The Half-Crunchy Mama

Trying to live a natural life with balance


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Why I’m not going to tell you that essential oils fix everything

Don’t get me wrong, oily friends. I am definitely in love, borderline obsessed, with some of the magic that these little oils have delivered for me and those in my life over the past several months. Essential oils can be very beneficial to us, but I just don’t think that they are a cure. Yes, I have read some testimonials and seen actual proof of healing, but I believe that those cures are the exception. Some of the wonderful benefits that I believe in include ridding the home of toxic chemicals for cleaning and freshening the air, boosting the immune system, providing natural pain relief, and easing a variety of symptoms from anxiety to insomnia, digestive issues and allergies to migraines, acne, and insect bites. The list is actually endless and if you ask me about what oils you can try to help aid with something that you struggle with, I’m positive that I can come up with a few ideas to try. Naturally.

Did you notice the words that I chose to use above? Easing a variety of symptoms. This is my point. It’s one that I could receive quite a bit of flack over from serious oilers, but I have to get this out of my brain. It’s actually making me feel a little crazy (there’s an oil for that) and I really want to tell everyone that the oils seriously CAN help and to give them a try, but don’t ignore me because you are judging and think this is some silly fad that only crazy hippies are a part of. Remember, I’m only half crunchy. This means that I don’t believe everything, especially anything that gets hyped up. I’m educated and consider myself to be a fairly intelligent woman. I don’t believe in miracle cures and I certainly trust that there is a time and a place for medications in our lives. Just not to the extent that we medicate ourselves in this country.

Here are my two cents on the subject of oils. In terms of our health, they help ease the symptoms that we experience. This equates them to medications in my book. Medications mask the symptoms, providing relief. They don’t fix problems, but they allow us to live comfortably or with the appearance of a healthier existence, think blood pressure medication, insulin, and other things that help people stay alive. Does going on insulin (not applicable to childhood diagnosis) or blood pressure medication “fix” the sugar or pressure regulation in your body? Or would diet, exercise, and addressing the why actually fix it? I’m speaking in general terms here, but I think you get my point.

The only way I am able to think about getting and maintaining a healthy body is following the way that I got here. After many failures with conventional Western medicine, I turned to functional medicine (my voodoo) and naturopathy. On my journey, I learned that we should only use whole food supplements to fuel and try to correct things that are missing from or are misfiring within our bodies. Whole food supplements are not the dead garbage that most of the population buys in the vitamin stores, but actual supplements that are made from food, herbs, and depending on the use, desiccated animal organs. Functional medicine gets to the root cause of the symptoms that we experience and can actually help correct, even retrain what is malfunctioning. I may have the same symptoms as my best friend, but our bodies are experiencing them because of completely different reasons. The supplements that we each would need to address and correct the issues will probably be very different. Individual treatment. I’m not going to say that this cures everything as that is way too strong of a word, but it comes as close as possible. And yes, some things have pretty much been eliminated from people’s lives or thrown into remission, including mine, but other things can be managed with supplements. I could babble on and on about this topic, but will save that for another time.

Aside from engaging in functional medicine, which included whole food supplements and homeopathics, NAET (allergy treatments), and BRT (body restoration technique) treatments, the deeper change had to do with my lifestyle – diet, exercise, drinking, smoking, the environment, and stress. We are a whole unit, a body, so why don’t we ever look at the bigger picture? Deep down, we can trace almost everything back to diet and exercise. (The environment has been playing a much larger role in our lives for the past few decades, but I will save that for another post.) I had already learned what foods work and don’t work in my body in the years before I started learning about naturopathy, but I didn’t necessarily know how or why my body reacted the ways that it did. I digress. Let’s get back to the oils.

