Summer Essentials - DIY

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I ❤️ Summer in a big way - i love the food, the smells, being outside all the time, playing in the water, yes even the heat. Not coincidentally some of my favorite non toxic diy recipes accompany this favorite time of mine. Here are my go-tos....

1. Non toxic insect repellant

  • 2 oz glass spray bottle
  • 15 ml terrashield  (for mosquitos and most biting bugs)
  • 10 drops arborvitae (for ticks) 
  • 10 drops cedarwood (for ticks and deep wood bugs) 
  • 10 drops peppermint and/or spearmint (for spiders and ants
  • fill the rest of your container with water and shake before each use! 

2. Skin soothing spray (great for after sun burns or on bug bites!)

  • 2 oz spray bottle
  •  1 oz water
  • 1 oz fractionated coconut oil
  • 10 drops each of lavender, melaleuca peppermint and frankincense  

3. Non toxic weed killer - y’all this stuff WORKS, I put my before and after pics below

  • 2 gallon sprayer bottle  
  • 1 gal vinegar
  •  1/4 c Castile soap
  •  40-50 drops of your favorite weed killing oils (i love 15 drops wild orange or lemon, 15 drops peppermint or spearmint or wintergreen, 15 drops clove, Basil or rosemary)
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Lead Poisoning update # 1 MIRACLE!

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It's been 2 1/2 weeks since I got the call from our Pediatrician that my baby girl had lead poisoning with a blood lead level of 19.8. I'm so happy to share that today we got better news than we even thought was possible... she's down to a 13!!!!! Let me tell you why this is a straight up MIRACLE...

There's not a ton of hard research numbers on children's rate at which lead leaves the blood after significant lead poisoning... but there are on adults. The half life of lead detection in adults (with full-sized optimally functioning liver and kidneys) is anywhere from 25-36 days; i.e. if an adult's levels are detected at a 10, **and no further lead exposure occurs** <- this part is important for additional miraculous blessings I'll get to later, in about a month doctors would expect their levels to reduce to a 5. Because children have much smaller bodies and smaller detox organs (liver and kidneys), most doctors and scientists believe their rates of detox to be much slower. I've read stories online of parents whose 6 month old had a level of 10 and were so happy to have it down to 5 six months later.  For Eden's levels to be reduced by nearly 35% in a matter of 2.5 weeks is MIRACULOUS... even by adult standards!!

And to make this an even BIGGER miracle - there was a TON of lead exposure in and around our home since the inspection last Friday stirred up a bunch of lead dust during testing. I'm so happy I've been crying tears of gratitude and joy since we got the news a few minutes ago. I was praying for a miracle (and expecting something like a blood level of 16 to come back quite honestly - so this even floors what my "big" miracle expectations were!) And lets not forget our home is still fulllll of lead paint... so we can add that as the cherry on top of this miraculous result.

Because I'm sure people will ask, here's what we've been doing to help her body along:

  1. Pray - In an almost constant conversation with God that has sounded a lot more like begging, we've been praying that He would remove the lead from her precious body safely and quickly. We've had a huge group of friends and family praying along side us. The power of prayer y'all.
  2. Clean - the enemy here is the lead dust that gets on the floor and then onto her hands/toys which she puts in her mouth and swallows. So we've been using wet paper towels to clean every horizontal surface, keeping lead-based friction surfaces (windows & doors) as still as possible to avoid stirring it up, using a HEPA filtered vacuum on all floors, couches and curtains, and washing her hands regularly and bathing her more as well.  
  3. Nutrition - iron, calcium and vitamin C are key minerals and nutrients that fill receptors where lead could get into and cause permanent damage, so we've upped her leafy green, fruit, and nuts, healthy meats, yogurt and veg intake (thank you smoothies!) and added in a multivitamin (we swear by doTerra's kids AtoZ chewable!)
  4. Detox Oils - this is my (not so) secret weapon. I apply a 10ml roller ball filled with fractionated coconut oil, Cilantro, Zendocrine (blend of Tangerine, Rosemary, Geranium, Juniper Berry, & more Cilantro) and Purify (blend of Lemon, Siberian Fir, Citronella, Lime, Tea Tree, & more Cilantro) over her liver, on bottoms of her feet and/or down her back 2-3x a day.

Thank you Jesus for this miracle and for all of you reading - for your prayers and support. We still have a long way to go before we are out of the woods, but this is an incredible start!!!

 

Lead Poisoning

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It's been 1 week since I got the phone call from our pediatrician that Eden's routine blood work showed her lead levels were extremely high (a 19.8 when below 5 is safe). In the short 7 days since then we've been on quite the rollercoaster... more blood work (for both kids), a 6 hour home inspection, and a new routine of obsessive hand washing, deep cleaning, dietary changes, detox efforts and more - not to mention the emotions. For those of you who've known me for more than 3 years, you'll remember that Asa had a minor lead scare when we lived in New Orleans (his levels were an 8 - and most likely caused by the demolition of an old school building next door - I'm happy to report his current lead level is 0!), so this all felt like a terrible case of dejavu.  Thankfully because I'd been through this before I knew exactly what to do after I got off the phone with my pediatrician last week, but before I get into that here's some basic info from the Mayo Clinic about lead poisoning.

