I have suffered from bowel issues my whole life and I had a bout with colon cancer. For years I struggled with wondering why on earth I seemed to have such issues… frequent stomach aches, constipation, sensitivity to certain foods. etc. I hated the idea of eating out anywhere or eating in social situations because I never knew how my stomach and bowels would react and anyone with these issues knows how embarrassing it can be.
It was about three years ago now that I came across the miracle solution I had been looking for…a paleo diet. Not only did strict paleo eliminate ALL my issues it finally clued me in to what kind of foods my body could not handle. I don’t do well with grains (especially wheat and corn), soy, legumes, or too much diary. I won’t go into graphic detail about how exactly I suffer but typically it can include under or overactive bowels, abdominal pain, sharp chest pains, feeling gassy, and major bloating. The book Wheat Belly goes into lots of details about why so many of us cannot handle these foods. I had an inkling about some of these foods before I went paleo but others I was not aware of until I eliminated them. I had no idea I was sensitive to corn for instance until I eliminated it and then months later ate some corn on the cob. The pain in my chest was so bad I thought I was having a heart attack. I thought painful bloating was just a fact of life until I realized it was only certain foods that made me gassy and bloated.
Wheat Belly really refers to the visceral fat in the tummy that accompanies wheat/grain consumption but I also consider it a wheat belly when I get a distended and painful belly immediately after I eat these foods.
Obviously the solution is to stop eating those foods right?!! Yes, exactly. The problem though is sticking with a paleo diet 365 days a year and sticking with it in social settings where I have little control over the food. The holiday season is especially tough. Whenever my diet drops below 90/10 paleo or I indulge in the no-no foods while on vacation or at parties, I have issues. I also eat outside the home for two meals a day and I do bring my own food but sometimes I cheat. I am human. I love chili with beans, I love bagels with cream cheese and salmon. Heck, I love bread in general. Right now I am at one of those points where I have let my paleo diet go for a bit too long and I need to rededicate myself to it, maybe do a Whole30.
The good news is that I know what I need to do. The even better news is that I now have a secret weapon in my arsenal for those ocassions when I do partake in bad foods and I end up with painful wheat belly. This has been a game changer for me. I cannot sing out loudly enough how in love I am with the following product….
This is DiGize oil from Young Living and it is sweet relief in a bottle. As the name would suggest it is an aid for digestive issues and helps support a healthy digestive system.
It is blend of different essential oils: tarragon, ginger, peppermint, juniper, fennel, lemongrass, anise, and patchouli. It smells heavenly. The biggest player for me is the fennel. It is what I smell the most of and this makes sense because other cultures use fennel for healthy digestion. This is why you see candied fennel seeds at Indian restaurants.
To apply I use a drop or two inside a small bit of grapeseed oil (any carrier oil will do). You don’t need to dilute it, it is safe to use as is but I use carrier oil to “carry” the DiGize oils to a broader area of my body. I drop or two of any essential oil is not going to go far. I slather my myself from my diaphragm to my lower abdomen and the relief is instant. The first time I tried it I thought it had to be an anomaly, nothing could work that fast right? But after more uses I found that I was pain free before I even finished rubbing it in! No feeling of bloating, no pain in my belly or chest.
Obviously I need to stop eating the offending foods but for those times when I can’t or even just don’t want too I am glad I have this oil in my healthy living toolkit!
For more info about getting your hands on this oil or any other the other wonderful oils they offer at Young Living check out my oils page to find out how to join my team. Or if you just want this oil to see what all the hubbalu is about, email me and we can arrange that. My email addy is tiffany @ naturemoms dot com. Hope to hear from you!
One of the first alternative healing methods that ever interested me was aromatherapy and the use of essential oils and this was years before I would truly identify as “natural” or “green”. I just loved the idea that plants had healing powers…that all around us were these tiny little powerhouses that we could harvest and use to heal ourselves. The idea that a person may decide to take a variety of drugs to help with headaches and another may look to flowers and leaves and get better results is kind of thrilling. It’s like magic…the magic of nature. Except it’s really not magic, it’s science.
Pills or plants? What sounds more appealing? I know what sounds more appealing to me.
Unlike eating a plant or a flower, using essential oils involves inhaling or absorbing the plant essence via the natural oils. They are highly concentrated and therefore very powerful in the therapeutic benefits department. We access these benefits primarily in two ways, inhalation and absorption. When we inhale the fragrance from vaporized essential oils we take into our bodies the healing molecules. We can also absorb oils through our skin where they make their way into the bloodstream and take immediate effect.
To test the theory just take a bath with lavender oil. Put a few drops of the oil on some epsom salts first, to help evenly distribute it since oil and water don’t mix. The hot water will cause some of the oils to vaporize and be inhaled. Some will also be absorbed into the body. After a lavender infused bath you will feel tranquil, relaxed, happy, and less stressed. Different oils do different things…that is the magic of essential oils.