Can oils help? I say yes. Emphatically! Things I have personally experienced and witnessed:

  • Deeper, more restful sleepHalf-Crunchy Mama
  • Little to no snoring (the Russian)
  • Relief from aches and pains (muscular)
  • Back pain relief
  • Anxiety gone
  • Calming atmosphere for the entire family
  • Less bloating
  • Increased digestive health
  • Clearer, healthier skin
  • Healthier hair
  • Insect bites disappear
  • Stronger immune system
  • Nicotine craving support
  • Increased energy and adrenal support
  • Allergies
  • Fighting colds and coughs
  • Safe and healthy cleaning in the house
  • Safe and healthy air purification and odor elimination
  • Hangover relief
  • Arthritis in pets

There are more, but that’s what I’ll share for now.

Do I ingest them? A few I do. I have found great results with bloating, cravings, and weight loss adding a few drops of grapefruit, lemon, and peppermint to my water. (I would only recommend ingesting Young Living oils as they are the purest available.) Those are the only ones that I personally have ingested, but I know a few people that have had amazing success with improving their gut health by ingesting others, like DiGize.

What do I love? I am obsessed with Joy. I huff this sh*t all day long. Okay, I’m not that bad, but some days it feels like it. It makes me happy and has really evened out my hormones…or at least it feels that way. The other one that I love is called Tranquil. I’ve been using it at night and I haven’t slept this good in a very long time.

Am I careful what I use with Sugar Bee? Of course I am, not only because of her age, but because she is so sensitive to everything around her. I almost always dilute them and only apply them to her feet as her skin is extremely sensitive. She loves them and has responded really well (future post). She will ask for her lavender for any bug bites and that is the only one that I don’t dilute. The huge, swollen bumps disappear before our eyes. I can’t debunk actual proof, as hard as I may want to. I was skeptical at first, even though my voodoo doc was helping guide me. It took a little time for me to get comfortable with them, and now here I am, spouting about what they can do.

Does the Russian use them? You bet he does. He has learned that all the crazy, crunchy crap that I do really does produce results. Lasting results. The proof is in the pudding as they say. Actually, I never knew anyone to actually say that outside of using it for a case like this, but whatever. Through the years, he has seen the dynamic changes in my body and how it operates, and this is no different. The results that he has personally had with some skin issues and his snoring alone has made him a supporter of this oil craze…that has been going on for decades in the real crunchy world. Other countries around the world have used essential oils to aid in treatments throughout history, and still do. Oils have been used for centuries, but to our society it just looks like another fad. It shouldn’t be this way.

Am I going to tell you to throw out all your medications, never go to a doctor, and only try to fix things with oils? Hell no. My daughter has a life-threatening allergy to pineapple. We actually have Benadryl in the house for the first time ever, but we MUST have it in the house, along with her Epi-pen. We are aiding the natural treatment of her other allergies using the oils and have been very pleased so far. Anything that can help!

If we can get away from all the pain medications that we take that make it even harder for our bodies to operate the way they are supposed to, I’m all for it. PanAway has helped me incredibly with my back issues and Deep relief is awesome for muscular things, including headaches and muscle aches from my workouts. This doesn’t mean that I’m never going to go to my back doctor again, but if I can save a little time and money without doing harm, finding relief when I need it, I’m game. I personally don’t take anything (unless I can’t move), but in general, we make our livers work so hard already without adding Tylenol, Advil, or whatever that has to get filtered through this important organ that we should jump at a form of natural relief. When you add in allergy medications, hormone replacements, anxiety and antidepressant medications, ADD/ADHD treatments…the list is endless…our livers get full of junk that make it weak, thus weakening many other systems in our bodies. We can look for other ways to support our bodies and help ourselves.

Will the oils help? Most likely. Will they fix the root cause? I don’t think they will. Some things they do and it’s obvious, like with Sugar Bee’s mosquito bites disappearing after applying lavender, a pimple clearing up with melrose or purification, warts and body tags leaving the body using Thieves and Frankincense. Most importantly, they can ease the symptoms of other aliments while you figure out the cause and find a way to naturally heal and help your body to thrive.

