healthy lifestyle

A Healthy Pregnancy 01 I Preparing

 
From when sweet little Elliot was growing in my belly!! Somehow feels like yesterday but also forever ago at the same time. Note: This is NOT a pregnancy announcement!* 

From when sweet little Elliot was growing in my belly!! Somehow feels like yesterday but also forever ago at the same time. Note: This is NOT a pregnancy announcement!* 

 

We recently decided to grow our little family (and are SO excited about it!), so I have been incredibly intentional with taking care of myself. Self care in general is an area that can be difficult to prioritize, and I think we often forget about the less sexy areas of self care like vitamins and sleep. It's much more fun to get a massage or take a long, luxurious lavender bath! I'll take either please and thank you! 

Here are a few habits that I've started over the last few months to intentionally support my body and prepare it to grow another little human! All of these are amazing habits to focus on for overall health and wellness even without the potential for pregnancy because who doesn't want a long and healthy life!                            

 
 

NUTRITION: 
- LOTS of green vegetables including kale and spinach for dietary folate, lean proteins including some fish for dietary Omega3s, some complex carbs (currently obsessed with this GF bread). We eat a plant-based, mostly paleo diet with allowances for a little GF bread, rice or quinoa and balance it with making intentional decisions with any indulgences. I'm currently leading a January Whole30 for our wellness community! For more fertility foods, check out this video on Facebook!

- Healthy fats. I've been focusing on a *minimum* of 2T of coconut oil in addition to the olive oil we use on our salads and for cooking. I add a little coconut oil into my coffee (start with 1-2 tsp if you're not used to it!), a protein smoothie when not whole30-ing (the blender makes little coconut blasts that taste like chocolate chips!), overnight oats (when not whole30-ing) or even drizzle it over some fresh fruit! SO good over pineapple and berries!

- Decaf coffee. We actually switched over to using half regular, half decaf coffee when I was pregnant with Elliot and never went back. Fully caffeinated coffee makes me jittery so this balance works best for me! 

 
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SUPPLEMENTS:
- Vitamin B with folate (NOT folic acid). This one is very important. We've all be preached to that we need folate AT conception, but most multivitamins or B supplements contain folic acid which our bodies actually cannot convert to folate. B vitamins are essential to our health and well-being, and each B vitamin performs a unique and separate function in the body. But... they aren't stored in our bodies, so they have to be replenished daily.

- Antioxidants - also super important to help support that growing DNA! Ningxia Red supplement is an organic puree of wolfberries (aka goji berries) along with plum, aronia, cherry, blueberry, and pomegranate juices and extracts, and essential oils. Delish and so amazing for support for energy levels, normal cellular function, and whole-body and normal eye health. I love to combine one packet with 1/2 a can of orange or grapefruit La Croix and add a drop of citrus essential oil. This is also something to keep on hand to help settle that first trimester stomach! I may or may not be stockpiling, ha! 

- Healthy fats! Everyone knows that fish oil is great for supporting a healthy heart, and it's incredibly important to have super clean versions of fish oil. This one is hands down my favorite. Super clean and it also has some Vitamin D! Perfect because your body can't absorb Vitamin D without fat, so combining it in fish oil is brilliant!

- I also take this prenatal gummy

 
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KICKING THE TOXINS:
- When I originally went to see my doctor before we had Elliot, she told me my estrogen levels were high and that I was 'estrogen dominant' despite ever having ANY issues in this department. Want to guess where the extra estrogen and hormone disruption was coming from??? Personal care + household items. The Think Dirty app rates products based on potential to cause cancer, cause allergies and disrupt the hormones in your body, and just about everything at the drugstore or Target is toxic. So we went totally plant-based with our cleaning supplies, personal care products + even makeup! I went through each ingredient and searched it on the EPA website to make sure it was safe! 

OTHER HABITS:
- Meditation + quiet time to rest my mind and emotions, train my thoughts towards positivity and abundance. You can read my morning routine here!
- Exercise! I'm a big fan of the Tone It Up girls and even use their nutrition plan to get some new ideas for recipes! I just tweak them to our preferences, but those girls love kale so you know I love them!! I'm also currently working through a Gymnastics Bodies stretch + strength program.
- AVA bracelet. I bought (and LOVE!) an Ava bracelet to help track my heart rate, temperature, cycle changes, sleep and stress levels. I love the amount of insight it gives, that I can add custom logs, and even download my data for my doctor! 

