March 24, 2014

Ten on Tuesday (early)

It certainly has been longer than I would like since I have posted here. There are some great new things in the works regarding Feasting On Joy and I have been occupied in that lately as well as 50 other things. We also are in the thick of finishing up school for the school year as well as co-op so that always comes with a lot of parts and pieces to balance in my life.

I thought I would catch you up on a few fun things happening around here.

1~~ The recent daylight savings time change totally threw me off! It usually doesn't but this year it was an "off" week. It does help that we homeschool and can be flexible and adjust though.  But that was a week that I felt like would never end.  Now I am loving the lighter later evenings and the feeling of Spring in the air.

2~~ Speaking of Spring, normally my counters would be totally covered with seedlings of all sorts that would just be popping out of the soil by now.  This year there are no seedlings adorning my counters. Steve and I have decided to let our soil (and me) rest for a year.  We plan on deeply amending the soil this year and last year started a trash can compost outside too.  It usually took me around 30 hours a week to tend the garden and that is not counting the "putting up" time. I love it but really want to open up time to be able to do a lot more outdoor things this summer here with the boys. We will probably still have a tomato plant or two (instead of 9) and we have our apples and peaches along with the never ending weeding. I will also probably plant some more expensive organic produce like collard greens and chard to save some money. It is weird to look out at our planters and see them quite bare!

3~~ After winter (which I love) it is always nice to see the signs of Spring. I love when the Daffodils start blooming! They are one of my favorite flowers. My Aunt reminded me the other day of a little poem my Grandma used to say whenever she saw a Daffodil. It made me love them even more because I absolutely adore my Grandma. The poem was. "A little cup, a little frill and now you have a daffodil!"  So cute. I love my Grandma and I love Daffodils. 

4~~ We have come to love a certain song in our house! Actually we hear it on Pandora every once in a while and thankfully the lyrics don't really come in that clear because some of them are a little out of our conservative arena for 8 year old and 4 olds. The boys have never seen the video either. However, there is something about the beat to this song that literally makes us want to start dancing around the house and be silly. It has totally helped break up the seriousness in our house. We could be eating dinner or doing chores but the minute we hear this, we convene in the living room and start dancing all around! It is a regular dance party. I love it! So, I bet you are wondering what the song is?  It is "I Like to Move it, Move it." from Madagascar. My boys have never even seen the movie but we love the song! Click here for the song. (Disclaimer, I have never let my boys watch this video and really don't think the video is appropriate so if you have littles around and you are pretty conservative don't watch. For adults it is pretty funny though.)

5~~ Our conversations around the table can get pretty funny especially with an 8 year old and a 4 year old. Lately the topic has come up multiple times of wishing we lived in a Candy land and then a Protein Land. Actually, Cody clarifies each time that we need protein land first! You know protein/fat helps sugars digest more evenly and deters blood sugar spikes! Cracks me up. They go on to describe what will be in each land. Bacon, of course, would be in protein land! Candy land gets more descriptive. Waterfalls of chocolate (organic of course with no GMO's Cody adds) and rivers of honey. We are all craving protein and candy after the conversation which happens multiple times a month at meal times!

6~~ On the topic of Bacon we have been loving a snack called Porkitos lately. Actually this is made from Prosciutto that is baked and it is oh SO good! Michelle of Nom Nom Paleo coined the phrase and created the snack.  I buy Prosciutto at Costco and decided to try Michelle's version of it one day. Now, we like to eat it her way better than not baked.  It is good for putting on top of salads or eggs. Even to jut eat plain is wonderful. Try it! It also has that crunch that sometimes Paleo eaters crave.
(picture from Nom Nom Paleo)

7~~ This month I will be Gluten Free for three years! Wow. I can remember like yesterday how I viewed it as my death sentence in 2011 when I was told I had to eat GF. I have several posts detailing my journey of going Gluten Free if you search Gluten Free Journey in the labels on the side. Funny, I never knew that being Gluten Free was actually not hard at all. Looking back at the way I used to be able to eat was a piece of cake in comparison to the way I eat now. I look back though and realize that even though the things I was eating were Gluten free they were mostly NOT healthy. Just because it is GF doesn't mean it is healthy. I repeat just because it is labeled Gluten Free does not mean it is healthy for you to eat. Gluten Free food items (even prepared at home from scratch) have A LOT of starch and refined sugar in them and can have very little nutritive value. Eating as much refined sugar and starch as I used to contributed to my demise (Intestinal Permeability) in 2013. I am SO thankful for what I have learned since that journey started in March of 2011. I will never go back to eating Gluten Free ONLY. I love eating GMO free, grain free, legume free, refined sugar free, & dairy free (and a lot of other things "free.") It does my body good and has helped my boys with rashes, allergies and more! It has even helped my husband eliminate blood pressure issues, his overall wellness and he is down to the weight he was in high school! He doesn't always eat grain free either. My boys can have dairy though and we buy raw milk for them which they tolerate very well. Anyway, even though GF was simpler in terms of being able to have more convenience foods, I love Paleo because the food is nutrient dense (almond flour and coconut flours verses white rice flours for baking and lots and lots of veggies along with small portions of "clean" lean meats...) and easier to cook. It is just the prep that takes more time. What a journey it has been. I have been Paleo for over a year now and my health (due to autoimmunity) has done a 180 in terms of improvement. I highly recommend a grain free Paleo diet (or even Autoimmune Paleo) for those with autoimmunity. I am thankful for my doctor back in 2011 who was the ONLY doctor out of several who even told me that Gluten could affect those with Hashimoto's Thyroiditis. It put me on the path to the realization that food, and everything we put in our mouths and on our skin, affects our health either positively or negatively. All God's Providence. PS: If you want to see what I can eat (which is a ton) check out my Pinterest Board.

