Protect The Children

One in four women and one in six men have been or will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime.

Justin S. Holcomb and Lindsey A. Holcomb from God Made All of Me: A Book to Help Children Protect Their Bodies 



I really hate the statistics on sexual assault. My biggest fear is that my kids will be severely harmed by someone, and sometimes this fear can feel overwhelming. 


One of the ways to combat this fear is to be proactive. I discovered a wonderful resource a few years ago—it’s a book entitled God Made All of Me: A Book to Help Children Protect Their Bodies.


The story is written in a storybook format with the mom and dad teaching the kids in the story about what they need to know to protect themselves. It teaches about body parts; appropriate and inappropriate touches; how to say No; how to ask for help; and other inappropriate encounters.


I love how the book makes it simple to teach my kids about these important issues. All I had to do was read the book to them and ask them questions to ensure that they understood what was read to them. I read it to them every now and then so that they won’t forget about what they learned.


Do you know of any other good resources that can help educate, and protect children from harm?

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Is It Worth The Risk?

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”

Anais Nin

I grew up watching the TV show, Saved By The Bell. On the show, there was a shy, nerdy female high-school character named Violet Bickerstaff. In one episode, the high-school choir heard her sing, and they discovered that she had a beautiful voice. They encouraged her to use her talent so that they could win the choir competition. To this request, she quietly replied, “My goal in life is to blend in.”

When I was in fourth grade, a friend came up to me one day and said, “Wow, Tiffany, you actually talk now. I barely heard you speak one word in second grade.” Like Violet from Saved By the Bell, when I was younger, I just wanted to blend in. I didn’t want to stand out because I never knew what to say and I was scared of embarrassing myself.

In junior high, I remember sitting in front of a cute, sweet boy in Language Arts class. I liked him a lot and will always remember the seventh grade dance when he asked me to be his “girlfriend” and we danced to “Don’t Speak” by Gwen Stefani. Even though I liked him so much, I was so terrified of being the center of attention that I pretended to be sick for a couple of days after the dance so that I wouldn’t have to deal with people gossiping about us. Two days later, I broke up with the poor boy because I felt like people wouldn’t stop talking about us or looking at us. As I write this post, and start to think about various memories of childhood, I can feel sweat start to formulate on my back and my armpits!

I am happy to report that I have changed since then. I don’t feel such a strong need to blend into a crowd anymore. Why? I realized that when I hid myself from the world, it was almost impossible for anyone to know who I really was. Life feels lonely when you don’t feel like anyone knows you or understands you. Also, I now believe that no one was made to just blend in.

You may not have grown up with social anxiety like I did, but you may be living a less-than-stellar life due to fear. You may be playing it safe because you are scared of rejection, failure, getting hurt, or something else. The truth is that life is full of risks. I believe that playing it safe comes with a risk as well—you risk missing out on a life full of adventure and joy.

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Side Effects of Social Media

Are you depressed, anxious, or feeling isolated? Are you suffering from low self-esteem? Do you have trouble sleeping? Do you feel unproductive? Do you feel the need to check your social media feeds several times throughout the day? If you answered “Yes” to some of these questions, then you might be experiencing some side effects of social media use.

1. Poor Performance

Research shows that social media use worsens your ability to multi-task (truthfully, we are not very good at multi-tasking to begin with).

Possible Remedies:

Log off of social media whenever you are trying to get a task done quickly. You might want to refrain from social media use during working hours.

Create a vision board or set goals for the future. If you have concrete goals, you will be more productive and less inclined to use social media as frequently.

2. Insomnia

Any kind of light can alter the level of melatonin in your brain and interfere with the quality of your sleep. Because a lighted screen is required for social media, social media use at night may be an indirect cause of your insomnia.

Possible Remedy:

Turn off social media (and electronics) two hours before bedtime.

3. Loss of time

Does this sound like a familiar scenario? It’s 4:30 pm. In five minutes, I need to start making dinner, but I have to check my e-mail first. Oh, okay, I have 12 notifications. Cindy posted a new picture of her baby. Oh my! What a cutie! I forgot to send her a gift. Uh-oh, Carolyn changed her relationship status to single? I should call her to see if she is okay. Hmmm…Uncle Jarvis posted another political meme. That’s annoying. Oh man, what is the world coming to? Another school shooting? “Mama, I’m hungry!” Just a second…what in the world? It’s 6:30 pm already?!