If we can get away from the barrage of harsh and toxic chemicals in our homes, stressing our respiratory systems, our brains, and our organs, then let’s do it. Bug sprays, household cleaners, scented candles, plug-in air fresheners, and so many other things that we don’t even realize are exposing us to chemicals on a daily basis, disrupting our endocrine and neurological systems.

I have had issues with household cleaners for years. It took me so long to realize why I would feel sick for several days after cleaning the house…weeks if I cleaned the oven. Thieves cleaner has been a gift from heaven for cleaning the floors, the kitchen, and my oven. I had to stop using the plug-in air freshener things when Sugar Bee came along. Her little body couldn’t handle them and what an improvement when we removed them from the house (not to mention the carpet in her room). We almost never use scented candles, despite how much I love the smells. Now that I have diffusers in the house, I don’t have a need for them. I can make my own scents to fill the house and they will have an added benefit (or 3 or 4 depending on what I’m diffusing) for us all. Even the pup! Peace and calming has been diffused every evening and now the witching hour in our house is all but gone. Bonus!

I would think that this society of instant gratification would love the oils right away because of how fast they work. I’m not exaggerating at all. I get relief in minutes, whether it’s emotional, physical, or physiological in nature. I have shared some of my experiences this far on my Facebook page and in one of my first posts the I have linked in a few places already, Snoring? Backache? Hangover? Allergies? Bug bites? My oil solutions (Part 1). Essential oils have the ability to cross the blood-brain barrier as they are made up of such tiny molecules. Relief comes fast. We love them.

Give them a try. What have you got to lose?


If you are interested in trying one or two, visit my store at https://www.youngliving.org/sraesid

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Ask me anything. I’m just here to help and share my knowledge.

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Snoring? Backache? Hangover? Allergies? Bug bites? My oil solutions (Part 1)

Essential oils are the newest addition to my natural lifestyle. In some of my posts, I will be sharing uses, recipes, success stories, and basically anything that will be a good resource for you. After these posts about my initial successes in my own personal life (I can’t control my excitement and MUST share NOW), I will spend time focusing more on each of the oils that I currently use to give you a sense of how much you can do with these little bottles of magic.

WhyYL (1)

Did you know it only takes 21 minutes for Young Living oils to reach every cell in your body? Talk about fast! This is serious competition for all the medications that you have in your house. One thing that I need to stress to you is that the essential oils that you choose must be 100% therapeutic grade in order to be effective and not cause any harm. The information I will be sharing on oils will only apply to Young Living Essential Oils as that is what I choose and know.

D. Gary Young started Young Living over 20 years ago. They are a world leader of essential oils. They own their own farms in Utah, Idaho, France, Ecuador, Peru and Oman. Their oils are exclusively used in over 50 hospitals in the US for treatments and complimentary care. The quality of these oils is above and beyond industry standards. The FDA classifies essential oils as a food additive, therefore, there are oils out in the market containing less than 3% essential oil, labeled as 100% pure. The Young Living Seed to Seal process ensures that the products you purchase from them are genuine oils, free of synthetic chemicals, and of unmatched purity. These oils are so pure that you can ingest them!

Enough about the reasons why I choose to use Young Living Essential Oils (YLEO), let’s move on to the good stuff! I had three MAJOR wins within a 4 hour period of time.

Snoring

The one I am most excited about is benefiting both the Russian and I. One of the YLEO blends is called Valor. It’s referred to as a chiropractor in a bottle, but that isn’t even the best use for it! For ten+ years, there has been a snoring issue in our bedroom (not it). I have never been a fantastic sleeper and if I wake up, it’s sometimes difficult for me to go right back to sleep. Especially if there is an incredibly loud rumbling coming from the body next to me. Sometimes I swear it’s like a train. So you can see how neither of us have been experiencing good quality, uninterrupted sleep (forget about the fact that we are parents)…me from the droning snore and him from my pushing him, rolling him over, waking him up to move, and just the waking up that occurs when you snore and have borderline apnoea.

