with very little, and so can we.  The most costly portions of living are food, housing, and then whatever lifestyle choices your family deems necessary.  If you are satisfied with a very conservative lifestyle than this may be an easy feat for your family.  Every family is a little different, but somehow it all works out for the better.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

I look up to women with husbands and kids and don't feel sorry

Recently, actually at church, I was informed of a blog post that seemed completely rediculous to me called "I look down on women with husbands and kids and don't feel sorry".  I had one child, then two, now three, and I know there will be more.  They are each two years apart, leaving me with a 5 year old, a 3 year old, and a one year old.  I love my kids, but I have to say that I had no idea how much harder 3 would be than 2.  Two was easy comparatively.  Yes I still had to work very hard to keep up with the daily tasks and challenges before, but now I have a tornado of destruction following me as I clean up.  Women who are mothers and striving to be the best at what they do with multiple young kids  understand this well no matter how many kids, I believe.

I live next to many 90 year old women.  I am in their book group.  They are so very accomplished in so many ways.  Most of them have raised on average 7 kids.  Some speak of remembering great events from our history books that I can't even imagine living through.  These women have many great things they will be remembered for when they pass away, but I don't think their jobs and corporate successes are what will inspire and be remembered most.  I think the way they lovingly endured through children throwing food on the walls and all kinds of other drama while teaching their kids how much they are loved by a father in heaven is most memorable.  When there is love as a basis for everything things flow so much more smoothly.  Love pushes us to show great moral character as well as to serve those around us.  No amount of titles and clout can top these mothers service to their community and family.

Our families are all different, and what works one place may need to be different for another family.  When taking on the role of a stay at home mom I don't feel like I gave up anything, in fact I had to learn to become even more accomplished than I was before.  I took much of what I learned as my myriad of "supervisor" and "assistant manager positions" and have to use proper management skills on a day to day basis, among an onslot of other skills and positions I have never held.  

Over the years I've had to learn to take on the skills of a doctor - to take proper care of my kids whooping cough, injuries, measles, and every other thing that has come up.  If I didn't study for that role than my kids would probrably be at the hospital a lot because I couldn't do the preventative or immediate care needed without the right skills.  

A Judge - Kids fight and get in trouble all the time, you can't pretend that training, defending, disciplining, and monitoring kids is a piece of cake.  No, I don't have the same credentials or go to a physical court, but there is a lot that goes into the monitoring and forming of behavior, as well as deciding how you will enact this part of the family.  It takes a lot of self control and patience.  An amount of patience that most of us are not born with (even as women), but that we have to learn.

An interior designer, a cook (creating non-processed food recipes that taste good), a maid.  To be honest the job of maid is hardest for me with 3 little kids who essentially undo all the cleaning right behind me.  I feel like I have to apologize for mess all the time, but people don't realize that each area I clean has a very short life span of staying that way.  Its rediculous to judge a mother by her ability to keep up with the disasters her kids lay before her.  Sometimes kids are angels and helpful and when they are shown that they are loved and that there is security for them in their parents hearts, they learn to be more and more helpful as they get older.  When they are so young it is more important to lay that foundation for them emotionally, and very challenging to prevent the animalistic dirtying of the home.  

I personally feel like a better mom when I pay attention to what ingredients come into my home through both food and other products.  I like the simplicity of buying pre-made "green" products, but prefer to just make my own simple, cheep and effective formulas.  I want to be and teach my kids to be self sufficient in as many skills and from scratch products as possible.  I like going back to basics and find a lot of joy in it.  This includes more skills needed than I care to write right now.

I also ended up feeling that I needed to do more than just raising my kids, but didn't feel like it was right to do day care in my family situation.  This led to my hubby and I becoming entrepreneurs.  When the kids are asleep I write books or work on one of our family home businesses.  I help people learn about natural solutions for healthcare as a wellness coach and also run a photo & video studio with my husband.  The rare babysitting for a job gives me time to recoup my perspective of my kids importance to me as a mother.

The point of all this, no matter how people choose to parent or what the skills needed specifically in their family.  We are all accomplished.  When I've hit those hard days and wondered why I became a mom I always hit a point of knowing... I wouldn't be anything without my family.  They are what makes me accomplished in the end.  When I die others will actually have things to admire me for.  I would not have anything significant to write about in an obituary, no matter my accomplishments, if I had not had my kids.