Possible Remedies:

Set a time limit. Give yourself a limited amount of time to spend on social media each day. After you have met the time limit, close the app for the rest of the day.

Turn off social media notifications or remove social media apps from your phone. You will be less inclined to check your social media feeds throughout the day.

Only use social media when you need to. For example, only use social media for looking up someone’s contact information or for grabbing a good deal on a company page.

4. Strained Relationships

When you ask teenagers, ‘What’s the one thing you wish you could change in your relationship with your parents?’ The most common answer teenagers give to that question is, ‘I wish my parents weren’t on their devices so much and would actually listen to me.’

Andy Crouch, author of “The Tech-Wise Family”

Because I work from home and am a mother of three small children, I do not get out that much. So, whenever I am around someone that is constantly looking at the phone, I (like the teenagers in the above quote) become frustrated. Excessive social media use can affect marriages and other relationships as well.

Possible Remedies:

Eye contact. When someone is speaking to you, look up from your device and give them your attention.

Quality time should be quality time. When spending quality time with loved ones, do not log onto social media.

5. Anxiety, Depression and Low Self-Esteem

Research shows that people that spend more time on social media are more depressed and have lower self-esteem because they start to compare themselves to other “friends” on social media.

Possible Remedies:

Remember what’s real. Social media can fool you into thinking that all of your other digital “friends” are richer, better-looking, more exciting, more capable, more put together, etc. Don’t be fooled. Remember that most people only post their most exciting, polished, attractive selves on social media. Remember that scars, cellulite, emotional baggage, daily monotony, and extra padding are often omitted.

Focus on the good.

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

Philippians 4:8

Even if you do not believe in the Bible, this is good advice. Instead of wishing for more money, a thinner body, a more creative mind, or a more powerful job, be grateful for what you have. Focus on the good.

Unfollow people that are toxic to you. On Facebook, you can remove someone from your newsfeed without unfriending them (and they won’t even know about it). This might be a good idea if your Facebook friend is posting things that make you upset.

Before logging into social media accounts, do something else that you love to do. Go outside, exercise, plant some flowers in the backyard, call a friend, meetup with a friend for coffee, play some sports, crochet a blanket for a baby, read, fly a kite, get your nails done, write in a journal, send a letter by snail mail, teach your nephew how to shoot pool, play some music, or do a jigsaw puzzle. You could also pick up a new hobby.

Ask for help. I believe that everyone can benefit from professional counseling.

6. Addiction

Social media can cause your brain to crave more “likes”, “friends”, instant responses, and more excitement from social media.

Possible Remedies:

Take breaks from social media. Don’t go on any of your social media accounts for half a day, a day, a week, a month, or a year.

Accountability. Tell someone that you want to cut back on social media use and ask them to keep you accountable.

Delete your accounts. A few years ago, I didn’t need any social media accounts for work, so I deleted my accounts for a few years. If social media is affecting your health, this might be worth considering.

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Recommended Resource

Growing Up Social: Raising Relational Kids in a Screen-Driven World by Gary Chapman and Arlene Pellicane

References

Beres, Damon. 10 Weird Negative Effects of Social Media on Your Brain. Retrieved from https://www.rd.com/health/wellness/negative-effects-of-social-media/

Woods, H.C. & Scott, H. (2016). #Sleepyteens: Social media use in adolescence is associated with poor sleep quality, anxiety, depression and low self-esteem. Journal of Adolescence, 51, 41-49. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27294324

This post was originally published on May 29, 2019. It was updated on October 9, 2020.

Is Soy Sauce Bad For Your Health?

In 2012, I committed myself to a healthy, natural lifestyle. I gave birth to my kids naturally; switched to non-toxic personal care products; cut back on certain foods in my diet; spent more money on essential oils, health supplements and organic foods…you get the idea. This past week, I even bought an expensive, non-toxic sofa without flame retardants—it was designed with hardwood sourced from FSC-certified domestic forests, CertiPUR-US certified poly foam, and certified organic cotton interior lining. Before 2012, I never expected to care about the materials that were used to create our old, torn sofa.

