Thursday, June 14, 2018

Simple Tips for Disease Prevention & Holistic Lifestyle

This journey of living a healthier lifestyle started for me as a teenager. Because I was adopted and don’t really know any family medical history, I made up my mind that I wanted to live as healthy of a lifestyle as possible. I’m sure you’d agree with me that it just FEELS better when you’re doing things to take care of your temple, right? So, this meant doing little things like giving up any sugary drinks and switching to only water. (I wish I had known at the time that even though I was trying, refilling the same 1L cheap plastic Deer Park water bottle over and over for multiple days from the water fountain, and even leaving it in my hot car, wasn’t exactly the best option. That releases BPA & that water was probably filled with lots of junk that I’ll get into later.) Anyway, I call this a “journey” because there has been progression. I have continued to learn SO much throughout the years and I don’t plan to stop. I love being a seeking wisdom and I love to learn! (I also love being a teacher and sharing that knowledge with others. Some of this has become such a part of my life that I can’t even decipher what is common knowledge anymore, so I am just going to share as much as I can.)

Sometimes people get offended when we talk about disease prevention as if we are placing blame. I have even had people unfriend me and completely stop speaking to me. However, that is simply not true and not at all my goal. I never share anything to make anyone feel guilty or like something is their fault, so I decided that I’m not going to stop sharing because knowledge (when applied) is POWERFUL & has the potential to save lives. What if one small change you make is exactly the change needed that adds YEARS to your life? Or the life of someone you love?

Have you ever lost someone in your life too soon to disease?? I have. And because 7 out of the 10 top “killers” (heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer) can be preventable, it’s part of my mission to help people live as full and HEALTHY lives as possible. Health is a commodity that we often don’t appreciate until we no longer have it. If you or someone you know has ever been sick, you know that is rightfully pretty consuming. We spend most of our time focused on the illness and trying to get better. I know for me, when I don’t feel my best, I’m not the best version of myself. I have more energy, more patience, am kinder, better able to serve, and more focused on others when I feel good. Of course there are some things that just happen and are out of our control, so I’m not speaking to that. I know me or anyone in my family could get sick at any time since we live in a fallen world. And I am so grateful for medical doctors and modern medicine that help us when we need it. But they are meant to help us when we encounter things that are out of our control…not solve problems for us that could have been prevented. Of course this is not a perfect protection plan, as there is no such thing. I am simply talking about the lifestyle choices that ARE within our control that can help the average person live the healthiest, best quality of life possible. Why would we NOT do all that we can to prevent illness & live healthy, robust, productive lives??

Unfortunately, ignorance is not bliss when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle. Just because you don’t know better, doesn’t mean you’re immune from the consequences. (Like me drinking that yucky water out of my cheap plastic water bottle, or baking in the sun with afrosheen. Yes, I actually did that. And I’m sure there were/are consequences.)

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” so I want to share with you all that I have learned about PREVENTION.  I don’t have any special letters after my name & I’m not an expert. BUT, I have been blessed with an opportunity to learn from some of the top holistic doctors on the planet. For several years I have been attending Healing Strong meetings to learn about preventing and fighting cancer naturally. Jonathan and I attended The Truth About Cancer Symposium with some of the most intelligent people (in their respective fields) offering lots of tips and solutions. I have listened to multiple podcasts, hours worth of docuseries from experts, read articles, books, and scientific journals. I have definitely become a student of this because it is so interesting to me. That being said, everything written here is my personal opinion/experience and things I have learned from others, so it is not meant to replace advice from your doctor.

Most of the time when I talk to people about this topic, they tell me they don’t have time to study up and read and learn everything about this topic. (I have found that you have time for things that are important to you. Can you imagine if you spent 30 min per day of the time you currently spend watching tv or scrolling social media…or listening to podcasts or audiobooks while driving/cooking, etc,?) But, I do get it. Most people just want to know what to do and what not to do. And that’s kind of my goal with this post. I want to share a simple list with some of my top tips of things TO do and some things to avoid.

