Back to Basics: Foundations for Your Health

Ok, friends, I feel like I should warn you before I dive into this post. It is not going to be the most entertaining post you’ve ever read. It’s not going to be the most enlightening post you’ve ever read. Honestly, it probably won’t be the most memorable post you’ve ever read either. So, why the heck am I even writing about this? Because it’s so foundational that everyone needs to read it. (So please read it! I promise the next post will be more entertaining.)

I’m going to be posting more often on this blog, on social media, and on my podcast about doTERRA essential oils, holistic health remedies, and some natural DIYs. I’m doing this because my heart is truly to show others that we really can take control of our health and wellness naturally. HOWEVER, it is extremely imperative that we get the foundation right. For example, I’ve chatted about how essential oils can help support your immune system, but if you’re filling your body with Twinkies, and not sleeping or exercising 24/7 then you’re going to run into some issues. We’ve got to get the foundation solid… Not perfect, because I love a cupcake every now and then, but solid. So, let’s dive in!

1. Nutrition: We’ve all heard it. “You are what you eat.” It’s so true. My normal routine and habits have gotten thrown off (Let’s be clear, I did the throwing. I’m not blaming circumstances) and I can feel it. It’s been more difficult to get up early in the morning, I’ve been less productive, and just kinda felt blah. I’ve just spent a couple of days getting back to my normal and I’m already feeling better. I’m not going to get into vegan/paleo/keto/gluten free argument. I will say, we all probably need to up our veggies. So start with that, and pound the water. Drink at least half of your body weight in ounces. Flavor it with some doTERRA citrus oils to keep it interesting.

2. Rest: There’s this Daniel the Tiger song that always get stuck in my head… “When you’re sick, rest is best, rest is best.” I wish I could sing it to you, because words on a page doesn’t do it justice, and if you don’t have kids in your house under the age of 5 you probably have no idea who Daniel the Tiger is. That’s okay, you get the point. When we’re sick, when we’re well, and every day we need adequate rest. Maybe if you’re in your twenties you can rock your day on 3 hours of sleep, but trust me, you will perform and feel much better if you get at least 6 hours of sleep in your system. Some people even feel the best when they get 10 hours of sleep, but let’s not get crazy. Find how you function the best.

3. Love Yourself: I know it may not seem like it at the time, but negative self talk doesn’t serve your body or emotions at all. You’re actually physically harming your mind and body when you beat yourself up with negativity. Be gentle and kind to yourself. Treat yourself with the same care you would treat someone else. Give yourself grace. Start speaking love and life over yourself. It sounds cheesy, and it even feels awkward when you start speaking love instead of hate, but get over the awkwardness. Your love for yourself will bleed over to how you love others. It will make the world go round. Ok, not that last part, but you get my point. If you want some science to back this up, then go and check out the book Switch on Your Brain by Dr. Caroline Leaf. It’s very eyeopening.

4. Movement: I used the word “movement” here instead of “exercise” because I feel like we associate exercise with grueling, intensive workouts that are only for the elite athletes. However you want to word it: movement, exercise, working out… you need to do it. Pick a movement you like: going for a walk in the woods, having a dance party with your kids, hard core sweat sesh, running, yoga, whatever. Find what you love and do more of that. Movement releases toxins in your body and pumps you full of endorphins. I can use all the endorphins I can get!

Now, I could go on and chat about supplements, probiotics, meditation, sunshine, and much more, but those will be other posts for later days. This truly was meant to be a very basic and general post. Help me out though: What are some foundational steps you take towards enhancing your health and wellness?

Simplify Food Choices: The End or the Beginning?

I had multiple people ask me why I gave myself a clean eating challenge. My main goal was and is this: for my health, and for my family’s health. I didn’t do it to lose weight or fit in a certain dress size. I didn’t do it with hopes to fit back in my pre-kids jeans (those days are long gone. A 30 year old who has had 4 kids does not need to be in a size 0 blue jeans). I did this for my health, and from there flowed different objectives I wanted to accomplish.

