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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Blue Oils for Beautiful Skin

When my son was about four months old, he had a rash on his cheek that eventually spread to his other cheek. It would get better for a few days, but would get irritated again after he scratched it. Doctors were not sure what it was–they thought it was irritation from drooling, eczema, ringworm, or yeast. Each time that it was red or oozing, I rubbed a yarrow and pomegranate essential oil blend on it and it would get better in a couple of days. I am so grateful for non-toxic solutions that work!

A few days ago, I started applying the yarrow/pomegranate blend and blue tansy to my face and hands (I had taken a break from putting a lot of essential oils on my skin due to my severe psoriasis flare last year). Not only do these oils smell like delicious, pungent Jolly Rancher candy, they make my skin look and feel so much healthier! These beautiful blue oils make my face feel like satin and they provide a dewy glow. My dry, delicate hands are smoother–they almost feel like silk!

So, how do these oils work? Pomegranate and yarrow are both anti-inflammatory agents. Yarrow provides moisture to the skin and has a positive effect on the skin’s pH. Blue tansy contains sabinene which helps to clear up blemishes. Both blue tansy and pomegranate contain chamazulene, a chemical that provides the beautiful blue hue of the oils. Chamazulene is also the chemical component that is soothing to the skin.

Have you tried these beautiful blue oils yet?

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References

Lin, T., Zhong, L., & Santiago, J. (2018). Anti-Inflammatory and Skin Barrier Repair Effects of Topical Application of Some Plant Oils. International journal of molecular sciences. 19(1): 70. 10.3390/ijms19010070

Tadic, V., Arsic, I., Zvezdanovic, J., Zugic, A., Cvetkovic, D., & Pavkov, S. (2017). The Estimation of the Traditionally used Yarrow (Achillea Millefolium L. Asteraceae) Oil Extracts With Anti-Inflammatory Potential in Topical Application. Journal of ethnopharmacology, 199, 138-148. 10.1016/j.jep.2017.02.002

Eliminating Disease With Natural Methods: My Psoriasis Success Story

My symptoms started with dry patches on my fingers and eventually progressed to oozing, flaky, painful, itchy rashes that spread to the fronts and backs of my hands. On my worst days, I also had itchy hives on my arms and nasty blotches on my face, neck, underarms, and foot. When washing dishes, I had to wear cotton gloves underneath my rubber gloves to avoid additional pain and cuts to my hands. I was scared of holding my squirmy kids because their clothes irritated my hands whenever they moved around in my arms. At night, I taped a sock onto my hand to protect myself from obsessive scratching in my sleep. The worst of my symptoms lasted for about five months. It took a lot of perseverance, but multiple lifestyle changes finally led to the restoration of my hands and skin! Continue reading to find out more about my story.

April

My fingers became dry and itchy. The rashes started spreading from my fingers to other parts of my hand.

May

I started cutting processed foods and sugar out of my diet.

June

My skin got worse.

July

I bought Dr. Axe’s Healing Leaky Gut Program and began to completely overhaul my diet. After a couple of weeks, I had hives on my arms; I also began to experience extreme fatigue, weakness, brain fog, and mild depression. This was probably due to the Herxheimer Reaction—a common reaction that occurs when toxins in the body start to die off.

I started bathing my hands in epsom salt and essential oils. I’m embarrassed to admit that this was a foolish move on my part. I shouldn’t have used Epsom salt and certain essential oils on open sores.

August

My hands started rejecting everything that I put on them. Up to that point, I had avoided going to the doctor because I don’t like taking drugs. Late on a Friday night, I was in so much pain that I followed a friend’s advice and went to an Immediate Care center. The doctor prescribed a topical steroid and an oral steroid for my “psoriasis” (according to the doctor, it was not a “slam dunk” psoriasis diagnosis). I said “No” to the oral steroid but I took the topical steroid. After a few days of using the topical steroid, my hands started to get better and I started to feel some relief from the itch and pain.

I was glad that the steroid helped, but I wasn’t interested in just putting a band-aid on my symptoms. Instead of staying on the steroid for too long, I stopped using it after five days. I was determined to find out why my skin was so angry. I started reading The Autoimmune Solution by Amy Myers and began to tweak my diet again.

I visited a chiropractor/acupuncturist who recommended six sessions over the course of three weeks. I was feeling hopeful that my skin would be back to normal by the time I went on vacation in September. The first four sessions were very relaxing, but my skin was starting to get inflamed again. I decided not to spend the extra money on two more sessions.

I started reading The Maker’s Diet by Jordan Rubin and tweaked my diet for the third time. Symptoms of the Herxheimer Reaction continued.

September

I restarted the topical steroid for about three days and went on vacation for a week. It was difficult to find “real food” to eat, but I did the best that I could.

