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 education to become a Certified Aromatherapist.

I’ve always tried to educate my 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?  😉  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 truly think all sales reps of essential oil companies should become certified before teaching customers.  I think there’d be a lot less mishaps with oils than there are because customers would be getting the correct information.

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 has been studying essential oils for over 20 years, and has studied in France, among other countries.  She is very knowledgeable and she 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 School for Aromatic Studies.  Click here to be directed to their website:  The School for Aromatic Studies.  I am taking the first foundational course online (as stated in the photo above), and so I can go as slow or as 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!! 😉  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. 😉

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

Blessings,
Karen

 

 

 

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Hyper-parathyroidism and Multi-Nodular Goiter = Total Thyroidectomy & Sub-Total Parathyroidectomy

Uncategorized

Hi, that’s me in the photo above – goiter and parathyroid tumors and all. According to my surgeon, this smallish visible bump is just “the tip of the iceberg.” Apparently, the rest of it is deeper inside and about the size of his fist! It’s also growing downward into the sternum towards my chest. I know…gross.

I’m hoping by writing about this, I can help others who might be in a similar situation, and are frustrated because their doctors can’t figure out what is making you so sick.

I’m also going to educate on how oils can be used post-surgery for comfort, wound soothing and scar diminishing. Rather than using drug store ointments, I will be using 100% pure essential oils and some extra carrier oils known for their skin benefits like Vitamin E and Rosehip seed oil. And documenting it all – mostly on my YouTube channel and my Facebook oils page, but I’ll put some in here too. 🙂


As you may have read in my previous blog, I had Grave’s Disease (hyperthyroidism) as a teenager, and had toxic multi-nodular goiter (which is, in a nutshell, an enlarged thyroid with nodules on it, that produces too much thyroid hormone). Scary stuff to hear as a kid! After taking PTU and Synthroid medications for about a year, and not getting any results, my doctor decided it was time for the Radioactive Iodine Treatment (“RAI”). RAI is a large radioactive pill that they drop down your hatch, while trying to not let it touch your mouth or anything else due to its radioactivity. Scary!

For the following 3 days, I was told by the doctor to flush the toilet a few times every time I used it. I could only use plasticware and disposable plates when I ate and I couldn’t sit next to anyone who was pregnant. Yikes!! I didn’t glow, nor was I green, but apparently I was dangerous to an unborn fetus that was not even in my own body! This whole shebang was hopefully going to stop my thyroid from overproducing thyroid hormone. And, it worked! For the most part.

All was well in the thyroid department for the next 23 years – or so I thought. My goiter stopped overproducing thyroid hormone, which was great, an and added bonus was that my thyroid didn’t become hypo (which normally happens to patients who have this treatment). I think the goiter even shrunk a little after treatment.

Now, rewind to about 10 years ago. I began experiencing annoying symptoms that no one could explain. My leg muscles were always cramping. My anxiety had gotten worse. I was extremely fatigued, often depressed, and rarely wanted to clean my house or go out with friends. Over the years, more symptoms were added to the list. Below is my running list of symptoms (the list isn’t conclusive to the actual disease – there are a few others that I never acquired):

– extreme fatigue (even brushing my hair poops me out)
– GERD (acid reflux) (diagnosed and taking Omeprazole)
– depression (let’s not even go there)
– anxiety (waking up every morning with a nervous stomach ache, fears, inner shaking and sometimes hand tremors)
– hair loss (pony tail? more like a paintbrush)
– brain fog/confusion (bosses think I’m an airhead)
– memory loss (I’m apparently a very large goldfish)
– frequent urination (I should set up my work computer in the stall)
– constant thirst/dry mouth (drinking so much water makes the frequent urination frequent-er!)
– dry, scratchy eyes (used Restasis for a few years)
– stomach issues (let’s not even go there)
– hoarse/scratchy throat/voice (no, not the sexy kind)
– trouble sleeping (due to frequent urination all through the night!)
– irritability (sorry, hubs!! I’ll be normal soon!)
– muscle & joint aches (I’m only 39!)
– frequent headaches (sort of dull, and sometimes daily)