I wanted to be more mindful of what I put in my mouth. Many times I felt like a hypocrite (as I should) because I would deny my kids ice cream, but then bust out a pint when they went to bed. I noticed there were times I just drifted towards the pantry, not even because I was hungry, but just to see if something caught my eye… almost like I was treating food like entertainment. I realized I wanted to change my mindset about food: I want food to be enjoyable, but I also want it to serve a purpose. I want food to fuel and heal my body.

I wanted to create better habits. I mentioned in the beginning, so much of what goes in my mouth does so out of habit. What I also realized was so much of what I make is also habit. I’d like to think of myself as a pretty healthy person, but I have to admit I got a little lazy when it comes to preparing lunches. Most days when I pack my kids’ lunch it’s a peanut butter sandwich and a piece of fruit. Not terrible, but not amazing. I realized I need to work on lunch, and plan on buying a few containers that would be conducive for them to take veggies and hummus to school instead of relying on breads to fill them up. Please help! What are some of your favorite containers for your kid’s lunch box?

So, the results… Do I feel better? Sure, but I can’t say I notice a drastic difference. Now, this could be because I ate healthy about 70% of the time, or maybe I need to do this for 90 days or longer to notice a huge shift. But, I do feel better. It’s easier for me to wake up in the mornings (mostly) when my alarm goes off at 5:00AM (another habit I’m starting). I’m also pooping more. I go about twice a day without any effort, so that’s nice. I did lose about 4 pounds, also nice. I’m convinced I’m still addicted to sugar and bread because I still think about both often. Although, I don’t miss dairy… which is kind of funny because I used to tell myself I think I could easily go vegan if I didn’t have to give up cheese.  

What’s next for me in my food journey? I honestly am not sure. I’m doing more research, which mainly means watching a ton of YouTube videos (my favorites right now are Kris Carr and Dr. Axe which is kinda funny because they have 2 different views) and Netflix documentaries (Hungry for Change and Food Matters will rock your world) while I’m washing dishes and doing laundry. I do think I’ll be vegan one day. I’ve already made small steps in that direction, and I think that’s how it will happen: one small step after another instead of stopping all animal products cold turkey (I had to add that pun in there!).

Ok, I need some feedback while I’m still on the fence about where to go from here. What’s your food philosophy? Why did you choose your path?

Warm Kale and Mushroom Salad

It was just there. Staring at me. In all its mac and cheese gloriousness. It was saying Eat me. Eat the mac and cheese. I’m cheesy, I’m gooey, I’m somehow organic even though I came out of a box… I’d been having this argument with myself all morning. I fought with the flour tortillas that I used to wrap my sons’ tacos in, I stared longingly at my husband’s toast that was soaking up the yolk of his egg, and I argued with Annie’s Organic Cheddar shells and cheese. And I won, y’all. I thought for sure I’d be defeated, but I wasn’t, and I came up with a yummy warm salad to combat my hunger after defeating the mac and cheese.

I looked in the fridge, but I didn’t want your typical cold salad. I instantly came up with this simple, but delicious warm salad. The best part? It only took 10 minutes from start to finish. You need to try it, because it will change your life, or at least your vegan lunches.

kale-and-mushroom-salad

Ingredients

1/4 cup of sliced red onions

6 sliced mushrooms, your choice

2 heaping handfuls of chopped kale

2 tablespoons of coconut oil

Salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste

Directions

1. Slice and chopped the veggies while heating up the coconut oil

2. Place the sliced onions in the pan. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Once the onions are translucent, add the mushrooms.

4. Once the mushrooms are softened, add the kale.

4. Sprinkle with garlic powder while the kale is softening, and add more salt and pepper if needed.

5. Enjoy your masterpiece and give yourself a pat on the back for turning down the mac and cheese.

Notes:

1. This recipe serves 1 person. Double or triple the recipe as needed.

2. Use this as a base for your warm kale salad. Get creative with your add ins!

3. Consider adding other seasonings like red pepper flakes or smoked paprika.

4. If you’re not a vegan, top with crumbled gorgonzola cheese.

5. If you’re not vegan or vegetarian, cook chopped bacon with the onions.

Try it out, and let me know what ya think! And help me out, what’s your favorite vegan lunch?