On that note I want to send a little love out to all those I know that have tried for years to have kids without success, who have had the amazing ability of adopting, and also to those like myself who for each of their children endured overwhelming sickness during those long 9 months.  Those with traumatic births as well as those who have discovered hypno-labor for smooth pain free births with much dedication and work.  It may not be hard for some people to get "knocked up" or "hitched" but to create a marriage that lasts and a home that feels like a little piece of heaven on earth is monstrously hard work, and I think that is what most of us deep down are working toward.  Don't fret.  I know its hard but keep plugging away and you'll get there.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Is White Sugar Toxic?

Its amazing to me that so many of us can be blind to how toxic some of our average food products can be for our health.  Just the sugar alone surprisingly can hurt us, not to mention the other additives.  I found this video very interesting, and learned a lot about how sugar reacts in our bodies.  I hope you learn and enjoy it as well.

The Healthiest Pizza in the World

I found the best pizza recipe!  It is paleo, gluten free, you name it.  Probably one of the healthiest ways of making pizza out there.  Best part, you really don't need to be too concerned with weight gain or nutrition on this one.  Eat as much as you want cause this one is both yummy and good for you!

-- Just an updated note.  I finished testing out this pizza and it tasted very good, but I surprisingly like my other recipe a little more for the crust which has ground flaxseed, fine small coconut flakes unsweetened, and egg.  This one just felt a little too cheesy for my taste buds, even though I love cheese, but on its behalf its my sister's favorite way to make pizza.  Its definitely worth trying cause it is really good and we all respond and like different foods a little differently from one another.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

How to get rid of bad breath naturally!

This is an awful problem when it becomes a chronic issue.  Embarrassing as it may be I and my husband have both experienced this condition at different times.  There are several things that cause bad breath but when it is chronic you know that there is something going on that is not quite right in your body.

Some reasons for bad breath:
-The food we eat temporarily stinks it up.
-We need to make sure all the nooks and crannies in our mouth are cleaned and free from rotting food, rotting teeth, or high bad bacteria ratios.
-We could have a dry mouth from being dehydrated.
-We could have Tonsil Stones.
-We could have a number of different gut conditions or problems that are pretty bad.

How can we help the bad breath?
-Eat more green veggies and parsley to counteract smell of garlic and onions we eat (and helps with other smells and gut health as well).  Taking a chlorophyll supplement can also be helpful.
-Make sure to get extra doses of vitamin C as that can help diminish bad and strengthen good bacteria in our mouths.
-Supplement your vitamin intake with probiotics as well as supplementing your food intake with probiotic rich foods like water kefir (or other kefir's), sauerkraut, any other fermented foods.  These are expensive to buy but cheep and easy to make if you feel confident in the kitchen.
-Keep self hydrated by drinking lots of water.  Kangen water is especially hydrating as it is a highly alkaline water.
-Chew food for at least twenty chews for each bite before swallowing.  This increases saliva while getting the digestive tract working more effectively as well.
-An option to increase saliva is to chew a xylitol gum as well.
-Try "oil pulling" out.  This was what the medicine men in native american tribes used to use for their clients tooth aches and other mouth conditions.  It helps saliva production but also helps to pull some of the toxins and bad bacteria built up in the mouth out.  If you are not using products that prevent remineralization than it also helps the teeth to remineralize as well.  It works well with fractionated coconut oil.  You can optionally add a drop of essential oil (like clove, cinnamon, lemon, on guard blend, or thieves blend) to the small amount you will be swishing around in your mouth.  You do this for about 10 min. but you can start at 5 and work your way up if you need.
-Eliminate common allergens from diet for 3 months.  This includes gluten grains like wheat, also corn and soy of any form.  If you are using my meal plans they pretty much do this for you without needing to think too much about how to replace them.
-Eat foods that strengthen the gut and increase your bodies nutrition.  Basically eat whole foods and super foods!  This will benefit more than just your bad breath which is a good perk too.
-Take nutritional supplements that strengthen the gut and provide greater nutrition to strengthen the body.

This video I found is a very complete video guide for helping us heal from bad breath.  Enjoy!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Increasing Milk Supply While Nursing

Due to many requests I'm going to give my story around milk supply.  My little girl was not handling foods that I was trying to introduce well so I felt I would have to nurse much longer than I might have needed to with the older two.  Simply for nutritional reasons.  One day around a year my milk supply plummeted.  I was terrified cause there were maybe 3 foods she was tolerating outside my milk.  I did a little digging.  By far the best thing that helped the most was rubbing therapeutic grade Fennel essential oil on my chest night and morning.  This doubled my milk in less than 2 days.  As I searched I also found "lactation cookies".... these are the coolest cookies ever!  They are paleo, gluten free, sugar free, but they taste amazing and give super food nutrients.  This boost of specific nutrients helps many women with milk supply, no matter the age of the baby.  This was also the first cookie my sweet little girl could handle without an allergic reaction.

