3 Ways to Beat Adrenal Fatigue Naturally

Adrenal Fatigue:

You’ve heard of it, but what is it?

Adrenal fatigue is a gray area in allopathic (Western) medicine.  It has not been officially designated as an illness, so there are doctors and medical professionals that will tell you it doesn’t exist, and those who are certain it does.  (I’d like to note that we don’t know everything about the body/disease/medicine –not even close, and even commonly diagnosed illnesses such as Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome were once explained away by the “experts” as not real illnesses.)

Here’s the scoop: Adrenal fatigue is when your adrenal glands, which are the two hormone producing endocrine glands that sit atop the kidneys, are not functioning properly.  This is usually due to excessive mental or physical stress/caffeine intake/or other health issue.  When our bodies are constantly stressed or we drink too much caffeine (which causes the release of hormones, such as adrenaline, that gets us going and taxes our adrenals), our adrenal glands may not function to produce hormones at the proper levels, until they get a chance to recover.

This can lead to symptoms such as:

  • Fatigue or excessive tiredness
  • Having a hard time getting out of bed even if you slept all night
  • Feeling sad, overwhelmed, or defeated by things you once accomplished easily
  • Poor sleep, restlessness
  • Anxiety, nervous tension
  • Food cravings, especially for salty or sugary foods
  • Extreme mood swings
  • Belly fat
  • Acid reflux
  • Brain fog
  • Chronic pain/aches/inflammation

It’s a pretty common set of complaints.  I’d wager to bet that every one of us, at some time, has experienced adrenal fatigue.  Our modern lives are SO stressful.  We don’t make time to truly relax and recover.  All of this stress is truly one of the biggest reasons that we are a nation of over-eaters and so many are, or will suffer from chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, auto-immune diseases.

All of this daily stress is like a pressure cooker of illness.

What I know for sure is that you can’t pour much from an empty cup.

Every single facet of our daily life, from our relationships, to our digestion, and our ability to think clearly are directly related to the balance of our hormones.  It’s time we redirect a little of our attention towards re-balancing and giving our bodies the break they need.

The good news is that our miraculous bodies are designed to handle stress and then to recover and re-balance our hormones.  Then, when our bodies are back in balance, we feel good, sleep soundly, wake with energy, and find it easy to eat healthy and live happier.

 

4 Easy, Natural Ways to Combat Adrenal Fatigue

First, Cut Out Caffeine

I know, I know.  I love coffee too.  In fact, this one is my achilles heel.  Some things you might try are: switching to herbal tea, or how about a coffee substitute that is high in potassium, calcium, fiber, iron, vitamins, and amino acids?  It’s made from the maya nut and is a superfood!


Second, Use Essential Oils

  • Nutmeg essential oil supports adrenal function by increasing energy and relieving nervous fatigue.  In your hand, place two drops of carrier oil (olive, coconut, sunflower, etc) and one drop of Nutmeg essential oil.  Rub this into the instep/arch of your feet.
  • Frankincense or Sacred Frankincense help to support healthy adrenal function.  I like to use either in my night time facial moisturizer as they’re also wonderful for healthy skin.  They combine well with lavender and can be diffused to help you drift off and sleep more soundly.  Add three drops each of Lavender and either Frankincense (Boswellia carterii) or Sacred Frankincense (Boswellia sacra) to distilled water in your diffuser and put it next to your bed.
  • Endoflex is a blend of essential oils that helps with metabolism, vitality, and hormonal balance.  You can take it as a dietary supplement (up to 3 times daily) or mix it with equal parts of a carrier oil and apply it to your feet, your lower back, and belly area.  It contains sesame seed oil (rich in vitamin e), Spearmint, Sage, Geranium, Myrtle, German Chamomile, and Nutmeg essential oils.  I love that Young Living creates these amazing blends so that I don’t have to.
  • If you’re just getting started with essential oils, or if you’re ready to try the best oils ever, I recommend purchasing the Premium Starter Kit, from Young Living.  It’s exactly what I bought and it is worth every penny and more!  (Those oils from the store shelves do not even compare to what Young Living offers.  I know, because I used to use them.  Never again.  You’ll feel the same once you switch.)  If you’d like to have me as your sponsor, sign up here.  1. Choose “Wholesale Member” so you can buy whatever you want for 24% off retail.  2. Select “Premium Starter Kit” and choose your diffuser.  I love the Dewdrop, and the Rainstone is a popular choice too.  3.  You can choose to sign up for Essential Rewards if you plan to try more oils and you’ll get discounted shipping and money back to spend on products.  I’ll contact you and send you a really nice welcome gift and a book full of useful info to get you started.

