Top 7 Tips to Optimize Your Sleep

Ok, so, have you ever had trouble falling asleep or staying asleep? Who hasn't right!?  Especially parents...we are always listening for that call in the middle of the night, especially when little ones are sick. And sleep in, nope, not when you have kids! That is a luxury of the past for this mamma!

But what I have found is that I feel so much healthier when I go to bed early and get up early! It just seems to work for me, or maybe I just tell myself that since I don't have a choice! LOL! My favorite time of day, actually is early morning when I get up to a quiet house and have a little me time to get ready for the day before the whole house is hopping! I find that to be so essential for me and I even do a little stretching/gentle yoga and meditation during this quiet time! It seems to set my mood and outlook for the day to be nice and calm!

According to Ayuveda, an ancient system of medicine, to balance the body it is best to go to sleep before 10 and rise by 6 or so! So maybe I'm on to something and not just imagining feeling better following this schedule!

But what else can we do to actually sleep at night and not just stare at the ceiling and watch the hours tick by? Well, everyone knows the basics of not exercising too close to bedtime and avoiding heavy meals, alcohol and caffeine too close to going to sleep. So, what other tricks do I use? Well, here's what I have learned, mostly through trial and error and lots of research.  I bet some of this will be COMPLETELY new info for you!

My top tips that I use to sleep soundly and all night: 

1. Light Regulation

I have found that it is essential for me to regulate when I am exposed to light and the kind of light too! I try to get lots of bright light and (if possible) sunshine first thing in the morning and throughout the day. This helps to set my "internal master clock" for being awake and alert during the day.  Just as important, I try to limit my exposure to not only bright lights within 2 hours of going to bed, but to blue light.  Blue light is emitted from light bulbs and especially devices like my TV, smart phone, tablet and computer.  It is best to avoid all screens within 2 hours of going to sleep. But if this is not possible, then the next best thing is to get a pair of blue light blocking glasses (here's a great brand) and wear them at night, especially if you are watching TV or scrolling on Facebook! You can even download this free app: flux onto your computer which actually adjusts the blue light emitted by your computer based on the time of day (so less at night and more during the day!)! It's pretty cool, check it out! 

Here's a pic of my cuties wearing their blue light blocking glasses before bed:

Another key is to have your bedroom ABSOLUTELY pitch black! Now to be honest, I didn't buy into this at first, but I figured I'd try it! So, I removed all sources of light from my bedroom, including covering all lights on alarm clocks. I also purchased room darkening shades.  When travelling, I use an inexpensive sleep mask since I can't exactly bring along my shades! Well, let me be totally honest...despite my skepticism at first, making these small, simple changes made a BIG impact on how well I slept! Darkness really is key!

2. Minimize your EMF exposure, especially at night

What is EMF? It's electromagnetic frequency that you are exposed to constantly with all the Wi-Fi and smart devices in our environment. But did you know that EMF can affect your sleep? That is why I deemed our bedroom an EMF free zone! How did I do that you ask...quite simply! First, I made a rule that no smart devices are allowed in the bedroom while we are sleeping. So that means we unplug our smart TV, we turn off the WiFi and turn off all cell phones.  We also charge phones OUTSIDE the bedroom. So many people use their phones as clocks or alarm clocks (I did) but it is soooo much better for your sleep and overall health to turn off the phone at night and use an old fashion alarm clock or better yet...wake naturally and refreshed with these tips! :)

Secondly, I invested in some EMF protection! Bet you didn't even know that was a thing! Don't worry, I didn't either until recently! I purchased simple little circular stick on "chips" that I put on my phone, iPad and iPod that block the radiation going into your body! They don't interfere with reception at all and they definitely work! I even tried to open my car with my remote key chain and if the chip is in the way, it won't unlock! That was proof enough for me! So, if you insist on putting your phone in your room at night, at least put this little sticker on there to protect you. You can get one here: Life Energy Designs

I also purchased their device that provides a HUGE protective field for pretty much your whole house (same company here's their page on the little triangle).  It is a little triangle that I keep near our router and computer. I even move it to the bedroom at night to not only block the harmful EMF, but it also claims to balance the energy. I feel like I sleep better with it in the room! It travels so easily too! Some of these little hacks really make a big difference, especially when combined!

