How My Life Changed Since I Began Healing Naturally

How My Life Changed Since I Began Healing Naturally
Almost a decade. I've been on this path for nearly 10 years. That blows me away. It's a blessing and a burden.

How do you encapsulate a journey that spans this much time without writing a tome? Truthfully, not being able to tell my story in a succinct way kept from sharing it for a long time. But with autoimmune conditions on the rise, and the health of most Americans, especially women, on the decline, I figured it was time to try.

I remember that day as if it were yesterday. I'd spent the previous night sleepless, tossing and turning trying to get comfortable. I'd eaten my husband's homemade potato soup and it was so good. But within a few minutes, I had heartburn so bad that I thought I'd never find relief. I popped Tums like candy and went to bed.

After what seemed like seconds, I was up and in the bathroom. If it wasn't coming up, it was coming out. Both felt like lava escaping my body. No one else was sick so I knew it wasn't food poisoning. Then came the joint pain, subtle at first, but then it felt like flames throughout my body and pain that felt like stepping on Legos. OUCH!

I moved to the couch, again trying to find a comfortable position, but nothing worked. My body finally resigned to sleep around 2:30 or 3:00 am and my alarm went off at 5. I was so tired and bone weary, I don't remember fixing the coffee or what I read in my bible.  I'd had a few other moments like this over the last few weeks and I was DONE. I knew I needed to see my doctor. So I called into work and made an appointment.

I put water on my body in the shower and struggled against the fire and legos in my joints to get ready. Then I got in the car and drove to the appointment. Again, I don't remember how I got there. Not good, right? I used the automatic doors and the elevator to get to the doctor's office on the second floor. The walk from the car felt a mile long. 

I sat in the waiting room and waited for my name to be called. After the nurse put me in the room, I asked her to turn off the lights (they were blinding me at this point). I laid down on the table and went to sleep. Then the doctor came in. She was really worried about me. I remember stumbling over my words and just wanting relief.

 I told what had been happening and she told me I probably had IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), acid reflux, and chronic fatigue. She told me that this was totally normal for a "woman of my age".Being just 38, I couldn't imagine that what I'd been through was normal but I didn't question her. She gave me a referral to a gastroenterologist, a prescription for Celebrex, and encouraged me to "work on my stress". 

I was raising 5 teenagers at the time and my marriage was in trouble. I was in a faith crisis and hated the work I did. Exactly how was working on my stress going to help? But I didn't question her. She was the doctor and I was not. She knew best, right?

After the gastroenterologist wanted to put me on even more medications, I asked what role diet could play in my health. He looked me dead in the eye and said it had no bearing on my condition unless I had celiac disease. So I asked for time to think about it and he agreed. I went home and took the rest of the next several days to research my conditions. 

Do you know what I found? HOPE. Hope that I could heal without medication. Hope that I could reverse all my symptoms on my own. So that's what I started doing nearly a decade ago. 

If you're wondering where my RA diagnosis came in, while I had the symptoms that day at the office, it took 6 years to get a diagnosis from a rheumatologist. All my doctors and specialists kept telling me my symptoms were normal "for my age". 

Y'all, I was 38 years old at my first appointment. What I was experiencing was not normal for someone in their late 30s, but they had no other answers. So I went looking for those who did.

I found a health care team that believes that less is more when it comes to medication, that diet and lifestyle absolutely play a role in healing and that remission is possible. It's a team effort, but I know I'm going to beat this.

What am I doing? Here is a high level summary of what I do each and every day.

-Eating an AIP (Autoimmune Paleo) diet
-Drinking filtered water that removes fluoride without removing minerals
-Get at least 15 minutes in the sun each day and supplementing with Vitamin D3 on the days I can't.
-Do gentle stretches and light strength training at least 5 times a week
-Use essential oils, deep breathing, prayer, and bible study, and walks by the lake to reduce stress. 
-Removed all toxic personal care and cleaners from my home. Found nontoxic cleaners instead.
-Made a commitment to reach out to friends and family on a regular basis to keep from feeling isolated.
-Taking clean supplements that fill in the gaps created by digestive issues.
-Use natural, nontoxic pain relievers, heating pads, and frozen veggie packs for icing down my joints
-Take my medications as prescribed and keep my appointment
-Continue to research the latest in natural healing for autoimmune conditions

If you're still reading this, God bless you. I pray that you find what works for you. It can be such a confusing and lonely journey. If you would like a guide to help you on your journey, reach out to me. I love helping others find their path! 

