Ritual Multivitamin Review

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About a month ago I shared about my struggle with supplements and the products that I have found work best for me. You can find that post Here. I also mentioned that I was waiting for the arrival of a new multivitamin that I was very excited to try.

I have been searching for a new multivitamin for 6 months. I tried 5 different brands over that time, none of which agreed with me. It was an expensive search.

I’m very serious about my supplements because I have Lyme Disease and my body is sensitive. I’m also very frustrated with the amount of research and knowledge that has to go into finding the right multivitamin. The average person doesn’t dig into things like I do, so there are countless amounts of people suffering through crappy vitamins and wasting their money.

Even high end supplements are packed with a huge list of things we really don’t need, that aren’t great for our health. The average person also doesn’t understand that the more they pack into a vitamin the less there is of the actual ingredients we need. It’s just fluff to make them seem more beneficial and exciting. I hate fluff. I want simple and easy to understand, which is how ALL supplements should be presented so it doesn’t feel like we have to take a master’s course to figure out how to weed through all the B.S.

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When I had just about given up, I ran across Ritual. I am not being paid by them to review the vitamin, I found it completely on my own, and paid for it. After thoroughly researching their website and learning more about them, I was THRILLED! Could it be true?

They believe in simplicity. Their research and ingredients are backed by science. They are low dose. They have a simple ingredients list. They are completely transparent about their product. They are specifically geared toward women and they are affordable! Just $30.00 for a month’s supply.

It’s like someone swooped down and answered all of my vitamin prayers.

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Here’s what you’ll find in their multi:

K2, D3, B12, Boron, Iron, Vitamin E, Magnesium, Folate, and Omega-3. At low doses based on what the “average” woman needs. When you visit their website you can click on each ingredient and they give you the complete rundown. Form, dosage, source, manufacturer (and when you click on the manufacturer you get even more in depth information), why they use that form, and how it works together with your diet and other vitamins. Amazing, right?

As with all new supplements I took the lowest dose for the first few days which in this case, was one capsule. Then after about 4 days I increased it to the normal dose of two capsules.

I am pleased to report that after taking them for about two weeks now, I am noticing a significant difference in my energy levels. What I really love is that it has been a gentle incline of healthy feeling overall energy, not a nervous buzz that we get with some vitamin supplements. I also love that I know EXACTLY what is in them and what they do for me. I don’t feel like I’m overdosing myself like I have with other multi’s with 42 unrealistic, not scientifically backed, ingredients that promise everything from clear skin to the healing of all diseases known to man.

Also, when taken with my breakfast there is no tummy upset and zero fish burps! I take my other large fish oil capsule along with it, so it surprises me that I haven’t had any fishy issues. Amen! I also notice a lessening of joint stiffness (common with Lyme Disease), my skin is brighter, my  fingernails are growing faster, my skin is less dry, and I’m sleeping really well (when Abigail isn’t howling with the coyotes).

The capsules are a really reasonable size. I swallow a handful of supplements every morning, but for those of you who have a difficult time swallowing pills, I don’t think they’re going to be an issue.

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Here’s my breakdown:

Transparency & Truth In Advertising: Two Thumbs Up

Simple, Easy To Understand, Healthy Ingredients: Two Thumbs Up

Low Dose: Two Thumbs Up

Capsule Size: Two Thumbs Up

Cost: Two Thumbs Up

Efficacy: Two Thumbs Up and if I had three I’d give it three! 

I have zero complaints.

(Cover photo courtesy of TechCrunch)

Supplements ~ What Works For Me

5 Comments

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I have a love hate relationship with supplements. I love it when I can find the ones that are a good fit for me and make a positive impact, and I hate the expensive and irritating process of searching and eliminating the supplements that don’t work.

The supplements that aren’t a good fit typically cause headaches, flu like symptoms, insomnia, joint pain (inflammation), sometimes stomach issues, can imbalance hormones, and for me can also stir up the Lyme bacteria which I try very hard to keep dormant. These symptoms are upsetting if you’re already feeling under the weather and can be very frustrating. People often message me and say, “I give up! Nothing works, everything makes me feel gross.”

I hear you because I’ve been through the same thing and it can be exhausting, but I keep fighting and researching, and have found some fantastic supplements that work very well.

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I am often asked, “what I take” and my answer is, “As little as possible!” My goal is always to find the least amount of supplements and medications to help me feel my best. My particular needs involve the gut, inflammation, and immunity. Those three things need to work together for us to be our healthiest selves. Inflammation is the root of all evil in the body and it is directly linked to the health of your gut. If the gut is unhealthy, your entire body is out of balance. I’ve talked a lot about gut health, systemic inflammation and immunity in previous posts so lets get to the supplements!

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(Medical Disclaimer * I am not a physician or nutritional or supplement specialist. The list of supplements I provide below are what works for me personally and are not shared as personal medical advice or treatment and are purely educational. As always, I strongly suggest you work hand in hand with your health care provider to find the right supplements for you.*)

Below are all of my favorites along with links, why I find them beneficial, and how they work. 

