Thursday, March 23, 2017

A New Adventure!

It's hard to believe it, but this weekend I'm actually moving to Texas!!!

God has done so many miracles to make this move possible!
- My health continues to improve, praise God!
- I have a vehicle to drive.
- I have an awesome part time job in TX!
- I have housing for the first month!
- I had already downsized and organized almost all my stuff, which has simplified the packing process.
- I have a renewed spirit of adventure after the wild ride God took me on last year. =)
- I have a heart full of joy and expectation for what God will do in my life in a new season!

I don't know what all God has in store for me on this new adventure, but I am SO excited just watching Him at work! I know He is using all the things He's brought me through to this point to prepare me for what He has next. I'm just so in awe of my heavenly Father's wisdom, love and goodness! 

I could never thank you enough for your prayers through the years! Looking back, there were so many days when it seemed like I wouldn't make it, let alone recover and live life again. This morning God reminded me of the passage in Jeremiah that says,

"...I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness. I will build you up again...Again you will take up your tambourines and go out to dance with the joyful." -Jeremiah 31:3-4

It's amazing and humbling to be living out this verse. Praise God for His power and grace that is able to restore and give back so MUCH more than was lost!

I know many of you are still in the season of suffering. I can't say what will happen in your future; only God knows the plans He has for you. But I can tell you that God's heart overflows with love for you! He longs to heal, restore, and bless His children! Sometimes we don't understand the process He takes us through, but we can trust His heart.

I hope and pray that whatever trials you've been enduring, that one day soon you will see this verse fulfilled in your own life. I pray one day you will again dance with joy on your journey with Jesus.

Until then, take heart. Know that He sees beyond what you can see. You can't imagine what blessings He has in store for you in the future!

When you think of me, I'd sure appreciate your prayers in this time of transition. I plan to continue doing blog posts every other week, but if that changes I'll let you know. =) Thank you for sharing the journey with me. Let's keep holding tight to Jesus through it all.

Blessings,
-Joanna

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Detoxing - Part 3

Today I have a few more insights about detoxing to share.

1) Some people have an inability to detox.

This can be from genetics or other factors, but those with an inability to detox usually end up with chronic health conditions. If the body can't get rid of toxins as it encounters them, then it will store them somewhere. After a while those stored toxins result in various problems.

The difficulty with inability to detox is that most of the detox therapies used today will only make you worse. Personally, I found that lymphatic massage was key for people with inability to detox. The lymphatic system is your body's natural detox system. By doing the massage consistently you can help your body to detox.

For me, once I had been doing the lymphatic massage for a few weeks, then I was able to slowly add in a few other detox therapies. It's important not to detox too quickly or too much otherwise you can overload the lymphatic system and will usually feel worse.

Depending on the cause of the inability to detox, it can be corrected in some situations. It was for me. From childhood I had inability to detox, but after working with an herbalogist for a few years, I praise God that particular problem has been healed!

So if you have inability to detox, don't despair. Until you find a way to correct the root problem causing it, give the lymphatic massage (or skin brushing if you can't get a massage) a try.


2) Your body will prioritize what to detox.

Especially if you've had health challenges for years, remember that the body can't detox everything at once. It will prioritize what it can safely detox and in what order. Sometimes the body will detox old infections first, then it's stronger and better able to detox something like heavy metals. Each person is different, so a detox program needs to be specific to your needs. 

Be patient and be faithful to do what you know is good for you. Give your body time to do its job of detoxing, repairing and healing.


3) Detoxing is an ongoing process.

Most people have more toxins stored in their bodies than they can effectively detox (without help). Once you start a detoxing program, the body will begin cleaning out whatever has built up. Eventually you should reach the point where all the "back-toxins" are cleaned out.

From then on, if your body stays healthy and detoxing properly, it should detox various toxic/chemical exposures quickly after they happen. For instance, if I encounter cigarette smoke while out and about, a day or so later my body will detox it. This is a good sign. It means I'm keeping up with current exposures as I encounter them. If your body isn't doing this, then those toxins probably are being stored somewhere in your body and can result in more problems later on.

