I'm not a big vitamin fan, they never settle well in my gut, I always forget to take them when I'm supposed to, and I often wonder if the vitamin I'm taking is really what it says on the box. So there is a lot of confusion, forgetfulness, and upset stomach over vitamins. If you are someone who consistently takes your vitamins or has an excellent relationship with them, keep taking them! For me... and my family... vitamins just don't jive with us.
Our family life is a bit chaotic, and probably will be forever. As much as I strive for balance, I realize balance is bull shit, and really I need to focus on being flexible and making peace with whatever happens in life. Soooo our family life has lots of ebbs and flows... some days I make a kick ass power house meal with nutrition out the ass, and other days.... its Chick-fil-A (delicious but not nutrient dense). I believe its completely unrealistic to center your whole life around making mega-nutrient dense meals that your super picky family members will eat every meal of every day. I'm sure there are people out there who do this... and God Bless you... but this is kinda where I currently am in life..... 70% nutrient dense meals... 30% not so much.
Soooo.... how does one try to add more nutrients to their imperfect life??? Hello Nourishing Herbal Infusions. As I've gone through different Herbalism programs, I've seen the name Susun Weed. I recently decided to listen to her podcasts and a reoccurring theme in her podcasts are how important Nourishing Herbal Infusions are. What is a Nourishing Herbal Infusion? Excellent question.
"An infusion is a large amount of herb brewed for a long time. Typically, one ounce by weight (about a cup by volume) of dried herb is placed in a quart jar which is then filled to the top with boiling water, tightly lidded and allowed to steep for 4-10 hours. After straining, a cup or more is consumed, and the remainder chilled to slow spoilage. Drinking 2-4 cups a day is usual. Since the minerals and other phytochemicals in nourishing herbs are made more accessible by drying, dried herbs are considered best for infusions."
Susun has five infusions that she cycles through for various reasons: nettle, comfrey, linden, red clover, and oat straw. For myself, I have chosen slightly different infusions because they are what sound good to my body, and I'm waiting on the rest of my herbs to arrive! My current daily infusion is: 1 part hibiscus, 1 part nettle, 1 part peppermint. I measure out an ounce of this mixture into my quart mason jar, fill it with boiling water, cap it and let it sit over night.
I'm not sure why this is easier for me to remember than taking supplements, but I know that these infusions nourish my body in a way supplements can't. My kids enjoy drinking these infusions as well! I would encourage anyone who is looking for a way to add some extra nutrients in their life to try these infusions for 2 weeks! It's a simple, practical way to bring some extra goodness in your life.
Where I buy my herbs: Mountain Rose Herbs and Frontier (they sell some of their herbs on Amazon)
I love a good diet. I love shopping for all the "good" foods, planning meals, meal prep, buying a couple of new workout pieces of clothing, but mostly I love the serving of hope dieting promises me. Dieting provides a structure, a plan, to get yourself out of the fatty mess you got yourself info. To go on a diet feels as though you are empowering yourself by attempting to take control of a complicated psychological and biological situation (your body).
Unfortunately, dieting offers nothing but false hope, blame, shame and weight gain. As most of us have found out, going on a diet may give us short term success, but not long term success (keeping the weight off for 5 or more years). I am lumped in the 95% of folks who regain the weight after going on a diet, but who continued to try after multiple diet "failures". I had started researching dieting in 2012 and came across a allllll the research on how dieting is NOT the answer to improving one's health, and in 2014 decided to try and stay off the diet roller coaster. But herein lies the problem, if dieting isn't the answer to improving one's health, and dare I say helping us large folk fit more comfortably in airline seats, then what options do we have?
Taffy Brodesser-Akner takes a deep dive into weight and dieting in her article, "Losing It in the Anti-Dieting Age", and after reading this article is seems there are more questions than answers concerning our health and attempting to modify the size of our waist. One of the biggest takeaways I gained from this article is how our bias concerning weight has really hindered research into what health truly looks like. We have moralized a person's size and by doing this we have poisoned our health research. What if we simply looked at weight as a number instead of a moral failing? What if weight is merely the symptom and not the problem?
But this is where my internal struggle begins, I know that dieting is bad for me, but I continue to slowly gain weight and as I slowly gain I feel more and more uncomfortable. I worry about mobility and being able to mow my yard with these insane ditches. If I gain much more weight, I don't know that I'll be able to keep up our yard. I also want to feel comfortable. Also, I am fortunate in that my blood work looks really good. Ultimately, I would like to maintain my good blood work, but also increase my fitness level and not worry about my ass fitting into an airline seat. I'm not asking to be a size 2 or even a size 10, but dropping from a size 22 to a size 18 would make fitting in the world a bit easier. My goal does focus on my weight (size) but the more important piece of this goal is my fitness level and blood work.