Probiotics & Digestive Enzymes

Complete Probiotics

I order these from Amazon Prime or directly from Dr Mercola’s website.

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There are many brands of Probiotics and Digestive Enzymes on the market. There’s only a handful that are truly beneficial, have the proper bacteria, and work the way they say they do so make sure you’re doing your research. I switch back and forth between  these two brands of probiotics every 60 days or so. Also, it’s very important to do your research on pre-biotics. Pre-biotic foods feed the good bacteria in our gut. This is an easy link to get you started in the right direction for pre-biotics.

Nexabiotic 

I order these directly from their website.

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Isotonix Digestive Enzymes 

I order this on Amazon Prime.

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I love digestive enzymes because I feel they are just another step in the process of healing the gut and focusing on proper absorption of the nutrients in the foods we eat and the supplements we take. Typically, digestive enzymes are taken with each meal, I usually only remember to take them with breakfast or lunch, and I feel that amount works just fine. In fact, with most supplements I start small and work my way up. If supplement directions call for 2 Tablespoons or 6 pills a day, but 1 Tablespoon and 2 pills a day work for me, it’s less that my body has to process and also saves me money.

Benefits:  Enzymes are important for the body’s proper absorption and utilization of food. Over time, the body’s ability to make certain enzymes reduces as part of the natural aging process. Many scientists now believe that maintaining normal levels of key enzymes is important to maintaining overall health. . In today’s world of processed and fast foods, the body must work harder to break down food and absorb the nutrients. Poor eating habits, such as improper or inadequate chewing and eating on the run contribute to reduced levels of digestive enzymes (which lead to leaky gut, poor absorption, and inflammation).

Natural Anti-Inflammatories

I’ll keep screaming it from the roof tops…inflammation is the root of all evil in the body! It causes pain, depression, anxiety, sleep disorders, hormone imbalances, auto immune disease, cancer…I could go on and on. Keeping the inflammation balanced in my body is the key to me leading a heathly life.

Biomor Curcumin

I order these directly from their website.

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Tumeric or curcumin?  A typical turmeric root contains only about 2-5% curcumin, so taking an unstandardized, powdered turmeric root product means that very large amounts would be required to get a beneficial amount of curcumin. Additionally, curcumin is poorly absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract. While turmeric is excellent when used as a spice, a curcumin extract is a better choice for health benefits. I did many hours of research on curcumin supplements and this was my choice. Their website is extremely informative so be sure to click on the link above for more reading.

Benefits:  Curcumin is the main active ingredient in tumeric and has powerful anti-inflammatory effects. Curcumin blocks NF-kB, a molecule that travels into the nuclei of cells and turns on genes related to inflammation. Curcumin neutralizes free radicals which makes it an excellent antioxidant. It is beneficial for cancers, arthritis, dry eyes, metal toxicity, is a natural anti bacterial, anti fungal and is anti viral. It has been proven beneficial with inflammatory bowel disease, Chron’s Disease, Ulcerative Colitis, spinal cord injuries, weight management, diabetes, liver damage,  and has been linked to improved brain function and lower risk of brain diseases. One study even showed that taking Curcumin was as effective as exercise in lowering endothelial function which is a major driver of heat disease. Studies also show that Curcumin can clear Amyloid plaques which are a buildup of protein tangles found in Alzheimer’s patients. Curcumin is beneficial for depression, high cholesterol, and studies show that Curcumin interferes with cancer development, growth, and spread.

The reason I love it and will NEVER be without it is because it enabled me to get off of prescription anti-inflammatories. It reversed damage to my hands caused by Lyme arthritis, and it has dramatically lessened systemic inflammation which has been a major struggle for me since I was infected.

I started with 1 capsule three times a day for 30 days. Then, moved to 2 capsules per day for another 30 days, and then lowered it to 1 capsule per day. By the end of the first 30 days I was able to stop the prescription anti-inflammatories and now, three years later I still take only 1 Curcumin capsule daily. If I have an inflammation flare, I pop it up to 2 a day. I order it online and their website is very informative so be sure to clink the link above to read more.

Bio D Mulsion Forte (D3)

I order this from Amazon Prime.

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I take high doses of D3 and this makes it easy because not only is it very high quality, but there are 2,000 iu’s per drop. It looks and tastes like Elmer’s glue but goes down quickly with a little water. The next time you see your health practitioner, be sure to have your D3 levels checked.

Benefits : Vitamin D3 regulates the absorption of calcium and phosphorous and facilitates normal immune system function. Low vitamin D3 levels lead to vascular disease, chronic inflammation, higher risks of cancer, depression, anxiety, and osteoporosis.  It fights  pain, boosts weight loss, fights against the common flu, helps maintain healthy bone and muscle function, and according to a 2006 study published in the Journal Of The American Medical Association, also reduces your risk of multiple sclerosis.

