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Category Archives for Healthy Living

Free Starter Kit from Simply Aroma

free starter kit from Simply Aroma



UPDATE: Simply Aroma was around for a few years and then folded.  However, my little foray into essential oils was a great learning opportunity.

As of this time, the brand I am most confident recommending is Plant Therapy.  The nice thing is that they are also extremely inexpensive, and there is no need to purchase through a consultant.


Okay, I'm going to be upfront with you. I don't necessarily think essential oils are some miracle cure for every ailment. It seems to me like they're quite a fad with some people.  People live the most unhealthy lifestyles, then use essential oils to make their aches, pains, and illnesses feel better.  I think a better plan is just to eat healthy food, exercise, get enough rest, and do everything possible not to get sick in the first place.  But, since no one can be perfectly healthy, I believe it is important to use natural means whenever possible to help when we are ill.  Essential oils are only one part of the equation, along with healing foods and herbs.

So with all that said…

I've been wanting to learn more about essential oils, mainly out of curiosity.  I found out that Simply Aroma (a fairly new company) is offering $100 off a starter kit, making the smallest kit free (shipping is $20). I went ahead and signed up as a consultant just so I could check it out, because, hey, the price was right!

They are only offering this for a couple more days, (ends July 6, even though it says it's a June special). You need to attend an introductory webinar to get the coupon code. Watch it here.  The referring consultant is MaryElen Bream.

(If you decide to sign up for the kit, you'll need my id.  It should automatically come up on the order form if you go through this link.)



UPDATE: If you missed the announcement above, Simply Aroma is no longer in business.  I wholeheartedly recommend Plant Therapy brand oils now.  They are fantastic quality and very inexpensive too.

Solutions for a Better Night’s Sleep

Solutions for a Better Night's Sleep

Are you finding that you have a hard time getting to sleep or staying asleep at night?  Here are some things you should try:


1.Get your body on a routine by going to bed at the same time each night and getting up at the same time each morning. When you keep your sleep schedule consistent, your body will know exactly when to produce serotonin and melatonin, making you feel much more awake during the day and ready to sleep at night.

2. Make sure the room is completely dark. Any light suppresses your body’s ability to produce melatonin. Additionally, you should discontinue use of electronics well before bed time as the backlight also suppresses melatonin. Dim the lights, keep noise to a minimum, and help your body realize that it is time to sleep.

3. Avoid stimulating activity right before bed as this can suppress sleep

4. Exercising during the day helps your body produce sleep hormones
more effectively.

5. Avoid caffeine, preferably all the time, but especially in the afternoon
and later.

6. Chamomile tea can help your body relax and feel sleepy.

7. Do all that you can to reduce stress on your body. Stress hormones affect your sleep cycle just as a lack
of sleep affects your stress level.

8. There are also some aspects of your diet that you should make sure are present if you wish to promote good sleep. These include healthy fats, which give your body what it needs to produce sleep hormones.  Foods high in antioxidants also aid in hormone production and include colorful fruits and vegetables, nuts, and green or herbal teas. Sugar and carbohydrates, especially in the evening can give you a blood sugar spike making it difficult to fall asleep and later wake
you in the night when your blood sugar levels drop. Instead, make sure your dinner includes plenty of healthy fat and protein to keep your blood sugar level even. Many people are deficient in magnesium, which can cause your body to feel restless. The best way I have found to supplement magnesium is to use a topical magnesium lotion. (I buy mine from Real Traditions.) It is most easily absorbed by the body in this form and if you happen to give your body excess, it will be eliminated.


Have you joined the 10 Week Healthy Living Challenge yet?  Sign up below and you'll receive the first challenge in your inbox right away.  Increase your health and energy with some simple changes!


7 Reasons You Need to Drink More Water

7 Reasons You Need to Drink More Water

The need for water is so often overlooked, yet the effects of inadequate water intake are some of the most detrimental you can experience.


Here are 7 reasons you need to drink more water:


1. Your body needs water to flush out toxins.

2. Dehydration can cause your body to produce excess histamine, which can trigger allergies.

3. Lack of hydration causes blood volume to drop, making the heart work harder to supply the skin and muscles with oxygen and nutrients.  The harder your heart has to work, the more fatigued you feel.

