Essential Oils


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Essential oils have recently taken on a bigger role in my life, and they have been a total game changer. I wanted to share with you how and why we use them in our home.

When I was pregnant with baby #2, I became increasingly frustrated with not being able to sleep, lots of stress, constantly feeling fatigued and constantly had difficulty relaxing. I chocked this up to moving from one state to another half way through my pregnancy, but who knows. I knew about oils, but didn’t really feel like I knew enough to start using them regularly or to their full potential. I was looking for options that would help me feel better, and finally get relaxed, but mostly wanted alternatives to the products that I was using that I knew contained harmful chemicals. I wanted to ditch those toxins for sure!

I had previously ordered a home essentials starer kit with doTERRA (all the most commonly used oils + a diffuser) and had tried navigating through them but just felt overwhelmed, and so they sort of were shelved. But in the last 4 months or so, I found two lovely ladies on social media who talked constantly about all the amazing uses for essential oils and had a large facebook group where users could share recipes, ask for help with issues, and just receive the overall support that they needed to really feel comfortable using the oils.

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I was cautious at first, but I joined this team and the community really helped me find my stride. I now feel comfortable mixing my own blends not just for my diffuers, but also for roller bottles. I’ve spent quite a bit of time researching and asking questions, but I’ve definitely found a way to integrate oils into my everyday life.

Now, before anyone starts questioning me, I 100% still believe in modern medicine (I’m a nurse practitioner after all married to a physician), and this is certainly not a substitute for that, but it’s certainly a way to compliment it. My love of Beautycounter tought me that there can be safe and effective products that do not contain harmful toxins, and oils just feel like the right step towards a healthier lifestyle for us and our children. For example, supporting our immune systems with On Guard, or encouraging relaxation and a good night’s sleep using lavender or serenity. I’ve discovered an amazing homemade lemongrass scrub for the shower (which supports healthy skin and smells amazing!) or a homemade roller bottle for tummy discomfort.

A few people have recommended the book, Gentle Babies, so I plan to read that and learn more about how oils can support me more while pregnant, nursing or around my newest addition, since there are a few oils you can’t use or need to be diluted. If you don’t already use oils and are interested in learning more, you can READ ALL ABOUT THE STARTER KIT HERE. Also, come follow my health and wellness Instagram @healthy.beauty.mama where I have covered some of my favorite ways to use the oils in my starter kit and plan to share more as I learn and discover even more amazing ways to use my oils.

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I plan to share some of my favorite diffuser blends, recipes for my favorite bath soaks, scrubs, roller bottle recipes and so many other amazing concoctions you didn’t know you could make!

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I hope you’ll join me and I know you’ll love oils just as much as we do!

 

A Little about Supplements

A few people have recently been asking about the supplements I take and why, as well as recommendations for supplements, so I thought I’d throw it together in a blog post so it’s all here in one place.

Let’s start with what I take and why…

As mentioned in this post, I take magnesium twice a day to manage my migraine headaches. It is an over the counter supplement, but was recommended by my neurologist and it has dramatically improved my migraines. I use this in combination with prescription medication, but have noticed a big difference since starting these magic mags…As always, I would encourage you to talk to your healthcare provider for any medical issues/concerns you may have.

I also take a prenatal multi-vitamin daily. I’m not currently pregnant, but I love the extra dose of folate and B12. I think it improves my memory and makes me feel more balanced. I really love the mykind organics prenatal vitamin. These are Certified USDA Organic, Non-GMO Project Verified, made from nothing but real, whole foods, which it turns out, can be hard to find. These have folate and iron, but also contain peppermint and ginger which can be soothing for nausea in pregnancy (when that time comes). They honestly don’t smell great, but I’ve gotten used to the smell, and they definitely don’t make me queasy, which other vitamins have done in the past. They also make a gummy version for people who prefer gummies, but the gummies don’t contain iron, which is important for pregnant women, so that’s just something to keep in mind if that applies to you.

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I take a daily calcium + vitamin D supplement as well. This is mostly because I have been on proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) since I was 16, and they carry a risk of increased premature fractures as you age, so I’m trying to keep that at bay. Unfortunately, my acid reflux despite trials with dietary modifications is out of control and PPIs are the only way I can survive.

I take a daily probiotic to help improve my gut flora (when I remember) as I can be a victim of irritable bowel at times, although less lately. I say when I remember because I keep them in the refrigerator and usually if it’s not in my handy dandy pill box (see below), I don’t remember to take it. Diane Sanfillipo had this one all over her InstaStories and it looked so convient, so I ordered one for myself and my husband. Yay for no more pill bottles all over the bathroom counter!

