Category Archives: Health & Wellness

My Great Escape: Into the Bathtub

Anyone who knows me at all knows I love my baths! At least two nights a week you could catch me escaping into my personal oasis. I’m not just taking a bath. I’m detoxing. It’s super easy and I’d highly suggest it for any mom who experiences any stress. (Ahem, that’s all of us!) I am also a huge advocate for journaling. Check out Journaling Benefits Me: If You Don’t Like It Don’t Read It! Back to the ultimate bath that actually burns as many calories as a 30 minute walk. I feel a little guilty wasting so much water but other than that, it’s an amazing experience.

What You Need:

  • 40 Minutes
  • 2 Cups Epsom Salt
  • 1 Box Baking Soda
  • Essential Oils of Choice
  • Something to Drink
  • A Good Book

IMG_3044

It’s super simple. Fill up your tub as hot as you can get it without burning yourself or passing out. (If you do it right, you will feel like you’re going to pass out at the end.) Dump in your epsom salt, baking soda, and oils. There are many variations to this. The magnesium sulfate in the Epsom Salt is so good for you so I always use that. You can switch up the other ingredients though. Try ginger (makes you sweat more), Apple Cider Vinegar (makes your skin soooooooo soft!), and if you’d like you can diffuse the oils instead of putting them in the water. I personally love lavender. I add a couple drops to my water and diffuse it. But if I have a cold or something, I switch that to oils such as Peppermint, Eucalyptus, Tea Tree, and Rosemary. Get your drink within reach (I usually go for ice water with lemon) and I always put a hand towel close to wipe my face because I sweat so much. I’ve read that the first 20 minutes pulls toxins out. You should be working up a great sweat. The second 20 minutes puts the good stuff in. A couple of things to remember are that you will feel light-headed when you stand up. Take it slow getting out! You may want to take your detox bath right before bed because it’s extremely relaxing. Oh, and absolutely NO CHEMICALS! Don’t use your shampoo unless you know it’s chemical free. You will defeat the purpose of detoxification if you’re putting more toxins in the water.

Benefits of a Detox Bath:

  • Facilitate’s Body’s natural detoxification system
  • Strengthens Immune System to Prevent Disease
  • Eases Stress
  • Improves Concentration
  • Makes Insulin More Effective
  • Improved Oxygen Use
  • Helps Prevent or Ease migraines
  • Reduces Inflammation From Muscle Cramps
  • Prevents Artery Hardening and Blood Clots
  • Essential Oils Will Add Additional Benefits

What are you waiting for? Grab a good book and get in there! Make it your own personal spa. It feels great knowing you’re doing something to love on yourself. Happy bathing!

 

Oil Pulling Results Shocked My Dentist!

I am a little embarrassed to admit this but it’s been at least 12 years since I’ve been to the dentist. For a long time I didn’t have insurance and, to be honest, I hate the dentist so I just didn’t go. When I was a kid I had my regular cleanings. My brother, who never properly cared for his teeth, never had cavities! I mean NEVER. I, on the other hand, have never had one single appointment in which I did not have a cavity. Most times I had 2-3 every six months. I have always been a 3 time a day brusher and I actually floss. I couple years ago, I started reading a lot about oil pulling. At first I was completely convinced there was no way the claims could be true. But I figured I didn’t have anything to lose so I gave it a try and purchased my first jar of coconut oil. When I started, one of my bottom teeth hurt so bad. It was even a little wiggly. No, I’m not kidding. After a couple of months that tooth quit hurting and my mouth felt so awesome that some days I didn’t even brush. My breath is always fresher and my teeth started getting whiter and whiter. I guess that’s why I never quit. I just didn’t write about it or tell many people because I had no actual proof that it was working.

image

Today, I had my first dentist appointment in years. I was told they could not do a cleaning today since it’s been so long they needed to do x-rays and an extensive check up and we’d go from there. They even made me watch a video on periodontal disease and kindly let me know that I most likely would need to be treated for this. When I arrived, I was shocked that they even knew what oil pulling was, but they did and also wrote it on my chart. The dentist himself asked me how long I do it and I told him 20 min every morning. It’s been my routine for almost 2 years now. I was in there for an hour and a half as the tech announced numbers, letters, and a bunch of medical terms that mean nothing to me. I asked if they were going to explain all of this to me. They were great. They did explain in detail. The results are still a shock to me. I do not even have one single cavity! Not only that, but the dentist told me that my teeth look better than the average person who visits on a biyearly basis. They said there’s absolutely no plaque or build up on any of my teeth which is apparently unheard of. Also, the color my teeth could not even be measured on their “whiteness chart” (sorry I don’t know what this is called) because they are too white! The tech told me that I should just keep doing what I’m doing because it’s obviously working. I am elated! I have proof now that oil pulling works! Now the world needs to know it.