Picture this: It’s 4:30 a.m. on July 5th. I had been drinking the night before (well it was the 4th of July), so I woke up at my usual time. 4:30 a.m. is when my liver and adrenals have dealt with the alcohol and I almost always have crappy sleep from that point on. And I never learn, but that’s not the point of this paragraph. So the Russian Express is running along side of me and it was among the loudest and worst that it had ever been. In his defense, he was still getting over a cold and was quite congested, but still! Oh. My. God it was loud!! I had been reading testimonials about putting Valor on the bottom of the feet, specifically the big toe area, and I knew one of my best friends, The Oil Girl, had used it on her husband with great success. I stumbled into the dining room where all my oils currently are, rummaged through the box to get the valor, and blindly applied it to the bottom of both of his big toes (and a little extra around the area for good measure) as I was still half asleep. Holy crap!! It WORKED! And I’m not talking in an hour. It was MINUTES!

Now, I’m half-crunchy so I believe in a lot of things that others don’t (and scoff at) and I embrace natural relief, therapies, medicine, etc., but even I had my doubts. Not anymore! And even the Russian believes this one!valor There was silence. It was better than silence. It was seriously the first time that I have ever heard him have peaceful sleep in more than ten years. I was so excited about it that I couldn’t fall back to sleep. There I was, just lying next to him, listening to him quietly breathe, taking the empty sound in. Then I thought of my dad and his girlfriend. I bet she is going to go buy a case of this stuff for my dad. This is magic in a bottle. For real. The Russian has used it every night since. I don’t even have to say anything.

Backache

Since I had been drinking the night before, my sciatica and hip were also keeping me up that morning. The pain was so bad that I could barely relax my leg, so there was little chance of me drifting back off (in addition to my excitement over the snoring cure). After about an hour, I remembered (still new to the oils) reading about Valor and the back. I decided it was worth a shot, especially after my huge win with the Russian snoring machine a short while ago. I got up and rubbed a few drops into my lower left side where my generally uncomfortable SI joint is, and by the time I got back into bed, I was feeling relief. What the Hell?!! Was this for real?!?! Why, yes; yes it was. I was not dreaming, although I wished I was since I was so tired, and the pain was decreasing by the minute. I fell back to sleep for the next hour and a half until I had to get up for work. Enter in my third win.

Hangover

Well, it was the morning after the 4th of July. And I never learn. You would think at my age that I would be past this behavior, but I’m pretty sure it’s a part of me for life. It is what it is. I awake from my final hour+ of sleep, thanks to some Valor on the back of my left hip, and I can tell it’s going to be a bit of a rough morning. Most people rejoice when the 4th falls on a Friday. For me, Saturdays are the only day of the week that I have to actually leave the house in a presentable manner. That is the day that I work my part-time job at a flight school. It’s the day I get to be me again; not mom, not wife, not maid, cook, accountant, dog keeper, etc., etc., etc. It’s just ME. So while I grumble some mornings that I have to get up, I do enjoy my Saturdays, even if they cramp my social life sometimes. What? Wait, I’m a mom. Whatever. I make my way to the bathroom and think, “Why did I do this. Again.”

hangoversmallI remembered reading something about using lemon and grapefruit to help with a hangover. I couldn’t remember and was in no shape to go do any research, so I went ahead and put about two drops of lemon on my fingers and rubbed the back of my neck. Then I took another two drops and rubbed it on my stomach over the general location of where my liver is. Then I repeated both steps with the grapefruit oil. In a matter of minutes, the brain fog cleared up and nearly all the things associated with a mild to moderate hangover were gone. I got ready for work, reapplied both oils a second time, and was on my merry way.

If you take baths, and have time for one, another option is to add a few drops of each oil to the bath and relax. Diffusing would also be a great idea and I was kind of inhaling them as I got ready since my hand still carried their scents. Where has this remedy been all my life? Ha! I don’t meant to imply that I’m hungover all the time, but things happen. Now that I’m a mom, it happens a lot less frequently, but I sure could have used this when I was in my 20s.

You could also use some lavender as it is a natural calmer for both the body and the mind. I didn’t try it, but maybe if there’s a next time.

