DIY Dryer Balls

Make Your own dryer balls

If you are looking for an alternative to standard dryer sheet and fabric softeners, let me introduce you to these hard workers, the dryer balls. 

Not only are they economical, you can use the same set for years to come, they can be even nicer to your wallet if you give making your own a try. 

Dryer balls perform much of the same duties your dryer sheets do, but without coating your clothes in those pesky toxins. They improving drying times (less power used!) and soften clothes by gently bouncing off fabrics. And if you like your laundry to have a scent, you can add your favorite Young Living essential oil to them too. :)

To create your own takes two supplies and a car ride worth of time to make them. Yep, that’s right, a car ride. I like to multi-task to get things done, and I think car rides around town with the hubs and kiddos is the perfect time for these types of projects. I throw my yarn, scissors and needle in a little tote and off we go. 

Here’s what you’ll need to make your own:

1 large skein of 100% wool yarn
1 pair of pantyhose
1 yarn needle (optional)

It is important that you use 100% wool yarn that is not washable. You will need your balls to felt and it won’t felt properly if you use a different material or even washable wool. I waited until a week Joann’s had a 50% off coupon, but you can get your yarn anywhere. Also, choose whatever color you like. I went with neutral, but if colors are what will help you get pumped about doing laundry then give those a go. Just make sure your selection doesn’t bleed before trying it with your laundry. 

The pantyhose will be used during the felting process. Again you can get these anywhere, but the dollar store in my area sells them and I’ve actually had great luck finding brand new pairs still in their package from Target in the overstock area of my Goodwill for .19 – .30 cents.

Now that you’ve gotten your supplies together, let’s get started making them!

Find the end of your skein and pull your yarn out. Take your yarn and wrap it around two of your fingers about 10 times. 

How to make Dryer balls step1

Now slip that off your fingers and wrap the yarn around the center of your ring a few times, so it now looks like a bow. 

How to make dryer balls step 2

Then fold your two pieces over to start the beginning form of your ball.

How to make dryer balls step 2

And start wrapping your yarn around until you get the size ball you want. 

DIY Dryer balls step 4

My balls are slightly larger than tennis balls and I have six in my dryer. I think most packs you buy come with three. I’m working under the assumption that the more you have in the dryer (within reason) the faster your clothes will dry. With a larger skein, 210 yards or so, you should be able to get 3-4 balls out of it. The size and number you decide to make is all up to you.

Once you have the size you want you will need to secure your yarn. I tie a knot and then use my yarn needle to tuck my stray end into the ball. If you don’t have a needle, you can tuck your end under a few strains of yarn and it will be fine. 

Now is when you need to pull out the panty hose. Go ahead and cut the top waistband off, leaving you with two separate legs. And then begin to fill your leg(s) with your dryer balls. After each ball you will want to tie a piece of string or a knot so that your dryer balls don’t touch. This is the process of felting and you don’t want them to felt together. 

DIY Dryer Balls step 5

Once your legs are filled, throw those babies in the washing machine with your towels. Set your washer to the hottest and longest cycle. After they have washed put them in your dryer and set it to your hottest drying setting.

When they have finished drying, check them to see if they have felted. This make take a few cycles depending on your wool. What you are looking for is the yarn to have “melted” into each other. You will know they have felted when you can no longer run your finger over the yarn and separate the individual strains. 

DIY Dryer Balls

That’s it! Now they are ready to be used! I prefer unscented laundry, but I know I’m outside the norm there, so if you like a fresh scent to your clothes, place a few drops of Young Living essential oils on your dryer balls. Citrus Fresh, Gentle Baby, Lavender, and Thieves are just a few that would leave your laundry smelling heavenly.

I leave my dryer balls in my dryer when they aren’t in use (or sometimes I find one in the sheets the next time I put them on the bed ;P). I’ve seen some people store them in pretty jars. My laundry room isn’t that fancy. Haha.

I hope you enjoy using your lovely new dryer balls!

Have you used dryer balls in the past? What’s your favorite scent to add to them?

DIY Laundry Detergent

 

Make your own laundry detergent       

I’ve been making my own laundry detergent for just shy of 2 years now and thought it was time I shared the recipe with you good folks.

A quick search of the internet and you will find blogs upon blogs with laundry detergent recipes. Mostly powder formulas or liquid formulas that contain borax. It’s strictly a personal preference here, but I don’t fancy powder varieties. Maybe I’m not using them right, maybe it’s my water, but I’m never happy with the results.

