For Those With a Menstrual Cycle

For Those With a Menstrual Cycle
Today I want to talk about something just for those of us with a menstrual cycle. 🤭😉

In the spirit of being eco-friendly and reducing/reusing/recycling, let's talk about eco-friendly menstrual products.
I personally use cloth pads. (These ones here or some really cute ones you can get on Etsy too! Find what fits for your body and works for you).

I know many people who use a reusable menstrual cup.
Both I think are great! Here's my top 4 reasons for the switch:

1. Eco-friendly: this was a BIG one for me. I'm all about less waste.

2. Less toxin exposure: my period used to be longer and more painful at the beginning than it needed to be because those disposable, one-time use products contain irritants and such that BOTHER our bodies and systems in different ways. Keep in mind that cheaply made cloth ones actually can too. But... Eliminate that? Less bothering the system, and for me resulted in a less painful, more regular cycle with shorter period. Who doesn't want that?! 🙌

3. Comfort: my sensitive body is all about comfort, and once I realized it was actually more comfortable because I invested in quality pads, I felt way more comfortable!

4. Cheaper: no need to go stock up at Target or wherever every month anymore! I've been using the same set for 3 years now and they still look GREAT. I do keep some disposable on hand for random overnight trips if I don't want to think ahead more and plan for cleaning the cloth ones, but that's not often for me.

***Cleaning them is easy-peasy! I just hand-wash with the best ever non-toxic plant-based laundry soap, so they smell good AND stay really nice! Win-win! 🙌 (Let me know if you need care tips, happy to share my how-to!)

Pro-tip: if you're trying to avoid toxins like I mentioned in #2, you're doing yourself a disservice by washing them in regular laundry detergent. Go look up the ingredients of that stuff... 😬 No thanks. No matter what you're using, I recommend googling a few (or all!) ingredient names just to see what they are/do. You may be surprised at what you find even if you are using a "natural" laundry soap. Ask me about what I use for the best, most cost effective laundry soap around!

Do you use cloth pads/a menstrual cup? If not, what are your concerns? I guarantee you that I had one of your concerns before I made the switch! Ask away -- no question is too weirdo for me! 😜😊

How to Eat Well on a Budget

How to Eat Well on a Budget
Depending where you live, food can be costly. But there are a few simple ways to make your grocery shopping effective and efficient. After all,

All foods either help us heal or make us sick.

I personally want to do the former instead of the latter. :)

How to Eat Well on a Budget

1) Go out to eat less (or not at all!) -- eating out costs a LOT. You're paying to be waited on plus the actual food plus the labor of making it! And it's usually not healthy anyway. Save that money you would've spent eating out and budget it for healthier food at the grocery store instead.

2) Meal plan -- plan out what you're going to eat when, especially if you are busy in the evenings. (Stay tuned for an awesome meal planning freebie coming soon!)

3) Make double portions -- and either freeze the rest or eat leftovers a few nights in one week! Making food healthy doesn't mean you need to cook or bake every night of the week.

4) Ditch the microwave -- I did a training about this in Abundant Life Community if you'd like to know more about why this is important! Your food is your body's fuel.

5) Cancel any subscriptions you don't use and put that extra money each month towards your food budget. Every dollar counts!


There you have it! Feel like you've got these down but need more direction on clean eating? I've got a Clean Eating Ingredients Freebie you can check out to push the needle even further on your goals. You got this!

How to Cut Caffeine & Sugar So That You Feel Alive & Thrive

How to Cut Caffeine & Sugar So That You Feel Alive & Thrive
Do you wake up in the morning feeling energized and alive? If you answer “no” to that, you’re not alone. SO many people are leading busy lives during the day and not getting enough restful sleep at night, and feel like they are dragging during the day. I know I was a few years ago.



If you are stressed-out and sleep-deprived, it is likely that you are turning to refined sugars and caffeine to get through the day. The problem is not your morning cup of coffee or enjoying the taste... the problem is when the resulting blood sugar crash leads to an afternoon coffee or sugar craving and then another, and another, and another...

Once the cycle has started, it’s very difficult to achieve a state of balance until it's broken. When the body’s natural energy rhythms are off, these issues can pop up: raging food cravings, weakened immune system, increased inflammation in the body, weight issues, difficulty with restful sleep, and more.

In order to proactively care for your body, soul, and mind, it is important to break the cycle. Some people can quit caffeine and sugar cold turkey. Most people struggle with that, though. Since sugar and caffeine are addictive, withdrawals are common, usually in the form of headaches and fatigue. Gradually reduce the amount you’re consuming AND find a replacement that will truly fuel your body's need for energy. Often we also become attached to the routine, so it is important to find something else that can be just as emotionally satisfying. I have LOTS of great healthful fuel ideas in 
Abundant Life Community.