What are your favorite ways to take care of yourself - throughout daily life or when preparing for motherhood?? 

Healthy Living, Young Living + iTovi

After being in vacation mode for most of the summer, I’m feeling the need for a reset so I’m jumping in on the September Whole 30, and focusing on intentional self-care for the next thirty days. Part of that for me is supplements, emotional support, and essential oils. That’s why we broke out our iTOVi scanner last night to get a feel for how to best support our bodies right now. The iTOVi works based on frequencies and bioimpedance to show areas that may need a little extra TLC.

I’ll admit, I was super skeptical about the theory of frequencies until I started looking into it more. Has your spouse, child or loved one ever walked into the room and you immediately feel your emotional state change? Have you ever gone to a concert or large sporting event and immediately felt the rush of energy in the stadium? It’s because we all carry energy around as a frequency.

 
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Your heart is a complex electromagnet that works by constantly emitting electronic frequencies to tell your body to pump blood, bring in oxygen, get rid of carbon dioxide. "The heart muscle itself, because of its electrical activity, creates its own endogenous EMFs" (electromagnetic frequencies)." In fact every living thing has a frequency. A healthy human body operates around 62-72MHz, and as our frequency lowers as our bodies work harder to maintain balance. How do we help our bodies maintain that balance? With plants! We can consume them or apply them in the form of oils. One of my go-to oils is lavender, which has a frequency of 118MHz!

“Every biological or nonbiological thing has a unique energy signature that vibrates at certain frequencies. A frequency is the number of times a wave repeats itself within a second, called an oscillation. iTOVi has measured and recorded each unique frequency of essential oils and supplements for each product company. Through the electrodes on the iTOVi scanner, these frequencies are sent into the skin, inducing a measurable response from the body.

"The scan report is the heart of the iTOVi experience. Each report is personalized to you the moment you are scanned. Products are then sorted from the top down by which ones your body had the strongest response." - iTovi website. You can read more of the research here and some of the science behind how it works here.

 
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After scanning, I started back on Mindwise (an amazing Vitamin D, healthy fat supplement that supports healthy adrenals and this mama mind!), Endoflex Vitality (endocrine system support), and SuperC (a healthier alternative to EmergenC). I also started using Purification oil over the liver, Release over my heart, and we have been diffusing Orange + Gathering. While using these emotionally supporting oils, I'm focusing on releasing control, being fully present, and practicing the discipilne of rest. (For more on emotions + oils, I love this book.) If you've been following along on Instagram you've seen that I also started back on one of my favorite workout programs last month, so I'll be continuing that as well. 

Your health is really a complex circle of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual, and when any one area is out of balance, we feel it in all others. Finding balance is a constant journey, but one that has gotten much easier for us with our essential oils and our iTOVi scanner.


 
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If you want to get an iTovi scanner of your own, you can do so here. I love ours because it provides us with a road map for our health and is just so easy to use. It's super portable, works with your smartphone via Bluetooth and is easy to use with kiddos! Simply hold it against their back while they color or play. I love how empowered I feel as a mama with these tools! #winning

Our Favorite (and Simple!) Kale Salad

Kale is one of my absolute most favorite foods and one that I love to incorporate into salads, especially now that I know the trick of the trade - salt! Plus, this is the easiest recipe ever. Use it stand alone or add some embellishments, but either way it is incredibly delicious and comes together quickly! Kale is probably the best superfood out there... plus I think it might be my love language.

You will need:
1 large bunch organic kale
1/2 tsp sea salt
Organic, unrefined olive oil
Unfiltered apple cider vinegar
Organic dijon mustard
Raw honey

First rinse the kale well and remove all the ribs, then give it a rough chop. Throw it into a large bowl and sprinkle with sea salt. The salt helps to cut the bitterness of the kale and wilts it just slightly. Then (just go with me here!) pick up handfuls of kale and massage the salt into the leaves for about 30 seconds, until the kale turns a dark green. If you'd like add some toasted nuts, crumbled goat cheese cheese and/or chopped fruits and veggies.

Next, make the dressing. I love a simple mix of olive oil, apple cider vinegar, dijon mustard and honey with a little salt and pepper. I do a 1:1 mixture of oil and vinegar, 1T dijon and 1/2T honey, but you can add or subtract according to your taste! If you have time, let the salad marinate for ten minutes before serving.