P.e.bal

3. Blood Sugar Regulation

This one proved to really be key for me.  Sometimes I would wake up in the middle of the night and not know why, only to then hear my stomach growling! I have a very fast metabolism, therefore I have to eat a balanced dinner with a decent amount of healthy carbs, protein and healthy fats so I don't have a blood sugar dip in the middle of the night! I also avoid any sugar too close to bedtime. This is especially important for my kiddos! Not only will the sugar rush prevent them from falling asleep easily, but then when their sugar crashes in the middle of the night, they will again be awakened.  So, if you must have a snack at night time, make sure it doesn't contain sugar or sugar spiking ingredients.  A cup of soothing tea like Lemon Balm is a great choice and if you need a little food, cherries can promote sleep! You can even make non-caffeinated herbal tea and put a drop of Cinnamon Vitality Oil or Slique Oil, both help to support blood sugar regulation!

4. Essential Oils and a relaxing routine

Another HUGE needle mover for me was adding in a pre-bedtime relaxing routine with Young Living Essential Oils. I add a drop of Frankincense to my nighttime moisturizer for a soothing and grounding effect.  If I shower at night I also use some Lavender Bath bombs (let me know if you'd like my recipe!) or just a drop of Lavender in my shampoo or body wash.  I also LOVE, LOVE, LOVE my DIFFUSER! I usually opt for Lavender and Cedarwood (2 or 3 drops of each) in my Dew Drop Diffuser.  For those of you who are oil newbies, a diffuser is a specially designed for essential oils and it safely and effectively disperses the aroma into the air and you get all the health benefits of the essential oils simply by sleeping in the same room as your diffuser! This works wonders for my kids too! They actually ask for their diffusers and they know which oils help them most! For my son, he prefers Peace & Calming and my daughter loves StressAway, which is a blend that contains Lavender, Cedarwood along with Vanilla, Lime, Ocotea and Copaiba.) 

Home Diffuser - Dew Drop Design

5. Cool bedroom

I'm sure this is a more commonly known tip, but I am always cold, so I didn't really think this would work for me. But, the key is to not make it too cool.  Optimal temps (at least for me) seem to be between 65-68 degrees! Turn down your thermostat and you may sleep a little sounder AND save a few bucks on your utility bills! For some putting Peppermint Essential Oil on their feet prior to bed helps them cool down, breathe clearly and relax. But experiment because for some, Peppermint is too stimulating at night!

6. Supplement wisely 

Ok, so this one is probably one you haven't thought of! I found that certain supplements, especially when I take them before bed, really support my sleep! One is magnesium.  I take a powdered chelated magnesium prior to going to sleep and it definitely has helped me get a great night sleep! Most of us are deficient in magnesium anyway (you may want to have a blood test to see your status) and magnesium is known to calm and relax the body and muscles, so taking it at bedtime is a win, win! 

Another issue to consider is not a well-known one and is called ammonia toxicity. Yup, I told ya I would share some tips with you that you have never heard of!!! Ammonia toxicity is a complicated situation that occurs when the body cannot clear the ammonia out that is produced from protein metabolism in the body. High levels of stress cause high ammonia levels. I have found that taking an amino acid called L-Ornithine before bed helps to reduce the ammonia levels in my body when I feel I am under stress. Helps me sleep all night and fall asleep easily as well.

7. What organ is under stress

Ok one last one for you and again, this may be a new concept for you! Did you know that all our internal organs have their own clock? If you consistently wake at a certain time each night, it can be an indication that a particular organ needs a little support! For example, I was waking every night between 3 and 5 AM for a while.  I had no idea why but I learned that is the "lung time." So, I put on some Eucalyptus Essential Oil on prior to bed for a few nights and poof...no more night waking during those hours! You can check out a past blog of mine that I wrote a bit more about the time for each organ! If you need help figuring out foods or essential oils to support your organ of concern, I'd be honored to help you learn more! I have had a lot of personal experience with this, especially with waking from 1-3 AM!

I hope these tips helped you and were different than the typical sleep recommendations we already are well aware of! I wanted you to learn some lesser known issues that can be greatly interrupting the quality of your sleep! So, I hope you implement some things that help you or your children! Share with me what worked or maybe you have a tip that I didn't mention! I'd love to hear from you! Reach out: Contact me even if it's just to say hi!

Sweet dreams!

sources: https://www.curejoy.com/content/best-time-to-sleep...