WHC UnoCardio 1000

I order this from Amazon Prime.

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I have tried close to 20 brands of fish oil over the years. Every,single, one made me feel like death. Sick stomach, headache, and fish burps for 12 hours straight. In my research I stumbled across a company called Labdoor. They test supplements and grade and rank them based on label accuracy, product purity, nutritional value, ingredient safety, and projected efficacy. WHC Uno Cardo 1000 ranks #1 out of 57 other fish oil supplements. I love it. It doesn’t bother my stomach (I take it with food) and I have had no issues with it. This supplement also contains 1,000 iu’s of vitamin D3, so those of you who are not on a high dose of D3 like I am, can kill two birds with one stone.

Benefits: Combats inflammation, promotes healthy brain function, good vision, and blood pressure. It helps fight depression, anxiety, has been found beneficial for ADHD, boosts weakened immune system, aids in weight loss, fertility, and helps heal psoriasis and acne. It improves immunity and is fabulous for your skin and hair.

Organic Cherry Juice Concentrate

If I can’t find this in the health food section, I buy it on Amazon Prime.

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I take 1 Tablespoon of this in 8 ounces of water in the evenings when I’m having sleeping issues, my nervous system is revved up, or I’m having an inflammation flare. It works incredibly well and has the side benefit of being very tasty unlike a lot of supplements.

Tart cherries are anti oxidant, anti inflammatory, aid in cancer prevention and heart health, help post workout recovery, help arthritis pain, reduce swelling, boosts immunity, regulates metabolism and fight fat, regulate blood sugar, combat anxiety, and like I said above, helps with insomnia because tart cherries are a natural source of melatonin.

Fighting Off Virus Load 

Did you know that there are 8 types of Herpes viruses? I know, it’s kind of an uncomfortable topic that people don’t like to discuss. I’m going to do it anyway because the majority of humans have a minimum of two of the Herpes infections.

I have the cold sore virus, the shingles virus, and the Epstein-Barr Virus. In fact, several years ago I broke out in shingles every 6 weeks for a year and a half. It was awful!

Herpes viruses are very common. In fact, according to the CDC HHV7 is so common, that the majority of humankind has been infected. Often, these viruses run around behind the scenes beating down our immune systems and wreaking havoc and we don’t even know it. It’s important to eat foods and take supplements that fight our viral load.  90% of American adults have been exposed to HSV-1 and according to the Centers For Disease Control, 1 out of every 6 people ages 14-49 have genital herpes.

Right now, there are NO treatment for Epstein-Barr virus or human herpes virus 6,7 or 8 infections and none of the 8 Herpes infections are curable. The goal is to boost the immune system so as to help the viral load stay dormant.

So let’s lightly go over the 8 types…

HSV-1 causes cold sores on the lips but can also show up on other parts of the body and can lead to infection of the genitals during oral sex and then can become HSV-2. Genital Herpes can also show up on the mouth.

HHV3 causes chicken pox and can also cause a recurrent viral infection of the skin called Herpes Zoster, othewise known as shingles.

HHV4 is known as EBV or the Epstein-Barr Virus. It is the major cause of infectious mononucleosis.

HHV5 s the official name of cytomegalovirus (CMV). CMV is also a cause of mononucleosis. CMV virus is one of the most difficult complication of AIDS.

HHV6 is a recently observed agent found in the blood cells of a few patients with a variety of diseases. It causes roseola (a viral disease causing high fever and a skin rash in small children) and a variety of other illnesses associated with fever in that age group. This infection accounts for many of the cases of convulsions associated with fever in infancy (febrile seizures).

HHV7 is even more recently observed and is closely related to HHV6. Like other human herpes viruses, HHV6 and HHV7 are so common that most of humankind has been infected at some point, usually early in life. HHV7 can also cause roseola, but it is not clear what other clinical effects that this virus causes.

HHV8 was recently discovered in the tumours called Kaposi’s Sarcoma (KS). These tumours are found in people with AIDS and are otherwise very rare. KS forms purplish tumours in the skin and other tissues of some people with AIDS. It is very difficult to treat with medication. HHV8 may also cause other cancers, including certain lymphomas (lymph node cancers) associated with AIDS. The fact that these cancers are caused by a virus may explain why they tend to occur in people with AIDS when their immune systems begin to fail.

There are many supplements, herbs, and homeopathics you can take to help keep your body’s viral load under control. Of course, proper nutrition, a low sugar diet, rest, plenty of healthy water, and exercise should always be your first priority. If you suffer from any of the Herpes viruses listed above, it would be really beneficial for you to do some research for your specific virus and figure out how you can keep it at bay as much as possible. I use Llysine and Lemon Balm.

l-Lysine

I order this from Amazon Prime.

