Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Juice Plus and Heart Health

I loved this quick and easy look at why Juice Plus is so good for your heart!

3 Reasons Your Heart is Happy You Take
Juice Plus+

During February, American Heart Month (and Valentine’s Day), our focus naturally shifts to the important role Juice Plus+® plays in supporting cardiovascular health. Studies have found Juice Plus+ contributes to healthy hearts in 3 ways:
1. Promotes arterial elasticity. Stiff arteries increase blood pressure, which can ultimately lead to heart failure. But Juice Plus+ has been shown to help arteries retain their normal, healthy elasticity—even after a high-fat meal.1
2. Maintains normal levels of homocysteine. Juice Plus+ protects your heart by preventing elevated levels of homocysteine, a waste product associated with heart health.2
3. Supports normal cholesterol levels. High cholesterol is one of the major risk factors for the cardiovascular system. Juice Plus+ helps you manage cholesterol and keep it at a safe level.3
Of course, Juice Plus+ helps support more than heart health. Research reinforces the fact that Juice Plus+ is good for your overall wellness—bolstering dental health, immune system performance, skin health, and more.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Peace and Calming Essential Oil

When I was contemplating buying the Everyday Oils Kit , probably my number one reason was to use them to help with sleep. For the last eight years, my husband and I have had interrupted sleep on a nightly basis due to our sweet and adorable sons! Our oldest son Keith was a terrible sleeper from the very beginning and our youngest son Braedon slept well for about two months and then followed very closely in his brother's footsteps! Keith finally started sleeping through the night when he was four but by that point, Braedon was only one and not sleeping through the night so there was no reprieve! Braedon was 4 1/2 when we started using oils and still waking us up on average, 2-4 times a night. I was pretty desperate for something to help. We had tried everything it seemed - frequent chiropractor visits, lavender (from Whole Foods - NOT Young Living) massage, rewards for sleeping through, different beds. Finally we started using Melatonin to help him get to sleep (we used this for Keith as well because he struggled greatly with going to sleep) which was effective in that way but it did nothing to keep him from waking during the night. We continued to use Melatonin because it at least helped both of our kids get to sleep at night but I frequently worried that continued use was not good. One night my youngest son accidentally took double the dosage that I intended and I frantically hopped online to research if it was dangerous and what course of action I needed to take! When the friend who introduced me to oils told me that Peace and Calming had helped her get off of OTC sleep meds, I had a glimmer of hope ignite!

So, with some hesitation I bought the Everyday Oils Kit - not knowing if the investment was going to be worth it. At this point however, we were so exhausted, even a possibility of hope was worth the risk! The day I received my oils, I was so excited to put them to the test! I remember clearly waking up in the middle of the night and realizing Braedon hadn't woken us up at all! I almost started crying at 2 in the morning because I was so happy! Keith slept until after 7 in the morning (which didn't ever happen - he would consistently be awake by 5:30 or 6). Such a blessing!!

Needless to say, we ran out of Peace and Calming far too quickly! Both of our boys started sleeping significantly better immediately with the use of oils (I'll talk about some of the other amazing sleepy-time oils in another post) and if nothing else, the $150 Everyday Oils Kit was worth every penny even if this was the only improvement we saw (which of course it wasn't!). More on some of those other amazing oils later...

Order Young Living Essential Oils here

Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor and this information should not be used for diagnosis or in place of professional medical care or advice.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

A note about oils...

Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor and this information should not be used for diagnosis or in place of professional medical care or advice.

We have been using essential oils for about 4 months now and I feel like I learn something new about them every day...there is so much to learn! Here are a few things that I have learned over the last 4 months that have been helpful to me:

  • If you suffer from a chronic illness or life long malady, it may take weeks to see the full benefits of oils. I have an autoimmune disorder that causes my finger and hands to swell and become sore during the winter months. One of my biggest hopes when starting with oils was that they would help relieve my discomfort in my hands and feet. At first the oils made a minimal difference and didn't relieve the swelling as I had hoped, though they did show slight immediate reduction of swelling. However, over the last few months as I have been using oils multiple times daily for my whole family (rubbing it on other members of the family as well as myself), I have seen marked improvement in the health of my hands especially - I have even been able to wear my wedding ring on several occasions (I am usually unable to wear it at all during the winter months because my hands swell so badly). So, sometimes it's the consistent use of many oils that provides benefits you didn't expect.
  • Oils work differently than OTC meds in many different ways. One of the main differences (among many others) is the fact that oils may not have an immediate effect. It may take applications of oils every 15 minutes for an hour to see results. The important thing to note is that you are not filing your body with meds and there are no harmful side-effects. If you pop an OTC pill for a headache, your headache might go away within 15 or 20 minutes but you also have to ask yourself "Did I take that pill with a full stomach to be sure it doesn't make me sick to my stomach" or "Well my headache isn't gone but I can't safely take another dose for another 4 hours". So, it's important to realize that results may take multiple applications but most likely, you will see improvement. 
  • Different oils work differently for different people so don't expect that an oil that makes someone else sleep will have the exact effect on you AND don't become discouraged when an oil doesn't seem to help you like it helped someone else. Everyone is different and the simple fact that one oil didn't have the "prescribed" effect on you doesn't mean the oils aren't effective. Peace and Calming and Stress Away help my oldest son sleep much better than Cedarwood does but Cedarwood is a perfect sleep help for my husband, youngest son and myself. Don't give up if an oil doesn't seem to work "right". 
  • Using oils doesn't mean you will never be sick! Though the consistent use of oils appears to prevent illness in many cases, everyone gets sick sometimes. AND from our experience, using oils at the first sign of sickness not only helps to shorten the life of the illness but also helps significantly with managing symptoms. Especially when we are sick (which doesn't happen often!), we ingest oils, use them topically and diffuse them for maximum benefits and results.
  • Contrary to common belief, essential oils cannot cause allergic reactions (except ones containing citrus - if you have a citrus allergy, you should stay away from oils containing citrus). The reason is that essential oils (if they are pure and unadulterated) do not contain proteins, peptides, and amino acids which are the constituents that cause erroneous immune responses (allergies).  The body can produce a sort of "detox" reaction to some oils but this will subside over time (whereas an allergic reaction will continue with continued use, a detox reaction will get better and better with more use of the oil). Further, there are some oils that are "spicy" such as Oregano that can cause a burning sensation for some people and though it is not harmful, it can cause discomfort. Using a carrier oil with these types of oils can alleviate the burning. Peppermint and Eucalyptus are also "spicy" oils that might make your eyes water or your skin feel icy cold or tingly. Again, there is no harmful effect but it may cause some people to feel uncomfortable - again, using a carrier oil can help significantly. There is an interesting article about allergic reactions and detox to essential oils that can be found here.

Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional and cannot diagnose, cure or treat any illness or malady.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

What's in it for me?

When something new is introduced into my life, such as a new product or a new activity or a new challenge, one of the questions I tend to ask myself is "what's in it for me?" Not so much in a selfish way but rather a way to determine why the new thing should be added, if at all. Clearly, if there is no benefit, it would be foolish to include it in my life.

When it comes to Juice Plus, I love all the research that backs it up and all the information that points to the numerous benefits this whole food supplement provides. Check out the plethora of reasons why Juice Plus is worth it!


Support Dental Health With Juice Plus+

Juice Plus+ helped improve gum health and diminish bleeding in a periodontal study.


Juice Plus+ Contributes to Cardiovascular Wellness

Research subjects who consumed Juice Plus+ were better able to maintain the normal, healthy elasticity of arteries, even after a high-fat meal; maintain normal levels of homocysteine, a waste product associated with heart health; and demonstrated positive effects on several other measures of vascular health.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Breakfast Parfaits

Breakfast is my least favorite meal of the day for some reason...I used to love breakfast and now I eat it because if I don't I will feel lousy come 9 am AND because I know it's good for me. However, some days I really have a hard time thinking what to pair with my fruit for a sufficient breakfast to start the day. I recently made up a batch of granola (my family has a delicious recipe I grew up eating!) and strawberries were on sale so I thought making some parfaits would be a nice change. However, vegan yogurt is hard to find these days. It used to be available from several manufacturers but now it can only be found in  individual sized cups and is pricey. I have made a couple batches of homemade vegan yogurt but it is very hard to culture and keep the right temp so most batches have turned out as yogurt soup in consistency. I had a small cup of vegan yogurt in my fridge that I had purchased with the intention to trying to make a batch so I went ahead and attempted the vegan yogurt making once more. thankfully it was the best batch I have ever made and was perfect!! So, this week we have enjoyed parfaits for breakfast with homemade granola, homemade vegan yogurt with a drizzle of vanilla and honey (which actually makes it non-vegan because of the honey but you could use agave instead if you prefer), and strawberries. Very delicious and healthful too!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

WOD - 21-15-9

Here is an excellent workout that won't take an extended period of time to complete but will get your heart rate up and give you a good start to your day!

