Taking Charge of Your Health – Part III of III

Here it is!  The last part (for now) of getting your health in check.    If you missed the other posts, you can find Part I here and Part II here.  So, without further ado, here are some more ideas to try that will benefit the health of your family:

-Cut out plastic.  Replace with glass.

-Use Essential oils to support your body’s systems.  For more information on essential oils and the company that I recommend, click here.

-Educate yourself on Emotions & how they can affect your body.

A great resource to healing from emotional pain

-Make your own products using natural ingredients.  Check out my store on square here.

Using essential oils to make products benefits your health

-Get rid of candles, scented soaps, lotions, etc.

-Cut out as much sugar as you can.  Sugar feeds cancer!

-Research oil pulling

-Research dry brushing

-Drink half your body weight in fluid ounces, but drink 15 minutes before eating, NOT during, and 30 minutes after.

Click here if you want to watch a video explaining all of this in more detail.

Why I Changed For My Family’s Health:

When I was expecting my first child, I really started thinking about how I was living.  Having a child really does change things.  First, I looked at our diet – which wasn’t great, but not terrible either!  Then, I started using Young Living essential oils and LOVED them.  The company sells other products, too, which are infused with essential oils.  That made me start to look at the products that we were using: shampoo, lotions, candles, soaps, etc.  To top it all off, my small group started a Bible study on the Daniel Plan.  There’s a book that goes with the study that is very informative and explains a lot.

Information about Health Comes From:

I have two friends who are studying homeopathic ways and they have shared lots of great information with me.  Much of this information is available online.  You just have to know what you are looking for and go find it!  I like to find the same information on several different reputable sites to confirm that it is accurate.

Make one small change every week!

De-cluttering Your Life

So, we’re on this journey of de-cluttering and downsizing for financial purposes among other things.  When you think of de-cluttering, you usually think of getting rid of stuff.  Read: Get rid of your junk.  That’s really only the first step.  It is the most difficult to get started, but once you get going, it does become easier.  Although it is not the only step, it will be necessary to start there.

De-clutter your life! Easy ways to downsize at your own pace.
We love this picture, but not as much as others. Thinking about living in a smaller home really puts things into perspective.

Step 1: De-cluttering your belongings.

We found it easiest to tackle this one room at a time, but do whatever is best for your personality. We started listing high dollar items that we knew we could sell on Amazon.  Hubby got rid of his Starbucks mugs – we don’t support Starbucks anymore, so it worked out well – and I got rid of my Willow Tree figurines.  I loved collecting them, but they do not serve a purpose.  I would get rid of a few each week.  Slowly winding down my collection until I had one left.  Have a yard sale, give to family members, or just donate if you don’t want any hassle.

This is very difficult, especially if you are a sentimental person.  I found it helpful to give yourself realistic challenges, like within one week, reduce the game collection from 25 board games to five.  Each day, remove two, and so on.  We found it helpful to go through areas more than once.  We’ve gotten rid of kitchen items and clothing probably once a month.

Step 2: De-cluttering your mind.

You do not NEED the thing that you are about to purchase.  Go home.  Think about it.  Decide if it is a necessity or just something that you want.  Will you still want it in 2 days, 2 weeks, 2 months, 2 years?  There are many things that we feel like we need, when really it is only what we want.  Watching shows like the “Tiny House Nation” and “Tiny House Hunters” helps you get a perspective.

We have tried to downsize over a period of months instead of days like the people on those shows do.  It is not as stressful when you know you’re not fighting a clock.  We will put items in a pile to see if we really need/use them or not, then after a few days/weeks, we will get rid of the items.

Step 3: De-cluttering your technology.

E-mail messages should at least be organized in folders and not cluttering up your inbox.  Sort through your other accounts like Pinterest and see if you really need to hold onto all of those pins that you saved.  I couldn’t believe how many pins I had saved more than once!

Everything has a place in your subconscious mind.  Clutter that has no purpose only clutters up your mind.  No one needs that!

Step 4: De-cluttering your calendar.

Many of us think and do so many unnecessary things!  I just started reading this book called “Simplify” as part of a Bible study.  There are so many great points in it!  There can be too many good things.  Learn to say no when you feel overcommitted.

Get your priorities straight!  I know as a mother, it can be easy to not take care of yourself, but it is necessary.  Take care of yourself so you can take care of others.  Schedule yourself some “me time” doing things that you like to do.  Go for a walk, take a bath, write, get alone with God.  This will help you be your best and ultimately benefit those around you.