8~~ Co-op is coming to and end! We have three more weeks left (after Spring Break). Time flew. It seems like we were just at Christmas break. Corbin has loved taking Chess, Creative Thinking, and Creative Writing with some amazing teachers. Cody has loved taking story hour, PE and Games, Eric Carle, and Christ Centered Character also with some amazing teachers. I absolutely love our co-op and am amazed at the sacrifice our moms make each week to teach our children. It is such a blessing and I have made some sweet friends in the process. God is good!

9~~ Steve and I started using doTERRA Essential oils in December for us individually. We have loved them so much and have seen some wonderful results in us personally as well as in our children from implementing these oils into our lives. I call them my "icing on the cake." We only got minor colds once or twice this year due to our lifestyle overhaul and using doTERRA EO's! Yay! It is so cool to us to be able to use something natural that God gave us (that were even used in Bible times) to help our bodies with their ailments. We have learned so much in the past few months and we are actually teaching classes together now to share our experience with others. We teach and help get our clients on the path to using doTERRA essential oils in their everyday lives. We love that we can literally replace our entire medicine cabinet as well as cleaners with Essential oils! Stay tuned to this blog because eventually I will be posting recipes for cleaners and home remedies. I will also have some giveaways of homemade cleaning solutions using doTERRA EO's. It is going to be fun!

10~~ One of the things that is so much on my mind and I pray about all the time lately is walking in God's will. There are so many things we can do in life. So many directions we can take. So many traps we can fall in. I know my Lord has ultimate discernment and protection over me and has my best interests and that of my family at heart. I trust in His unending sovereignty. He is amazing. I pray for protection from the snares because, as a human, it is so easy to not see one of Satan's traps. One of the best allegories and illustrations of the conniving, sneaky, deceit of the devil is played out in the book Pilgrims Progress. I like the audio version of this for road trips. They even have a kids version that my son has read over and over. It is a captivating story of the main character, Christian, who is on his life journey to heaven's gate while trying to stay on God's path. It was written by John Bunyan who was in prison at the time of the writing! I highly recommend it. 

I pray Proverbs 16:9 in my heart daily. 

Proverbs 16:9
A man’s heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps.
If we direct our steps we are really walking on the sinking sand. 
Temporal is the word that comes to mind. If we are in God's will and walking his path we can be safe in his arms and under his protection. That's what I want. With all these new things happening in our lives I do pray that, as I plan my ways (and heed the Lord's instruction and open doors), that God truly does direct us on this journey and that we trust in him for in and for everything.

February 14, 2014

Feeling Good Friday: Hippocrates

Normally on Feeling Good Fridays I highlight a food or a product that can promote healing but today I am going to focus on a person. This person is not alive anymore and so he physically cannot promote healing but the principles he left behind are pretty astounding and are certainly relevant today. We Americans, who are becoming increasingly more unhealthy and sick, are s l o w l y coming full circle in understanding and applying the principles that Hippocrates believed in. (Warning there is a bit of a rant in this post.)

Since I have started on my journey of healing through education about God's gift to us in real, whole, clean food, the name Hippocrates has come up many times. I have read and heard he is the "Father of Medicine." Along with that I have seen the famous quote by him, "Let food be thy medicine and let thy medicine be food." I can attest to that in the fact that food (along with a few other pieces to my puzzle) have been powerful in healing my ailing body. I am sure that I learned about him during my schooling as well but really hadn't remembered a whole lot about him.

(picture of Hippocrates found on

Recently, while homeschooling my eight year old, we were doing history and our lesson for the day was about Hippocrates. What I read really peaked my interest in finding out more about Hippocrates as well as the Hippocratic oath that was based on his way of practicing medicine and written shortly after he died by Pythagoreans in Greece.