 Two words of caution: You could/should probably dilute the oils or coat with the carrier oil of your choice. Direct application had no effect on me to cause concern, but if you have sensitive skin you may want to dilute. The other more important thing is that lemon and grapefruit can cause sensitivity to direct sunlight for 12 hours following application. I didn’t have any issues, but just be careful where and when you apply it to the skin.

When I started thinking about writing this section of the post, I decided to dig around and see what else might help with the morning flu. People have found that the high amount of antioxidants in Young Living’s Ningxia Red helps to ease symptoms. I woke up a little “slow” again yesterday and downed one of the 2-oz pouches of this stuff after applying only one round of oils and I was no longer operating in slow motion. I will definitely be bringing a bunch of these pouches on my trip to Charleston in two weeks for a bachelorette weekend (first trip away from my kid! eek!), along with the oils, of course.

There are many benefits from drinking this stuff, but here’s what I found out for this use. It’s recommended to drink 4-6 ounces of Ningxia Red before bed and 4-6 ounces upon waking to aid in recovery from abusing the body with alcohol. If it’s a really bad morning, continue to drink 2 ounces every two hours until you feel better. Again, where was this stuff when I was in college?? ningxia-red

Bug bites

If you follow The Half Crunchy Mama on Facebook, then you already saw this one since I couldn’t wait to finish writing this post to share the news. These are before and after pictures from last Thursday. Bugs love my Sugar Bee and she has such a bad reaction to them. The site of the bite spreads out into strange shapes of puffiness. She actually started scratching them that day after getting bit. That was the first time that she has shown discomfort from a bite. Of course if I had sprayed her with the bug spray I made she wouldn’t have been bit up in the first place. My bad.

This first collage are the bites before nap. I applied Young Living lavender essential oil and topped it with a diluted allergy trio mixture that I made with their lemon, peppermint, and lavender mixed together in franctionated coconut oil. I keep this handy in a roller bottle as I’ve been applying it almost daily to her for her crazy seasonal allergies. 10435927_250890581785291_6535451595347202282_n You can barely see the bite sites in this collage of pictures taken after nap, just two hours later. This stuff is amazing! 10488027_250890601785289_1722104004942372258_n The pictures don’t really to the reaction justice, but the fact that I had to look back at the pictures from before nap to make sure I was looking at the right places shows how well and fast they healed. This is so incredible and I’m thrilled to have completely natural relief for her. If I can get better about remembering (and carrying) the bug spray, then I shouldn’t need to use this very often.

I have so much more to share with you. This is just a snippet of what these amazing little bottles of oils can do. I felt that it was best to start off with my own personal success stories instead of sharing some of the amazing things that others have experienced.  After I post Part 2 of this, I will get to writing individual posts about one oil at a time to discuss all the things it can be used for. For now, it’s all about what I have witnessed with my own eyes.

Until next time.

If you would like to purchase any of the oils that I mentioned above, visit my store and order directly from there.

If you’re interested in Young Living Essential Oils, whether to browse or sign up as a distributor yourself to get the 24% discount on products, visit here to get started (My Sponsor/Enroller ID  1876381). You won’t be disappointed and you’ve got me to help guide you through it!


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The Half-Crunchy Mama’s Baba Ghanoush

Yay! A recipe post! I’m glad you’re back. Food always brings people back.

The Russian* and I are obsessed with eggplant. Seriously obsessed. My daughter, now almost three, has eaten eggplant since she could eat food that only needed to be mashed a little before swallowing. Her favorite recipe is what I call “Eggplant Ragu” and I will surely post that one as soon as I make it again so  I can write it down. When they are 10 for $10 at Kroger, we are eating eggplant in a variety of ways. I like to slice and grill it, marinate with other veggies for a variety of dishes (one of several ratatouille recipes, eggplant parm, eggplant lasagna, eggplant salads…all future postings), and of course, baba ghanoush. If I could figure out how to freeze eggplants, we would be set! Hmmm….might have to start researching and experimenting.

