Life After Thyroidectomy & Parathyroidectomy (with photos)

depression, essential oils, Graves Disease, healing, health, hyperthyroid, hypothyroid, parathyroid, surgery, thyroid, tumor, Uncategorized, wellness

 

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3 mos. post-op

So I recently had a total thyroidectomy and a parathyroidectomy of one tumor and lived to tell about it. ūüėČ Below I’ll share with you as many details as I can remember (but my memory still isn’t the best – thanks to hyperparathyroidism!) I’m hoping to give those having this procedure in the near future a little preview of what to expect. If you’re like me, you’ve been grasping for positive stories online, but can’t find any! That’s because there are very few positive stories online. There’s a much smaller percentage of people coming back to tell their positive stories than there are people reporting negative ones.

First, I have to mention that I’ve had multi-nodular goiter for many years, and more recently I discovered it was it was growing downward under my sternum. It was also pushing on my windpipe causing coughing and making it hard to take in deep breaths. Doc said it would continue to grow if we didn’t remove the whole thing.

I also had Primary Hyperparathyroidism, which is a tumor on one of your parathyroid glands, caused by the glad producing too much PTH hormone. The only cure for primary hyperparathyroidism is to remove the tumor.

I did not know if the goiter, nodules or parathyroid tumor were cancerous because I never got a chance to have a Fine Needle Aspiration biopsy on them. Since my surgeon, Dr. De Jong, knew the whole dang thing needed to come out, it wasn’t necessary to biopsy it. He would have my thyroid sent to pathology once it was out, and then we’d find out if it was malignant.

Dr. De Jong said the goiter was the size of his fist! :-O So my incision would be 3 – 4″ long. Apparently you could only see the tip of the iceberg when you looked at my neck. The rest of the large goiter was inside, and growing downward. I was ready to get it out and move on with my life. So we booked surgery for a month out.

Ten days prior to surgery, I was asked to stop taking Advil and all herbal supplements. I hate missing 2 days of my fabo supplements (they hugely help my mood), let alone go completely off of them for 10 days! It was a bit rough because I rely on those supplements for mental clarity, stomach issues, energy and more. My head wasn’t very clear at work during those 10 days – but then my mind hasn’t been clear at work for a LONG time thanks to the parathyroid tumor. So my bosses would just have to deal.

Two weeks prior to surgery I went in for pre-anesthesia testing. They took 5-6 vials of blood to make sure I was healthy enough for surgery. They like to see where your hormone and calcium levels are. Makes sense. My poor nurse though… She was telling me how she has a horrible anxiety disorder, and so she had visibly shaky hands. I tried not to look nervous as her shaking hand came towards my vein with a needle! In my mind I was thinking, “is this for real!?” Everything worked out though – blood was drawn and I lived to see another day.

Thursday, January 11, 2018, (my thyroid and parathyroid eviction day!) was here before I knew it. I’d gotten a lot of prayer from a lot of people, and so I was as cool as a cucumber on my way to the hospital (I was ready to get this thing out of me). I wasn’t afraid of the surgery as much as I was the recovery, and the thought of being hypothyroid (weight gain, more depression, hair loss – NOOO!)

They wheeled me into a prep room where I put on a gown, hospital socks, a gigantic hospital maxi-pad (in case my period came during surgery). They also wrapped electronic massage sleeves around my calves that constantly squeezed and massaged my calves. This was to prevent blood clots. Dr. De Jong came to say hello and that he’d be ready for me in a few minutes.

Some people (nurses, medical students?) came by to wheel me away, but not before first putting a weird metallic shower cap hat on my head. Once I was in the operating room, they exchanged the metallic cap hat for a knit cap. I am not sure what that was all about… but I was ready. Drug me up and get that beast out of me!

After moving me to the operating table, they put a mask over my nose and mouth and asked me to breathe in deeply a few times. That was the last thing I remember before actually waking up in the recovery room after surgery. Surgery was over before I knew it and I was on to recovery – yay! The surgery was apparently 3.5 hours long, and Dr. De Jong successfully removed the very large goiter and parathyroid tumor – leaving the 3 other parathyroids and vocal cords intact and in good shape. Thank God! If you have a poor surgeon, you may get damage to your vocal cords. Please do your research and find the best surgeon on the block.

I don’t remember much about waking up from anesthesia except that the nurse administering my pain meds wasn’t exactly a warm and fuzzy gal. I was drenched in sweat – dripping from my forehead down into my eyes. I felt disgusting. Oh, and guess what? Aunt Flo came to visit me DURING surgery (wasn’t that thoughtful of her??!!??). While I was trying to wake up from the anesthesia, I felt stabbing cramps in my uterus. Perfect timing… They couldn’t give me Advil, only Tylenol. Essential oils to the rescue! Thankfully I’d brought a roller-ball blend of my female/hormonal support oils to ease my cramps (a mix of Geranium, Clary Sage, Lavender, Marjoram, in case you want to make your own). ūüėČ

Once I was more awake, I was put in a real recovery room where I would spend the night. I’d heard that you are usually in a room with a bunch of people, but I got a single room, with a TV and sink. Not too shabby! My husband arrived shortly thereafter, kissed me and sat down…and then I don’t remember much of what happened over the next hour or so. I was so out of it from the anesthesia – foggy and sleepy.

I don’t know if you are aware of this, but apparently some people can’t handle anesthesia, and they puke after surgery. Can you guess what type I am? That’s right – a puker. It is a good thing they put a vomit bucket on my lap right away. If it weren’t so easily accessible, I’d have made quite the mess all over their nice sheets. After vomiting, my mind felt clearer and I was much more awake.

At this point, I didn’t feel any pain in my incision, but I did have a scratchy/sore throat. The sore throat was due to the breathing tube and camera tube that were put down my throat during surgery. They brought me Cepacol lozenges to suck on for throat pain. Other than that, the only other issue I felt was a stiff/sore neck and weakness. The stiff neck is from how your head is positioned during surgery. I also had to keep the IV in my hand overnight just in case they needed to use it. And the massage sleeves were still pumping away at my calves – I need one of those for my house!

