Yesterday, while at work in the pharmacy, we got official word of a voluntary recall on several brands of valsartan containing medications. A voluntary recall means that the drug company requests that products be pulled from the pharmacy shelves, and selling of that product cease immediately until new product is issued. It does not extend to the consumer level. You can read more about the recall itself here.
Recalls like this happen every so often in pharmacy, and are not usually call for alarm unless it happens to be one that extends to the customer level (not the case this time). That said, media caught wind of it and began reporting on the recall, causing fear and worry amongst customers who are on this particular blood pressure medication. I began and ended my pharmacy day yesterday fielding these many calls from customers who were fearful of continuing their medication even one more day, now that this information was known.
Once you know something, you can’t un-know it.
The cause of the recall? It became known that one of the ingredients used in this particular medication is a ‘probable’ cancer causing agent. (Ironically, one of the people I spoke to was a smoker. SMH!) Now, before you start calling your pharmacy wondering what you are supposed to do if you are on valsartan, let’s take a look at the facts:
Visit the American Cancer Society website, you’ll see a list of these ‘probable (and known) cancer causing agents’ that people unwittingly use and allow into their lives.
Once you know something, you can’t un-know it.
I would advise stopping reading now if you want to remain blissfully unaware, because I’m about to give you the lowdown on just a few items on the FDA/EPA list.
Seriously. Stop now.
Here are just a few offenders from the long list:
Giving you examples of known and probable carcinogens could easily consume my day, because this list just goes on and on and on.…… and ultimately I will bore you to tears (or wake you up to what you likely have in your home).
I’m hoping by now you see my frustration in yesterday’s moment of media hyped hysteria over the valsartan recall. Of course it should have been recalled, but friends…… we have much larger fish to fry if we are going to worry about this.
I would venture to guess that each person I spoke to about the recall yesterday has more than 100+ known carcinogenic products in their home and garage that they willingly (but perhaps unwittingly) choose to expose themselves to on a daily basis.
If you didn’t listen to me, and read this post to completion, you’ve got some decisions to make. What you can’t choose tho, is to now ‘un-know what you now know‘. Knowing gives you personal responsibility for the skin in the game (your own) and begs the next question….. what are you going to do about it?
Reality is this: It’s not possible to avoid every carcinogenic or body damaging product out there, but there IS so much we CAN do to avoid the majority of them within our own home. There are also many ways to encourage detoxification of the body cheaply, effectively, and holistically.
If this post has you thinking that maybe it is time to wake up and clean up, I’d encourage you to start small in big ways. Get the ‘standard’ household cleaners out of your home…. one by one. When you run out of a product, don’t buy that junk again. Consider switching to Thieves Cleaner (a completely healthy way to clean).
Get the candles and formaldehyde laced air fresheners out of your home, and replace them with healthy diffusers. I promise…. you’ll sleep better, be happier, have fewer headaches, and….. if you diffuse the right oils, you’ll even boost your immune system and provide positive emotional support. This trumps possible and probable carcinogenic loaded products any day. Science backs this ya’ll….. as a pharmacist, I wouldn’t be here if it didn’t.
The cosmetic industry is rife with concerning chemicals. Use up what you have, but as you get close to needing more, consider ‘clean’ skin care and makeup. Yes, it does exist. I’d love to send you a few samples of whatever you’d like to see or try that is not only beautiful, but also loaded with health promoting ingredients. Ever heard of Savvy Minerals? If not, you are missing out.
This is one of the (many) things I love about Young Living. They stand in the gap for us where other companies do not. Scouring labels for toxins was time consuming and the print is small and fine (purposefully I think). I know I am taken care of safely with whatever I purchase for my family and our farm, and that we are taking personal responsibility for us….. because clearly, the governmental entities, are not doing enough of it.
If you’d like to learn more about living a more carcinogenic free life, please feel free to private message me.
I am not perfect in my walk, but I’ve done it now for much of my adult life and would be happy to walk with you as you begin your journey. It’s never too late to start.
Hugs and love ~ Liz
(You can reach me privately thru this link)
Have you ever felt like you were at a crossroads in your life? I’m not talking about a midlife crisis, but rather something bigger and more profound.
About 3 years ago, we took a pretty long road trip to pick up a bull in a remote (VERY REMOTE) area in West Texas. I mean…… drive to the very edge of civilization and then head 3 hours further…..the kind of remote that requires a physical map instead of cell phone/ GPS service. Without a map or good navigational tools, you’re sunk kind of remote. As you might guess, we confidently drove down the road….. in the wrong direction because we thought we knew where we were going. It cost us about 3 extra hours that day. We were reminded the value of an old school map and a dose of intuition!
This kind of parallels the last 15+ years of my life. I have been a pharmacist since 1991. I graduated, and like most health professionals…. upon graduation…… was pretty sure I had a really good grasp of the profession. I’m not saying I was God’s gift to pharmacy (hardly!), but I certainly thought I knew enough to make a difference in people’s lives. I toodled along in pharmacy doing the absolute best job I could do (because that’s my nature….. never tackle anything halfway).