They way I like to cook is kind of like how I get my news. I read a few different sources and make my own decisions on how to move forward. My recipes are usually a little from this recipe, a little from another, and some other piece or two from yet a different one, all mixed together with my own knowledge of cooking and what tastes good and works together. After reading several different recipes, I decided that I had enough information to make my own. I must say the first batch was pretty damn fantastic. After half a dozen or so batches, they seem to only get better.

One “mistake” I apparently made was cutting the eggplant before roasting it. Sometimes I read a little too fast and miss an important item. Kind of like when I’m supposed to read directions or instructions for putting something together. Well, after my maiden batch, I was pretty sure that this is the best way to do it and that everyone else made the mistake by keeping the eggplant whole.

First, slice the eggplant in half lengthwise.

The Half-Crunchy Mama's Baba Ghanoush

Then oil up the cut side with some EVOO.

The Half-Crunchy Mama's Baba Ghanoush

Place it cut side down on a nonstick baking sheet.

The Half-Crunchy Mama's Baba Ghanoush

Bake it for about 25 minutes or so, depending upon how big it is (or they are if you are making a double batch). You want the eggplants to have some give when you push on the skins…usually anywhere between 20-30 minutes. They should look nice and golden and be pretty smushy. Perfect for going into the food processor.

The Half-Crunchy Mama's Baba Ghanoush

 Now you will want to let them cool off before scooping out the insides, unless you’re impatient (I don’t know anyone like that). In that case, you will need a towel or something to protect your hand. However, I suggest giving them at least a few minutes. That will give you time to set everything else up.

Get out your food processor. I have a small one and large one, but it’s almost easier to make it in two batches than drag the huge one out. And clean it.

You will also need EVOO, that’s extra-virgin olive oil for those of you that have never watched any of Rachael Ray‘s shows. Sadly, much to the disappointment of all of my chef friends, she’s the one that actually got me cooking and helped me to realize how much I love to cook. In addition to the olive oil, grab a lemon, a few cloves of garlic, tahini (I like this one and you can get it in most stores), pepper (preferably fresh ground), and Kosher or sea salt. Yep, that’s all that’s in it. Gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, paleo, whatever your eating preferences or restrictions are, you can eat this! Unless you’re just picky and are afraid to try delicious things to put in your belly.

The Half-Crunchy Mama's Baba Ghanoush

 Now for the fun part.

Hopefully the eggplant(s) are cooled off now. Scoop out the insides into the food processor with a spoon. Now, I’m not really one for measuring anything. I go with how I feel, so sometimes my measurements are estimates. Taste as you go, stick your finger in and taste, and then adjust accordingly. Salt is the biggest thing I have a hard time with and I often under salt my food. It’s better than putting too much in.

For a single eggplant batch, I usually add two cloves of garlic run through the press (even though it’s going to get blended, it helps to distribute better), a heaping tablespoon of tahini, 1/2 of a fresh squeezed lemon, 1-2 tablespoons of EVOO, 1/2-1 teaspoon of sea salt, and a few circles of the pepper grinder around the heap of ingredients waiting to be blended.

The Half-Crunchy Mama's Baba Ghanoush

 You don’t want to process it too much or it will get really runny. I like it to be thick enough to pick up a bunch on the end of a baby carrot, not having to scoop it up with a spoon because it slides off.

The Half-Crunchy Mama's Baba Ghanoush

 Hopefully you will get something that looks as beautiful as this when you are finished and have plated it…or put it in a plastic or glass container that can be sealed up. Store it in the refrigerator and enjoy for several days to come!

The Half-Crunchy Mama's Baba Ghanoush

 Remember, there are no preservatives, so enjoy it sooner rather than later. Clean and fresh food is best!

* This is the endearing term for my Moscow-born husband that will be regularly used when discussing anything to do with him in my posts.

The Half-Crunchy Mama’s Baba Ghanoush

These quantities are for a single batch. I usually double everything, so multiplying ingredients does not affect the taste as happens sometimes with recipes. For two or twenty, Baba away!