After I got back from vacation, the skin on my hands became inflamed once again. Due to all my dietary restrictions, my weight dropped down to 90 pounds (my regular weight was 105 pounds). I followed Amy Myers advice and found a Functional Medicine practitioner (a practitioner that looks for, and treats the root cause of disease). She ran some blood tests and recommended that I increase my dosage of fish oil. When I got home, I immediately started taking more fish oil. Two days later, the skin on my hands started to clear up! Unfortunately, after about a week, my skin started to look angry again. Symptoms of the Herxheimer Reaction continued.

October

I did a cleanse with essential oils. To my surprise, my skin started to clear up again! The oils gave my body the extra help it needed to scrub off some of the toxicity in my gut. (Please note that cleansing while breastfeeding is not necessarily recommended. This was something that I was not aware of at the time.)

My blood test results came back and revealed dehydration (I had been breastfeeding since August 2018); Epstein-Barr virus reactivation; toxicity and yeast in the gut; and a high need for vitamin C, alpha-lipoic acid, B-vitamins, probiotics, pancreatic enzymes, glutathione, and plant-based antioxidants. Also, my practitioner believes that I have MTHFR mutation. My practitioner noted that if I had not made so many healthy diet changes in the past few months, then I would have been in worse condition.

Based on my test results and my practitioner’s recommendations, I tweaked my diet (yet again) and added some extra supplements to my daily routine. Because I am breastfeeding, we chose to focus on detoxification with foods instead of using more aggressive measures. To help with further detoxification, low energy, and mood support, I started doing essential oil protocols on my feet.

Today

My skin now looks normal and I can do the things that I used to do without pain. I don’t have to tape a sock to my hand to prevent myself from scratching in my sleep. I can change diapers and hold my kids without fear of blood, pus, and additional damage to my skin. I can wash the dishes without wearing any gloves! On some days, my energy and mood are better than ever before. There are also days when my skin is a tad itchy and irritated, but it does not bother me much at all. My Functional Medicine practitioner told me that it would take six months to a year for me to fully recover.

Why This Happened

Since 2011, I had been pregnant three times and had breastfed each baby for two years. Throughout this time of growing babies, breastfeeding, working, and dealing with daily stressors, I was not taking proper care of myself. I did not make the time to drink enough water or eat the right foods that would help my body to rid itself of toxicity and ongoing threats. If I had taken better care of myself, the Epstein-Barr virus (an extremely common virus that does not always cause noticeable symptoms) would probably not have been an issue and my body would have been able to function normally, despite the possible MTHFR mutation (many people have this mutation, but everyone is affected differently by the mutation). The body can handle some abnormalities and neglect, but at a certain point, the body will reach a breaking point and start crying out for help!

What If?

Let’s play the “What If” game for a second. What if I had only visited a conventional physician and had simply decided to take medications to get rid of the symptoms? In the best-case scenario, my skin would have immediately improved with minimal drug side effects, but my nutrition would have continued to decline, leading to additional symptoms and serious disease. In the worst-case scenario, my skin would have continued to get worse, I would have needed more powerful drugs that would have caused more powerful side effects; my overall health would have continued to spiral downward; and I would have been left with a pile of medical bills.

Takeaways

There are a lot of people walking around with mild or severe symptoms that can be improved or alleviated by changing just a few simple habits. I hope that you are empowered and encouraged by this simple truth! If you take anything away from this post, I want to encourage you to take charge of your health by considering these three things:

1. Eat real, nourishing foods.

2. Consistently eliminate toxicity from your body and eliminate toxicity from your surrounding environment.

3. Use additional support like essential oils, health supplements, and a Functional Medicine practitioner.

I truly believe that almost every grave, chronic, “uncurable” disease can be managed or eliminated using natural tools that can help the body to heal itself. Don’t give up. True wellness might be just around the corner!

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I Tried Raw Milk

I was recently battling an itchy, painful skin condition (psoriasis?) on my hands for about five months. Because of my skin, I drastically changed my diet, read books about natural health, and saw some unconventional medical providers. In my quest to heal my skin, I came across raw (unpasteurized) milk. Wow! I didn’t know that raw milk was so controversial.

The Center for Disease Control makes raw milk sound super dangerous while raw milk advocates claim that it is a lot safer than other foods that we eat on a regular basis. While raw milk advocates claim that it is a complete superfood that is wonderful for allergy sufferers, the gut, skin, and immune system, raw milk antagonists claim that these benefits have not been proven. Raw milk advocates also claim that pasteurized milk (almost all the milk in the U.S.) has been stripped of the components that make it so healthy, and that the pasteurization process actually makes the milk unhealthy for us.

So, who should you believe? I’m not going to tell you that, but I will tell you about my experience with raw milk. The Natural Health Nut inside me had to try it!

