How Green Smoothies Saved My Life

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By: Dr. Jessica McCord, Guest Blogger

It’s been almost 2 years since I made my first green smoothie, and you can bet that I celebrate that anniversary!  I would never have thought that such a simple thing could change my health, my eating habits, my awareness (of what goes in my body), and my overall mood and well-being.

I used to drag myself out of bed, rush around the house with no time to spare, except for grabbing  the all-important large mug of coffee full of creamer and sugar.  No breakfast, perhaps a sugary snack sometime in the morning, followed by my afternoon ritual of Coca-Cola or a super-sweet White Mocha from Starbucks.  I needed my caffeine, I didn’t have time for breakfast, and I rarely ate lunch. When I did, it was usually something processed and microwaved with very little nutritional value.

I came home each day feeling tired, battled frequent headaches, caught every little cold that crossed my path, had terrible constipation and bloating (you ladies know what I’m talking about) and didn’t sleep very well.  I ate out most evenings, had little motivation to work out, and felt lethargic a vast majority of the time.

One day, Lisa (owner of this blog and one of my oldest and dearest friends) pointed out a few questionable ingredients in my sacred coffee creamer. We talked about alternatives and sweeteners.  She knew I needed to take baby steps away from my caffeine overload so she gave me advice she knew I could handle at the time.

It didn’t take long for me to start questioning other parts of my diet such as the amount of sugar in my routine, the lack of good healthy foods, and my continued exhaustion.  Changing my coffee creamer and sweetener was a good first baby step, but I knew I needed to do more.

Lisa talked me through my first green smoothie, and although I’ve made little tweaks here and there, it’s remained mostly the same over these past few years. I found a way to get a healthier version of my caffeine in there that even has anti-carcinogenic properties (green tea powder, or Matcha).

I know I’m a nerd for getting excited to wake up in the morning to make my smoothies, BUT they have changed my life.  First, it’s amazing that I am excited to get up in the mornings (ask my husband, he has often incurred my morning wrath). I now wake up 2 hours before I have to be anywhere so I have time to make my smoothie and enjoy it while I relax and do some reading to begin my day.

Not to mention, I now visit my bathroom like clockwork…every morning. Every morning!  That’s right, no more regular constipation and bloating! I leave the house with a happy tummy, a good head-start on my fruits and veggies for the day, and a desire to keep my daily habits in line with my awesome beginning to the day.

I never drank water before I began my smoothie regimen.  Now I drink it all the time. Somehow downing a Coke and a latte every afternoon lost its luster knowing how great I feel without them!  My body loves me for listening to it.

It’s so empowering knowing where my food comes from, reading labels, and taking on healthy habits. My morning smoothies are the way I begin my day with health and it truly carries through the rest of my day.

I rarely get headaches or colds, my stomach is regulated, I have way more energy, and I sleep great. Eventually, I started running and doing yoga because I feel motivated to compliment my healthy eating habits with some exercise. My skin is glowing and I feel wonderful… all from a little smoothie. What an easy and satisfying way to get on the path to better health!

I encourage everyone to try it out, so here’s my recipe below.  Try out different fruits and combinations to suit your style. That’s the great thing about smoothies – you can personalize them to your own needs and tastes.

Jess’s Green Smoothie

All ingredients are organic…it’s worth it!

Place the following in your blender:

  • Handful of spinach (or your favorite greens)
  • Handful of baby carrots
  • 1 scoop of Amazing Grass GreenFoods (I use chocolate or the berry blend, but you can choose your favorite flavor)
  • 1 cup or so of SoDelicious Original Coconut Milk (I’ve tried the unflavored, that’s good too)
  • I scoop of Natural Factors Whey Protein (unflavored) Helps keep you full until lunch!
  • A tablespoon of honey (I do this because I buy local honey and it helps with my allergies)
  • I teaspoon of green tea power (Matcha)
  • About a cup of frozen mixed berries

Then blend and enjoy! Cheers to your health.

ImageJessica McCord, PhD.

Jessica just recently graduated (with honors) from UNM with her Doctorate in Special Education. When she’s not drinking green smoothies, she spends her time trying to figure out how to save the world one student at a time. You might also find her riding bikes with her police officer hubby, playing with her two adorable dogs Bella and Indigo, and sometimes you’ll find her rollerblading along the Rio Grande with me.

