Fighting Adrenal Fatigue, Naturally

fight adrenal

After losing our son in the early second trimester in August, my body just never recovered. I lost a lot of blood, resulting in plummeting iron levels and extremely low energy. Walking up the stairs, exercising, and even holding my daughter were exhausting to me.

Even when I got to a point where I was eating a very clean diet, pushing through workouts, and taking my multivitamins regularly, I still couldn’t shake the fatigue and general feeling of “unwell”. I gained 15-20lb in about 3 months. My self confidence was waning and I honestly felt hopeless.

Several friends encouraged me to research adrenal fatigue- and, boy, were they on to something! Adrenal fatigue is kind of complicated, but you can read up on it here. The general premise: stress and life events render your adrenal glands basically inactive. Your body stops making adrenaline, or produces it at inappropriate times, resulting in crazy fatigue but then sometimes insomnia and unnecessary panic. Weight won’t budge no matter what, exercise makes you feel worse, and you can have random bouts of inflammation. I had all of these symptoms and more.

Because I don’t currently have health insurance, I was cornered into a self-diagnosis through trial and error. However, I am happy to report that after about 6 weeks, I am already starting to feel much better! So, I want to share some of the lifestyle changes that I have made to fight my battle with adrenal fatigue.

Cut out the caffeine…
This was so hard for me! I was drinking 4-6 cups of coffee throughout the day and I was feeling NOTHING. No jolt, nothing. It does’t help that I like the taste of coffee, the feeling of a warm mug in my hands- so yeah, it was an issue. Overusing caffeine, particularly after 12PM, overworks and confuses the adrenal glands. So out went coffee.

Now, if I have any, I drink decaf or maybe a half cup of regular- and I feel it. Instead, we drink Chaga concentrate or sometimes even Mate!

…and the sugar…
Sugar functions much like coffee in that it makes it more difficult for the adrenal glands to function properly, let alone the myriad other health issues it causes. Out goes the sugar. Boo!

…and the gluten.
Same thing. Gluten takes a lot of work for the body to digest, and when the body needs to be healing instead…you need to conserve that energy. I am not 100% gluten free at this point, but I try to limit my consumption as much as possible to give it the break it needs.

Support your body’s natural rhythms.
ACV and honey in the morning help naturally jumpstart the metabolism and support the adrenals! Also, see the supplements below.
Magnesium and chamomile or lavender at night- help relax the body and the mind. Tell your body that it’s time to shut off and sleep! I love to drink this magnesium just before bed.
Epsom salt baths to relax at night- again, helps relax the body and get ready for sleep. These are particularly helpful if you are struggling with any kind of sleeping issues. This kind is great!

Add in supplements to support healing.
Ashwagandha, ginseng, and ginkgo biloba all support the adrenals and productively manage stress. You can find formulas with all of these, or each individually. There are also adrenal support specific formulas that often include these.

Support your healing with essential oils.
Essential oils can be very supportive of the healing process. Using “awakening” oils in the morning, such as citruses or mints, and calming oils in the evenings, like lavender, chamomile, or cedarwood, can further support the body’s new rhythms. There are also oils that specifically support the adrenals, such as rosemary and lemongrass. For more information on essential oils and for purchasing options, please email me: karli.vonherbulis@gmail.com.

Replenish minerals and vitamins and FEED your adrenals with SOLE.
Sole water is one of the best ways to do this! Sole is a high-mineral salt water infusion that is drank on an empty stomach each morning (ideally). You can buy high quality sea salt crystals made specifically for making sole and make it at home! This has made a huge difference in my healing process and I have come to (almost) crave the taste 🙂

Limit heavy cardio and stick to restorative exercise
For most healing protocols, this sounds counterintuitive- but when your body isn’t making energy hormones to even get you through the day, making them for a sweaty cardio sesh just isn’t gonna work. Stick to things like yoga, tai chi, or walking until you feel your energy starting to return.

SLEEP!
For the love, your body is healing! Go to bed early, sleep in if you can, nap if you need it. This is a good, good thing!

Have you suffered from adrenal fatigue? What was helpful for you in recovery?