When I was in my 30’s I thought we were living the dream. Charlie and I both had good jobs, had bought our farm, and had begun building our home (by hand, ourselves…. because that’s how we do things…. with all our heart and soul). We worked super hard…. 40-60 hrs a week at our respective jobs and then swung hammers and wielded paint brushes on nights and weekends for about 3 years before completing our home. It was somewhere during that time that I broke my wrist, was subsequently diagnosed with osteopenia , and both Charlie and I were diagnosed with high cholesterol. In hindsight, that broken wrist was probably the best thing that could have ever happened to me. I won’t go into great detail (you can read more about that journey here and the second half here), but it was a big fat hairy road sign to stop and assess what I thought I knew.
That broken wrist reopened a different avenue of education for me…. only this time, it was not subsidized by the pharmaceutical industry and there was some skin in the game…. my own. When you are a pharmacist, you’re in the business of knowing side effects of meds. The good news is…. you know the potential side effects. The bad news is…. you know the potential side effects. I wasn’t willing to go down that road given the med options they were dangling in front of me. My gut said no way, and once my research started it changed my life forever. It all began with raw milk. From there, my research extended into finding access to truly healthy and healing foods. Each time I thought I knew enough, I found that more pieces to health puzzles were MIA…. not just my puzzle, but everyone else’s too.
About the same time, I went to work at a pharmacy that specialized in rare diseases, oncology, auto-immune disorders, and infertility (which frequently has an auto-immune component). Sadly, this pharmacy represented the outcome of people living in toxin filled environments. Silly me. I still thought I was helping people. I guess I was. Kindness matters, especially when you are dealing with life altering body dysfunctions….. but kindness and pharmaceuticals don’t dissolve the problems these patients face every day.
Another personal puzzle piece fell into place after I was diagnosed with something called interstitial cystitis and discovered (after 9 years of no REM sleep and frequent trips to the bathroom), that it could be managed well with a fresh and healthy, but limited, diet. Expensive medication and daily catheterization are the common treatments. Ummm, no thank you. I would later learn that IC is part of the autoimmune disorder family. Not surprisingly, approximately 1 in 5 adults in the USA are card carrying autoimmune disorder patients. I had been given my card.
Eight years ago, my dad was diagnosed with dementia. It made no sense to me and we had no family history of dementia. I backtracked the onset to a statin drug (commonly prescribed for high cholesterol). In the finest of the fine print of this class of drugs you will find information alluding to possible memory loss with these drugs. Dig deeply and you’ll find it. I thank God for leading me to raw milk to lower my cholesterol instead of that which stole my dad’s memory. I don’t blame the pharmaceutical industry for burying the whole ‘memory loss’ side effect in the fine print. I mean, would you want to take a drug that could potentially rob you of your memory as a side effect? Ummmm, no thank you.
By now, I’ve truly begun second guessing pharmaceuticals. I began educating myself on everything I could get my hands on that gave honest and documented proof that maybe what I knew wasn’t EVERYTHING…… that perhaps there were some gaps in my education and knowledge base. I dug deep deep deep into gut health and discovered the link to most autoimmune disorders. I studied sleep patterns, herbs, thyroid and hormones. I picked up yoga and began healing my posture and my stress level. That led to my recent certification (7 years later) as a Christian yoga instructor.
I had a life changing accident 3 years ago this week, and (eventually… after a 3 month recovery) walked out of it when I should have been an amputee. Last week I walked a 37 minute 5K with many close friends. Thank God. Despite the severity of my injury, I have no pain day to day and am not on any medication. I’ve got oils, supplements and a little thing called Dolphin MPS that rocked my recovery world so much so that I decided to begin taking classes so that I could help others as I was helped…. another tool in my toolbox that wasn’t related to pharmacy.
The last 18 years, by serendipity or Divine design (I believe the latter), I have been gathering tools to help people (myself included) heal physically and emotionally. What had started out as a mission to care for myself and my family gradually extended to include friends and strangers who have become dear friends. The more truth in healing I gleaned, the more uncomfortable I became in my white lab coat. Back in the day, we took an oath to do no harm (that oath has been changed and no longer includes that phrase).
Once you know something, you can’t unknow it.
I have grown uncomfortable in my pharmacist skin (and coat)….. able to speak only truths that are approved talking points regulated by the pharmaceutical industry.
Once I found that there are better, safer, more life sustainable ways to heal, it became harder and harder to deny people access to these opportunities in wellness……. because they exist for the taking.
Every day, people make unconscious choices that affect their health….. making poor food choices, drinking chemically treated water, watching too much media and not exercising enough…. taking meds without researching them thoroughly first. They think a pill will solve their ills. I’m here to tell you that medications are simply adding to the already hefty toxin load within all of us. The heavier the load, the sicker the individual.
I’ve had several people in the last many months call me a healer. I don’t claim that moniker. I feel more like a shepherd, leading those who are thirsty to a safe place to drink, eat, and rest. It gives me great peace, and it makes my heart sing a song it’s never sung before.
I have straddled both worlds now for many years, and being true to myself is becoming increasingly difficult despite the six figure income that comes with the white coat. I fill prescriptions for people I have grown to love in the community, knowing that they can be helped in other ways that actually heal. I respect my duty as a pharmacist and do not step outside that boundary……but I feel God’s hand firmly on my back telling me to Go. Do. Become. Shepherd those I send your way.