Because Eden's levels were not acutely toxic (above 45) there are no medical treatments or interventions for her poisoning. As usual, when medical professionals say they can't do anything, I trusted my instincts (and followed my wisdom from my experience with Asa) and made Eden a daily detox support rollerball of zendocrine, purify and cilantro. And per the pediatrician's recommendations are making sure all her foods are nutrient dense with iron, vitamin c and calcium and add in a multivitamin for good measure.  And lastly prevent further lead exposure... right now this looks like

  • wet wiping all horizontal surfaces she touches as often as possible (weekly deep cleans)
  • cleaning her toys regularly with soap and water
  • washing hands / taking daily baths to rinse off any lead dust
  • using a hepa filtered vacuum to clean all floors
  • getting a lead positive surfaces removed/encapsulated/sealed ... more on this below.

Because Eden's levels were so high, the County Board of Health was notified and steps in to oversee the lead abatement process. Yesterday we had an inspector come to our home and check every painted surface in our home with a fancy x-ray machine, take soil and dust samples from every floor/room of our home, and give initial recommendations. After 6 hours, this is what we know... 15 windows, both porches, all doors (except front), and thresholds in our home will need some sort of professional lead abatement and/or replacement - some baseboards, porch structures and garage surfaces will also eventually need attention but are not currently causing any issues. We are still waiting on dust and soil samples.

Needless to say, I've had that "someone just punched me in the gut" feeling for about a week now, but even in the midst of this there are so many things to be grateful for: we've only lived in this home for 5 months and long term exposure would be MUCH more dangerous, so finding out about it now is such a blessing. Eden had a secondary blood test which revealed we've gotten her levels down .8, so our detox, nutrition and cleaning methods are working! She doesn't show any signs of acute poisoning, she is still a (mostly) happy normal 13.5 month old baby girl and is developing normally. And so now our biggest concern is being able to afford all of the costly repairs, abatements, and replacements (likely to cost 10-20K) since we do not qualify for state/county grant and the city's low interest loan programs, as well as getting these issues taken care of ASAP to ensure our home is safe.  We are believing in the Lord's protection over our family and finances and would appreciate your prayers along side us for continued provision as we move along in this journey.

I'll be keeping everyone posted along the way and would encourage anyone with small children living in a home built before 1978 to get an inspection done and your children's blood levels checked annually (at least!) Thank you for all of your support and prayers in the meantime. 

Reporting birth trauma

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I just did it - after a year of battling the doubt and the demons... I formally filed a complaint against the practitioner who was present at my daughter's birth. I've stayed quiet about what happened for over a year and been holding onto a lot of anxiety over what happened. Today, I set myself free from the shame and guilt of the experience and knew I needed to share what happened so that if something like this has happened to you, you might be encouraged to do the same. If you have experienced birth or sexual trauma, please be aware that this post may be triggering. 

What happened - my water broke at 8pm on the 19th and with a baby girl that was 4 days overdue I was READY. I slept through the night being woken up by a few contractions. I knew from my first birth, which was a 3 day marathon, that any sleep I could get would be precious and valuable for my task ahead. To my disappointment contractions stalled despite my best efforts and at 3pm the following day on March 20th I was induced with a teeeeeny tiny dose of pitocin. I walked the halls, labored in the shower and the tub, feeling joyful and excited as my husband, my doula and my body worked together to bring Eden earth side. As I entered the final stages of labor my midwife came in and told me it was time to get out of the tub (the hospital I was birthing at allowed water labor but not water births, much to my dismay). I knew it was time! I tried to get comfortable so that the midwife could perform an internal exam, which I requested so that I could get a progress report and give myself some mental motivation to finish well. I was 8cm and close to the end! Feeling excited and ready I reclined in a 45 degree angle, which was the most comfortable for me at the moment. My midwife told me I needed to lay on my left side because of Eden's position in the birth canal - she assured me this would ensure the best birth possible. So, I did. Immediately the waves got stronger and everything became a blur - It felt as though my body had taken the reigns and my mind was just along for the ride.  I mentally understood that this meant my daughter would be in my arms in moments and then as the next contraction approached my midwife, without warning, attempted another internal exam. I remember screaming "get out, get out" and attempting a whale-like version of a heisman pose, only to have her push my arm aside and yell "it's going to hurt whether I'm in there or not" and in an instant my beautiful birth began to unravel. 

I had lost control - of my body and my birth. I felt completely violated, disrespected and abused. I'd lost trust in my care provider and the process. My excitement deflated and my joy turned to anguish. I went into "fight or flight" mode, which for me - is fight. I felt my entire body tense up as she held her hand inside of me, and the weight of her body on top of me to hold me still. Moments later she was back at my feet.  As I approached crowning my legs intuitively began to try to find something to push against to help my body along. My midwife (who I will remind you had requested I lay on my side, and had decades of experience under her belt which one would think would have prepared her to hand a woman's body in this position) yelled "stop kicking me" as my sweet baby girl's head came down to crown. Less than 30 seconds later Eden's fresh beautiful healthy baby skin was on mine and an overwhelming sense of relief settled in. After everything was over just before she left the room my midwife found my eyes with a look of, what appeared to be disgust, and said "you made quite a mess down there, you' should shower to clean yourself" and left the room. 