This is our go-to side dish, the base for many of our brown bag lunches, and one of Elliot's favorite finger foods! 

Hello Again (Part 1)

Things have obviously been really quiet over here for a while, and I've been trying to decide what and how to share about these past few months. I've been dealing with some weird health stuff, and we made a pretty life-altering decision, one that I am extremely happy with, but more on that in part two of this post. 

Let's start with health... For over a year I'd been dealing with bouts of dizziness and lightheadedness that were becoming increasingly frequent. I became concerned about passing out while holding my kid or driving the car. I tried a few different things to combat it, and they helped marginally, but I felt like I was shooting arrows into a hay bale (or whatever the saying is!) So after dealing with the symptoms for close to a year, I finally made an appointment with a holistic and functional medicine practice in the Atlanta area. Best decision I've made! I had a three hour initial appointment where they really listened to what was going on. Preliminary results came back as adrenal fatigue and low progesterone induced by too much stress, not enough sleep and less than ideal nutrition. I already knew a lot of what they told me about food, but having someone start testing for the causes and really listen to my concern was such an encouraging experience. Here are some of the changes I've made since that appointment:

+ ZERO dairy: I would occasionally have some grass-fed dairy, but with my congestion adding to the dizziness, it just isn't worth it. I've recently discovered the Califia almond milk, which is really the best stuff around second to making your own! I've been snacking on it with Einkorn granola - all the heart eyes! 


+ Eating more protein + healthy fats: a minimum of 60g of protein and 2T coconut oil a day. I gotta say, the protein recommendation is tough. I eat a TON of vegetables, but when we wrote out a days worth of food that I was currently eating, even I could see that it just wasn't enough. That's actually a HUGE problem for most women. We don't eat enough. I'm not going to get on that soapbox, but trust. Eating more calories has definitely made me feel better - my mood, energy levels, patience, sleep. 


+ Supplements: methylated B vitamin, probiotic, Vitamin D three times a week, mega antioxidants, and a supplement containing ashwagandha, an adaptogenic herb commonly used in Ayurvedic medicine. I also made some magnesium oil to use before bed and will have a simple DIY coming soon! 

They also tested hormone levels and had me do a take-home cortisol saliva test, so I should get the results from that at my next visit next week. So far I am feeling a little better, but still dizzy at times. I need to focus on nutrition a lot more and make sure I eat enough (read: don't skip lunch) every day, so we are doing a whole30 this month! You can follow along for some meal ideas over on Instagram plus chime in on 'Toddler Eats Tuesdays' for tips and recipes to help get your little ones to eat whole foods! 

And thanks for hanging with me. It's good to start talking again. xo

Finding Freedom

Things have been quiet in these parts lately for a few reasons, but I've finally found my voice about something that's been stirring for the last couple years - FREEDOM. Becoming a mama changed my heart in a lot of ways, one of them being that I realized how much I crave freedom. I want to be at home with my littles, feeding them lunch and teaching them about snails on a Tuesday afternoon. I want to travel with them to see the Civil War battlegrounds and national parks as we learn about United States history. I want the freedom to build a small homestead and grow our own vegetables. 

Our reality is good, don't get me wrong. But our dream is vastly different than our reality. So we are taking some steps to change that. One of the biggest things we did was sell my car. We had a car payment on a pretty nice car, so we sold that car and purchased an older one. Less bells and whistles, less comfort but you know what? It's reliable AND it's paid for. And there's an extra few hundred dollars that can go towards paying off student loans, which is the first step towards freedom. 

I don't talk about it much, but Young Living is what is really paving the way to our freedom. Essential oils are so near to my heart and have changed our life in such an amazing way, that being able to share that passion as a career just makes my heart sing. I am so blessed to lead a group of women and men that love each other and are committed to a natural lifestyle. I get to share information, lead online classes, contribute to e-magazines, talk one on one with people, and bring natural health in the spotlight to help people live health lives. There is so much beauty in that. And so much freedom. And I'd love to help you find that freedom too. 

Healthy Holiday: Five Tips

In this season of parties, treats and homemade goodies, it is often difficult to think about healthy choices, when in fact this is probably the most crucial time of year to make sure we feed our bodies appropriately. It is more the onslaught of refined sugars that dispose us to colds than it is the cold weather. But I digress. I believe that life is about balance, so here are a few of my tips for having a healthy holiday without feeling like you're missing out. 