Below is a photo of me not long after I puked. Still out of it, but forcing myself to smile…because you can’t take a picture without smiling. Well, you can, but I usually don’t. It’s not very often that I will share a photo of myself without any makeup on, so you’ll notice this particular photo is extra small compared to the rest. ūüėČ

A few hours later I felt much more alert, so I took another photograph. This time my bandage had been removed and I forced an even bigger smile even though I still didn’t feel so hot.

I was starting to get hungry but could only order from the liquid diet portion of the menu. Chicken broth and Jell-O sounded the least likely to induce vomiting, so that was dinner. It was horrible, but I wasn’t expecting much from a hospital. You basically get a bowl of broth, with a packet of protein powder to mix in. It was like eating Ramen noodles….minus the noodles. Allll salt.

The nurses gave me Tums to chew on every few hours. This was to provide my body with calcium because my 3 remaining parathyroids still needed to “wake up” and start doing their job in regulating my calcium level. You don’t want to have low calcium in your blood. It causes hypocalcemia, which is very dangerous.

My husband and I watched TV – sort of – I kept nodding off. When he had to leave for the the night, I tried to get some sleep – but everyone knows you don’t sleep much in a hospital. Nurses came in every few hours to give me the Tums, take my vitals, take my blood, etc.

I don’t remember sleeping much, but the night went by pretty quick. Though weak, I had to keep trying to get myself up and walk to the restroom out in the hall. I had to remember to hold my gown tight so I didn’t give the other patients a “show.” ;P Before I knew it, it was morning and I was hungry! I ordered an oatmeal and a yogurt and ate about half of each. A nurse came by and gave me my very first Levothyroxine pill, which I was told I would be taking for the rest of my life. “Hello Levo, so nice to meet you. We’re going to be lifelong friends…as long as you do your job and don’t jack me up.”

At one point before my husband arrived, I got up to use the restroom and got a whiff of my armpits. Holy mother of pearl…it was horrible. I don’t know if the hospital gown hadn’t been properly washed before I got it, or if a family of skunks had burrowed into my armpits and died. I just knew that I needed to freshen up quick – my husband was going to arrive soon and I didn’t want to smell like roadkill. Thankfully my room had a sink with handsoap and paper towels. I scrubbed my pits as best I could with that pink junk soap, and asked a nurse for a fresh gown. Muuuuch better. I smelled like a human, and even put on a little makeup. Ooh, la la.

One of the medical students came in that morning and says to me, “so, now we’re going to take out your stitches.” What the?! Already??? I apparently said that out loud – not just in my head. She sort of condescendingly/jokingly made me feel like a baby for being scared. I squeezed a pillow while she plucked each one out and tossed them in a bowl. It didn’t hurt, but it pinched a little as she tugged on each one. The last one stung – it was stubborn and didn’t want to come out! They remove stitches the day after surgery so that the scar is less noticeable – fine by me!

My husband arrived that morning and we watched a little TV until I was able to leave. The nurse came by and gave me a prescription for Levothyroxine and post-surgery instructions to rest, drink lots of water, take 4-5 Ultra Strength Tums (1,000 mg) per day for the next week, etc., etc. We would discuss more at my 1 week follow-up appointment. I was given the go-ahead to get dressed and was able to leave around 10:00 a.m.! Couldn’t wait to get home – I missed my kitties…and my cozy pajamas and couch. A very nice nurse took me down to the hospital entrance in a wheelchair. Wheeee!! It was the most fun I’d had in over 24 hours.

It was about 20 degrees and snowing that morning, and there was ice covering our parking lot, so my husband took my arm and lead me into the house. Then he led me to the couch – where I would spend the next couple of weeks watching TV.

I felt pretty good the next morning, and so I was able to take a shower. But not without packaging and taping up my neck real nice so that the water didn’t soak the steri-strips. And not without the help of my husband. Here’s a lovely photo of me pre-shower:

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It felt so good to wash off all hospital odor from my body – especially being able to wash my armpits without paper towels and hospital soap! A little water ended up seeping in and touched my incision area, but all-in-all it was a productive first shower.

Below is a photo of my incision 2 days after my surgery. It wasn’t looking so bad for only 2 days!

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We purchased a bunch of applesauce and yogurt so that I could eat soft foods for the first few days. By the 3rd day or so, I grew tired of yogurt so we ordered pizza! Probably not the best idea, but my throat felt a little better and I needed something tasty.

Note: You’ll have a bunch of disgusting yellow mucous stuck in your throat. You need to get that out. You don’t want it getting into your lungs. So, hopefully your surgeon will give you a breathing tube (which looks sort of like illegal drug paraphernalia), that seems to help it come up.

On the 4th day post-surgery, I felt pretty good. I had some irritating leg cramping, and so the nurse called in a prescription for Rocaltrol, which was an active form of Vitamin D. It seemed to help the cramping a bit, but it kept coming back throughout the day. I had to keep rubbing a blend of essential oils to relax my legs. It helped a ton, but I didn’t want to keep doing that every few hours! Eventually it subsided and the cramping stopped. I think part of the cramping was due to inactivity. Sitting on the couch for 4 days wasn’t good for circulation or my leg muscles. I got up and walked in place for a bit, which helped.

My sister came to visit me on my 4th day post-op. We ended up talking too much, as I normally do, and it irritated my throat. I started to feel something swell inside my throat. It felt like a little ball was inside my throat every time I swallowed. I freaked out and thought I was having a side effect from the Rocaltrol (“throat swelling”), so I called the nurse. She assured me that it wasn’t going to be the death of me. She explained that they have to cut through a pretty thick muscle in order to remove the thyroid. Apparently that muscle gets “angry” for being disturbed and takes a little time to heal.

Below is a picture of my 4th day post-op incision. It was healing up pretty nicely:

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As the days progressed, it was easier for me to get around and do a few small chores, without lifting anything over 10 lbs. I tried to do as little as possible. You know what? Cable TV stinks. They replay episodes over and over and OVER. I was incredibly bored. I literally spent most of my mornings searching On Demand for movies, without actually deciding upon one.

I don’t remember what day it was, when I got the surgical pathology results, but when they came in, it showed that everything was BENIGN! Praise God!

Below is a photo of my incision on my 5th day post-op. Just a couple of days before my 1 week post-surgery appointment with the surgeon. He would be removing my steri-strips, and I couldn’t wait to see what it looked like once removed.

