Thursday, November 27, 2014

Why Would Anyone Choose to Eat their Placenta?!!! Part 1.

Good morning readers!  I'm having a particularly energized morning this Thanksgiving day.  So to all reading, I wish to say, Happy Thanksgiving!  I've fed my baby in the early am and just placed him back into his bassinet all bundled and swaddled tight for a few hours (fingers crossed) while I prepare to host our family's Thanksgiving dinner today.  Not sure what has energized me this morning but I wish to touch on a topic I've been meaning to write about for a while.  I wish to share my experience regarding this because I hope to benefit the lives of my children down the road when they begin to have babies of their own.  For now, that seems like a far off concept.  But perhaps it can be of benefit to other mommies out there.

Topic of the day: Placentas

For years now and 5 babies later I've wondered about this ancient practice that seems to be resurfacing.  In all honesty, I've often thought the idea to be gross.  Truth be told, I am in awe and can marvel at the magnificence of our bodies and how they can grow and create a whole new organ to support the life that we give to our offspring.  That said, growing up, it has never occurred to me to actually consume it.  My journey to this state of action has been an interesting one for those of you who already find this practice to be a no-brainer.  With my first baby, I never even thought about what happens to the placenta and honestly, I was so drugged at the time that all I wanted after my birth was sleep.  Deep sleep.

With my second, I was at home and asked to keep my placenta because I had never seen it before and I figured, I have spent 9 long months creating this amazing organ.  I'd like to see it.  So after investigating and marveling at all the details and branchings of the arteries and veins as well as how it tied into the cord, I didn't know much about what to do with it.  It ended up going into the fridge and later being given to my aunt who had requested it for her own crazy curiosities about using it to create homemade cosmetics.  I figured, I didn't know what to do with it, so why not?  I parted with it somewhat unsure about this.

By my third baby, I was too busy to figure out what to do with it.  After storing it in the freezer for a time, I believe eventually, I tossed it out.  I remember feeling like this action was somewhat wasteful but I struggled to understand why and having no other options due to my lack of education on the matter, I now realize it may have been in some ways a prompting to act upon something like this, regardless of how weird it seemed.  I'd heard of people consuming their placenta but found the idea to be icky.  Not knowing how I would bring myself to either cook it or blend it and then eat it, I just didn't want to do that.  What I did know was that oftentimes, hospitals sold placentas to cosmetic companies and I didn't want it to be tossed out by some random person nor taken by someone else to profit from it.  Maybe that's selfish of me, but I wanted to be able to decide how my placenta is used.  Once again, I admired its strange and intricately laced beauty and that was all.  End of story on that one.

After my fourth baby, I did something different.  Because I often struggle with post partum depression, I wanted to do something special.  I'd heard of people making placenta prints.  For me, this was emotionally therapeutic.  It was a keepsake.  Something I could always have with me long after it was gone.  So I made one.  I'm the kind of person that feels energies all around me.  So this energy brought me many positive vibrations.  I feared my husband would think I was strange but I'm grateful he went along for the ride with me.  I'd heard of people burying their placentas much like a deceased person in order to enrich the soils.  No, we didn't give it a funeral.  But at the time, we'd been setting some goals and doing some personal development in our lives and were wanting to let go of some hard feelings and emotions.  Together we wrote notes of things we wanted to improve upon and buried the negative things in our lives along with the placenta.  We rode out to a quiet spot in an open space amidst lots of trees and found a space to dig a hole in which to bury it.  Ideally, I would have liked to own a home and land in which I could bury my placenta in a spot where I could plant a yummy fruit tree down the road.  This was seemingly an ancient practice I felt good about.  It would nourish the soils and be the home of a plant we could later get nourishment from ourselves.  It was a beautiful idea in my mind and it felt good.  I felt at peace with it.  Perhaps someday, when we own our own home and property, this might be an option again.

This fifth baby, having been my second hospital birth surely was a bit of a harder birth.  Both Alex and I worried it might send me into the kind of depression I had with my first.  I'm grateful I had a midwife who is so in tune with life, nature and its ways.  She highly suggested and encouraged what is known as Placenta encapsulation.  A gal she knew would come to the hospital and pick up my placenta, take it home, dehydrate it, pulverize it into a powder, and encapsulate it.  Most placentas make anywhere from 100-200 capsules.  So this is the route we've gone with this time.   Why would I or anyone in their right mind want to try this?  Well, that is for a later post.  But I will say, that even though my recovery has been physically more difficult for me this time, my emotional breakdowns have been fewer and further apart.  Along with that, I have noticed an increased quality in my breast milk, not to mention I make a lot more of it.  I've always nursed my babies and over time I've noticed that the quality changes.  I realize this could be due to many factors but I do know this because of the way my babies grow.  My last two boys struggled to put on weight as quickly as my first two children.  Yes, it might all be unrelated and could just be a coincidence in some ways, but I beg to differ.  My latest baby seems to be chubbier than my last two and is putting on steadier weight.  It could definitely be attributed to recent dietary changes as well, but I do feel that this time around, the placenta capsules definitely had something to do with my hormone regulation and therefore has increased my milk supply and made me feel all around happier.  It may or may not be something that works for everyone, but this is simply MY experience.  Should others try it?    