Hippocrates broke the mold in that he did not believe that the Greek God of Asclepius was his healer. Instead, he believed that diet, rest and exercise is what could heal. He looked for causes of disease rather than treating a symptom. When he did treat he used herbs, diet changes, and getting outside along with exercise. He believed that a doctor should be trustworthy and that the doctor should use his skills wisely for the BETTERMENT of mankind.
(some of the above paragraph is paraphrased from The Mystery of History Volume 1 by Linda Lacour Hobar)

These are all amazing principles that he practiced by. The major difference in my own views is that I DO believe my God (Jesus Christ) is my healer. If it weren't for Him then none of the foods or other things would have healed me. It is by God's grace and mercy on me that I am able to thrive and function in life.

As my son and I continued learning about Hippocrates we also found out some interesting info on the Hippocratic oath. Remember, I said this is the document that was written some time after the death of Hippocrates? The people who wrote it (the Pythagoreans) based it off of the way that Hippocrates practiced medicine and his beliefs therefore it reflects him. Oh how I wish this oath was truly adhered to in our day. Our medical system would be 100% different. I will get into that briefly in a bit.

(photo of the classic Hippocratic Oath from

Once this oath was written it was and has been used for thousands of years as a pledge for doctors who are graduating medical school.

What I thought was most interesting and very reflective of modern western medicine is how much this oath has changed over the last 2,500 years. In fact, only 1-3 schools use this classic oath today. The others use various watered down politically correct versions that virtually mean nothing. It has become more of a ritual rather than a true oath and promise.

Let me show you what the classic, original oath written after Hippocrates death said...

I swear by Apollo Physician and Asclepius and Hygieia and Panaceia and all the gods and goddesses, making them my witnesses, that I will fulfill according to my ability and judgment this oath and this covenant:

To hold him who has taught me this art as equal to my parents and to live my life in partnership with him, and if he is in need of money to give him a share of mine, and to regard his offspring as equal to my brothers in male lineage and to teach them this art—if they desire to learn it—without fee and covenant; to give a share of precepts and oral instruction and all the other learning to my sons and to the sons of him who has instructed me and to pupils who have signed the covenant and have taken an oath according to the medical law, but no one else.

I will apply dietetic measures for the benefit of the sick according to my ability and judgment; I will keep them from harm and injustice.

I will neither give a deadly drug to anybody who asked for it, nor will I make a suggestion to this effect. Similarly I will not give to a woman an abortive remedy. In purity and holiness I will guard my life and my art.

I will not use the knife, not even on sufferers from stone, but will withdraw in favor of such men as are engaged in this work.

Whatever houses I may visit, I will come for the benefit of the sick, remaining free of all intentional injustice, of all mischief and in particular of sexual relations with both female and male persons, be they free or slaves.

What I may see or hear in the course of the treatment or even outside of the treatment in regard to the life of men, which on no account one must spread abroad, I will keep to myself, holding such things shameful to be spoken about.

If I fulfill this oath and do not violate it, may it be granted to me to enjoy life and art, being honored with fame among all men for all time to come; if I transgress it and swear falsely, may the opposite of all this be my lot.

—Translation from the Greek by Ludwig Edelstein. From The Hippocratic Oath: Text, Translation, and Interpretation, by Ludwig Edelstein. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1943.

The items that I bolded really stand out to me. Doctors would apply dietetic measures to treat a patient! That means food, herbs, things that God gave us on this green earth.
They will keep patients from harm and injustice. Wow, how integrous.
They will not even give a deadly drug to those who ask for it and they wont even offer it. No assisted suicide?
This next one is the one that caught my eye in the history book - they won't give a woman an abortive remedy. Pro-life even way back then!
Even though Hippocrates and most likely the Pythagoreans were not believers in Christ, and most likely did not know God the Creator they obviously valued human life. They will do their duty for the BENEFIT of the sick, not the benefit of themselves.
There will be no injustice or inappropriate relations with patients or anyone in the houses they visit. Lastly, if they adhere to this oath they will be praised and honored but adversely if they don't then they will be defamed, lose face, and probably lose their practice. Accountability what a novel concept. Yes, there is a bit of a sarcastic tone here...)

Not only was Hippocrates strong in holding to the ways he practiced medicine against many others who didn't see his viewpoint but others followed in his footsteps adhering to this amazing oath. Certainly, it is not perfect but it is a far cry from what oath(s) we have today. I wish we could go back to these principles.

Today, except for those 1-3 schools I mentioned earlier, there is no one oath that is followed. There are several different versions. Medical students graduate now and do say AN oath but it is more a set of rote words that mean nothing to almost any of these students getting ready to start their own practices. Furthermore, some of the statements in the modern versions are not even adhered too (in my personal experience.)

For starters, there is no mention of treating patients dietetically. There is no mention about giving or not giving a deadly drug to a patient. There is no mention of not giving a woman an abortive remedy, rather it says, "I will not play God" but right before that statement it talks about the fact that the doctor has the power to take a human life. There is no mention of having any inappropriate relations either.