Over the years, my previous doctor would test my thyroid hormone, to see if my thyroid was over- or under-producing thyroid hormone. The results always came back normal, and so I assume the doctor (and possibly friends and family members) thought my bodily complaints were all in my head. I mean, I constantly Googled my symptoms, always trying to find a diagnosis. I’m sure the word “hypochondriac” came up in conversation when I wasn’t around! I didn’t care. I knew there was something wrong with me, and I was determined to figure it out.

Finally, in October 2017, after the frequent urination was just ridiculous (I’d go 20-30x in a 24 hour period), I decided to get a ton of blood tests to see if I had diabetes. Frequent urination is a symptom of diabetes, and we have a lot of diabetes in our family. I figured I was bound to get it at some point. It had also been 2 years since I’d had a complete blood workup, so…

My blood tests came back “prediabetes,” but that didn’t concern my doctor. He was concerned with my consistent abnormal calcium level. It had been high in 2014, 2015 and again in 2017. He wasn’t my Endocrinologist before 2014. (I skipped seeing one for many years, so I am sure my levels have been high for at least 10 years). Since my doc was concerned about the frequent urination and high calcium, he sent me back for a parathyroid hormone (“PTH”) test. This would test if I also had high levels of pth in my blood.

Being an avid, self-professed, online medical researcher (“Googler”), I found out that high calcium and high PTH hormones and discovered that if you have high levels of both, and also have low Vitamin D, you have a disease called Hyperparathyroidism and that means that you have a tumor on one…or two…or theee…or four of your 4 parathyroids. When you have 4 diseased parathyroid glands it’s called Hyperplasia.

This disease is slow progressing, but in time it can cause major problems if you don’t get it taken care of. Problems such as osteoporosis, osteopenia, cardiac issues, kidney failure and more. If you have tumors on all 4 parathyroids, you have hyperplasia. Having 1 tumor is most common, but is less common the more parathyroids that have grown a tumor.

From my limited understanding of biology, and pfoficient Googling abilities, these parathyroid tumors cause the overproduction of parathyroid hormone. This will cause calcium and phosphorus to be pulled from your bones – not good. You can’t absorb the calcium, and so it floats around in your blood, wreaking havoc and causing annoying symptoms. This is called hypercalcemia. This leads to bone loss and that is where the osteoporosis can come into play. I have never had a bone density scan done, so I don’t know how my bones are, except for the fact that my dentist keeps telling me how much bone loss I have at every one of my dental visits.

This extra calcium can even attach to various tissues in your body and cause calcification of that tissue. Basically, it’s like growing a tooth over your organ! (I’m sorry if you have nightmares tonight…). These tumors need to be removed. Surgery is the only treatment for parathyroid tumors.

I am eternally grateful for my doctor noticing the high calcium levels in my bloodwork, and catching this before I spent any more precious years feeling miserable. Please, if you have any of these symptoms, and no one can figure out what’s wrong with you, please advocate for yourself and ask your doctor to order blood tests for Calcium, Vitamin D and PTH. If your doctor won’t do it, find a new doctor. Seriously.

Always read your bloodwork (if you can access it online like many medical groups are doing these days), and if any levels aren’t in the normal range – ask your doctor why. If your doctor shrugs it off, find a new doctor!! See as many as you can until you get answers.

As a member of a parathyroid disease support group on Facebook, I’ve learned a lot from many poor souls who have experienced my same symptoms, but worse. Many of them have developed painful kidney stones due to the damage done to their kidneys by the excess calcium. And almost all of them can attest to the fact that this disease isn’t easily found by primary care physicians, or sometimes even your endocrinologist! Sad, right? Most will discover they have these tumors by accident – through CT scans or blood tests. And that is only if they have a well educated doctor who catches it.