Here is a short video of some things to consider:

Enjoy this day!  Stay tuned for the next post on recent research regarding this practice.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Phoenix's Birth Story

For this little boy, I decided I wanted nothing more than to share my birth experience with more of my family and friends.  I even created this little birth invitation with a picture of Clary Sage, a beautiful fragrance that has been a companion to me in my previous birth with Edison.  I share a favorite quote here because I truly feel that birthing is so much more than a skill that women acquire.  It is an art and a craft to be honed and refined as we enter it again and again.  It is the art of Creation at its fullest.  Granted, it's hard to know when babies will make their grand entrance into this world, I wanted to prepare myself to be surrounded by positive energies that would lift my spirit during a time of tremendous focus.  Having been through 3 previous home births, I thought I had this one in the bag.  It's truly amazing that though things never seem to go according to plans, that everything happens the way it should for a growing life experience.  Phoenix Taylor Huntington entered this world surrounded by wonderful people, anxious to see him embrace this existence.  And I was grateful to share that experience with so many as they in turn buoyed me up throughout the process.  

It seems that with each successive child, I take fewer and fewer pictures throughout pregnancy.  I guess that's what happens when you have 5 kids.  But I'd like to keep these memories in one place even though my journaling of these events has dwindled.  For me, this blog is my journal and I eventually plan on printing this all out into a book.  And I'm happy to share my stories with those who wish to follow along.

Quite late into the game, because of financial issues as well as indecisive thoughts about who we wanted to have as our midwife, we finally found Sherri Price and her amazing team of midwives and fell in love with her ways and her passion for what she does.  In the past, I have had Suzanne Smith midwife Chrysalis' and Hinckley's birth.  She would have attended Edison's as well but was unavailable and so we had Trinette, who was on her team of midwives.  We have loved Suzanne and her team at Better Birth.  The reason we chose to go with Sherri this time, was that after much prayer, we felt more in tune with her practice.  Not to mention, her services were cheaper, which was a bit more alluring.  But to foreshadow this story a bit, the support I received from this amazing woman throughout my labor, made my laboring so much more peaceful than any other labor I've had in the past.  

In preparation for this birth, I went shopping around and found a maternity nightie I thought would be comfy to birth in . . .

And took a photo to make sure I looked good in it for the big Birthday Party.  Sigh.  Sometimes our fantasies of how things will turn out are funny.  I remember feeling quite giddy in this moment, thinking of the new baby and how everything would fall into place so easily.  

Amidst the anxiety that loud bickering children can create in a home, Hinckley was good at finding ways to make me laugh.  If my life were a movie, he would definitely be my comic relief.  One morning in the last few weeks of pregnancy, he walks into my bedroom wearing a ball under his shirt, and in his most robotic Hinckley voice, says, "I'm Pwegnant Mommy."

Here I am at about 36 weeks with my friend Kim, who was about 33 or 34 weeks.  I can't quite recall, but I know we were close together. I attended her baby shower and though I was feeling excited to meet our little boy, I was somewhat jealous to see all the cute little girl things she was receiving for her first baby.  Yes, I know.  I have a little girl already.  But I so longed to take out the baby girl clothes again to dress a baby up in pink and flowers.  I suppose our boy clothes were meant to be loved thoroughly.  And thoroughly, they shall be loved.      

About 2 weeks before I went into labor, another new Huntington baby graced us with her presence: Little Charlotte Faith.  So we paid our newest little cousin a visit and once again, the feelings of jealousy arose.  I've seemingly been envious a lot lately.  Being so heavy with child, I remember telling April and Elliot, "I wish I was in your shoes already."  The aches and pains of carrying around such a heavy baby really took its toll on my back and pubic bones this fifth time around.  Each baby surely seems to come with different challenges.  

Sherri hosts these monthly forums for her mommies-to-be with her team of midwives and I absolutely love all the golden nuggets of info and insights I walk away with having attended these. This particular class was on Comfort Measures.  Boy was this helpful.  As much as I adored my previous midwives, the one thing they really lacked was the amount of involvement Sherri displayed at this birth, having been there for each and every pressure wave (contraction) and  really helping me to make the most of them so that labor would progress quicker than I ever thought it would.  Hip and knee squeezing, and pressure on the sacrum was SOOOOOO nice and felt SOOOO good.  But I'm getting ahead of myself.    

Anyways, for those of you who know me well, you know that doTerra has become a huge part of my life.  This is my third year attending convention and it so happened that convention fell on the 18th, 19th & 20th of September this year.  It truly was a beautiful and amazing experience, especially since I get to share it with friends and family that I love.  There's nothing out there quite as inspiring.  And only God knows I needed this infectious energy to fill my spirit for this birth.  That said, my due date was September 30th.  I figured I would enjoy convention and still have time to rest a bit before my baby arrived.  Of course, my babies have never made their due date.  

