Misdirected Concerns

I get a lot of questions about essential oil usage on babies and pets. A lot of questions. Just the other day a friend with an almost 1 year old messaged me asking about diffusing around her daughter and being worried about “poisoning” her.

Honestly, I’m so glad people are asking. They are paying attention and they want to be cautious. They also want to use the oils the right way and not hurt their most precious family members.

I have a lot of respect for people who do their own digging and find answers before jumping into using something that is potentially harmful.

On the flip side, I have to bite my tongue when I want to ask if they’ve done the same amount of questioning about the other products they’re using on and around their babies and pets.

My first thought goes to pregnancy. What were they eating, drinking, putting on their skin and taking for medications and supplements while pregnant? Did they research folic acid verses folate, delayed cord clamping, or the increase in C-Sections with the use of pitocin?

Then this beautiful baby is born. What products are being used in their home? Did they ask any questions about the ingredients in their soaps, laundry detergent, and personal care products? How about the toxins looming in their household cleaners and air fresheners? 

Let’s discuss Johnson & Johnson as just one example (of many). In 2016, they paid the family of Jacqueline Fox $72 million after she lost her fight to ovarian cancer due to the daily use of their trademark baby powder. Why did they have to pay? Because they knew that their products could, and would, cause cancer (among other things) and didn’t say anything or provide a warning label. This is just one of many cases in a massive class action lawsuit.

There are so many examples and routes we could take. I won’t even get started on regular baby formula being fed to these newborns after being heated up in a plastic bottle.

I wish I had a nickel for every time someone sent me this article about Lavender essential oil causing breast development in boys. I’ve responded with this one and a brief explanation that I’m more concerned with eliminating and avoiding hormone disruptors found in canned food, pesticides, plastics, amalgam fillings, conventional meat and dairy as well as cleaning products than I am with the Lavender that I use on my sons.

And I don’t want to forget about the pets. What kind of potential side effects are there from the ingredients in their tick/flea control? Over 2,000 pets were reported to have died from exposure to their tick/flea treatment between 2008 and 2014 in North America alone. That’s just the number that was reported. Then consider that after receiving these treatments, they sleep in your kids’ arms and lay on your furniture all day.

And what’s in their pet food? Did you know that the world’s longest living cat was fed “bacon and eggs, broccoli, asparagus, and coffee with heavy cream” among other things? Not processed store bought food. 

Did you also know that it’s becoming commonplace for a veterinarian to vaccinate cats at the tip of the tail because so many were developing cancer at the injection sites? It makes much more sense to amputate the end of a tail than a limb. But how come nobody is discussing the risks and benefits of the vaccine verses the cancer and amputations??

My point here is that we’re putting our investigative efforts into use and expressing lots of hesitancy towards drops of concentrated plants and completely ignoring the synthetic, lab-produced, cancer-causing ingredients hiding in plain sight in our homes and wreaking havoc on our kids’ and pets’ bodies.

Essential oils are very strong and very effective. They should be taken seriously and used with caution.  There is a level of education that I recommend before diving in.

But why are we so scared of alternative medicines and holistic options but not store bought products? Because we’re trained to be. Why do we trust commercials and marketing more than our own intuition? Why do we trust our doctors when making big decisions on topics like nutrition and immunity where they’ve received little to no training?

Let’s do better for our babies and fur babies… and ourselves. Let’s learn how to read labels and do our own unbiased investigating.

You may be very surprised to hear that almost 800,000 people die each year from properly prescribed and administered pharmaceuticals. The child cancer rate is at an all time high and still sky rocketing. Why are we getting sicker and sicker while being told that we have more information and technology than ever?

Meanwhile in 2015, a total of 133 people reported an adverse reaction (no deaths) from the improper usage of essential oils. My family of 5 has filled one prescription in 6 years and that was an antibiotic for a burst appendix. Meanwhile, we use essential oils every single day for a hundred different reasons.

I don’t have any pets but I do have children. What do I use on them? For awhile I dabbled in different organic products after carefully reading labels. Now that I’ve done my research and found a company that I love, trust and saves me money, I get all of our products from Young Living.

They make the highest quality oils on the planet and they infuse those oils into all of their products as well as their kids line, Kidscents.

I don’t have any pets but they have an entire line of pet products called Animalscents. Also, your cats will not die from being exposed to essential oils if you take a few minutes to learn the precautions. Here is a great article on how to use essential oils safely around and on your pets.

As for the babies, there are only a handful that I will use topically before the age of 6 months and they are heavily diluted. I’ve used Lavender to support the eye health of my son when he was suffering from a clogged tear duct (above the eyebrow and below the eye socket – never near or in the eye). I put diluted Frankincense on all of their umbilical cords to support the healing process. When my daughter was very small, she was too congested to breastfeed. I diluted (even more heavily) Eucalyptus and applied to her feet (followed by socks) to support her respiratory system so she could get her feeding in. I diluted a blend called Gentle Baby to soothe skin and support baby’s emotional state. I also love a product that Young Living makes called Rose Ointment which contains Rose to use in place of cancer-causing petroleum jelly.

There are a few oils I won’t diffuse around newborns because they can irritate their eyes like Peppermint and Eucalyptus so I avoid blends that contain those oils. When I do diffuse all day, it’s in an open space like the kitchen/living room. If I diffuse in the bedroom where the baby is sleeping, I open the door or have it running on an intermittent timer so it shuts on and off throughout the night.

