An Introduction to Essential Oils

Young Living Oils are great for your body

What are Essential oils, you ask?  Oils are called the “life blood of the plant.”  I like to think of it this way: if a plant had blood – which it doesn’t – it would be essential oil.  So, think of everything that your blood does for your body: carries nutrients, waste, gases, regulates temperature, hormones, etc.  Plants are a little different, obviously, but that gives you an idea.  Plants survive in the wild, amidst weather and extreme conditions.  Furthermore, essential oils tap into that knowledge and apply it to the human body.

What’s Different about Essential Oils?

Our bodies are a network of natural systems designed by a wonderful Creator.  Since essential oils come from plants – which were also designed by the Creator – they are the most natural option for our bodies.  So, our bodies know exactly what to do with them!

Think about eating an apple.  Your body recognizes all of the components as sugar, vitamins, minerals, etc.  Next, think about eating apple flavored cereal that was created in a food factory.  There are dozens of ingredients that you cannot even pronounce on the box.  If you can’t say them, chances are, your body does not know what to do with them!

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Why Young Living Essential Oils?

Young Living is a great company!  They have been in business for over twenty years.  The founders are believers who have spent much of their lives learning about plants, essential oils, growing conditions and educating themselves on health issues.

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There are many great recipes online – mostly I find them on Pinterest – for using essential oils to make other household and personal care products.  I would like to make a master list of all of the links for recipes that I have used.  Stay tuned for that.

Here are a few items that I have made using my oils:

IMG_2713 2  Essential oils benefit your health

Bath salts infused with essential oils

Products made with essential oils benefit your healthIMG_2856IMG_2727

IMG_2730Interested in becoming part of a team who loves essential oils?  If so, please research the company.  Just as the oils speak for themselves, so does Young Living.

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Want to Become a Member of my Team?

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If you’d like to sign up under me, click here.  Then, you are added to an informative Facebook group and get a diffuser necklace with a sample of an essential oil of your choosing.

Not sure you want to commit yet?  Sign up for a retail account (click the link above and change the Membership Type from “Distributor” to “Customer”).  You are not required to order and will pay retail price, which is one major drawback of this kind of account.

Order Peppermint and/or Lavender essential oil(s).  Those two oils have so many different purposes.  Check out Pinterest.  Lavender supports the Cardiovascular system, emotional balance, skin and nervous system.  Peppermint supports the following systems of the body: digestive, nervous, respiratory, muscular, skeletal and integumentary (skin).

A little background…..

My family signed up over two years ago and we are very pleased!  Young Living’s products are high quality and cost effective in the long run when you price out other alternatives.  We use essential oils every day to support the natural processes in our bodies and we have never felt better!  In addition to lifestyle changes -mostly diet and exercise- essential oils can make a huge impact on how you feel.

Once you sign up and fall in l-o-v-e with essential oils, you will need to think about storing large quantities of oil bottles.  Purchasing storage containers can be expensive, so check out my post about a DIY option.

Taking Charge of Your Health – Part II of III

In my family’s quest to get healthier, we have faced many challenges and discovered lots of easy (and some not-so easy) ways to improve our health.  I thought I would share the things that we have done.  If you missed the previous post – Part I, click here.

Any change that you can make right away is a change for the better.  Remember to not beat yourself up about what you are doing “wrong” and focus on what you can improve on today.  You must be your own health advocate.

Ideas to improve your health: Move

Sitting is the new smoking! Sit less; walk or at least stand more.  Our bodies were designed to move.  Before the Industrial Revolution, humans had to work hard and exercise was not even necessary.  Technology has given us many benefits, however, it has come with a price.  It has taken away our need to move.  We have portable devices and remote controls.

Start by moving while you are doing something that doesn’t necessarily involve a lot of movement.  For example, while brushing your teeth, you can do stretches or squat up against the wall.  You have to brush your teeth, so instead of just standing by the sink, M-O-V-E!