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L-lysine, is an essential amino acid, meaning it is necessary for human health, but the body cannot make it. You have to get lysine from food or supplements. Amino acids like lysine are the building blocks of protein. Lysine has antiviral effects by blocking the activity of arginine, which promotes Herpes replication. One review found that oral lysine is more effective at preventing an HSV outbreak than it is at reducing the severity and duration of an outbreak. One study found that taking lysine at the beginning of a herpes outbreak did not reduce symptoms. Supplementation may reduce recurrences and improve symptoms. Lysine also helps with anxiety, fights acne, combats hair loss, and increases athletic performance.

Here’s a large list of foods high in Arginine that you can strive to avoid if you’re battling active Herpes infections. Avoiding these foods as much as possible along with taking a l-Lysine supplement makes a big difference in frequency of outbreaks as well as timely healing.

Lemon Balm Hydrosol 

I order this directly from their website.

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Lemon Balm is a member of the mint family and is considered a calming herb. It is antiviral and antibacterial when taken in both oral and topical forms. It reduces anxiety, promotes sleep, and helps with indigestion. It is anti-inflammatory and a large German study showed that lemon balm was extremely effective in treating herpes simplex infections. *Not to be used in high amounts for women who are pregnant or people taking thyroid medication.

If you’d like more information on herbal remedies for viral infections you can contact me personally. I would also suggest researching Lomatium, Ligusticum Osha, Sambucas Elder, and Astragalus, all of which were very helpful when I went through the bout of constant shingles outbreaks.

Nervous System & Adrenal Issues

Natural Vitality Natural Calm Magnesium

I order this from Amazon Prime but you can also find it in almost every health food store and vitamin supplement store.

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I drink this every afternoon in a cup of hot water just like tea. It’s fizzy and tasty and a perfect reminder for me to sit down and enjoy a good book for a few minutes every day. It calms my nervous system, helps to keep my blood pressure manageable, and is great for muscle aches and joint pains. Magnesium deficiency causes many issues people are unaware of. Agitation and anxiety, restless leg syndrome, sleep disorders, irritability, insomnia, muscle spasms and weakness, and most people aren’t aware that magnesium is necessary for proper hormone balance.  There have also been studies linking magnesium deficiency to a significant cause of heart disease. Magnesium lowers cortisol, supports the thyroid, lowers blood sugar, fuels cellular energy, and is also anti-inflammatory. A study done prior to 2005 found that 68% of Americans do not consume  the recommended daily intake of magnesium, and even more unsettling, showed that 19% of Americans don’t consume even half of that.

Dr’s Advantage Liquid Adrenal Balance and Stress Defense

I order this on Amazon Prime.

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Ashwagandaha, also known as Indian Ginseng, is an adaptogenic herb that works as a stress response inhibitor. It has a wide range of health benefits including its ability to fight against cancer and diabetes, as well as reduce inflammation, arthritis, asthma, hypertension, stress, and rheumatism. It boosts your supply of antioxidants and regulates the immune system.

When I had my first Lyme flare (although I didn’t know what it was at the time) I of course had tons of lab work done. Some of my tests showed that my cortisol was too high at night and too high in the morning. Some symptoms of cortisol imbalance include, weight gain or loss, skin irritation, mood changes, infertility (hormonal imbalance), decreased sexual desire, depression, anxiety, memory issues, high blood pressure, insulin resistance, prolonged illness, asthma, insomnia…and list goes on.

When our bodies are under extreme stress from life or illness, our adrenals run to the rescue and before we know it they’re fatigued and we can sometimes get stuck in that constant undercurrent of fight or flight. Adrenal Fatigue is controversial as most mainstream medicine doctors don’t recognize it. However, Holistic physicians, Naturopaths, and Integrative Medicine doctors have been testing and treating it for years with great success.

There are several adaptogenic herbs that seem to work very well with the body to calm down the stress response. I tried many that did not agree with me and revved me up rather than calm down my stress response. The Dr’s Advantage worked very well for me. They recommend taking 2 Tablespoons daily, but I found that 1 Tablespoon with my morning supplements worked well whereas, another Tablespoon in the afternoon was too much. I no longer take it daily, but do take it when I’m under extended periods of stress, feeling run down, or in a Lyme flare.

………..Multivitamin Supplement……..

Ahhh…you may notice something is missing. I cannot even count the amount of multi vitamin supplements I have tried. It is a real struggle for many people. Several years ago I finally found a wonderful multi that fit perfectly with my body and my needs and 6 months ago they quit manufacturing it. It was a sad day indeed. I’m still researching and trying different supplements. I have one on order that looks very promising. When it arrives and I’ve had a chance to try it for few days, I’ll be sure to post a full review.