But please don’t take my word for any of this. I’m just a mom on Google, right? At least that’s what I’ve been told. Do your own research. Compare and contrast findings. Look at the education and background of the people sharing this information. Also, consider what they have to gain by what they’re publishing.

Most importantly, don’t limit your research to the holistic areas of your life. Change your mindset and consider that diffusing plants in your child’s room is safer than covering their bottom in Johnson &Johnson’s talcum baby powder.

If you want to know who I love and trust for education, I’m a huge fan of Lindsey Elmore. She has a degree in Chemistry and is also a Doctor of Pharmacy. She worked for Young Living for years and now educates on all things essential oils and science. I also really trust Dr. Eric Zielinski who is a Doctor of Chiropractic, a trained aromatherapist and Public Health researcher. Plus, he’s a Christian which is a bonus because his beliefs match mine.

I hope this inspired something in you today. To start reading anything and everything you can get your hands on. Question the status quo. Learn to read labels. Consider that just because everyone is doing something, it doesn’t make it safe. And when you’re ready to start learning how to incorporate essential oils into your daily life, make sure to look me up and I will help you the way that someone else once helped me. ❤

 

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Colon Cleanse with Young Living

Did you know that the average person has 7-12 pounds of fecal matter compacted and stored in their colon? WHAT? It’s like a clogged drain pipe filled with toxic sludge. Really. Sounds like the trailer to a sci-fi movie but it’s actually what most of us are living with.

I know most people (fortunately for you, I’m not most people) don’t love this topic but it’s important for your health so let’s talk about it and what you can do to change it.

Do you find yourself tired all the time, forgetful, anxious, bloated, having skin issues? Are you struggling with fertility, sugar cravings or seasonal changes? Are you just sick and tired of being sick and tired? Then you may want to seriously consider doing a colon cleanse. It’s not a magical fix for everyone but if it’s causing one of these issues in your body, it could be pretty magical for you!

There are so many benefits of doing a cleanse because 70-80% of our immune system lives in our digestive tract! Here are just some of the benefits of a colon cleanse.

Some argue that cleanses are unnecessary and/or unsafe. I’m going to let you do your own research there. As always, I’m not a physician and I’m not recommending anything. I’m sharing my experience to help others make an educated decision.

So now that you’ve read about the potential benefits, you want to try it! But where do you start? Of course Young Living has made it super easy for us by creating The Cleansing Trio which is basically a colon scrubdown.

Drs. David and Leanne Deardeuff have written an entire book on the subject called Inner Transformations Using Essential Oils. Here’s an excerpt:

“A good colon cleanse is well balanced to support the kidneys and liver while you are cleansing. A lot of toxins are released while cleansing that upon entering the blood stream or liver make you nauseous, headachy, weak or sick. A well balanced colon cleanse will have herbs in it to break up mucus, release the caked-on lining from the bowel, absorb toxins so they don’t get into the bloodstream, stimulate peristaltic action and add bulk to help remove the intestinal contents through the system.

The cleanse that I recommend is from Young Living Essential Oils. It’s called the Cleansing Trio. It has enzymes to help you digest your food until your body can do so on its own. Young Living’s colon cleanse tastes good and doesn’t make you sick while you take it.

While on Young Living’s cleanse you regulate it according to your own body’s needs. Everyone is different as to how much of the colon cleanse they need, so you get to make your own adjustments. You really have to experiment with it. If you have any concerns, by all means do your cleanse under the supervision of a good natural healthcare practitioner.

There are a few different ideas on how to cleanse. Some are more gentler than others. For example, one healer suggests that you take eight to ten capsules of the cleanser the first day to “blast it out,” if you will. From there you decrease the amount that you taking by a pill a day. I personally think that would be a good approach for someone who is having great difficulty with constipation and can afford to to be at home near a toilet all day for several days. It does cleanse the colon faster than the more gentle method but it is possible that the person could become quite sick to the stomach and also have severe headaches by this method.

I recommend that if the more gentle method described below does not work for you, try the above method to see what it can accomplish.

With either method, you should be drinking twelve 8oz glasses of water daily.
The way I usually suggest that my patients colon cleanse is to start with:

  • One Comfortone capsule in the morning.
  • Along with the Comfortone, take Essentialzyme caplet 3 times daily between meals. Drink your water!
  • The next day take a capsule in the morning and another at night.
  • Increase by one capsule a day alternating day and night until you are getting two or three bowel movements a day.
  • After you have achieved two or three bowel movements a day, begin taking 1 tsp of ICP in the mornings. The best way to use it is to stir it into juice or water (I used Orange juice) and drink it down quickly, before it gets thick. Add a 1/2 tsp of ICP a day until you are achieving large bulky stools but are not constipated. Dr.Gary Young suggests that you continue adding ICP until you get to 1 Tbsp a day in the morning and 1 Tbsp a day at night.
  • Continue this colon cleansing until the mucoid plaque drops out of the colon. This may take between 6 weeks and 18 months.”

What is the mucoid plaque?! In short, it’s potentially harmful mucus-like material and food residue that coats the gastrointestinal tract of most people. You can google it to get more info but don’t click on images unless you’re prepared! During my cleanse, I did not expel mine but may take a different approach during the next cleanse to see what happens.