It's not that you have to go the rest of your life without birthday cake or an occasional cappuccino. These foods are meant to be enjoyed in very occasional moderation. If daily indulgences begin to take their toll on energy levels, take simple steps to regain control and reconnect with feeling naturally alert and energized all day long. It's 100% doable!! But it starts with belief, mindset, and practical action steps. Having a cheerleader can be SO beneficial along the way, too. I'm starting a natural energy challenge mid-April if you would like practical steps, a mentor to walk you through it, and the determination to complete what you start! Contact me if you're interested, and I'll ask you a few basic questions to ensure that this challenge is right for you.

A Special Ingredient You Need in Your Home & Organic Garden

A Special Ingredient You Need in Your Home & Organic Garden
Gardening organically can be slightly harder in certain instances, but it is well worth the pay-off. Growing your own nutrient-dense food that is as natural as possible is becoming increasingly important to many families.



What to do about pests though?



Or what about a natural way to get rid of fleas once your lovable pooch has already brought them home?

I got both covered. :)

Here's your special ingredient, something I ALWAYS have on hand, and 6 awesome uses for it:


Diatomaceous Earth (DE) is a very fine powder that contains tiny pre-historic aquatic organisms called diatoms which are made of silica. Some brands of DE (like in the link above) may be taken internally as well as used around the house. I personally only use a brand that is food grade, as I would not want children/pets getting into anything that was not safe to ingest already, you know what I mean? I don't have chemical insect repellant, cleaners, or sunscreen in the house (I've written about that here), let alone anything else that's harmful to my precious family.

6 Awesome Uses of DE:
1. Overall health benefits for hair, skin, nails, body, and brain. DE usually contains trace minerals, and we are often deficient in silica, which also has some amazing properties. Go do a little google search to see for yourself!

2. Great addition to facial scrubs, deodorant, carpet cleaner, and more. Just AVOID eyes (and nose on furry friends).

3. Kills fleas that your pooch brought in! The fine and abrasive nature of the powder causes insects with exoskeletons to dehydrate fatally. Dust pup 2x per day until pests are seen to be gone (be careful to avoid mouth & eyes, as the fine dust particles can irritate mucus membranes!).

4. Pest control in the garden. Re-apply once per day after noticing pests after dew or rain has dried for best use.

5. DE has detoxifying properties and can be used alongside these other gentle cleansing and detoxing tips.

6. In vegetable gardening, DE is sometimes used as a soil conditioner, because it can retain water and nutrients while draining fast and freely, allowing more air circulation to bring additional oxygen to the root system within the soil (which you want).



There you have it! Hope this is helpful. Go grab some here if you need it as much as I do!

Want to receive updates to the blog? You can sign up to get them straight to your inbox or phone here so you don't miss any.  Or join my free group, Abundant Life Community, for more natural food, household, and gardening tips. :)








*Disclaimer: this post contains affiliate links. All things I love and use, of course!

5 Simple Swaps

5 Simple Swaps
Have you started this journey towards natural wellness and felt overwhelmed once you started reading? There is SO MUCH information out there. A nerdy learner like me loves digging to find the real truth about things, how to do it best on a budget, and to make it simple for the people I care about.

Here's the deal: you don't have to make all of the changes overnight.

Sometimes, it's just one baby step at a time.

One change can make a big difference over time, especially if you keep going and make small frequent changes as you grow and learn.

5 Easy Simple Swaps

1. Deodorant -- did you know that most antiperspirants on the market contain aluminum, which is a known toxin (especially for breast tissue... and look how close to your chest your armpits are... yuck!!). One of the littlest but biggest changes you can make is to switch your deodorant out. I use a natural one, but there are loads of recipes out there! I just DIY-failed too many times on this one to want to make my own (they turned out the wrong consistency one too many times, so I just buy mine now). Ha!

2. Toothpaste -- so many conventional toothpastes have artificial colors and other nasties in them that can wreak havoc on our sleep or focus (when do you brush?), not to mention cause issues with digestive system (you DO put it in your mouth, you know!) or other areas. I know some people who make their own, but I love my natural one. And it doubles as deodorant if I run out -- how cool is that?!

3. Dryer Sheets -- get rid of them!!! Using wool dryer balls is so much more environmentally friendly, cheaper, and eliminates the toxic chemicals in those from covering your clothes and thus sitting on your skin. Your skin is your biggest organ! Take care what you put on it. Speaking of skin...