But maybe you think the idea is a bit “out there” or that it is some modern fad. You would be wrong in thinking so. Essential oils are among man’s first medicine. Ancient writings show that they were used to treat illness dating back to 4500 BC. Egyptian hieroglyphs depict the blending of various oils and they describe recipes. Oils were so highly prized that tomb raiders would pass over gold and choose to take heavy jars filled what they considered to be precious oils. Peasants and slaves used herbs for health and healing because that is all they could afford or find. Queens, kings, and pharaoh’s used essential oils. It is perhaps for this reason that essential oils are not as widely known for their healing properties as herbs are…because they weren’t widely available to the common folk.
In some of our earliest history as a species we used essential oils for health and well being. That is no fad…that is wisdom passed down over the centuries and it is unfortunate that modern medicine and big pharma have blinded us to our roots.
How to Get Started With Essential Oils
Research! Get a few good books from the library. My intro to aromatherapy was The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy when I was 16. Now I am all about my Essential Oils Pocket Reference. Though at nearly 500 pages I doubt it will fit in anyone’s pocket. You need to know how to use the oils and how not to use them. If you are using them with kids or while pregnant you also need to be aware of what is safe and what is not safe. Spend some time learning about them and how to use them before you jump in.
Some oils can help you get to sleep, others can help you wake up in the morning. Certain oils can ease stressful situations and others can give you courage for a job interview or speaking engagement. Lemon is a stimulant and lemongrass is a sedative. Rosemary and peppermint smell about as different from each other as possible and yet both can help you fight fatigue. Get to know the most common oils and what they can be used for.
Buy the Oils
There are many bands available but I recommend Young Living. They have been distilling oils for many years and they own most of their own farms. Their seed to seal process makes them the gold standard by which all others should be measured, in my opinion. You can sign up to get Young Living oils here. Your options and the process are outlined step by step.
Why is purity so important? Well, you may decide that a bottle of cheap lavender oil being sold for $5 on the Internet is your most economical bet. What you don’t know though is that this bottle may actually contain a hybrid called lavandin. Much of the lavender oil sold in the US is actually lavandin. This is a big problem for you because after sustaining a burn on your arm you may decide to try and soothe your symptoms with lavender oil BUT because you actually have lavandin, which has much higher levels of camphor (7-18%), it makes your burn worse. You toss the bottle in the garbage and think that essential oils are worthless hocus pocus when in actuality you were sold a product that was biologically different than pure Lavdanula angustifolia. Purity is important and this is why I only recommend Young Living.
Some of the undiluted oils seem expensive but you only need to use small amounts (drops) so they last quite awhile. You can add these oils to a carrier base such as avocado oil or jojoba oil or you can add them to products such as shampoo or soap. Many EO brands make blends that contain several different oils in the same bottle. One of my favorite blends is Young Living’s En-R-Gee blend with rosemary, juniper, lemongrass, nutmeg, Idaho balsam fir, clove, and black pepper. I feel unstoppable all day long when I put a couple drops in my diffuser necklace. Wham Bam Pow!
How to Use Essential Oils
Diffuse Them – One of the easiest ways to diffuse essential oils is by using an electric diffuser (above). You add water, a few drops of essential oils, and the cold air diffuser atomizes a microfine mist of essential oils that can stay in the air for several hours. Start slow and diffuse for about 15-30 minutes a day, working up to 1-2 hours.
You can also diffuse oil by adding the oils to cedar chips, cotton balls, or by adding to a vaporizer or humidifier. Just be aware that the cold air diffusers are usually best because they do not heat the oils.
A diffuser necklace – These are locket style necklaces that have an absorbent pad or leather disk in them. You apply a drop or two of the desired oil and wear it throughout the day. After a day or so the oils evaporate and you can reapply. I adore mine and wear it every day!!
Topical Application – Many oils are safe to be applied neat or directly to your skin (neat=undiluted). Some oils should be diluted. For use with children the safest best is usually to dilute inside a carrier oil. You can apply the oils to the area in which you want to see some benefit…ie the DiGize blend on the tummy to help with tummy issues. You can also apply to the bottoms of the feet and along the spine. You can use Thieves in this way for instance, applying some each day to help family members stay well during the illness season.
For deeper penetration of the oils you can use a warm compress on the area. A few drops of gernaium applied to the abdomen followed by a warm compress will do wonders for menstrual cramps. Sore muscles will benefit from PanAway and a compress. A cold compress can be used for inflamed tissues.