And so I prayed. “Lord, if it is your will, send me those who need me.” I began praying this daily about 5 months ago. God has a sense of humor. I’m sure of it. About a month ago, I had to alter my prayer a tiny bit. ” Lord, if it is your will, can I have a little breather so I can adequately help those you sent so far? ” God is so very good.
I would have never in a million years guessed that I would step away from pharmacy more than halfway thru my career. Pharmacy has taught me so much. Perhaps most importantly, it has given me the gift of scientific discernment: the ability to understand fact from fiction or skewed data.
When I was a young pup out of pharmacy school, I thought my life was set on auto pilot. I couldn’t have been more wrong. God took me down a completely different path, guiding me and giving me tools along the way: pharmacy, nutrition, exercise, yoga, health coaching, scientific based knowledge of essential oils, supplements, and herbs, Dolphin MPS, and most importantly the empathy acquired from personal experiences.
God doesn’t call the equipped. He equips the called.
Here’s to the journey! I can’t wait to see what the second half of my life holds.
Hugs and love, Liz
PS: I am not completely stepping away from the pharmacy just yet. You will still see me in a white coat one or two days a week.
Well. This morning started off with a bang. Literally. I was not sure whether to name this post “Family First”, “Farm Life Reality Part II” or the above title.
About 6:30am I heard a very specific series of barks. For those of you who are well tuned in to your dog(s), you know exactly what each bark means. Our dogs have some very specific ones:
As soon as I heard it, I flew out of the house wondering which enemy it was. When I rounded the corner on the back side of the property I knew we had a situation that wasn’t going to end well. Lily, our livestock guard dog, had backed a coyote into a corner (between fences), and no way was she going to stand down. Lily is an Akbash, a dog very similar to a Great Pyrenees, but in my mind, a far superior LGD for many reasons (another post for another day). These dogs are not fighters, although pressed to do so, they will defend themselves and will kill if necessary. No, their instinctive drive is to protect their family at all costs using intimidation first, and force as a backup if necessary.
We do not kill predators for the sport of it, but if we have one threatening our farm family, we will not hesitate. It is a rare day that we pull out a gun and use it for this purpose, but this morning, it was necessary. We have shot sick skunks and poisonous snakes. Coyotes, although they live all around us, generally stay off our property thanks to the dogs. This one had gotten brave, and that’s not good. A brave coyote will find a food source and then our farm becomes Luby’s cafeteria for she and her friends. This means that our chickens, our cats and kittens, and even our calves and smaller dogs become potential meals…… not to mention vet bills that start rolling in as our LGD’s have to sometimes engage the enemy in battle.
Today did not end well for this coyote, and it was stressful for Lily too. She would not back down even tho she is terrified of guns. She held the coyote at bay, and Charlie shot it. Lily scrambled back to the porch, shaking…… not because of the coyote, but because of the gunshot.
Lily prefers to spend her time outdoors guarding her farm-ily……unless there is thunder, fireworks, or gunfire in our area. Any of those, and she’s at the door begging to be let in (which we do). This said, I was concerned about her response to gunfire literally that close to her.
Young Living has an oil that is well used and loved by those who know it: Stress Away. I would venture to say that several million bottles of this relaxing blend have been used and relied upon over the years. It is one of my favorite oils, and for a very good reason too…. it is my ‘go to’ in times of stress. Consequently, I keep a bottle in my purse, and one in my lab coat at work, as well as one on my desk at home. It is literally like letting out a gentle sigh of relief simply by applying it to the neck and wrists.
Now, this morning, while the situation was an elevated one, it was not as stressful for me as say….. driving in Dallas traffic during rush hour…… or working in an intensely busy pharmacy with not enough help (Frankly, that’s waaay more stressful than the previous scenario!). Poor Lily, however, WAS stressed… not from the coyote, but from the gunfire.
So, after all was said and done, I slathered our hard working girl up with Stress Away and gave her some extra special loving for the good job she had done. Young Living oils are amazing for many reasons, not the least of which is that they work just as well (if not even better) on animals as they do on humans. I believe this is because animals have no preconceived notions about what therapeutic oils can and cannot do. They either work, or they don’t for our four legged friends…. but in my experience, they nearly always do.
I am happy to report, that after about 30 minutes, Lily had a very spoiled breakfast (with treats), AND she had no interest in coming inside to recover from the gunfire. In fact, she spent the rest of the morning laying in the midst of the chickens, guarding her peeps. I’d say both she and Stress Away did their jobs well this morning!
Hugs and love from the farm y'all…. Life goes on. ~ liz
Years ago, we discovered guineas as a pest control option. Initially, we got them because grasshoppers can be such an issue around here that gardening can be a challenge. We later discovered that they are also an incredible resource for controlling fleas and ticks. Both of these parasites can be the nemesis to anyone with furry pets, and if you live in the country, they can be especially problematic.
It has been years since I’ve even considered ticks as an issue because we’ve managed our property so well with these birds. Enter Daisy….. our dog we acquired thru adoption last year. No fence will hold Daisy in; she flies over a 5 foot fence with relative ease. Because of her genetic predisposition (she is a border collie / great Pyr cross) she has a strong drive to guard. The perimeter she has chosen includes high grass areas not patrolled by our tick eating fowl. Consequently, ticks have become an issue as we work to protect her (and us) from this disease-laden parasite.
