Archive for the ‘Healthy Living’ Category

December Ecocentric Mom Box Review

Friday, February 5th, 2016

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I love getting my Ecocentric Mom boxes! Have you heard of them? Each box contains such a different variety of stuff, it’s always neat to see what they include each month. EcoCentric Mom is a subscription box, for $24.95 you get a box once every other month, and now you can also get it once a month. They have three different types of boxes you can get: Mom Box (what I got this time), Baby and Mom Box,and the Pregnancy Box. All of these boxes are packed with eco-friendly items for you to sample.  For me though, the value in what you get is so worth it.  That’s almost the most important thing to me…am I getting my money’s worth of stuff? This month’s box was all about ME. This Christmas season for us was super tough.  My dad passed away in November, the day before Thanksgiving.  The entire season was just sad, but we still worked hard at trying to make it nice for the kids.  Even though we all missed him.

When I got this box in January, it really couldn’t have been better.  It was a pampering box that focused on helping us rejuvenate.  So whether your holidays had been a blissful whirlwind or just tough like ours was, we all could use some pampering for ourselves.  Momma’s always seem to put ourselves last!  So here’s what was in the box.

 

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HelloMello Balance Body Oil

I don’t know about you, but in the winter my skin gets dry, rough and flakey. I get spots of eczema and it hurts!  This body oil is exactly what my dry winter skin needs. It’s soft fragrance isn’t overpowering, honesty barely noticeable which is exactly the way I like it. I put it on right after the shower so my skin just soaks it right in. It’s hand crafted made from natural ingredients. Just love. This sample size is valued at $12.

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The Laughing Tree Organic Lip Balm

 

I’m a lip balm addict. I admit it. I need multiple lip balms just to make sure I’m not caught with out in the winter time. Pennsylvania winters can be rough, and here is another natural product that ensures that I don’t dry out! It’s a gentle lip balm with pure natural organic ingredients. So thankful this sample was included. It’s value is $3.

 

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Smarty Pants Adult Complete and Kids Vitamins

I’m on the fence sometimes about gummy vitamins. Lots of times they are filled with food coloring, added sugar and other synthetics that really makes you wonder if you should be munching on these every day.  Not these though.  With no added sugar, you can feel good about this daily sweet treat. Sample packs for both kids and adults were included.  Yum! Sample values about $2.

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Coconut Organics Coconut Chips

Coconut Organics does one thing.  Organic Coconut! They are the coconut experts and they are doing it right.  These unsweetened organic coconut chips are perfect for your paleo cooking.  They are full of fiber, and healthy fats with no added sugar or salt.  Just plain old coconut, just the way I like it. Sample value $1.50

 

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Neelu Kaur Yogini Bliss

I posted this on Instagram earlier this week.  Possibly one of my favorite things included in this month’s box. I use this pure essential oil roller all the time.  It smells like bliss! It’s not overwhelming and it settles so nicely when it dries.  It’s not overpowering which is so important to me when it comes to fragrances.  Neelu Kaur creates these fragrances not to just smell nice, but for their aromatherapeutic benefits. It purposefully is created to give you a sense of bliss. Just right for anyone who may be blue during the winter.  Value $30

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My Konjac Bamboo Charcoal Facial Sponge

When I first saw this, my initial thought was “What is this?!” Momma doesn’t have time for a facial. What’s a charcoal sponge. Completely new to me, these sponges are fantastic at detoxing your skin.  Use it to wash your face in the shower, it contains minerals that help eliminate harmful toxins while it exfoliates your skin. Who knew? Not this girl. This is why I love these boxes so much.   Sponge value $10.

 

EcoCentric Mom box did not disappoint! This box’s value is around $60, not including all the discount codes for everything included! 

Why do I love this box? It’s so convenient, and there’s always such a nice variety of stuff each month.  I love that it introduces me to new products, because really, I don’t have the time or the energy to go find stuff like this in back woods Pennsylvania.  I’d probably have to travel really far to find anything like this.