Here are some things the modern versions of the Hippocratic Oath does say....

"I will prevent disease whenever I can, for prevention is preferable to cure."
"My professional judgement will be exercised as independently as possible and not be influenced by political pressure nor by factor such as social standing of the patient."
"I will not put personal profit or advancement above my duty to patients."
"If I do not violate this oath, may I enjoy life and art, respected while I live and remembered with affection thereafter. May I always act so as to preserve the finest traditions of my calling and may I long experience the joy of healing those who seek my help."
(taken from and

They will try to prevent disease? Really? Does modern Western Medicine really prevent medical disease? My opinion is, NO. In fact, they create problems with the onset of new drugs and the money behind the drugs that are being pushed. Some diseases actually come or are greatly worsened from modern medicine and the pharmaceuticals! Is prevention really preferable? I don't think so. Prevention would mean that we Americans wont need to come back to get more medicine. It would mean we would not need to be seen again in the office which would mean less mula for the pharms and doctors.

Not influenced by political pressures, by the way a person looks are how much money they have? Ummm, Hmmmm, I don't think so. That is a whole new post in and of itself though.

Do most doctors put the welfare of their patients above their personal gain (paycheck, fame, etc.)? In my experience with many, many doctors over the years personal gain is first and foremost. They want to gain more patients because that equals more money and more payoffs from the big pharma. Patients to them are just a number not an actual person that needs true help and honest care. Are ALL doctors this way - no. However, a vast majority I can bet are in it for themselves, not the well being of the patient. When test results trump the way the patient is feeling, and symptoms that may be occurring from a cause being untreated continue without a doctor caring, this tells me that the tests, drugs, etc are more priority than a patient.

Lastly, what happened to the accountability? The statement in the modern oath(s) only talk about if they do NOT violate the oath. What about if they do? Sure there are lawsuits and various ways to find justice but not through the original "promise" that was made upon graduation. Scary.

I do not believe all doctors are in this sad and corrupt state but I do believe that we can see proof of this watered down oath due to the awful state of health that our nation is in. I know it is due in part to our S.A.D diet and sedentary lifestyles and do not solely blame this on doctors. However, if the majority of our modern day doctors were following the principles and ideas that Hippocrates practiced I do believe that our world would be in an entirely different state of health. Medicine would truly would be about treating the cause not the symptom. It would be about using remedies that actually helped the root cause and healed rather than caused new problems. Patients would not just bee looked at a number. It would be amazing!

I am grateful for Hippocrates' courage in a time that what he believed wasn't widely accepted. I am grateful that there is a movement happening now in our nation that people are returning to these healthy principles. I am also thankful that there are doctors springing up who may not say this Hippocratic oath exactly, but truly adhere to the principles laid in Hippocrates foundation. It is wonderful. I am also blessed because in the past year I have been able to find a few doctors who treat the cause and not the symptom and look at the body as a whole not in pieces. They also take lots and lots of time with me getting a good picture of my health history. They genuinely care for me. Praise God!

If you are discouraged about your health I would suggest seeking out a Functional and Integrative Medicine doctor or an Investigative medicine doctor. Even some chiropractors practice Holistic Medicine (the Hippocrates Way.) There are good ones out there but it takes some searching.

If you would like to learn more about the Classic Hippocratic Oath, I found this site to be a informative one:
Western Fictioneers

Even if our doctors wont help us or treat us with no genuine care, let's start applying the principles that Hippocrates believed in about letting our medicine be our food and our food be our medicine. God gave us a wonderful gift in the clean, unadulterated foods that he gave us here on earth. Let's educate ourselves and look at modern research and testimonials as proof of the healing power in the gifts God has given us.


February 2, 2014

Be Thou My Vision

It's no secret that I love hymns. The words are always filled with such heart and soul.

They move me.
They inspire me.
They convict me.
They encourage me.

"A hymn is a traditional song of praise or worship written to God." "...traditional hymns continue to move (me) with profound words and beautiful music that engage (my) mind and lift (my) heart to heaven." (quoted from "Who is God?" by John Hay and David Webb, pg. 95. Words in parenthesis are mine)

There has been a hymn going through my head now for a few weeks since we sang it in church.

You see, a lot of exciting things have been happening in my life lately and I have such fun looking ahead. I want to remain grounded in the Lord and be sure at all times that God is my vision, that He is the Lord of my heart. I want to be sure that I don't heed riches, or empty praise. Remembering God is my inheritance is key. I want to treasure thou art - not the great things happening. He is ruler of all!

Be Thou My Vision was written in the eighth century from an unknown poet who lived in Ireland. This poet and her belief in Christ came about thanks to the enduring work of St. Patrick in Ireland (first as a slave then as an evangelizer.) St. Patrick planted about 200 churches and had 100,000 converts during his time!

