Cassia & Cardamom Spiced, 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°. 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 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.]


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

Blessings

 

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The Amazing Lemon, Raw Honey and ACV 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

Easy Homemade Lip Balm

crunchy, diy, do-it-yourself, gluten-free, homemade, lip salve, natural living, non-gmo, organic, salve, smooth lips

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Hello!

So, I was running out of lip balm, and wanted to start making my own.  While making a batch of my “famous” whipped body butter, I put together the PERFECT luxurious recipe (in my honest opinion), but there is one caveat…you have to make my Whipped Body Butter recipe first, and take some of the melted ingredients from that to make your lip balm at the same time.

But, it’s okay because BOOM! – You get TWO great products for the price/time of ONE!  (Sorry, I don’t know how much of each ingredient you would use if you made the lip balm by itself.  I would guess you could just take a teaspoonful or less of each oil/butter and 1/2 tsp of beeswax and melt them together, but I haven’t tested that yet.)

SOOTHING LIP BALM RECIPE:

Ingredients:

1/2 cup 100% raw shea butter
1/2 cup 100% raw mango butter
1/2 cup organic coconut oil
1/2 cup organic almond, jojoba, shea or calendula oil
1 Tbs all-natural, pure beeswax pellets
Essential Oils of choice (see note in red below)
(lavender, frankincense, peppermint, spearmint, helichrysum, chamomile, etc.)

STEP 1:

Open my Whipped Body Butter Recipe HERE, and follow the first few steps so that your butters/oils are melting together in a double boiler.   Then come back here to finish this.

STEP 2:

Once all of the butters/oils have melted in your double boiler, use a ladle to scoop out about 2 Tbs of the melted mixture and place it in a small glass bowl, over a pot of water on LOW heat (or you can use a 2nd double boiler, if you have one.  I just use a glass batter bowl over a large pot of water).

STEP 3:

Add in just under a Tablespoon of pure/natural beeswax pellets and stir.

STEP 4:

Once all pellets have melted into the mixture, take the bowl out of the pot of water and let it cool in the fridge for 10 minutes or so.

Add a few drops of any essential oils of your choice (I used peppermint and a drop of Roman Chamomile, but lavender, helichrysum, frankincense or spearmint would also be good).  Stir the essential oils in well, and scoop it all into a tight-closed, small container.  (I had little containers on hand, but you can always purchase empty lip balm tubes from www.aromatools.com if you prefer a chapstick.  You get 12 for $3.00.

STEP 5:

Place in the fridge to harden up again and VOILA!! You are done!!!

DON’T FORGET!! to go back to the Whipped Body Butter recipe and finish it off so that you have some soothing body butter in addition to your soothing lip balm!

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.]

Enjoy!

Blessings

can tell the difference in my oils versus store-bought brands.

Enjoy!!

The BEST Completely natural all-purpose cleaner – Can Be Used As A baby Shampoo!

anti-cancer, baby, bath, cancer, clean, cleanliving, crunchy, diy, do-it-yourself, essential oils, health, holistic, home project, homemade, homeopath, homeopathic, immunity, natural living, pure, recipe, shampoo, soap, wellness

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UPDATE!  2 years after purchasing a gallon of Botanic Gold (n/k/a Enviro-One), we finally ran out.   We used it consistently for everything from foaming hand soap, to cleaning up cat puke, to all-purpose cleaner spray and more.   It has saved my family some pretty good coin over the past 2 years!  Just wanted to share because this stuff is awesome!!  It cleans grease and grime in the kitchen better than store-bought cleaners.  I spray it on my stove, counters, cat puke, etc., and within a couple seconds, it wipes off so easily!   It’s our go-to for EVERYTHING.