4. When your body does not have enough water, it will pull water from your colon, causing you to become constipated.

5. Without enough water, your brain cannot function properly, resulting in mental fog, poor short term memory, dizziness, and headaches. Depression, fear, anxiety, anger and other emotional turmoil can also occur as a result of water deficiency in the brain.

6.  Too little water restricts blood flow, causing muscle aches and pains.

7. Dehydration causes you to be more susceptible to infections.


Perhaps you feel that you do a good job of drinking enough liquids and that you are likely not dehydrated. It is actually very easy to become dehydrated if you are drinking beverages besides water. Other beverages like tea, coffee, fruit juices, and soft drinks may contain water, but they also contain other ingredients like sugar, caffeine, or artificial sweeteners which can contribute to dehydration. Even though you are consuming water within these beverages, the more you consume, the more you are dehydrating yourself. For example, in the case of caffeine, your body must relinquish up to three cups of water for every cup of caffeinated beverages you consume in order to flush the caffeine from your system. You may think you are drinking plenty of water in addition to the caffeine, but you would have to drink three times as much water as caffeinated beverages just to “break even”.


You may also assume that because you do not feel thirsty that you are not dehydrated. When your cells are a little low on water, the brain receives a signal in the form of thirst. When your cells become dehydrated, however, they are no longer able to function properly and send the brain the “thirst” signal.

Once you begin to rehydrate yourself, your cells may have hardened to the point that they do not absorb or retain water very well. You may find yourself needing to use the bathroom frequently. Many people make the mistake at this point of thinking that they are now drinking too much water and begin to scale back again. If you will continue to power through this phase with drinking the recommended amounts of water, your cells will become more efficient at absorbing water and you will begin to feel more energetic.

You should be drinking at least half your body weight in ounces of water each day. A good way to start the day is to drink a solution of water concentrated with mineral-rich salt, such as Himalayan sea salt or Celtic sea salt (I personally use Redmond Real Salt.) Add ½ teaspoon salt to 2 ounces of water, drink, and follow with another 8 ounces of pure water. The salt water will help balance the pH of your cells as well as to encourage the cells to absorb water more efficiently.   You can tell if you are properly hydrated if your urine is a pale yellow color. Darker urine indicates a greater concentration of waste products due to the kidneys’ efforts to conserve water.


How do you rate?  Are you drinking enough water every day?


And don't forget to sign up for the 10 Week Healthy Living Challenge!  Each week we'll be focusing on one simple change that will have a big impact on our health and energy levels!



10 Week Healthy Living Challenge

These are simple things that have a big impact!



Do you want to take some steps toward a healthier lifestyle, but aren't sure where to start?

Join me for a 10 week healthy living challenge!

(You can jump in to this challenge at any time.  There is no particular start or end date, so the best time to start making positive changes is NOW!)

This will not be anything overwhelming; instead it will be one simple change you can make in your household that will have a big impact!

You'll find yourself more energetic and happier about the way you are caring for your family.

Sound good?

Enter your email address to join the fun!

(Note: if you are already subscribed to email updates, you WILL need to sign up separately for this challenge.)

Try Something New With Gro-Ables

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Gro-ables. All opinions are 100% mine.

The last update I gave on my Gro-ables was that I had to start completely from scratch because the kids had pulled the pods out of the ground and I found them lying in the grass.

I purchased some more pods and planted them.  I was thinking of trying to do it without the kids knowing, but I decided a better strategy would be to include them in the process.  If I make it more of “their” plants instead of “my” plants, they'll be more interested in taking proper care of them.

My oldest has been remembering better than I have to keep the plants watered! Although they haven't sprouted yet since it hasn't been quite long enough, I am sure they will grow if he keeps up caring for them as carefully as he has been.

The nice thing is that they don't require any complicated tending.  Once they have been planted, the only thing they need is water.

And I'm hoping that my little guy will find eating fresh vegetables even more satisfying than watching the plants grow!

During the warmer months I like to saute fresh vegetables and herbs and serve it over rice or quinoa, but that's not exactly my kids' favorite food.  Hopefully they will do more eating and less “picking” when they realize that they helped to grow what they're eating!


