The inner science nerd comes out in me on a fairly regular basis. While I am most at home on our farm, I have said for decades that I could have been a professional full time student (if finances were no object). I think that is one of the things that initially drew me to pharmacy…. there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t learn something new at work. It is also one of the things I find so attractive about health and wellness in general. Every pebble you turn over reveals a boulder of information just waiting to be learned and absorbed. If you are a life science junkie (like me), you can lose yourself for hours (if not days) reading studies in Pubmed.gov. Finding this website several years ago was the game changer and light bulb moment for me. It was almost as if I had tumbled down a rabbit hole like Alice, and discovered a whole world that I had vaguely heard about but assumed must be inferior to ‘what I knew‘ from pharmacy school.
Big Pharma subsidizes the education of health professionals in the United States. They take the little fledgling professionals and give them their kool-aid and pat their egos. Well done young Dr/ Pharmacist/ Nurse/ ___________ (fill in the blank). Even today, when I read pharmacy continuing education courses on Natural Medicine, I can barely bear to read them. (Again, subsidized). I can earn 1-2 CE credit hours to learn that alternative medicine really is ‘minimally effective’ at best and/or ‘sham medicine’ at worst. It took me about 15 years post pharmacy school to deprogram my mind and begin thinking for myself. Now, with every new drug or new class of drugs, I listen to what Big Pharma says, and then I dig a little deeper to find the whole truth… not the sugar coated version. Ever wonder why those advertisements speak nice and slowly about the unicorns and puppies the drugs promise, and then speak auctioneer fast (or use 4pt font) to reveal some (but definitely not all) of the possible side effects? Me too.
After I quit drinking the kool-aid (now realizing that said kool-aid is full of high fructose corn syrup and red dye #3), and came to my senses, I simply can’t get enough of what alternative health options has to offer. Yes, there is and always will be a time and a place for modern medicine….. but there is also a time and a place for alternative health options. It behooves us all to be open to both.
If you venture in to Pubmed.gov and begin researching, take note of how many studies revealing the benefits of alternative therapies come from outside the United States. University scholars and scientists from all over the world are digging deeply into holistic care and coming up with astounding truths (with far far far fewer side effects than their pharmaceutical counterparts). The United States is slow on the uptake here. Why? Big Pharma doesn’t benefit from holistic care. Repair and restoration does not always have to come with a pharmaceutical pricetag or health consequence. Frequently, repair and restoration comes in the form of self care and simply understanding how we tick and why we do what we do or our bodies do what they do. Learning how to support our bodies instead of propping them up with pharmaceuticals. It’s a learning curve for sure… and the first step is to look at who is offering up those kool-aid cocktails.
Which brings me back to the original topic of this post. Elizabeth Erickson is a neuroscientist with a focus on applied cognition. Our brains can be our best friend, but they can also be our worst enemy. Tonight (Monday, Oct 30th), Elizabeth will discuss some very basic concepts for you to wrap your mind around. This is a free event, and even if you cannot attend the live class due to a scheduling conflict, I’d encourage you to make some time to watch it in the 24 hours it will be available for viewing. Come with an open mind and be prepared to learn. I will be there too…. learning and gleaning… one of my favorite things to do!
Link to the live Class (7pm CST) can be found here.
I really never gave too much thought about carrier oils until recently. My standby has always been fractionated coconut oil. Coconut oil can be great for certain skin types, and I’ve just never felt the need to venture beyond FCO….. until recently. Oh sure, I’ve dabbled here and there…. stepping out on my old friend, but always coming back home to my tried and true love. I was well aware of carrier oils for skin types (see above), but did you know that…. just like essential oils…. carrier oils have attributes that support and affect body systems beyond the integumentary system/skin?
Y'all know the difference, right? A carrier oil is a fatty oil base. They can go rancid over time and although they may have some health benefits, carrier oils generally don’t hold a candle to those benefits seen with Essential Oils. Essential oils, on the other hand, are not fat based…. nor do they feel oily. With the exception of the cold pressed citrus oils, they have an incredibly long shelf life (provided they are cared for properly). Essential oils can be diluted with carrier oils without affecting their effects on our body.
