Friday, July 18, 2014

My Daily Essential Oil Routine


Essential oils were brought into my life nearly a year ago, and my life is so completely different since then it's amazing. My husband nor I have been to a doctor (except the mandatory military check-ups for him) in a year. We haven't taken any medication either. No, not even after my husband's gums were gouged and bloody from the dentist on base. We used OnGuard and melaleuca and numb and heal his gums and he was fit as a fiddle the next day!

So, a year into this awesome, crazy life and I thought it'd be fun to tell you how I use them for maintenance, or in my life daily. Now, there are plenty of times in which I call upon my EO stash to get us through illnesses or problems or to clean my house with, but now you'll have an idea how essential oils can be incorporated into your daily life.

After you read this article you may decide you'd like to start your relationship with essential oils too!Your needs are likely quite different than mine, but this is my daily relationship with essential oils. If you'd like to set up a Wellness Consultation with me, message me here.

Morning Essential Oil Routine



*Apply Balance to neck and shoulders

 For those of us who are introverts, sometimes facing the day can be scary. Maybe you have a presentation, big meeting, or just need a little help getting through our day being around people. Balance is a great option for those of us who sometimes get nervous or uneasy. 

*Wash my face with coconut oil mixed with: peppermint, melaleuca, lavender, and Roman chamomile (this is in a jar in my shower)

I don't wash my face every day, but when I do it's with this blend and nothing else. No need for moisturizer either. I use a washcloth to rub it off while in the shower (or over the sink) and pat dry. Clean and moisturized skin with no chemicals.

*Spot treat with ClearSkin roller blend

Again, not necessarily everyday, just as needed. I've seen pimples disappear throughout the day since using this product.

*Apply homemade deodorant made with melaleuca, lemon, and lavender

The oils I use in my homemade deodorant vary, as does the recipe itself. I'm able to tolerate baking soda in small amounts now, whereas 3 months ago I couldn't at all. The three oils mentioned are great, but you can also use doTERRA's Purify blend, although it will have you smelling somewhat like a cintronella candle.

*Add lemon to water for flavor, detoxification, and mood improvement

A note of caution here, you should only use EO's in a glass or stainless steel bottle as the acidity of the oil will eat away at the plastic over time. This stainless steel one is great, I have a similar one and it came with two lids: one for cold drinks and one for hot drinks! I also have a glass water bottle like this one.

Midday Essential Oil Routine

 


*Chew on 1-2 peppermint beadlets after lunch to freshen breath 

I'm not completely thrilled with the fact that doTERRA uses carrageenan and a few other "unpronouncables" in their beadlets, but I do love the convenience of being able to pop these in my mouth after lunch (or coffee at church, who likes sitting next to the coffee drinker during worship?!) to freshen my breath. So until I get around to making my own breath spray, these will have to do. They are still going to be better for you than your average breath mint or chewing gum.

*Apply peppermint around my ears and temples for headache

I don't get headaches everyday, but when I do I'm so glad I have peppermint on hand. Be sure to keep away from eyes as peppermint is a "hot" oil and will burn the eyes if applied too close. I so love that we haven't even used ibuprofen in our house for over a year!

*Diffuse Citrus Bliss to uplift mood, get through the 3 o'clock slump, and to simply keep my home smelling lovely

Instead of pouring a cup of Jo, I use any citrus oil to get me through the day, Citrus Bliss is a great blend made by doTERRA. If I'm at work, I'll simply rub some on the back of my neck or inside my wrists. Essential oil diffusers like this one is a great tool for anyone with even one bottle of oil! Be mindful of where you apply citrus oils, they are photosensitive which means if you're in the sun right after applying citrus oils you skin could change color. Just be sure to apply them in discreet places like the bottoms of feet or inside of wrists.

Evening Essential Oil Routine 

 


*Post shower, rub melaleuca into scalp to help with flakes

Tea tree oil  is great for all kinds of skin issues. My husband and I both use it to help eliminate dandruff. Simply add 1-2 drops into the palms of your hand and rub into your wet scalp.

*Spot treat with ClearSkin roller blend

Same scenario as morning routine, use as needed. 

*Rub lavender and Deep Blue Rub on shoulders and neck for restful sleep

I carry a lot of tension throughout the day in my neck and shoulders so applying these two oils is a must for me. When I don't apply them, I wake up with a very stiff neck.

*Apply Balance blend to bottoms of feet

I actually just added this blend into my routine. Balance is doTERRA's grounding blend and is specifically designed to help our central nervous system. This blend is great for those of us who experience doubt, nervousness, or suffer from ADD/ADHD. If I don't use the lavender+Deep Blue Rub on my neck and shoulders at night, I'll use Balance.  

What are your go-to oils? Would you love to how oils can best help you? ask me about a Wellness Consultation today! 

Friday, July 11, 2014

A SoCal Garden in July +A Single Use Marinara Sauce Recipe

 
For those of us who choose to live even a little bit self-sustainably, summer is time of too many zucchinis, wars on pests and dirty fingernails. Ah, the joys of gardening. While it is a joy to watch a tiny seed grow into something that produces more juicy goodness than you can handle, there are gardening setbacks to boot.