Simplify: Food Choices

I need to be honest. I’m not really looking forward to this portion of my Simplify series. I actually intended on waiting until later in the year to this, so I could just keep on eating the crap I’m addicted to. But, part of my team is doing a cleanse right now, which really just includes clean eating and a few doTERRA supplements. I know these things are usually easier when done in a community, so I wanted to jump on this opportunity.

Now, I’m not doing the “cleanse” part. Even though doTERRA provides a very gentle and safe cleanse, it’s not recommended while pregnant or nursing. Your body already has a high demand during pregnancy and breastfeeding, so there is no need to cause any additional stress. Although, I do have to say, I take doTERRA’s Lifelong Vitality pack as my pre and postnatal multivitamin and I’ve had amazing results.

llv-m2m

So, what does this month look like for me? Basically, I’m going to simplify my food choices. If I can’t pronounce it, I won’t eat it. If it came from a cow, I won’t eat it. If it’s made in a lab (think: refined flours and sugar/sweeteners), I won’t eat it. BUT what I will do is eat more vegetables and fruits. I will eat more Godmade food, and take out the manmade foods. I will explore different grains other than flour. I will try new recipes, and create new habits.

I actually started this on January 29th so I could make it a solid 30 days, instead of a random 28. Why does February only have 28 days? I just liked the way 30 sounded better than 28. I know, I’m weird. All that to say, it’s been 10 days of clean eating.

Giving up sugar was the most difficult during the first 3 days. After that, my mind just switched to FEED ME ALL THE BREAD. I’ve realized much of what I eat on a daily basis is just habit. Normally when I make the kids’ sandwiches, I’ll eat a bite of it. When I put pretzels in a snack bag for them, I’ll take a couple for myself. (I may have spit one out the other day when I realized what I was doing!) I eat pasta at least once a week because it’s convenient and I have a homemade tomato sauce we all love. I got used to eating a flour tortilla while cooking tacos. I made a habit of always eating a bowl of cereal at night because I felt like I deserved it at the end of the day. So much refined flour. Hello, my name is Amanda, and I am a bread junkie.

I’ve made some changes now that are becoming my habit. I’ve stopped packing as much grains for my kids’ lunches. Now it’s not a sandwich and pretzels, it’s a sandwich and an apple or orange. I make zoodles for myself instead of traditional pasta noodles. Instead of eating flour tortillas, I eat the clean taco toppings (ground turkey or black beans, pico de gallo, and guac… so good!) on a bed of greens. They’re small changes, but that’s how change happens. I’m creating new habits. It’s not perfect, but it’s progress.

bean-bowl

Cutting out dairy has not really been a challenge, although I totally spaced during the Super Bowl and put cheese on my chili. I also forgot last week and tried a sample of Fro Yo, then thought Why does this taste like heaven? Then I remembered I hadn’t had sugar or dairy in days. Don’t worry though, I didn’t eat a cup! I threw away the unfinished sample, and tried to ignore my mind screaming at me to eat the freakin fro yo while everyone around me enjoyed it.

I’m pretty excited to see what’s to come. I’m already noticing small changes for the better. I’m not craving sugar nearly as often. Usually I don’t want it unless I see it. My mind is still obsessed with bread, but I’m hopeful that this will change as well. I’m excited to try different grains and create new habits. Stay tuned for another update soon!

Have you gone gluten free? Sugar free? Dairy free? Share some success tips with us!

Gerber’s Go To Green Juice

So, I’ve kind of started a new ritual in my morning. Instead of going straight for coffee in the morning, I do a couple of other things first. First, I’ll drink a glass of water with doTERRA Grapefruit essential oil. Why grapefruit, you say? Mostly because it’s my favorite citrus oil in water, but it does have many benefits! Grapefruit helps support a healthy metabolism, aids to naturally cleanse your body, and can even help curb sugar cravings. I beg of you, don’t go to your local health store and drink those essential oils. Most the essential oils in a grocery store are even labeled, “Not for internal use.” Find a good quality therapeutic grade essential oil brand that is safe for ingestion. Obviously, my brand of choice is doTERRA, but don’t just take my word for it. Do your research and decide for yourself. I’ll be blogging soon on essential oil quality!

