Friday, October 31, 2014

Valerian Root for Pain Relief and Better Sleep: How to Make Tea

Valerian Root totally smelled like dirty feet to me at first. Now that my body knows that scent means sweet relief, it smells like a whole 'lotta lovely and tastes like it, too!

Most often used for anxiety and insomnia, valerian root in tincture and tea form are frequently used for Lyme pain and insomnia. You heal while you sleep so the better your sleep- the better your healing. 

Valerian root has taken the edge off of joint and nerve pain that was really getting in the way of my evenings lately. Sleeping was becoming difficult as I was waking up with joints that were asking to be put at ease. For me, right now, this tea is powerful. I don't use it everyday but as a wonderful, soothing tool when I feel it will help.

If used regularly, it can begin to have the opposite effect causing jitteryness and difficulty falling asleep. Use it for a week or two then a week or two off. 

This is how I do it:

1 teaspoons dried Valerian Root, loose or in a tea ball
2 cups boiling water

Pour the water over your tea in a mug.
Let sit 10-15 minutes (I recommend and steep for 15)
Strain of steeping loose leaf or remove ball.

What's working for you lately?

A few more bits about Valerian Root:

Well written over all info on using Valerian Root as a healing herb from Methow Valley Herbs

Dr. Horowitz, author of Why Can't I Get Better? Solving the Mystery of Lyme and Chronic Disease, recommends valerian root tea for insomnia specifically. 

Dr. Nicola McFadzean, ND, a naturopathic doctor, references the use of valerian root specifically for pain here.


PS I'm not a doctor or an herbalist. I'm sharing what's working for me in hopes that it will work for you. You are responsible for double checking cross reactions with what you might already be doing and your own homework. Thanks, friend! 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Letting Go of Needing Others to Understand- Navigating Chronic Illness

Please feel free to Pin, share, and post the image above on your blog! I created the image, the background photo is free from A Prettier Web.

Last week, I got side blasted. In your face personal challenge on my own health care choices, care of my family, and just general way of my being. From family. Not fun. Not awesome. And I'm grateful for it.

If you've been faced with tough choices regarding your health (or parenting, or care for a parent, or educational choice, or was ever self treating a common cold), there is someone, somewhere that knows how you could do it better.

You know what you need to do...

If you'd just stop...

My cousin Bob's wife has a friend who totally cured her ____ with just____. I gave her your phone number.

And I'm so freakin' excited about how I reacted! Let me re-word that- I didn't react. I calmly chose how to act in response. Totally high fivin' myself right now just thinking about it. After what seemed like 20 minutes of trying to calmly acknowledge concerns and criticisms, I finally said,

"I have let go of the need for you to understand. If you understood, that would mean you had this same dis-ease and I wouldn't wish that for you."

Bam. Totally. Changes. Everything.

If asked, I will gladly share what's working and what's not. Medical studies, gut health and food choices, books, bloggers, and woo-woo theorists with family and strangers. 

If asked, I will listen with an open heart to concerns, fears, stories of healing... and magazine clippings.

But I no longer feel any need to breathlessly explain or defend. And, friends, it's a pretty awesome feeling.

My next post will have a handy dandy list of kind and hopefully neutralizing replies to very common things people say...but really shouldn't. 

First comes letting go. Of attachment to what others do with the information you share, of their feelings or fears, of their choices.

Then you can respond with love for yourself and for them.

Have you ever felt under attack for your choices? How did you handle it? What works for you?


Saturday, October 18, 2014

Permission: Just Watching the Waves

Today I am giving myself permission to simply look at the sea.

Growing up at the beach, and in particular at a famous tourist beach, I have wondered at people who simply set themselves up in the sand and...spend the day looking at the sea.

To me, the sea was for diving through, scooping under waves, attempting to ride it, being tumbled around in it's waves then coming up to gasp for air and doing it all over again. Even when my boys were little I was busy running in the waves with them. The sea was my foe and my friend. 

I'm finding a peace with walking on the shore. Just sitting in the sand, watching. Breathing in the salty, and sometimes stinky, sea air. I can hear sea gulls as I write this and not that long ago it would make my heart ache to not feel strong enough to brave the waters. Today I am well enough to tuck our little girl in the car and walk along the shore. 