Every birth is different and every birth trauma is as well - I've read stories of incredible physical abuse, while others remain more emotional or mental. While I am grateful that my experience was not permanently damaging physically, it has been something I've dealt with on a regular basis since that day. I felt so anxious about even seeing that midwife again I specifically requested my postnatal visit be with a different midwife at a different location so that there was no chance I'd even run into her. Unfortunately, when I was bold enough to bring up my experience during my postnatal visit, the midwife replied "oh, her parent recently passed away, I'm sure she was just having a bad day" - almost completely invalidating my experience and trauma. 

In instances like my own, it seems like the fact that having a healthy baby is enough - but shouldn't we expect more from one of the most life-changing, vulnerable and incredible experiences of our lives? Shouldn't the bar be higher than "at least we are all healthy."? Shouldn't we be free from the idea that just because a physically healthy baby and mother are the result that anything that happens in between is justifiable? Yes, medical emergencies are necessary and sometimes the trauma of birth results from those unexpected events, but I'm specifically referring to the ones like my own that are 100% unnecessary, avoidable, preventable and/or harmful mentally. As patients and mothers we have the right to expect that our physicians, midwives, nurses and medical staff have our best interest in mind when they come to work - both in body and mind. 

And if we so regularly feel the need to report a bad customer service experience (ranging from the rude service to full on food poisoning at a restaurant), should we not also be reporting our poor experiences within our medical care?  After a year of flashbacks, and sorting through my emotions with the help of professionals I finally came forward to report the abuse I experienced as a patient under the care of a medical provider. I reported not to get an apology or in hopes that anyone would lose their job, but rather that my story would be recorded, that people would know about what happened so that steps can be taken to ensure no other mother will ever have to go through that (or worse) again - and more importantly, that if any other mother has come forward, or will come forward in the future, that she will feel the comfort of knowing she is not alone. I will continue to heal... continue to reclaim my birth experience by focusing on the blessings and accomplishments of that day rather than the hardships and abuse. I will use the challenges I face to become stronger and I hope that in doing so you, my dear reader, would be empowered do so as well. 

Finding your strengths to combat the comparison monster

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So many times we feel like we fall short as parents - especially when we scroll through our feeds seeing other moms' "highlight reels" aka - all the glory and none of the guts... We know in our heads that the gorgeous healthy meal they posted may have been the first greens they've cooked all week, and that their kid may have refused to eat it demanding chicken nuggets for the 3rd time that day. We KNOW all of this is possible and even probably, yet seeing that photo of "remember to eat the rainbow" tugs at our heartstrings and we immediately think "ugh, how does she do it?! I can never seem to get my act together"... etc.etc.etc. Wash.Rinse.Repeat - daily, heck sometimes multiple times a day! I'm certainly not perfect at combatting this comparison monster, but I recently learned some amazing strategies that have helped me realize and appreciate the beauty of my own reality and put others' picture perfect projections into perspective.

At the suggestion of some of my mentors and friends in doTerra, I picked up a copy of Strengths Based Leadership and took the Strengthsfinder quiz (you can use a code found in the back of the book to take the quiz or head straight to their site and take it). And when I say it was eye opening, I truly was not prepared for the impact it was going to make. The quiz took about 45 minutes - not your average buzzfeed "which hogwarts house are you" quiz. Instead this one was filled with questions like "would you rather feed everyone in the world for a year or cure cancer." Questions where there's no clear "wrong" or "right" answer... and the two choices are both valid, noble, attractive goals/traits/habits.  These questions really get to the root of what gets your heart strings tugging. And so, at the end of this 45 minute mind meld, my results popped up explaining my top 5 strengths and I'll be honest, I cried... ok ugly cried. 

Gallup, the organization who conducts, promotes, trains and explains this strength test was present at the recent doTerra leadership retreat I attended. The two Gallup researchers presented so much information that continued blowing my mind with facts like - there's an infinitesimal possibility (aka impossible) that anyone in human history has your same top 5 strengths in the same order. YOU are truly one of a kind, not just alive today, but for the entire length of human existence, and not just in your DNA, in your personality.

After spending some time understanding my own strengths, the old comparison monster came rearing its ugly head again "what are the other strengths?" "which ones are the "better" strengths to have?" "Is it bad that all of my strengths are from the same category?" The short answer to each of those are: there are 34 strengths, divided into 4 different categories, none are better to have than others and no - having strengths from every category or just 1 doesn't make you stronger or weaker, just makes you... YOU. 

In light of this, all of my constant comparing seemed silly, and kind of pointless - how could I possibly compare myself to someone who is built and equipped for life so differently than I am? Why am I trying to be someone that I could not possibly ever be? And more importantly - now that I know more about what makes me unique, strong, and capable - how do I use that to not only be the best version of myself but use those strengths to impact and serve my family, my friends, my community, the world? I know, it got meta there pretty quickly.

Needless to say, now when my mom friends post about their glorious 5am workout, instead of kicking my own self for not doing the same, my reaction (usually) is more like - WOW, she's incredible... I bet one of her strengths is Activator.  I'm feeling super inspired to get back on the body movement bandwagon, what would work for me? (my answer: 2x a week yoga w/ childcare at a female-empowerment body positive studio down the street). And of course, there are times when I am super jealous of a mom's amazing beach vacay pics - but now I know how to handle that in a healthy way and am doing my best each day to navigate using my strengths to find my own way through parenting, in my relationships and my business. 

Have you taken the strengthsfinder quiz? Put your top 5 in the comments below!

