- Loving Yourself When You Take Care of Others
I have always admired those flexible women who are in such great shape and super healthy eaters. While I desire to eat & be healthy, my kids tend to be the driving factor in the reason it doesn't always happen like I hoped. My oldest boys are in school, and it's usually just me & my daughter throughout the day. You would think I would have all this free time and be flourishing with fulfilling every thing on my to do list and have extra time for my wishlist. That's 99.99% of the time not the case. I'm a working mom, and although my schedule is flexible and I can work virtually any hours I want when I can squeeze them in, I try to work as much as I can in every available minute. After all, bills have to get paid! But what about when I'm not working? I mean, we're a household of 5, keeping up with the laundry, dishes and cleaning alone is enough to tap me out (which is why I usually working through the night). So that's where my lack of nutrition and self care come in. I'm usually so exhausted in the morning that I'm barely getting the kids to school on time. Then when I walk in the door, all I want to do is sleep. So I snack on whatever leftovers the kids left on the table earlier that morning, then I try my hardest to convince my daughter to fall asleep so I can recover. Sometimes she's tired enough to go down for anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours, if I'm lucky. Then I try to lay down myself, but often get distracted by my phone (silly mobile games, social media, and sometimes work). Before I know it, the time flew by & my daughter's ready to play! In my therapy sessions, we've been talking a lot about taking care of myself. Sounds like such a foreign concept when society is constantly expecting moms to do everything! But, she's right. I can't take care of others if I'm not taking care of myself. So i think about it more, want it more, research it more... but months later, here I am still in the same cycle. Finally, I was done with being last. While, yes, it's important for my kids & husband to be first, it doesn't mean I have to be last. What I mean by that is that there are soooo many other things on my list that come after my kids that prevent me from being there for me. A lot of times, I really don't think of myself. I'm important. I'm valuable. I'm beautiful. I'm talented. I'm enough. It's OK to spend some time shopping, and I mean... for yourself! Not always what your kids want, or what your husband needs (but those are definitely important too). I mean, go down that aisle of women's clothing you so powerfully resist while grocery shopping. Take the time to do your makeup & hair in the morning, and do a face mask or your nails at night. Spend a few more minutes in the shower just breathing and relaxing. Go do that hobby or interest that you've been holding back from. For me, it's been yoga. I've been interested, even followed a couple Facebook groups and tried to follow some videos on YouTube & TV. But something always distracted me, or I had absolutely no motivation to actually do it. I haven't lost very much of my baby weight after my last daughter. I though for sure I'd be motivated now that we've decided we're done with kids. I mean, I get to take back body, how exciting! But no. It hasn't been like that at all. With all of life's busyness, and all of the many excuses I can so easily come up with, it's been postponed for a VERY long time. I finally decided, enough is enough. If I can't bring myself to do it at home, then I need to hold myself accountable someway. A while ago I had followed a local yoga studio. An event popped up for parents & kids yoga weekly classes that will be starting soon. Not only can I get my yoga in, but my daughter (or sons for that matter) can do it with me. Perfect opportunity!! Instead of just liking it, marking it as interested, I committed right then & there to do it. I signed up for the class & prepaid for it. My first class is coming up shortly & I'm prepping for it by shopping for everything I need to be ready. It's something so simple & we don't even do it. Commit to it, invest in it, and follow through. When you commit to it, you're setting that time aside specifically for that certain thing. So there's no excuse that I don't have time, I made time for it. By investing in something, we're now backing this up with real cash or items or whatever it may be, to actually do this. Otherwise, it'd be literally throwing dollars away. Nobody wants that! I want to get use out of what I'm investing in. Now here's the hardest part for most of us, follow through. But hopefully by committing and investing, it's easier to follow through. I've already marked it in my calendar. I've already paid for the class. Now I just have to get there and do it. So let's try to take better care of ourselves this year & every year. After all, we're worth it!
- Are probiotics the answer to my problems?