So, once my doctor referred me to an Endocrinologist, it all started coming to light and fast. My blood tests confirmed that I had hyperparathyroidism. That was the first step. The second step was to send me for a 4D-CT scan. This scan showed that I had not only 1, but two parathyroid tumors. The third step was to refer me to a surgeon to remove the buggers. Being the proactive researcher that I am, I already did my homework and had already chosen the surgeon I wanted to use. If anyone was cutting my neck open, it would be one of the best in the Chicagoland area. Dr. Steven DeJong at Loyola.

I met Dr. De Jong for a consultation and he spent a lot of time with me, showing me my CT and Ultrasound photos on the computer. He basically told me that my thyroid/goiter was the size of his fist, and that it had started growing down into my sternum. Oh my wow. This mean that I didn’t just need to have the 2 parathyroid tumors removed (which would have been a quick non-invasive surgery), but I needed my entire thyroid removed, and also 2 of the parathyroid glands that contained the tumors. This was more involved than I imagined, but I trust him and agreed to schedule surgery for January 11, 2018.

Removal of the entire thyroid will mean that I need to supplement my body with a synthetic thyroid hormone for the rest of my life. Strangely, I know a lot of people who have had this surgery, and who are on this drug. I’m not worried about that. What gives me the creeps is that there is always a possibility of malignancy, AND there is always the possibility of complications during surgery. One complication would be permanently damaging the vocal cords. Thankfully my doctor is very experienced in this type of surgery, so I have full confidence in him.

So, being this is an essential oils-themed blog, I figured my surgery would be the perfect way to show off my favorite skin, wound and scar-mending essential oils, that I’ll be using on the incision. I’ll be posting pictures of the progression of healing of my incision further on down this blog, once I get to that point. So if you are squeamish, you might not want to read my post-surgery update.

Before the steri-tape is removed, I’ll be using a blend of essential oils, such as frankincense, lavender, helichrysum, rose, sandalwood and melaleuca around the area.

When the tape is removed, I’ll be using the same blend on the already-healing incision. I’m going to add some Vitamin E oil to the mix and also be using an “everything ointment,” which my company sells, that includes many of those same oils. They are all fabulous for skin repair/soothing.

I will also document this at my YouTube channel: Karen K. – Aromatherapy

TO BE CONTINUED…Look out for my surgery recovery blog next!

UPDATE: Here’s a video I made for my YouTube channel 4 days post-op.

Homemade Chicago Deep Dish Pizza

cast iron, cheese, Chicago pizza, comfort food, crust, deep dish pizza, dinner, food, Giordano's, homemade, homemade pizza, pizza, recipe, skillet, stuffed pizza, Uncategorized

Here in Chicago, most of us don’t call it “deep dish pizza,” we call it “stuffed pizza.” Why? Who cares!?  It’s delicious!

What makes stuffed pizza so delicious and special to the hearts of us midwesterners is the unique buttery, flaky crust, gobs of mozzarella cheese and a thick, zesty sauce.  I grew up on it, and in my opinion it is the best stuff on the planet…besides ice cream (Ben & Jerry’s “Peanut Butter World,” to be exact).

Before you go and try to make this pizza with a regular pizza dough, do yourself a favor …don’t do it.  Stuffed pizza has a lighter, flakier crust due in part to the cornmeal and also in part by “laminating” the pizza dough with butter (I’ll explain later).

I have to be honest and admit that when I first tried making stuffed pizza, I bought pre-made regular pizza dough from Caputos.  Regular pizza dough bakes tougher and when it’s used for stuffed pizza, it makes for a hard time cutting each bite of your slice.  You end up scraping all the gooey cheese out of it to eat by itself.  And then you either eat the crust separate, or you end up tossing the entire crust.  While it tasted pretty good with the regular dough, nothing tops actual stuffed pizza crust!!  So, I highly, HIGHLY, recommend using this recipe.