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Recently on Facebook, I came across an article stating that Johnson & Johnson baby shampoo contained formaldehyde, an ingredient that is not necessary in any of our personal care products.  J&J has since changed their ways, but I am still not convinced that using even their “Naturals Baby Shampooline is the best thing.  The ingredient list is posted below.  Pay particular attention to the bolded ingredient at the bottom:

Water, Decyl Glucoside (Source: Coconut, Palm Kernel, Corn), Cocoglycerides (Source: Coconut, Palm Kernel), Sodium Coco-Sulfate (Source: Coconut, Palm), Coco-Glucoside (Source: Coconut, Palm Kernel), Glyceryl Oleate (Source: Sunflower), Polyglyceryl-10 Laurate (Source: Coconut, Palm, Soybean), Glycerin (Source: Coconut, Palm, Soybean), Xanthan Gum (Source: Soy, Corn), Sodium Benzoate (Source: *), Cetyl Hydroxyethylcellulose (Source: Plant, Mineral), Citric Acid (Source: *), Sodium Hydroxide (Source: *), Parfum (Source: Plant), * The remaining ingredients are essential to blend the product together and maintain effectiveness.

First, what are these “remaining ingredients that are essential to blend the product together and maintain effectiveness,” as stated in the last sentence?  I would sure like to know – I mean, if they are natural, why not include them on the label?

Second, why does a “natural” shampoo need all of those extra ingredients?  There are cleansers that are all natural, and don’t have a bunch of stuff added to them.  I understand many of their ingredients act as emollients, and help soften/moisturize skin, but they are not necessary.  All-natural oils, such as sweet almond oil, or jojoba oil, are a better substitute for retaining moisture in the skin, and can be added to a homemade shampoo for it’s added benefits.

The main reason I posted that listing is the bolded ingredient Sodium Hydroxide.  Why is Sodium Hydroxide concerning?  Because the New Jersey Department of Health has a “Hazardous Substance Facts Sheet” for this chemical, which is posted in industrial facilities so that workers know how dangerous it is:

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Sure, I know, this fact sheet is for factory workers who are dealing with the concentrated chemical in it’s purest form, but even a tiny amount of a toxic chemical has no place in a baby shampoo.  In my honest opinion.

Here is another clip from that same Fact Sheet:

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Billion dollar product companies like J&J claim that the actual amount of an otherwise toxic chemical is not actually toxic when a minimal amount is used in personal care products.  This may be true, but the question begging to be asked is – why is it used at all when there are more natural options out there?

Why do we blindly accept everything at the grocery store as safe, or even good, for us, just because it has pretty packaging, and the word “Natural” printed on it.  Does this make it actually good for you?  Not necessarily.

We are living in a time where we cannot trust multi-billions dollar corporations to have our children’s best interests at heart.  We are their advocates, nurturers, caretakers, etc., and need to be aware of these things.

By no means am I a “crunchy” person in all aspects of life, but I do try and cut out unnecessary toxins from my personal care, medication and cleaning products.  Every product that I make has a natural base (i.e., apple cider vinegar, or sweet almond oil, etc.) and then I add essential oils to it for its potent health benefits or cleansing properties.

Here is my proposition:  If you have the ability to make your own all-natural personal care and cleaning products for you and your family, then do it.  You will not regret it.

I don’t know about you, but when I make something in my own home, from all-natural ingredients that I choose, I know that my family is getting the best of the best.  Making your own personal products is not complicated, nor does it take up much of your time.  And it saves you money in the long run.

So, back to the lil ones.  Below is a super easy homemade baby shampoo recipe, that can also be used on their hair and body, and on yours too!  The base soap is an all natural botanical soap, made from plant enzymes, called Enviro-One, that can be used for just about everything:  skin care, brushing teeth, household cleaner, baby care, fruit/veggie washing, cleaning your toilet (!) and so much more.  (I love this stuff so much that I should get paid for how much I talk about it online!  (*hint, hint, Enviro-One executives*)

There are actually over 200 uses for Enviro-One all-natural soap.  I pick up mine at their website:  Enviro-One.  It is super concentrated, so it will last a very long time.  It may seem expensive, but when you use one part soap mixed with 10 parts water, and you can usually replace all of your cleaning and skin care products with it, it’s totally worth it in my opinion and experience.  My first gallon lasted me over 2 years.  (I have not been paid by Enviro-One to write this).

Just check out the back of the bottle – those ingredients!  Now that’s natural soap:

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Muuuuch better than the J&J, right?  I love how safe it is, and how much money it will save me.


 

Homemade Baby Shampoo Recipe:

– Plastic shampoo bottle
– Small amount Botanic Gold soap (see bottle for measurements)
1 Tbs of a carrier oil, such as sweet almond oil, fractionated coconut oil or jojoba oil
– (see below for amounts) 100% pure, therapeutic-grade essential oils per ounce of soap mixture (see note in red below)

Combine ingredients together in a plastic shampoo bottle, shake and you’re done.