If you’re interested in getting your own box just follow this link. You can opt to have the boxes delivered once a month or every other month.  They are $24.95 a box. That includes shipping! If you do a longer subscription, there’s room for savings too.

New Year’s Resolution –Making the best of 2015

Monday, January 5th, 2015

 

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I feel like New Year’s Resolutions are getting a bad reputation lately.  Why chose now to change when you can resolve to be better any time of year?  I know my friends who visit the gym just hate to see how crowded it gets in January when people resolve to take healthier steps in their life…but slowly drop off by mid February. It’s become a marketing ploy and you hear it all the time: New Year, New You! *dramatic eyeroll*  With all that I can’t help myself. Every year as the old year comes to a close I take a look back on the year to see what could have been better.  I think I’m the only person I know of who really begins to contemplate a New Year’s Resolution and I tend to actually keep these resolutions through out the year.  Sometimes they are simple, like…no soda for a year.  Sometimes they are determined, like the year I put my disease in remission. I know some people think they could better themselves throughout the year, why wait until January?

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Personally, I look at this time of year like a fresh slate, or sometimes a starting line.  I have a couple of goals this year, physical, professional, and personal. First, I need to take a look back at this year.

 

Health

I had a baby this year. As I’m typing this, he’s about 3 feet away from me kicking away in his play pen. For someone who has Pseudotumor, that’s an amazing accomplishment. I’ve been medicine free since I lost nearly fifty pounds, but my neurologist and obstetrician were all very nervous for me when I found out I was expecting. I had to keep my weight in check while growing an amazing beautiful boy. If not, my raging headaches could return, and I would continue to damage my eyes and my brain.  Pregnancy hormones alone could have triggered a flare up, or even brought me out of remission. However healthy primal eating kept my weight in check, and in August I delivered a healthy 8 pound baby boy.

As careful as I was to not gain excess weight, I still have weight to lose this year. It’s not the focus of my year because healthy primal eating has been such a huge part of my life dialing it back anymore won’t be such a big deal. For more information about eating a primal diet while nursing you should read this

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Professional

Professionally I have to make changes, too.  For fifteen years I’ve been a music teacher, both in public schools and privately. I love my job, I really do. Having a baby makes this job infinitely harder. I don’t want to be away from him since he’s solely breast fed, but I can’t exactly play gigs with a baby in my arms and it’s very hard to teach lessons with him nearby sometimes.  He also can’t handle the late nights at the music store any more. So we’ve had to adapt. My income as a musician has gone down considerably since having the baby, I am a freelancer after all.  

Between that, and the possibility of us having to move again I’ve had to reconsider lots of things about how I bring my portion of income to our family. Being a musician is a job of networking along with skill.  Other musicians have to know I’m here, and know what I can do. Other teachers have to know I’m here, and know that I’m good at what I can do. It’s hard to break into sometimes, and when I have to move with my husband every two to three years rebuilding gets tiresome. When we left Colorado I handed over my robust viola studio to a fresh grad. Don’t get me wrong, she’s amazing and I know my students there have done well with her.   It took me two years to build that studio from nothing and the income was amazing.  It was hard to just hand it over to her.

So instead I’m going to try to build something else. This blog’s income since having my baby has doubled. Don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t cover what I made as a musician…but it’s growing and there is no ceiling.  First time I made money on my blog I was thrilled. Up until this year, it was maybe a few bucks here and there.  Nothing really more than $50 in a month, but that’s changed. My goal is to completely replace the lost income by the middle of the year…and I have a plan to make that work. Once I make it there, the sky is the limit. If you’re still reading this…then my baby steps are working.

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Personal

On a personal level these things are just tiny things I need to make myself more aware of.  Like, clutter puts me in a bad mood, so taking time to clear off counter tops and dresser tops will help make me a happier, nicer person. I need to stop putting off home improvement projects. I’m worried that our time in this house is limited, and I want to be able to enjoy it to the fullest. It’s a modest house, but there are things that I just think are beautiful about it…and then other things I think are less beautiful, like the prior owner’s paint choices. Moving in was rushed due to crazy circumstances so we weren’t able to do any “pre-move in painting.” Life got crazy and it just never got done. A year and a half later, I still have windows with no curtains and fabric just waiting for me. I just need to set aside the time to get it done. Goals…right?