So here I was, walking around on the second day of convention, showing off this big belly, having stranger after stranger touch it, telling me this baby was my special doTerra baby.  And it wasn't until the second day of convention that I began to have second thoughts about whether I'd get through it all before baby came.  Walking had suddenly become more difficult.  Who knows.  Perhaps all the walking was what sent me into labor.  Honestly, it was the sitting still in the hard seats at the Energy Solutions Arena that was most uncomfortable.  I so wished to be able to sit on a birthing ball at that point.  Either way, I tried to remain calm and absorb what I could of the education and inspiration that came my way.  

And this sweet cousin of mine was of such wonderful support to me.  I couldn't have done any of this without her.  Thanks Noelle, for the water bottle trick on my back.  Such simple comfort measures with everyday items.  

Meanwhile, the Grandmas of this baby boy, who apparently were anxious to learn more this year, spent convention catching up on their beauty rest.  Gotta love the Grandmas.

At least they had each others' shoulders to rest on.  Yup.  That's my mother and mother-in-law with heads rested upon each other.  

And while they rested, I took tons of photos of the big screen above that displayed some inspiring messages.

Here I am with my mother-in-law Cheryl, and my cousin Noelle on the last day of convention, in my favorite dress.  That very morning I debated whether I should go or not because I had woken up in the early am to a small trickle of water that dripped down my legs as I went to the bathroom.  My mucous plug had come out that morning but that never meant anything for sure.  I didn't think much of it because in the past, my amniotic sac was so tough, it just wouldn't break on its own.  I did call Sherri that morning and gave her the update in case.  I decided I'd wear a pad in case anything else came out that day and figured I'd rather spend the day learning and being inspired rather than just sitting at home on the couch watching TV.  Upon arriving that day, it was maybe an hour before a whole lot of the mucous plug began to really come out.  But I was prepared.  I had lots of pads and I got rather excited.  I did begin to feel that a baby was coming today.  But I didn't worry.  After all, my midwife is a Wellness Advocate for doTerra also and was nearby.  If I had a baby at convention, at least I had all that I needed there.  Ha ha!     

Some final photos in front of the Arena, as I began some real pressure waves that made it rather difficult to focus on the last half of the days events.  

It was at around noon that I recall informing Noelle as we were eating lunch in the sun, that I felt my focus was beginning to internalize some more.  I felt like everyone around me was becoming a bit of a blur.  Not visually.  Just a sense that nothing around me mattered anymore.  I paid no attention to people around me.  Things were getting a bit hazy, if that makes sense.  And it was at around that same time that my feet began to swell.  Never really experienced the swollen ankles before.  Sherri later said that she believes I was a bit dehydrated and attributes it to that.     

But I feel privileged to have been able to make it through convention to hear the story of the Goddard family and how they overcame one of their greatest challenges this year after their oldest son Max was burned in a Fourth of July firework-making accident.  He has experienced 3rd degree burns on about 45% of his body and has inspired many through his journey to recovery using both modern medicine and natural solutions.  Stephanie Nielsen was another keynote speaker that day as well, and her story was quite the uplifting one also.  My soul was filled with one amazing story after another of strength and overcoming adversity that quite frankly, I believe I needed to hear that day.  And honestly, because I'm the kind of person that feeds off of others' energies, I needed to be surrounded by these people.  As I later realized I had been in labor all throughout convention, I realized how powerful my mind had been at helping me to not think about the pain that certain contractions would have definitely brought on in the past.  A positive environment with tons of positive thinking was really what made labor go by so quickly this time.     

I mean, how could anyone not be inspired by this sweet and gentle, little, old lady who walks proudly as one of the newest silver ranks in doTerra?  Seriously?!  It's never too late to reach for our greatest potential, right?  I have much to learn yet.  

