Archives for category: Natural


Interestingly, this Earth Day’s post is about beauty. Take a look around. Beauty is everywhere – in trees, in dirt, in animals, in the sky, and in reflections in the water. It can sometimes be easy to overlook natural beauty when we are caught up in the stresses of everyday life. Leaves on the trees are miraculous things each with its own shape and color. Even evergreen needles are interesting to look at when viewed up-close. Lately, the spring weeds dominate the yard, yet the colors of their flowers are spectacular. It’s lovely to find these in the desert. Our yard has a lot of wild life as well – jack rabbits, cottontails, squirrels, wild horses, and plenty of birds. Our sky never disappoints for its crisp blue color and lenticular clouds. As far as I am concerned, all bodies of water are beautiful; when was the last time you explored a puddle? All this talk of beauty reminds me of an earlier post regarding beauty.

While it is wonderful to see the external beauty of nature in our surroundings, how often do we think of internal beauty? Outward appearances aren’t everything – especially when all we see is the surface. Today, I am also grateful for the the inner beauty of my friends and family. I challenge you to look beyond the surface. Authenticity is pure beauty, often expressed in laughter, or outwardly through caring and giving. This is where we find the depth within a person’s heart.

Let us all aim to express love in our spirits with our inner beauty.

Joy,
Cheryl

People don’t notice whether it’s winter or summer when they’re happy. ~Anton Chekhov

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I recently found out that Bob Nielsen, a dear professor from my undergraduate years, and part of the reason I started this blog, passed away. He had struggled with prostate cancer for years, as well as diabetes. I remember watching as he checked his sugar during our independent study session that followed the lunch hour. One of the things he mentioned that his wife allowed him to eat for a snack or dessert was “graham crackers and cream cheese; oh boy”, he would say as he tried to drum up some enthusiasm. Prostate cancer is an inflammatory disease. A study done by Sfanos and DeMarzo (2012) provides some evidence that inflammation is to blame. “There are multiple different lines of evidence suggesting that inflammation is very common within the adult prostate” (para 4). One can imagine that inflammation has its hand in other diseases too, including diabetes. We have all had injuries when inflammation took over and helped us heal. Chronic inflammation moves in when the body’s immune system overloads because it cannot rid the cause of the initial swelling. Sometimes stress is a major factor in the inability to overcome inflammation. Known as the fight or flight response from our parasympathetic nervous system, our bodies gear up to escape from that bear or lion. These days, the bear or lion is replaced by sitting in the hot-seat of an office desk with loads of work, though it is not an immediate threat. If the perceived threat has no relief, the body has trouble eliminating the adrenaline and translates it into stress. That stress creates inflammation in the body.

Chronic stress is a terrible condition because when there is no outlet for the build-up, the body cannot help but create inflammation as its response to stress, whether real or imagined. The body only understands feelings. It cannot determine if the pressure is real or something we see on television as we sit in a theater watching gory or horror films. However, some adrenaline is good. We need it to get out of the way in traffic, for instance. But everyday stress from a job is detrimental to health.

Let’s look at some of the ways we can help our bodies cope with stress overload. Sometimes the help of a medical professional is needed; but you may want to try some of these remedies first.

Anti-inflammatory Foods:
Harvard studies indicate that certain foods will help fight inflammation. Certain foods should also be avoided. And if you have been paying attention to good health, that food list will not come as a surprise. Think about what your grandmother and grandmother’s mother would have eaten and follow those rules.

Foods that fight for you are:

* Green leafy vegetables
* Some fruits – berries, strawberries, blueberries, cherries, and oranges
* Nuts and seeds
* Fatty fish
* Olive oil
* Tomatoes

While Harvard lists tomatoes as anti-inflammatory, it’s one of those foods considered a night shade – think eggplant, potatoes, peppers – which may cause inflammation in some people. I react differently when eating them; I notice right away when my knee begins to ache. I feel better both in my joints and in my mood when I stick to these types of foods. Another thing that Harvard has left out is the importance of fermented foods. Improving the health of the gut can combat chronic inflammatory diseases with proven results. Gut health enables the body to eliminate toxins like pesticides common in commercially produced food today.

