The Half-Crunchy Mama

Trying to live a natural life with balance


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A few more successes: My oil solutions (Part 2)

I thought I would throw a few pictures together in here and share some of the successful blends that I have created in the past few months. These are what are currently working for my family and I, but you may or may not get the same results. Mostly because I am not a medical professional, naturopath, certified aromatherapist, or whatever. I’m just someone that has an understanding of what individual oils and blends can accomplish in the support that they can offer our bodies, as well as using a little muscle testing ūüôā

(This post is for informational purposes only.)

Each individual oil and blend can support a multitude of systems and address many different needs. Different people will benefit from different oils in different ways, much like traditional medicine where not every prescription works the same and fits every person the same way. I am only touching upon what each oil in my blend recipes are capable of. I suggest you dig around the interwebs for more information. It’s amazing all the different things they can help support!

Snoring support

The hottest thing I have recommended has been using Valor for snoring. This was my first big win with oils as I mentioned in my Snoring? Backache? Hangover? Allergies? Bug bites? My oil solutions (Part 1) post. We had run out of Valor for quite some time and had been using its “backup” of Highest Potential. While this didn’t have the same effect, it was better than nothing!

Then Valor was finally back in stock and when The Russian started using it again, it just didn’t seem to be working as well as it had. I mentioned this on one of the Facebook groups I belong to and someone suggested using Thyme for snoring. I added 6 drops of Thyme to the roller bottle with diluted Valor that he keeps on his nightstand and WOW, I could barely hear him breathing! I guess this is the heavy-duty formula for stubborn snoring ūüôā

The Half-Crunchy Mama's Snoring Support FormulaMy suggested formula is:

  • 20 drops of Valor
  • 6 drops of Thyme
  • Fill the rest of a 10ml (1/3 oz) roller bottle with fractionated coconut oil (FCO)
  • Apply to the bottoms of the big toes
Science time

Before I explain about why the specific oils in my next two blends likely tested, I want to share a bit of the chemistry. You will need to excuse me while I nerd out on you for a moment. (I love science.) This is a very base-level description of these constituents, but it’s important for me to explain that there is actual science behind using the oils – how and why the chemical constituents of each oil provide support. Yes, there is real science behind this oil craze. I’m only mentioning the oils that I have included in this post as examples below, but please feel free to research what other oils these constituents appear in. All of this information (and much more) can be found in the Reference Guide for Essential Oils, a.k.a., my bible (which is one of the freebies that you for becoming a member through me).

Sesquiterpenes are found in great abundance in essential oils and are antibacterial, highly anti-inflammatory, slightly antiseptic, and sedative. They are a major constituent in oils such as Cedarwood and Vetiver. They also play a (minor) role in the makeup of Bergamot, Cinnamon bark, Frankincense, and several of the oils that make up the R.C. blend.

Esters are calming, relaxing, and balancing. Bergamot and Lavender are high is esters.

Aldehydes are calming to emotions. Cinnamon bark oil is high in aldehydes.

Ketones stimulate cell regeneration, promote formation of tissue, and liquefy mucous, therefore helpful when there is dry asthma, colds, flu, or dry cough. Ketones are a major constituent in Peppermint oil.

Phenols are made up of the most powerful antibacterial, anti-infectious, and antiseptic constituents in the plant world. They are stimulating to the nervous and immune systems, contain high levels of oxygenating molecules, and have antioxidant properties. Because of their qualities, they can be irritating to the skin and should always be diluted. They are a major constituent in Thyme, Basil, Cinnamon bark, Peppermint, and many of the oils that make up the R.C. blend.

Cold and flu support

My next support formula to share with you has to do with the crud that seems to be everywhere this season. Some people get full-blown flu, others just get a cold with symptoms that linger for weeks. In November, The Russian came home from work and school full of gunk. He had been trying to fight it on his own (Russians can be slightly stubborn) and finally decided to ask me for assistance. In addition to some herbs, I tested him for a bunch of oils that would help support his body to fight whatever this was. It took him a close to a week to get cleared up since he had waited so long, but he didn’t have any of the lingering symptoms like the rest of the folks we know.

