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Lavender: the Swiss Army Knife of Essential Oils

During my last essential oils class, there was a lady in the front row that did not want to smell any of the oils. Before passing each oil onto the next person, she covered her hand with a napkin and said to me, “I’m sensitive to smells.”

A few days later, the same lady approached me and asked, “What was that one oil that I smelled before the class started? When I got home, I didn’t feel no pain!” I wasn’t sure which oil she was referring to, but I gave her a sample of lavender oil to try. A few days later, she bought a bottle of lavender oil and a diffuser-the lavender provided pain relief because it helped her to relax!

With the chemical components of linalyl acetate and linalool, lavender essential oil is widely known for its ability to calm emotions. It is also wonderful for the skin; it is useful to apply on burns, sunburns, cuts, hives and other skin imperfections. I rubbed it on my daughter’s legs when she broke out in hives. I also combined lavender with melaleuca, frankincense and coconut oil to make an effective “Owie Spray” that smells like sweet flowers!

Have you tried lavender oil, the “Swiss Army Knife of essential oils”?

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Is Pitocin A Curse Word?

After watching the documentary, “The Business of Being Born”, I knew that I wanted to have a natural birth. For my first two births, I declined all medications and my daughters were born in bathtubs. My son was a different story. With my son, my midwife was very concerned about the risk of infection because my water broke prematurely, and my contractions eventually stopped after several hours. After trying several natural interventions, she recommended Pitocin.

Pitocin is very commonly administered to pregnant women in the hospital. In my particular case, my midwife wanted me to take Pitocin so that my contractions would be consistent and strong. Truth be told, when I began brainstorming for ideas for this blog post, I originally intended to communicate that Pitocin is not as dangerous as some people believe it to be. Ironically, after I looked at the drug label, I decided that my original thought was incomplete and somewhat inaccurate. Here are the adverse events that have been reported with the use of Pitocin. This information can be found on DailyMed (a website created by the U.S. National Library of Medicine).

Adverse Events for the Mother

  1. Severe allergic reaction
  2. Bleeding after birth
  3. Abnormal heartbeat
  4. Fatal blood clotting abnormality
  5. Nausea
  6. Vomiting
  7. Pelvic bruising
  8. Bleeding in the head
  9. Episodes of high blood pressure
  10. Rupture of the uterus
  11. Fatal water intoxication

Adverse Events for the Baby

  1. Slow heart rate
  2. Low Apgar scores at five minutes (the Apgar score indicates how healthy the baby is at birth)
  3. Abnormal heartbeat
  4. Jaundice (yellowing of the skin/eyes)
  5. Permanent central nervous system or brain damage
  6. Eye bleeding
  7. Seizures
  8. Death

This might sound rather absurd and dramatic, but everytime my midwife mentioned the word Pitocin, it sounded like she was cursing at me. To me, the administration of Pitocin during labor was synonymous with more labor pain and complications for both my baby and me. Unfortunately, I think that the above list of adverse events validates some of my fears. However, in the end, I did receive Pitocin for a short time and at a very low dose. Thankfully, my baby was super healthy and we both recovered well from the birth!

Did the birth with Pitocin hurt more than the other two natural births? Yes, but keep in mind that my natural births were in water; water helps to alleviate some of the labor pain. After reading about the reported adverse events of Pitocin, do I regret my decision to have Pitocin during labor? No, due to my circumstances, the benefits of a low dose of Pitocin outweighed the risks of the drug.

To moms out there, this post is mostly for you. Whether you are interested in a natural birth or a medicated birth, please know that you have options; I hope that you will educate yourselves so that you can make the best choices for you and your baby.

Dear Mom, whether you choose a natural birth or a medicated birth, you are amazing for bringing life into this world!

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The RESET Button

You know that big red button that says RESET on it? Don’t you wish that you could hit that button whenever you mess up? Guess what? That button does exist! It exists in your mind. Here’s how it works for me.

When I am unfairly harsh with my daughter, I can choose to feel shame that affects my whole day, or I can apologize to her, hit the RESET button, and go on with my day.

Because of my skin issues, I am careful to take good care of my body. When I have trouble keeping up with my health routine and my skin starts to bother me again, I can choose to feel helpless or I can hit the RESET button and start tightening up my routine again.

When I am not as consistent with my business activities, I can get overly discouraged or hit the RESET button and decide to increase my activity for the next week.

If I don’t meet my goals, I can choose to believe that I will never achieve them, or I can hit the RESET button and figure out what needs to change in my life so that I can meet my goals next time.