Still, I recommend making sure you are doing your research and making the best possible decisions for your family. Don’t just trust me, or your doctor, or your mama, or do something because you’ve always done it that way. Not everyone is going to agree with everything on my lists, so if there is something unfamiliar, definitely spend some time researching and learning more.

Side note: I also believe you can become a student of “wellness” without making it an idol or obsession. You can take time to learn without it consuming your life. Once you’ve learned it, it’s really just simple switches and conscious choices. Really, something as simple as using Free & Clear laundry detergent and STOP using dryer sheets can make a big difference!

My prayer is that if you’re reading this, it is because you have a desire for you and your family to live a healthier lifestyle. I wish I could share with you in person, because then you could hear my heart & see that I’m coming from a place of genuinely trying to help and no judgement or condemnation. But, a post is the best way for me to get this info to the masses. So, I hope you are able to let down any walls or feelings of offense and begin making baby steps. (Or jump in with both feel and do a complete overhaul like we did!) Don’t allow yourself to feel overwhelmed because many of these are simple swaps and changes. And don’t allow yourself to buy into the lie that “everything causes cancer so I’m not even going to worry about it.” While it is true that lots of environmental factors can cause disease, we…YOU…have WAY more control than we think. I hope you feel EMPOWERED and more equipped after reading this post.

I prefer to focus mostly on sharing with women because we are the nutritional gatekeepers of our homes and control many things on this list. We have such a great responsibility in helping our children leave healthy lives. Did you know their immune system begins forming the 5th week in utero? (YES! It MATTERS what you put into your body while pregnant! Don’t allow society to tell you anything otherwise.)

Here are two other posts I’ve written previously about this topic:

Healthy Lifestyle Tips for Preventing Illness

Reducing Environmental Toxins to Prevent Cancer

So here we go.

*Did you know..This is the first generation expected to NOT outlive their parents? No parent should EVER have to bury a child, so SOMETHING has to change. This is part of why we are so passionate about what we do and why we have partnered with Champions for Children, which is AdvoCare’s Foundation that is partnering with local organizations to fight childhood obesity. (There are lots more issues with obesity than we realize…bullying, heart disease, childhood diabetes, etc.)

*Did you know..90-95% of cancers have roots in environment and lifestyle?

*Did you know…the American Cancer Society says more than half of all cancers can be prevented through lifestyle changes?

*Did you know..diabetes causes more deaths per year than AIDS + breast cancer combined?

*Did you know…1 out of every 3 Americans are overweight/obese?

*Did you know…It is expected that by the year 2050, if something doesn’t change, that 1 out of every 3 Americans will have diabetes and 1 out of every 2 people will be diagnosed with cancer?

*Did you know…in 2011, 2 in 4 children were diagnosed with chronic illness like asthma, ADHD, food allergies, depression, autism, seizures, learning disorders, etc.?

*Did you know…The University of Columbia said 95% of all cancer is due to diet and the accumulation of toxins?

*Did you know…your GENES can be turned ON and OFF with food, chemicals, sleep, and stress?? THAT is empowering!!!

THINGS TO AVOID:

  • acidic water. Here it goes. Do NOT drink tap water. If you can, I suggest a whole house filtration system because if you think about unclean water, we are BATHING in it. Most city water supplies contain Rx meds residue, bacteria, heavy metals, and even parasites. If you can’t swing it, if you have a second home, or even if you do have good water, I still LOVE the idea of having a Berkey. I LOVE my Big Berkey! Whole blog post coming soon, but till then you can check out the videos.
  • plastic. Sometimes it’s unavoidable, but if you can help it, do your body + the environment a favor and bring your own stainless steel/glass bottle. Aquasauna has a bottle that filters dirty water as you drink it.
  • fragrances. Most candles, air freshener, plug ins, body spray= Very toxic. Just switch to essential oils. And safer candle options. Sorry friends, no more Yankee Candle or Bath & Body works.
  • wearing shoes in the house. can you even imagine all the nasty germs we are bringing into our homes on the bottom of our feet? tracking it all over the floors are babies crawl all over? simple fix that will keep your family so much healthier! TAKE YOUR SHOES OFF AT THE DOOR. (Ahem….Jonathan.)
  • junk food/processed food. Just try to eat REAL food as much as possible.
  • SUGAR/refined sugar. Basically white poison. I just do my very best here. Sugar feeds cancer. (And this is where supplements help me when I’m trying to kick a sweet tooth. MNS, Slim, Crave Check, etc.)
  • table salt. There are lots of salts like sea salt and pink Himalayan salt that are high in minerals, add flavor to your food, and have benefits for your overall health.
  • GMOs. less than a decade after GMOs hit the market, the number of Americans with 3+ chronic illnesses more than doubled.
  • hydrogenated oils.
  • microwaves. I don’t even want one at all in our next house.
  • EMF. Don’t keep your cell phone on you all the time. DEF don’t carry it on your body.
  • non-stick cookware. The toxins in non-stick cookware can leach into your food and begin chipping off over time. I prefer cast-iron because it also releases iron into your food.
  • conventional produce. This means fruit + veggies that are NOT organic, because they are often sprayed with lots of toxic pesticides. If you think you can’t afford it, try cutting cable. We saved $1200/year, and that extra $100/month on our grocery bill covers organic. (Plus, we’re not watching garbage tv and allowing it into our homes, so double win.)
  • plastics. we try to use glass containers to store leftovers & i already mentioned water bottles. i REALLY need to make the switch to cloth diapering, but haven’t done that yet.
  • bleached/refined flour. we also make our own bread with my Breadbeckers bread maker (that has been packed up in storage for the last year and a half). We are moving towards grain free.
  • toxic personal care products. Download the ThinkDirty app to scan your personal care items (toothpaste, shampoo, facewash, deoderant, make up, tampons, hand soap, cologne/perfume, etc.)It also has suggestions for cleaner products. The EWG’s database is very helpful too.
  • toxic cleaning products. We love Norwex! I also make some Thieves & use that to clean.
  • meds/drugs. Unless absolutely necessary, we avoid them at all costs. I try all other natural routes first. I don’t even give Tylenol. (There is a lot of research about Tylenol.)
  • nitrites. They preserve meats but feed cancer. Sorry bacon, hot dogs, lunch meat.
  • smoked meat or foods cooked at high temps over an open flame. Carcinogenic (which means it has cancer-causing agents).
  • olive oil cooked on high temps. quality olive oil is fine. (hint: they’re not all quality though.) just be sure you’re cooking on low heat. if you need to cook on high heat, avocado oil is a better option.
  • flouride. You can read more here. But basically, stay away. Find a way (like Berkey) to get the flouride out of your water. Use flouride free toothpaste.
  • screens before bed. stimulate the brain and make it difficult to fall asleep or get into deepest level of sleep. can try blue blocking glasses or just avoid it all together.
  • birth control pills. the World Health Organization says oral contraceptives fall into a category 1 “known and probable carcinogen.” Carcinogen = cancer causing agent. So, no thank you. There are other ways to not get pregnant, and there are some more natural routes for balancing hormones.
  • mercury fillings/root canals. I watched a whole docuseries called the Oral Health Summit and it was SO eye opening. Def check out a holistic dentist if you can. In short, take care of your teeth.
  • alcohol. Most of the benefits alcohol could give can be attained through other herbal options. Even wine. Grapes are one of the most highly sprayed crops in the world…so we are basically putting poison into our body in the “name of health.” Try Oasis. Same concept, healthier alternative. Also, overdoing it has NO health benefits and is actually destructive for our health (& usually decisions).
  • antibacterial soap & hand sanitizer. endocrine disrupters & create superbugs. normal old soap (i love goats milk) and warm water are plenty.