All of the “oohs” and “aahs” that I’ve gotten from this pizza is enough to make it a staple comfort food in our house.   My sister even said it was probably the best stuffed pizza she’s ever had.  Did you hear that, Giordano’s??  In yo’ face!  (Just kidding – I love you.)

TIP:  You will first want to read these instructions all the way through, at least a day ahead, so you can make time for preparation and purchase the correct ingredients. 

YOU WILL NEED:  either 2 cast iron skillets (10″ or 12″), or 2 springform pans.  I prefer cast iron all the way!  I must warn you though, it is hard to cut the cooked pizza in a cast iron skillet since you can’t take it out of the pan.  A springform pan easily comes off and you can cut it easily.  You don’t want to use a rolling pizza cutter because it will crush the crust and not look pretty.

NOTE:  This is a very LONG recipe, but simple enough.  Hang in there with me. You will be glad you did because this is what you will get (yours won’t be as yellow as the one in my photo – I tried using a filter and failed miserably):

CHICAGO STUFFED PIZZA

INGREDIENTS:
Crust (makes 2)

  • 3 & 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 & 1/4 tsps salt
  • 1 Tbs granulated sugar
  • 1 standard packet of yeast (not instant)
  • 1 & 1/4 cups warm water
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, divided (1/4 cup melted, 1/4 cup softened or room temp)
  • olive oil for coating

Sauce:

  • 2 Tbs unsalted butter
  • 1 small onion, grated (about 1/3 cup)
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp dried oregano (or 1-2 drops oregano essential oil)
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes (San Marzano (THE BEST), if possible)
  • 6 oz. can tomato paste
  • 1/4 tsp granulated sugar
  • Optional:  1-2 drops basil essential oil

Toppings:

  • 4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (buy a block and shred it yourself, rather than buying pre-shredded – you will thank me!)
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • Topping Options:  approx. 20 pepperoni slices, 4 slices cooked/crumbled bacon (2 per pizza), cooked and crumbled mild Italian sausage, thinly sliced green peppers and/or onions, sliced mushrooms.

Crust Directions:

Combine the flour, cornmeal, salt, sugar, and yeast in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment, or food processor with dough attachment.

If you do not have any mixer, you will have to do it by hand.  Use a large bowl. Give the ingredients a quick toss with your mixer on low or with a large wooden spoon.

Add the warm water and 1/4 cup of melted butter.  The water should be warm – not hot, or it will kill the yeast.  Also, make sure the butter isn’t super hot.

On low speed, mix the ingredients until everything is moistened.  Continuing on low speed (or remove from the bowl and knead by hand on a dough mat), mix the dough until it is soft and pulls away from the sides of the bowl and falls off of the dough hook (about 4-5 mins).  If the dough is too hard, mix in a teaspoon of warm water.  On the other hand, it feels too soft, mix in a Tablespoon of flour.

Remove the dough from the bowl and form into a ball.  Lightly grease a large mixing bowl with olive oil and place the dough inside, turning it around so that all sides of the dough are coated in oil.  Cover the bowl tightly with aluminum foil and allow to rise in a warm environment for 1-2 hours or until double in size.

TIP:  If your house isn’t warm, preheat your oven to 250F degrees.  Once it’s 250F degrees, turn it off.  Place the bowl of dough inside and close the door.  The heat will help your dough rise quickly like magic!

When the dough is ready, lightly flour a large work surface.  Remove dough from the bowl, set the bowl and aluminum foil aside to use later.  “Punch down” the dough to remove any air bubbles and roll the dough into a large 15×12″ rectangle.

Slather 1/4 cup of softened butter on top of the dough, covering every inch.  This is the “laminating” part.

Roll the dough up lengthwise like a roll-cake or Litttle Debbie “ho-ho”.  Cut the dough log in half.  Form the two pieces of dough into balls and put them back into your greased bowl.  Cover again with aluminum foil and allow it to rise in the fridge this time for 1 hour until the dough balls are fluffy.  Make the sauce during this time.

Sauce Directions:

Place butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat to melt.  Add grated onion, salt, oregano and red pepper flakes.