These are the directions for the cleanse on Young Living’s website:

Essentialzyme™: Take 1 dual time-release caplet 1 hour before your largest meal of the day for best results. Essentialzyme is a bilayer, Peppermint-coated caplet that combines pure essential oils, herbs, and pancreatic and plant-derived enzymes to support overall digestion. Warning: Do not give this product to children under 6 years of age except under the supervision of a health professional. If discomfort persist, discontinue use of this product and consult a health professional. Caution: Keep out of reach of children. If you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition, consult a health professional prior to use.

Keep in a cool dry place. Do not expose to excessive heat or direct sunlight.

I.C.P™: Mix 2 rounded teaspoons with at least 8 oz. of juice or water. If cleansing or eating a high-protein diet, use 3 times daily. If eating a low-protein diet, use once daily. Drink immediately as this product tends to thicken quickly when added to liquid. Tastes best in carrot juice, apple juice or smoothies. Notice: Using this product without enough liquid may cause choking. Do not use this product if you have difficulty swallowing. This product contains Aloe Vera (A. barbadensis) leaf. Read and follow directions carefully. Do not use if you have or develop diarrhea, loose stools, or abdominal pain. Consult your physician if you have frequent diarrhea. If you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication or have a medical condition, consult your physician before using this product.

Keep in a cool dry place. Do not expose to excessive heat or direct sunlight. If pregnant or under a doctor’s care, consult your physician.

ComforTone®: Take 1 capsule 3 times daily. Drink at least 64 ounces of distilled water throughout the day for best results. This product contains Cascara sagrada bark. Read and follow directions carefully. Women who are pregnant or nursing and others who have a medical condition should not use this product except under the direction of a physician. Children under 12 should not use this product. Discontinue use and consult a physician if you have or develop abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting. Do not exceed recommended dosage. Not for long term use. Not to be used as a weight loss product.

Keep in a cool dry place. Do not expose to excessive heat or direct sunlight. Keep out of reach of children.

Now here’s my personal experience:

I purchased the Trio Kit a year or two ago before I cleaned up my diet and started taking all of my other supplements. It hurt my stomach and I couldn’t figure out why so I stopped it after only 2 days. The reason it hurt was because I wasn’t having regular bowel movements and I started taking the ICP right away. This is not recommended.

Fast forward to December 1st of 2018 when I attended a Young Living Conference and listened to a seminar dedicated to this cleanse. I went home armed with this knowledge, pulled out my Trio Kit bottles and dove in.

One thing that was discussed at length at the seminar was that if you’re not having regular bowel movements, this needs to be addressed before you start all 3. Begin with taking 1 Comfortone in the morning and 1 at night. Increase your water intake.

Calculate how much you weigh in pounds and divide that number in half. If you weigh 140 pounds, then your number is 70. 70 ounces of water. During a normal day that does not include high temperatures, exercise, a cleanse, pregnancy, etc you should be drinking a MIMIMUM of 70 ounces of water.

I increased my water intake to 120 ounces each day of the cleanse with an additional 32 ounces on the days that I exercised. If you do not drink enough water, the toxins will not be flushed and you’re more likely to experience stomach pain, headaches and nausea.

Now that you’re drinking enough water, increase your Comfortone by 1 each day (so 2 in the morning and 2 at night and so on) until you are having 2-3 bowel movements daily. Now you’re ready to really start.

Day 1:

1 Comfortone and a teaspoon of ICP in the morning

1 Essentialzyme between breakfast and lunch

1 Essentialzyme between lunch and dinner

1 Comfortone and a teaspoon of ICP at night

I chose to have one smoothie each morning made Young Living’s Balance Complete powder. I either mixed it with a banana and almond butter or mixed berries and spinach. Balance Complete is super high in fiber and protein which helps the process along. Plus, drinking meals during a cleanse is always a good idea because it increases fluids.

The smoothie is so filling that I found myself only drinking that in the morning and having one more meal around 4-5 pm. I just wasn’t hungry. This caused me to decrease my Essentialzyme by one capsule because I was eating one less meal.

It’s important to eat real, whole foods during the cleanse. Increase your fruits and veggies. Limit grains and processed foods to little or none. If you want to get the best results possible and get the best value out of the supplements, plan your meals ahead.

I added Grapefruit to my water to aid in flushing the toxins quickly and DiGize as needed for nausea which happened a little in the morning. I also continued my daily Ningxia Red. There’s no need to change your daily supplement regimen during a cleanse but I stopped taking mine for those few days because my stomach felt… fragile? I’m not sure why. I just didn’t take them but resumed as soon as it was over.

I immediately started having increased bowel movements on the first day. There was a lot of gas at first so you may want to consider starting your cleanse on a weekend or when you don’t need to leave the house a lot.

Each day, I followed the same regimen while increasing the Comfortone and ICP.

Day 2:

2 Comfortones and 2 teaspoons of ICP in the morning

1 Essentialzyme between breakfast and lunch

1 Essentialzyme between lunch and dinner

2 Comfortone and a 2 teaspoons of ICP at night

120 ounces of water with 4-6 drops of Grapefruit Vitality oil.

By day 3 I was up to 3 Comfortones and 1 tablespoon of ICP in the morning and night. I was pooping each time I went to the bathroom.

If you didn’t already think this was TMI, it’s about to get TMI. I could. not. believe. the amount of poop coming out of my body. It just didn’t stop. I was peeing a lot because of the added liquids and every single time I went to pee, I would have a really large, perfect poop. They were easy to pass, good color and not too soft or too hard.

I stopped at 3 Comfortones because I was having such great results. You may go up to 5 in the morning and 5 at night if your body needs it.