Moving on. The second thing I like to do after finishing my water (or many times I am drinking my water while making this) is make a green juice or smoothie. I do have a green smoothie recipe already posted, so today I’m going to give you our go to green juice recipe. Yum! I like to drink a green juice before eating breakfast or drinking coffee for a couple of reasons. I think it’s beneficial to provide your body with nutrients right away. Also, our bodies can quickly absorb and digest fresh juice. The vitamins, minerals, and nutrients can easily be absorbed and then our body can use this goodness to take charge of our day full of natural energy.

Ok, without further ado, here is the Gerber’s Go-To-Green Juice recipe.

Ingredients

  • Large kale (about 1/4 of a bunch)
  • 1 – 1 1/2 cucumbers
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 1 lime
  • Handful of parsley
  • I inch of ginger
  • Pineapple (to taste)

Directions

  • Throughly wash your produce.
  • Cut the fruit and veggies as needed to fit in your juicer.
  • Juice the goodness.
  • Stir and pour in fancy glasses for you and yours.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

  • This is a rough base. However, there are some ingredients we have found to be a “must have” for our home: cucumber, pineapple, and lime. The rest you can cater to your taste, or what you have in the fridge that day.
  • I try not to use a ton of fruit, as vegetables are healthier and have less fructose. If you find you need more fruit when you first start juicing, then just slowly decrease the amount of fruit overtime so the juice is majority vegetable juice.
  • Unless you really like lime, just stick to 1 lime. I tried 2 limes this morning and it was TART. Isaac loved it, but he could eat lemons and limes as a snack if I let him.
  • Have fun and experiment! We’ve also juiced carrots, beets, apples, broccoli, and much more. Find what works for you and your family.

There you have it, my friends! Enjoy the Gerber’s Go-To Green Juice to start your day.

What’s are some of your favorite juice combinations? Share in the comments below!

Cold Oatmeal: Sounds gross, Tastes good!

Cold oatmeal: It sounds gross, doesn’t it? When I first read about cold oatmeal it did not sound appealing. I think it’s because I think of the cold oatmeal I am usually eating: you know, the oatmeal that gets left at the bottom of the pot after my kids are all done eating… That kinda cold oatmeal. BUT this is not just someone’s lifeless leftover oatmeal. It’s a whole new way to eat oatmeal and it tastes so stinkin’ good. The best part is that you make it the night before so when you’re ready to eat breakfast the next morning, it’s all done! Did I mention you can totally make this dairy free if you wish? I got a recipe from theyummylife.com and just catered it to my preferences. So, here’s my first cold oatmeal recipe that I tried and adore! Let’s get started.

oatmeal

Ingredients:
• ¼ cup old fashion oats (stay away from instant, it’s way processed)
• ¼ cup vanilla yogurt
• ¼ cup milk
• ¼ cup berries
• ½ teaspoon cinnamon
• Dash of nutmeg

Directions:
1. Combine all ingredients in a glass 8 oz. jar with a lid.
2. Secure tightly with a lid and place in the refrigerator to let it sit overnight.
3. In the morning, top with fresh berries and one more dash of cinnamon. (Optional).
4. Eat and enjoy your healthy, ready-to-go breakfast. Share with your toddlers, which really means you should triple the recipe because everyone loves it!

Notes:
• To make this dairy free, simply substitute the milk and yogurt for a quality soy, almond, or coconut option. I used organic soy milk and it turned out great.
• You can use whatever yogurt you have on hand. If you want to avoid the added sugars of the vanilla yogurt, just use plain yogurt and you can add a splash of vanilla extract and honey to taste.
• When you mix all the ingredients together, it will be a thinner mixture and thicken overnight.
• This recipe makes one serving, so if you’re wanting to make it for your family just double or triple the recipe and place in separate jars so there’s no fighting over it in the morning.
• Get creative with the flavors and add-ins: try it with chia seeds or sliced almonds, bananas or peaches would be yummy too!

Have you tried cold oatmeal before?  What are your favorite add-ins?