DO ONE THING: Cutting Artificial Sweeteners

CUTTING ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS | do one thing series

Please note: I am not a doctor, nor have I received formal medical training. I’m just a mom, passionate about natural health who wants to share what she knows! This post contains affiliate links- thanks for supporting my family!

I often have conversations with people who tell me how overwhelmed they are with eating healthy and making responsible dietary changes. I admit, it takes a lot of adjusting (both mentally and physically) to arrive at a healthy lifestyle, but there are many small changes that can be made to add up to a cumulative healthy change. This week I’m beginning the new ‘Do One Thing’ series, teaching you one change per week to make for the good of your health. This week, we’re starting big: cutting out artificial sweeteners.

Calorie counting is both a blessing an a curse to our generation’s health: while many people have trimmed significant weight by counting their calories and adding in exercise, it is often accomplished through the introduction of low-calorie or calorie-free diet foods that are chock full of chemical additives and artificial sweeteners. While this *might* give you the short-term positive payoff of lost weight, it’s wreaking havoc on your body in the long term.

See, when we consume a food that has been sweetened artificially, our body tastes the sweetness and begins to produce insulin to break down sugars. However, because sugar isn’t present, this leaves lots of excess insulin circulating in our bodies, which then leads us to crave sugar even more! So, that diet soda you have with your lunch might be directly related to that candy bar you were craving later that afternoon. Not exactly helping you lose weight like you thought, huh?

Another often overlooked issue with artificial sweeteners is that they are artificial! You are flooding your body with chemicals (many linked to very troublesome side effects- see this FDA release) that you aren’t meant to process. This puts extra pressure on your liver, creates disruption in the digestive tract, and throws the body’s natural flora off balance.

So, what’s the solution? Stay away from artificial sweeteners! Here’s what I suggest:

-Swap diet sodas for all-natural ones sweetened with cane sugar (preferably organic)

-Sweeten your tea or coffee with cane sugar, coconut sugar, real maple syrup, or honey. Avoid any ‘sugar free’ syrups or flavorings, and don’t be fooled by agave- it’s highly processed and likely worse for you than plain sugar.

-Avoid chemical-laden low calorie diet foods and eat real foods instead, like fruits and vegetables.

Have you cut out artificial sweeteners? Did you notice a difference in your health? What was the most difficult transition for you?

5 Reasons to Eat Seasonally

5 Reasons to Eat With The Seasons

While I have always been a lover of good food, it wasn’t until college that I really became aware of the many issues surrounding the food industry and tried to make positive changes in my own life. One of the first changes I decided to make was really making a conscious effort to eat with the seasons- which, doing my undergrad in South Florida, wasn’t actually all that difficult. It wasn’t until I moved back up north three years ago that I really learned just how important eating with the seasons can be!

The basic premise is this: rather than going to your supermarket and picking up whatever produce you desire on a certain day, you learn what is already growing in your region during that time of year and stick to those items instead- better yet, get them straight from the local farmer! Given that the produce is able to be grown locally, chances are that the food will have travelled less of a distance, be grown to better standards (hopefully organically), and the chances of corruption or unfair business practices are far less than buying out of season produce.

Follow me over to the BULK HERB STORE BLOG to read my top 5 reasons to eat with the seasons!

Great selection of bulk herbs, books, and remedies. Articles, Research Aids and much more.

ALN Best Home Remedies of 2013

ALN's Best Home Remedies of 2013

Some of you may know that I am lucky to be a part of a beautiful blogging community called the Alternative Living Network.  Filled with bloggers who love Jesus and want to live a natural, Kingdom-minded lifestyle, I am endlessly thankful for the challenge and encouragement that they are to me!

This year, we are combining forces to bring you the best writings of 2013. You can see the other blogs (and subjects) involved at the end of the post, but for today, here are ALN’s Best Home Remedies of 2013!