Herbs and Spices:
One of my favorite public figures, Dr. Mercola, has a terrific website with great deal of information regarding health. He lists clove, ginger, rosemary, and turmeric (curcumin) as the best herbs to use. Starting out slowly with these as a daily regime is a good way to start.

I take turmeric supplement for my aching knee. It has been one of the most beneficial herbs for me. It’s actually a root, similar to the ginger family. Check out your local grocer. You might find it there in its original form now that it has become popular. Funny how that happens.

Spices to use include:

* Cinnamon (ceylon)
* Jamaican Allspice
* Apple pie spice mixture
* Oregano
* Pumpkin pie spice mixture
* Marjoram
* Sage
* Thyme
* Gourmet Italian spice

Dr. Mercola lists these specifically to help us boost our resistance to inflammation by adding these to our own recipes. When it’s easy to do, people will do it. Start with one or two today.

Essential Oils:
Essential oils are also recognized to help combat inflammation. In a study of lab rats, rosemary, eucalyptus, and ginger essential oils reduced episodes of edema; the latter two reduced effects from the ingestion of carrageenan, a common ingredient in commercial yogurts and ice cream. You might want to scout out this ingredient and remove it from your diet. I found too many tests in my search that aim to fight its inflammatory side effects.

The U.S. National Library of Medicine comments that essential oils are used as therapies because the nose first detects the scents. The sensors recognize the chemical compounds of the oil, then work on the limbic system as effectively as a drug (PDQ, 2014). Certain combinations from fragrant plants demonstrate relief from stress and improve the quality of life. Two of my favorites are Stress Away and lavender from Young Living essential oils. Lavender is one of the most popular scents, often found in baby products since its affect is almost immediate. You can create your own uplifting scents like the combination of cinnamon bark, peppermint, and cedarwood that I use when I need to stay calm yet alert while driving in heavy traffic. You can breathe away the stress in your life too.

Grounding:
While not commonly known as grounding, using the effects of the earth on our bodies is an amazing way to de-stress. Countless studies and feedback are addressed in the book Earthing. The subtitle says it all. Is Earthing really a new heath discovery? Hardly. People have walked barefoot on the earth for thousands of years. But lately we have disconnected, so to speak. Our high-rise buildings and the invention of the rubber sole shoe promote the separation between us and the earth. The text demonstrates the electrical effects and relationship between humans and the earth, provides a list of the benefits of getting our feet back on the earth, and provides compelling thermal imagery after grounding. Page 63 shows a list of diseases caused by inflammation. It’s not surprising that other chronic conditions such as allergies, asthma, diabetes, lupus, and MS are on this list. Pain is listed too.

We all have pain of some sort. Think of it… just coming in contact with the earth on a regular basis can help us. You see, lowering the EMF (Electro Magnetic Field) is imperative. We are surrounded by constant waves of energy; over time, people who do not ground with the earth are susceptible to “infection, stress, and degenerative diseases” (Ober, Sinatra, & Zucker, 2010, p. 79). Earthing helps to move that EMF off of us.

Think of the last time you were at the beach and played in the ocean or other body of water. Recall the feelings of peace, relaxation, and regeneration. What about the last time you walked in the yard to feel the grass under your feet? Doing so is completely free, but so few of us do it. At the very least, Ober has invented a way to gain similar effects from placing a ground in the earth. Your kitchen and bathroom electrical outlets have a ground to the earth. By using this part of the plug, Ober created grounding mats, mattresses, pillowcases, and the like to help you absorb the earth’s ground as you work and sleep. The grounding mat is great when the air becomes dry in the winter months. Static electricity can wreak havoc when doing laundry or just walking on a carpet. I am using a grounding mat as I type. The sweat from the bottoms of my bare feet help create the ground and move the EMF off of me when I work. Aside from the turmeric I use, grounding has helped when my knee was so inflamed I had trouble walking.