1 cup butter
3/4 cup maple syrup
4 Tablespoons water
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 cups ground flaxseed
2 cups coconut flakes
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup raisins
2 Tablespoons brewer's nutritional yeast
Mix all wet ingredients with all dry ingredients.  After batter thoroughly mixed spoon cookies onto greased cookie sheet and bake for 8-12 minutes at 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  This recipe can make up to 12 dozen depending on cookie size.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Young Living vs. DoTerra and their lawsuit....

A while back I stumbled on something that talked about a lawsuit between these two essential oil companies.  It didn't surprise me much since I've seen large companies typically sue their worst competitors at some point.  Even when it is just for show with their current clientele to "keep face" on certain occasions.  I am one of those that can't let things drop till I know every nitty gritty detail and have it fully cleared up in my head though.  Very detail oriented.  I did a little digging and found some chemists that did a lot of research on both and the conclusions that their independent tests gave helped me to understand that scientifically standing many reports against doTerra were simply ridiculous.

People I talked to weren't as detail oriented and would just tell me that if I had good results, to focus on those rather than all this mumbo jumbo and deeper talk.  I had sleep deprivation from not being able to figure it out though, so I kept going on with my research.  Overall what I found for myself was...

1.  I never want to diminish another business or the good that they are doing.  And yes, I feel that both companies have brought some good into this world.

2.  I also found that for myself I am proud to stand by the products that I have seen work for me (which happens to be doTerra, but I've also seen some less substantial benefits from a myriad of other brands).

3.  I personally believe that those people that had a connection with Young Living, but ended up using DoTerra, did so with very virtuous intent (wanting to give people, including themselves, the highest quality option they could while helping as many as they could).  There has never been any action by the leaders to ever indicate any alternate intent beside helping people around the world in the best way they know how.  I really appreciate having an honest and virtuous team leading doTerra without needing to wonder if they're just in it for the money.  Many times direct sales businesses sale higher quality products and are a much better buy, however, where I get wary is when there are leaders of companies that put in hidden ways to make themselves wealthier while the distributor doing all the work is paid less (this has happened to me before so now I know what to look for).  I try to be very aware and steer clear of this wherever possible (both in conventional and direct sales business models).

I don't know why it was so hard to find as it was a statement provided in 2010, but this is the first and last statement from doTerra executive on the issue of all the weird allegations from users of other brands.  Reading this made me very confident in what I felt I had already learned through my diligent research, but it was good to hear straight from the source and I feel like should be more readily accessed by those who are curious.

Here it is... Enjoy!
(the title is a link to one of the blogs that I found this statement)

"Doterra Founder David Stirling explains break with Young Living

Doterra Founder David Stirling

 The doTera company executives are focused on Doterra and it’s mission focusing on the qualities of their products, rather than purported shortcomings of any specific company.
Young Living is an essential oils company that does over $100 Million in sales annually. They are well known. In fact, when you Google search essential oils, they are your first hit.
David Stirling, Emily Wright, Gregory Cook, and Rob Young have years of experience with Essential oils and Young Living.

In the rare event one of the executive mentions Young Living , it is always in a positive way. They mention how they respect Gary Young and how he was instrumental in paving the way for essential oils in the United States.
I personally have seen great results of Doterra product. Doterra has attracted top level executives and distributors worldwide.
Despite the fact, there has been a lot of rumors and speculations online.
Four executives of Young Living Essential oils start an essential company of their own.
Critics question the executives motives or ethic.
David Stirling clears up the air officially with the following email in August 2010

Dave Stirling President of Doterra
The following is a copy of the email:

Please forgive this intrusion into your email, we hope it will not need to happen again.  However, we cannot allow continued disparagement of our company and its leaders.  We previously requested moderators of internet groups to post this response to unfair statements made regarding doTERRA, but they have made it clear they have no intention to do so. The following is a response from David Stirling to those ongoing negative and false statements.