I had planned on attending the Healing Hands Concert that evening that doTerra was putting on to send all proceeds to their charity, but by 5:00pm, I was pretty ready to get on the road to home.  The pressure waves were coming on every 7-10 minutes.  Noelle, Cheryl and myself had been carpooling together every day and this day, the 20th, I needed help with the driving.  So Noelle, graciously drove us home, only making a stop at the Real Foods Market to pick up some raw milk for Edison who thrives off of raw milk.  I was supposed to pick it up days before, but after each day at convention, I was too tired to stop at the store.  Alex didn't seem to understand this.  That last day, he insisted that I needed to stop to pick it up, and as I began to time my surges at about 6-7 minutes apart, I asked my cohorts to pick up the milk for me because getting in and out of the car was definitely becoming a bit more difficult.  My feet had never gotten so swollen before in all my life.  I was texting Alex who was at home with the other four kids thinking HE was having a hard time.  I swear the man thinks I exaggerate when I tell him something is difficult for me.  He's such a go-getter.  Guess I need his powerful energy.  I remember explaining to him over a text about how swollen my feet were and he didn't really take me seriously until I got home and he got to see it for himself.  But I have a sweet and honest husband.  Sometimes a little too honest.  Noelle dropped me and Cheryl off and she went home to rest a bit and see her kids.  I was to call her as soon as things were more progressed.  Upon seeing my feet Alex's eyes went wide as he pretty much shouted, "What the heck, Lig, you've got Cankles!"  I'm certain that every woman in labor loves to hear such sweet words of encouragement.  At that point, he urged me to sit down or get in the bath.  He massaged my feet with some Serenity oil and Lavender and Clary Sage.  My favorite.  And then he motioned me to get ready for labor and/or get into the tub to reduce the swelling.  Sherri was on her way over but I told her not to rush because I figured this was the beginning and my previous experiences dictated to me that I might be here for a day or more.  I didn't want to start stripping down until I took a couple more pictures of these last moments of my big belly.  So Alex kindly snapped some pictures of me on our little balcony.    

I was probably at a 5 here and had no idea.  I then took off my clothes and got into the tub.  The warm water and massaging jets were divine.  I'm so grateful we have a tub with jets.  I had no desire to get out.  It was about 8:30pm or so at this point and the only reason I got out of the tub was because I felt somewhat vulnerable being completely undressed when Sherri got to my home.  Yes, I've done this before and realized that in labor, all decency goes out the door, but part of me really wanted to get out for a moment and put my nightgown on to at least greet her in some sense of decency.  I leaned over the bed as a stronger surge came on because I was out of the water now.  And it seemed the surges were harder when I wasn't in the water.  At that point, Sherri walked in and suddenly, my guard came down.  Her sweet smile and warm voice were so welcoming and soothing.  My whole being simply trusted her.  She took a moment to check where I was and for a moment I feared she'd say I was at a 3 still.  Then she said I was at about a 6+.  That's all I needed to hear to feel excited and hopeful that this was probably going to be shorter than I thought.  The next couple of hours seemed to pass by in a haze again.  Alex texted all those who had planned on coming as we progressed to a 7 and 8.  Slowly, others began to arrive.  But I honestly was very unaware of what went on around me.  My focus was very much internalized.  I spent some time on my side on the bed with some affirmations playing in the background by Marie Mongan, the hypnobirthing guru.  Sherri massaged my ankles with lots of Lemon and Peppermint and Wild Orange.  Then I spent some time on the birthing ball with Sherri pushing my knees towards my hips while Alex pushed on my hips toward my knees in the opposite direction.  The pressure this relieved was amazing.  And I was amazed at how quickly everything was progressing.  It was around 1-2am that I decided to try the birthing stool, but for some reason it really wasn't as comfortable as I remember it being.  I longed to get back into the warm tub and so I did.  The nightgown I had so carefully planned to wear throughout the labor came off entirely.  Sherri graciously suggested I use a towel if that made me more comfortable, which it did.  So a towel was draped over my body and all I remember at this point was Alex holding my hand and a bathroom full of people every time I opened my eyes after enduring another surge.  Those I remember being present were Orion and Chrysalis, my mom and dad, Cheryl and her sister Rhonda, my two sisters and brother, my cousins Noelle and Kristin, Sherri and her two midwife apprentices as well as Angie, another midwife.  Needless to say, it really was the party I had anticipated it would be.         

Shortly after getting back into the tub, Sherri checked me again and I was at a 9+.  I remember thinking, "Wow, it really doesn't feel like I'm that close."  At that point my water finally ruptured fully.  First time it did that on its own.  With the last three, my midwife ended up breaking my water to see if it would help the baby progress down, which it did and then they came right away.  This time, it just broke.  Then I really started to feel the need to push.    