4. Hand Soap -- there are SO many ways to make your own foaming hand soap. I lead classes teaching about natural wellness hacks, and we often make foaming hand soap at the end because it's so EASY and much cheaper and kinder to the skin, especially during the dry winter months. Here's a good recipe:

          DIY Foaming Handsoap
          -3 TBSP Dr. Bronner's Unscented Castile Soap
          -10 drops essential oils of choice (make sure it's a really good one! Some out there have hidden ingredients and can harm you... contact me for my recommendations.)
          -Fill 3/4ths way with water!

5. Dish Soap -- what you use on your dishes eventually makes its way into your food. You eat off of those bowls! Please don't put artificially colored and sudsy liquid on your dishes to "clean" them. It's not so clean after all. There are options for making your own, but the natural one I buy can be diluted 3x because it's so concentrated. Score!

There you have it! 5 areas you can make simple swaps to start or continue on this natural wellness journey.


Need more info? Happy to chat! Contact me or join our natural wellness FB group.

5 Ways to Actively Detoxify and Gently Cleanse

5 Ways to Actively Detoxify and Gently Cleanse
Detoxing and cleansing are super important for our body to optimally function, especially right now. To learn more about why detoxing and cleansing is important, check out my other post here.

But now that you know why it's important...

5 Ways to Actively Detoxify and Gently Cleanse

1. Drink LOTS of Water -- Learn more about why water is so important!

2. Lower (or Eliminate!) Processed Sugar Intake
       Processed sugar, when consumed in excess as most modern foods/diets do, can affect our health negatively in several ways. It can lead to weight gain and increase the risk of several potential diseases. Reduce consumption of sugar, table salt, processed foods, and junk foods to help the body lower inflammation and detoxify.

3. Add Antioxidants to Your Diet
       Antioxidants protect our cells against free radicals. Unhealthy habits including smoking, following a modern processed food diet, drinking too much alcohol, exposure to pollutants such as toxic ingredients found in personal care products and household cleaners, and more can lead to the accumulation of free radicals in the body. To fight these, we can add foods loaded with antioxidants to our diet daily like wolfberries, grapes, onion, garlic, mango, spinach, capsicum, and certain herbal teas. Some have a much higher content than others, so if you're looking for the highest antioxidant content in foods, check out my favorites list below.

      My top 5 favorite foods and teas high in antioxidants:
          -- Wolfberries, specifically a certain kind from China: learn more about my favorite kind.
          -- Detoxify Tea (includes tumeric and other herbs that help our body cleanse)
         -- Increasing fiber in your diet -- I specifically like a supplement called ICP for occasional help with increasing fiber in my diet and helping scrub that colon wall (you can purchase it here, though not everyone benefits from the same thing. Schedule a wellness consult with me to get more info or shoot me an email).
         -- High-quality garlic and other foods high in antioxidants. Always choose organic/locally grown, when you can, and go out of your way to prioritize that. Why? Learn more about it from my dad who has an 8-acre organic vegetable farm near Rochester, MN.
        -- Moringa, a superfood high in antioxidants. I like adding it to smoothies. :)



5. Do a specific cleanse/reset of the digestive system.
   I am actually newer to this concept (it's something I'm still learning about!) but I am going to be doing a cleanse (no food, just a homemade lemon juice mix for 10 days!) described in this book after the Thanksgiving holiday before Christmas so my body and digestive system/colon can reset.
   Some of the supplies/ingredients needed:
      -- Maple Syrup (someone else doing this cleanse specifically recommended getting this kind, perhaps it says in the book why, but I haven't read the book yet!)
      -- A caffeine free laxative tea like this one
     -- Fine ground REAL sea salt (this one non-iodized!)
     -- Ground Cayenne Pepper 
     -- Organic Lemons
     -- A juicer is HIGHLY recommended!
  If you're interested in joining me, get the materials above and let me know you're doing it! There's a few other tips I've learned from others doing it that can be super helpful, and I can pass along to you. I'll add you to a group I'm in all about cleansing in this way to have support and accountability together.

People I know who have done this cleanse have reported:
1: Lowered Inflammation
2: Have more energy
3: Better sleep
4: Clarity of mind
5: Positive outlook
6: Greater flexibility
7: Weight loss
8: Freedom from addiction
9: Increased strength
10: Swelling and pain
11: Hair loss regrowth
12: Skin improvement
13: Allergies reduced
And simply just feel better.

Sounds good to me!!

So there you have it. Some simple ways to help the body detox and be at our best. Feeling stuck, or need additional tools to get you moving in the right direction? I have additional simple detoxing strategies from the ones listed here. Or maybe you just need some accountability and encouragement! Come join a group of like-minded people who want to do this wellness thing naturally, and encourage one another to stay the course.