image

Wikipedia reads, “Oil pulling or oil swishing is a folk remedy where oil is “swished” (kavala graha) or “held” (snigda gandoosha) in the mouth. Practitioners of oil pulling claim it is capable of improving oral and systemic health, including a benefit in conditions such as headaches, migraines, diabetes mellitus, asthma, and acne, as well as whitening teeth. Its promoters claim it works by “pulling out” toxins, which are known as ama in Ayurvedic medicine, and thereby reducing inflammation.”

Here’s how you do it. I will also include some more links so that you can read more about it if you want to. I use coconut oil. You can use olive oil, sesame oil, or any kind really but coconut oil tastes the best, I think, and this type will naturally whiten your teeth. Plus, I use coconut oil for so many things now that it’s always around my house. (I will post more on other uses for coconut oil later.) Just take a spoonful into your mouth. Give it a second, it’ll melt into a liquid. Then swish it between your teeth. If your jaw hurts you’re doing it too hard. Do this for 20 minutes. The important part is that you MUST do this first thing in the morning before eating or drinking anything. You will feel the oil getting thicker as you swish. This is the toxins being pulled out from your gums. After 20 minutes (no longer because you don’t want the toxins to go back in) spit it in the trash. Not down the drain! You’ll clog your drain. You also don’t want to swallow it because it’s chuck full of nasty toxins. Get them out of your body. Just so you don’t feel overwhelmed know that when I started I had to melt the oil first and drink it in instead of using a spoon. I also could not do it 20 minutes so I started with 5 and worked my way up. My morning routine now includes oil pulling. My mouth just feels better. I still brush but not every day. I actually hate when I cannot do this. I will most likely do it for the rest of my life. After I spit it our I drink a glass of warm lemon water. (I’ll probably do a blog on this someday soon too.) All before my first mug of coffee. I promise you, these two morning rituals have done a world of good for my health and I swear by them.

image

Below is a list of some of the most common conditions people have reported that respond to oil pulling: This list is from oilpulling.com. You can also fin several testimonies here by clicking the link.

Acne
Allergies
Arthritis
Asthma
Back and Neck Pain
Bad Breath
Bronchitis
Chronic Fatigue
Colitis
Crohn’s Disease
Constipation
Dental Cavities
Dermatitis
Diabetes
Eczema
Hemorrhoids
Hypertension
Insomnia
Migraine Headaches
Mucous Congestion
Peptic Ulcers
PMS
Periodontal Disease
Bleeding Gums
Sinusitis
Tooth Abscess
Adult Respiratory Distress
Syndrome (ARDS) Atherosclerosis Blood Disorders Brain Abscess Cancer Emphysema
Gallbladder Disease
Gout
Heart Disease
Hyperglycemia
Infertility
Kidney Disease
Liver Disease
Meningitis
Nerve Disorders
Osteoporosis
Paget’s Disease
Pneumonia
Preeclampsia
Preterm/Low Birth Weight Babies
Psychotic Episodes
Stroke
Toxic Shock Syndrome
Many types of Infectious Disease

You can decided for yourself but as for me I now know for a fact that it works! If it’s done this much good for my teeth I’m no longer doubting that it is perhaps healing or preventing other ailments in my body. Give it a try or comment below if you’ve already tried. Please let my readers know what you think about oil pulling.

Here’s a couple of links with additional info to get you started:

  1. Does Coconut Oil Pulling Work?
  2. Does Oil Pulling Work? CNN News
  3. Oil Pulling for Better Health
  4. Coconut Oil Pulling Benefits and My How-to Guide
  5. How Oil Pulling Works

Journaling Benefits Me: If You Don’t Like It Don’t Read It!

