Monday, November 5, 2012

Hot Pink & Black Bridal Shower

You may have noticed that I haven't posted since September (and even then it was sparse), but I have a really good excuse. I got engaged!!! It's been a whirlwind since the beginning of September—a joyful, happy pixie dust of a whirlwind mixed with a handful of stressful moments, like sand in the eyes. You really can't avoid that, but at least I am getting married to the man of my dreams. Knowing that makes everything better.

Four of my dear friends threw me a shower on Saturday, and since they know me so well they kept the menu as gluten-free and vegan as possible. Aren't they great? Here's a picture of the beautiful array of foods.

Hot Pink Smoothie, fruit, nuts, hummus & veggies, gluten-free & vegan muffins (which I will soon get a recipe from Lori—it might've been a mix, but it tasted divine), water with orange slices, banana bread, and apples & peanut butter.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Quinoa and Black Bean Salad


1 tsp Olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves Garlic, peeled and chopped
3/4 cup uncooked Quinoa
1 1/2 cups Vegetable broth
1 tsp ground Cumin
1/4 tsp Cayenne pepper
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 cup frozen Corn kernels
2 (15 oz) cans Black beans, rinsed and drained (would be healthier to make your own)
1/2 cup chopped fresh Cilantro

1. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the onion and garlic, and saute until lightly browned.
2. Mix quinoa into the saucepan and cover with vegetable broth. Season with cumin, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes.
3. Stir frozen corn into the saucepan, and continue to simmer about 5 minutes until heated thoroughly.
4. Mix in the black beans and cilantro.

Enjoy!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Roasted Summer Squash

This recipe is easy, relatively fast (fast prep, semi-fast bake time), and delicious. Can't beat that. Oh, and it's healthy.

Yellow squash
Cloves garlic, chopped
Thyme
Rosemary
Red pepper flakes
Salt and fresh ground pepper
Coconut oil or olive oil

1. Preheat the oven to 400F. Cut the squash lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds to create a small cavity in the center.

2. Lightly grease a baking dish or pan with coconut oil and place squash on top.

3. Into each squash half, put a little of each of the seasonings to taste—it's all up to your tastebuds. I sprinkle on a little of everything, but the red pepper flakes sparingly.

4. Drizzle oil or spread a little coconut oil over top. Cover with foil. Bake for 25 minutes and then remove the foil. Then bake at 300F for another 10 minutes, or until soft.

I promise this will be one of those go-to recipes that you crave—the seasonings really make the squash come to life. This recipe was inspired by The 28-Day Cleansing Program cookbook.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Carrot Fries

This past week my mom and I flew to Washington to visit my adorable niece and nephews and equally adorable brother and sister-in-law. We tried a lot of new recipes, and among them was this yummy treat . . . carrot fries! Yes, you will want to keep eating them and maybe even growl like my baby nephew when your bowl is empty.

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

2. Peel carrots and chop into thick shoestrings.

3. Drizzle lightly with olive oil or coconut oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toss to coat (or use your hands).

4. Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spread carrots out in a single layer.

5. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, or until slightly brown.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Chocolate Chia Pudding

I subscribe to Veg News magazine (thanks to my thoughtful friend Karina!) and have had the Chocolate Chia Pudding recipe dog-eared since June. Last night I finally made it, specially for my boyfriend who loves chocolate pudding, and it was a huge hit! He said it reminds him of tapioca pudding.

Serves 6

3 cups non-diary chocolate milk (I used rice milk.)
1/2 cup chia seeds (If you buy them on a Tuesday from Whole Foods you get 15% off!)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (This is optional, but it sure makes this pudding taste amazing!)
2 tablespoons agave
fresh raspberries, for garnish

1. In a medium-sized bowl stir together non-dairy milk, chia seeds, and vanilla. Chill in the fridge for 1 hour. Remove bowl and stir in agave.

2. Return bowl to the fridge and chill for another 2 to 3 hours. (When I first tasted the pudding after it chilled for only an hour, the texture of the chia seeds wasn't too appetizing to me. But the longer the chia seeds soaked in the fridge, the more they swelled and resembled tapioca.)


Saturday, July 28, 2012

Create. More. Love.


Just getting ready for a bridal shower and let my creative juices flow. I'm a total gift bag/shopping bag recycler, so I pulled out a LOFT bag and started cutting up a scratch sheet of some of my watercolor art to cover up the store name (the other side of the bag has an orange watercolor starfish happily covering up LOFT). Then when I turned the bag over I decided to paint a V and an E to spell out LOVE! What bride wouldn't love this? I love to create! To be honest I was in a super annoyed/angry/crappy mood until I let myself explore some ideas and create, and now I'm feeling sooo much better.

Life Lesson: Love can come of any situation, any combination, if we let go and let our heart lead the way.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Sprouted Lentil Wrap Mix Recipe

Soak overnight:
2 cups Lentils
1 cup Sunflower seeds
1 cup Almonds
1/2 cup Sesame seeds

Drain in the morning and allow to sprout 24 hours, rinsing occasionally. Process in a food processor to be a coarse mash and add:

Handful of chopped cilantro, basil, or parsley
1 Bell Pepper, chopped
1 Onion, diced
1/4 cup Lemon juice
2 Tbsp. Extra-virgin Olive oil
2 tsp. Sea salt
1 Anaheim pepper, diced (optional)
2 Tbsp. Flax oil (optional)

Use as a filling in cabbage, lettuce leaves, or sprouted-wheat tortillas. (I put slices of avocado on top and it was delicious.)

*This recipe makes a lot, you can freeze leftovers or cut the recipe in half.

I found this in my garden!

Sometimes I like to fan myself with kale. It's a home-grown, light-weight, off-the-grid air conditioner.



I was just outside picking some fresh kale for dinner when I realized it could be time for a garden picture. I haven't taken any yet this season! So here you go. A little taste of what's growing in my backyard. Isn't this leaf of kale beautiful? More pictures to come! What's growing in your garden?


Monday, July 9, 2012

Whole Foods Menu Planner


Green Smoothie Girl is now selling an 8 week menu planner book. This can be a great way to get you started eating healthy. She includes money and time saving tips, and the menus are designed for a family of four and costs approximately $100/week.

Menu Planner
Get $5 off by entering code '8weeks' until the end of July.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

What's better than a sunflower? . . .



. . . A 2-headed sunflower!


              And what's better than a 2-headed sunflower? . . .



. . . Two 2-headed sunflowers!

Thank you, deer, for chomping my sunflowers a few months ago. Who'd have thought I would be saying this now? I was really angry at you at first—I even blogged about the incident! My sunflowers are the sunshine of my garden, and I thought I'd lost them because of you. But now I'm seeing how something so upsetting can actually turn into a beautiful surprise—something more beautiful than I ever could've imagined! My garden now has 7 sunflowers instead of 5!