EVERYDAY REMEDIES
Oil Pulling: Your New Daily Routine
What is Oil Pulling?
Establishing a Daily Routine with Essential Oils
Foraging for Wild Edibles
5 Steps to Building the Best Collection of Oils for YOUR Family
Autumn Tonic Tea

ALN Best Home Remedies of 2013 (Elderberry Syrup)
Image Used with Permission from Nourishing Faith & Family

COLD & FLU
A Guide to Elderberry Syrup (Plus 8 Recipes!)
Elderberry Syrup
Preventative Measures for Winter Health
Surviving the World’s Worst Cold Season
Home Remedies for Cold and Flu
The Cold Buster
Easy Detoxifying and Healing Morning Elixir
DIY Herbal Vapor Rub- Crock Pot Method

ALN Best Home Remedies of 2013 (Owie Balm)
Image Used With Permission From Your Thriving Family

BUGS & BOOBOOS
Heal a Spider Bite With a Potato
Healing Bug Bites
Owie Balm Recipe

ALN's Best Home Remedies of 2013 (Remove a Mole with ACV!)
Image Used With Permission From Don’t Waste The Crumbs

SPECIFIC REMEDIES
For Pregnancy: Blend-It-Yourself Pregnancy Tea
For Chicken Pox: Made Up Chicken Pox Salve
For Dry Skin: Dry Itchy Skin Remedies
For Mole Removal: How to Remove a Mole With Apple Cider Vinegar
For Detoxification: 10 Day Water Fast

Great selection of bulk herbs, books, and remedies. Articles, Research Aids and much more.

To see more Best of 2013 Round-ups, make sure to check out the following blogs between 12/23 and 12/31!

Whole Intentions

Feed Me, Mama

It Takes Time

The Entwife’s Journal

The Ezer Wife

Your Thriving Family

Nourishing Simplicity

Richly Rooted

Joyful Thrifty Home

Day 2 Day Joys

Wisdom Seeking Mommy

Natural Momma in Progress

Accidentally Green

Georgetown MN

Growing Slower

Imperfect Homemaker

Simple Life Abundant Life

Natural Living Mamma

Whole New Momma

Nourishing Faith and Family

Establishing a Daily Routine With Essential Oils

Establishing a Daily Routine With Essential Oils

Last week, we discussed building the best collection of essential oils for the needs of YOUR family. Just as important as selecting the correct essential oils for your family is establishing an effective routine to use them! For me, this includes many different methods of treatment:

Topical
Aromatic
Internal
In Products

To figure out how best to use oils for your family, first look at how the oils you have on hand are supposed to be used. Each oil bottle should be labeled with it’s safe usages: A for aromatic (inhaling or diffusing), T for topical (put directly on skin, or diluted in a carrier oil), and I for internal (ingested in a pill, liquid, under tongue, etc). These are the most important guidelines you can follow, and they should shape the rest of your plan!

Next, consider what you are trying to accomplish– and how to most effectively make that goal happen! Again, here’s two of my favorite resources: Modern Essentials and The Aromatherapy & Essential Oils Handbook.

Some oils, used daily, should have a specific time of day that you routinely apply, so you don’t forget! Things like oils to boost immunity are great examples of this: apply them in the morning, and you’re set for the day. Others, like a relaxing blend, should be applied every night before bed.You don’t really need these oils throughout the day.

Other oils are used for more acute reasons- tension, energy boost, focus- and should be kept with you to use when needed.

In addition, you may want to incorporate oils into your household products- DIY cleaning solutions, beauty products, etc- and those will be used throughout your day as well!

Here’s an example of my daily oils routine:

ON WAKING:
Frankincense and OnGuard behind ears and on bottoms of feet to boost immunity and level mood

THROUGHOUT DAY:
Lemon in my water to aid in detoxification and prevent fluid retention

AS NEEDED:
Peppermint under the tongue for energy levels
Citrus Bliss applied behind ears/to temples for energy levels or quick mood lift
Deep Blue diluted in coconut oil on back for relaxing muscles
Lavender and Peppermint diluted in coconut oil for dissolving tension
Citrus Bliss diffused to mood/energy lift
OnGuard diffused for boosting immunity

IN PRODUCTS:
Melaleuca, Oregano, OnGuard in all-purpose cleaning spray
Lavender in deodorant
Peppermint or OnGuard in toothpaste or added to coconut oil for oil pulling

BEFORE BED:
Serenity on the bottoms of feet and on temples for restful sleep

Taking the time to establish an effective oils routine- that you can stick with every day- will do wonders for the health and wellness of your family, and make it easier on you, as well!

What’s your favorite way to use essential oils? Do you have a routine that you stick to?