1. If you're attending an event with no healthy, whole food choices, eat a vegetable and nutrient-dense dinner before you go. Think quality protein, some good fat & lot of vegetables. That way you will be full and satisfied and less likely to make poor decisions on an empty stomach.

2. Decide in advance if you are going to allow yourself a treat, and limit yourself to that treat only.*  We eat really clean 99% of the time, but we allow for kicking up our heels and indulging a bit as well. So if I know my mom is making her award-winning homemade peach ice cream, I make sure I'm feeding my body lots of nutritious things before I head over. I know I'll have a little bowl, and I limit myself to just that. (NOTE: For me specifically, any indulgences are gluten-free. I know that gluten causes me bad headaches, and even the best pumpkin pie just isn't worth it.)

3. Instead of adding sugary, flavored creamer to your coffee, choose whole milk or, even better, drink it black, especially if it is paired with a slice of pie. Also, don't drink caffeine after noon. If you opt for coffee in the afternoon, make sure to choose decaf.

4. Walk it off. Take a walk before a meal, a party, or at the beginning of the day. Take a walk when you get home from a gathering. Especially take a walk if you over-indulged. It will not only help you physically, but it will improve your mental state and lower glucose levels. Make it a tradition to have a family walk on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. Do some yoga, pilates, a barre class, a met con, just do something! Whatever and whenever you do it, just get out there and move! 

5. Don't forget about sleep. Especially this time of year when our schedules get hectic, make sure to get good rest. Choose a dark, cool environment and comfortable clothes. Bonus points for waking up without an alarm. We try to allow ourselves this at least on the weekends, but even that little bit of extra rest can do wonders for your body + mind!

Here's to a healthy + happy holiday!


*Disclaimer: I don't think this approach works for everyone. For some people it is better to completely forgo any indulgences. The whole thing about food is that it is a very individualized process, and you have to know yourself and what works best for you.

The Magic of Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is a staple in our house for so many reasons. We cook with it, apply it on our skin, make DIYs with it (see deodorant, body butter, sunscreen), use it as a carrier for essential oils, and I even use it as eye makeup remover!

Another way se use coconut oil is for oil pulling. Oil pulling is an ancient dental practice that helps to remove toxins and bacteria and improve both dental and overall health. It is a simple process! Coconut oil is a great choice for oil pulling because it has antibacterial properties, contains Vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant, and healthy fat-soluble vitamins. I typically do this either in the morning after brushing my teeth or in the evening before bed. The process is simple:
+ Take up to 1 Tbl organic coconut oil
+ Add 1 drop of Thieves essential oil (optional)
+ Gently swish around your mouth for up to 20 minutes, as tolerated.
+ Spit it out into a trash can

A few tips:
+ If 1 Tbl feels like too much, start with 1 tsp or so and work your way up
+ If 20 minutes feels too long, start with five and work your way up
+ Do your oil pulling in the shower to give yourself something else to focus on

Here is a video detailing a little more about choosing a good coconut oil, the best place to buy coconut oil, and some of the ways we use it!

Thanksgiving Thoughts

It is hard to believe that Thanksgiving is just two days away. This fall as simply flown by, and I am really looking forward to some time with my people. There are countless things in my life for which I am grateful, and I wish each and every one of you a happy and healthy holiday! 

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A few of my favorite things, Thanksgiving edition:

+ This table. Foraged branches + berries? Enough said. 

+ We stopped using scented candles a long time ago and rely on our essential oils for making our home smell nice. Also love these smudge sticks via Gardenista. You can even put a few drops of oils on pinecones or other kindling for a fragrant + uplifting fire.

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+ A great roundup of paleo and whole foods recipes for your Thanksgiving dinner. Specifically, this sweet potato casserole

+ Pumpkin pie is my favorite holiday indulgence, but the traditional recipe leaves me feeling less than stellar. I am making this maple-walnut pumpkin pie for the first time this year, and it sounds so amazing! 

Oily Routines: Our Mornings

So many people tell me that they want to use essential oils, but it just seems so overwhelming. I can relate, I promise, but if you don't just jump in, you'll never make the switch! Oils are a huge part of our natural lifestyle, so I wanted to give you a peek int some of the simple ways that we use oils on a daily basis.

Wake up, diffuse something uplifting like joy + Oola family, peppermint + citrus fresh, grapefruit + bergamot or something seasonal like thieves + balsam fir, raven + lemon, rc. 