Why Detoxing and Cleansing Naturally is Important

Why Detoxing and Cleansing Naturally is Important
When we get unhealthy buildup of toxins in our body (which unfortunately is most of us as modern 20th century people, given our environment and lifestyle), it’s no fun. These excess toxins can cause physical and mental health issues like chronic fatigue, headaches, insomnia, anxiety, joint issues, diseases, and inflammation that causes or exacerbates other conditions. Many of these toxins come from things you use or consume everyday like additives in food, chemicals in water, beauty, and personal care products, cleaners, and the environment. If you’re wondering why it’s so important to cleanse and detox your body, keep reading.

You’ll see that there are many harsh pollutants and harmful pesticides in our environment that should not stay in your body. Since our body organs work together to help eliminate these trapped toxins, it’s important that they’re all healthy and in working order. The liver, kidneys, colon, lungs, skin, and lymphatic system are especially useful and important when it comes to cleansing the body. When these organs are bombarded with toxins at a faster rate than they can do their work efficiently, then we experience these commonplace (but not normal!) issues.

What is detoxing? Detoxification is really just a series of systems working together to neutralize and/or eliminate toxic substances. It’s always running in the background, working to keep your body functioning as it should.

Your liver is the main workhorse here as it works to process toxins and forward them to the “elimination stations.” These include your:

Kidneys (elimination through urine)
Bowel (elimination through feces)
Skin (elimination through sweat)

So “to detox” means to support what your body is already trying to do every day. You can do this many different ways (both passively and actively), but which I will touch on in a soon-coming blog post. Sign up for our blog updates so you don't miss it.

I hope the why behind what we share about and do is helpful! The biggest mistake I made was assuming this didn't apply to me unless I was experiencing issues like a described above. What I didn't know then that I know now is that I should have started these habits and patterns much earlier in life (something that I will definitely be doing with my own children). It would have saved me a lot of pain, sleepless nights, heartache, and the threatening of crushing my dreams. I am SO grateful that's not the case anymore because of changing ways I support my body's detoxing process.

I run a natural wellness group where we talk about detoxing and simple ways to add this habit into your lifestyle. You're welcome to join us!

Here are a few books about detoxing that may be helpful to get you started: Detox 101Superfood Smoothies21-Day Sugar DetoxDetox Your Home, and The Superior Wolfberry. And as always, I'd love to support you personally on your journey. Contact me to join our natural wellness team.

Be blessed, live abundantly.


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Why Drinking Water is So Important for TMJ/Joint Issues

Why Drinking Water is So Important for TMJ/Joint Issues
Staying hydrated is VERY important, especially as someone who used to struggle with joint issues AND is a singer for 7+ hours every day. The amount of water each person needs is going to depend on that person and how physically active they are in a given day. I get a few miles of exercise just jumping around my classroom every day! And I also do 2+ miles of walking with the dog daily. Do some experimenting with how much water works best for you. Some people may function better with more water than usual, and it may help reduce issues!, while for others it only causes the inconvenience of more frequent trips to the bathroom.
For me, my voice has to stay hydrated to perform at optimal levels. I already knew that from how much training I had as a singer during college. But did you know that the WHOLE BODY is like that? I kind of did, but not as much as once I started looking up WHY dehydration is such a problem, especially if you're experiencing discomfort.
Your body needs water to function and without sufficient water your body struggles to perform all its necessary tasks, like flushing toxins from the system and lubricating your cells. Believe it or not, there is actually some evidence that supports increasing water decreases some symptoms.
Many health experts have recommended a diet high in antioxidants (remember my red drink? If not, contact me and I'll tell you about my antioxidant hack) as well as drinking fresh water as being great ways to manage inflammation and pain. Water is recommended because it can flush toxins and other irritants out of our systems, decreasing the inflammatory response.
When there is a scarcity of water in the body, cartilage loses its sponginess. Drinking more water may not treat the underlying cause, but it can help keep your joints healthy. Proper hydration can improve the production of synovial fluid, reduce the inflammation, and maintain the shock absorbing properties of cartilage.
Throughout the day, the discs in our backs lose water and need to rehydrate. Drinking water to adequately replenish the discs with the amount water needed to work properly can reduce the likelihood of developing back issues.
It is well documented that water dehydration can lead to the development of headaches. Some observational studies indicate that water dehydration, in addition to impairing concentration and increasing irritability, can serve as a trigger for migraines and other forms of headaches. In those with a water deprivation-induced headache, ingestion of water provided relief from headache in most individuals within 30 minutes to 3 hours.
Our immune system also requires water to work at optimum levels.
As you can see, water is really important! I know some people don't like drinking plain water (which is why they drink other things that contain harmful additives in them). I actually like adding a natural electrolyte squirt (you can find here) to flavor my water and change it up. 🙂 If you do add any GRAS essential oils to your water (which I also recommend!), just make sure you use a glass or metal water bottle. I really like this one personally. And make sure your oils are therapeutic grade and the purest! We definitely would not want to introduce more toxins to your body by using oils that are not pure.