THINGS TO FOCUS ON:

  • clean water. Again, BERKEY. (I will come back in and add my link, but reach out before you buy- i have a coupon so you can save!)
  • hydration. Our bodies are made up of primarily water, so staying well hydrated is essential for optimal functioning of our different bodily systems. Dehydration can lead to a plethora of health issues, from headaches all the way to hospitalization. Make sure you’re drinking plenty of that CLEAN water. I also love Rehydrate to replace electrolytes but with 71% less sugar than sports drinks.
  • plant-based diet. I encourage people to consume as many PLANTS as possible! A great way to do this is through juicing and smoothies.
  • eating organic. Thrive Market has lots of pantry staples for MUCH cheaper, so check out my post about how that works.
  • eating the rainbow. Lots of diff colored fruits + veggies provide antioxidants & other powerful disease fighting nutrients. It’s so important to eat real, whole foods! I do love supplementing the Reds & Greens in addition to a healthy diet though. They have many powerful antioxidants (which fight disease) along with prebiotics, probiotics, and digestive enzymes. I like them because they have several ingredients I wouldn’t ordinarily put in my shopping cart (kelp, wheatgrass, alfalfa, spirulina, Goji berry, etc.).
  • mushrooms. Mushrooms are powerful for our immune system & cancer prevention.
  • clean air. (We have an Austin Air Purifier for the boys’ room and our room. We also open the windows as often as possible and vacuum daily.)
  • bone broth. here is a post all about bone broth.
  • plenty of sleep. Lack of sleep can lead to weight gain, irritability, stress/anxiety, weakened immune system. You can try SleepWorks if you have a hard time falling asleep & staying asleep. (You don’t become dependent on it because it’s just herbal, but you wake up totally refreshed without feeling groggy.)
  • strong friendships/relationships. VERY powerful in our health and probably way underestimated by most of us.
  • faith. I am so thankful for the HOPE I have in Jesus. Prayer changes things, including me. Prayer eases any fear and anxiety, and strengthens my relationship with the Lord so I have courage + strength to continue on in this fallen world. Jesus is REAL and alive, my friends.
  • a healthy gut. Probiotics, omegas, fermented foods. Here is a post about sneaking super foods into your diet. Your gut is also known as your “second brain” & is the control center for many things- digestion, immune system, etc.
  • juicing/smoothies. We do this daily during a fast, but on a normal basis I shoot for 2-3 times a week. If you’re on a healing protocol, you’ll need to do it daily and even multiple times a day. here is one of my fave smoothie recipes and one of my fave juice recipes. (focus on primarily VEGGIES & very few fruits.)
  • fasting/intermittent fasting. I love both! Here is an article about intermittent fasting and my favorite book about why/how to of Fasting (written by our pastor).
  • healthy fats. this is how you will feed your brain and help prevent alzheimers/dementia. Your brain is made up of mostly fats, so you need them! here is a post i wrote all about healthy fats.
  • essential oils. there is such a wealth of info here, and there are lots of people who know WAY more than me. I personally diffuse them daily and use oils for some of my homemade cleaning products + personal care products. Dr. Z (my go-to for health info on essential oils) said he doesn’t recommend using the essential oils companies personal care products, but does encourage you to make you own with them. i do not personally ingest them or use them neat (directly on skin without a carrier oil).
  • oil pulling. Promotes great oral health. Swish organic coconut oil for 15-20 min/day & spit into trash (NOT down any drain). Here’s a how to guide for oil pulling.
  • apple cider vinegar. SO many health benefits! here is my recipe for drinking it warm that will knock out a sore throat ASAP.
  • chiropractic. for preventative care. i am personally a BIG fan, even while pregnant and for babies. this is our go-to when someone is starting to feel under the weather, etc.
  • soak your almonds, walnuts, pecans, etc. before eating. Here are the details on how to do it if this is a completely new concept for you.
  • CBD oil. great way to treat pain naturally. has other benefits too. Definitely worth looking up!
  • elderberry syrup. i make my own. super simple. I give it daily during flu season, and increase to a few times a day if they seem to be coming down with something. NO honey for the little ones though. here is the link to how i made it.
  • vitamin C. this is my go-to for any type of sickness. i personally put it in Rehydrate because it’s the only way I can get the boys to take it. If you go to the site and e-mail her (& mention my name), she’ll give you a discount! I’m working on the discount code now.
  • supplements. multivitamins, amino acids (for supporting lean muscle + non-stimulant energy), turmeric (for inflammation), collagen (for skin + joints + gut). Yes, you do need supplements. Unfortunately we cannot get enough in our diet anymore the way our soil is, the SAD way we eat (Standard American diet), etc. Dr. Hyman agrees and discusses it in his book Food: What the Heck Should I Eat?.
  • exercise. Shoot for sweating 3x a week for 20 min….150 min/ week moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise. MOVE every single day. Sitting is the new smoking.
  • positive thinking. This is one of the #1 things the doctors at different events said. Memorize Scripture. I love Phil 4:8.
  • healthy pregnancies. Mamas, you have such an incredible responsibility in helping your healthy child develop! YOU are responsible for helping develop their immune systems, which begins forming a 5 weeks. We should actually be doing the complete opposite of what the world says, and this is the MOST important time to focus on great nutrition.
  • rebounding. tons of benefits. Basically bouncing on a little trampoline. Sounds weird, but lots of benefits.
  • dry brushing. here is a post all about dry brushing- what it is, how to do it, benefits, etc. (Added bonus- did you know that is also reduces the appearance of cellulite?)You can order one off Amazon here for pretty cheap.
  • colloidial silver. Strengthens immune system, helps combat illness. Just make sure you follow directions exactly.
  • turmeric for inflammation. (NOT ibuprofen!)
  • a holistic dentist. I LOVE my dentist, so I still go to her for regular cleanings and thankfully my teeth have been healthy the last decade or so. I had a lot of work done when I was younger though. Mercury fillings are very toxic, and you have to be very cautious with how you remove them. I am also anti-root canals. You do not want to cover up an infected tooth. That is like if you had an infected cut and just put a band aid on it. Gotta clean that bad boy out! Again, floss daily, brush daily, use a water pick, oil pulling, etc.
  • cleansing/detoxing. I recommend a cleanse & detox every 90 days. (Think each season change.) It’s like an “oil change” for your body. Flushes toxins that build up in your body over time & hits reset on your systems. I’m on a cleanse right now and I feel AH-MAZING. (super SIMPLE + affordable too.)
  • FORVIGE others. Forgiveness if more for you than the other person. Holding on to bitterness, resentment, and unforgiveness actually cause disease in the body. Study what the Word says about forgiveness, and choose to forgive those who have hurt you.