The poem, written by the unknown poet, was translated in 1905 by Mary Elizabeth Byrne from Dublin, Ireland. Eleanor Hull put the words to rhyme and meter and it was set to the tune of the Irish folk song "Slane." The reason why it was set to this tune was because it was thought that Slane was an area where St. Patrick challenged the Druids with the gospel.

Here are the lyrics:
Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art.
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.

Be Thou my battle Shield, Sword for the fight;
Be Thou my Dignity, Thou my Delight;
Thou my soul’s Shelter, Thou my high Tower:
Raise Thou me heavenward, O Power of my power.

Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.

High King of Heaven, my victory won,
May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heaven’s Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.

If you would like to hear the song you can click the link below. This is the most traditional version and my personal favorite.

Be Thou My Vision

May Christ be your vision this year as well!


(Hymn facts and information taken from the book "Then Sings My Soul" by Robert J. Morgan)

January 31, 2014


This is my journal. I just finished filling up all the pages a few weeks ago! It encompasses and records 15 years of my life. I write really small! It has been so amazing to go back and read the initial entries and compare myself to the person I am now.

One of the things that I mentioned at the end of the year in my reflections post was how therapeutic journaling has been to me. I was talking about my thankfulness journal which is not the one above. I keep a different one for that and I wholeheartedly suggest writing down things you are thankful each day. It is perspective changer.

This full and worn journal is a record of my thoughts, feelings, valleys, triumphs. In the latter part it is a lot more of how I was growing in the Lord or how God has ministered to me or convicted me. It is about his GRACE.

I haven't been a life long journaler but occasionally wrote down my thoughts and feelings until the last year. Within the last year I became a daily journaler. Well almost, I missed some days here and there.

Keeping a journal has been wonderful for those times where my tongue wanted to get the best of me. Instead I brought my issue to the Lord and then just started writing. It helped so much because by the time I was done, most of the time, I didn't feel like I had to hold my tongue anymore.

Keeping a journal has helped me to remember the verses God gives to me for particular situation or for certain circumstances. I love looking back at those especially because sometimes they fill in a piece to the puzzle for me in hindsight.

Journaling gives me a feeling of freedom. I am free because I am a believer in Christ but that doesn't mean I can share my every thought or frustration. This is a place I can write and pour out my heart.

Keeping a journal has been extremely helpful during my health journey. Putting pen to paper and talking about my symptoms and fears and then looking back at them a year later (or six or seven) has allowed me to see God's redemption and restoration. He is faithful.

It was literally like closing a book on my life when I finished this journal. It was my favorite because it had handmade pages with little imperfections on each one. The cover was hand dyed and handmade paper. Have I told you I LOVE paper? Maybe not, but I really love paper. This paper gave me warm fuzzies.

Now that I have finished recording bits and pieces of the past 15 years of my life I started a new journal. The awesome thing is that I feel like I am also literally started a new book in my life too. Great things are happening, my trust and faith in the Lord is deeper than it ever has been (trials and valleys can do that), and it feels like a new season to start writing about.

The picture below if of the cover of the journal that I chose for this next season of life. It won't be able to fit 15 years, especially since I am journaling more now, but I can't wait to be filled with JOY in seeing God's faithfulness in my life through my writing reflections.

I have to wake up at the crack of dawn to have my sweet time in my Bible and writing down my reflections but it is well worth it. Quiet time, that is uninterrupted is a priceless way to start my day. I have never been a morning person either but I look forward to this part of my day so much that it doesn't matter to me about waking up early anymore.

If you don't already, why not take a few minutes out of your day to write down your thoughts or ways God is working on you? You could even record victories and triumphs. Really anything works. It is just a still and calm time in these days that can feel so chaotic and stressful.


January 17, 2014

365 days of change: New products we use for better health and less of a toxin load

Last year was a year of change - big time. Not only did our eating habits change but almost every other facet of our lives changed too. We changed everything from pots and pans to make-up and cleaners with the goal to get as many toxins out of our house and cleared from our bodies. We want to stay healthy as a family and we want to give our kids a fighting chance in this polluted world.

It has taken time for the changes due to research and financial constraints but overall we have made some pretty dramatic lifestyle changes.

This is a lengthy post but you can read it in sections if needed. I start with kitchen items then household items and some miscellaneous. After that I talk about toiletries and cosmetics. At the end there are links to all my pinterest boards in various categories.

I am not going to talk about food in this post but a quick note of change is that my family eats Paleo along with me now. The kids always eat gluten free and eat mostly Paleo. My husband eats mostly Paleo but is not fully GF. When there is that occasional pizza or cookie at work he partakes. Baby steps... He has seen many health improvements from eating about 95% Paleo though. I have seen positive health changes in my boys too and you all know my story. If you don't, search GAPS labels at the right side of my blog.