The real success with this blend came for Sugar Bee and I. We both woke up the day after Thanksgiving feeling pretty crummy. I felt like I was getting the flu, so I can only assume that she felt the same as she was complaining and boogery. I immediately started rubbing the blend on the back of my neck and on the bottoms of her feet (she’s three and this blend contains some hot oils), reapplying several times throughout the day, right up to bedtime. The next morning, I continued the applications for both of us, and by that afternoon (around 36 hours later), I felt great and she looked and acted a lot better! WHAT?! How could this be?!?! Yes, I had also beefed up some of our herbals and we have pretty good immune systems, but in all my years of natural healing, I have never experienced such a fast turnaround. There really is something to this oil thing.The Half-Crunchy Mama's Cold and Flu Support Formula

My suggested formula for my Cold and Flu Support Blend is:

  • 8 drops of Lemon
  • 10 drops of Thieves
  • 8 Peppermint
  • 10 R.C.
  • 6 drops of Cinnamon bark
  • 6 drops of Basil
  • Combine in 10ml (1/3 oz) roller bottle filled the rest of the way with FCO

Apply as often as you want to back of the neck or bottoms of the feet. With children, only apply to the bottoms of the feet. I applied to the Vita Flex points for lungs and sinuses, at the base of the little toes and off the sides of the balls of the feet. Here is a reference for you.

Why these oils? Just a few highlights as they pertain to this particular use:

  1. Lemon: Antioxidant and antiviral properties; French use for asthma, colds, fever reducer, throat infections, and red and white blood cell formation; stimulates digestive, immune and respiratory systems
  2. Thieves: Antibacterial, antiviral, anti-infectious, and strong antiseptic; stimulates immune system; contains Clove, Lemon, Cinnamon bark, Eucalyptus radiata, and Rosemary cineol
  3. Peppermint: Analgesic, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antispasmodic, and antiviral; French use for bronchitis, fever reducer, flu, headache, nausea, respiratory function, and throat infections; stimulates digestive, nervous, respiratory systems, muscles, bones, and skin
  4. R.C.: Antiviral, antibacterial, antiseptic, anti-infectious, anti-inflammatory, relaxing, balancing, and lymphatic decongestant; stimulates the respiratory system; contains Eucalyptus globulus, Myrtle, Pine, Marjoram, Eucalyptus radiata, Eucalyptus citriodora, Lavender, Cypress, Tsuga, and Peppermint
  5. Cinnamon bark: Antibacterial, anti-infectious, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antioxidant, antiseptic, antiviral, immune stimulant, purifier; historically used in nearly every prescription issued in ancient China; stimulates the immune system
  6. Basil: Antibacterial, anti-infectious, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiseptic, antispasmodic, antiviral, decongestant, restorative; historically used for respiratory problems, fevers, epidemics; stimulates the cardiovascular system, and muscles and bones

*Note: I mention the French and historical uses because they have been around and in use for way longer than people realize in this country, and the French are at the forefront with using essential oils for healthcare.

Calm Focus blend

Finally, I will share what I have named my Calm Focus Blend. A few weeks back, Sugar bee was testing for some oils that people have found helpful for helping children (and adults) focus better, handle their anxiety, and feel more relaxed (calm). Doc tested what oils for her and then I determined the rest of the ratio when I got home. The result was a calmer and more focused three year old. She’s not hyper or ADHD or anything like that, she’s just three. If you are a parent, you are well aware that most three year olds are complete a-holes a lot of the time. She has so much going on in her noggin that it can be overloading for her to take everything in, process it, and discuss it all. She is a very spirited child and I wouldn’t change a thing about her…except maybe her patience level with her own self….but that is a genetic thing. I own it.

Anyway, I did see quite an improvement in many areas for her, including patience with herself when dealing with a difficult task, less of a stammer (not really stuttering, but I think she has a hard time having her mouth keep up with her mind), less fresh mouth, and better sleeping at night, just to name a few. Calm Focus. Get it?