August 31, 2010

Call it weakness if you wish, but for some reason the rhetoric expressed in recent email exchanges (especially by some who I feel know better) has hit a chord in me.  So I’m going to break a three year silence and respond in part to the more serious allegations.  This response will not be sufficient for those most loyal to Gary and his mission, nor for those most loyal to the distributorships they have worked so hard to build….but for those desiring a clearer perspective; I hope this may serve in your search for understanding.
As the Chairman of Young Living’s Executive Committee and its lead manager for four years, there is of course much information and knowledge to which I am privy.  I have no desire to damage YL in any way or to say anything that might be embarrassing to anyone there.  Life is too short to stir up those sort of emotions.  As one of the executives on the YL team used to say concerning people’s reputations (a man for whom I still have a lot of respect), “It is an awfully thin pancake that has only one side.”  We have allowed others to define us for the past two years, with information that has often been unkind and unfair.  While I suppose all of us may be guilty of trying to share things in a way that will put us in the best light, my hope and desire here is to simply share some of the other side of the story in a straightforward, simple, and personal manner.

First, for my part, I did not leave YL to start a competing essential oil company.  In fact, the thought had never occurred to me.  My entire heart and soul were with YL and its distributors and I had no other desire than for the success of the company and those distributors who were working so hard to help make that success happen.  Two months before I was fired, I went down to Ecuador to meet with the owners for a few days.  Certain views and ideology were shared with me, with the desire they be integrated as a part of the company’s mission going forward.  Some of these were contrary to what I felt I could support or even be associated with, to which I expressed my concerns.  I knew as I left that my time with YL would be short, and it was.  Not long after my departure from YL, a few former YL associates including myself, Dr. David Hill, Emily Wright, and Greg Cook came together and discussed the need the world has for a better way of sharing essential oil healing.  I will only say that we all felt strongly that it was the right thing to do, and were compelled to move forward.

We believed that if we could provide a new standard for pure essential oils, and educate people unfamiliar with natural medicines; we could disperse some of the enmity existing between the allopathic and natural medicine worlds.  Unfortunately, assertions have been made that we (the founders) stole formulas or other proprietary information when leaving YL.  I have also heard claims from some that doTERRA supplies inferior oils or dilutes or extends them with some sort of carrier.  Of course, the fastest way to resolve this question is to simply remove the cap and try them.  Frankly, we were confident that through the use of real research, combined with experience, we could equal or improve on any formulation.  Having said that, I would like to state very clearly that there were never any formulas copied or used in any way from YL.  Nor was there anything ever done in our departure that could be seen as illegal or dishonest.  We value our personal integrity far beyond any success or advantage that might be achieved by such actions. ALL of our formulas are original, and we believe, improved.

While we had many YL distributor friends who likely would have joined doTERRA in our early days, we were very careful to not approach them.  Nor were we then or are we now in possession of any distributor lists.  That would be illegal.  I am proud to say that almost all of our leaders who built doTERRA in the first two years were new to essential oils, and did what they did because they discovered the power of the oils and that they work in an almost miraculous manner.

The part of the email that was primary in spurring my response today, painted doTERRA’s founders as a bunch of hustling salesmen, caring little about the oils, in it only for themselves.  This is so far from the truth that I’m tempted to go through person by person just to share their backgrounds, credentials, and wide respect with which they are held in their professions and communities.  I myself have nine children and we are heavy users of the essential oils.  In fact, my wife and I owe a deep debt to doTERRA’s Frankincense oil, which played an important role in helping to control seizures in our youngest child when nothing else seemed to work.

When the doTERRA management was forming, two things were of greatest importance.  First, the members of the team had to be completely trustworthy and honest.  Second, they had to be the best at their job, in terms of skill and judgment.  When these two things are in place, you can move very fast, as it is no longer necessary to “check” someone’s work or worry that their intentions may be less than completely honest.  When we decided to go forward with doTERRA, funding immediately became a front and center issue.  There was no shortage of people/groups willing to support our endeavor, but because we felt the need to preserve the integrity of doTERRA’s mission and the essential oils, in the end we decided to see if we could fund it ourselves.  This resulted in the founders leveraging every bit of equity they had in their homes or any other asset.  It also meant that they received no income from doTERRA for the first 13 months, and far less than they were accustomed to earning after that!  For all, this was a significant sacrifice and for some it represented a very real trial of faith.  Something like this is unheard of in today’s business environment.  It served to forge a united team that is 100% committed to the purpose for which doTERRA was formed.  It is also something which gives me a tremendous sense of pride for this team.