Sherri said it was ok to push and so I did, but it was at this point that surges were on top of each other and she suggested we try the birthing stool again to see if baby would make more progress down as she could tell I was definitely getting tired.  I'd been sipping pineapple juice with a little cayenne pepper and some other floral essences to stay hydrated but Sherri thinks I was needing more fluid  than I was getting.  It was a bit difficult to drink water at that moment but she was so tender in how she offered me a drink every few minutes.  She kept monitoring the heartbeat and baby was still doing great.  In fact, he was calm throughout the entire labor.  I tried the stool for a few strong waves and gave it all I had.  I could feel my muscles getting shaky and tired though.  After what seemed like maybe a half hour, I wanted to sleep.  I began to ask to lie down.  But at the same time, I knew that lying down was simply gonna make the surges more difficult to get through.  Still, I demanded it at one point.  Then Sherri suggested I have an IV put in to see if some extra hydration would help me.  I didn't want one, but by this point I was getting so tired that I gave in and figured it was probably what was best for me.  I went from the bed back to the birthing stool but Phoenix was just not coming down as easy as my other boys had.  At one point, Sherri said he was at a plus 2 for those who know what that means and she could see his hair.  But as soon as the pressure waves eased up and I stopped pushing, he would keep going back up.  This is where I began to get a bit frustrated. And I could tell Alex was too.  Neither of us wanted me to be transported for a number of reasons, but mainly because in the past, my hardest recovery was the one I had with Orion being born in the hospital.  He gave me a blessing for some peace.  Everyone could see I was frustrated with the situation and gave me some space to try pushing on the birthing stool one more time.  So as people moved into the room next door, I gave it all I had, really pushing down on Alex's hands as he sat behind me as always when I was on the stool.  I bore down thinking if I did, this baby would eventually just slide out like the previous three.  But he would just not budge.  Eventually, my focus was dwindling and the surges became more intense than I could handle.  So around 4am, after quite a few different attempts at pushing and coming really close to crowning, Phoenix just slid back up and settled himself into my body while contractions got really strong and I began begging to be transported to get some pain relief.  While it was the last thing I wanted to happen at my birth, Sherri was on top of everything.  My mom and Alex helped me get dry and get some clothes on while she made plans to get Dr. Wall to meet us at Lone Peak Hospital.  Let me just say, going to the hospital in active labor is no pleasant ride.  Every bump and turn was so excruciating with the amount of pressure on my pelvis from the baby's head.  Not to mention, I kept screaming at my mom to put pressure on my back and knees because Sherri went to the hospital in her own vehicle and I no longer had her comforting hands to apply pressure in all the right places.  My mom had no idea how to apply the pressure, try as she might.  But Mom, I still love you.      

I struggled to walk, so as we entered on the emergency side of the hospital, they brought me a wheelchair.  Of course, at this point, sitting on my wide open pelvis with a head there, was really no spring breeze.  But within minutes, the anesthesiologist was there sticking the needle into my back for the epidural.  I must admit that in this moment, I felt a bit defeated.  It was definitely not part of the plan, but because I didn't want to be in pain for another few hours, it was a much welcomed relief to suddenly feel no pain.  I sighed as the numbness of my legs began to kick in and remember apologizing over and over again to both Alex and my sweet midwife.  This of course is silly to do, but I couldn't help it.  I knew that it meant additional bills would be coming our way and this is where I felt bad for my hubby.  But then I felt the urge to sleep and I slept all morning long, fully dilated.  Dr. Wall suggested I sleep a bit to gather up some strength.  After some much needed rest, Pitocin was administered in order to get some stronger contractions since the epidural obviously slows things down.     

Meanwhile, this monkey was doing this outside the hospital.  

Even with the highest level of Pitocin they could give me, my strongest pushing was making little progress.  I knew which direction this was headed in.  I'd been there already with Orion.  Episiotomy and probably forceps.  But the good news was that my body was very open and the good Dr. said there was plenty of room.  He asked if I wanted to try the forceps.  He was very positive he could do it without an episiotomy, so I became hopeful again and I said ok.  Let's try it.  After all, he had been trying to turn my posterior baby by pretty much sticking his hand up my body in some very unnatural ways.  I can only attribute my stretchy body to the number of times Sherri used Frankincense and coconut oil to check my cervix.  What else could be the reason that in all my labors, this one was the first baby that I did not tear with?  No joke.  I had a good tear with Chrysalis and very mild little tears with the next two boys.  None of them needed stitching, but it was unbelievable that this little boy, who so happened to be 10 lbs. 8 oz. and 22 1/2" long, came out with the help of forceps and I had absolutely no tears at all.  My biggest baby so far was born on Sept. 21st, 2014 at 2:11pm.  He was never distressed and came into the world practically smiling.  The nurses that were all around me, none of whose names I can remember, were in awe that I had no tears as they exclaimed that I had just given birth to a toddler.  Funny nurses.       

Well, so that's how little Phoenix came into the world.  After much scrutiny, Dr. Wall and Sherri both agree that I was very dehydrated, but that Phoenix also had a hard time coming down because he had what is known as a nuchal hand, which basically means he had it jammed up by his ear making it hard for me to push him out.  He was actually born with a long tiny bruise along his wrist which is what led Dr. Wall to believe that I had been pushing hard against that little hand.  It really was amazing to have the help of modern science practices this time around and I am grateful for it.  As soon as the forceps went into my body, I pushed maybe twice, and baby finally slid on through.  I really had the best of both worlds all around me, at a time when I needed it most.    

And thanks to Sherri and Dr. Wall, and all those who created such a wonderful energy and support team, this little guy is now a part of our family.  

And he has my feet.  First baby with a longer second toe.  

