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Snake Oil

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You know how different things come and go with your circle of friends and within your community, like shoulder pads, fidget spinners, low-fat foods, step aerobics.  Yes, I had a step.  It was green.  Don’t judge.  Some of the things worked, and well – some of them didn’t.  They just didn’t.  Some of these fads we try, and some we just observe and keep it movin’.  That is how I felt about the essential oil thing when it popped up everywhere.  I mean everywhere! Church, work, and boutiques I shopped at, the grocery stores.  More and more Facebook posts by friends talking about oils for scrapes and upset tummies,  better sleep, and anxiety.  I just didn’t believe in it and figured it was another fad that would come and then fade away as something else took its place.

Well, I couldn’t have been more wrong.  It’s funny how once you have exhausted all other options, you are more open to trying things you never thought you would be open to trying.  Our middle child has severe eczema and was in a very bad flare last year.  We have frequented the dermatologist over the years and have used oral medications, as well as all kinds of steroid creams to try, and get things under control.  I wasn’t aware, at the time, that stress can cause an awful flare.  It was her Senior year of high-school and she had a LOT going on.  She finally started to clear up, after 4 months of an anti-biotic and several refills of a steroid cream.  Of course, our concern was and still is the long-term effects of these strong medications she was taking.  That’s when we discovered a friend from church had been dealing with some eczema issues and was using Young Living essential oils and they were working.  We asked her if we could try what she was using and she graciously made us up a roller bottle of oils and we tried it…and it worked.  Lauren came up to me just a couple of days later and said she was out and needed more.  I was surprised 1. that it really did work and 2. that she had used it up so fast.  So, her friend made up another bottle of the oils and Lauren continued to see positive results.  Well, I knew we couldn’t just keep using up her friend’s oils, so I asked how we could buy them ourselves and that day we entered into a whole new world of health and wellness that we had never ventured into before.

We purchased a starter kit with 11 oils, a diffuser, and a couple of sample packets of a drink with oils infused into it.  We also purchased a couple of other oils that didn’t come in the starter kit, so that we could make up the roller bottle for Lauren to use.  That was the only reason I purchased this kit.  It’s not like we were going to do anything else with it, other than make up this one concoction we knew about.  Ha!  Little did I know the path God was taking us down.  Looking back now, I realize how many areas of our lives He was moving in.

I let that kit sit for 6 months.  I did get out the diffuser and diffused some lemon and peppermint in the morning, but that was about it.  It was April of last year and Springtime allergies had us all a little stuffy.  It seemed to help Michael’s stuffy nose.  He would be able to blow his nose and breathe better.  I liked the uplifting scent of the lemon.  Steve said the peppermint smelled like candy canes.  Soon, school was out and we were very glad because Michael’s 7th grade year was rough, to say the least.  I felt it was a miracle that I still had hair and spent the summer dreading the next school year.  You see, things had not gone very smoothly last year.  Homework was beyond a struggle and communication with the school had not gone well.  I had no idea how we were going to get through the 8th grade.

Summer rocked on and the beginning of the school year came.  Yep, more of the same.  I was in tears, he was frustrated and I just did not know what in the world we were going to do.  It was September, we were at church, and I ran into the mom of the girl with the oils.  I remembered her telling me about those two drink samples in my kit and how much benefit her family had received from incorporating it into their family’s lives.  She said they were good for boosting your immune system and reducing inflammation.  So, I asked her what to do with them.  She told me to put them in the fridge to chill, shake one up and then drink one during the day.  So, I took one to work and drank it after lunch that day.  I had good afternoon.  I was focused on my work and then went home at the end of the day.  I didn’t think much more about it.  I took the other pouch to work the next day.  I had a great numbers day.  Actually, both of the days I had the best numbers I had ever had at work.  I looked at Steve and said how I had felt laser focused and wondered if it was just a coincidence or if that little red drink actually helped…and if it had helped, would it help Michael.

We bought 4 more of those pouches and we started giving Michael half a pouch every morning before school.  We had also started him on some vitamin C and vitamin D, as his pediatrician had found that he was low vitamin D.  Now, you have to know Michael and his typical week.  Michael is autistic and it takes every ounce of energy he has to just get through the day at school.  So, by the end of the week, he is exhausted.  I usually find him laid out on the couch, either asleep or just staring into space.  Worn out.  When asked about his day, he is not able to tell you much of anything.  He tries to remember, but just can’t.  Well, I walked in the door from work that Friday night, and said hello.  I was walking through the kitchen when Michael met me and asked me how my day was.  He was up.  Walking around.  I was kind of surprised and said, fine and asked him how his day was, expecting the usual one word answer, fine.  He began to tell me everything he did at school that day.  How cool the science experiments were and what they sang in choir.  I looked at Steve.  He looked at me.  We went to pick his sister up from college to see us for the weekend.  She got in the car and I turned around and asked Michael to tell Lauren how his day was at school.  🙂  Same thing.  I looked at her and her jaw dropped.  No.  It definitely wasn’t our imagination.  He was better.  He had more energy.  He was focused.  He could remember.  That was six months ago.  We have incorporated that little red drink into our daily lives.  He has since told me that he sleeps better and feels better.