New year, new me? Maybe. I would love to be a whole new version of myself, but I understand that realistically it takes time. I am progressively making steps toward being everything I want to be, but they're small steps and... I'm ok with that. Like I mentioned before, I signed up and paid for my yoga class already (YAY!). Then to be progressive, I paid ahead for another week (woohoo). But the class hasn't started yet. So naturally I did some Amazon shopping and bought a yoga mat (I'm really invested!) But I also started looking into some other means of being "healthier". As much as I would love to be healthy, I feel like it's hard with kids. They want to eat macaroni and chicken nuggets and ice cream, etc... while I want sandwiches, salads, and smoothies with that green stuff they don't want to try. While searching for ways to incorporate healthier options in our families' lives, I discovered Cultures for Health. It's basically an all in one DIY base for all things cultured and fermented. Cultures, or probiotics, are live microorganisms (bacteria) that can be consumed through fermented foods or supplements. Many studies show that the balance (or imbalance) of bacteria in your digestive system is linked to overall health and disease. Probiotics have been linked to a wide range of health benefits. (Skim through the section below if you're not interested in all the science-y things it can do for your health and just read in bold for highlights.) 1. Decrease the severity and frequency of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. 2. Regulate the intestinal process to decrease diarrhea, by replenishing the "good bacteria". 3. Balance enzyme activity and speed up the process of digestion and excretion, soothing the uncomfortable affects of constipation. 4. Probiotics contain bacteria effective in lowering total and LDL (bad) cholesterol. Probiotic bacteria absorb fiber from the intestines and as a result, they generate propionic acid. This particular acid has the ability to reduce the production of cholesterol in the liver. 5. Improved mood with its strong connection between the gut and the brain. People who were suffering from certain mental health conditions, like sadness, were given probiotics and they showed signs of improvement and a reduction in negative thoughts. 6. Strengthen immune system. Can also regulate the number of antibodies present in the intestines. With autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s Disease, and ulcerative colitis, it can help regulate intestinal homeostasis, and even save your life. 7. Help produce weight loss and tackle belly fat. 8. Prevent and treat yeast infections, urinary tract infections and bacterial vaginosis, as well as the more common yeast vaginitis. 9. When the gut flora is in balance, the body is able to absorb nutrients and eliminate toxins. This helps prevent chronic inflammation, which causes acne and other skin problems. 10. Increase nutrient intake by encouraging the extraction of beneficial nutrients from the food we eat so none of it goes to waste. Higher levels of these nutrients can positively affect the body in many ways, including increased bone health and blood oxygenation, and improved memory. 11. Recent studies have shown a link between intestinal bacteria imbalance, the immune system, and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). 12. Less painful affects from lactose intolerance due to a strain of probiotics, which produce similar effects as lactase, and are able to break down and promote the digestion of lactose. Using probiotics does not eliminate the condition of lactose intolerance in individuals, but it can alleviate irritating and uncomfortable symptoms. What caught my attention about Cultures for Health is that they offer several starter kits to make your own versions of healthy and fresh fermented things like cheese, yogurt and kombucha. There were even VEGAN kits! It sounded kind of intimidating, but the more I browsed their website, the more confident I became. The starter kits give you every tool you need to start your fermentation journey. For example, in the Vegan Yogurt Starter Kit (this is the one I will be buying), comes with 1 thermometer, 1 cotton milk bag, 1 box of pectin, and 1 box of vegan yogurt starter culture for only $25.99. The only thing you need to supply is the pot & milk. And you can easily re-order what you need individually. Sounds hard, but it's really not! When you have a family like me, we avoid anything complicated, but trust me. I just watched the how-to video and almost laughed at how easy it was to make this. And once you have the kit, it'll be incredibly more affordable than buying the products you used to in the store. Not only that, but in my experience, there are very few selections for vegan yogurt. Now I'll be able to customize it with whatever flavor or type of sweetener I like (or none at all). It'll be a better, palatable, and more enjoyable taste for everyone (even little ones). And if you need more help, there's a large selection of articles in their "Getting Started" under "Learn More" area, and FAQ section. If you're still stuck, you can always call customer service. I believe in transparency and while this blog is not sponsored by Cultures for Health, I do earn a very small commission for any link clicks throughout this website that may result in purchases (please use my referral link if you do decide to buy). However, I would never partner with any company I don't 100% believe in, and here's why they earned my trust. It was created by parents who wanted to introduce the idea of eating REAL FOOD while working on sustainable living. With all the overly processed food in today's market, I completely relate. They are passionate about what they do, they believe in their products, and they care about you (not just your money). Not only is it easy, affordable, healthy and fresh, but you'll truly enjoy making your own creations. The best part, you're in control of everything!