This Book is a Great Resource

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Health Choices: Food Labels

-Cut out High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) from all foods.  The book I am reading, The Daniel Plan recommends that if you can only do one thing to change your eating habits, that you cut out HFCS from everything that you consume.  Companies acquire HFCS by taking the fructose out of fruits.  When you eat fruit with natural sugar in it, the sugar is accompanied by other mineral and vitamins.

-Cut out MSG from all foods.  Research these terms because the food industry is tricky and there are so many different names! Here’s another The Daniel Plan plug: look at the picture below (taken from page 115 in the book) to see just how sneaky the food industry has become.  There are SO many names for MSG.  The consumer really needs to be educated.

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MSG makes you hungry and makes you eat more.  Great for the food industry’s profit/sales; terrible for the consumer’s health.

Grocery shopping? Shop the perimeter.

This is where all the produce is located. A good rule of thumb is: Live foods bring life to the body and dead foods bring death to the body -Terri Seacrest. Another rule: If it comes from a plant, eat it; if it was made in a plant, run! – modified from The Daniel Plan. Natural foods include plants, grains, beans, and some dairy and meat.

Did you ever stop to wonder why or how the boxed foods have such a long shelf life?  How does the food keep so well and not spoil?  It’s loaded with junk and chemicals, that’s how!  Some natural products have a longer shelf life, but it all depends on the ingredients.  Not much (if anything) can survive in vinegar, so items with vinegar as the ingredient have a longer shelf life.

One trick that my family uses to wash all of our produce is: Soak in vinegar and water. Put the produce in the sink, fill it with water and add one cup of vinegar.  Soak for 10 minutes.  Rinse produce off and let air dry.  Many fruits are better left out instead of putting them in the refrigerator, so do your research on that too.

Find easy and healthy meals for weeknights.

I look on Big Oven, but who am I kidding, mostly Pinterest for recipes.  Sometimes weeknights are pretty crazy with a little one and a house to maintain, but I try to prepare all of our meals with real ingredients.   You know, like words that you can say out loud without thinking you’re in a chemistry class mixing chemicals.  Chicken, veggies, salad, etc.  The more that you can make for your family, the better.

A good rule of thumb is if you buy anything in the store already made (think pie crusts, dough, meal bags that you just throw on the stove to heat up) it’s probably not good for you.  Just be careful when you are reading the labels.  My family has found a few products in the aisles that are quite good.  The original flavor of Triscuit crackers has simple, real ingredients.

Another great idea for weeknight meals is to double up.  Some meals are easier to do this than others obviously.  For this, you just double (or triple) what you are making; you bake one for dinner and put the other(s) in the freezer for another night.  My favorite for this is Baked Ziti and Chicken Tetrazzini.  If you can’t double up, at least meal plan to save yourself some cooking time.  I will cook more meat one night and then do something different with it the next night.  Last night I made chicken and rice in the Instant Pot (see below) and veggies on the stove in a skillet.  Tomorrow I am going to take the extra cooked chicken to make quesadillas.

Invest in an Instant Pot pressure cooker.

I love this appliance!  It cooks foods quickly without heating up your home (like the stove) and each food maintains its flavor (unlike the crockpot).  I can throw – and yes sometimes I literally throw – the food into the Instant Pot when I get home from work, push a few buttons and leave it.  By the time I have unloaded the car, changed, packed lunches for the next day and set the table, dinner is ready, waiting and being kept warm for me.  It’s a rather large investment, but WELL worth every penny.  Some weeknights, I don’t know what I did before I had this great little thing.  I can’t even remember the last time I used the crockpot.  If you’d like to check out the exact one that my family purchased, click here.