Because of the extremely toxic condition of our world, it's vital that even once you're healthy, you continue doing things to aid your body in its job of detoxing (using lymphatic massage, detox baths, exercise, juicing, etc.). We are surrounded by toxic chemicals, EMF's (electromagnetic fields), "bugs," and stress. In this world, we cannot take our health for granted. We must be proactive in helping our bodies continually detox and remain healthy.


Well, I hope this series of posts has been helpful. If you have other questions, please let me know in the comments. And keep up the good work of detoxing! =)

Thursday, February 23, 2017

More About Detoxing

I hope this series of posts on detoxing is helpful for you. Here's Part 2, from something I posted a few years ago.


Understanding the Detoxing Process (Part 2)

In Part 1 I shared three things I've learned about detoxing. Today I'd like to add a few more insights.


1) The detoxing process involves symptoms.

Before I started detoxing, I had symptoms all the time; they were symptoms of illness. After I began detoxing, some of my symptoms improved, but then new symptoms came up.

However, most of the time when I told my doctor about a new symptom, she'd say "That's a good thing!" She helped me learn how to distinguish symptoms of illness from symptoms of detoxing.

For instance, at different times I've had symptoms of ravenous appetite, skin rashes, inflammation, etc. But as long as I knew they were symptoms of detoxing, then I didn't worry about them. I just kept doing my detoxing routine, knowing they would eventually resolve.

A lot of people begin a detoxing program and then feel worse. Instead of realizing this is a GOOD sign, they get frustrated or discouraged and give up.

Note: It's very important to have a trusted health advisor/professional to help you through the detoxing process, because though usually you'll feel worse simply from detoxing, sometimes it's because something is wrong. You need someone who can help you discern which it is.
Also, some people have an inability to detox, which means that doing certain detox therapies can make them much worse. I'll write more about this in next week's post.

So if you're beginning a detox program, be prepared that you will have symptoms. As the body cleans out the bad stuff, you will feel it. But if you persevere with the right program for you, you should eventually see signs of improvement.


2) Detoxing is like peeling an onion.

Some people have fewer layers than others. If we were comparing "onion" sizes, mine would probably win the prize at the World's Fair. =)

For the first three years of detoxing, I mostly detoxed chemicals, toxins, medications, etc. Then after a while, I started detoxing old infections. I still can't believe how many ear, sinus, throat, strep, bacterial, viral, and fungal infections I had to detox!

Apparently since childhood I had a low-functioning immune system. So even though I "got over" various infections, most of them didn't truly heal. They just relocated somewhere else in my body and manifested with different symptoms. Once my body cleaned out a lot of toxins, it began seeking out those infections and working to finally get rid of them.

Your top layer may be chemicals, followed by a layer of infections, followed by a layer of heavy metals, followed by another layer of more infections.... Your body will detox one layer at a time, so don't get discouraged if it seems like you've detoxed a lot but then you hit another layer. It's a good thing! =) I'm thankful God created our bodies with this ability to keep peeling back layers until we're healthy once again!


3) Detoxing is like a stair-step process.

When I began detoxing, my body was so weak I couldn't talk or get off the couch. But after a few weeks, I was able to stand up and do stretches for about 45 seconds. As I kept detoxing, my body got strong enough that I was able to handle physical therapy. After a few months I could sit up in bed for a half hour. Etc, etc.

If you're like me and you begin at the literal bottom of the stairs, be encouraged that your body will start where it can to get rid of toxins. Gradually as you have less toxins weighing you down, your body will feel stronger. Then it will target more things to get rid of.

By the second year of detoxing, whenever I'd finish getting rid some particular toxin, I'd usually have a day or two where I felt pretty good. I'd think, "Wow, I'm getting better! This is great!" Then the next day I'd suddenly feel much worse. My doctor explained that when I had days of feeling good, it was a sign of how much stronger my body was. And since I had gotten stronger, the next thing my body would do is go after more toxins/infections!

So even though it can be frustrating, I've learned to be positive about this stair-step experience. I feel better (up a step). Then I feel worse (fighting the next thing). Then I feel better (up another step).

Now I'm at the point where I sometimes have 5-6 days of feeling good in between detoxing "steps." Hopefully I'll soon be at the top of the staircase! =)

Also, each person detoxes at their own pace, so try not to compare the length of your "stairs" with others.