 

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Makeover your Medicine Cabinet with Essential Oils

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Do you want safer, cheaper, more effective healthcare? We have two choices when it comes to treating illness…modern medicine or nature’s medicine.  Over the past few years I’ve slowly replaced all of my modern medicines with essential oils. I used them during my pregnancy to ease my symptoms and now that my son is born they’re helping him too. I love that there is a natural alternative for healing my family.

Modern vs. Nature’s Medicine

Modern medicine…

  • Designed to manage symptoms
  • Made from isolated synthetic agents
  • Side effects (some unknown)
  • 4.5 Trillion/yr. is spent on global healthcare
  • Are we healthier today because of it?

Nature’s Medicine…

  • Helps minimize symptoms, addresses the root causes
  • Made of hundreds of natural compounds found in plants that enhance physical and emotional health
  • Safe benefits without side effects
  • Pennies per dose, no time/$ at the doctor, and no copay

Did you know that essential oils are: 

  • 50-70 times more powerful than herbs
  • Inhibit the growth of bacteria and viruses
  • The plant’s own natural medicine cabinet

There are three ways to use essential oils: 

1. Aromatic:

  • Breathe in or use diffuser to:
  • Kill germs in the air
  • Open airways
  • Affect mood, including depression

2. Topical:

Apply to head, feet, ears, chest, back of the neck, and or troubled areas. From the bottom of the feet, enter the bloodstream to affect the entire body within 30 seconds.

3. Internal:

  • Taking internally is specific to Doterra oils
  • Take under the tongue, in a gel capsule, or in water
  • Relieves issues in the digestive system, mouth, throat, and liver

MEDICINE CABINET SWITCHES

T = topically; I = Internal; A = Aromatic

Oregano: T, I

  • Cold/flu
  • Immune system support
  • Fungal/Bacterial Conditions

PastTense™: T

  • Headaches
  • Bumps/Bruises
  • Pains/Sprains

Breathe™: A, T

  • Asthma/Allergies
  • Respiratory issues
  • Cough/Bronchitis/Croup

Lavender: A, T, I

  • Anxiety/Stress Relief
  • Burns/Cuts/Wounds
  • Skin Soothing
  • Bites/Stings
  • Calming/Sleep Issues
  • Nose Bleeds

OnGuard™: ATI

  • Air/Surface Purification
  • Cold/Flu/Viruses
  • Toothache

Malaleuca: T, I

  • Skin Eruptions/Conditions
  • Yeast Infections
  • Wound Disinfectant
  • Cold/Flu/Cold Sores

Deep Blue™: T/LemonGrass: T,I/AromaTouch™: T

  • Muscle soreness
  • Arthritic/Chronic Pain
  • Ciculation/Inflammation
  • Pre-/Post-Workout Application

TerraShield™: A, T

  • Repelling Bugs/Other Pests

Solace™: T

  • Menstrual/Hormonal Issues
  • Cramping/Hot Flashes

Purify™: A, T

  • Bites/Stings
  • Air/Surface Purification

DigestZen™: T, I

  • Constipation/Diarrhea
  • Heartburn/Indigestion
  • Colic/Acid Reflux
  • Digestive Issues
  • Food Poisoning
  • Nausea/Motion Sickness

Frankincense: A, T, I

  • Inflammation
  • Stress
  • Brain Support
  • Cellular Regeneration
  • Moles/Wrinkles/Sun Spots
  • Wound Care/Scarring
  • Heavy Metal Cleansing

Balance™: A, T

  • Focus/Concentration
  • Mood Swings/Conditions
  • Nerve Related Conditions

Serenity™: A T

  • Anxiety/Stress/Calming
  • Sleep Support/Insomnia

Peppermint: A, T, I

  • Alertness/Focus
  • Oxygen Absorption
  • Digestive Support
  • Menstrual Conditions
  • Allergies/Respiratory Issues
  • Cooling

Slim & Sassy™: T, I

  • Metabolism Support
  • Cellulite Issues
  • Detoxification
  • Digestive Support
  • Energy

TerraZyme™: I

  • Digestive Support
  • Lactose Intolerance
  • Food Allergy Issues

Lemon: A, T, I

  • Cleansing
  • Water Retention
  • Kidney/Bladder Conditions
  • Mood Elevation
  • Inflammation Aid

Zendocrine™: I

  • Eliminative Organ Support
  • Nutrient Absorption
  • Detoxification

Tips for treating with oils: 

  • Use common sense
  • Use the Modern Essentials Reference Guide (book)
  • Use oils frequently with an acute problem (every 15 minutes)
  • Use oils a couple times per day with a chronic problem
  • Use caution with sensitive skin, and keep oils out of the eyes and ears
  • For sensitivity, dilute or neutralize with coconut oil, not water

Yeah, but aren’t oils super pricey?