Young Living Essential Oils help support virtually every single body system. We typically choose which oils we are going to diffuse, apply, or ingest according to the body system we wish to support. We may or may not use a carrier oil along with our oils depending on personal choice. Regardless of which carrier oil you choose to use, begin with these tenants:
However, there are some distinct benefits to using carrier oils with your essential oils:
Yep. Here are a few examples:
Remember, Google is your friend here. If you are curious about a specific carrier oil, do a little research. You may get more than you bargained for (and I mean that in a really good way!).
Young Living has a complete line of carrier oils too, available in 8 oz bottles. Each one is a synergistic blend of carrier oils and essential oils designed for a specific purpose. (You will want to read the ingredients closely if you happen to have a sensitivity to a particular oil.)
Do any of these carrier oils tickle your fancy? Give one of them a try and let me know what you think.
If you are an oil carrying aficionado, I would encourage you to also keep a small bottle of carrier oil on hand to dilute in the unfortunate circumstance that you get an oil in your eye. Should that ever happen, don’t flush with water (it will only make it worse). Instead use a little carrier oil in the corner of your eye to immediately dilute the offending essential oil. If you failed to heed my advice and have no carrier oil on hand, simply use any fatty substance (butter, milk, or even a piece of bacon fat!) in place of the carrier oil. I hope you never need this piece of info, but if this has never happened to you, you’ve simply not used oils long enough!
Take care, and have a blessed September day!
Yowsers! We have figs. In fact, we have a disproportionate amount of figs. We have figs coming out our ears all from one very happy (but unknown species) tree.
We planted the little gal (there are male and female plants…. the girls being the producers) about 7 or 8 years ago, and it got off to a very rocky start…. multiple times. Every winter it appeared to die back to the brink of true death until two years ago. Last year we got spoiled by simply eating all we wanted off of the tree. There were enough to pick and eat daily, but not enough to make anything with. This year, the stars must have been lined up right because we have whopper crop this year. I’ve had to get on the ball and start collecting fig recipes. There are some amazing ones out there!
I’ve found this collection at BonAppetit (the figs with bacon and chile is on my ‘to do’ list… Wow… I’ll bet those flavors pop!)
I found a ‘cheeky chilli pepper fig chutney‘ ….. you know anything chef Jamie Oliver puts together is going to be good. My dear friends Aryanne and Martin gave us one of Jamie’s cookbooks several years back. The man knows how to use his ingredients, no question about it. I love that he focuses on using fresh ingredients and prefers seasonal cooking (cooking with what is available at the appropriate season of harvest). I do think that was God’s intention anyway. We were never supposed to eat the same thing 365 days a year like we are prone to do now. It’s probably one of the reasons the standard American diet is typically out of control and obesity and other body system dysfunctions continue to plague our country. If it’s not fresh, it’s likely filled with preservatives and other chemicals to make it taste more appealing.
And finally…. a ‘pear-fig-ginger-jam (with ahem… a dash of whiskey)‘ that we’re gonna have to try. That sounds like it would be incredible over a block of yogurt cream cheese (labnah) or cream cheese with some crackers.
Figs are a food of the Bible, and are loaded chock full of health benefits. God is good that way… giving us just what we need. Dried figs… the most common way people eat chem…. are even more densely loaded with nutrients than fresh. Although I like to eat them both ways, fresh from the tree is my preferred route of nourishment.
The Fig low down:
Any of my local friends want some figs? Give me a shout and this farmgirl can hook you up!
Take care, and have a blessed day,
More than 15 years ago, we made the decision to begin drinking raw milk. You can learn more about that journey here and here. It was not a decision we took lightly, and I literally did over 100 hours of research before embarking on this new path.
I know. I can see the smile on some of your faces, and I can see the nose wrinkling in disgust on others. Raw milk seems to divide foodies, nutritionists, medical professionals the way God divided the Red Sea for Moses.
I never gave milk much thought thru my early 30’s. It came from the grocery store, and we consumed it like many people do. I knew people with ‘lactose intolerance’ and felt remotely sorry for them… not because they couldn’t enjoy milk, but because they also didn’t get to enjoy ice cream, yogurt, and cheese. Yes, I’ve been a dairy lover my whole life. It’s likely the reason my cholesterol started rising in my early 30’s.