Also, I used to homeschool my kids.  It was time consuming hard work, but I loved it.  I knew that having a baby would make it much harder. We decided to try cyber schooling again hoping to take some of the responsibility off my plate, and it’s been stressful to say the least. My older two are 9 and 12, and have reached a stage in their education where they either need to rise to the occasion and become independent learners, or go to school. I want my time spent with my kids to be happy, positive and constructive.  Not negative and filled with frustration.

In the end, these personal goals are things that will hopefully help make my life just a bit happier, and help my family to be happier too.  If we don’t end up moving we’ll benefit from having a beautiful home to enjoy for a while longer. 

Do you set goals for the new year? I’d love to know what yours are.

10 Natural Ways to Fight the Winter Blues

Monday, December 8th, 2014

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If you’re like me seasonal blues is something that creeps it’s ugly head up around this time of year and sticks around until it’s time to do the spring cleaning. I also had a baby three months ago, so this year my seasonal blues is also dipped in the hormonal ups and downs of postpartum depression. The why’s of feeling blue don’t matter too much, but there are things you can do to help pull you out.  Lots of people including myself would like to try things to help fight the winter blues naturally before resorting to medication. Please note…I’m not talking chronic depression here.  That should be treated by a medical professional, and I am not one of those.

Here are some of the things I do to help lift my spirits during the darker time of the year.

 

1. Hire a house cleaner and get the house cleaned. Clutter is depressing and overwhelming.  If you’re already not in a good mental space it can be overwhelming to look in a room that needs a thorough cleaning.  I’ve found if you hire someone who runs their own company they may be willing to even help you organize and pick up clutter.  People who know me well can almost tell by walking into my house if I’m in a good mental place (or just busy). A clean home takes some of the pressure off.

2. Go to the gym and get that seratonin rush. This is probably one of the best ways to feel better, exercise is the gift that keeps on giving. You won’t want to go, specially if you haven’t started the habit yet. Once you are finished your energy level will increase and you will simply feel better.  It doesn’t have to be a hard work out either. Go walk a mile..just make it a fast walk, not a leisurely stroll.

3. Call a girl friend and be honest.  Tell them you’re feeling crappy.  Chose the right friend to talk to though, one who will understand and tell you things that worked for them. At minimum they’ll give you an understanding ear.  Take it one step further.  Go out for coffee, or lunch. If you have no one to call, you could call the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255. They will listen, even if it’s not an emergency.

4. Get a hair cut. This is all about feeling good about yourself.  Sporting a new do, or trimming up your favorite style can be uplifting.  One of my favorites is to add fun colors to your hair.  Ever try it?  They’re temporary, get your favorite color and get a peekaboo highlight.  It’s so fun!

5. Go shopping. Again, this is all about feeling good about yourself. Don’t have time to go out shopping. Shop online! Better yet, have someone do the shopping for you. Subscribe to a service like Stitch Fix.  I have them deliver a shipment monthly.  It’s all the clothes shopping I do all month, and I get cute things stuff that’s picked out for me.  Talk about feeling good about yourself! 

6. Put on some really cute clothes.  Notice a “feeling good about yourself pattern yet?” Being a homeschooling, stay at home mom there are definitely days where I don’t get out of my yoga pants. Those days are more depressing than days when I get dressed, do my hair, put on some makeup and just overall invest in my appearance. I do it for no one but myself, and it makes me feel better.

6. Start a blog.  My journey blogging was born out of depression. I started blogging YEARS ago as a way for me to reach out to people.  I am a social person by nature and interacting with people even if it’s just online helps lift my spirits. It also helps me use up some creative energy.

7. Comfort Foods.  This doesn’t have to come with guilt.  Some great soup, or some roasted veggies can bring you comfort with out bringing the “omg I can’t believe I just ate that guilt.” Think carefully and eat carefully so your choices don’t bring you back down after.