21-15-9 (that means complete each exercise listed 21 times, then repeat each exercise 15 times, then complete the workout by doing each exercise 9 times.

Walking Lunges

Panoway Essential Oil

It's been a while since I posted about another one of my favorite oils! PanAway is perfect for sore muscles, headaches, body aches, swelling, joint pain. The main way we have used this oil is for my husband's migraines. We have found that PanAway works far better than any OTC remedy (which he stopped using years ago because of their ineffectiveness). I haven't had to use it a lot because we don't suffer from chronic pain problems but when we have needed a pain killer, this has done the trick very effectively! I generally rub this oil on the temples and back of neck for headaches. I have also used PanAway to help reduce swelling in my hands due to an autoimmune disorder I have - though it has not eliminated the swelling, it has reduced it and provided some relief. Some people thing PanAway smells a little funny but I love the spicy scent! This is a wonderful oil to have in your medicine cabinet!!

Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor and this information should not be used for diagnosis or in place of professional medical care or advice.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Vegan Valentines Day!

I made a simple but yummy Valentine's Day breakfast this morning for my sweet little fam - heart-shaped biscuits and fruit. Yum!

Crisp Crust Biscuits

2 cups flour
1 T baking powder
1 t salt
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup almond milk

Mix flour, baking powder, and salt. Add canola oil and milk until well mixed. Pat out into a circle about 3/4 in high. Use a biscuit cutter to cut into biscuits or a heart cookie cutter in this case! Place biscuits on cookie sheet and bake in a 400 degree preheated oven for 15 min or until lightly browned.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Precious little cooks

PhotoThe other night, as a result of my recent cold, I was starting to lose my voice. I was running especially low on voice after reading stories to the boys and playing a couple rounds of Go Fish! Keith and Braedon started whispering to each other and devised the plan that they were going to make dinner for the 3 of us to be helpful and sweet to Mom. They both have such tender hearts!
Braedon was the salad master and made beautifully colorful delights (he made one for himself and I worked alongside and made mine) and Keith crafted a delicious vegan soup that turned out quite yummy indeed. It made my heart smile to have my sweet little helpers in the kitchen with me and sit down to a dinner they were extremely proud of! I am so blessed!!!

Keith's Vegan Soup

2 cups veggie broth
1 large potato, peeled and diced
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
1/3  cup orzo
1/2 cup frozen peas
Dash of the following spices - tarragon, Italian Seasoning, thyme, pepper

Bring broth to a boil - add potato and carrots. Cook about 10 minutes. Add orzo, cook about 15 minutes or until veggies are tender and orzo is done. Add peas and spices. Cook until heated through.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

More than halfway done!

We finished our 20th week of school this past week! It is hard to believe the year is more than halfway over. We finished up our Biology study of animals this week and Keith loved making butterfly crafts and learning about the amazing features of God's creation in the animal world. He is thrilled to start learning about the human body come Monday! 

Braedon is learning so much this year - I am daily amazed at all he is picking up as he joins us for school each day. Sometimes he appears to be in his own little world playing with various toys in the school room when in fact he is listening intently to our conversations and lessons. While reviewing our 20 weeks of animal study at the conclusion of our week, I was asking Keith some questions about the various animals we had studied. Much to my delight, Braedon piped up (before Keith had a chance to say anything) with the answers on several occasions! I love seeing him learn and pick up on so much!
Homeschooling is such a privilege...a challenge but a privilege that I am so thankful for!