Well, that pretty much wraps up my birth story for little Phoenix.  Here are some pictures of my chubby baby on his first day of Life.  Isn't he sweet?  I know that everything happens the way it does for a reason.  I've learned some important lessons through this experience about how we need to unify the best of both worlds in the practice of medicine and healing.  Or in this case, birthing and recovering after birth.  But I feel so blessed and somewhat undeserving of such a special little spirit that I've had the opportunity to carry for the past nine months.  Even though these little ones take their toll on our bodies as mothers, I'm always humbled by the power I have within my body to create life.  I'm humbled by the power that ALL women have to create life.  It's a magnificent transformation that we all go through when we labor so hard to bring forth God's spirits.    

They're so full of light aren't they? 

The most important lesson I walk away with this time around: These are my greatest creations!  Truly, my life is my canvas, and my best  pieces of artwork are my children.  Welcome to the world Phoenix!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Like a Broken Vessel

To readers who may not share in our faith, 

I've pondered much today on the words recently spoken to us by leaders from our church.  I won't say that they're the only inspired men and women in this world, as I've come to see that much inspiration can come from heavenly messengers from all walks of life.  But a man by the name of Jeffrey R. Holland recently spoke upon the topic of depression and it really tugged at some heartstrings I didn't know existed.

The counsel he offers and comfort his words bring, ring too true to a healing heart such as mine.  Too true for me not share with you:

I have often felt like a broken vessel myself.  I know who I am but am quick to forget what my purpose and mission in life is.  Losing sight of that and worse, forgetting where we came from and how important our very soul is, can make anyone feel broken and worthless.  The times we live in are hard.  But we must press forward with hope and faith that the ultimate healer will meet us wherever we fall short.  

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Two Possibile Solutions for Two very Real Ailments

Anxiety and Depression.  Today, I just want to say: It's Real.  I believe it happens to all of us sooner or later.  And the havoc it wreaks on our emotional state and immune function is also very real.

I want to take a moment to share my experience.  Eating right and exercising can be great for this.  But sometimes, even after all you can do, getting some help in the form of a good whole food supplement and some counseling, can be a life saver.  The reason why so many see improvement in their conditions from using prescription drugs is because they're typically made of chemical constituents synthetically copied from plants to create a substance that will manage a symptom.  But natures compounds come with so much more than just one isolated constituent.  And the nice thing about a whole food supplement is that it doesn't come with the side effects that most medicines have.  

1.  My experience with synthetic supplementation has somehow always made me feel sicker.  I especially noticed this every time I was pregnant.  The moment I began taking a supplement, I would get sick.  And I mean, really, REALLY sick.  SO sick, in fact, that I came to believe that I would be fine without a supplement if I practiced a lot of healthy eating habits, which was what I did the day I decided to stray from supplements for good.  Silly me.  Don't get me wrong.  Good eating habits throughout pregnancy is very beneficial and helped me a ton.  But we're human.  We make errors here and there and when we fall short, or out of balance in any area, a good supplement can really go a long way, and yes, there is a big difference between a synthetically manufactured supplement and one made entirely of whole food products.  All I want to express today is that a good supplement can really fill in the gaps. Nutritionally, hormonally, and this therefore increases your immune system's ability to function properly.  Think about it.  If it takes only one vitamin or mineral deficiency to throw off the delicate balance of our bodies, then a good dose of the thing we're most deficient in would very easily rectify almost anything.  Even though I've known and used doTerra essential oils for over two years now, it has taken me a while to really be true to using the Life Long Vitality pack (LLV) which has been so helpful for my mood swings and energy levels.  Just ask my husband.  He'll testify to that.  Sometimes I forget to take it, and my poor husband knows instantly that I haven't been taking my Life Long Vitality.  When I remember to take it, I typically feel more at peace and so much less fatigued.

I'm ever so grateful for the LLV and for all that doTerra continues to educate me about how to take care of my emotional health as well.  Every day, I seem to learn something new.  

2.  Counseling.  Whether it's psychiatric help, marriage counseling, single adult counseling, energy release healing, muscle testing for emotional blocks, aura personalities, repeating positive affirmations with someone, bishops, pastors, etc., Just DO it.  It's not scary.  You don't have to feel like a crazy person for getting it.  It's amazing what you can learn about yourself through someone else's eyes.  It's amazing how much of our everyday stresses can be cleared by a pair of listening and caring ears.  I've experienced many forms of counseling now and swear by it.  Without it, I would be a mess.  These trained professionals have been trained because they care to help people.  Why not let them do what they long to do?  Why not at least try it?  In very simple terms: Give Counseling a Chance.  You'd be amazed to find how much better anxiety and depression can be fixed with good counseling than with a little pill.  People don't need to be sedated.  They need to be heard and touched.  Trust me.  I was a very suicidal person a few years ago.  The emotional baggage I carried with me needed to be released and all I needed was a person to help facilitate the process.  We all need great mentors and counselors.  Sometimes they will come in the form of caring family members or friends.  But at other times, it is best to reach out to those who can offer us a little bit more of themselves and their time.  

My simple recommendation for anyone dealing with anxiety and depression is this: If you haven't sought out a good supplement and/or counseling, DO it today.