Believe it or not it’s actually cheaper to treat your family with essential oils than all that you would need from the drug store to treat the same symptoms.

Why doTERRA oils rule:

  • Plants are grown and harvested in their natural habitat
  • Each liter of oil undergoes multiple 3rd party laboratory testing
  • Tests ensure oils are pure, genuine, authentic, and potent
  • Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade is beyond organic, verified pure, free of fillers, pesticides, and foreign contaminants

 Where can I buy doTERRA oils?

Right here. You can buy individual oils or purchase kits which include many of the oils discussed above and more.

This information is courtesy of doTerra International.

 

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Declutter Your Life

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Does this sound familiar? You walk into your house after an exhausting day, look around at the mess called your living room, and seriously consider walking back out the door. If you’re like me, it’s impossible to relax when my environment is cluttered with junk. Home is supposed to be our refuge – our safe haven from the frantic, loud, lightning-paced track most of us call life.

Clutter and disarray can certainly lead to some serious stress and anxiety for you and your family. It can even make you feel like your life is spinning out of control. So the question is: How do we go about decluttering our lives?

Start small and tackle one room at a time…. 

Begin in your bathroom. Start by choosing to clean one surface at a time. This will help prevent you from getting discouraged early on. I like to start with one cabinet or shelf. If I get discouraged I come back another day to tackle another one. Don’t forget to throw away or donate all the products you’re not using including all that old nail polish.

Donate, recycle, sell, or toss…

Just get rid of it. Your junk is taking up your precious mental energy. How about having a garage sale to earn a little extra cash while freeing up space? Ask your friends to help. Contemplate using sites like Ebay, Craigslist, and Facebook to sell unwanted items. Consignment shops are a great place to conveniently sell furniture and housewares for a small fee. Here are several areas where junk tends to accumulate.

Old Electronics: Recycle old appliances and electronics that are littering your garage and laundry room. You can check with your local government for pickup or drop off locations.

Books: Got stacks of romance novels leftover from the college days choking your bookshelves? Consider donating them to your local library or sell them online.

Unworn Clothes: If you haven’t worn it in the last few months (years?), you’re not likely going to know it’s missing. Say goodbye to that decade old bridesmaid dress and that frayed Snoopy t-shirt and say hello to tax deductions!

•Unused Kitchen Items: You can make some serious dough off the appliances you never use in your kitchen. Take those items (that are likely still in the box) and sell them. Don’t forget to declutter the spice rack and utensil drawer. While you’re at it, clean out the pantry and donate what you don’t use to a local food bank.

•Kid’s Stuff: I have never amassed so much crap as I did when I had a baby. Not only is your time more limited but now you have to organize a whole other person’s stuff too. There are many opportunities to sell/donate the items that baby outgrows. Try to stay organized along the way so it doesn’t seem like such a daunting project. I like to buy the XL ziplocks and throw in similar size clothing and toys that baby outgrows.

•Paperwork: I seriously dread our files. I know we’re harboring at least a ton of paper that we don’t need or ever look at but we’re afraid to throw it out. If you don’t need it for taxes, chances are you won’t need it – especially because everything is available online these days. Go ahead – go grab a trash bag and call the shredding company.

Try following these tips to keep your environment decluttered:

1.) Give away one item every day

2.) For every new item you purchase, donate or throw one out

These simple rules can be extremely helpful in keeping ahead of the clutter. Remember: stuff holds us captive! If you’re scared, try to remember that you’ll always have the memory in your heart and now you’ll have all that free space and peace of mind.

Declutter your mind and your senses…

Our society is overstimulated by noise and technology. Reduce the time you spend watching television and listening to the radio. The news can be so depressing!  Limit time on social media. Discovering that your second cousins’ dog had puppies is not as scintillating as you think. Don’t forget to take care of you! Meditate, start journaling, exercise, and have an adventure in nature!