____________________________________________________________________________

So now that you know how helpful staying hydrated is, keep at it! If you need encouragement or accountability to stay on track, I have the perfect opportunity for you; reach out to learn more about it!

Struggling with TMJ issues? I did too. (Yes, that is a past tense verb! I've been pain-free for almost 3 years now and grateful every single day for it.) There are so many things that can exacerbate it, but that also means there are so many natural options at your fingertips for addressing those issues and finding relief. One quick example? Hormones can cause issues with joints. I know more than I'd ever care to know now about TMJ and joint issues, and my goal now is just to bless as many people as I can with what I learned. If I can help others experience less pain or less years of pain than I did, this journey will have been WORTH it to me.

Healthy Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

Healthy Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread
This amazing dairy-free pumpkin bread is naturally sweetened with honey or maple syrup, and made with whole wheat flour or Einkorn flour. It’s so moist and fluffy! You can easily make this pumpkin bread vegan and/or gluten free. Recipe yields 1 loaf.

INGREDIENTS

⅓ cup melted coconut oil
½ cup honey or maple syrup
2 eggs
1 cup pumpkin purée (a small pie pumpkin usually yields around 4 cups -- how to cook a pumpkin)
¼ cup milk of choice or water
1 ½ teaspoons pumpkin spice blend (or ½ teaspoon cinnamon, ½ teaspoon ground ginger, ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg, and ¼ teaspoon allspice or cloves) OR 2drops cinnamon bark, 1 drop nutmeg, 1 drop ginger, and 1 drop clove essential oils (make sure you're using a pure, food-safe one -- ask me about what I use!)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon salt
1 ¾ cups white whole wheat flour or regular whole wheat flour or Einkorn flour
Optional: ½ cup mix-ins like chopped walnuts or pecans, chocolate chips, raisins, chopped dried fruit…
Pinch of ground cinnamon, for sprinkling on top


INSTRUCTIONS
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit (165 degrees Celsius) and grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan.
2. In a large bowl, beat the oil and honey together together with a whisk. Add the eggs and whisk until blended. (If your coconut oil solidifies on contact with cold ingredients, simply let the bowl rest in a warm place for a few minutes, like on top of your stove or in the preheating oven.)
3. Add the pumpkin purée, milk, pumpkin spice, baking soda, vanilla and salt, and whisk to blend. Lastly, switch to a big spoon and stir in the flour, just until combined. Some lumps are ok! If you’re adding any additional mix-ins, gently fold them in.
4. Pour the batter into your greased loaf pan and sprinkle lightly with cinnamon. If you’d like a pretty swirled effect, run the tip of a knife across the batter in a zig-zag pattern.
5. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean (typically, if I haven’t added any mix-ins, my bread is done at 55 minutes; if I have added mix-ins, it needs closer to 60 minutes). Let the bread cool in the loaf pan for 10 minutes, then carefully transfer the bread to a cooling rack to cool for 20 minutes before slicing.

SOOOO yummy!!
pumpkin bread made from fresh organic pie pumpkins

Homemade Pesto

AfterHomemade Arugula/Basil Pesto

I just made it up with what I had using approximate ratios (like my dad always does), so I don't have an exact recipe. 😂
One to freeze and one to use this week.

But I've been asked multiple times! So here's the ingredients at least:

Organic baby arugula
Organic basil
Pine nuts (you can also use walnuts, but I like being fancy 😉)
Hard-neck Garlic (9ish cloves)
Extra Virgin Olive oil
Pink Himalayan Sea Salt
2 drops black pepper vitality essential oil
3 drops lime vitality essential oil

1. Put the leafy ingredients (arugula & basil) in a food processor with 3)4c ish of pine nuts. Pour in some olive oil. Puree or pulse to chop.

2. Add rest of ingredients and more oil until texture is fine.

3. Enjoy!

before





It is very important to know that not all essential oils are created equal...

You can’t just go out to a big box store (or anywhere online) and trust that you’re getting the good stuff. Lucky for you, I’ve got a source I trust. Contact me to learn more.

 
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