So, does this make sense? Do you have questions about the detoxing process?

Thursday, February 9, 2017

What Is Detoxing?

When my health crashed in 2004, I didn't know what "detoxing" was. People in the health arena talk about it all the time, but it took a while for me to learn what it really involved.

In simple terms, detoxing is getting rid of "toxins" - which can be anything your body sees as unnatural or harmful to it. But the detoxing process itself is not a simple one. So I'm going to do a series of posts to hopefully help you better understand detoxing, since it is a vitally important component for everyone's health!

This first post is one I wrote a few years ago, and I think it's a good place to start. =)


Understanding the Detoxing Process - Part 1

For years my body has been in a detoxing/healing process. I never dreamed it would take this long, and I had no idea about all the strange experiences I'd have along the way.

Often when I'm telling someone about my latest detoxing phase, their eyes glaze over like they have no clue what I'm talking about. If I hadn't lived through the last several years, I wouldn't understand it either.

So I thought it'd be helpful to explain a little about the detoxing process. Hopefully it'll help you in your own situation or at least give you better understanding and compassion for others.

When I first started detoxing, I was extremely ill. I couldn't speak or move off the couch. I had so many things wrong with my body that it seemed I'd never find a place to start. Thankfully, after we started doing the lymphatic massage and detox baths every day, my body began its own healing process.

Here are some things I've learned since then:

1) The body usually detoxes more recent toxins first.

One of the first things I detoxed was asphalt. I'd had a terrible exposure to asphalt a few months before we started the massage. So after a couple weeks of the massage, I noticed that my clothes and hair smelled like asphalt. That was the first thing I detoxed.

Many months later I was detoxing things I'd been exposed to in childhood.

For me the detoxing process has mostly worked backward (sometimes called "retracing") - detoxing recent exposures first then gradually working back to earlier toxic exposures.


2) The body detoxes through the lungs, liver, kidneys, bowels and skin.

While the lungs and liver are somewhat "invisible" detoxing organs, the kidneys, bowels and skin usually show more noticeable signs of detoxing.

As I said, my clothes and hair smelled like asphalt while I was detoxing it, because it was literally pouring out through my skin. This is one reason detox baths can be so helpful.

If you never have any changes in your urine, bowels, or skin, you're probably not detoxing effectively. There should be rather obvious signs that your body is getting rid of toxins. 


3) The body is extremely thorough in its detoxing process.

I have been astounded at how many things my body has detoxed in the last several years! Everything from mercury, formaldehyde and pesticide, to immunizations, viruses, and bacterial infections, to perfume, shampoo, lotion, and much more!

When the body deems something as unhealthy or over-abundant, it detoxes it. Praise God that this is how He has created our bodies! When we provide the assistance the body needs (lymphatic massage, detox baths, herbs, supplements, deep breathing, etc.), it is very faithful in "cleaning house" and getting rid of the bad things that have accumulated.

Sometimes I wish I could "turn off" this detoxing process for a few days and take a break. =) But really, I'm very thankful my body continues to work on detoxifying and healing every day.

Well, I think this post is long enough for today. =) There's more to share, so tune in next week for Part 2 of understanding the detoxing process.


Any questions so far? Do you have any insights to share about the detoxing process?

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Helpful Tips And Wisdom For Caregivers

God gave me a wonderful opportunity to attend a women's conference in TX this month! In the midst of the busyness of packing, travel, etc. I asked my mom if she would write this week's blog post and share some of her wisdom about being an effective caregiver. She's done an excellent job! I know her insights will be a help and blessing to many people.


From Jan Harris -

Joanna has been busy packing and traveling this week, so I offered to help. The following was my assignment from her. =) Hopefully you can pass this blog post on to someone who will find it helpful. May God bless you.

Tips on Helping Someone with Environmental Illness

1. Learn to count to 100. Living with EI sufferers takes a lot of patience. There is no way we as caregivers can understand all the environmental reactions and their repercussions. We have to trust that something in the environment is causing symptoms and do what we can to find and eliminate it.