Essential Oil Options:

Babies 3+ months (2-3 drops oil per ounce soap):  lavender, roman chamomile, frankincense

Babies 6+ months. (3-5 drops oil per ounce soap): tea tree, bergamot, tangerine, sandalwood, geranium, helichrysum, cypress, cedarwood

Children 2+ years (not more than 20 drops per ounce soap):  basil, clary sage, ginger, juniper berry, lemongrass, lime, myrrh, parchouli, ylang ylang.

Essential oils are not only added for their scent, but for the slew of health benefits the provide.  While certain oils would be added for their cleansing properties, others can aid in relaxation/sleep, calming, skin irritations, etc.  If essential oils are added, please be sure not to get the soap in or near your baby’s eyes.

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!
Karen

Anti-Inflammatory Turmeric Tea

clean, cleanliving, cooking with essential oils, essential oils, health, holistic, homemade, homeopath, homeopathic, immunity, natural living, non-gmo, nutrition, pure, recipe, tonic, turmeric, wellness
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My cup of deliciousness

Turmeric is all the rage these days, and I just had to try out a recipe for cinnamon-turmeric tea I found online.  It.  Was.  Delicious.  My husband even liked it – he said it tasted like Thanksgiving.  With flavors like clove and cinnamon, and it’s pumpkin-y color, you could make this healthy drink for your holiday party.

**Please read this great article on Authority Nutrition‘s website on the many benefits of turmeric.

After reading about the benefits in the article above, now it is time to make your own turmeric tea!  Gather up your ingredients and let’s get started:

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Simmer all spices in water for ten minutes, strain.

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Put 1/3 cup of tea in a mug and add some raw honey (even better, how about some local honey!). Then add in 2/3 cup of milk and stir well.

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CINNAMON-TURMERIC TEA

1-2 tsps turmeric
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp freshly grated ginger
3 cloves (I had ground clove, so I used a tea sachet)
A pinch of grated nutmeg
4 peppercorns
1 1/2 to 2 cups of water
1 tsp raw honey
1/2 cup milk of choice

(**Add some pure, therapeutic-grade essential oils for added health benefits!  (See note in red below).  My choices would be myrrh, clove or cinnamon bark.  But only a drop or two into the whole batch.)

Simmer all spices in water for ten minutes, strain.  Put 1/3 tea, 2/3 milk in a teacup.  Add raw honey and milk and stir.  Adjust to taste.

You can save the remainder of your tea mixture in a container in the fridge for up to 5 days.  Just warm up a batch of the mixture each time, and then add the honey and milk.

(**turmeric tends to sink to the bottom.  Be sure to stir/shake well before each use).

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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.]

To your health!

UPDATED – Hyperactive Thyroid, Toxic Multinodular Goiters, and Hyperparathyroid Adenoma

auto-immune, cancer, crunchy, Graves Disease, healing, health, homeopath, hyperthyroid, hypothyroid, nutrition, parathyroid, thyroid, wellness

 

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My goiter from Graves’ Disease (a/k/a Hyperactive thyroid)

**UPDATE 10/11/17:  I went for a physical the other day, at my family doctor’s office, and they sent me for bloodwork.  I’ve been experiencing diabetes symptoms, and it runs in the family, so I wanted to get checked out.  While my blood tests came back mostly normal for diabetes (even though it revealed that I’m pre-diabetes), my doctor was concerned that my calcium level was high.  What the heck could high calcium do!?  Well, I’ll tell you why you should be concerned if your calcium level is ever higher than a 10.

Anything above 10 on your blood work is considered high.  Mine was 10.7 on this current test.  In 2015 it was 11.0 and in 2014 it was 10.8.  I am not sure why my doctor didn’t say anything about my level being high in 2014 or 2015, but I’m grateful that he looked into it further this time.  With the latest symptoms I’ve been experiencing over the past year or so, he decided to send me back to the lab for a PTH test (parathyroid hormone test).