What is your favorite recipe using fresh vegetables or herbs from groables?





Visit Sponsor's Site

15 of the Best Products You Can Buy from Vitacost

When I first started on this journey to healthy living, I was rather shocked to find out how much more certain foods were going to cost.  Pastured meat?  Roughly 4 times as much as grocery store meat.  Organic vegetables?  Again 2-4x as much as I had been spending.  Eggs?  $2 – $4/dozen compared to $.99.  If I was going to follow-through with this healthy living thing, I was going to have to do a lot of legwork to find the best prices on everything that came into my home.  (And add a lot of beans and rice to the menu too!)


I shared earlier some of the places to look for food like shopping Farmer's Markets and other options for shopping for local food .  For meat and produce, I don't think there's anything that can compare to buying local.  You don't really know much about grocery store food other than what you are told on the (often misleading) packages.  When you buy locally, you know exactly how your food was grown, you support the local economy, and your food is more nutrient dense since it was harvested at its peak rather than picked unripe and shipped.


But what about other non-fresh items?  I have found several favorite places to purchase things online at the best prices, and in the coming weeks I will feature those different places and what I typically buy there.

This week I'll give you a list of my favorite items to buy from Vitacost.  Their website is so huge, that if you don't go there already knowing what you want, you could easily be overwhelmed and give up.

But I highly recommend shopping for the following items there.  Their prices are usually the lowest on these items to begin with, and they often have sales and coupons besides.  If you are a new customer you can also get a $10 off $30 coupon when you sign up through my referral link. (Update: Vitacost has discontinued their referral program, so I can no longer offer the $10 coupon.)



In no particular order, these are the things I purchase regularly from Vitacost:

1. Garden of Life Raw Meal – allergy free, non-GMO meal replacement protein powder with no icky fillers.  This saved my life many days when I was in the throes of chronic fatigue syndrome.

2. Liquid castile soap – I use this for bathing and making my homemade cleaner

3. Garden of Life RAW Probiotics – therapeutic grade probiotics; one of the few brands that arrive refrigerated so that they stay alive!

4. Garden of Life Cod Liver Oil – Omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin D, and DHA are crucial nutrients to my health, especially when breastfeeding.  Taking a spoonful of this everyday ensures I get what I need.

5. Blackstrap Molasses – I use as a sweetener, and also take a spoonful occasionally to boost my Vitamin B and iron.

6. Liquid Chlorophyll – provides magnesium and helps…ahem…keep you “regular”.  I used to buy the NOW brand, but I don't see it on their site right now.

7. Vitamins – I can tell a huge difference in my energy level if I don't take my vitamins.  These are an organic, whole-foods (non-synthetic) vitamin and herb blend.

8. Cacao Powder – You know me and my chocolate.  I use this to make my peanut butter cups or hot cocoa.  Or sometimes I just stir some up in a glass of milk with honey and mint oil – the most delicious mint chocolate shake ever, and it's full of antioxidants and protein!  What more could I wish for?

9. Essential oils – I'm just now learning about essential oils, so I only use them for a few things — peppermint for making mint chocolate recipes, tea tree for making disinfectant, eucalyptus for decongestant chest rub, lavender for adding to my homemade hair spray.

10. Coconut Oil – I prefer to buy my virgin coconut oil from Tropical Traditions, but for cooking, I choose expeller pressed coconut oil since it is odorless and flavorless.

11. Chocolate chips – gluten, dairy, and soy free.  Perfect for anyone with food sensitivities.

12. Gluten free flour – Pamela's gluten free baking mix is to die for!  You will be in gluten free heaven once you try it!  Thank you, Pamela, whoever you are!

13. Real Salt – It's important to use a salt that has not been bleached and had all the minerals processed out of it.

14. Bentonite Clay – I use this for cleansing toxins, brushing my teeth, washing my face, healing burns and bug bites…I'm sure there's more!

15. Apple Cider Vinegar – great for treating colds and flu as well as soaking grains.


Update: I did an impromptu video of my son unboxing some of our Vitacost favorites.  Take a peek inside!



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