Oils for Detox

Spring is such a natural time to think about a cleanse. The beginning of new life is everywhere in the plant world. New life shoots up-slow motion style-from underneath last year’s dead leaves and grass.

Those of us who live in cold climates are finally able to emerge from our winter shelters. We get reacquainted with neighbors, shed the outer layer of our wraps and sit in the sun just to feel its warmth against our skin. We’ve been cooped up, trying to stay warm and probably haven’t had much exercise either.

What we need is a good stretch, some physical action to shake up our lymph glands and get them flowing. Anything that aids our body in its task of discarding unwanted toxins is welcome.

A few drops of Essential Options’ Detox-Aid in a bath opens the skin’s pores and carries toxins out. Carrot Seed oil purifies, cleanses liver and expels parasites.  Grapefruit oil is cleansing and detoxifying. Rosemary oil improves circulations and opens nasal passages as well as pores. Vetiver oil helps regenerate new cells as well as fighting toxins. All these make up the E.O blend Detox-Aid. It’s a great addition to a cleansing diet and exercise plan. Try it this month for less (Use DETOX for the code to receive a $3 discount) HTTP://MKT.COM/ESSENTIAL-OPTIONS

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Family “Medicine” Cabinet

As we raised our three boys, we had a medicine cabinet full of essential oils and herbs. They were more effective than any over-the-counter medicines we ventured to try and often better than prescription drugs suggested by a doctor. I confess I don’t have much experience with doctors and prescription medicines, but our experience proved that natural methods are usually more effective. Side effects are not a problem with essential oils either.

Tea Tree oil was a staple for cleaning wounds as well as the house.

Sandalwood to relax sore muscles.

We kept Lavender in the kitchen in case of burns.

Eucalyptus for respiratory problems.

Well, you can see there’s an oil for nearly everything. And I’ve learned that blending several essential oils which have similar healing properties is even more effective than using single oils.

Sept Special, set of 5 oils
Here are my recommendations for the general family medicine cabinet from the Essential Options oil blends:

*Allergy Defense (respiratory)

*Allergy Defense (skin irritation)

*Cold/Flu Armor

*Muscle-Ez

*Robber’s Bounty (a general immunity booster)

*Tummy Time

*Wound Care

Find them here:  https://squareup.com/market/essential-options

Wok-Seared Chicken with Asparagus

Asparagus is very nutritious. It helps fight cancer, high cholesterol and many other health concerns. It’s also delicious and versatile. Here’s a family favorite of ours from the book, Healthy in a Hurry, by Eating Well. It’s quick and satisfying.

Wok-Seared Chicken with Asparagus Tenders & Pistachios
Serve over rice or noodles.
1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
1 1/2 lbs fresh asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 lb chicken tenders, cut into bite-size pieces
4 scallions, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 Tbsp minced, fresh ginger
1 Tbsp oyster-flavor sauce (or fish sauce)
1 tsp chile-garlic sauce
1/4 C shelled, salted pistachios, coarsely chopped

Heat oil in a wok or large skillet over high heat. Add asparagus; cook, stirring for 2 minutes. Add chicken; cook, stirring for 4 minutes. Stir in scallions, ginger, oyster sauce and chile-garlic sauce; cook, stirring until the chicken is juicy and just cooked through, 1-2 minutes more. Stir in pistachios and serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings about 1 1/4 cup each.

Seven Reasons to Eat Figs

For those of you who can get fresh figs in your part of the country, here’s an article about their health benefits. We don’t usually have them in stores in Minnesota, but a few weeks out of the year we can find them. And I’ve started to see some good dried figs in the last year.

7 Reasons Why We Should Include Figs In Our Diet                                            http://www.healthandbeautymakeup.com/healthy-nutrition/why-we-should-include-figs-in-our-diet/

Figs come from Egypt and were used in the nutrition for a long, long time ago. Fresh figs can be found only a short period of the year, but dried figs and jam’s prepared from them, can replace sugar in many recipes for delicious cookies.
Fig is a fruit that contains 80% water, but also contains the most sugar in itself that makes it fruit that provides a lot of energy that stimulates brain function, concentration and memory.

fresh figs

fresh figs

In ancient times the fig tree was considered as a holy fruit, so people grew it and consumed it regularly. Experts stress that the fig tree is the fruit that if used regularly successfully works to reduce the amount of cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood.

In ancient times were known about 30 species of figs, today are known more than 600, all equally delicious and healthy.
Figs contain large amounts of calcium and potassium, minerals that are important for bone health, skin and for the good functioning of many organs. Because of that figs are recommended, especially for the older population. They also boost metabolism as they are rich with organic fibers.They are also excellent for purification of the blood vessels.
Figs are an integral part of many diets, from the fact that they a great source of vitamins and minerals and have a low calorific value. Figs don’t have many calories, 100 grams of fresh figs have only 74 calories.

Dried figs are an excellent source of minerals, vitamins and antioxidants, but apart from fresh, 100 grams of dried figs have 249 calories. A dry figs contain more calcium than cow’s milk also contains abundant vitamins and various minerals, which currently restores energy and positive effect on various diseases. A couple of figs can remove the anxiety and bad mood and will save you from turning over in bed when you cannot sleep.