First off, it wasn’t easy to find someone that sells raw milk (the sale of raw milk is illegal in some American states). When I finally found a vendor, my first experience with raw milk was raw goat milk. It was delicious!

To get my hands on raw cow milk, I went to the Weston A. Price website and contacted my local Weston A. Price chapter. Weston A. Price was a dentist that traveled the world and studied the eating habits of healthy people. If you are looking for raw milk, you can also go to realmilk.com.

The raw cow milk was very creamy and delicious. I also started consuming raw kefir and raw cheese. In the past, when I consumed pasteurized dairy, I used to experience nasal congestion. This didn’t happen to me when I consumed raw dairy!

You may be wondering if I am concerned about the safety of raw milk. Chris Kresser claims that the chances of becoming hospitalized from drinking raw milk are very small–you are actually three times more likely to die in a plane crash. 

With that being said, to be completely honest, there was one time that the raw kefir tasted funny and I had major stomach upset. But, to be fair, I ate some questionable meat on the same day. So, I don’t know if my stomach was upset due to the raw dairy or the meat.

I haven’t had raw milk or raw kefir in a couple of weeks. I miss it! I think that it is helping with my gut; also, my skin is almost completely healed! Because I made so many health changes in the past few months, it’s hard to tell which changes were the most beneficial for my recovery. Who knows? Maybe the raw milk played a role in healing my skin.

Want to know something really cool and odd? Apparently, there are Raw Milk vending machines in Europe!

So, what do you think? Do you drink raw milk, or do you think that it is too risky?

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Healthy Smoothies

Making smoothies is a fun and easy way to add more vegetables, healthy foods and supplements to your diet. Continue reading for some tips on making smoothies!

THE BLENDER

First off, if you want to make smoothies on a consistent basis, I recommend that you buy a high-quality blender. The first blender that I used was not very powerful and it was a smaller machine. It took a long time to mix all the ingredients together and the finished product was not very smooth. When it broke, we bought a two-quart Waring (MX1000XTX) blender. This professional blender cost us a lot more than our last one, but it was worth it. The Waring quickly and effortlessly blends fruits and vegetables with a 3.5 horsepower engine!

THE INGREDIENTS

Vegetables: I like to use kale and spinach because I need to add more green foods to my diet. Carrots and cucumbers are also great choices. These will all provide vital vitamins, minerals and fiber to your body!

Fruits: I love pineapples, kiwis, avocados, bananas and berries. Be careful not to put too much fruit in your smoothies, especially if you have diabetes and/or if you are trying to lose weight.

Seeds: I usually forget to eat seeds unless I add some in my smoothies. In addition to a long list of other healthy benefits for the body, flax seeds and chia seeds provide support for the digestive system, skin and heart.

Supplements: I like to use Ancient Nutrition’s Multi Collagen Protein. According to the bottle, Multi Collagen Protein is a “superfood powder” that is designed for “promoting healthy skin” and “supporting healthy joints.” Bee pollen is also wonderful for the immune system and the whole body!

Natural Sweeteners: If you want your smoothie to taste sweeter, opt for raw honey or organic stevia. In contrast to artificial sweeteners that harm your health, honey and stevia can boost your health in many ways. For example, honey is packed with antioxidants that can help prevent diseases and research has shown that stevia can help fight cancer.

RECIPES AND RESOURCES

Smoothies for Specific Ailments: In the past, I regularly made smoothies from the book entitled “Dr. Tom Wu’s Different Approach in Natural Healing: Conquer Cancer and Other Diseases with Simple Foods.” This book contains smoothie recipes for specific ailments/body systems. The Skin/Digestion smoothie was helpful with my daughter’s eczema and my psoriasis. I haven’t made this smoothie in awhile because it was time-consuming to make and it didn’t taste very good. However, I definitely recommend this book for people that want to heal their bodies with healthy foods. In addition to an improvement in my skin, I always felt more energized after drinking Dr. Wu’s smoothies.

Gut-Healing Smoothie: My favorite recipe contains almond milk, kale, spinach, avocado, bananas, ginger, flax seeds, bee pollen, hemp hearts, raw honey and collagen protein. Unlike other healthy smoothies, this one is reasonably tasty because of the bananas and honey. I always feel satiated and strengthened after drinking this smoothie; it also makes my dry skin feel better. You can find the recipe at Dr. Axe’s website (click here). Please note: for this recipe, you might need to decrease some of the ingredients to fit them all in your blender (they did not all fit into my two-quart blender).

Thrive Market: If you aren’t sure where to buy certain ingredients and health supplements for your smoothies, consider Thrive Market. Buying health supplements on Amazon is not recommended.

What are some of your favorite smoothie recipes?

This post was originally published on January 10, 2019; it was updated on October 11, 2019.

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