Saturday, February 8, 2014


I've been thinking a lot lately about my attitude and my mood. I find myself so frequently allowing circumstances to govern the way I allow my emotions to play out. I allow misbehavior of my kids to determine how my day goes. I blame my frazzled feelings on my list of to-dos. I get annoyed when I'm tired and my kids want more attention...after I have spent hours with them doing school. I succumb to grumpiness when my day just isn't going as planned. I complain....continually..about the cold weather and how much I hate it.  And the thing is, I don't even realize it most of the time. Over the past week I have intentionally focused on being thankful...on not allowing circumstances to be my excuse for my crabbyness...on all I have to be thankful for. It's made a big difference. We had the best week of school we have had in a while. We enjoyed some great family time playing games, sledding in the piles of snow outside, reading stories together. I have daily put my struggles into the hands of the one who is truly in control. When I think about all I have to be thankful for and I allow myself to focus on those things, there is no room for grumpiness, or complaining, or worrying. It hasn't been a perfect week...don't get me wrong! I have still had my moments...but it's been a big improvement. God is good and I am so thankful for all he has blessed me with. Praying this week will be even better!

"I will sing to the Lord, for he has been good to me." Psalm 13:6

Friday, February 7, 2014

Peppermint Essential Oil

The first oil I want to introduce is Peppermint. This oil is part of the Everyday Oils Kit and it is truly one that we use on a very regular basis. If I am feeling lightheaded or nauseous I inhale the oil out of the bottle or put 1-2 drops on a cotton ball and take it with me if I'm not going to be home. To calm an upset tummy, I put 1-2 drops in a teaspoon of water and swallow. My son frequently gets the hiccups and inhaling peppermint for a few minutes gets rid of them. We have also used peppermint to get rid of diarrhea - one of my sons had a sudden onset of diarrhea and I rubbed coconut oil (carrier oil like this helps by allowing the oil to be spread over a larger surface area) with a couple drops of peppermint on his tummy and his diarrhea never returned. I also use peppermint for congestion instead of using something like VICKS - again using coconut oil as the carrier oil and using a couple drops of peppermint and massaging it on the chest and neck area.

Love my peppermint!!

Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor and this information should not be used for diagnosis or in place of professional medical care or advice.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Welcome to Healthy on Purpose! For quite some time I have been brainstorming about starting a blog that focuses on my passion for health and the ways that my family and I maintain a healthy lifestyle. In the coming days I will be introducing the main ways that my family maintains health in a very unhealthy society. I will give basic information about each of my Healthy Obsessions in individual posts and in addition, each Healthy Obsession will have it's own page (found at the right of this blog) with more detailed information. Following these introductions, I will be posting information, ideas, recipes, and healthy tips related to these Healthy Obsessions that will invite you along on my journey of health. I hope you will consider joining me in being "healthy on purpose"!

Starbucks vs. Juice Plus...cost comparison

Confession time...I love coffee...A LOT! I relish my two cups of coffee with soy creamer every morning while I have my prayer and quiet time....and I have no intention of giving up my coffee love!

However, I rarely indulge in the treat of coffee at a coffee shop, mainly because of the cost. Since most local coffee shops don't offer a carafe of soy cream at the little cream and sugar stand, my only vegan options for coffee are extra pricey (soy lattes or soy frappucinos etc). However, even if I opted for a simple small cup of black coffee, the last I checked, I'd be handing over $1.94.

You might be asking...So why the little blurb about coffee? Well I recently received my box of Juice Plus and realized it was the first box I had gotten since the price's the first price increase I've experienced in over 9 years and it only went up 9 cents a day. Not bad considering the increase in prices on everything else around us. But even with the price increase, taking Juice Plus comes out to $1.61 a day (may vary a bit per location because of differing taxes but for me, it's $1.61...that includes shipping and tax). I love looking at it that way - I can daily fill my body with nutrient dense whole food nutrition (on top of my already veggie/fruit intensive diet) for less than I would spend on a cup of boring black coffee:-) For me, it puts the cost of Juice Plus in perspective...and reminds me that though Juice Plus is a bit of an investment each month, I value my health enough to invest in it daily!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Crossfit WOD - Box Jumps and Burpees

25 box jumps (if you don't have a box or heavy duty stool that you can jump on, jump stairs...demonstration of box jumps shown here by my son...a few crossfit sit-ups shown by my older son :-) )

5 burpees (demonstration here)
20 box jumps
10 burpees
15 box jumps
15 burpees
10 box jumps
20 burpees
5 box jumps
25 burpees