Resources:

  • University of Maryland Medical Center
  • Natural News
  • Mountain Rose Herbs
  • Pure Encapsulations
  • Home Remedy Shop
  • LiveStrong
  • SOTT
  • Dr’s Advantage
  • Life Extension
  • Test Country
  • Health Line
  • Prevention
  • Healthy Eating
  • iBelieve
  • All Canadian Fitness
  • Authority Nutrition
  • Nutrition Data
  • Nutrogenics
  • Organic Facts
  • Med Broadcast
  • Medical Microbiology
  • NCBI Medical Microbiology 4th Edition
  • Biotics
  • Nexabiotic
  • Isotonix
  • Dr. Axe
  • Authority Nutrition
  • Dr Mercola

Help For Arthritic Hands

6 Comments

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Over the last few years during the holidays I’ve been making body care gifts for friends and family. Last year I made a sleep potion with several types of essential oils. My mom has very arthritic knuckles and her hands are often in pain. She found that when she used the sleep potion on her hands that it relieved pain and with consistent use, reduced inflammation in her knuckles.

This isn’t surprising considering the benefits of each of the individual oils but I was very happy to hear that it gave her some relief. This year I’ve made a more concentrated batch for her in roller bottles rather than a dropper bottle that make it easier to use and easy to toss in a purse or in a pocket.

To purchase the essential oils up front is a bit of an investment but only a few drops of each are needed because they are so pure and concentrated. Well worth the investment as you can use them for many other things.

Here’s the recipe:

10ml Roller Bottles (I buy them on Amazon)

Avocado Oil

Lavender (6 drops in each roller bottle)

Frankincense (4 drops in each bottle)

German Chamomile (3 drops in each bottle)

Valor (4 drops in each bottle)

Cedarwood (3 drops in each bottle)

Copaiba (3 drops in each bottle)

Eucalyptus Globulous ( 2 drops in each bottle)

Remove the rollers from each bottle. Measure essential oils into bottles first, then fill with avocado oil. Replace the roller and the lid and shake well. Rub on each knuckle (or area that is sore). These are concentrated so a little will go a long way.

Essential Oil Benefits:

Lavender ~ Calms nerves, mood balancing, restful sleep, eases dry irritated skin, allergy relief, aids in burn healing, anti-inflammatory, eases sunburn pain.

Frankincense ~ Eases nervous tension, eases anxiety and depression, anti inflammatory, stimulates immune system, eases restless leg, disinfects cuts & wounds, eases arthritis, eases allergies, promotes healthy skin

German Chamomile ~ Eases nervous tension, eases upset stomach, antibacterial, anti inflammatory, promotes sleep, eases muscle tension, promotes skin health.

Valor ~ Calming, eases anxiety, eases joint pain, eases tension headaches, eases snoring, eases sciatic pain and joint pain.

Cedarwood ~ Supports the lymph system, eases anxiety, eases insomnia, antibacterial, eases respiratory issues, aids sleep.

Copaiba ~ Relieves pain, anti inflammatory, aids in digestion, eases joint stiffness, eases aches, antibacterial, aids circulation.

Eucalyptus Globulous ~ Eases muscle aches, cough suppressant, boosts the immune system, anti inflammatory, antibacterial, antiviral, decongestant.

Headache & Migraine Relief Roller

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You may be one of the lucky few who never suffer from an occasional headache or migraine. If that’s so, you can also use this essential oil combination for sore, tense muscles, and nausea.

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But, for those of us who do have those dreadful headaches, we’re always happy to have something we can either take or put on to help us get through it. I like to rotate hot and cold packs, take a shower with a few drops of essential oils, and rub a little of my Headache & Migraine Relief on the back of my neck, temples, and forehead.

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I find the scent amazingly calming and it’s full of oils that help with pain, inflammation, and nausea.

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And although these rollers are very small, just a tiny bit goes a long way. High quality essential oils are extremely concentrated and if you choose to use any of my oil recipes on your children, do so with caution and dilute even further.

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Essential oils have some really amazing benefits. I’m always excited to research them on my phone app or in one of the huge manuals I purchased. There’s an oil for everything! And why wouldn’t we want to try something pure and natural before we head to the doctor just to be given medications with a laundry list of unsettling side effects? Another huge benefit is that you can make your own remedies using the oils that most suit you and your family.

People are very particular about the oils they use. When you make your own combination remedies, you don’t have to worry about wasting money on oil mixtures you may not like. There are many oils that I don’t like! It’s nice to have a stock of my own favorites to get creative with.

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I use essential oils in lotion, body oils, lip balm, in our humidifier, in my plants when I water, when I clean, in my vacuum cleaner, on wounds, on acne, for body aches, in the shower to ease brain fog, for nausea, for headaches, for mouth bacteria, for colds, for disinfecting, for air purifying, when I change the bed sheets, in the laundry….you name it!

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Here’s a list of the oil benefits in my Headache & Migraine Relief Roller:

German Chamomile is said to easy nervous tension, ease upset stomach, eases muscle tension, is anti inflammatory, and promotes rest.

Vetiver is said to help calm the body, reduce stress, reduce nervousness, improve circulation, and is anti inflammatory.