I also intend to touch on the subject of using Balance oil in my next post.  Stay tuned.

Any other suggestions for overcoming anxiety/depression naturally?  Please share what has worked for you below.  

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Homemade Yogurt


-1 Gallon Raw Whole Milk or Organic Whole Milk is what I suggest.
-1 Cup of Raw Turbinado Sugar.  (A less processed cane sugar.)
-1 Cup powdered Milk (for thickening)
-2 Cups of a Yogurt Starter (Any organic yogurt will work or some yogurt from your last batch)
-1 TBSP Mexican Vanilla
-3 TBSP of your favorite extract or flavor or
-4 drops of wild orange, lavender, or lemon essential oil.


-Candy Thermometer
-Big pot
-Quart Jars to Pour into and incubate in
-A box
-Towel &
-Heating Pad

Pour the milk into a big pot and set on medium to high heat.  You'll be watching the thermometer for 3 temperatures.  150.  180 and 115.  And this is if you want a creamy yogurt texture.  When the milk reaches about 150, pour two cups of it into a blender with the sugar and powdered milk.  Blend at low so as not to add too many bubbles into the milk and then pour back into the pot of milk.  Stir the milk slow to avoid scorching and so that bubbles are not incorporated into the big batch.  Wait till it gets to 180 and then hold for five minutes before turning off.

Fill up a sink with cold water and some ice.  Place your pot into it to give it an ice bath.  You want to bring the temperature down to 115 before adding the culture and flavorings.  This is so that the high temperature doesn't kill the cultures.  But too low a temperature could make it so that it doesn't incubate.    So 115 is ideal.  Once the milk is at 115, pour about 2 cups into a blender again with the yogurt starter, vanilla, and other flavorings blend on low until all incorporated.  Pour back into the big pot and stir slowly.  At this point, you pour your mixture into quart jars.  In your box, place a heating pad on high heat with a towel over it and then proceed to place your finished yogurt into the box on top of the heating pad with the towel.  Tuck the rest of the towel around it and keep it warm.  Let it incubate now for 12 hours.  Then you can put the jars into the fridge to cool for about an hour or eat it as is.  Some bubbles may have made a funny texture on top.  I just scrape that off and eat what's under it.  If it seems the whey and curd have separated, just mix it together and ENJOY!  It's super nutritious for any nursing moms or babies.  Or anyone really.

For the Raw Milk version:

Just heat the milk to 115, dissolve all ingredients into it and then pour into quart jars and let incubate for 12 hours also.  The texture will be a little bit runnier with more curd and whey.  But equally nutritious.  And the living enzymes are not killed at this low temperature.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Fats, Fats and more FATS!!! Saturated and Good for You! What?!

I was taught how to make yogurt from my sweet mother-in-law.  She has always been a most nurturing woman to me.  I reminisce about this for a variety of reasons.  

During my days of cleansing and clean eating, I somehow stopped using this much needed nutritious food.  Yogurt.  Why?  Because dairy, in my mind, was not good for you anymore.  From my last post about balance, what I've come to realize is that I was eating so much dairy in the past, and not enough of anything else, except for cookies and donuts, that it actually created health problems and sensitivities to any dairy foods for both Orion and myself.  

For my first-born son, Orion, eliminating dairy was the most important step we could take in his recovery from eczema.  For my fourth child, Edison, his eczema has been a very unique case.  His trigger foods are grains and so he can't have many grains but he actually thrives off of dairy.  A pattern we've noticed has been that his skin condition improves dramatically when he has plenty of yogurt and raw milk.  In an attempt to help him gain weight because he has struggled putting on weight, we once again, experimented with formulas.  But those did him no good.  Meaning, every time we tried a formula, he would have another flare-up.  We ended up tossing out all the formulas.  It's hard for me to toss out foods that translate to money and therefore a waste of it.  But it just wasn't something we could use with him.  He didn't take to it at all.  Perhaps it was the processing of it or other additives and sugars.  I may never know, but I'm happy to admit that we've begun making yogurt again.  It's really a great activity to do with kids and a therapeutic process to make yogurt from scratch. 

I may just be a mom with little knowledge in the biochemistry of how our bodies function but here's what I do know:  Making yogurts from scratch using raw whole milk is a good and healthy thing.  It's full of saturated fats and a great way to replenish gut flora in order to improve absorption of mineral dense plants.  You don't need a lot of fats.  At least not in the quantities I was consuming ice cream throughout my first pregnancy.  It had somehow turned into my main course at every meal.  Unless of course you're depleted, which is the case in most women who've tried and experimented with every low-fat diet on the planet.  And usually because of a weight-loss goal.  Who does this?!  Guilty here.  Once again, I will use the word: BALANCE.  

My little AH-HA moment on saturated fats today is this:  The myelin sheath in our brains is made up of about 70% fats.  In order to keep this sheath well lubricated, we need fats.  A deficiency in these essential fats, that can come from good clean sources of yogurts and fish, can cause a lot of mental fatigue and depression.  Which is why ice cream tends to make women happy.  