- Tart Cherry, The Fruit You Didn't Know You Needed
I went "window shopping" in Natural Grocers the other day, in search of something new. Like I mentioned in a previous blog, I normally go straight to the health section and totally ignore the fact that there is an entire store available to me. I started to walk through every aisle with my husband & daughter (my older boys were in school), hoping to see something I might need that I never knew I could get. They had samples for Tart Cherry Concentrate by Stanton Orchards. The presenter asked us if we knew about the benefits of Tart Cherry, and I told her well yeah a little bit. To be honest, I was a little hesitant to try it just because of the name tart. Then she handed me a flier and boom. I was sold, and let me tell you why. What Is Tart Cherry? If you haven't heard of it before, this is actually different from a traditional juice. The most well-known type of tart cherry is the montmorency cherry—it’s the kind you get on top of your sundae or inside a cherry pie. They are a variety grown in the United States that have a slightly sour taste. Unlike sweet varieties that are typically eaten fresh, tart cherries are commonly enjoyed dried or as a concentrate. It comes in different forms such as liquid concentrate, capsules, softgels, powder, and gummies. When consumed as a juice, it is typically delivered in its pure concentrate form with no added sugar or additional additives. And yes, it is pretty tart in flavor as the name suggests, but not overly sour I'll admit. Benefits Ok so now that we know what it is, what does it do? Glad you asked! It has the richest anti-inflammatory content of any food. Full of immune boosting nutrients like vitamins A & C, quercetin, cyanidin, and anthocyanin. The most common anti-inflammatory drugs are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), with its many side effects. A study in 2004, published in the journal Behavioural Brain Research , found that along with reducing inflammation, it also reduced swelling. Multiple studies show confirmation of reduced pain with continued use. It's also been found to reduce uric acid levels. High concentrations of uric acid are known to cause gout attacks, which result in intense swelling and pain. Cherry juice also reduces a biomarker of inflammation called c-reactive protein. Another amazing study in England published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found that participants with early signs of hypertension (high blood pressure) saw a 7% reduction in blood pressure after drinking tart cherry concentrate when compared to drinking a fruit-flavored juice. The reduction was comparable to the level achieved by anti-hypertensive medication! Another study from 2009 and published in the Journal of Medicinal Food found that regular tart cherry consumption can decrease abdominal fat, while also reducing the risk of metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. Rids body of free radicals, absorbing and deactivating oxygen radicals and detoxifying cells to help prevent cancer. Tart cherry juice is loaded with cancer-fighting chemicals, including ellagic acid, limonene, perillyl alcohol, and anthocyanins. These chemicals are particularly useful against skin, lung, liver, and breast cancers. What I've known tart cherry juice for is supporting insomnia. It's rich in melatonin (a sleep-regulating phytochemical) and has been found to improve sleep. It helps to not only sleep longer, but reduce time spent awake in the night. Results suggested that tart cherry juice has an effect similar to insomnia supplements such as valerian. With results like these, minus all the horrible side effects, it's hard to not consider giving it a try. It can be used to help prevent certain conditions, eliminate existing ones, before a workout, or after workout recovery. It's easy to use, comes in multiple forms, and can be used as often or as little as desired. Plus as a natural fruit, it's safe for kids. You know what I'm buying next!
- Do essential oils really work?