And for today that is enough.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

30 Days of Movement: a personal challenge

Today in the middle of doing other "more important" things I grabbed my mat and jumped on. For yoga on the porch with the pumpkins.

After finding RowdyKittens blog and then her Instagram images of lovely walks, I was inspired.

Walking and hiking are both adventures, large and small, I used to do and love. Yoga is my second love and, like many good love stories, slowly taking over my heart.

With all of the tools at hand for healing and feeling amazing, movement is often the most accessible. Yet, I find have been spending very little time giving myself this time and energy. 

Here are my usual excuses and what I try to remind myself:

1. I'm too tired. No. Seriously exhausted.

I know you are. But somehow when I find 30 minutes to move my body with care and love, I find an extra 60 minutes of energy in my day. Crazy. Just 5 minutes makes a difference. 

2. It hurts.

Honey, it won't hurt any more on the the yoga mat or walking down the beach. And it always, always hurts less once you get up and get there. 

Even if there is just to the porch to breathe deeply in the sun. I honor for right now it might be in the hospital bed or home on bedrest (been there). Breathwork can be a powerful tool in so many ways. Just one resource to look closer at using breathework from Dr. Weil (video with sound).

3. I should be doing ____ for the house/family/food prep/research then I'll make time for exercise.

When I take care of myself, I have so much more to give.

30 days of movement, starting today. No excuses. It all counts. 3 minutes or 30. Just show up and try.

A few resources:

  • Grokker: Yoga, Fitness, Cooking. Well produces videos for every level- free!
  • A gentle yoga practice focused on healing through pain on Grokker
  • Amazon Prime membership offers a gazzillion free exercise & wellness videos
  • Your library. DVD's and some are now offering downloads. Free.
  • Creating Meaningful Morning Routine microcourse by Courtney Carver. $10 investment. 
 I'd love to do this with you! Would you like to join me? Leave a note below and tell me your favorite ways to get up and get moving. And what might be holding you back.


PS  There are no affiliate links in this or any post. Just sharing.

Organizing Multiple Medicine Times- Free Printable!

Keeping track of what medicines, supplements, binders like Bentonite Clay, and helpful pro-biotics to take and with what can get mighty tricky when you go beyond one multi-vitamin in the morning.

My own care professional kindly provides a spread sheet with all of the recommended supplements, medicines, etc that we plan together. It has saved me hours. Some you can't take with any acids (including lemon water), others need to be 4+ hours away from mineral supplements (nettle tea included). With food, without get's complicated.

After making a few tweaks, I have a simple printable form for you to print and use.

Just click here to download the pdf. If you have any questions or problems, just email me. 

Here are the basics of how I use mine:

  • Left column is the name of your supplement, medicine, prescription, etc. I also note milligram here.
  • You could make each column or time of day is a different color to make it easy as your eye scans the list
  • Along the top, the following general times are written in:
    • Waking
    • Breakfast
    • Mid Morn
    • Lunch
    • Mid Afternoon
    • Dinner
    • Bedtime
*I do not put specific times as the titles are a reminder to me that I need to take them WITH a meal or after a meal.

  • In the cross section, I write dosage ex. 15 drops or just 2 if it's a tablet
  • Under Notes are little reminders like "in 4 oz of water" or "Monday thru Friday only"

And that's about it. Making this worksheet is a great reminder to double check that I'm taking everything with care so it can work to my biggest and best advantage. 

Do keep all original instructions and care advice from your doctor/care provider so you can easily cross reference and double check. 

And you should totally write your name on it, then promptly put a heart around it. 

Because you are the most important person to love. 

How do you keep track of your daily self care dos? Comment below and please share- I'd love to hear!


PS Medicines and supplements are just a part of healing chronic illness or, really, healing of any kind. And for some they do not play a role in a persons healing. Which is awesome. This is just one piece. One piece I hope to make a little easier for you!