If you were to visit doTERRA’s headquarters in Orem Utah, you would experience an environment of high energy, love and respect, with a sense that employees really love doing what they’re doing.  We have a great time because we love and respect the people with whom we are doing this.  It doesn’t get any better than that.

In starting doTERRA there was nothing more important to us than the purity and medicinal quality of our oils.  This is the primary reason for our success thus far and simply will not be compromised in any way.  Of course we know the primary brokers that YL and others obtain their oils from.  We have chosen to use none of them, and likely never will.  Our oils are sourced from all over the world.  We pay more (some significantly so) because we require a higher grade.  doTERRA also puts our oils through an unequaled quality assurance process, ensuring medicinal grade as well as their being free from other contaminants.

Please know that there is absolutely nothing more important to us than the quality of our oils, without which the expected results simply cannot be obtained.

Again, my desire in writing this is not to paint YL or any other EO company in a poor light.  I would be the first to acknowledge and give credit to Gary Young for his role in introducing the US to the medicinal use of essential oils over the last 15 years.  There have been others as well like Penoel, Schnaubelt and Tisserand.  I would also include Dr David Stuart and Dr David Hill, who have worked tirelessly in this effort and are tremendous educators.

Perhaps an important point to make, is that doTERRA is not about a single person’s mission or story.  The essential oils have a mission of their own that is larger than any man or individual.  We see doTERRA as being something of a steward in helping to bring about the mission the essential oils have in doing good for the peoples of this earth.  You will not see any executive member of doTERRA emerge as an iconic figure.  When it comes to doTERRA, you will also never see any improper or overt references to deity or faith healing from the stage.  Please do not misunderstand.  Each member of our team has a deep and abiding faith in God, which like many of you influences everything that they do.  We are simply committed to sharing the oils in a manner that can be understood and accepted by your typical mainstream (western medicine raised) person.

doTERRA’s mission is not to compete with or try to destroy other essential oil companies.  Our vision is to become a very large multinational company, partnering with hospitals and research universities all over the world.  These efforts are already well underway with offices opened in Taiwan and the United Kingdom.  There are also significant efforts and exciting progress happening in Australia, Japan, and Latin America.  It is so gratifying to see many distributors finding great success, some of whom have worked hard in other companies with only marginal results.  In fact, last month doTERRA broke five new Diamonds alone, bringing the total to 12 so far this year!  doTERRA is growing at unprecedented rates, largely because the world is ready for a company focused on its mission of a mainstream approach to essential oils.  I do not mean to sound overly confident or presumptuous, but our expectations and plans are for doTERRA to continue to double in size every 3 to 4 months.  Our 25,000 distributors are part of this mission to bring about a wellness revolution, bringing essential oils out of relative obscurity and onto the world stage for the purpose of benefiting more people than could otherwise be achieved.

In conclusion, I hope that we can always be respectful of one another’s businesses, products and reputations.  If a Gary Young or another EO leader has made a difference in your life and you feel a loyalty to them, then please do not change that.  Relationships take time to build and can be lost in a moment.  When such relationships are mutually edifying, they are worthy of our efforts and should not be sacrificed.  I apologize for the length of this email response.  My hope is simply to provide some information that might serve to soften some hearts and perhaps even change some opinions out there regarding doTERRA.  I will now return to my relatively quiet position on these issues and allow people to form whatever opinions they may.

David Stirling
President and CEO
doTERRA International LLC"

If Interested in learning more about the lawsuit controversy, there are chemists and aromatherapists who discuss it in a forum that is both controversial and informative.  Here is the link to check that forum out.  YL-vs-doTerra-lawsuit-separating-fact-from-fiction

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

DIY Natural Remedy: Slivers & Splinters

Slivers have always felt like a DIY kind of problem.  As a kid I remember hating them and crying as my mom would pull them out with tweezers.  As a teen I remember hearing people talk about how they just need to be encouraged to come out on their own with different types of packs or by pushing on and manipulating the skin.  At that age usually the only slivers I got were pretty close to the surface without me even needing tweezers to pull them out.  Just a day ago I was moving our wooden side table and out of the blue this little table bit me!  I know that sounds funny, but that's how it felt.  I had a very large gash right through the inside of my knuckle.  Yes, it was bleeding, and in the middle of it was the largest sliver I have ever had going the deepest I've ever seen.  I couldn't fully straighten my finger.  I also couldn't fully bend it.  I was fatally wounded... Oh you better believe I yelped like a wounded puppy, this hurt!