These are the main experiences that I have had on our journey to becoming more minimalistic.  Anything that you can do is an improvement!

 

Google Drive – Digital organization

Why does digital organization matter?

Ahh, digital organization.  I know this doesn’t exactly fit with healthy living.  Or, does it?  Being organized digitally or electronically can become very freeing.  I am a type A personality when it comes to order.  Work better under organized circumstances? Yes!  Hate having files saved everywhere? Yes!  My documents on my laptop, my documents on my desktop, downloads, in e-mails.  Argh.  Then, when you modify one version of the same document, you have to e-mail it to yourself and then save it in the three other places.  How do you keep up with all of the updates?  It’s not fun having three copies of the same file in different places and trying to figure out which one is the most recent.  Let’s stay organized while we work smarter.

I’m not a fan of spending time doing something that I don’t feel like I should have to do.  My school pushed us to use our Google accounts (created by our tech department) and share files using Google Drive.  Now, I have a master’s degree in technology, but I’ll be honest.  I was not a fan of having to do “just one more thing” at school.  After fighting it, I decided to give it a try.

There are many perks to Google Drive:

  1. There is a ton of free space!  I used to use DropBox and would constantly have to go through my files and delete because I ran out of space.  15 GB of storage will last a while.
  2. Going along with the type A personality, you can create folders in Google Drive.  You can even create subfolders in your folders.
  3. Just like other cloud storage options, you can have one account linked to multiple devices.  This means that you can pull up your files anywhere you have Internet, which is basically everywhere today.  I saw Burger King now has free WiFi.  Really?!  If you’re eating “fast food,” do you really have time to use the Internet?  You really shouldn’t be eating that food-like substance, anyway!  See more info in my post here.
  4. You can link it to your computer so it becomes one of the applications that you can open and save to.  Yes!  No more saving to My Documents and then having to e-mail it to my work.

Continue reading Google Drive – Digital organization

Daily Oily Life with Essential Oils

Must have essential oils - what I use every day.
A few of my favorites

So, my family has been using Young Living essential oils for over two years now.  It has become so much a part of my daily life that I don’t even think of them anymore, it’s just become part of my routines.  I thought I would share what I use during a typical day.

I have made roll-on bottles with some essential oil and jojoba oil.  Diluting the oils helps the body absorb the essential oils better.

Topical Application of Essential Oils

When I get up, I apply Progessence Plus on the sides of my neck and Joy over my heart.  Progessence Plus helps balance hormones and Joy uplifts.  Juniper goes over my bladder to support its function.  I use this deodorant recipe with Lemongrass and Cypress essential oils.

Young Living Essential Oils - my daily routine
Here is my collection of essential oils so far!

We have a diffuser that automatically diffuses Thieves every 20 minutes.  This helps to clean the air in our home.

I have started oil pulling to help pull toxins out of my mouth using this recipe with my Young Living essential oils (at least three times per week).  Make sure you drink a glass of water before oil pulling because it dries your mouth out.  I drink one as soon as I go out in the kitchen and then oil pull (swish around in my mouth) while I get breakfast ready, pack lunches, empty the dishwasher, change out clothes from washer to dryer, etc.

Toothpaste – I make that too.  Here’s a recipe that I use to start.  I don’t always put stevia in because hubby doesn’t like the taste.  I add water if needed to make the consistency right.

Diffusing Essential Oils

Next, I wear diffuser jewelry almost every day.  I make my own, but love everything that I have purchased from Sacred Arrow.  I use different oils based on my needs that day.  Lately I have been using White Angelica at work because it helps block negative energies.  Joy is another good oil to wear on jewelry.

 

Try diffusing essential oils!
Our home diffuser

At work, I diffuse Stress Away for obvious reasons.  Teaching can be very stressful.  I apply White Angelica to my neck and wrists.  I have a spray that I use behind my desk with a blend called Clarity and water.

 Using Essential Oils Internally

Screen Shot 2016-05-22 at 5.00.17 PM

Another great Young Living product to try is Ningxia Red.  It’s made with wolf berries and is loaded with antioxidants.  My family takes a shot of NingXia Red every morning.

I drink water with citrus oils in it throughout the day, such as Tangerine, Grapefruit, or Orange.  I apply Stress Away directly to my wrists throughout the day during intense moments of stress.

When cooking, I use essential oils in place of herbs and spices sometimes. Rosemary, Basil and Thyme are the most common.