After I make any kind of mistake—big or small—I can choose to let it ruin my day, or I can hit the RESET button, give myself grace, and learn from the mistake.

Do you need to hit the RESET button? You will be more successful in life if you choose to hit the RESET button sooner, rather than later!

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What is the Secret to Vibrant Health?

Do you want to know the secret to vibrant health? The secret is—there is no secret! What works for me may not work for you. Do you want to know why?

Every Body is Different

When I was struggling with a painful psoriasis flare on my hands, I tried different things for six months. The major changes that helped me were changes to my diet, a visit to a Functional Medicine practitioner, and a cleanse. When I visited the Functional Medicine practitioner, my lab results revealed Epstein-Barr reactivation and possible MTHFR mutation. Another person with psoriasis would have different laboratory test results, which is why my protocol might not work for another person with psoriasis. Some people with skin problems might only need to make minor changes to their lives, while others might need to make more drastic changes.

Everybody Has A Different Health Background and Environment

Some people had some health disadvantages starting at an early age because they were born via Cesarean section or because they only drank formula when they were babies. Some people constantly ingest antibiotics and medications that are harmful for their gut health. Some people are exposed to occupational hazards or many poisonous chemicals in their homes. Some people are exposed to toxic people at work and at home, leading to excessive emotional and physical stress. The fixes that I have found for my particular health background and environment would not apply to you because your health history and environment is different than mine.

So, the bad news is that there is no secret sauce for vibrant health. But the good news is that vibrant health is attainable.

Be Your Own Lab Rat

Start by making some small changes. If you don’t get the results that you want, add another small change. Add more water to your diet, add some greens to your diet, get rid of endocrine disruptors in your home, eliminate some processed foods from your diet, learn a new stress management technique, or start doing yoga. Keep track of how you feel after you add something new or take something away.

Visit A Functional Medicine Practitioner

A conventional physician will spend a few minutes with you and write a couple of drug prescriptions for you (in the long run, these drugs might do more harm than good). A Functional Medicine practitioner will spend a lot of time with you, (the consultations with my practitioner lasted for 60-90 minutes) will work to find the root cause of your symptoms, and will create a special care plan for you. My decision to see a Functional Medicine practitioner was one of the best decisions that I made for my health.

Keep learning and listening to your body. Vibrant health is within your reach. Don’t give up!

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We Can’t Stop Talking

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.

James 1:19

I have tried to keep my distance from social media and the mainstream media for awhile, but unfortunately, I have been more “plugged in” these last few months. This means that I have become more aware of the endless controversy and anger that the media constantly stirs up in everyone. You could say that I fell into the media’s “hysteria trap.” So, a couple of weeks ago, when a good friend of mine posted something controversial on her social media site, I became overly emotional and initiated a digital chat with her.

Our digital chat went on for a few days. After those few days, I asked her if she wanted to talk about it over the phone or in-person. When I saw her in-person, I apologized to her because I thought that she was offended by what I had expressed to her. To my pleasant surprise, she told me that she didn’t feel like what I said was harsh, and at the end of our conversation, she was glad that we had talked about the issue.

If I could go back in time, I wouldn’t have confronted my friend about my feelings through text because texts can be easily misinterpreted. What I should have done was talk to her about it over the phone or in-person from the start. Thankfully, I think that the conversation went really well, and it made me realize that we—as a society—can’t stop talking to each other about issues that matter. Here are three reasons why.

We need to keep learning and we need to realize that we don’t have all the answers.

If we make assumptions and snap judgments without trying to understand another person’s views and experiences, then we might never realize when our beliefs are wrong or misguided. We might be unknowingly advocating for the wrong solution.

We don’t want to have regrets.

In a previous post, I wrote about five common regrets that people have on their deathbeds. According to Bronnie Ware, one of the common regrets was stated in this way—”I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.” I don’t think that it is always good to say what is on your mind, but depending on the issue or scenario, a healthy discussion can help to bring about positive change.

We don’t want to be lonely anymore.

I used to think that people can’t be lonely if they have friends and family, but this is not true. According to Psychology Today, people feel lonely if they don’t feel “in tune” with people around them or if they feel like there is a “lack of authenticity” in their relationships. Loneliness can contribute to health issues such as depression, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, psychosis, and Alzheimer’s disease.

There are so many polarizing issues to argue about and I have come to believe that these issues often lead to anger and division because of fear. Perhaps if we put our fear to the side for a little bit and allowed ourselves to be authentic and vulnerable with our loved ones, then we would not feel so lonely. If we have these conversations with discernment, love, and the truth in mind, I believe that conversations about these important issues can ultimately bring us closer together.

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