Sliver Damage to My Middle Finger... Ouch!

I started off wishing I had a potato because potato packs are very useful in situations like this with drawing stuff out.  No potatoes in the house so I did the next best thing.  I soaked it in epsom salt water with a drop of Lavender essential oil.  It really reduced the pain and the swelling.  I cut open some extra skin to try to get the sliver.  No such luck, it wasn't even close to the surface.  That night I packed a cotton ball with epsom salt water on my finger.  It helped the pain through the night but didn't get that sliver any closer to coming out.  In the morning I cut a little more trying to get the sliver still with no success.  Asking my mom for help, she recommended packing it with a slice of lemon to draw it and any toxins that could cause infection out.  It stung a little but only for a few seconds.  This reduced the swelling even more and helped increase my fingers ability to straighten.  I still could not bend my finger very well and whenever I took a break from soaking or packs the pain was unbearable.  Not to mention the redness around the wound was growing.  Finally, as I was talking to my dear friend that I work to teach about essential oils with, I asked her if she thought my next step was to go to the doctor.  She said a bunch of things I knew for milder slivers and then said I should google slivers and DoTerra because there were oils that would help my body push out the sliver.  I swear that I almost always go to my essential oils first because they tend to work better then any of the other remedies I can find, be they herbal or medicinal, but this time I hadn't even thought of that for some reason.

The DIY remedy that worked:
So after that phone call I didn't want to turn my computer on, so I just went into my bathroom opened my medicine cabinet where I keep a lot of my essential oils, and looked at them.  I have learned that knowing a few properties of oils helps, but in the end if we feel drawn to a certain scent of essential oil, we usually need it for either our physical or our emotional health, since they help both.  I have seen many times that when even other oils were not quite what I needed to heal, Helichrysm essential oil has that extra boost of power to kick start my body.  I saw it in the cupboard, was immediately drawn to use it, and dropped 1 drop right onto my wound, undiluted.  Within a couple minutes I decided to try to pull out some sliver.  A little shard had surfaced so I tweezered it out.  Then I cut a new opening for a deeper part of sliver I could see emerging and I squeezed the skin together.  It was like my body was all of the sudden pushing it out because enough was coming that I could now grab it with the tweezers too.  The sliver was the biggest my hubby had ever seen in someone like that.  I could immediately bend my finger again.  We put a drop of Melaleuca essential oil on it to disinfect after the fact.  Its the morning after and my finger feels fantastic!  Thank you Helichrysm... You saved me when I had a bad burn, a cut that didn't want to heal, and now with this sliver.  You are a great friend to have in my first aid kit!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Is it safe to use Natural Remedies with Cancer?

Whenever I come across new and important health information I feel obligated to share it.  I met an amazing man who had cancer and who is married to a woman now undergoing cancer treatments.  I have researched a little on natural remedies in cancer, but his take really hit me hard and made me realize that there are a lot of misconceptions out there.  I want to share some statistics he gave me with you.

Your chance at surviving cancer if you do nothing - 18%
Your chance at surviving if you do no modern medicine and only natural/herbal remedies - 20%
Your chance at surviving if you use modern medicine (i.e. surgery to cut out tumor, chemo, etc.) - 80%
Your chance at surviving if you use modern medicine and natural remedies at the same time - 60%
Your chances if using natural remedies for healing during intervals not on chemo - unknown (under research)

He spoke of people saying all kinds of things to do.  "Drink lemon juice once a day to be healed" or "Take colloidal silver every day."  He had taken the colloidal silver previous to being diagnosed but still got cancer so these comments were a joke.  Then he spoke of a common remedy he had found for cancer tumors called a black salve.  There are many different types of black salve, but the one he spoke of essentially burns the top layers of skin, causing new skin to grow and though people say they can see the tumor fall off, that is really just dead skin.  There is no way to know if it burned deep enough to eliminate the tumor partially, completely, or not at all.  It is a dangerous game to play with no diagnostic tools.

I realized many people, possibly even including myself, have had a misconception that natural remedies give a higher potential for living than chemo and medical approaches.  The only misconception I think he may have had was that natural remedies could be more harmful than good.  This is far from the truth.  The one thing to remember to up your chances of recovery is to not mix natural remedies with chemo.  Get those medical checkups and use what will help with recoveries, but hold of on using any natural remedy be it essential oils, homeopathy, or herbs, while on chemo and 2 weeks before and after.  You wouldn't want to undo parts of the job the chemo needs to do.  There is a lot of new research being done in this area with great results.