Apparently, if both your calcium and parathyroid levels are high, you more or less have a parathyroid tumor called an “adenoma.”  They are almost always benign (less than 1 in 2500 are cancerous), but this little bugger wreaks havoc on your body.  It basically pulls calcium out of your bones (even your teeth!), and the calcium floats around in your blood stream because you are unable to absorb it.  This causing many frustrating symptoms that make you feel ill just about all of the time.  There is a more scientific explanation at Parathyroid.com, they are experts and only deal with parathyroid diseases.

I’ve had all sorts of symptoms that I’ve never been able explain for about 9 years now.  It’s so frustrating to have your thyroid checked yearly, only to get a normal result – but still know there is something wrong with your body.  Doctors begin to think you’re making up!  After my doctor ordered me to get the parathyroid blood test, I Googled “parathyroid adenoma” symptoms – I have almost all of them.  It also went on to say that there is a quick procedure to remove the tumor (less than 20 mins!), with a small incision on your neck and a quick recovery, as opposed to the old school surgery with an 8″ incision!  (yikes!!)  They say that once the troublemaker tumor is removed, you are cured.  You are basically supposed to feel normal again within hours, days or months (depending on how long you’ve been sick).  I cannot contain my excitement!!  I don’t even remember what normal feels like!!  I’m basically praying I have this tumor, so that I can get it taken out and feel normal! haha!

I got the results of my PTH tests back and my level is 110 pg/mL.  Normal levels are between 15 and 65 pg/mL.  So, it looks like I have the tumor.   I scheduled an appointment with an endocrinologist at Northwestern here in Chicago.  I am assuming he will diagnose me with hyperparathyroid adenoma, and when he does, I am scheduling the surgery ASAP.  I am aching (no pun intended) to feel better!

I will update again in November or December, after my appointment with the endocrinologist.


 

(Original blog)

Back in 1996, when I was in high school, I was diagnosed with an auto-immune disease, called Grave’s Disease (a/k/a hyperactive thyroid) and was told I also had toxic multinodular goiters on my thyroid.  The goiter was benign, thank God, but the symptoms of the disease were rough on me as an already self-conscious teenager.

[The thyroid is a small gland in the neck just below the Adam’s apple.  Its primary function is to produce hormones that influence most of the metabolic functions of the body.  Three primary thyroid conditions, of which I will mention later, can occur for a variety of reasons and each carry their own set of annoying symptoms.]

So, at 16, my daily life was filled with nervousness, anxiety, shakiness, excessive sweating, losing hair around the hairline, large eyes and pupils, feeling sick if I hadn’t eaten, and basically looking anorexic due to the inability to gain weight.  I also had a lump growing on my lower neck called a goiter.  Just lovely.

At times it was hard to sleep on my stomach because my pillow would push against my tender goiter.  I started sleeping with a stuffed bear under my chest to lift up my neck.  This would relieve any pressure on my goiter.

There were one “bonus” in having a hyperactive thyroid – I could eat an entire pizza every day of the week, or 2 pints of Hagen Daaz ice cream in one sitting, and not gain an ounce!  Being skinny may sound like a good thing, but it’s not in this case.  And I can’t tell you how many people have asked me “how can I get a hyper-thyroid!?”  Trust me people, you don’t want one!!

One particularly hard part about having this disease as a teen was that kids at school would ask me if I were anorexic.  A friend once approached me in the hallway at school, and asked if I were sick because I had a lump on my neck (goiter).  I didn’t “fill out” the school bathing suit in gym class like the other girls, because I was too skinny.   That was embarrassing, to say the least.

Finally, after a year or so on antithyroid medications – Synthroid and PTU – my doctor scheduled me to have the radioactive iodine treatment (“RAI”) at the Nuclear Medicine department of Elmhurst Memorial Hospital.  This was to try to stop my thyroid from producing too much thyroid hormone.  This treatment is serious business – the doctor dons protective gloves and drops a radioactive iodine pill down your throat.  You aren’t even allowed to touch it.  You are then instructed not to sit by anyone who is pregnant for 3 days after treatment (!?!).  You are to flush the toilet 3 times each time you go, and eat with paper plates and plastic forks.  They don’t want any of your bodily fluids touching someone else.  (And maybe my future children will have 3 heads?)