After about 5-6 days, my body returned to having only 1 or 2 bowel movements a day. I decided to stop at that point. I had lost 5 pounds and some bloat. My energy level was sky high. My head was clear and I felt amazing.

Doing this for 6 weeks to 18 months feels excessive to me but you may have different results and decide to give it a try.

If you don’t have a Young Living account, click here to get started today.

Cleansing Trio

Price: $90.25 USD

PV: 90.25

Item # 3115

 

 

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I Don’t Hate It When My Kids Get Sick

You want to hear something funny? I started this entry last Winter but then I got the flu and never finished it. Oh, the irony. It took awhile to get back in the swing of things {mom of 3 littles in bed for a few days equals 2+ weeks of catch up} and it got lost at the bottom of the pile of priorities.

Despite the setback, the great part about getting the flu last year – can there be a great part? – was that it was furious but very fast. It lasted for about 3 days while each of my kids got a touch of it for only about 12 hours! I was thrilled. Thrilled, you say?! Yes, I was quite pleased. Furthermore, I would actually be much more concerned if we never got sick at all.

This is because when we run a fever, it’s clear evidence of a healthy immune system. And when we run a fever but it doesn’t last long, it’s clear evidence that our immune systems are healthy and running well.

There are 3 major components of our immune system: white blood cells, B cells and T cells. The white blood cells kill bacteria, the B cells make antibodies that remove viruses and bacteria and the T cells kill virus-infected cells. They are known to work more efficiently at higher temperatures which is why we heat up when we get sick.

The increased temperature is our body fighting back! When we take a fever-reducing medication to lower our temperature, we’re disabling those cells that are working so hard to destroy the root of the problem. They’re also being trained not to react so swiftly the next time this happens.

Besides not wanting to inhibit the immune systems of my family, there are other reasons I prefer to avoid products like Tylenol and Motrin.

-No medicine is without a potential side effect. There are all sorts of studies suggesting that there may be a link between acetaminophen and asthma, autism and/or ADHD.

-Just like many OTCs and prescriptions, they get recalled fairly regularly. Less than 2 weeks ago, there was a recall of infant ibuprofen after a discovery that some bottles contained higher doses of the medicine than was labeled.

-They’re filled with artificial sweeteners, food dyes and flavors that I wouldn’t give to my children even if they weren’t sick.

-When a fever is artificially reduced, there’s no way to know when the child is fully recovered. They could be feeling well and appearing normal so the parents may send them to school or take them to a store. Meanwhile, the virus is still active and the child is still contagious but the symptoms are being masked by the medication.

While we’re here, I want to note that you shouldn’t give aspirin to anyone under 18, since it has been linked in some cases to Reye’s syndrome. Also, vaccines and acetaminophen do not mix! I’m all over the place in this post but don’t want to miss anything important.

Ok, back to our topic at hand. This study by the American Academy of Pediatrics will shed some more light on whether or not it’s wise to reduce a fever. It said that as many as 1/3 of sick visits to pediatricians are for symptoms of a fever.

“Many parents administer antipyretics even though there is either minimal or no fever. Approximately one-half of parents consider a temperature of less than 38°C (100.4°F) to be a fever, and 25% of caregivers would give antipyretics for temperatures of less than 37.8°C (100°F). Furthermore, 85% of parents reported awakening their child from sleep to give antipyretics. Unfortunately, as many as one-half of parents administer incorrect doses of antipyretics; approximately 15% of parents give supratherapeutic doses of acetaminophen or ibuprofen.”

What is a supratherapeutic dose? Too much! Loving, well-meaning, smart parents are administering doses based on height or age rather than weight and it’s dangerous. Not to mention, it’s unnecessary. And why are we waking sleeping children? Sleep is the time when the body heals! Muscles, cells, tissues, all of it. We need sleep as much as we need water.

fever-toddler-e1441032424687

But pay attention now. I’m not saying there aren’t situations where a trip to a professional is necessary. A baby under the age of 3 months that is running a temperature of 100.4 or higher should be seen by a professional. In older children, it’s more about the whole picture and less about the temperature. Dehydration, headache and neck pain (which could be very serious), difficulty breathing or abdominal pain would be a few scenarios that would warrant a doctor.

For example, my 5 year old’s appendix ruptured in September. When we arrived at the hospital, he received his first ever dose of Tylenol. There is a time and a place and you will most likely know it when you encounter it.

So what do I do when my children run a fever? Don’t worry. I’m not leaving them alone with a water bottle to sweat it out! I absolutely let their immune system do its thing and run its course. But you better believe I’ll be working to give it a boost and support it while it’s hard at work.

First, if they’re old enough to tell me, I ask if they’re feeling hot or cold and adjust pajamas, house heat and blankets accordingly. Comfort is important because they won’t be able to sleep if they’re too uncomfortable and sleep is paramount when sickness hits.

The next step is increasing the liquids because now they’re going to be sweating much more and dehydration is serious. We reach for water, of course, and Ningxia Red which is a superfood drink made by Young Living. It is the number one antioxidant product on the market today which is why my entire family drinks it daily. We double our dose when issues arise.

Then I dilute an immune boosting blend of essential oils called Thieves and rub it on their spine or bottoms of their feet followed by some socks. The goal is to put it somewhere that they can’t touch to reduce the risk of getting it on their hand and then in their eye. Go Google the story of the Thieves and how the oil got its name. That will help you understand why we apply it topically, diffuse it and why my husband and I ingest Thieves Vitality all winter long.