 

Third, Try an Adaptogenic Herbal Supplement

Adaptogenic herbs have been used throughout history in traditional medicine and continue to be used to great success by alternative medicine practitioners (and even at the Cleveland Clinic in their Integrative Wellness Center).  Personally, I take ashwagandha root every single day.  I don’t like to swallow capsules, so I just sprinkle it into a smoothie, soy milk, or my daily shot of NinXia Red.

Ashwagandha is an herb that helps to alleviate anxiety, promotes stamina and energy, and is beneficial for connective tissue.  I’ve been taking it for well over two years now and I’ve seen noticeable benefits from that first week.  In fact, I don’t think I’d be a working massage therapist without it, that’s how much better I feel.

If you’re thinking of trying out herbal supplements, the best course of action is to find a practitioner who can prescribe and monitor you.  Some herbs have side effects, some interact with medications, and some should not be taken for certain lengths of time, or if you are pregnant, nursing, or suffering from certain conditions, etc.  Always do your research and seek the advice of a trained medical practitioner.  I am not a doctor!

Some Common Adaptogenic Herbs

  • Ginseng
    • Potent energy increaser
  • Holy Basil
    • Known in India as the “elixir of anti-aging”
  • Ashwagandha
    • Eases anxiety, supports nervous system, stamina, and connective tissue
  • Astragalus Root
    • Boosts immunity and buffers effects of stress

There are many other herbs that can help to combat adrenal fatigue as well as other health issues.  Seek the advice of a naturopathic doctor who can help you determine what would benefit your body most.

Fourth, get a massage every month

Okay, so I sometimes forget to put my health and wellbeing first and I sometimes forget to schedule that massage…but don’t be like me.  Make time for yourself.  Find a way.  You will not believe how dramatically something as small as getting a massage can change your life for the better.  This is something I know for sure.  If, right now, all of the reasons why you can’t get a massage are popping up, let me put those thoughts to rest:

If you’re thinking

  • I don’t have the money.
    • Think about how much more you’ll spend on medications, vacations, cocktails, fattening food, and at the psychiatrist when you don’t spend a little now on reconnecting with your spirit, letting go of the stress, and giving your body and mind a chance to heal, regenerate, and completely relax.
    • Find a massage therapist/practitioner who will trade with you.  Maybe you have a skill like accounting, social media marketing, or you could clean her massage studio?  Perhaps she’d love to have a babysitter one or two afternoons a month in trade for a massage?  Maybe she has a dog that could use a walk on Saturdays when she’s usually booked solid?  I often trade straight up for other services and there are many times I wish that I could give someone a massage to get my house cleaned!  (Message me if you’re interested.)
    • What if you cut out that daily $4 cup of fancy-overpriced-caffeine and instead got a monthly massage?  I mean, that drink habit is costing you $120 a month!  There’s your money for a massage and more.
  • I don’t have the time.
    • You need to find one hour in your month for yourself, especially if you are so busy that you really think you don’t have one hour per month to decompress.  Many massage pros, including me, will come right to your home and set up their table.  You don’t even need to waste time driving.  It’s an amazing feeling to slip out of your own robe, onto a massage table, and roll off an hour later to laze around for a bit.  I love it when I find someone to come right to my door!  It’s worth a few extra bucks.
  • I feel guilty spending the money/time on myself.
    • You already know that you do so much for so many.  You deserve to have someone take care of you for one hour.  You REALLY do.  Stop feeling guilty about taking care of your health and wellness.  If you don’t have your health, what do you have?  You have to take care of you too.
  • I don’t like to undress and get naked around strangers.
    • A professional will never ask you to be uncovered at any time.  Your massage person should leave the room while you undress and get on the table, under the sheet and blanket.  When she works on you, your private parts are always covered up.  When your massage ends, she leaves the room so you can dress.  You’ll never be sharing all of your naked glory.  Also, you can keep on whatever clothing makes you feel more comfortable.  You could even get a chair massage or a Thai yoga massage, which both require you to stay dressed.
  • I don’t want some stranger to touch me.
    • Okay, this is a legitimate objection for some.  I do understand this.  I would recommend that you seek out a recommendation from a trusted friend, explain your concerns to this massage professional, and then find a solution that makes you feel comfortable.  For instance, I have worked with clients who started off with a short chair massage, then moved onto a half an hour upper body massage or maybe a foot massage, and then, as we grew to know one another, moved onto a full body massage.  It doesn’t have to be all or nothing.  In fact, I personally seek out therapists that make me feel comfortable and if someone doesn’t, I have no problem telling them that and leaving.  If they are professionals, they’ll understand.
    • When you make your appointment, you can request a male or female.  Many people do.  We expect that and will let you know if we can’t accommodate your request.