Since then, we have diffused other oils and tried new ones.  We have learned so many amazing things about the lifeblood of the plants that God has given us and the many benefits they have.  That little red drink is called Ningxia Red.  The wolfberry is the main ingredient along with many super fruit juices and infused essential oils.  It has been a game changer for us.  Michael finishes much more of his work at school.  As a result, he has less homework, and what he does have, he is able to get through easier.  Now granted, he still has some rough days, but this year has gone much more smoothly.  Lauren decided to purchase her own kit this past December and is experimenting with different oils.  She loves grapefruit to help with the occasional blemish, as does Michael. Lavender really is good for supporting sleep, as well as, Cedarwood.  I love that there are no long-term negative side effects and our wellness is being supported in a natural and healthy way.  So much for my snake oil theory.  If it is just a placebo effect,  I’ll just keep on believing all the things about these oils and keep reaping the benefits.

 

 

 

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Are you sick and tired of being sick and tired?

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This year has been pretty brutal with regards to the flu, bronchitis, the stomach bug… you name it and we know someone who has had it.  The news is covered with stories on the latest area to be stricken.  Schools with low attendance, workplaces with hand sanitizer stations just inside every entrance, and grocery store shelves empty where tissue boxes, cough syrups, and fever reducers used to be.  The waiting rooms in all of the urgent care clinics in our area are filled with people suffering from these awful illnesses.

I am so thankful that we have had an unusually healthy Fall and Winter season in our household this year.  I can remember a time when our youngest had strep throat almost every Thanksgiving.  Yes, I mean on Thanksgiving.  It never failed.  If we were supposed to be going out-of-town, he would get sick the day before.  Bless his heart.  He would spend the day on the couch with a bowl, a washcloth, and a cup of Gatorade.  It seemed every Fall our two youngest would get the sniffles and the stuffy nose and congestion would just stay with them almost all Winter long.  Not really sick, but not really healthy or well either.  I remember one Valentine’s Day, I had already been sick for about a month and had an asthma type attack at work.  I had to leave and go to the doctor.  I had developed Bronchitis and was prescribed an inhaler and other meds.  The last couple of  years has been remarkably calm for our family and again – I am so very thankful.

So what changed?  Have we just been lucky this year?  Extra blessed?  I don’t think that’s it.  I thought this would be a good place to just think about and write down the changes we have been making over the last couple of years and how I believe they have helped and maybe how they might help you, too.  These are the big things that I believe have helped our family stay above the wellness line, so to speak.

We try to limit the amount of sugar we consume.  Excess sugar depresses immunity.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  We still ordered Girl Scout cookies.  We aren’t crazy!  We just watch the amount of sugar we consume and cut it out where we can.  I use raw Stevia in my coffee, for example.  I don’t drink coffee every day because it has a tendency to make me too acidic.  When our bodies are too acidic, disease can take root.

My son now drinks non fluoridated water and uses non fluoridated toothpaste.  We have been trying to reduce as much inflammation in his body and brain as we can.  This has proven, for us, to help him tremendously.  We also use aluminum free deodorant for the same reason.  We try to eat less inflammatory foods, such as dairy, grains, and soy.  Reducing things that cause inflammation in the body has been key.

My family started using essential oils last April.  We began that journey when our daughter had a severe eczema flare and nothing else we tried helped.  As a result of venturing into the world of essential oils we stumbled upon a super fruit drink called Ningxia Red.  It is a highly concentrated blend of super fruits, the wolfberry, and essential oils.  It helps support the immune system and is high in nutrients and anti-oxidants.  This has been a game changer for our family.  I will post another article on how this has helped our autistic son tremendously.

The last thing I believe that has helped us stay above the wellness line is the reduction in the use of toxins in our home.  I used to love to burn candles.  I was unaware of the dangerous chemicals released into the air when burning candles.  Most candles are made of paraffin wax, which emits highly toxic benzene and toluene when burned.  We have stopped using aerosol sprays that contain highly toxic chemicals like regular household cleaners.  The ingredients in some widely used disinfectant cleaners are highly toxic and can disrupt our endocrine and respiratory systems.  We are still in the process of replacing our cleaning supplies with non-toxic ones that won’t harm our bodies.

Now, I know that even doing all of this doesn’t make it impossible for us to get sick.  I just hope that by making these changes we stay healthy more often.  Each of these changes are simple, but I believe they add up.  As we eat healthier and take vitamins and supplements that strengthen our immune systems and rid our homes of as many toxic chemicals as possible, we get stronger and healthier.  Praying that you find all the things that help you and your family stay healthy, too.