BeachBest

Being pain free is something we all desire. Consider these methods to reduce the stress and inflammation in your life. Tell a friend.

Joy,
Cheryl

References

Ober, C., Sinatra, S. T., & Zucker M. (2010). Earthing:The most important health discovery ever? Laguna Beach, CA: Basic Health Publications, Inc.

PDQ® Integrative, Alternative, and Complementary Therapies Editorial Board. (2014). PDQ Aromatherapy and Essential Oils. [PMID: 26389261]. Bethesda, MD: National Cancer Institute. Retrieved from http://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/cam/patient/aromatherapy-pdq.

Sfanos, K. S. & DeMarzo, A. M. (2012). Prostate cancer and inflammation: The evidence. Histopathology 60(1), 199-215. doi 10.1111/j.1365-2559.2011.04033.x

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Peppermint oilAh, peppermint. Where do I start?

You might have a love relationship with peppermint if you put it in some water to boost digestive health and relieve gas symptoms.

You might have a love relationship with peppermint if you rub it into your temples when you have a headache, or onto the back of the neck to boost athletic performance or to help relieve stress.

Do you diffuse it into the air to help with mental clarity? Or do you add it to your toothbrush for fresher breath?

Peppermint is so versatile.  I like to add it to homemade chocolate or chocolate brownies.

I like to add it to my natural homemade room spray. It pairs well with purification for a homemade bug repellent, another featured oil in this series.

My mother grew this plant in the yard while I was growing up.  I loved grazing on the leaves. Later, in my own yard, I was surprised to find out that it’s quite an invasive plant. Be careful to try to limit its root system to a contained space. It will take over. The oil, therefore, can be less expensive than the others. Aim to find the best quality available.

Peppermint tea has been around for years. Make your own by adding a drop of 100% pure therapeutic grade oil marked as a supplement to hot water for the best results.

Remember that in order for these oils to work in your favor, their use must be coupled with a healthy lifestyle.  Don’t expect to go out and eat fast food, then come home and try to remedy poor, unhealthy habits. You simply will not reap the benefits. And like many herbal supplements, oils must be used daily to enhance the great health you’re looking for.

Enjoy Earth Day.

Joy,

Cheryl

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Oh, my stomach…..
What did you eat last night at that unfamiliar restaurant that caused you so much discomfort the whole night through? Not sure? I’ve been there too.  Traveling in new places and dining out can expose your system to unforgiving foods, or just ways those foods are prepared cause tummy issues.

It’s essential to ask the server how your food is prepared; however, even the simplest item on the menu can cause indigestion. What do you do? When I was growing up, my mother gave me some disgustingly thick, pink fluid with a wintergreen flavor. I think that stuff made my stomach issue even worse. Eventually, that same company had to reformulate their product because some children grew extremely ill from taking it. It’s best not to run to the nearest drug store; here’s why:

This is a list of the natural items those commercial companies based their products on but chose to take the chemical route instead: Essential oils of tarragon, juniper, anise, ginger, fennel, patchouli, peppermint, and lemongrass make up Young Living’s DiGize, an all natural, non-toxic way to optimize your digestive system.

Most of you might know that ginger on its own is helpful, but often found in a sugary drink like ginger ale. Sometimes ginger tea is available.  Tarragon, fennel, juniper, and lemongrass are known for digestive and flatulence relief. Anise aids in irritable bowel syndrome. Historically, patchouli is a natural diuretic that enables the body to quickly move the problem out of the system. Peppermint helps to relieve the heartburn.

The combination in DiGize essential oil is unsurpassed by any over-the-counter drug you might find. Used regularly, one will find optimal, normal digestion. Use two drops in liquid in the evening after a meal, or in the morning. You may also add 1-2 drops to a vegetarian capsule and take with a meal. Use daily to prevent digestive mishaps at home or while traveling.