Declutter your time…

Cancel part of your busy day and keep it that way. Schedule in the things that make your heart sing and make you lose all track of time because you’re having so much fun. Consider hiring someone to clean your home, do your laundry, or clean up your yard so you can spend your free time with the ones you love. It’s worth every penny.

“Three rules of work: Out of clutter find simplicity; From discord find harmony; In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.” ~ Albert Einstein

 

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DIY Dishwasher Powder That Works

dishwasher soap

By: April Pease, guest blogger

I have a family of 7 (on one income mind you). I am a very frugal mom: I clip coupons, only buy items on sale, we don’t eat out, we make our own lattes at home, and we don’t have many extras. I also always stock up on things like laundry soap, extra paper towels, cleaning supplies, and of course dishwasher powder.

Over the years, I have tried different brands of dishwasher powder because the cheaper brands would leave a residue on my dishes and dishwasher – on top of getting nothing clean! So, I only used brand name, but over the last year, I started tasting the soap. Eww!

I read that if you add LEMINSHINE to the load it helps. I also read you have to use name brand rinse aid.  I felt like the expense to wash my dishes was getting out of hand. We live in a small town and are not close to the big box stores where these products are cheaper. Why should I have to buy 3 products to improve the one product I plan on using? This is crazy!

One night, I realized in a panic that I was out of dishwasher powder and my brand wasn’t on sale. Crap! That’s when I remember I pinned a DIY recipe for dishwasher powder a few months ago and decide to give it a try… pretty sure that it’s never going to actually work.

Basic recipe:

  • 1 cup borax ($5)
  • 1 cup washing soda (NOT baking soda) ($4)
  • ¼ citric acid ($4)

I happened to have all the ingredients on hand but you can find them at your local grocery store. I mixed it all together really well for about a minute and then added some doTERRA Purify™ essential oil – about 6 drops (optional). I filled my dishwasher cup with it. I stopped using rinse aid over 6 months ago and use ONLY vinegar in the rinse compartment – so that went in too. To my surprise, it was AMAZING. Clean dishes, clean dishwasher, and NO chemical smell!

This has changed my daily life because I wash 3 loads of dishes a day. Not only am I saving gobs of money, but I also feel smart because I know fewer toxins are getting into my family. Try it, you won’t be disappointed. And let us know how it works for you by leaving a comment below.

Screen Shot 2014-01-15 at 10.48.33 AMApril is a frugal mama of four living in White Rock, NM with her husband Robert. She’s one of those, I-don’t-know-how-she-does-it Mamas. Not only is she the queen at saving money, she’s also an all-star crafter. She’s always coming up with great diy stuff. This is a woman to watch and I’m grateful she shared her dishwasher soap with us. Happy washing.

 

 

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How to Get Off the Holiday Sugar Train

You did it! You survived the holiday season. Well almost, New Years is still around the corner. We don’t have to wait until then to start talking about pulling the reins back in and getting off the sugar train. The solution doesn’t have to be complicated, hard, or require a special diet.

Your favorite holiday drug …

CookieMonster

If you’ve ever been to one of my presentations you probably know that I’m a professed recovering sugar addict. The kind of thing you don’t like to admit as a “Health Coach.” Sugar is addictive. If you don’t believe me, consider this….a substance is classified as addictive if:

  • Eating a small amount creates a desire for more (who eats one cookie?)
  • Suddenly quitting causes withdrawal symptoms such as headache, mood swings, cravings, and fatigue (sound familiar?).
  • Loss of control (the “standing in the freezer sneaking ice cream bites” syndrome)
  • Continued use despite adverse consequences (when you can actually see your butt expanding but you don’t care)
  • Relapse rate is 97% (the “what’s one bite?” syndrome)
  • Progressive and terminal (the more you eat, the more you want and the more you eat, the worse it is for your health)

In the past few weeks if you indulged in some sweetness, did you find yourself craving more (probably at the same time of day)? I did. And did you give in? I did.  And have you found yourself sneaking a few small treats every day swearing to yourself that come New Years, you’ll stop or start exercising or something along those lines? I did. Don’t beat yourself up. You’re up against an addictive and delicious foe.

So what to do now…? 