I will share the rest of the changes in random order. I pray that this post is a great resource for you if you would like to make some changes too. *Please note that we have not "arrived" or are not completely there. This is a journey like everything else in life. These are things that we use regularly but we are not perfect in lack of contaminants in our home. Personally I don't think anyone can ever be that way in their life on this earth in these days.

~1~ We no longer heat our food in plastic or serve heated food or drinks in plastic containers or serving dishes. When heat is applied to plastic it actually sends toxins that are harmful to our health into our foods or any item that comes in contact with it. Drinking hot drinks from a plastic straw is also a big no, no. We prefer to have the least possibilities of BPA contamination in our home. We use Snapware glass dishes for hot food storage now. I would like to get another set eventually. On my next Amazon order I will be ordering these stainless steel straws too. They also make glass ones but I think I will pass on those with my boys. I'd prefer they didn't drink broken glass after they broke their straws!

~2~ We all used to drink out of plastic water bottles too. We ditched those and use Life Factory Glass Water bottles now. We love them so much! They are nice too because you can use essential oils in your drinks (which I will talk about it a bit) and they wont react since they react with plastic (actually breaking it down) because of their potency.

~3~ We purchased a new set of stainless steel pots and pans this year. I have to be honest and say I have not gotten rid of every single piece of my nonstick set, I have two left because I like their size. When I find stainless steel ones that compares I will get rid of my nonstick ones. Anyway, we got an amazing deal at Kohl's on this Cuisinart Pot and Pan set and we had been looking for a while to make the switch. We did add two pieces to this set - a big deep dish dutch oven and a bigger saute pan than comes in the set. Also, we received a free set of stainless steel bowls. It has been nice because I rarely use my plastic mixing bowls now and of course I never use them with hot foods. Stainless is wonderful. I had to get used to using them a bit but low heat and good cooking fats are your friends with stainless.

~4~ Something else we have implemented is juicing. While most of my family still really gravitates towards the really sweet juices like apple, carrot I have noticed that Cody really likes my juices. I make my juices with one or two carrots but the rest greens and cucumber so it is generally less sweet and more on the bitter side. Once in a while I will add a small piece of fruit to mine but I tend to stay away too much from the overly sweet because the blood sugar spikes for me are terrible for my immunity. I love our juicer because it extracts the juices full of vitamins and minerals and gives my family a way to absorb these vital nutrients very easily. I would like to experiment more this year with different kinds of fruits and vegetables for making juice. There are many options to try! I also love our juicer because it makes nut butter and baby food too! A VERY generous good friend just gave me this juicer because she was not using it! Praise God. If you want a juicer I highly recommend the Champion 2000. It is wonderful and the juice is excellent.

~5~ The last kitchen item I wanted to mention that has aided in some changes we have made is my yogurt maker. Each week I make a quart of homemade 24 fermented raw milk yogurt from cow's milk we get from our farmer. GAPS side note * when you ferment yogurt for 24 hours the good bacteria eats up all the lactose which is what a lot of people can't digest and have an intolerance too. Any less time and there will still be milk protein (lactose) present in the yogurt. * My family eats this served with nuts, fruit and raw local honey. Sometimes we put homemade Paleo Granola on it (which is grain free.) Sometimes I allow my kiddos to put GF granola on it too but I hate doing that because I know grains give them adverse reactions. I always serve yogurt with a protein and a fat. Yogurt spikes your blood sugar because it has a lot of sugar naturally occurring and then you add fruit and honey and the sugar levels rise. Protein and fat help the body to metabolize the sugars slower and not spike your blood sugar levels. An example would be a piece of sausage and/or bacon or side of avocado with the yogurt.

This yogurt is so easy to make and the yogurt maker makes it even easier. All I do is put a quart of milk in a ball canning jar then add 1-2 TLBS of Nancy's Organic Plain yogurt (for a starter.) I whisk it up and put it in the yogurt maker. It turns out great. The Yolife yogurt maker is great because it comes with a high lid to be able to make big amounts of yogurt. It also comes with 7 glass yogurt sized jars to use. We love this because it is such a good way to get natural probiotics into our bodies and it tastes good too! For natural probiotics I have also started making my own sauerkraut this year. I have enjoyed the end result with that.

~6~ Our household cleaners have changed too. Although I still own some of the nasty ones with terrible and harmful chemicals in them I very rarely use them now. To clean our kitchen and counters I use a mixture of vinegar and water along with some doTerra Lemon and doTerra Onguard essential oils. It smells good, cleans well and sanitizes all at the same time.

Anything I purchase as a household item like dishwashing detergent, hand soap, dish soap as well as cosmetics and toiletries (which I will get into later) has to clear the EWG site first. Environmental Working Group is a site that rates thousands upon thousands of products for their toxicity. It defines what is toxic in the product and why. It then rates them from A-F and some of the items get a number rating with 0 being the best. I swear by this site and am so thankful for it. Nothing new comes into our house that does not have a low rating like between 0-2 and A or B. They also have pocket guides for the clean fifteen and dirty dozen foods and many other resources. I love, love, love this tool.