Cholesterol and Osteopenia were the driving force behind our introduction to raw milk. It was suggested to me after my diagnosis of both. Being the bookworm researcher that I am, I promptly went out and bought a few books:
The Untold Story of Milk by Ron Schmid, ND (Foreward by Sally Fallon of Weston A Price fame)
The Milk Book by Dr. William Campbell Douglass (an easier read, not quite as detailed)
I have to say that The Untold Story of Milk was likely the catalyst that changed the course of my life. It completely revealed true nutrition and wellness in ways I never found in college.
I want to leave you with a few thoughts:
To each his own, but I’d encourage you all to have an open mind. Do a little research… and give raw milk a try. It has the flavor of mildly sweet melted vanilla ice cream.
Sleep! The saga continues…. so many pieces must fall into place for us to get a well rested night of ZZZZZZZ. (and I’m keeping this one short so I can hop into bed!)
Both men and women need balanced hormones. A LOT can go wrong within our bodies if our hormones go wackadoodle (I know…..not a scientific term, but it’s FDA compliant !). Sleep pattern disruption is just one of those things.
While this post focuses mainly on ‘The Change’, be aware that ‘wackadoodle’ hormones can happen at any age , but especially during puberty, pregnancy/childbirth, and ahem….. the aforementioned time.
Disturbed sleep patterns caused by hormone imbalance aren’t just for women… men can have their own issues when testosterone levels begin fluctuating.
At the age of 50, I’ve found that my personal sleep is best supported by Tranquil on my toes at night, Progessence Plus on my forearms at night, and Estro drops in my NingXia Red the morning. These are all products that are available to you at wholesale pricing with the basic lifetime membership ($45) from Young Living.
Signing off for the day…. but know that I’m here for you if you’ve got any questions about some of these products I’ve just mentioned. Looking for a sheep herder? I’m happy to help!
Deficiencies. Sometimes our bodies don’t produce enough, and other times, we just don’t consume enough. The only way (aside from supplementation) we can receive minerals like Magnesium or Potassium is thru the plants we consume, and to a much lesser extent, meat from animals who have eaten plants. Additionally, our bodies give us the ability to synthesize D, but D can come from a non-vegan diet as well.
Current farming practices have overworked the soil and synthetic fertilizers bind minerals. Both practices prevent the transfer of minerals to the plants. Since the 1970’s, the mineral content of plants we eat has diminished greatly (50-70%). Growing your own food with organic (ex: cow poop!) fertilizer will help, but supplementation has become a growing necessity. This is exactly why we’ve chosen to garden and use our own compost….. and choose very specific seeds.
Not all Magnesium is created equal. Some forms are not absorbed well. Highly absorbable forms of magnesium include citrate & glycinate ( Thankfully YL uses both forms).
Not all vitamin D is created equal either …..D2 (ergocalciferol) and D3 (cholecalciferol). Studies indicate that vitamin D2 is much less potent and has a shorter duration of action than D3. Young Living uses D3 in their formulations.
Thank goodness they know this and incorporate the good stuff into their formulations. (Believe me, I see what’s available out there in pharmacy land!)
What are the chances you are deficient in any (or all) of these? Deficiencies abound in the good ol’ US of A. Despite the wealth of our nation, we are sorely lacking in many nutrients.
80% of us are lacking in Magnesium
75% of us are lacking in Vitamin D
98% of us are lacking in Potassium
Give yourself a high five if you thought you might be deficient. Now go do something about it !… and work towards that 7 hours of golden sleep.
Supplementing is so helpful to keep us above that wellness line. All three deficiencies can cause many more body system dysfunctions than just missed sleep. God made a finely tuned machine when He designed us. If someone finds they are significantly deficient, there are prescription strength D, Pot, (and non prescription, but high strength Mag) available…if you need concentrated help with magnesium, make sure you opt for glycinate and/or malate forms (higher doses can cause diarrhea, and these are less apt to do that, while still being highly bioavailable).
If any of the above products interest you, You can purchase a lifetime membership with Young Living for $45 (they throw in a free oil for stress too!) and then have access to ALL their products at wholesale pricing (24% off retail prices). You can order whatever you’d like with no minimum. Places like SAM’S and Costco charge a higher annual fee, and you get nothing but access to their buildings…. so this is a pretty great deal. If you have any questions, please feel free to message me. (If you choose to sign up with a membership…. regardless of the type, I’ll send you a 400+ page hardcopy reference manual and other resources to get you started).