I wondered, if the radioactivity in my body could harm someone else just by sitting next to them, what radioactive residue could it leave behind that might wreak havoc in my future?  While the future of my health is unknown, I am thankful that my thyroid has currently, and for the past 22 years, not given me any trouble since RAI treatment.  This is actually pretty rare because most people end up turning hypo (underactive) after this treatment, and need to take Synthroid for the rest of their lives.  I am basically cured, hopefully forever, of the overproduction of thyroid hormone in my thyroid.  I still have goiters, and I still get yearly blood tests.  So, it’s not completely out of my life.

My goiter isn’t as noticeable now, but I still get a tad self-conscious when I wear a short necklace, which accentuates my lump.  Sometimes I feel the necklace is like a blinking arrow on the Vegas strip, directing your gaze to my lovely lump!  (Said lump is depicted in the photo at the top of this page).


TYPES OF THYROID DISORDERS

Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism is a where the thyroid is not producing enough of the thyroid hormones, which may lead to a variety of symptoms, such as:  obesity, joint pain, infertility, heart disease, tiredness, depression, lack of concentration, feeling cold, constipation, muscle cramps, weight gain, increased menstrual flow, more frequent periods, itchy skin and thinning hair.  It is most common in women, over 50.

Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis

This is where the body attacks the thyroid tissue.  This results in inflammation and damage to the tissue.  Which then results in reduced amounts of the hormones normally generated by the thyroid.

Hyperthyroidism

An overactive thyroid increases your metabolism, like you wouldn’t believe.  It causes sudden weight loss (I was 96 lbs my senior year in high school), a rapid heartbeat, sweating, nervousness and irritability.  More symptoms include: insomnia, anxiety, irritability, bulging eyes, weakness in arms/legs, shaky hands, frequent bowel movements, weight loss, racing heartbeat, premature grey hair, lighter menstrual flow, less frequent periods.   All of which I experienced as a 16 year old.  Ugh…

Various forms of hyperthyroidism include:

Graves’ disease
Toxic adenomas
Subacute thyroiditis
Goiters/Nodules


 CONVENTIONAL TREATMENTS

Antithyroid Medications
Thyroid Removal
Radioactive Iodine (RAI)
Alternative wellness support (i.e., essential oils, healthy eating, supplements, lemon tonic (see my blog on these), etc.)


ESSENTIAL OILS FOR THYROID

While I am not on any thyroid medications, I do try and support my thyroid with a natural approach.  There are a few essential oils can be a huge help in supporting your endocrine system, especially your thyroid.  Some of which include:  Myrtle, Lemongrass and Frankincense.

Myrtle oil is what they call an “adaptogen” type of oil.  It has been discovered through research that myrtle oil has the ability to support the natural balance of the thyroid hormone – whether under-performing or over-performing.  (see research by Dr. Daniel Penoel).

Rub 1-3 diluted drops of myrtle oil onto your big toe, or on your neck below where the Adam’s apple would sit, once or twice a day. You can also intensify this thyroid support by blending lemongrass or frankincense – they are both the “intensifiers.”

Should you wish to make a rollerball bottle, for easy application, of myrtle and lemongrass, or lemongrass and frankincense, be sure to dilute it as follows:

Add 10 drops of an essential oil to any 5mL roller bottle.  Add 20 drops of an essential oil if you are using a 10mL roller bottle.  Then, you would fill the remainder of the roller bottle with fractionated coconut oil.  This is roughly a 1:10 ratio.  Or see chart below.  The colored drops show how many actual drops of oil to use in the corresponding bottle size, and the gray drop shows the percentages it would represent for each of those colored drops.  I hope it makes sense.  (It confused me at first!)  (See note in red below)

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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.]


If you notice any of the symptoms mentioned above, please make an appointment with a good Endocrinologist.  They will take the appropriate blood tests to see if you have low or high thyroid hormone levels.

Blessings and good health to you!

Karen

DIY Facial Serum

clean, cleanliving, diy, do-it-yourself, empowerment, essential oils, gifts, gluten-free, health, holistic, homeopath, homeopathic, natural living, organic, pure, recipe, wellness

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Facial serums are an important part of a skin-care regimen, just as much as a good cleanser and moisturizer.  Serum will provide nourishment and soothing to your skin.