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive...

http://drjockers.com/15-tips-for-better-sleep/

http://www.naturalnews.com/048326_ammonia_metaboli...

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My 5 Favorite Essential Oils to Support Oral Health

I didn't realize how much our oral health effects our overall health until I started doing some research. So, this was my next "rabbit hole" I explored on my quest to get to the bottom of my health issues! As you know from my previous blog post, I started by flipping over my toothpaste and sure enough, there was a poison warning. Why would I want to put something in my mouth or worse, my children's mouths', twice a day that contained poisons....right there on the label....POISONS! Suddenly my tried and true whitening toothpaste was nothing to smile about. Read that post here if you missed it: top 5 chemicals to avoid in our personal care products

What's a Mom to do? Research, research, research and of course Young Living to the rescue, ONCE AGAIN! Their oral care line is not only all natural, with no poison warning or toxic chemicals, but they instead contain essential oils to actually SUPPORT oral health! Phew...one less toxic product in our home and they even make a kids' toothpaste! Here's some info for you so you too can learn why I love these products so much and trust them for my family:

I even now use their dental floss! Did you know that conventional dental floss contains a non-stick chemical that helps it slide easier-a chemical also in Teflon pans...yup, you put that in your MOUTH! Yikes! Even worse, a recent study by Emory University Rollins School of Public Health shows that this chemical is linked to thyroid disease.  WHAT?  You think you are doing a good thing by flossing and really you can be putting a harmful chemical into your body that may contribute to thyroid issues...now who nowadays doesn't have issues with their thyroid..I know I do and so do female members of my family! YIKES.  See how these chemicals are hidden in things we use every day and see how they can unknowingly harm our health? Don't be scared, be empowered and make better choices for the products you and your family use! I am sure glad I learned this! Knowledge is power!! :)

Well, the next thing I stumbled upon for amazing oral health is oil pulling! Every heard of it or tried it? It's really simple to do, yet HIGHLY effective at supporting oral health and helping to get icky stuff out of your teeth, mouth and body! See, toxins accumulate and are stored in our gums, leading to gum disease, body wide inflammation and disease. In fact, 66% of adults over the age of 30 have some form of active gum disease and 60% of 15 year olds have gum disease! Since the mouth is an integral part of the body, gum disease can cause body wide inflammation, immune problems, pregnancy complications, cardiovascular disease and even cancer...so this is what opened my eyes to understand how important oral health is! So, the more toxins you can remove from your body and mouth, the better off you will be! That's where oil pulling comes in!

Read about the specifics below, but I have found that adding a drop of Young Living Vitality Essential Oil kicks things up a notch! Just 1 drop of the essential oil is all you need, as they are extremely concentrated and potent! My favorite oils to use are below and I always rotate which oil I use so my body doesn't get too use to one oil...like to keep my cells guessing!! 

So, what exactly do these essential oils do for our oral health? Well, first off, they help to support the body's inflammatory response. Any time we can help the body lower inflammation, we are helping the body heal itself and protect itself from poor health. Secondly, the essential oils support a healthy immune response.  This is so key because we need a strong immune system to help deal with the bacteria in our mouths and gums! Plus, anytime you are using an essential oil, it is one less chemical you are being exposed to. We want to reduce our toxin exposure as much as possible so we can give our bodies and mouths a chance to be healthy!

Here are some specific ways each of my 5 favorite essential oils for oral health can support your healthy mouth:

Want white teeth? Everyone stops me and asks how I keep my teeth so white...OK, I'll let you in on my secret: I use a drop of Orange Vitality or Lemon Vitality Essential Oil (again, switch it up once and a while) to naturally support my pearly whites!! That's it...simple right, and no whitening procedures/strips/chemicals! Best part, one bottle of the Orange Vitality Oil is only $6! That gives you 100 days of whitening power! And you thought my secret would be expensive, didn't you!!! :)

To learn more about how to support your oral health and keep that smile looking its best, you may want to read Cure Tooth Decay by Ramiel Nagel.  In this book, he talks about how diet (mainly sugar and grains) play a HUGE part in our oral health. He stresses certain healthy fats as key to preventing oral issues.  Weston Price is another one to google to learn more on the effects of nutrition on oral health. If you are a regular reader of my blog, you know that I am a big believer in the power of nutrition and my family and I eat gluten, dairy and sugar free for many reasons! Catch up here by reading why we cut out gluten!