The Half-Crunchy Mama's Calm Focus Support FormulaSo here is my suggested formula for this Calm Focus Blend:

  • 6 drops of Cedarwood
  • 6 drops of Vetiver
  • 9 Lavender
  • 9 Frankincense (I used 5 drops of Frankincense and 4 drops of Frereana Frankincense)
  • 6 drops of Bergamot
  • Fill the rest of a 10ml (1/3 oz) roller bottle with FCO
  • Apply to the back of the neck at the base of the skull 1-3 times a day, or as needed

Why these oils? Just a few highlights as they pertain to this particular use:

  1. Cedarwood: Sedative; French use for calming anger, nervous tension, and overall calming; stimulates the nervous system
  2. Vetiver: Calming, grounding, sedative; Folklore – “oil of tranquility” in India; stimulates hormonal and nervous systems, and emotional balancing
  3. Lavender: Antidepressant, sedative; French use for insomnia; stimulates the nervous system and emotional balancing
  4. Frankincense: Antidepressant, sedative; French use for depression; stimulates the nervous system and emotional balancing
  5. Bergamot: Sedative and uplifting; French use for agitation, colic, depression, insomnia and stress; stimulates emotional balancing

The Half-Crunchy Mama - Young Living Distributor #1876381

If you are interested in starting your natural health and healing journey with essential oils, please allow me to be your guide. You can sign up here to get started with your starter kit and own discount on products. There is no monthly minimum to purchase anything (but great perks if you do by becoming an Essential Rewards member, earning points for free oils with every order!) and you will get some great freebies from me once you sign up, including the reference guide that I linked to above! I have a Facebook page, The Half-Crunchy Mama, where I share information on oils and a variety of other natural living topics. You can connect with me there and reach out with any questions you may have about your oils. I will be your support!

That’s all for now! Please reach out to me with any questions about these blends. Happy oiling!

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What’s the best thing you can do for your liver?

EAT¬†LIVER, of course! If you are like me and have a sluggish liver that ends up causing all sorts of issues from hormonal imbalances to very stubborn belly fat, it might be time for¬†you to give this organ meat a try. The initial response from most people is, “YUCK,” but I have realized that such a response is usually because they have never actually tried it.2014-12-21 18.52.52

I am fully aware that I am way more adventurous than a lot of people when it comes to trying new foods. In fact, I pretty much live for it. Traveling to new places means I get to experience new foods and dishes that I have never been exposed to. Kind of like my obsession with drinking at least one local beer for any city/state that I’m visiting, even though I can hardly tolerate the wheat in beer anymore {sigh}. If you want me to try something that I might not “want” to eat if i know what it is first, just don’t tell me. I prefer to try it first and then decide how I feel about it. Sweetbreads are one of my favorite things to order at a classy restaurant…also an organ that acts up on me occasionally. I’m so glad that my father encouraged me to order it for the first time a few years ago and that he didn’t tell me what it was until after my second bite when I proclaimed how delicious it was. Once I knew that I loved them, it didn’t matter at all.

Diets today are a hot mess, especially in this country. We lack so many things in our fast-food, over-processed, carbohydrate-laden lives. Similar to my opinion about the instant gratification we obsess over with medications, it seems like we are always looking for a quick meal. Quick can equal healthy, but most often it results in a meal that serves our bodies up very little actual nutrition. Everyone would benefit from more greens in their life, and I don’t mean lettuce. Real leafy greens, like kale, chard, and spinach. Many people are mineral deficient and have no idea, resulting in a myriad of stresses in their body that manifest in ways that conventional medicine often lets go undiagnosed. We are also vitamin deficient, and not in a way that taking some store-bought, garbage vitamin is going to fix (although there are now some of great products in places like The Vitamin Shoppe). Not only do we need to supplement our bodies with whole food supplements, we need to eat FOOD.

Before the Western diet turned into what it is today, people never wasted any part of the animal. Organs, bones and marrow, and of course every single piece of meat itself were used to stretch the budget. The Depression-era folks still used everything despite the shift in how Americans ate. Gram would make chicken livers (I admit at first I thought, “How gross!”…until I tried them) and her soups were made with broth from bones. These days everyone talks about bone broth and its healing properties and health benefits. This seems “new” to us, but I’m sure previous generations would laugh at this. There were no cans and boxes of broth back then, everyone made broth. And there were not all these GI problems, allergies, psychological disorders, etc., that we are now seeing connected to gut health. Bone broth repairs the gut. This is just one small reason why I can’t help but believe that it is our dietary changes that have caused so much dis-ease to surface and run rampantly throughout our population. Perhaps it’s not that these diseases never existed, but maybe that we have brought them all to the surface with our poor diet and lifestyle. They existed, but were rare. Now they are the norm.