TED Talk Tuesday: Can We Eat To Starve Cancer?

Today’s TED Talk may be a little more academic than most, but I found it to be fascinating.  It’s no secret that diet is a contributor to cancer prevalence and healing (among many other things), but the science in Mr. Li’s presentation makes a convincing argument that we should really be examining the power in what we are eating! Enjoy 🙂

The Cold Buster

coldbuster

It’s no secret that I had the worst cold known to mankind over the past few weeks. I whined about it on every social media outlet available, and nobody saw me for almost a week because when I left the house I felt like I was going to die (ask my husband about the 2 meltdowns I had at the grocery store when I tried to go out).

Because I’m pregnant and stubborn, I flatly refused to take any over the counter medications. While I did eventually have to go to the doctor (frown face) and get on antibiotics for bronchitis (double frown face), this drink did a great job of loosening my congestion and clearing my sinuses. I concocted this magical drink with all the antiviral gusto I could manage, so it’s not for the faint of heart!

You’ll need:

3/4 in chunk of ginger, peeled and cut into slivers (helps stimulate circulation and ease congestion)

1-2 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed with the side of a knife (strong antibacterial and antiviral)

Juice and pulp of 1/2 a lemon (cuts through mucus, boosts vitamin C, soothes the throat)

1-2 T raw honey (antibacterial and antiviral, soothes the throat)

As much cayenne pepper as you can stand! (breaks up mucus and stimulates circulation)

Steep the ginger, garlic, and lemon juice/pulp in freshly boiled water for about 10 minutes, until cooled to drinking temperature. If desired, fish out ginger and garlic pieces (I leave them in to keep getting medicinal benefits). Stir in raw honey and cayenne pepper. Drink up!

I drank this every 2 hours or so and it definitely helped!

This post is part of Tasty Traditions, Natural Living Monday, and Natural Living Link-up!

Cheap & Quick Detoxifying Deodorant

Quick and Easy DIY Detox DeodorantOne of the most unfortunate things about trying to live a pure, natural, healthy life is the price tag that often comes with those choices! It’s sad but true that quality products made with responsible ingredients just cost more money to manufacture. This is especially true when it comes to health, beauty, and hygiene products.

My husband and I have had a pretty significant change in finances recently, which has spurred me onward in my quest to be able to homemake everything I can and be frugal whenever possible. I recently remarked on Facebook that I am quickly learning that everything in my bathroom can be replaced with come combination of baking soda, apple cider vinegar, and bentonite clay, and it’s pretty true! It’s amazing what a few (cheap) quality ingredients can do.

One of the first natural hygiene products I tried back in college was a natural deodorant. It was horrible. It smelled awful, made me sweat more- it was just nasty. Now, I realize that my body was probably detoxing from the years of using normal antiperspirants, which simply clog the pores rather than absorbing moisture. Sweat is natural and good! When the body sweats and you’ve used an antiperspirant, it continues to produce sweat as it fights the blockage of the pores, causing an overproduction of sweat. When you make an abrupt switch to a deodorant that doesn’t block the pores (such as this one), there can be an adjustment period as the body learns that it doesn’t have to overproduce anymore!

That said, it is important to note that this is a DEODORANT, not an ANTI-PERSPIRANT. You will sweat! However, with the addition of cornstarch and bentonite clay, I think you’ll find that you stay very dry- I know I do.

Today, I want to share a recipe that I had been dying to concoct for quite a while, and I think I’ve finally got it down. I received a lovely sample of a cream deodorant in a Conscious Box I got a few months back, and I fell in love with the concept. It took me a bit, but I adapted this recipe from Body Unburdened, which made a batch that I totally love, cost next to nothing, and will sat a really long time. Exactly what I needed!

YOU’LL NEED:

6 Tablespoons Organic Virgin Coconut Oil, 5 at room temp, 1 warmed
4 Tablespoons baking soda
3 Tablespoons organic cornstarch (you can also use arrowroot powder here)
2 Tablespoons Bentonite Clay
Essential oils, to your scent preference (I used patchouli because I like the scent, but Melaleuca/Tea Tree is a great antibacterial and anti fungal)

Combine all ingredients except for the warmed coconut oil. It is a little thick and messy! As everything starts to combine, add the warmed coconut oil, and mix together quickly. You’ll see that this binds everything together and forms a beautiful, creamy consistency. Transfer to a glass jar and you’re done!

