Christmas Shopping

paper bags near wall

Photo by freestocks.org on Pexels.com

Give gifts that celebrate life and health. Here’s three quick gift ideas that are sure to please …

  1. Make a photobook or calendar with pictures of your friend or family member or their special pet! Look through your own camera snaps or request pics from your loved one. I use Shutterfly for this one.
  2. Synthetic fragrances are linked to asthma and cancer, respiratory and immune problems, while quality therapeutic grade essential oils are linked to immune support, respiratory health, and boosting mood. Both smell good but which do you want in your house? Or your parents house? Or your friends house? Help them make the switch from those plug in air fresheners to natural healing aromas by buying a diffuser (Amazon has tons at all price points) and by giving them a bottle of a great smelling essential oil. Look for trusted brands because essential oils aren’t regulated and cheap ones can be labeled pure but are most likely adulterated with things that shouldn’t be there and thus aren’t healthy. Orange essential oil is a great for everyone, it boosts the mood, supports the immune system and smells fresh! Look for it in Young Living, doTerra, or on Aromatics.com. Today Wild Orange is on sale for $5.50 in the Holiday Specials at Aromatics.com.
  3. Clean water! Water in plastic bottles is NOT clean. Yes, the “water” may be just fine but plastic bottles are associated with xenoestrogens and thus taint the water with these endocrine disruptors. Who needs more menopause symptoms? Who needs cancer? Share the info in the link above with a loved one and give them a water filter and/or a special glass water bottle (and add in a water bottle cleaning brush too).

Happy Cyber Monday Shopping!

Easy Delicious Thanksgiving Sides

Buffalo Style Green Beans – Serves 4

  • 12 ounce bag of washed snipped cook-in-the-bag fresh green beans
  • 1 ounce goat cheese crumbles
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 Teaspoon Franks Red Hot Sauce

Cook green beans in microwave as directed on package. Put butter and hot sauce in a skillet on medium-high heat and add cooked green beans. Mix to coat and cook 2 minutes. Remove from pan and plate and sprinkle with salt, pepper and goat cheese crumbles.

Ranch Style Green Beans – Serves 4

  • 12 ounce bag of washed snipped cook-in-the-bag fresh green beans
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove diced or sliced
  • 1 teaspoon dry ranch dressing mix

Cook green beans in microwave as directed on package. Put butter and olive oil in a skillet on medium-high heat and add diced or sliced garlic and cook 1 minute, then add cooked green beans and a dash of salt and pepper. Mix to coat green beans and then cook 2 minutes. Sprinkle with dry ranch dressing and mix to coat again. Remove from pan and plate dish for serving.

Lucious Lower Carb Cauli-Potato Mash – Serves 6

  • 1 Head Cauliflower
  • 3 Large Russet Potatoes
  • 4 ounce low-fat cream cheese
  • 16 ounces chicken broth

Wash vegetables well and peel potatoes if desired (I like the extra fiber from the skin and leave it on). Put chicken broth in a large stock pan. Cut up cauliflower and potatoes into 2-3″ sections and place in chicken broth. Put on lid and bring veggies and broth to a boil. Bring down to a simmer and cook 15-25 minutes until veggies are soft when poked with a fork. Remove from heat. Add salt and pepper (and I add garlic powder too) and cream cheese. Smash together with a potato smasher adding milk or water or more broth if a creamier texture is desired. Serve as you would regular mashed potatoes and only you will know the secret.

Roasted Veggies – Serves 8

  • 1 Head Cauliflower
  • Small bag of Brussel Sprouts (about 20)
  • 3 Large Carrots
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Softened Butter
  • 1 Tablespoon Parmesan Cheese
  • Fresh chives or parsley to garnish

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash veggies. Cut cauliflower into 1-2″ sections (cutting florets in half so there is a flat side). Cut brussel sprouts in half. Peel carrots and cut on the diagonal about 1/2″ thick. Place foil on a cookie sheet and spray with a non-stick spray. Spread veggies (flat sides down) evenly on cookie sheet and spray veggies with non-stick spray, and lightly salt and pepper. Bake about 20 minutes until veggies are soft and showing some browning. Mix olive oil, softened butter, and parmesan cheese in veggie serving bowl. When veggies are out of the oven, place in serving bowl and toss to coat with butter/cheese mixture. Garnish with fresh snipped chives or parsley.