Thursday, July 5, 2012

Red, White, & Blue Skinny Muffin

If you can't tell, I'm really into skinny muffins. They are so good for you and so versatile! You can pretty much throw anything in there as an experiment, and it almost always ends up amazing.

For the 4th of July I decided to take my patriotism to a new level via the skinny muffin, of course. A red, white, and blue muffin just so happens to be good on any day of the week, though, even the 5th of July, which I found out for myself this morning.

Here's how the Red, White, & Blue Skinny Muffin is made.

1 tablespoon coconut oil
1-ince slice of a medium banana, mashed
1 cage-free egg
2 packets Xylitol natural sweetener (Xylitol comes from the fibrous parts of plants, and compared to table sugar, it has a very low glycemic index and 40% fewer calories. I buy XyloSweet.)
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 medium strawberry, diced
10 small fresh blueberries

1. Stir together everything except the strawberries and blueberries in a coffee mug.
2. Carefully fold in the berries.
3. Microwave for 75 seconds.
4. Remove from microwave and turn mug upside down to let muffin fall onto a plate.
5. Enjoy, and maybe even exclaim, "Happy birthday, America!" if you so desire.



Tuesday, July 3, 2012

My Top 4 Diet Changes for Rheumatoid Arthritis, Cancer, and Other Illnesses

Oh the joy! There's nothing that makes me want to dance and leap around the room more than when I hear someone say they are ready to take a stand for their health. Lucky me, I've been able to hear it come out of 4 different people's mouths in the last 3 days—this morning I happened to hear it from one of my most favorite aunts, who also happens to have rheumatoid arthritis. I feel overjoyed after hanging up with her.

I'm blogging today to not only share my joy and excitement but to also share how when you set your sights on something, truly desiring it, we inevitably collide with the answers we're seeking through multiple sources. My aunt wanted to know how I first went about changing my diet, and after practically every new thing I told her she'd say, "No way! My friend was just telling me that same thing yesterday," or "We went to dinner last night, and a man there was talking about how his cancer has been getting better because he's been doing that too!"

So it's time to share. Here are the 4 main health changes I made to get improve my nutritional intake and improve my health on multiple levels:

1. Eat alkaline foods.
2. Eat salmon and/or fish oil.
3. Eat cruciferous vegetables (i.e., cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, kale, and collard greens.
4. Drink green smoothies.

You may hear me got on my soap box time after time about alkaline foods, but it's for a reason. Everything we eat falls on a spectrum of acidic on one end and alkaline on the other end. Click here and here for a chart of where foods fall on this spectrum. The goal is to eat more alkaline foods so that your body can reserve it's resources to fighting illness rather than neutralizing acidic foods in digestion.

Salmon contains much needed omega 3s that reduce inflammation and build up muscles to support joints, particularly helpful for rheumatoid arthritis. Salmon is also high in Vitamin D, which has been shown to reduce the production of blood vessels that cancer tumors feed off of.

Cruciferous vegetables are full of disease-fighting phytochemicals and are known to help prevent various forms of cancer, such as colon, prostate, and breast cancers, as well as rheumatoid arthritis. If you're dealing with poor health, it's recommended that we eat these friendly veggies 4 to 7 times a week. At first I thought this was ridiculously impossible until I realized that I already was drinking kale practically daily in my morning green smoothie! Who knew kale was a cruciferous vegetable?—The more you learn. And if you'd like to learn more about cruciferous vegetables, click here.

Drinking green smoothies not the first health change I made 2 years ago, but hands down it was the most significant. Greens such as kale, spinach, collard greens, and chard are packed with vitamins and minerals. They are full of iron, calcium—no wonder there's calcium in cow's milk because cows eat greens all day long, but who knew you didn't need milk to get calcium?—and mega amounts of vitamin A and C. According to Self Nutrition Data, kale is "a good source of Dietary Fiber, Protein, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Folate, Iron, Magnesium and Phosphorus, and a very good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, Calcium, Potassium, Copper and Manganese." Apparently it's a vegetable worth including in your diet! Self Nutrition Data is an awesome website for looking up the health benefits of foods.

Here's a blog post bonus to keep inspiring you. It's time to take a stand for your health!



Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Salmon and Omega-3 Fatty Acids

©http://www.inkanat.com/en/arti.asp?ref=salmon-oil
When I first got really sick with rheumatoid arthritis (March 2010), my dear friend Hayley became the salmon chef extraordinaire, and every Thursday night she'd bring me a new salmon dish. What a saint, no? Back then I'd been reading a lot about how omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon help in reducing inflammation and joint pain, along with a list of other great health benefits, including losing weight, preventing heart disease, lowering blood pressure, improving painful periods, reducing ADHD symptoms, reversing breast and colon cancer, and improving your mood. I was also making salmon for myself weekly, and my mom would make salmon almost every Sunday when I'd go home for family dinner. All in all, during those first four months of being diagnosed I was eating salmon up to 4 times a week.

Since then, as my inflammation and pain have decreased drastically, I'm less vigilant about getting my omega-3s from salmon—usually eating it only once every one to two weeks now. I eat chia seeds and flax seeds a'plenty, along with dark leafy greens, free-range eggs, walnuts, olive oil, winter squash, and occasionally shrimp, which all have a varying amount of omega-3s, but today my doctor recommended I make an added effort to eat salmon twice a week. I've been going to a new doctor who reactivates muscles, and he explained that my muscles will heal faster if I eat more omega-3s, particularly those found in seafood as opposed to those found in plants. It's been incredible to see that as the doctor reactivates the nerve connections, my RA pain lessens. He worked on my lower back last week. Many of the nerves in my muscles are no longer getting their messages to the brain and vice versa. So by stimulating the nerves, the muscles are reactivated to once again work as they should. Today the doctor worked on my left shoulder, and I am thanking the heavens that I am continuing to discover more ways to heal naturally. My shoulder has been in a lot of pain the past few days, so I'm excited to see what tomorrow brings.