Eucalyptus Globulous is said to ease muscle aches and pains, boost the immune system and is anti inflammatory.

Lemon is said to reduce stress, improve circulation, reduce anxiety, it’s anti inflammatory, promotes rest, and is detoxifying.

Peppermint is said to give a cooling effect, is calming, relieves pain, is an anti inflammatory, helps with nausea and muscle tension.

Frankincense is said to ease nervous tension, ease anxiety and depression, it’s anti inflammatory, and stimulates the immune system

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Headache & Migraine Relief Roller

**The essential oils are drops per bottle & I use high quality Young Living Oils**

6 – 1/8 oz Clear Mini Glass Roll On Bottles

1 Drop of German Chamomile Essential Oil

3 Drops of Vetiver Essential Oil

15 Drops of Eucalyptus Globulous Essential Oil

4 Drops of Lemon Essential Oil

15 Drops of Peppermint Essential Oil

2 Drops of Frankincense Essential Oil

Organic Jojoba Oil

Add the drops to each bottle and fill the remainder with organic jojoba oil. Shake well.

Instructions: Roll a small amount onto back of neck, temples & forehead (avoiding eyes!). Roll a small amount into palm, rub hands together, and cup in front of nose. Breathe in for 30 seconds.

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Slumber Bedtime Potion

4 Comments

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I’m happy to say I survived four days of granola and nuts. I don’t get along with nuts and grains very well.

We have a love hate relationship.

I love them, and they hate me.

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I tied and labeled the last of it a couple days ago and after snacking on them two days in a row, by bed time I had grandma ankles and had to pry my rings off my fingers with lotion.

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But I have to admit, old lady ankles and swollen fingers were worth a few handfuls of candied almonds and caramelized walnuts and pecans.

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 I’m thankful they’re tied up now though because I’m not sure I could keep my hands off of them otherwise.

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With the granola wrapped and ready to go, I’m moving on to a relaxing bed time oil you can make for your feet and hands. There’s nothing better after a quieting tub than slipping into your favorite nightwear, crawling into a cozy bed, and giving yourself a little foot and hand massage.

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It works the parts we use most during the day, and it prepares your body for rest.

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You could use anything for the massage of course, but I’ve created something extra special for you.

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A combination of soothing, wonderful smelling, stress reducing, pain relieving, sleep enhancing, essential oils.

Rest well!

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High quality essential oils are extremely concentrated and if you choose to use any of my oil recipes on your children, they should be diluted even further with a carrier oil. For children under 12, I would simply do a 1/4 teaspoon of carrier oil (jojoba, olive, coconut) to 1 drop of the mixed oils.

Slumber Bedtime Potion

**The essential oils are drops per bottle & I use high quality Young Living Oils**

6 Glass Bottles with Droppers (1 oz) 

6 Drops of Lavender Essential Oil

4 Drops of Frankincense Essential Oil

3 Drops of German Chamomile Essential Oil

4 Drops of Valor Essential Oil

3 Drops of Cedarwood Essential Oil

4 Drops of Copaiba Essential Oil

2 Drops of Eucalyptus Globulous Essential Oil

Organic Jojoba Oil

Add the drops to each bottle and fill remainder with organic jojoba oil. Shake Well.

Instructions: Massage a few drops (only a few are needed!) of oil into hands and feet at bedtime.

Scroll down for the benefits of all the oils used in my Slumber Bedtime Potion.

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Essential Oil Benefits:

Lavender ~ Calms nerves, mood balancing, restful sleep, eases dry irritated skin, allergy relief, aids in burn healing, eases sunburn pain.

Frankincense ~ Eases nervous tension, eases anxiety and depression, anti inflammatory, stimulates immune system, eases restless leg, disinfects cuts & wounds, eases arthritis, eases allergies, promotes healthy skin

German Chamomile ~ Eases nervous tension, eases upset stomach, antibacterial, anti inflammatory, promotes sleep, eases muscle tension, promotes skin health.

Valor ~ Calming, eases anxiety, eases joint pain, eases tension headaches, eases snoring, eases sciatic pain and joint pain.

Cedarwood ~ Supports the lymph system, eases anxiety, eases insomnia, antibacterial, eases respiratory issues, aids sleep.

Copaiba ~ Relieves pain, anti inflammatory, aids in digestion, eases joint stiffness, eases aches, antibacterial, aids circulation.

Eucalyptus Globulous ~ Eases muscle aches, cough suppressant, boosts the immune system, anti inflammatory, antibacterial, antiviral, decongestant.

 

Pie, Glorious Pie & A Few Other Holiday Must Haves

3 Comments

2015-11-25 14.39.01

We had other foods on Thanksgiving of course that are my favorites, but I’ll start with the pies. There aren’t many people on the planet who dislike pie. I can’t even fathom such a crazy thing.