Enjoy! And I hope you have a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Menopause Course Update

Test Don’t Guess.

What gets measured gets managed.

These are a couple of the pearls of wisdom from Dr. Anna Cabeca and the menopause course I’m close to completing.

I promised an update on how I was doing with the course information and so here it is!

Results:

  • Blood pressure is down 20 points on top number and 10 points on bottom number
  • Lost 6 1/2 pounds without trying
  • Lost 2″ off my waist and 3″ off my hips
  • Lost 1.5% body fat (per FitBit scale)
  • Break out sweating and strip off clothes hot flashes that were about 2-3x a day are gone (I still notice about 4 or 5 warm flashes a week)
  • I’m sleeping more soundly
  • I don’t wake up at night 3 or 4x to pee
  • I don’t have as much body pain
  • Intimacy is more comfortable
  • I have more energy throughout the day
  • My body feels stronger
  • Had a 50% decrease in menopause symptom severity in just 6 weeks (sleep, vaginal dryness, tearing eyes, hair thinning, weight gain, low energy, hot flashes, dental health issues, pain, joint stiffness, stress, underlying anxiety, social withdrawal, urinary frequency, decreased joy in life, fibrocystic breasts, headaches, and irritability with flashes of an intense feeling of anger)
  • AND I just feel more happy … joy in the small things in life

What is the program about? It’s basically about getting information about how our bodies age from a knowledgable doctor on different menopause related topics and then empowering us to make our own healthy lifestyle choices and to have a better partnership with our own doctors (or to choose a new doctor who is supportive and holistic).

The key to the program is living keto-alkaline. And we use test strips created by Dr. Cabeca every day to determine if our body is in a keto-alkaline state.

The first thing we worked on was getting our urine to test alkaline. We did that by detoxing (which I have been advocating for years, so this was easy), by eating more green organic vegetables, by cutting out caffeine and by using a supplement called Maca. We learned that testing alkaline indicates we have less body inflammation and are handling stress and we experienced the results in feeling more energy and less pain. The program advocates for tea but I was able to be alkaline and still drink several cups of coffee a day (I used the following recipe: 1 Tablespoon roasted organic chicory, 2 Tablespoons organic decaf coffee, 2 Tablespoons organic regular coffee to 12 cups water).

The next thing we worked on was ketosis. We achieved ketosis by something called intermittent fasting … this just means that we try and go 15 hours between dinner and breakfast. Eating the alkalizing greens also helps with ketosis and we were given a protein shake product that was very low carb. The shake was delicious and filling, it was vanilla and I made it with unsweetened coconut almond milk … tasted like I was cheating and having a milk shake anytime I had it!!! We were also given lower carb recipes each week, were encouraged to eat only 3 meals a day, and were asked to limit sugar/dairy/flours/alcohol. Oh, and we were taught to make our own bone broth and to enjoy a vegetable bone broth every day.

I didn’t do much of the meals except the intermittent fasting, the shake, eating more green veggies, and having some bone broth. What I did do during this period was enroll in Home Chef meals that were lower in carbs and calories but entirely flavor filled, easy and DELICIOUS. These are changes that are sustainable for me. My birthday fell in the middle of the program and I enjoyed several slices of my German Chocolate Cake and I went to the movies and had buttered popcorn and I snacked on potato chips now and then. I also had a bottle of light beer 2 or 3x a week, a glass of wine once a week, and a mixed drink with vodka 1 to 2x a week. I was no martyr with food and I knew I had to make changes that I wouldn’t become tired of or resentful of.

Another part of the program was writing down in a daily journal what you were grateful for, what blessed your life that day, what you’re glad you did, what gave you joy, and who you connected with each day. We were to start each day with a “Cheer” word, some thing that would anchor us in the positive. We were also a part of a Facebook group to share our trials and successes. That was important when I had a questionable mammogram during the period the program was running … I had a doctor and a wonderful group to offer support during the stress of that time.