So on my way home from the doctor's I bought two pounds of glorious salmon, and I'd say I'm awaiting dinner with quite a bit of excitement. Nothing beats eating freshly grilled salmon outside under the oak trees—plus the breeze is perfect today and the sun is my best friend. Welcome back, salmon of the sea! Who knew I was missing you so? One of my most favorite salmon recipes is found here in a past post. To read more about how much you need of omega-3s, click here for one website of information.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Feeling Unworthy Creates Procrastination

Just now I was reading in You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay and wanted to share an especially applicable paragraph, as least applicable to me in my life right now as I am writing my thesis and creating my abundant future. I've been noticing patterns of self-sabotage as I work on my thesis and as I get closer to achieving the things I want the most in life. So I thought I'd share this insight, since you may be noticing similar patterns happening in your own life:

If one of my inner belief systems or thought patterns is, "I am unworthy," then one of my outer effects will probably be procrastination. After all, procrastination is one way to keep us from getting where we say we want to go. Most people who procrastinate will spend a lot of time and energy berating themselves for procrastinating. They will call themselves lazy and generally will make themselves out to feel they are "bad persons." (pp.76–77)

Thanks, Louise Hay, for helping put the pieces together for me. It's time to be more gentle with myself when I procrastinate, and it's time to go a little deeper to get to the root of feeling unworthy and release all those false beliefs that are keeping me down.

Most of these negative feelings that we pattern our life after come from experiences we had before the age of 7. So be kind to yourself (I'm mostly talking to myself here), and see yourself as a little child who is feeling afraid or unworthy or unloved. It's a good reminder to me to be a little more kind to and patient with myself. Here's to loving ourselves more!
Source: data.whicdn.com


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Getting Chomped

Some of you may remember the post from last year about the queen of our garden, Lady Sunflower, who appeared quite unannounced but much to our delight. We adored her. She spread sunshine over our entire garden. A few weeks ago five new little baby sunflower plants peeked up out of the ground, and instantly became our pride and joy. We just can't wait to see them grow as big and as beautiful as their mama. They are the sweetest little guys, already with fuzzy stems and full green leaves!
Last Monday morning I went out in the garden to check on our plants. I scanned the soil for the sunflowers, but I couldn't see any green. My heart sank. Then I saw them. They were strewn about the garden. One lay motionless (obviously, but you know) and rootless on the opposite end of the garden, two of the babies were still firmly in the ground but their leaves had been chomped off, and two of the plants lay on their side, roots still attached. I was so upset. So angry! But at the same time I knew I wanted these little sunflowers to live without any more deer attacks, so I forgave the deer. I know. I wasn't easy. I said some peaceful prayers asking that the deer find greener pastures and no longer desire our yard. 

And then I replanted. I quickly picked up the little sunflower whose roots were gone and put him back in the ground. I know that many of you may say this was silly because plants can't grow without roots, but my faith was great. I talked the little plant through it and told him how his roots would grow back. Just because something doesn't usually happen doesn't mean it's impossible—maybe no one has ever believed. Well I believed. I could already see my garden with five regal sunflowers, and so this little guy was going to grow his roots back.

Then I went to the plants with roots still attached and placed them near their sunflower brothers, telling them they'd grow their leaves back and that they'd soon be strong enough that the deer wouldn't mess with them. I dusted off the other two plants still in the ground and told them the same thing. To keep growing and soon they'd be strong enough that they would never get chomped like that again.

The well-being of our little sunflower babies never left our minds all that week, and we kept praying that they would be protected until they could get strong enough. I kept seeing all five of the sunflowers watching over our lush garden, and it made me feel so happy and secure that they would be safe.

It's been eight days, and we still have our five baby sunflowers. And the plant that lost his roots is growing back faster than the plant that was uprooted and still had his roots. I believe in sunflower miracles. I believe faith is real, however we choose to use it in our lives.
How many times do you think our Heavenly Father gently picks us up, dusts the dirt off, and replants us? Sometimes our roots are still intact, but sometimes they got chomped clean off. And in all reality, sometimes we're the ones doing the chomping. Some days it seems easy for me to surrender, let go, and trust, but those are usually the days when I have been brought the lowest and am utterly exhausted. Why do I let myself get to that point instead of trusting that He will do the healing? I know that. I think that's what often makes this dance so hard, because knowing we should let go and trust often makes us struggle even more. But I do believe in miracles and I do believe we are each deserving of a miracle. A little sunflower taught me so.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

RA Timeline: Symptoms and Treatment

Many of you are coming to this blog in search of answers. Maybe you have an unexplainable pain in your body, maybe you want to start eating healthier, or maybe you have RA and want to know what I did to be mostly pain free now.

For those who think it might be helpful, here's a timeline that shows when my physical pain started, what medical practitioners I visited, how I changed my diet, and any other specifics that might help you along your own journey. Please let me know if you have timeline questions that I don't answer. And remember that everyone's experiences with health and healing are different, so always be in tune with the needs of your body. My experience may be very different from your own, but hopefully you can pull a few gems from my journey that will help you in your own. I've learned there's always hope!

2009
Oct 8–10: Left shoulder frozen for first time. Researched pain and seems to be bursitis. Wearing a sling.
Nov 20-23: Right shoulder frozen for first time. Bursitis. Wearing a sling.
Dec 31–Jan 2: Right shoulder frozen again. Bursitis. Wearing a sling.

2010
Jan 1–2: Right shoulder frozen. Bursitis. Wearing a sling.
Jan 4–6: Right shoulder frozen. Bursitis. Wearing a sling.
Jan 23–26: Right shoulder frozen. Bursitis. Wearing a sling.
Jan 28–29: Severe throat pain. Tender on outside of throat—can't turn head w/o throat in pain. (Ended up being connected to the RA.)
Jan 29: Teeth hurt bad. Left side. (Ended up being connected to the RA.)
Jan 30–Feb 23: Right foot in pain—second toe. (Turns out my toe had a stress fracture from wearing low heels for a few hours! What?)

Feb 17: Left elbow starts hurting for first time. Can't put any weight on it.
Feb 18: Finger joints start hurting for first time. Difficult to use fingers to dress myself, drive, tie shoes, push microwave buttons. You get the idea.
Feb 18–21: Left shoulder frozen. Bursitis. Wearing a sling.
Feb 24–25: Right wrist bone swollen and hurting for first time.
Feb 25: 1st doctor's appointment about joint pain. Anti-CCP test results high. Most likely rheumatoid arthritis, but referred to a rheumatologist for further examination and testing.

Mar 01–03: Jaw frozen for first time. Left side. (Connected to the RA.)
Mar 03–04: Left wrist bone swollen and hurting again.
Mar 03: Dad gives me a priesthood blessing. (In my religion we believe the priesthood is God's power on the earth, so if we are sick we'll often ask a priesthood holder to give us a blessing.)
Mar 08: Right hand first knuckle, on pointer finger. Swollen and painful.
Mar 08: Visit gastrointerologist about colon pain. Diet change #1: No more dairy. Diet changes that followed included no more processed foods, white flour, table sugar, table salt, and meat. Lots of whole grains and whole foods. If it grew out of the ground, I ate it.
Mar 08: 1st visit holistic practitioner about joint pain. Click here for details. Includes light & sound treatment.
Mar 09: Fingers start hurting again and continues nonstop now. Mostly left pointer and middle finger joints, and right pointer knuckle. Can't cut food anymore.
Mar 10: 1st visit with rheumatologist. Lots of X-rays. No joint damage, but stress fracture on toe. More blood work. Doctor gives me prescription for Naproxin.
Mar 11: Start taking Naproxin, but doesn't do anything for the pain. After a few weeks I decide to not take it anymore.
Mar 25: 2nd visit with rheumatologist. Blood work confirms I have RA. Ultrasound on joints show no joint damage. Very frustrated with the doctor. I don't feel heard, and she has nothing to tell me about prevention.
Mar 27–28: First time I feel like I was hit by a truck. Can barely walk or move. Can't drive because legs too weak. I am determined I will not live like this.
Mar 31–Apr 30: Elbow pain severe. Left side. Never quite stops for months, but pain gets fainter depending on the day.