Monday, October 6, 2014

One Tiny Change: Moving Towards Healing

It's such a tiny thing. A sweet little tea cup that now sits in my medicine hutch. And, yes. It's an entire hutch. Every day, many times a day, I would fumble as I poured pill after pill into my hand, then attempt to use that same quickly filling hand to open the next bottle. Sometimes dropping pills, every time using far more energy than it really should take. Why was I making it harder than it needed to be? That, my friend, is the million dollar question.

Why do we get in our own way?

I don't really know. But I'm staying open to finding out. And in the meantime, making things easier for myself along the way.

One tiny change, using a sweet little tea cup to corral all of these little pills with ease, is part of the bigger picture for me. 

Part of the change is accepting that, for right now, this is the new normal.

Part of the change is embracing it. Embracing this current normal. I've stopped complaining in my heart and resisting all of this medicine I have to take. Instead, I open the cupboard doors and take a moment to say "Thank you". To give thanks that I can have access to all of this medicine.

There's more. But this is one tiny change I've decided to make and I can feel the difference it's making. 

What changes/shifts are you making that are helping in your life? I'd love to hear!


5 Tricks For Clearer Skin (Free & Natural)

Adult acne chased me through my twenties. At the time, I didn't see the connection between the food I was eating, the life I was living (chaotic and busy, busy) and the regular break outs I was trying to cover up and get rid of.

Bigger picture changes have led to happier skin but there are things you can do right now to help stop the cycle.

Here are a few tips and tricks I've picked up along the way. Easy. Cheap. Natural. Not often you get all three!

1. Change your pillowcase daily. 
Oils from your hair and product all build up on your pillow which you lay your face on for hours (hopefully 8+) every night. Fresh pillowcases will help your skin rejuvenate while you sleep.

2. Clean your make up brushes once a week. Remember to clean the tools you keep in your purse! The sponge in your compact, the tiny brushes, and more that are easy to forget while your tidying your medicine cabinet. Wash them gently in whatever you wash your hair in. Rinse well and let air dry sitting bristles up in a glass. Easy peasy.

3. Keep hair off of your face. I love my bangs and refuse to give them up but oil and product from hair can lead to break outs. See if there's a connection between a trouble spot and where your hair falls.

4.  Clean your phone(s) with alcohol at least once a week. Your cell, the one at work- heck, you might even have a land line, too. Squirt 91% alcohol on a cotton ball and wipe down. 

5.  Stop touching your face. I know. You don't pick either. We can have little habits we don't even realize like leaning on our chin, jawline, or brushing the bangs away 100 times a day. Every time you touch your face you transmit more bacteria. Pay attention for just one day and you'll probably see one habit you could nip.

What tips do you use for clearer sking? Please leave a comment below- I'd love to hear!


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

How I Make Hemp Milk- the easy way

Making your non dairy milk from scratch is seriously so super easy, and so super cheap, you might just want to add it to your list. Or not. And did you know you can freeze it?? When you have the energy, make a few batches and pop them in the freezer.

Most recipes will tell you to strain the milk to get the itty bitty bits out. I don't. For two reasons.
  • Straining takes out the fiber, much like juicing vs whole food smoothies. I want all the nutrition I can get out of those little babies.
  • Why? The texture doesn't bother me or the fam so... I don't. Unlike nut milks, there really isn't much left as the hemp seeds are naturally soft.

Gather your ingredients:

1 cup hemp seeds
4 cups water (play with it. more water goes farther, less is creamier.)
1 pinch of salt (Celtic sea salt is pictures. use what you have.)
1tsp yacon syrup OR 2  dates OR 2TB maple syrup, etc

2 tsp vanilla or vanilla bean is lovely but I rarely do as I use my hemp milk for savory baking and cooking, too 

Put it all in the blender and it's go time! About 60 seconds. Yes, a VitaMix is amazing and yes I have and love mine. Did I say love? I meant LOVE. But just use what you have. You may have a bit more texture in a standard blender. C'est la vie. 

You are done, baby! Pour in a jar and chill. You can freeze it, too, which is great for making up the months worth all in one go.


Elana's Pantry offers recipes using yacon syrup and many more worth browsing- and trying.

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