Good morning friends!! I hope you got a good night of sleep last night! Fireworks were fierce out here in the country til nearly midnight (we’ve got at least 2 more nights of them.. July 4th is around the corner)… and our animals were stressed. Needless to say, OUR sleep was affected!
Sleep deprivation causes increased hunger and increased stress hormone levels… never a good thing, but especially if you are trying to manage your weight or lose a few extra pounds. Sleep deprivation can make that goal dang near impossible!
Frequently, poor sleep is simply the result of poor habits (which we’ll talk about later in the week), but just as commonly, it is the result of a physiological dysfunction and/or side effects of the medications that are used to treat a physiological dysfunction.
Y'all have a great day! See you tomorrow…
As much as this oily farmgirl loves her animals, counting sheep as I lay in bed is NOT my favorite thing to do. In fact, it’s downright annoying and, over time, it can actually become destructive to the body. Usually, I have no trouble falling asleep, but there are times when I wake up with some thought that is front and center in my brain and refuses to leave. That’s a problem. Thankfully, it isn’t a chronic issue for me, but when it does happen, it sure makes the following day a little more challenging.
If you do suffer from chronic sleep dysfunction, ultimately your health will be affected. Heart disease, cancer, mood disorders, immune system function, the healing process, memory loss, diabetes, and increased speed of aging….. all of these (and more!) become more likely to occur with chronic insufficient sleep.
Sleep issues are incredibly diverse, and this post will certainly not do the topic justice. Some of the most common reasons for not falling asleep, not achieving deep sleep, or nocturnal awakenings (my occasional complaint) can be blamed on everything from health conditions to bad sleep habits.
Recognizing that one or more of these factors may be affecting your sleep quality is the first step to achieving a better night’s sleep. Many of these factors are physiological dysfunctions and the ’cause and effect’ can become cyclical very quickly. For example, pain can prevent sound sleep. Conversely, lack of sleep can magnify pain and lower the pain threshold. It is situations like these that can easily develop into chronic sleep pattern disruptions.
Lest you think “My doctor can give me a pill for that, right?”, let me lay out some facts. I see far too many people at the pharmacy assume that taking a pill is an easy fix for a sleep disorder, and this group of medications is a classic example of cause and effect.
I am all about sustainable living in all aspects of life. Long term nightly use of prescription sleep aids is not sustainable, safe, or approved by the FDA….. and yet nearly 9 million Americans take prescription sleep aids on any given night.
By far, the majority of sleep dysfunction can be corrected by simply improving sleep hygiene habits, improving diet ( and adding a probiotic like Young Living’s Life 9), adding activity and exercise to a life schedule, and most importantly managing stress in a holistic manner. The limbic system within our brain is a powerful tool we can utilize to help us fall and stay asleep. If you have been around oils for any length of time, you understand the important role that the limbic system also plays in memory and in our body’s physiologic response to odors…… odors including those of our beloved Young Living oils. There has been a tremendous amount of research on this topic, especially regarding fragrances with very specific constituents that have therapeutic properties. Fascinating stuff. So, in addition to modifying your sleep habits, it may behoove you to experiment with a few of the Young Living oils or oil blends known for their sleep support:
Any or all of the above may support your sleep in ways you never imagined possible. Tranquil and Rutavala are designed to be used topically, and come in a roller bottle ready for use. I use Tranquil nightly at the bottom base of my big toes (vitaflex points) to help me sleep at night. All of the other oils can either be applied topically (same location) or on the wrist or neck, diluted and spritzed on a pillow, or diffused.
Two other products, Sleep Essence and Immupro are Young Living sleep support supplements that may also keep you from having to count sheep. Both are oil infused and contain melatonin, a key hormone needed for healthy sleep patterns. Additionally, 1-3 drops of Lavender Vitality oil under the tongue may also prove to be your best nighttime friend.