Apr 06: Get a handicapped parking pass. I ask for a stronger prescription for the pain but never fill it. 
Apr 07: Orthodic insoles made for my shoes at Wasatch Orthodics, $250.
Apr 07: Purchase a Blendtec and start making green smoothies daily!!
Apr 08: Committed to daily walk through the neighborhood even if it hurts and is more like a shuffle.
Apr 24: First massage for RA. Rain drop therapy w/ essential oils. Thanks, Char!

May 06: 2nd visit with holistic practitioner. Includes light and sound treatment. (If you want to know what she told me about the RA and what caused it in me, please comment and I will share more.)
May 15–16: First time both feet are in pain. Saturday I walked a few hours in Seattle until feet hurt too bad, and then Sunday I couldn't walk unless delicately w/ shoes on around the house. Unbearable pain.
May 18: The extreme fatigue is setting in for first time.
May 27: Replace toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, lotion, and all personal care items to all-natural. Coconut oil replaced lotion and eye make-up remover.
May 29: Another Rain Drop massage from Char.

June 01: No more gluten as an experiment.
June 21: Discover Victoria Boutenko and raw food. Check out her books from library. Start experiment to not eat nightshade vegetables.
June 29: 3rd visit w/ holistic practitoner. Includes light and sound treatment.

Jul 12: Cancel appointment w/ gastrointerologist.
Jul 15: Cancel appointment w/ rheumatologist. Never go back to rheumatologist. I tell her I'm seeing progress in my health through diet change and natural & holistic medicine.
Jul 22: Start swimming 2–3 times a week.

Aug 19: 4th visit w/ holistic practioner. It's official—doctor's computer shows my body does not tolerate tomatoes, nightshade veggies, corn, gluten, peanut butter, soy, dairy. All my food eliminations are paying off. Includes light and sound treatment.
Aug 24: Attend raw foods cooking class.
Aug 31: Massage.

Sept 15: First time hip hurt.
Sept 20: Doctor appointment. Lots of abdominal pain, but everything looks okay.

Oct 04: Start water aerobic class. Water too cold for my joints, so I don't go back.
Oct 13: Start using Frankinscense essential oil my dear friend Miriam gives me.
Oct 19: 1st cranial sacral therapy visit. Focus on releasing emotional blockage in chakras to get energy flowing properly throughout the body again. Emotional blocks are often the cause of illness.
Oct 21: 5th visit w/ holistic practioner. Pain steadily dropping with each visit. Includes light and sound treatment.
Oct 26: 2nd cranial sacral therapy visit.

Nov 09: 3rd cranial sacral therapy visit.
Nov 17: Go to Brandon Flowers concert and request a chair. People get riled up that I get a special seat. My first experience w/ public being unaware and me feeling ashamed of RA. Accused of making up the pain just to get a special seat and that felt horrible.

Dec 02: 6th visit w/ holistic practitioner. Pain still dropping steadily.
Dec 11: Rain Drop massage.  
Dec 11: First time making a special exception to eat "regular" food like roast beef, canned corn, mashed potatoes, and a dinner roll. I was invited to a Sunday dinner and felt confident about my health improvements to make a diet exception. I said no to the Jell-O and pie though.

Dec 13: First cranial sacral visit with new practitioner. (I continue my visits about once a month for the first 7 months. Now I go on average every 3 months.)
Dec 16: First time going to chiropractor. I start going 2 times a week for 4 months. I stop going because I now have a good handle on what emotions trigger the physical pains Dr. Robb is adjusting me for chiropractor.

2011
Sept 25: Invited as a guest speaker to a Sunday workshop service to speak about spiritual & physical healing through Christ based on what I'd learned through my RA journey. Amazing experience! (I have a recording, so I think I will upload this in the future.)

Oct 03: First time going to acupuncture. For 10 weeks (Oct-Dec) I went 2 times a week. Then from mid Dec-Feb I went 1 time a week.
Nov 29: Start yoga again. Hooray!

Dec 2: 7th visit w/ holistic practitioner. The RA does not show up in my body anymore, and pain doesn't register on her computer. I cried the whole way home.

2012
Feb 23: I got re-evaluated today at acupuncture, and I've made so much progress I will be going only once a month now. This is huge! I was jumping for joy.

Today: I still primarily eat a gluten-free vegan/pescatarian diet. Lots of whole foods and little sugar. I eat peanut butter again and nightshade veggies, but everything in moderation. Still no soy, which I think is a good idea for most people—as little processed foods as possible makes a huge difference. If you're saying, "Please pass the green!" you're sure to be on the best path for your all-around health.


The Banana & Nut Butter Skinny Muffin

Can you tell I'm enjoying the Skinny Muffin concept? I was in a peanut butter mood this morning and thought, "Hey! Why not make a peanut butter muffin?" I think most of my enjoyment in eating something I've created is in knowing that I was the artist of my food. It's so fun! Have you come up with any new food combos lately? I'd love to hear.

Serves one

1 teaspoon coconut oil
1 tablespoon all-natural nut butter (almond, peanut, etc.)
2 tablespoons mashed banana
1 cage-free egg
1/4 cup ground flax seed
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 packet stevia

1. Put coconut oil and nut butter in a coffee mug and pop in the microwave for about 15 seconds, or till coconut oil is melted.
2. Add banana and egg to mug and beat. 
3. Add the rest of the ingredients. Stir well. 
4. Microwave 70 seconds. 
5. Remove mug from microwave and turn upside down over a plate to let muffin fall out. And, literally, it slips right out! This muffin is a beautiful golden brown.
6. Cut muffin in half and take a bite! Prepare to be amazed.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Cantaloupe-Blueberry Smoothie w/ Flax Seed


1 cup water
1 tablespoon ground flax seed (or flax seed meal)
1/2 cup blueberries
1/2 cup purple grapes
1 cup small squares cantaloupe
2 handfuls kale or chard

Optional:
Protein powder
Stevia to taste
Agave to taste
Xylitol to taste

Blend it all up in your trusty old power blender. Remember, the more frozen fruits going into your smoothie, the more water you want to add so your blender doesn't jam. Sweeten to taste with protein powder, stevia, agave, or xylitol.

