When Your Health Hits Rock Bottom

Encouragement for when your health hits rock bottom and your are ready to make a change.

Stop for minute and consider your health and well being.

What has brought you to the point you find yourself at in life right now?

Unhealthy eating habits and lifestyle choices are most often a reflection of other challenges in our lives. We turn to comfort food and lazy choices as a crutch for our struggles. It is easier to eat fast food and sit on the couch than it is to face our problems and make positive changes.

Making changes takes energy and motivation, something we all possess when the time is right. You have to be in the right place in life though to realize that your health has to be the number one priority. You matter for not only yourself but your family, your children, and your friends. If you continue down the unhealthy lifestyle road you are currently on you won’t be around for those that matter the most in your life.

The time to change is now.

Yes it is easier to just continue living life as you have, dependent on convenience and processed foods, guzzling soda instead of water, grabbing a sugar filled mid-day pick-me-up because you are so exhausted. I agree whole heartedly a life of convenience is easier than the healthier alternative.

The question you have to ask yourself though is what is most important? Convenience or your health?

If you sit on the edge of the playground because you are too tired to play with your children at the park or you can’t get through the day without a nap, the time to change is NOW.

If you just got word that you have a new health condition, undeniably the time to change is NOW.

If you’ve been battling an auto-immune disease, go in for frequent checks of your thyroid, monitor your blood sugar, have skin issues that just won’t go away, or a whole myriad of other undesirable health conditions the time to change is NOW.

Not tomorrow, not next Monday, not the first of the month, and not when your friend is ready to make the change with you. The time to change is NOW.

Do you get what I’m trying to say here? There is truly no time to lose when it comes to your health. Every bite of unhealthy food, every guzzle of high fructose corn syrup filled drink you consume is a step in the wrong direction when it comes to your health.

No one else can make the change but you. The greasy, sugar filled convenience foods you continue to eat do not affect anyone else but you. Stuffing your face with junk because you are sad or mad or lazy doesn’t make anything in your life better. It certainly isn’t going to make you happy or more energetic. Eating junk will continue to make you feel like junk, both on the inside and the outside.

The old adage is true, you are what you eat!

So where are you today, right now? Are you ready for a change? Are you ready to put yourself and your health first?

Every addict has to hit rock bottom. No you aren’t addicted to illegal drugs but you are an addict just the same. You are addicted to the lifestyle you currently live. The time to make a change in your health is today, the time is NOW.

You can do this, you owe it to yourself first and foremost. You are worth it! Don’t fill your body with junk, you deserve better than that. You only have one body and one life to live. Make the most of each and every day. Don’t drag yourself and your life down by eating fatty sugar filled convenience foods. Build yourself up with nutrient dense fresh foods. Truly, you are worth so much more than the junk food you’ve grown accustomed to eating. 

Keep your portions in control and make healthy food and drink choices. The changes in your mood, appearance, and energy levels will astound you. You might just wonder why you didn’t make the change sooner.

The time to change is NOW!

What is the cause of your health hitting rock bottom? Why are you ready to make a change in your healthy lifestyle journey now? I’d love to hear from you!

Why I Live a Vegan Lifestyle

 

Not all vegans do it for the animals, some of us do it strictly for our health.

When I chose a vegan lifestyle I did not anticipate the number of questions I would get from strangers and new friends regarding my choice in eating habits. I honestly thought it was a simple personal decision. Yet at times I feel like I have a huge V stuck to my forehead. V for Vegan!

Why I choose to live a vegan lifestyle 

If you talk to the majority of vegans they will tell you that they live this lifestyle because of concerns they have for animals. Animal welfare is a huge movement behind the popularity of the vegan diet. However, as usual I do not fall within the majority of this movement. My family and I care for animals and their well being but their welfare has zero, zilch, nada to do with out decision to remove all animal proteins from our daily diet. Plain and simply, I am a vegan for my personal health and well being. As I’ve stated previously, I’ve never been a huge meat eater but certainly never gave it much thought as to what the red meat, lean proteins, dairy, and eggs were doing to my overall health and long-term cancer risk. I also never even considered that animal protein sources, more specifically casein, might be the cause of my overall tiredness.

When was the last time you stopped to truly and honestly consider the foods that you put in your mouth each and every day? Do you give a second thought to how these foods are affecting your body, your mood, overall health, long-term health? Or perhaps you have a chronic disease, maybe an auto-immune disease, did you know that animal proteins can be the cause of your disease?

The research is too vast and extensive to even skim the surface appropriately in this short article. Do the research yourself, don’t just take my word for it. Educate yourself about the effects that animal proteins have on your body. I would suggest starting with the two leading books in the vegan scientific community, The China Study and Whole both by T. Colin Campbell. You truly owe it to yourself and your family to research an plant based diet and the benefits it has on your longterm health. Did you know that the length of our intestines indicates we are best suited for a diet based in plants and protein sources other than from animals? This article provides a great comparative analysis of carnivores, omnivores, and herbivores.

I choose to live a vegan lifestyle for my diabetic husband.

In reading The China Study and Whole, it became very apparent from all of the scientific research Campbell presents that a vegan lifestyle could dramatically benefit my husband who lives with type-1 diabetes. Through Campbell’s research and life experiences he has seen a huge improvement in insulin dependent diabetic patients that live a vegan lifestyle. My husband is very aware of the long-term effects that his diabetes can and most likely will have on his long-term health and well being. With in 24 hours of starting to eat a vegan diet my husband noticed an effect on his insulin needs. Almost immediately he no longer needed as much insulin with each meal. Now months later he is taking 10 times less insulin per day than he was when eating a conventional diet full of animal protein sources. Not only is this a huge boost to his health but it helps our financial bottom line in that we aren’t purchasing insulin as often. It took some time for him to figure out his new insulin needs but he is so stable now that he can go without insulin for a meal if he eats clean.

Additionally, he regularly sees his blood sugar levels decrease overnight rather than increase as is the case with diabetics. This result shows that his pancreas is healing and starting to produce insulin on its own and can keep up with the fast that occurs while my husband sleeps. He feels better and has more energy than when he was 20 years younger. He is a long distance runner and regularly runs seven plus miles with 10+ mile runs once or twice a week.

I choose to live a vegan lifestyle for my health and the health of my family.

Why are you vegan? Or why aren’t your vegan?

Win $1000 Toward Your Next Vacation with Expedia

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Expedia Travel Giveaway

You could win $1000 toward your next vacation from Expedia!

It is no secret, I absolutely love family vacations. I have amazing childhood memories centered around long road trips and cross country flights. As a parent, I am also enjoying creating new memories with my children and hopefully instilling in them the same love for travel, adventure, and vacation that I enjoy.

I have an amazing giveaway opportunity to tell you about. The prize is so amazing that it is worth the few seconds it will take to complete your entry. 

Expedia is giving away three $1000 Visa gift cards to use on your next family vacation. Yes, you read that correctly, three, 3, tres, trios, and every other translation of three that you can think of. You have an opportunity to win $1000, who couldn’t use that on their next vacation? I know I certainly could.

Giveaway details:

  • Tuesday, July 15th at 9:00 AM ET to Thursday, July 17th at 9:00 PM ET
  • Three (3) winners to each receive $1,000 Visa gift cards courtesy of Expedia.
  • Users can enter the giveaway by heading to the Expedia page on Savings.com and submitting their email address on the form at the top of the page.
  • The winners will be chosen via a lottery drawing on Friday (7/18) and notified via the email address they used to enter.

 Click the image below or the one at the top of this post to enter! 

Expedia Travel Giveaway

 If you win, PLEASE come back and let me know so I can celebrate with you!

Mountain Rose Herbs July Specials

*This post contains affiliate links. When you purchase through these links you are helping to support this blog and my efforts to educate others on a healthy lifestyle. Thank you for your support*

So fresh that smiles are guaranteed
It is no secret, Mountain Rose Herbs is my favorite place to buy organic essential oils, herbs, teas, hydrosols and much more. Their July specials have been announced and there are some great ones this month that I am excited to share with you.

Mountain Rose Herbs July Specials

Ginger Essential Oil 0.5oz $9.28 30% discount

Properties: Analgesic, antibacterial, anticoagulant, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiseptic, antispasmodic, aperitive, aphrodisiac, astringent, carminative, cephalic, cholagogue, diaphoretic, digestive, diuretic, expectorant, febrifuge, laxative, stimulant, stomachic, tonic

Blends well with: Bergamot, cedarwood, clove, coriander, eucalyptus, frankincense, geranium, grapefruit, jasmine, juniper, lemon, lime, mandarin, neroli, orange, palmarosa, patchouli, rose, sandalwood, vetiver, ylang ylang

The Doctrine of Signatures is a system that relates the shape of a plant to a system or organ in the human body. Ginger root shows an affinity with the digestive system. This relationship shows the link between ginger root and its usefulness for digestive ailments.

Safety: mause cause skin irritation, possibly photo toxic 

Marjoram, Wild Essential Oil: 0.5oz $15.11 35% discount

Properties: Antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antispasmodic, carminative, decongestant, emmenagogue, expectorant, sedative

Blends well with: Basil, chamomile, clary sage, cypress, elemi, eucalyptus, frankincense, lavender, orange, rosewood, tea tree, thyme

Wild marjoram oil is not a variety of marjoram but is actually distilled from a species of wild thyme which grows in Spain.

Safety: avoid while pregnant, may cause skin irritation, not for internal use

Lemon Balm Hyrdosol 3oz $7.01 15% discount

Best known for its calming effects on mental stress and fatigue, this lovely hydrosol is also beneficial for general skin irritations, and makes a soothing addition to room and body sprays. A couple of Tablespoons added to a bath is the perfect way to end the day.
Suitable for cosmetic use.

There are numerous other items on special this month like chia seeds, olive leaf, rooibos green tea, sitting pretty balm, lip balm, and cheesecloth. All on sale at an amazing discount this month. Click the image below and you will be taken directly to all of the Mountain Rose Herb specials for this month.

Mountain Rose Herbs July 2014 Monthly Specials

 

 

Vegan Banana Coconut Pancakes

Vegan Banana Coconut Pancakes

In a family of seven children, breakfast is a highly anticipated meal. My kids are all hungry from not eating overnight and one of the first words out of their mouths is most often “I’m hungry, what is for breakfast”. My boys also have the habit of requesting breakfast before they even hit their head on the pillow at night.

Enter the pancake.

Not just any pancake mind you, these pancakes meet every strict nutritional rule that I set forth for what is served in our home. They are vegan, gluten free, soy free, and absolutely delicious!

This recipe is a regular in our home. I most often make it on a weekend morning when our schedule is a bit more relaxed and I don’t have to rush to get everyone fed. I double or triple this recipe so that there are (hopefully) a few leftover to snack on or reheat another morning.

Pancakes are one of those childhood memory staples. Honestly, your childhood isn’t complete until you have several memories centered around hot pancakes on a lazy weekend morning full of laughter and family time together. Despite our healthier lifestyle, this recipe allows me to still provide my children, yes all seven of them, with those pancake memories.

Vegan Banana Coconut Pancakes
Serves 4
A vegan and gluten free pancake worthy of amazing childhood memories.
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
40 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
40 min
350 calories
58 g
0 g
11 g
6 g
6 g
159 g
10 g
6 g
0 g
4 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
159g
Servings
4
Amount Per Serving
Calories 350
Calories from Fat 94
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 11g
17%
Saturated Fat 6g
30%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 2g
Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 10mg
0%
Total Carbohydrates 58g
19%
Dietary Fiber 3g
12%
Sugars 6g
Protein 6g
Vitamin A
0%
Vitamin C
5%
Calcium
14%
Iron
18%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup tapioca flour
  2. 1.2 cup millet flour
  3. 3T ground flax
  4. 1/4 cup coconut flour
  5. 1/4 tsp sea alt
  6. 2 tsp baking powder
  7. 2T grade B maple syrup
  8. 1 ripe banana smashed
  9. 1/2 cup coconut milk, unsweetened
  10. 1/2 cup water
  11. 2 tsp vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together all of the dry ingredients. (tapioca flour, millet four, coconut flour, baking powder, sea salt, flax)
  2. Add maple syrup, banana, coconut milk , water, and vanilla to dry ingredients. Stir until smooth. Set aside for 5 minutes.
  3. Heat and oil a pan with coconut oil (or other oil of your choice). Depending on the pan EVOO might prevent the pancakes from sticking.
  4. Drop pancake batter by spoonfuls onto hot pan. Spread batter with a heat proof spoon into a nice circle.
  5. Cook 2-3 minutes and flip pancakes with edges start to brown or dry out. Flip and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes.
  6. Top with coconut, maple syrup, fresh fruit or any other topping of your choice.
beta
calories
350
fat
11g
protein
6g
carbs
58g
more
Alexis Mathews https://alexismathews.com/

Amazing Cashew Cream

Cashew Cream Vegan Gluten Free

It is not an understatement when I say that discovering cashew cream revolutionized my vegan kitchen and opened up a world of tastes and textures in our vegan lifestyle.

What is even more amazing beyond the taste is the simplicity of the recipe and the ease with which cashew cram is made.

I always have a large container of cashew cream made up in my refrigerator ready to enjoy and add to dishes. Our favorite dishes to add cashew cream to are vegan tacos, baked potato slices, cream inspired soups, and so much more. Basically anywhere we want a creamy taste or texture is fair game for a dollop or two of this protein and vitamin packed creamy cashew goodness.

Cashew cream is used to replace cheese, sour cream, and cream in vegan recipes.

The health benefits of cashews include the following:

  • Unsaturated fats; proven to be beneficial to lowering cholesterol and improving heart health
  • Excellent source of copper which is necessary for numerous functions in your body
  • Good source of Vitamins K, B and E
  • Add fiber and protein to your diet
  • Beneficial in controlling blood sugar which is helpful if you are a diabetic or borderline diabetic
  • Contain antioxidants which act as anti-cancer agents

So what are you waiting for? Go grab a pound or more of raw cashews and start your first batch of this amazing, creamy, versatile cashew cream.

Amazing Cashew Cream

2 cups raw cashews
8 cups water

Cover cashews with water overnight in a large bowl. If you are in a hurry use boiling water to soak cashews. If using hot water your soak time is reduced to 2-4 hours versus overnight.

Drain cashews. Place cashews in a high speed blender, I love using my Vita-Mix for this recipe. Add 1/2 to 1 cup of water with cashews in the blender. Blend until smooth and thick like sour cream. Add more water as necessary to facilitate proper blending and cream texture.

While cashew cream is amazing in its original state, there are a few taste modifications you can make depending on your preference. You can add salt, lemon juice, cayenne pepper, curry powder, or garlic to taste.

Please let me know if you try this recipe and how you enjoy it. Also, do you have another favorite way to enjoy cashew cream in your dishes?

Fun in the Sun with Your Family

Fun family outdoor activities

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Living in Southern California, it is often said we pay a “sunshine tax” because we have nearly year round sunshine. As a family we are outside enjoying the sun nearly everyday, soaking in the sun and making fun family memories together. During the summer though when the temperatures begin to soar my family and I love to flock to the water to stay cool, have fun, and make memories.

This summer my husband and I are packing each and every day with as much outdoor family fun as possible. Our motivation for packing this summer with outdoor fun is simply to make as many fun family memories as possible and make this most of this time in our children’s childhoods. If we aren’t intentional in our memory making activities it is very easy to procrastinate and let time pass us by with nothing to show for family memories when our children are young.

Fun family outdoor activities

No matter where you live or what you enjoy doing outdoors with your family there is plenty of fun to be had in the sun. To make the most of this summer, BE INTENTIONAL!

Be intentional with your time and outdoor activity choices. For my family being intentional means weekly beach trips and weekly (minimum) trips to the pool. Having a regular schedule this summer gives us something to look forward to each week. Just like when I was young, my children and I meet a few other families at the beach once a week. I have incredibly fond memories of that time in my childhood and I am so grateful for the time this summer that my children are spending with their friends building sand castles and playing in the waves.

Beach CollageFun family outdoor activities

Making the most out of our time in the sun this summer requires some toys and supplies to help keep my littles ones busy. I was so excited to see the outdoor toys on sale at our local Kmart earlier this summer. With seven kids,  we need lots of toys and can’t afford to spend a fortune on toys that are easily forgotten at the beach. Kmart came through this summer and saved us serious money. If beach and pool toys aren’t what you are looking for, you will find a huge selection of other outdoor toys including pools, play tables, swing sets and much more.

Fun family outdoor activities

No matter what your outdoor activity of choice is, make sure your family is safe doing what they love. For my family this means making sure all of our children are water safe. This summer our children are all nearly water safe and are very comfortable in and around the pool. Of our 7 children, the only one who is not water safe is one of our 3 year twins who has a mild case of Cerebral Palsy.  Everyday that we are at the pool we continue to work with her on kicking and water safety. Teaching our children to swim from a young age has always been a huge priority in our family.

Here is a fun video my husband took this past weekend in slow motion of one of our sons having fun in the pool.

Even if the water is not your favorite outdoor activity, there are limitless possibilities for your family to have fun and enjoy the outdoors this summer. Just get outside, enjoy all that the outdoors has to offer, and most importantly make amazing lifetime memories with your family.

Fun family outdoor activities

If you would like to follow more summer fun posts like this one be sure and use #KMartSummerFun across social media platforms.

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post, I am a Kmart blogger, though all opinions are my own.

Essential Oils 101: Methods of Use

Essential Oils Use

*This post contains affiliate links which help support this page and my family. Thank you for your support*

Essential oils are gaining in popularity and use for a very good reason. Simply put, they work. Their uses and healing properties are nearly limitless and they are a safe non-toxic natural method of healing and cleaning.

In the first post of this series, The Basics I described the elementary aspects of essentials oils. I briefly describe everything from methods of extraction, methods of use and carrier oils.

Now I am going to delve more in depth into the methods of use and the best practices for essential oils. Depending on the need or situation there are quite a few choices you can make for the best method of use.

There are three main methods of use for essential oils. These include room, body and water. I will not describe internal ingestion because that has been shown to not be an effective way of using essential oils for their full healing benefits. Your internal digestive system alters the chemical structure of the oils and thereby changes the effects that the oil has in its original form.

Mountain Rose Herbs. A herbs, health and harmony c

Methods of Use:

1. Room: candles, diffusers, light bulbs, humidifiers, radiators, room sprays, water bowls, and wood fires are all methods of diffusing essential oils in a room. It is important to note that when using this method you will need to leave the room shortly after starting the diffusion to reap the greatest benefit of the aromatherapy that the oil has to offer. Much like when you walk into a smoke filled room the smell is strongest when you first enter but the longer you stay in that smokey room the smell is less noticeable. The same holds true for essential oils and their aromatherapy properties.

My personal favorite and I believe most effective way of use essential oils in the room method is with a diffuser. Diffusers do no waste any of the precious and often times slightly expensive oils. Just one drop in the diffuser filled with water is often times all you will need to enjoy the aromatherapy and healing properties of the diffused oil.

My favorite essential oil diffuser is the Now Foods Ultrasonic Oil Diffuser. It is not only inexpensive but it also includes a fun colorful light feature and is easy to clean as well as add water and oils. It is truly the best one on the market for the price.

Screen Shot 2014-07-03 at 9.02.27 PM

 

2. Body: there are four main methods for using essential oils on your body. These include inhalation, massage, perfume, and tissue/handkerchief.  One could also argue that there is a fifth body method of use which is applied neat on the skin. Not all essential oils are safe applied neat. The two most popular and safe oils neat are lavender and peppermint. I often use lavender on my children just before bed to calm them and prepare them for a restful night of sleep. Peppermint neat on the temples is a great remedy for headaches.

When inhaling essential oils either straight from the bottle or from a small dish it is recommended that you start with the oils low and in front of you. Slowly work the oil up towards your nose in a circular motion. As you get to your nose plug one nostril and inhale deeply to receive the full benefit of this method of use.

Massage is another easy and effective way of enjoying the benefits of essential oils. Simply add a drop or two to your favorite carrier oil and massage on the affected area.

The tissue method is convenient for when you are traveling and without a diffuser or time for a massage. Simply add a drop or two of the oil to a tissue or handkerchief. Then as needed hold the cloth near you nose and inhale deeply. Use as needed.

3. Water: water uses include baths, foot bath, hand bath, sitz bath, shower, sauna, jacuzzi, douche, and bidet. All of these methods are fairly self explanatory but please use caution and follow a reliable recipe when using any of these methods for essential oils in water.

My favorite water method is in the bath. A few drops of lavender with a cap flu of bubble bath and my tired stressed out mommy bones have a few moments of peace and quiet to relax and unwind. The smell of lavender rising on the steam is amazing and incredibly therapeutic.

There simply is not beating the use of essential oils when you are needing or wanting to treat issues at home naturally. All across social media I see countless friends who are popping this pill and that pill to cure this problem and that. I wish I could reach through the screen and hand them the essential oils they need to cure the problem at hand naturally.

Mountain Rose Herbs. A herbs, health and harmony c
What are your favorite essential oils? And what do you use them most often with?

Grab 21 Gluten-Free Meals from Costco for $162

*This post contains affiliate links which help support this site and my family. Thank you for your support.*

If you have a Costco membership you know that it can be a blessing and a curse. A blessing because you can potentially save a ton of money if you shop smart but also a curse because you can walk out spending way more than you had planned. Also as you know, the quantities are huge at Costco so unless you have a large family or the storage space to keep your extras the cost savings might not be worth your time, effort, or membership costs.

21 Gluten Free Meals from Costco for $162

However, Erin over at $5 Dinners has created a meal plan and recipe book for those of you who are gluten free and enjoy shopping at Costco. In this ebook you will get 11 recipes complete with Costco shopping list, recipes, and ingredient list totals itemized. If you are gluten free like I am you know how valuable new gluten free recipe can be not to mention a complete shopping list to make your time in Costco as quick and easy as possible. I always have at least four kids with me when I shop at Costco, most times all seven so a shopping list is golden and like time in my hands.

Erin is offering her latest ebook for the amazingly low price of $1.99, what a steal! Be sure and grab your copy before it is too late!

21 Gluten-Free Meals from Costco for $162

Erin also has other meal plan books that might interest you:

31 Days of Gluten Free Meals

 

31 Days of Gluten Free Meals ebook

Costco Plan #1

Costco Plan #2

Preserving Childhood Memories with Journals

Journals

I started scrapbooks for two of my older children when they were newborns in hopes of creatively documenting their childhood.  Quickly however, I realized that scrapbooking wasn’t going to work long-term as a way to preserve my children’s childhood memories. Instead I eventually turned to journals. Today I am guest posting over at Paradise Praises, please join me there to read the entire story of how and why journaling is my favorite way to preserve childhood memories.