Recovering from adrenal exhaustion or fatigue may take some time.  I want to urge you not to lose faith that you’ll be feeling better soon.  Take good loving care of yourself, the way you do others, and miracles will happen.

 

Continue Reading

Ditch The Toxic Chemicals: What’s In Your Soap? DIY Natural Hand Soap for Cheap!

Have you ever read the label on your hand soap?  I am a label reader, but even I have never read my soap bottle label… until the other day.  I knew there’d be unpronounceable chemicals, but what I didn’t expect was that my soap- that we all wash our hands with many times each day- is actually toxic to our bodies.

  • Sodium Laureth Sulfate:  Causes irritation, organ system toxicity, & contamination concerns.
  • Cocamidopropyl Betaine: Causes allergies, immunotoxicity , ecotoxicology (which means it’s toxic to a wide range of organisms), & contamination concerns.
  • Polyquaternium-7: Causes organ system toxicity, ecotoxicology, & contamination concerns.
  • Fragrance: Causes allergies, immunotoxicity, irritation to the skin, eyes, and/or lungs

*Immunotoxicity means it is toxic to our immune system.

* Ecotoxicology means it is being studied because it is toxic to a wide range of organisms.

Yeah, I know…and that’s just some of the possible and likely ingredients no matter what bottle of pump hand soap you buy off the store shelves.

Here’s the thing.  What is on the store shelves is not necessarily safe.

Here is a link to the Environmental Working Group’s database for a common hand soap that I have personally bought many times at the store.  Maybe it’s what you’re using now?

Did you know that you can make your own, fancy-pants, awesome smelling, natural, safe, non-toxic soap for next to nothing.

First, you’ll need a dispenser.  Look around your home.  Maybe you have one?  Make sure it’s glass.

Start with one 8 oz Glass Soap Dispenser Bottle (I chose a dark cobalt blue glass pump to protect the essential oils from sunlight damage.  You could also buy amber or use a pump you already have.  Glass is the non-toxic choice since plastics leach chemicals like BPA (found in cancer tumors).

You will need just 3 ingredients.  Your family will never again be “washing” with toxic chemicals.

1/3 Cup Dr. Bronner’s Hemp Baby Unscented Castile Soap

Distilled Water

10 Drops of Essential Oil*

* I chose to use Thieves essential oil because I love the scent and I know it’s helping to clean and purify our skin while boosting our immune systems.  (I still can hardly believe I’ve been using something that is actually damaging my immune system for all these years!)

Add these the Castile soap, 10 drops of essential oil (if using), and fill the bottle with distilled water.  Shake it up.  That’s it.

Here is the cost breakdown if you, like me, want to know how much it’ll cost you and how much you’re saving vs buying the “natural” brand soap from the store:

One time cost of glass soap dispenser is $6.25.  I couldn’t find what I wanted at any local stores, so I bought mine from Amazon and had them shipped in 2 days for free with my Prime membership (worth every penny).  I didn’t include this cost in my $1.00 recipe since I’ll be using these for many years to come.

Dr. Bronner’s Hemp Baby Castile Soap, Unscented cost me $11.99 at my local high-end grocery store.  You can purchase it online here for a bit more, but it’ll get delivered right to your door.  Using only 1/3 Cup means at $11.99, I’m spending about $1.00 on soap.

Distilled Water, enough to fill up the dispenser, cost me about $0.05.

You can stop here and you’re cost is $1.05.  Compare that to the “natural” soap bottles at the store.  They’re easily $5 or more these days.

Essential Oils are the variable that you can adjust.  I chose Thieves which costs about $0.14/drop.  I used 10 drops for a cost of $1.40 to boost my soap from simple and straightforward to something I love and at about one third the price of anything I’d buy at store that is even close in natural-non-toxic-ness.

So, you can make up a batch of natural, non-toxic soap for about $1.05.  Adding 10 drops of Thieves brought my total cost up to $2.45.  If you want to keep the price lower, you could choose an oil like Grapefruit ($0.07/drop), Lemon ($0.05/drop), or Peppermint ($0.09/drop), or a combination of those.

This little post is really about me waking up and realizing how what we all think of as normal, ordinary stuff, like washing our hands, is slowly, over time, building up and poisoning our bodies.  Shame on the companies that sell this toxic chemical crap.  I’m done with them.