And if you want to fall in love with the natural products I shared that my family and I use daily, please contact me or click here...jennifercaggiano.marketingscents.com and I'll teach you how to get started on your wellness journey! The more chemicals you kick out of your life, the less toxins you will have building up in your body and gums. I want you to feel great and keep smiling for many, many more years, so take the time to learn the importance of reducing your chemical exposure and supporting your oral health! You are worth it and your kids are worth it...I'm sure you agree! So, until my next post, turn over that toothpaste label and toss it! Replace it NOW and you'll thank yourself later!

sources: http://askthedentist.com/floss-thyroid-danger/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC88948...

https://www.perio.org/consumer/cdc-study.htm

http://www.drbarryapplegate.com/gum-disease-a-grow...

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Top 10 Tips to Avoid Plastics (even BPA-free is dangerous!)

Welcome back to my bog! By now you know me and you know I am all about reducing my chemical exposure as much as possible. There are plenty of ways we are poisoned daily with chemicals and many are beyond our control (see my previous post to learn more: The Top 5 Chemicals I Avoid In Our Personal Care Products.) We have to breathe the air and drink the water...can't avoid those things!  But we are the gatekeepers of our homes, so we ARE in control of what comes into our homes and what our families are exposed to! 

Plastic is convenient, especially when it comes to kids, right moms? BUT, I quickly learned that plastics are dangerous and contain endocrine disrupting chemicals that get into our products, absorb through our skin and get into our food...YUCK! So, I started hearing this buzz word "BPA." That is a short way of saying Bisphenol A, which is toxic chemical in plastics.   BPA has been linked to "linked to obesity, enlarged male breasts, earlier puberty in girls, and increased incidence of breast, prostate and other cancers." In fact, they are so toxic, many plastic additives have been banned in Europe, Canada and an increasing number of cities and states in the U.S. (like CA).  Yikes and our kids are exposed to plastics ALL DAY LONG! I don't want my daughter getting her cycle at 9 and my son developing breasts! This chemical onslaught has GOT TO STOP.

Image result for free picture of plastic

Well, then I thought I hit the jackpot when I discovered BPA free plastic! Phew, a safe plastic, right? NOPE! I quickly learned BPA is not the not only demon in plastics! What you may not be aware of is even “BPA-free” plastics typically leach other endocrine-disrupting chemicals that are just as bad for you as BPA, or in some cases WORSE! In fact, an alternative to BPA, known as BPS is even more harmful! Yikes! And of course, this is NOT LABELED!

So, what's a mom to do to protect herself and her kiddos from exposure to such harmful chemicals in plastic?? Relax, it's really not that hard! Here's what we do to reduce our exposure. Pick something from this list and try to implement it. Then add another in when you are ready! Small changes make BIG impacts! I would know! The more plastics and other chemicals I got out of our lives, the more health issues melted away, like menstrural cycle issues for me, behavior/mood issues with the kids and even sleep issues! It's AMAZING how we don't connect these symptoms to chemical exposure! But I am very proud to say we feel better and better the more we kick this crap out of our house!! 

You can too! Again, baby steps! Here's how you can get started with my top 10 tips to avoid plastics:

  1.  Try to buy products in glass rather than plastic or cans, as chemicals can leach out of plastics (and plastic can linings), into the contents. For example, when I shop for our organic, unsweetened applesauce, I opt for a brand that comes in a glass jar over the plastic bottle. This is especially true if you purchase anything with high acidity (vinegar, ketchup, salsa).  And if you can't find a glass option, transfer it to a glass container for storage at home. Same goes for olive oil and other kitchen oils...fat absorbs the chemicals, so buy in glass when possible or transfer to glass at home for storage. Also buy your eggs in cardboard rather than plastic cartons.  
  2. Don't drink out of plastic water bottles. Instead use glass or stainless-steel bottles. If you MUST use plastic occasionally, don't leave plastic water bottles in a hot car. The heat makes the chemicals leach into your water even faster!  Here's the water bottles my kids drink from and take to school each day (we find them at Buy Buy Baby and use the 20% off or $5 coupons!):                                                                                                                                                  Safe Sippy Safe Sporter                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  
  3. Only buy essential oils in dark, glass bottles and only add essential oils to water/beverages in glasses/glass containers.  Essential oils are very powerful and can easily leach the harmful chemicals in the plastic right into your food or beverage! If you are like me and mix tons of a DIY oil blends or DIY body lotion/scrubs etc., also store these in glass for the same reasons! In fact, essential oils can be very effective in supporting the body's natural abilities to detox out all the chemicals from your body that are already in there from all the plastics you were exposed to before you started taking these steps to eliminate plastics and chemicals from your life! Some oils I love to support my body's detox include: Lemon Vitality Oil in your water, especially first thing in the AM! Rosemary is also highly supportive. I like to rub a drop or 2 on the bottom of my feet! Thieves supports the immune system, which must be in peak performance in order to allow your body to handle the toxic load of all these chemicals! Again, I put a drop of this on the bottom of my feet and the kids' feet every day! Learn more about essential oils here! We only trust and use Young Living essential oils, as you know if you've read my previous blogs!
  4. Store your food and beverages in glass, rather than plastic, and avoid using plastic wrap or at least don't let the plastic wrap touch your food. You can find options like these on amazon or any kitchen retailer. Image result for free picture of glass food storage container
  5. Never heat your food in plastic. If you must use a microwave, heat up leftovers on a plate/bowl and take the microwave dinners out of the plastic tray they come in and put on a plate! You can cover them with a moist paper towel to keep the mositure in! So much safer than the chemical tray and plastic cover!
  6. Use glass baby bottles and don't purchase baby formula in cans! Babies are even more susceptible to plastic chemicals since their organs, tissues and brains are still developing. Plus, their tiny bodies are very easily effected by chemicals in minute amounts. Our babies and kids deserve the best in life and the lowest chemical exposure! 
  7. Replace your non-stick pots and pans with ceramic or glass cookware. If you bake, line your non-stick baking sheets with chlorine free parchment paper. This makes clean up a breeze too!
  8. Try to buy non-plastic baby toys whenever possible. Opt for materials such as wood, bamboo, cloth or wool.  Keep this in mind for even books, which are often plasticized...paper is a safer option!
  9. Don't let your kids hold store receipts...yup, they are loaded in BPA/BPS and lots more.  Opt for an electronic receipt, which is better for the environment too!                                                                                      Image result for picture of bpa on store receipt
  10. Also in stores, don't opt for plastic bags...choose paper or better yet, bring reusable bags!

If you slowly do some of the above things I have tried in our home, you'll significantly reduce the chemical exposure to plastics for you and your family! Over time, these small changes can help make big health impacts! I don't know about you, but this mamma is going to do all she can to give her kids the best chance at developing normally and being healthy! I hope you implement some things to give your children (and yourself!) less chemical exposure from plastics! Reach out and comment on my Facebook page or send me a message to let me know if anything I suggested is something you already to, or something that helped you learn how to protect your family! I love hearing your feedback! Keep it coming!

Congratulations on empowering yourself with more knowledge on how to kick chemicals out of your family's lives!

sources: 

https://www.smallfootprintfamily.com/avoiding-toxi...

http://www.ewg.org/enviroblog/2008/04/cheatsheet-b...

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The Top 5 Chemicals I Avoid In Our Personal Care Products

I hope you have been enjoying and learning from my health story so far.  I am still learning more and more every day.  In fact, some of the things I found out about to try for myself were discovered in blogs like this, written by others who were trying to figure things out regarding their own health and wanted to share to help others! So, here's more of my story-maybe something I share will spark an idea for you! 

So far, I have shared how I have to eat gluten free due to Celiac's Diseasewhat happened when I removed gluten and another food from my diet and how I used a food journal to uncover other dietary triggers like GMO's.  

The entire realization that every food you put on your fork either contributes to inflammation (and disease) or reduces inflammation (and risk of disease) really opened my eyes! No doctor had ever told me how impactful dietary choices can be! This truly made me more aware of what the ingredients are in our foods.  I decided that if I can't pronounce it, we shouldn't be eating it in our family.  The kids were really good about all the changes and I think a lot of it had to do with the fact that I educated them about why we are no longer eating ingredients like dyes, additives and artificial flavorings.  Since they learned all the horrible things those fake "foods" can do to our bodies, they understood why I didn't want them to eat these chemicals.  