 INGREDIENTS:

1 Eggplant (FYI, to pick a proper eggplant, it should feel heavy for its size and give a little when you squeeze it)
2 Cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
1 Tbsp tahini
1/2 Fresh-squeezed lemon
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus some for oiling the eggplant before roasting
1/2-1 tsp kosher or sea salt, to taste (I have used both at different times, so this one is your choice)
Several turns of fresh ground pepper, to taste

 DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
2. Slice the eggplant in half lengthwise. Coat cut side with olive oil. Place cut-side down onto baking sheet and bake in oven for about 25 minutes. Total time could be anywhere between 20 and 30 minutes, depending upon size. The  eggplant is ready to be removed when there is lots of give when pressing on the skin with your finger. Allow to cool.
3. Once cooled, scoop insides of eggplant into food processor bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and blend until combined and the preferred consistency has been reached. (Be careful not to over-process or it will be like soup.)
4. Store in airtight container for up to a week in the refrigerator. Enjoy!


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Welcome! Here’s the story…

The name

I first learned about the term “crunchy” after giving birth to my daughter when a friend mentioned that I was “kind of crunchy.”  Once the term crunchy was explained to me, I decided that I am “half-crunchy.” I never realized how much I had changed while on the journey I have been on for the past 9+ years. I have strong feelings about natural health and medicine, fitness, healthy eating, GMOs, breastfeeding, my newest obsession with essential oils, and a variety of other somewhat hot topics. Reusable bags and recycling are big with me. I have a container garden. I don’t take medications unless absolutely necessary, and neither do my husband or daughter. But there are limits to my crunchiness. I didn’t use cloth diapers. Despite my obsession with reusable bags, I still use plastic bags from stores for some things (like the small garbage cans around the house). I don’t compost. I don’t own a hybrid or an electric car. In fact, I own an SUV and a car that is twelve years old. I don’t believe in every little thing that the rest of the crunchy world does, but I get it. My life revolves around my daughter, my husband, my dog, and my job, and I have learned that nothing runs smoothly if I’m not focused on taking care of myself. This includes standing up for what I believe in and helping to share my knowledge with as many people as possible.

The history

When I take a look back on my 38+ years of life, I see the many things that I have lived through/lived with/battled; and right now I’m just talking physiologically.

I had insomnia and was a sleepwalker as a kid. Back then, no one would have ever thought to look into those two things and see that perhaps something was wrong. I also ate lots of crackers…like half a box watching Saturday morning cartoons, and I loved bologna and American cheese. As processed as you can get! We didn’t know then what we know now about nutrition, especially when it comes to kids. (thank God I played sports.)

Then as a teen, I had acne (who didn’t) and ovarian cysts, resulting being put on different prescriptions for the acne, both pills and topicals, and birth control pills from the age of 16 until almost the age of 30. I was “diagnosed” with depression and put on zoloft for several years. I also had seasonal allergies and took prescriptions so often that I would build up an immunity to them and have to switch to a different one every 6-8 weeks.

In my mid-20s, I found out I had been carrying Lyme disease for so long that by the time it made itself visible in my body, several of my systems had been affected. My knees will never be the same after having such awful arthritis as a result of the evil spirochete (and let’s not even talk about all THOSE medications I had to take).

The topic of my back could be a post all on its own. All you need to know for now is that I have had back problems since the age of 13 and was put on….you guessed it…lots of different medications.over-medicated

See a theme here? Medications, medications, medications. This is such a problem in our lives, and at this point in my life, I just can’t stand it anymore. We have become a world that thrives on instant gratification. Something wrong? Take this pill and you will feel better fast. Oh, those side effects? Don’t worry about those little things. We will give you something else for the side effects. The commercials, and the fact that we even have commercials for medications, that go through an insane list of side effects make me nuts.

I was a result of over-medicating a broken body that already faced some mild genetic defects. Medications are a band-aid. They only treat the symptoms, not the cause. They don’t actually fix anything.