Of course this list isn’t completely comprehensive, and we don’t do everything perfectly by any means, but it does give some really great starting places. You can research each of these individual topics on your own and more in depth too. I’ll try to post a few more with some specific details- like about the Berkey, about my fave personal care products, etc. I also have a FB group where I plan to go live and share tips for mamas & taking care of kiddos (how we treat fevers, boost immune system, prevent sickness, sneak in veggies, etc.) You’re more than welcome to join if you like!

If I brought a Ferrari over to your house and dropped it off in your driveway and handed you the keys…you would probably take PHENOMENAL care of it, right? Regular oil changes. Regular maintenance. Only the best fuel. Washed & waxed. No kiddos eatin goldfish and french fries in the back. Am I right?

When God gives us our bodies, He calls them a temple. When I shifted my perspective & had some conviction about how I care for my temple, God’s gift to me, everything changed. Take care of your body- it’s the only place you have to live.

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A few of my favorite resources:

Dr. Mercola

Dr. Axe

Dr. Eric Z

The Green Queen

Healing Strong

The Truth About Cancer

AdvoCare Preferred Customer (so you can save 20% with no monthly minimums, quotas, or autoships- just like a Sam’s or Costco)

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Monday, April 16, 2018

Cutting Down Our Christmas Tree

We’ve been in our rental house for 2 Christmases now, which means our tree and all of our decorations are packed up deep in a storage unit somewhere. I think?