The question is, how do I change my current way of living to a life that supports my health goals? Dieting doesn't work, so what options do I have? After reflecting on all my past diets and attempts to make changes in my life, I believe that a combination of environment and healthy habits may help me obtain my wellness goals. But what does this look like?
1. Carving out time each day (or week) to plan, dream, and take care of myself. It's easy to focus on everything else but how you live. I've heard 5 million times that a person should take 5 minutes out of their day to love, support, nurture themselves.... blech. What does that even mean? I've had to figure out what loving myself looks like, because sitting in a bubble bath with a glass of wine sounds terrible to me. I hate baths... and wine (more of a beer person myself). And I don't know about you, but I hate the time limit thing.
How does this translate to my current schedule? Each week I go grocery shopping for food for the week, I plan all our family meals, and snacks, the day before. I do not want to create meals for my family AND myself. I've done this in the past and it obviously hasn't worked. Therefore, the meals I plan include lots of veggies and foods I know we will all enjoy. Has this limited our rotation of meals? Yep. Do I care? Nope. Does the family complain? Nope because who else is gonna pick up this task?
Secondly, I want to explore non-food and fitness related projects, such as building a seedling rack for my baby plants, building a table for our dining area, looking into new seed varieties for the upcoming planting season, or maybe even learning a new language.
Taking time for ourselves, and self-love, doesn't have to only about doing nothing (but that's also encouraged), it could even mean finding a therapist, or actually trying something new! Try thinking outside of the box, but do something that interests YOU!
2. Slowly add habits I consider healthy. It seems the best way to improve our health is to add rather than subtract things out of our life. By adding a healthy habit one slowly pushes out the unwanted habit. There is a bunch of psychology behind restriction and how that sets us up for failure and I'll leave that to you to google.
In Charles Duhigg's book, "The Power of Habit", Charles explains that to change an unwanted habit one should not ignore it but, act differently once that habit is triggered. For instance, in the evenings I normally eat a bed time snack. Usually I eat too much and end up with heartburn, but I do receive satisfaction (mentally) from my sugary treat. I really want to eliminate the heartburn, but don't want to feel like I'm on a diet by eating something I don't really want. Fortunately, I do love frozen peaches and cherries. So after dinner, I'll pour some frozen peaches and cherries into a bowl so it will be slightly melted by the time I eat it in the evening. I also asked my spouse if he'd like to watch a TV show series with me in the evening. When my habit kicks up in the evening, I act differently by eating the frozen fruit and spending time with my spouse and feel mentally satisfied without the heartburn.
I'm giving myself about a month between adding new habits. I get overwhelmed quickly and know that I need time to get used to each new habit.
3. Keep a Food/Sleep/Activity Diary. Isn't that diet-y?? Well.... kinda? I really want to understand what I'm eating, how it makes me feel, is sleep affected by what I eat and vice versa, do I sleep better when I exercise? Since all the food diarys I found focused on weight loss and Calories, Carbs, etc I created my own. I wanted a diary where I could write down what I ate, if I exercised, how I felt, what the weather and temperature was like and the moon cycle. I wonder if any of these factors are connected or affect me. For instance, I may notice I don't sleep as well when there is a huge flux in temperature or when there is a new moon, and this affects what I eat the following day. If I don't write it down, then how will I know if there is a pattern?
The point of the food diary isn't restriction rather to gather data on myself. Download the diary HERE
I have no idea if or how I will achieve my goals with this "plan", but I know I'm currently uncomfortable where I am. Does this sound like I'm putting myself on yet another diet? I don't know, but I do feel like my body, and my life, are worth trying for.
We are knee deep in cold and flu season and it looks like this flu season may be a rough one. So far (knock on wood) I haven’t caught the flu and I’d like to keep it that way! During this time of year, I do add some extra preventative measures to give me, and the family, the best chance possible to fight off the flu OR if we do catch it that it ends up being mild. Here are a list of my favorite preventative measures, I’d love to hear yours in the comments below!
* Hydrate! Hydrate! Hydrate! Staying hydrated keeps mucous membranes stay soft and moist, preventing tiny cracks that allow viruses and bacteria to enter.