Throughout my journey, my liver issues would rise to the top, and my liver still appears with regularity when having a nutrition check at my naturopath’s office. It’s a powerhouse organ that regulates so much of our bodies,¬†playing a major role in metabolism and having a number of functions in the body, including glycogen storage, storing vitamins (especially B12 and A) and minerals (including iron and zinc), decomposition of red blood cells, hormone production, detoxification, and breaking down insulin, hemoglobin and other hormones. If your liver is sluggish, your body can’t function properly.¬†Without a healthy liver, a person cannot survive. No one can live without one, unlike some other glands that people get surgically removed. Maybe it’s time to pay attention to it.

Some of the supplements that I have taken in the past to help support, clean, or heal my liver have been pretty pricey as they also often include desiccated liver pieces. If I’m having a bad flare of one thing or another, I might need more than one bottle over the course of a few weeks. I was looking to cut some of the cost of my supplement intake, so I discussed with Doc about what foods I could make sure that I’m regularly eating (or avoiding) in order to help my body out even more naturally than I already was. It was amazing how much adding liver into my diet became such a game changer. Not only was my supplement list getting smaller from visit to visit, everything was improving. I hadn’t seen my body respond like this since I first did the Liver Enhancement Diet. WIN!

As it turns out, The Russian is very good at cooking liver. He has made me dishes with both beef and chicken liver, but chicken liver is a lot easier to find and it’s also cheaper. He has made two dishes that taste just like Gram’s and I was in heaven. He has experimented with a few other ways, but his new favorite is making pate. This is the one I’m going to share first. It’s the easiest way to get some in your body since you can spread it on bread or crackers, dip raw veggies in it, or do whatever you want, and it’s so creamy. It is so much cheaper to make your own than to buy the premade stuff in the store and this has no preservatives or additives. It’s always best to try and make your own food so that you can control exactly what is in it. Here’s The Russian’s pate for you to try out. You can use either beef or chicken livers, but this particular post is about the chicken. And it’s delicious!

(He made this double batch for me last night as I have not been feeling as good the last few weeks as I had been for the past few months. We hadn’t been eating liver, so here’s hoping I feel back to my old self by the end of the day! For more reading about liver, google it and also check out these two links: Liver: nature’s most potent superfood¬†and Health Benefits of Eating Organ Meats)

Heat about 2-3 Tablespoons of EVOO (or whatever oil/lard/ghee) in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add two medium onions, halved and sliced, along with about a cup of shredded carrots. Cook for 7-9 minutes, stirring very frequently. You want them to soften and caramelize, but not get super brown or burn.

2014-12-21 19.21.33While the onions are cooking (or before if you’re like me and prep everything first), trim up the livers. According to The Russian, beef livers require a little more cleanup, but what’s important with the organ meat is to remove the ducts that connect the tissue. (Yes, it’s even gross for me to type that. There is a reason that The Russian is the only one that cooks the livers in our house!) You also will want to cut up any larger pieces so that they are around the same size for even cooking. That is a good habit to get into in case you want to try out any future liver recipes that I will post. Those recipes are not as forgiving with overcooking these delicate pieces of meat. (Note that you should be buying organic chicken liver whenever possible and always grass-fed beef liver.)

2014-12-21 19.08.36

Once the onions and carrots are finished, add the livers and cook until outsides are no longer shiny. Think about when you are cooking meat and you are browning the outside or making ground beef no longer pink. Same concept, just look for no more shiny parts.2014-12-21 19.25.40

 Next, add the spices and a cup of water. The spices consist of crushed bay leaves, coarse ground pepper, and some kosher salt. Stir and bring the mixture to a boil. Then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes. Once the 20 minutes is up, remove the lid and cook an additional 5 minutes over medium heat to let some of the liquid evaporate and allow the sauce to thicken.

2014-12-21 20.01.51

Remove from heat and let it cool to room temperature. Once cooled, pour the mixture into a food processor. Add about 3 Tablespoons of sliced, room temperature butter/ghee (we use Kerrygold) and blend until smooth.2014-12-21 21.13.39

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator, but eat it within a week. Remember, there are no preservatives!