My top five strengths are: connectedness, empathy, positivity, developer, and relator.

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DIY Diffuser

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Using essential oils has totally transformed my health and the health of my family. BUT, lets be honest sometimes the price tag can seem steep (oils truly save you THOUSANDS in the long run by replacing conventional products with DIY non-toxic, avoiding prescription and co-pay costs, and the Loyalty Rewards Program benefits - free products, delivered right to your door saving you both time and gas money... but I digress).

When you invest in your health by starting a daily healthy routine with essential oils, you begin to realize that in order to get the most out of them you need some extra supplies: diffusers, roller balls, fractionated coconut oil, spray bottles, etc. (FYI - When you join my team, it's my joy and practice to gift every new member with at least a few of these necessities to help you get started!)  And to help increase the value of your investment, here's a super easy, affordable, (#pinterestfail proof!) DIY anyone can do! 

REED DIFFUSER

  • an empty clean small glass container (old medicine bottle, small jelly jar, mini vase)
  • 1/4 c Fractionated Coconut Oil (or other liquid oil you cook with that has a minimal scent - avocado oil, almond oil, grapeseed oil, even beauty oils like jojoba and rosehip will do!)
  • 5-6 bamboo reeds 8-10'' long (you can get these at most craft stores or big box chains, - in a pinch, just head to you local grocery or dollar store and grab some wooden grill kebab sticks - I cut off the sharp points for safety)
  • 15 drops of your favorite essential oil

Directions: add fractionated coconut oil and essential oil to your empty glass container and insert reeds, set this on a high shelf or place where it wont easily get knocked over and be sure to flip your reeds 1x a week and add more essential oil if the scent is fading too much. ENJOY!

Healthy Food for Picky Eaters

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As someone who's cleaned up her eating routine within the last year, I've also encountered a little bit of "push back" from family members who are not so keen to have their normal eating schedule interrupted. So I've learned to cope, coax and invite my brood of picky people along with me and here are some of my favorite methods...

1. Hide the veggies - yes, I know, not the most honest thing to do, but seriously... what you don't know can't hurt you and in this case it will actually HELP you. Some of my favorite "hidden" veggie recipes are:

  • veggie marinara sauce - diced tomato, onion, garlic, italian herbs, seasoning, celery, and steamed veg of choice - carrots, cauliflower, or any root veg on hand work really well! blended together and then served over zoodles or store bought pasta made from chickpeas, quinoa or brown rice. 
  • mac & "cheese" - you can use real cheese in this, but blend it up with some squash, carrots or cauliflower, or better yet go full vegan and try a nice cashew based sauce (you'll barely notice the difference I swear!)... again, served over a bed of store bought chickpea, quinoa or brown rice pasta - no one EVER complains!
  • smoothies - dark leafy greens blended with sweet fruit makes that medicine go down niiiice and easy (my 3 year old loves "superman juice"!)
  • Chilis and Soups - With strong flavors like classic chili or chicken noodle, you can hide almost any vegetable if its cut up small enough or looks like it blends in. I love to add carrots, parsnips, yellow peppers, cauliflower and celery to my chicken soup and chili gets red and orange peppers, carrots, tomato, beets, and any other root vegetable I've got around the kitchen. 

The moral of the story is... the smaller the veggies get, the easier they are to hide and the fewer complaints you'll hear from your picky eaters at the dinner table!

2. Build your own - this works especially well for the wheeling and dealing preschooler.  This type of dinner allows each picky eater to choose what they want to eat, and when you only put out healthy options, who cares if they end up with a plate of bare rice, avocado chunks, a couple bites of chicken and half a carrot amirite?! My fave BYO meals are:

  • Burrito bowls (or any Mexican really - nachos, tacos, etc!) Simply lay out the shells/chips/rice bowls out and let each person grab from a feast of healthy toppings like chicken, beef, sprouted tofu, lettuce, tomato, salsa, cheese, avocado/guac, onions, corn, plain yogurt, black or pinto beans... think chipotle, but at home. 
  • Asian noodle or rice bowls - I love this one because you can use basic ingredients and transform it with a variety of sauces - thai peanut, curry, terryaki, korean bbq, or just plain soy sauce! Same idea as the burrito bowls, but instead maybe grill some salmon, slice up cucumbers, shred carrot, cabbage, slice green onion, steam broccoli, scramble a few eggs, and top with the sauce of your choice.

3. Health-ify family favorites - love pizza? burger and fries? sweets? Don't stop eating them! Just make them more nutritious by switching up the ingredients.

  • Pizza - Instead of a traditional wheat crust, make or buy a cauliflower crust, add extra veggies on top, or simply use grass-fed cheese (more nutrient dense than regular) and leaner meat choices. 
  • Burger & Fries - choose grass fed beef, a veggie burger or black bean burger, pile on the veggie toppings, and find the most nutritious buns possible (lettuce "buns" are great, whole wheat, sprouted or gluten free are also great choices too!), and slice up your own potatoes to roast in the oven for a perfect side, or better yet, add in some carrot, zucchini or parsnip "fries" in with them!
  • Sweets - oh my gosh, the possibilities really are endless if you get a little bit creative... some of our favorite treats are "bliss balls" (chocolate almond butter ones are our fave because they taste like Reese's PB cups - you can recreate just about any of your fave chocolate bars this way!) and "N"ice Cream made with almonds, dates, frozen bananas and your favorite flavors. When in doubt, just blend all of your ingredients together for a nice smooth easy soup.