I’ve heard from other sources that this is a particularly bad year in our area for ticks…….the vector to blame for transmitting several diseases, including Lyme disease, and (the new kid on the block)… a tick bite that can make you allergic to red meat. Treatment with antibiotics (for Lyme) is generally effective if caught quickly, but frequently, people get diagnosed much later after the initial tick bite…. and this can lead to lifelong health problems. You can read more about Lyme Disease here, or the tick bite induced meat allergy here.
Everyone’s situation is different, but I thought I’d give some practical tips on protecting yourself and your pets from these little vampires.
*If you live in the country, consider getting some guineas (If you are nearby, I’ve got plenty of adult birds right now, and will donate to your cause).
*Keep your property mowed. If you are like us, it’s not always possible to have your entire property mowed because of the size or terrain involved.
*Keep your pets clean, and consider adding some Cedarwood essential oil to their shampoo as a natural deterrent.
*In tick prone areas, make sure you are wearing long sleeves, long pants, and tucked in clothing. Wear a ball cap/hat to prevent ticks from dropping onto your head (they do fall from trees too).
*If you are an avid outdoor guy/gal, grab some safe bug repellent (one without toxins). Young Living makes a fantastic insect repellent that is incredibly effective. I have found that a quarter sized amount placed strategically on the neck, wrists, and ankles does a stellar job of warding off biting pests. Benefits include:
*Watch for ticks throughout the day, but especially before bathing… being sure to check all nooks and crannies! If you’ve been in a tick infested area, put clothing directly into the washing machine. After washing, dry on high heat for at least 60 minutes to ensure death of any wee little hitchhiking varmints.
If you find that you have been bitten by a tick…. do not panic! Simply remove the tick. Use a pair of tweezers and pull gently, making sure you also remove the biting part of the tick. I’ve read many discussions on using a drop of essential oil directly on the tick to force tick to back out. It is a firestorm discussion with opinions on both sides. I would feel comfortable using this removal technique, but please do your own research!
Once you’ve removed the tick, you’ve got a few options….. but DO NOT DESTROY THE EVIDENCE! Tick testing is ‘a thing’ now…. so you can always send it off, but testing sites do not claim 100% accuracy and it’s about 50$ per tick. If you choose to hang on to the little offender instead of sending its carcass off, put it in a baggie or small jar and throw it in the freezer for safekeeping….. just in case you have some weird symptoms that show up weeks/months later. That tick might come in handy for a proper diagnosis…. after all, these critters can give you a loading dose of bacteria, viruses, fungi, and protozoa… the likes of which we do NOT want. This brings me to the last point….. immune support.
Whenever I know that I am entering an environment loaded with ick, I always back up my immune system. Examples: flu season at work, every time I hop on a plane (1 out of every 5 people get off a plane with a new ‘souvenir’ they’ve acquired from recycled airplane air), or times when I am under abnormal stress/lack of sleep. I would list a tick bite as a time when immune support should occur….. after all, there is a lot of potential ‘ick’ in tick.
My two ‘go to’ products for immune support are Inner Defense, and Immupro. I use Immupro for daily immune support (taken at night before bed), and then reserve the big guns…. Inner Defense….when I feel I need to kick it up a notch. (Helpful hint: be sure to have some fatty food in your stomach when you take an Inner Defense… it does not do well on an empty stomach).
Truly tho, the best defense is a good offense….. which brings me back to my guineas, and the fact that I need to rehome some of my prolific pest patrollers…. Any of my local peeps want some? I’m your (farm)girl!
Hugs and love, Liz
Lordy, the first quarter of 2018 came in like a lion, and then took over my life. Here’s a toast (of raw milk) that 2nd Qtr 2018 will be a little gentler on my time. The good Lord only gave me 24 hours in a day, and they’ve been filled to overflowing. Thank goodness I’ve been blessed with a fast metabolism and have access to NingXia Nitro.
Rain: Henceforth known as “The Great Flood of February 2018”. While we desperately needed rain, in this part of Texas, the weather is feast or famine. It’s either scorching hot, windy as heck, insanely beautiful, or swampy wet. February was cold and wet. In fact, it was too wet to be muddy some days. The mud came later tho….. lots of it. Chores that typically took an hour sometimes took two hours for days on end. As I sit here and type, the wind is blowing hard…. (Wyoming hard if you are from that part of the world). I don’t enjoy the hard winds, but I’m enjoying it today, knowing it’s drying the ground out faster.