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I absolutely love that we can have food allergies and sensitivities and we can still enjoy all types of fabulous meals and desserts. In fact, that’s why I originally started this blog. To prove to people that you can dramatically change the ingredients in your diet and still love the food you eat while you gain back your health.

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I don’t know about you, but I was not willing to say goodbye to pie so I figured out numerous ways around it. First, the crust is to me, the absolute most important part. Good filling with a bad crust is a bad pie and we don’t want that.

My crust must be buttery, flaky, without weird texture or sour taste, and must be able to be used for both sweet and savory dishes. I’ve tried many recipe variations and this one meets all of my requirements and gets rave reviews every single time I use it. The Mama’s Flour Mix is the key. The recipe makes 4 crusts and can easily be frozen for future use. You can find my recipe for Pie Crust From Heaven HERE.

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So let’s move on to the actual pies. Pumpkin pie…oh how I love pumpkin pie! It’s incredibly easy to make gluten and dairy free.

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Gluten Free & Dairy Free Pumpkin Pie

1 – 15 oz Can of Organic Plain Canned Pumpkin

1 – 13.5 Can of Full Fat Organic Coconut Milk

3 Organic Eggs

3/4 Cup of Organic Coconut Sugar

1 1/2 Tablespoons of Pumpkin Pie Spice

Pinch of Sea Salt

1 Pie Crust, rolled out with GF flour

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Prepare pie crust in pie plate and set aside. Measure all other ingredients into a large 6 Cup glass measuring cup or large bowl that is easy to pour from. Whisk well until all ingredients are fully combined, making sure the solidified parts of the coconut milk are fully combined and smooth. Place a baking sheet on the middle rack of the oven and then place the pie plate on the sheet. Carefully pour the batter into the crust.

Bake for 15 minutes at 425 degrees, then reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees (leave the pie in the oven!), and bake for 35-40 minutes until set. I like mine to have just the slightest jiggle in the middle when I take it out. It will set more when it’s out of the oven. If you overcook it, it will crack.

I also made an apple pie with a pie crust bottom and a streusel top. The best of both worlds in one pie if you ask me! Also extremely easy to do gluten free and dairy free.

2015-11-25 13.20.09

Apple Crumble Pie

For the topping:

1 Cup of Gluten Free Rolled Oats

1/2 Cup of Organic Coconut Sugar

1/2 Tablespoon of Unsulphured Black Strap Molasses

1/2 teaspoon of Sea Salt

1/2 teaspoon of Ground Cinnamon

1/2 Cup of Mama’s All Purpose Almond Flour

6 Tablespoons of Cold Dairy Free Butter 

For the pie:

1 Pie Crust rolled out with GF flour

5 Fuji Apples, washed & dried, peels on

1/2 teaspoon of Ground Cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon of Ground Nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon of Sea Salt

1/3 Cup of Organic Coconut Sugar

1/2 Cup of Mama’s All Purpose Almond Flour

About 6-8 teaspoons or so of Dairy Free Butter to dot apples 

Prepare the pie crust in the pie pan and set aside. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. For the topping: measure the sugar and molasses into a bowl and stir with fork until sugar and molasses are combined. Measure in the rolled oats, sea salt, cinnamon, and flour and stir to combine. Add the 6 Tablespoons of cold butter and lightly and quickly (as to not melt the butter) combine with fingers until it forms a “crumble”. Set aside.

The sugar and molasses should still be relatively dry after being combined.

The sugar and molasses should still be relatively dry after being combined.

Core the apples and slice thinly into a large bowl. Add the cinnamon, nutmeg, sea salt, and butter and stir well to coat all the apples. Pour the apples into the pie crust and arrange so there are no holes or gaps.

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Dot the top with the 6-8 teaspoons of cold dairy free butter. Top evenly with the crumble topping.

Bake at 375 degrees for about 60 minutes, I covered mine with foil at 40-45 minutes to keep the crumble from over browning. Test with a fork to make sure apples are done, they should have just a very light bit of texture.

Another absolutely fabulous thing you don’t need to go without when dealing with food allergies is whipped cream. This time when I went to grab my jar of homemade GF vanilla extract, I realized it was just full of beans and no extract. I used the insides of several beans and went without extract and it resulted in the best and most flavorful coconut milk whipped cream I’ve ever made.

2015-11-26 08.09.25

Vodka Vanilla Bean Coconut Milk Whipped Cream

*Place Cans of Coconut Milk In Fridge Overnight, or if you’re in a hurry, a minimum of 4 hours

3 Cans of Chilled Full Fat Organic Coconut Milk

About 1/2 – 3/4 Cup of Organic Coconut Powdered Sugar, whiz up in a blender or Nutribullet to resemble powdered sugar

8-10 Vodka Soaked Vanilla Beans, scraped about 3 teaspoons (or, 2 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract if you don’t have the beans)

If you’re using vanilla beans, slice down the middle and scrape into a small bowl.

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Whiz up the coconut sugar until it resembles a powdered sugar texture.