Chicken Liver Pate

You can use this recipe with any kind of animal liver; beef, goose, or chicken. We purchase chicken most often as it is easier to find and more economical. You can easily cut this in half or double it. The yield from this recipe is about three cups of pate. Make your liver happy!

INGREDIENTS

  • 2-3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (or oil of choice)
  • 2 medium onions, halved and sliced
  • 1 cup of shredded carrots or 1 – 2 carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 2 lbs of organic chicken livers (2-16 oz containers), ducts removed and large pieces divided
  • 1 tsp crushed bay leaves (or one bay leaf)
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp coarse ground fresh pepper (to taste)
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp kosher salt (to taste)
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 Tbsp Kerrygold butter (or ghee)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and carrots and saute until soft and slightly caramelized, but not browned, about 7-10 minutes.
  2. Add livers to vegetables and cook until no longer red and shiny.
  3. Add the bay leaves, salt, pepper, and water, stirring to combine. Bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes.
  5. Remove lid and raise heat up to medium, cooking for an additional 5 minutes until some of the liquid evaporates and the remaining liquid thickens.
  6. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
  7. Once cooled, place mixture in food processor. Add butter and blend until smooth.
  8. Place in airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to a week. Enjoy!


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Cinnamon and Spice Sweet Potato Chips

I have two very good friends of mine that have embarked on their own healing journey after (finally) listening to me and going¬†to my naturopath. ¬†I have some stubborn friends…that I love to death..and their stubbornness is working in their favor. My voodoo doc is really so incredible and I’m beyond thankful for all she has done for me and my family, and now I have been witnessing theCinnamon and Spice Sweet Potato Chips | The Half-Crunchy Mama transformation within these two fantastic and important women in my life.

Their journeys are very different from mine, yet I have tried to give them all the support that I can. My journey was difficult for very different reasons and I didn’t have anyone aside from The Russian (who thought I was even crazier for a bit) and my mom who was all the way back in New York to lean on for support and understanding. I hope that I have helped raise these women up to¬†meet their challenges as they are both very dear to my heart. For some, the natural path can be extremely difficult to walk. Especially when there are serious things to deal with.

Even though I have dietary things to follow (and¬†I’ve been slacking lately and feel like crap), nothing compares to what these two have been dealing with. Interestingly enough, they¬†are ridiculously similar in the way they need to eat, probably for the rest of their lives. I’m used to eating and making strange things for meals and snacks, so I always look forward to getting together with either of their families because with all of our dietary restrictions, we all eat the same way and there are no stupid questions asked like, “What are you eating these days?” or “Why can’t you eat (insert whatever)?” when trying to plan the menu and who is bringing what. No embarrassment, no feelings of needing to explain ourselves, just feelings of acceptance and a level of comfort that puts us all at ease.

So the reason for my post. These two can’t eat much these days. One of them is a lot farther along in her healing and has started adding some foods back in, but there are lots of things that will probably never re-enter her diet. And for my other friend…what a trooper she is trying to be. She keeps testing the limits of her “new” body, but finds out rather quickly that she needs to cut the crap out and find other ways to fulfill her cravings. This is where I come in. Or at least I’m hoping to.

Cinnamon and Spice Sweet Potato Chips | The Half-Crunchy Mama

This past May, my gym had a contest going called “The Biggest Mover.” It was to see who attended the most classes for a month or something, I really don’t remember the rules, but all you had to do was have your instructor initial a paper and then you drop it in a box on the way out. Sure, why not? The first week (I think it ran for 6 weeks), I won that week’s prize. I think that was a random drawing, but I won a nifty gym bag that I have been using since.

I ended up winning the whole damn thing and my prize was the basket in this picture. I was actually pretty excited about it. The loot was 4 cans of coconut water (I don’t like plain ones, but whatever), a bag of goji berries, a bag of golden berries, a bag of shelled hemp seeds, a bag of chia seeds, and a great little cookbook. I have been playing around with the recipes when I have time, and have been hopeful to give my friend some snacking ideas. This one was a big hit with my other friend’s family, and mine.