What are they? Essential oils are concentrated, liquid extractions derived from a plant source through a process of distillation, expression, or solvent extraction. The oils capture the concentrated "essence" of the plant being extracted. Distillation is the most popular extraction method today because it can be used on most plants. There are several ways to perform the distillation process, though steam distillation is the most commonly used. In this process, steam is passed through the plant material with a gentle pressure. The essential oil is then released through the steam and flows through a condenser that’s waiting to collect the vapor. As it cools, a layer of oil forms and is then collected. Expression is another popular form of extraction, though it’s mostly used with citrus essential oils. Often called cold pressing, expression is a method of puncturing. The citrus rinds are placed into a container with spikes that puncture the peel so that the essential oils are released. Sometimes, the distillation and expression processes are too damaging to the plant to successfully remove the essential oils. In these cases, a chemical is combined with the plant to promote the release of the essential oil. The solvent is removed during the process of solvent extraction so that the end product is a pure essential oil. When did we start using them? Essential oils are increasingly becoming popular for their versatility, but they've been around for centuries. The use of botanicals as healing agents is a long-standing practice throughout human history. In fact, essential oils and other botanicals have been used in wellness practices as early as at least 5,000 years ago. In ancient medicine, these oils — which are made from the distilled extracts from plant flowers, leaves, bark, roots, resin and peels—were used in aromatherapy practices to treat many ailments and invigorate the body. From China to India and from Greece to Rome, many ancient cultures were masters of essential oils. Do they actually work? I find myself questioning this too sometimes. Is it all in my head? Is it just a fad that everyone is doing to be "natural" and they're not actually getting any results? Actually, in the late 1920s, French chemist René-Maurice Gattefossé used lavender oil to heal a burn on his hand, thus uncovering the science supporting aromatherapy. He then studied the properties of lavender to discover new ways he might be able to help wounded soldiers during World War I.Well lucky for us, many researchers have done the hard work of digging into them. Since then, many researchers have done the hard work for us to find out! Through advances in chemical testing, researchers have identified various molecules within essential oils, many of which are antioxidants. Essential oils can be absorbed through the skin or inhaled and have been clinically shown to influence our mental or physical states. For those wondering do essential oils really work, many essential oils, or components of them, are used today in household cleaning products, agriculture, perfumes or cosmetics. In the scientific community, there have been numerous clinical studies investigating the benefits of essential oils. These notable benefits stem from a range of the essential oil’s properties including antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer activity, antioxidant, insecticidal, stress-reducing, wound healing, and more. In fact, over the past few decades, many essential oils have been tested in laboratories against common ailments such as arthritis, headaches, acne, skin rashes, muscle pain, and infection, with positive results. How do they work? When essential oils are inhaled, the molecules reach the tip of the nose and then come in contact with the olfactory mucous membrane. Thousands of receptors in this membrane create a sensory stimulation that reaches the limbic portion of the brain via the olfactory nerve. This area controls the psychological and emotional responses in humans. From the limbic system, nerves reach other parts of the brain that regulate many body functions. A simple process of inhalation takes just a few seconds and therefore essential oils absorption is also quick.. The limbic system also plays a role in controlling several unconscious physiological functions, such as breathing, heart rate, and blood pressure. Essential oil absorption into the respiratory system is slower and the rate of diffusion in the bloodstream is also greater. This is because these oils that enter through the respiratory system are constantly moving through various exits.The combination of the right essential and carrier oils help the respiratory system by improving breathing, clearing lungs and better interchange of gases. Topically, oils applied to the skin, either diluted or applied in small directly, are absorbed by the skin into the blood. When essential oils enter the blood stream, they start a chemical reaction by reacting with enzymes and hormones. Essential oil absorption during massages takes place through the outermost horny layer of the epidermis. It then enters the sweat glands, hair follicles found in the upper dermis on to capillary