Am I asking you to give up sweets? Absolutely not! I’ve done that and it’s a road that doesn’t lead you to a healthier place. It actually leads to a crazy place where you feel starved no matter how much you put in your belly. A healthy life is a balanced one – so expecting yourself to forever abstain from something your body naturally craves doesn’t seem very plausible.

My point is that it is really easy to get addicted to sugar and start an unhealthy habit vs. indulging in a well-deserved once-in-a-while treat. Follow these tips and I guarantee you can get off the sugar train. I do it every time I feel myself slipping and you can too.

Get off the sugar train…

1. Go cold turkey – I’m serious. The longer you keep eating it the longer it takes to break the craving cycle. Get it out of your body and the cravings will stop. It takes 3 days for me. That’s it.

You’ll want to cut out all refined sugar. I would also suggest taking out fruit juices for a while if you drink those a lot. You can also choose to cut out refined white flour products as well because they act as simple sugars in the body.

2. Make a plan

  • Clear the temptation out of your house as best you can. Out-of-sight out-of-mind works too. All of my husband’s stuff gets banished to “the drawer”.
  • Buy alternatives that make you excited about food and will help quell the yelling sweet tooth.  Plan out your week. What are you going to eat for meals and snacks? Are there any events you need to navigate? If you don’t plan – you won’t make it. Take 30 minutes and get your butt to the store.

Here are some naturally sweet ideas:

    • Roasted root veggies with coconut oil and cinnamon
    • Fruit salad
    • Fruit smoothie (with real fruit)
    • Sliced apples with nut butter
    • Dried fruits/nuts (GORP)
    • Mix raw honey into unsweetened Greek yogurt
    • Sweet herb teas
    • Celery and nut butter and raisins
    • Fresh or dried figs with a hazelnut
    • Baked sweet potato
    • Stevia (a natural alternative to artificial sweetener and the only one I recommend)

3. Eat a solid delicious breakfast – you hear this one all the time…because it’s TRUE! Starting off with something that’s going to keep you satiated and well-nourished goes a long way to set you up to be immune against pesky cravings. Here’s a list of awesome breakfast ideas.

4. Walk it off – just a small walk can do wonders for your mood and it beats cravings. Half the time we’re just bored when we open the refrigerator door. Get out there and get your endorphins going. You’ll be a different human when you get back. If a walk isn’t your thing – just move somehow.

Walk Motivators: Go with someone to spend time together, call a friend you haven’t talked to in a while on the way, take the dog, take time for you and leave everything else at home, or listen to an audio book.

5. Ditch the caffeine habit – don’t unsubscribe yet just hear me out. I know to some of you this sounds completely impossible. I promise, I understand the fear that strikes your heart at the idea of a morning without coffee. Here’s the truth about caffeine. It may help you temporarily but it sets you up for a crash later that leaves you more tired and craving quick energy like simple sugars.

Try it and if you don’t have more energy and less cravings … go back. I’ve had many clients thank me for getting them off the habit.

6. Drink more water – the bonus here is that your skin will look amazing instantly if you can master this.This is how much you need…

•200 lbs = 12.5 cups = 4.5 water bottles (22oz)
•180 lbs = 11.25 cups = 4 water bottles
•160 lbs = 10 cups = 3.6 water bottles
•140 lbs = 8.75 cups = 3.1 water bottles
•120 lbs = 7.5 cups = 2.7 water bottles
•100 lbs =  6.25 cups = 2.3 water bottles

Why it really does matter…

Excess sugar consumption is tied to almost every disease including many types of cancer. It’s also tied to things like premature aging, wrinkles, weight gain.  So basically, too much sugar makes you sick, old, fat, and wrinkled before your time. Awesome. All very good reasons to get it under control.

How much is too much? …

You might be thinking that this is all great for people who abuse sugar but that’s certainly not you, am I right? You only sweeten your coffee so what’s the big deal. The American Heart Association recommends no more than 6 tsp for women and 9 tsp for men. The average adult consumes approximately 22 tsp while the average child consumes 32tsp per day because it’s nicely hidden in so many of our fav foods. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you eat food from a box?
  • Do you eat out?
  • Do you eat white bread or flour products (pretzels, cookies, crackers, waffles)?
  • Do you drink sodas or sweetened drinks of any kind (tea, redbull, soda, gatorade)?
  • Do you love sweet dairy…(yogurts, ice cream)?
  • Are you a Starbucks junkie?
  • Do you order fries to eat the ketchup?
  • Do you eat cereal or any kind of pastry for breakfast?
  • Do you read labels to see what your food is made of?