Health Advocate: Oil pulling

Your body has many toxins that it needs to rid itself of and there are many natural processes that do this.  Oil pulling is a way to detox right in your mouth.  You put coconut oil in your mouth and swish it around for 15-20 minutes and then spit it out.  Yes, you read that correctly 20 minutes.  I usually do this in the morning while I am packing lunches and fixing breakfast.  Make sure you drink a glass of water before so you can sustain the length of time.  I like to add essential oils to the coconut oil for additional benefits.  See the recipe that I use here.  I only recommend using Young Living essential oils because they guarantee that their oils are 100% pure.  I have another post on essential oils here.  See more information below.

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You still brush your teeth, oil pulling is done in addition to this routine.  I try to pull the water through my molars really well, as it is hard to brush there.  Flossing is painful and my teeth are so close together I haven’t been able to find a floss that works.  I just went to the dentist and they said my teeth look great and told me to continue what I was doing.  It’s the first time in years that they haven’t lectured me about flossing.  I don’t know if everyone will have the same results, but oil pulling works for me!  I try to do it 4 times a week.

Health Advocate: Dry Brushing

Okay, if you thought that oil pulling was weird, this one may really make your scratch your head.  To purchase the exact same one that my family ordered, click here.  Basically, you rub the brush across your skin in stroke-like motions toward your heart.  It stimulates the lymphatic system, detoxes the body, increases circulation and exfoliates the body.  Read more information here.  It was really weird at first and probably wasn’t pleasant for about a week.  Once you get used to it, I think you will enjoy it.

 

That’s all for now.  Stay tuned for the last part of this series.  Remember to make small changes that your family is capable of and comfortable with so you can experience the health benefits.  It takes 21 days to form a new habit.  Give yourself grace and mercy when (not if) you mess up.  Try not to harp on your failures, instead celebrate your successes!

Click here to read Part III.

Having A Christian Marriage

Last weekend, my church the Uprising, had two guest speakers from Georgia come to speak to couples about being in a Christian marriage.  Wanda & Michael Collins spoke about how a Christian marriage should operate, tips to keep your marriage holy, and its purpose.

Best Christian marriage seminar
This image is from their website.

1. JESUS is coming soon.  Make sure your relationship with GOD is solid.  They encouraged husbands to guard & protect their wives spiritually.  Make sure that you have your own relationship with God and that you pray together, but also separately.  Read the Word together also.

2. Remain faithful & pure.  You need to set boundaries for yourself.  Be mindful of the media & its agenda.

I can’t believe how fast food places are using sexy models to sell their burgers now.  It’s craziness!  One thing that Wanda kept saying over & over again was to guard your gates: your ears & eyes.  Pay attention to what you are watching and listening to.  Watching television with promiscuous behavior and listening to music with profanity will infiltrate your sub conscience and affect you.

Great Advice for Anyone

3. BE passionate for GOD, not just lukewarm.  -See Revelation 3:15.  This reminds me of the movie War Room where the lady gives the other woman lukewarm coffee to prove this point.  Cold and hot both have their place; you can’t do anything with lukewarm.  God wants you to be passionate about Him because He is passionate for you!  Wanda pointed out something that I had never thought of before.  In the Old Testament, when they gave sacrifices to God, they brought the sacrifice to the alter & killed it for God.  When many people marry, they do it at the alter – showing that you die to yourself for your spouse.

4. Dying to Self.  If Christ died for His bride, why can’t you?  Ephesians 5:26, Galatians 2:20.  The speakers pointed out that you shouldn’t let your flesh control you – that’s your mind, will, emotions – instead, you should allow the Holy Spirit to control your actions.  -Luke 22:42

This helps with your witnessing to others.  We need to let Christ live through us to show others the way, not just give lip service!  As Christ-followers, we need to stand out.  Dying to yourself will definitely make others curious, which opens the door for some honest sharing.

5. Ask GOD to fill you with Holy Spirit because you can’t do this on your own.  They said to think of something that your spouse does that drives you crazy.  Maybe it’s not turning the lights off when you leave the room, chewing with their mouth open, interrupting you when you are talking, etc.  Your spouse was given to you by God to help develop you.  Your spouse is killing you because they are helping you die to yourself!