As for the borax, I like to look up all my ingredients on EWG, and borax gets a big fat rating of F. If I’m going through the effort of making detergent to reduce the toxins brought into my house, an F is not going to hack it.

And while I know there are a few good natural laundry detergents out there, Young Living has a great Thieves one, we go through A LOT of detergent around here (3 boys!) and the natural ones tend to be on the pricier side. I’d rather splurge on organic foods than stuff that literally washes down the drain. ;P

Thank goodness for Sara, over at My Merry Messy Life, sharing a recipe she had found. It’s so super easy and only calls for three ingredients.

Make your own laundry detergent

What you will need:

Ingredients:
1/2 cup Baking soda
1/2 cup Washing soda
3/4 cup Dr. Bronner’s Baby Mild Liquid Soap

Supplies:
2 Gallon Bucket
Mixer
Funnel
Storage containers

Make your own laundry detergent

Take your bucket and fill the bottom of it with a couple inches of water (the temperature isn’t important). Then add your baking soda and washing soda, making sure they are completely covered by the water. If not, go ahead and add more water until they are.

I have an old hand mixer I use, but any old mixer or immersion blender will do. Mix everything until the powder has completely dissolved. This will take about 5 minutes.

Make your own laundry detergent

Now fill the bucket up the rest of the way with water. Then add the soap and gently stir it into the mix until it is well incorporated.

And now you have your laundry soap!

Make your own laundry detergent

Next step is storing it for easy use. I store ours in old juice containers that have a handle because it makes it easier to pour out later and I like to give it a little swirl each time before I use it. You might prefer an old laundry detergent bottle. You can use whatever containers make you happy. :)

I place a funnel in the container and then use a measuring cup to pour it in to each bottle until my bucket gets light enough to comfortable lift and pour directly from it. One batch fills about four juice bottles and lasts us about 2 months. I typically make a double batch because I like to make it less often. However, you will need to have space to store the extra soap, so that might not be a realistic option for everyone.

One last note, this detergent will have no scent. If you like your clothes to smell like flowers or meadows or “clean” laundry, then have fun adding and experimenting with your favorite Young Living essential oils to get the scent that you like best. Off the top of my head some good options might be Lavender, Lemon, Thieves, Purification, or Citrus Fresh. Just have fun with it!

Our Young Living Essential Oil Favorites

So what do you think? Easy enough to give it a try? If you do, come back and let us know what you think!

Why We’ll Never Use Traditional Healthcare Again

Not long after we starting using Samaritan Ministries for our healthcare needs, I wrote this post about them. We’ve now been members for a year and a half and had one large need shared with them. I wanted to share our current thoughts about SM and how the needs process worked for us.

First I want to start off with saying so far we only have one regret with our choice to use Samaritan Ministries. And this is it: we wish we had signed up as members when we first learned about them, three and a half years ago. Like so many of our other friends we talk to, we were afraid to make the switch from traditional health insurance to healthcare sharing. I hope if you are on the fence, this post will help sway you. It has been one of the best decisions we have made as a family.

Here are some quick things you should know that we are often asked or have greatly appreciated about this company.

1. If you use Samaritan Ministries you will receive a waiver from participating in the Affordable Healthcare Act. You will not be penalized for not having healthcare.

2. Our money is not going to support procedures that go against our personal biblical beliefs, such as abortions, etc.

3. To submit a need, you will call into Customer Service and they will send out a Needs form for you to complete and send all bills back to the office with. At the end of every call we have had for this, the Rep has prayed with us for our need.

4. Every month along with your statement of what member you will be sending your monthly shares to, there is a prayer guide. This prayer guide lists a different member’s prayer needs for every day of the month.

5. Along with that, you also get a newsletter with excellent health related articles and information about amazing things other members are doing. I really enjoy reading these articles every month.

6. Dental and vision are not sharable unless they are the result of an accident. For example, when our oldest slipped in the tub and chipped half his tooth off, that is sharable. A routine cleaning is not.

There is so much more, but the rest of this post I want to share how our need processing worked. In December of last year we were surprised to discover we were expecting baby #3. With our last two pregnancies the cost of the births had been a financial strain, even though we did have health insurance for the first one. I was excited that this time we wouldn’t have to worry about that.

With SM, if you are already a member when you become pregnant, your complete standard pregnancy medical costs are sharable, minus the first $300. BUT if you do a home birth, like we were already planning, that $300 is also sharable. Sweet!

(As a side note: if you are already pregnant when signing up your pregnancy medical costs can also be shared, but will be done on a prorated scale, determined by how far along you are in your pregnancy. And one more thing, things can be shared for medical costs related to adoption. Yet another pro over health insurance.)