Friends: This crazy quarter has been filled with so many good things…. Elsa survived (and is thriving), my vision is coming into fruition, and we’ve been blessed by connecting with friends old and new. Humans are interesting creatures. We thrive in community. Studies have shown that over and over again…. even introverts (myself included) need community to thrive. That said, we introverts just need time alone after we’ve spent time with our tribe. I read recently that most introverts are generally highly sensitive and some are bestowed the blessing of ’empath’. Work with me here while I try to explain this in basic “Joe science” terms….. Each one of us is a bundle of energy. This is a scientifically proven fact. Electrical current frequency is measured by Hertz, and we all have varying degrees of energy frequency (Again, not new-agey stuff… this is a fact). Some people have the ability to sense or ‘feel’ subtle changes of energy in people and in our environment (Animals are VERY good at this). I hear massage therapists speak of it often, but didn’t really understand until I began my Dolphin MPS certification process and spent more time with my hands on people. Christian Yoga certification training has taught me even more about it. There are people who could be termed ‘energy vampires’ in that they leave you exhausted after spending much time with them. The same can be said for those who recharge your spirit. And then, there’s the chaotic ‘energy chatter’ that many of us introverts try to avoid when we can. This is a real thing, and I am learning to embrace the gift that God has given me. It has also enabled me to understand why my quiet/ recharge time is truly so important for my physical and mental health. Chronic low frequency (meaning low Hertz) will lead to dis-ease and disrepair within the body. I know… it sounds hokey…. but do some research if you think I’ve dived off the deep end. There is truth to what I just wrote. Fascinating stuff! The body is an incredible machine, and the more I learn about it, the more I marvel at how easy dysfunction can occur.
Elsa: Our little miracle calf has had some milestones in the last month. About 6 weeks into her life, she figured out how to mechanically overcome her cleft palate and begin nursing on her own. Huge kudos to her very patient mama, Honey. It takes her quite awhile to eat, but Honey has definitely been the unsung hero in all of this. I will tell you more about her someday. Elsa has been able to latch on to both front teats, but because of the angle and length of the back teats, could not nurse on those. That is working out well, so I’ve been milking the back quarters while she cleans out the front two. (A cow’s udder has four separate compartments that produce and then store the milk)
We noticed several weeks in to Elsa’s life that her ears had gotten frostbitten, and it looked like she was going to lose the tips of each ear. Sure enough, a couple of weeks ago, the dead areas simply peeled off. I’m posting a pic here, and although you really can’t tell unless you look hard enough, her left ear is a little different than her right ear now. (I’m telling you…. it gets COLD here sometimes in the winter!).
She is starting to eat regular food now, and we’ve come to realize that there is a new problem emerging. The solid food keeps creating a bolus that lodges in her nostrils. I have created a gentle rinse recipe along with a way to remove the bolus when it forms. She doesn’t like it, but I can tell she is appreciative of our efforts afterwards. The rinse is a mixture of distilled water, colloidal silver, and a small amount of Thieves Mouthwash. The latter two create an inhospitable environment for bacteria….. important because my fear is now that she will develop a bacterial infection if food sits there too long and is allowed to ferment. (And yes, I did put a little up my own nose just to make sure it wouldn’t burn…. for those of you who are wondering ;)! We’re just taking this ‘Raisin’ Elsa’ thing day by day. She is healthy and strong, but I feel like I need more information on cleft palates that are not surgically repaired. Surgery does not seem to be an easy option here, but perhaps I’ve not dug deep enough, or contacted the right resources? She is growing so rapidly, and it seems like any repair would need to be able to grow with her somehow.
Take care and enjoy the rest of your day! I’m headed out to feed. Although the wind is blowing hard, the sun is glorious and shines on my face.
Hugs and Love, liz
Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. Honestly, as much as Charlie and I love each other, we are not huge proponents of this particular advertising holiday…. ’cause we just love each other every day, and do our best to show one another that we still do #evenafteralltheseyears. I mean, why limit your love to just one day? Of course we both fail spectacularly on occasion…. but the point is, that we both do try.
Have you heard of the 5 Love Languages? It’s a concept that has been around for several years and was outlined in a book by Gary Chapman. My love language is service, and Charlie nails that one for me every time. It wasn’t always that way tho. When we were first married, he gave me a few gifts that resulted in a hairy eyebrow from me. Although he was giving from the heart, it was not in a ‘love language’ that my receiving heart understood.
I know my blog is primarily about health and farm life, and ya’ll might think I’m deviating from that venue in this post. Not so. Our heart, body, and emotionally health is completely and utterly dependent on healthy loving relationships….. not just with our significant other, but also with friends, family, and/or ‘framily’ (those friends who truly become our family). Do a little Googling on this topic, or take a peek at some of the benefits here.
I posted on my personal Facebook page about this topic last week, and my dear friend Miss Dottie added to my musings. She is a little older than I am, and infinitely wiser! ….. there is a distinct advantage to aging well, learning from life, and then passing along golden nuggets to others. Life lessons should shared so that others may find their road a little less rocky in life!
From Miss Dottie:
“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.”~John 15:12
As a former relationship coach, matchmaker, & author of the Dr Romance column, I was immersed in the world of love & what makes us tick (or not). Each February my thoughts return to that season with a smile & I love writing about all things of the heart.
My friend posted this little chart this morning. Since Valentines Day is just around the corner I thought it might help you in showing love specifically to each person you care about. I know the media pushes roses, candy, & cards but sometimes that’s not what means the most. Valentines Day isn’t really about YOU, it’s really about THEM.
It’s really important for all of us to communicate what’s important to us. For me words of affirmation & quality time are the wind beneath my sails. Want to crush me? Use words that make me feel less than. Want to bruise my heart? Never spend time with me or come alongside me.
If you’re alone or maybe not in a healthy relationship, I would encourage you to meet my BFF Jesus. I would also encourage you to “romance the self.” Need a friend? Be a friend. Love flowers? Plant your own garden. I think you get my drift.