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I saw my surgeon a week after surgery for my 1-week follow up. One of the medical students removed my steri-strips and I checked myself out in their mirror – not bad! It felt less tight, but I still felt like my neck was pulling if I moved my head around.

A few of days later, my incision was looking even better. See the photo below. Some of the scabs had come off with the steri-strips when they removed them.

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At this point (10 days post-op), I started to do what my surgeon told me to do. And that was to gently massage Vitamin E oil above and below the incision for 2 minutes at a time, twice a day for two months. He told me that it was better to rub it above and below, versus on top of the incision, and that it would heal beautifully.

The Vitamin E oil I had was incredibly sticky, so I switched to rosehip seed oil and a blend of essential oils: helichrysum, frankincense, lavender and a skin blend that my company makes. The steri-strips had irritated the skin around my incision, and so it was super sensitive and irritated easily. Knowing how potent essential oils are, I decided to back off of them for a bit, to let the sensitivity/redness go down.

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Once the sensitivity healed up, I began using organic calendula oil, which is very soothing to skin, along with a with a drop of Copaiba essential oil. This didn’t irritate my incision, so I kept doing it every day from this point forward.

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It’s now been 4 weeks since my surgery, and the photo below shows my scar looking a lot darker and more pronounced than it did a week ago! I’m not sure if this is because I hadn’t begun using a scar-diminishing oil, such as Neroli, or if I stretched it out somehow? I think when I took the above photo, I may have had the “skin toning” feature on that blurred out skin imperfections. Durrr.

Now that the incision is sealed and healed, I’m going to start massaging Neroli oil into it 3 times a day. I don’t want it getting any darker than it already is. Don’t bother with the Scar Away silicone patches. Maybe they work on some people, but they irritated my skin.

Now that it’s been a month since my surgery, and I’m back at work (returned after 3 weeks), I am feeling pretty good. Some days I feel achy/fatigued, and other days I feel fine. My main complaints are moodiness and depressive episodes, anxiety, fatigue and some body aches (feeling like I have a fever), cold feet and restless legs. The cold feet has been improving a bit over the last week or so. I’ve had depression and anxiety for over 20 years, so I am not sure either of those will ever improve.

I don’t think I’ve lost any extra hair, and I have only gained 3-4 lbs (but I’d lost that exact amount right after surgery, so I guess I’m just getting it back by eating too much junk food!). I believe my surgeon said they would probably be increasing my Levothyroxine at my next appointment in 2 months. I am hoping once they do that, my hormones will regulate and the remaining symptoms will improve. I’m currently taking 100 Levothyroxine, and 2 Calcitrol +D supplements per day. But that may change at my next appointment. I’m staying positive because the surgery was a success, so I know that future healing will be a success as well.

So far, at 4 weeks post-op, some of the symptoms that I used to have due to my hyperparathyroid tumor have begun to improve. Such as:

  1. Frequent urination (I go much less often – almost normal now)
  2. Extreme thirst/dry mouth
  3. Brain fog/confusion (feeling somewhat clearer and able to focus better)
  4. Breathing better (no more goiter pushing against my windpipe!)
  5. A tad more energy
  6. Joints not as achy when sitting still for too long

I’ve read that it can take up to 6 months to really notice improvements after removal of a hyperparathyroid tumor, so I must be patient like grasshopper. It will come in time. I am praying I am one of the success stories of those who do great on synthetic thyroid hormone and can feel completely normal one day.

If you’re about to have this surgery, please make sure you have a fantastic surgeon. Make sure you have help for the first few days post-surgery. And be sure to get a lot of rest, drink lots of water, and give yourself time to heal. Don’t rush back to work if you don’t have to. I pray your surgery goes well and that you have a positive story to share as well!

UPDATE: It’s been close to 3 months, and here’s how my incision is healing. This is with massaging Neroli oil into the healed scar 3x per day:

Lovely bags hang below my eyes these days. A tell-tale Hypo sign of fatigue. And stress might play a part too…

Other changes include: hair loss, hypo fatigue, 5 more lbs of weight gain. and depression and moodiness. Dr. De Jong switched me over to the name-brand, Synthroid, and increased my dosage to 112, so I’m hoping this regulates me. I miss going to the gym!

But, this is life, and I’m glad I had the surgery. I would rather deal with meds, than have my goiter continue to grow down into my chest.

2nd UPDATE: It’s been just over 4 months, and I’ve had some ups and downs. I’ve gained a total of 9 pounds (not bad) after surgery. Brain fog was gone for a bit, but it’s back somewhat. I have no motivation to go to the gym nor do I have motivation to clean my house (but who does!?). ¬†I have lost a lot of hair.¬† It doesn’t come out in huge clumps, but every day I lose way more than I used to. ¬†I don’t know if this is from the shock of surgery (surgery can cause hair loss out within a few months of the procedure), or if it is from Hypothyroidism – either way, it stinks.¬† My hair was fine and limp to begin with.¬† Now it’s fine, limp and thinning.¬† Lovely.¬† I sleep pretty well, but wake up exhausted and weak – as if I didn’t sleep at all.

So, I kept hearing/reading about how many people do better on T3 medications, like Cytomel, when taken in combination with their T4 medicine, like Synthroid. ¬†I asked my doctor for Cytomel, and he gave me a prescription to start on 5mcg per day. ¬†Within the first week, I started getting headaches, I felt wired but fatigued at the same time (how is that possible?!?), I was having hot flashes, my brain felt heavy/foggy, my legs seemed a little crampy, I was irritable (on a recent date night, I almost jumped out of our truck and verbally attacked the person that cut us off in the mall parking lot – SO not me!), and I had serious worsening of my depression and anxiety.¬† My doctor told me to stop taking it, and he increased my Synthroid to 125 mcg instead.¬† I’m hoping and praying that I finally start to feel some energy and that my mood lifts, so that I don’t lose my mind and actually attack someone!

While I am not a fan of most Endocrinologists, mine seems to be doing a pretty good job. I’m grateful that he at least listened to me when I asked to try Cytomel, and didn’t shrug off my request. I think I’ll let him be the doctor next time and listen to his suggestion!

