Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Let's Talk About Health...and OILS!!

So, over the course of the last year or so, I've been learning so much about healthy and wellness. This is one major reason why I love the information age -- I find tidbits of this and that on Pinterest, blogs, and even Facebook every day. I'm also connected to people I know who help me out.

For example, Dillon's cousin Lauren, whom I adore, recently turned me onto Young Living essential oils. I was honestly clueless about the oils until she started oiling, and raving about her results, so I started doing some research of my own and ended up buying a premium starter kit from YL. In this kit I got a diffuser - you put purified water and oils in and watch as your home is infused with aromatic goodness. I also got a bunch of literature and purchasing guides, along with samples of other YL products. The best part is the amazing assortment of starter oils I got.

Oils can be rubbed onto your skin, either directly or diluted with coconut oil. They can also be inhaled through the diffuser and some can be ingested.

I was going to write out my experience with each oil, but then I found this amazing picture which does it all for me in a very easy to access way. I've had direct experience with at least 2 benefits of every oil, if not all of them. The ones I personally use the most are Lavender and Peace & Calming (used before bed every night), Thieves (diffused every day), Stress Away (I'm full of anxiety...so yeah that's a no brainer), and Peppermint (go back to the anxiety thing...I get a lot of stomach aches).

These are just very brief explanations of the oils I've begun using. YL has at least 150 oils available on their website with descriptions of how to use them. I would urge you to also Google "essential oil for ____" and fill in a problem you are having. There are so many uses for these oils. I'm officially an 'oiler.'


In addition to my rave review of YL essential oils, I'm also rededicating myself to the Jillian Michael's detox and weight loss drink. It includes...
about 1/2 a regular pitcher of purified water. Adjust this to your heart's desire!
1 TBS 100% cranberry juice
2 TBS lemon juice
1 dandelion root tea bag, soaked in 8 oz of hot water

I've also been adding several drops of Lemon oil to my pitcher because during my research, I found out that it helps combat abnormal cell production. I have a problem with abnormal cell counts on my cervix and regularly undergo check ups, biopsies, and procedures to keep this in check.

The directions are to drink this, along with straight water, throughout the day and make a new pitcher each day. I found all of these ingredients at Kroger, including the dandelion tea. Oh, yeah, get ready to pee a lot.

My husband says he married a hippie because I'm getting immersed in holistic, natural, healthy methods of living and treating life's symptoms. I'm perfectly ok with this label.  While looking on Pinterest for art to go along with this paragraph, I almost died of happiness looking at much of the fashion and hair.

Speaking of which, I'm growing my hair out and need some insight on how to do this quickly. I already take biotin daily and I'm working on eating enough protein. I use a sulfate free biotin shampoo & conditioner alternated with a sulfate free shampoo and conditioner that is supposed to help grow my hair out long and strong. I've lost most of the curl in my hair as well, which is a bummer, but when I was younger, I always wanted straight hair, so I guess I will try it out for a while!

If you want to join me on this health journey, please let me know! And if you've already been on it, talk to me! I'm more than infatuated with learning about making myself healthy because due to all of my ongoing problems with anxiety and my non-stop life for the past few years, I'm in a BAD place. Big changes are coming, but that is a story for another day!


Sunday, March 16, 2014

My 4th Trimester Body

I think the female body is beautifully and wonderfully made. I honor my body. I'm so proud of what it has endured.

At the age of (almost) 21, I have enjoyed my first pregnancy, given birth in a painful ten hour labor after a totally regretted and unnecessary induction, been given an episiotomy and stitches, did not heal properly postpartum and underwent a dilation and curettage surgery to correct the infections that set in.

In pregnancy, I gained 30 pounds and over a few months postpartum I lost all of it. This doesn't mean that I look the same.

I have about a hundred stretch marks that give my belly, breasts, and thighs a different look and texture.

I have skin on my tummy that hasn't tightened back up.

I went from a B to a DD. And...I was introduced to gravity.

I BREASTFED MY SON FOR OVER 12 MONTHS! (I'm so incredibly proud of this accomplishment.)

I co-slept with my baby attached to my boob every night so that we could all get some sleep and he could get what he needed 24/7.

I carry my son every day. He was once a bitty baby; an almost 8-pounder. Now he weighs 25 pounds.
I'm a small woman (120 lbs, 5'3''), so while carrying him in his carseat or now on my hip...most of the time with a purse, diaper bag, and 5 grocery sacks draped here and there...I am overwhelmed. But my body pulls through for me every time. I've never dropped him.

I've been sicker in the past year and three months than I have in a long time before that. I've contracted stomach bugs, colds, flu's, and sinus infections. I've been in the ER once (which ended in surgery and an extended stay) and to Urgent Care twice to have an IV due to dehydration. I have had numerous painful cervical biopsies. The anxiety and depression I've lived with for years are threatening to take over.

But my body hasn't failed me yet. I push through. I prevail. I overcome.

For these reasons, I support The 4th Trimester Bodies Project, which promotes female body confidence in our "4th trimesters" (which may be a few months, or a lifetime). These are a few of my favorites from the project. Each woman has a story, which can be read on the page's Gallery. Oh and by the way, I'm going to pose for them one day.


I once looked in a mirror at my not so flat tummy, my stretch marks, the dark circles under my eyes, and thought...I am ugly. I am ruined. I didn't overcome that mentality by getting skinnier, by rubbing on oils and creams (that don't work, btw), or by covering my tired eyes with make up. I did these things...but they were not what changed me.

What changed me was reading raw, honest testimonials by mothers about their own struggles and their eventual body confidence. I was strengthened by the pictures of their tummies. I overcame because I didn't feel so alone. I received compliments on how well I was doing, how good I looked, and how much I was helping Roman by breastfeeding.

I love myself.

I love my body.

My husband loves me and my body.

My son is here, thriving, and vibrant because my body underwent change.

I could cry, I'm so excited to tell you ladies just how beautiful you are as well!

Take off your shirt, stand in front of the mirror, and say out loud, "I am beautiful. I love my body. My body is strong." Cry a little. Smile a lot. Love yourself and build yourself up.

Breastfeed in public. Change clothes in front of your girl friends without fear. Show off for your husband. Let your baby squish your tummy and tell him about how he used to live in there. He will look at you funny, and you will reminisce on those nights when he kicked and hiccuped...and you dreamed of what he would become.

My body is beautifully and wonderfully made, so to prove it. I will show it to you.

On the left is me at 18 on the beach in Italy. I got pregnant a few weeks before turning 19.

This is me 9 months pregnant with Roman.

Us, just a day or so postpartum. Notice I still look 6 months pregnant.

And this is me 15 months postpartum. My 4th trimester body.