This is prior to blending.

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Carefully scoop out the solid half of coconut milk out of each can and place it in the bowl of an electric mixer. Reserve 3 Tablespoons of the liquid coconut milk for the whipped cream and refrigerate the remaining milk for smoothies at another time (If you’re using vanilla extract, you may not need to add any additional coconut milk). Using a whisk attachment, beat the coconut cream until medium peak. Add the powdered coconut sugar in two parts, beating in between. Add the vanilla bean seeds and beat until thick and the consistency you like in your whipped cream. If it’s too thick, add coconut milk about 1 Tablespoon at a time until it reaches the consistency you desire. Don’t add it too quickly, as it will thin out very fast and there’s no turning back.

Next to pie, I would have to rank stuffing as my next favorite part of any holiday meal. By itself or along with giblet gravy and mashed potatoes…I could just swoon every time I eat it. Pure comfort food at its best. You can go HERE for my Million Dollar Stuffing recipe.

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Lastly, there’s the turkey. We had a bit of snafu with ours this year, you can read about it here. The farm we purchased it from responded to my note right away and we are being given the option of a gift certificate or a refund. An organic 14lb turkey costs right at about $100 with shipping, so I’m thankful for their courteous customer service and as this was the first turkey from them that we’ve ever had issue with, I will definitely try them again.

The turkey was a bummer but I did make a fabulous rub for the skin. Very flavorful and aromatic. To me, one of the best parts of any roasted bird is the crispy, salty skin!

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Turkey Herb Rub

Nurtribullet or Good Blender

About 1/8 to 1/4 Cup of Sea Salt (you will likely have some left over for other meals)

3 Fresh Sage Leaves

1 Large Sprig of Fresh Rosemary, stem removed

About 1 Heaping Tablespoon of Fresh Thyme Leaves

Place all ingredients in a blender or Nutribullet and blend until herbs and salt are completely combined.

Once I stuffed the turkey, I covered it in chilled dairy free butter and then rubbed a very generous amount of the Herb Rub all over the turkey. Delicious! 

Store any unused Turkey Herb Rub in an air tight container. But, allow it to dry out for a day first as the fresh herbs add a bit of moisture.

I hope you have a wonderful holiday season and remember, with a little research and willingness, we don’t have to suffer or feel like we’re going without just because of food allergies.

2015-11-26 11.45.49

Homemade Organic Super Green Powder

2 Comments

2015-06-22 09.56.42

I couldn’t be happier with our weather this summer. Heck, even spring was fantastic! The abundant sunshine and high temperatures have been great for the garden (and me!). I can’t believe I haven’t been gardening in raised boxes my entire life. From this point forward, I wouldn’t do it any other way.

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It just makes it SO easy. I haven’t had to pull even one weed of course, watering is a breeze, and all the plants seem to really enjoy being nestled together. Two thumbs up for square foot gardening.

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The only small battle I’ve had is with beetles on my zucchini and squash plants. By the time I started to notice the bugs and figured out what was happening, the plants quickly went downhill. I’ll probably lose the zucchini. It has yet to produce anything edible.

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But I caught the yellow squash in time and we’ve been enjoying them grilled, in smoothies, egg scrambles, and salads.

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We’ve already gone through three plantings of spinach and two waves of different types of lettuce.

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One wave of beets and carrots. The kale is abundant and I love how it just continues to grow as I snip.

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I planted more beets and carrots yesterday and another wave of snap peas in hopes that we’ll continue to have great weather and I’ll have a vegetable crop well into late October.

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I planted all heirloom tomatoes and they are growing like crazy! After a small issue with blossom rot I added organic bone meal to the soil and now all is well.

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The Sunsugar tomatoes were the first to begin to ripen about a week ago.

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Very sweet and wonderful in our salads.

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The other tomato plants are just now beginning to ripen. Fingers crossed they won’t all ripen at once or we’ll be up to our ears.

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I’ve already dried several batches of herbs.

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Not wanting to let carrot tops and beet greens go to waste, I also dried those along with kale, swiss chard, and spinach.

2015-06-14 08.36.16

Simple to do and an easy way to add super nutrients to almost anything. In fact, it dawned on me that I could make my own Super Greens powder to add to smoothies, soups, stews, or even baked goods. You probably already know that super green powders sold online and in stores are quite pricey for the good ones. Mine is about as inexpensive as you can get. The price of a packet of seeds basically.

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All I did was dehydrate the greens I wanted in my powder, put them in a baggie to crush them, and then whiz them up in the Nutribullet.

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Such a gorgeous, healthy, color.

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Incredibly easy and inexpensive. A 1/4 cup of dried powder holds the contents and nutrients of at least 12-16 cups of fresh greens. A tiny bit goes a long way.

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Easy gardening, easy dehydrating… high yield happiness.

The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just on the body, but the soul.

~Alfred Austin

2015-06-26 09.02.08