Here’s a recent photo of my scar. I covered it a little with makeup this morning:

3rd UPDATE: 

It’s been 5.5 months since my surgery.¬† Since the increase to 125 Synthroid, I lost a few pounds, but basically feel the same.¬† Perhaps a tiny big less depressed.¬† I left a message with the nurse today to ask my doctor if he would increase my dosage to 137, even though it’s only been 5 weeks since the last increase.¬† I want energy!!¬† And, I want my hair to stop falling out!


If you’ve recently had this surgery, or had it in the past, will you please comment below and let me know how you are doing? I know our bodies are all different, but I’d like to hopefully hear some positive stories about depression going away and weight loss after Synthroid regulates!

God bless and make sure you check your TSH and calcium levels whenever you get a blood test!

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To Become, or Not to Become, a Certified Aromatherapist?

aromatherapy, aromatic, certification, essential oils, Uncategorized

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So, I’ve been a rep with a very well known essential oils company now for over 3 years.¬† While I get loads of education and information from them, I figured it was about time I take that leap and¬†go one step further in my botanical therapy education to become a Certified Aromatherapist.

I’ve always tried to educate my clients/customers as much as possible with information on how to safely use essential oils and help them figure out which to use, but now I can do it with much more confidence and knowledge.¬† I really thought I knew enough about oils to get by, and what I didn’t know I’d just¬†ask my team or Google it.¬† I mean, Google has the answer to all things, right?¬† ūüėȬ† I joke.¬† What I am now learning is that becoming a Certified Aromatherapist gives me much more opportunities and abilities than I ever had before.¬† There are various types of work you could do with this title, besides sales, and I cannot wait to find my niche!

For those of you who love learning about oils, or even do it as a business, I highly recommend getting certified.¬† You will have the education and certification to back up what you are telling your customers.¬† You will feel even more empowered to take your health into your hands.¬† And you will just feel more confident¬†as you explain essential oils and their benefits to others because you will understand the science behind them.¬† I am starting to think all sales reps of essential oil companies¬†should become certified before teaching anyone how to use them.¬† I think there’d be a lot less mishaps with oils than there are because customers would be getting the correct information.¬† But, as long as you have a great upline team, consisting of some medical professionals, who can teach you the correct information, you should be fine.¬† I’m just doing this more for my own goals/purposes.

As for certification courses, there are multiple levels of certification.¬† And my school also has extra courses to further your education in various specialties.¬† My school of choice is, of course, approved by NAHA and is taught mainly by Jade Shutes.¬† Jade Shutes is the President of NAHA, and has been studying essential oils for over 20 years.¬† She’s studied in France, among other countries and¬†is extremely knowledgeable.¬† She¬†is very soothing to listen to and makes it very easy to learn.¬† Her love of plants and natural alternatives¬†is evident, and she loves to teach.¬† The audio and video clips¬†make it easy to sit back and listen from the comfort of your own home.¬† The school’s Facebook page is for students to interact with each other and to ask questions of their instructors.

So, what school is it?: ¬†The New York Institute for Aromatic Studies (they recently changed the name from The School for Aromatic Studies).¬† Click here to be directed to their website:¬† The New York Institute for Aromatic Studies. ¬†I am taking the first foundational course (as stated in the photo above), which is a Level 1 Aromatherapist.¬† This course is online and allows me to go as slow or quick as I want.¬† It’s perfect for me because I currently can’t memorize/study much as my parathyroid tumors cause memory loss and brain fog, so it is very hard to take an exam when you forgot almost everything you read!¬† Once my surgery is over, I’m hitting the books and finishing my certification – and I’m going to slay it!! ūüėȬ† Also, if you have a full time job, the online courses are great because you can fit it in whenever you have time!¬† You will have to complete some case studies in order to complete your certification, and so you will need some family and friends who are willing to be your guinea pi test subjects. ūüėČ

If you have any questions, I’m always available to answer questions.

Blessings,
Karen

 

 

 

Savory Roasted Marinara Sauce From Scratch

clean, cleanliving, comfort food, cooking with essential oils, delicious, dinner, diy, do-it-yourself, essential oils, health, homemade, natural living, recipe, spice it up

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I have always been afraid of making marinara sauce from scratch – like from ACTUAL tomatoes.¬†¬†Scary stuff. ¬†I mean, what if I buy all those tomatoes and screw it up?? ¬†I’m Norwegian, not Italian – how could I possibly make a good “gravy”!?

While marinara made with a can of crushed tomatoes is delicious, I felt it was time I face my fear and make it from scratch.  And, of course, I also wanted to incorporate my beloved therapeutic-grade essential oils into the recipe to see how it  enhanced the flavor.

The sauce took me a few hours to make, because I took my time (and took photos as I went along), so you will want to plan ahead to make this on a day where you have some free time.¬† Those of you with small children are thinking, “free time, what the hay-hay is¬†that??” ¬†If you have small children…I am sorry…maybe you should save this recipe for another 12 years and then give it a try! ¬†Seriously though, I think you can pull this off if you start cooking right when the kiddos go down for a nap.¬† I believe in you.

I will spare you the annoyance of reading each step between each photo.  I used to do that, and now understand how annoying that is!!

Feel free to browse the photos below, which are in the order of each step of the recipe.  Some people feel better if they can see how it is supposed to look along the way.  So, enjoy the beauty of these colorful fresh ingredients!:

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Garlic cloves before peeling.

Garlic cloves after “quick peel” in a jar.¬† I’ll explain below.

Blending roasted ingredients with basil & parsley

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I did it!¬† Delicious! ¬†Roasted marinara sauce with broiled asparagus coated in olive oil, salt, onion powder and garlic powder, and unleavened whole¬†wheat “bread” (see recipe at bottom of page) with a little shredded basil on top.