Friday, March 9, 2012

The Friday Muffin

So it being Friday and all I was craving more of a "party" muffin. You know, like a muffin to let me start my Friday off with a little thrill and excitement. And that's when the perfect idea came to me. This Skinny Muffin I've been eating all week long for breakfast needed some chocolatey goodness!! Who's with me?

I looked in my fridge and what did I behold but a mason jar filled with Homemade Vegan Hot Chocolate I'd made the night before. (Basically when this hot chocolate recipe says it's "vegan," it means it's dairy free. I don't know any hot chocolate recipes to date that call for meat.)

Over night the hot chocolate I'd made had solidified a little, making it resemble a runny chocolate pudding. Perfect! So I added 2 tablespoons to the Skinny Muffin recipe and then spread a little more hot chocolate pudding on top with some coconut oil. So perfect for getting Friday started off right in a healthy-yet-chocolatey sort of way! Move over donuts. We've found The Friday Muffin.

Serves one

1 teaspoon coconut oil
1 tablespoon mashed banana
1 cage-free egg
2 tablespoons cold Homemade Vegan Hot Chocolate
1/4 cup ground flax seed
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon

1. Put coconut oil in a coffee mug and pop in the microwave for about 15 seconds, or till coconut oil is melted. 
2. Add banana and egg to mug and beat. 
3. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir well. 
4. Microwave 60 seconds. 
5. Remove mug from microwave and turn upside down over a plate to let muffin fall out. And, literally, it slips right out! 
6. Cut muffin in half and spread coconut oil and more hot chocolate pudding over top. 

Happy Friday to you!


Saturday, March 3, 2012

The Skinny Muffin—as seen on Dr. Oz


If you're looking for a fast, easy, and healthy breakfast, here's Jorge's Skinny Muffin as part of his "lose 80 pounds belly fat" diet. This muffin is gluten free, dairy free, and vegetarian, and it's oh-so good. Who knew flax seed would make such an amazing flour! This muffin is light and fluffy, unlike any gluten-free recipe I've tried.

The recipe you see below is after a little tweaking on my part. My first attempt at the recipe created a muffin that was too bland and too dry for my liking, so I experimented with adding apple sauce and then some banana, along with some more stevia. See what you think about my changes and feel free to do your own tweaking.

Serves one

1 teaspoon coconut oil
2 tablespoons mashed banana
1 cage-free egg
1/4 cup ground flax seed
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 packets stevia (I'd avoid the Steviva brand. I personally am repulsed by the taste.)
2 tablespoons blueberries


1. Put coconut oil and banana in a coffee mug and pop in the microwave for about 15 seconds, or till coconut oil is melted. 
2. Add egg to mug and beat. 
3. Add the rest of the ingredients except the blueberries. Stir well. 
4. Now add blueberries, mixing without crushing the berries. 
5. Microwave 60 seconds. 
6. Remove mug from microwave and turn upside down over a plate to let muffin fall out. And, literally, it slips right out! 
7. Cut muffin in half and spread coconut oil over top. Add honey if you'd like it a little sweeter. ¡Buen provecho!


Friday, March 2, 2012

Food Replacement Ideas

(Coconut Oil. I spread it on like butter, and call me crazy, 
but I sometimes even eat it by the spoonful.)

Maybe, just maybe, you've noticed that once we get comfortable with a certain something in life—a route to work, a favorite snack, a way of managing our business—it's a real struggle to try something new. Why hassle? If it ain't broke, why fix it? . . . Well, maybe it is broke—maybe your body is finally physically broke—and you're still doing the same things you're always done. Well, here are a few simple replacement foods that may start to make a noticeable improvement in your health. Small steps often lead to huge morale boosts and even bigger health improvements.

Butter: Any recipe that calls for butter or vegetable oil I replace with wondrous coconut oil. Much, MUCH healthier. Coming from a person who detested coconut anything, I can say that the coconut taste is faint and the more you eat it, the more the flavor fades. Almost two years ago I experimented with scrambling eggs in coconut oil but thought the coconut oil taste was too strong. I tried it ago a few months later, after getting more used to eating coconut oil in other foods, and I didn't notice the taste like I had the first time. I don't think twice about cooking my eggs in coconut oil now, and I especially now love the hint of coconut in my green smoothies and my chocolate chip cookies!

Mayo: Rather than spreading mayonnaise on your tuna sandwich, try using homemade hummus or avocado instead. I usually mash up the avocado and then spread it on like you would the hummus. Delicious and much better for your body!

Bread: One of my favorite bread replacements is lettuce. Instead of making a sandwich with two slices of bread, make your own lettuce wrap. You can also use Eziekiel tortillas to make a little pita/taco-like sandwich.

Another long-time favorite of mine is harina P.A.N. for making arepas, a staple food in Venezuela and Colombia made from corn meal. To make an arepa you mix the corn meal with some water and a little salt until you get a great dough going on. Then with your hands you form the dough into a ball, flatten it out like a hamburger patty, and bake or cook in a frying pan. When it's cooked, slice the arepa as you would a hamburger bun, but don't cut all the way through so that you form a pocket. You can then fill the sandwich pocket with whatever goodness you'd like. I usually create a tuna mixture with chopped onions, cilantro, and chopped tomatoes. If you have any questions feel free to ask, but I will plan to do a post about making arepas.

Sugar: We are so lucky that in this day in age we have plenty of sugar replacements whether we are aware of them or not. Stevia is one, an all-natural sweetener that comes from the Stevia rebaudiana plant usually found in South America. Xylitol is also a natural sweetener but is found in most fruits and vegetables. It is equally matched with sugar in sweetness, but far exceeds sugar in health benefits such as having less calories and leading to less cavities. Xylitol is also absorbed slower by the body, so it is a better option for people with diabetes. Some other natural sugar replacements are figs, dates, raisins, applesauce, and carob. These options may not work for all recipes, but they definitely can retrain a sweet tooth.

I would say that sugar is one of the most significant replacement areas. By replacing processed sugar with natural sugars, you will notice the most energy return to your body. Some people experience sugar withdrawals in the form of a headache or even a rash or acne, as their body is detoxing, but some people don't have much of a side effect. All I can say is the withdrawals are worth getting that energy back, even if it's little by little.