 

image

Yesterday’s post, It’s Simple yet so Hard, got an overwhelming 226 views in one day! I have figured out that you are not interested in my educational posts nearly as much as your interested in reading the personal, heart-felt, true accounts of my life. This is hard for me. I have never been good at expressing my deepest thoughts with others. In addition to all of the traffic that my blog received the past two days, my personal life has also received a lot of traffic. It began when I woke up to my father pounding on my door. My mom had read the blog post to him and to say he was angry is an understatement. Before he left, he let me know that if Malachi (my son) is old enough to see his dad then he’s old enough to know exactly how he feels about his dad. My father also let me know that posting personal things online is not something he approves of. When asked what he thought of my Can a Racist be a Christian  post his response was “It was alright.” Not too much later I received a text message with no kind words from my mom.

image

After my dad left, I went on Facebook. I was shocked by all of the extremely supportive comments along with personal messages from strangers, acquaintances, and friends. It really was encouraging to know that I am not completely crazy because I’m considering allowing this relationship between my son and his biodad take place. There was also a not-so-encouraging private message from my husband’s ex-wife. Because of all the attention to my blog she must have decided to read it too.  But she found Woes of a Lonely Step Mom. Although I don’t think I’ve written anything to slander her, I received a quite lengthy message telling me many things she disagrees with. She also sent my husband messages telling him he shouldn’t allow this blog, that I’m obviously unhappy, and the only reason he isn’t divorcing me is because he’s afraid. My husband came home from work early also stressed out. I later went for a drive and spoke to a friend for quite a while. As she explained her life story to me and how it affected her, I decided that I am making the right choice for my son no matter what my family thinks.

image

What I learned from my last post is that there really are supportive people out there, I am doing the right thing, and people in my life are very unhappy with this blog like they are with almost everything else I do.  What I want to make clear is that I will be pursuing this whether you agree or not. As I said before, expressing myself to others has always been extremely difficult for me. Expressing myself, however, is not so much. I have always kept journals. Always. The first one I found was from 2nd grade. I have one right now on my night stand. I pulled the tote out today to look through them for inspiration for a new blog. I ended up looking through them for a few hours. This tote has been the one  and only item that has travelled with me to my 8 residences in 3 different states. It is my life. I have documents of everything that has occurred in my life. Some of which I don’t even remember. Will Self said, “The short-term memory only retains information for 3 minutes; unless it’s committed to paper you can lose an idea forever.” I have always enjoyed writing. It was very cool looking back at these and seeing things I’ve overcome and especially how much I’ve grown. Also, in most of them I have included a list of goals. I am absolutely amazed that I have met most of them! I still can’t believe that.

A psychological professor at Dominican University in CA, Gail Matthews, did a study on goal-setting with 267 participants. She concluded that people are 42% more likely to achieve their goals simply by writing them down! Wow. I have personally learned that every single dream you have or goal you set will encounter resistance. People have something to say about everything. You need to stay focused on the goal and not the resistance. Whatever you feed will grow. Writing your goals down can help you to feed the goal not the resistance.

There are many, many benefits to journaling (and blogging). Some of my favorites are as follows:

  • It enables you to celebrate your progress
  • Writing requires you to think out the “why’s” and “hows” so you naturally think on a deeper level
  • Proves we’ve solved problems in the past
  • We naturally articulate the next steps since it’s difficult to look back without looking forward. When we journal we’re forced to look forward so the next step becomes easier to see
  • Provides accountability
  • A written account allows your story to inspire others
  • Facilitates personal growth
  • Helps create better leaders
  • Forces your creative juices to flow
  • Improves mental well-being
  • Diminishes symptoms pop depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses
  • Strengthens your immune system
  • Some studies even show it can improve your IQ

Looking through these journals has also reminded me of the fact that I have supportive friends out there. People do love me. I have grown. I have overcome a lot. I probably do have something to offer this world through my experiences. I found this letter I received when I was 15 after I tried to kill myself. I think I know who wrote it but that person, for some reason, has always denied writing it. This letter has encouraged me for years. There’s many more in addition to this one but a lot are too personal to post. If you ever write me a letter, I will have it forever.

imageimage

Writing a blog and/or a book has been a lifetime goal for me. I’m not sure I have anything valid to offer my readers but because it’s a goal, I am doing it. I have loved doing it. I will continue to be open and honest. Even though yesterday I was extremely discouraged and felt like quitting I view this as everything else in my life. This is something that is important to me and from this day forward, I will be doing what’s best for me in my life and what God asks. From this day forward, you can give me your opinion but I will ultimately be listening to my heart. I am strong. I am capable. I am able to make my own decisions and do what’s best for my life. I am not that unstable little girl anymore. Either you will accept me or you won’t. But I will not be changing me so that you can be happy. I have set up my little office. I plan to spend more time in here. Thanks for reading.