This was the first need we had since signing up so I wasn’t sure of all the ins and outs of the process. It was very simple. I called and as described above, they generated a form to be mailed out and prayed with me over the phone. The Rep was very pleasant, even sharing that his family had recently also found out they were expecting their third child due not long after ours.

Once the form arrived, I filled in the required information and made copies of all the bills accumulated so far. You must mail the original bills in with your completed form, so you will need to make any necessary copies for yourself. The originals will not be mailed back to you. The last page of the form requires the signature of your pastor. It is simply confirming you are still a member of your congregation. Your pastor will know you have a health need because of this, but it is up to you how much you would like to share as the specifics are not listed on this sheet. Obviously ours was of joyous news so this was not an issue, but for anyone not wanting to share the intimate details of a health issue, that is up to you.

It takes approximately two months from the time you submit your need to the time you will start receiving money in the mail. We submitted in February and our need was published in April. It became exciting to check the mail. :) Not only did we receive checks from people all over the U.S. helping us pay for this pregnancy, but almost every one included a personal note sharing their excitement with us for this new baby and their prayers for a health pregnancy.

In our account online there was a checklist of each member we should be receiving money from and how much they should be sending. As each check came in, I had to check off that we received it and if a note was included. This is important because in order for this system to work, everyone has to follow through with sending their money to the right people. This is SM’s way of making sure that happens so they can take action where needed should someone not follow through. For this pregnancy we submitted bills three times and had no problems the first two times. The third time, one check came a week late, but it did come. I don’t know what happens if someone doesn’t send a payment. I have heard their membership is canceled. However I haven’t researched this in the guidelines, so if that is a concern for you, please do your own research there.

And that was it, easy, easy!

If you have any questions about Samaritan Ministries, please don’t hesitate to ask in the comments below or send me an email. And if you do decide to sign up please list us as your referral, we get a pretty sweet discount after you have been a member for three months. :)

 

Wheat Belly

If you’re looking for another book to support why wheat isn’t the “amazing heart healthy” food it’s touted to be, Wheat Belly by William Davis, MD, is good choice. Though I’ll be honest, just like The Wahls Protocol, it is written by a doctor and got a little too “sciencey” at parts for me. I may or may not have skimmed some sections. 😉

 

Here are some excerpts that I found most interesting:

“An interesting fact: Whole wheat bread (glycemic index 72) increases blood sugar as much as or more than table sugar, or sucrose (glycemic index 59).”

“Wheat naturally evolved to only a modest degree over the centuries, but it has changed dramatically in the past fifty years under the influence of agricultural scientist. Wheat strains have been hybridized, crossbreed, and introgressed to make the wheat plant resistant to environmental conditions, such as drought, or pathogens, such as fungi. But most of all, genetic changes have been induced to increase yield per acre. the average yield of a modern North American Farm is more than tenfold greater than farms of a century ago.”

“A loaf of bread, biscuit, or pancake of today is different than its counterpart of a thousand years ago, different even from what our grandmothers made. They might look the same, even taste much the same, but there are biochemical differences. Small changes in wheat protein structure can spell the difference between a devastating immune response to wheat protein versus no immune response at all.”

“Aside from some extra fiber, eating two slices of whole wheat bread is really little different, and often worse, than drinking a can of sugar-sweetened soda or eating a sugary candy bar.”

“It is unlikely that wheat exposure was the initial cause of autism or ADHD but, as with schizophrenia, wheat appears to be associated with worsening of the symptoms characteristic of the conditions.”

During digestion, gluten is degraded to a mix of polypeptides. “These polypeptides were discovered to have the peculiar ability to penetrate the blood-brain barrier that separates the bloodstream from the brain…Once having gained entry into the brain, wheat polypeptides bind to the brain’s morphine receptor, the very same receptor to which opiate drugs bind.”

In regards to studying the drug naloxone in wheat-consuming versus wheat-free schizophrenics. “Clinical studies that might lead to conclusions that don’t support drug use are often not performed.” Who else isn’t shocked by that statement?

“Nutritionists established the fact that wheat increase blood sugar more profoundly than table sugar thirty years ago. As we’ve discussed, they glycemic index, or GI, is the nutritionist’s measure of how much blood  sugar levels increase in the 90 to 120 minutes after a food is consumed. By this measure, whole wheat bread has a GI of 72, while plain table sugar has a GI of 59 (though some labs have gotten results as high as 65). In contrast, kidney beans have a GI of 51, grapefruit comes in at 25, while noncarbohydrate foods such as salmon and walnuts have GIs of essentially zero: Eating these foods has no effect on blood sugar. In fact, with few exceptions, few foods have as high a GI as foods made from wheat. Outside of dried sugar-rich fruits such as dates and figs, the only other foods that have GIs as high as wheat products are dried, pulverized starches such as cornstarch, rice starch, potato starch, and tapioca starch. (It is worth noting that these are the very same carbohydrates often used to make “gluten-free” food.)”