To use, simply scoop out a bit on your fingertip and apply to your underarm. Coconut oil warms with body heat so it will spread easily.

WHAT YOU’RE GETTING:

Coconut Oil: A natural antibacterial, anti fungal, and antiviral. Provides a smooth, spreadable consistency and is moisturizing and healing for the skin.

Baking Soda: Neutralizes body odors.

Cornstarch/ Arrowroot: Great for absorbing moisture- I actually use cornstarch as a dry shampoo and as a mattifying powder for my face!

Bentonite Clay: Also absorbs moisture quickly, as well as helps pull out toxins from sweaty pits.

Essential Oils: You’ll get different properties depending on the oils you use. Like I said above, Melaleuca is a great antibacterial and anti fungal, which is great for funky pits. Rosemary, Lavender, and Lemon would also work for this same purpose.

Let me know if you try the recipe and like the results! I know I do 🙂

Links used in this post are affiliate links. I do earn a very small percentage when you purchase through these links, which allows me to continue doing what I love: writing!

Easy Detoxifying and Healing Morning Elixir

Detoxifying and Healing Morning ElixirOne of the things that I miss the most while being pregnant is the opportunity to go through regular periods of cleansing and detoxing. I love doing cleanses- they make my body feel more efficient, lighten the load on the digestive system, clear the brain, and give me lots of energy. Full detoxing isn’t recommended during pregnancy because of how the body can react to toxins being pulled into the bloodstream (and therefore possibly reaching the baby), so lighter, more ‘everyday’ detox measures have to be put into place to maintain health and stop the accumulations of toxins and waste!

One of the easiest ways to keep your body clean is to make yourself a light, detoxifying morning drink. There are many, many variations of this (see my friend Kaitlin’s over at Eat Klean), but this is my favorite, as it has very intentionally selected ingredients to treat a variety of health issues and aid in detoxing. It’s definitely an acquired taste, but I look forward to it at this point, and I know it’s doing my body a world of good!

YOU’LL NEED:

Fresh juice of 1 organic lemon
1-2 tablespoons Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
1-2 tablespoons raw honey
Dash of cayenne pepper

Put all ingredients in the bottom of your favorite mug, top with freshly boiled water that has been cooled to room temperature. Stir until all ingredients are combined and enjoy!

WHAT YOU’RE GETTING:

Lemon Juice– Full of vitamin C (which is especially important in the winter months), lemon juice boosts the immune system. In addition, lemon alkalizes the body, which is proven to inhibit cancer growth! Warm lemon juice also acts as a mild diuretic that will stimulate digestion. Citrus in general is touted for it’s ability to awaken the body and give energy, making it a great addition to this morning beverage!

Raw Apple Cider Vinegar– A miracle worker, apple cider vinegar is good for anything from preventing heartburn (huge for me during pregnancy!) to treating fungal skin infections. Taken internally in this morning beverage, it helps recolonize the gut with good probiotics (hence the RAW acv being best), and helps fight bacterial infections and improves dental health due to it’s antibiotic properties. It also acts as an expectorant, which comes in handy if you’re suffering from any type of congestion or cough. *note: the photo shows Trader Joe’s brand ACV.  This is a pasteurized brand, all I had in the house at the time! My favorite raw brand is Bragg’s 🙂

Raw Honey– Raw honey is full of beneficial enzymes and antioxidants that aid in cleansing and has very strong antibacterial and antiviral properties, which keep any threatening sicknesses at bay and will shorten the duration of anything you’re dealing with currently. Raw honey is also full of vitamins and nutrients that support the body in the cleansing process. The healing benefits of raw honey are such that many people will apply raw honey to open wounds to speed the healing process and protect against infection.

Cayenne Pepper– Yes, this gives the drink quite a kick! Besides waking you up in the morning, cayenne helps to clear congestion and stimulate circulation, while boosting the metabolism. Because it elevates circulation, this causes us to sweat (even a little bit!) which is a major source of detoxification. Cayenne can help prevent blood clots, prevent migraines, and is even speculated to have anti-allergenic properties. Like apple cider vinegar, cayenne acts as an expectorant, breaking up mucus and relieving symptoms of many common illnesses.