Then I got really thinking...I know, me, analyze something...unheard of, right (for all of those who know me by now through my blog or personally, you know I am a bit of a, ummm thinker!!! LOL!) So, I wondered, if things like the patch, used to stop smoking, and the birth control patch get through our skin and effect our bodies, then what does that mean about things like body wash, shampoo, hand soap and deodorant?? Do all the big long fancy names on these products absorb through our skin too? Well, sure enough, once I started some research, I uncovered just that...everything we put on our skin absorbs into our bodies within seconds! YIKES! 

Think about how many products you put on your skin/hair in your morning routine alone...if you're like most people, especially women, there's a ton...shampoo, conditioner, body wash, shaving cream, body lotion, perfume, toothpaste, mouthwash, deodorant, hair products and hair spray and that's not even counting all the cosmetic products in your make up routine!! Now think about the long list of chemicals on each of those products! Mind blowing when you start to add up all the chemicals you put on before you even eat breakfast, right!  According to the EWG's site, "The average woman uses 12 products containing 168 unique ingredients every day. Men, on the other hand, use 6 products daily with 85 unique ingredients, on average." Then we wonder why as women we suffer from a higher rate of autoimmune disease and other illnesses. No more wondering for me...especially when I learned all the horrible things these chemicals do to us.

Here's my list of what I personally consider to be the top 5 chemicals I discovered in my personal care products that I think are the most dangerous. I'll also share with you how I either make or buy safer alternatives because you guys keep asking me what I use, so here you go!

1. Propylene Glycol-Ok, I have to start with this one because do you know what Propylene Glycol is...don't worry, I didn't either, but brace yourself...it's ANTIFREEZE! Yup, there was antifreeze in my toothpaste! WHAT? Yup, go read yours...I actually learned my toothpaste had a poison warning seen below!  I even found some "natural" brands still claiming their source of propylene glycol was naturally sourced, renewably sourced and is approved by the US government.  Now I don't know about you, but the government thinks a lot of things are "safe in small quantities." But my question is, what happens over time from daily exposure to these chemicals.  I decided I no longer want to be a human guinea pig! For starters, I quickly swapped out the toothpaste I use and my kids use.  I use the Thieves Aromabright Toothpaste...no icky ingredients in there and my holistic dentist just told me that my teeth and gums look "beautiful!"  My cuties use the kids version from Young Living.

If you prefer to make your own tooth powder for pennies, here is what I do: Mix the following in a glass container and sprinkle on a wet toothbrush! This will last you a LONG time!

1/3 C pure baking soda (not the kind found in the orange box at supermarkets...I get mine here: food grade baking soda

1 tsp Celtic Sea Salt

several drops of pure essential oil, my favorite choices are Peppermint or Clove from Young Living, which are both supportive of a clean, healthy mouth!

2. Triclosan-This is found in most antibacterial hand soaps and hand sanitizers, but unfortunately it causes major health issues, like thyroid conditions (yup, how many of you reading this have thyroid issues like me...could our soap be to blame as one of the causes?) and antibiotic resistance! Not good. Read the label on your soaps and body washes and make sure they don't contain triclosan! Mine did!

3. Parabens-increase the shelf life of your products, but do you know they also disrupt our hormones (especially estrogen in women), cause allergic reactions, have been linked to cancer and reproductive issues.  What if women are having trouble conceiving due in part to these parabens? Making simple switches can really impact our health so dramatically! I wish I knew this back when we were 'trying" since I had trouble AND because all these chemicals in the mom's body gets passed along to baby! According to a past study by the EWG, poor innocent babies are being born with 287 chemicals in their umbilical cord blood.  "We know that 180 cause cancer in humans or animals, 217 are toxic to the brain and nervous system, and 208 cause birth defects or abnormal development in animal tests." This makes me SICK.  We are poisoning our unborn babies and ourselves! What's worse is other countries ban parabens in personal care products and the good USA does NOT! Nice, real nice, right!

So, once I learned all this, I vowed to only use paraben free products! Castile Soap is a safe option for an all-purpose soap/body wash that we dilute with water.  Or you can check out some safe choices here.

4. Fragrance- This one scares me because sooo many things can be hidden in this word because the FDA doesn't require fragrance ingredients to be listed! Sooo not good since the EWG says they can be carcinogenic.  I stopped using any products with a non-descript "fragrance" ingredient. Yet why do people tell me everywhere I go that I smell AMAZING? Well, I use all natural essential oils from Young Living as my "perfumes!" My favorites are StressAway or Bergamot! Both not only smell amazing, but help me to feel calmer and less stressed! Do your research if you decide to give essential oils a try, since purity makes a HUGE difference.  Go here to learn how to select a safe brand.