Another little tidbit given at a recent doTerra convention I attended on skin care was this:  Our skin needs good saturated fat in order to reproduce skin cells that we're sloughing off every day.  When we don't get enough, our skin develops the inability to lubricate and hydrate itself.  Dry, rough skin.  It's the biggest organ of our body and we need to take care of it.  

This post may seem a bit disjointed.  But because this is my account and story, I'd like to take a moment to point out the most dominating problems I was experiencing after my first child post-partum.  If you've been following my blog, you may already know what they are.  

For Orion: ECZEMA.  For myself: DEPRESSION       

Do you see the connections now?  I can tell you I didn't for a long time.  I was so determined to get back down to pre-pregnancy weight after having my babies that I deprived myself of a lot of fatty foods that I'm certain my body was craving for a reason.  What's amazing is that as soon as I started obeying my body's signals for certain things, both mine and my babies' conditions improved.  

A little bit of fish, and whole lot of yogurt later, I can say I'm definitely a lot happier.  That's not to exclude good and healthy plant sources of fats like nuts, avocados and coconuts.  I still love using these.  But for many fans of the China Study and others who've experimented with a lot of plant-based diets and perhaps forgotten the importance of having some fats in our bodies, allow my experience to be a guide for your journey to a better understanding of what true wellness and balance means.  

What kinds of fats are a staple in your home?

Look for the upcoming yogurt recipe.  

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Bone Broth: A Nurturing Concept

After 2 years of experimenting with the vegan/vegetarian lifestyle, I must admit, I learned a lot about how to consume way less processed foods than I had been.  I'm grateful for my nutrition journey that hasn't always been perfect but constantly improving.  My latest motto in life is BALANCE.  It may sound simple.  But achieving true balance in this life is probably the hardest thing one can possibly strive for.  I will probably spend the rest of my life working toward equilibrium.  It's dang hard.  I will often find myself swinging from end of the pendulum to the other in an attempt to balance what was off and then find that I've swung too far over to the other side.

As a younger girl, I spent many days yo-yo dieting.  That's not something I encourage to anyone.  It destroys your physical balance and then threatens to destroy your emotional and spiritual balance as well.   So while I'm still a big fan of eating more plants, I've embraced cooking with organic pastured meats and culturing the least processed dairy as possible.  For me, it's become about eating real foods vs. fake ones.  Synthetically made chemicals, salts and sugars just DON'T do the body good, for lack of better words.

So here we are making bone broths for the kiddos and ourselves alike.  Delicious and nutritious.  An author I've enjoyed reading lately goes by the name of Michael Pollan.  Somehow, I never much paid attention to his words of wisdom till now.  So I'd like to take a moment to quote some of the first lines of his book, In Defense of Food.  In order to keep things simple and balanced, he states, "Eat food.  Not too much.  Mostly plants.  That, more or less, is the short answer to the supposedly incredibly complicated and confusing question of what we humans should eat in order to be maximally healthy."

He said it.  Not me.  Simple?  Yes.  Easy?  Not really.  I mean, in the interest of time, especially as a mother of four, I'd so much rather take a can of chicken noodle soup and serve that to my family for dinner.  But quite frankly, the organic fryers boiled in a big pot of water, and then separated from the bone, and served with rice, and green veggies with a little salt, TASTE SO much BETTER!  It really does make  a big difference.  Making real food from scratch will take some extra time and planning.  But in my mind, taking the time to plan is worth it if it means avoiding endless trips to the doctors offices for ailments we could have avoided with a little better planning, just a little more time and a little more care.  After all, there's Nothing like Grandma's old-fashioned chicken soup.  What a nurturing concept right?  Bone broth it is then.

What has your experience been with pastured chicken broths?  Comment below.      

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Post Partum Tip

I haven't always done these but have been reading about how good they are for improving posture and strengthening the tone in your belly shortly after giving birth.  It's something midwives throughout the centuries would do to women as a service.  It feels a bit like a tight corset.  Not that I'd know what one feels like.  But while sitting at the computer and throughout the day, I've started doing this in order to remind me to engage in my core. You can have it on while feeding and nursing, doing dishes, etc.  In many cultures today, it is actually considered a sad disservice to not wrap and bind a new mother.  It was thought to be a caring gesture back when midwives were unpaid for the divine work they did.    

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Watermelon Raspberry Limeade

Want something fast, simple, refreshing and super alkalizing today?  Well, this is light, and not too sweet but super worth the few minutes it takes.  Cleanses your body really well if you take it on an empty stomach in the morning.  

1/4 of a big ripe Watermelon
1/2 the juice of one Lime
1/2 Cup of Raspberries
1 Cup of Ice

Throw into the blender.  Serve and enjoy!  Perfect way to cool down this summer.  Any remaining, can also be thrown into popsicle makers and into the freezer for kids later.    

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