2. Accept the fact that even though you can’t smell something, the smell still exists. EI people have an unusual sense of smell which helps protect them from difficult situations.

3. Maintain a sense of humor. Anytime you can help an ill person laugh, you have helped them get better! Find the humorous aspects of life whenever possible. Be willing to be silly. Find funny movies to watch together. Tell jokes. Sing funny songs—even if you can’t carry a tune!

4. Maintain hope. Some EI people see so many doctors and try so many treatments that they finally just give up. My philosophy was, I’ll listen to and pray about any suggestion. If you let God lead you, He will help you discern which treatments are valid. Certainly we saw some “doctors” who were “quacks.” But we found others who were genuinely helpful. Only God can guide you in this.

5. Discern when to just give advice and when to say, “This treatment is necessary and we will follow it.” Again, this takes prayer and guidance from God. There’s a fine line here. On one hand, when people are very ill, they often don’t have good judgment, and they need someone else to make the decisions. On the other hand, a caregiver must remember not to trample on the personality of the patient.

6. Discern when to give advice and when to be quiet. With EI people, as with spouses, there are times when circumstances are just right to pass on a little advice. Then there are times that are all wrong. You have to wait patiently for the right time when advice is most apt to be accepted. And then, leave the subject alone. Don’t try to convince the person of anything. Give them time to ponder. Pray, and trust God to work. You may be surprised in a few weeks when your EI patient comes up with the idea as though it were perfectly new! Rejoice! God is at work.

7. Give the physical help that’s needed, but no more. It can be tempting to do everything, but your patient is better served by doing as many of their personal chores as possible. Once again, God can guide you in this.

8. When someone is having a “panic attack,” don’t try to use logic to talk them out of it. You can say things like, “Breathe slowly.” Or “Count backwards from 100.” Or whatever your doctor suggests. You cannot help them with reasons why they should just get over it.

9. Realize that some reactions to environmental issues are emotional. If your patient suddenly gets angry or bursts into tears or some other emotional reaction, there is probably an environmental cause. It does help them to realize the cause is environmental and the emotions will pass.

10. Be willing to make lifestyle changes to help your EI patient. If you can’t burn candles or have plants in the house, it’s not the end of the world. Sometimes we have to ask, “How much do I really love this person? Do I love him/her more than I love ______________ “  (Entertaining, having a new couch, flowers on the table, etc.) What we’re really asking is, “Do I love this person more than I love myself?” And once again, it’s only God who gives us this kind of selfless love. Being a caregiver for an EI person does require sacrifices—but then so does anything that is worthwhile.

11. Find things to thank God for. Gratitude is always life-giving.

Summary: I’m sure you noticed that many of these suggestions include, “Pray. Seek guidance from God.” Being in perpetual need of God’s wisdom is a good thing. God wants us to seek Him. He wants to guide us. You can be thankful for that!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Healthier Food Options

With the start of a new year, I know a lot of people are trying to eat healthier. Good for you! =) However, sometimes it's challenging to find healthy quick foods. So I thought I'd share a few of the ones I've discovered in the last year or so. Most of them I've found at Target, Walmart, or our local grocery store. I hope these options will be helpful for you. 




Snacks –

"Snackimals" is an organic animal cracker product. It comes in several flavors, but I only eat the Vanilla as it has the fewest ingredients and less sugar.

(Target, grocery store, health food store)



Cascadian Farm has organic soft-baked oat squares with either chocolate or blueberries. The ingredients and sugar amount are acceptable for me, so these have made a good snack when I need to grab something quickly. (Their granola bars and other snack products I haven't found to work for me.)

(Target, grocery store)





Chocolate –  

I used to order an expensive chocolate online because it was the only kind I could find without soy lecithin in it. Thankfully, I discovered another brand called "Equal Exchange" organic dark chocolate. It comes in several flavors but I only get the Panama (plain) or Mint because they have the fewest ingredients and least amount of sugar. 

(Target)





Meats –
Applegate has natural or organic roasted turkey and roasted chicken deli meat. (I never buy "smoked" deli meat.) This is great because it doesn't have to be cooked, so I can just grab it when I need a quick meal. 