After listening to many doctors on the subject I am grateful to know where the boundaries are for both natural care and for modern medicine.  I will say that the absolute best oils for cancer in my opinion, that have been researched the most, are wild orange oil and frankincense oil.  Its been found that after 6 weeks of use tumors will stop growing and in some cases reverse in size.  In the research it seemed like the reversal of the tumor was very much dependent upon the genetic DNA code, however the discontinuation of more growth was pretty standard.  Even I was able to get rid of a lump on my chest that was causing me so much pain that simply lifting my arm nearly caused me to fall over in pain.  Mixing certified pure wild orange and frankincense oil and putting a few drops each on the lump 3 times a day for 4 days was enough for the pain to cease and the lump to completely disappear for me.  At this point maybe I would recommend getting that doctor apt for a diagnosis still, but doing this in the meantime while waiting for the appointment.  That way at least you can have a greater chance at slowing any potential progress while trying to get a diagnosis (and if your lucky it will change the diagnosis before you get it).

Stories like his make me so grateful for modern medicine.  It is true that if we are the absolute healthiest possible and certain factors are met that cancer cannot live in our bodies.  It is also true that in general it is nearly impossible to meet every single factor in our polluted and nutrient deficient societies, not to mention the fast paced stressors and emotional states that bring more risk.  That doesn't mean we can't try to be our healthiest or prevent life threatening health problems like cancer.  His doctors said that care has never been more advanced and easy on people.  People still get sick during chemo, but not nearly to the same degree, and their chances of living are much higher.

So here I leave you... a mixed answer.  Yes, its safe most of the time, depending on the remedy used and when you use it.  No, its not safe during, right before, or right after chemo or radiation treatments; actually counteracting the chemo's effectiveness.  I personally think we could all nearly rid our society of cancer if we were to rid our society of stress, pollution, and ultra processed, chemical, colarant, flavorant, and other unnatural additives or types of foods.  Whole foods, super foods, organic, raw, probiotic & enzyme rich, etc.  These are the types of foods that will prevent our cells from going crazy and getting cancer along with reducing stress, and reducing the rest of our toxin load from our household products and all the pollution.  If we all work together for cleaner environment, eating, & home products then, at the least, this world would be a much healthier place to live.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Drug Interactions With Essential Oils - Cautions & Safety

This post is for those out there with an auto-immune disease, lupus, or any other serious chronic condition.  Its also for those of you who just have an intense desire to learn everything you can about healthcare.

I was thinking about the fact that there are so many people out there that have to make that choice between modern medicine pharmaceuticals and those that choose to only use natural solutions for the same problems.  Sometimes when people talk about this topic it sounds like those are the only two choices, but in reality they are not.  There are so many varying levels to be on in the middle of these two.  For example my sister in law thinks naturally taking care of health through any type of herbal or alternative healthcare option is quackery and should be avoided at all costs.  I thought I would never have anything in common in our first aid and medicine cabinet kits.  I was wrong.  She totally pulled out a bottle of Arnica Gel on our camping trip for someones cramping legs!  It made me very excited to say the least.

There are also those who, like me, mostly use natural solutions for our family's issues, but if something persists for over a normal amount of time or is beyond our knowledge base we seek medical attention or a doctors opinion.  For a long time I would take my kids into the doctor just to find out what it was they were sick with, and then I'd research how to naturally combat that instead of doing the prescription recommended.

There are extremists, though they are few and far between.  I am sure some of my friends from high school think I am an extremist because back then I remember saying to them "I'd rather die than go to the hospital, no matter how sick or hurt I get."  I have been to the hospital since, and no I am not that extreme in real life now that I am older.  I do still get jitters about the idea and want to do everything I can to help myself at home first if the situation arose, but emergencies require emergency care and emergency physicians.

The main kind of person that made me want to write this today are those that want to use natural solutions but are afraid to.  These people are on heavy medications and at certain points could actually have a flare and get deathly ill if they were to just stop taking their pharmaceutical pills.  I know a lot of women with Lupus or other auto-immune disorders, and this is a very common trait with them.  Many people are aware that essential oils are quicker and more effective than most herbs and pharmaceuticals in helping our bodies to feel better from all kinds of conditions by giving it the nutrition and molecular support it needs.  Because essential oils have a molecular structure that provides a specific function, many people worry about reactions to their heavy medications.  Therefore they worry that they are stuck with only one option, pharmaceuticals, because adding anything natural could interfere or react.