circulation. Most essential oils are chiefly fat-soluble and partly water-soluble. This is why they are easily absorbed into the skin that is semi-permeable by simple diffusion. The sebaceous glands have an oily sebum that facilitates the dissolving of essential oils. They then pass into the dermis from where they are carried by the lymph glands and blood vessels to the bloodstream. You need essential oils! If all this fancy info didn't convince you to incorporate oils into your life (I am not all that smart on my own & did LOTS of research on this), I don't know what will! I was sold on oils long ago with just the basics: lavender, peppermint, eucalyptus, lemon, frankincense. But when I would see an oil at my Natural Grocers on sale, I just had to get it. Then when I did research, I found out how POWERFUL these tiny little things can be. That's how my collection grew to about 100 oils that I always keep around the house (and in my purse!). I only use about 10% of those for my business, then the rest are for personal use that I (and everyone else) truly use in my home. There are so many versatile uses and proven results. Not only do they work, but they are so much better for you and your family. Think of all the chemicals and pharmaceuticals you'll be replacing (again... not all medicine is bad, it's the OVERUSE of them). I use my oils for cleaning, air fresheners, diffusers in my house & car, personal inhalers, necklace diffusers, roll on bottles, massage oils, skin care, hair care, & so MUCH MORE. Not only are they benefiting you in some way, but they smell amazing too. There are even special blends made that are "safer" for kids. Really it's just the dilution rate that matters & avoiding irritating oils for little ones & pets. Because these oils are so potent & powerful, they should be used with caution and follow proper dilution methods. Many different dilution recommendations slightly differ but the overall rule is to use a carrier oil for topical or use & only a few drops in other uses, such as diffusing. So why not give them a try. There are so many out there with all kinds of benefits. I bet there's an oil out there for you! I offer Young Living essential oils as an independent distributor (Member 21059688), but I also believe that they are not the only quality oil out there. Yes they have been around a lot longer than most, and they do have SO MUCH knowledge about essential oils. They have really fine tuned their craft to some specialty blends, much like the Thieves essential oil that is so popular (and it's available for purchase by me, right here ;)). Another great source of quality oils also come from Edens Garden (if you click the link you can check them out). They offer affordable oils for people looking for 100% pure oils. Although I'm not authorized to sell them (no one is because they're a non-MLM comp, which means no middle man & more savings for you), I do really believe in them & that's why I'm mentioning them to you. And if you sign up & enroll for their Aroma Rewards program, you can earn "notes" towards free product (this program is FREE). And free shipping & returns, no minimum order required. Plant Therapy (click it to see what they've got) is my other go to for essential oils. Very similar to Edens Garden, they're also non-MLM and do often compete. They have similar prices on oils & offer weekly deals alike. I like to cross-reference between these two sites when I'm looking for a good deal. Sometimes one will have an essential oil that the other doesn't. Sometimes there's a sale on a certain item that I can get cheaper. Especially around the holidays! And if you sign up for their PT Perqs program, you can get $10 towards your first order through this link. This program is also free with free shipping on no minimum order as well. So try it! There's literally NO reason not to. I'm no medical expert or claim to be a type of specialist of any kind. I'm just a mom passionate about oils. I have done my own research from multiple sources and try to verify credibility as often as possible. As with anything, make sure to follow safe practices of essential oil use.
- Healthy Shopping on a Budget
So I've always been a fan of these "natural" health stores like Natural Grocers, Sprouts Farmers Market & sometimes Whole Foods Market. I am obsessed with their health aisles filled with vitamins & supplements. Until recently, I've always gone straight to the health section, or checked out some essential oils, then made my way out. I knew that stores like this have many other options, I just always chose to stick to what I'm used to (which is usually Walmart or the commissary), because I naturally assumed that prices there would be cheaper. Then the other day I went walking into a Sprouts in search of some herbs. Well because I had never been to this Sprouts, I was lost and ended up walking through the entire store! I was carrying my daughter over my shoulder since she had fallen asleep (and didn't want to wake her by putting her in the shopping cart), and here I am scrambling through the store. All these bins of "bulk essentials" caught my attention. [You can read more about bulk here & here]. While I've noticed