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Want a Gentle Way to Thicken Hair? Try This!

Want a Gentle Way to Thicken Hair? Try This!

One of the side effects of both my RA and my medication is thinning hair. I suspect there are some thyroid issues there, too, but they haven't been diagnosed yet. As I'm working to heal from RA naturally, I believe any thyroid issues will be taken care of. 

I'm young enough to do something about it, but I don't want to use harsh chemicals.

After a friend's recommendation, I found the answer and put it together in less than 2 minutes for pennies. Are you excited to find out what it is? Give me just a few minutes to talk about some of the reasons hair thins and about the ingredients – you'll recognize them all – and why they are both gentle and effective. 

I alluded to one of them at the beginning – thyroid issues. Some other reasons are physical/emotional stress, exposure to toxins, allergies, and some hair care products. You read that last one right – even some hair care products can contribute to hair loss. I'm sure all the Aqua Net I wore in the 80s didn't help either!

The solution to these issues? Make changes to your diet and lifestyle to reduce physical and emotional stress and thyroid issues, and toxins exposure. Switching to products that don't contain these ingredients. 

Let's chat for a minute about how essential oils can help thicken your hair. Specifically, rosemary, cedarwood, lavender, and to a lesser extent, sage. Fun fact: you have the most hair follicles when you're born, and you lose them throughout your life as your scalp grows. 

 

Rosemary – one of the best oils to encourage hair growth, which can help thicken the hair. It can also increase the rate of cell growth. It has a grounding, herbaceous aroma too.

Cedarwood – can help stimulate the hair follicles by increasing circulation to the scalp. This contributes to hair growth and slows down hair loss! Cedarwood is also great for thinning hair.

Lavender – stimulates hair growth and has even been studied to promote thicker hair. Although more studies need to be done, this oil has promise for those with alopecia and male pattern baldness. 


When you combine the oils above with filtered water and witch hazel, you're well on your way to thicker, more voluminous hair. I mean, who doesn't want that, amirite? This recipe is the secret and today, I'm sharing it with you! 


DIY Thinning Hair Spray

In a 4 oz stainless steel spray bottle, combine

10 drops each: Rosemary, Cedarwood, and Lavender essential oils (I only recommend Young Living due to their high quality and stringent standards for farming and cultivation practices)

1-ounce witch hazel

Fill with filtered water

HOW TO USE: Shake vigorously before using and spray lightly over damp hair. Use your fingers to work it through and style as usual.

 

I'd love to hear how this works for you! Let me know when you're ready to snag those oils too. 


Feeling stuck and unmotivated? Here's what worked for me!

Watch this to be as motivated as Tony Robbins!
 

Something else that helps keep me grounded and motivated is my daily bible study. I LOVE the Through the Word app because it has you can search for topical studies as well as just picking a chapter and reading through it. You can find the app on the App Store and Google Play.


What are some things that keep YOU motivated? 


Support Your Body Naturally through Cold and Flu season

Support Your Body Naturally through Cold and Flu season

Disclosure: This article may contain affiliate links. If you decide to make a purchase, I may make a small commission at no extra cost to you.


I’ve been pretty healthy in the last several  years, only going to the doctor maybe once every other year. So imagine my horror when I contracted the flu from my husband.It was awful! Thankfully my husband was mostly over his when I got sick (something I attribute to him never receiving vaccines - but that’s a post for another day!) so he was able to do things for me while I was recovering. 


I was doing several things naturally to support my body through the flu that may have also had the added benefit of temporarily putting my rheumatoid arthritis symptoms into remission temporarily. I gotta tell ya, plain old body aches beat RA pain anyday.  


Here’s what I did:


  • Sipped on a good quality coconut water as often as tolerated. My favorite brand is Harmless Harvest. It’s always the fastest hydrating and it’s always fun to try and find a pink one!