Once the onion has browned a bit, after about 5 minutes, add garlic, tomatoes, and sugar.  Turn the heat down to medium-low and allow to simmer until it’s hearty, fragrant, and thick – about 30 mins.  If it isn’t think, keep cooking until the moisture reduces a bit.  Remove from heat and set aside until ready to be used.  (You can store the sauce in a covered container in the fridge for up to 2 days, or freeze up to 2 months.)

Preheat oven to 425F degrees.

Assembling the pizzas:

After the dough balls have risen and are fluffy, take out only one ball to start.  Roll it out on a lightly floured work surface, working it into a 13-inch circle (if your pan is 12″) to about 1/4″ thickness.

Pick up the circle of dough and place over your skillet or springform pan so that the dough is hanging slightly off the sides.

Using your fingers, gently press the dough down a little, leaving some dough hanging off the sides – try not to tear it.  Then add your cheese – 2 cups of cheese per pizza. Next add your meat/veggie toppings – except your pepperoni – you will use that towards the last step.

Then, use a knife to cut off the extra dough hanging off the sides of the pan and save. We will use it to make the top layer – just like the famous Giordano’s stuffed pizza. It’s their secret step, and what I believe makes their pizzas so awesome. (Giordano’s seals up the pie with a super thin layer of dough before topping it off with the sauce and parmesan.)

Roll a bit of that extra dough into a circle as thin as possible.  Place it over your filled-up pizza, and pinch it together with the dough on the sides to seal the pie.

Place pepperoni on top of this dough layer, then top your pie with half of the sauce. Finish by topping it off with half of the grated parmesan cheese.  Add more, if desired.

Here is a photo before it went into the oven:

Repeat steps with the 2nd dough ball in a 2nd pan.

If using springform pans, place them on top of a large baking sheet, which will catch anything that might spill over.  Bake for 20-28 minutes or until the crust is golden brown.

Remove the pizzas from the oven and cool for 10 minutes before cutting.

YUM!!:

Place any leftover pizza in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 5 days (yeah right, as if there will be any leftovers!!!)

Reheat leftovers in a 300F oven for 15-20 minutes or until hot.   Enjoy!!!

Pleeeeeease tell me if you made this pizza, and if you have any suggestions or comments!

Blessings

Guacamole & Homemade 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!)

DELETE

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 oils I use give 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 to use this brand, please comment below and I’d be happy to point you in the right direction.

**[PLEASE NOTE:  According to the compliance rules of the FDA, I am unable to disclose my favorite oil company’s name in the body of this blog, but you can comment below with your email address, and I’ll send you the link, along with some great educational materials on essential oils.]

No-Cheese Pizza – Healthy & Delicious!

Baking, Daniel Fast, diy, do-it-yourself, health, homemade, homemade pizza, natural living, non-gmo, nutrition, organic, pizza, recipe, Uncategorized

Pizza Photo

Yes, that’s pizza…without cheese, and it is delicious.  Gasp!!

So, my husband and I had been in a bit of a funk lately.  We were getting so lazy that we’d eat out at restaurants, or fast food places 2-4 times per week.  We were both gaining weight, feeling sluggish, brain fogged and just plain fatigued almost all the time.  We knew we had to do something about it.

We are both Christians, and were feeling God laying on our hearts that we needed to learn the discipline of self-control – something we both never really had much of!  When you allow the Lord to give you strength in one area of indulgence, it is easier to exercise self-control in other areas!  Self-control was never something I cared to practice when it came to food.  I love food!!!  Food is great when eaten in moderation, but it can become a vice and detrimental to your health if you eat the way I have for most of my life.

Due to events over the past year where a lack of self-control caused mine and my husband’s lives to spiral out of control, we finally admitted that it was time for us to learn self-control in all areas of life.