ROASTED MARINARA SAUCE

Ingredients:

  • 25 Roma tomatoes, cored
  • 2 sweet vidalia onions, quartered
  • 2 Tbs fresh chopped parsley
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 1 whole bulb of garlic, cloves peeled (see note in the recipe for “Easy Peeling”)
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt (preferably Pink Himalayan)
  • 1/4 C sugar or “Date Paste” (See Recipe for “Date Paste” in the Pizza Crust recipe at the bottom of this blog)
  • Small bunch of fresh basil leaves
  • 3 cans tomato paste, for thickening
  • 2 drops¬†Oregano essential oil (therapeutic grade only, with “Supplement Facts” on bottle – comment below for my favorite brand)
  • 4¬†drops¬†Basil essential oil
  • 2¬†drops Black Pepper essential oil
  • 4-6 pepperoncinis, for a little heat
  • *Optional:¬† 1/4 cup dry red wine, diced carrots

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 425F.

Wash and core the tomatoes.  Split them between two 9×13″ baking dishes, or put all of them in a large roasting pan.  The tomatoes can be left whole; they will break down during the roasting process.

“Easy Peeling” of garlic cloves.¬† Toss a few garlic cloves in an empty, clean, glass jar, screw the lid on, and shake vigorously for a minute.¬† The peelings should become loose so that you can just peel it off of the clove.¬† Don’t overload the jar, only a few cloves at a time.¬† Cut off the hard ends of the garlic cloves.

Arrange the quartered onions and peeled garlic cloves (and diced carrots, if using) around the baking dish with the tomatoes.  Drizzle olive oil over all and then use your hands to toss the tomatoes, garlic and onions to coat everything well with the oil.  Season everything generously with salt.

Roast tomatoes in the preheated oven for 40 minutes, or so.  The tomatoes and onions will look wrinkled, roasted, and slightly charred.  For a thicker sauce, cook longer and stir occasionally to keep from burning.

Remove the pan(s) from the oven and set on the counter to cool for 10-15 minutes. You can easily remove the tomato peelings if you want, but I left them on.

Place a large colander inside a large bowl.¬† Pour the roasted tomato ingredients into the colander.¬† The bowl underneath the colander will collect all the juice.¬† You need this juice for later – don’t toss it!

Scoop the roasted tomato ingredients into a blender or food processor.  Add parsley, and most of the basil leaves (save a few to shred and top your final pasta dish as a garnish).  Puree until it reaches your desired consistency.  You may need to do it in separate batches if you have a small food processor.

Put about 2 Tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot or stock pot.  Warm on medium heat, and then toss in the diced shallots.  Cook until they are soft.

Dump the pureed tomatoes, and the reserved juice, into the pot.  Season with additional salt, if needed.  Add the essential oils and any herbs you might want to add to the sauce to flavor it to your liking.  Add the pepperoncinis and cans of tomato paste.  If you are using red wine, add that to the pot as well.  Mix thoroughly.  I had to use a whisk to make sure the thick tomato paste was dispersed throughout the sauce.

Simmer on low, covered, for an hour or longer, so that all the flavors blend well together.¬† The longer the simmer, the better the flavors will be.¬† Stir occasionally so that it doesn’t burn.

Serve immediately as pasta sauce, or on homemade pizza (Click here for the pizza crust recipe that I also used as garlic bread with this meal.¬† For garlic bread, I just rubbed olive oil all over the dough and sprinkled generously with garlic salt and then baked it). ¬†You will also find the “Date Paste” recipe within the pizza recipe.

Or, you can cool all of it completely and freeze it in containers or Ziploc bags for later use as a quick meal!

Mangia tutti!!

FYI – Not all essential oils are created equal.¬† Most oils are adulterated, contain fillers and contaminants and come from Lord-knows-where.¬† The oil company I purchase¬†from¬†gives full disclosure of their countries of origin, and they are third-party tested for absolute purity.¬† They are 100% pure, therapeutic-grade and extremely potent.¬† If you would like more information on how to get them, please comment below and I’d be happy to point you in the right direction.

Easy Homemade Guacamole & Chips With Lime & Cilantro Oils

Baking, clean, cleanliving, cooking with essential oils, crunchy, Daniel Fast, diy, do-it-yourself, essential oils, home project, homemade, natural living, nutrition, organic, pure, recipe, Uncategorized

For a healthy,  quick snack, try some homemade guacamole and homemade tortilla chips!  They are fresher and taste a whole lot better than store bought chips!

First, gather your ingredients.  You will need the following:

  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 1 ripe tomato, diced
  • 1/8 cup diced red onion
  • Pink Himalayan salt
  • 2 drops Lime essential oil (See note in red below)
  • Less than 1/2 drop Cilantro essential oil, (use a toothpick, serioulsy)¬†(See note in red below)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder or 2 pressed garlic cloves
  • 1/2 drop Black Pepper essential oil (See note in red below) or 1/4 tsp of ground black pepper
  • 4 soft yellow or white corn tortillas (I prefer El Milagro – they don’t use preservatives)
  • Extra virgin olive oil (or a healthier cooking spray oil than PAM!)

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Thoroughly wash and chop your tomatoes, onion and avocado.

Put your avocado in a bowl and mash with a fork or potato masher until your desired consistency.  I like mine a little chunky. Once mashed, toss in your onion and tomato and stir.

Then, you can add the spices and/or essential oils. ¬†Where it says to use 1/2 drop of essential oil, here’s the trick on how to do that.¬† Since you can’t really measure a half drop, I usually put one drop on a spoon and then lightly shake some off into the sink. ¬† Then I can stir the remainder of the oil that is on the spoon into the guacamole. ¬†It seems to be just enough. ¬†These oils are super potent, and a little goes a very long way!

If you aren’t going to eat the guacamole right away, put the avocado pits into the storage container along with the guacamole and refrigerate. ¬†The pits will keep the avocado from turning brown!

For the homemade tortilla chips:

Preheat the oven to 375F.

Put 4 tortillas (or more) on a cookie sheet (you’ll need a couple of cookie sheets).¬†¬†Very lightly rub both sides of each tortilla with a very small amount of olive oil (If you use too much oil, the chips will be chewy, not crisp – and ruin the whole experience).¬† If you have a cooking spray (which I don’t like using due to the propellant in the can),¬†it would work best in this instance.¬† Lightly spray both sides of each tortilla instead of using olive oil.¬† Stack the tortillas on top of each other, and with a large knife, cut through all of them so that each tortilla makes 8 chips.¬†¬†Using 4 tortillas will make 32 chips.