I think I Corinthians 13 offers the best definition of love: “Love suffers long & is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things…”
Enjoy your day tomorrow, regardless if you are single or have a significant honey in your life. You are loved by someone no matter who you are or where you are in life. Don’t ever forget that! Miss Dottie is a wise woman, and her words are golden!
Hugs and Love from me to you this Valentine’s Day, liz
It’s Tuesday January 30th. Tomorrow is Elsa’s one month birthday, and I feel the concern about her living (or not) washing off of me. She is a normal calf in all ways barring her cleft palate. Scratch that… well, maybe not exactly normal. She plays with the dogs, loves human attention, and follows me around like a toddler when I’m outside. Her feeding schedule is now on official every 8 hours (whew!). In my book, that makes her better than normal, right?
As in all other aspects of my life, when the major stress is over, that’s usually when my body lets down its guard and my immune system fails me. No better time for that than smack dab in the middle of flu season. I have been praying that my body does not succumb. It’s particularly nasty this year if you haven’t heard. In our area of Texas alone, entire school districts have been shut down for days at a time, and the lingering effects include a hacking barky cough that lasts for weeks on end. I’ve got no time for that nonsense.
Last Friday evening, Charlie wanted to go see the movie 12 Strong (a fantastic patriot inspired true story) after work and chores. As we were headed home, he said “I think I need an Inner Defense“. UGH!!!! We had just shared a bottle of water throughout the movie. By Saturday morning, it was clear that my sweet husband had fallen to the flu, and I knew I was (and still am) in the direct line of fire.
This is the moment that I take no prisoners when it comes time to caring for myself, and I immediately went in to full throttle defense mode. We don’t do Tamiflu or any other pharmaceutical ‘remedies’ around here unless an emergency warrants it (although I would personally never touch Tamiflu), and my farm guy is already on the mend. I imagine that he will be 100% again before the week is out.
I am still standing strong, but my body has given me clues that if I let my guard down, the situation will likely escalate. I know many of you are worried about this season of illness, but I’m here to tell you that the best offense is a great defense…… Here is what I am doing (in addition to prayer):
Y'all, I went for about 2 weeks with only taking catnaps in early January…. stressing about Elsa, and still working at the pharmacy in a flu ridden environment. Knock on wood….. I am still standing strong.
My goal is and always will be to empower people to take charge of their own health. You alone are the only one who can read your body’s signs and know what it feels like when you are about to be knocked down a notch or two in the wellness department. It is in that moment that you act quickly. The first line of defense is to not fall below that wellness line!
Hugs and love, liz
If you’d like to learn more about these products as well as other holistic wellness options, please message me.
……. stands a man who supports me in all that I do. My farm guy and I have been married for 25+ years, and he truly never ceases to amaze me with his support, care, and love.
I’m not gonna lie, these past three weeks have pushed me to the limit and have brought out the cranky side of me. I feel like lack of sleep has called out my evil twin. Charlie has been awesome despite all this, and has picked up where I’ve had to leave off to keep Elsa fed and cared for. (She is doing INCREDIBLE by the way… and feedings are now spread to every 5 hours!)
Charlie learned early on that my love language is service. We make a great team…. I say something like, “I wish I had a ______________” (this blank usually requires power tools to complete), and the next thing you know, he’s out there building it! No joke. My dad was a handy guy, and I married an equally handy one. My guy is gifted beyond measure and can visualize something and then the next thing you know, it’s built. He is a man’s man, and he is also a tenderhearted sweet soul that God gifted me.
Last year, he encouraged me to step out and pursue a passion that I’ve been carrying in my heart. He did this verbally, and then backed that encouragement by physically stepping in and being present when I was absent. That is no small feat when it entails caring for 60+ animals, managing farm chores, being an elder at our church, AND holding down a 50+hr per week job that is a 2+hr round trip commute each day. He sees value in what I am passionate about, and he supports me 100%. This is a gift beyond measure, and he does it without complaint.
Last week, I pretty much hit my stress limit. I’ve got alot going on here…. at times, I wonder if I’ve bitten off more than I can chew (especially when you throw Elsa’s care into the mix). In some ways, I feel like I’ve gone back to college…. but these things I’m doing are part of a much bigger vision that God has on my heart, and I have a sense of urgency in completing them. People are hurting (physically and emotionally) and feel it. It is driving me to learn how to help them find healthier ways to heal (instead of being ‘band-aided’ by meds).
This is a season, and it won’t be forever, but it’s a busy time right now, especially with Elsa’s needs. (I only have words of admiration for you moms of special needs human babies….YOU are amazing if someone did not tell you that today!)
My ‘to do’ list of farm chores is steadily falling further behind. For having a working farm, I’d say we run a pretty tight ship around here. We both like ‘neat and tidy’, and my efforts with Elsa mean that other duties have fallen to the wayside. We’ve recently hired a young man to help us for a few hours a week…. I think you might have heard us both audibly sigh in relief.
We are in the process of converting our barn apartment into a home office to house ‘my vision’ that has become ‘our vision’. Charlie has been working tirelessly to get the physical upgrades done, and it is looking awesome! I am the caulker and painter in the family, and both of those duties have fallen to the side. He knew that was stressing me out (falling behind on my end of the work project), so he quietly arranged for a dear friend who owns a commercial painting company to come out and do what I have not had time to complete, and then surprised me with it. If you want to see a grown woman cry, that was it…. a blessing beyond measure.