Anyway, there is a local Christmas tree farm really close to our house. We cut one down last year and decided to do the same again this year. Jase especially LOVED it & loves being his daddy’s big helper!!

Beau is happy anywhere as long as he’s with us and being held.

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And Kade…needed a nap.

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Jonathan is a super manly man…& it was pretty hot watching him in his element. Beard + flannel + sawing down a tree. Ha!!

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Really though, it has been a pretty special family outing the last two years, and I think we might keep this tradition alive even after we get settled in our house and actually find all of our stuff.

It was the most beautiful day, & we were grateful for the sunshine and the family fun.

Christmas 2017

We had the BEST Christmas this year!!

We chopped down our own tree again, which the boys absolutely LOVED this year!

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We also decorated way more this year (using Dawn’s decorations from the basement- the lady who owns the house we’re living in) & Jase was was into helping with that this year.

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We had cookies with Santa in the neighborhood, visited Santa at Bass Pro, had a cookie decorating play date, went to a few Christmas parties & holiday vendor events, went to Christmas parades in our town, the Christmas tree lighting, our church’s Christmas play, & spent lots of time talking about and reading the Christmas story.

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One of the highlights was definitely seeing Chelsi & getting to meet PRECIOUS Mr. Henri!!!

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We hadn’t done ANY shopping as of December 22nd. (Is that causing any of you type A people to break out in hives? Ha!) My mom came over to watch the boys for us the day before Christmas Eve and we knocked out all of our shopping in about 5 hours. Fist bumped. Tag teamed wrapping everything that night. (We don’t buy each other anything unless we have something really special in mind.)

We spent Christmas Eve at Jonathan’s dad’s house. It was extra special this year with 4 littles!! Jade always does a great job preparing everything, getting a meal together, and they always have lots of presents for all the babies. Papa spoils the boys too. We really really miss Donna around Christmas. She went above and beyond to make it extra special for everyone and I cried this year thinking about it. I just know how much she would love seeing the boys and baby Kayton.

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Jonathan really likes for the boys to have a lot to open on Christmas morning, whereas I would really prefer to stick to a need, a read, a wear, and a want…but we did get a few little things from Five Below so they’d have more to open. He really wants Christmas to be magical for them like it was for us when we were little…and I do get that. I’m still unsure of where I stand when it comes to the whole Santa & elves thing, so I just tried not to talk to much about it or make a huge deal out of anything.

They were SO excited Christmas morning!! They each had their own little pile to open. I mostly bought books, puzzles, and games we could all play together. (We did have some scooters & Big Wheels for them, but they were content with what they got so we ended up taking them back.) I don’t buy much for the babies at all when they’re little. They don’t really get it or care much, and they’re not going to remember anyway. I figure we’ll spend more as they’re older, so for now, mostly books & one toy.

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Yes, I actually put flashlights in their stockings! Hahha!! They LOVED it, so #winning

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And we surprised Daddio with a new ipad. Our old one is so slow that it barely works.

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After opening presents and spending some time together, we headed to Grammy & Granddaddy’s for breakfast, gift swap, and games. Christmas morning is always so much fun at G + G’s. The white elephant game and minute to win it games always means lots of laughs!

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That evening we headed to Jonathan’s family Christmas. We ate a delicious meal and exchanged gifts from the names we drew at Thanksgiving. I ordered some super cute hats from a Groupon, and they didn’t end up coming in till February! So, I ended up getting something else for the names I drew. #oops

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Such a wonderful Christmas this year!! So full of sweet memories. Love my boys!! And most importantly, thankful for WHY we are celebrating. (P.S. If you haven’t seen The Star, I highly recommend it. It was so cute, and I literally had to hold back tears…in a cartoon…thinking about the gift of our Savior.)