If you have acne-prone skin, you would benefit from a light, astringent serum to keep your face moisturized and nourished without clogging pores.  And you will also want to use as a toner, either Bragg’s apple cider vinegar, or organic witchhazel – or both combined (witchhazel-based toner is the best for your skin, as it will not dry it out like an alcohol-based toner would). Toner is always a must in any skin care regimen because it firms, tightens and tones the skin.

If you are 25 or older, I would highly recommend using an anti-aging facial serum.  It’s never too early to start nourishing your skin.  As skin ages, it loses its elasticity and starts to sag.  Without proper moisture and nourishment, you may end up looking like an American bulldog by the time you are 60.  Sorry, it’s truth – and the truth hurts sometimes…

Let’s get started!


FIRST, choose your carrier oil – which is your main ingredient.  It’s also known as a base oil.  Below are a list of very light base oils that will not leave your skin sticky or greasy.  I would try to always get organic or cold-pressed:

Argan oil (for dry, aging, oily, normal, or acne-prone skin)
Jojoba oil (for dry, aging, oily, normal, or acne-prone skin)
Apricot kernel oil (for any skin type, but especially dry, aging skin)
Sweet almond oil (thicker, and takes longer to sink in, but nourishing)
Grapeseed oil (for normal, oily, or acne-prone skin)
Avocado oil (for dry and aging skin)
Hemp seed oil (for any skin type, also very light)
Calendula oil (extremely healing to irritated, sensitive skin)

My favorite base oils are jojoba oil or sweet almond oil.  They are very lightweight and do not clog pores.


SECOND, you will choose an extra oil, for added nourishment (optional, but very beneficial).  Here are some extra oils:

Tamanu oil (good for acne-prone or oily skin, or skin with scars)
Sea buckthorn oil (for all skin types, but especially aging or dry skin)
Rosehip seed oil (regenerating, firming, anti-aging)
Carrot seed oil (super nourishing! – you only need a miniscule amount
Borage oil (high in oleic acids – for most skin types, especially oily & acne-prone skin)
Evening primrose oil (acne, aging, normal skin)
Neem oil (antimicrobial and healing – for acne and oily skin)
Emu oil (emollient, protective and nourishing – for dry or aging skin)


THIRD, choose your favorite essential oils that work best according to your specific skin care needs.  You will only need a few small drops of essential oil as they are super potent.  (See note in red below)

Here are the most-used essential oils in skin care:

Lavender (oily or dry skin)
Peppermint (oily or dry skin)
Chamomile (soothing for sensitive skin)
Rose (for aging, dry and normal skin) (Unless you are the CEO of Microsoft, you may not be able to afford this oil!  My company finally sells it, and it’s pre-diluted so it’s cheaper!  Hallelujah!)
Geranium (for dry, sensitive, aging, and normal skin)
Lemongrass (brightens/tones – for normal or oily skin)
Rosemary (moisturizes oily skin)

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.]


LAST, take the dropper top off of a 1-oz glass bottle and:

1.  Fill your bottle just under 2/3 of the way with your base oil.

2.  Add “extra” oil until the bottle is just about full (If you are using carrot seed oil, only use a few drops)

3.  Add 5-7 drops of essential oil.  (Less if you’re using peppermint!! – and make sure to keep away from eyes).  Put the cap on your bottle and shake well.  You should be able to smell the oils, but it should not be overwhelming.

Apply 2-3 drops to face and neck after cleansing, and before your moisturizer.  If you use toner, use it after the toner.  You will not need a moisturizer after applying the serum – it should give you enough moisture on its own.  Keep your serum out of the sunlight (use a dark colored class bottle, such as amber or cobalt blue).  Give it a little shake each time before you apply the serum, to make sure the oils are well combined.  It should be good for up to 12 months.

This recipe may need tweaking, to accommodate your skin care needs.  We all have different skin types, and an oil that is good for one may not be good for another.  I would suggest by making only a small amount at first.  If it ends up not working for your face, you can always rub it on your body to moisturize before bed, or add it to your whipped body butter (see my recipe HERE).  The mixture will still benefit your skin, and does not need to go to waste.

To learn more about essential oils, or the brand I use, comment below.  I’m happy to help point you in the right direction.

Blessings