He even surprised me with my dream of a purple door on ‘The Dairy Palace’. The whole palace (another ‘wish’ that became a reality) isn’t quite done yet (there is a little more to complete), but I love the whimsical pop of color!
I’m a tired farmgirl. It’s a passing season, and I’ve got a farm guy who is my favorite person in the world, my best friend, and greatest cheerleader. It is a blessed woman indeed who has a man such as mine. (And by the way, our animals are blessed too, because his heart is big enough for all of us).
(I’ll post on Elsa update a bit later, but I needed to get these thoughts out of my head first!)
Many many sermons ago, our pastor talked about the movie, The Matrix. I’ve never seen it…. not a huge fan of science fiction…..but the allegory intrigued me. Hollywood does tend to mirror real life, even in science fiction.
Lately, I’ve heard the term ‘Red Pilled‘ bandied around. It didn’t even occur to me that this phraseology was again a nod in reference to The Matrix. Silly me, I thought it meant which side of the political aisle you prefer! (Don’t leave…. I’m not going to talk politics. That’s not my ‘thing’.) I must have seen the phrase more than a handful of times before I felt compelled to look it up.
Red pill vs Blue pill…… it’s about choices. Nothing more.
The Blue Pill, by my estimation, is for those who are passive, and content with their lot in life. They prefer to be spoon fed information and lifestyles. Perhaps, they don’t like what they are being fed. They may grumble a bit, but they eat it anyway and do not look elsewhere for fodder. That puts the holder(s) of the spoon in a tremendous position of power, and fiction, untruths or half truths may look like fact. The rose colored glasses are, in fact, blue lenses.
The Red Pill is for the inquisitive. It’s definitely easier to be spoon fed than it is go out and forage for your own food (or grow your own garden & milk your own cow). The Matrix makes mention of going down the rabbit hole when you take the Red Pill. Lots of twists and turns that reveal important (and previously hidden) information along the way. The hand(s) that feeds the Blue Pilled peeps does not generally smile upon those of us who have become independent foragers of information. Their power is lost on us.
Ya’ll, I may get some flack for writing this…… but ‘the system’ that educates our healthcare professionals (myself included) AND the insurance companies that dictate how healthcare is to be provided are holding the spoon. We healthcare providers were indoctrinated and taught that the way of the Blue Pill was good. We were then taught how to administer the Blue Pill to others. They (I’m removing myself, because I now know better) know no differently… so don’t get mad at them. They believe 100% what they were taught, and if questions arise…. well…. return to the hand(s) that holds the spoon for answers. Remember tho… the hand that holds the spoon has the power to filter what you are fed.
You can take the Blue Pills all your life, but you can only take the Red Pill once. You have to look long and hard to find a good medical professional who is willing to look at and recommend all aspects of health and well care. I’m starting to see more functional medicine doctors…. praise God…. who have taken a stand and have Red Pilled themselves. They understand that you can’t just pharmaceutically treat symptoms of a body system dysfunction…. you have to address the core issue at hand or healing will never occur. They are open to recommending nutrition, holistic care methods, and wellness options. They only use medication as a last resort.
Each one of us has a choice. I took my Red Pill (before I even knew of such a thing) about 15 years ago. It’s the reason we drink raw milk , garden, avoid toxins (ie: standard household chemicals, processed food, toxin laden skincare products), manage our stress and sleep holistically, and make an effort to be physically fit. Like many people who have adopted the Red Pill mentality, my hand was forced when a couple of health conditions demanded that I make a decision on which pill to take.
Ignorance may provide short term bliss, but it will cost you plenty in the long term. Those of us who have taken the Red Pill stand to spend 16X less on healthcare than those who choose to take the Blue Pill….. Blue Pilled people are big business in the health care industry….. BIG (16X) Business. No wonder they feed you so well.
If you are like me and waited until a health situation surfaced, do not be frustrated…. you can still take the Red Pill. Better late than never!
If life seem to be going really well for you, but your intuition has kicked in and your gut tells you that you need to learn more, do more, and be more responsible for you and your family’s health….. let me symbolically hand a Red Pill to you (it’s free)….. message me, and I’ll help you unwind the fiction from fact and half truths.
The truth can be hard to stomach, but it can also set you free.
Would you like some kombucha to wash that Red Pill down?
Hugs and Love, liz
PS: The internet is a wonderful thing. If I learned nothing else in college and in pharmacy school, it’s the power of research. Two incredible sources to find accurate information and studies include:
Pubmed.gov ( a repository of all studies from all over the world)
Google.scholar (another repository of information)
One of my most favorite things about wintertime is grapefruit! I was prepping my breakfast this morning and I felt a surge of gratitude that I could eat something that I loved so much. I know…. it probably sounds weird. But way back when…. about 20 years ago, grapefruit suddenly landed on my ‘no no’ food list. That list became a very significant part of my life for about 12 years.