Joy,

Cheryl

As you have read through this series, I hope you’ve come to recognize the benefits of essential oils and how they can help you and your loved ones choose a healthier way.
To obtain your Premium Starter kit, and start to live a non-toxic lifestyle, go to http://www.youngliving.org/cheryl9059.

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If you’re susceptible to Mosquito bites, the first thing you might grab is some commercial product. Please don’t. Each claims it does not contain harmful chemicals, such as Deet, and is just as effective against pests, but it feels oily or sticky. Now, of course, you could wear long pants with socks and longer sleeved shirts to help deter those pesky Mosquitoes or gnats or enter any other bug that makes you its dinner. However, if you live in a warmer climate, it becomes cumbersome to wear all that extra clothing while enjoying the outdoors.

This is where Young Living Essential oils brand Purification comes to our aid. Purification is an oil blend that contains the ever-effective citronella and lemongrass combination along with some other oils like rosemary and tea tree. Since this blend is rather strong, I like to use a carrier oil like coconut or a lotion with which to rub into my skin. I place a couple of drops in my palm with the oil and mix it with my hands. I rub this where my skin is exposed. It smell fabulous and leaves no greasy feel. The best thing about this is that I never need to wash off after playing outdoors or walking in the woods like the commercial brands.

All natural is the way to go. I’ve always had issues with bugs. They just love me. But when I was posting my blog about Thieves oil last night, the bugs started to come out. I reached into my Premium Starter kit and found my bottle of Purification.  In moments, those no-seeums left me alone. I could finally get my work done without slapping my skin or shoeing the bugs away. They didn’t even try landing on me. What a relief,  and I didn’t load my skin with toxic chemicals.

I also like to use this oil in the event that I am bit before applying my oils. The combination works wonders to alleviate the pain and itching caused by Mosquitoes or other pesky critters. Give it a whirl. You will not be disappointed.

Joy,
Cheryl

How often have you grumbled through the day in the hopes it would end soon? The day just didn’t start well. You slept through the alarm, stubbed your toe on the bed post, spilled coffee on your new shirt, et cetera. Down hill from here? it seems so. With mornings like these it’s a wonder we can even leave the house at all, let alone get in the car to drive to work where we become outraged by others on the road, and find ourselves wanting to take hostages and shout out a list of our demands… Sound familiar?

Ok. So just because I smeared my mascara while brushing my teeth, I should feel it’s my right to take my frustrations out on others? Nonsense. But it would seem that Bad Day Syndrome strikes without warning. Are we really subject to the ebb and flow of life’s troubling lows and high points just like that? Wow, what a roller coaster. Let’s take a moment to think about this. Does the bad day come strictly from external sources or does it come from within?

If a bad day comes from external sources, that means that stubbing one’s toe, and the like, are certainly cause for one of these days, silly as it seems. If a bad day comes from within, it simply indicates that we are all over worked and exhausted. Forgive yourself for being overwhelmed by life’s challenges. We may need to get more sleep. This way, we can wake up refreshed instead of wishing for another hour or more. And each day is open to suggestion. Yes, we can decide how we’re going to feel. *Ask: How am I going to feel today? *Answer: Generous, loving, joyful, sexy, focused, ambitious, steady, or many of the other good feelings we have within that can trick a bad day into a good day. Now, there is no such thing as good or bad; there is, however, perception. Decide to respond rather than react to days like these. Yes, there will be disappointment from time to time. That’s part of life. Coping with the not so wonderful events does not mean we have to fall into a myriad of other tempting behaviors just because of them.

Here’s a suggestion. Smile. Yes, I said smile. Oftentimes, just the act of smiling will help fool the bad day syndrome away. You may have to start with a grimace, but in time, a smile on your face will seep into your heart. You can start to look at the reality of life, the what is, and begin to accept certain situations. Remember nothing is permanent. You’ll get through it.

My mother has a great smile. I think you’ll think so too. I’m sure she’ll appreciate my having shared this with you because hers is a smile that is absolutely contagious. You see, she started out using her smile when she was young and continues to use it today. I find that just looking at this picture melts my heart. I hope you’ll think of her smile, use your own, and sweep away the bad day for yourself.