Fight the good fight and kick the chemicals to the curb along with me!

Welcome to the oily revolution and my to my Oily Wellness Tribe.

Love,

Anna

 

 

Continue Reading

Easy Diffuser Recipes for New Oilers

 

When my starter kit arrived, it felt like Christmas.  I was so excited to get started.  I opened each bottle, took a good whiff and immediately set up my new diffuser.  Then I had this moment where I felt overwhelmed by the options.  Where to start?  Which oils would be the best choice for this moment?  I had to pause…

Day 1; I went with Lavender.  My most familiar oil and a scent that I don’t ever want to live without.  (I’ve been using lavender essential oil for 27 years.  I’ve tried lots and lots of brands.  Not one even compares to the quality Young Living’s Lavender essential oil!)

Day 2; I chose Peppermint.  Mmmm, fresh.

Day 3; I tried Lemon and I liked it.

Day 4; I didn’t quite know what to do next…so I looked online.  The options are ENDLESS…

I wanted to give you some easy, 2 oil combinations that are effective, yet super simple.  Essential oils are really intuitive once you start using them.  You just think about how certain scents affect you personally.  For instance, to me mint is refreshing, lemon smells clean and bright, eucalyptus (in the R.C.) smells like a spa and is soothing, and lavender smells happy and relaxing.  Purification eliminates funky odors & smells clean.  Frankincense is what prayer would smell like if it had a scent, to me anyway.

Don’t just look at your little bottles.  Use them every day.  Don’t be afraid to try out new combinations.  All essential oils are that plant’s immune system and all are going to have benefits.  Trust your instincts.  Don’t let the possibilities overwhelm you.  After a while you’ll be an expert at creating the mood and environment you want to set.  Happy oiling, my friends!

 

Continue Reading

13 Reasons You Need a Diffuser Necklace (And What To Put In It)

 

This post started out with five reasons and I just couldn’t stop.

My passion for aromatherapy has really skyrocketed since I started using Young Living essential oils.  I not only smell the difference, but I feel a difference.  Wearing aromatherapy jewelry has taken it to a whole other level of obsession.

I’ve had my diffuser necklace for about three months now and my only regret is that I didn’t get one sooner.  I wear it as often as possible, change the insert (felt, cork, leather, and other fabrics work) and oils according to my mood, my energy level, and whatever essential oil is my current obsession (Frankincense at the moment).

About the only time I don’t wear it is while working (as a massage therapist).  We all like different scents and have different emotional needs/scent memories and I don’t put mine ahead of my client’s during their session.

Here are 13 reasons you NEED a diffuser necklace and my thoughts on what to put inside.

  1. Because Peppermint Essential Oil puts a little pep in your step and you might just make it to the gym today.
  2. Because gray skies are easier to ignore thanks to the aromatic effects of citrus oils such Lemon, Grapefruit, and this amazing blend called Citrus Fresh.
  3. Because you’re kinda stinky today…Patchouli.
  4. Because the line at the grocery checkout is SO long and maybe a little Peace and Calming will chill you out.
  5. Because work/coworkers…maybe try White Angelica to clear the negative energy.
  6. Because you LOVE Christmas Season and want to smell like it.
  7. Because your entire extended family will be there and it’s gonna get crazy.  Try Lavender or Sandalwood
  8. Because you have teenagers in your house…Stress Away.
  9. Because you’re dealing with some emotional stuff right now and can use all the help you can get…Trauma Life, Sacred Frankincense.  (Hang in there.  This too shall pass.)
  10. Morning sickness is not fun…and everything smells weird when you’re pregnant.  Try DiGize, Ginger, or Peppermint.
  11. Because synthetic fragrance is something you know you don’t want in your life.
  12. Because using the power of scent to affect your limbic system (within your brain and controls emotion and hormones) is totally awesome.
  13. Because you love your diffuser and your oils and want to take them everywhere!  (Like me!)

If you’re wondering where to get diffuser jewelry, there are lots of online options.  I try to keep them in stock at my studio.  Also, I’ve heard that you can find them at craft fairs.