Spread each chip out evenly out over 2 cookie sheets.¬† Sprinkle salt over all of the tortillas.¬† And if you’re feeling¬†crazy, put some salt in a bowl, add a drop of lime essential oil to the salt and mix it up.¬†¬†Then sprinkle the salt all over your chips. ¬†Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes or until crispy.

Once the chips are cooled, you are ready to eat!

Enjoy!

FYI – Not all essential oils are created equal.¬† Most oils are adulterated, contain fillers and contaminants and come from Lord-knows-where.¬† The oil company I purchase¬†from¬†gives full disclosure of their countries of origin, and they are third-party tested for absolute purity.¬† They are 100% pure, therapeutic-grade and extremely potent.¬† If you would like more information on how to get them, please comment below and I’d be happy to point you in the right direction.


Norwegian Krumkaker with Cardamom Essential Oil

Baking, Cardamom, Christmas, comfort food, Cookie, Cookies, cooking with essential oils, cream, crunchy, dessert, diy, do-it-yourself, essential oils, food, Holiday, homemade, Norwegian, recipe

Whew!¬† Say that title 5 times fast!¬† I’ll bet you can’t!

Today I’m going to share with you a delicious recipe that Norwegians, in both Norway and America, make at Christmas time.¬† It’s called krumkake (pronounced “croom kaga”) is a delicious delicate and crumbly cookie.¬† Being 100% Norwegian myself, I am always looking for ways to learn about my ancestry and our traditions.¬† Speaking of which –¬†I recently did a family tree through Ancestry.com.¬†¬†Everything was going great…until I got out to about 300 AD, where it claimed that I was related to the Norwegian “gods,” Thor and Odin.¬† Wuuuuhh?? ¬†I decided that was a good stopping point. ¬†I mean…how much further could I have gone in time beyond Norse gods? ¬†The tooth fairy?¬†¬†Santa Claus??

Ever since I was a child, mom would talk about the krumkake that her mom used to make them make, along with lefse, riskrem (rice pudding), spritz cookies and¬†boller.¬† Out of all of those tasty treats, my mom only made boller (she’d make rice pudding once in a while for herself, as none of us wanted any of it back then).¬†¬†I always wished she’d make krumkake, but she didn’t have the iron for it.¬† Krumkake was something I only got to eat at my aunt Judy’s house, but¬†thanks to Amazon I can make my own. ūüôā

The smell of boller (or as we called them, “Norwegian buns” or “mom’s buns” *snicker, snicker* was one of my all time favorite scents.¬† The scent of cardamom¬†and sweet dough would fill the house and it felt so warm and inviting.¬† Krumkake is not always made with cardamom, but I added it to my Christmas Krumkake recipe to give it that special nostalgic flavor I love so much.

FYI РI am not a pro Рand to be completely honest with you, this was my first time making krumkake.  Better luck next time, right?  Although, they did taste awesome.

To make krumkake, you first need a special iron.  What makes it special is the traditional rosemaling design on the iron plates.  You have 2 options when looking for an iron.  You could get the old fashioned iron, which you place over a hot stove and have to flip halfway through cooking.  Or, you could opt for the electronic Krumkake Express iron like I have below.  I found mine on Amazon for $50.

Once you have the batter mixed, you will place a tablespoon onto the middle of the iron and press the lid down so that it spreads the batter out to form a full cookie.¬† Follow the lights on the iron – red means wait,¬†green means it’s done –¬†no surprise.

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The below photo shows what it will look like before you gently pull it off the iron with a butter knife or a long, skinny spatula.  I put a little too much batter in this one, so it spread out over the edges.

Immediately after you remove the cookie from the iron, you have to roll it onto the cone to make the cone shape as in the photo below.  Let it sit for 10 seconds until it cools slightly.  During this time you could put some more batter on the iron to get your next cookie started.

Gently remove the cone and allow the cookie to cool completely on a wire rack.  This is important.  If you lie the cookie on parchment paper, the bottom will retain moisture and make it chewy.  You want it completely dry and crumbly.

If you make your krumkake a little darker than the one above, it will have a better chance of being delicate and crumbly.  See below.

2015-12-23-18.56.37.jpg.jpeg

Perfect!

 

CHRISTMAS KRUMKAKE

1/2 cup butter, soft
1/2 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 drops 100% pure cardamom essential oil (see note in red below) (or 1/2 tsp ground cardamom)
6 Tbs. water
Krumkake Iron

Heat your Krumkake iron (I used setting 3 on the electronic iron).  Beat butter and sugar until creamy.  Add the eggs and mix well.  Add flour, vanilla, and water and mix until blended.  Let the mixture stand for 30 minutes before using.  Bake the cookies according to iron instructions.  Roll the warm cookies around the stick that comes with the iron.  Let cool on wire rack COMPLETELY.  I cannot stress this enough.  Even the slightest bit of moisture will ruin the crumbliness you are looking for.  Garnish with powdered sugar or fill with whipped cream.  There are some great recipes on Pinterest of flavored cream for krumkake.   (* If you are going to fill them with whipped cream or any other filling, you will want to do it immediately before serving.  Do not fill them ahead of time or they will get soggy.   No one likes a soggy krumkake.)

FYI – Not all essential oils are created equal.¬† Most oils are adulterated, contain fillers and contaminants and come from Lord-knows-where.¬† The oil company I purchase¬†from¬†gives full disclosure of their countries of origin, and they are third-party tested for absolute purity.¬† They are 100% pure, therapeutic-grade and extremely potent.¬† If you would like more information on how to get them, please comment below and I’d be happy to point you in the right direction.


 

 

Cassia & Cardamom Oil Glazed Pecans

Baking, Cardamom, Christmas, cooking with essential oils, dessert, essential oils, gifts, gluten-free, Holiday, homemade, nutmeg, recipe

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Merry Christmas!

I have been wanting to do this blog for months now, and finally had some spare time. (Spare time?  What is that?!)

Every Christmas, I see recipes for spiced pecans on Pinterest, and have been dying to make my own with ESSENTIAL OILS!  Weee!!!  They make wonderful flavoring agents to baked goods, in lieu of dried spices from the grocery store.  While the heat of the oven will bake off any of the health properties of the oils, the flavor will remain!