As mentioned previously, there is a tremendous amount of information on sleep, and I always feel like understanding a body process (or dysfunction) is key to finding a solution that affects the root of the problem…. not a band-aid to simply address the superficial symptoms. Moving forward, I will be offering an online class on Sleep at least every 6 weeks if you’d like to learn more. You can watch for class dates (as well as other classes) here on my blog: https://thewellnessprepper.com/ , where upcoming classes are posted regularly.
I hope that this post has encouraged and inspired you to give your sleep a little support. So put that flock of sheep away, and work towards getting at least 7 hours of quality ZZZZZZ a night!
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I’m not gonna lie. Gardening can be an exercise in exasperation. I think that’s probably why God put certain strains of bacteria in the soil that actually boost our serotonin levels and decrease our anxiety (ie: mycobacterium vaccae)….. otherwise, we’d probably have thrown in the trowel and starved to death long ago!
In years past, my gardening nemesis (aside from too little or too much rain) has nearly always been squash bugs . They are pervasive and will ultimately kill or severely cripple anything that resembles a squash plant. They also stink to high heaven when you squish them (the only way I know to kill them organically). My proboscis so sensitive that I can smell them (dead or alive) before I see them.
I’ve been gardening for about 10 years…. honing my skills every year. Successful gardening is definitely an acquired skill….and you can’t quit learning or something will eat your lunch. Literally! Prior to this year, I didn’t think I could hate a garden pest more than squash bugs, but clearly I’d never met the cucumber beetle. I’m glad I know Jesus, because if I didn’t, I’m fairly certain that my personal h*ll would include these garden pests.
I planted in early April. This last North Texas winter was a mild one, and all the signs indicated that the last frost was behind us. I watched my rows carefully, waiting for the little seedlings to pop up out of the soil. I always get a little extra heart pitter patter when I see them emerge. This year, each morning when I went out to do a quick check and spot weed, my seedlings started completely disappearing nearly as fast as they came out of the ground. What the what??? It took me several days to identify the culprit. While we do have a few of the spotted variety (see above left), the majority of these evil suckers look like the ones on the right. Striped destruction. Right there. They have eaten every single plant in the cucumber, melon & watermelon family, and THEN they started on my squash. Are you kidding me?? Even the squash bugs have their gustatory boundaries.
If you’ve stuck around here for any length of time, you know that we go as organic as possible on the farm. In the garden, we are 100% organic all the way down to our heirloom seeds and homegrown cow manure compost. Unfortunately, all of the resources I found on organically managing cucumber beetles required some serious forethought and planning….. the kind of planning that you do in the fall and winter. Helpful information, but too late in the game.
Organic gardening isn’t so much about destroying the enemy as it is repelling and reducing the numbers of ‘feet on the ground’. In my search, I found a few different general gardening ‘bug be gone’ recipes, but I didn’t have all of the ingredients on hand for any single recipe. Time was short. The cucumber beetles had systematically moved on to my young squash plants, and there were beetles everywhere. Complete and utter destruction of all things cucurbit was eminent.
I decided to take the ingredients listed in a few recipes, and combine them for my recipe:
“Bug Be Gone” Brew
1 big deep bucket or ‘under the sink’ style trash can
1 old fashioned flour sifter
about 3 gallons of food grade Diatomaceous Earth (DE)
about 1 cup of premade minced garlic (I will make my own in the future, but urgency required the premade stuff)
about 2-3 mls each of the following oils. I use Young Living Oils because I know they are potent, pure, and full of health benefits! …. and once again, we are striving to be 100% toxin free, especially in the garden.
I added the oils to the garlic and then added that mixture to the bucketful of DE. Make sure you have enough room in the bucket to mix thoroughly without spillage. It is some pretty potent smelling stuff!
I then began sifting the mixture over the plants, making sure to get the ground around the plant well covered too. Honestly, that part went way faster than I anticipated. I did notice that the beetles seemed to scurry when I started applying the dust, but I decided to withhold my assessment for a few days.
I also went back and replanted seeds on the same day that I spread the initial application. I put some of the DE mixture in each little hole I made for the seeds, and then put some on the top of the rows for good measure.