It will improve your concentration and memory because it stimulates the exchange of substances in the brain, and simultaneously removes fatigue.

If you are anemic you should know that dry fig, because copper and iron which contains, stimulates the formation of red blood cells.

Here is some nutritional information that may surprise you and will motivate you more to include figs in the diet:
This can be your first surprise: figs help build stronger bones! They contain the basic building ingredients of bone: a trio consisting of magnesium, calcium and vitamin K2. Calcium without magnesium is inert,and without vitamin K2 calcium can depart from the bone and enter the blood,where can create crystals and sediments in blood vessels.
Figs are good for heart health. With minimizing the sediment of calcium in blood vessels, magnesium and potassium from the figs are essential for maintaining heart health and normal blood pressure.
Figs are a rich source of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber helps slow digestion and make you feel full. Also, help regulate blood sugar. And helping to manage the syndrome “irritable bowel”. The insoluble fiber in turn, assist in cleaning the waste from the colon and thus eliminate constipation. Both types of fiber are a great combination for the regulation of body weight.

Figs help in reducing the level of serum triglycerides in the blood. Triglycerides are considered as relevant markers in the diagnosis of heart disease, obesity and cholesterol.

Dry figs are on top of the top list of dry fruits rich in antioxidant phenol. This antioxidant has been shown as an excellent means of improving the eyesight and even more efficient than some antioxidants found in vegetables like carrots.
Figs belong to an alkaline group of foods, which helps the body maintain its optimum 7,0-7,4 pH value.

Figs contain a high percentage of iron, a mineral that helps in the creation of red blood cells and prevent anemia. Pregnant women instead of munching pickles and chocolate, should eat more dried figs.

Here are some more interesting facts about figs:
Some cultures believe that eating the leaves of the fig tree, reduces the need for insulin injections for diabetics.
Figs are considered reliable laxative because of the large amount of cellulose they contain. Small seeds in fruit stimulate peristaltic wave bowel movements, which facilitates their discharge of faeces and keeps the digestive canal clean.

healthy fig juice

healthy fig juice

Macular degeneration or loss of vision can be prevented by eating figs.
Figs contain antioxidants as carotenoids, lutein and tannins. Contain also antioxidant vitamins such as vitamins A, E and K. Together, these phytochemical components protect against cancer, diabetes, degenerative diseases and infections.
Fig leaf proves effective for lowering triglycerides, reducing the risk of heart disease and inhibits the growth of some cancer cells.

Robber’s Booty – A Thieve’s Reward

There is a legend that during the great Plague in Europe, a few people decided to loot the dead bodies. They knew the sickness was contagious, so the job could be dangerous, though profitable. They covered themselves with herbs and oils derived from plants to keep them immune from the disease.

PlagueThieves

“There were 4 thieves living in 15th century France, who used cloves, rosemary, and other aromatics to protect themselves while robbing plague victims. They were perfumers by day and robbers by night, and made a concoction of herbs and essential oils in a base of vinegar and then would douse their body with this before they went out on their plundering sprees, and history records that the perfumers seemed to have an immunity against the plague.

They had a pretty good track record of stealing riches until the King found out and captured them, forcing them to give up their secret weapon against the plague. The herbal ingredients were wormwood, meadowsweet, juniper berries, rosemary, camphor, sage, cinnamon and cloves in a base of white wine vinegar. The essential oils contained within this formula have been noted for anti-bacterial, anti-viral, antiseptic and anti-catarrhyal properties while stimulating the immune system, circulation and the respiratory system. According to research at Weber State University, Thieves Oil was found to have a 99% kill rate against airborne bacteria when diffused.” (taken from: ThePendulist.org – Tags: oil for raindrop therapy, prevent plague with thieves oil, Weber State University research)

There are many oils in nature that have these protecting and healing properties. Tea Tree, Eucalyptus, and Lemon to name a few. The Creator has graciously given these gifts, planted in every region of the world for us to use.

You can make your own blend. Instead of using vinegar like they did, use a carrier oil such as Grapeseed oil, fractionated Coconut oil, or Jojoba oil.

Essential Options has it’s own version. We call it “Robber’s Booty.” Click here to go to our product list.

Food Power

“Food isn’t just fuel; it has the power to heal.”
~Whole Living, Ten Thoughts, October 2008

And I’d add that it has the power to make us sick as well.

It’s important to be aware as we eat. Think about what we put in our mouth and how it will affect our health. Our cells regenerate continually and what we feed our body determines how healthy those cells will be. There may be things that affect our health which are out of our hands, but food we can control, to a large extent.

So why don’t we?

I think a big reason is that we don’t eat thoughtfully. We rush to fill the stomach and get on with our daily tasks. Or for a thousand other reasons, we’re not thoughtful.

One thing that helps me make good choices is to think, in the moment, this salad will build my bones and strengthen my immunity against sickness and disease. Or to think, this snack cake will feed the yeast in my body, increasing the possibility of infection and joint pain.

Confession: I ate the dessert at the church dinner last night. Even as I did I remembered how it would affect me, but I finished it anyway.