If you answered yes to these questions and no to the last one – I can promise you’re getting more added sugar than you suspect you are. You’re not alone. We do sugar in a BIG way in this country. Check out this article for some stats that you won’t even believe. 

The bottom line…

You can break your sugar habit. As you learn to eat without so much sugar you’ll stop craving it and start to notice how it impacts your energy and general well-being – so it’s easy to keep it up. 80% of the time I do my best to eat well and 20% of the time I say eff it and eat what makes me happy. Luckily a lot of the time, the healthy stuff is what makes me happy because I feel the best and you will too. You can do it. And if you can’t, I can help. Talk to me.

 

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Essential Oils for Pregnancy and Beyond

Essential Oils

Pregnancy was quite the learning experience. Looking back, I think I had it pretty easy (most of the time) and I owe a lot of that to my little friends…essential oils.

As you know, pregnant women have to be especially careful with what they ingest which is pretty crummy timing because we go through our fair share of aches, pains, nausea, anxiety, and more. I relied on essential oils for relief for many of these ailments.

If you’re pregnant, get your hands on some essential oils and feel better already… and the best part is that you will feel really good about taking such good care of you and your baby with natural plant medicine.

Here’s how essential oils saved my pregnant butt:

(All of the oils listed here are Doterra – my favorite and recommended brand)

Serenity (blend) – helped lull me to sleep and stay that way even at the end when nothing else worked. Now I use it on my baby when he’s fussy.

Coconut oil mixed with Immortelle (blend) – diminished my stretch marks. I was cocky enough to think that I was going to be one of the lucky few who don’t get them. One morning around my eighth month there they were – a couple dark purple streaks on my lower tummy and bright red ones down my upper belly.  I know they say that once they start you can’t stop them but I did. I still ended up with a few but I think it would have been way worse without these two little powerhouses. The bonus is you can also use it on your face too for any fine lines starting there.

On-guard (blend) – kept the germs away. This immune boosting blend fought off colds when they were starting like nothing else. It also shortened the one cold I did get. This is especially helpful if you have little germ factories running around, in my case it was my beautiful nephew, Hunter. I used it on both of us.

Digestzen (blend) – touched heartburn when nothing else could. At the end, it was so bad that nothing was going to help but giving birth. That said, I would have been much meaner pregnant lady without this oil. It helps with any kind of stomach upset. I think I went through 2 bottles.

Lemon – I used this one a lot during my nesting phase. It’s the perfect way to naturally clean your house without exposing you and your baby to chemicals. I use this one all the time pregnant or not. For some easy DIY cleaning recipes, don’t miss this post.

Deep Blue (rub) – soothes those muscle aches and pains. I’m blaming my aching body the strange sleep positions that seem to come along with the third trimester but whatever the cause – you don’t have to suffer. Ask your partner to rub it on and give you a little massage then lay back on your huge ridiculous pregnancy pillow and enjoy the warm/cold tingle.

Solace – for sore boob relief. I don’t know about you but this was unbearable for me at least in the first trimester. Solace helped.

Malealuca (aka tea tree) – when I thought I was getting a yeast infection this oil stopped it dead in it’s tracks overnight. There are many other uses for this one. It’s one of the most essential.

Breathe – to open up my airways. I was a little stuffy through my whole pregnancy due to swollen membranes but thanks to Breathe I was able to do just that. It was especially great at night.

Where to buy them:

Doterra oils are only available through personal consultants. I believe in them so much that I signed up to share them with the world. They are amazing. If you’re interested in buying Doterra you can do that here. There are many other brands out there but I have yet to find one that rivals the quality of Doterra. You can still find some decent ones – just be sure you’re getting 100% pure organic oils. And if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me.

Additional reading:

If you’re interested in learning more about using essential oils during your pregnancy, birth, and beyond I encourage you to read “Essential Oils for Pregnancy, Birth, and Babies” by Stephanie Fritz LM, CPM.