It’s now 6 days later, and I’m happy to report that the cuke beetle population has definitely made a dramatic turn. While I still find an occasional straggler, for the most part, it appears there has been a retreat by the enemy. My new seeds are coming up, and I am being vigilant about dusting them once they pop thru the upper crust of the soil, and re-dusting them after watering. So far so good….. but for now, I’d call this battle a victory.
My garlic is nearly ready to harvest and I will be making more of my Bug Be Gone with my own cloves in the future. The sifter is a key piece of equipment for this endeavor. Mine came from my kitchen, but you can find ones like it in junk stores, or just buy a new one on line for about 10$.
Enjoy your day!…. and I hope you win whatever battle you’re currently fighting.
You may have seen by now that I have a passion for sharing and educating. I can’t help it… and at times I am unapologetic about my passion. I love sustainable wellness and sustainable living… the methods, the practice, the fact that it is available to everyone who is willing to work for it. I don’t think I would be this way if I hadn’t spent 25+ years in the trenches of the pharmaceutical industry, and seen the carnage that results from loosely prescribing ‘bandaid medication’ instead of getting to the root of what is actually malfunctioning and working to correct what has gone awry holistically. Don’t get me wrong (I feel like a broken record player saying this), there is a time and a place for medications, but why is the consumption of 80% of ALL medications worldwide occurring in the United States by Americans? We’ve been suckered into thinking that a little pill will solve everything.
I post occasionally about Young Living products because it is a company I believe in as a sustainable wellness tool……. they provide me, my family, and my farm-ily with what we need to support our various body systems (in addition to eating properly, exercising daily, nurturing our faith and deep friendships & maintaining emotional life-work-stress balance) so that we can function optimally, despite the abuse our bodies have taken over the years. YL is one of the most ethically sound companies I have ever come across…..far more so than any drug company I’ve found in my pharmacy career, or any traditional mega-corporate food company where profit is king.
As I dive deeper into supplements and all things Young Living on occasional posts, you might think I am speaking a little vaguely on some topics. In fact, you might wonder why I say something like “please Google Frankincense or one of its constituents, alpha-pinene using https://scholar.google.com/ for more specific information”. It’s not because I don’t know. Frankly, it’s the opposite…. it’s because I DO know but cannot legally relay ALL of the information to you.
There are two organizations that will prevent me from providing you with concise and precise information for the following reasons:
The FDA: You can read about the scope of the FDA here . Per FDA guidelines, “we” cannot make definitive health claims on products that are deemed supplements and that haven’t gone thru the vetting process that is dictated by the FDA (this is both good and bad)….despite the fact that there are literally thousands upon thousands of studies on essential oils and their role and place in healthcare. I invite you to begin your personal research on both pubmed.gov and on Google Scholar . Both of these resources are a wealth of information, so bookmark this page. You may want to come back to both links later after we’ve talked more.
A couple of years ago, the FDA & FTC really cracked down on supplement and nutritional companies, and so it became a bit more tricky to share valuable information. Please take some time to read this article from Health Impact News for details.
The FTC: You can read about the FTC here . The long and the short of it is this: While I work independently, I am representing products that I use from Young Living. Having done the research, from a pharmacists perspective, I believe you would not find a more superior health/wellness product line anywhere. However, I cannot make claims to diagnose, treat, or attempt to cure…. I can only lead you as much as possible down the information path so that you can reach your own educated conclusions.
So, sometimes, my words may seem a little vague or “fluffy”. You likely want hard cold facts. I understand that, and I want to help you navigate “what to do when, where, why, and how” with ease so that you too can have optimal wellness. Young Living has created a document called ” Sharing Young Living the Right Way” and in order to remain compliant and in the good graces of the FDA and FTC, I do my best to abide by that document. Please feel free to refer to that link when needed in our discussions. That way, we will speak the same language and you will better understand the path I am trying to guide you down.
Education is important, and so is learning to navigate information. Learning to be the CEO of your own health is a skill that requires honing and development, and too many people assume it’s somebody else’s job to do it for them. That’s a risky proposition if you ask me….. the business of letting someone else (who may have more interest in your ill health than they do in keeping you well) be the manager of you. Everyone has choices. Do not be afraid to take the plunge and do a little research yourself….. and if you have questions along the way….. GREAT! That’s what I’m here for. I’m happy to be your bloodhound, tour guide, and navigator here to help!
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!