Thursday, October 31, 2013

What about Essential Oils?

I've noticed a trend lately of more people using essential oils for their health. All things considered, I think it's a really good thing.

For years I never even tried essential oils (derived from plants) because of the smell factor. My sensitivity to smells was so extreme that even natural smells like food cooking or fresh lemons would cause problems for me. The few times I was around someone who used essential oils, I had bad reactions, so I quickly learned to avoid them.

Thankfully, I'm so much better now that I can enjoy some natural smells again. However at this point, I've only tried essential oils in the tiny beadlet form. I was able to swallow a peppermint oil beadlet once. Another time I took a blend of oils in a beadlet. The smell of the beadlets is much less than the oil itself. And these two products did seem to help me. 

Based on my limited knowledge so far, I think essential oils have great potential for healing - for those who can tolerate their naturally strong aroma. They are a much better alternative to the plethora of drugs and medications that only suppress symptoms instead of promoting healing.

Essential oils are used for many different things, including fighting infections, improving digestion and sleep, boosting immunity, etc. It's no wonder more people are starting to use them, since they are very versatile and naturally promote health and healing in the body. 

Many natural health proponents use essential oils. Jordan Rubin talks about essential oils in his book, The Maker's Diet. Dr. Mercola has written a good article that lists his top five essential oils and various ways you can use them. And this website gives a good overview of what essential oils are and which ones to use for various issues.  

There are several companies now producing essential oils products and providing training about how to use them. I have friends with various companies and they all seem to be benefiting health-wise. 

Having said that, I think it's very important to work with someone who knows what they're doing and who considers your unique body and health situation. Just because essential oils are natural, doesn't mean they're safe to use any way you choose. But if you have a knowledgeable health professional to work with, or get the training you need, then I think essential oils can be a great tool in your health tool belt. =) 

What comments or questions do you have about essential oils?

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Worth Fighting For

Today I was remembering the 'bad old days' when I was so sick I could hardly speak, weary beyond measure, and struggling to hold on to hope. 

There was a song God often brought to mind that inspired me to keep fighting. It still brings tears to my eyes when I hear it. Though it's a song from an animated movie, it contains profound truth. (God can use anything as inspiration, eh?)

For those of you who are in that dark place of discouragement or despair, struggling to hold on, I pray the words of this song will speak to you. 

I know the battle seems unending, but please don't give up. Your LIFE is worth fighting for! Remember who you are - God's special and beloved creation with a purpose and a destiny!  

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." -Jeremiah 29:11

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Mold Toxicity

I often talk about chemical toxins on this blog, but today I want to address an equally damaging problem - mold toxicity. 

In high school I was tested for allergies and discovered I was allergic to 32 different kinds of mold. Believe it or not, there really are that many kinds of mold. And the reality is that, allergic or not, mold is toxic to everyone. 

While some people have stronger immune systems and don't seem as affected by mold exposure, for others it can be life-threatening. 

Mold is prevalent in the outside environment, but when it grows inside buildings it becomes a serious problem. You can find many stories online of people who became terribly ill with mysterious symptoms, which were eventually traced to a moldy home or work space. It's especially dangerous if the mold itself goes undetected and the person has a continuous, long-term exposure. 

Mold toxicity causes symptoms so varied it can look like Parkinsons, auto-immune diseases, seizures, severe allergies, chronic fatigue, etc. 

There are companies that will test your home for mold. However, with so many kinds of mold and varying sensitivities in people, I haven't always found these tests helpful. Of course if there's obvious mold that you can see in your building, then you may not need to test. But for hidden mold, sometimes the tests still come back saying "no unusual amount of mold found." 

(Usually as soon as I walk into a building I can tell if it's moldy or not, since my senses became super-alert to mold over the years.) 

If you have mold, there are companies that will remediate for you, however not all remediation is successful, depending on the situation. Many people have to just leave their homes or buildings and move on. 