Continue Reading

5 Fast Fixes for Neck And Shoulder Pain: From a Massage Therapist

neckpainimg

Sometimes I think that our modern lives are designed to cause neck and shoulder pain.  At least 75% of my clients specifically ask for extra work on their neck and shoulders.  Some of the causes or contributors to the literal pain in our neck are:

  • Driving: because we’re all hunched a little forward with hands on the wheel
  • Texting/Cell Phone Viewing (forward neck posture)
  • Sitting at a Desk
  • Lack of Movement: because we all need to move our shoulders and cervical spine through their full range of motion, as they are designed to do, or else we’ll get stiff and weakened muscles which can lead to frozen shoulder, deterioration, and pain
  • Sleeping in a position that is out of natural alignment
  • Shoveling Snow (or other repetitive, straining effort)

See what I mean?  It’s stuff we do all the time.  And then, for some of us, it’s where we naturally hold our tension.  It seems to me that our daily routines leave all of us with tightness, pain, and range of motion problems here.  Today, I thought I’d share some tips on working out these “knots” and relieving your pain.

pain-is-inevitalbe

 

  1. Yoga- yoga is my #1 suggestion for anyone who wants to feel better. Here is a short video of chair yoga for the neck and upper back. In case you are thinking that you’re too tight/too heavy/too old or whatever excuse you come up with, I promise, there is some type of yoga you can do!  The library has DVDs.  Chair yoga is a good place to start.  I know that when you’re in pain, the last thing you want to do is move, but if your doctor says that you have the go-ahead to get some exercise, to go to physical therapy, to try stretching/strengthening, then yoga- which is literally moving with breath- can make a big difference in how you feel, how you move, and your quality of life.
  2. Ice/Heat- If you just injured yourself, ice is the way to go.  If you’re just stiff and tight, heat will bring more circulation and loosen things up.  A heated neck and shoulder pad may become your new favorite thing.  (This one is electric.  This one is microwavable or can be put in the freezer, and it costs less.)
  3. Tennis Ball Magic- put 2 tennis balls into a tube sock and tie the end up.  Lie on the floor and place this under your neck/at the base of your skull, between your shoulder blades.  Move around gently, turning and finding just the spot.
  4. Blanket Roll- take a throw blanket, yoga blanket, or large towel and fold it, probably into quarters or basically a 3 foot long rectangle.  Roll it up tightly.  Placing it on the floor under your spine, lengthwise, then lie down on it.  Now that the blanket roll is completely supporting your spine (and you can allow your head to drop off the roll if that’s comfortable), your legs can either be bent or straight, whichever feels better.  Spread your arms out to the sides and turn your palms up.  Breath deeply and rest here allowing your chest muscles to relax and heart space to open.  Alternately, you can lie in bed, on your back, near the edge and allow your shoulder and arm to hang over the edge.  Just make sure to switch position to stretch out the other side of your chest so that you’re evenly stretched.
  5. Massage- just 30 minutes is a great option if you want to get to those spots that you just can’t quite get to on your own.  Schedule a 30 or 60 minutes session and let your LMT know you just want to focus on neck and shoulders.  You won’t even have to take off all your clothes. Personally, I really love these sessions and enjoy knowing that I’m helping to really improve my clients’ lives by releasing the neck/shoulder muscles.  Even getting a short chair massage can make all the difference in your day. neck-and-shoulder-massage

Be well my friends.  Take good, loving care of your body.  It’s the only one you’ve got.

 

Continue Reading

Scandinavian Beauty & Health Secret: Dry Brushing Your Skin

drybrushing

(*Photo credit: http://blog.freepeople.com/2014/06/beauty-rituals-benefits-dry-body-brushing/)

Itchy, flakey, dry, and dull skin; it seems like a winter time given, right?  Particularly here in the frozen tundra, I mean, Cleveland area, where it’s cold and snowy for months and months.  My solution used to be to just load up on body lotion, but then I discovered this little secret-  from women who live where it’s way colder and snowier.

I was introduced to the idea of dry brushing years before I actually tried it.  I was watching a television show about living someplace frozen most of the year, somewhere in Scandinavia.  Apparently, Scandinavian women don’t just jump in the shower and scrub up with soapy washcloth.  Instead, before they bathe or enter a sauna, they spend a little time dry brushing their skin with a natural bristle brush.  This has the effect of sloughing off and exfoliating the dead, dry skin, improving the circulation of blood and lymph, which helps to detoxify and nourish the skin cells, and it feels great to boot!  So, you’re actually cleaner inside & out.  What’s not to love, right?!