A friend of mine told me about The Daniel Fast that she was doing.  Here is a link to the official website:  The Daniel Fast Website

If you’ve never heard of The Daniel Fast, it’s a 21-day fast where you only eat veggies, fruits, legumes, beans, whole grains, olive oil, etc.  Basically no meats, alcohol, sugar, dairy, processed foods.  Some people say you can eat unleavened bread (with whole wheat flour), but others claim you should not.

The fast is based off of the book of Daniel in the Bible, where Daniel refused to eat the King’s food because it usually contained meat sacrificed to false gods.  He told the King’s men that if they would only give him and his friends vegetables to eat and water to drink, for 21 days, they would find that he and his friends were much healthier, leaner, etc.  Here’s a link to the story:  Daniel’s Story

So, since I already drink only water, and have been drinking fruit smoothies every morning for about 2 years, I figured this wouldn’t be so hard.  I’d buy a ton of produce, nuts, rice and beans each week and I’d be all set.  Little did I know that you should really have some recipes planned out for The Daniel Fast if you are going to stick to it and not become malnourished.  After some Googling (by the way, I heard Webster’s just added “Googling” as a verb in the dictionary….seriously), I found some great recipes!  But the Daniel Fast shouldn’t be done as a diet.  Fasts are about growing closer to the Lord, not weight loss, but it just happens to be a great byproduct of a fast like this!

If you are considering the Daniel Fast, I’d recommend doing it with someone else.  It really helps to have someone who can encourage and support you so that you don’t give up.  My husband and I are loving how it is growing us closer together in our marriage, as we cheer each other on in this fast.  We are enjoying cooking dinner together every evening, versus driving to a fast food place.  It’s like a date night – every night!

So, at the beginning of this fast, I’d have a smoothie for breakfast (loaded with goodies), a fruit and a sweet potato for lunch, and sometimes potatoes and leeks for dinner, or beans and rice.  We were pretty fatigued, and needed a little more substance.  I found a bunch of great tofu recipes (try to eat only organic tofu – the non-organic has been linked to breast cancer – or so I’ve heard).

I also found a good recipe for an unleavened bread (more like a thick cracker) that contains 100% whole wheat flour, olive oil, honey and water – that’s it!  We’ve used it as a garlic bread with our potato leek soup, as garlic bread with our pasta and now as a pizza crust.  Who would have thought only 4 ingredients would make such a great crust!

This pizza turned out delicious, even without cheese, and I know we will be making it again – even when the fast is over.  You can sub some of the herbs with essential oils in the pizza sauce!  Basil essential oil gives the sauce a punch!

So far I’m on Day 18 of The Daniel Fast, and loving it!!  My quiet time/Bible reading in the morning has become more fulfilling, my faith in God stronger, my body healthier, my brain un-fogged, and my *ahem* colon *ahem* cleansed.  Sorry if TMI.  I hate to brag – but I now poop like a champ. 😉

If you aren’t used to eating fresh produce, then you might want to pass on this fast.  But if you’re used to cooking fresh, not frozen, this should be easy for you!  Also if you’re a coffee and/or soda drinker, this will not be easy!!

The pizza recipe I will post below is sort of mix of a few different recipes I have found, but tweaked to my liking.  If you make the pizza and love it, let me know in a comment below.  Or if you used different ingredients and loved it, please let me know so that I can try it too!


PIZZA – THE DANIEL FAST WAY

For the dough:

2 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 cup & 1 Tbs quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil, separated
1 Tablespoon “date paste” (a lower glycemic food than honey) (recipe below)
3/4 water
garlic salt

Preheat oven to 500 F.  Mix all ingredients, except the garlic salt, in a bowl until combined.  Use a rolling pin on a flour-dusted surface or a pastry mat.  Transfer to a lightly oiled baking sheet, preferably a metal pizza sheet with holes, or a good baking stone, but a cookie sheet will work.  Bake for 6-7 minutes or until cooked through.  Remove from oven and set aside.  Leave the oven at 500 F so you can bake it again with the pizza ingredients this time.

