Saturday, March 29, 2008

Sleep Like a Baby!

Several of you have asked what I do to get good rest at night. That has honestly been a challenge for the past. . . ummm. . . say. . . 18 months. Chase still nurses some during the night, so I haven't gotten a full night's sleep in quite awhile. But the sacrifice of sleep is worth the peace of mind of knowing that he's getting a good start on life with his mama's milk.

But when I sleep, I generally sleep well. I have two favorite tools for good rest: a quality mattress and magnesium.

A few years ago, Paul and I saved our pennies and our tax return and bought a Tempur-Pedic mattress. We love it! We were able to find a barely-used one at a great price, so we snatched it up. It was such a great mattress during my pregnancies when everything begins to hurt in those last couple months, making it so difficult to get comfortable in any position. So, I believe a quality mattress can make a huge difference.

My second favorite tool for sleeping well is magnesium. There are days when my muscles get so tight from stress that rest is a far-off dream for me. So, I pull out my Cell Wellness Restorer and pour 8-10 capfuls into a hot bath and soak for 15-30 minutes. These precious few minutes are so relaxing in and of themselves. I love to read, so I'll bring a book or magazine to the bath and read. The Cell Wellness Restorer is so relaxing that I often drift off to sleep right there in the bath! When I finally get up and go to bed, I sleep like a baby.

If you don't have time for a hot bath, you can slather the Cell Wellness Restorer right onto your skin. Just be careful not to spread it over any open cuts because it is made of sea salts. You know the magnesium is soaking into your skin if it itches or tingles. That means it's working to bring you closer to a good night's rest. The itchy feeling goes away pretty quickly, but you can avoid it if you sprinkle a little water on your skin before you apply the Cell Wellness. Can you tell I love this stuff? It's good for so many things. Magnesium is such a blessed mineral.

Chamomile is a relaxing herb. You can drink it as a tea before bed. It's always good to slow down and have a cup of tea anyway. And in a pinch, when nothing else seems to work, I take a Pantothenic Acid (in pill form from the health food store). One of these pills goes a long way in relaxing your muscles, so you don't want to overdo this one. But it is safe enough that I was able to take it during pregnancy and while nursing.

Now, with all of these great remedies mentioned, my all-time favorite way to relax is to rest daily in the Lord. Nothing else compares to the peace and calm I experience when I am in His presence. I love to rise before my family (this is very hard to do these days) and spend time reading my Bible and praying and just being with the Lord. He so gently reminds me that I don't need to spend my days spinning my wheels and running here and yon. Often, He will show me the important things to get done that day and all the bizillion things I can let go of. His schedule for me is always so much simpler and more relaxing than mine! When I am faithful to resting daily in the Lord, I begin to crave it, and this helps me to continue to run to that time even when all the excuses are running through my head not to get up. Realize, though, I have not arrived in this area. I struggle to rest daily. But it is by far the BEST way to relax. :-)

Friday, March 21, 2008

Birthday Party!

My baby boy turned ONE YEAR OLD yesterday! Chase has learned to love so many different, new things over the last year. He has learned to love toddling around after his older brothers and sister, exploring every nook and cranny of the house. He's learned to love whole, fresh foods like cucumbers and broccoli and he's learned to thoroughly enjoy splashing in the bath. It's so fun to watch him loving life. The part I love the best, though, is when he wraps my neck in a big, strong hug and then he's off for adventures. dreamy sigh Thanks for allowing me a Mama Moment.

This week I've been on a gotta-eat-healthy kick. I want it to stick because I have begun to feel so good and see some inches slip away. So, my dilemma yesterday was what to prepare for Chase's first birthday treat. Many of the recipes I found called for exotic ingredients that I didn't have in my pantry. Then I discovered a handwritten recipe in my recipe box for Tasty Vanilla Cupcakes. I had all of the ingredients, so I set to work. I reduced all the sugars in the recipe by 1/4-1/2 cup and they were still plenty sweet. In this picture, Chase kept grabbing for the cupcake while the candle was still burning. Poor baby; I kept shooing his hand away during the birthday song. He was so confused.

But then he got happy!

Here is the recipe. Please forgive the confectioner's sugar. . . it was a birthday party, after all.

Tasty Vanilla Cupcakes
makes 10-12
1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup organic sugar
2 tsp. aluminum-free baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup vanilla-flavored milk (I use rice or soy or almond)
2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 cup melted, unsalted butter or oil
1 egg, beaten

Grease your muffin tin. Mix dry ingredients, Then add wet ingredients, beating until smooth. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes. Cool on a rack.
Frosting: Blend with a hand mixer--1/4 cup unsalted butter, 2 cups powdered sugar, 2 tbs. milk, and 1 tsp flavoring of choice.

This is such a basic recipe--it's easy to make it your own. Just by adding things like a little cocoa or carob chips to the batter or by adding peppermint flavor to the icing, you can make it fit your family's special likes. I do try to use organic ingredients as much as possible in my baking because they taste the best and are the nicest to our health. . . even in sweet, birthday cupcakes.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Constipation -- The End

This is the second and final part of this article on dealing naturally with constipation.

In the last blog, we talked about the blessings of natural fiber and pure water in your life. Today we'll talk about three more easy-peasy ways to get things moving for you.