We all need sandpaper in our lives.  Some people are the coarse and others are the fine sanding.  At the end, there is a beautiful masterpiece, but the process can be painful.  Your spouse helps make you a better person.

Powerful Advice for Christian Marriages

6. The Collins’ gave this important request to wives: Give your husbands quiet time so that he can hear from GOD.  Wives are not the Helper.

So many women (myself included!) talk so much that there is little time for quiet.  Don’t feel like you have to fill every moment with sound.  The silent brings a calmness – Be still & know that I am GOD.

Make sure that you (wives) guard your words and are in tune with Holy Spirit.  Ephesians 5:25.  They reminded wives to keep GOD a first priority, husband as the 2nd and children as 3rd.  This is very difficult to do sometimes.  It is very easy to put your children before your husband.  That’s not how GOD designed it.  Just remember: you have your children with you directly for only a season, but GOD designed marriage to last for the rest of your life.

7. Next, for the husbands: put your wife before other people & things.  Take the lead in dying to yourself.  Nothing but God should come before your wife.  Not your job, your phone, even your ministry!  Your marriage is a ministry.  The Collins’ encouraged couples to create a mission/vision statement for their marriage.

If you are constantly putting the other spouse first, many problems and arguments can be avoided.

marriage advice for Christian marriages
Stop fighting each other!

8. They closed with this: How do you know you’ve died to yourself?  Your responses will change because you’re trying to please the Father.  Remember: your spouse isn’t trying to cause you harm!  That’s the will of the devil.  You should not be fighting your spouse [both of you pointing guns at each other]; the two of you should be fighting off the devil and attacks together [both of you standing back to back with guns pointing outward-think the Charlie’s Angels stance].  Fight the real enemy, not each other.  They encouraged couples to use their story to make a difference.

The purpose of your marriage is to make you holy & glorify GOD.  Make you HOLY not HAPPY.

Other Resources:

They recommended a book: Sacred Marriage.  Sounds like a great read.

I highly recommend using the Collins’ website.  It’s jam packed with devotionals, coupons and other resources with information to benefit your Christian marriage.

Here’s the website of my church.  Find sermons and information on other activities.

What I try to remember is this: love is not always a feeling, some days it’s a choice.  No matter how you feel, you made a promise to GOD that you would love your spouse until the end of your life.  There will be hard times mixed in with the good.  Don’t give up during your lowest points!  That’s when GOD can grow and stretch you the most!

Our relationship with GOD and each other has always grown immensely in trying times.  Marriage is no exception to that rule.  Don’t give in to popular culture and think if something is “broken” that you throw in the towel.  Fix it, make amends, try something different, talk to someone you trust, and pray of course!

Try to love your spouse the way that GOD loves your spouse.

Taking Charge of Your Health – Part I of III

Great health tips - know that you are eating pure, real stuff

Okay, so my family started changing our health for the better about 2 1/2 years ago when we were expecting our first child.  We decided it was time to stop talking about getting healthy and just do it!  Little did I know that our decision would change our lives forever!  Now, please don’t think that I believe I have it all figured out.  I am still learning new health tips and tricks every week.  Just wanted to share with my readers some things that we have learned along the way.

To make it easier, ideas will be presented going from simple changes to more drastic lifestyle changes.  You don’t necessarily have to go in order; this order just made sense to me.

Step 1: Drink Water for Your Health

Drink half your weight in ounces of water and get at least 8 hours of sleep each night.

I know, I know.  Drinking that much water is difficult.  It is much easier to do when water is the only thing that you drink.

I have a glass of water before I eat every meal.  The best thing for your digestive system is to drink water at least 15 minutes before and after the meal, not while you are eating.  Drinking while eating disrupts the normal enzymes that are breaking down the food you are eating by watering them down.  It’s also better to drink water that is room temperature – unless it is during the summer and your body needs to be cooled down.