(Target, grocery store, health food store)



Another meat I like that isn't "quick" but still a good product is Laura's Lean beef. It's still my preferred brand though there are other grass-fed beef options available now. 

(Target)


Tortillas –
Stacey's organic tortillas are a tasty product and great for quick meals. They have limited distribution, but they might be in a health food store near you. Check out their website for details.



Dairy - 

Grass-fed butter has many health benefits. I usually get the Kerry-gold brand, but there are other brands as well. 

(Walmart, Target, grocery store)



Organic Valley cheese comes in several options - shredded, block, mild cheddar, swiss, etc. I've done very well with this brand. 

(Target, grocery store, health food store)



Maple Hill Creamery has several organic dairy products. My favorite is the organic Greek yogurt that comes in Strawberry, Raspberry, Vanilla or Plain. It's my favorite because it has very few ingredients, low sugar, and good strains of probiotics. Our local Target was carrying it but recently discontinued this particular product. I think some health food stores still carry it.

I'm thankful that organic and natural products are more readily available now. Feel free to share some of your favorite healthy quick foods in the comments. =) 
 

Thursday, December 29, 2016

5 Healthy Uses For Coca-Cola


Believe it or not, there are healthy uses for this popular soda. (After you read them, you'll probably be even more convinced never to drink it.) In our search for alternatives to home products that contain toxic chemicals, we discovered many uses for coca-cola.


1) Keeping sink drains clear.

It works great to get rid of mineral build-up, soap scum or other things that tend to coat pipes and clog drains. Over the summer I was staying with a friend and the sink completely clogged up. I was able to extract a large clump of hair. Then I poured half a liter of coca-cola down the drain, and after that it was perfectly fine!

I try to remember to pour some coca-cola down my sink drain about once a week. I pour it slowly then let it sit for 5-10 minutes before rinsing with warm water. It's a simple way to maintain clear drains.


2) Getting soap scum off porcelain sinks.

I use a natural coconut oil soap, which tends to build up on the porcelain sink. So I've discovered I can pour some coca-cola in the sink, then scrub with an old toothbrush (or whatever you have). Then I rinse the sink with cool water. This works well to remove soap scum, with no toxic exposure for me!


3) Removing toxic chemicals such as pesticide from objects.

Last year we had some really bad toxic exposures. As a result, many of the things in our laundry room and garage were contaminated. My mom figured out if she put coca-cola on a rag and wiped the objects down, it would remove the chemicals.

I'm not sure it works on wood materials, but on plastic, metal, and most things it's pretty effective and doesn't harm the item. Just wipe the object down again with water after the coca-cola.


4) Getting chemicals off your hands if necessary.

Yes, I have washed my hands with coca-cola before. If somehow you get chemicals on your hands, perhaps paint-thinner, herbicide, petroleum, etc., just pour coca-cola over your hands. Then wash with soap. It's amazing how quickly and easily the soda will remove many chemicals. 


5) Getting petroleum or other fumes out of laundry.

A few years ago some of my clothes got contaminated with gasoline fumes. Several washes still didn't get them clean. Then my mom found a recipe for soaking clothes in coca-cola and baking soda, and it worked! Here's the recipe. Feel free to adjust it as needed, and learn what works best for you.  

Coca-Cola recipe for soaking clothes -
- put 1-2 cups baking soda and 1 quart (4 cups) of coca-cola in a small water level in the washing machine
- stir mixture (or let the machine agitate for a minute) 
- add the clothes (you can increase the water level after adding the clothes if necessary, just try to keep the load fairly small)
- turn off the machine and soak clothes overnight (or up to 24 hours)
- drain the water; then rinse the load with 1-2 cups of white vinegar added (we use Heinz brand). 
- wash clothes as you normally would (we use Charlie's Soap for our laundry - charliesoap.com)
If the fragrance/chemical in the clothes is really persistent, you might need to repeat this process again the next day.
Note: If your laundry room is not air conditioned and you live in a hot, humid place, then after doing this a couple of times you might need to rinse your washing machine with vinegar. 
If you have any questions, please let me know.


Well, there you have it, healthy uses of a popular soda. =) I'm just glad to know there is a good use for it.