Personal care products I either make using Shea butter and coconut oil or order from Young Living.  Shampoo, conditioner, soap, face wash, and acne cream are a few examples.

Bedtime Routine

At night, I like to diffuse Cedarwood and Lavender to help me calm down and relax.  I make a Lavender spray that I use on linens in the bedroom.  Every night, I alternate between Surrender, Rutavala and Tranquil before bed, applied to the back of the neck and bottoms of feet.  Valor goes on my jawline.  Lavender and Valerian go on my big toes.  A relaxing cream is applied to my feet.  I use a lotion to moisturize my skin.

I know this is a lot of information, but that’s what I do on a daily basis.  Any change you could make is for the better!

If you are interested in signing up for Young Living, check out this post.

 

If you want more information about using essential oils and Young Living, follow me on YouTube and Facebook: oily shores.

[wpsr_socialbts]

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!

everyday-oils-tea-tree

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.

IMG_3106

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.

seed-to-seal-infographic

Want to Become a Member of my Team?

IMG_2997 2

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

IMG_3168

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.

IMG_3169

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.

IMG_3106

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:

Organizing Essential Oil Bottles

After being a Young Living distributor for over two years, we have accumulated quite a few bottles of different essential oils.  We ordered cases to store them, but not only was that getting expensive, but the cases have tops.  This makes them great for travel, but not so home-friendly.  The way we were organizing essential oil bottles had to change!

How to store essential oils on the cheap!
We love the case and the cap labels, but are running out of room!

After doing lots of research, the containers that were available to purchase just seemed like too much money.  My husband suggested that we use the containers that the company sends the oils in since they basically cost us nothing extra.  So, we started saving the containers.

Making Your Own Storage / Organization

IMG_3116

These are the containers that we were shipped in one month’s large order.  It doesn’t take long to build the collection needed to store a large amount of oils.

Store essential oil bottles using materials that you probably have on hand.

Cut the tubes to the desired height.  Hubby used a hack saw to cut them.  We decided to cut them all the same so the small 5 ml bottles would also fit.  I used a ruler to make the rows straight.

Essential oil bottle storage!

Attach the cut tube pieces to a piece of cardboard that you have already cut.  (Measure how large you want to make it first.)  I started using hot glue to attach, but then I ran out so hubby picked up some tacky glue at Lowe’s and that worked great.  Glue, place, press.  Repeat.

How to store essential oil bottles in the home.

Here’s what it looks like!  This storage system works great for us.  I measured and created this to fit in a drawer in one of our cabinets.  That’s awesome because you can customize this to whatever size you want.

As we get more oils, we re-arrange the bottles.  Our type A personalities require us to store the oils in alphabetical order.  Yes, I re-organize them each time we get a new oil.  It just makes it so much easier to find what you are looking for!  This system makes it easy to change where the bottles are placed.

Storing this amount of bottles can be very challenging.  I hope that you find this helpful!

Learn more about Young Living here.  Read more about essential oils here and here.

Ways to $ave money

Saving money is definitely important in all aspects of life, but especially if you are trying to pay off debt.  The average American household as of April 2014 has $203,163 worth of debt including mortgage, student loans, credit cards, etc. (Source).  I’m almost positive that this number must be higher now.  Our cultural mentality is gimme gimme more more more.  I’ve written about de-cluttering in a previous post.  Less is more, especially when you don’t really have the money.  So, with that being said, let’s talk about some ways to save some dough.  These are listed in no specific order…….