8. Enjoy the spa treatment. A nice warm bath with epsom salt. Epsom salt baths help replenish magnesium, and combined with essential oils can help you sleep. My favorite mix is to use dōTERRA’s Citrus Bliss, Elevation and Lavender..either mix it prior with the salt, or drop them directly in the bath.  You can email me directly about purchasing these oils (I love talking oils!) or you purchase them directly from me here.

9. Get creative. I spoke of creative energy in #6, but this is different. Paint something, decorate, sew, knit, draw…make something beautiful. A sense of accomplishment with a finished project can really pick you up.  It also keeps your mind busy so it doesn’t creep to darker places.

10. Go volunteer. If loneliness is a trigger for your depression, consider volunteering.  Think about what you enjoy and go with it. Helping people? Try a food bank, or a homeless shelter.  Love books? Lots of libraries can use extra hands to help stock shelves or read to children. Need more of a commitment with lots of physical activity? What about being a volunteer fire fighter, or feeding the animals at your local zoo or aquarium.  The possibilities are endless.

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Photo Credit: 

Winter Berries: Barbara Freidman 

Jogging: E. Campbell

Winter Wonderland:  Thomas

The Grain Free Snacker — A Book Review

Friday, October 10th, 2014

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The other day I was given the opportunity to review The Grain Free Snacker by Carol Lovett, and for almost completely selfish reasons I jumped on it.  Being on a grain free diet can be rough, specially when you’re first starting out and you just want to eat ALL THE THINGS. Then there are the kids. For kids snacks are a way of life.  This book very beautifully, and uniquely helps you get over the snacking bump with healthy recipes that won’t bust your gut.

 

Like the title says, all the recipes in this book are grain free.  For sweeteners, Carol uses coconut palm sugar, honey and maple syrup. Her recipes turn to 3 paleo friendly flours: almond flour, coconut flower, and arrowroot flour. I learned about new things I’ve never heard of like, what is aioli and how to make it.  She pushes us to try new things like sardine pate. Sounds gross?  She’ll win you over, I haven’t tried it yet but I’m willing to!

This book is so full of delicious looking food. I must have stopped to grab something to eat two or three times while reading it and then again while writing this review. There are some kid friendly choices, such as chicken fingers, pizza pockets, and chocolate chip cookies. Then there are gummy bears, gummy worms, and ice cream.  How does lemon meringue ice cream sound?  Hungry yet? What about entertaining foods, like melon and prosciutto, maple balsamic meatballs, crackers, and dips? Oh, and I think I can just stop this review at coffee cake muffins with raspberry filling.  Now I’m hungry….again.

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I’m so glad to have this book in my paleo friendly cook book arsenal.  Specially now that I’m working hard to lose this last bit of baby weight. It’s hard when my family is eating the good stuff, while I munch on salad… again.  With this book, I now have the tools to make delicious snacks to share with everyone and I don’t have to feel like I’m missing out on the “good stuff.”

This book is a regularly $24.95, but starting today and until October 13th it is 75% off!  Now is the time, grab it quick before you have to pay full price again.  If you’re interested, click here to visit Ditch The Wheat.

4 Easy ways to Reduce your Caffeine Intake

Thursday, January 16th, 2014

So, you need to reduce your caffeine intake. I will admit, this post is mostly for those expectant momma’s out there.  However,  there are many reasons why you may need to reduce your caffeine intake. Many women when they find out their pregnant cut caffeine completely, but recently studies have shown that that some caffeine consumption is ok during pregnancy.  If you’re a regular coffee drinker and recently pregnant this is good news.

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During my average day, I start my day with 2 cups of coffee and my go-to drink for lunch and dinner is unsweetened iced tea. In the winter month’s I also like to have hot tea in the afternoon, specially if I need a pick me up. My regular coffee consumption would be way out of the range of acceptability for a pregnant woman, so here are some ideas to help you cut back gently.