I have chosen to spice my pecans with cassia, cardamom and cinnamon.  I chose these 3 because they are perfect for the Fall/Winter holidays because they are so warm and comforting.

Cassia is one of my favorite scents to diffuse in my home when I want to make it home-y and inviting (along with cardamom and wild orange!).  Cassia smells like cinnamon, but softer and sweeter.

Cardamom is another one of my favorites.¬† It is used in many Scandinavian baked goods. ¬†I grew up eating boller (or “mom’s Norwegian buns,” as we called them) *snicker* which contains this spice. ¬†So, every time I smell cardamom, it reminds me of mom’s buns *snicker snicker*. ¬† We’d eat them as a snack with butter and strawberry jam. ¬†Sooooo gooood. ¬†(I will be doing a boller blog as soon as I find more of that spare time lying around!)

Cinnamon was the final spice chosen for this tasty treat.¬† I could have left it out, because those other 2 spices are delicious enough on their own.¬† If you leave any of them out, make sure you double one of the other oils.¬† You want to make sure you have enough flavor.¬† And 2 total drops of oil doesn’t quite give the pecans enough spiciness!¬† (Also, if you don’t have essential oils, you could always substitute the oils with powdered spices.¬† I would use 1/2 tsp of each spice)

 

The recipe below is very easy.¬† If you don’t have Ziploc bags, just use 2 large mixing bowls.¬† If you use any different spices, be sure to comment below and let me know how they turn out –¬† I’d love to hear of different combos!¬† I have seen some recipes out there with cayenne, cumin, sriracha¬†sauce or turmeric on their spiced nuts, but I am not a fan of super spicy things.¬† Cinnamon, cardamom and cassia are spicy enough!

No need to diffuse any essential oils in your home while baking these nuts.¬† The aroma from the nuts will fill your home and make you grab a glass of eggnog, pop in¬†a DVD of “Elf” or “A Christmas Story” and get cozy!

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Gift box them and give them to a friend!

When the nuts are finally baked and cooled, you can put them in holiday-themed tins or mason jars and make cute and budget-friendly Christmas gifts.¬†¬† You can go one step further and decorate the jars with ribbon and a fancy nametag.¬† Add that personal touch!¬† I love crafty things, but have no time to decorate, so I re-use gift boxes/tins that I’ve collected over the years.¬† Spiced nuts make great teacher gifts!¬†¬†Put out a bowl of these nuts at¬†a Christmas party or toss them on top of your salad.¬† Even kids will gobble them up!


 

Cassia Cardamom Glazed Pecans

2 egg whites
2 Tbs melted butter (can be omitted)
1/2 Tbs vanilla extract
1/2 Tbs water
1 lb pecan halves
1/2 cup sugar (I used brown)
1 drop cassia essential oil
1 drop cardamom essential oil
1 drop cinnamon essential oil
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 250¬į. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a gallon sized freezer bag, mix together the egg whites, melted butter, vanilla extract, essential oils and water.

In a second gallon sized freezer bag, mix together the sugar and salt.

Add pecans to the bag with the egg white mixture. Seal the bag and shake around the pecans until they are evenly coated.

Transfer the coated pecans to the bag with the sugar mixture. Seal the bag and shake around until the pecans are evenly coated with the sugar mixture.

Spread the pecans on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for one hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Cool completely.

FYI – Not all essential oils are created equal.¬† Most oils are adulterated, contain fillers and contaminants and come from Lord-knows-where.¬† The oil company I purchase¬†from¬†gives full disclosure of their countries of origin, and they are third-party tested for absolute purity.¬† They are 100% pure, therapeutic-grade and extremely potent.¬† If you would like more information on how to get them, please comment below and I’d be happy to point you in the right direction.


I hope you enjoy this recipe!  Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!

Blessings

 

How I Healed My Gut – Lemon Tonic

anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, apple cider vinegar, cancer, clean, cleanliving, empowerment, essential oils, gut health, healing, health, holistic, immunity, natural living, natural medicine, non-gmo, nutrition, organic, recipe, remedy, tonic, Uncategorized, wellness

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I have to start out by telling you flat out that this tonic is pretty¬†darn amazing.¬† I feel the need to shout it from the rooftops because my results after drinking this tonic for about 6 months have been pretty life changing.¬† In my opinion, it‚Äôs a miracle drink ‚Äď I can say that since I‚Äôm not trying to sell it to you. ūüėČ

I‚Äôve had gastric issues for about 6 years now, and nothing ever helped me.¬† I saw so many doctors and did so many tests to see what was wrong with me – I‚Äôll be paying off those bills for quite a while!¬† What a waste ‚Äď the results didn‚Äôt tell me anything helpful.

I had a laundry list of symptoms that were unexplained, so I started going to a nutritionist.  I went to her monthly for a couple of years to gently detox my system from heavy metals and other environmental toxins.  She taught me about making healthier food choices, and why whole foods and whole food supplements were important.  I felt somewhat better, but still had many unexplained symptoms.

When I first started making this drink, I only used warm water with a fresh-squeezed lemon, honey and apple cider vinegar.¬†¬†I drank it every morning before my breakfast for a couple of months.¬† At first, I wasn‚Äôt sure if it was helping my gastric issues.¬† But since I had read so many wonderful things about lemon water,¬†I knew that if I kept drinking it I would benefit from it eventually.¬† I learned that raw, unfiltered honey has the most health benefits, so I started using that instead of the cheap-o kind I was using (think plastic bottle in the shape of a bear….horrible).¬† Then, I read that adding baking soda to lemon water has even more health benefits, even cancer prevention, so I started adding that to my drink.

All I can say is WOW!¬† I sure noticed some changes.¬† I no longer had excessive gas after every meal.¬† I wasn‚Äôt bloating as often.¬† I wasn‚Äôt burping as much throughout the day (I would literally burp every couple of minutes).¬† I also noticed that I didn‚Äôt have explosive bouts of diarrhea (sorry, TMI?) after eating ice cream or pizza.¬† My skin is clearer (but I also use Arbonne‚Äôs anti-aging skin care, which has something to do with that!), and I haven‚Äôt gotten sick in a while.¬† (UPDATE:¬† It’s now¬†3 years later, and I finally got a sinus infection…BUT!¬† I’d stopped drinking this for a few weeks prior!¬†¬†I don’t think it’s a coincidence.)