So, what are you growing this year? Did you plant any new crops this year? What's your favorite part of summering gardening?

Here in Southern California, I started seeds in February and had my seedlings in the ground in March. The months of April, May, and June saw several harvests of green beans, cucumbers, sugar snap peas, kale, zucchini, and strawberries. Not to mention the peaches and oranges from the trees in our rented yard.

Gardening, more specifically organic gardening, in SoCal isn't easy. Or at least it's not easy for this Native Midwestern gal.


What did I learn from my first year of gardening in SoCal?


1. They were right, soil is the most important component to growing healthy plants


Back in Missouri, I can't ever recall Mom having to "amend" the soil (doesn't mean she didn't). For the most part the soil there is dark, holds moisture, and doesn't need a whole lot added to it to grow bountiful crops.

The soil in SoCal is a different story. It's a combination of (mostly) sand and very dry dirt. It's light brown in color and doesn't retain water very well. We did what we could with the time and money we had by compost trenching, but adding a pile of scraps to a beach won't grow healthy plants.

For our fall garden and final spring garden next year, we're hoping to get our hands on a ton (okay, maybe not a ton) of composted soil and nutrient-dense products for an even more bountiful harvest.



2. The sun here is hot, plants need watered often


Remember the soil and how it doesn't retain water very well? Well pair that with an extremely hot sun and you've got a lot more work on your hands. If I ever went more than 3 days without watering the garden, I began to notice the plants turning.

We didn't invest in a drip system, and honestly probably won't for awhile, so unless we are going to go out and water every other day, our plants will suffer a bit.



3. Pests love dry, sandy soil


Gophers and ants in particular. The gophers successfully pulled a whole box of carrots and kale. Darn gophers. Yes, before we put in our raised beds, we'll put chicken wire down! I don't really care about the big ugly mounds they're leaving behind in my yard, but when they started going after my food, I was not happy.

As much as I wanted to be rid of those gophers, the occupation of ants has been much worse! There are millions of them and they are everywhere. If there's a crack in the corner of a room, they'll find their way in. So far this year, they have found their way into the following in the house: shower (yes, they seem to love my homemade products), our bedroom (nothing there), spare bedroom (millions of them were on and in every square inch of the tote holding our dog's food), living room (they love running the window sills and yet again, when Jameson didn't eat his breakfast within an hour, his bowl was overtaken by them), and of course the kitchen.

Oh, wait! Why that's every room in the house. Yes, if you walk around the outside of my house, you'll see a 3-deep marching parade of ants around the entire perimeter. Yes again, while I don't enjoy finding an ant in my smoothie, I wasn't too mad until they started going after my food! They successfully ate dozen of strawberries, uprooted kale, and have covered green bean plans and cucumbers.

I've been using a combination of essential oils in a spray bottle and diatomaceous earth for deterrence, these seem to work well, you just have to apply often.

Single Use Marinara Sauce



approximately 4 pounds tomatoes (or two 28-ounce can of whole tomatoes)
2 tablespoons cooking fat (butter or bacon fat)
garlic clove
3 tablespoon dried basil
1 teaspoon each parsley, oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
S&P, to taste


Place an "x" on the bottom of tomatoes using a knife, add to a pot of boiling water. Remove after 10-15 seconds, allow to cool. In the meantime, sweep the floor or make lip balm. No, really, that's what I did. Then remove skins. So easy.

Melt butter over medium-low heat, melting and adding garlic. Once garlic becomes fragrant (it won't take long), add tomatoes. Increase heat to medium, once bubbling add herbs. Mix well. Allow to simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Using a blender, food processor, or immersion blend, blend mixture. Taste. Add more herbs/spices as needed.

Depending on how meaty or juicy tomatoes are, you may need to add some water. My tomatoes were very meaty with little juice, so I added about 1/3 cup of water after blending. Stores in the fridge for 3-4 days, or freezer for 6+months. Enjoy with Creamy Paleo Lasagna or favorite dish.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Creamy Paleo Lasagna


In college, we ate a lot of pasta, probably 3 times a week. My husband's step dad is Italian and I always just loved pasta plus it's cheap so it was only natural that we both ate so much of it. Since starting our real food lifestyle, we drastically cut our pasta intake. Neither of us have a gluten allergy or intolerance, but as I learn more about properly preparing grains (and legumes and nuts) we stay away from pasta as much as we can.

For the most part, neither of us really miss pasta. We've gotten our bodies used to relying on fuel from protein and fat, something that takes awhile for some people. How could we never enjoy the creamy, cheesy deliciousness of lasagna though?? One of the last pasta dishes we removed from our diet were these Spinach Lasagna Rolls (yum!)

The idea of using a vegetable in place of noodles is nothing new, it's all the rage right now. Zoodles, anyone? But what about the cheese? After much experimenting, I think I've finally gotten just the right cheese sauce for this recipe. With no actual cheese in it, but real food ingredients.