“Ever notice how people with a wheat belly almost invariably also have arthritis of one or more joints? If you haven’t, take notice of how many times someone who carts around the characteristic front loader also limps or winces with hip, knee, or back pain.”

“The more wheat products you consume, the higher and more frequently blood glucose increases, the more glycation occurs. Glycation represents an irreversible modification of proteins in the bloodstream and in body tissues, including joints such as knees, hips, and hands.
The cartilage in joints is uniquely susceptible to glycation, since cartilage cells are extremely long-lived and are incapable of reproducing. Once damaged, they do not recover. …The damage of glycation is cumulative, making cartilage brittle and unyielding, eventually crumbling. Joint inflammation, pain, and destruction results, the hallmarks of arthritis.”

“There is no nutritional deficiency that develops when you stop consuming wheat and other processed foods.”

Worth a read in my opinion!

What A MMR Vaccine Reaction Can Look Like

The vaccine debate was all over the news earlier this year with the recent Disneyland cases and it took a turn for the nasty. I’m sure you’re aware of that though, you couldn’t turn on your computer or t.v. without being bombarded by it.

I’ve seen the articles that friends have shared.

I’ve read the comments.

I’ve been called stupid, unable to comprehend science, told I’m endangering lives, that I should be jailed, that I should be fined for every month my kids lapse on a vaccine, that my kids should be labeled, that we shouldn’t be allowed in public places, that I need to tell every person who’s birthday party we are ever invited to where we stand on the issue so they can deem if my children are safe to be around theirs. The list goes on…

I’ve wanted to comment back, clicked the button, started to type, but then better judgement settles in and I close the window, I walk away.

Because I know, I do, that at the bottom of this, we’re all being driven by the same passion. The passion to protect our children the best way we know how. And that passion is what is fueling you to attack my family, and I don’t appreciate it, but I get it.

It’s the same passion that is causing me to dig my heels in harder and fight for my family’s right to make the choice for what’s best for them. I’ve shared our story before, but thought it was important to re-share our experience. Not to scare others, or use fear tactics to get you to change your mind, but because I think it’s especially important right now for others to hear it. To know why we have made our decisions, and that you aren’t getting the whole story through the news outlets and “science reports”. It also is not included in that inaccurate number of vaccine reactions they like to report.

There is no doubt in my mind, that the events on this day began the downward spiral of Kingston’s health.

Here is our story, three years later and the images are still as fresh today as when they happened. I still tear up reading this. It is true some things you can’t unsee and haunt you forever…

The following was originally written August 2012.

I always wonder what the story is behind the rushing ambulances that pass me on the road. I always say a prayer for the people inside and hope that their family is okay. I never imagined having my own tale of an ambulance ride, I couldn’t have imagined why.

I’ve procrastinated this post. I find myself able to discuss with ease the event in person, there is something about putting the emotions into written word that are more difficult. I find myself choking back tears before I’ve even put many words down. The terror of those few moments flooding my mind with images I wish I could erase, but are etched there forever. Even though I know how things turned out, even though I know things will be ok, that fear it still haunts me.

I’ve wanted to write it down here though. I want to keep a record of the fun and happy events in Kingston’s life, and the bad stuff too. Also I wanted anyone else that reads this to know what happened in case they find themselves in the same scary situation. So get settled, this is going to be a long post …

In late June 2012, we had been spending a few days with my family at a beach house in New Smyrna. Jeremy had a lot of work, so he spent his days working, but in the evenings he would take Kingston down to the shore and play in the sand and water. Wednesday, June 27th, was no different. Dinner was cooking and the boys headed to the beach for some pre-dinner play. Kingston was on Jeremy’s shoulders and my dad and Mason were a short distance behind on the steps taking pictures. Kingston was laughing and smiling and having a good time as is evident in these pictures …