The MomsAWARE website has very helpful and specific information about mold testing, remediation, etc. 

So if you've been exposed to mold and suspect you have mold toxicity, here are a few steps you can take:

1) Remove or get away from the source of the mold.

For some people simply getting away from the mold, into a 'clean' building, alleviates the symptoms. For others, damage has been done and it takes time for the body to heal. But avoiding future mold exposure is key to recovery.

2) Switch to an anti-fungal diet.

I often recommend the Phase One diet, but there are other anti-fungal diets as well. The MomsAWARE website has a good comparison chart of several anti-fungal diets.

It's important to avoid foods that feed mold and fungus in the body (mainly sugar, junk foods, store-bought dairy products, grains, etc.). You can also add to your diet anti-fungal foods like organic coconut oil, garlic, cloves, cinamon, broccoli, etc. 

What you eat affects all of your health, but it's especially vital to eat anti-fungal when recovering from mold toxicity.

3) Add probiotics.

Experts agrees that probiotics are essential for good health. However, it seems that the kind of probiotics that are best vary from person to person. Eeveryone has a unique "terrain" in their gut, made up of many different kinds of bacteria - both good and bad - as well as fungus, candida, etc. 

Over the years I've tried numerous kinds of probiotics. Some did absolutely no good. Others were very helpful. Obviously, some brands are higher quality than others (avoid the cheap brands). But even among the good ones effectiveness can vary based on what the individual's gut needs. If you have a trusted health provider, they may be able to help you figure out which kind is best for you.

So definitely add probiotics, but just know it might take a few tries before you find one that works well for you. And what your gut needs will probably change over time, so you might have to use a different one at some point. 

(Here are a few more specifics on what to look for in a probiotic.)

4) Keep a consistent detoxing program.

Mold toxicity requires a detoxing process, as chemical toxicity does. I recommend lymphatic massage as the best starting point. You can add many other things as well, including detox baths, stretches, deep breathing, grounding, etc. (check out detoxing 101).

For some people juicing is helpful, but not for everyone - again depending on their specific gut needs. Certain supplements can help with mold detoxing, but it's best to work with a trusted health provider and be cautious with supplements. A lot of health professionals overuse supplements and actually cause more problems. Always remember your body is unique and what it needs will change from week to week. 

With detoxing, start slow, listen to your body and be prepared for symptoms from the detoxing. (Here's more about understanding the detoxing process.)

Also remember that health usually breaks down after years of problems or exposure. Don't expect your body to get well overnight - or even in two weeks. Hopefully as you start some of these good things, you'll notice a difference and see areas of improvement. Don't get discouraged if it's slower than you imagined. 

Healing takes time. But it is possible. Praise God for the way He has created our bodies! We are indeed fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14).

Any questions, comments or suggestions about this topic of mold toxicity? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Say Goodbye To Your Microwave

I mentioned this briefly in my post on diet recommendations, but I wanted share more details of the dangers of microwaves.

The research on this topic is fascinating and frightening. 
- In 1991 a woman died in a hospital after a blood transfusion--blood which the nurse had first heated in a microwave.
- Parents are warned not to heat baby bottles in the microwave because of the dangers, including changes to the milk itself. 
- Microwaving changes the molecular structure of food, in many cases resulting in carcinogens (cancer-causing substances).

Those are just a few of the dangers. You probably heard someone say at one point not to stand right next to the microwave while it's running because of the radiation effects. Well, if we can't safely stand next to it while it's running, what makes us think we can safely eat the food cooked in it?