  • IMG_3075Make a Budget and stick to it!  Have a monthly budget meeting.  You can learn more from Dave Ramsey here.  In fact, if you are trying to pay off some debt, I strongly recommend going through the Financial Peace University.  That will give you some ideas and tools to really attack your debt.  Great starting point.
  • Shop second hand.  Consignment shops, thrift stores, used/refurbished online items.  There are many great items in my closet and home that we have purchased used.
  • Cancel monthly trash pick up.  You will have to check with your state to see if you are able to do this.  We live in Delaware and order cards from the state to take trash bags to the transfer station.  There is an upfront cost of purchasing a large container to hold your trash and recycled materials, but it is well worth it.  We were spending about $35 per month on trash and recycling services.  Now, we are spending about $30 per YEAR!  My husband takes a load about every two weeks.  It does take some time, but the financial gain was awesome!
  • Cancel Netflix/Hulu/DirecTV services.  My household has talked about this, but we haven’t actually done it yet.  Families spend too much time watching television when they could be doing other things together.  This not only saves money, but gives a gift of TIME.
  • When preparing meals for dinner, double or triple the recipe.  This also gives you the gift of TIME.  Make two or three of whatever you are preparing and freeze the extras.  It’s not that hard to make more when all of the ingredients are already out.  Then, you have extra meals that you simply take out of the freezer and bake/warm-up.
  • Don’t go shopping.  We stopped going to the mall after doing the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University.  We were spending too much money on things that we really didn’t even need.  Instead of going to the mall, we take a walk, go to the zoo, etc.  Read more about family activities here.
  • Get creative on dates.  See who can find the best coupon, price, deal, etc.   We like to put J to bed and then do something together at home.  It’s easier and cheaper.  Minimal planning.
  • Call companies and ask for a cheaper rate.  Usually when you threaten to to cancel a service, companies will find all of these great deals for you, which has always frustrated me.  If they can offer it when you complain, why not just give it to me to begin with?!  We have called our car insurance, Internet provider and cell phone provider.
  • Grocery shop using a list.  During your budget meeting, you will need to decide what amount you have available to spend on food.  Use that to meal plan and create your list.  We use the Buy Me a Pie app to create our grocery list.
  • Don’t buy things just because they’re on sale.  This one is really hard for me.  I love a bargain.  But, I was buying things because I liked the price, not necessarily the item itself.  Now, I decide whether I like it before I see the price, and then decide if I will buy it after I see the price.
  • Sleep one night before making major $ decisions.  Buying cars is not a fun process for most people.  Even though you just want to get the process over with, we have found that if you leave the lot and then decide, you are less likely to make the wrong decision.
  • Ditch the drugstore.  Stock up on homeopathic supplies instead of going to the drugstore.  Essential oils, Rescue Remedy, and Sovereign Silver are all great ways to support your body’s systems.
  • Amazon subscribe & save.  If you sign up on Amazon to receive items monthly to save a percentage.  You can have items shipped every month, every two months, or any amount of time.  You are allowed to skip a shipment.  If you get more than one item doing the subscribe & save during one month, you get extra savings.  Read more here.
  • Use the envelope system.  This is another Dave Ramsey trick.  After budgeting, put specific amounts of cash in envelopes.  When the cash is gone, you can’t buy any more.
  • Empty all change into a jar.  When you use cash, don’t pay for things with change.  Put your change in the jar and when it’s full, use it to do something special.
  • Don’t buy clothes.  This was really hard for me.  I love to shop.  And I love clothes.  When you think about it, we really don’t need that many clothes.
  • Use online banking.  Stamps are so expensive!  Save the money on stamps and checks by setting up online banking.  This also saves TIME!
  • Make your own bread.  I love bread.  After looking at the ingredients and doing my own research, I learned that High fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is really bad for you.  Read more about food here.  All the bread that we were purchasing had HFCS in it.  I found a great recipe online here.  It is a process because you make the dough in the bread machine, let it rise, then bake it.  I usually double the recipe.  It is the best bread I have tasted!  Sweet enough to eat plain, perfect for sandwiches.
  • Remove saved credit card information online.  It is much too convenient to make a purchase!  If you know that you have to find the card and enter all of that information in manually, you will think twice about making the purchase.  Online shopping is great, but it can be expensive because of how easy it is!
  • Make breakfast sandwiches ahead of time and freeze.  Stopping at fast food places to grab breakfast on a busy morning is bad for your health and your wallet.  When I was pregnant and eating several meals a day, I would eat breakfast at home, but was ready to eat again by the time I got to work.  Teaching made it difficult because I’m not really supposed to eat in front of the students.  I would bring in breakfast sandwiches and eat one right before the students came to school.  It’s really easy to find lots of recipes for these on Pinterest.
  • Embrace a simplistic lifestyle.  LESS is MORE!  Think birthdays & Christmas…… We decided that J would only receive a few presents for her birthday and Christmas.  Something to wear, something to read, something she wants & something she needs.  Although she is only two, we plan to continue this so she doesn’t learn to expect all of this STUFF.  It makes me sick to hear how much money people are spending on their children for Christmas and birthdays.  The retail industry really has ruined holidays.  I want to teach her about the meanings behind why we celebrate, not set her up for a life time of expectations.

Hope this can help another family!  Money issues always bring tension in a relationship.  Don’t let your stuff take over your life.  Take control of your finances today!