Soothe Your Life with Magnesium

February 24, 2014 at 9:04 pm

I’ve been in love with magnesium for years. Several months ago I stumbled on a website where a lady mentioned a brand of magnesium oil I’d never heard of… Magnesoothe [now called Mg12], sourced from the Dead Sea. She said it was the most effective magnesium oil she had ever used, and she 10386777_946446232048628_8039968799941556132_nhad used several of the other brands available. That totally caught my interest. And I thought it couldn’t hurt to contact the company and see if they ever send samples for bloggers to review. It was perfect timing ’cause they had just discussed doing that very thing in a recent company meeting. A few days later I received my samples in the mail.

Before I get to my review of these products, I want to touch briefly on some of the benefits of using magnesium topically.

5 Tips for Managing Anxiety

January 20, 2014 at 10:29 pm

My whole world changed once I became acquainted with anxiety. I will never be the same person I was before. But I wouldn’t want to be either. I’m better for my battles. I know it.

72268768989948578_ElZL6iWa_f-225x300If you’re in the midst of your own battle with anxiety, I’m glad you found your way to my blog. I know the hell you’re experiencing. I know you fear that it’s never going to go away. Those fears tormented me day and night for a long time. I still struggle now and then, especially when I let life run me down physically and emotionally. But overall I’m lightyears better than I was when those first panic attacks hit me like a freight train in the spring of 2012. I pray with all my heart that you find healing as well. I have faith that you will. But if you find yourself having thoughts about ending your life, please seek help. You are worth saving. And there is no shame in accepting pharmaceutical help. Medication helped save my life.

On to the purpose of this post… I’ve learned some tricks over the past couple of years as I struggled  to manage my anxiety. I can’t promise these things will help you, but I can say they’ve helped me. This is not medical advice. I’m just sharing what worked for me. 

Gifts that Heal

December 12, 2013 at 6:10 am

A few weeks ago, a friend showed up at my door with a giant stalk of brussels sprouts from Trader Joe’s… like this…

brussels

It was a healing gift for a number of reasons… 1) Because there’s something very heart-warming about having another person “get you” well enough to know exactly what would make your day, and 2) Because brussels sprouts are healing in and of themselves.

I love gifts that heal. They’re the best kind.

Here are some more healing gift ideas…

Candy Conversion

December 4, 2013 at 4:55 pm

When I told my stepmom a few weeks ago that I didn’t take my kids trick-or-treating on Halloween, she said, “Lani!” with a tone that indicated absolute horror. “Why?!”

In the past, my kids have become sick every year after Halloween. Illness in my children is a huge anxiety trigger for me. They also have really crazy tantrums while under the influence of artificial food coloring combined with sugar. Apparently, they’re not alone. Artificial colors are really bad for us. Excess sugar is really bad for us. If you think about it, most candy = various forms of slow-acting poison combined, with virtually no redeeming value beyond taste.

I kind of concur with this lady: “I’m boycotting Halloween because it’s a celebration of something that’s literally killing us.” So on Halloween we went to the movies instead. We counseled together as a family and decided that it was a fair trade. They even assuaged my guilt with negative answers when I said, “Am I the meanest mom ever?” Going to the movies is a rare thing for us, so definitely a “treat” for my kids. We hadn’t seen “Monster’s University” yet, and it was at the discount theater. They wore their costumes to the theater. Stinkin’ awesome costumes, in fact.

And nobody got sick after Halloween or the entire month of November. Score.

Find a Spring

September 16, 2013 at 11:30 pm

This past weekend we did something I’ve been dreaming of doing for a few years now. We went to a natural spring and collected cool, crystal clear, delicious, living water, straight from Mother Earth.

IMG_1490

Natural Solutions for PMS

June 10, 2013 at 5:02 am

“Every month, not just once or twice a year, [the moon] retreats into darkness before returning to the her fullest brilliance. As a woman, I need a similar reprieve every month to access the most brilliant parts of myself, spiritually, physically and mentally.”  -Monna (Organic Mama Cafe)

962944104391438_a-4a2a3642_uDAZUw_pmFor several decades of a woman’s life, a magnificent monthly hormonal symphony occurs within her body. Each cycle demonstrates her body’s deep investment in the continuation of life. Sometimes that investment continues for nine months. Sometimes that potential for life passes away, and her body cradles that fallen egg in a brief embrace before letting it go to make way for new life again.

The aches and pains associated with menstrual cycles vary from woman to woman and over time. For me, the hardest part of my cycle is typically the few days before my period begins. If I’m going to have PMS, this is when it strikes. And there have been times in my life when it has struck with a vengeance. Over the years, I’ve found some natural remedies that seem to help. Based on my experience and research (this is not medical advice), here are my PMS tips:

Windows to the Womb

June 8, 2013 at 5:11 pm

I’ve had this book sitting on my desk for a couple of months now, skimming select portions off and on, researching specific topics. I’m not sure why it has taken me so long to just start at the beginning and read it, but I plopped myself down on the grass in my backyard this morning and started. It only took a few pages before I was smitten. (And nobody’s paying me to say that. I got the book from the library.)