When they’re hungry they’re offered real food. No gluten, refined sugar, or dairy. They can have fruit, raw veggies, soup and the like. You’re not doing your kids any favors with the Gatorade, either. Just speaking the truth in love over here and I’ll tackle that in another post if I get enough responses.

And now I’ve saved the best for last. The biggest trick up my sleeve is diluting and applying Peppermint oil on the bottoms of their feet. What does this do? It naturally provides a cooling sensation to the body. Think about if you’re chewing a piece of peppermint gum and then you drink water. It feels as though your water is full of ice cubes but it isn’t. That’s the power of menthol. In my experience, it helps to make them comfortable without compromising the benefits of the increased temperature.

Keep in mind that all oils are NOT created equal. If I didn’t have Young Living, I would not be using essential oils at all. If you want to know more about this, you can read about their Seed to Seal program, join one of my online 101 classes, or browse my website. I’m happy to help.

As always, I am not a doctor, nurse or medical professional and do not play one on the internet. I am sharing my experiences, some opinions and many facts but I am not intending to make any recommendations. Check with your doctor or a medical professional if you’re unsure.

Greenwashing. I’ve been a victim. Have you?

 

Have you ever heard of Greenwashing before? I bet as soon as you see the example below, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.

Greenwashing is when a company spins their marketing, or the look of their product, to appear more environmentally friendly and/or “natural” than they really are. How do they do this? It sounds ridiculous and way too simple but they make the packaging green. Or clear. Or white. It gives the appearance of a clean look.

They add flowers or plants to the label. They use words like “bio”, “natural”, and “pure” which literally mean nothing. Anyone can write that on a label. There aren’t any regulations in place to stop them.

This isn’t a new concept but there has been significant growth in recent years as people are becoming more aware. We’re starting to pay attention to the number of toxins accumulating in our daily products. We’re starting to pay attention to the state of our planet and that we each need to do our part.

Have you ever visited a hotel and seen a placard on the nightstand asking you to reuse your towels to reduce energy waste? It’s been proven that this practice hasn’t reduced any waste. But wait for it. It HAS increased the profits of those hotels because the guests begin to perceive them as a better option over hotels that aren’t making an effort to reduce waste. It’s brilliant on their end. It really is.

Here’s a product example of Greenwashing.

herbalessence

Herbal Essences. The greenwashing starts with the name. The green packaging. The flowers. The stamp with the leaf and the words “bio:renew”. No parabens, gluten or colors. Cucumber and green tea fragrance. Made with antioxidants, aloe and sea kelp.

I’m tempted to run to CVS and pick this up right now! Except. Except this is the ingredient list.

Water, Stearyl Alcohol, Cetyl Alcohol, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Water, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Histidine, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Panthenol, Ecklonia Radiata Extract, Zea Mays (Corn) Silk Extract, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Flower Extract, Fragrance, Stearamidopropyl Dimethylamine, Bis-Aminopropyl Dimethicone, Benzyl Alcohol, Dicetyldimonium Chloride, Glutamic Acid, Citric Acid, Disodium EDTA, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Methylisothiazolinone

Here’s how I feel about this new bio line. It’s better than the old stuff. Ha! I’ll give them that. However, the fragrance and the methylisothiazolinone rank 8 and 7 on a toxicity scale of 1 to 10 put out by the Environmental Working Group. Benzyl Alcohol (which I touch on later) is a 6. Many of these ingredients are fine but at least 5 are known to attack the immune system, reproductive system and are straight up toxic to our environment!

That goes directly against the message they’re trying to convey.

Herbal Essences isn’t exactly known for being a “natural” company so let’s talk about one that is. Tom’s of Maine. Oh Tom’s. I want to love you. I really do. But I can’t.

These are photos of a toothpaste that I purchased on a whim a few years ago.

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Ok, so fluoride-free and natural. Arginine is fine. I’ve used Calcium Carbonate in my homemade toothpaste so I know that’s good.  Fresh mint. White, simple packaging with some green to let me know that they use plants and care about the planet.

Now let’s flip it over.

toms2.jpg

Benzyl alcohol. The amount of this ingredient that the FDA has deemed safe doesn’t take into account the fact that it’s in almost ALL of our bathroom products and we’re using them daily. Long term use can cause dermatitis, wreak havoc on our livers and is damaging to our central nervous system.

How about Sodium Lauryl Sulfate? It’s super cheap to make and it’s the ingredient that causes the product to lather and make beautiful bubbles so that we think everything is getting nice and clean. However, The Journal of Toxicology provided a safety assessment and recommended that no more than 1% of this should be in a product that is going to be used on a regular basis. Disturbingly, however, most of the products containing SLS have 10-20% of it and some even up to 30%.

It’s been known to inhibit proper eye development in young children and cause major skin/scalp issues in a select few. “But it’s just in their toothpaste”, you think. “It’s not going on their eyes.” Not true. The body absorbs it all. It’s going into the bloodstream. Our skin is a sponge. Our gums. Our mouth. You’re not avoiding these ingredients by brushing and spitting them out.

Here’s the good news! You don’t have to use these products!! What about our government banning these ingredients. Europe is doing it, so why are we so far behind?

Personally, I lean Conservative. I hope we can still be friends. I’m not a big fan of slapping government regulations on everything. Know what I am a big fan of? Knowing the facts. Educating myself. I can read a label and I am in charge of where I spend my dollars. I don’t get to blame these companies for deceiving me. I’m a big girl.