The journey

The best decision that I have ever made in my life was to move to the south. There are a ridiculous amount of reasons for that statement, but the journey to my present state of health and the people that have entered my life are the top reasons that I feel this way.

We moved here without jobs. After about a month, I landed one of the three part-time jobs that would get me though one of the toughest times of my life until landing my current career at IBM (ten years this month – woo-hoo!). I started helping out in the office of a naturopathic doctor, Debra MacIntyre (now Kviesis) at her place in Roswell, GA, Natural Health Solutions. That was where my natural health journey began. I won’t go into everything that I learned while working there, I’m sure I will share many of those things in future posts as they come up, but it completely changed my life and opened my eyes to this new world. One that existed in other cultures for centuries, far longer than this country has even been around.

Then I met Dr. Don Parkerson at the HP Spine Center in Smyrna, GA. I had seen chiropractors since I was a kid and can actually can say that I lived through the progression of the field. I started off with the back-cracking, neck-twisting kind, moved on to the “new” chiropractic electronic stimulation after a car accident (and those two docs I had in NY were awesome and did help alleviate my symptoms), and then I met Dr. Don after living here six months and experienced the worst back pain of my life. He’s not your ordinary chiropractor. He’s an orthospinologist which is like magic to me. There you are, barely able to walk in the door and in so much pain, he taps the top of your spine with this crazy looking contraption, and a few minutes later, you can stand up straight and feel a lot less pain. Amazing stuff that I will save for a future post.

Now on to the incredible woman that brought me the rest of the way, Dr. Tamera Firnbach at Balanced Body Wellness Centre in Kennesaw, GA. After many dead ends with conventional doctors, I figured I didn’t have anything else to lose. There I was in my late 20s, waking every night drenched in sweat, realizing that I never had a good night of sleep in my life, dragging my butt every afternoon to get through the day, eating like a bird, exercising like crazy, and still unable lose weight. Every doctor told me my test results were fine. Primary physician, gynecologist, endocrinologist. Oh, really? Yeah, I feel “fine.” Everyone lives like this, right? After going over my history, blood tests, and profile with Dr. Firnbach, I had a diagnosis – adrenal fatigue that was later confirmed with saliva testing. Not to mention I had a liver that was a piece of garbage. Years later, and there will be posts about things relating to this part of my journey, I’m in a much better place. I learned that the proper functioning of my liver is key and most of the physiological issues of my entire life, nearly all hormonal, can be traced back to that extremely important organ in my body. More to come on all this.

I now know that the knowledge exists to recognize, address, and fix all sorts of health problems through natural means. No drugs. No surgery. It takes time and patience to follow the natural path. A LOT of time and patience. And money. We only have one body and it’s worth the investment. We generally don’t take shortcuts when it comes to our teeth or our eyes, the philosophy being that we only have one set of teeth and one pair of eyes. Why not place the same priority on the rest of your body? My one regret is not keeping a journal through it all. What I have learned and seen for myself when watching others that follow my path has changed my life for the better. The tricky part is that now I can’t unlearn what I know. So now I’m half-crunchy.

The now

Moving forward with my blog, I will try to share things that I think you will be interested in, or better yet, that will help you. That is my real goal. I want to teach about things that I have learned and lived myself.

I will talk about raising my kid, and those of you who are parents will laugh with me, while those of you without kids will likely laugh at me. And I welcome that. Laughter is good for the soul.

I will share (and sometimes vent about) thought and ideas on a variety of topics relating to all the things I juggle on a daily basis; being a wife, being a mom, having a full-time career, running a household, trying to budget, having a dog…the list is endless some days.

I will finally start publishing some of my recipes. Watch for those, if nothing else. They will not disappoint. I take my food VERY seriously.

And there might be an occasional post about cars, motorcycles, sports, guns, aviation, or technology. I’m not your average girl.

Hopefully you made it to the end. Thanks for stopping by.

Until next time.