1.  Switch to half caff.

I not only drink coffee for the caffeinated wake up, but also because I love coffee and it brings me comfort in the morning. I go to the grocery store and purchase coffee beans and grind them up there before I take them home.  One sneaky way to half your caffeine is to mix the beans.  Mix 1/2 decaf, 1/2 regular beans mix them well in the grinder and you have just cut your caffeine intake in half. If you want to step down even more, drink half caff for a week, then do less, 1/3rd or even 1/4 caff.

2. Switch to decaf iced tea.

If you’re also an iced tea drinker and you don’t do it for the pick me up, you can easily switch to decaf iced tea. If you question the safety of conventional tea, try organic black tea to make and cool ahead of time.

3. Switch to herbal teas.

If you’re drinking tea for the comfort of drinking tea, there are lots, and lots and lots of herbal teas out there.  There are even pregnancy teas, to help calm your tummy, or help prepare you for delivery.

4. Stop drinking soda purchased from the store.

I almost didn’t include this one because I stopped drinking conventional soda quite some time ago. If you need your fizzy drink, stay tuned…next week I’ll be making a post about DIY Soda’s.

Here are some caffeine facts:

1. A can of Coke has about 34 mg of caffeine.

2. A cup of brewed coffee can have between 95-200 mg of caffeine.

3. A 16 oz. cup of Starbucks Pike’s Place has 330 mg of caffeine.

4. 8 oz. of iced tea has 26 mg of caffeine.

5. Studies about caffeine intake during pregnancy are conflicted, but current science says a pregnant woman should keep their daily caffeine intake under 200 mg a day

 

If you have questions or concerns about how much caffeine you should be consuming, you should definitely talk with your doctor.

 

Photo Credit: Doug88888

What’s this Pink in the Sink?

Thursday, December 12th, 2013

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Ever notice that pink circle in your sink? Or at the bottom of your shower curtain?  Could even be a ring in your toilet along the water line, or the grout between the tiles in your bathtub. Most people think it’s water stains, or mold.  It’s not…it’s worse.  It’s Bacteria called S. Marcescens. S. Marcescens is a naturally occurring airborne bacteria, that’s typically found in areas that are repetitively wet..like your bathroom. It specifically occurs if you have well water, or water that is not chlorinated. It has a red pigment, and used to be used frequently in classroom science experiments because it was thought to be harmless.  Scientist have recently discovered that it’s not.

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Oh noes!

S. Marcescens has been found to potentially cause:

 *  pink eye

*  meningitis

*  infections

*  pneumonia

*  urinary tract infections

One way to get rid of this stuff is bleach bleach bleach!! And if you do that I won’t judge you. However I live out in the country, and have a sensitive septic system that can’t take all that bleach so I’ve come up with some home made solutions. To really keep this nasty bug away, you have to clean your bathrooms frequently but here’s how I do it naturally.

 

DIY Shower Spray

In a sprayer, combine the following:

*  2 cups water

*  1 cup white vinegar

*  10-15 drops of Tea Tree Essential Oil or Lavender Essential Oil (Email me if you need a reputable source for oils!)

For the Pooper: Aka DIY Toilet Bowl Cleaner

In a squirt bottle (I use an old shampoo bottle), combine the following:

*  1/4 cup Castille Soap, I love the lavender

*  1 cup water

*  3 tbsp Baking Soda

*  10 drops of Lavender Essential Oil or Lemon Essential Oil

Directions: Shake up your bottle squirt a little in and scrub the toilet as you normally would.

 

How I lost 50lbs on the Primal Diet – A success story

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013

My entire life, I’ve always been a yo-yo dieter. I’d be thin, then chunky, and then thin again.  Shortly after I had my daughter in 2005  I went through severe post-partum depression. When she was born, I was still relatively thin, however after I had her the weight started piling on.  Depression and apathy lead me to overeating and an unhealthy lifestyle.

In these two pictures here, I will publicly admit, I weighed 215lbs. One picture from 2009 when I visited family in Florida,  the other two years later when I visited northern California with my husband.  We went to Muir Woods, and of course took pictures with the enormous red woods.  These pictures were never shared on Facebook with my friends.  I felt horrible.