This list is just to get you started, but there are plenty more replacement ideas than this! Feel free to share your favorite replacements.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Sky, Day & Night

Ever felt like there wasn't enough space inside you to take in what your eyes were seeing? At approximately 2:15 p.m. I was sitting under the sun in the 32-degree air, soaking in the skyline of snow-peaked mountains and never-ending billowy white clouds. That brilliant sky held so many memories, and the light above felt like a longed-for-friend I hadn't even let myself hope of seeing so soon. My eyes weren't expansive enough to capture it all at once. I tried to take deeper, more thoughtful breathes and slow my mind, but I wanted it all at once. My spreading grin and fixed gaze were proclaiming what my mind was repeating, "This is my world! I live in the most beautiful place on earth!" I think the chorus of clouds was shouting joyfully back at me. I'm pretty sure I heard them.

The only true reason I would upgrade my phone is to have a constant camera on hand to capture (or attempt to capture) moments like this to share them with you. So since I don't have a picture to describe this post, close your eyes and remember what your most beautiful sky looks like. Hopefully it was today's.

And then there was the night sky on the drive home, up State to the capitol and single-file down to Beck Street. It again took my breathe away, and I was squealing with joy! And again I was exclaiming, "I live in the most beautiful place ever!" I was laughing with joy and glancing from the sky to the road and back again. The deep swirling blues met the horizon with a joyful orange that lit up the mountain silhouettes. The city lights sparkled far below, and it was pure joy. Just me and joy in my car, sharing the moment, just like C. S. Lewis talks about. Oh! And the moon! I almost forgot. It was a perfect bright sliver below the shadow of the whole.

PS: Joy came to me earlier today too. Regan, my acupuncturist, evaluated my progress and informed me that instead of coming once a week, I need only come once a month now!! After seeing him for 5 months, first twice a week and then the last month once a week, I'm now at 75% health. 100% here I come!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

P.S.

My TOMS arrived today! They are more adorable than I could've imagined, and I am so incredibly happy to have them on my feet at last. Without a doubt, they were meant for me. No regrets except that I wish I hadn't freaked out a few weeks ago (see last post) and delayed the ordering process. Lesson learned. The shoes actually are a little big even though I ordered a half size smaller, as recommended by the reviewers because this style is linen instead of canvas. No big deal. Now that I see them for myself, paying the shipping to exchange them is definitely worth it.

In case you're interested, I ended up finding a promo code here to get $5 off all TOMS shoes.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Sciatic Nerve Pain

Sunday morning I was sitting at my computer looking up a certain pair of shoes on my TOMS wishlist. You know, just for fun. Just because I can't get enough of 'em. There's a pair I've been wanting, but I've been indecisive about forking out the money and if I really "need" them. In my little head I was thinking, "Hmm, I don't know if I should order these yet. Based on the reviews they're sized too big because they're linen instead of canvas. If I order the wrong size I'll have to pay even more to exchange them. And I don't have the money just yet anyway. And, Katie, do you really need them? There's still snow on the ground!" Yadda, yadda. I was fretting and killing the joy out of my beautiful shoes! I was being indecisive and downplaying my desires. When I stood up my sciatic nerve shot pain down my butt and the back of my leg, and that's when it started. My TOMS shoes were the straw that broke the camel's back. Hmm, I'm not sure I'm liking this parallel. Hah! But as I mentioned, this TOMS situation was just the breaking point—the prior week had really put me to the test with opportunities to open up to my creative abilities, to the incoming flow of money, and to possibilities of love, and I'd started out strong but then buckled, feeling a lot of fear, self-doubt, and insecurity about my abilities.

Here are the basics of what sciatica is and what it may infer physically, mentally, and emotionally.

The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in the today and goes from the spine through the gluteus maximus and hip area down the back of the leg. It is located along the Bladder Meridian and near the Sacral Chakra, which is the 2nd chakra. It may also take in emotions associated with the Root Chakra, the 1st chakra.

Bladder Meridian
Common ailments associated with blocked energy in this meridian include the following:
  •  Eye diseases  
  •  Problems with the spine  
  •  Ear problems  
  •  Lumbago & sciatica  
  •  Headaches  
  •  Sexual organ dysfunctions 
  •  Sinusitis  
  •  Chronic cystitis  
  •  Hemorrhoids 
See the picture above for an image of the Bladder Meridian. Psychologically the Bladder Meridian is associated with frustration, restlessness, impatience, and resisting change.

Sacral Chakra (2nd chakra)

  •  Lessons related to sexuality, work, and physical desire. 
  •  Immune system, rectum, feet, legs, bones, base of spine, physical body support.
  •  Physical dysfunctions in lower back, sciatica, pelvic area, sexual function, urinary tract.
  •  Mental & emotional issues with creativity, blame, guilt, money, sex, power, control. 

Root Chakra (1st chakra)

  •  Lessons related to material world.
  •  Sexual organs, large intestine, lower vertebrae, pelvis, appendix, bladder, hip area
  •  Physical dysfunctions in lower back, sciatica, varicose veins, rectal tumors/cancer, immune-related disorders, depression.
  •  Mental & emotional issues with family safety & security, ability to provide for life's necessities, ability to stand up for self, feeling at home, social & familial law and order.


Emotional Connections to Sciatica
  •  Mental anxieties regarding creative abilities. 
  •  Over concern of money issues.
  •  Sexual frustration. 
  •  Disregarding your own desires.
  •  Being indecisive. 
  •  Fear of money and the future.
  •  Powerlessnes or giving your power away to someone or something.

I knew some of these emotional connections before, but now it totally makes sense why I am so incapacitated at the moment! Let me remind you that the past two weeks I've been intensely—and I mean day and night, conscious and unconscious—clearing all of the negative emotions and thought patterns that have been holding me back from the things I want most in my life—(1) to meet and marry the man of my dreams, (2) to embrace my creativity and support myself as an artist, and (2) to be financially free—and it just so happens that ALL of these desires of my heart are surrounding creative energy and the same emotional blockages centered in the sciatic nerve area of the body. Nice one, Katie. I'm so sorry little body of mine! I had no idea I was asking so much of you. I've had on and off sciatic nerve pain the past couple months, but nothing that's ever lasted 5 days, no sitting, no bending. This has gotta be one of the biggest blocks I've experienced, which can only mean one thing. All my dreams are about to come true!!!

(For more information about the topics mentioned above, refer to Feelings Buried Alive Never Die, You Can Heal Your Life, Quick Reference Guide for Using Essential Oils, Anatomy of the Spirit, Sacred Contracts, and http://www.sri.new-planet.net/Meridian_System.php.)

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Mud Pie in the Eye

Those of you who know me well are quite aware that I'm not one to take "no" for an answer and that I vehemently live by the phrase "where there's a will there's a way." I just believe. It comes from somewhere deep within that I can't always explain. Strength or weakness of mine? It all depends on how you choose to look at it.