* Homemade Chicken Broth - I make my own Chicken Broth using my Instapot using a Rotisserie Chicken carcass, thyme (antimicrobial, antibacterial, antiviral, expectorant, and astringent). Thyme is great for respiratory infections and coughs. It is also good for the stomach and relieves gas.), garlic (anti-viral, antibiotic, and antiseptic), onion (great for coughs), cayenne powder (stimulant, anti-microbial, analgesic, carminative, diaphoretic, and expectorant. Cayenne can help prevent a cold or flu as well as shorten the duration of a cold or flu), turmeric (anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant), and I’ll throw in celery if I have it. I use this broth is as much of my daily cooking as I can! (Herbs for cold/flu season: https://tinyurl.com/yadzysyw )
* 1 - 2 TB of Fire Cider daily! Fire cider is a spicy vinegar that is sweetened with honey. Many cultures throughout the world have their own version of this drink. Fire cider helps clear out the sinuses and wakes up the immune and circulatory systems. There are several ways to make this (Receipe HERE - https://blog.mountainroseherbs.com/fire-cider ) OR you can purchase it at Mountain Rose Herbs https://tinyurl.com/y7zr5jrw
* I make a batch of Vitamin C Pills. Here is the recipe I use! I buy all my herbs from Mountain Rose Herbs, but you can also find the herbs on Amazon. Recipe HERE: https://tinyurl.com/y9sdf7gf
* I take an Elderberry Gummy daily. They are super simple to make. Elderberry has been used medicinally for centuries in Europe and North America for a wide variety of ailments and are immune enhancing. Find the recipe HERE: https://tinyurl.com/y7upobu8
* Lastly, I make sure to drink my herbal “tea” (infusions). An infusion is a large amount of herb brewed over a long period of time (over 4 hours) or overnight. I put a cup of herb in a quart jar, fill it to the top with boiling water from my tea kettle, cap it and let it sit on my counter over night. The next morning I strain out the herb with my cheesecloth, compost the herb, and put my infusion in the fridge to drink throughout the day. My favorite herbs to use are oat straw, nettle, and red clover. You can find all these herbs on Amazon, Mountain Rose Herbs, or Frontier Herbs. Info on infusions: http://www.susunweed.com/herbal_ezine/September08/anti-cancer.htm
I’d love to hear everyone else’s preventative measures or other ways they stay healthy during this time of year!
Thanks for reading,
Maybe I'm going through a midlife crisis... I'm not sure what happened to incite this urgent need to get my poop in a group before turning forty. Forty is, after all, just another number. I'm grateful to be alive, but feel as though I must work much harder towards making my life not only mean something, but also be at peace with my being.
Life has been good to our family. We've had our ups and downs, faced major life changes, diagnoses, graduations, and more. As my 40th birthday quickly approaches, I'd like to enter forties in a better place than I entered my thirties.
I was a pretty big grinch on my 30th birthday. We were stationed in Germany, I had a 1 year old and a special needs 4 year old. I hadn't made friends and my spouse was working odd hours. I was super lonely, struggling being a new-ish mom and adjusting to being a military spouse. It just wasn't a real good time of my life. A decade later and some things have changed and some things have remained the same. My spouse has retired from the military and works a job with "normal" hours, our kids are older and we are homeschooling, I still struggle to make friends but I want to be proactive about this upcoming decade.
As I look back on my 20's and 30's, I see someone who wanted to fit in, who wanted to be super woman, who tried to please everyone and be accommodating. I see someone who worked diligently to not be too much, who starved her self just to be close to 200lbs. Who let doctors convince her she needed to have weight loss surgery. I'm not saying certain attitudes and beliefs in our society aren't beneficial or that all doctors pressure their patients into unnecessary surgery; but, what I'd really like to know, is who am I? What do I really like and enjoy out of life? Do I actually like the trending food, fitness, and/or beauty products OR am I simply consuming them for the sake of consuming?
And it the midst of all this, I wonder about my health. We have been sold a sad biased story that weight alone correlates with health. Through a great deal of research, we know this is a half truth. So what does health look like? Is it a pant size, a relationship, a certain level of fitness, or lack of loneliness? After being on an insane amount of diets, talking to health experts and much contemplation, I have no idea what healthy looks like for me... and for some reason, I really want to start to figure this out as I approach my 40th birthday. I'm not sure what this will look like? Will I add more exercise in my life? How do I stick to healthier habits? Will I focus on weight loss? Will I have a food diary? I've tried everything before, so how will I make long lasting changes? I'm not sure, but what I do know is that I'm not happy where I am and its time to try and make a difference.
Who am I?
I'm a regular everyday middle-age mom, retired Military Spouse, homeschooling parent, Herbalist, Usui Reiki Master Teacher, and seeker of a [whole]istic life.