4. Share the experience - picky eaters love to know as much about their food as possible, and what could be more exciting than knowing, controlling, and participating in creating the food you're going to eat? This works especially well with young kids - plus it gives them exciting 1 on 1 time with their parent.   

Do you have any favorite recipes/tips/tricks for picky eaters? Leave them in the comments below! 

Worthy

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WORTHY adj. having or showing the qualities or abilities that merit recognition in a specified way., deserving attention, effort or respect. noun. a person notable or important in a particular sphere.


REFLECTING on 2017, writing down the achievements I was most proud of, areas of life in which I had the most growth... to name a few: I've made it through labor and delivery without pain medication, eliminated incredible amounts of financial debt, shed 55lbs of excess weight by overcoming food addiction, grown my business to become one of the top 10% of earners in doTerra, and found a new respect and appreciation for my body while learning to accept its imperfections.  But none of these shining accomplishments came without great sacrifice, effort, grit, prayer, and prioritizing. This year, I learned self worth.

LEARNING

  • that without trying, or doing anything, I was already worthy of being loved - just as I was at that moment in time.
  • to make temporary sacrifices in order to be free of the bondage of financial debt.
  • that food will not fulfill me or give me the relief, respite or comfort I desire.
  • I am worthy of living in a healthy body.
  • I am a capable leader with all the tools necessary to be successful in my business.
  • to push through the hard stuff (literally and figuratively), because on the other side of it is something beautiful and fully worth the effort

SHIFTING EXCUSES      One of the best things I began practicing this year was instead of making the excuse "I don't have the time/money/energy" to ________. I replaced the excuse with a phrase like "It's not worth my time/money/energy to______" or "______ is not a priority for me right now" or "I choose to not ______"  And then sat with that for a moment to see how it felt.  Changing how I framed my choices mentally - from a passive, circumstantial excuse to an active choice I was personally making- truly helped clarify my priorities. Some of the things I chose not to do this year were hard because they're "good" things - I chose not to get a gym membership because I knew that prioritizing debt elimination was in my best interest and I could exercise for free at home with my kids (truthfully, I also did not choose to do that as often as I would have liked to... this is a process people and I'm still working on it!) Others were very easy to make "I choose not to spend time with ______ person" because they had become a negative influence on my day to day life. As a born people-pleaser, letting go of people/things even if it meant they wouldn't like me as much anymore was SO freeing!

PRAYING that each of you is able to fully experience the fulfillment and joy of celebrating your worth this year. 


We all have 168 hours/week

(minus 40 hrs work & 56 hrs sleep)

and 72 hours to CHOOSE our priorities


"You will never install healthy habits if you don't believe you are worth living in a healthy, strong, vibrant body." - Ange Peters, Beautiful Life Blueprint 2018 

(this is the amazing free resource I used to do my 2017 reflections and 2018 planning!)

 

my 2017 health journey

After my daughter Eden was born in March last year, I knew I needed a major health re-boot. I've been on the "healthy train" for the past 10 years, but lets face it - even organic food can be unhealthy (I'm looking at you organic frozen pizza, french fries and ice cream).  I knew when I committed to this, I'd be using my oils and doTerra products to help me along the way. I had high expectations for my results but never could have imagined just how MAJORLY my life was about to transform...

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What this picture doesn't show is my... 

  • huge boost in self respect
  • increased energy
  • lowered anxiety
  • better quality sleep
  • increased vitality
  • more even mood flow
  • better digestion
  • and so.much.more!

This is the Cleanse Kit I used... It covers every base you need for a TRUE gut cleanse and restoration - leading to better health in your entire body! I also added in THIS incredible essential oil blend to help curb sugar cravings

What comes in the kit?

  1. doTERRA Lifelong Vitality Pack - Provides essential nutrients and metabolic support
  2. Zendocrine Softgels - Supports your body's natural detoxification system
  3. Zendocrine Complex - Supports healthy cleansing and filtering of liver, kidneys, colon, lungs, and skin. 
  4. DigestZen TerraZyme - Digestive enzyme complex that helps your body absorb the maximum amount of nutrients from the good foods you're eating while aiding in the digestion process to help reduce GI discomfort (you know... bloating, gas, cramping, etc)
  5. GX Assist - Supports a healthy digestive tract by assisting your gut and other cleansing organs to remove things like candida (yeast overgrowth) and other harmful buildup
  6. PB Assist+ - Encourages friendly bacteria growth by using an incredible double encapsulation process that involves a PREbiotic that gets the PRObiotic directly to your intestines (this two step process is essential for an effective probiotic supplement, otherwise most of the good gut flora dies in your early digestion process and never makes it to where it will be most effective!)
  7. DDR Prime Softgels - Promotes cellular health, function, and renewal. 
  8. Lemon Essential Oil - gentle system cleanser

I promise that even if this seems overwhelming right now, by committing to a regimen like this  your whole body is being taken care of!

To take it a step further, since we all need some extra encouragement and support to make big life changes... I'm going to create a Facebook group for everyone doing the cleanse - so we are all in it together (there are over 500 people already there!!) You will get a day by day plan and tons of support and education. We will get started on January 15th! 
 