As you can see, this drink is a nutritional powerhouse! Yes, the taste takes some getting used to, but the health benefits are borderline magical and your body will thank you for a long, long time. Try it and see!

This post was shared with Wildcrafting Wednesday!

Links used in this post are affiliate links. I do earn a very small percentage when you purchase through these links, which allows me to continue doing what I love: writing!

Body & Brain Boost Pumpkin Oatmeal

Body & Brain Boosting Pumpkin Oatmeal

HELLO FALL! I can’t quite rock the leggings look anymore (at least not gracefully) but I’m fully embracing my boots and autumn-flavored things. There’s a pint of Hoffmans’ pumpkin ice cream in my freezer, Baugher’s apple butter on my counter, and pumpkin puree in my fridge. It’s like something biological happens when the cold weather hits, making us all crave these things.

Here’s the crazy thing- something biological DOES happen! Our bodies are designed to need more beta carotene, vitamin C, and warming food in the fall and winter, when the weather is colder and our immune systems can become repressed. It’s no coincidence that things like pumpkin and citrus come into season, bursting with their essential vitamins that are perfect for this season!

This quick morning dish, full of flavor and supplemental goodness, boosts brain function, digestion, good fats, fiber, vitamin C, and beta carotene levels. This is a bowl of super foods!

You’ll need:

1/2 cup of oats cooked in 3/4 cup of water
1/2 cup of pumpkin puree
1 Tablespoon each: flaxseed, chia seed, wheat germ, pumpkin seed
Cinnamon (or pumpkin pie spice) to taste
Raw Honey (or regular is fine) and sea salt, to taste

Cook oats in the water- the oatmeal won’t be soupy, but you’ll add pumpkin to it which will thin it out a bit! After the oats are cooked, swirl in the pumpkin, flax, chia, wheat germ, and pumpkin seeds. Spice, salt, and honey to taste- you may like yours sweeter, while I prefer mine a little salty, to balance the rich flavor of the pumpkin.

Here’s all the amazing health benefits you’re enjoying! Do your body some good this fall 🙂

PUMPKIN– An underestimated superfood, this autumn gem is full of fiber, vitamin C, and beta carotene. It also works wonders on digestion- it eases upset tummies like a charm! You can even bake dog treats with pumpkin to help pups that might be having digestive issues.

CINNAMON– Helps to balance blood sugar, high in antioxidants, aids in detoxification and boosts the metabolism.

OATS– Oats are an amazing source of fiber and protein, and work to balance the blood sugar throughout the day. Incorporating oats into the diet can reduce cardiovascular disease risks, lower cholesterol, and lower type-2 diabetes risk.

FLAXSEED– Famed for being a great source of omega-3 fatty acids (that even stays intact through baking!), flaxseeds are also great for digestion. They are also a surprising antioxidant source- containing more polyphenol antioxidants than even blueberries.

CHIA SEED– The wonder seed! Who knew that such a nutritional powerhouse was growing silly spiky heads when we were younger. Chia seeds are intensely good for hydration- they absorb 2x their weight in fluids, which helps slowly release into our systems when we need it most! For more on Chia seeds, check out this previous post on health benefits and ideas to incorporate into your diet!

WHEAT GERM– Again, very high in omega-3 fatty acids, this is a famed ‘brain builder’ supplement. It’s packed with B-vitamins, which make it ideal for pregnant women and those who don’t eat much animal proteins. It’s also high in fiber, which aids in digestion and detoxification. Minerals found in wheat germ include iron, zinc, selenium, manganese, magnesium, and calcium.

PUMPKIN SEED– Also called pepitas, these babies are high in iron, zinc, manganese, magnesium, and Vitamin E. This is a great food for pregnant women to incorporate into their diets. Raw or activated is best, but toasted brings out a great flavor as well!

RAW HONEY– Chock full of B vitamins, vitamin C, antioxidants, beneficial enzymes, pre and probiotics, honey is also highly regarded for it’s antibacterial and anti fungal properties. Great for incorporating ingot he diet if you feel a cold coming on, or applying topically to a cut, scrape, or burn to prevent infection and speed healing.