But when a friend started talking about the dangers of soy, I kind of just looked the other way and pretended not to hear him. Because of my Asian background, I have eaten a lot of soy sauce in my life—and I love it. So, what’s the deal with soy sauce, anyway? If you love soy sauce like I do, you might be pleasantly surprised with some of the information that I found. Turns out, there’s what I like to call “Bad Soy Sauce” and “Good Soy Sauce.” I also found a tasty substitute for soy sauce!

Bad Soy Sauce

Bad soy sauce goes through acid hydrolysis and contains soybeans, caramel color, corn syrup and salt. The process to create bad soy sauce is complete in a few days.

I call this bad soy sauce because it contains artificial ingredients and GMOs. I would also like to note that 1 tablespoon of soy sauce usually contains about 38% of your daily value of sodium. That’s a whole lot of salt in one tablespoon!

Good Soy Sauce

Good soy sauce goes through a fermentation process and contains soybeans, salt, and enzymes. Wheat is often added as well. It takes approximately six months to create this type of soy sauce.

I call this good soy sauce because of the fermentation. Thanks to the fermentation process, this soy sauce may be beneficial for your gut. If you choose to eat soy sauce, try to find an organic brand (avoid the GMOs) that contains less sodium.

Soy Sauce Replacement: Coconut Aminos

This is what is listed under Ingredients on my Coconut Aminos bottle (I get mine at Thrive Market):

“Organic coconut tree sap aged and blended with sun-dried, mineral-rich sea salt.”

Coconut Aminos is a delicious replacement for soy sauce—and it contains only two healthy ingredients. If you are like me, you are probably wondering if it tastes like coconut. No; thankfully, it does not! Also, one tablespoon of coconut aminos contains only 12% of your daily value of sodium. I would say that this is a big improvement from 38% (the daily value of sodium for one tablespoon of soy sauce).

What do you think of soy sauce and coconut aminos?

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Reference

Soy Sauce. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.encyclopedia.com/education/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/soy-sauce

This post was originally published on May 17, 2019; it was updated on September 29, 2020.

Ten Essential Oils For Your Medicine Cabinet

When I discovered essential oils in 2018, I was so excited to use plant medicine—the last piece of the puzzle on my Natural Living journey! Are you searching for natural solutions that will help to eliminate the root causes of your signs and symptoms? Scroll down to read about ten oils that you should have in your medicine cabinet!

1. Lemon

Lemon oil is wonderful for cleansing the body and the house. One to two drops of lemon in water or tea will support the body’s detoxification process. It also has a great taste.

Feeling down? Lemon and other citrus oils can help uplift your mood!

2. Frankincense

The “King of Oils” is an amazing oil that can support all the cells of your body. Frankincense helps to restore the skin and promote feelings of peace. I use it on my baby’s irritated skin and in my night cream. I also take frankincense internally for extra support.

3. Melaleuca (Tea Tree)

Melaleuca is effective at cleaning my house, my skin and my nails.

15 drops of lemon oil, 15 drops of melaleuca, 1 cup of water and 1/2 cup of vinegar makes an effective, all-purpose cleaner!

4. Lavender

The “Swiss Army Knife” of essential oils is calming for the skin and the emotions. I used it on my children when they had hives and I currently rub it on my baby’s jawline when he is teething. To help my toddler wind down after a long day, I rub lavender on the back of her neck and on the bottoms of her feet.

5. Oregano

Oregano is a powerful oil that I take internally when I need a boost for my immune system. When my children are not feeling well, I also rub this potent oil on their feet.

6. Protective Blend

The Protective blend is another oil that can support your immune system. I take this oil internally and apply this topically on my children. This blend has an inviting aroma that is very pleasant to diffuse.

7. Respiratory Blend

When I need extra respiratory support, I rub this potent blend on my nose, chest or feet. At night, I like to diffuse this blend with frankincense—it’s a refreshing blend for easy breathing.

8. Digestive Blend

To be honest, the smell of this oil used to make me nauseous. Eventually, it became my “hero oil.” Whenever we have any kind of tummy trouble, this blend provides relief within seconds!

9. Peppermint

The smell of peppermint makes me want to get up and go! I like to rub peppermint oil on my neck for an instant cooling sensation. Peppermint can also be used for stomach upset and head tension. It has also been known to repel insects.

10. Soothing Blend

This blend provides relief and comfort. I like to rub this cooling blend on my forehead, neck, and wrists after a long day. After my husband’s CrossFit work-out, I rub this blend on his back and knee.

What’s your favorite essential oil?

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