HOW TO JOIN:

  1. Click on 'Get Oils Now' in the toolbar on the right side of this page
  2. Click the 'Join and Save' tab 
  3. Fill out your info
  4. Choose Clean and Renew kit
  5. Let me know as soon as you join so I can add you to the Facebook group!

No matter what your goals, intentions and resolutions are for the 2018 - I wish you an incredible year and hope you'll allow me the honor to come along side you to support, encourage and cheer you on to better health this year!

Conquer the Cold

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Changing weather got your throat feeling a little scratchy?

Heres what I do as soon as winter sickness symptoms appear...

1. Take an on Guard Plus soft-gel every 3-4 hours

2. Diffuse some Breathe, on Guard or other immune-boosting blends

3. Carry around On Guard throat drops for discomfort, annoying tickles in the throat and an extra layer of protection in "germy" situations like grocery stores or waiting rooms

4. Drink all the tea (water is good too, of course) - i like to mix it up with herbal teas and raw ingredients like ginger, garlic and lemon in hot water - always served with raw local honey.

5.  Ditch the processed sugar and inflammatory foods (dairy, refined grain, fried food, artificial colors/flavors/sweeteners, saturated fats, etc) to make sure my body only has to focus on fighting one thing at a time. 

6. Make a throat spray. This spray can bring relief from irritating drainage or dryness:

Spray Recipe-------

8 drops On Guard

8 drops Lemon

1 drop Clove

4 drops Peppermint

1 drop Oregano

2 drops Frankincense

Fill the rest of the 1 oz. glass spray bottle with water. Shake and Use 3-5 sprays at a time as needed. 

Shining a light on S.A.D.

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S.A.D.

Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Winter Blues.

Gloomy Greys.

You know, the emotional funk that comes with the change of season.

I’ve battled it for most of my adult life and have found a few awesome, effective natural ways to beat the blues that work well for me.

- SAD light: sunlight simulation does wonders for your mood! do your research and invest in a good one, they’re worth every cent!

- movement: even if it’s just a set of jumping jacks in the morning to get the blood flowing, body movement triggers happy hormones that keep the pep in your step

- nutrition: this time of year i want to curl up and eat an entire bag of chips with a side of wine but what my body really needs is more nutrient dense foods so i turn to hearty soups, warm tea, and nourishing broths. As always i keep my vitamins close by!

- getting out of the house: social interaction, even if it means seeing people at the store, library or museum, always gets me feeling connected again. I love to plan special play dates and meals with friends during colder seasons a few weeks in advance so i always know I’ll have something going on.

- oils: i always start the day with a citrus oil - my favorite is bergamot since it reduces my anxious feelings but i also love to mix it up with citrus bliss, grapefruit, wild orange or lime. Mints pair really well with citrus so I’ll usually throw in peppermint or spearmint in the diffuser too but my fave by far is the Motivate blend from the emotional line- true to its name, I’m always more likely to get myself in gear with this smell filling the house - hygge: if you haven’t heard of this Scandinavian tradition of creating the coziest environment possible to embrace the indoor lifestyle of winter, google it. Even the images of soft blankets, warm slippers, and roaring fireplaces calm me down and help me to embrace the gift of shelter from the cold.  

 

Do you experience SAD? What are your favorite ways to beat the winter blues?

Teething Blend

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T E E T H I N G

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Eden JUST popped her first tooth!!!! (She’s been working hard on it for a while 💪🏻) since this is the first many coming in the next few years, we decided to make a fresh batch of this special teething blend - diluted for safety and super gentle. One swipe along her bottom jaw and she’s MUCH more content, plus we avoid the toxins in OTC pain relievers! Here’s the recipe:

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TEETHING BABY BLEND

💧💧 Roman Chamomile

💧 Frankincense

💧 Copaiba

💧 Melissa

3-5 tbsp fractionated coconut oil

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Directions:

Split mixture into roller bottles to carry with you everywhere! (Changing table, diaper bag, night stand, etc!)

Homemade Applesauce

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I love making this easy recipe during peak apple season - the flavor of freshness can’t be beat! Making this yourself also ensures you’ll avoid any preservatives added sugars owns chemicals found in many store bought versions :)

Easy-Peasy HomeMade Applesauce

🍎 🍏 🍎 🍏 🍎 🍏

6-8 medium apples

1/4c water

1 drop cinnamon EO

🍎 🍏 🍎 🍏 🍎 🍏

1. Peel and chop apples

2. Put chopped apples and water in a slow cooker on high for 2-4 hours, an instant pot for 5 min, or stovetop for 45min-1 hour on medium heat.

3. Add cinnamon EO when done and enjoy hot or cold!

Services

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I am so proud to launch Casey's Roots services! This has been a LONG time coming and now all of my talents are now gathered under one roof, available to one and all through this site. I've been fortunate over my professional career to learn a lot through continuing education and certifications. So, now its my turn to share the knowledge with all of you through the lens of honest, compassionate, judgement-free one-on-one guidance. I'm currently offering:

  • breastfeeding counseling
  • personal wellness consultations + coaching
  • nutritional/weight loss support
  • babywearing classes
  • cloth diapering classes
  • baby sign language (ASL based) lessons

Check out the tab above to explore more and book your first session!