So what do I choose to do about it? I respond by spending my money on a company that isn’t deceiving me. I purchase all of my household and bathroom products from Young Living. They are the real deal when it comes to environmental impact as well as toxin-free products.

Someone helped me a long time ago and I can’t express how happy I am that they did. Now I want to help you. I really do. There isn’t a product in my house anymore that contains any of these ingredients. BUT we’re still clean, we still smell good and we’re saving a bunch of money. And I want to show you how.

Check out my Young Living page here. There are several kits and one contains cleaning products, mouthwash, toothpaste and all sorts of toxin-free goodies. Shoot me an email with questions at livefreeandoil@yahoo.com

It’s ok if you didn’t know any of this. I didn’t either. Those pictures of the toothpaste are of my hand in my bathroom. But now I do know and you do, too. So what are you doing to do about it?

 

An Open Letter To My Crunchy Friends

I’ve been sitting on this post for awhile. Honestly, I’ve been nervous to write it because I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings.

First, I want to say this. You are my people. You, over there, soaking your rolled oats. You, crunchy mama, letting your kid ride out their fever. You, homesteader, raising all of your own food. If you are reading, learning and researching ways to make your life less toxic then you are my people! I love that you’re being proactive about your health and taking your future into your own hands.

I feel like there are a lot of people out there who love to hate on anyone who is going against the grain. Healthy living is no exception. I want you to know that I’m with you and this post is intended to help and not criticize.

We get enough criticism, don’t we? It seems as though just questioning societal norms can cause an upset. Some people see, hear or read information that lights a spark. They want to know more.

GMOs. EMFs. Fluoride. Vaccines. Antibiotics in our meat. Hormones in our dairy. Heavy metals in our deodorant. Food dyes and cancer causing ingredients in our medicine. Hormone disruptors in our dryer sheets. I could go on all day.

Just pausing to ask questions about these issues has caused people in my life to tell me that I’m “anti-science”. That confuses me because I feel like wanting this information actually makes me even more pro-science. If that’s even a thing!

Anyways, so you’ve got the haters who already think we’re crazy, stupid, anti-science moms with our Google degrees who are endangering ourselves and everyone around us. Amiright? We don’t need to give these people any more ammunition than that. But then we do. And we don’t even know we’re doing it. We’re writing or saying “chemical-free living” about everything!

Guys, I love you. But this is basic science and it only discredits the person saying it. Anything that takes up matter is a chemical. Oxygen is a chemical. Water is a chemical. Our bodies are chemicals. Complex materials like your phone, your dog and even the vegetables you’re growing in your backyard are all chemicals.

Apple cider vinegar. Essential oils. Colloidal silver. Elderberry syrup. Norwex rags. Turmeric. Whatever “earthy crunchy” thing you swear by is a chemical. And I say “earthy crunchy” in the nicest possible way as I include myself in this group!

Not chemicals? Heat. Gravity. Light. Simply put, things that don’t take up space. (It’s more complex than that but we’re keeping it simple here today.)sticker,375x360.u1

I also believe that we can gain a broader audience by using the correct terminology. Whenever I’m sharing a recipe or talking about my beloved oils, I say “Toxin/Toxic-free living.” And that is a stretch, too, because it’s impossible to avoid toxins even in your own home. So maybe I should say, “Toxic-less living.” Ha!

So please take what I’m sharing in the spirit that it’s intended. I am really trying to speak the truth in love, friends. You don’t know how much I want you to keep sharing what you believe in. I want you to ignite your passion for healthy living in the people that you care about. I also really believe that we’ll gain more traction and credibility with our listeners if we make this one, easy change.

Who is with me?!?

Messy Worship Is Better Than No Worship

I grew up going to a pretty charismatic church. Of course I didn’t know it at the time. I thought that everyone went to church for a minimum of 3 or 4 hours on Sundays. I also thought it was common for worship through music to continue for the entire service and even take priority over a sermon.

To this day I wonder if my love of worship and singing is a result of those services as a child or if those services just fostered a love that God had already placed in my heart. I like to think it’s a beautiful combination of the two.

Anyhow, fast forward to today. As an adult, my relationship with God goes through ups and downs. At times, we are talking constantly and I’m feeling so close to Him. Other times, I let things get in the way and we’re a little more distant. I wish it wasn’t that way but it just seems to be how it is for me.

Even during those times where I’m not spending as much time with Him as I should or that I want to, He always meets me in those songs of praise. I can physically feel Him. He usually speaks to me during those times, too. I know He can speak to us anywhere and anytime but for me, worship has always been more significant and extra special somehow.

So now I have my 3 kids. And the 2 youngest are just all about mom all the time. On a regular basis, I feel the Holy Spirit kind of nudging me in the back saying, “Go up front. Bow down at the altar. Lean in. Get close to Me.” Meanwhile I have at least one child on a hip and one sitting on my foot and I wonder if I heard Him right.

He can’t possibly want me up there right now. My kids will follow me. They’ll cry. They’ll be a distraction to everyone else. I won’t be able to really focus on Him. Then I’ll hear Him again, “Come on. Let’s go.” And I’m sure that I’m imagining things. He obviously can see me. He can see that my husband and I are struggling to contain them in the row and keep them as quiet as possible.