When I returned to Colorado after my brief visit in California, I became seriously ill.  Initially it was a sinus infection. I was sick for a few days, put on allergy medicine and antibiotics and rested.  When the infection cleared up though, a strange headache remained.
Weeks went by, and the headache got worse.  My vision began to do strange things.  My field of vision changed, my depth perception wasn’t right.  I couldn’t focus on things, and my peripheral vision was better than what I was trying to focus on.

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2011 Muir Woods, California

After weeks of hoping it would go away, I finally admitted I needed to go to another doctor.  First, I went to an optometrist, since I felt my eyes were my biggest symptom.  After having a check up, my doctor cried…yes, she cried.  She showed me pictures of my optic nerves, and they were swollen.  Her tears terrified me.  I asked her if I was dying.  She said she didn’t know, and referred me to her primary care physician.  Up to that point, I didn’t have one.

Her primary care physician saw me immediately, and scheduled an MRI.  Turns out, there’s really only two reasons you can have swollen optic nerves, a condition known as papilledema.  It could be a brain tumor, a large tumor taking up space in my brain pushing against my optic nerves making them swell.  A diagnosis that could put me on death’s door.  The second thing was a rare disease called Intracranial Hypertension, also known as Pseudotumor Cerebri. I feel like I dodged a bullet that day. The results of the MRI came back quickly, and my doctor even did his best Arnold Schwarzenegger impression when he told me “It’s not a tumah.”  I was diagnosed with Intracranial Hypertension.

3slg8cIntracranial Hypertension is when your body creates too much spinal fluid that it can drain properly.  This extra spinal fluid accumulates around your brain and in your spinal cord.  It creates intense debilitating headaches.  Left untreated it can lead to blindness. Sometimes they know why people get it, sometimes they don’t.  It’s a rare, mysterious disease that hasn’t had much research.  What people do know, is that it effects women more than men.  Most women who get the disease are also overweight.

I struggled with the medication, it’s harsh on your body and it has long term side effects.  I was taking 1000mg of Diamox every day just to keep my head pain under control.  I made a goal that I would do what I could to get off the medication, and doctors said that since weight was correlated with this disease I should start by trying to lose weight.  I dieted, starved myself and had little success.  By December, 2011 I had only lost about 20lbs, 10 of it mostly water.  I was very frustrated.

My best friend Jessica then introduced me to the Primal Diet.  Within two weeks of starting, I lost 10lbs and successfully cut my medication in half.  By cutting out two main systemic inflammatories (grains, and sugars) I was able to maintain my cranial pressure on just 500mg.  Thrilled, I kept at it and the pounds just kept coming off. My keeping my sugar intake low, I maintained roughly a 10lb loss each month for about 4 months.  It slowly tapered off, and by April, I had reached my first goal of 165 lbs. That was 50lbs from where I had started.
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2012 Estes Park, Colorado

This picture here is me up in the high altitude of Estes Park, Colorado. I was approximately up at ten thousand feet, an altitude that would have been painfully difficult only a few months prior. We were getting ready to move to Maryland and wanted to do some sight seeing before we left Colorado.

Moving to Maryland was actually a big part of this story, too.  I took that time leaving my regular five thousand foot altitude just outside Boulder, Colorado to living at sea level.  After losing all this weight, with the support of my neurologist, I stopped taking diamox altogether.
Since losing this weight over a year ago, I’ve kept it off by staying on a modified primal diet.  I still don’t eat grains, and I’ve since learned that soy will give me a flair up.  One benefit of having this disease is that my body is now so sensitive to foods, and the side effects are quick.  Soy in particular will now lay me out for days at a time.  Gaining weight will make my symptoms return, so it is important that I maintain the weight.
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Here’s a side by side shot.  These photos were taken approximately two years apart from each other.  If you’re curious about the primal diet I suggest you read The Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson. Between that book and the support of my family and friends, I was able to do it.

Should you get a flu shot?