image

  1. Why You Should Keep a Journal
  2. 100 Benefits of Journaling
  3. 10 Surprising Benefits from Keeping a Journal
  4. Emotional and Physical Health Benefits of Expressive Writing
  5. The Pocket Notebooks of 20 Famous Men
  6. Why Journaling Makes Better Leaders
  7. The 20 Biggest Benefits of Blogging
  8. Why Do People Blog? Benefits of Blogging

Five Ways to Keep the Peace

The alarm went off at 5:45 today. I don’t have to work so I lay there a couple of minutes and ask God to guide me in my words and actions and to help me be productive today and to help me walk in love. My feet touch the floor and I’m off. Two kids wet the bed so the house is filled that amazing smell. I go to get one load of bedding in the wash but oh wait my oh-so-helpful hubby put a load of wash in before he left for work so I have to put that in the dryer first. Two of the boys are in the bedroom fighting. I tell them to get dressed. I do before and after school care so three extra kids arrive. I get breakfast on the table for all seven kids. One won’t eat because he doesn’t like what I made. I feel slightly guilty. I had the dishwasher cleaned out but of course no one used it. So now I have a sink full of dirty dishes. My ten-year old, Hailey, is wearing leggings as pants again. I tell her to put on a longer shirt or change the bottoms. She has a meltdown. Is this really what I went to college for?

It’s like a whirlwind around me. Complete chaos could consume me if I let it. Deep breaths. “Mom, can you sign my agenda?” Why did he not ask me this last night? Ugh! I say “Goodbye, have a great day!” To my (step)kids with no response as normal. I notice Hailey forgot her lunch so I chase her down the driveway. The first group of kids are off to school. The other four kids go to a different school and so they finish getting ready and out the door. My oldest son, Malachi, gives me a long hug and says “Bye mom, I love you so much!”. I take in the embrace, take a deep breath and know that I’m doing something right. Thank you, Jesus, I needed that.

This was a good morning. I love hearing the little conversations and guiding their young minds. They are my world. I walk through the house like normal to find clothes on the floor in the bedroom, toothpaste in the sinks, splatters on the mirror, and more clothes next to the laundry basket. It must’ve been too much work to actually put them in. But, hey, that’s what I’m here for right?

Five Ways to Keep the Peace:

image

  1. Don’t think about the small things. My peace comes from above. Deep breathes. Even while I’m washing peed sheets AGAIN or feel like it’s pointless to remind the babies yet again to please rinse out the sink. Those are small things. One day I will probably miss these mornings.

image

2. Seek Him early. I’ve tried getting up even earlier to seek Him first. I can’t tell you how many New Years Resolutions involved that goal. It just doesn’t work for me. I do, however, talk to Him first. Before my feet touch the ground I ask for help because I know I can’t do it myself. As soon as the kids leave (on the days I don’t work) that’s when I get my devotions done. I know I need Him. I was a mess without Him! So every day looks a little different but I’m ok with doing anything to help me grow. Some days that’s 10 minutes and some days it ends up being three hours.

image

3. Don’t worry about tomorrow. This is probably one of my favorite verses. Today definitely has enough trouble of its own. Pray about it. Be wise. But don’t worry. If we worry we aren’t walking in faith. God already has tomorrow handled, mom. Just focus on today and let Him do His job.

image

4. Don’t worry about anything for that matter. Be thankful even! In the midst of the chaos I am thankful that even if I don’t want to get groceries, I can. My kids might not always remember to pick up their clothes but they’re healthy. I might not want to clean the house but I have a house to clean. Gratitude can change your attitude. Find things to be thankful for.

image

5. Aim to be the best you for your family. This is a lot. The Proverbs 31 woman seems perfect. None of us are perfect. But there’s only one you and you’re made that way for a reason. With the Lord’s help you can do this! Always put Him first. Be a good example to your kids and demonstrate what you want them to be. Walk in love even when you feel like screaming. Continuously feed your mind. Never quit learning. Take breaks because you need them! You can’t help anyone else unless you’re healthy first.