Bath – Add oils to epsom salts and then disperse in your warm bathwater. Make your own oily bath gels by adding 5-10 drops of essential oils to an unscented bath gel.
Clean With Them – Oils can help with the the elimination of germs, bacteria, and mold. This makes them powerful natural cleaners. For cleaning I recommend citrus oils (lemon, lime, grapefruit), tea tree, eucalyptus, and Thieves blend. Young Living even sells a Thieves cleaner that is ready to go. You just add water and get to scrubbing.
There are also some other methods for usage (including ingestion) but these are the basics. Never put oils inside the ear canal or in the eyes.
If you are ready to get started on your oily journey make sure to subscribe to my list where I periodically send out emails with amazing recipes and tips for how to use them. Sign up here. It takes two seconds. It also contains an ecourse that walks you through the basics.
The link below contains more information about signing up with Young Living so we can be oily BFFs. Enjoy!
This time of year everything is orange and black. Pinterest is loaded with images of cupcakes, cookies, and sweets galore with orange and black icing and sprinkles. Thank goodness my kids don’t frequent pinterest or I would pulling my hair out with requests for all these items. As it is I avoid taking them to the store this time of year because I don’t want requests for all the candy on the shelves. But because I know they will get candy at school, at parties, and while trick or treating I just plan ahead and amp up the nutrients and healthy foods during and after this sugary season. See my post on Staying Healthy and Boosting Immunity AFTER Halloween.
This year part of those efforts will be adding a little of my own orange and black…
The Black – Chyawanprash. Say what?? According to good ole Wikipedia it is a jam-like cooked mixture of sugar, honey, Triphala, ghee, sesame oil, berries and other herbs and spices. That is a lot of health and goodness packed into a jelly/jam. Organic India’s version of 100% Organic Chyawanprash contains 36 herbs in a sweet base made from gur (organic cane juice reduced to a syrup) honey and ghee (clarified butter). They recommend one teaspoon twice daily for maximum benefits. It also gets bonus points because the honey is still raw. It is added after the heating process.
It is pretty strong in flavor so adding a small dollop to a tart apple slice works well for us.
The Orange – Turmeric Formula capsules. Turmeric is absolutely essential in our lives. I am convinced of it. It is important for a variety of health and dietary needs. See Amazing Health Benefits and Uses for Turmeric. You can add this lovely spice to a variety of foods but a super easy way to get more turmeric is to take a capsule. For young kids who can’t take one, I suggest the turmeric milk recipe found in the article above.
Have a happy, healthy Halloween and beyond!
My garden did really well this past summer and I am super excited to start planning for next year’s. No doubt most of the planning will happen during the dreary, cold winter but I just can’t wait. I have already been making a wishlist.
Garden victories for 2014 include:
* Growing flowers for the first time – calendula, sunflowers, lavender, nasturtium, and various wildflowers
* Growing three types of basil
* Growing three types of heirloom tomatoes from seed
* A great blackberry harvest
* A nice snap pea harvest
* First time growing potatoes and carrots
* Keeping birds out of the garden with a fake snake. It worked!
I recently posted about my garden and homestead goals for 2015. In order to make the goals happen I have started making a wishlist of things that would help…
Support hoops for garden fabric. This will help me extend the gardening season earlier in the spring and then also later in the fall. I have the raised beds, I just need the hoops. I like that they are steel and not plastic.
A garden cage or two would be nice to keep the birds and the deer out of my raised beds!! They have them in a variety of sizes but the large one (below) would be super handy!
I also need space. I have tools, pots, soil, and other garden goodies everywhere and I have no real work surfaces outside other than the ground or the railing on my deck. A potting bench would be heaven sent! I love that this one has an old farmhouse look and it is affordable.
What’s on your wishlist??
If you are a true essential oil enthusiast than you have a fairly large supply of the oils. After all, you can use them for so many things. Having your own natural remedies and green cleaners on hand can’t be beat. Over the years I have kept mine in a medicine cabinet because you need to keep them somewhere cool and dark to preserve their integrity. The issue now is that I just have too many to make that feasible and my youngest (who is autistic) can now reach the medicine cabinets if he chooses to explore.
Luckily there are numerous essential oil carrying cases on the market. There are also display cases but I don’t find those very practical and in fact they might make the oils more enticing to curious children. Having them “play” in mommy’s oils would be unsafe and also quite expensive. I needed a carrier or tote that could be tucked away from prying eyes.
I order to see what the oils are I ordered a batch of cap sticker/labels from Young Living for a couple bucks and now they are all safely stored but still easy to access when I need them. The only problem is that I filled the first 30 count carrier and I still have more… oh well, off to order another! I think I will get them in varying colors and then keep blends and standard oils separate and even easier to find.
Find essential oil carrying cases on Amazon. The specific one I got below is here.