And as a bonus - ALL of these services are available free of charge to my doTerra family. Shoot me an email caseysroots@gmail.com for the coupon code ;)

Challenge

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Well, I did it, I reached my healthy weight goal! For those of you wondering how I knew what weight to aim for, I based my goal on a conversation with my Dr where we talked about my lifestyle and she gave me a weight range recommendation based on my height and age and I am now right in the center of that range. But more than achieving a goal weight, I am celebrating my increase in energy, healthier eating habits, better relationship with food, lower anxiety, increased self-confidence and worth, and knowledge that I can overcome even the hardest of obstacles with some discipline, determination and a whole lot of prayer. It feels SO good to just know that I CAN do it, that it is possible to decide to make a change, follow through with small steps every day and achieve a BIG goal. And so with this chapter coming to a close, I've been inspired to start a new one - just as scary (maybe even scarier) and challenging as the first. I'm going to intentionally strengthen my body, gain flexibility, and increase my heart health by....WORKING OUT. (Whoa that word is triggering). 

I don't know about you but my relationship with my body has been on a serious roller coaster over the course of my life - I've felt everything from pride to pain, disgust, frustration, joy, appreciation, awe and even apathy and all the way back around again. But if someone ever asked me along the way if I LIKED working out the answer would always be and emphatic NO. And so, I embark on a mission to remove the internal blocks and triggers I've created over the years around the idea of working out (FYI I may just substitute that phrase for something more benign like "movement" until I can get over the cringe factor). My goal is to find movement that I enjoy, that creates health in my body, strength in my muscles, flexibility in my joints, stamina in my body and peace in my mind. 

Graciously, my sister Allie who has LOVED working out her entire life (gymnastics, cheerleading, yoga, biking, running, you name it- she's done it, probably won a medal for it and excelled at it!) is partnering with me during the month of October as my accountability partner. Our goal is to take small, daily steps to move our bodies with joy instead of dread. 

And since I've had so many friends and family ask me for advice on their own weight loss and wellness journey recently (THANK YOU to everyone who has reached out, given kind words of affirmation and encouragement, or just "liked" my posts!) Allie and I wanted to open our October wellness challenge to friends and family who could use some daily inspiration, encouragement and tips on their own journey. So naturally, we created a facebook group. We hope the group will provide you with a safe, honest space where you can be open about where you are currently, we can help you set your own goals, and you can follow along for accountability encouragement, and guidance. I will also be actively posting real, raw, and true moments about the last 5 months as well as my current challenge - because occasional social media posts just can't reflect the full truth of what it takes to make this kind of a change in your life and I know how important it is to know the full reality rather than the highlight reel.

Please leave a comment below or email caseysroots@gmail.com if you'd like to join us! The group is perfect for anyone who wants: inspiration to live a healthier lifestyle, a daily dose of uplifting positive encouragement, exercise and meal plans/tips, a safe virtual space to join a community of people ready to make a lifestyle change.

Oh and PS....Best of all - its FREE!!!!

Authentic

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I recently joined a female-centered empowerment and support 5 day experience (led by one of my favorite instagrammers Mary Hyatt) and today we were challenged to write a letter to a female who inspires us. I immediately wanted to write gushing letters to about 5 different women in my life who are just incredible and the more I thought about it I realized a few things...

1. Gosh am I blessed that God has surrounded me with females who inspire encourage and empower me

2. I need to tell them this more often!  (read: I now challenge myself to do this at least monthly)

3. I can feel this way all I want to about other women but I cannot truly love them the way I want to or gain anything lasting or meaningful from my relationship with them if I do not love myself in the same way first.

 

and then the tears came rolling in. So today I say

- to the scared self conscious scrawny girl I was : I love and accept you for your flaws see in you now the precious innocence and wonder you viewed the world with. It didn't matter that you had no boobs or curves, that your feet grew before the rest of your body, that you had thick awkward glasses, and no sense of style - you were uniquely you and developing an incredible inward strength through some of the hardest years of your childhood, surviving the abuse and immeasurable pain of a parent suffering with addiction. You are incredible. 

- to the young woman I was.. too busy putting on a front, chasing endlessly after the approval of other people, lying to herself and everyone else because being anyone else was better than being herself... I love and forgive you. You could not see your unique gifts, your endless potential, your own kind of beauty, your priceless value. I see you now. Who you are is more than enough.

- to the overweight unhappy depressed anxious woman I was: I love honor and accept you exactly as you were. Your body is beautiful at any weight or shape - it has been the vessel for two incredible human beings. Your mind went to the depths, to the valley of shadows, you experienced death and yet you persevered through it to rise again. You are resilient.

And to my future self: thank you for loving me in all of my flawed glory as I am now. Let the grace flow as you learn to stand in and learn to embrace your true identity as a unique, capable, singular, spectacular, perfectly imperfect person.

Each of you inspire me. 

Water

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Essential for life... so ubiquitous I almost never thought about it. I grew up with refrigerator water filters and drinking bottled water. I never questioned WHY I didn't just turn on the faucet and drink from there, or why we preferred to purify our water before drinking, it was just something we did. When I got married, we registered for a water filter pitcher because - we both figured it was something we needed because our parents had it. You get the idea, I basically spent 3 decades drinking filtered water, never questioning or knowing why on earth we did that.

And then... THIS LINK (I love you EWG) came up in a few of my healthy living groups with a loaded question in the title: "Do you know what's in your water?" Other than knowing it had one hydrogen and two oxygen molecules, my knowledge was seriously lacking. So, I did what any curious/bored/breastfeeding mom would do and clicked... filled out my info... and BAM, my life changed. No seriously.