For our dish detergent I use Ecover
For our dish soap I use the Ecover brand too.
For our laundry detergent I use Ecover as well.
For our hand soap I use Dr. Bronners. I get the big containers and fill our soap dispensers all over the house.

I feel like every little bit counts. As we continue to purge our house of toxins the load lessens and lessens and gives our bodies a fighting chance. It we are always trying to detox big loads of chemicals from our bodies, sometimes more than our bodies can handle, then our immune systems will continually be compromised and we will get sicker more often. Obviously we don't want this!

~7~ Last year I also started to take a look into my thyroid medication as well as the supplements that I take. It was imperative to me to get any and all potential products, ingredients and chemicals out of my body, off my body and out of our house. My medication and supplements were a hidden source of contamination.

I now have my T4 and T3 created specifically for me at a compounding pharmacy. I didn't know until I researched that Synthroid which is what I was taking contains SUGAR, CORNSTARCH AND FOOD DYES. Different colors for different dosages! All those ingredients go directly against GAPS and Paleo diets and would have been a detriment to my healing. Cytomel which is another one I was taking (T3) has starch in it. Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride says in her GAPS book that you don't want to hinder your progress by taking a pill and I wholeheartedly agree with her. That is when I started having my prescriptions made for me. The only ingredients in mine are the levothyroxine and/or liothyronine and microcrystaline cellulose. Much better than all those other additives! The goal is that I will eventually be off these but I am glad I have an alternative with ingredients that wont hinder healing in the mean time.

This discovery in my medicine made me take a better look at the supplements I was taking as well. A lot of them had dairy, starches like rice bran filler or cornstarches as well. Usually I would see maltodexterin which could be gluten too. There were also a lot of ingredients that I couldn't pronounce which was a red flag to me as well. I have revamped my supplements and only take safe ones now. I wont post these individually because we all take different supplements but if you have a question or want to know something I take, or the brand please comment and I will let you know. Please take a look at ALL labels of products that come into your house - supplements and medications being two broad areas!

~8~ Here I will be talking about our toiletries that have changed. Really each one of these could be a whole post in and of itself but I will keep it brief by just sharing what I use. I unknowingly was using preservative filled, chemical laden toiletries and cosmetics on mine and my families skin daily. This was so unhealthy. Here is what we changed over the coarse of a year...

Toothpaste The ones we were using had triclosan in them (among many other harmful ingredients.) Tricolosan is used as a pesticide and an antibacterial and can cause skin irritation, endocrine disruption, and antibiotic resistance. Also, another harmful ingredient was sodium lauryl sulfate which was one of the things causing my kiddos to get frequent canker sores. It is also an ingredient that is harmful to us. We use Nature's Gate toothpaste now. (Not everything this company makes is safe but overall this toothpaste is. If I had my druthers it wouldn't have carrageenan in it either though.)

Hand Lotion The previous lotion I was using from a well known direct selling company touting safe skin products you can even eat. Well, among other bad ingredients they put dimethicone in their body lotion. Dimethicone can cause skin irritation and allergic reaction. Kind of ironic for a "safe" skin product, huh? There were other ingredients too but for the sake of time I wont go into them. I discovered a company called Salon Naturals and they offer quite a few products that are safe and have health promoting ingredients in them. They also have a section on their site highlighting Gluten Free Products they make. One of the lotions we use is their Organic Rooibos tea Hand and Body Lotion. It works well and I feel good about putting it on my skin. We mainly use if for our hands. If you would like to get some comment to me because I can get you a discount. I am not affiliated with them though.

Face Lotion I also had a hard time finding a moisturizer that actually worked and didn't have unhealthy ingredients in it. As of right now I use pure Shea Butter and Pure Cocoa Butter with jojoba oil. I plan in the future to make my own using those ingredients along with some essential oils. For now though I use these. They are probably not for everyone because the shea butter especially tends to be a bit greasy. It soaks in quickly and works for me though. I love the cocoa butter because it smells like I am putting chocolate on my face!

Face Soap For a long time I could only wash my face with a wash cloth and water. Anything would irritate it. As soon as I started healing internally (search GAPS label on this site for more info) I was able to start using a mild soap on my body. Finding the right one took a while. This was actually recommended by a friend and it has proven to work well and clean well. I use Tilvee Shea Butter Beauty Bar for my face. It has all clean, wholesome ingredients in it. I also use the mandarin remedy balm stick (not on my face but any dry patches like lips or neck. It is soothing.

Body Wash In this category my family was using products that were so harmful to our health as well. My husbands body wash was the worst. Every single ingredient was bad in his body wash! He now uses Dr. Bronners Citrus liquid soap and the boys do too. Sometimes I use Salon Naturals, the company I mentioned above and mostly I use a bar soap made by One with Nature. I like the lavender kind but they have a variety of choices.