A Happy Boy 

Less than a minute after this picture was taken, Kingston made a strange noise, and tightened around Jeremy’s shoulders and Jeremy knew something was wrong. As he pulled him off his shoulders he noticed his eyes had rolled back and he was drooling out of his mouth. Jeremy laid him on the sand, and tried to get him to respond, but he didn’t. Jeremy quickly scooped him up and ran back toward the house. The back porch of the house was all glass and from the couch where I was laying I had a clear view of the stairs up from the beach. At first when I saw Jeremy running up, I thought they were playing, until I saw the urgency in his eyes and heard the words “CALL 911″. I have no idea what has happened at this point and as I see my dad holding Mason and running behind I immediately leap off the couch scanning everyone for blood. I meet them as they make their way into the patio and this is where it became clear to me that something is wrong with my child. As my mom runs to call 911, I hover around Kingston and Jeremy trying to find answers to what has happened, but Jeremy doesn’t know. It was probably only 30 seconds, but in those 30 seconds I panicked and started yelling at Jeremy, questioning what he could have done. My baby wasn’t breathing and was turning blue and I thought I was watching my 2 year old die in my husband’s arms. I had so many thoughts rush through my mind: what if he died, what if he came out of whatever was happening and had brain damage, what if he was different, what if I was watching my sweet, innocent baby become a whole different child.

Throughout these thoughts, my mom is still trying to reach 911, but cell service is spotty where we are and it takes a few tries to get a call through (no landline at the house). They need to know the address of our location and we don’t know it, this is what snaps me out of staring hopelessly at Kingston. As I run to find my phone which has the address in it, my mom runs out to look at the mailbox. Jeremy and my dad have already laid Kingston down and are performing CPR. (I miss all this as I’m with my mom, and I’m thankful I miss this part, I have enough images in my head, I don’t need that one too.)

Thankfully Kingston starts moaning and they know that he must be breathing in order to be making that sound. Jeremy sweeps him up and carries him outside to wait for the ambulance. I run back inside and grab Jeremy some shoes as well as the diaper bag which has all our insurance and medical info. While we wait, my grandmother and I surround Jeremy and Kingston and fervently pray for God to heal and protect our boy.

Within 2-3 minutes the fire truck has arrived and seeing that Kingston is breathing, they have us take him inside and lay him on the couch. They give him a little oxygen and stick on fake nipples (as we referred to them or nickles if you are Mason) to attach him to machines to check his vitals. The oxygen helps and within no time he is crying, yelling for mama, and straining to get the mask off. But just as fast he collapses back and starts to dose off. We are assured this is okay and common after a seizure, which is what it has been dubbed at this point, that he has exerted all his energy during the seizure and is now in recovery mode.

The ambulance arrives maybe 5 minutes later and they try to strap Kingston to a gurney, which is not happening. Instead, Jeremy is placed on the gurney with Kingston in his lap and they both are strapped in. We are loaded in the back and thus begins the very first ambulance ride for all 3 of us. As I sit on the bench across from the gurney, my hands shake as I try to fill in the forms with all of Kingston’s information. Because Kingston was breathing by this time, they decide to take us not to the nearest hospital, but to one 20 minutes away because it has a pediatric unit. They also don’t use the sirens as he is stable so there is no rush.

This ride also concludes my wonder of how much an ambulance ride costs. (Ours was just under $1000, in case you too have wondered. It would have been slightly less had we gone to a closer hospital, they charge $11/mile. Man, if only I got that kind of reimbursement back when I had to drive places at my old job.This plus the hospital and doctor bills made for one VERY expensive vaccine.)

Along the ride, Kingston is hooked to machines and all his vitals are showing normal. The tech in the back with us is very kind and gentle with Kingston, even commenting she might change her mind on having children based on how sweet and cute he is. We know Kingston is not completely back to himself when we are wheeled into the ambulance because he won’t take his paci, which never happens, but it is not long into the ride when he reaches out for it. He also smiles and gives us a few giggles, relieving some worry in both our hearts as we realize we haven’t completely lost our little boy.

We arrive through the side entrance and are immediately ushered into a room at the Halifax hospital in Daytona. We have barely made it into the room when a nurse informs us that someone needs to go to the front because there are parents wanting to know what is going on. I walk out to talk with my parents who have followed behind in their car. I have nothing new to tell them at this point, except we have a room and are waiting to find out what’s next.

Two nurses join us in Kingston’s room and we strip him of his clothes and his soiled diaper. They take his temperature rectally and it reads at 102.9. We don’t know at this point, but this is a good sign, as it helps explain to the doctor what has happen. They administer Motrin and we are left to wait for the doctor. We wait a few hours.

I have now been in an emergency room both times I have been pregnant. Both times having nothing to do with me. I wonder if the stress of this situation can have any lasting negative impacts on my now 10-week-old baby.

