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Hey, my lovely friends!  I’m excited to share about the Autoimmune Paleo Diet, aka Autoimmune Protocol with you!  As you may have read in my previous posts, I did this diet years ago when I was in the thick of my battle with Autoimmune Hepatitis.  Autoimmune hepatitis is in fact not a viral form of hepatitis.  It is when there is chronic inflammation of the liver caused by antibodies made by your body that attack the liver cells.  It can happen to other tissues and organs of the body, like the thyroid (Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis), the joints (rheumatoid arthritis), etc.  I was in desperate need to decrease the inflammation in my body and to start to heal my gut, where all disease begins!    So, I researched and scoured the internet and found the AIP diet!  I printed out all of the info, and I took it to my gastroenterologist.  He basically handed it right back to me and told me it was a bunch of horse$#!%.  No joke!  He said, “sure if you want to go buy the most expensive cuts of meat, knock yourself out but it’s not going to cure your problem!”  I left that meeting pretty discouraged about it and I didn’t start the diet.  I waited a whole year and a half until that same doctor told me that his protocol (the one I had been on for 6 years) was not working, and was not ever going to work.  He said I would need a liver transplant if the next set of drugs (the side effects of which included cancer) didn’t work.  Well, that set of drugs didn’t work, thank God!  I then went back to my thoughts on alternative treatment options because I did not want to be getting a transplant at that young of an age (or ever!).  Life after a transplant is not what you might think for many people!  So, I decided before we went that route, I was going to give the alternative methods a try, and guess what?!  They WORKED!  I started the AIP diet in combination with an all natural supplement protocol that I found in a book by my now dear friend and mentor, Denise Otten.  The book is called, “Curing Courtney” and you should definitely read it!  It’s a heartwarming tale of a mother’s mission to heal her daughter from this life-threatening autoimmune disease after the medical treatments did not work for her.  She followed the protocol by Dr. Burt Berkson.  These books are linked at the end of this post.  I was in remission from this protocol and the diet within 6 months!  I couldn’t believe it! Six years of drugs and weakening my immune system, pumping me with steroids, the horrific weight gain, the insomnia, depression, acne, severe mood swings, uncontrollable stress and frustration, increased hunger and irritability, all could have been avoided if I’d known about this diet and supplement protocol.  It speaks to how important it is that we fully research ALL of our options before we start long-term medical treatments.  We don’t realize how damaging pharmaceutical drugs can be to our bodies over longer periods of time.  We are taught to just trust whatever our doctors tell us and that they certainly have our best interest in mind.  I’m sure most of them think that they do.  But they never see the other side of what these drugs can do to our systems, because, when the side effects take hold and we start having OTHER problems they just send us over to the other specialists who deals with that problem.  For me, the steroids caused a lot of anxiety and insomnia.  So, what did they do?  Just sent me over to the psychiatrist for some sleeping meds (which are addicting – and thankfully I didn’t follow through on it)!  And, “Oh, you’re gaining weight?  Go see the dietitian!” (who put me on expensive weight loss shakes that were 100 calories each.  I got one meal a day of protein and vegetables and 2 shakes.  Does that sound like enough nourishment for someone with a serious illness to fight?!)  Anyway, my point is, you gottta consider your options before you just accept everything you’re given from the medical world.  Do your research, join Facebook groups for whatever it is you’ve been diagnosed with.  Talk to THE PATIENTS!  That’s where you find the best and most information!  Join groups for the drugs you have been prescribed.  Find out what the patients are experiencing while on them and ask about their success with alternative treatments.  Research, research, research!  I can’t say it enough!  It is your best tool to your best health!  You have to take your health into your own hands.  You are your best advocate and the person who you can trust the most!

So, now for a little information about the AIP diet…  First of all, know that the AIP diet is not only for autoimmune disease.  It works for all kinds of chronic inflammatory diseases. The entire goal of the Autoimmune Paleo Diet is to reduce inflammation in your body, particularly in the gut!  Our mission here is to heal the gut mucosa.  We do this by eliminating foods that trigger immune responses in the gut. Some of these foods you might think are completely healthy and wonder “why would that be causing me inflammation?!”

FOODS ON THE NO LIST: Tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, legumes, wheat, dairy, sugar, gluten and other grains of any kind, quinoa, nuts, eggs, seeds, dried herbs from seeds like mustard, alcohol, chocolate (I know, WHHHYYY!!??? Chocolate is always on my no lists!! 🙁 ), coffee and black teas, artificial sweeteners like Splenda and aspartame, sodas including diet, and any processed oils like Canola oil or processed foods like cookies, crackers, lunch meats, canned soups, etc.  You’ll want to stick to the produce aisles, meat and fish department, and frozen vegetables without any preservatives.

Why??  Because all of these foods are triggers for inflammation.  While some of these things have very healthy components, for someone with an autoimmune disease they can trigger the immune system and cause more inflammation.  So, we eliminate these foods for a period of time to calm the inflammation in the body.  I eliminated all of these foods for 6 months until I saw that my liver enzymes were back down into the normal range.  That meant that the inflammation in my liver was no longer active.  Then, I slowly added back in some of the foods so that I was on the “regular Paleo Diet”.  The regular Paleo Diet allows you to add back in nightshades (tomatoes, peppers, eggplant), eggs, nuts, seeds, and chocolate (but very clean, cacao only! Do not worry though, there are many amazing chocolate brands out there that are Paleo approved!).  You might not think that adding these few foods back into your life would make a big difference, but it really does!  I feel like I can enjoy a lot of food now. I have remained on the Paleo Diet for years, with bouts of veganism and plant based eating.  I have to adjust my diet accordingly to what’s currently going on in my body and my symptoms.  But, I never eat gluten, dairy, or sugar.  Grains and legumes are still hard for me to digest much of the time, but I try sometimes – always sprouted!

FOODS ON THE YES LIST: (I highly recommend focusing your mind only on the things that you can have.  If you are constantly complaining and longing for things you can’t have, you will never be satisfied with the things that you DO have!  I think this applies in all areas of life! 🙂 )  Fruits, coconut products like coconut butter, flour, and aminos (which taste similar to soy sauce and can be used in place of it in recipes!) vegetables, fermented foods, such as homemade coconut yogurt, kombucha, fermented vegetables, and non-dairy kefir, herbal teas, honey and maple syrup, vinegars, grass fed meat, organic poultry, wild caught fish, organic organ meat (I didn’t do this actually, but the organ meat is loaded with nutrients!), bacon without ANY preservatives (so your conventional brands of bacon and lunch meats are a NO), and unprocessed oils such as coconut oil, extra-virgin olive oil, avocado oil, as well as cultured ghee, which is like butter without the lactose.  Always choose organic whenever possible.  I know it is hard to find sometimes and also expensive.  But, your body needs to be free from as many toxins as possible.  Toxins from pesticides can REALLY affect you and your immune system!  If you can’t buy organic, at least buy an organic wash and scrub them well.  Check out this guide to help you decide which foods are most important to buy organic.

You’d be surprised at the things that you can still eat and how satisfying it is, especially when you try out some of the recipes.  I will try to post several over the coming weeks.

The AIP diet is incredibly nutrient dense!  When you eat a variety of all of these foods you are getting so many crucial vitamins and minerals that your sick body so desperately needs!  When you have an autoimmune disease you are most definitely nutrient deficient.  By eating these highly nutrient dense foods, you will feed yourself the nutrition that will help to heal your organs, tissues, and systems in your body to help bring everything back towards balance.

One person whom I respect so much in the Paleo community is Dr. Sarah Ballantyne, PhD.  She wrote the books “The Paleo Approach” and “The Paleo Approach Cookbook”.  Both of these books are where I send everyone who asks to to learn about the AIP Diet.  I personally love “The Paleo Approach Cookbook” because I feel that it really explains everything you need to know about the diet and provides recipes as well!  Sarah is an excellent person to follow on social media if you are interested in the diet, too, because she is always posting new and relevant information.  She goes by the name “The Paleo Mom”.  I will link her books and some of my other favorite AIP recipe books at the end of this post!

Now, you may be thinking, there is absolutely NO WAY that I can possibly eliminate all of these foods from my diet!  I get it.  I was there, too.  It was one of the most challenging things I had ever done at that time in my life.  But, honestly, it took about four weeks to get past all of the cravings (the first 2 were by far the worst), and then it was smooth sailing from there!  I was loving the way I felt, the energy I had, the WEIGHT I lost!  I lost 20 lbs in the first 3 weeks, and 60 lbs total in six months.  It was fast!  Taking sugar, dairy, and alcohol out were huge game changers for me!

My TOP TEN TIPS for starting out on this diet are to:

  1.  Always be prepared for meals and snacks or else you will cave!  Make a trip to the store every week with a list of your planned out meals and ideas for snacks.  STICK TO THAT PLAN.
  2. Pre-make homemade crackers, cookies, and dips for when you get cravings!  This was such a lifesaver for me!  You know those sugar cravings that are so uncontrollable you think you might go crazy and eat an entire cake??  Yeah, those happen the first couple weeks on this diet and you MUST be prepared!  I love these Plantain Crackers, these AIP Sugar Cookies, and these Coconut Cookies!
  3. Use Pinterest and cookbooks to find great, easy, recipes.  When you’re sick you don’t want to be doing recipes that are too involved and can tire you out.  I look for recipes with fewer ingredients that take less prep time.  Find AIP recipe alternatives for your favorite foods like pizza, tacos, and burgers!  They do exist!  And, they’re GOOD!
  4. Try to think about food differently.  Instead of thinking about satisfying cravings, or what you can’t have, focus on what that food is doing for you nutritionally.  What nutrients is it feeding your body?  What do those nutrients do to help you heal?  Concentrate on the positive aspects of the food you CAN eat.
  5. Make a big pot of soup at the beginning of every week and eat it for lunch (or breakfast! I did this!) every day!  It simplifies your daily cooking so you can just make one big meal like dinner, and not have to spend ALL day in the kitchen.  My favorite soup of all-time is an AIP soup!  I make it all the time even when I don’t need to be AIP.  I make it for other people when they’re sick or when someone in their family died.  I’ve even made it for Christmas Eve parties!  Everyone loves it, and it’s incredibly comforting. It’s called Chicken Pot Pie Soup.  You can make it in the crockpot!
  6. Invest in a crockpot and an Instant Pot!  I did not have an Instant Pot when I first did AIP.  But, it would have been a lifesaver if I did!  It cuts down on cooking time so much!  You’re probably going to eat a lot of sweet potatoes and spaghetti squash, and instead of waiting an hour for them to cook, they’re done in minutes in the Instant Pot!  The crockpot is great for slow cooking roasts and soups overnight, too!  You can also do large amounts of bone broth in the crockpot, which is very healing as well!
  7. Get your family on board!  You will need support.  Ask them to please respect your new eating habits and not try to tempt you with the typical fare at family functions.  You need to explain to them how important it is that you stay on track for your health.  A bite of something off the diet here and there WILL make a difference, so don’t give in and don’t let others tempt you.  Ask your spouse and children to not keep cookies and chips and things that you used to love in the house anymore.  Or at least ask them to hide it and not eat it in front of you.  The first few weeks are the hardest, so the cravings won’t last forever, but it is helpful to not have those temptations in your face in the beginning.  (I can now look at all kinds of desserts and admire them but not feel the urge to eat them at all!  It does go away!)
  8. Eat before you go to parties, or at least bring your own food!  You can make a veggie tray with an AIP approved dip for yourself, some AIP approved chicken bites on a skewer with veggies, there are still lots of little appetizers and snacks you can make for parties.  Life isn’t actually over 🙂
  9. Look at restaurant menus before you go.  I like to use the app YELP to search for gluten free restaurants, or paleo friendly restaurants.  Don’t be afraid to ask for things specially made.  I always do and they always accommodate.  Even if the waiter is rude, don’t let that bother you too much.  They probably have no idea what life is like for you and it’s only a lack of understanding and empathy.  It’s amazing how much more compassionate you’ll become on this wellness journey!
  10. Drink lots of water with lemon!  Not only will this help curb your cravings for food, but it’s great for cleansing your body, too!  It will help flush out other toxins that can be contributing to your inflammation!  I used to carry around thermoses of water with lemon or sparkling mineral water with lemon.  I couldn’t have made it through without it!

I hope that this is helpful to you!  Please know that I am only a message, email, or comment away and would be more than happy to answer any questions or concerns that you might have.  I was so thrilled with how changing my diet from the standard american diet (SAD) to AIP helped me so much!  I would love to see it help you or a loved one.  Have you tried the AIP diet before?  If so, please leave a comment.  I would be so excited to hear how it helped you!

Now, since it’s fall, I am going to leave you with an easy AIP Turkey Pumpkin “Chili” Recipe!

AIP TURKEY PUMPKIN CHILI

  • 1 lb organic ground turkey
  • 2 1/2 cups organic AIP approved Beef Broth or Beef Bone Broth (check the label to make sure there are no unapproved ingredients)
  • 1 15oz can of organic pureed pumpkin
  • 1 chopped organic zucchini
  • 2 TBS Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 16oz bag organic frozen butternut squash
  • 2 cups (or more) organic frozen cut green beans
  • 1 10oz bag organic frozen beets
  • 1 dried organic bay leaf
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced (I use a garlic press and it is amazing! Linked below)
  • 3/4 tsp organic ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp pink Himalayan salt
  • a couple sprinkles of organic ground nutmeg
  • 2 tsp organic dried oregano
  • 1 tsp organic ground sage
  • If you aren’t AIP, and want to make this a Paleo chili, you can add 2 chopped red peppers and a chili pepper to add some spice, as well as 1/2 tsp of All-spice.  You can also add 1 BPA-free can of organic diced tomatoes.  You will want to decrease the amount of broth (at least by half) if you add the tomatoes.
  • Feel free to replace some veggies with other veggies.  I often use frozen cauliflower instead of beans, or I add frozen chopped carrots in.  If you don’t like beets, try radishes instead! You don’t have to use frozen vegetables.  You can definitely use fresh!  I just like to save myself some time and energy.  You can definitely be creative and flexible with this recipe!  It tastes even better the day after when all of the flavors have mixed together 🙂

My little helper, Barkley!  He’s my 2 year old mini Goldendoodle baby!! 😀

To make:

  1.  Turn your stovetop burner to medium-high heat.  Add ground turkey to a big pot or dutch oven and cook until no longer pink. Turn the heat to low.
  2. Add the broth and pureed pumpkin, and stir.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir.  Turn the heat back up to medium-high and bring it to a boil, while occasionally stirring.  Then turn the heat back down to low, cover the pot and let it simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. Enjoy!  I love to bake or steam  sweet potatoes (steam in the instantpot in 25 minutes!) and serve this over top! 🙂

Please let me know how you like the AIP chili! It is not quite the same as usual chili, so it might take a little getting used to.  I hope that you enjoy it and it brings you some warmth and healing 🙂

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In all of my years of dealing with chronic illness, I’ve spent a lot of time researching and scouring the internet for answers, anything that might possibly help me, and ways to improve my immune system and overall health.  I’ve learned so much from so many amazing doctors and practitioners both in the field and through their research and books they’ve written.  A lot of you have been asking about supplements to take, and things that might help with your energy.  There are so many different things that effect our energy and health, it’s hard to know where to begin.  But, two major players in our energy levels and keeping us healthy are Vitamin Bs and Zinc!

Vitamin B comes in 8 different forms!  Each form has it’s own unique set of functions it performs.  In order to get our daily needs of B vitamins, we have to either eat them in our diet, or supplement with them, because they are water soluble.  Most of us are deficient in these important vitamins.  Vitamin Bs are responsible for things like converting the food we eat into energy, metabolizing food, repairing and producing our DNA, producing and red and white blood cells, creating neurotransmitters, and proper neurological function.  One of the most common Vitamin B deficiencies is B12.  If you notice that you have symptoms of chronic fatigue, memory loss, digestive disorders, depression or other mood stabilization problems, anxiety and panic attacks, and are feeling tired all of the time, you probably have a B12 deficiency, which means you probably have adrenal fatigue and hormonal imbalance happening as well.  It is vital to have adequate levels of B12 to properly address all of these issues.  I notice that when my Vitamin B levels are low I have much less energy, I struggle remembering words, I feel like my hormones are all over the place, I have severe anxiety, and I struggle a lot with sleep.  So, staying on top of Vitamin B supplementation has been crucial for me!

Zinc is a really great supplement to add into your routine to keep your immune system functioning at optimal levels!  It helps your body to fight off pathogens and recover from illness. You may have heard of taking it when you have a common cold to help speed up the healing process.  But, it has other benefits as well that can make supplementing with it a good idea.   It also acts an anti-inflammatory helping fight chronic conditions such as autoimmune disease, high blood pressure and cancer.  It’s very beneficial to the liver as well, as it helps to flush out toxins!  If you have autoimmune disease, Lyme disease, chronic viral (like the mono virus) or other infections like I have had, I would definitely add this to your arsenal of supplements!  It also helps with muscle growth and repair, so it’s great for those of you who work out a lot.  It’s known to help balance hormones, increase fertility, and even help with PMS!  I’ve noticed since I’ve started consistently having it in my regimen that my periods have been less painful!  So, I’m sold! HAHA.  Anything that reduces that pain for me and I am IN!  Am I right, ladies?!

My doctor recommended that I use this Vitamin B patch by Nutri-Patch to get all of the 8 different kinds of Vitamin B. I like it because it is one less pill I have to take and it’s working for me all day, going directly into the bloodstream instead of through my gut where I seem to have problems absorbing it.  It also has methylated forms of B vitamins, so if you have a liver gene mutation (MTHFR), your body can better absorb it.  However, I came across some really interesting information from Anthony Williams, aka, the Medical Medium about the two essential kinds of B12 that we have to get in order to get the full benefit of B12, which are methylcobalamin and adenosylcobalamin.  He says that most B12 supplements and shots do not have both forms of it, so we need to look for ones that do.  He recommends this Vegan Safe B12 liquid.  I like the liquids because they are more easily and quickly absorbed.  Something else that’s great to learn from The Medical Medium is to look for supplements that do not have toxic ingredients in them like citric acid, alcohol, “natural flavoring”, and titanium dioxide.  This Vegan Safe B12 is really clean, doesn’t taste bad, and I use it in addition to the patch.

I also use a liquid zinc recommended by the Medical Medium.  It’s called Liquid Ionic Zinc.  If you have never heard of the Medical Medium before, I would highly recommend looking into his books.  Regardless of the source of his information and what you might think of it, I have found it all to be highly compelling!  While some of it isn’t new, a lot of it is and/or is a different perspective than what we currently hear from practically every practitioner out there.  I like to challenge the way that we all think and believe things to be true and really test the waters myself.  So many times we just take things as truth without actually investigating on our own.  I’ve done his 28 day cleanses and although I kind of suffered through them, by the end of it all, I did have positive results.  I was struggling with a lot of things at the time, so it was hard to see at times, but some things did get better, and I definitely detoxed A LOT which is a huge deal when you’re sick and dealing with a lot of pathogens and toxicity in your body.  I’ve also found his theory about the mono virus to ring very true for me and others that I know.  It’s definitely something to check out if you’re struggling with ANY kind of health condition!

As always, it’s a good idea to see your naturopath, functional medicine doctor, integrative medicine doctor, or general practitioner (if they will run these kinds of tests for you, many will not) to test for nutritional deficiencies like Vitamin Bs and Zinc.

I’ve linked these supplements below and the Medical Medium’s books for you to look into.  What are your favorite supplements that help you?  Do you have any great book recommendations?  I’d love to hear about them!  Comment below 🙂

If you suffer from chronic pain in your muscles, joints, tendons, nerves, tissues, organs, etc…  I’m about to introduce to you your new best friend – the far infrared heating pad!  It works so well for me for relief from deep muscle pains and injuries, chronic lower and upper back pain, menstrual cramps and cysts, joint pain, arthritis, bladder pain from interstitial cystitis, neck and shoulder pain, liver and gallbladder dysfunction, tendonitis, any kind of nerve pain, and more.

I honestly had no idea what I was getting exactly when I purchased this item.  As someone who suffers with chronic Lyme disease, I listen pretty closely to what Dr. Jay Davidson says to do.  He has a new book out recently called, “How to Fix Lyme Disease”.  If you have Lyme and you have not read this book, I HIGHLY recommend that you do!  Dr. Jay is on top of the game in the Lyme Disease world!  He has first hand experience with it as his wife was gravely ill with it for years.  He has some new and interesting information and products to offer in that book.  He talks a lot about infrared heating pads.  So, naturally, I followed his suggestion and ordered one for myself.  Here are a few reasons why you need an infrared heating pad, and why it’s different from your typical heating pad or hot water bottle.

First, the far infrared heating pad can penetrate much deeper into your body than a standard electric heating pad!  The electric heating pads that most of us have (myself included until about a year ago), omit electric heat from cotton and carbon fibers.  This kind of heat can only penetrate 2-3mm deep.  So essentially, it’s really only heating the skin that’s on top of all of the things inside of you that are causing pain.  The far infrared heating pads use jade, amythest, and tourmaline stones to convert light energy into infrared heat energy which reaches much deeper at up to 5 cm below the surface!  So this kind of heat is really getting down into your muscles, tissues, and bones.  Also, infrared heating pads will never leave burns or rashes on your skin like electrical ones and hot water bottles can.

I can absolutely feel the difference between these two.  When I have pain and I turn this infrared heating pad on, it takes much less time for the pain to ease and often dissolve, and I can feel that it reaches deeper into areas where I need it.  I have interstitial cystitis and I can feel the heat waves getting deep into my bladder tissues where the pain is intense!  It can relieve some of the worst and deepest pain I have!

Also, the infrared heating pads will help your blood to circulate!  This helps to promote healing, and remove toxins. I also personally think that the infrared heat can help kill infections, I’ve read this in different places before, but it’s been my experience as well. The benefits of the heat from the infrared pads also last up to 6 hours after using it for only 30 minutes, while the electric pads only provide relief while the pad is heated and on you.  I can also attest to this!  When I use this on my bladder area for a half an hour I can take it off and feel much better for quite some time before I need it again.  It helps so much when I have pain at night because I put it on, and then within a half an hour I can take it off and the pain relief lasts through the night.

A few other benefits of the far infrared heating pads worth mentioning are that I have noticed that it provides a major amount of stress relief for me!  When I’m working hard on something or have a lot of stress in my life and I feel frazzled and unable to calm myself down, I put on the heating pad even if I don’t have any significant pain happening, and it definitely relaxes me.  It also helps to calm my dog’s nerves!  He loves it!  Something about the warmth just makes us both release the stress and puts us at ease.  I put it on every night while I’m reading in bed and trying to fall asleep.  It is always helps me to fall asleep faster!

I also use the infrared heating pad to help my liver and gallbladder.  Sometimes when the liver and gallbladder get backed up with bile, I can get pretty sick.  Putting the heating pad on those areas helps those organs to release the bile.  So, I start to feel better faster.  This is one thing Dr. Jay mentions doing in his new book on Lyme Disease, but really, it is beneficial to anyone.

The infrared heating pad also helps to improve your range of motion of muscles and joints that are injured.  Because it helps increase blood flow and circulation to that area, you’ll find you can more easily move around.  It is beneficial for people with arthritis, too!  If you also have pain in your neck and shoulders like so many of us do from sitting at a desk all day, or from Lyme, or other chronic illness, these heating pads work wonders.  I am going to get another that’s just for the neck and shoulders.  You can roll this one up, but I’m sure the neck and shoulder one lays more nicely.

The last thing I’ll touch on about these amazing heating pads, that not many people know, is that they do not omit EMFs, also known as electromagnetic fields.  We probably all know by now that EMFs are very harmful and toxic.  This is the reason why we aren’t supposed to live directly under power lines.  EMFs cause radiation and lead to different kinds of cancers, cause disruption of hormones in our bodies, create sleep and anxiety problems, and so much more.  Far infrared heating pads to not omit EMFs.  They are so safe that they are often used in neonatal units to produce heat to keep infants warm.  They also do not omit any UV rays in case you were wondering.  You are much safer using an infrared heating pad than an electric one!

This heating pad shown here is face up so that I could show you the stones that are attached to it which heat up to produce the infrared heat.  But, when you use it, you will want to put the stone side down on your body over the area which causes you pain.  I have the 15″x19″ size for smaller areas such as the bladder or liver and gallbladder, and I also have the 21″x32″ for full back and body use as well. I am 5’3, so if you are taller, you might consider one of the longer ones.  I use them both equally, honestly.  They serve different purposes.  I like to have the small one for traveling.  They both come with a travel bag, too!  Our cars both have plugs where you can plug them in for long car rides, too, which is great!  They also both have memory remotes that keep your usual desired temperature set, all you have to do is turn it on and click a button and it will heat up to the temperature you like.  It also auto shuts off after a certain period of time that you select to keep it on for.  They are very easy to use, don’t be scared by the remote technology!  It’s very simple and helpful.

I hope that this post brought to light some helpful information if you’re suffering from chronic pain, or pain from working out or injuries.  I would highly recommend these products! I would be lost without them at this point.  I’m like Linus from Peanuts with his blankie, carrying my heating pad around everywhere!  Haha!  No shame, it helps keep me comfortable.  I hope it helps you, too! 🙂

 

It has been such a struggle for me to write this. There’s so much to say… I think I would be best served to just write a book because this post may be way too long for a blog and I might lose a lot of readers halfway through… But, for those of you who bear with me to the end, I want to thank you for reading.  So much needs to be done for Lyme Disease awareness and education.  I’m trying to do my part.  It’s very difficult and emotional to talk about, so I’ve done my best here for now…

For me, Lyme disease hasn’t been a moment in time where I might I recall getting bit by a tick, or seeing a bulls-eye rash… for me, it’s been quite the opposite of a moment.  Rather, it has been an endless series of grueling moments of pain, slow realizations of debilitating terror, and shape-shifting never-ending symptoms that continue to elude many of the sharpest and well-respected practitioners in the country.  Oh, and absolutely none of this is covered by any insurance, either.

Starting at the “beginning” is hard to do in a situation like this, where you’ve been miles down the path well before you even knew the path existed.  I recognized for sure that something was very wrong one February evening in 2016 after I had just finished a workout that seemed much more difficult for me than usual.  I had been in recovery and remission from autoimmune hepatitis (not viral, a chronic inflammation of the liver) for about 6 months at that moment, and was working hard to reclaim my health, body, and life.  I had been diagnosed with the autoimmune disease 6 years prior when I went completely jaundice one day with no explanation.  I had been unwell for a while prior to that day, but I was young and didn’t know that what I was feeling wasn’t normal, because honestly I’d felt unwell for years.  So when I was diagnosed with the autoimmune disease, I went on a strong cocktail of corticosteroids (Prednisone) and immunosuppressants for 6 years. Steroids are supposed to help bring down inflammation, and the immunosuppressants suppressed my immune system, weakening it so my body would “stop attacking itself”.  After five and a half years of this cocktail not working, my specialists gave up and told me I would have to go on the liver transplant list.  It was then that I took things into my own hands and started the autoimmune paleo diet and an all natural supplement protocol that got my liver disease into remission in less than 6 months!  So, I started to wean off of the steroids at that time, and thought I was getting my life back.  However, that’s when things got really ugly.  I slowly started to notice I was more and more fatigued. My liver remained in remission, but everything else got much, much worse!  I kept on pushing, trying to work out and battle through… Which then brings us back to February 2016 after that particularly rough workout.

That night, as I made dinner I noticed a heavy feeling start to creep over my body, like I was coming down with something, HARD.  It continued to get heavier and heavier and was so overwhelming that I was crying out in pain!  I couldn’t lift my fork to my mouth, or carry my plate.  My muscles were at complete failure.  My body felt like I was wearing a lead suit it was so heavy.  I felt like my eyes were about to pop out of my skull. I had a constant fever for weeks. I had never felt so sick or weak in my life!  Something was seriously wrong.  I tried to tell myself that maybe it was just the flu or mono.  After a few days I went to the Dr and he couldn’t find anything wrong in my blood work or x-rays.  As time continued, my body crashed even harder!  The first 6 months of trying to figure out what was going on were horrifying. I was in so much pain, and was so weak, I could barely walk across the room without falling over.  The pain in my head was like someone had taken my skull and slammed it off of a cement curb.  It throbbed and ached morning to night.  I felt like I was carrying around a 100 lb lead ball on my neck.  The pain shot down my neck and my shoulders, into my back.  I had joint pain that ached and radiated so deeply in my knees, hips, elbows, hands, and wrists that I would sometimes scream and cry. Little did I know this pain would follow me for years to come.  My muscles ached so badly.  The smallest amounts of movement like chewing would cause so much pain.  I couldn’t sleep.  I would go to bed and lie awake for hours maybe catching a few minutes here and there but never into a deep state.  Every couple of hours I would crash even harder, not able to get up or move about as I wished.  I couldn’t read.  My mind couldn’t keep up to make sense of an entire sentence.  By the time I reached the middle of the sentence I had forgotten the first few words completely.  I couldn’t follow the story line of TV shows or movies.  My husband took me to see The Book of Mormon and I can’t for the life of me tell you what that show is about!  🙁  Everything was like sensory overload!  Music was too loud, lights were too bright, smells were overpowering.  All I could hear was noise and it made me extremely anxious and nervous, I just wanted to scream!  The smallest unexpected noise would send me over the edge!  I couldn’t recover from being startled in the slightest.  I had to stop watching suspenseful TV and exciting movies.  I couldn’t have stressful or emotional conversations without intense physical reactions.  My head and my heart would pound so hard, it was so loud inside of my body.  I also couldn’t find my words.  It was like my vocabulary had been deleted from my memory.  I felt like I had lost complete control over every part of my body.  We were trying to look at new houses at the time.  Sometimes I couldn’t look at more than one.  I would walk through the house, sometimes not even making it upstairs and be so completely wiped out that we would have to drive straight home.  I got scooters at stores because I couldn’t walk the aisles without fainting.  And nobody seemed to have a clue as to WHY.

My PCP told me he thought it was my thyroid.  I knew better.  This was much more than my thyroid. But I couldn’t seem to get any Dr to listen to me.  All my tests kept coming back normal to them.  I went to an endocrinologist specialist, who couldn’t tell me anything either, except that I was slightly hypothyroid and that that shouldn’t be causing all of these symptoms. People would look at me and think I looked perfectly fine!  Newsflash!  You can’t see inside someone’s body!  I spent years masking how I felt inside, so it’s no wonder you couldn’t see it on the outside!  Plus, a little bit of concealer, bronzer, blush, and mascara, and who doesn’t look normal?  I’m not a loud or overly expressive person.  I’m pretty quiet, polite, and sometimes timid.  None of the doctors I went to in my health insurance network could pinpoint anything.  So, I moved on.  I finally found a whole team of like-minded people in functional medicine, integrative medicine, holistic naturopaths, chinese herbalists, and chiropractors who helped diagnose me with Lyme Disease and extreme adrenal fatigue. Along the way, these natural health practitioners have found so many other issues going on in my body that are causing problems.  It was such a relief to find answers!  I felt like  someone was finally telling me, “No!  You’re not going completely insane!  Something really is wrong with you!”  Sometimes just hearing that I wasn’t crazy would bring me to tears, let alone the fear of the diagnosis itself.  The natural health care field goes above and beyond to find what most conventional doctors do not.  They really dig deep to find the root cause of the issues instead of treating the body like individual compartments that need repair.  I realize that this might not be the fault of Western medicine doctors because they aren’t trained to look for Lyme Disease or root causes of illness in this way and that in-depth testing of this sort isn’t in their standard procedure.  But, for so long now conventional medicine has completely missed the boat for me and for so many friends, friends of friends, family members & others I connect with through support groups.  I really wish the practices would change to help more people find the causes of their problems… I’ll share more on that in another post.

Chronic Lyme disease is very difficult to diagnose and to treat.  Once it has been in your system for a while, it more often than not does not show up in the usual blood tests.  If you have had it for a long time, your immune system becomes so suppressed that your body can’t make the antibodies that would show up on the blood test.  It also hides in your organs, and forms something called a biofilm that is a protective shield around it that antibiotics cannot penetrate.  So, just taking the antibiotic like most people do when they first get bit does not work for someone who has had it in their system for a longer period of time.  I know so many people who have tried many rounds of antibiotics for their Lyme and are still so sick and now have damaged their gut and immune system so much.  My Lyme Dr says that if you catch it within three weeks and take the antibiotic, that it will kill the borellia.  But, if it is in your system longer than 3 weeks, it has gone into it’s second stage where it forms the biofilm and becomes chronic. That’s when you are in big trouble.  You may not have severe symptoms or any symptoms at all sometimes for many years.  But, when your immune system is weakened, for several different kinds of reasons, the disease will activate and spread.  So, when I was on the medications for my liver to decrease my immune system, the Lyme disease was only getting stronger.  But, the steroids I was taking were masking many of those symptoms because they pump you up and give you energy and reduce inflammation!  So, the entire time I was taking those drugs that never helped my liver, they were hurting my immune system and making the underlying cause of the autoimmune disease, the Lyme, even worse!

I never remember seeing a rash or a tick. Less than half of the people who get Lyme disease see a rash.  Don’t depend on seeing a rash to determine whether or not you may have Lyme.  But, when I think back to my childhood, I remember that around age 12 I was having bad pain in my knees and really struggling in dance classes.  The Dr said it was growing pains or Osgood Schlatter disease.  Thing is, that pain never went away, I just got used to having it.  In fact, it got worse in high school when I had a job at Osh Kosh B’Gosh.  I worked 8-9 hour shifts on my feet and would come home an aching, tired, miserable, mess.  My hips and knees were the worst!  I also had a severe bout of anemia in high school as well.  I would pass out if I walked up the stairs, or scrubbed my head in the shower.  I ended up having to stay home from school for a few weeks and had to quit all of my physical activities.  I didn’t mind the pass on gym class, but I was really sad to stop my dance classes.  I never got back to them.  I tried, but my body just didn’t work the same.  I would even fall asleep in the shower in the mornings.  Thinking back on it, I was really fatigued, and it wasn’t at all normal.  But at the time, I didn’t know any better.  My health didn’t get any better in college.  I had terrible fatigue coupled with anxiety and depression.  I started having awful digestive problems in my early 20s, too.  But still, no one had any answers for me other than that I was depressed!  Well, of course I was depressed!  I felt like total crap all the time and had unknown pathogens wreaking havoc inside my body!  It wasn’t until I was 26 that the autoimmune diagnosis came along which lead me to find the Lyme disease several years later.

My first step in treatment for the Lyme disease was to start an protocol that came highly recommended by a trusted friend and health coach.  The Chinese herbalist was Dr. Zhang.  He has his own clinic in NYC specifically for the treatment of Lyme disease and other difficult to treat diseases.  When I first started the protocol, I felt like I was dying. I started to even prepare myself for the possibility.  The reaction to the treatment was horrible.  When you treat Lyme Disease, you have something called a Herxheimer Reaction.  It’s the body’s response to toxic die off.  You feel worse and your symptoms intensify before you feel better.  In the Lyme world, we call this “herxing”.  I felt like I was in an endless herx.  I would detox daily with my infrared sauna, ionic foot baths, teas, other supplements, colon hydrotherapy, massage therapy, epsom salt baths, anything I could try to lessen the blow I would.  I would break down almost every night for the next couple years and sob because I wasn’t feeling better.  I knew that people with chronic Lyme disease did not lead comfortable lives. I could barely leave my bed for months. If I did, I paid for it hard later.  Eventually, I felt a small amount of relief.  I could read again, and I had a tiny bit more energy.  Some of the joint pain was slightly better.  But, I was still extremely ill and after 10 months on this protocol, I had plateaued and knew it was time for me to try something new.

I was and still am very involved in the chronic Lyme disease community online, particularly on Facebook.  Through that group and through word of mouth I was connected to a person who lived near me who was now in Lyme remission and was doing great!  She had gone to a local wellness center that treated Lyme with a different herbal protocol and had great success.  So, I went there, did their testing and started their treatment.  They told me that I was one of the sickest patients they’d ever had (you’d be surprised how many times I’ve heard this!).  I hated hearing that because I was already so down on my luck with the first protocol not working that I didn’t want to think of the chances of this one being unsuccessful, but they were confident that it would work.  After their testing of all my organs and systems, their opinion was that I had had this disease for well over 20 years, which would have put me back at the age where I first started noticing the joint pain.  Things were going okay on this protocol until I increased the dosage for the first time, and it hit me like a truck!  The herxing was beyond anything I had ever experienced before.  I was so sick, I couldn’t get out of bed.  I couldn’t do anything for myself.  Showering was extremely difficult.  We had to bring in help to cook, clean, and do errands and things around the house (Thank you Vicky, we would have been lost without you!).  They told me to go back down on the treatment to the first dosage, but I continued to be just as sick as I was when I first learned I had it, and I knew my body just couldn’t handle this protocol.  I once again felt like I was on my death bed.  So, I stopped the treatment all together and hoped to regain some strength.

During this time, we knew we had to find another route for treatment.  It seemed as though my body, specifically my liver was not capable of handling the herbal protocols.  They were just too strong and knocked me out entirely.  We were seriously considering a stem cell treatment center in CA.  It was a huge investment of money and time and the reviews were not that stellar.  Some people had success, others none at all.  We were so confused and uncertain of what to do.  Thankfully, my husband was still out in the world making waves and helping others and someone came into our lives at that time that has forever changed ours and we couldn’t be more thankful.  Angela, a client of my husband’s was selling t-shirts months before for her own daughter to go to CT to have a rare laser treatment done for Lyme disease.  I remember when Ryan came home with the T-Shirt and told me the story of Angela and her daughter at that time.  In our desperation for possible avenues, my husband recalled Angela and reached out to her to ask her about how that treatment went.  She said that her daughter was doing amazingly well and told us how to get in touch with the Dr who did it.  Everyone we heard of that went to have this treatment was doing much better, at least in terms of their Lyme disease.  We were put on a waiting list for 5 months.  Those were the longest, hardest, most terrifying 5 months of our lives.  I wasn’t on any treatment at all because nothing was helping.  We felt like if this treatment didn’t work, we had no idea what to do next.  I couldn’t imagine continuing to live in the state I was in for the rest of my life.  It was an incredibly emotionally difficult time for us.  We wanted to be so hopeful about it, but with our experience of being hopeful and then being let down in the past with other protocols, we knew it would be foolish to put all of faith into it.  But, we kind of did anyway.

Finally that 5 months was up and we left for CT.  We were there for 12 days, with a total of 8 treatments.  He determines which strains of Lyme you have as well as which coinfections (when you get bit by a tick, you do not get just Lyme borrelia, you also get other infections that they carry like Bartonella, Babesia, etc).  I had 14 strains of Lyme of both stage 1 and stage 2, and 7 coinfections, including Babesia and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.  He said that of the strains that I tested positive for, some were from 20+ years ago, and some were more recent years, so it was likely that I had been bit more than once!  It was in all of my organs, but the majority was in my brain stem and cerebellum. On the final day when he said I no longer have any Lyme in me, I couldn’t even believe it.  I was having herx reactions to the treatment, so I didn’t feel well at this time, but I knew eventually the herx would fade.  We left the office and went outside and cried in the car!  That night we went out for a fancy dinner to celebrate and headed home the next day.  I was in so much pain the car ride home, but my heart was full of hope!

When we got home things got worse.  I continued to herx for several months.  It wasn’t until 4 months later that I really began to notice a change.  In the meantime, I’d been diagnosed with yet another chronic condition called Interstitial Cystitis or Painful Bladder Syndrome; likely also caused by my immune system being weakened for so long, wrecked with Lyme disease and other pathogens.  This was another huge blow that really sent me in a downward spiral emotionally.  I had constant stabbing pains in my bladder around the clock.  Interstitial Cystitis is a different subject, so I’ll write more on it another day, but it really floored me how yet again, I get another major diagnosis in the midst of trying to recover from the previous one.  I can’t seem to escape!  But slowly, I started noticing my Lyme symptoms were getting better.  I was able to walk further, I had less pain in my head and joints, and I could start to do more than one thing a day.  We went to Hawaii in January, and I walked in the sand!  That was a major moment!  I hadn’t been able to do that just 6 months prior.

Now, exactly one year later, I am doing much better than I was before that treatment in CT!  I am able to function at a higher level!  I can cook again, I can take care of myself, I can walk around the neighborhood, I can run several errands, I just have more energy in general!  The constant headaches are gone. (I do owe some of that to Family Chiropractic in Cranberry.  Dr. Amanda Jordan and Dr. Cotey Jordan have an amazing Migraine Challenge every year, and they really helped me out, I would highly recommend them!)  The joint pain is much better.  The fatigue is much less.  My overall hope and state of well-being has really improved.  I look forward to living a full life instead of fearing a life of misery.  I am still struggling with other pathogens and organ dysfunction in my body that cause me pain and fatigue.  I still have to take very good and careful care of myself.  I can still get really run down.  But, all of my blood work currently shows no signs of Lyme disease.  There is no test that can definitively tell you for 100% certain that you DON’T have Lyme disease.  But, all other tests that might indicate that it’s there are negative.  It’s possible there are some stragglers still inside of me and I know I still have a co-infection that we did not know about at the time of the treatment in CT.  But, I’m still hopeful and determined to eliminate them and continue on my healing journey!

Having chronic Lyme disease opens you up to a whole other host of disease and health problems, not just the Lyme disease itself.  I myself have experienced severe adrenal fatigue, hypothyroidism, bladder disease, autoimmune liver disease, polycystic ovarian syndrome, endometriosis, IBS, arthritis, kidney dysfunction, parasites, anemia, gastroparesis, among other things.  If you get bit, I would urge you to seek treatment immediately.  It is not something that you want lingering in your system.  It causes all of your body systems to go completely haywire.

I am so thankful for my husband who has always believed me, believed IN me, and trusted me throughout this entire journey.  I wish it was over, but he remains so faithful to seeing me through it.  He’s been a constant source of love, support, and patience for me.  I would never have made it through any of this without him.  When everyone else told me I was fine, he stood by my side and fought for me.  So often when women have chronic illness, men, and other people in general, but particularly the men, will overlook it and think you’re just overreacting or “it’s all in your head”.  We aren’t taken seriously because we “don’t look sick”.  We sit in social situations and smile while we’re in great amounts of pain.  So everyone just assumes you must be fine.  They don’t know that adrenaline kicks in when you’re out and you want to be normal for a little while, so you ride the adrenaline and then come home and completely crash after a few hours of being “on”.  I am so grateful to Ryan for looking past all of that and for knowing my limitations and accepting them.  I’m sure it has been so hard for him to not be able to live the way he would if his spouse wasn’t so ill all of the time.  But, he has been so patient and loving in the way that he deals with it, never making me feel bad.  He knows I carry a lot of guilt, but he never makes me feel guilty.  I’m so glad he has never had to feel the pain that I feel, but I know he gets it.  I couldn’t love him more for tirelessly taking such good care of me. With everything that I’ve endured, I’ve always known how lucky I am to have him for a husband.

And so, if you’ve read this far, thank you!  I hope that you learned a little about chronic Lyme disease and what is like to have it.  If you know someone who might relate to this, I would encourage you to share it with them so that we can connect.  I love to be a source of support for my fellow sufferers. Having a community of support really makes a huge difference! Life isn’t all about suffering.  We find ways to enjoy the beauty in it, too!  Part of that beauty is supporting and loving others in the same or similar situations.  Anything I can do to help someone else who’s also hurting always helps to ease my own pain.  I’ve also realized for me that things like fashion, decorating, and creating other beautiful things around me is a way for me to channel my frustrations and pain and to bring beauty into the world.  So, I hope that you enjoy my blog and that it brings a little fun and enjoyment into your life as well!  I would love for you to share anything in the comments below, or message me, about your journey or things you like to do to bring beauty into your life, too 🙂

 

 

“Your vibe attracts your tribe”.  I love this quote!  When you think about the people in your life, do they reflect the kind of person you are?  Do you do things and act in similar ways that they do?  When I think about my friends and people I consistently choose to work and interact with and who choose me in return, I see a strong correlation between all of them.  They’re all respectful to others, of their choices and boundaries, generous and charitable, kind and understanding, loving to people who are different from them, wanting to see the best in others, and always willing to give a helping hand!  I could really go on on.  I do love my tribe very much, and I try to be all of these things to people in general myself.  I have had so many people come into my life when I needed them most, whom I never knew before and they have not only helped me, but saved my life! Twice!  I always think about that and how lucky I am.  What are the chances of that happening?  When I had my autoimmune disease in my liver (it’s called Autoimmune Hepatitis, but it is not a viral form of hepatitis.  It is only called hepatitis because that is the term used for any and all inflammation of the liver), and the drs wanted me to go on the transplant list, I knew it was a bad idea.  My body was so weak, I didn’t think I could survive a transplant or even the aftermath of managing it.  A transplant would have completely changed the course of my life at such a young age.  That was when I really put myself out there and researched and talked to as many people as I could.  I was an active member of a support group on Facebook for my disease.  I would spend a lot of time encouraging, empathizing, and listening to other members going through dark times that I knew too well.  One night when I couldn’t sleep, I was scrolling through that group and I came upon an article in which a lady told her story about how she healed naturally from this disease, did not need a transplant, and was doing well without any medications.  She had read a book by Denise Otten called, “Curing Courtney”.  It was Denise’s account of how she helped heal her young daughter from this disease using an all natural vitamin and supplement protocol by Dr. Burt Berkson.  I read the book and immediately contacted her.  She is a health coach and she helps SO many people suffering with this horrible disease.  Within 6 months I was in remission doing things this way and incorporating the Autoimmune Paleo Diet as well.  I had been on steroids and immunosuppressants from the specialists in Pittsburgh for 6 years, with absolutely no results.  My doctors laughed at me when I asked about the diet.  But, when I went to see them after that 6 months, they didn’t even recognize me!  He went to get my blood test results and came back in the room even more shocked!  My liver enzymes were completely normal after being fifty times what they were supposed to be for 6 years!  I did not need a transplant, and I no longer take any of those medications.  So, when I think about people like Denise, who have come into my life, I always wonder, “why me?” My husband says, “it wouldn’t have happened if you hadn’t put yourself out there, if you hadn’t been helpful to other people”.  It also wouldn’t have happened if other people hadn’t put themselves out there, too!  It’s not easy to share such an intimate health story with the world, but that woman did.  If we stay safe and quiet in our own little corners of the world, it’s true, we won’t find the light that we are looking for, or that we need but are too fearful to admit or seek out.  If we open our hearts and minds, give of ourselves to others and make use of our knowledge, talents, and love we have to share, then we will most certainly start to receive those gifts from others in return. They may come in the form of friendship, mentors, doctors, caregivers, employers, work collaborations, the possibilities are endless.  So, that’s why I love this quote, “your vibe attracts your tribe” so much, because I most certainly believe that the energy we put out into the world will always come back to us. <3

Now you may be thinking, what does this have to do with this outfit?? LOL.  Well, I really love the vibe of this outfit!  Haha.  I think it is so sunny, cheery, and fun! It’s a great outfit for going out on the town with your friends and family and having a blast!  This bodysuit is by Lovers + Friends.  I love the bright pop of gold in the creamy, ivory lace.  It kind of reminds of an orangesicle!  You’re sure to attract good vibes in this top!  It has a button to be fastened down lower, but I chose to pin it up a bit higher for a little more modesty, but you can do as you like with that!

These jeans are by TOPSHOP.  I love TOPSHOP jeans for so many reasons!  First, they are a lot cheaper than other designer jeans which I am guilty of spending money on, but, they look and feel just as good!  They also come in petite which is great for shorties like me because we don’t have to have them hemmed, and tall sizes.  They’re super stretchy, yet firm and help “keep everything in” if you know what I mean 😉  TOPSHOP makes so many different styles, there’s definitely something for everyone’s taste.  They always have the most popular trends in denim available!

My bag which I have featured a lot in my blog posts is by Ellen & James.  They have the cutest handmade straw bags in all kinds of different sizes and styles.  They are really quality bags, too!  Perfect touch to any of your bohemian inspired outfits!

My shoes are new from Steve Madden!  I love these shoes!  The neutral color makes them so versatile for any outfit.  The heel is thicker too so you have more support and feel a little more steady on your feet, especially if you are not used to wearing heels.  The block heel is still really big this season!  They’re a nice soft suede, too which is definitely still a happening trend!

I’ve linked this outfit and accessories below.  Have a great weekend, friends!  🙂

I was on the fence over essential oils for a while until I tried them for my Lyme induced joint pain.  I tried EVERTHING natural for joint pain, and even unnatural things, and it seemed like nothing would help!  That was when a fellow wellness advocate really pushed me to try essential oils again.  She is a doTERRA rep so naturally this is the brand I tried, and I’ve used others since that have been pretty successful, too.  For joint pain and other pain caused by inflammation like muscle aches, I layer Peppermint, Marjoram, and Frankincense which is unfortunately not pictured here because I use it so much that I ran out.  That combination really seems to numb the deep aching and helps me to better relax and even sleep!  I also use Peppermint on my temples when I have a headache that won’t quit and it really helps! doTERRA has a great roll-on called PasTense which I also am out of, but it does wonders for headaches as well.

My favorite oils for relaxation are Serenity and Balance.  Serenity really calms me.  I like to put it on my wrists and chest with a carrier oil such as extra avocado oil or coconut oil at night time and take several deep breaths.  Instantly calming!  I also put Serenity in my diffuser at night while I’m reading in bed and falling asleep.  The Balance oil smells amazing!  I use it as perfume and everyone always tells me I smell good, haha!  I thought I might smell like a hippy, but, apparently it doesn’t come across that way to other people’s noses which is great!  My husband loves it.

I like to use OnGuard particularly when I travel!  Airports and public bathrooms make me super nervous because when you have a weak immune system, you can pick up anything and have it ruin your vacation!  I take 2-3 drops under the tongue and wash it down with water for an immune boost!  If you’re in a jam for hand soap, you can also mix it with a carrier oil and you’re good to go!  It can even be used for cleaning!  What are your favorite essential oils to use?  Drop a comment below and share! 🙂

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