them before, I never cared to think about it. What made me stop and look a little longer was when I noticed how low the price was listed on some items I know I normally pay more for. I later went on their website and even found out they do weekly deals just like traditional grocery store chains and have a whole section on how to save money! So I decided to do some research: At Sprouts, Steel cut oats, Rolled Oats & Quick Oats were all listed at $0.99/lb. 1 lb converts to 16 oz, and when calculated, the unit price is $0.062 per ounce. At Walmart, Quaker Oats Old Fashioned Oatmeal & Quick 1 - Minute Oatmeal were both listed at $2.36 for 18 oz. When calculated, the unit price is $0.131 per ounce. And their 42 oz sizes were listed at $3.98, making their unit price approximately $0.095 per ounce. While the store brand, Great Value Old Fashioned Oats and Quick Oats are both listed at $1.76 for 18 oz. When calculated, the unit price is $0.09777 per ounce. And the 42 oz sizes were listed at $2.46, making their unit price $0.585 per ounce. It's easy to do it too. Grab a bag (or bring your own you eco friendly pro), and tag it. Fill it with your favorite items with as much or little as you need. Write the code and voila! [Methods might slightly differ by store.] To be clear, this is only an example of prices at my local stores on this particular product at this particular time. Not everything from a Sprouts or other health foods store is going to beat a standard grocery chains prices. For example: At Sprouts, white long grain rice is listed at $1.29/lb. 1lb converts to 16 oz, and when calculated, the unit price is $0.08. At Walmart, Mahatma Long Grain Rice 1lb (16oz) is listed at $1.00.The unit price was $0.0625. Mahatma Long Grain Rice 5lbs (80 oz), was listed for $4.22. The unit price is close to $0.053. And the store brand, Great Value Long Grain Rice 1lb (16 oz) was only $0.64, making the unit price $0.04. The Great Value Long Grain Rice 5lbs (80 oz) was $2.24, making the unit price $0.028. So basically, not all health food stores are expensive. In fact, they can sometimes be cheaper than our usual store choice. This isn't just limited to their bulk selections. I've found that when you shop at the right time, you can get healthy produce and other selections for a competitive price! Whole Foods even has discounts for Amazon prime members that can be delivered straight to your door. And if you shopping online is your thing, you can filter by dietary preference. And because they hold high quality standards for EVERYTHING that comes into their store, you can feel good about what you're buying. So next time you're tempted to stick to the regular way of shopping, step out of your comfort zone & see for yourself! You never know what you might find. This post is in NO WAY sponsored by any affiliate or program. These findings are all on my own, and are simply shared by own research and love of health!
- What danger?
So technically, this is old news. But... most of us are still using those harmful products everyday. Why?! Is it because we hear it's bad but we don't know how? So then maybe we really don't care or think it won't affect us. Is it because we can't resist their ease of convenience and that pretty label and amazing smell! I hear you, I do, I have those same temptations. It's the scent of coconut that really captivates me. Then it's a lot of times so affordable. Ughhh it's so hard to resist. But then I remember why we went natural. These chemicals do serious harm. It may look & smell pretty, but it is NOT worth it in the end. In 2013, a lawsuit was launched against nearly 100 companies who used a synthetic form of coconut oil, known as Cocamide DEA, without the proper warning labels. It may look and act like the real thing, but it is not the same as pure coconut oil. According to Ron Robinson, a cosmetic chemist and hair-care specialist at Aviva, cocamide diethanolamine (or cocamide DEA) is a relatively common foaming or thickening agent used in cleansing products. "Cocamide DEA is used as an emulsifying agent to make products 'creamy' and is made by reacting the mixture of fatty acids from coconut oils with diethanolamine," Robinson explains. "DEA is an allergen that, in small doses,can create mild forms of dermatitis in individuals who are susceptible to skin allergies — but high doses of this chemical have been linked to potentially being carcinogenic to humans."* Well it was probably those washes I don't even use. My product is made by [Insert Name Here]. Maybe, maybe not. While yes, most of the products on that list did contain mostly store brands and dollar store brands, but there were some that even surprised me. As a graduate of Paul Mitchell the School, we were taught that our products were superior above all others because they were "salon-grade". We learned about chemicals in common drug store products and their harmful affects. I hate to say this, but they were on that list! So when my kids beg for that really cool superhero or princess wash, I have to remind them that even though it looks and smells like something they want, they definitely DO NOT. *Reference from Refinery29
- Who is Wolf Eminence?
