Baby Steps to Whole Health

…steady is as steady goes.

Healing Lemonade!

Folks, I haven’t been sick in a long time. Seriously – it has been over two years since I have succumbed to any form of seasonal virus or bacteria. I reside in the body of the most amazing immune system on the planet, I’m sure of it. Last February, my entire family got a horrible flu – fevers reaching 105 degrees, coughs, headaches, noses, ears, the whole shebang. Me? I intimately took care of every single one of them without developing so much as a sniffle. You know why? Because my immune system rocks. And because I have a couple little tricks that I like to employ throughout the year to keep myself healthy.

Firstly, I eat very little sugar at all. My husband and kids like to indulge more often than I do (I don’t purchase soda or energy drinks, but they are permitted to use their money for whatever they like), and knowing that sugar lowers the immune system response for up to 5 hours after consuming it, I do believe my lower intake of sugar is part of the reason I don’t get sick. Secondly, I eat more fruits and vegetables than they do. I serve them to everyone, but I enjoy them more and understand the good they do for my health, so I choose to eat more of them and more often. Even if I don’t particularly enjoy something, knowing it’s going to benefit my health is a good enough reason for me to eat it – not so with children! Just knowing there’s something green in a delightfully flavored smoothie is a good enough reason for them to NOT drink it!! Which brings me to my third secret (well, I suppose the others aren’t really secrets), my Healing Lemonade!! My kids absolutely loathe this drink, so getting them to drink it is nearly impossible, even when you give them just a single ounce and tell them to chug it. Every time I feel a bit of anything, sinus-y or otherwise, attempting to come on (the tickle in your throat, a small ache in the ears, that funky mouth feeling you get, etc.), I whip up a batch of this lemonade and drink a glass. And then some more in the morning. Did I mention I haven’t been sick in over two years?? When people complain on Facebook about being sick, I share this recipe with them. The people who use it feel better! So I bring you my feel good recipe for keeping myself healthy…

Healing Lemonade

2 cups water (hot or cold, depending on your mood)

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

1 inch of ginger, peeled

1 Tbsp RAW honey (you can use regular, but raw honey has benefits that cooked honey doesn’t)

Process all ingredients in blender and drink. If you don’t like the little bits of ginger, you can chop it finely and place it in a piece of cheesecloth (or even cut it into pieces large enough to remove with a spoon), then steep in the warm water for a few minutes. Personally, I think the benefit of having it all outweighs any unpleasant feeling in my mouth. And if you’re doing the steeping, you don’t even need a blender – just mix all the stuff up in a mug and drink up!

A votre sante!

*** In making this recently, I discovered that actually grating the ginger into a pan of water and boiling it for a few minutes actually renders a better flavored result! I then pour the liquid through a cheesecloth sieve into a mason jar before adding the lemon and honey! ***

Do you have any healthy tricks you use to keep yourself going strong throughout the year?

Leave a comment »

Essential Oils for Whole Health

I wanted to share with you my essential oil journey up until this point. When I first got married in 2001, my mother in law was kind of a granola-y type. She was into new age thoughts and ideas, but not fully immersed. She took a lot of vitamins and looked for more natural remedies for her health. She was a vegetarian, but ate very little actual vegetables, preferring grains and a sauce of some sort. She smoked those Indian cigarettes and drank Diet Pepsi. She was a very unhealthy granola-y type. One day she was visiting us in our apartment and thought she had some nail fungus, so she took some Tea Tree oil and soaked her feet in a water bath with that oil. It. Stunk. I could not handle the smell and asked her to not use it again. In reality, that was probably the healthiest thing she was doing for her health at that time! That was the last use of oils I experienced for more than 10 years.

From that point, through my Christian journey, I kind of thought oils were more of a new age hippy type thing, so I didn’t consider them for personal use or as a necessity. In the spring and summer of 2012 we did some mission trips on the Indian Reservations in Northern Arizona and the kids came home with lice. I had since evolved to being somewhat anti-chemical, so I didn’t want to use chemical filled lice treatments on the kids. We ended up just doing a conditioner and comb through on everyone for a few consecutive days and had great success with that. On our next trip I had wanted to use some sort of repellant so we didn’t have to deal with lice at all; through a simple Google search, I learned that peppermint, rosemary, and lavender were all said to be repellant of lice. We made a little spray bottle and spritzed our heads with it a few times each day. We also braided hair and reminded the kids not to touch head with other kids – we came home lice free.

Fast forward to November of that same year and I brought dinner to a friend who had just had a baby. She handed me a book called Healing Oils of the Bible and invited me to their Thursday evening read through. Reading that book really enlightened me on the scientific and biblical uses of essential oils. The women heading the study were members of Young Living, but they never pushed me to join; they simply shared testimonies and uses, and gave me samples of some oils they thought would be effective. I fell in love immediately with Peace and Calming, and found many uses for other basic oils. It was cold season and my husband has a knack for getting pretty stuffy. I didn’t have a diffuser at the time, but I did have the ability to boil a pot of water. We’d get it to just boiling, he’d stand over the pot and I’d drop some peppermint oil. He’d sniff, and then start sneezing as his sinuses began to drain. I did end up joining Young Living, because they have some blends that I love that I can’t replicate nearly as cost effectively, even with their higher prices. I do purchase individual oils from other trusted companies as well though.

I’d like to share with you some common health uses for the three most ‘popular’ oils (and I think they’re the most popular because they are some of the less expensive oils): Peppermint, lavender and lemon. Peppermint is a hot oil and burns especially if you get it in the eye or other mucous-y membrane. We use it straight on ourselves, but add it to a carrier oil (olive, coconut, whatever you have on hand) for use on the kids. We apply it to help relieve headaches, to relieve nasal congestion, and we put a drop in water to help relieve gas or an upset stomach. It also has a cooling effect on whichever area of the skin you put it on. Hot day – put a dab on the back of your neck or along your hairline – instant cool! Lavender is heralded to be one of the most useful oils. It is calming and is great mixed with Epsom Salts in a bath, we also use it for minor skin irritations. We combine it with a carrier oil and apply to dry skin or small burns. It’s also a fantastic itch reliever for mosquito bites! Lemon is perhaps one of my personal favorites – I just love citrus scents, they’re so cheery and remind me of spring! I like to put a drop of lemon in my water to give it a little flavor. We also massage it on the belly in a carrier oil to help ‘move things along’, if you know what I mean. I like to diffuse it to give the air a clean scent as well as to cheer up the atmosphere. I’m unfortunately regulated on how much information I can share about the properties of essential oils, but if you’re interested in learning more, my suggestion would be for you to go to the library and check out an informational book on essential oils, or purchase a copy of the Essential Oils Desk Reference.

The reason I am choosing to share oils with you here is because they have become an important part of my personal health journey. I’ve learned what modern medicine does to the systems of the body and I’ve learned how essential oils help the body function naturally. I’ve never been a big fan of medicine and choose not to use it personally unless it is absolutely, without a doubt, necessary. I do think there is a place for modern medicine and it has saved many lives, but it has also created a world full of accidental addicts and the need for more medicine to counter-act the ill-effects of other medications.

If you’re interested in trying out an oil, there are a few good companies out there that have much to offer. Look for a place that sells organic oils (as pesticides are also absorbed into our skin), and try out something inexpensive to start.

Do you already use essential oils? What are your favorites and why?

Leave a comment »