Here’s What Dry Brushing Does & Why You Need to Try It

  • Exfoliates dead skin cells
  • Stimulates blood circulation (to nourish skin with oxygen and nutrients & get your glow on)
  • Stimulates lymphatic flow (to remove toxins from cells)
  • Decreases the appearance of cellulite
  • Feels really good (especially over the itchy places like the back of your hips and shoulder blades) and it can increase the feel-good hormones while decreasing the stress hormones
10+ years old and still in great condition
10+ years old and still in great condition

I will admit, my first reaction was to pish-posh this idea, but now, after more than ten years of incorporating dry brushing into my winter and spring routine, I can’t imagine my life without this short, pre-shower ritual.   I try to fit my dry brushing in at least once or twice (not more than 3x) a week during the winter and throughout  Spring.  I love the feeling of a good scrub, the glow, and the added benefit of getting the lymph flowing to boost my immune system.  Not only that, but it’s like getting the best back scratch, EVER.   I highly recommend it!

Skin Brushing Basics

  1. Buy a quality, natural bristle brush.  The higher the quality, the better it will feel (softer bristles) and the longer it will last.  I’ve had my body brush for more than 10 years and it’s still in great shape.  I wash my brush now and then, allow it to dry completely, and store it in a cabinet when not in use so it won’t get icky.
  2. Throw a towel down on the floor to catch the dry skin that you’ll be brushing off.  Gross, I know.
  3. Undress & grab your brush.
  4. Use a gentle hand and brush in circles or strokes moving toward the heart.  Here are the detailed instructions:
    1. Brush in small circles, starting with the bottom of your feet and moving up the legs, and over the hips. Circle from left to right (following the intestines) over the belly.  Swipe up sides towards armpits.
    2. Swipe or make circles from hands, up arms towards armpits (where there lots of lymph nodes).
    3. Brush your back from center out towards armpits.
    4. Brush around your breasts (I avoid nipples) and very gently across chest from center towards armpits.
    5. Finish by brushing neck gently from chin towards heart.
  5. You may want to scrub hard, but don’t.  You’ll make your skin hurt.   If you’re a sensitive type, you may actually feel like the brush is too intense.  If that’s the case, ease up on the brush, starting slow and building up how often you use it until it feels good.  It may take a little getting used to.
  6. Now you can take a shower as you normally would, but be less aggressive when washing up.
  7. After you dry off – Moisturize all over with a natural body lotion or oil.
    1. *Please read the ingredients on your moisturizer/lotion.  All of the typical drugstore/retail brands use petroleum (petrolatum) as a base.  Petroleum is a likely carcinogen (cancer causing) and has been correlated to breast cancer .  (YES, I know it’s FDA approved, but it is not healthy.)  Also, please be aware that fragrance means synthetic chemicals that can cause not only skin problems like rashes, but also breathing problems such as asthma, and it also disrupts your hormones (endocrine system) and can affect our bodies in ways you’d never suspect such as increased PMS symptoms, infertility, and more.

If you, like me, find it hard to enjoy winter…the dry air, the bitter cold, itchy skin, the lack of sunlight blues, etc., I hope that you try this out.  You may just discover a new winter ritual to make you feel like a million-glowing-bucks.

Stay warm & stay well, my friends.

Love,

Anna

P.S.  I’d love to hear what you think after your first dry brushing.  Email me.

 

 

Continue Reading

My Top 10 Most Loved Essential Oils + Easy Ways to Use Them

img_0597

In my home, we go through a lot of essential oils.  On any given day oils are a part of my morning routine, sometimes my lunch, my afternoon pick-me-up, post-workout self-care, my jewelry (aromatherapy), and more.  Here are my current favorites and some easy ways to incorporate them into your life.

  1. Lavender – a member of the mint family, it is my most favorite scent and I add a few drops to massage oil, to unscented face and body lotion, diffuse it to create calmness and promote happiness, apply to scars/burns, and put a few drops on my wool dryer balls to lightly scent my laundry.
  2. Peppermint – Ah, the most refreshing oil of all…I use this anytime I feel nauseated or have an upset tummy, diffuse it alone or with other oils such as lavender or R.C. to energize me, rub a drop between my hands and inhale to open sinuses and bronchi, and add a drop to a smoothie to make it a peppermint “shake.”
  3. Frankincense – is an essential part of my skin care routine and I wear it as perfume, diffuse it, and add it to my diffuser necklace or bracelet.
  4. Lemon – is amazing in tea, added to tuna salad, pasta, and it’s scent is so uplifting and joyful.
  5. Oregano – I like to put a couple of drops in empty gel capsules and take this as an immunity booster before bed and I find it very comforting.
  6. Tea Tree – I apply this to my feet and any little skin issue.
  7. Lime – I just can’t get over how a couple drops of lime e.o. will transform regular salsa, guacamole, or other recipes into something so fantastic that words do not adequately describe the pleasure.
  8. R.C. – I rub a drop between my hands and apply to my throat and chest when I’m congested, I diffuse this next to my bed anytime I feel a scratchy throat or sinus thing coming on, and I add this to bathwater to make it feel like my own private spa.
  9. Copaiba – this little baby is like having a secret weapon to improved wellness and I like to take it internally in capsules.
  10. Thieves – I saved one of the very best for last – I take this internally by adding a drop or two to homemade capsules, by adding a drop to oatmeal, or one drop to a spoonful of raw honey, diffuse it for a warm, spicy, comforting scent,  and I clean my entire house with Thieves Household Cleaner because it’s a powerful cleaning product without the toxic chemicals.