Monday, November 11th, 2013

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Flu season is approaching and it’s time to get that flu shot, right?  There’s so many articles out there about vaccines and their effectiveness, and the decision as to whether or not you should get one can be difficult to make.  Should you get a flu shot?  Only you can answer that, but you should do so with an informed opinion, not regurgitated hype. Hopefully I can to bring to light some facts about the flu, and flu shots so you can make an informed decision yourself.  Lots of the literature I’ve found out there is super dry, or promises to give you the “shocking truth” of the flu vaccine with confusing and non-sourced graphics.   Before you panic

how about some facts?

 

Flu Shot Facts:

*   The CDC funds a study of flu strains over a period of 9 months to determine which strain will be included in each year’s vaccine. Doctors who are part of this study then make an educated guess as to which strain will be most prevalent during the next flu season and include them in vaccine.

*   The vaccine is different every year.

*   You can opt to get a 3 strain (trivalent), or a 4 strain (quadrivalent) vaccine. The three-component flu vaccine is made from three flu strains: two influenza A strains, H1N1 and H3N2, and an influenza B strain. The four-component flu vaccine will contain all of those, plus a second influenza B strain.

*   None of the types of flu shots carry a live virus other than the nasal spray variety (FluMist). There are some doctors who strongly disapprove of this method of delivery.

Statistics:

*  5%-20% of the US population will get the flu.

*  The CDC says 3,000 to 49,000 people in the US die each year from the flu and pneumonia. (my opinion below)

*  People who receive their flu vaccine are 50-60% less likely to get the flu, although some sources site only 30-70% effectiveness.

*  FluMist has an 83% effectiveness rate, which is the live virus mist recommended for children between the ages of 2-7. Studies show 3.4% of children who received this vaccine got the flu, compared to the 16.4% of children who did not receive the vaccine.

*  Roughly 1.5% of the CDC’s budget goes to influenza research.

Fishy stuff that leads to distrust:

*  When the CDC comes up with the estimate of deaths in the US they lump in pneumonia and other respiratory issues that “were probably associated with influenza.” For more information on the possibility of this being scare tactic propaganda check out this article.

*  Since 1940, the highest number of influenza deaths recorded in a single year was 21,047 deaths in 1941. Many of those deaths occurred because of respiratory complications like pneumonia which is now treatable with antibiotics.

*  Since 1941 the next highest case of influenza deaths was in 2009 during the pandemic swine flu, also known as H1N1. That year 2,117 people in the US died from the flu.

*  The CDC does not require states to “report individual seasonal flu cases or deaths of people older than 18 years of age.”

 

Things to consider:

*  Because the states are not required to report each flu case, the statistics on how many people get the flu and how many die from the flu could be more than reported. I think it would be less fishy if the CDC did require doctors to report flu cases, specially so since they are encouraging the entire population to inoculate.

*  Because of how broad the definition of people who “succumb to the flu” is, the number of people who actually die from the flu could be less. Understand this definition has to be broad because most people die of secondary complications, such as pneumonia, or other viral or bacterial infections. It should also be understood that completely healthy young people can die from the flu.

*  I like chocolate.

*  Side effects from the flu shot are generally be mild if any, and usually include body aches, coughing, and sneezing.

*  Flu vaccines contain questionable chemicals such as formaldehyde. The formaldehyde though is in such a small quantity, that it is considered safe, anywhere between 25 µg and 100 µg per dose.  Formaldehyde occurs naturally in the food we eat daily. To put that into quick perspective the average potato has 19mg of formaldehyde in it, which would equal to 19,000 µg (1 mg = 1,000 µg).

Simplified, the choice to get a flu shot is entirely yours to make.  I’m not a medical doctor, and I cannot give you medical advice. Honestly, when I began writing this post I expected to find this long dark history of the flu shot.  I found a little, but I did not find overwhelming evidence that would suggest that the vaccine is unsafe.

 

Sources:

  1. CDC Key Facts
  2. Wright Newsletter
  3. Live Science
  4. Web MD Flu Stats
  5. Mercola.com

Dealing with Cancer as a New Mother – A Guest Post

Thursday, April 4th, 2013

I’d like to introduce you to to Heather Von St. James, a cancer survivor.  I know this isn’t a green topic, but it’s one of the heart to me.  My mother is also a cancer survivor, and cancer touches everyone.  Everyone.  We all need a story of hope, and triumph now and then, and here’s one that will lift your heart.  For my friend Su, who’s just beginning her battle, I hope this story gives you courage.  I think of you every day and the fight you’re about to begin.