But as of late I've been hitting a brick wall of sorts with my faith. Here's the conclusion I've come to: It's easy for me to have faith that something will happen if it's ultimately for someone else's good. My prayers are unstoppable when I am praying for other people. You want your baby to sleep through the night? Just let me know, and I'll get on that. When I ask God for a way to help others, the answers come instantly. So why do I often feel a block when it comes to asking for what I want and need?

When I first was diagnosed with RA I told God that this was not the life for me. Why? Because I was meant to be out in the world helping people. I wanted to be healed so that I could serve others. That's a great reason, and I feel lots of passion about that cause, but what about wanting to be healed because I simply care about my own well-being? What about feeling deserving of health simply because I am a divine daughter of an immortal, all-knowing, all-powerful Creator?

In a previous post called What do you want? I wrote about how we sometimes ask for what we want but aren't in a place to receive it. The past few weeks this has been reinforced to me but with one additional piece. If I want something, I need to start by asking to be shown what is keeping me from getting it. Most of the time that blockage comes from within ourselves. This brings the responsibility back to us, empowers us (and sometimes frustrates us at the same time), and shows us how we need to change so that THEN we can receive the desires of our hearts.

So simple, right? So easy? Piece of cake. Piece of cake! . . . Well, in this case I am the first to say after what I've experienced the past few weeks, it is no piece of cake. It's more like a mud pie in the face, up your nose, and in your eyes. It's no joyride to see your weaknesses magnified or to realize that you have emotional walls up that must come down in order to have what you're asking for. It can make you feel like you went one step forward only to fall twenty steps backward down a flight of stairs.

Here's what I was most pleasantly shown this week. (By the way, sometimes I feel like the ultimate guinea pig by putting all my gunk out here in cyberspace, but time and time again I feel like it's time to share what I'm learning.) I've been listening to a series of Unlimited Abundance CDs that have been helping me know what to clear up in my own life. So I've been asking God (or the Universe or whoever your Higher Power is), "What would it take to . . . (fill in the blank with what you want in your life)?" and then asking God to clear, delete, destroy, and uncreate whatever in my belief patterns is keeping me from this.

So for example I've been saying, "What would it take to love myself enough to feel deserving of joy?" and then "Whatever is keeping me from this, I delete, destroy, and uncreate." When I do this I am visualizing this power to delete, destroy, and uncreate coming from the pure light of Christ, or Source Energy—the source of all power, all light, and all love. I literally am visualizing His light shining down on me and taking my gunk away. Personalize this however you feel comfortable.

I started out super gung-ho listening to these CDs, thinking, "Man, it's going to be awesome to finally feel worthy of joy in my life! Bring it on!" I felt energized and could already feel the abundance coming into my life. I just knew it would happen. (Don't forget I am a recovering perfectionist who still thinks she's somewhat super human.) On days five and six of listening to the CDs I felt a sudden shift happen in me and saw small signs of the blessings that were to come—more passion for my thesis research, waking up to a flood of art ideas, art canvases I'd been wanting on sale for 50% off, winning a $50 Visa gift card, a loved one suddenly connecting with me more, amazing boys coming out of the wood work, my body feeling healthier and me running again, being on the front page of the paper and the next day a random guy emailing me because he saw the paper and thought I was cute. Over all I was feeling wide open to receiving! I thought, "This is easier than I thought. I do feel deserving of this!"

Sound pretty good? Can you see me standing there with arms out-stretched to the sky, awaiting the flood of love and joy and resources and health? Eyes closed and a big smile on my face, just waiting to be given all that yummy goodness.

Then came the mud pies. Multiple mud pies. Hard and fast, pelting my face one after another. I didn't know it would sting so bad. I didn't know I would be yelling, "Retreat!" after the first 5 seconds and then feel like crap for days. I was asking to be shown my baggage, but holy cow I did not even realize what my baggage was until I got it right in the face. Things I didn't know I felt, not to mention magnified—mud pie handed to you is definitely not as up close and personal as mud pie in your eye! One of the biggest mud pies thrown at me was fear of rejection. I had no idea. Feeling that intense fear made me want to curl up in the fetal position and say good-bye to all my hopes and dreams. I was literally thinking, "Um, so I take it back. My life is great. I don't need love or joy or health or money after all. I'm good. This unbearable pain is just not worth it."

Now do you think I'm going to be as willing to stand there with my arms out-stretched again? You may call me a gluten for punishment, but what other choice do I have? We choose to either stay in our bubble that's comfortable but maybe slightly miserable and unfulfilling, or to grow despite the mud up the nose from time to time. If I can offer any solace to both you and me, after the past year and a half of this journey it's getting easier to face my baggage. Not easy but easier. Why? Because I'm getting better at giving all my burdens to the Lord and asking for exactly what I need. I love myself more, so I'm more confident to unload on Him. We can connect to our Higher Power 24-7 and by so doing feel an outpouring of unconditional love and healing light from the True Source. He lives to bless us with love and grant our heart's desires, to wipe our tears away and comfort us, to calm our troubled hearts and listen to our complaints (see "I Know that My Redeemer Lives" Text © 1775 Samuel Medley)—there is nothing too small; there is nothing too big. He lives for us!

So many times throughout this healing journey I've wanted to turn back, run, hide, curl up in a ball, and beg, "Please! No more mud pies to the face!" but then what is this life for? This post may be more for me than you— I sure do need a good cheering squad right now. At about noon today my sciatica started screaming for attention, and in a matter of minutes it became super painful to sit and walk. I shouldn't be surprised since I asked to be blatantly shown all my unresolved issues, but about now I'm pleading, "Please take this away! When will this pain end? I've tried everything. What am I missing?" I still have so much to learn. So now it's time for me to slow down even more and humbly listen. I'll let you know what I hear.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Washing Fruits and Vegetables


A friend of mine just send me a link to a blog post with a great way to wash fruits and vegetables. Instead of buying a spray bottle of expensive fruit and veggie wash, get some good ole' vinegar instead.

http://thishealthyhomemaker.blogspot.com/2012/01/you-washed-those-right.html#comment-form

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Acai Purple Smoothie


Good morning! I'm LOVING the smoothie I made this morning and knew I had to share this little piece of joy with you guys.

1 1/2 cups water
1 teaspoon flax seeds
2 tablespoons fresh pomegranate seeds
1 handful purple grapes, frozen
2 large handfuls spinach, frozen
1 handful blueberries, frozen
2 large strawberries, frozen
1 acai smoothie pack, semi-frozen (I buy the Sambazon brand, which comes with 4 packs.)
1 scoop Lepterra protein powder, chocolate flavor

Add all of the ingredients to the blender in approximately this order and blend. If some of these ingredients, like the spinach or grapes, aren't frozen, lessen the amount of water so you have your preferred consistency. Before I add the acai to the blender, I soak it for a minute or so while still in it's package in some room temperature water so I can break it up with my hands. Then I cut the package open and adding the acai chunks to the blender. Enjoy!