I learned so much about tap water - sourcing, pollutants, chemicals, both naturally occurring and man made. I learned about the carcinogens in MY tap water... yes, who knew that while water gives life, we've polluted it so much that it could also kill you. My gut instinct was to order the most expensive, ion recharging, ultra filtration, stainless steel system to somehow MacGyver onto our rented condo water supply (this would also simultaneously bankrupt the family, so I decided against that option).

So then, I learned a LOT about water filters and filtration systems. I discovered that, based on our Cleveland public water system and its unique contaminants we'd get rid of the largest threats by switching out our pitcher filter for a slightly more expensive faucet filter. And lemme tell ya, this mama feels GREAT about educating herself a tiny bit more on something that impacts the daily life and future of her family and making a change for the better (bonus that it didn't cost an arm and a leg!) 

Have you done research into water filtration? Any water products you love? Are there other areas besides water you think I should look into? 

Mom confession: I feel overwhelmed sometimes at all of the apparent dangers out there (pesticides, GMOs, the internet, legos on the floor in the dark, etc) so I've adopted the motto "Know better, do better." I am one person who can learn, adopt and change things at a normal pace - so I do it, when I can and I try to not worry about the rest.... until I click on that next facebook link ;)

Immunity

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My son starts school today! This is a really exciting day for our house. Asa LOVES his school and I love the few hours it affords me each day to collect myself, get things done, and have some sweet time with my baby girl. And every year it seems like just as the good times start rollin'... and then, the back to school joy translates to back to school germs that translate to what I like to call "back-to-school junk." You know, the one where you go to bed with a tiny tickly in your throat thinking (ahhh this is nothing) and wake up with a fire in your neck, lungs that all of a sudden need a handicap sticker and head full of mucus in a variety of shades. This year, I'm prepared - COME AT ME GERMS I'm ready for you..  Here's my plan:

  1. Reduce/eliminate processed sugar and alcohol. (as much as I want you dark almond chocolate bar and glass of wine, you are in cahoots with the sickness and that makes you my enemy)  
  2. SLEEP (earlier bed times, naps, however I can take it, I'll get it)
  3. Bone Broth - drink it hot, make it into soup, cook rice in it, whateva
  4. Garlic & Turmeric & Ginger OH My!
  5. Probiotics - THIS is hands down the best I've ever tried, we also will likely increase raw fermented foods like saurkraut, kimchi, kefir, and kombucha. Speaking of tea...
  6. Tea - all.of.the.tea (Decaf, Caf, Herbal, hot, cold, kombucha...water is good too)
  7. Using this stuff to clean my house - because even a 5th grader knows whats up - it's better than bleach at killing germs!
  8. Washing hands (flush and WASH and be on your way - sing it with me if you have kids!)
  9. Applying/Diffusing oils on the regular - these are my favorite immune boosters: on guard, frankincense, melaleuca, and oregano. Be sure to dilute on kiddos! These cover all of your bases and require minimal effort (aka - my diaper bag staple) 
  10. Relax and realize that some illnesses are inevitable, we all just do the best we can. 

Do you have any other tried and true methods for boosting your immunity naturally? I'd love to hear about them, try them out, and add them to our routine (thats right, we are full on sold on our newly adopted *mild* routine - its working great!!)

Routine

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Routine is a word I've associated with rigidity, strictness, and discipline. And while none of those things are necessarily wrong or bad, I've just never associated any of those with myself (for better or worse). This summer has been so fun, yet chaotic and my brain has felt like an egg in a hot pan for the better part of three months. So as the school year approaches I've decided to adopt some more routine things into my family's life in an effort to make daily life a bit more smooth. I'm praying adding a bit of daily structure and discipline will help us ease into this new season with a bit more grace than I've had recently. So, in accordance with my new-found respect for the routine I've made a plan. I hope if you're like me and looking for a bit more stability through routine this rough outline of day-to-day life will help you create your own. Comment below with any suggestions PLEASE! And if you'll be embarking on a new routine with me, let me know and I'll pray we will both gain a semblance of calm amidst the daily storms...

Nighttime (because success comes through planning and preparation!)

  • make lunch portions from dinner leftovers
  • pick out clothes for me and both kids
  • baths/showers
  • empty/refill/organize school bag and diaper bag
  • fill living room diffuser with morning blend (I've been loving the MOTIVATE blend, or 2 drops of lemon and 2 drops of rosemary)
  • put out french press, coffee, mugs and kettle

Morning

  • turn kettle on
  • get into clothes FIRST thing (to avoid last minute battles)
  • make and eat breakfast/drink coffee
  • brush teeth/comb hair/makeup (because putting on makeup makes me feel like I'm doing big things on purpose)
  • drop Asa off at school by 8am
  • quiet time (JESUS!)
  • doterra business calls/emails/etc
  • eat lunch/feed Eden and pack Asa lunch

Afternoon/Evening

  • pick Asa up by 12:15 and have him eat lunch either in car or at picnic/play spot
  • afternoon activity/errands/playdates
  • home by 3pm for nap/quiet time
  • prep and cook dinner
  • fill bedroom diffusers with nighttime oils (Roman Chamomile or Serenity are our go-to!)
  • have dinner as a family (around 6:45)
  • start it all over again!