Joy,

Cheryl

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What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.

Henry David Thoreau

As synchronicity would have it, this quote, which I’ve used so many times, winds up as another’s comment in a discussion I’m reading through on LinkedIn. That’s because we are all connected. I’m certain you’ve all had moments, events, that seem coincidental. Don’t overlook these occurrences. Pay attention to them; they may prove more meaningful than you’d think.

On with the chosen quote. Thoreau, as I’ve mentioned in a previous post, has influenced me in many ways. This time, we should look carefully at what’s been written here.

‘What you get’ implies that goals are things or heights we strive to obtain in order of some importance to us. The end result seems the final destination. What’s in it for me? Sometimes it’s the body we desire after countless days spent in the gym. Sometimes it’s the degree we’ve earned through years of reading and writing papers. The end result. Yes. Ahhhh

‘What you get by achieving your goals’ leaves out the journey, the means to the end result. Think of this: there’s a mountain over there, lets call it your goal. You could reach the top by helicopter, yet nothing is gained in this manner. Would you know the terrain to make the journey again? No. That would be like cheating on a test and ‘getting’ a good grade. You still don’t know the material, so the reward isn’t yours. You’d need to continue to cheat, but the result remains unknown as a vast canyon. There’s something about stomping up the side of the mountain a step at a time, maybe slipping a little too, that helps you understand yourself a bit more.

Think of a time when you’ve achieved something rather fantastic. Did getting the thing, the trophy, the degree, the job leave you almost with a sense of emptiness? Were you still looking for the triumph to last longer than it did? Did you ask, “Is this it?” Perhaps you’ve forgotten to stop at each small step along the way in your journey to the end result and assess what has happened to you as a person. This is the most important part of your hike to the peak. What did you add to your character on the way? Are you more efficient at time management? Did you recognize where you slacked? Will you be able to understand now how to get past the snags? How have you changed?

Try a free questionnaire provided by the Via Institute. It’s a character test. Do the test now, and at a later date (perhaps after achieving a goal, like starting a budget) to test how much you’ve improved or evolved.

Here’s the site address:
http://www.viacharacter.org

Becoming Self Aware is the first and best thing you can do for you. Find out what your character strengths are; you’ll be glad you did.

Joy,
Cheryl

I typically won’t use first person narrative in my blog posts because the concepts I explain are universal. This post tells a story that helps me provide a basis for what I’m about to share.

One of the many salutations I could use to end my posts just wouldn’t capture the essence of what I felt when one of my favorite teachers had ended an email addressed to me with “Joy”. At first I was upset. Really? I complained. I had just sent a desperate note to him that I had a terrible case of writer’s block 40 pages into the dreaded 80 page thesis paper, due within days. The word jumped off the screen to me. Never has anyone used this salutation to end an email before. Never was I so disturbed. How did he expect me to muster up joy when writing the longest essay I had ever written?

Teachers are like this, Yes?
Assignments are difficult. Life is difficult. The thing is, the love he sent through email that day changed my life. Yes, love. Remember in the last post when I quoted John C Maxwell? Maxwell’s definition of friend resonates the type of challenge Dr. Daly posed to me. I grappled with it for a day or so before realizing something. I had forgotten to enjoy the assignment, the challenge, the journey, and my knowledge about the chosen subject. Once I felt “joy”, I was able to move through the last 41 pages like a breeze.

You see, the journey for writing that essay is a metaphor for life. Sometimes, about half way through, we panic. Sometimes we want to quit and turn in the gloves because we tire easily from the fight. We’d rather give up and go home. Friends around us can help make the struggle a bit easier. As a friend, you can ease another’s concerns. – We are all connected. Each of us needs another to stand along side through tough times. We are like blades of grass. Just one blade does not make a lush field. Stand with friends and give support. It doesn’t need to be much. It could be just a salutation. . .

Joy!!
Cheryl