5. Petroleum- Yup, that's right, Vaseline, which we've all used at some point, but did you know that it contains petroleum, meaning it's a byproduct of the oil industry!? Now, while that particular brand claims to use what the government considers to be "noncarcinogenic," I remain skeptical.  The government seems to think many things are safe in small quantities that other countries flat out ban! And just so you know, petroleum can appear as mineral oil, liquid paraffin or paraffin oil on labels.  

Image result for picture of dangers of petroleum

So, I now make sure all or our products are petroleum free. For a moisturizer, we use coconut oil (get a huge jug of it at Costco), jojoba oil (I like Trader Joe's) or for severe, cracked skin we cut open a Vitamin E capsule (or Trader Joe's sells Vitamin E Oil)!

But what do you use when you or your kiddos are feeling in need of some respiratory support? You guess it, we don't use the popular Vicks Vapor Rub anymore! Here's what I use on both myself and my cuties:

We mix together Coconut Oil or Jojoba Oil with a drop or 2 of R.C Essential Oil Blend and rub onto our feet! I know, you're thinking, FEET??? Yup, the feet are one of the most effective places to apply natural, health supporting products since the feet are a map of the entire body (google vitaflex foot points)! Plus, no matter where you apply essential oils, like any other substance, they absorb into the skin and get throughout the body in seconds! Now, finally good news when it comes to things absorbing into my body! As long as you are using pure, properly grown, distilled and bottled essential oils like we do, then you will be SO GLAD they are absorbing into your skin and in this case of RC, helping to support your respiration!

RC Essential Oil

Even easier, you can diffuse RC or other respiratory supportive essential oils as an alternative to smearing your kids or yourself with petroleum! You're welcome!! ;)

Of course, we avoid other chemicals I've discovered in our personal care products like SLS, DEA and others, but those are the 5 biggies I wanted to share with you! I hope this has helped to open your eyes to see that in addition to what is on our forks, we need to consider what we put on our bodies all day long!

Don't try to change everything all at once or you'll drive yourself crazy! Just pick up one thing, and I suggest you start with your toothpaste since you put that in your mouth 2 times a day! Read what is in there and if you see some of these scary ingredients or a poison warning, don't wig out, just shop for or make your own safe alternative! Small changes over time make a BIG impact! I'm living proof! The more chemicals you get out of your life, the less your liver is stressed from all the toxins and it can work more efficiently! I have found this helps me have more energy and less symptoms from my auto immune issues!

So, until my next post, let me know what products you changed first! I hope you too are amazed at how great you feel the more you eliminate chemicals from your life and your children's lives! 

sources;

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive...

http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/2004/06/15/exposures-a...

http://www.livestrong.com/article/293521-propylene...

http://www.ewg.org/research/body-burden-pollution-...

https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ingredient/706110/SOD...

http://www.drmercola.com/health-tips/perfumed-pois...

https://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ingredient/704786/PET...

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Soy, GMO's and Food Sensitivies OH MY! Part 3 of my Health Journey!

In my last 2 blog posts, I started sharing my health story by explaining how I discovered that I need to eat gluten free and dairy free and the detox reaction I experienced when cutting these foods out cold turkey. (if you missed them: health journey part 1 and Part 2

So, once I determined I felt WAY better not eating gluten and dairy, (often referred to as a GFCF diet), my health returned, or so I thought.  I felt absolutely great for a while, with more energy, better sleep and to me the most dramatic difference was in my gut health.  I was beyond happy BUT, I had some flares up now and again and by keeping a detailed food journal (I highly recommend everyone do this...especially for kids and their mysterious tummy aches) I discovered I was also sensitive to soy. Once I researched this, I was not surprised I was reacting to this since, according to the prestigious Weston A Price site, soy contains things with fancy names like protease inhibitors, phytic acids (prevent our bodies from being able to absorb minerals and nutrients), lectins, oxalates, oligosaccharides and allergenic proteins that contribute to ongoing irritation to the gut. I couldn't even pronounce some of those things at this point in my quest for health facts, let alone know what they were, but I knew I felt better not eating soy. In fact, I learned when rats are fed these soy anti-nutrients, they fail to grow normally! Yikes...why would I want to feed my children something that can potentially make them fail to grow correctly!? To reduce these components of soy, it is safest eaten as fermented soy such as miso, natto, tempeh and fermented tofu and soymilk if they agree with you. Many cultures continue to eat fermented soy without any health problems.