Hey guys! If you haven't already read the about me section, I'm Julissa, the owner and operator of Wolf Eminence. I'm starting this blog to educate my customers (and all those interested) on the products I offer (and even ones I don't!), and just share holistic and alternative healing information for people who may want to learn more. The wolf is actually my family crest's animal and I chose it for my business name because they are an animal that is still wild and not domesticated. They live and rely solely on nature alone, and do not have access to pharmaceuticals or chemicals that have become the "norm" in human nature. I also really admire the fact that they are very family oriented beautiful creatures and come on... let's be honest, they're pretty cool! Eminence is defined as: recognized superiority, especially within a particular sphere or profession. So with my education in the cosmetology field and understanding cosmetics, along with my long-term passion for all-things-natural, naturally I felt like it really fit and was different from most "handcrafted" business names and really could be anything I want it to be! So what do I mean by holistic and alternative healing? Well, technically speaking, "holistic" refers to the complete treatment of a person. Specifically, holistic medicine tries to treat the "whole person" rather than focusing too narrowly on single symptoms. It emphasizes the connections between the mind and the body, avoids the overuse of drugs, and has borrowed such practices from Eastern traditions as acupuncture and yoga. In alternative healing, I'm honing in on the practices of usage of things from nature like essential oils, incense, safe & healthy detoxing, plant-based food options, etc. and how this all fits in to my life with a family... because let's face it, just because mom wants to be healthy doesn't mean dad & kids are onboard! That's right, if you remember from the about me section, I'm a mom of 3. Some people look at me out in the world and are glad they don't have any kids when they see me in action with all the madness. Others kindly compliment me with "you're so brave" (thank you by the way.. as much as I'm insulted, I'm also grateful you recognize the challenge). Yes I know, there are plenty of families who have more members in it than mine, more power to you! I have a taste of what you got, and you're so brave :). I have a 7 year old son, whom if you remember in the about me, had a really bad case of contact dermatitis that landed him in the hospital at 3 months old. He's doing so much better these days in managing his eczema and allergies. We've gotten him off the steroids and he's using everything I make, and loving it. Along with eczema, my son was also diagnosed with ADHD & anxiety, both coming from my family line (and yes I feel so guilty it all comes from me!). While we do use medication for his condition (I know what you're thinking.. she said "alternative healing" but hear me out), we also supplement with essential oils, which he carries in his backpack, among other things. Not all medicine is bad. My mom's a nurse, my step-mom's a nurse, my mother-in-law's a nurse, (but I could NEVER be a nurse... all that blood & needles yeghhh) so I've been around it for a while and have great resources to refer to! There are LOTS of arguments out there, but I truly do believe that medication can be good. It's the overuse of drugs that's bad. I have a 4 year old son, who also has mild eczema and mild allergies (we learned the first time how to get on top of it!). Other than that, totally healthy...so far (finger's crossed, right?). I have a 2 year old daughter (yes, finally I got my daughter I know!) who also has eczema. No allergies or anything else to worry about so far. Ok, now about me. This the first time I'm talking about it, but in this day in age it's much more widely accepted and embraced....... I have OCD & anxiety. I have it, it doesn't have me. I wasn't diagnosed until I was 27 years old (my poor husband), but now that I understand a part of my challenges all these years. I'm engaged in therapy and I, too, take medications. I also carry with me my life-saving oils. I have an essential oil roller with a brain combo for my scattered brain, a diffuser necklace which has an anxiety blend to keep me calm, and an inhaler which I use for different oils to get me through the day. Not to mention countless diffusers throughout my house and car. So while, yes, I'm on medication, I heavily rely on my oils on a day-to-day basis. And, oh yeah, I'm also on a plant-based diet, err... at least I'm trying to be (like I said, I'm a mom!). My husband, Julius (I know, I know, our names are so similar.... NO we didn't plan it, but thanks), is also a combat vet. He served in OIF/OEF, and is doing his own VA treatment, along with... you guessed it, oils! His story is his own, but I'm proud to be his wife and stand along-side his journey.