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Pursuit of Joy

In the context of JOY, this speaks volumes.

Even though at the end of December my heart sung out that 2012 was my year of joy, and I was all pumped and ready to let the good times roll, I sure wasn't warned that in order for me to feel joy I have to change to allow it in. Change takes a lot of patience. A lot of self-care and quiet alone time to hear your spirit, or inner voice or higher self, whisper the answers, and even though I thought it would be easy to feel joy, the past few weeks have been reminding me that deep within I'm blocking it for some reason.

I thought I'd share a quick glimpse into this morning of my joints, which are my faithful reminders of how I need to change. Today they reminded me that I am not as joyful as I thought. Hah! If I'm not a happy person, I don't know what that makes some of you. (I hope that made you laugh, because I'm sure laughing!)

I woke up to stiff fingers, so I verbally released the need to control the details of life. I replaced those feelings with trust in God that He will take care of the details of life. That verbal clearing of emotions released the pain and stiffness from most of my fingers, so I went a little deeper to release more of the pain.

My right pinky in particular has been my trouble spot the past week and a half. It's tied to the Heart meridian and the ability to forgive. Each of us is made up of a balance of feminine and masculine energy—yin and yang, respectively—which govern the left and the right side of our body. So when I have blockages, or pain on the right side of my body, it is usually an imbalance of my masculine energy—pretty much an unresolved run-in with a guy. So to release the stiffness in my right pinky I sat and brainstormed men I needed to forgive. After a few minutes of verbally forgiving the men who came to mind it worked and I could bend my pinky. (The pinky pain is actually starting to come back though, so looks like I didn't do a thorough enough job. I was sort of in a hurry to get my day going, as some of you might be able to relate to.)

Then there's my right wrist, or actually a tiny bone right above that knob we call a wrist bone. I took a picture of it (below) so you can sort of see how there's a bump above my right wrist that shouldn't be there. It's really swollen and painful today, so I know this is my priority. Clearing all these painful emotions sometimes feels like a chore chart, which honestly sucks the joy out of healing.

Left wrist, no extra bump. 

 Right wrist, swollen extra bump.

And while we're on the topic of sucking the joy out of life, let's talk about how as I was awkwardly taking these pictures with my left hand and a hurt right wrist, trying to hurry before the camera battery died, my cute lime green tea kettle started whistling. I was trying to ignore it to get these pictures right and then my joy muscle in my back started throbbing!! Talk about hilarious. (Click here if you haven't read about the joy muscle yet.) Who else is lucky enough to have their body inflict instant pain to tell them to chill and just enjoy the moment? I know a few of you lucky RA folk who do, but I guarantee that the more you become aware of your emotions, all of you will start to feel your body talking to you. Maybe you ate too much and now your stomach is in pain. What is your body telling you? Or maybe you've been racing around all day trying to get everything done and now you have a monster headache, or maybe you lost your temper and were short with a loved one, and now you feel restless and guilty. We all have bodies that talk to us, but some of us just have chosen to ignore them long enough that now they scream at us the instant our emotions are off balance.

Back to the wrist. This wrist bone is part of the Small Intestine meridian, which is our meridian of joy. Starting to see a pattern here? When there's blockage in our Small Intestine meridian it's often associated with sadness, grief, and despair. Dating is the current culprit, as well as another big issue that's caused a lot of sadness in my life, so I'm dreading going deeper here because I know it won't be as easy. It'll probably take a few solid hours of prayer, meditation, scripture reading, yoga, nature, and any other way I feel led to fill my Mind, Body, & Spirit with light. Most days I can't dedicate solid hours to my health, but today it's important enough that I am going to. I truly believe (at least right now while I'm at a semi-positive place) that I can find joy in dating and be incredibly happy once I shift my perspective and release some false beliefs that are holding me back.

A week ago I was not so positive and luckily had Sam to vent to. Venting was the first step for me to get back up again, then I did a chakra meditation (I'll share part of this in another post) that shifted my attitude completely, and then I turned my heart to Christ for probably the hundred millionth time. Every time it's like, "Oh, yeah. You're here. I forgot I don't have to do this all myself!" Then the clouds part and the fog lifts and I can go a little further again.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Lavender Essential Oil


Lavender (lavandula augustifolia) is known as the "swiss army knife" of essential oils because of it's versatility. Some of it's primary benefits are it can balance and normalize body functions, promote tissue regeneration, speed up wound healing, can sooth and relax the mind and body, can ease body aches and pains, and can clean cuts, bruises and skin irritations.

It is one of my favorite essential oils and I use it often. I like to add a couple drops to a soap gel in a warm bath for relaxation, have put a drop on my palms and spread on my pillow at night and have found it to be very soothing, and often dilute a drop with coconut oil and spread on my face to help with acne scars and have noticed a difference in my skin. The other day I put it on my wrists and earlobes while being a chaperone for my daughter's kindergarten class and it was very calming. Yesterday my youngest son was jumped on by several small dogs on his bare legs which left scratches and a small bruise. I diluted a drop of lavender oil with some coconut oil and spread it over his legs. This morning the scratches were mostly gone and the bruise looked like it had been healing for several days.

One interesting thing I have read is that it can actually stop bleeding by adding a few drops to a wound. There are also other oils that are known for being able to do this as well. How about adding some essential oils to your first aid kit?

Here are a few of the many ways it can be used:
  • Soothe minor burns by applying 2–3 drops to the affected area.
  • Rub oil on dry or chapped skin to moisturize the affected area.
  • Add a few drops to a cotton ball and place it in closets and drawers to scent linens and repel moths and insects.
  • May be able to minimize the appearance of scar tissue by massaging the oil on or around affected areas.
  • Place a few drops on a wet cloth or dryer sheet to deodorize and freshen your laundry.
  • Diffuse to minimize seasonal discomforts.
  • Diffuse to set the mood for a social gathering.
  • Diffuse or inhale to calm your mind, body, and spirit after a hard day’s work.
  • Inhale to soothe and relax the body and mind.
  • Make an herbal tea by mixing 2 drops of lavender essential oil (therapeutic grade) with 1 teaspoon of blue agave syrup and adding to warm water.
  • Add 4–5 drops to a bath gel base and use in warm bath for relaxation.
  • Drop 1–2 drops on your pillow to aid in a restful night of sleep.
  • Massage several drops on feet to promote relaxation. 
 (Info from YoungLiving.com)
*I recommend only buying therapeutic grade essential oil from reputable companies, especially if you are going to use them internally.