Image result for picture of may not want to eat soy

Non-fermented soy also contains goitrogens - which depress thyroid function. Many people, women especially, suffer from thyroid issues and soy can be a huge contributing factor. YIKES again! 

On top of all that, soy is likely to contain GMO's or geneticaly modified organisms.  Now if you haven't heard of GMO's you need to google this and learn as fast as you can because they are suspected to be causing major health issues.  A GMO food has been changed to contain unstable combinations of plant, animal, bacterial and viral genes that do not occur in nature.  According to LiveStrong and Organic Consumers: "the rise in autoimmune diseases, infertility, gastrointestinal problems, liver problems, obesity, and chronic diseases may be associated with the introduction of GM foods." Over 90% of soy in the US contains GMO's! Now that can't be good!

just Label It Logo

Many other developed countries ban or at least have restrictions on GMO's but not the good USA! In fact, GMO's aren't even required to be labeled on our foods (yet)! I am outraged by this and I strongly feel we have a right to know what's in our foods so we can then make an informed decision whether we want to feed that food to our families.  (If you are also disturbed, you can go to: Just Label It to learn more or donate.) That is where the Non-GMO Project comes in.  Look for the Non-GMO Project seal on foods to know they are safe and free of GMO's. Even my kids know that it does not go into our shopping cart unless it has that stamp of approval! You can go to their site to see a list of brands that are safe: nongmoproject.org

Non-GMO Project            

What other foods contain GMO's you ask? Well, unfortunately many foods the average person eats every day such as anything with sugar (yup...ice cream, cookies, cakes, muffins), corn (including corn starch and high fructose corn syrup), Hawaiian papaya, canola oil and zucchini that is not specifically labeled by the Non-GMO project.  Organic gets a little fuzzy.  If a product says 100% organic, it does not contain GMO's. If it says certified organic/USDA Organic then it is likely non-GMO as well! However, if the food simply says, "made with organic ingredients" it very well may contain GMO's. That's why we try not to buy anything processed and if the kids do want pretzels or chips or something in a package, then it has to have that Non-GMO Project seal!

Image result for picture of foods with gmo's

So, if you eliminate gluten or dairy for yourself or your children but still have symptoms, consider soy and other GMO's as the culprits. I know my own son ended up being highly sensitive to both corn and soy. That is one of the reasons why it is best to avoid processed foods.  They often contain soy flour, corn and other gut inflaming processed gums, flours, starches and chemicals. Eating as little packaged/processed foods is always the best for your health, whether you are gluten free or not! 

Luckily, I slowly discovered which foods unknowingly were compromising my health. It was very empowering to know that I can dramatically affect how I feel simply by watching what I put on my fork! We have control of our health and our vitality! All food either creates inflammation or decreases inflammation. But we are all different, so what is good for me, may be unhealthy for you to eat. So how can you figure out your list of that trigger inflammation for YOU? There are several ways.  You can do food sensitivity testing (I believe Cyrex Labs is a reputable one), the elimination diet (google this...it's not easy to do!) or simply do what I did for myself and my kiddos which is to keep a food journal. You can easily set this up in Excel or a plain old spiral bound notebook and make sure you note how you feel each day, including your energy levels, any bloating/gas/headache, whether you had a bowel movement and your mood for that day. 

Image result for picture of food journal

So, start being more aware of how you feel when you eat certain foods and be sure to look for that Non-GMO Project seal next time you go grocery shopping! 

Next time I'll share with you some more tips I discovered along the way to reclaiming my health, including foods that I found to reduce inflammation! And you are probably wondering what I actually EAT since it must seem to you that there is nothing left if I don't eat gluten, dairy or soy! I'll share some of my typical menus!

And remember, unfortunately my blog does not have a comments section at this time, so please contact me or post comments on my Facebook page so I know if you are enjoying and learning from my story!

sources:

https://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/soy-ale...

http://www.mercola.com/article/soy/avoid_soy.htm

https://www.nongmoproject.org/gmo-facts/

https://www.organicconsumers.org/news/spilling-bea...

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