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Every morning for breakfast I make myself a smoothie and take it to work with me. These were inspired by Body Love by Kelly LeVeque and her Fab Four Smoothies.  My usual base is almond milk + Garden of Life Vanilla Protein Powder + some other combination of things. Currently I’ve been adding ground flax seeds and some mixed nut butter. I like this powder because it is, like my prenatal vitamins, certified organic, Non-GMO Project Verified, RAW Vegan Protein powder made with 13 raw sprouted proteins delivering 22 grams of protein that is dairy free with a complete profile of all the essential amino acids along with added whole food fat-soluble vitamins, probiotics and enzymes. It also supports digestive health and function with live probiotics and protein-digesting enzymes, which I love. Bonus: it’s not at all gritty which just makes it even better!

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I also add 1/2 tsp. Ashwagandha to my smoothies. This stuff doesn’t take good, so you definitely have to disguise it in something. Ashwagandha is reputed to help support emotional balance and brain function, and acts as a potent antioxidant to boost the immune system.

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In a recent study conducted by the U.S. National Library of medicine, it was reported that this tonic herb may help with asthma, arthritis, chronic fatigue, anemia, infertility, depression and blood pressure. It is also thought to support the endocrine and nervous system functions as well.

Since I suffer from asthma, occasional bouts of arthritis, occasional fatigue and am trying to conceive, I fee like it’s a good addition.

The last supplement I use on a daily basis is Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides. There are several different kinds of products Vital Proteins makes, but I use their beef-based collagen peptides.  It’s unflavored and not at all gritty. I add two scoops to my morning coffee that I take with me to work and I don’t even notice that it’s there. I like the collagen because it has 18g of natural protein, and works to improve hair, skin, nails and joints, ligaments, tendons.

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I feel like I need as much help as I can get in this area, particularly because I started going to Crossfit and am living in a perpetual state of ridiculous soreness all the time. Also, I have terribly thin nails and they need all the help they can get. I don’t know if this is a coincidence to using the collagen peptides or Beautycounter’s new amazing hair line, but my hair has been way more curly than it used to be and I’m totally digging it!

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OK, I’m pretty sure that’s everything I take and why. If you have more questions about any of these products, comment below. And I’m always open to suggestions. If you use something you love that you want to share with me, comment below for that too!

 

My Battle with Migraines

I have suffered from migraine headaches for several years now, but they have definitely gotten worse since John was born. I was attending a nurse practitioner continuing education seminar a little over a year ago and one of the presentations was given by the Chief of Neurology at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center (where I work). The topic was migraine management. This was an excellent lecture for me to attend because several of my patients complained of constant headaches and I did not have too in-depth of knowledge basis to manage it. I usually just sent them to neurology for management (since they had many other co-morbidities). Little did I know that this migraine lecture would change my life.

Not only did it give me the knowledge I needed to comfortably manage my patient’s migraine headaches, but it gave me the overview that I needed to figure out what to do about my constant migraine suffering.

After that lecture, I went up to the physician presenter and asked him if he was taking new patients. I made an appointment with him and had a comprehensive initial (and a few subsequent follow-ups) visit. He diagnosed me with chronic migraines with sensory auras (I get tingling in my 4th and 5th fingers before they start) as well as abdominal migraines (previously diagnosed as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)). He started me on a non-selective beta blocker and some magnesium. After that, I noticed a pretty significant improvement in my day-to-day symptoms.

However, about a year into treatment, I started developing horrible, daily migraines. I wasn’t sure what had brought them on. We tried to add another medication but I found it overly sedating. I started to wonder if my diet could have a link to my migraine triggers. I already had previously been diagnosed with IBS/abdominal migraines, and a complete GI work-up told me I didn’t have celiac disease, but I wasn’t certain if there was a link between gluten and migraines. I did a search on PubMed to see if there was any science to back up my theory and found a few articles (here, here and here) that showed a link between celiac disease and migraines.

I read enough that I thought an experiment would be helpful. I cut out all gluten for 4 weeks in an effort to determine if a gluten-free lifestyle would improve my migraines. I purchased a bunch of paleo and grain-free cookbooks and found recipes online to supplement so I wasn’t stuck with “boring” meals. And wouldn’t you know it, a week in and there were no migraines! And my gut was way better too. No bouts of IBS/abdominal migraines either. I felt so good I tried to cut my migraine medicine dose in half to see if I really needed it (that was a bad idea and later day I had a real bad migraine). I went back to my prescribed dose and have stayed away from gluten and remain pretty much migraine-free.

So the moral of the story…if you’re a chronic migraine sufferer, you should probably see a specialist. However, if it’s a long wait to get in to said specialist, try an elimination diet to see if you notice a difference.

Have any questions about my experience? Leave a comment below and we can discuss.