The Rainbow Diet

One simple trick I learned to help me eat right is to eat foods from the different colors of the rainbow. We know white foods, such as flour and sugar, are empty calories, lacking nutrients. The opposite is also true. Foods with color contain plenty of the vitamins and nutrients our bodies need. If we eat plenty of deep green leafy veggies, we get calcium, vitamin C, iron and much more. Eating red foods can offer vitamin C, capsaicin, and others. Yellow foods, like squash, have a generous supply of vitamin A along with many of the other nutrients we need. 

These are just a few examples of how choosing our diet by color can help boost nutrition. It also offers a pleasing meal for our eyes.

An easy weeknight meal for us is Quinoa (cooked in vegetable broth), Greens (steamed in a large frying pan with canned tomatoes and chopped garlic) and a baked squash such as Spaghetti or Butternut.

Take a Deep Breath!

Today’s Holistic Living Tip: Take a deep Breath!

Deep Breathing Girl

Used by Permission – http://www.Dreamstime.com

Deep breathing sends oxygen into the bloodstream. It stimulates circulation of the blood, which is key to good health.

Deep Breathing doesn’t mean taking in more air, but pulling that air down into the lower part of the lungs. It feels as if you’re breathing into your abdomen. If you fill the lower part of the lungs first, you can continue to fill the upper part as well. But if you fill the upper part of the lungs first, air will not reach the lower part.

As adults, we often don’t even use this portion of our lungs. Children breathe this way naturally, but as we age, tension and bad habits take over. For true relaxation we should practice deep breathing.

Release any tension. Imagine your muscles relaxing. You may want to close your eyes. Exhale completely. Slowly inhale through the nose while focusing your thoughts on pushing the air low into your abdomen. Continue to fill the lungs. Hold the air in for a few seconds. Release the breath through your mouth slowly.

Try to take at least five minutes during the day to practice this. You may want to try it a few times throughout the day, whenever you feel stress or tension, for example.

Stretch Your Sleep

We’re always trying to Stretch our Day. How about Stretching our Sleep?

We in the West seem to have a love/hate relationship with sleep. We always talk about wanting more sleep. Many deal with chronic fatigue, yet we cram more and more things into our schedule robbing minutes or hours from our sleep time.

We look for ways to stretch the day. We’re so busy trying to accomplish and buy more, or just have more fun. This is how we interpret success. But in order to do it we have to work harder and sleep less. I see it in middle-aged people who’re desperate to build their retirement as well as keep up on the current bills and put children through college. I see it in young people, as if some unseen force compels them to stay awake late into the night. Often they don’t even use those sleeping hours for homework, they just stay awake with friends, in front of the television, or on Facebook. Like toddlers who are so afraid they might miss something they don’t want to go to sleep even if they’re about to drop from exhaustion.

There is a lack of trust deep within us that tells us we must control our day. It borders on neurotic. In Psalm  46:10, The Bible says, “Cease striving and know that I AM God.” And in Matthew 6:26 it says, “Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?” Not bad advice.

We know that sleep is important to our physical well-being. Studies show that the lack of sleep (eight or nine hours is optimal for adults) increases our risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood-pressure and Alzheimer’s. It causes foggy thinking and poor memory, lack of sex drive, and it breaks down the collagen that protects the skin and keeps it looking young. These are just a few of the problems connected to lack of sleep.
 
Our first and most important remedy for this serious problem is to make sleep a priority. Guard the sleeping hours diligently. Remember that the hours before midnight are the best for the body to repair itself. A good rule of thumb is to plan to get in bed by ten on a regular basis.
 
If you have trouble falling asleep you can take a bath with some soothing essential oils such as Lavender, Valerian, or Clary-sage. Any combination of them would work too (Essential Options offers an oil blend for this purpose called Sleepy-bye). You only need 5-10 drops in a bath.
 
Check your diet. A healthy diet full of living foods increases ability to get good rest. You may also enjoy a small glass of wine with dinner for minerals, digestion and relaxation. A cup of herbal tea before bed is helpful. Light exercise and/or deep breathing can help the body relax enough to fall asleep as well.
 
If you just can’t fall asleep or you wake up during the night and can’t get back to sleep, take one teaspoon of Nutritional Yeast in a small amount of water or juice. Stir and drink. The chromium in the yeast balances the blood sugar and allows you to sleep. It works for me every time, even if I drink a Latté in the evening. (I don’t suggest coffee in the evening if you have trouble falling asleep).
 
 
So here’s my prescription for better sleep:
   -Let go of the need to control.
   -Set aside 7 – 9 hours each day for sleep and guard them diligently.
   -Eat right and drink plenty of water.
   -Plan a routine of relaxation during the hours before bed. (wine with dinner, herbal tea and/or warm bath before bed).
   -Exercise, Deep Breathing, or Nutritional Yeast for difficulties falling asleep.
(Also resist the urge to nap during the day if you have trouble sleeping at night).
 

Let’s stop trying to cheat sleep. Let’s make friends with sleep. It’s a buddy we can’t live without.

What helps you sleep? Please share it here in the comments. Thanks!