Being it’s a menopause program, we learned a lot about hormones. Surprisingly the most important hormones were oxytocin and cortisol. Connection/bonding and stress hormones. When cortisol (stress) is high, oxytocin (feeling connected to others and thus wanting to isolate) is low. When cortisol is high over a long period of time, adrenal fatigue occurs and both cortisol and oxytocin are low which leads to feelings of exhaustion, disconnection, loss of joy, and burnout.

The next hormones that were discussed were thyroid, insulin, and melatonin … the energy and sleep hormones. And of course finally we discussed estrogen, progesterone, DHEA, pregnenolone, and testosterone. Did you know progesterone is stolen to make the stress hormone cortisol?

During the program I had my annual health visit at my regular doctor and asked to get hormone labs done and I was told it wasn’t medically necessary. So, I went and purchased my own labs, the Elite Panel, through Ulta Lab Tests. I went locally to have my blood drawn and they sent it out for testing. I found that I was doing a lot of things right and there were a few things I could tweak … like getting off the $300+ out-of-pocket estrogen prescription Estrace (which wasn’t working for vaginal dryness). I began using a natural progesterone cream and Dr. Anna’s Julva cream.  I also learned that coconut oil is one of the healthiest vaginal lubricants. These changes are saving me money, are actually working and are solving my menopause symptoms at the root level.

Testing has helped take the guess work out of what’s going on with my hormones. And daily measuring my weight, blood pressure, mood, ketosis, and urine alkalinity has helped me stay on track with what works for my body and what doesn’t. And so far I’m reaping the rewards. I’d happily recommend the program to others when it’s offered again (even though it won’t be for a number of months from what I’ve heard). It was about an $800 investment for the online program and another $700 investment for the lab tests and I am totally worth it! And I believe you are you too! What do you think?! I will be signing up for round two and completing the program again when it reopens, it’s that motivating and supportive and I hope to be ready to step into even more changes.

If you’re interested, I’ll let you know when the program is starting up again or you can get on the waiting list to experience Magic Menopause!

 

 

Life Lesson

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Last week I drove 400 miles for a color tour of Michigan with my parents. My father is in his 80’s and has had memory problems for a half dozen years, sleeping much of the day. My mother is the caretaker and I can’t imagine the stress of losing a life partner in this way and also having to pick up the slack from the help he used to do around the house, but no longer can.

My brother comes on the weekends to visit and do the “fit-it” tasks and I go two days during the week to give my mom an aromatherapy relaxation massage and to help clean the house and garden. We talked her into hiring a lawn service last year and that has been a welcome relief.

When I first decided to help out a few years ago it felt overwhelming … how could I run a business and support my husband and give up two days a week, traveling the 125 mile round trip each time to go to my parents house.

I thought of caretaker support and how massage would be great, I was sure the craving for loving supportive stress relieving touch must be huge. And why not start a non-profit and reach out to others. I’ve started a non-profit before, I know the steps. And as the thoughts spiraled, the anxiety skyrocketed. I stopped, took a breath, and thought “one step at a time” and “do what you can now, not what you can’t.”

What I could do was commit to giving my mom a massage and so I did. I answered the need directly in front of me and stopped trying to solve the problems of the world. Actually if everyone answered the need directly in front of them, there would be a lot less problems in the world. So, in a way, I was solving the problems of the world. And I was called to answer in this small and doable way.

What I learned is people my parents age look at massage as an unnecessary frivolous thing. My mom was open to therapy on her aching neck and shoulders, so that’s where I started. After easing the decades long pain and limited movement there, I began to support the treatment with inflammation relieving essential oils. I explained the chemistry of essential oils and how God created nature and gave us plants for medicine.

Next we worked on strengthening her immune system and I used immune boosting essential oils and massage on her spine. And it slowly progressed to the entire aromatherapy massage that my mom looks forward to without guilt or judgement each week. She’s even commented on how it helps her relax and get through her week, and that makes me happy. Doesn’t she look great in the photo from our color tour last week?

I’m enjoying these days. I enjoy the connection with my parents. I enjoy giving support and feeling the appreciation. I even enjoy the long drive there and back with the help of Great Courses learning CD’s and Catherine Coulter’s FBI series on CD.

And I really needed to learn the lesson that doing one small thing can and will make a big difference. I had always thought you had to do big things to make a difference or to give your all and be totally stressed out to make a difference. But I learned that’s not true and it’s been a great life lesson.