I know there are some devoted soda drinkers reading this……. It’s always a good idea to research what you are consuming.  I read somewhere that a bottle of Coke has like 37 teaspoons of sugar in it!  Sodas are empty calories.  Let.Them.Go.  I had a family member give up sodas cold turkey and she lost like 10 pounds!

You are going to have to use the restroom more often, which although might be inconvenient, is actually better for your body.  Flushing your system out is a great way to rid your body of toxins.

Sleep should be a no-brainer, but we always seem to cut into sleep time.  Sleeping gives your body time to relax and reset for the next day.  Not getting enough sleep affects your mood, metabolism and energy level.

Great health tips - know what you are eating

Step 2: Be Educated about Your Health

Educate yourself about the food industry and tricks. Check out Food Inc. on Netflix.  The food industry has basically hi-jacked the food that we consume.  Between genetically modifying the cellular structure of produce to pumping animal meat with all kinds of hormones, they are really causing havoc in our bodies.  The consumer prefers breast meat, so the food industry has modified chickens to have larger breasts than normal.  There are NO studies available to show the long term effects this has on the humans who consume the food!  And we wonder why children in 3rd grade are going through puberty…….The bottom line is that the food industry is out to make money.  They modify ingredients because it’s cheaper to use fake sugar than the real stuff.  Also, sugar makes food more addictive, so that’s why it’s in almost everything.  EDUCATE yourself people because the food industry is not your friend.

Great health tips - know what you are eating
Corn – it’s in more foods than you think!

Read the ingredients of the food you buy. Don’t just look at the Nutrition label!  A good rule is if you don’t know how to say the ingredient out loud, you shouldn’t be eating it.  Also, the fewer ingredients, the better.  So many boxed foods contain ingredients that are 18 letters long and look like they belong in a chemistry lab.  You need to know what you are eating!

Step 3: Don’t Eat Out

Eat out sparingly. When eating out, it is really hard to know exactly what you are eating and to eat healthy. So, eating out should be a treat.  We reserve eating out for special occasions.  It’s okay to give in to cravings and eating the not-so-healthy foods every once in a while.  This prevents binging on foods when you deprive yourself of them.

It has also been great that I wash and cut our vegetables to have on hand. When you are hungry, you want something to eat right then; not something that has to be washed and cut. When you are hungry, laziness WILL win.  If you have the choice between fresh cut veggies and greasy potato chips, your body really wants the veggies.  Healthy foods that are all ready to eat increase the chances of you actually eating them.

Step 4: Clean Out Bad Foods

This is a big one.  Clean out your pantry.  If you currently have foods in your house that are awful for you and your family to consume, the best thing to do is get rid of them.  Now, I am not one to toss perfectly good food – meaning it hasn’t expired yet.  But, if you really want to take control of your health, this is a vital step.  You don’t necessarily have to throw the food away.  Find a local food pantry or homeless shelter in your area and donate the food.  It’s a win-win.  Your family instantly has the bad food temptation removed and some people who have nothing to eat can at least feel full.

Great recipe for healthy waffles!

This one was really hard for me.  I do NOT like throwing food away and felt like we were being wasteful when we boxed up all the food we didn’t think we should eat any more.  After a few weeks, I began to understand just how powerful food can become.  DO NOT let your food cravings control you.

Mind over matter really works.  When your body is used to eating whole, healthy ingredients, it will not want the other junk.  Sometimes I will see how long I can go without [insert your favorite indulgence] just to test myself.  Remember, it’s all a balance.  Try to eat mostly healthy and allow yourself to “cheat” every once in a while, but not so often that it becomes a habit.  We try to live by the 90/10 rule.  That’s 90% of the time we eat healthy and 10% of the time we give in to cravings of not-so-healthy foods.

The most important thing that I have learned through this process is to give yourself grace.  You will make mistakes.  You will mess up.  That’s what learning is all about, though!  Don’t get discouraged!

Click here to read Part II.

For more information, check out my video: