have yourself a healthy little Christmas…and a healthy new year

Moving into a new year gets many people thinking about healthy habits. New Year’s resolutions tend to focus heavily on health goals. Thankfully, I don’t have any huge overhaul planned for the year to come. I do want to keep building on the habits I have and making improvements (especially in the realm of consistency!), but overall I feel like I’m going in the right direction (just moving slowly).

Facebook peeps have already heard me raving about this lovely necklace. It’s actually a diffuser for essential oils. I do think this picture turned out a little better–less glare. You can actually see the necklace rather than just a blur.

IMG_0235 diffuser necklace

Right now I’ve got an allergy/sinus blend in it.

Here’s the little insert that goes inside the necklace–it’s where you put the drop or two of oil. Eventually I’ll have to look into getting refills of these.

inside diffuser necklace the tab thing

This wasn’t the only Christmas gift I’m excited about though. Maintaining my green smoothie habit tends to be hard on blenders. It breaks them. So this was a fabulous thing to find under the tree.

IMG_0240 blender

It’s a Kitchen Aid. It’s also red, which matches my stand mixer, immersion blender, microwave, and toaster oven. This nifty color coordination makes me look far more gifted at decor than I actually am. That’s a nice plus.

I’ve already used the blender as a sort of food processor, cutting coconut oil and butter into flour to make scones. It worked well for that. Yay for multitasking appliances!

The above presents were from my parents, and I love them (the gifts as well as the parents). And even though it isn’t really a “health” item (more of a “treat”), they also got me a waffle iron. We used it this morning, and it makes fabulous waffles. I don’t want it to feel left out of the holiday love, so here it is.

IMG_0239

Shiny! (And the waffles I made this morning were whole wheat–that counts for something, right?)

Back to the healthy stuff…lest you think physical health is all this blog will ever discuss, I used some gift card credit from my brother to buy some Bible studies that I’m actually really excited about. I’ll post more about those here as I get started with them (and finally start living up to the blog’s name!).

I wish you all a very healthy and prosperous 2015!

immune system boosters

“The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft agley.”

This line of poetry often sums up my life. My perfectly laid-out plans often go very much awry.

Like publishing this post, which was supposed to have been done ages ago. Better late than never, I guess. Read knowing all the information is a couple of weeks old.

I have been drinking smoothies and eating fish. But I’ve also been sick, so my experiments on improving my health have taken a slightly different turn.

I started feeling a bit “off” on Tuesday. It got worse on Wednesday–tired, achy, and terribly cold. Wednesday night through Thursday evening were the worst.

But today I’m feeling better–still tired, but no aches or chills or general yuckiness.

Here’s what I did.

Elderberry syrup

Elderberry was one of the first natural remedies I remember taking seriously. I first read about it not on an alternative health website or in a book. Rather it was a mainstream women’s magazine (either Good Housekeeping or Woman’s Day, I think). It had showed such impressive results in clinical studies that even the mainstream medical community was taking notice and recommending it.

This link gives a good summary of the many clinical studies that have been conducted on elderberry.

So I’ve been keeping it on hand since then. We try to do daily doses throughout cold and flu season (sometimes we’re better about this than others). But for the last three days, I’ve been doing multiple rounds of elderberry. I take a teaspoon several times per day.

Zinc

Zinc doesn’t seem to register much on the radar of the natural health world, which has always surprised me. Many alternative health experts seem to tout Vitamin C, which hasn’t held up well in clinical studies, but ignore zinc, which has been shown effective at reducing both the severity and duration of colds. I stock it in pill form for my husband and me and orange-flavored chewables for the girls. We accidentally experimented with this a couple of years ago, when my husband and older daughter took zinc faithfully throughout an illness. My younger child and I did not. And we did get sicker and stay sick longer than they did.

I take one zinc a day when I feel something coming on. I usually do it with breakfast, because that’s when I remember. It is imperative that you take zinc with food! Trust me on this; we’ve proven that one too. And the stomach upset caused by ignoring this tip is not worth it.

Two studies regarding zinc can be found here or here. You can find others if you poke around, but I don’t want to clog this up with a bunch of links. .

Essential oils

I’m still new to the world of essential oils. I’m excited about an online class I signed up for, and I’m hoping to come away with a lot of good information. I don’t know of a lot of research on their effectiveness; most essential oil information tends to come from people or companies selling them–something of a tainted well. But a friend gave me a bottle of Thieves for my birthday, so we’ve been using it. The last three days I’ve been slathering it on (diluted in fractionated coconut oil) at regular intervals throughout the day. If I were the one making the essential oil purchase, I’d probably opt for Plant Therapy’s Germ Fighter Synergy Blend and/or the Immune Boost. A similar blend of oils for much less money.

Sleep and rest

Sleep really needs to be one of my goals–and soon. I’m bad about staying up too late, and I have to get up on time the next morning regardless of how tired I am. But feeling poorly has had the positive effect of forcing me to go to bed on time. I also cut an activity Wednesday night and just stayed home to rest.

The end result of all this? As mentioned above, I’m doing much better today. Of course, I have no way of knowing if I would have been feeling better today no matter what. Still, I’m pleased to feel improvement so quickly.

P.S. Vitamin D and omega 3 fatty acids are also supposed to help the immune system. These are already a part of my daily regimen, so I didn’t need to add them. Also, chicken soup is another natural remedy that has caught the attention of the mainstream medical community. It would definitely have been worth adding to my “treatments.” But I didn’t really feel like making it and to be perfectly honest, I don’t actually really like it all that much. I like soup, just not chicken soup. But I do heartily recommend it.

Here’s to staying healthy the rest of the winter!

pondering the second experiment

So NaNoWriMo kind of kicked my rear as far as getting other writing done. I did make 50,000 words, and I did finish my first draft (finally!) of a novel that’s been rattling in my head for years now. But I didn’t do much in the way of any other writing. As a reader of this blog, you might have noticed this.

Whoops.

I can’t say I did a great job of practicing yoga either. I did manage to keep drinking water (mostly). Maybe I can count that as a half-win?

December is less busy for me; holiday activities don’t start for us until closer to the actual day of Christmas. We do have other things going on between now and then (parties, ballet performance, etc.), but they’re pretty spread out. So I do feel confident that any health goals I set for the month do have a chance of succeeding.

I’ve been mulling over what the second health experiment should be. I’m going to continue with yoga, because I need that each day. I think I’m going to add green smoothies and fish to the mix as well. I posted that I had a menstrual period that was a vast improvement over what I usually deal with. I’ve had another period hit since writing that post. Unfortunately, it was back to my norm–heavy bleeding, clotting, cramping, etc. I’ve been trying to pinpoint the difference. All I can come up with is that during the “good” one, I was drinking a green smoothie daily and I ate fish twice. Maybe it was just a fluke, but I’m going to try to see if being more consistent with those things can have a positive effect.

So here is my plan for Experiment 2:

1. Daily yoga practice (at least a few minutes)

2. Green smoothie at least three times per week (yes, daily would be better, but I’m trying to set attainable goals)

3. Fish at least least once a week (my older daughter will love this–she and I both like fish. It’s trying to come up with something else for my husband and younger child to eat that makes this one tricky. I dislike preparing two different meals)

And since I’m not pounding out crazy word counts each day, I can do some web browsing and start sharing links of interest on the weekends again. : )