I think I was 33 when I started having peeing problems (sorry if that’s TMI!… just being real here). I simply felt like I had to pee all. the. time…… but especially at night. There were nights I probably got up 8-9 times to go to the bathroom. Doctors ruled out infection and said I simply had an overactive bladder. How does this even happen? I mean, how does one simply ‘acquire’ an overactive bladder? I wasn’t that old…. and had never had any children (both risk factors). We tried a few medications to limit the frequent trips. Pharmaceutical fail. The side effects of dry eyes, dry mouth, blurred vision, and dizziness and drowsiness were not a good trade off for the minor decrease in the number of trips to the bathroom at night. Just when I was approaching my wit’s end, I went to another doctor who finally gave me a definitive diagnosis: Interstitial Cystitis.
If you’ve never heard of IC, here is a short clip from the TV talk show, Drs as a way of explanation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3mzAQgQaauM
IC is a beast. I was relatively fortunate…. and only had the urge to pee with ungodly frequency. Many other women have IC much worse, and the urge is accompanied by pain. The medications used are modestly effective at best, and have an impressive list of side effects. Daily self catheterization, surgical procedures, and even cystectomy (bladder removal) are also treatment plan options. My doctor was ahead of her time 2 decades ago. She recommended that I start a very restrictive diet as a means of helping control the urge to pee. I literally began the diet with a menu that consisted of 4 foods…… slowly adding one food at a time back into my life. Looking back, I realize that as awful as this diagnosis may sound, it was thru this that I was given the gift of culinary discernment and the ability to read even minute clues within my body based on how my bladder reacted to what I had eaten earlier in the day.
Here’s a sampling of my crazy ‘no no’ list: most citrus (except blood oranges, which are lower in acid and seemed to be okay for me), pineapple fresh or canned (but it’s ok to eat pineapple if I am actually in the country of origin), onions, peanut butter that had hydrogenated oils (natural was ok), food with dyes, fried foods, spicy food, tomatoes (unless they were yellow… also lower in acid), coffee, many over the counter medications…. the list went on….. but the biggie: processed foods. Those were like a lightning bolt to my bladder.
I learned that getting dehydrated definitely made things worse (and so I became a dedicated water drinker…. another blessing in disguise). I also learned that stress made an awful companion to a temperamental bladder, and have learned ways to mitigate stress. It was many years later that I actually learned I had inadvertently joined the ranks of 1 in 5 adults….. I had an autoimmune disorder.
I talk about this from time to time with people. Our bodies are like buckets and toxins drip slowly into that bucket on a daily basis from the moment we wake up til the time our head hits the pillow at night. And then, if you are an air freshener girl or guy (like I was), you’re lucky enough to be adding those toxins to your body even while you sleep. (Throw those plug-ins away and get yourself a diffuser and some toxin free oils… I promise you, your home and office space will smell awesome, AND you’ll be deriving therapeutic benefits instead of being slowly poisoned to death). Once that toxin bucket is filled and begins overflowing, well that’s when the trouble really starts…. and you get diagnosed with something fun like IC, or a host of other autoimmune disorders. Which autoimmune disorder you get usually depends on which part of your body is the weakest. In my case, it was my bladder.
My diagnosis of IC set my future in motion in ways I’m ever grateful for. IC became my dietary enforcer. I mean, who wants to eat something that will make them pee every 30 minutes ad infinitum? I also came to realize that being surrounded by chemicals (even basic skin care products) didn’t help the situation at all, so we began switching to nontoxic alternatives. My toxin bucket was clearly full and overflowing given the evidence my bladder had coughed up. It was a slow process…. this detoxing our lives….. and I’m not going to lie….it’s still an ongoing process. We are picky about where we eat (is the food freshly prepared, and preferably organic?), and we are picky about what we are willing to expose ourselves to. Do I fail? Oh yes. I’m not anywhere near perfect. I still have a hard time resisting Reeses Peanut Butter Cups (the peanut butter in them are of the devil as far as my bladder is concerned). But falling off the wagon will nearly always guarantee me the need to pee often and with urgency…so it’s usually not worth it.
I’m not saying it will work for everyone with an autoimmune disorder, but think about this…… If one in five of us are so sensitive to toxins that our bodies begin revolting in whatever unique manner it chooses to…….. why in the world wouldn’t you want to minimize the exposure to those toxins simply so that your life would be less complicated, less painful, and even less embarrassing? (I’ve had some truly embarrassing moments. Trust me.)
Fast forward to 3 years ago. The cleaner my personal environment got, and the more balanced my body became with essential nutrients, the calmer my bladder became. Just like a pesky sibling, I know exactly how to rile my bladder up and can do it in a New York minute, but why would I? Most of the time, when I do suffer with IC these days, it’s because I did something stupid. I got dehydrated. I got careless with food. I allowed myself to become stressed out.
Today, my bladder is a fairly normal organ. Yes, I still have IC and I probably always will. But I have healed considerably. I still have a ‘no no’ list of foods that will set my bladder off, but take a look at it now: processed foods (anything with a chemical component) and coffee. My bladder….. sensitive little creature that it is, can usually even tell the difference between what is organic and what is not. And really…. you gotta respect that in an organ :).
Grapefruit…. it’s what’s for breakfast! I am grateful indeed.
Hugs and love~ Liz
Hey there....thanks for stopping by! This is me (Liz James)... an eclectic mixture of holistic (and organic) farmgirl meets pharmacist. It's a synergy that works well as I speak truths and dissect fact from fiction. If you're looking for healthier living options, you've come to the right place!