I also now take digestive enzymes with every meal, to help my stomach break down the food.¬† And I take exemplary supplements from a company I represent.¬† I know that everything I’ve said have played their own part in my current wellness vs.¬†7 years ago.

I always recommend this lemon tonic to anyone who tells me that they have digestive issues.¬† I will probably drink this tonic for as long as I live.¬† Even if you don‚Äôt have stomach issues, there are so many other health benefits (listed below) that it doesn‚Äôt hurt to try it for yourself.¬† If you are consistent and drink this tonic every single morning before breakfast, you will notice changes eventually.¬† Still a skeptic?¬†¬†Google ‚Äúlemon honey water‚ÄĚ and read on!¬† There are so many great articles by doctors and health and wellness¬†practitioners praising lemon water.

So, you‚Äôre probably wondering, “Why lemon, honey, baking soda and apple cider vinegar?¬† What makes them so special?”¬† I have gathered some information and compiled it all here:

Lemon Goodness

Lemons are rich in vitamin C, which enhances beauty by rejuvenating the skin from the inside. ¬†It helps in weight loss, and is a very alkaline fruit (once it is in the body ‚Äď otherwise it is acidic).

Lemons are a great source of polysaccharides, organic acids especially citric acid, lipids, carotenoid, vitamins, minerals, flavonoids, bitter limonoids, potassium, bioflavonoids, and vitamin C.  Lemons also include volatile oil (in the peel Рwhere the lemon essential oils come from), limonene, alpha-terpinene, alpha-pinene, citral, coumarins, mucilage, pectins, and bioflavonoids (pith and peel).

Honey Goodness

Honey is a great source of good carbohydrates, proteins and amino acids.  Honey contains small amounts of the B vitamins riboflavin, niacin, folic acid, pantothenic acid and vitamin B6.  It also contains vitamin C, and the minerals calcium, iron, zinc, potassium, phosphorous, magnesium, selenium, chromium and manganese.  The darker the honey, the greater antioxidants.  Honey also contains organic acids such as acetic, butanoic, formic, citric, succinic, lactic, malic, pyroglutamic and gluconic acids, and a number of aromatic acids.

Apple Cider Vinegar Goodness

(This will knock your socks off!)¬† I use Bragg‚Äôs organic ACV, which says ‚ÄúWith the Mother‚ÄĚ on the front of the bottle.¬† Seriously…you must use Bragg’s – it is the best.¬† All others I’ve tasted are disgusting.

“With the Mother” means that it still contains all of the good stuff, unlike other apple cider vinegars that are void of it.¬† ACV contains pectin, Vitamin C, Vitamins B1, B2 and B6, biotin, folic acid, niacin, pantothenic acid, and small amounts of minerals like potassium, sodium, phosphorus, calcium, and iron. ¬†It has a wide range of benefits, such as it:¬† helps stomach troubles, cures hiccups, soothes a sore throat, could lower cholesterol, prevents indigestion, clears a stuffy nose, aids in weight loss, gets rid of dandruff, clears acne, boosts energy, cuts down on nighttime leg cramps, banishes bad breath, whitens teeth, fades bruises, helps control blood sugar.¬† Amazing – and it’s only about $8 for a large bottle at the grocery store!

Baking Soda Goodness

Baking Soda isn’t just for baking cookies!¬† When consumed, it works by immediately kicking stomach acid in the face, which then helps relieve heartburn, indigestion and even ulcer pain.¬† When consumed in a lemon tonic, it gets your digestive juices flowing, and will help your stomach in digestion.¬† If that wasn’t enough, it is also known to alkalize the body and help with kidney disease, cancer, athletic performance, skin conditions and can be used in homemade deodorants (RECIPE HERE) and toothpaste (RECIPE HERE).

In Summary, here’s a list of health benefits of this tonic:

  1. Enhances metabolism.
  2. Aids digestion.
  3. Cleanses the intestines, which improves the absorption of nutrients.
  4. Boosts your immune system.
  5. Cleans your urinary tract.
  6. Balances pH levels.
  7. Clears skin.
  8. Promotes healing.
  9. Freshens breath.
  10. Hydrates your lymph system.
  11. Aids in weight loss.
  12. Boosts energy.

I am sure this isn’t even an exhaustive list.  But it is a very good start!  I feel that everyone should drink this daily, and I hope you will give it a try.  If you don’t have all of the ingredients, make sure you at least have water, honey, lemon and ACV.  Those are good enough in themselves for boosting your immune system.

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LEMON WATER TONIC

  • 8 oz. warm water
  • 1 fresh-squeezed lemon
  • 1 tsp raw, Bragg’s organic apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbs raw, unfiltered, organic honey (the darker the better)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda (aluminum-free)
  • Essential oils of choice (see note in red below)

First, heat up the water in either a glass or ceramic mug, for 35-40 seconds in the microwave.¬† Next,¬†stir in the honey until it is dissolved.¬† Then you can add in the ACV and¬†baking soda.¬† (**you can toss in some of your favorite essential oils if you’d like!)

The last part is a little tricky.¬† Before you add the lemon juice to the mixture, be forewarned!¬†¬† It can get messy if you don’t slooowly add it in.¬† The baking soda reacts to the acid in the lemon juice and foams up quick!!¬† I’ve had mine spill out onto my counter a few times.¬† If you slowly add the lemon juice, but use a spoon to break up the foam as you continue to pour the lemon juice, you should be alright.¬† I drink it with a stainless steel straw because the acid from the lemon can eat away at your teeth.¬† If you don’t have one, just sip it, but rinse your mouth with water from the faucet after you finish your drink.

So, if any of you start doing this daily, and notice some changes in your health, please come back to tell me about it!¬†¬†ūüôā

FYI – Not all essential oils are created equal.¬† Most oils are adulterated, contain fillers and contaminants and come from Lord-knows-where.¬† The oil company I purchase¬†from¬†gives full disclosure of their countries of origin, and they are third-party tested for absolute purity.¬† They are 100% pure, therapeutic-grade and extremely potent.¬† If you would like more information on how to get them, please comment below and I’d be happy to point you in the right direction.


Blessings