 

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Why We Loved our Home Birth

I learned that when you tell someone you’re going to have a home birth most people look at you like you’ve lost your mind and some will even tell you so. Our son was born on November 16th, 2013 in the comfort of our home. I never would have guessed that I’d have a home birth but I did and we loved it. Here’s our story…

The gears started turning…

I research everything so when we were thinking about having a baby I geeked out on everything baby. I found a documentary called, “The Business of Being Born” and it opened my eyes to a whole new world of birthing babies. I loved the idea that a woman’s body is brilliantly designed to make and birth babies and that in most circumstances we don’t need any interventions to do so. The mothers featured in the film were actually looking forward to their birthing. They labored and birthed their babies without intervention and with grace, courage, and total trust in their bodies.

It was the exact opposite of the portrayals of birth I’ve always seen and what I’d always felt about labor…FEAR. Those women inspired me. Maybe I didn’t have to fear birth but embrace and trust it. I decided then that I wanted to have as natural a birth as I could (safely).

You want to have your baby where?… 

The choice to have the baby at home came later. I knew I had to decide where I would be the most comfortable. For me, I knew that was not going to be the hospital. The next option in my mind was a birthing center but the closest one is in Taos. It never occurred to me that I could have the baby at home but that was really the only other option and not much different that being in a birthing center. The idea started to grow on me.

I was really hung up on the little stuff like what happens with the mess and how does it work with the birthing tub. I was also hung up on the BIG stuff like what happens if something goes wrong. We started doing our research and talking to midwives and mothers who had home births and finally after a few months decided that it was the right choice for us.

Have you lost your mind?… 

I didn’t realize how many other people were not going to agree with that decision. We spent a lot of the pregnancy defending our choice. That part was hard. I get it though – it’s definitely not common or well understood.

I think I almost gave my dad a heart attack. My mom came around more but couldn’t figure out why “I wanted to poop in my own sheets.” Others were ready to save me from home birth and take me to the hospital. I know I had many people in my life thinking I’d completely lost my mind. Many others were very supportive. I was actually surprised though how many women told me they wish they’d had a home birth.

What I loved about having my baby at home…

  • The birthing tub…I can’t believe how relaxing this was. Contractions in the tub were very manageable. I also used a heating pad with the same effect.
  • I could use my own bathroom whenever I wanted to. Let’s face it, labor isn’t glamorous. You’re leaking, bleeding, pooping, throwing up, and who knows what else. I loved that I could do those things in the comfort of my own bathroom without being attached to tubes.
  • I could eat and drink…and I did. It gave me the energy I needed to get through it.
  • I could be in any position that felt good to me – which varied a lot. I labored in 4 different rooms in our house usually leaning over something. I can’t tell you why but that’s just where I needed to be.
  • I took a nap (during active labor) in my own bed…Just the fact that I felt relaxed enough to nap in between contractions during the transition phase of labor tells you my comfort level.
  • I set the mood (music, low lights, essential oils, attendees)…This was really crucial for me. Music made a world of difference in my demeanor, my diffuser was blowing relaxing lavender scents into the air, and all the lights were kept very low. I didn’t know ahead of time but it turns out I like to be alone when in pain. I was so glad that I had full control over who was in my presence during that vulnerable time.
  • I held him from the second he came out…and I didn’t ever have to let him go. I decided what procedures happened to him so he never left my arms and no one whisked him away until I said so. He was nursing within minutes.
  • I feel a huge sense of accomplishment and empowerment … I am so proud and empowered by our natural home birth. It taught me a lot about my own limits and left me with a sense of “If I can do that, I can do anything.”
  • All my prenatal/postnatal appointments were done at home…I loved this so much. Being pregnant is inconvenient in many ways but my pre- and post-natal appointments were definitely not. My midwife came to my house for all of them and stayed as long as I needed her too. We discussed milestones, worries, and questions all along the way. I felt well taken care of.

In the end…

I would recommend home birth to anyone. Having the comforts of home and the freedom to do whatever I wished during an otherwise very uncomfortable time brought me a lot of peace. My midwife remarked several times how impressed she was at how calm and relaxed I was even into the harder parts of labor – that could only have been accomplished at home.

Being relaxed makes labor easier and quicker. Many women find a hospital as their place of comfort and I can understand that. There is no right way with birth and most of the time we don’t have control over the situation anyway. Home birth isn’t right for everyone and my point is not to say that it is. I wanted to share my story because I had a great experience. You can read about Peter’s Birth Story right here.

Me, the peaceful warrior, in the birthing tub.

Me, the peaceful warrior, in the birthing tub.

What about you? What did you love or not love about your own birthing?

 

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