Finding new ways to improve life and make the ordinary into something special is such a great feeling.  Adding essential oils into my daily life has brought me so much joy, purpose, and abundance.  I am loving this oily journey and I hope I’ve inspired you to try something new?  From here, the sky is the limit!

Warm regards,

Anna

P.S.  Most of these oils come in Young Living’s Premium Starter Kit in case you’re looking for an easy way to get started.

Continue Reading

Top 10 Reasons Why Shopping at Small Businesses Supports Wellness

smallbizsatlogo

I enjoy a bargain as much, or more, than the next gal, but there is one holiday tradition I can’t bring myself to participate in, and that is Black Friday.  There is something about the “Open at 5:00 am”, mega-retailer, shop ’til you drop, fight over toys for your kids – madness that makes me feel uneasy at best, and downright furious and disgusted at worst.

I do, however, strongly support Small Business Saturday, one day later.

This year I will be buying most of my holiday gifts from small, local businesses right here in Northeast Ohio and I encourage you to do the same in your neck of the woods.

10 Reasons to Shop Small Business and How That Supports Wellness (of you and your community)

  1. Support your local economy.  Every dollar spent locally means more money that goes back into your community.  If you want there to be a thriving downtown, you must shop there.
  2. Support local character and charm.  Be proud of what makes your hometown unique.
  3. Encourage environmental sustainability.  Compact, walkable downtowns with stores full of locally produced products means reduction in fossil fuel emissions and air pollution.  Also, if you pay a little more for items, it’s likely you’ll reduce your consumption and waste.
  4. Better quality.  You may be able to find a similar item, for instance, let’s say a sweater, at a big box retailer for less money, but consider the quality and value.  How long will that cheaply made, lower quality fabric and stitching last?  Will you need to buy another next winter?  I personally prefer to have fewer, higher quality items, especially clothing and shoes, that will last for years and look better, fit better, and become favorite go to items that make me feel good to wear.
  5. Product diversity.  Small retailers often specialize in unique and special items that you wouldn’t find at the big chain stores.  If you enjoy giving unique gifts and trying new things, small businesses are your best bets.
  6. Support and help others to enter the middle class.  We all know that the gap between the haves and have nots is growing wider.  Working in low wage jobs for big retailers, mega-corporations, and chains will never be the way to move up in the world.  Entrepreneurship is a means to improve the economic situation for families and communities.
  7. Local decision making.  Local ownership ensures that local decisions are made by people who live in the community and are effected by the decisions.
  8. Competition.  Many small businesses competing for your business helps to keep prices reasonable.
  9. Investment in the future.  Someday, that business could be the opportunity and viable career for the next generation.  Kids grow up and need first jobs, jobs to help pay for college, and businesses to support their own families.  Otherwise, where will they live, work, and thrive?

my-personal-favorite

10. Connect and make new friends.  Some of the most interesting conversations I’ve ever had are with the experts who are small business owners.  If you want to learn something, talk to the experts.  Then, buy their wares.  Take your friends and family to their shops.  Learn their kids’ names.  Feel the pride of knowing those who you help to support.

 

Continue Reading

Fresh Tomato Salsa With Lime Essential Oil

limeoilsalsaingredsDid you know that salsa far outsells ketchup at the grocery store these days?  I think that’s a good sign about where American tastes are heading.  Specifically, we’re heading towards a more sophisticated palate that enjoys bright and zingy flavors like tomatoes with citrus.

I as write, summer is winding down and we’ve got vine-ripened, juicy tomatoes coming out of our ears here in Ohio.  For this, I am thankful.  I like to mentally divide the year into seasons based on what fruits and veggies are fresh and at the peak of ripeness.  To me, the end of summer is tomato season.  The rest of the year there’s not much point in bothering with the overpriced hothouse supermarket varieties.  They just can’t compare to the complexity and flavor profiles of a fresh, just off the vine, sweet homegrown tomato.  Thanks to our CSA (community supported agriculture) share and a good friend with an amazing garden, we’ve got lots to enjoy.  Thankfully, salsa is a quick and easy way to use the bounty and eat healthy (mostly-except for those tortilla chips I love so much).