Wash my face with the satin mint face scrub - my favorite morning routine! This scrub is slightly exfoliating and just a little tingly, so I love it especially after a morning workout! I also use YL Copaiba Vanilla shampoo + conditioner and lavender rosewood bar soap. I moisturize my face with organic jojoba oil with a drop or two of frankincense for healthy skin. On the days I don't wash my hair, I love this DIY Dry Shampoo with rosemary and lavender. 

Our favorite oils for meditation are frankincense, Grounding, black spruce, Gratitude, Oola balance + Oola grow. Other great options are citrus oils for all the positive vibes, blue spruce and ylang ylang for releasing stress, copaiba + balsam fir + abundance for disappointment. It's important to spend time really sorting through and organizing your emotions, ideally at the beginning and end of the day. Our emotions have a huge impact on our physical health! Just a few minutes of meditation can allow your brain to reset and reach higher levels of emotional and mental health. 

We diffuse something to benefit us all as we make breakfast, usually thieves + orange or thieves + balsam fir, ravinastra + lemon, whatever we are feeling that day! I also love peppermint for bleary-eyed mornings. ;) Then we all drink our antioxidant supplement Ningxia Red, yes even the littlest! Husband and I take our supplements (I love the YL ones because they are infused with essential oils, which means the nutrients enter your cells much more quickly - 64% absorption in just 30 minutes, 86% absorption in an hour!).

My travel kit and daily must-haves: vetiver for emotional support, Deep Relief roller for all the tense things, diluted peppermint for focus + tension, black spruce, Citrus Fresh, Peace & Calming II, Stress Away.

Just a few ways we use oils in our morning routine!

September Wellness 03: Supplement

As much as a whole foods diet is great for your health and can provide countless benefits, it can be difficult to get all the vitamins and minerals you need even from food, especially since our food isn’t typically grown in our backyard. The process of harvesting, then transporting produce allows time for the natural enzymes, vitamins and minerals contained in those foods to degrade. We still get great benefits from whole, organic produce, but those benefits are lessened since the foods have started a natural degradation process once they were picked from the plants or vines. So, the obvious way to help reintroduce those necessary components is to supplement.

When it comes to vitamins and supplements, there are countless options available. Sadly, the majority of products on the market are made with inactive ingredients, often called excipients. These include binders, fillers, and coloring agents such as propylene glycol, synthetic gelatin, lactose, and Yellow #5, which are often pro-allergenic and wreak havoc on the intestinal lining. Because of this, we purchase our vitamins and supplements through Young Living. I also love that the products are infused with essential oils, which means you get 64% absorption within 30 minutes of taking a supplement and 86% absorption within 1 hour of taking it. That is a huge increase from the typical 42% absorption in 24 hours without the addition of essential oils. Enough said. 

Here is a peek at some of the supplements that we take in addition to our oily regimen:

+ Life 5 Probiotic: this high-potency probiotic builds and restores core intestinal health by providing five clinically proven probiotic strains including two advanced super strains to enhance intestinal health, sustain energy and improve immunity. As a pharmacist, I recommend a quality probiotic to every single individual. It sounds a little crazy, but our overall health starts with gut health! If you need more convincing, listen to this podcast featuring world-renowned and highly published neurosurgeon, David Perlmutter

+ NingXia Red: this antioxidant-rich supplement combines the wolfberry superfruit with orange, yuzu, lemon, and tangerine essential oils, along with blueberry, aronia, cherry, pomegranate, and plum juices for whole-body nutrition. The key ingredient, the wolfberry grown in the NingXia province of China, is touted for its health-supporting benefits, and is a great way to energize, fortify, and revitalize the body and support overall health and wellness, from head to toe. The wolfberry, also known as the orgoji or goji berry, is widely known for its powerful antioxidant potential.  So many things we face daily products oxidative stress on our bodies and our cells, so adding antioxidants to our daily routine is critical for preventing and reversing damage at a cellular, DNA level. Everyone in our house, yes even our littlest!, gets a serving of NingXia Red daily: 2-4 ounces for the adults (we go up to 4 ounces if we have been eating poorly or are under a lot of stress) and 1 ounce for our toddler.

We also love Super B tablets for adrenal support + energy, Essentialzyme for adding back beneficial enzymes, Mineral Essence for micronutrients, and Super C tablets for immune support as well as this high-dose Vitamin D.