Written by David Chamberlain, PhD, it delves into the fascinating research now available in the field of prenatal and perinatal psychology. Mothering Magazine celebrated Dr. Chamberlain as a “Living Treasure” in 2003, and he was honored in 2007 at the Gentle Birth World Conference, receiving the Mother Goose Award for his work with mothers and babies. Dr. Chamberlain also happens to be a fan of my mentor Sarah Hinze‘s work, and he has included several stories from Sarah’s pre-birth experience research in Windows to the Womb.

“Babies have taught me a lot, as I have been privileged to listen to their deep memories. As a psychotherapist, I am especially aware of the need to create babies that are mentally and physically healthy in order to have a world that is healthy and peaceful. Babies are the key to the future of the world” (David Chamberlain, Windows to the Womb, preface).

OK, I’m off to read some more. Stay tuned for a more in-depth review when I’ve finished reading.

Supplemental Support

May 26, 2013 at 10:08 pm

I was talking on the phone with a friend last night. She’s been experiencing some depression lately. One of the things we pinpointed that could have been contributing to her mood swings was nutrient deficiencies. She had left her stash of vitamins and supplements at a family member’s home while on a trip, so she hasn’t been taking them.

During my first three pregnancies I was pretty lax about taking prenatal vitamins. But after seven straight years of being pregnant and breastfeeding, my body was seriously depleted. I suffered from some depression during my fourth pregnancy, but once I began taking a whole-food prenatal vitamin, my depression disappeared. When my baby was about a year old, after getting lax again with taking vitamins, I began suffering from anxiety and depression. It wasn’t until I began taking my whole-food prenatals again (among other positive changes) that I felt my mind-body-spirit regaining balance.

Restoring Balance and Fertility

April 18, 2013 at 6:05 am

For a couple of decades, my menstrual cycle was like clockwork. Every 28 days without fail (except during pregnancy/breastfeeding). It didn’t really matter what I ate, how much I slept or exercised, or how much sunshine I frolicked in. My body just did its thing no matter how much I failed to take good care of it. But, alas, this body of mine ain’t what it used to be. Now that I’m in my thirties, my menstrual cycle is a lot more sensitive to environmental factors.

During last year’s drama, my cycle was cut short by a few days nearly every month. I thought it was just the stress. As I healed and gained weight, my cycle slowly returned to its 28-day norm.

When my period arrived two days early this week, I was a little confused. Wait a second, I thought… Didn’t my body heal from all of that craziness? Then I remembered that I had spent many nights last week staying up past 1:00 a.m. working on my new website and doing research. I’ve been extremely sleep-deprived. That reminded me how I spent months last summer experiencing medicine-induced insomnia. This was fortunately the only side effect I really noticed from my medication, but it was horrible. Maybe the sleep-deprivation had been a big contributing factor to my wacky menstrual cycles last year?

All of this got me wondering… is there a link between sleep and fertility? I started digging and found a whole lot of information I wanted to share. If you’re trying to get pregnant and you’re finding your cycles less than regular, here are some things that may bring your body back in balance.

Becoming Whole Again

April 12, 2013 at 6:45 pm

As some of you are aware, I started taking medication for my anxiety/depression last August. I’m excited to report that I have now successfully cut my drug dose down to 1/4 of my prescribed amount. So I’m down to 12.5 milligrams a day instead of the 50 milligrams I was taking. This process was very, very gradual over the past month or so. There are a variety of reasons why I’m doing this:

  1. I feel ready, and I feel divine encouragement about it.
  2. God has promised me I will be able to be happy without medication.
  3. My body chemistry is getting out of whack, and I think the drugs are contributing to that.
  4. I believe I’m being prepared to open myself to more children, and I would like to clear the drugs out of my system first.
  5. I’m gaining more weight than I’m comfortable with. I believe this is related to the medication since my siblings have experiences similar side-effects while taking SSRIs.

When I tell friends and family about my weaning down, their first question is usually, “Is your doctor OK with that?” I’m sure they’re just wanting to be sure I’m not jumping into this too soon. Nobody wants to see me sick again, of course. So although a part of me wishes they would just say, “That’s great,” without any hint of doubt, I completely understand their concern.

My doctor told me back in October that I could start weaning down whenever I wanted to. He felt all along that my situation was temporary and the pharmaceutical assistance would not be a life-long need. However, I told him I wanted to wait until the spring before I tried to cut back. I wanted to get our house sold, get us moved and settled, and do some more healing before trying to “walk on my own” again.