For the Sauce:

1 can of tomato sauce
1 can of tomato paste
1 tsp Italian seasoning (I used Wildtree’s Hearty Spaghetti blend)
2-4 pressed garlic cloves, or more to taste
3-4 drops of Basil essential oil (see comment below in red)
1/2 tsp Pink Himalayan salt
2 drops of Black Pepper Essential Oil (or 1/4 dried black pepper)
1 Tbs of Date Paste (see recipe below – prepare ahead) or sub with honey

Put all ingredients in a small pot and heat on low until all ingredients are combined.  Approx. 20 minutes.  You may need a lid so tomato sauce doesn’t bubble and spray everywhere.

Date Paste:

1 cup pitted medjool dates
1 cup of very hot water

Put the dates in the hot water in a bowl and let sit overnight, or even an hour.  You can massage them a little to soften them.  Then dump the water and the dates into a food processor and blend until it becomes a creamy paste.  This is the basic date paste to use in recipes in lieu of honey or sugar.  Satisfies the sweet tooth!!  (If you are going to use it as a topping for a dessert or sweet potato (tastes just like brown sugar on a sweet potato! YUM!), you may want to add 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon to the paste).  It keeps well in the fridge in a tight container for about a week.

The Toppings:

1 bunch fresh basil leaves, washed & shredded
1 red onion, sliced very thin
1 small zucchini, sliced very thin
1 tomato, sliced very thin
1 Tbs Nutritional Yeast (Optional) (give a cheesy flavor to the pizza)

Assembling and Baking the Pizza:

Now that your crust is baked, and cooled a bit, rub 1 Tbs of olive oil all over the crust and generously sprinkle garlic salt all over it.  (FYI – We bake the crust first without any ingredients on top, because if you try to put sauce on a wet slab of dough, it won’t cook through and you’ll have doughy pizza.) 

Spread all of the pizza sauce over the baked crust.  Sprinkle the fresh basil on top of the sauce.  Then put all of your veggies on top.  And last,  sprinkle the nutritional yeast over the top of everything.  Bake for approx. 12-14 minutes or until veggies look cooked.

Remove, cut into squares and enjoy!

FYI – Not all essential oils are created equal.  Most oils are adulterated, contain fillers and contaminants and come from Lord-knows-where.  The oils I use give 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 to use this brand, please comment below and I’d be happy to point you in the right direction.

**[PLEASE NOTE:  According to the compliance rules of the FDA, I am unable to disclose my favorite oil company’s name in the body of this blog, but you can comment below with your email address, and I’ll send you the link, along with some great educational materials on essential oils.]

Build-Your-Immunity Lemon Tonic

anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, apple cider vinegar, cancer, clean, cleanliving, empowerment, essential oils, 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’s a miracle drink – I can say that since I’m not trying to sell it to you. 😉

I’ve 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’ll be paying off those bills for quite a while!  What a waste – the results didn’t 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’t 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’t bloating as often.  I wasn’t burping as much throughout the day (I would literally burp every couple of minutes).  I also noticed that I didn’t have explosive bouts of diarrhea (sorry, TMI?) after eating ice cream or pizza.  My skin is clearer (but I also use Arbonne’s anti-aging skin care, which has something to do with that!), and I haven’t 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’t have stomach issues, there are so many other health benefits (listed below) that it doesn’t 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 “lemon honey water” and read on!  There are so many great articles by doctors and health and wellness practitioners praising lemon water.

So, you’re 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 – 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 – where 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’s organic ACV, which says “With the Mother” 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 feel free to tell me about it!  🙂  I love success stories!

FYI – Not all essential oils are created equal.  Most oils are adulterated, contain fillers and contaminants and come from Lord-knows-where.  The oils I use give 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 to use this brand, please comment below and I’d be happy to point you in the right direction.

**[PLEASE NOTE:  According to the compliance rules of the FDA, I am unable to disclose my favorite oil company’s name in the body of this blog, but you can comment below with your email address, and I’ll send you the link, along with some great educational materials on essential oils.]

Blessings