I also discover that whether for adults or children, doctors in the ER are seriously lacking in compassion and any sort of bedside manner. I know it is a stressful job, but would it kill you to be gentle with my baby? I would have appreciated a little less cockiness when dealing with my sick child.

The doctor explains the diagnosis of Febrile seizure. They are apparently very common (1 in 25 children experience them) and brought on by a sudden spike in temperature. (In Kingston’s case he went from no temperature to at least 103 in mere seconds.) They are terrifying, although supposedly not life threatening and supposedly do not cause permanent brain damage. Once you have experienced one your chances of having another one goes to 30-50% until you outgrow them at around 5 years old. You also need a much lower temperature to trigger one, it could happen at 100º next time.  We are told we must be diligent and always give him fever meds right away should we ever have any idea he might be coming down with any illness, even a simple cold. 

The doctor brushed off our questions on whether the MMR shot Kingston received last week could have been the culprit of the high temperature. He said no, even though our pediatrician had told us (and the MMR info sheet from the CDC states) that if Kingston had a reaction it wouldn’t be in 24 hours like other shots, this one would be 6-14 days later. This was 8 days after his shot.

In the Hospital

We were released from the ER at 11:30 p.m. after a couple hours of monitoring and watching his temperature lower. They sent us home with instructions to wake him every 3 hrs to give him Tylenol or Motrin, alternating between the two for 24 hours. We arrived home just after midnight, after a late night stop at Walgreens to pick up supplies.

Kingston went right to sleep, I on the other hand could not sleep at all. Between constant checks that he was still breathing, waking K up every 3 hours for meds (which made him very MAD), and not being able to get the images of Jeremy running up to the house with a limp Kingston out of my mind every time I closed my eyes, I was still up as the sun rose on Thursday.

The next day Kingston was up and going like nothing had happened, it was as if everything the night before had just been an awful dream.

We followed up with our pediatrician the next week, who confirmed it was indeed due to the MMR shot and he probably wouldn’t have another seizure (which as of Aug. 2015, he hasn’t, thank God!). He said, in fact, the amount of febrile seizures in kids shot up when doctors used to offer the MMR and chicken pox shot as a combo, and once it wasn’t offered anymore the numbers when down.

The crazy thing is I felt really uneasy about him getting anymore vaccines going into his 2 year check-up. I even brought up my feelings to Jeremy, but decided I was overreacting since we had already delayed these shots longer than most and he had appeared to be handling them fine. I’m still working on when I need to listen to my gut. Hello Holy Spirit, I hear you loud and clear.

I am thankful that although our experience was terrifying, it wasn’t worse. His laid back nature disappeared that day and years later we are still trying to heal our boy from the lasting effects. However he is here with us and though delayed in some areas, a typical young kid. My heart breaks for other families that haven’t been so lucky.

 

 

The Wahls Protocol

I had no idea who Dr. Terry Wahls was until I saw a short interview with her on YouTube in April. (You can see that here.) As our quest continues to heal Kingston, I was of course immediately drawn to her story. These stories provide so much encouragement when it seems like change is not happening fast enough. Healings are happening every day, and one of these days it will be Kingston’s turn! 

In 2000 Dr. Wahls was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, though she continued to practice medicine, she was eventually confined to a wheelchair and her future seemed clearly headed in one direction. After conventional medicine proved unable to help her, she turned, as so many of us do, to alternative methods. Spending hours researching and scouring the internet until she discovered the keys to helping her get her life back.

In her book she details her diagnoses and all of the steps from nutrition and exercise to alternative therapies that helped her eventually be able to walk, then ride her bike, and regain her life. It’s a little more “scientific” than I cared about, so I skimmed some parts, but the basic message and principles go right along with what we have been discovering on our own.

Here are some excerpts from her book that I especially liked.

“More than a hundred years ago, Thomas Edison said, “The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest his (or her) patients in the care of the human frame, in a proper diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease.” This became my new course, my passion, and my mission….I also became passionately committed to helping other people become new people, too.”

“If you are missing half of the parts in an “assembly required” toy, it’s not going to work. This is not a new concept, but for some reason people tend not to apply it to our cells. They have some general concept that “you are what you eat” or that certain foods are “healthy” or “unhealthy” but really, it’s more concrete than that. Your diet directly correlates to your cells’ ability to function.”

“People with autoimmune disease are more likely to have a leaky gut and if you have a leaky gut, gluten and dairy are particularly damaging. When the intestine has holes in it, incompletely digested wheat (gluten) and/or milk (casein) proteins can get into the bloodstream. These undigested particles are too large to be in the bloodstream. If you are genetically vulnerable to having your immune cells be activated by gluten and/or casein, this will cause even more issues. Twenty to 30 percent of those with European ancestry have the DQ2 or DQ8 genes, which put them at risk for developing gluten sensitivity. In these people, gluten and casein proteins in the bloodstream can trigger an inappropriate immune response. This can lead to a hyperreactive immune system that can then become supersensitive to other foods that weren’t bothersome before, such as tree nuts, citrus, strawberries, or other vegetables and fruits.”

“Saturated fat. Saturated fat has a hydrogen atom at every available spot on the fat. It is very stable to heat and does not convert to dangerouse oxidized fats, which can be very damaging. Animal fats and coconut oil are primarily saturated fats. Their stability makes them the best choice for cooking.”

“I am a conventionally trained internal medicine physician practicing at an academic center, so it’s probably not surprising that, prior to my diagnosis, I was skeptical of alternative and complementary medicine. I believed people were wasting a great deal of money on these alternative, unproven therapies – that is, until I became a patient with a progressive disease for which there is no cure.”

People are impatient. People with chronic illness are even more impatient – they want to be well! At least, they want to be well right up until they give up on ever feeling better. Do not give up!”

There is always hope. We constantly replace our cells and the molecules within cells. The lining of your gut is replaced every week to two weeks. It takes about a year to replace your skin. It takes approximately one to three years to replace the cells in your liver and kidney. Blood vessel cells (endothelial cells) are continually repairing themselves. It takes seven to ten years to replace the myelin insulation around the nerves in your brain, in your spinal cord, and out to your body. It takes fifteen years to replace the muscle cells in your heart. It takes twenty years to replace the minerals in your bones and teeth. It is happening right now, inside you. Every day your cells are replacing molecules, replacing mitochondria, growing more mitochondria, and rebuilding themselves. It may happen quickly or slowly, but it is happening.”

Have you heard of Dr. Wahls before? Have you noticed a difference in how you feel based on what you eat?

 

Homemade Deodorant

You’ve probably read that deodorant, and especially antiperspirant, contain dozens of toxic chemicals that you are putting directly on your skin and are being absorbed into your body, causing a host of hormonal problems, including a possible link to breast cancer.

Having had my own scare with a lump years ago and hearing the story of a close friend go through treatment for breast cancer, trying to limit my exposure to anything that might even casually be linked to breast cancer, or cancer in general, seems like a good idea. Not to mention, who knows what else those chemicals could be doing inside my body. No thank you!

I did the logical next step, I purchased a fairly common natural brand of deodorant from Target. I should have spent that money on a smoothie, cause it was a big, fat waste. Not only did I not smell nice as soon as I got a little hot, I had to keep washing my pits and reapplying so I wouldn’t offend myself. And really who has time for that?

I started asking around to see if others had any success with “natural” deodorant and many had given up searching after having similar experiences to mine. I got a couple positive reviews from a few brands that are out of my price range, but I didn’t bother to try them since I knew I wouldn’t be able to continue purchasing them.

Which led me to search the internet for something I could make. I came across a few recipes that had rave reviews, but too many ingredients for me to keep up with (have I mentioned I have two small boys with another on the way that keep me VERY busy?), before I came across one that seemed doable. Only it had baking soda in it and in all my searching I had come across quite a few comments that baking soda had given people rashes and raw pits, if not immediately sometimes after a few months of use. Again, who has time for that? Not me!

I ended up using that recipe, but eliminated the baking soda and modified it with the other ingredients until I came up with something I was happy with.

And I’m really, really happy with it! I’m telling you, it is so simple and it works! I’ve been using it for 9 months now and I’ve yet to stink (and I live in “summer all year” Florida!).

1 Tablespoon of organic, unrefined, cold pressed coconut oil
2 Tablespoons of arrowroot powder
1Citrus Fresh0-15 drops of Young Living essential oils to scent (I’m obsessed with Citrus Fresh and believe this has helped support healthy immune system function in my body.)

This may work even without the essential oils, but I like adding a scent when I know it’s not going to harm my body and will actually help encourage my body to work better! Can I get an AMEN?

This makes approximately two ounces of cream deodorant and seems to last me about 2 to 2-1/2 months. I store mine in a 4 oz mason jar with a plastic lid. I’ve also given them as gifts in these pretty 2 oz glass jars. It’s important to note you can use any container you want, but if you add essential oils you will need to store this in glass as the essential oils will pull the toxins out of a plastic container and then you will be smearing that on you, which sort of defeats the purpose, right?

To apply, I take a pea size amount on my finger for each pit and rub it on. Due to the coconut oil in this recipe, during the winter your deodorant will be harder and may require you to hold it to your skin for a few seconds first to warm up enough to rub on. On the three days a year it gets cold here I place my jar in front of my portable heater while getting ready.

One last note, you will want to wait a few minutes before getting dressed for it to absorb or you might get those dread white marks on your shirt. It easily wipes off with a wet rag however, and I have had no staining issues with this, or white marks after it has dried.

And that’s it. Isn’t it so easy you wonder why no one has told you this before? Please, please, try this and let me know what you think. Did it work for you?

Book Review: The Grain-Free Family Table

When I came across Carrie Vitt’s website, Deliciously Organic, the first week we were on our Whole 30 diet it was a life saver. We literally would have been eating baked chicken and steamed veggies every night if it wasn’t for her Paleo meal plan option. Worth every penny of that monthly fee of $6.

Today her second cookbook released, The Grain-Free Family Table and I am thrilled to be sharing it with you here.

First and foremost, my favorite part is the beginning of the book. If you are unfamiliar with Carrie Vitt, a visit to the dentist in 2008 turned her world upside down and left her with a diagnosis of Hashimoto’s disease. Unwilling to accept the doctors conclusion that she would be on medication for the rest of her life, she set out to heal herself using a grain-free diet, whole food supplements and cleanses. In the cookbook she goes into specifics about her dental visit, how she felt afterwards, her symptoms that left her house bound for months on end with no hope in site, her final diagnosis and her path to healing. As we work our way towards a total healing for Kingston, it has been such an encouragement to read her story and know we are on the right path to accomplish that. God created our bodies to heal and every story that I read like this lets me know that although it takes a lot of work and time, opting out of surgery is the right choice for us.

Living grain-free is a big jump for most of us and when we first started this journey at the end of September I was overwhelmed and not sure what was left to cook with or how to convert a traditional recipe into a grain-free dish. I am so glad I have this cookbook now, all-in-one place I can find all the grains to avoid and sneaky places they add it. At a glance I can see the types of flours that are healthy to cook with and why fats aren’t all bad. I learned that lard is actually a good thing. Yes you read that right, lard has gotten a lot of unjustified bad press all these years. Lookout, it’s staging a comeback folks.

Other things you’ll find are helpful tips on kitchen equipment, how to get your kiddos to embrace grain-free, and a super helpful conversion chart for converting your old favorite recipes.

As I flipped through the book, I couldn’t believe how delicious everything looked. I mean I know it’s a cookbook so everything is staged to look perfect, but those grain-free biscuits from the Creamy Chicken and Mushroom Pot Pie were calling this biscuit-loving girl’s name. Hmm. Let me tell you, they were not exactly like a “regular” biscuit (most likely the cook and not the recipe :) ), but this dish did not disappoint.

In every recipe there are the regular grain-free directions and ingredients, then at the bottom there are directions on what to substitute if you are Paleo or dairy-free. Which is great since we are also dairy-free at the moment. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any cashew milk ready (there is a recipe at the back of the cookbook) so I subbed in coconut cream for the main chicken part. This did give the overall dish a little coconut flavor, but everyone of us still enjoyed it. Yep, even the kids, K asked for seconds. We’ll definitely be making this, and the grain-free biscuits on their own, again.

Another recipe we tried is the Cauliflower and Bacon Hash. It’s in the breakfast section, but we like breakfast for dinner once a week and this was our go to this week. A simple twist on eggs and hashbrowns, this dish calls for 4 ingredients and is pretty quick to whip up. We used turkey bacon instead of regular bacon since I’m not a bacon eater and everyone scarfed this up too. The leftovers heated up well a few days later too.

Along the same lines is her Cauliflower “Fried Rice” recipe. This is in the cookbook, but we actually made it a few weeks ago when it was on one of our meal plans. In place of rice you use cauliflower cut to the size of rice pieces (in a food processor or we used our Vitamix and we used Coconut Aminos (her recipe calls for tamari sauce). This recipe was such a hit with the kids they each asked for seconds and then thirds. My kids aren’t picky eaters, but they don’t often ask for seconds let alone thirds.

There are so many recipes I can’t wait to try! I would highly recommend this cookbook or her meal plans if you are new to a grain-free lifestyle or even looking for a change to your regular diet. Click here to pick up your own copy of  The Grain-Free Family Table and check out her meal plans here.

Disclaimer: I was provided with a complimentary cookbook to facilitate my review. All thoughts and opinions in this review are my own.