About 2 years ago I couldn’t ignore the pull and I did go up front. I pushed aside my reasons not to and just knelt down and worshipped and prayed and cried my eyes out. Honestly, it felt so good. One of the teens came over, knelt down beside me, asked if I was ok and if I wanted her to pray with me. “I’m fine!” I said. “Just worshipping.” I thought it was so sweet that she was checking in but it bothered me. It bothered me that she thought the only time I would weep at the altar would be during a time of crisis.

I wanted to say, “It should be the opposite. You should be asking me if I’m okay if I’m not up here. When I think about Jesus suffering and dying on the cross I want to just sit at His feet and cry and thank Him for hours for what He’s done. Not to mention what I have turned around and done with this gift He’s given me.

I’m selfish and lazy. I’m impatient and snarky. I’m not even close to being a Proverbs 31 wife. He did what He did and I’m not honoring Him with my life as much as I could. Not even close. I could be sprawled out on this floor for a week and not even begin to scratch the surface of how much I want to thank Him for the grace, protection and blessings He has poured over my life.”

So this morning was one of those mornings. I literally had a child on one hip and was trying to keep the other one from being too much of a distraction. I felt the Lord pulling, pushing, asking, whispering, encouraging me to go up front. And I said, “But God. They’re going to follow me up there and I won’t be able to focus on You.” And then I went anyways.

And you know what happened? They followed me. My hands were in the air and tears were falling down my cheeks. My 1 year old was in my lap but eyeballing the drum set. My 3 year old wanted to know why I was sad and was trying to pull me back to our seats.

I’ll tell you what I think He’s trying to teach me in those moments. He doesn’t care about the mess. In fact, I think He loves the mess. I think He simply wants me where I’m at. He wants me to be closer. He wants me to just be willing to give Him what I do have. Even if it’s not what I think He deserves.

I don’t have the best offering to bring to Him right now. I can’t pray without distraction. I can’t even get through a whole song without making sure my youngest hasn’t escaped out one of the back doors. But He loves them more than I do. He called me to be a mom. He knows better than anyone how tired I am and how much I need to rest in Him.

Guys, I’m not qualified to be writing to you about the goodness of God. I don’t have anything figured out. I’m here today to tell you that He doesn’t want you to get it all figured out before going to Him either. He wants us now. He wants to carry us. He wants us any way that we show up.

And the bonus? My kids get to see how much I need Him. I tell them I’m crying because I’m happy. Because God loves me so much and He’s given me all of them. He’s given me their Daddy. He’s given me freedom through forgiveness. He’s given me an eternity with him. And He’s given them the same thing if they want it.

The Creator of the Universe has fulfilled and will continue to fulfill all of His promises.

He promises that He has plans for each one of us that include HOPE and a FUTURE. Jeremiah 29:11

He promises that if we go to Him when we’re exhausted and burdened, He will give us rest. Matthew 11:29&29

He promises that He’ll give us strength when we feel like we have nothing left. If we trust in Him, He’ll lift us up on wings like eagles! Is 40:29-31

He promises that He WILL supply all of our needs. Phil 4:19

He promises that absolutely nothing can separate us from His love. Not Satan. Not death. Nothing. Romans 8:37-39

He promises that, as His children, we will never be overtaken by temptation. He will always provide a way out if we ask Him for it. 1 Cor 10:13

He promises that everything that happens to us will work out for our good as long as we focus on being faithful to Him. Romans 8:28

This is the big one. He promises that if we simply confess that Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior then we will be saved and get to live with Him forever. Romans 10:9

Just typing out that list makes me want to kneel where I am and say, “I know this isn’t enough but here it is anyway. Thank you Lord.”

My goal moving forward is to have my sweet friends at church wanting to know what’s wrong when I DON’T go up front and cry my eyes out. That’s when I’ll know I’m close to doing something right.

 

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#WAHM

 

The irony of all ironies is how long I’ve had this post written in my head. As a work at home mom, whenever I have a spare minute, I switch modes from my House/Family To Do list to my Work To Do list.

This blog is marked in my luxury category right alongside taking a solo trip to Target and getting my hair cut. Those outings don’t happen as often as I’d like and neither do these posts. 

However, I got some time away today and I want to address 2 major topics.

1) MLMs aren’t pyramid schemes despite how much people love to hate them.

2) Work at home moms shouldn’t be getting eye rolls. They should be getting big old high fives. I’ll tell you why later.

Let’s tackle #1 first. I think know that the public consensus is that Multi-Level Marketing (MLM) companies are unethical scams and you should run from them as fast as you can.

The following has happened to me more than a few times. Well-meaning person: “Are you a stay at home mom or do you work?” Me: “Yes and yes. I am home with my kids full time. I also teach free workshops about essential oils. Why you want to use them, how to use them and how to do so safely.” Well-meaning person: “How do you get paid?” Me: “When people purchase their starter kits and enter my referral number.” Well-meaning person: “Oh, it’s a pyramid scheme.” Insert fake smile here.

Multi-level marketing is not a pyramid scheme. According to our friend, Wikipedia, a pyramid scheme (which is illegal to do in the United States) involves recruiting members with a promise that once they’ve recruited others, they will be rewarded with money or services.

I’ve never once told someone to give me their money and then they would receive their essential oils or a check once they recruited 2 more people. In fact, I assure people that the distributor status doesn’t require anything of them at all. The opportunity is there with zero obligation.