Magnesium--Once I've evaluated my diet and water, I look to whether I am getting enough magnesium. This is such an important mineral to your overall health. I have taken it orally and on the skin. My all-time favorite way to get my magnesium is with Cell Wellness Restorer. It's inexpensive and can be rubbed on the skin or added to a luxurious hot bath. I made myself a foot soak with it last night. It was woooonderful! The foot soak does help your body detoxify, so if you begin to feel bad, just slow down the soaks. Cell wellness restorer relaxes the muscles and aids in smoother bowel movements. Food sources for magnesium are green leafy vegetables, nuts, seeds and whole grains.

Get active!--Take a walk, go for a swim, dig in your garden, swing at the park, dance with your kids or jump on the trampoline. Just get moving--just for you! Hey, the sun's not a bad side benefit either!

High colonics--I would definitely consider this. My friend's mother is certified to do colonics for people and my friend swears by them for cleaning out the colon and putting a spring back in her step. The colonics process gently pushes herbed water into the intestine, coupled with external massage on the colon.

Many nutritionists say that almost all illnesses and disease can be linked to the health of the colon. When the body does not get rid of its waste, that waste backs up and, in time, begins to dump toxins and poisonous gasses into the body, making you feel very sick and sluggish. If constipation is not dealt with, it can lead to much more serious things.

Constipation is no fun and really slows you down. But the good news is that it can be very simple to remedy at home. With a few easy changes, you can soon be walking with that spring back in your step.

Saturday, March 8, 2008


I've been asked a question about how to deal with constipation naturally, so let's get right to it.

The common scoop on poop is that if you have a bowel movement at least three times a week, you are not constipated. However, nutritional experts I counsel with say that if you are not having a bowel movement after every time you eat (a minimum of three times a day for the average person), you are constipated!! Quite a difference isn't there?

I have found in my own life that if I have fewer than 2 movements in a day (assuming I've eaten two regular meals), I begin to feel sick and bloated and very sluggish. The simple math: the more often I go, the better I feel. So, what's a girl to do to get the move on?

The following are a few of my favorite things:

1) Fiber--The first thing I do is step back and evaluate what I've been eating lately. When I've dealt with constipation, I can usually trace it back to a diet lacking in fiber. Fiber passes through your system virtually unchanged and is what gives your stool bulk and soft texture, making it more pleasant to pass.

There are a number of easy and effective ways to get fiber into you. Some of my favorite food sources are good ol' raw fruits and veggies, cherry flavored prunes, carrot juice with Barley Life, ground flax seed, whole grains, or a big pot of beans. I have often used these fiber-rich foods with my own children when they get plugged up. As soon as my infant son was on table food and had been introduced to carrot juice and prunes, I used them when he would get constipated from baby cereals and such.

If you would like to take a daily fiber supplement, my husband swears by Herbal Fiberblend. I have heard nothing but good about this product. Herbal Fiberblend does contain cascara sagrada, so pregnant or nursing women should not take it. When pregnant or nursing, I simply eat the fiber-rich foods.

Anytime you eat or take fiber, be sure to drink a big glass of water. If you do not, the constipation could worsen because you don't have enough water in your system.

2) Water--Poop needs water to work. . . and it needs to be pure, filtered water. My personal goal is 8-10 glasses of pure water a day. I don't always get there, but I always feel better on the days that I do.

Do you struggle to drink enough water during the day? There is a popular illustration of putting rocks into a jar. If you put in the big rocks first, the smaller ones always manage to fit, but if you put in the little rocks first, the big ones never seem to have enough room. I admit that I used drink my sodas first and then had a hard time fitting in the water. The truth is that sodas ROB your beautiful body of water and put you into dehydrated mode. This is not good if you want to prevent or clear up constipation.

So, if you want to drink more water and fewer sodas, wean yourself by replacing one soda a day with one glass of water. You can also baby step by replacing your favorite soda with a natural soda like Big Sky. Their Cherry Vanilla Creme is excellent! And before you know it, sodas will be a rare, once-in-awhile treat and you will feel so great, you won't miss them.

Increasing daily fiber and water are my first lines of defense for my own family against constipation, so try these first.

I do have some extra lines of natural defense that have also worked for us that I will blog about soon for you. But for now, I’ve got to run. My baby’s got a dirty diaper.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

You asked for it!

I have had so many people come up to me over the last few months and ask me to put into writing what I do for such and such illness. So, you asked for it! This blog is a direct result of your requests and will be the place for now that I write about various health issues my family has faced and how we've treated them naturally--from the comforts of home.

As I began to pray about starting this blog, the Lord began to pour into my head a variety of topics to write about. My pen had a hard time keeping up with His flow! :-) In the days to come, I'll cover such topics as: a well-stocked health pantry, the balance of physical, emotional and spiritual health, recommended health reading, my favorite links, surrendering the will, eating well, detoxing, and creating a family wellness plan.

I am excited and honored to be sharing years of knowledge and experience with you. Clearly, I am not a licensed physician. Anything I share on this blog is borne solely of my experience or readings and is not intended to diagnose or treat your specific illness. But I believe we have a responsibility before the Lord to take care of all that He has given us, and that includes our bodies. You are showing responsibility for your own health just by the fact that you are seeking out information.

I am so thankful that we have the freedom in our country to educate ourselves. As I learn, I'll pass it along to you, and I pray that out of it all you can glean something that is helpful to your family and helps you live WELL for the Lord.