  • Drank tons of bone broth, usually about 32 - 36 ounces daily. Mine was homemade and was so easy to make in my Instant Pot. Recipe I base mine off of here.

  • High doses of Vitamin C as tolerated. I took both chewable and tablets, taking approximately 2.6 grams per day.

  • Followed modified BRAT diet - using gluten free toast from Canyon Bakehouse, no rice (my body doesn’t tolerate it well), organic applesauce (that my body ended up not liking either) and under ripe bananas. The resistant starch did wonders to keep up my energy.

  • Diffused my favorite antiviral essential oils (Clove, Cinnamon Bark, Eucalyptus Radiata, Rosemary and Lemon oils) pretty much 24/7 and applied a Eucalyptus blend as needed on my chest and throat for cough and sore throat. Get my favorite one here

  • Drank at least 70 oz of water as tolerated (over half my body weight)

  • Took 10,000 IU's of Vitamin D drops daily

  • Consumed 2-3 drops nascent iodine twice a day

  • Drank Peppermint and Chamomile herbal teas to both keep my passages clear and help soothe me to sleep at night. I added some local honey to help keep probiotics in my body and to soothe my sore throat


One thing I didn’t do was take anything for my fever. It wasn’t that high (maybe 102 at its highest) so I allowed my body to use the fever to fight off the virus. I have an autoimmune condition currently so I needed to be as kind to my body as I could without pushing it too far.


I’m not a medical professional, so I can’t say this will work for you, just that it helped me as I was healing from both types of flu. PLEASE do what I did and seek out a professional opinion before starting any sort of treatment. I’m so glad I was able to support my body naturally, with a little help from an antiviral, which I think helped tame my EBV (Epstein-Barr Virus) down while I wasn’t feeling well. This helped eliminate any rheumatoid arthritis symptoms, which was a HUGE relief! I can’t imagine dealing with an RA flare AND the flu. That would’ve been really miserable! Praying that you and yours stay happy and healthy throughout the rest of the Winter.


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Winter got you down? Do these things daily to help you feel a little brighter

Winter got you down? Do these things daily to help you feel a little brighter
The Winter blues are a real thing. As much as 60% of the US deals with it each year. That's a lot of people who are feeling a little down! What are the winter blues? Known as seasonal affective disorder, often referred to by the acronym SAD, the winter blues shows itself in the following ways:

1. Mood: anxiety, apathy, general discontent, loneliness, loss of interest, mood swings, or sadness.
2. Sleep: excess sleepiness, insomnia, or sleep deprivation
3. Whole body: appetite changes or fatigue
4. Behavioral: irritability or social isolation
5. Also common: depression, lack of concentration, or weight gain (list courtesy of www.mayoclinic.com)

Now that we know what to look for, what are some ways we can combat it's effects?

1. Get some fresh air and exercise. I know, I know, that's what everyone says, but in this case it's true. The endorphins (or feel good hormones) that are released during and after even just 20-30 minutes of any heart pumping movement, especially if it's outdoors, can turn any gloomy day around.
2. Going to bed and waking up at the same time. Having a bedtime routine that your body can look forward to sets the stage for a great night's sleep. Having trouble settling your mind? Keep a notebook by your bed to jot down notes and consider the use of a non-melatonin based supplement like Sleep Essence that harnesses the power of essential oils to naturally lull you to sleep.

3. Get as much sunshine as possible on your skin as early as you can. Even if it's just 10 or 15 minutes each morning, that can produce the amount of Vitamin D your body needs to regulate your mood. If the day is dreary or overcast, find a good Vitamin D3 supplement and take at least 3,000 IU/day. Spending 10-15 minutes in front of a light box first thing.

4. Diffuse mood lifting essential oils. Essential oils work great when diffused because they can cover a large area and when used in an ultrasonic diffuser can quickly and safely get into your bloodstream and help lift your mood effectively and naturally. Some of my favorites are Joy (a blend of floral essential oils), tree oils such as black spruce or balsam fir and citrus oils like Orange and Lime.

Picking just one (or more) of these choices will help you combat the effects of Winter and help you feel like yourself again!
If you'd like to learn even more about this topic or to schedule a time to speak with me about this, give me a holler. I'd love to chat with you!