There are numerous articles on this topic. I'll just share one excerpt for you here:

Ten Reasons to Throw out your Microwave Oven
From the conclusions of the Swiss, Russian and German scientific clinical studies, we can no longer ignore the microwave oven sitting in our kitchens. Based on this research, we will conclude this article with the following:
  1. Continually eating food processed from a microwave oven causes long term - permanent - brain damage by "shorting out" electrical impulses in the brain [de-polarizing or de-magnetizing the brain tissue].
  2. The human body cannot metabolize [break down] the unknown by-products created in microwaved food.
  3. Male and female hormone production is shut down and/or altered by continually eating microwaved foods.
  4. The effects of microwaved food by-products are residual [long term, permanent] within the human body.
  5. Minerals, vitamins, and nutrients of all microwaved food is reduced or altered so that the human body gets little or no benefit, or the human body absorbs altered compounds that cannot be broken down.
  6. The minerals in vegetables are altered into cancerous free radicals when cooked in microwave ovens.
  7. Microwaved foods cause stomach and intestinal cancerous growths [tumors]. This may explain the rapidly increased rate of colon cancer in America.
  8. The prolonged eating of microwaved foods causes cancerous cells to increase in human blood.
  9. Continual ingestion of microwaved food causes immune system deficiencies through lymph gland and blood serum alterations.
  10. Eating microwaved food causes loss of memory, concentration, emotional instability, and a decrease of intelligence.
Have you tossed out your microwave oven yet?

I cringe when I think about all the times I heated up a meal in a plastic tuperware container in a microwave (doubly bad with the plastic also being heated). Or all the cups of tea I drank after heating the water in the microwave...

Thankfully someone alerted us to the dangers and we got rid of our microwave several years ago. Personally, I think a toaster oven works better anyway for reheating foods or cooking in small portions. Microwaves may seem convenient, but it's not hard to live without them.

I hope you'll take this health risk seriously and pass this information on to others also. Let's keep doing all we can to pursue good health. 

So if you haven't yet, it's time to say goodbye to the microwave! =)

(Here are additional articles explaining the dangers of microwaves. Just so you know I'm not the only one saying this.) =)  

(dangers of microwaves & tips to help)

(microwaved water killed plants) 

(extensive article on this topic)

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Music Therapy

I've always known that music affected me - either positively or negatively depending on the type. But I found it interesting that there is now such a thing as "music therapy." 

Research shows many different ways that music affects the body, brain and emotions - and I would add, the spirit.

Physically, music can have a positive effect:
"Responses to music are easy to be detected in the human body. Classical music from the baroque period causes the heart beat and pulse rate to relax to the beat of the music. As the body becomes relaxed and alert, the mind is able to concentrate more easily. Furthermore, baroque music decreases blood pressure and enhances the ability to learn."

Other kinds of music can negatively affect the body, raising heart rate and blood pressure. 

Music can positively or negatively impact brain waves. This article explains some interesting details about how music affects the brain.

For me personally, I've found a lot of instrumental, classical music to be soothing and positively stimulating for my brain. (I like to listen to it while writing.) 

I think the effects of certain music has changed for me over time. Some of the bands I enjoyed in college now tend to grate on my nerves. I now prefer music without loud drums or electric guitar. 

Christmas music is one of my favorites, almost always improving my mood and adding cheer to my day. =)

For some reason Irish music is often a sweet pick-me-up for me. When I discovered the group Celtic Woman, I immediately declared it my "happy music" (especially their Christmas album). =) 

I think the most healing music for me has been hymns and worship songs. With these, both the melodies and the words have brought healing to my mind, spirit and emotions. Robin Mark is my current favorite worship musician. I love all his songs, but here's one that's been especially meaningful for me.

Music is intensely personal. That's why it's important for each of us to recognize which kinds of music have a negative effect on us and which ones are helpful and healing to us. 

The Bible is filled with reminders to sing and praise the Lord, to make a joyful noise, to make music with various instruments, etc. I'm so thankful God has given us the gift of music! I believe it can be a sweet and healing gift for us.

I hope you'll be able to identify what music is helpful to you, and begin (or continue) some "music therapy" of your own. =) 

(Note: I'm not necessarily endorsing the websites listed in this post, as I didn't have time to review all the articles on them. I just found their information on music fascinating, so wanted to share those links.)