The other thing I implemented last year (at first by force and now by preference) is Epsom Salt Baths. I really have never been a bath person but these are wonderful. I put epsom salt and certified pure therapeutic grade Lavender Essential oil in to my bath. It is so relaxing and a great way to get magnesium which is a mineral that almost everyone if deficient in. The epsom salt and lavender oil take away aches and pains as well as headaches and general tensions in our bodies. I have grown to enjoy these baths especially when my kids aren't knocking at the door!

~9~ Since my face was one of the parts of my body with the worst symptoms the first thing I had to change was my makeup. Actually, for a while I didn't even where any. I wasn't going out of the house anyway.  I was previously using products that had many harmful ingredients in them although they were marketed to be "all natural." I found Ava Anderson Non Toxic make-up for my foundation, blush, lip gloss and mascara. They sell other things too but I haven't tried them yet. I use Gabriel Cosmetics ZuZu for my eyeliner and lipstick. I can't say ZuZu is all pure though. It still has titanium dioxide in it but compared to what I was using this is a breathe of fresh air!  The mascara from Ava Anderson has titanium dioxide in it as well.

Cosmetics are a really big area to be sure you are checking your labels. If you are putting something on your skin essentially you should be able to eat it. It is the largest organ we have and a barrier to our insides. If we are putting toxins on it that absorb inside (which they all do) then we are increasing our toxic levels.  Be very careful with what you choose to put on your skin, especially your face.  I have a pinterest board linked below that has many different companies that sell safe cosmetics. I hope you check it out and start following. I update it each time I find a new company that is truly pure.

One thing I did want to say about Ava Anderson Non Toxic is the foundation is a sheer coverage which is fine for me now but before when my skin was horrible I couldn't have used it. Also, they need to add more foundation color choices. I hear that is in the works though.

~10~ The last item I want to highlight other than my pinterest board links is our usage of essential oils. My husband, kids and I just started using these this year and absolutely love them. We use them in cooking, cleaning, topically on all of our bodies, internally and in a diffuser for aromatics and to get the benefits of them by breathing them in. The possibilities are endless with them and they are powerful. They have the ability to do thousands upon thousands of things in our bodies for our overall wellness. They can relieve headaches, help you breathe better, help with allergies, stave off colds, disinfect, help with arthritis and asthma, kill parasites, make you sleep better, detox you, reduce and eliminate tumors and I could literally go on and on. The best part is that they are 100% pure! Not all oils out there are pure. A lot of them have filler oils in them mixed with some essential oil. Those are not safe for your body. The ones we use are all safe enough to eat and safe enough for our skin. That being said though, you need to know how to use them because they are so powerful. Some of them have to be diluted a certain way before applying topically or used on kids. It is really like an art to use Essential Oils properly. However, we are learning so much about them and how to use them. It is so much fun. In fact, I just used them on my little one who was coming down with a sickness and he was better the next day! Please comment if you have any questions or would like to get some or find out more about them.

We use doTerra Essential Oils and swear by them. I highly recommend them. They can literally replace EVERYTHING in your medicine cabinet. Wow! One of them that we use often during sick season (as well as in our household cleaners is OnGuard. It is amazing. Not even MRSA can withstand this oil blend.

For now that sums up my post on changes we have made over the past year. It truly has taken time and please don't think any of this happened quickly. It has been worth it though because we have seen less sickness and better health overall due to these changes. Plus I feel good and not guilty about the products we use and what my kiddos are going to grow up with. If at all I can help it I don't want them to have to fight autoimmunity like I have had too.

Below you will find links to all my pinterest boards. I would love it if you followed me on Pinterest or became a follower on my blog. I know I have readers because my stats say so I just don't know who most of you are. Please feel free to say "Hi" in the comments!

Pinterest Boards:
Safe Cosmetics and Skincare
GAPS, Ai Paleo and Paleo
Fermented Foods
Clean, Whole Food Facts and Info
Canning With Honey
Healing with Herbs and Spices
Homemade Toiletries and Household Products
Safe Gluten Free/Paleo Whole Food Resources
Excellent Articles and sites on Thyroid Issues and Gut Health
Book I Want to Read
Essential Oil Info and Ideas

I pray you are able to make some changes this year to help yourself with better overall health! Remember it takes baby steps. None of this happens overnight.


**Except for doTerra, I am not affiliated with any of these companies and do not make money for promoting any of these products. I just like them and use them.

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For any and all health advice/suggestions and/or posts on this blog, I do not assume any liability for you. The posts and comments on this blog are not meant to be a substitute for your own practicing physician's care in your life. These posts are based on my experience and research in my own healing journey and are placed here to encourage and help those ailing with their health. We are all individuals and there is not ONE pat answer or resolution that applies to everyone across the board.