The other comment I get a lot is that the price of the product is inflated because the company has to pay a percentage to all of the distributors. This just simply isn’t true either. The price of the product is the price of the product that the company has determined is fair. The money to pay the distributors comes from the budget that they’re not spending on Sales and Marketing departments.  

Advertising campaigns can cost millions of dollars. Are you more likely to purchase a product from watching a commercial or because your sweet Aunt Susie used it, loved it and shared it with you on her old gingham couch that you napped on as a child? It’s actually pretty brilliant. I think the haters are just mad because they didn’t come up with the idea first.

Now for #2. Momming is hard, guys. It’s hard enough without a side hustle but a lot of women are like me. Yes, they want to be home. Yes, they want to be with their kids *almost* all the time. But they also want to use their other skills in a tangible way. They want to provide supplemental income without sacrificing time with their family. They want to buy their beloved product at a discount and cover their own purchases because they believe in it and want it in their home.

You know when we’re working? At naptime. After the kids are in bed. In the early morning hours. Maybe we’re answering emails while the kids are eating dinner. Maybe we’re paying for babysitters out of our profits. It’s a grind and definitely not a get rich quick scheme. It’s a work your butt off behind the scenes when you could be watching TV because the kids are asleep scheme.

Not only that, it takes some serious skills to run and organize a home while loving and raising littles from bell to bell. Being able to run a profitable home business on top of that is nearing Superwoman status. I find that during the times that my business has grown significantly, my kids took far less baths and ate a lot more Chick-Fil-A. During the times when I neglect my business a bit, my kids are living on fruits and veggies and my house is spotless. Just as in anything, it’s a balance. 

Here’s something else I’d love for people to consider. Did you ever wonder why so many of these women are giving up every second of their very limited free time to work their business? It’s not because they want to guilt their friend into buying a crappy product so they can make a measly $25 check. I promise you. It’s because they used the product, they loved the product, and they want the people they care about to have it in their homes, too. I’m not making this up. 

Think about a work at home mom that you know who does MLM as her business. Shoot her a message and ask her if she would keep using the product if the company stopped offering the business opportunity. My guess would be an enthusiastic yes 10 out of 10 times.

Here are a few quick numbers for you. 2017 was a $167 billion dollar year globally for all MLMs.  More than 38 million people in the U.S. are involved in direct marketing this year. That’s probably why you could personally name 5 or more people selling several different products. 77% of these are women and 1 out of every 5 of them is grossing 6 figures annually.

More than 16 million people are making a salary large enough to allow them to stay home and make their own schedule. Kids. Vacations. Doctors appointments. Pets. Unforeseen circumstances or emergencies. Not an issue. What freedom!

Also, despite what most people think, the vast majority of these companies are selling extremely high quality products. Pampered Chef, Arbonne, Plexus, Noonday, and obviously Young Living. 

When I first started using my beloved essential oils, I had a serious need and they filled them. I looked my friend square in the eye on the night that I ordered my first kit and said, “I will never sell these oils.” And I didn’t. For a whole year, I just used them and loved them.

As time went by, I told a few family members and friends about what I was using them for and how they were working. A couple people asked me to host a workshop and that got the ball rolling. For about 4 years I had enough people on my team to cover my order each month. That was good enough for me. Especially because I had 3 children in those 4 years.

Around year 5, the friend who taught my first class came to my house to give me a gift and she looked around and saw my Young Living products everywhere. She told me I was doing half the “job” simply by using them for every dang thing. I decided to stop using my kids as my excuse and start using them as my why. Now I’m hustling a little harder on the side and am slowly but surely creeping my way up the ladder.

Here are just a few of the reasons I love MLM:

In the beginning, you’re paid based on how hard you work. Or don’t work. As an intrinsically motivated individual, I love this model. 

The average traditional business won’t turn a profit until its 7th year. A distributor can turn a profit on day 1.

Once I hit a certain rank, I can will my checks to my family. I’ve also added my husband’s name as a co-applicant. If I got hit by a train tomorrow, he would keep receiving checks.

Along those lines, I could stop working tomorrow and the money would keep coming forever as long as my team kept growing.

And there’s no income cap. Debra Raybern, who wrote one of my favorite books, is making well over $2 million/year with YL and growing. Obviously this is the exception and not the rule but you get the point.

Before you brace yourself for the sales pitch, I’m not here to convince you to become a MLM distributor or even to begin using essential oils. I have simply been wanting to shed some light on the subject from the inside. If you and I are friends and you do not want to learn about essential oils, we can still be friends. I am not hanging out with you just because I want you to purchase from my company. I also don’t make new friends with the idea that they’ll be a future prospect. There are more of us out there that think like this than you realize.

As I come up on year 6 with Young Living, I can’t imagine not continuing to teach and share what I know. I have had the privilege of helping too many people experience major health improvements and successes to stop now. But from time to time, I get discouraged by the naysayers and have to refocus. So I ask this of you…wahm

The next time you see a FB post from a work at home mom, will you resist the eye roll? Pause briefly and think about the long hours and the hustle that she’s pulling off when nobody is watching. Consider that just maybe her motivation comes from a good place. A place from truly wanting to share about an amazing product that has changed her life. A place from thinking your family could be blessed by the supplemental income, too. A place where she would seriously love “working” with a good friend. I am that mom and those are the things that I think.

So let’s give those moms a polite, “No thanks,” but then a hearty high five and a “But good job! I know you’re working so hard to stay home with your kids and work a job that you really love and believe in.” It would make a world of difference to us.  ❤