I want to put your mind at ease.  I feel that knowledge is power.  I do think its important to consult with your doctor, especially when on any medications, however it is comforting to know what is safe myself too.  In the end we are all responsible for our own healthcare.  Everyone and everything else is just tools, be they good or bad.

Out of all my research I found this list of essential oils that can interfere or react with drugs and how.  I just want to note here that most of these findings are related to internal use potentially reacting with internal drugs, however the external use of essential oils seems to have no impact on the effectiveness or ineffectivess/danger of the drug.  So I will post the list of drug contraindications here, but would note that for the best care and relief of flares or symptoms to take a very high quality food based supplement regimen like Lifelong Vitality along with a good diet without gluten to reduce inflammation (which causes flares), and then use essential oils on the outside of the body in targeted areas or the feet to relieve specific concerns.  This can be done while using your medications, but can improve immunity and quality of life enough to reduce the level of need for the medications over time.  It is important to talk to your doctor when changing anything about your health, even for the better, especially when there are medications involved.

The List of Contraindications for Pharmaceuticals and Essential Oils:

While most essential oils are safe with normal diluted topical use, there are a few exceptions.
Drug Injection Sites:  Caution should be exercised using any topical aromatherapy preparations around drug injection sites or areas of the body where transdermal medications are in use (i.e., estrogen or nicotine patches, etc.).
Smokers:  Interactions may be problematic with simple inhalation of essential oils(aka EO's) for someone who smokes because inhalation of EO's high in menthol, such as peppermint, will cause increased lung permeability of nicotine. Menthol also slows the ability to clear nicotine from the body. If you are a smoker, allow several hours to elapse between cigarette use and inhalation of EO's high in menthol.
Pre-Surgery Cautions:  Many oils commonly used for respiratory issues, such as rosemary, eucalyptus, ravintsara and bay laurel are high in 1,8 cineole. Cineole can interfere with metabolism of anesthesia, and should be avoided (both topically and via inhalation) for at least a week prior to any surgeries to prevent complications. High cineole oils are also contraindicated for those on barbituates, as they induce rapid metabolism of these drugs.  Post Surgery these oils however may be beneficial in the healing time needed.
Anti-Coagulant Drugs:  Essential oils which are high in eugenol or methyl salicylate should not be used by those on anticoagulant drugs. 
Other than the examples cited above, most known drug interactions in aromatherapy occur with oral, vaginal or rectal use of essential oils. Although these applications are common in parts of Europe, aromatherapy is seldom administered this way in the United States.  This is because the British aromatherapy theology and the French aromatherapy theology for use medicinally is very different.  The British theology is very hands off, just smell (as I interpret it).  The French have gone beyond and done much more extensive research in medical situations with essential oils used internally as well.  In fact it is common to have a prescription for essential oil use from a doctor in France.  

Many aromatherapy schools in the U.S. have adopted the British theology, instilling fear of internal use into its student base.  There is no need for this fear of reasonable internal use for tested and verified pure essential oils that are known to be safe and help alleviate symptoms.  Knowing which oils are safe internally, that they are as pure as is physically possible, that they are from plants in the right soil as to give the greatest nutritional power and constituents is essential.  Being sure that the oils used are of high enough quality for internal use is very important.  Be sure they have not been chemically altered, have fillers, or adulterated in the gathering and distilling process (as this can make the oil toxic or work improperly).  There is only one company I have found that sources from the greatest soils for each plant and does all the very necessary testing for each batch to verify purity and potency for the ability to get the expected results every time.  I am proud to use their lemon, lime and grapefruit in my water, just a couple drops per glass.  It tastes great, helps my energy naturally, reduces acid reflux, and helps my metabolism for better weight loss results.  If you have taken a pharmaceutical drug, just stick to topically putting a couple drops where you need with some fractionated coconut oil, or the feet are a great place to rub them on.  The feet have the biggest pores along with nerve endings from all over your body so it is the number one go to spot for topical application with most people.
Reference for Drug Interactions:
Harris, Rhiannon. Drug-Essential Oil Interactions: Risks and Reassurances. Presentation to Alliance of International Aromatherapists, (17 Dec. 2008). Denver, CO.