Why would you want to use Lime Essential Oil in your fresh salsa, you might ask?  Well, if you are anything like me, I buy a bag of limes, use one, and the rest rot in the fridge drawer.  Then, later when I go to make something that would be delicious with lime juice or zest, like a marinade, I realize I just threw out that bag of limes I let rot.  (I really am trying not to be so wasteful these days.)  The citrus and herb essential oils have really helped me waste less food and throw away less hard-earned money.  Not only does having the Lime Essential Oil on hand make good financial sense, it is a refreshing dietary supplement high in D-Limonene, which helps support a healthy lifestyle.  Click here for more information about D-Limonene.

In years past I’ve had a garden and canned my own produce, salsa included, but this recipe is best eaten fresh, kept refrigerated, and used within 3 days (if it even lasts that long).  The old standby of tortilla chips is a classic, but, if you’re feeling more adventurous you might try making homemade oven-baked zucchini chips (by just thinly slicing zucchini, preferably with a mandolin slicer, placing on a lightly oiled baking sheet/Silpat/parchment paper, misting with oil, salt & pepper, and bake either low & slow at 225 degrees F. for about an hour, or try 425 degrees F. for about 15 minutes, turning once halfway through cooking time.

Other awesome ways we use fresh salsa at my house:

  • As a fat free salad dressing, especially with chicken or taco meat (or cumin & garlic seasoned, roasted veggies)
  • On eggs, sometimes on omelettes, or breakfast tostadas with avocado and beans, but on any style of eggs it works!
  • Mix it into cooked rice along with a can of black beans for instant rice and beans
  • Top grilled veggies like eggplant, zucchini, or roasted spaghetti squash
  • Anything that even remotely resembles a taco, fajita, enchilada, or tamale gets a big dollop of salsa around here

Lime Vitality Essential Oil, other possible uses:

  • Add 1 or 2 drops to homemade or purchased guacamole (or purchased salsa)
  • Add 2 or 3 drops to cooked rice along with chopped cilantro, a minced garlic clove, and a bit of olive oil (it’s better than Chipotle’s lime-cilantro rice)
  • Add 1 to 3 drops to a pitcher of margaritas or other beverage that uses lime or citrus
  • Add a drop to your glass of water to add something special
  • Use a 1-3 drops in a marinade for chicken, veggies, tofu, or fish – especially good with cumin and garlic or in Asian inspired marinades

Here’s a very quick and easy tomato salsa recipe that you can adjust as you wish without worry.  I like it chunky, so sometimes I chop by hand, but if you want it smoother, use your food processor, blender, or Nutri-Bullet.  (You may need to process it in batches depending on how large your appliance is.)  This photo is a batch made in my food processor*.  (*This is the best food processor available according to me and the folks at America’s Test Kitchen. Mine was a gift from my amazing husband who took the time to research every model before buying only the best, bless him.)

 

homemadetomatosalsa

 

 

 

Fresh Tomato Salsa With Lime Essential Oil

Makes about 4 cups or enough for 2 pint jars (which is enough to eat some and share some).

Ingredients

  • 3 Large, vine-ripe tomatoes, diced small (seeded, if you wish)
  • 1 Medium white onion, diced very small (white onions are so delicious fresh and will give your salsa that authentic Mexican flavor, but you can use another variety if that’s what you’ve got on hand)
  • 1 Jalapeno or serrano pepper, seeded and de-veined, minced (add another pepper if you like it hot)
  • 1/4 Cup fresh cilantro, rinsed, dried off, and chopped fine
  • 2 to 4 drops Lime Vitality Essential Oil (taste & adjust as needed, and/or you can add a splash of fresh squeezed lime juice)
  • Kosher salt to taste

 

Instructions to Prepare

Wash the tomatoes and pepper(s) with your fruit and veggie wash.  (Click here for a link to an effective natural fruit and veggie wash).  Slice and peel onion. Chop accordingly and mix everything in a non-reactive (so, not aluminum, use glass or ceramic) bowl.  I like to prepare this first and let it rest (marinate together) as I prepare whatever else we’re having.  Cover and refrigerate any leftovers.  Share a jar with your neighbor.  Use within 3 days for best flavor.  If you have a food processor, it’s easy to double this recipe and whip up a batch in 10 minutes or less.

thievesfruitvegsoakimage

foodborne-illness-is-no-joke-wash-your-produce

Continue Reading