Happy Sleep

March 7, 2013 at 7:30 pm

I’ve been fluctuating between severely-sleep-deprived and mildly-sleep-deprived for most of my life. Before having children, I had my own night-owl tendencies to blame. After having children, I wished I could go back in time and yell at my former self, “Sleep while you can!!!!!” I was utterly unprepared for the whiplash of new-parent sleep-loss. Honestly, I think last year’s craziness was partially just nine years of chronic sleep-deprivation pushing me to my breaking point. Sleep is so important, but its usually in short supply when you’re a mom, especially if you’ve chosen “night-time parenting” as your side-job.

I want you to get more sleep. I want your babies (small and large) to get more sleep. Here are some things you might want to try, if that’s what you want as well.

 

1) Music

I’ve been really interested in sound lately. I’m reading a book called Healing at the Speed of Sound: How What We Hear Transforms Our Brains and Lives. I love these words from the preface, “When we speak of being of ‘sound mind and body,’ we seldom realize that sound itself is the root of being. That sound itself is the route to acquire those things we want so much, a sound mind and body.” And these words from the introduction, “We may choose organic good at the supermarket and avoid inhaling others’ cigarette smoke, yet we rarely pay attention to the equally positive or negative health impacts of sound, the other thing we put in our bodies.” I am loving thinking about the concept of “sound nutrition.” Great stuff.

Infant Formula and DHA/ARA

February 19, 2013 at 4:40 am

About five years ago, I learned something disturbing about the DHA/ARA added to many infant formulas.

Based on a report presented by the Cornucopia Institute (a corporate watch-dog group), the DHA/ARA added to many infant formulas is created from fermented algae and fungus and is structurally different than the DHA/ARA found in breast milk. The FDA isn’t even convinced of the safety of these algal and fungal DHA/ARA additives. Apparently, there are reports of infants fed DHA/ARA formula who suffered from severe diarrhea, vomiting, dehydration, and seizures until being switched to a non-DHA/ARA-supplemented formula. Some infants even suffered death. Despite the FDA’s reservations, these additives were somehow still approved for infant/human consumption.

Formulas supplemented with DHA/ARA are marketed as being “more like breastmilk,” suggesting to consumers that they are somehow healthier than other formulas. In fact, scientific studies are inconclusive regarding the benefits of these DHA/ARA additives. Martek Biosciences Corporation, a manufacturer of these additives even acknowledged: “Even if [DHA/ARA] has no benefit, we think it would be widely incorporated into formulas, as a marketing tool and to allow companies to promote their formula as ‘closest to human milk'”(source).

Here’s what the Cornucopia Institute concluded about the motives of infant formula manufacturers: “Given the safety concerns and doubts within the scientific community, it is clear that the infant formula manufacturers’ claims are marketing tools designed to sell more formula, and sell it at a higher price”(source). So what it really comes down to is money. Adding DHA/ARA sells more formula, regardless of the fact that it’s very different from the DHA/ARA in breastmilk and may actually be dangerous.

Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chip (Lactation) Cookies

February 4, 2013 at 5:04 am

Today my grandmother would have turned 90 years old. We decided to celebrate her birth with foods that remind us of her. Grandma made banana oatmeal chocolate chip cookies all the time (with and without walnuts from the tree in her front yard).

She lived a life of service and generosity, so as a birthday present to her we made a massive batch and brought plates of them to several of our local friends tonight.

If you’re breastfeeding, the oats just might give your milk supply a little boost. Adding walnuts or almonds may also benefit your milk supply (and your taste buds, in my opinion). You can add ground flax or chia seeds for another nutritional and milk supply boost. My post “Building better breastmilk” explains how using coconut oil as the shortening substitute may enhance your milk’s immune-system-boosting properties. Also, if you call them “lactation cookies,” that means you get to eat lots of them. ;-)

I’m so happy to share Grandma’s recipe with you. I hope they make you feel warm and fuzzy inside.

Happy 90th Birthday, Grandma!

Super Nuts

January 20, 2013 at 7:41 am

I have single-handedly consumed almost three pounds of walnuts in the last few months.

Just about time to get another stash at Costco.

I’ve always liked walnuts, but now I can’t get enough of them. In the past, I’d sometimes get canker sores from eating them, but I must have built up a tolerance or something ’cause I can eat them like candy now.

Call for help

April 25, 2012 at 3:23 am

Alright, friends… I’m going to get personal here.

I’m struggling. For the past six months, off and on, I’ve been battling with some physical and emotional trials, riding a crazy-making roller coaster. During some periods, I’ve been in what I would label as depression. I have good days, and I have bad days. On the good days I feel full of hope that things will get better. On the bad days I feel full of despair that I’ll ever feel totally myself again. Over the past week I have gone from one end of the spectrum to the other multiple times. Yesterday I was in despair. Today I was mostly OK.

I debated whether or not to disclose all of this to you. In this moment I decided that you’d want to know, you’d want to help, you’d want to lift me up in whatever way you could.

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