So I thought she could eat sweet potatoes, but as I was writing this, she tells me she’s going to try and pull them. WTH? I’m putting this out there for her and all my Paleo folks as they are allowed sweets, as I like to call them. I literally told her in our Facebook message, “Maybe with the spices and chia seeds, you can handle them as those additions should handle the inflammation that it casuses. Just my uneducated-i’m-not-a-doctor-but-know-some-things opinion.” Then she reminded me that she can’t do ANY seeds. BULLSH#T! So of course she will leave them out, as will any of you that need to follow the AIP (Autoimmune Protocol for anyone that doesn’t know what that means) diet. Regardless of her leaving them out, at least she can quickly and easily make a potato chip that will satisfy both the need for sweet and salty, with a crunch!

There are a few other recipes from this book that I will be sharing as I work through the book and tweak ones¬†as I see fit. One in particular has been a BIG hit with my other friend’s family and my own, and another I have fixed up a little to be easier to work with and enjoy. Stay tuned for more tasty recipes that can be traced back to this book.

Why chia seeds? Rich in fiber, omega-3s, antioxidants, and amino acids, and almost all the carbs in them count as fiber.

A 1 ounce (28 grams) serving of chia seeds contains:

  • Fiber: 11 grams.
  • Protein: 4 grams.
  • Fat: 9 grams (5 of which are Omega-3s).
  • Calcium: 18% of the RDA.
  • Manganese: 30% of the RDA.
  • Magnesium: 30% of the RDA.
  • Phosphorus: 27% of the RDA.
  • They also contain a decent amount of Zinc, Vitamin B3 (Niacin), Potassium, Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) and Vitamin B2.

Chia can aid in weight loss¬†as they can help reduce food cravings¬†by preventing some of the food that you eat from getting absorbed into your system. This blockage of calorie absorption makes them a great diet helper. They can help you¬†feel fuller faster¬†because they absorb 10 times their weight in water, forming a bulky gel. They are often used as¬†hydration for athletes because the “chia gel” can hydrate the body. They may reduce your blood pressure¬†as evidence has suggested that they can reduce blood pressure. They are rich in¬†Omega-3s, and¬†are the richest plant source of Omega-3 (the vital fats that protect against¬†inflammation‚ÄĒsuch as arthritis‚ÄĒand heart disease). In fact, they contain more Omega-3 than salmon! They can also be beneficial for diabetics¬†because chia seeds slow down how fast our bodies convert carbohydrates into simple sugars, and studies indicate they can control blood sugar,¬†leading scientists to believe chia seeds may have great benefits for diabetics. And they are easier to digest than flax seeds, and don’t need to be ground up. Give them a try! Add them to yogurt, smoothies, baked goods, anything that you can think of. They are annoying and a pain to clean up (not to mention they can hang out in your teeth – pet peeve!), but they are worth it!


Cinnamon and Spice Sweet Potato Chips

This is a great sweet and slightly salty, crunchy treat to replace store-bought potato chips. I go a little overboard on the spice quantities because we like flavor in this house. Figure out how spicy you want to make them. These are cheap, fast, and easy to make, and barely make it through the day in our house!

INGREDIENTS
  • 3 medium sweet potatoes (about 1 lb)
  • 3 Tbsp EVOO
  • 2 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 1-2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • Few pinches of sea salt
DIRECTIONS
  1. Preheat oven to 300¬ļF.
  2. Peel the potatoes and slice into paper-thin disks, or however thin you can get them. A mandoline would probably be best for this. (I had success using the flat blade from my spiralizer after using a hand-held mandoline slicer last time that made the chips a little too thick and chewy.)
  3. In a large bowl, coat the potato disks with the EVOO and chia seeds. In a small bowl, combine all the spices.
  4. Spread the chips out in a single layer on a rimmed cookie sheet(s) and sprinkle the seasoning over them, and then sprinkle with salt.
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes until crisp, flipping about halfway through. (I seem to end up baking between 30-35 minutes, so the time depends on your oven and how thick they end up being.)
  6. Store in an airtight container, if you don’t eat them all before nightfall. Enjoy!

Cinnamon and Spice Sweet Potato Chips | The Half-Crunchy Mama


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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!