Here is Heather’s story:

Dealing With Cancer as a New Mother

My Daughter Gave me The Courage to Triumph over Cancer
My daughter, who is only seven years old, frequently tells people the following words: “I saved my moms life.” She says these words automatically, in the same way that she tells me when she is hungry or that she is not feeling well. Her feelings about saving my life are so much a part of her nature that she says the words without even thinking about them ahead of time. A few individuals may think her words are greatly exaggerated, but these persons simply do not comprehend the underlying truth of my daughter’s words. Nevertheless, I am always the first person to let people know that Lily’s words are absolutely correct.   

Cameron, my dear husband, and I never discussed the possibility of having children until we were married for seven years. I was already 35 years old, and I felt a certain amount of anxiety about the idea of having a baby at an older age. I really did not know how long we would need to wait before I got pregnant, but, after only three months after we decided to have a baby, and after taking three pregnancy tests, we received the news! I was definitely pregnant, and I was going to have the experience of being a MOM!  Whenever I reflect upon how quickly I began to act like a mother, I always start to laugh. I used to place my hand on my stomach and rub it because I knew that our tiny baby was slowly developing. I know I thought of many different things as I contemplated the thought of being a mother. What type of mommy would I be to our child? Would my baby think it was fun to spend time with me? Would I be strict enough to instill my child with good values? Would I be too strict? The only thing I really knew, more than any other thought that was floating around in my brain at the time, was that the most important thing was for me to be an excellent mother. 

Even though I experienced a very easy pregnancy, the experience soon became more difficult. Lily was a breech birth, and I had to have an unexpected emergency C-section. I am, to this very day, shocked when I think about the degree of emotion that overpowered me the first time I held Lily. In an instant, I recognized the fact that I was going give my baby daughter an abundant amount of love, security and joy. I had the desire to help her to attain her greatest potential in life. I wanted to be her teacher and coach. I wanted to give her all the love that I was capable of giving to another person. As soon as I had the experience of holding my daughter, everything else was insignificant. I knew that my future life was going to be focused on Lily. I did not want to ever let her go. This was an incredibly perfect moment. In fact, it was so flawless that it was impossible to imagine the turmoil that was about to come into my life.

I received the devastating medical diagnosis of malignant pleural mesothelioma 3 ½ months after my daughter was born. Besides the bad news, my physician informed me that I would only live for 15 more months unless I began a treatment program right away. I thank God for the inner strength my husband possessed when he heard the negative report. As for myself, I was in a state of shock. I could only think about my daughter. I could not imagine Lily and Cameron living their lives without my presence. While all of these thoughts were racing through my head, my husband Cams paid close attention to the available options mentioned by my physician. Cameron didn’t wait for as long as one minute to decide that we were going to travel to the place that offered the most drastic treatment plan. We went to Boston and met with a famous mesothelioma doctor who performed a complex surgical operation that involved removing my left lung, the lining of my heart and my diaphragm. I spent a total of 18 days in the hospital and an additional two weeks in an excellent Boston outpatient clinic. After this period passed, I traveled to my mom and dad’s house to recuperate. I spent two months in South Dakota with my parents, who took care of Lily. At the end of the two-month period, I traveled back to my house in Minnesota to start chemotherapy and radiation treatments.

I believe I did what any other mother would do in the same situation. I made sacrifices so that I could provide Lily with the care she needed while she was growing up. I had to spend one month away from Lily, which was very difficult. But, my little daughter enabled me to conquer my fears and undergo surgery, chemotherapy and radiation treatments.



When I think about my experience with mesothelioma, a type of cancer that has a survival rate of only 5 percent, I know that the thought of being a mom helped me to fight the battle. The reason why I was able to continue was because I knew that Lily was going to need me for a long time. So, when Lily tells people, “I saved my mom from dying,” she is stating a true fact.

 

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