The last thing we need to discuss before we get to the recipe is the "noodles". Zucchini and eggplant both make great replacements, with zucchini coming in as our personal fave. If you can buy (or better yet, grow) a couple fat zucchini, then you can slice those into rounds. If not, and you can only get your hands on smaller zucchini, you can still cut into rounds, but you may consider cutting them thinly lengthwise. Eggplants can always be cut into rounds.

Creamy Paleo Lasagna


1 pound grass fed ground beef
one jar marinara sauce (look for minimal ingredients)
1/2 sweet onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
handful fresh spinach
1 tablespoon dried basil 
salt and pepper 

3 zucchini or 2 eggplant, sliced thinly into rounds or lengthwise

Cheese Sauce
1 1/2 cup soaked cashews
7 tablespoons nutritional yeast, divided
4 tablespoons EVOO
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon chili powder, salt
dash pepper


To start, add onion and garlic to pan and saute until soft and fragrant. Add beef, basil, and S&P, cook. Just before beef is done cooking, add spinach, stir in.

Meanwhile, make cheese sauce. Start by adding cashews to food processor. Add yeast and oil slowly while processing cashews. I added a tablespoon of each, processed for 10 seconds, repeat. When you add the last tablespoons, also throw in spices. Process until smooth. The final result should look like nut butter. Preheat oven to 350.






Add cheese sauce to meat, mix well. Prepare 9x13 baking dish by rubbing it with coconut oil or butter. Cover bottom with marinara sauce, then begin layering ingredients: zucchini or eggplant, meat/cheese sauce, marinara. Top layer should be marinara. Bake for 20-25 minutes.



How do you feel about a cashew "cheese sauce"? Have you cut gluten or dairy from your diet? If so, how's it going?

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Giving to Those with Less: Assembling Bags for the Homeless

 
The Bible is very clear, the poor will always be among us. Refer to Deuteronomy 15:11, Matthew 26:11, or John 12:8. Throughout history, there is no time when there were not poor people living among the rich. Facing this truth is difficult, but what's even more difficult for some is to give of their time, talents, or resources to someone else.

Unfortunately, because of the many lies our modern world throws at us, our relationship with those who are less fortunate to us has been compromised. Instead of turning to the Bible for truth, too many of us let what's happening around us dictate our feelings. Satan is at work in every realm and he's done a devastatingly great job at widening the gap between the wealthy and the poor.

Societal Lies and Scriptural Truth about the Poor

Lie: Poor people are lazy and don't want to work. Oh, this bothers me. We are so far removed from the lower class, that we're blind to those who work longer hours than us, multiple jobs, running on little sleep.
Truth: 1 Samuel 2:7-8 The LORD sends poverty and wealth; he humbles and he exalts. He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap; he seats them with princes and has them inherit a throne of honor.

Lie: Poor people aren't trying hard enough.
Truth: Isaiah 1:17 Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.

Lie: Poor people are addicted to alcohol or drugs. 
Truth: Romans 15:1-2 We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.

Lie: The government should take care of the poor. 
Truth: Psalm 9:9 The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed,  a stronghold in times of trouble. 
Truth: Proverbs 28:27 He who gives to the poor will lack nothing, but he who closes his eyes to them receives many curses.
Truth: Deuteronomy 15:11 There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land.
  
Earlier this year I shared some practical ways to give to those in need. Whether you live in a big city or a small town, there are ways to connect with the poor. Don't have money to give? If you feel like you can't serve because you're not in a place to do so financially, then you're missing the point. Volunteer your time, use the talents God gave you to bless others. We all have something to give all of the time, no matter where we are financially.


Assembling Blessing Bags

If you live in a relatively large town, you likely see homeless or needy people on the side of the road or on the streets. Assembling bags to keep in your car is an easy and inexpensive way to give to someone in need. Warning: If they don't accept it, you can simply say, "God bless," and walk away. Do not let one experience taint your views on the needy, some of them do not want help from others.

Food

Most of the needy or homeless people we see on the streets are malnourished, and while soup kitchens are great, oftentimes the people being served there are not given nutritionally-dense food. Let's strive to give the healthiest food we can.

Proteins: Nut butter packets, tuna kits, beef jerky
Fruits: fruit cup, if you know you'll be sharing your bags soon, put some fresh fruit in there
Carbs: Crackers, granola bars
Drinks: bottled water, 100% juice boxes, single serving electrolyte packets (for dehydration)

Hygiene

Travel size toothbrush and toothpaste, "hotel" size shampoo, comb, lip balm, bar of soap, deodorant

Encouragement

Seek out the non-profits or  churches in your area and see if they have a resource booklet you can put in your bag. We, our Community Service Ministry, has put together a booklet of resources throughout the county for food, housing, medical help, abuse refuges.

Purchase or ask your church if they'll donate mini Bibles for your project.

Seek out encouraging Scripture to put in your bag or write them an encouraging note.

Other Gifts to Consider

Hand warmer, mittens, small toy, puzzle/crossword books, candy